In anticipation of the Fourth of July marking the United States' independence from Great Britain, here are some United States history books that might be of interest.
48 liberal lies about American history : (that you probably learned in school)
This book challenges four dozen popular misconceptions about the United States' past, debunking beliefs about such topics as the separation of church and state, Lincoln's agenda behind the Emancipation Proclamation, and Truman's reasons for bombing Hiroshima.
Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost -- Washington, who had never before led an army in battle.
An African American and Latinx history of the United States
Spanning more than two hundred years, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history, arguing that the "Global South" was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Scholar and activist Paul Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations such as "manifest destiny" and "Jacksonian democracy," and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism.
The personal life of Alexander Hamilton, an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who rose to become George Washington's aide-de-camp and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States, is captured in a definitive biography that inspired the hit broadway musical Hamilton.
The American story : conversations with master historians
Co-founder of The Carlyle Group and patriotic philanthropist David M. Rubenstein takes readers on a sweeping journey across the grand arc of the American story through revealing conversations with our greatest historians. In these lively dialogues, the biggest names in American history explore the subjects they've come to so intimately know and understand: David McCullough on John Adams, Jon Meacham on Thomas Jefferson, Ron Chernow on Alexander Hamilton, Walter Isaacson on Benjamin Franklin, Doris Kearns Goodwin on Abraham Lincoln, A. Scott Berg on Charles Lindbergh, Taylor Branch on Martin Luther King, Robert Caro on Lyndon B. Johnson, Bob Woodward on Richard Nixon, and many others, including a special conversation with Chief Justice John Roberts.
The autobiography of Malcolm X
In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time.
Band of brothers : E company, 506th regiment, 101st airborne from Normandy to Hitler's eagle's nest
Stephen E. Ambrose's iconic New York Times bestseller about the ordinary men who became World War II's most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army. They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak--in Holland and the Ardennes--Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world. From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company.
A black women's history of the United States
A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are--and have always been--instrumental in shaping our country. In centering Black women's stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women's unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today.
The bully pulpit : Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the golden age of journalism
A dynamic history of the muckracking press and the first decade of the Progressive era as told through the intense friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft--a close relationship that strengthens both men before it ruptures in 1912 when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination that cripples the progressive wing of the Republican Party, causing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to be elected, and changing the country's history.
Bury my heart at Wounded Knee : an Indian history of the American West
Eloquent, heartbreaking, and meticulously documented, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee follows the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the 19th century. Upon its publication in 1970, the book was universally lauded and became a cultural phenomenon that proved instrumental in transforming public perceptions of manifest destiny and the “winning” of the West.
Dark sky rising : Reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow
This is a story about America during and after Reconstruction, one of history's most pivotal and misunderstood chapters. In a stirring account of emancipation, the struggle for citizenship and national reunion, and the advent of racial segregation, the renowned Harvard scholar delivers a book that is illuminating and timely. Real-life accounts drive the narrative, spanning the half century between the Civil War and Birth of a Nation.
Forgotten allies : the Oneida Indians and the American revolution
The sacrifice of the Oneida Indians in securing American independence is captured in this story that also provides details about and insights into Oneida culture and how it was shaped, changed, and molded throughout years of contact with the American colonists.
Four hundred souls : a community history of African America, 1619-2019
A "choral history" of African Americans covering 400 years of history in the voices of 80 writers, edited by the bestselling, National Book Award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain. 2019 marked the four hundredth anniversary of the first African presence in the Americas--and also launched the Four Hundred Souls project, spearheaded by Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Antiracism Institute of American University, and Keisha Blain, editor of The North Star. They've gathered together eighty black writers from all disciplines -- historians and artists, journalists and novelists--each of whom has contributed an entry about one five-year period to create a dynamic multivoiced single-volume history of black people in America.
Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Ron Chernow shows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.
An indigenous peoples' history of the United States
Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally-recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.
Killing England : the brutal struggle for American independence
Told through the eyes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Great Britain's King George III, Killing England chronicles the path to independence in gripping detail, taking the reader from the battlefields of America to the royal courts of Europe. What started as protest and unrest in the colonies soon escalated to a world war with devastating casualties. O'Reilly and Dugard recreate the war's landmark battles, including Bunker Hill, Long Island, Saratoga, and Yorktown, revealing the savagery of hand-to-hand combat and the often brutal conditions under which these brave American soldiers lived and fought. Also here is the reckless treachery of Benedict Arnold and the daring guerrilla tactics of the "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion.
Killing the Rising Sun : how America vanquished World War II Japan
Autumn 1944. World War II is nearly over in Europe but is escalating in the Pacific, where American soldiers face an opponent who will go to any length to avoid defeat. The Japanese army follows the samurai code of Bushido, stipulating that surrender is a form of dishonor. This book takes readers to the bloody tropical-island battlefields of Peleliu and Iwo Jima and to the embattled Philippines, where General Douglas MacArthur has made a triumphant return and is plotting a full-scale invasion of Japan. Across the globe in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and his team of scientists are preparing to test the deadliest weapon known to mankind. In Washington, DC, Harry Truman ascends to the presidency after FDR dies in office, only to face the most important political decision in history: whether to use that weapon. And in Tokyo, Emperor Hirohito, who is considered a deity by his subjects, refuses to surrender, despite a massive and mounting death toll.
