Table of Contents

About Us


Contact Us

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


Fifty Important Battles of
Modern History

History Reading Suggestions
y Bob Frost, 2010

This is Part Five of a Seven-Part Article.
Here for the List of Categories.

Great Britain

"The Oxford History of Britain" edited by Kenneth O. Morgan (1999, revised edition).

"A History of Britain" by Simon Schama (2000, etc.; three volumes. See DVD listing below).

"An Utterly Impartial History of Britain or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge" by John O’Farrell (2008). Funny and insightful.

"The Offshore Islanders: A History of the English People" by Paul Johnson (1972). See here for more on Johnson.

"Scotland: A New History" by Michael Lynch (1992, new edition).

"A History of Wales" by John Davies (2007, new edition).

"Pax Britannica" by Jan Morris (1968 to 1978, three volumes). The essential work on the British Empire for the general reader.

"The Lion’s Share: A Short History of British Imperialism, 1850-1983" by Bernard Porter (2004, fourth edition). A basic textbook on the subject, thorough and readable.

"The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill" by William Manchester (three volumes, 1983, 1988, and 2011; the third volume is being finished by Paul Reid).

"Benjamin Disraeli" by Adam Kirsch (2008).

"Florence Nightingale: The Making of an Icon" by Mark Bostridge (2008).

"Lytton Strachey: The New Biography" by Michael Holroyd (1967). One of the best biographies of a writer ever published.

London: See here for an list of books on the great capital.

DVD: "A History of Britain" written and presented by Simon Schama (2001).



"The Road From the Past: Traveling Through History in France" by Ina Caro (1994).

"The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography" by Graham Robb (2008).

"France: An Illustrated History" by Lisa Neal (2001).

"Footprints in Paris: A Few Streets, A Few Lives" by Gillian Tindall (2009). Parisian life over the course of 200 years, focused on the Left Bank and refracted through one family.


"German History Since 1800" edited by Mary Fulbrook and John Breuilly (1997).

"History of Germany 1780-1918: The Long Nineteenth Century" by David Blackbourn (2003, second edition).

"Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman" by A.J.P. Taylor (1955). See also Taylor's essential "The Struggle for Mastery in Europe: 1848-1918" (1954).


"The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples" by David Gilmour (2011).

"Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History" by Robert Hughes (2011).

"A Short History of Renaissance Italy" by Lisa Kaborycha (2010).


"The Encyclopedia of Ireland" edited by Brian Lalor (2003). See also "A New Dictionary of Irish History From 1800" by D.J. Hickey and J.E. Doherty (2005, second edition).

Website: (includes an excellent history section).


(Go here for a profile of Stalin and here for a piece about Rasputin. Go here for a review of "Reilly: Ace of Spies.")

"A History of Russia" by Nicholas V. Riasanovsky (2004, seventh edition).

"The Russian Empire 1801-1917" by Hugh Seton-Watson (1967).

"The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States" by Ronald Grigor Suny (1998).

"A History of the Soviet Union From the Beginning to the End" by Peter Kenez (2006, second edition).

"The Russian Revolution" by Sheila Fitzpatrick (2008, new edition). A concise summary.

"A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924" by Orlando Figes (1997, new edition). See also his "Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia" (2002).

"Red Mutiny: Eleven Fateful Days on the Battleship Potemkin" by Neal Bascomb (2007). A wonderfully readable study of the 1905 event. "The Rubicon has been crossed," said Lenin in its wake.

"Ten Days That Shook the World" by John Reed (1919).

"The Great Terror: A Reassessment" by Robert Conquest (1990) See also his "Stalin: Breaker of Nations" (1991).

"The Gulag Archipelago" by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (1973). A large section of this classic work is available via Google Books.

"Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar" by Simon Sebag Montefiore (2003). Makes use of recently-opened archives.

"Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin" by Timothy Snyder (2010).

"Stalin and the Bomb" by David Holloway (1994).

