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A Few of Our Biographies:

* Cleopatra

* Malcolm X

* Rasputin

* Albert Schweitzer

* Andrew Carnegie

* Bill Wilson ("Bill W.," founder of A.A.)

The Assassination of President Kennedy


Pop Songs Immersed in History


History and Biography Reading Suggestions (Hundreds of 'Em, by Category)

Book Excerpts From a
Range of Prominent Writers has more than 100 articles. (Go here for a complete list of our contents.) The following 19 pieces fall into a special category - they're book excerpts from a range of prominent writers.

Each piece in this section was chosen for one of several reasons: to show history writing at its best (for example, the excerpts from Barbara W. Tuchman and Carl Sandburg), to illustrate how historical scholarship was presented in centuries past (Gibbon, Macaulay, etc.), to show that a good writer can generate history prose that kids will love (Enid LaMonte Meadowcroft), because it's great stuff that has been overlooked (Arthur Koestler and Page Smith), etc. Each piece has an introduction that supplies background.

This list is a bit heavy on war and on male writers. This is largely due to budgetary constraints. We needed to draw primarily on out-of-copyright material published before the explosion of social history. That revolution, which began in the 1950s and continues to the present day, brought a greater range of people into the field of history than before, writing about a broader set of subjects than had previously engaged the profession - such topics as the history of women, minority groups, working people, out-of-the-mainstream people, etc. Valuable and readable work has resulted. But it's copyrighted. We don't have the money to pay for the rights to a lot of copyrighted pieces - to pay, for example, for a selection from the work of Jill Lepore. We hope, in time, to broaden this list to more accurately reflect the range of great writing that's been done - and is being done - about the past.

See here and here for interviews with outstanding social historians and here for a conversation with a graduate student hoping to make a mark in the field. - B.F.

The Renaissance by Jacob Burckhardt

The Battle of Chancellorsville by Bruce Catton

The Renaissance by Kenneth Clark

Historians of the Late 19th Century by Henry Steele Commager

Plutarch by Will Durant

Napoleon by Will and Ariel Durant

Pickett's Charge by Shelby Foote

Appomattox by Douglas Southall Freeman

The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

The Ancient Greeks by Edith Hamilton

"Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Spartacus by Arthur Koestler

William of Orange by Thomas Babington Macaulay

Silver for General Washington by Enid LaMonte Meadowcroft

George Washington in His Youth by Samuel Eliot Morison

The Gettysburg Address by Carl Sandburg

Journalism in America in the Late 19th Century by Page Smith

Waterloo by Stendhal

The First World War (Prelude to the Fighting)
by Barbara W. Tuchman