100 books like Great Issues in American History, Vol. I

By Richard Hofstadter, Clarence L. Ver Steeg,

Here are 100 books that Great Issues in American History, Vol. I fans have personally recommended if you like Great Issues in American History, Vol. I. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

Rannfrid Thelle Author Of Discovering Babylon

From my list on history about how we know the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories about people, places, and times other than those I can know myself. As a child, I was fascinated by a book of stories from “the steppes” of Central Asia. My drive to know more has taken me (through books or physically) along the Silk Road, given me tales from ancient Mesopotamia, shown me glimpses into the lives of Orthodox Jewish women, European immigrants to the “New World,” survivors of the transatlantic slave trade or the Korean War, and many other cultures and experiences. I am basically awe-struck by what humans have thought, created, suffered, and sung about throughout times and places. 

Rannfrid's book list on history about how we know the past

Rannfrid Thelle Why did Rannfrid love this book?

This book was exactly what I was looking for when I wanted a “fresh take” on US history.

Dunbar-Ortiz does a radical job in turning the narrative from the standard Eurocentric view, to presenting the history from an indigenous point of view.

By following the story of the area that became the United States from the point of view of the many different nations and communities that originate here, who inhabited the area prior to its colonization by European powers followed by US policies, and who continue to live here, I learned so much about why things are the way they are now.

This book is a must-read for all citizens who wish to be well-informed and live responsibly.

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller

Now part of the HBO docuseries "Exterminate All the Brutes," written and directed by Raoul Peck

Recipient of the American Book Award

The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples
Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortizoffers a history…

Book cover of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

Louis P. Masur Author Of The Sum of Our Dreams: A Concise History of America

From my list on the real history of America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Louis P. Masur is a cultural historian who has written on a range of topics in American history, from Abraham Lincoln to Bruce Springsteen, from the first World Series to a photograph that shocked the nation. An award-winning teacher, Masur lectures frequently on various topics in American history. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and Slate. The Sum of Our Dreams emerged out a course he teaches on the American Dream, which, somehow, he still believes in.

Louis' book list on the real history of America

Louis P. Masur Why did Louis love this book?

Loewen’s book, updated since its original publication, explodes some of the many myths and falsehoods contained in textbooks on American history. Whether stories of the first Thanksgiving or America and the Vietnam War, the book challenges interpretations presented as facts and facts that are contested. The result is an indispensable argument for trying to get the facts right when discussing American history.

By James W. Loewen,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Lies My Teacher Told Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its first publication in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me has become one of the most important - and successful - history books of our time. Having sold over two million copies, the book also won an American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship and was heralded on the front page of the New York Times in the summer of 2006. For this new edition, Loewen has added a new introduction that shows how inadequate history courses in high school help produce adult Americans who think Donald Trump can solve their problems.

Book cover of A People's History of the United States

Luke Peterson Author Of The U.S. Military in the Print News Media: Service and Sacrifice in Contemporary Discourse

From my list on a critical perspective on U.S. foreign policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a teacher, writer, scholar, and, above all, a critic of social injustice for my entire professional life. My experience living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank informed my critical voice around issues of language, knowledge, history, and policy in and about the Middle East, leading to the publication of my two scholarly monographs: Palestine in the American Mind: The Discourse on Palestine in the Contemporary United States and Palestine-Israel in the Print News Media: Contending Discourses. The titles I introduce here have been vital to my ongoing education on these issues and in my continuing advocacy for peace and justice in Palestine, the Middle East, and around the world. 

Luke's book list on a critical perspective on U.S. foreign policy

Luke Peterson Why did Luke love this book?

I don’t believe anyone can consider themselves a serious student of American history or a true critic of American foreign policy without having read and absorbed Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Zinn writes as a masterful historian and an unflinching critic of the inequity and brutality of the American system, both aspects of the country’s history he brought to light at a time when others neglected to do so.

He brought voice to the voiceless and paved the way for the dozens of equally valuable critical voices that came after him. Zinn was the original people’s historian; his book simply cannot be missed.

