The best 100 US History books

US History is a fascinating and complex subject that sheds light on the events, ideas, and people that have shaped the nation. Gaining a deeper understanding of America's past can provide valuable context for our present and future. Our selected list of books is here to help you explore this rich history.

These books cover a wide range of topics and perspectives, offering insights into the diverse narratives that make up the American story. So, don't hesitate and immerse yourself in these captivating reads today!
The best 100 US History books
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1
US History Books: The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens

The Trial of Henry Kissinger

Christopher Hitchens
4.4 (120 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Trial of Henry Kissinger about?

In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Hitchens shows a side of Henry Kissinger few would have imagined possible. He delves into the dark side of American foreign policy and shows first-hand examples of Kissinger’s criminal activities in Vietnam, Bangladesh and East Timor, and of his human rights violations and war crimes.

Who should read The Trial of Henry Kissinger?

  • Anyone interested in the dark side of US foreign policy
  • Anyone interested in human rights
  • Anyone interested in the twentieth-century and Cold War history

2
US History Books: One Summer by Bill Bryson

One Summer

Bill Bryson
America, 1927
4.0 (24 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's One Summer about?

One Summer (2013) tells the story of the summer of 1927, a particularly pivotal three months in American history. The summer of 1927 marked the emergence of the United States as a major power on the international scene and set the stage for the Great Depression of the ‘30s. One Summer takes a closer look at a number of 1927’s important events, such as Charles Lindbergh’s famous flight across the Atlantic Ocean, Babe Ruth’s recording-breaking 60 home runs in a season and the execution of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti.   

Who should read One Summer?

  • Anyone interested in baseball, anarchism or the Great Depression
  • Anyone curious about the roots of American hegemony
  • Anyone interested in the dark reality behind the glitz of the roaring ‘20s

3
US History Books: Bourbon Empire by Reid Mitenbuler

Bourbon Empire

Reid Mitenbuler
The Past and Future of America's Whiskey
4.5 (34 ratings)
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What's Bourbon Empire about?

Bourbon Empire (2015) takes you on an exciting journey through time, revealing the complex history of America’s famous corn-based whiskey. Learn how this tipple survived the dry period of Prohibition, numerous corruption scandals and competition from overseas spirits while making its mark in politics and society.

Who should read Bourbon Empire?

  • People interested in what makes a “true” bourbon
  • Students curious about the role whiskey played in American history
  • Bartenders, mixologists or anyone exploring the popularity of bourbon

4
US History Books: Two Nations Indivisible by Shannon K. O’Neil

Two Nations Indivisible

Shannon K. O’Neil
Mexico, the United States and the Road Ahead
4.0 (22 ratings)
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00:00

What's Two Nations Indivisible about?

Two Nations Indivisible (2013) tells the story of the United States’ relationship with its neighbor to the south: Mexico. These blinks explain the profound connections between the two countries as well as the misunderstandings that keep them apart, with an emphasis on political and economic relations.

Who should read Two Nations Indivisible?

  • Policy makers who want to understand more about the US-Mexico relationship
  • Educators and students interested in world politics
  • Americans and Mexicans hoping to understand each other better

5
US History Books: Back Channel to Cuba by William M. LeoGrande & Peter Kornbluh

Back Channel to Cuba

William M. LeoGrande & Peter Kornbluh
The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana
4.7 (28 ratings)
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00:00

What's Back Channel to Cuba about?

With unprecedented access to declassified documents, Back Channel to Cuba (2014) reveals the long and bumpy road of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. Find out how 50 years of unsuccessful foreign policy have kept Cuba and the United States at odds despite the efforts of secret, back-channel negotiations that have been taking place since the Eisenhower administration.

Who should read Back Channel to Cuba?

  • History buffs interested in one of the longest US conflicts
  • Politicos wanting a behind-the-scenes look at foreign policy
  • Aspiring diplomats in search of the dos and don’ts of diplomacy

6
US History Books: From Silk to Silicon by Jeffrey E. Garten

From Silk to Silicon

Jeffrey E. Garten
The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives
4.0 (57 ratings)
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00:00

What's From Silk to Silicon about?

From Silk to Silicon (2016) tells the stories of several key figures who influenced the globalization of the world economy, from Andrew Grove to Genghis Khan. These blinks take you through centuries of history to meet the major players who shaped the development of human societies, employing everything from unbridled free trade to iron-fisted authoritarian rule.

Who should read From Silk to Silicon?

  • History buffs
  • Students of political science or economics
  • People looking for the inspiration they need to change the world

7
US History Books: The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright

The Looming Tower

Lawrence Wright
Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
4.1 (49 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Looming Tower about?

The Looming Tower (2006) is all about al-Qaeda, its formation, and the personalities behind it. These blinks detail the route taken to power by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the run-up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that devastated the United States.

Who should read The Looming Tower?

  • Anyone interested in the global effects of national policies
  • Political science junkies
  • History enthusiasts

8
US History Books: Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Killing Lincoln

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever
4.3 (80 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Killing Lincoln about?

Killing Lincoln (2011) tells the story behind the assassination of president Abraham Lincoln, which took place in 1865, shortly after the Confederate army had surrendered, effectively putting an end to the US Civil War. Learn all about the conspirators who plotted the killing, what their motives were and the details surrounding the fateful night at Ford’s Theater.

Who should read Killing Lincoln?

  • History buffs
  • Readers curious about Lincoln’s assassination
  • Civil War fanatics

9
US History Books: The WikiLeaks Files by Julian Assange (introduction)

The WikiLeaks Files

Julian Assange (introduction)
The World According to US Empire
4.3 (36 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The WikiLeaks Files about?

The WikiLeaks Files (2015) provides fascinating and digestible insights from WikiLeaks, the organization that came to worldwide prominence with the release of 251,287 US State Department cables in 2010. These blinks paint a bleak picture of an American empire and its machinations.

Who should read The WikiLeaks Files?

  • Global citizens concerned with world affairs
  • Students of political science or international relations
  • Diplomats and others working in civil service

10
US History Books: Sea Power by James Stavridis

Sea Power

James Stavridis
The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans
4.1 (50 ratings)
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00:00

What's Sea Power about?

Sea Power (2017) provides an enlightening look at the role Earth’s oceans have played over the course of human history. From early voyagers who sailed into the vast unknown, to the tens of thousands of commercial ships now traversing the globe on a daily basis, our oceans have always been a powerful force that we’ve longed to tame and control. While we’ve come a long way, we still find ourselves faced with immense challenges that we’ll only overcome by working together.

Who should read Sea Power?

  • History buffs
  • News junkies worried about the future
  • Readers interested in politics and global affairs

11
US History Books: Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough, John Helyar

Barbarians at the Gate

Bryan Burrough, John Helyar
The Fall of RJR Nabisco
4.1 (50 ratings)
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00:00

What's Barbarians at the Gate about?

Barbarians at the Gate (1989) tells the story of one of the largest corporate deals in US history, the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. These blinks provide a gripping portrait of the extreme and extravagant behavior in corporate America during the 1980s.

Who should read Barbarians at the Gate?

  • Anyone working in finance or business who wants to learn about a legendary deal
  • Citizens appalled by the excesses of corporate America
  • Anyone enthralled by hostile takeovers and cutthroat dealings

12
US History Books: A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

A People’s History of the United States

Howard Zinn
4.0 (251 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's A People’s History of the United States about?

