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Old 05-22-2010, 07:51 PM
22 posts, read 9,705 times
Reputation: 13



I am hoping this is the right forum for this thread. Please I would like some recommendations on some good,possibly accurate books about US history.

I don't really want textbooks.I would like something interesting (if there is anything interesting about history).

Moved to the US last year and would like to know more about the history.

Basically I think all I really know is that Americans where previously colonised by the British!

Thank you.
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:51 PM
2,377 posts, read 5,215,328 times
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Well,Chiquito, you do have alot to learn
I'm sure you will get many good opinions on what books on American History will be interesting to you
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:57 PM
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 13,821,493 times
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First of all, let me applaud you heartily for wanting to learn the history of your new land of residence. That alone is reason enough to extend you a warm welcome to my country. I hope that you decide to stay, and I wish you success and happiness here. I hope my fellow Americans treat you with the respect your attitude deserves.

The depressing news is that there really are not very many good overall surveys of US history. Nearly all published in past years were pure rah-rah, ignoring or glossing over anything too embarrassing. Nearly all published in recent years have a modern political agenda they don't even bother to conceal. I have just finished ten concentrated weeks of professional writing about numerous US history topics, and the hardest part was sifting the source material to rid myself of people's stupid political agendas. In short, no one I know of has dispassionately sat down to tell the truth of events no matter whom that truth might bother, with no modern axe to grind save that of honesty, and no need to tell the reader how he or she should think. Sorry, but our historians suck. It's intensely embarrassing, especially when one knows some of them personally.

So what to do? We do have a great wealth of good books on specific periods and events, and many of them conform to the standards I expect of an historical writer. What I suggest is giving up on an overall survey, and focusing on those periods that interest you, or relate to where you live, or where you have heard only details but would like to learn more. If you post here asking for book recommendations, you will surely get some good ones here.

A great place to start would be with our War of Independence, 1775-1783. Many of the events leading up to this war (the Boston 'Massacre', the Boston Tea Party) have significant relevance in the modern American mind, even if said modern American mind generally doesn't have the slightest idea what actually occurred. It would teach you where we get some of our notions; whether those notions are sensible or stupid, of course, each reader must judge for him or herself. Here are two books I like on this subject, which would give you different perspectives:

Rebels & Redcoats (The American Revolution Through the Eyes of Those Who Fought and Lived It). By Americans, with focus as described, a very good read and faithful to what we know of events.

Redcoats and Rebels (The American Revolution Through British Eyes). By an Englishman, which I find helps balance perspective. Sometimes a war is won not merely by what the winner did, but by what the loser did not.

Good luck and good reading, and again, welcome.
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:20 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 83,298,176 times
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I would suggest spending some time on Wikipedia. You can choose your subject, and then have a reasonable amount of material about it, where you can easily click on links where you find something else interesting.
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:07 AM
Location: North Carolina
10,029 posts, read 16,648,912 times
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While you do have to take internet sources like wikipedia with a grain of salt, I agree that the internet can be a wealth of information and good starting place. Also check out magazines: Amazon.com: American History - Magazine Subscriptions: Magazines
I'm recommending these instead of a book because I think you might find any beginners guide to US History a bit dry and text-booky.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:22 AM
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Thanks guys. Really appreciate it.

j_k-k: Thanks for been so welcoming. I am sure I will love the US
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:18 PM
Location: Between a rock and a hard place.
445 posts, read 1,035,957 times
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Welcome. I'd suggest also, books from the library, and internet sites on US History, from the Native American, (American Indian) and African American (black Americans) perspective. This history will, hopefully, correlate and make sense, of what you read in other books, or the internet sites you visit. As another poster said, some books are wrote with bias, may not be objective, so you will need to read, a lot.
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:12 PM
Location: Hagerstown MD
225 posts, read 1,047,325 times
Reputation: 188
Hello Chiquito - As Butterfly suggested I would also recommend going to your local library and checking out their books. Most likely they will have a large US History selection but don't stop there. I can tell you that my library has a history section and then a few rows down they have a section relating to "occurances" that happened in the US. For example:

LETTERS OF A NATION, which deals with all sorts of letters written by Americans from pre Revolution days on.

THE LOST GERMAN SLAVE GIRL, deals with an immigrant family coming to America and how New Orleans was back in the 1800s.

THE LINCOLNS IN THE WHITE HOUSE by Jerrold Packard, excellent reading about those 4 years and a wonderful insight to the Lincoln Family during that time.

BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE by Dee Brown, explains about our many American Indian dealings, and not in such a positive light.

A BRILLIANT SOLUTION or PLAIN HONEST MEN - either one is an excellent choice for learning about the Constitution, what lead up to it, and how it was debated. A good companion guide for that afterwards would be THE WORDS WE LIVE BY by Linda R. Monk, explains each section of the Constitution in easy to understand language.

MAYFLOWER, tells the real story behind the Pilgrim's landing.

UNDAUNTED COURAGE by Stephen E. Ambrose tells of the Louisiana Purchase and the journey/exploration of Lewis and Clark.

THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD OF 1888, an excellent history story about a sudden blizzard in the Great Plains that claimed the lives of many school children trying to get home. This was something that was even new to me.

Most of what I suggested deal with specific areas of US history but I feel they are excellent reading sources for those periods and done without any bias to them. For the Civil War there are tons of books out there but two of the best writers (in my opinion) would be Shelby Foote and James McPherson. With the library you can at least take these books out for free and read them to see how you like them. Also check to see if your local library has a inter-loan system. That is where if one branch does not have the book you desire they can request it for you from another branch within your county.

Good luck with everything and enjoy your reading. Most of what appears in the textbooks is not impartial and scant at best.

Last edited by Wandering_Spirit; 05-23-2010 at 11:17 PM.. Reason: making corrections
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:57 AM
Location: Hagerstown MD
225 posts, read 1,047,325 times
Reputation: 188
A CORRECTION: One of the books I mentioned has more in the title than it should. The true title of the book is: THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD and it is written by David Laskin.
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