By Howard Zinn,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked A People's History of the United States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"A wonderful, splendid book—a book that should be read by every American, student or otherwise, who wants to understand his country, its true history, and its hope for the future." –Howard Fast

Historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace.

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, itis the only volume to tell America's story from the…

Book cover of These Truths: A History of the United States

Virginia Rademacher Author Of Derivative Lives: Biofiction, Uncertainty, and Speculative Risk in Contemporary Spanish Narrative

From my list on combating post-truth contagions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and professor of literary studies whose work has been deeply involved in topics of truth, realism, and public policy. My recent book considers works of fiction that openly and honestly experiment with questions of uncertainty, identity, and risk in the supermodern present. This book draws from disciplinary discourses in law, finance, and economics, which similarly contend with competing claims to truth and value and dive deep into the circumstantial and speculative games that authors play when they write fiction about reality. I have my PhD in Spanish Literature (UVA), M.A. in International Affairs and Economics (Johns Hopkins Univ.), and a B.A. from Harvard University.

Virginia's book list on combating post-truth contagions

Virginia Rademacher Why did Virginia love this book?

This book makes American history relevant, alive, and urgent.

This is not a book to read in one sitting–but to enjoy in segments. I felt so much smarter and prepared to understand our current challenges to truth and trust after reading this book.

At this critical juncture in our democracy, this book will illuminate, enlighten, and inform! 

By Jill Lepore,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked These Truths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The American experiment rests on three ideas-"these truths", Jefferson called them-political equality, natural rights and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, "on a dedication to inquiry, fearless and unflinching", writes Jill Lepore in a ground-breaking investigation into the American past that places truth at the centre of the nation's history.

Telling the story of America, beginning in 1492, These Truths asks whether the course of events has proven the nation's founding truths or belied them. Finding meaning in contradiction, Lepore weaves American history into a tapestry of faith and hope, of peril and prosperity, of technological progress…

Book cover of Honest Dialogue: Presence, Common Sense, and Boundaries When You Want to Help Someone

Ilse Sand Author Of Confronting Shame: How to Understand Your Shame and Gain Inner Freedom

From my list on helping you to be authentic and true to yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychotherapist and pastor. Since my first book Highly Sensitive People in an Insensitive World, which became an international bestseller, I have received letters from all over the world, from people, telling me about their lives. I discovered there is a need for books on how to live your life in an authentic way. I have studied Psychiatrist C.G. Jung and Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard at the university. The books, I recommend are easier to read than these two. In my books, I use many examples. It is important to me that the wisdom of great writers becomes accessible to all people regardless of their level of education.

Ilse's book list on helping you to be authentic and true to yourself

Ilse Sand Why did Ilse love this book?

Bent Falk writes so clearly and touches people. My students are always grateful to me for making them aware of his book. I still read in it now and then. It helps me accept things as they are and my feelings as they are. And it helps me be authentic and true to myself in my relations.

By Bent Falk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Focusing on how someone in need can best be helped, the author identifies the skills and honesty of the person who wants to help as key to how effective this can be. Looking in detail at the nature of boundaries, willingness to speak from a place of authenticity and to be honestly present to the experience of the individual person, and the sensitive and economical use of language, the author shows how people in a state of deep personal crisis can be richly helped. Taking the view that no set response is always right or always wrong, he argues strongly…

Book cover of True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor

Stephanie Storey Author Of Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo

From my list on helping you get in touch with your inner artist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with studying the artistic process for over 25 years since I got my degree in Studio Art and Art History at Vanderbilt University. After getting my MFA in Creative Writing, I headed out to Hollywood to produce national television for over twenty years. I’ve worked with many of the greatest actors, filmmakers, and writers of our time and written my own bestselling novels about artists. I read as many books on the artistic process as possible. My mission has always been to ensure that every person knows that they, too, can be artists – creating art isn’t just for the “great”, it’s for everyone. 

Stephanie's book list on helping you get in touch with your inner artist

Stephanie Storey Why did Stephanie love this book?