A People’s History of the United States (2015, first edition 1980) walks you through the United States’ past from the perspective of the marginalized, the disenfranchised and the oppressed. These blinks describe a history of uprisings, protests and activism in the face of a government built for the rich.

Who should read A People’s History of the United States?

  • Activists and advocates of social change
  • Students of political science and US history
  • Readers looking for a fresh perspective on the US government

13
US History Books: Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra

Age of Anger

Pankaj Mishra
A History of the Present
3.7 (66 ratings)
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00:00

What's Age of Anger about?

Age of Anger (2017) examines the world and the upheaval it’s undergoing. These blinks look back to earlier societies and dissect the origins of our current travails. They also pay close attention to the philosophical teachings of the Enlightenment, which still influence Western thought today.

Who should read Age of Anger?

  • Anyone with questions about the societal effects of globalization
  • Students of philosophy and history
  • Anyone with unanswered questions about the current state of the world

14
US History Books: Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Killing the Rising Sun

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
How America Vanquished World War II Japan
4.3 (81 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Killing the Rising Sun about?

Killing the Rising Sun (2016) tells the story of the Pacific War, which took place between 1941 and 1945, and its main belligerents, the United States and Japan. From the attack on Pearl Harbor to bloody invasions of Japan to the development of the world’s first atomic bomb, the book portrays the brutality of World War II from a US perspective, and describes how the war was eventually won.

Who should read Killing the Rising Sun?

  • Fans of world history and politics
  • Military enthusiasts
  • Anyone obsessed with or fascinated by the story of World War II

15
US History Books: Hue 1968 by Mark Bowden

Hue 1968

Mark Bowden
A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam
4.4 (64 ratings)
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00:00

What's Hue 1968 about?

The Vietnam War is remembered as one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts of the twentieth century. At the end of 1967, the US government was assuring the public the war was almost won; by February 1968, that was no longer the case. In Hue 1968 (2017) Mark Bowden examines the battle in the city of Hue which changed the way the American public viewed the war.

Who should read Hue 1968?

  • Anyone interested in modern American history
  • Students of politics or international relations
  • Soldiers and veterans

16
US History Books: The Soul of America by Jon Meacham

The Soul of America

Jon Meacham
The Battle for Our Better Angels
4.2 (66 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Soul of America about?

The Soul of America (2018) takes readers on an enlightening tour of America’s tumultuous past. From the final moments of the Civil War to the long overdue civil rights and voting legislation of the 1960s, the book reveals the United States for what it has always been: a nation of deep and lasting conflict. By looking to America’s past, we can see both where today’s political divides stem from and why the nation will likely be able to persevere.

Who should read The Soul of America?

  • Readers eager for perspective on current events
  • Students of history and politics
  • Fans of historical insight

17
US History Books: The First Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

The First Conspiracy

Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington
4.2 (84 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The First Conspiracy about?

The First Conspiracy (2019) explores the shocking 1776 plot to kidnap, and possibly assassinate, George Washington. Washington was not yet president of the United States, but general of the colonies’ army. Using fascinating anecdotes and insights from this period of history, these blinks examine the suspicions, uncertainty and betrayals in the period leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Who should read The First Conspiracy?

  • History buffs looking for fresh insights into America’s revolutionary era
  • True crime enthusiasts
  • Anyone interested in George Washington’s life and times

18
US History Books: The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

The Silk Roads

Peter Frankopan
A New History of the World
4.6 (220 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Silk Roads about?

The Silk Roads (2015) is a comprehensive history of the world, written with an eye to the networks of trade that shaped it. The networks of trade first established in ancient Persia and later linked with Chinese trade routes created a great network between the East and the West. But these Silk Roads are not relics of the past. They have morphed and changed, and their impact can be felt today, right down to America’s fateful engagement in the region where it all began.

Who should read The Silk Roads?

  • Economists looking for historical parallels
  • Intrigued followers of world events who want to learn about trade
  • Historians of all stripes

19
US History Books: The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg

The Doomsday Machine

Daniel Ellsberg
Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner
4.4 (47 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Doomsday Machine about?

The Doomsday Machine (2017) follows famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on his journey from learning about nuclear bombs in school to rewriting the national security policy for the United States of America. It explores the use of nuclear systems throughout history and how close we came to ending the human race.

Who should read The Doomsday Machine?

  • Modern history buffs with a particular interest in wars
  • International relations students
  • People interested in US nuclear strategy

20
US History Books: Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss

Presidents of War

Michael Beschloss
The epic story, from 1807 to modern times
4.4 (79 ratings)
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00:00

What's Presidents of War about?

Presidents of War (2018) is a panoramic study of eight US presidents and the conflicts into which they led their country. Detailing each POTUS’ motivations for war, their decisions once hostilities began, and the mood of the press and public at home, these absorbing portraits of wartime leaders look at American history on the grandest of scales – from the War of 1812 to Vietnam. 

Who should read Presidents of War?

  • Americans wanting to understand their past leaders
  • Foreigners whose knowledge of American history is limited to the twentieth century 
  • Future presidents trying to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors

21
US History Books: Upheaval by Jared Diamond

Upheaval

Jared Diamond
Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
4.3 (379 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Upheaval about?

Upheaval (2019) takes us through some of modern history’s biggest national crises to find out how each nation ended up in such trouble, and how they managed to get out of it. Looking at seven different nations, author Jared Diamond reveals how some of the same problems and solutions have emerged time and again, whether we’re looking at Chile and Indonesia in the 1970s, or Australia and Germany after WWII.

Who should read Upheaval?

  • History buffs
  • Students of political science
  • Globally minded individuals interested in world affairs

22
US History Books: The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

David Treuer
Native America from 1890 to the Present
4.1 (97 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee about?

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (2019) is a vivid history of Native America since the 1890 massacre at South Dakota’s Wounded Knee Creek. These blinks show that – contrary to popular opinion – in the twentieth century, Native Americans did not slide into obscurity and achieve nothing of note. On the contrary, this was a time filled with momentous and extraordinary events.

Who should read The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee?

  • History students
  • Government officials who could learn more about Indigenous cultures
  • Americans unaware of modern Native American history

23
US History Books: American Carnage by Tim Alberta

American Carnage

Tim Alberta
On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump
4.0 (76 ratings)
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00:00

What's American Carnage about?

American Carnage (2019) details the ideological battle at the heart of the Republican Party over the last decade. From George Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” to the Tea Party’s right-wing fervor, Tim Alberta covers the ideological metamorphosis that led to Donald Trump’s presidency.

Who should read American Carnage?

  • Anyone with an interest in American politics 
  • Budding Washington hacks
  • Those anxious about the rise of the far right

24
US History Books: Mindf*ck by Christopher Wylie

Mindf*ck

Christopher Wylie
Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America
4.5 (135 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Mindf*ck about?

Mindf*ck (2019), written by a whistleblower, tells the story of the largest data crime in history to date. On the eve of the 2016 United States presidential election, consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested the Facebook data from 87 million people and used it to conduct a mass disinformation campaign. Now, the full story has finally come to light.

Who should read Mindf*ck?