"Stalin in Power: The Revolution From Above, 1928-1941" by Robert C. Tucker (1990). The second volume of his biography of the Soviet leader.

"Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion" by Helen Rappaport (1999). Has a good bibliography.

"The Stalin Era" by Philip Boobbyer (2000). Much of the work is available via Google Books.

"Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire" by David Remnick (1993). See also "Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union" by Jack F. Matlock, Jr. (1995).

"Angel of Vengeance: The 'Girl Assassin,' the Governor of St. Petersburg, and Russia's Revolutionary World" by Ana Siljak (2008).

"Yalta: The Price of Peace" by S.M. Plokhy (2010). Diplomatic history at its best.


(Go here for a profile of Mao Zedong. Go here for a short history of Chinese cooking in America with background on the Chinese immigrant experience.)

"Mao's China and After" by Maurice Meisner (1999, third edition).

"China: A New History" by John King Fairbank and Merle Goldman (2009, new edition).

"The Rise of Modern China" by Immanuel C.Y. Hsu (2000, new edition).

"The Chinese" by Jasper Becker (2000). See also Becker's beautiful elegy "The City of Heavenly Tranquility: Beijing in the History of China" (2008).

"To Change China: Western Advisers in China" by Jonathan D. Spence (1969).

"Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China" by Peter Hessler (2006). See also Hessler's "River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze" (2001).

"The United States and China" by John King Fairbank (1984, fourth edition).

"The Age of Openness: China Before Mao" by Frank Dikotter (2008). See also Dikotter's extraordinary prize-winning "Mao's Great Famine" (2010).

DVD: "China: A Century of Revolution" directed by Sue Williams (1997).

Website: (a Library of Congress Country Study).


"India Unbound: The Social and Economic Revolution From Independence to the Global Information Age" by Gurcharan Das (2002).

"In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India" by Edward Luce (2007)

"Freedom at Midnight" by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins (1975).

"The Wonder That Was India" by A.L. Basham (1954).

"India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy" by Ramachandra Guha (2007).

"A New History of India" by Stanley Wolpert (2003, seventh edition).

"India: A History" by John Keay (2001).

"A Traveller's History of India" by Sinharaja Tammita-Delgoda (2002). One of the better entries in the "Traveller's History" series published by Interlink.

"Banaras: City of Light" by Diana L. Eck (1999).

Article: "India: The War Over History" by William Dalrymple (2005).

DVD: "The Story of India" presented by Michael Wood (2008). One of the best filmed histories of a nation ever made.


"Pakistan: A Hard Country" by Anatol Lieven (2011).

"The United States and Pakistan 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies" by Dennis Kux (2001).

"Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within" by Shuja Nawaz (2009).

"The Idea of Pakistan" by Stephen Cohen (2004).

"Among Muslims: Everyday Life on the Frontiers of Pakistan" by Kathleen Jamie (2002). New edition of a book published in 1992 as "The Golden Peak."

"Descent Into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia" by Ahmed Rashid (2008).

"Pakistan: Eye of the Storm" by Owen Bennett Jones (2009, third edition).

"Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad" by Bruce Riedel (2011).

"The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan" by Aitzaz Ahsan (1997).


"Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia" by Ahmed Rashid (2010 revised edition.) See also Rashid's "Descent Into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia" (2008).

"Revolution Unending: Afghanistan 1979 to the Present" by Gilles Dorronsoro (2005, revised edition).

"Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History" by Thomas Barfield (2010).

"Afghanistan: A Military History From Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban" by Stephen Tanner (2009, revised edition).

"Afghanistan: Crosslines Essential Field Guide" by Edward Girardet and Jonathan Walter (2007, third edition).

"The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia" by Peter Hopkirk (1990).

"The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan" by Christina Lamb (2002).

"Buzkashi: Game & Power in Afghanistan" by G. Whitney Azoy (2011, third edition).

"The Carpet Wars" by Christopher Kremmer (2007).

Novels: "Flashman in the Great Game" by George MacDonald Fraser (1975). "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini (2007).

