History Books

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Historical Fiction

Amistad: a novel.  Alexis Pate.              
Based on the true story of the 1839 mutiny on board the Spanish slave ship, Amistad, here is the story of Cinque, the illegally enslaved son of a Mende chief, who led an uprising full of fury and courage. Fic Pate, A.D.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  Mary Ann Shaffer.
This warm-hearted novel-in-letters captures life on an English isle during and after its World War II occupation by Germans.  Fic Shaffer, M.A.

The Lacuna. Barbara Kingsolver.
An epic journey from the Mexico of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of FDR and J. Edgar Hoover, this novel is also the poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities.  Fic Kingsolver, B.

The Last of the Wine. Mary Renault.       
During the last phases of the Peloponnesian war, Alexis, a young Athenian of good family, develops a relationship with Lysis, a youth influenced by Socrates. Fic Renault, M.

Leaving Cecil Street. Diane McKinney-Whetstone.
This richly poetic novel offers a vivid depiction of urban life during the early post-civil-rights era as Joe and Louise find their marriage falling apart. Fic McKinney-Whetstone, D.

Lincoln : a novel. Gore Vidal.   
Meet Lincoln, the Civil War president, who enters a besieged capital where most of the population supports the South and where even those favoring the Union have serious doubts that the man from Illinois can save it.  Fic Vidal, G.

No Less Than Victory. Jeff Shaara.
This final book in Shaara’s World War II trilogy is a fictional account of the Battle of the Bulge and the final months of the war from the perspectives of Eisenhower, Patton, Churchill, Hitler, and an assortment of young soldiers. Fic Shaara, J.

The Octopus. Frank Norris.

Based on an actual bloody dispute in 1880 between wheat farmers and the Southern Pacific Railroad, this shocking tale of greed, betrayal, and a lust for power plays out during the waning days of the western frontier. Fic Norris, F.

Outlander. (series) Diana Gabaldon.
Transported back to 18th century Scotland, a 20th-century woman struggles to survive the drama, passion, and violence of the times. Fic Gabaldon, D.

Picture Bride. Yoshiko Uchida.   
Carrying a picture of the man she is to marry but has yet to meet, young Hana arrives in early 1900’s California, one of several hundred Japanese "picture brides.” Fic Uchida, Y.

Historical Nonfiction

1776. David McCullough.
This masterful book tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence. 973.3 McCullough

Battle Cry of Freedom: the Civil War era. James M. Mc Pherson.  This Pulitzer Prize-winner is the definitive one-volume history of the Civil War, as well as a fast-paced narrative fully integrating political, social, and military events. 973.73 McPherson

Blood and Thunder: an epic of the American West. Hampton Sides.
Sides examines America's westward expansion through the forcible subjugation of Native American tribes, fierce battles, and the "Long Walk" migration.  978.02 Sides

Collapse. Jared Diamond.
This study of the downfall of some of history's greatest civilizations traces patterns of environmental damage, poor political choices, and other factors. 304.28 Diamond

The Endurance: Shackleton's legendary Antarctic expedition. Caroline Alexander.
In 1914, an explorer and his crew were trapped in the ice for twenty months. Alexander depicts the terrible beauty of the region, the ship’s destruction, and the crew's struggle for survival.  919.9804 Alexander

A Long Way Gone: memoirs of a boy soldier. Ishmael Beah.
Picked up by the government army at age thirteen, Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. It’s a mesmerizing account of the 1990’s civil war in Sierra Leone. B Beah

One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the brink of nuclear war. Michael Dobbs.
A study of the Cuban missile crisis, Dobbs analyzes the events and personalities involved to reveal how close the world came to all-out nuclear war.  973.922 Dobbs

Operation Mincemeat. Ben Macintyre.
A thrilling account of a plan hatched by two intelligence officers to deceive the Nazis into thinking that Allied forces were planning to attack southern Europe by way of Greece or Sardinia, rather than Sicily.  940.548 Macintyre

They Came Before Columbus. Ivan Van Sertima.
First published in 1976, this controversial, but superbly documented book reveals the compelling and dramatic legacy of Africans in pre-Columbian America.
970.019 Van Sertima

Zookeeper’s Wife: a war story. Diane Ackerman.
The true story of how the keepers at a Polish Zoo hid hundreds of Jews, saving them from Nazi hands.  940.5318 Ackerman