  • Americans who want to understand Cambridge Analytica’s role in the Trump election
  • Left- and right-wingers feeling increasingly resentful of the other side
  • Brits interested in why the Brexit referendum turned out the way it did

25
US History Books: Bedtime Biography: Shoot for the Moon by James Donovan

Bedtime Biography: Shoot for the Moon

James Donovan
The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11
4.5 (46 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Bedtime Biography: Shoot for the Moon about?

Narrated by Oliver Mains

Music by Federico Coderoni

Shoot for the Moon (2019) provides a riveting, wide-ranging account of the early space race. It guides you through the historic Apollo 11 mission which first landed humans on the moon, and sheds light on the legacy of the preceding missions that paved its way.

Who should read Bedtime Biography: Shoot for the Moon?

  • Anyone interested in the space race and the Cold War
  • Science geeks interested in NASA’s early endeavors
  • Future astronauts who need to do their homework

26
US History Books: The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater

The Conscience of a Conservative

Barry Goldwater
4.4 (147 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Conscience of a Conservative about?

The Conscience of a Conservative (1960) is a classic statement of the conservative mindset. Penned in an age of bipartisan support for big government, Barry Goldwater’s manifesto rekindled a conservative movement committed to shrinking the state. Over the next 20 years, Goldwater’s positions on topics such as taxation, education, and welfare became commonsensical on the American right, laying the foundations for the 1980s Reagan revolution. 

Who should read The Conscience of a Conservative?

  • History buffs and politicos 
  • Advocates of limited government 
  • Liberals interested in the other side of the argument

27
US History Books: Code Girls by Liza Mundy

Code Girls

Liza Mundy
The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
4.6 (68 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Code Girls about?

Code Girls (2017) is about the thousands of American women who worked as code breakers during World War II. Informed by interviews with over 20 surviving women, archived documents, and recently declassified oral histories, author Liza Mundy details the unprecedented lives of female code breakers in Washington, DC and beyond as well as the American intelligence that led to the success of the Allied war efforts.

Who should read Code Girls?

  • History buffs
  • Espionage enthusiasts interested in the history of cryptography
  • Students of science or gender studies

28
US History Books: Dark Towers by David Enrich

Dark Towers

David Enrich
Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction
4.4 (94 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Dark Towers about?

Dark Towers (2020) is a heavily researched look into the ignominious rise and devastating fall of Deutsche Bank. Over the course of 150 years, the bank helped build the American railroad system, funded Nazi genocide, schmoozed Russian oligarchs, and had a hand in the election of President Donald Trump. When Deutsche executive Bill Broeksmit killed himself in 2014, he came to symbolize the destructive power of the bank’s institutional greed.

Who should read Dark Towers?

  • People who work in finance
  • Anyone still mad about the government’s Wall Street bailout
  • Stock market watchers

29
US History Books: Figuring by Maria Popova

Figuring

Maria Popova
4.1 (83 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Figuring about?

Figuring (2019) traces the intricate web that connects important figures from human history, from German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and inventor Nikola Tesla to America’s first female astronomer Maria Mitchell and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. These blinks pick up the tapestry of these different lives, trace the impact that they had on the course of history, and reveal the secret driving force that unites them all.

Who should read Figuring?

  • Voracious readers across all genres
  • Poets who love science
  • Scientists who love poetry

30
US History Books: The Lincoln Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

The Lincoln Conspiracy

Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
The Secret Plot to Kill America's 16th President – and Why It Failed
4.6 (65 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Lincoln Conspiracy about?

The Lincoln Conspiracy (2020) tells the story of the first assassination attempt on America’s 16th president – before he was even president. Organized by a secret cabal of pro-slavery Southern secessionists, the plot was foiled by famous private detective Allan Pinkerton, as well as Kate Warne, one of his agents, and the first female detective in America.

Who should read The Lincoln Conspiracy?

  • Civil War fanatics
  • Lincoln geeks
  • Anyone interested in the story of abolitionism

31
US History Books: Hawai'i by Sumner La Croix

Hawai'i

Sumner La Croix
Eight Hundred Years of Political and Economic Change
4.3 (38 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Hawai'i about?

Hawai’i (2019) is a detailed history of the economic forces that have shaped Hawaiian society. Author Sumner La Croix traces the arc of commerce, from traditions first established in the twelfth century by Polynesian colonists to the modern Hawaiian state. Along the way, he examines what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Who should read Hawai'i?

  • Anyone interested in the dark side of paradise
  • Students of colonialism
  • Labor historians

32
US History Books: Americana by Bhu Srinivasan

Americana

Bhu Srinivasan
A 400-Year History of American Capitalism
4.3 (77 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Americana about?

Americana (2017) traces the history of the USA from one key perspective: capitalism. Bhu Srinivasan shows how the development of the country has been closely bound up with the development of capitalism, from the New England colonies’ earliest days to the most recent innovations of Silicon Valley or Wall Street.

Named by The Economist as one of the best books of 2017

Who should read Americana?

  • American history enthusiasts
  • People interested in the economy past and present
  • Fans – or enemies – of capitalism

33
US History Books: Stonewall by Martin Duberman

Stonewall

Martin Duberman
The Definitive Story of the LGBTQ Rights Uprising that Changed America
3.5 (130 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Stonewall about?

Stonewall (1994) is the definitive history of the 1969 uprising that catalyzed the gay rights movement in the United States. By examining the lives of six gay and lesbian people involved in the movement, author Martin Duberman sheds light on the systems of oppression – as well as the incredible dedication and bravery – that led to mainstream society’s greater acceptance of the gay and lesbian community. 

Who should read Stonewall?

  • Activists
  • Those inspired by grassroots movements
  • Anyone interested in how communal action can lead to change

34
US History Books: Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson

Isaac's Storm

Erik Larson
A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
4.2 (34 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Isaac's Storm about?

Isaac’s Storm (1999) is a gripping account of the hurricane that devastated Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900. Just as Galveston was becoming a world-class city, a storm arrived with little warning and crushed many of the community’s hopes and ambitions.

Who should read Isaac's Storm?

  • Anyone moved by the indomitable power of nature
  • Fans of historical nonfiction
  • Storm chasers

35
US History Books: Shakespeare in a Divided America by James Shapiro

Shakespeare in a Divided America

James Shapiro
What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future
4.1 (41 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Shakespeare in a Divided America about?

Shakespeare in a Divided America (2020) offers a new perspective on American history. In looking back at eight instances where Shakespeare’s plays have been politicized by those on both sides of the political spectrum, we can see how the playwright's work has remained highly relevant over the years.

Who should read Shakespeare in a Divided America?

  • Fans of the Bard and his many plays
  • People interested in how art can be politicized
  • History buffs and those curious about America’s political past

36
US History Books: Speaking for Myself by Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Speaking for Myself

Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House
3.4 (65 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Speaking for Myself about?

Speaking for Myself (2020) is an insider’s account of Donald Trump’s first two years in office by the woman whose job it was to present the president’s thinking to the world – press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Alongside fascinating snapshots of Trump’s decision-making process, values, and sense of humor, Sanders offers readers a glimpse of the inner workings of the White House and the role of the press in American political life.

Who should read Speaking for Myself?

  • Trump haters interested in the other side of the story
  • Journalists, reporters, and broadcasters
  • History and politics buffs

37
US History Books: The Economists’ Hour by Binyamin Appelbaum

The Economists’ Hour

Binyamin Appelbaum
False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society
4.3 (68 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Economists’ Hour about?