Latin America

(For additional reading suggestions see this article on the Battle of Ayacucho. See here for Latinos.)

"Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America" by John Charles Chasteen (2001, third edition).

"The Cambridge History of Latin America" edited by Leslie Bethell (1980s-'90s, multiple volumes).

"The Emergence of Latin America in the Nineteenth Century" by David Bushnell and Neill Macaulay (1987).

"The Independence of Spanish America" by Jaime E. Rodriguez O. (1998).

"The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War" by Greg Grandin (2004).

"Mexico: Biography of Power" by Enrique Krauze (1997).

"The Course of Mexican History" by Michael C. Meyer, William L. Sherman, and Susan M. Deeds (2006, eighth edition).

"Empire and Revolution: The Americans in Mexico Since the Civil War" by John Mason Hart (2002). Google Books preview here.

"The Mexicans: A Personal Portrait of a People" by Patrick Oster (1989). Google Books preview here.

"La Capital: The Biography of Mexico City" by Jonathan Kandell (1988).

"The History of Venezuela" by H. Micheal Tarver and Julia C. Frederick (2006).

"Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America" by Tina Rosenberg (1991).

"Ceremonies of Possession in Europe's Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640" by Patricia Seed (1995).

"Simon Bolivar: A Life" by John Lynch (2006). See also "Simon Bolivar" by Gerhard Masur (2006, new edition with introduction by Hugo Chavez) and "The General in His Labyrinth" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez translated by Edith Grossman (1989, fiction based on Bolivar's life).



"The Illustrated History of Canada" edited by Craig Brown (2007, fifth edition).

"A Short History of Canada" by Desmond Morton (2001, sixth edition).

"A History of the Canadian Peoples" by J.M. Bumsted (2003, second edition).

"Historical Atlas of Canada: Canada's History Illustrated With Original Maps" by Derek Hayes (2002).

"The Invasion of Canada: 1812-1813" by Pierre Berton (1980). Volume one of Berton's two-volume history of the War of 1812. Berton (1920-2004) is an essential chronicler of Canada's past and one of the best popular historians of his era; see also his extraordinary "Vimy" (1986) and "Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush, 1896-1899" (1972). If you're traveling to Niagara Falls you owe yourself a few hours with his "Niagara: A History of the Falls" (1992).

"101 Things Canadians Should Know About Canada" edited by Rudyard Griffiths (2008). Americans should know too.

"A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada" by John Ralston Saul (2008).

"Where Right and Glory Lead! The Battle of Lundy's Lane, 1814" by Donald E. Graves (second edition, 1997). See also "Capital in Flames: The American Attack on York, 1813" by Robert Malcomson (2008).

"The Girl in Saskatoon: A Meditation on Friendship, Memory, and Murder" by Sharon Butala (2008).

"Canada: A Portrait in Letters" by Charlotte Gray (2003). See also "The Book of Letters: 150 Years of Private Canadian Correspondence" by Paul and Audrey Grescoe (2004).

"Sisters in the Wilderness" by Charlotte Gray (2001).

"The Empire of the St. Lawrence: A Study in Commerce and Politics" by Donald Creighton (1937). A groundbreaking work of scholarly history.

Novels: "Two Solitudes" by Hugh MacLennan (2003). "Pelagie: The Return to Acadie" by Antonine Maillet (1979). "Medicine River" by Thomas King (1989). "As For Me and My House" by Sinclair Ross (1941). "Who Has Seen the Wind" by W.O. Mitchell (1947). "Surfacing" by Margaret Atwood (1972). "Fall on Your Knees" by Ann-Marie MacDonald (1996). "Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town" by Stephen Leacock (1912).

DVD: "Canada: A People's History" produced by the CBC (2004).

Websites: Canada's History. Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History.


"A Concise History of Australia" by Stuart Macintyre (1999).

"The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding" by Robert Hughes (1986).

