The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Looking For Recommendations > NonFiction History Books

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10125 comments Mod
Hi everyone,

A friend of mine just got his hands on a Kindle and he is an avid History buff. He is looking for recommendations on nonfiction History books. Factual books that are well written and will keep his interest.

Hit me with your best! Thanks!


Belinda Burkhart | 3 comments I loved Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides. It's the story of the hunt for Martin Luther King's killer. The book is so well written that I felt that I was reading a fiction book. I would highly recommend it.


message 3: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 617 comments i think its available, but I enjoyed Tried by War : Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief - its about abe lincoln and his role as commander in chief during the Civil War - why the various generals were placed where, and how decisions were made - i'm not normally a NF reader, but it was really good


message 4: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10125 comments Mod
Thanks guys, I will be sure to pass these on. Feel free to keep em coming!


message 5: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 617 comments does he have any specific areas of history that of are interest to him? or anything goes?


message 6: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10125 comments Mod
At this point I would say anything goes. I know he reads about the presidents... He just downloaded a book on Abe Lincoln I think...


message 7: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 617 comments team of rivals is supposed to be really good (coming from my friends who are history teachers) and its like 600 odd pages in print


message 8: by Michelle (last edited Sep 27, 2010 08:57AM) (new)

Michelle Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China was really interesting and very hard to put down. It's the story of 3 generations of Chinese women, but does read more like a novel than a typical nonfiction.

I also really enjoyed Jospeh Persico's Nuremberg : Infamy on Trial.


message 9: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 212 comments The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II is about WWII between China and Japan and not something that we normally mention when learning about WWII here in America. It is brutal and disturbing and amazingly horrific, but also very well written and informational as well.


message 10: by Regan (new)

Regan | 19 comments Embracing Defeat by John W. Dower, great read. Hiroshima by John Hersey, unforgettable.
Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Bix
The Anatomy of Fascism by Paxton, extremly interesting
those are some that I can think about off the top of my head.


message 11: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 212 comments I second Hiroshima! I'd like to add Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima.


message 12: by Dero (new)

Dero I am a huge non-fiction and history buff myself and looking at the list that others have read here, I have read most of them myself. Is there a period of time he is interested in? Flags of our Fathers was very good as was his later one Flyboys. At Dawn We Slept was the best on Pearl Harbor. Almost anything by Stephen Ambrose would be excellent reading.


message 13: by Leslie T. (new)

Leslie T. (lat0403) | 69 comments Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King is good. He took a few different accounts of the same story and combined them into one book. It's the story of Captain James Riley and his crew before and after being shipwrecked along the coast of Africa. Captain James Riley's version is also published as Sufferings in Africa: The Incredible True Story of a Shipwreck, Enslavement, and Survival on the Sahara.


message 14: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10125 comments Mod
Thanks for all the rec's! I am passing the info on to my friend as I type this.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments If he's interested in the Presidents, how about Mornings on Horseback or Eleanor & Franklin?


message 17: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 266 comments Lori: He might like to try Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin - a look at early 20th century industrial capitalism and Henry Ford's failed rubber plantation in Brazil. I found it fascinating.


message 18: by Dero (new)

Dero The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America about the World's Fair in Chicago and a killer who used it to lure victims to his hotel. This was very well written and I could not put it down.


message 19: by Emily (new)

Emily  O (readingwhilefemale) | 140 comments Well, I'm not usually a fan of history books, but Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything was totally amazing. It's more of a history of science plus an introduction to how the universe works than a standard history book, but it's very light, funny, informative, and honest. Bryson is filled with wonder, and you can just feel that coming out of every page. It's one of my all time favorites.


message 20: by Carol (new)

Carol Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire Indian Summer The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex von Tunzelmann

This is an excellent book about the years before and up to the partition in India and subsequent departure of British rule.


message 21: by Mary (new)

Mary | 203 comments I recently heard James L. Swanson interviewed on the radio. He is the author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer and Bloody Crimes which both sound very interesting.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex is an excellent book - sort of a historical thriller.


message 22: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 142 comments I highly recommend Culloden and Glencoe by John Prebble - historical accounts that were beautifully portrayed from documents and letters from the actual historical figures involved. Also Scotland: The Autobiography which takes the actual words from contemporary documents.

Also, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, again compiled from contemporary accounts.

These rise to the top of my favorites list.


message 23: by Carol (new)

Carol Janny wrote: "I highly recommend Culloden and Glencoe by John Prebble - historical accounts that were beautifully portrayed from documents and letters from the actual historical figur..."

Yes I agree with Bury My Heart, I have not read Culleden or Glencoe, those I will add to my tbrl.


message 24: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Pilgrim (oldgeezer) | 107 comments Hi Janny,
You might want to check out 'Clan' by David Elliot, I don't think you will be dissapointed.
All the best Paul Rix [oldgeezer]


message 25: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne Teague (ateague) | 409 comments I just finished Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell which is a narrative of the author's trips to various sites where things related to Presidential assassinations happened. Specifically Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. It is informative as well as hilarious.


message 26: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 266 comments Adrienne wrote: "I just finished Assassination Vacation

I agree - excellent book recommendation for a history buff.


message 27: by astrangerhere (new)

astrangerhere For war history, i'd go with ANYTHING by John Keegan.
For more popular history that are less academic, i'd try something like The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments I'd only except Mr. Keegan's The American Civil War: A Military History, which was excoriated, with great sadness, by James M. McPherson when it came out.


message 29: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (aquariusnat) | 41 comments On my own mental TBR list there are two critically acclaimed books by David McCullough 1776 and his bio of John Adams .


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