The Economists’ Hour (2019) is a compact history of how economists came to dominate our political discourse. This work traces the rise of neoliberal ideology from the 1960s to today.

Who should read The Economists’ Hour?

  • Political wonks wanting to parse the current climate
  • Citizens concerned about America’s rightward shift
  • Anyone asking, “how did things get so bad?”

38
US History Books: What Unites Us by Dan Rather with Elliot Kirschner

What Unites Us

Dan Rather with Elliot Kirschner
Reflections on Patriotism
4.0 (39 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's What Unites Us about?

What Unites Us (2017) is an ode to American traditions, ideals, and solidarity. Drawing on Dan Rather’s long career as a political reporter, it appeals to all that is good and enduring in US culture and politics.

Who should read What Unites Us?

  • Americans no longer sure what their country stands for
  • International observers interested in what makes Americans tick
  • US citizens concerned by rampant polarization

39
US History Books: How To Destroy America in Three Easy Steps by Ben Shapiro

How To Destroy America in Three Easy Steps

Ben Shapiro
3.8 (179 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's How To Destroy America in Three Easy Steps about?

How To Destroy America in Three Easy Steps (2020) is an account of the political forces threatening to tear America in two. Drawing on history, philosophy, and politics past and present, this book emphatically argues that Americans should remember exactly what it is that unites them.

Who should read How To Destroy America in Three Easy Steps?

  • Political junkies trying to understand the polarization of US politics
  • Conservatives discouraged by the drift of American society
  • US citizens interested in trying to bridge the political divide

40
US History Books: First Principles by Thomas E. Ricks

First Principles

Thomas E. Ricks
What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country
4.3 (250 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's First Principles about?

Over the years, much has been made of the influence of Enlightenment ideas –⁠ particularly those of English philosopher John Locke –⁠ on America’s founding fathers. First Principles (2020) takes a different approach. It focuses instead on the ways in which Greek and Roman history and philosophy profoundly shaped the values and goals of America’s first four presidents, and how classical ideas are embedded in the nation to this day.

Who should read First Principles?

  • Anyone interested in American history, or political philosophy
  • Students of Greek and Roman classics

41
US History Books: The Dying Citizen by Victor Davis Hanson

The Dying Citizen

Victor Davis Hanson
How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America
2.8 (675 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Dying Citizen about?

The Dying Citizen (2021) explores the ways in which modern American democracy is being weakened. Touching on issues like globalization and identity politics, it discusses how left-wing progressives are damaging the foundations of the United States. 

Who should read The Dying Citizen?

  • Conservatives looking for fresh insights
  • Fans of Donald Trump 
  • Anyone interested in politics and current affairs

42
US History Books: How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith

How the Word Is Passed

Clint Smith
A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
4.5 (163 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's How the Word Is Passed about?

How the Word Is Passed (2021) is a travelogue that underscores how slavery has shaped America’s collective history and its reality today. Nine locations serve as gateways to important stories that are hidden in plain sight. They exemplify how communities have reckoned, or not, with their roles in the history of slavery and invite us all to dig deeper into what we believe – and why.

Who should read How the Word Is Passed?

  • Anyone who wants to better understand America’s relationship with slavery
  • Community members seeking historical context on Black Lives Matter
  • Activists and history buffs interested in how the past informs the present

43
US History Books: Richard Nixon by John A. Farrell

Richard Nixon

John A. Farrell
The Life
4.3 (112 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Richard Nixon about?

Richard Nixon: The Life (2017) is a thorough biography of one of the most controversial American presidents. Tracing Nixon’s life from his humble upbringing through his meteoric political ascent to his crashing downfall in the Watergate scandal, it reveals a complex, troubled, and sentimental man.

Who should read Richard Nixon?

  • US-politics aficionados
  • Biography enthusiasts who love a scandal
  • People looking to deepen their knowledge of American history

44
US History Books: Killing the Mob by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

Killing the Mob

Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
The Fight Against Organized Crime in America
4.5 (328 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Killing the Mob about?

Killing the Mob (2021) explores America’s uneasy relationship with organized crime. It exposes the shocking influence of the Mafia on twentieth-century history and culture and reveals the outrageous exploits of America’s most notorious gangsters.

Who should read Killing the Mob?

  • True crime lovers
  • gangster movie aficionados
  • History buffs looking for a different angle

45
US History Books: The Reckoning by Mary L. Trump

The Reckoning

Mary L. Trump
Our Nation's Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal
3.2 (213 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Reckoning about?

The Reckoning (2021) is an unflinching look at contemporary American society. This sharp treatise draws informative connections between the nation’s traumas and its current issues.

Who should read The Reckoning?

  • Voters struggling to understand the contemporary political landscape
  • Citizens concerned about the future of their country
  • Anyone interested in a critical analysis of American society

46
US History Books: The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones

The 1619 Project

Nikole Hannah-Jones
A New Origin Story
4.1 (647 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The 1619 Project about?

The 1619 Project (2021) is an anthology of essays investigating the origins of the slave trade in America, and how it has shaped what the country would become. It’s also an exploration of how we create history, and how these stories shape our political present. The essays are accompanied by fictional excerpts and poetry, bringing to life the experiences of enslaved people in America.

Who should read The 1619 Project?

  • History-lovers interested in learning more about cutting-edge research from the 1619 Project. 
  • Americans wanting to learn about how the slave trade has shaped their country.
  • Anyone wanting to understand the roots of institutional racism, and how to fight white supremacy.

47
US History Books: The American War in Afghanistan by Carter Malkasian

The American War in Afghanistan

Carter Malkasian
A History
3.9 (127 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The American War in Afghanistan about?

The American War in Afghanistan (2021) is an in-depth look at one of the defining conflicts of the twenty-first century. This exhaustively-researched analysis dives into the details of this protracted and complex military occupation.

Who should read The American War in Afghanistan?

  • Engaged citizens keen to keep up with current events
  • Civilians seeking insight into military matters 
  • Anyone eager to understand a complex conflict

48
US History Books: Reagan by H. W. Brands

Reagan

H. W. Brands
The Life
4.3 (185 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Reagan about?

Reagan (2015) is the definitive account of the life of a towering figure in American history. Starting with his childhood in Illinois, the narrative follows the course of Ronald Reagan’s life, from his charmed days in Hollywood to his time as governor of California and, finally, from the White House to the world stage of the Cold War.

Who should read Reagan?

  • All those who think they know what Reagan was all about
  • History buffs
  • People looking to understand modern American conservatism

49
US History Books: 1491 by Charles C. Mann

1491

Charles C. Mann
New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
4.5 (218 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's 1491 about?

1491 (2005) is a study of the Western Hemisphere before 1492, the year in which an Italian sailor employed by the Spanish empire first set foot in the Americas. Within a century of Columbus’s “discovery” of the New World, some of humanity’s most sophisticated cultures had all but disappeared. In 1491, Charles Mann sets out to recover their ways of life and remarkable achievements.

Who should read 1491?

  • History buffs
  • Myth-busters 
  • Americaphiles

50
US History Books: Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis

Founding Brothers

Joseph J. Ellis
The Revolutionary Generation
4.6 (227 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Founding Brothers about?

Founding Brothers (2002) complicates and enriches our understanding of the American revolution. The men who founded America lived and worked in uncertain times. The future was far from certain, and even the truths they held to be self-evident often led to strikingly different conclusions. But they clung to one another – as friends, as rivals, and even as enemies. Together, they formed a fraternity of remarkable minds that could collectively solve the problems each of them on their own could not.