"Australians: Origins to Eureka" by Thomas Keneally (2009). Keneally is best-known globally as author of "Schindler's List." See also his "The Commonwealth of Thieves" (2005).

"The Explorers" by Timothy Flannery (1998).

"Triumph of the Nomads: A History of Aboriginal Australia" by Geoffrey Blainey (1975). Blainey is a controversial figure in Australian academe.

"The Dig Tree: The Extraordinary Story of the Ill-Fated Burke and Wills Expedition" by Sarah Murgatroyd (2002).

Website: Australian Dictionary of Biography, online edition.

The Sixties (U.S., Mainly)

"1968: Fallen Leaders, Lunar Dreams, Riots at Home and War Abroad: The Year That Changed the World" edited by Kelly Knauer, published by Time Books (2008).

"The '60s for Dummies" by Brian Cassity and Maxine Levaren (2005).

"Report of the President's Commission on Campus Unrest" (1970). An excellent introduction to the student movement of the late '60s and 1970 including Kent State.

"The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America" by Don Lattin (2009).

"Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation" by Sheila Weller (2008).

DVDs: "Berkeley in the Sixties" directed by Mark Kitchell (1990). "Woodstock: Three days of Peace & Music (The Director’s Cut)" directed by Michael Wadleigh (1970). "Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back" directed by D.A. Pennebaker (1967). "1968 With Tom Brokaw" executive produced by Knute Walker, Carl Lindahl, and Benjamin Ringe (2007). "Jimi Hendrix" directed by Gary Weis and Joe Boyd (1973). "Smothered: The Great Smothers Brothers Censorship Wars" directed by Maureen Muldaur (2002). Also: A comprehensive, annotated list of Vietnam films (fiction and nonfiction), including films on the anti-war movement, is available at

Art and Artists

"The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century" by Alex Ross (2007).

"Revolution in the Head: The Beatles Records and the Sixties" by Ian MacDonald (1998, updated edition). See also "Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles" by Geoff Emerick and Howard Massey (2005).

"The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece" by Jonathan Harr (2005).

"The Shock of the New" by Robert Hughes (1991, revised edition).

"Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson" by Camille Paglia (1990).

"Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera" by Ron Schick (2009).

"Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination" by Neal Gabler (2006).

"The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made" by Dave Marsh (1999).

"Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong" by Terry Teachout (2009).

"The House That George Built: With a Little Help From Irving, Cole, and a Crew of About Fifty" by Wilfrid Sheed (2007). Gershwin and other masters of the jazz song, examined by one of America’s best writers.

"Redemption: The Life of Henry Roth" by Steven G. Kellman (2005).

"The Triumph of Music: The Rise of Composers, Musicians and Their Art" by Tim Blanning (2008).

"Phallic Frenzy: Ken Russell and His Films" by Joseph Lanza (2008). Russell is of special interest to lovers of history and biography because in the 1970s he reeled off a series of interesting (albeit uneven) biopics about artists, including Mahler ("Mahler"), Tchaikovsky ("The Music Lovers"), and sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska ("Savage Messiah").

DVDs: "Edvard Munch" directed by Peter Watkins (1976). "The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci" and "The Life of Verdi" directed by Renato Castellani (1972 and 1984 respectively). "Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time" directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer (2001). "A Great Day in Harlem" directed by Jean Bach (1995). "Genghis Blues" directed by Adrian Belic and Roko Belic (1999). "Crumb" directed by Terry Zwigoff (1994). "Alexander Calder" directed by Roger M. Sherman (1998). "Norman Rockwell: Painting America" directed by Elena Mannes (1999). "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey" (2003). "Frank Lloyd Wright" directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (1998). "The Mystery of Picasso" directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot (1956; the DVD includes "Guernica" by Alain Resnais [1950].) "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" directed by Jan Harlan (2001). "A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly" (1988). "Camille Claudel" directed by Bruno Nuytten (1988, fiction).

Human Origins and Early Development

"After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000-5000 BC" by Steven Mithen (2004).