This is probably the most challenging read here, but so worth the effort if you want to dive deep into one of the most unique artistic minds of our time. If you’re not a trained actor, you might not understand all of the nuances here – Mamet is a definite theater guy and doesn’t stop down to explain every detail here -- but any artist can learn Mamet’s biting, witty, shocking creative tips. I recommend just letting this one wash over you the first time, but if you give yourself to this text and to Mamet, it is sure to give you a new perspective on the way we all create art and hopefully inspire you to delve into some creative expression that you were always too scared to try. 

By David Mamet,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, director and teacher has written a blunt, unsparingly honest guide to acting. In True and False David Mamet overturns conventional opinion and tells aspiring actors what they really need to know. He leaves no aspect of acting untouched: how to judge the role, approach the part, work with the playwright; the right way to undertake auditions and the proper approach to agents and the business in general. True and False slaughters a wide range of sacred cows and yet offers an invaluable guide to the acting profession.

Book cover of The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile

Bárbara Mujica Author Of I Am Venus: A Novel

From my list on historical novels featuring strong, feisty women.

Why am I passionate about this?

A professor of 16th- and 17th-century Spanish literature and culture at Georgetown University with a focus on women’s writing and the mystics, I am also the author of four bio-novels, all of which feature indomitable female protagonists. Whether queens, saints, or not-so-ordinary housemaids, the protagonists of the books I have chosen (and my own) demonstrate the power and vulnerability of women in early modern Europe. Fiction and scholarship overlap in my work, as I am often able to bring my academic research into my fiction. Two of my latest scholarly books are Teresa de Ávila, Lettered Woman and Women Religious and Epistolary Exchange in the Carmelite Reform

Bárbara's book list on historical novels featuring strong, feisty women

Bárbara Mujica Why did Bárbara love this book?

Isabella of Castile is one of Spain’s most controversial and complicated queens. I have been teaching Spanish history for decades, so it was particularly thrilling for me to see how C.W. Gortner brings this dynamic woman to life. Having engineered her own marriage to Fernando of Aragon, Isabella contrived to back the voyages of Christopher Columbus and took an active part in the war against the Moors in Granada. She resists and finally succumbs to the demands of the fanatical inquisitor Torquemada, who urges her to rid the realm of Jews. Gortner recreates the climate of intrigue, the bloody battlefields, and the lush gardens of Andalusia so beautifully that you feel as though you were there.  

By C. W. Gortner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queen's Vow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A masterwork by a skilled craftsman . . . Make a vow to read this book.”—New York Journal of Books
Isabella is barely a teenager when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone her half brother, King Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragón. As…

Book cover of The Worlds of Christopher Columbus

Ida Altman Author Of Life and Society in the Early Spanish Caribbean: The Greater Antilles, 1493-1550

From my list on what happened after Columbus got to the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my career as a historian I’ve been interested in the expansion of the Iberian world and its consequences for societies and cultures in Spain as well as Spanish America, especially Mexico. I knew that the Caribbean, the first site of European activity in the Americas, played an important role in that story, yet paradoxically it didn’t seem to receive much attention from historians, at least in the U.S. When I finally decided to focus my research on the period immediately following Columbus’s first voyages, I entered into a complex and dynamic world of danger, ambition, exploitation, and novelty. I hope to open that world to others in my book.

Ida's book list on what happened after Columbus got to the Caribbean

Ida Altman Why did Ida love this book?

This lively and accessible book contextualizes Columbus’s complex life and career within the multiple ‘worlds’– Genoa, Portugal, Spain, the Caribbean – that he inhabited and the intellectual and political developments that shaped him. Columbus was controversial in his own lifetime and remains so to the present day. Neither justifying nor condemning him for his role in bringing Europeans to the Americas, these two experienced historians lay to rest the myths and misinformation that have distorted our understanding of this larger-than-life historical figure. This book is always my starting point when I need to know something about Columbus. 