Who should read Founding Brothers?

  • History buffs
  • Americanophiles 
  • Anyone who loves stories

51
US History Books: Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe

Empire of Pain

Patrick Radden Keefe
The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty
4.5 (65 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Empire of Pain about?

Empire of Pain (2021) follows the rise and fall of the elusive Sacklers, the billionaire family behind Purdue Pharma. Its blockbuster drug, OxyContin, was aggressively marketed as safe, but would go on to spur a devastating opioid crisis that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Yet the Sacklers’ fortress of lawyers, political connections and a philanthropic name would, time and again, protect them from responsibility.

Who should read Empire of Pain?

  • Current affairs enthusiasts
  • Lovers of family dynasty dramas
  • Anyone wanting to understand the opioid crisis

52
US History Books: The Forgotten 500 by Gregory A. Freeman

The Forgotten 500

Gregory A. Freeman
The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II
4.6 (201 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Forgotten 500 about?

The Forgotten 500 (2007) tells the story of Allied airmen who were trapped behind enemy lines in World War II and the courageous citizens of Yugoslavia who risked everything to help them get home. For political reasons, the story remained classified for decades until the 1980s. But now, the events leading to the largest rescue operation of the war are available to us all.

Who should read The Forgotten 500?

  • Any and all who are interested in the Balkans or World War II history
  • Serbians and Americans looking to learn more about their nations’ past
  • Everyone who enjoys a riveting story about people overcoming overwhelming odds

53
US History Books: The Cold War by Robert J. McMahon

The Cold War

Robert J. McMahon
A Very Short Introduction
4.5 (232 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Cold War about?

The Cold War (2003) provides an overview of the conflict that defined the second half of the twentieth century. Beginning in the immediate aftermath of World War Two, it traces the Cold War’s development through the rest of the century, laying out its underlying causes and overall contours.

Who should read The Cold War?

  • History buffs
  • Students of military strategy and foreign relations 
  • Those who want to understand one of the twentieth century’s defining conflicts

54
US History Books: And There Was Light by Jon Meacham

And There Was Light

Jon Meacham
Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle
4.6 (76 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's And There Was Light about?

And There Was Light (2022) is a biography of Abraham Lincoln that takes a nuanced look at a complex leader. Focusing especially on Lincoln’s evolving views on and actions around slavery, it’s a picture of a man who wrestled with his moral convictions while attempting to hold together a divided nation. Echoes of that struggle still ring out today, making it essential to keep Lincoln’s story at the forefront of American consciousness.

Who should read And There Was Light?

  • American history enthusiasts
  • People interested in controversial historical figures
  • Budding political pundits looking to add to their historical knowledge

55
US History Books: G-Man by Beverly Gage

G-Man

Beverly Gage
J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century
4.5 (46 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's G-Man about?

G-Man (2022) is a thorough and comprehensive biography of J. Edgar Hoover and the history of the FBI. Drawing from established history as well as newly uncovered documents, it covers the entire timeline of Hoover’s personal life as well as his role in shaping America as we know it.

Who should read G-Man?

  • American history buffs
  • People curious about J. Edgar Hoover
  • Anyone interested in the hidden forces influencing American politics

56
US History Books: The Revolutionary by Stacy Schiff

The Revolutionary

Stacy Schiff
Samuel Adams
4.6 (217 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Revolutionary about?

The Revolutionary (2022) offers a nuanced look at one of the most central figures in the lead-up to the American War of Independence. It reveals a man of character and contradiction, whose revolutionary thinking and deep commitment to civil liberties came to define a revolution.

Who should read The Revolutionary?

  • History lovers looking for a deep dive into characters that create change
  • Political thinkers looking for an inside view of revolutionary politics
  • Anyone seeking inspiring examples of ideals put into practice

57
US History Books: Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Mayflower

Nathaniel Philbrick
A Story of Courage, Community, and War
4.6 (41 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Mayflower about?

Mayflower (2006) tells the epic story of the 1620 voyage to establish a colony of religious separatists on North American shores, and the astonishing aftermath of their fateful trip. From life-or-death struggle to peaceful coexistence with native peoples to devastating war just a half century later, it tells the unvarnished truth of the people and politics that went on to shape a nation.

Who should read Mayflower?

  • History buffs looking for new insights into a little-known chapter of America’s past
  • Epic saga lovers who crave complex stories of survival, politics, and conflict
  • Anyone curious about the real facts behind all the feel-good myths, and how they went on to shape the future of a nation

58
US History Books: Fifth Sun by Camilla Townsend

Fifth Sun

Camilla Townsend
A New History of the Aztecs
4.4 (203 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Fifth Sun about?

Fifth Sun (2019) recounts the epic rise and tragic fall of the Aztec Empire. Using powerful, firsthand accounts written by the Aztecs themselves as its source material, this Blink provides a new narrative of the Spanish conquest of Mesoamerica. It is the story of a people who resisted colonization and, although defeated militarily, never fully relinquished their indigenous identity.

Who should read Fifth Sun?

  • History buffs
  • North and South Americans looking to learn about the colonization of their continents
  • Anyone looking for an inspiring tale of courageous resistance against brutal oppression

59
US History Books: The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe

The Fourth Turning

William Strauss and Neil Howe
An American Prophecy
4.5 (346 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Fourth Turning about?

The Fourth Turning (1997) presents a fascinating picture of history, past, present, and future. Though the people of modern Western societies tend to view history as a linear process, the reality might instead be cyclical, repeated regularly and predictably. By studying the ways in which history does indeed repeat itself, we can better prepare ourselves for what is likely to come in the future.

Who should read The Fourth Turning?

  • History buffs
  • Devotees of American politics
  •  Future predictors

60
US History Books: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger
4.3 (221 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Catcher in the Rye about?

The Catcher in the Rye (1951) is J. D. Salinger’s classic coming-of-age novel, telling the story of the troubled young Holden Caulfield. Holden has just been expelled from school, and spends several days traversing New York City, sharing his opinions of the world around him.

Who should read The Catcher in the Rye?

  • Lovers of coming-of-age stories
  • Classic literature fans
  • People who dislike phonies

61
US History Books: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck
4.7 (104 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Of Mice and Men about?

Of Mice and Men (1937) is a poignant tale that traces an unlikely friendship between two impoverished workers in California during the Great Depression: compact, quick-witted George Milton, and huge, childlike Lennie Small.

Who should read Of Mice and Men?

  • Lovers of classic literature
  • Those entranced by the American dream
  • People curious about one of Steinbeck’s greats

62
US History Books: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

Under the Banner of Heaven

Jon Krakauer
A Story of Violent Faith
3.4 (116 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Under the Banner of Heaven about?

Under the Banner of Heaven (2003) traces the roots of contemporary Mormon fundamentalism through the lens of a horrendous double murder. The devotion of the Lafferty brothers is a gateway into core tenets that include divine revelation, polygamy, blood atonement, and the way Mormons act in their unique role as God’s chosen.

Who should read Under the Banner of Heaven?

  • People curious about Mormon culture
  • Anyone trying to understand American fundamentalism
  • People interested in American history

63
US History Books: Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott

Little Women

Louisa M. Alcott
4.7 (71 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Little Women about?