"The Hunters or the Hunted?" by C.K. Brain (1981).

"The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes (1976). "Almost certainly wrong," announces Sebastian Faulks, "but dazzling, erudite, life-changing."

"The Golden Bough" by James Frazer (1890; 1906-1915; various editions including a one-volume abridgement in 1922).

Disasters, Human-Made and Natural

(See here for an article about the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and Gordon Lightfoot's song about the doomed ship.)

"Man-Made Catastrophes" by Lee Davis (2002, revised edition). See also his "Natural Disasters" (2008, revised edition). These are reference works; many libraries have them.

"Darkest Hours: A Narrative Encyclopedia of Worldwide Disasters from Ancient Times to the Present" by Jay Robert Nash (1976). Readable accounts with photographs.

"Great Disasters: Dramatic True Stories of Nature's Awesome Powers" edited by Kaari Ward (1989).

"The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why" by Amanda Ripley (2008). As one reviewer says, "The thinking person's manual for getting out alive." Considerable history is included.

"A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster" by Rebecca Solnit (2009). A study by a historian of several disasters, influenced by the academic field of disaster studies, a discipline pursued at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado and other venues.

"Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America" by Ted Steinberg (2000).

"Category 5: The Story of Camille: Lessons Unlearned From America's Most Violent Hurricane" by Ernest Zebrowski and Judith A. (2005).

"Florida's Hurricane History" by Jay Barnes (2007).

"The 1889 Flood in Johnstown, Pennsylvania" by Michael R. McGough (2002). See also "The Johnstown Flood" by David McCullough (1968).

"Triangle: The Fire That Changed America" by David Von Drehle (2003).

"Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, Its People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History" by Denise Gess and William Lutz (2002).

"Wall of Flame: The Heroic Battle to Save Southern California" by Erich Krauss" (2006).

"Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago" by Eric Klinenberg (2002). See also "Hot Town in the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edward P. Kohn (2010).

"Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America" by Rocky Barker (2005).

"A Night to Remember" by Walter Lord (1955). The best book on the Titanic.

"Plagues and Peoples" by William H. McNeill (1977).

"Viruses, Plagues, & History" by Michael B.A. Oldstone (1998).

"The Black Death: An Intimate Portrait of the Plague" by John Hatcher (2008).

"The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906: How San Francisco Nearly Destroyed Itself" by Philip L. Fradkin (2005). See also "A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906" by Simon Winchester (2005).

"Armenia in Crisis: The 1988 Earthquake" by Pierre Verluise (1995).

"The Bhopal Tragedy: Language, Logic, and Politics in the Production of a Hazard" by William Bogard (1989). A first-rate scholarly study.

"The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the Survivors of One of the Worst Disasters in Coal-Mining History Brought Suit Against the Coal Company - and Won" by Gerald M. Stern (1976).

"The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History" by John M. Barry (2004). See here for an article about the great influenza of 1918-'19.

"Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" by Jared Diamond (2005).

"Living With Nature's Extremes: The Life of Gilbert Fowler White" by Robert E. Hinshaw (2006).

"The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story" by Richard Preston (1994).

"Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded – August 27, 1883" by Simon Winchester (2003). See also "Krakatau 1883" by Tom Simkin and Richard S. Fiske (1983).

DVDs: "Scared Sacred" directed by Velcrow Ripper (2004). "When the Levees Broke" directed by Spike Lee (2006). "Johnstown Flood" directed by Mark Bussier (2003). "National Geographic – Lost Subs" (2002). "National Geographic – Secrets of the Titanic" (1986).

Website: List of Unusual Deaths.

Climate and Environment

"Plows, Plagues & Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate" by William F. Ruddiman (2005).

"The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850" by Brian M. Fagan (2000).

"Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas" by Donald Worster (1994, second edition). A classic work.

"Americans and Their Weather" by William B. Meyer (2000).

"Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming" by Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump (2008).

"The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth" by Tim Flannery (2005).

"The Environment A to Z" by David Hosansky (2001). Some 400 entries with much historical and biographical perspective.

