Books on U.S. History

Explore national history with this collection of study guides for fiction and non-fiction texts covering events, key figures, and viewpoints that have shaped the United States over the centuries. A sampling of topics within this collection includes the Puritans, Indigenous peoples, the successes and failures of the country's founders, U.S. presidents, war, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, and more.

Publication year 2005Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Journalism

102 Minutes, by New York Times journalists Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn, is a nonfiction account that chronicles 102 minutes inside and outside the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Published in 2005, it was a National Book Award finalist that year.  The day begins like many others, with workers inside the buildings comprising over 220 vertical acres checking emails and sipping coffee at 8:30 a.m. Others arrive after dropping off their children at... Read 102 Minutes Summary


Publication year 2006Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Society: CommunityTags History: U.S., Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Military / War, Politics / Government

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, History: U.S., Cold War

Publication year 2005Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Published in 2005, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus was written by Charles C. Mann. The first chapter introduces many of the problems and inadequacies surrounding popular accounts of native societies. The author describes the tendency to minimize the cultures that existed prior to the arrival of Europeans. Native cultures are seen as simpler and less sophisticated than contemporary European societies. The reason for this, Mann believes, is as much cultural chauvinism and... Read 1491 Summary


Genre Book, NonfictionTags American Revolution, History: U.S.

1776 is a biography of the American Revolutionary War written by historian David McCullough. Published in 2006, the book is a companion piece to John Adams (2001), a biography McCullough wrote about the second US president. Though the Revolutionary War did not officially end until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, the text follows George Washington, King George III, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox, and other key figures as it examines crucial military events.In... Read 1776 Summary


Publication year 1983Genre Biography, NonfictionTags History: U.S., American Civil War

This study guide references the 1990 Oxford University Press edition of James M. McPherson’s Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution. The book is a collection of seven essays originally delivered as lectures, all on the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and his role in the Civil War (1861-1865). The book calls the Civil War era the “Second American Revolution” because, with Lincoln’s help, it brought about a fundamental transformation in the... Read Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution Summary


Publication year 1881Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Natural World: Place, Society: Colonialism, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Colonial America, Grief / Death, Military / War, Politics / Government, Social Justice

Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Disability, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: U.S., Disability, Social Justice, Politics / Government, Sociology

Publication year 2023Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags History: U.S., Crime / Legal, Race / Racism, Social Justice

Publication year 2020Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Society: Immigration, Society: CommunityTags Immigration / Refugee, History: U.S., Politics / Government, Race / Racism, Social Justice, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Natural World: ClimateTags Science / Nature, Climate Change, History: U.S., Race / Racism

Publication year 1851Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Identity: Gender, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Publication year 1959Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Masculinity, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, American Literature, Classic Fiction, Action / Adventure, Military / War, Relationships, History: U.S., Cold War

Alas, Babylon is a 1959 novel by Pat Frank. Written during the Cold War, it is one of the earliest post-apocalyptic novels to deal with the potential consequences of nuclear war. It examines themes of nationalism, natural selection, deterrent force, and resilience.Plot SummaryAs the novel begins, Mark Bragg sends a telegram to his brother, Randy. The telegram includes the words, “Alas, Babylon,” their code for the onset of a nuclear attack. Mark is an officer... Read Alas, Babylon Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Biography, NonfictionTags Colonial America, History: U.S., American Revolution

Alexander Hamilton is a 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton, written by Ron Chernow. Beginning with Hamilton’s birth in the Caribbean, the book traces Hamilton’s story from his childhood, to his early years in America, to his rise as one of the most admired—and reviled—politicians and statesmen that the country would ever see. The popular music Hamilton is based on the story told in Chernow’s book, and shows the development of both America, and one of its... Read Alexander Hamilton Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Society: NationTags Arts / Culture, History: U.S., African American Literature, Creative Nonfiction, Gender / Feminism, Music, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2021Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice

Publication year 1993Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Sociology, Immigration / Refugee

Always Running is the autobiography of Luis J. Rodriguez, a Mexican-American former gang member who grew up in dangerous East Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s. Luis’ family moved to Los Angeles from Mexico after Luis’ father was accused of theft, and Luis spends his early years in Watts, a particularly crime-ridden LA neighborhood. Luis’ father struggles to find work, and the family struggles to find adequate shelter and food. After they are evicted... Read Always Running Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign, written by Edward A. Larson and published in 2007, documents the US presidential election of 1800, a highly-contested political drama, preceded by what is considered the first political campaign in American history. The front-runners in the contest were widely considered to be the then-current President John Adams and Vice President Thomas Jefferson. Although the two men were serving together in the Executive branch... Read A Magnificent Catastrophe Summary


Publication year 1772Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags American Revolution, Colonial America, History: U.S.