Little Women (1868-1869) tells the story of the four March sisters, and the struggles and day-to-day obstacles they faced while becoming young adults. While the story takes place in the American Northeast, it’s a universal coming-of-age story that has been appreciated around the world.

Who should read Little Women?

  • Fans of stories told from a female perspective
  • Lovers of classic literature
  • Anyone who likes a good young adult story

64
US History Books: Saving Aziz by Chad Robichaux with David L. Thomas

Saving Aziz

Chad Robichaux with David L. Thomas
How the Mission to Help One Became a Calling to Rescue Thousands from the Taliban
4.1 (116 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Saving Aziz about?

Saving Aziz (2023) is the story of how one man’s daring rescue of his friend and brother-in-arms turned into a multi-organizational effort that has resulted in rescuing over 17,000 allies from Afghanistan. 

Who should read Saving Aziz?

  • Anyone interested in Afghanistan history
  • Military history buffs
  • People in need of an inspiring story of the goodness in humanity

65
US History Books: I Know why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou
4.7 (70 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's I Know why the Caged Bird Sings about?

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) is the first part of a critically acclaimed seven-volume autobiography by the American writer and poet Maya Angelou. A vivid account of growing up in America during the Depression, it documents Maya’s life between the ages of three and sixteen. Hailed for its unflinching portrayal of displacement, discrimination, and trauma, it is also a life-affirming study of how hope can prevail amidst death and despair. 

Who should read I Know why the Caged Bird Sings?

  • History buffs fascinated by the United States
  • Fans of true-life stories and larger-than-life memoirs
  • Anyone who loves classic literature

66
US History Books: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller
4.3 (49 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Death of a Salesman about?

Death of a Salesman (1949) is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s greatest plays. A poignant critique of the promises and pitfalls of capitalism and the American Dream, it follows the salesman Willy Loman, his increasingly tense relationships with his family and colleagues, and his tragic, hallucinatory descent into fantasy and madness. 

Who should read Death of a Salesman?

  • Budding playwrights and theater enthusiasts
  • People curious about the dangers of unbridled capitalism
  • Anyone interested in modern drama

67
US History Books: Myth America by Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer

Myth America

Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer
Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies about Our Past
2.9 (123 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Myth America about?

Myth America (2022) is a collection of essays that examine and dismantle some of the most pervasive myths about America: how it was founded, who’s allowed to be here, and how we define a ‘real’ American or American family.

Who should read Myth America?

  • History buffs
  • Students of American politics
  • Activists and social justice warriors

68
US History Books: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain
4.6 (269 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn about?

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) is often considered a landmark, if controversial, work in the history of American literature. It tells the story of a young teenager who runs away from an abusive, alcoholic father by fleeing in a raft down the Mississippi River. Along the way, he befriends a man running from slavery and becomes a reluctant accomplice to a pair of con artists.

Who should read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

  • Fans of classic literature
  • People interested in stories about the antebellum South
  • Anyone who likes a good coming-of-age story

69
US History Books: The Alignment Problem by Brian Christian

The Alignment Problem

Brian Christian
Machine Learning and Human Values
2.9 (70 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Alignment Problem about?

The Alignment Problem (2021) is both a history of the development of AI as well as a prophetic warning about what is to come. From the inherent bias in training data to the extreme speed of progress, Brian Christian details the potential dangers of and solutions to the AI problem.

Who should read The Alignment Problem?

  • Science and tech enthusiasts
  • Those interested in AI
  • Students of history and technology

70
US History Books: The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

The River of Doubt

Candice Millard
Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
4.1 (57 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The River of Doubt about?

The River of Doubt (2005) is about former US President Theodore Roosevelt's perilous 1913–1914 expedition into the Amazon rainforest alongside Brazilian explorer Cândido Rondon. It chronicles the challenges they faced, from disease and dangerous wildlife to potential mutiny, as they navigated an uncharted river. The journey pushed every member to their limits and nearly cost Roosevelt his life.

Who should read The River of Doubt?

  • History buffs interested in Roosevelt's post-presidential adventures
  • Explorers fascinated by the Amazon
  • Anyone looking for tales of human endurance

71
US History Books: Thirteen Days by Robert F. Kennedy

Thirteen Days

Robert F. Kennedy
A Memoir Of The Cuban Missile Crisis
3.3 (98 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Thirteen Days about?

Thirteen Days (1969) offers an inside look into the Cuban Missile Crisis, revealing the intense deliberations and decision-making processes of the U.S. government at the time. It chronicles the 13-day standoff between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Through its pages, readers gain insight into the high-stakes diplomacy and behind-the-scenes actions that took place during this critical period.

Who should read Thirteen Days?

  • History buffs eager to delve deeper into the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Political enthusiasts curious about U.S. decision-making during crises
  • Those intrigued by pivotal moments in twentieth-century history

72
US History Books: Innovation in Real Places by Dan Breznitz

Innovation in Real Places

Dan Breznitz
Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World
4.4 (29 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Innovation in Real Places about?

Innovation in Real Places (2021) argues that the prevailing Silicon Valley model of growth creation has failed most cities and regions. Rather than chasing the chimera of becoming the next tech hub, communities should focus on identifying their niche in the global production process and fostering innovation based on their existing strengths. 

Who should read Innovation in Real Places?

  • Anyone interested in learning more about innovation and sources
  • People interested in economic development and entrepreneurship
  • Citizens and policy makers wishing to advance policies promoting growth and prosperity in their region

73
US History Books: American Prometheus by Kai Bird & Martin J Sherwin

American Prometheus

Kai Bird & Martin J Sherwin
The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
4.3 (208 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's American Prometheus about?

American Prometheus (2005) captures Oppenheimer’s life in a way that echoes Prometheus’s audacity in gifting fire. From atomic breakthroughs to ethical entanglements, this is a nuclear narrative of epic proportions.

Who should read American Prometheus?

  • Quantum physics enthusiasts
  • Nuclear nerds with noble notions
  • History buffs seeking backstories

74
US History Books: King by Jonathan Eig

King

Jonathan Eig
A Life
4.6 (154 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's King about?

King (2023) is a compelling biography of Martin Luther King. It tells the story of a man, not a saint, who had a remarkable career. His life was cut short at the age of 39, but in his 13-year career King’s vision of a United States based on equality and justice for all, lives on.

Who should read King?

  • History lovers particularly interested in the history of social justice movements
  • Civil rights activists and advocates inspired by King’s life and strategies
  • Inspiration seekers wanting to learn from a story of struggle, resilience, and monumental impact

75
US History Books: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

The Prince and the Pauper

Mark Twain
4.6 (183 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Prince and the Pauper about?

The Prince and the Pauper (1881) is a classic tale that explores the societal framework of the sixteenth-century English society. The story unravels the unexpected journey of two identical boys – Prince Edward, the royal heir, and Tom Canty, a destitute pauper, as they swap their lives. In exploring each other's worlds, they gain insightful lessons about society, identity, and human kindness, with the story offering a profound commentary on class disparities and social norms.

Who should read The Prince and the Pauper?

  • History enthusiasts
  • Fans of classic literature
  • Personal development seekers

Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism about?

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) argues that the work ethic and values of early Protestant sects like Calvinism strongly influenced the development of capitalism in Western Europe. Weber's classic text traces these cultural origins, exploring how religious changes catalyzed the rise of modern economic systems by reshaping mindsets surrounding work, enterprise, and the accumulation of wealth.