"A Dictionary of Ecology" by Michael Allaby. (2005, third edition). More than 5,000 entries and many Web links.

"The Wildernesss Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America" by Douglas Brinkley (2009).

"An Environmental History of the World" by J. Donald Hughes (2006).

"The Columbia Guide to American Environmental History" by Carolyn Merchant (2002).

"A Brain for All Seasons: Human Evolution and Abrupt Climate Change" by William H. Calvin (2002).

"Crossing Open Ground" by Barry Lopez (1989). A collection of splendid essays.


(See here for a profile of Thomas Edison.)

"From Edison to Enron: The Business of Power and What It Means for the Future of Electricity" by Richard Munson (2005).

"Children of the Sun: A History of Humanity's Unappeasable Appetite for Energy" by Alfred W. Crosby (2006). Question: What percentage of the mass of the solar system is contained by the sun? Answer according to this book: 99.86 percent.

"The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, The Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy" by Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills (2005).

"The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World" by Phillip F. Schewe (2007). Bloated writing but useful facts. Sample it here at Google Books.

The Conservative Analysis (U.S.)

(See here for background on right-wing historian Paul Johnson.)

"Upstream: The Ascendance of American Conservatism" by Alfred S. Regnery (2008).

"The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot" by Russell Kirk (2001, new edition). See also Kirk's "The Roots of American Order" (2003, new edition).

"Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea" by Irving Kristol (1995).

"The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945" by George H. Nash (2006, new edition).

"American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia" by Bruce Frohnen (2006).

"Conservatism in America Since 1930: A Reader" by Gregory Schneider (2003).

"The Conservative Movement" by Paul Gottfried (1993).

"Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980" by Charles Murray (1984).

"The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values" by Gertrude Himmelfarb (1995).

"The Joys of National Review, 1955-1980" edited by Priscilla L. Buckley (1994). See also "Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism" by Carl T. Bogus (2011).

"The Closing of the American Mind" by Allan Bloom (1987).

"The American Presidency: An Intellectual History" by Forrest McDonald (1994).

"The Age of Reagan" by Sean Wilentz (2008).

"The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law" by Robert H. Bork (1990). See also "Storm Over the Constitution: Jaffa Answers Bork" by Harry V. Jaffa (1999, new edition). What did the bewigged chaps of the 18th century mean and intend? Jaffa debates Bork (and Antonin Scalia), offering historical perspective on one of the most important questions in American jurisprudence.

Website: The blog of Conservative History Journal.

Exploration, Adventure, Guts

"The Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe (1979). The best-written work of American history ever published.

"Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure" by Tim Jeal (2011). See also "The White Nile" by Alan Moorehead (1960). Also see Jeal's "Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer" (2007). See here for an article about Leopold II of Beligum, who relied heavily on Henry Stanley's zeal.

"Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest" by Wade Davis (2011).

"The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon" by David Grann (2005).

"The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst" by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall (1970).

"White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam's One Million White Slaves" by Giles Milton (2004).

"The Times Atlas of World Exploration: 3000 Years of Exploring, Explorers, and Mapmaking" edited by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (1991).

"The Coldest March: Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition" by Susan Solomon (2001).

"Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe" by Laurence Bergreen (2003).

"Travels With Herodotus" by Ryszard Kapuscinski (2007). Herodotus was the father of history writing; a short summary of his approach to life can be found here.

"Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration" by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (2006). Scholarly; reasonably accessible.

"The Discoverers" by Daniel J. Boorstin (1983). By America’s most famous historian of ideas. Includes a hefty bibliography.

"The Legend of Colton H. Bryant" by Alexandra Fuller (2008). A page-turner.

"A Passion for Wings: Aviation and the Western Imagination, 1908-1918" by Robert Wohl (1996). Cultural history of considerable subtlety.