Publication year 2001Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Colonial America

American Colonies: The Settling of North America is the first volume of the five-part Penguin History of the United States series. In it, Pulitzer-prize-winning historian Alan Taylor surveys the history of the Americas before the formation of the United States.Taylor aims to expand, enrich, and complicate our understanding of this period. American Colonies covers a broader temporal and geographical range than most works of its kind, spanning from the earliest Paleolithic settlements in North America... Read American Colonies Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Colonial America, American Revolution

American Creation is a 2007 nonfiction book by Joseph Ellis that covers the successes and failures of the founders of the United States from 1775 to 1803. Ellis starts with the year and three months that set in motion the colonies’ declaration of independence and subsequent revolution. In this eventful year, the British played the worst possible hand they could, removing the possibility of reconciliation. The colonists included fiery and impetuous rebels such as Patrick... Read American Creation Summary


Publication year 1993Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Society: Immigration, Society: Community, Identity: RaceTags Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Race / Racism, Class, History: U.S., American Literature

Publication year 1971Genre Reference/Text Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Society: Colonialism, Society: Class, Society: Economics, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Immigration, Society: Globalization, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: U.S.

Publication year 2005Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Identity: Mental HealthTags History: U.S., History: World, Science / Nature, Politics / Government, Military / War, WWII / World War II

Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Society: WarTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, American Revolution

Publication year 1975Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Edmund S. Morgan’s American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia was originally published in 1975 by W. W. Norton & Company Inc. This summary references the Norton paperback edition reissued in 2003. Morgan seeks to discover how America’s Founding Fathers came to advocate for freedom and equality when many of them owned slaves. Morgan chose to study Virginia’s Founding Fathers because they were among the most vocal in their opposition to the monarchy, because... Read American Slavery, American Freedom Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Relationships: Family, Relationships: SiblingsTags History: U.S., War On Terrorism / Iraq War

American Sniper is the autobiography of Chris Kyle, the single deadliest sniper in the history of the United States military. The narrative, co-written by Chris Kyle, Jim deFelice, Scott McEwen, and Chris’s wife Taya, opens with events that took place in 2003 in Iraq. At the time, Chris was providing protective fire for a group of Marines; a female insurgent attempted to attack the Marines with a grenade, but Chris shot her, registering his first... Read American Sniper Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Society: CommunityTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Race / Racism, Social Justice, Civil Rights / Jim Crow

Publication year 1990Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: Birth, Relationships: Family, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags History: U.S., Health / Medicine, Gender / Feminism, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her Diary, 1785-1812 is a 1990 nonfiction biography of midwife Martha Ballard by American historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Using Martha Ballard’s diary as a primary source, Ulrich utilizes a microhistorical approach to evaluate the life of Ballard, the history of Maine’s Kennebec River region, and the themes of social medicine, women’s role in the economy, and religion’s place in everyday life. A Midwife’s Tale won... Read A Midwife's Tale Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Society: Community, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags History: U.S., Social Justice, Race / Racism, Education, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Politics / Government, Social Justice, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Gender / Feminism, Black Lives Matter

Publication year 2020Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Teams, Society: Community, Society: Class, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Sports, Race / Racism, History: U.S., African American Literature

Publication year 2014Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Health / Medicine, History: U.S., Politics / Government, Race / Racism, American Revolution

Published in 2003, Jim Murphy’s An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 is a historical nonfiction book for young adults that provides a detailed look into Philadelphia’s yellow fever epidemic of 1793. As Murphy documents how yellow fever emerged and spread throughout the city, he demonstrates how society operated in what was then the nation’s capital and largest city in the late 1700s. He focuses on urban... Read An American Plague Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Health / Medicine, Business / Economics, History: U.S.