Who should read The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism?

  • History buffs craving works that explore important cultural trends
  • Political minds seeking the foundations of contemporary social divides
  • Anyone curious about the roots of modern work culture – and how to change it

77
US History Books: 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup
4.8 (8 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's 12 Years a Slave about?

12 Years a Slave (1853) is a harrowing tale of Northup's abduction into slavery and his fight for freedom. It's a raw account of the brutalities of slave life and an insightful documentation of the American slave trade's inhumane practices.

Who should read 12 Years a Slave?

  • History enthusiasts
  • Abolitionist supporters
  • Human rights advocates

78
US History Books: The Last of the Mohicans  by James Fenimore Cooper

The Last of the Mohicans

James Fenimore Cooper
4.4 (21 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Last of the Mohicans about?

The Last of the Mohicans (1826) chronicles the thrilling journey of two daughters of a British Colonel, lost in Native American territory during the French and Indian War. It explores themes of racial and cultural conflict, intertwined with poignant romance.

Who should read The Last of the Mohicans ?

  • Fans of historical fiction
  • Readers keen on adventure tales
  • Individuals interested in Native American history

79
US History Books: What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro

What Napoleon Could Not Do

DK Nnuro
3.9 (65 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's What Napoleon Could Not Do about?

What Napoleon Could Not Do (2023) explores the contrasting experiences of two Ghanaians, Jacob and Belinda, and their aspirations in the United States. Jacob, an awkward computer programmer who still lives with his father, wants to join his wife in America but is foiled by visa denials. His sister, Belinda, meanwhile, has studied in the US and married an American – Wilder, a prosperous Black Texan businessman. But she, too, contends with disappointment: as she waits for her green card, her perception of America is soured by racism. Their journeys reflect the allure and letdowns of life in a foreign land, and the narrative insightfully captures how each grapples with dreams both realized and thwarted.

Who should read What Napoleon Could Not Do?

  • Readers interested in immigrant experiences
  • Fans of emotional family dramas
  • Anyone who loves character-driven stories

80
US History Books: All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby

All the Sinners Bleed

S. A. Cosby
A Novel
4.2 (14 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's All the Sinners Bleed about?

All the Sinners Bleed (2023) is a work of crime fiction, focused on main character Titus Crown’s efforts to investigate several recent killings in his hometown. To solve the crime, Crown must contend with the town’s racist history, a far-right group, and a long-undiscovered serial killer.

Who should read All the Sinners Bleed?

  • Anyone interested in an action-filled crime novel
  • Readers looking to explore the lingering effects of racism in the American South 
  • Fans of modern-day noir fiction

81
US History Books: An Ordinary Man by Richard Norton Smith

An Ordinary Man

Richard Norton Smith
The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford
4.6 (27 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's An Ordinary Man about?

An Ordinary Man (2023) is the complete biography of Gerald R. Ford, the thirty-eighth president of the United States. Under his leadership, America navigated its gravest constitutional crisis since the Civil War and confronted its most profound economic slump since the Great Depression. While Ford can be seen as an “accidental president,” historian Richard Norton Smith argues that his accomplishments were numerous and significant.

Who should read An Ordinary Man?

  • History buffs 
  • Politicos interested post-Watergate America
  • Fans of in-depth biographical works 

82
US History Books: Killing the Witches by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

Killing the Witches

Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard
The Horror of Salem, Massachusetts
4.1 (38 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Killing the Witches about?

Killing the Witches (2023) revisits one of the most frightening episodes in American history: the Salem Witch Trials, which saw over 200 people accused of witchcraft and 20 killed. This dramatic history reveals how Puritan tradition shaped early America and examines its repercussions to this very day.

Who should read Killing the Witches?

  • Fans of Bill O’Reilly
  • Readers interested in Puritan history and early American culture 
  • Those interested in understanding mob mentality and mass hysteria

83
US History Books: Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Foundation

Isaac Asimov
4.5 (73 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Foundation about?

Foundation (1951) looks at the crumbling of a galactic empire from the perspective of the planet Terminus, located on the Empire’s outer edge. Terminus is home to the Foundation, a community formed by a mathematician who could predict the future and the Empire’s inevitable demise. As the Empire crumbles, the Foundation gains increasing influence through a mixture of atomic power, religion, and economic savvy.

Who should read Foundation?

  • Sci-fi fans
  • Those who’ve watched the new Foundation television series and are curious about the books
  • Anyone who likes a good space opera

84
US History Books: Astor by Anderson Cooper & Katherine Howe

Astor

Anderson Cooper & Katherine Howe
The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune
4.3 (203 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Astor about?

Astor (2023) chronicles more than two centuries of family lineage, tracking the ambition that built America's first great fortune, as well as the excess and missteps that led to its decline. An intimate portrait of intergenerational wealth, it is both an engrossing family saga, and a broader commentary on shifting class privilege in America. 

Who should read Astor?

  • Anyone interested in the history of New York and the Gilded Age
  • Business buffs looking for stories about the great figures of the past
  • Those curious about the rise of an elite family, and the changing times that challenged them

85
US History Books: The House of Morgan by Ron Chernow

The House of Morgan

Ron Chernow
An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance
3.5 (162 ratings)
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00:00

What's The House of Morgan about?

The House of Morgan (1990) chronicles the influential Morgan dynasty, who shaped the course of modern finance through their shrewd financial acumen and keen understanding of world economic currents. This portrait, spanning four generations, details the rise of the Morgans from Victorian London to their pinnacle during the 1987 financial crisis. 

Who should read The House of Morgan?

  • Financial enthusiasts
  • History buffs
  • Corporate professionals

86
US History Books: Democracy Awakening by Heather Cox Richardson

Democracy Awakening

Heather Cox Richardson
Notes on the State of America
3.5 (68 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Democracy Awakening about?

Democracy Awakening (2023) looks back at the unique relationship America has had with the concept of democracy over the years. It puts modern events into the larger context of the nation’s ongoing struggle for voting rights, equality, and the looming threat of authoritarian politics.

Who should read Democracy Awakening?

  • History buffs
  • Political junkies
  • Anyone interested in current events

87
US History Books: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin
4.3 (110 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Fire Next Time about?

The Fire Next Time (1963) explores the roots of racism and the possibility of change through two passionately argued essays on religion, justice, and the Black experience in America.

Who should read The Fire Next Time?

  • Students curious about the signature voices of the American civil rights movement 
  • Those seeking insight into the interplay of racism and religion in society
  • Anyone craving clarity and wisdom on issues of justice, faith, and reconciliation that still resonate today

88
US History Books: Native Son by Richard Wright

Native Son

Richard Wright
3.8 (5 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Native Son about?

First released in 1940, Native Son tackles the brutal realities of living in a racially prejudiced society. Through its protagonist's story, it illustrates the devastating and tragic effects that systemic oppression can have on an individual.

Who should read Native Son?

  •  Fans of social realism
  •  Readers interested in racial themes
  •  Followers of American literature

89
US History Books: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Blood Meridian

Cormac McCarthy
Or the Evening Redness in the West
4.7 (9 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Blood Meridian about?

