General Question

hsrsmith's avatar

What is the best novel-like book to read to learn about American History?

Asked by hsrsmith (121points) May 24th, 2008

I don’t want a textbook style book, some of the ones I’ve seen on include “A Patriot’s History of the United States” and “A People’s History of the United States.” Any recommendations?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

11 Answers

PupnTaco's avatar

One vote for Howard Zinn’s “People’s History.”

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

Dave Barry Slept Here

AstroChuck's avatar

PupnTaco beat me to it. “Lies My Teacher Told Me” by James W. Loewen is also great.

ljs22's avatar

Sarah Vowell writes essays, not novels, but I do highly recommend her books. In particular, Partly Cloudy Patriot and Take the Cannoli.

kevbo's avatar

I’ve heard good things about Founding Brothers.

occ's avatar

I agree with People’s History and also Lies My Teacher Told Me. There are also some great historical novels that will give you a glimpse into a time in US History – E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, or Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (in fact, Grapes of Wrath is probably a better way to learn about the 1930s dust bowl migration and the california labor strikes than any textbook)...If historical fiction interests you, let us know what era/region you’re interested in learning about and I can make other recommendations.

phoenyx's avatar

I highly recommend John Adams by David McCullough. I gave my mom (who minored in history) Founding Brothers as a gift and she really enjoyed it. Both are only concerned with the revolutionary period, and may not be broad enough in scope for what you want, however.

AstroChuck's avatar

“The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair is a great classical piece of historical fiction. If you’re interested in what it was like to be an immigrant in the US during the beginning of the last century working in a factory, then check it out. Before this book was published the factories were like the wild west. This book really had an impact on the labor movement and resulted in long needed labor laws.

srmorgan's avatar

Try one of Gore Vidal’s historical novels, such as BURR or 1876.


AstroChuck's avatar

Gore Vidal’s Lincoln is good, as well.

elchoopanebre's avatar

I’m currently reading “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen Ambrose. it’s about Lewis & Clark’s journey west. It’s been an amazing historical read so far.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther