The best historical fiction to capture the essence of 19th & 20th century America

Rich DiSilvio Author Of A Blazing Gilded Age: Episodes of an American Family and a Volatile Era
By Rich DiSilvio

Who am I?

Having penned several history books, Historical Fiction is as natural to me as wooden teeth were to George Washington. And hopefully, my writing speaks as authentically. But Historical Fiction’s real attraction is that it not only adds realism and depth but also offers readers the chance to learn about our past in an enjoyable format that isn’t tedious or boring. Naturally, that’s if it's crafted well. However, history shouldn’t be just a backdrop, its myriad of events should impact the characters’ lives, and in turn, impact the reader. In that vein, Historical Fiction packs a punch to the intellect and emotions. So I hope you’ll enjoy these timeless classics. 


I wrote...

A Blazing Gilded Age: Episodes of an American Family and a Volatile Era

By Rich DiSilvio,

Book cover of A Blazing Gilded Age: Episodes of an American Family and a Volatile Era

What is my book about?

A Blazing Gilded Age is the epic story of a volatile nation burning with ambition yet bleeding with injustice. It was a time of profound change, boldly transforming from an agrarian backwater into an industrial superpower. Center stage is the Wozniak family; poor coal miners struggling to achieve the American dream. During their quest, they encounter such icons as Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla, five presidents, Susan B. Anthony, and many others, thus painting a broad and vivid canvas of 19th century America.

Poised to be an American Classic, A Blazing Gilded Age is an award-winning triumph of literary genius.

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The books I picked & why

East of Eden

By John Steinbeck,

Book cover of East of Eden

Why did I love this book?

What is a story without great characters? Steinbeck himself believed this novel was the apex of his career, citing all his previous works as working towards this summit. East of Eden has some very dark and chilling moments and captures a rawness of human nature rarely seen in books of his era. This emotional grit draws the reader in and showcases Steinbeck’s literary skills as a progressive, one perhaps not welcomed as readily in his day, but one that’s proven to withstand the test of time. For a vivid recreation of a distant era with characters that sizzle with emotion, consider reading East of Eden.  

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked East of Eden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

California's fertile Salinas Valley is home to two families whose destinies are fruitfully, and fatally, intertwined. Over the generations, between the beginning of the twentieth century and the end of the First World War, the Trasks and the Hamiltons will helplessly replay the fall of Adam and Eve and the murderous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

East of Eden was considered by Steinbeck to be his magnum opus, and its epic scope and memorable characters, exploring universal themes of love and identity, ensure it remains one of America's most enduring novels. This edition features a stunning new cover by renowned…


Gone With the Wind

By Margaret Mitchell,

Book cover of Gone With the Wind

Why did I love this book?

Margaret Mitchell’s novel needs no introduction, being hailed as The Great American Novel. However, despite my concern of the main two characters lacking noble character, the novel has appeal. What drew me in most were the changing times and how the Civil War tore apart not only the country but individual people’s lives. One’s environment has a great impact on how they and others behave and here is where the flirtatious and shallow Scarlett redeems herself, pitching in at military hospitals and witnessing tragedy firsthand. Poverty also motivates Scarlett to harden her resolve, and it’s moments like that which, to me, offer the greatest impact. While older people have seen the iconic movie or read the book, younger readers should pick up a copy, as a new adventure awaits them.

By Margaret Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Gone With the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the tempestuous romance between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara is set amid the drama of the Civil War.


North and South

By John Jakes,

Book cover of North and South

Why did I love this book?

John Jakes’s trilogy is a huge investment of time, but for those who love family sagas, American history and intriguing conflicts, it's a huge banquet to sink your teeth into. This sprawling saga drew me in with its inevitable chain of events, namely the Civil War, and how it split families and friends apart due to a military conflict, one that threatened to split the nation apart and with profound humanitarian rights at its core. Superbly written and even beautifully captured on film, John Jake’s magnum opus is a winner. 

By John Jakes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked North and South as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part one of the #1 New York Times bestselling North and South Trilogy—the Civil War saga that inspired the classic television miniseries North and South—with over five million copies sold!

“An entertaining…authentic dramatization of American history.”—The New York Times

From master storyteller John Jakes comes the epic story of two families—the Hazards and the Mains. Separated by vastly different ways of life, joined by the unbreakable bonds of true friendship, and torn asunder by a country on the brink of a bloody conflict that will irrevocably change them all…


The Winds Of War

By Herman Wouk,

Book cover of The Winds Of War

Why did I love this book?

Although a war novel, in essence, Herman’s second book in the trilogy is infused with a great deal of history. Wartime offers an author a wide spectrum of events, be they political or economic, philosophical or psychological, or personal challenges, which add dimension and emotional impact. In this regard, Herman’s novel offers readers a riveting rollercoaster ride on The Winds of War.

By Herman Wouk,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Winds Of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with THE WINDS OF WAR and continues in WAR AND REMEMBRANCE, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers.

Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - the drama, the romance, the heroism and the tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very centre of the maelstrom.

"First-rate storytelling." - New York Times

"Compelling . . . A panoramic, engrossing story." - Atlantic…


The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck,

Book cover of The Grapes of Wrath

Why did I love this book?

A masterwork by John Steinbeck. More Americans are familiar with this novel than Steinbeck’s sprawling East of Eden, and perhaps that’s due to school requirements and the award-winning film by John Ford, but The Grapes of Wrath is a golden chunk of bullion that makes a nice bookend to my first recommendation. Once again, Steinbeck’s knack for creating three-dimensional characters in dire situations is the intense, emotional bait the lures me in. The tragedies and resilience of the Joads offer a poignant glimpse of life amid very hard times, known to history as the Great Depression. And Steinbeck’s masterpiece is a Great American novel, not to be missed.

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Grapes of Wrath as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I've done my damndest to rip a reader's nerves to rags, I don't want him satisfied.'

Shocking and controversial when it was first published, The Grapes of Wrath is Steinbeck's Pultizer Prize-winning epic of the Joad family, forced to travel west from Dust Bowl era Oklahoma in search of the promised land of California. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and powerlessness, yet out of their struggle Steinbeck created a drama that is both intensely human and majestic in its scale and moral vision.


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The Rosewood Penny

By J.S. Fields,

Book cover of The Rosewood Penny

J.S. Fields

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The dragons of Yuro have been hunted to extinction. 

On a small, isolated island, in a reclusive forest, lives bandit leader Marani and her brother Jacks. With their outlaw band, they rob the rich to feed themselves, raiding carriages and dodging the occasional vindictive pegasus. Thanks to Marani’s mysterious invulnerability, this mostly works out well…until Marani and her quirky band of outlaws plunder the carriage of the very bossy princess Nuria.

The princess’s carriage contains not just gold, but a dragonscale comb that belonged to Marani’s murdered mother. Worse yet, Princess Nuria seems to know exactly who Marani is, maybe more than Marani herself.

The Rosewood Penny

By J.S. Fields,

What is this book about?

The dragons of Yuro have been hunted to extinction.

On a small, isolated island, in a reclusive forest, lives bandit leader Marani and her brother Jacks. With their outlaw band they rob from the rich to feed themselves, raiding carriages and dodging the occasional vindictive pegasus. Thanks to Marani’s mysterious invulnerability, this mostly works out well…until Marani and her quirky band of outlaws plunder the carriage of the very bossy princess Nuria.

The princess’s carriage contains not just gold, but a dragonscale comb that belonged to Marani’s murdered mother. Worse yet, Princess Nuria seems to know exactly who Marani is,…


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