Blood Meridian (1985) tells the gripping tale of “the kid,” a runaway teenager who falls in with several gangs of violent filibusters following the Mexican-American War. Inspired by historical events, the story follows the outlaws as they cut a bloody swath through the desert wilderness, murdering Mexicans, Native Americans, and fellow men alike.

Who should read Blood Meridian?

  • People interested in the history and mythology of the American West
  • Fans of Westerns, curious about a gripping tale that subverts the genre
  • Anyone who appreciates a visceral and intense story

90
US History Books: Sula by Toni Morrison

Sula

Toni Morrison
A Novel
4.0 (76 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Sula about?

Sula (1973) invites you into the lives of Sula Peace and Nel Wright, childhood friends whose lives take sharply different paths. Their story explores friendship, betrayal, and identity, as well as examining life in a quiet African American town in the 1920s.

Who should read Sula?

  • Avid readers of literary masterpieces
  • Anyone interested in themes of race, gender, or identity
  • Enthusiasts of African American history and culture

91
US History Books: Prequel by Rachel Maddow

Prequel

Rachel Maddow
An American Fight Against Fascism
4.0 (146 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Prequel about?

Prequel (2023) explores a forgotten chapter in modern American history – the attempt by a powerful, Nazi-funded movement to roll back democracy in the United States in the 1930s. The reason we rarely remember this “plot against America” is simple: it failed. But there’s also a good reason to return to this troubling chapter – the citizens who foiled this fascist conspiracy can help us understand how to defeat threats against democracy in our own time. 

Who should read Prequel?

  • History buffs
  • Politicos 
  • Activists fighting to protect democracy 

92
US History Books: Oath and Honor by Liz Cheney

Oath and Honor

Liz Cheney
A Memoir and a Warning
4.1 (74 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Oath and Honor about?

Oath and Honor (2023) is an insider account of the events leading up to the riots at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and the long investigation that followed. In it, Cheney exposes this coordinated assault on American democracy and sounds a dire warning about safeguarding the nation's future from ongoing threats.

Who should read Oath and Honor?

  • American history buffs and political enthusiasts looking for insight into pivotal recent events
  • Memoir lovers wanting an inside look into events behind the news
  • Anyone curious about contemporary American politics, and the personalities that are reshaping democracy

93
US History Books: Teddy and Booker T. by Brian Kilmeade

Teddy and Booker T.

Brian Kilmeade
How Two American Icons Blazed a Path for Racial Equality
4.2 (70 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Teddy and Booker T. about?

Teddy and Booker T. (2023) tells the story of how President Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington, two wildly different Americans, faced the challenge of advancing racial equality in the early 1900s. When Roosevelt welcomed Washington into his circle of advisors in 1901, they confronted violent racist backlash, having risen to prominence in an era of increasing Jim Crow laws and lynching. Though coming from vastly different backgrounds, both men embodied the pioneering American spirit and believed progress was possible through collaboration. 

Who should read Teddy and Booker T.?

  • History buffs
  • Leadership readers
  • People looking to be inspired

94
US History Books: Some People Need Killing by Patricia Evangelista

Some People Need Killing

Patricia Evangelista
A Memoir of Murder in My Country
4.3 (102 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Some People Need Killing about?

Some People Need Killing (2023) is a detailed and empathetic chronicle of the Philippines’ drug war between 2016 and 2022. It records the murders perpetrated by police and vigilantes during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, which resulted in thousands of deaths. Delving into the lives of both perpetrators and victims, Evangelista captures the climate of fear created by a government that believed that “some people need killing.”

Who should read Some People Need Killing?

  • Readers interested in investigative journalism and human rights issues
  • Fans of narrative nonfiction with a focus on social justice
  • People seeking in-depth analysis of the Philippine drug war

95
US History Books: Metropolis by Ben Wilson

Metropolis

Ben Wilson
A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention
4.0 (102 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Metropolis about?

Metropolis (2020) charts how cities have profoundly shaped humanity. From Athenian democracy to Baghdad’s bazaars and London finance, it reveals cities as the driving force of civilization for over 200,000 years.

Who should read Metropolis?

  • History buffs interested in the evolution of cities
  • Readers curious about how people lived in past eras
  • Anyone wanting to understand the origins of human civilization

96
US History Books: A History of Fake Things on the Internet by Walter Scheirer

A History of Fake Things on the Internet

Walter Scheirer
2.7 (27 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's A History of Fake Things on the Internet about?

A History of Fake Things on the Internet (2023) explores the origins and evolution of digitally fabricated content, from early photo manipulation to today’s AI-generated deep fakes, analyzing key technological advances that made new forms of deception possible, and tracing their real-world impact back to fundamental aspects of human behavior. It argues that problems stemming from fake online content relate more to creativity and destruction inherent in human nature, rather than the nature of the faked content itself.

Who should read A History of Fake Things on the Internet?

  • Technology historians
  • Media literacy advocates
  • Anyone interested in information security

97
US History Books: Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Common Sense

Thomas Paine
4.3 (39 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Common Sense about?

Common Sense argues for American independence from British rule, combining clear moral principles with practical economic and political insights. It played a crucial role in persuading Americans to pursue a revolutionary break from Britain.

Who should read Common Sense?

  • History enthusiasts
  • Political theory students
  • Revolutionary thought admirers

98
US History Books: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
4.5 (63 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin about?

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1793) provides an intimate look at Franklin's successes and failures, revealing his views on practical wisdom and self-improvement. It showcases his journey from a young apprentice to a renowned figure in history, offering valuable life lessons along the way.

Who should read Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin?

  • History enthusiasts
  • Self-improvement seekers
  • Fans of personal narratives

99
US History Books: The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

The Federalist Papers

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay
4.4 (74 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Federalist Papers about?

The Federalist Papers (1787) present insightful arguments for the ratification of the United States Constitution. Offering fascinating insights into the minds of the Founding Fathers, it explores the fundamental principles of American governance and legal system. It remains on the most influencial texts ever written.

Who should read The Federalist Papers?

  • Constitutional law students
  • American history buffs 
  • Aspiring politicians

100
US History Books: The Situation Room by George Stephanopoulos

The Situation Room

George Stephanopoulos
The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis
4.2 (20 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Situation Room about?

The Situation Room (2024) provides a detailed look at the high-stakes decision-making processes within the White House Situation Room. It chronicles the dramatic events and critical moments faced by twelve U.S. presidents, offering an insider perspective on how pivotal decisions have shaped American history and global affairs.

Who should read The Situation Room?

  • Political science students studying crisis management
  • History enthusiasts interested in U.S. presidential decisions
  • Anyone interested in behind-the-scenes political stories

Related Topics

US History Books
 FAQs 

What's the best US History book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard The Trial of Henry Kissinger as the ultimate read on US History.

What are the Top 10 US History books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
  • One Summer by Bill Bryson
  • Bourbon Empire by Reid Mitenbuler
  • Two Nations Indivisible by Shannon K. O’Neil
  • Back Channel to Cuba by William M. LeoGrande & Peter Kornbluh
  • From Silk to Silicon by Jeffrey E. Garten
  • The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
  • Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  • The WikiLeaks Files by Julian Assange (introduction)
  • Sea Power by James Stavridis

Who are the top US History book authors?

When it comes to US History, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Christopher Hitchens
  • Bill Bryson
  • Reid Mitenbuler
  • Shannon K. O’Neil
  • William M. LeoGrande & Peter Kornbluh