DVDs: "In the Shadow of the Moon" directed by David Sington (2007; about the moon landings). "South: Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition" directed by Frank Hurley (1919; see also "The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Adventure" directed by George Butler [2001].) "Kon Tiki" directed by Thor Heyerdahl (1951). "Little Dieter Needs to Fly" directed by Werner Herzog (1997). "Michael Palin: Sahara" presented by Michael Palin (2002; Palin is an indefatigible traveler with a feel for history).


The Website of the National Women's History Museum proposed for Washington D.C. is

"The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History" edited by Bonnie G. Smith (2008, four volumes).

"The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Women's Biography" by Maggy Hendry and Jenny Uglow (2005, fourth edition).

"Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States" by Eleanor Flexner and Ellen Fitzpatrick (1996, third edition).

"Mary Tudor: England's First Queen" by Anna Whitelock (2009).

"Elizabeth I" by Anne Somerset (1991).

"The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by Alison Weir (1991).

"Marie Antoinette: The Journey" by Antonia Fraser (2001).

"Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History" by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (2007). See also her Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812" (1990).

"Gender and the Politics of History" by Joan Wallach Scott (1999, new edition). An important work of scholarship.

"Women’s Bodies: A Social History of Women’s Encounters With Health, Ill-Health, and Medicine" by Edward Shorter (1990).

"Women and Philanthrophy in Nineteenth Century England" by F.K. Prochaska (1980).

"Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940" by Margaret W. Rossiter (1982).

"Mothers and Daughters of Invention: Notes for a Revised History of Technology" by Autumn Stanley (1993). Includes an excellent bibliography.

"Mothers of Invention:Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War" by Drew Gilpin Faust (1996).

"The Origins of Modern Feminism: Women in Britain, France, and the United States, 1780-1860" by Jane Rendall (1984).

"First Generations: Women in Colonial America" by Carol Berkin (1996).

"The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History" by Linda Colley (2007).

"The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China" by Hannah Pakula (2009).

"Catharine Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity" by Kathryn Kish Sklar (1973).

"Edith Wharton" by Hermione Lee (2007).

"Hannah More: The First Victorian" by Anne Stott (2003).

"The Empress Theodora: Partner of Justinian" by James Allan Evans (2002).

"Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation" by Sheila Weller (2008).

"An Aristocratic Affair: The Life of Georgiana's Sister, Harriet Spencer, Countess of Bessborough" by Janet Gleeson (2006).

"Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore" by Bettany Hughes (2005).

"Women of the Renaissance" by Margaret L. King (1991).

"The Mother" by Pearl S. Buck (1933, fiction).

"England's Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton" by Kate Williams (2006).

"Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull" by Barbara Goldsmith (1998).

"One Foot on the Rockies: Women and Creativity in the Modern American West" by Joan M. Jensen (1995).

"Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece" by Joan Breton Connelly (2007).

"Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner" by Simon Sebag Montefiore (2004).

Newspaper Article: See here for a stunning and horrific examination of one of history's vilest chapters, "honor" killing of women, which, notes the author, is proliferating today.

Recorded Book: "The Pirate Queen" by Susan Ronald narrated by Josephine Bailey (2007). Elizabeth I.

DVDs: "Not For Ourselves Alone:The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony" directed by Ken Burns and Paul Barnes (1999). "V-Day: Until the Violence Stops" directed by Abby Epstein (2003).



Sports Illustrated magazine, bless its still-beating heart, devotes a fair number of pages to sports history - for example, "The Best Game Ever" by Mark Bowden, published in the spring of 2008, an excerpt from Bowden's book about the seminal game of the modern NFL, the Baltimore Colts vs. the New York Giants in the championship game of 1958. Meanwhile, the magazine's Website offers the SI Vault, an archive of many hundreds of articles.

"Babe: The Legend Comes to Life" by Robert W. Creamer (1974). Creamer is a sage presence on the Ken Burns film "Baseball"; he is to that film what Shelby Foote is to "The Civil War."

"Past Time: Baseball as History" by Jules Tygiel (2000).