Liberty or death : the surprising story of runaway slaves who sided with the British during the American Revolution
This book examines the little-known story of African-American runaway slaves who fought on the side of the British Royal Army during the American Revolution in exchange for the promise of freedom and details what became of these men during and after the war.
The making of Asian America : a history
The definitive history of Asian Americans by one of the nation's preeminent scholars on the subject. In the past fifty years, Asian Americans have helped change the face of America and are now the fastest growing group in the United States. But as award-winning historian Erika Lee reminds us, Asian Americans also have deep roots in the country. The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
As a young journalist in the South in the 1960s, Marshall Frady walked the hot sidewalks, sat in crowded churches and courtrooms, and interviewed prominent civil rights leaders. Now the critically acclaimed biographer joins the bestselling Penguin Lives series to profile the man whose spiritual and political leadership has gained him an indelible place in twentieth-century history. In the masterly and riveting Martin Luther King, Jr., Frady draws on his twenty-five years of award-winning commentary on American race relations to give an inspiring portrait of this amazing leader and the turbulent era in which he lived.
A more beautiful and terrible history : the uses and misuses of civil rights history
The civil rights movement has become national legend, lauded by presidents from Reagan to Obama to Trump, as proof of the power of American democracy. This fable, featuring dreamy heroes and accidental heroines, has shuttered the movement firmly in the past, whitewashed the forces that stood in its way, and diminished its scope. And it is used perniciously in our own times to chastise present-day movements and obscure contemporary injustice. In A More Beautiful and Terrible History, award-winning historian Jeanne Theoharis dissects this national myth-making, teasing apart the accepted stories to show them in a strikingly different light.
The notorious Benedict Arnold : a true story of adventure, heroism, and treachery
New York Times bestselling author, Newbery Honor recipient, and National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin presents both the heroism and the treachery of one of the Revolutionary War's most infamous players in his biography of Benedict Arnold.
The passage of power
Pulitzer Prize biographer Robert A. Caro follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career, describing Johnson's volatile relationship with John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy during the fight they waged for the 1960 Democratic nomination for president, through Johnson's unhappy vice presidency, his assumption to the presidency after Kennedy's assassination, his victories over the budget and civil rights, and the eroding trap of Vietnam.
A people's history of the United States
With a new introduction by Anthony Arnove, this edition of the classic national bestseller chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative taught in schools--with its emphasis on great men in high places-- to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace. Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of--and in the words of--America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers.
Pure grit : how American World War II nurses survived battle and prison camp in the Pacific
A tribute to the heroic service of 101 U.S. Army nurses trapped in the Philippines by the attack on Pearl Harbor describes the harrowing conditions under which they treated wounded soldiers before they were captured and forced to endure starvation and disease for three years.
A queer history of the United States
A Queer History of the United States is groundbreaking and accessible. It looks at how American culture has shaped the LGBT, or queer, experience, while simultaneously arguing that LGBT people not only shaped but were pivotal in creating our country. Using numerous primary documents and literature, as well as social histories, Bronski's book takes the reader through the centuries--from Columbus' arrival and the brutal treatment the Native peoples received, through the American Revolution's radical challenging of sex and gender roles--to the violent, and liberating, 19th century--and the transformative social justice movements of the 20th.
The suffragist playbook : your guide to changing the world
The women's suffrage movement was decades in the making and came with many harsh setbacks. But it resulted in a permanent victory: women's right to vote. How did the suffragists do it? One hundred years later, an eye-opening look at their playbook shows that some of their strategies seem oddly familiar. Women's marches at inauguration time? Check. Publicity stunts, optics, and influencers? They practically invented them. Petitions, lobbying, speeches, raising money, and writing articles? All of that, too. From moments of inspiration to some of the movement's darker aspects--including the racism of some suffragist leaders, violence against picketers, and hunger strikes in jail--this clear-eyed view takes in the role of key figures: Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, Ida B. Wells, Alice Paul, and many more.
Team of rivals : the political genius of Abraham Lincoln
An analysis of Abraham Lincoln's political talents identifies the character strengths and abilities that enabled his successful election above three accomplished candidates, in an account that also describes how he used the same abilities to rally former opponents in forming his cabinet and winning the Civil War.
These truths : a history of the United States
In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation. The American experiment rests on three ideas--"these truths," Jefferson called them--political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, "on a dedication to inquiry, fearless and unflinching," writes Jill Lepore in a groundbreaking investigation into the American past that places truth itself at the center of the nation's history. In riveting prose, These Truths tells the story of America, beginning in 1492, to ask whether the course of events has proven the nation's founding truths, or belied them.
Until justice be done : America's first civil rights movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction
A groundbreaking history of the antebellum movement for equal rights that reshaped the institutions of freedom after the Civil War. The half century before the Civil War was beset with conflict over freedom as well as slavery: what were the arrangements of free society, especially for African Americans? Beginning in 1803, many free states enacted black codes that discouraged the settlement and restricted the basic rights of free black people. But claiming the equal-rights promises of the Declaration and the Constitution, a biracial movement arose to fight these racist state laws. Kate Masur's magisterial history delivers this pathbreaking movement in vivid detail.
The Wright brothers
On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the age of flight began with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. McCullough tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright: men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. McCullough draws private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers' story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine.