The best books to relive history

The Books I Picked & Why

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

By Erik Larson

Book cover of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Why this book?

Step on board the fateful Lusitania on its last voyage to Europe from New York City in May of 1915. Set sail with the confident Captain William Thomas Turner, rare book collector Charles Lauriat, actress Rita Jolivet, the affluent Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, and many others from all walks of life. You will also board Walther Schweiger’s U-20 and discover the harsh conditions of living on a submarine. I found Larson’s non-fiction book to be a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at a horrific event often only known by name in history.

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The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah

Book cover of The Nightingale

Why this book?

This work of historical fiction takes readers to France during World War II. I have read lots of accounts of the United States and England during World War II, but this was my first book that took me to France during that time period. It opened my eyes to another part of the world during the war. I loved reliving the time period with two strong sisters who took two very different paths to survive a German-occupied country and help defy Hitler’s Nazi Party.

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By Laura Hillenbrand

Book cover of Unbroken

Why this book?

This nonfiction book is truly a story of survival and the human spirit being tested to the limit. Take a journey with Louis Zamperini to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin as a runner and then on to World War II as a bombardier. Relive his plane crash into the Pacific Ocean in 1943, being lost at sea, and his unbelievable time as a Japanese prisoner of war. Zamperini’s story is also one of post-war struggle and eventually faith. This book was a recommendation from my father and is easily one of the best books I have ever read!

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War and Peace

By Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky

Book cover of War and Peace

Why this book?

Don’t let the name and number of pages daunt you! This endearing classic will take you to one of the most interesting places and times in history. Join a myriad of complex characters in the early 1800s before and after Napoleon invades Russia. You will be swept away in a story of betrayal, patriotism, love, and transformation. This novel is so good that I have read it twice!

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The Life of Elizabeth I

By Alison Weir

Book cover of The Life of Elizabeth I

Why this book?

Travel back in time to the late 1500s and early 1600s in England and relive the life of perhaps the strongest and most fascinating woman in history. Elizabeth I was intelligent, cunning, and intriguing. Follow her unexpected rise to the crown, her tangled courtships, her tempestuous relationship with her cousin Mary Queen of Scots, and her fight to survive as queen in a ruthless political system of power mixed with religion. This is the book that solidified my love of nonfiction works!

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