By William D. Phillips Jr., Carla Rahn Phillips,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Worlds of Christopher Columbus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Columbus was born in the mid-fifteenth century, Europe was largely isolated from the rest of the Old World - Africa and Asia - and ignorant of the existence of the world of the Western Hemisphere. The voyages of Christopher Columbus opened a period of European exploration and empire building that breached the boundaries of those isolated worlds and changed the course of human history. This book describes the life and times of Christopher Columbus on the 500th aniversary of his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. Since ancient times, Europeans had dreamed of discovering new routes to…

Book cover of Yiddish for Pirates

K.R. Wilson Author Of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

From my list on deeply weird historical novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer in Toronto, Canada. My novel Call Me Stan is weird historical fiction. Probably not as weird as the books below, but still weird. Its initial inspiration was the stunning cognitive dissonance between composer Richard Wagner’s vile anti-Semitism and his fascination with the Buddha. If I’d stuck with just that idea, I might’ve ended up with a fairly conventional historical novel. But a second idea collided with it and gave it energy: the legend of the cursed immortal referred to as the Wandering Jew. That gave me a present-day narrator who could carry us through a vast sweep of history in a jarringly anachronistic way. Which was exactly weird enough for me. 

K.R.'s book list on deeply weird historical novels

K.R. Wilson Why did K.R. love this book?

Gary Barwin had to make this list. He’s a Prospero of historical weirdness. I was torn between this book and his more recent novel Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy, which follows its titular character on a harrowing journey across Nazi-infested Europe to retrieve his shot-off-by-a-Dadaist testicles from a Swiss glacier. But Yiddish for Pirates wins the toss because it’s narrated by a parrot.

Aharon, a Yiddish-idiom-spouting 500-year-old ship’s parrot, traces the life of his Captain, Moishe, from a shtetl near Vilnius through Torquemada’s Inquisition and Columbus’ brutal conquest of the Caribbean to an eventual erratic career in piracy, with a couple of quests along the way. What makes Barwin’s work sing is the tragic humanity within the swirl of its jaw-dropping narrative ridiculousness.

By Gary Barwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yiddish for Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and nominated for the Governor-General's Award for Literature, a hilarious, swashbuckling yet powerful tale of pirates, buried treasure and a search for the Fountain of Youth, told in the ribald, philosophical voice of a 500-year-old Jewish parrot.

Set in the years around 1492, Yiddish for Pirates recounts the compelling story of Moishe, a Bar Mitzvah boy who leaves home to join a ship's crew, where he meets Aaron, the polyglot parrot who becomes his near-constant companion.
     From a present-day Florida nursing home, this wisecracking yet poetic bird guides us through a world of pirate…

Book cover of Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504

Kim MacQuarrie Author Of Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries

From my list on South American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in Peru for five years, working as a writer, filmmaker, and anthropologist and have travelled extensively in South America, voyaging 4,500 miles from the northern tip of the Andes down to the southern tip of Patagonia, lived with a recently-contacted tribe in the Upper Amazon, visited Maoist Shining Path “liberated zones” in Peru and later made a number of documentaries on the Amazon as well as have written a number of books. Historically, culturally and biologically, South America remains one of the most interesting places on Earth.

Kim's book list on South American history

Kim MacQuarrie Why did Kim love this book?

If you want to understand how both South America and the New World were “discovered” by Europeans, which had nearly the same effect on Native Americans that a meteor did on the dinosaurs, there’s no better way to understand it than to journey along on Columbus’ four voyages and be there when he and his crew set ashore. Columbus set foot on the northern part of South America on his third voyage, visiting the coast of what is now Venezuela. Bergreen’s book does an admirable job of introducing you to the man whose voyages would ultimately affect millions of people. This is the closest anyone will ever get to being on board as an entirely New World first hove into sight.

By Laurence Bergreen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He knew nothing of celestial navigation or of the existence of the Pacific Ocean. He was a self-promoting and ambitious entrepreneur. His maps were a hybrid of fantasy and delusion. When he did make land, he enslaved the populace he found, encouraged genocide, and polluted relations between peoples. He ended his career in near lunacy.

But Columbus had one asset that made all the difference, an inborn sense of the sea, of wind and weather, and of selecting the optimal course to get from A to B. Laurence Bergreen's energetic and bracing book gives the whole Columbus and most importantly,…

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Interested in Christopher Columbus, Spain, and the Spanish Civil War?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Christopher Columbus, Spain, and the Spanish Civil War.

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