"Secretariat: The Making of a Champion" by William Nack (1975). "The best book in sports history," says a reviewer for Newsday. Source for the 2010 movie.

"The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro" by Joe McGinnis (1999). More soccer: "Fever Pitch" by Nick Hornby (1991), "Best and Edwards" by Gordon Burn (2007), and "Among the Thugs" by Bill Buford (1991).

"The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It" by Neal Bascomb (2004).

"Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy" by Jane Leavy (2002). An insightful examination of the greatest pitcher of the modern day.

"DiMaggio: The Hero's Life" by Richard Ben Cramer (2000). A masterpiece. For more on DiMaggio see "Fame and Obscurity" by Gay Talese (1970).

"Ty Cobb" by Charles C. Alexander (1984). See also "Cobb: A Biography" by Al Stump (1994).

"Walter Johnson: Baseball's Big Train" by Henry W. Thomas (1995).

"Sal Maglie: Baseball's Demon Barber" by Judith Testa (2006).

"Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend" by Larry Tye (2009).

"Big Bill Tilden" by Frank Deford (1975). Anything by Deford is worth reading.

"Wilt, 1962: The Night of 100 Points and the Dawn of a New Era" by Gary M. Pomerantz.

"Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy" by Jules Tygiel (1983).

"About Three Bricks Shy of a Load" by Roy Blount Jr. (1974). One of the best books on pro football, written at a golden moment of almost unlimited reportorial access. A new edition of the book came out in 1989 with additional material titled "About Three Bricks Shy....and the Load Filled Up."

"Going Long: The Wild Ten-Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the Words of Those Who Lived It" by Jeff Miller (2003).

"Seabiscuit: An American Legend" by Laura Hillenbrand (2001). Source for the film.

"Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series" by Eliot Asinof (1963). Source for the film.

"The Unforgettable Season" by G. H. Fleming (1981). The 1908 National League pennant race. See also "Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History" by Cait N. Murphy (2007).

"A Voyage for Madmen" by Peter Nichols (2001). A yacht race. Man the pumps!

"The Fight" by Norman Mailer (1975). The best book on Muhammad Ali. See also "Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times" by Thomas Hauser (1991).

"In Black and White: The Untold Story of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens" by Donald McRae (2003).

"The Story of American Golf" by Herbert Warren Wind (1948).

"The Boys of Summer" by Roger Kahn (1971).

"Playing For Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made" by David Halberstam (1999).

"Namath" by Mark Kriegel (2004). At the time of this book's publication an editor at Viking Press attempted to give it buzz by describing Namath as "the first sports star to transcend the category and become an all-round celebrity." This is historical ignorance of truly interesting proportions. (Needless to say, author Kriegel and subject Namath can't be held responsible for the babblings of a book editor.) One name for the Viking fellow: Babe Ruth, who had a candy bar named after him, fer cryin' out loud (probably). More names: Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Bobby Jones. Most prominent of all, of course, is Muhammad Ali, who not only transcended sports in 1964 when he announced his buddyship with Malcolm X, changed his name, and declared his membership in the Nation of Islam, but did the transcendence thing again, with significant global implications, on April 28, 1967, when he refused induction into the military and vaulted to the forefront of the anti-war movement (almost two years before Namath's Jets beat the Colts in the Super Bowl). See the film "When We Were Kings" (1996) for brief and powerful commentary on the international impact of Ali's Vietnam stance.

DVDs: "Tokyo Oympiad" directed by Kon Ichikawa (1984 restored version; about the '64 Olympics). "Baseball" by Ken Burns (1994). "Hoop Dreams" directed by Steve James (1994). "When It Was a Game" directed by Steven Stern (1991). A sports DVD of special interest is "Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team" produced by HBO Sports (2005). In 1991, when the women's soccer squad returned to the U.S. from overseas, virtually no one was on hand to give greetings; eight years later they sold out Giants Stadium and the Rose Bowl and won the world championship. The story of that arc is compelling. In terms of positive impact on the maximum number of people globally, this team is the most influential in sports history.

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