An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back is physician and journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal’s overview and critique of the American healthcare system. It was initially published in April 2017, arriving during a time in which healthcare reform became a prominent cornerstone of both Democratic and Republican political campaigns. The book offers a mixture of testimonials from a myriad of people impacted by the health industry, including medical professionals... Read An American Sickness Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Mental Health, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Lyric Poem, History: U.S., American Literature, Food

Joy Harjo is a seminal voice in the US poetry canon, and she has long been an advocate for Native American women in the literary world. Her work has merited tremendous acclaim, such as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the American... Read An American Sunrise Summary


Publication year 2002Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: WarTags WWII / World War II, History: U.S., Military / War, History: African

An Army at Dawn is a nonfiction military history book published in 2002 by American author and journalist Rick Atkinson. Subtitled The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, the book chronicles the successful Allied invasion of North Africa during World War II. The first installment of Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy, An Army at Dawn received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for History.This study guide refers to the 2002 edition published by Henry Holt and Company.Plot SummaryOn September 1... Read An Army at Dawn Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Society: WarTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Military / War, American Civil War

Publication year 1993Genre Play, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Play: Drama, LGBTQ, History: U.S.

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by the American playwright Tony Kushner is an epic story that spans two plays – Millennium Approaches, first produced in 1991, and Perestroika, which debuted in 1992. The entire two-part work premiered on Broadway in 1993. Angels in America is Kushner’s most well-known work and is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most significant American plays of the 20th century. Angels in America... Read Angels in America Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Education, Identity: Race, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: The Future, Society: Community, Natural World: Place, Society: ColonialismTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice, Politics / Government, Education, Military / War, Anthropology, Colonial America, Class, Colonialism / Postcolonialism

Publication year 2019Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: ColonialismTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice, Military / War, American Revolution, Colonial America, Colonialism / Postcolonialism

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People is a 2019 adaptation of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s 2015 nonfiction book. Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese adapted the material for middle-grade audiences. The original publication received the American Book Award, and this version is a 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Young Adult Honor Book with recognition from the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council. This book tells the perspective of... Read An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People Summary


Publication year 1980Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: Class, Society: Immigration, Society: Community, Society: Economics, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Social Justice, Race / Racism

Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is one of the most famous American history books published in recent decades. It has sold over two million copies. First published in 1980, the book was nominated for the American Book Award and has gone through at least six major revisions. Although controversial when first published, the book has become comfortably mainstream. It is mentioned by name in the film Good Will Hunting and the... Read A People’s History of the United States Summary


Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Natural World: PlaceTags Satire, Humor, Race / Racism, History: U.S., Business / Economics, American Literature, Reconstruction Era, African American Literature

Apex Hides the Hurt, a 2006 novel by American author Colson Whitehead, follows a nameless, emotionally muted nomenclature consultant, or an expert in creating brand names. The novel toggles between the protagonist’s memories of success at his company, and his current consulting assignment—renaming a town. The novel satirizes contemporary American consumer culture and features themes of race and identity. Whitehead uses humor and revelation as key narrative techniques in this story about a man who... Read Apex Hides the Hurt Summary


Publication year 1859Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, History: U.S.

Publication year 2001Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Historical Fiction

Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War is a historical account of the secession movement in the antebellum Southern US written by Charles B. Dew. Dew is a distinguished professor of history at Williams College specializing in the Civil War and Reconstruction Eras. Apostles of Disunion was published in 2001 by the University of Virginia Press and won the 2001 Fletcher Pratt Prize from the Civil War Round Table... Read Apostles of Disunion Summary


Publication year 1961Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Military / War, History: U.S., Religion / Spirituality, Relationships, American Revolution

April Morning is a historical fiction work by Howard Fast, a prolific author whose writings spanned the bulk of the 20th century. Published in 1961, midway through Fast’s career, the novel is one of many he wrote on the Revolutionary War and the birth of America. Originally intended for a general audience, it came to be regarded as a young adult novel as many middle and high school English programs included it in their curriculum... Read April Morning Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: The Future, Relationships: Teams, Relationships: FamilyTags Politics / Government, History: U.S., History: World

Publication year 2004Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Crime / Legal, Jazz Age

Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice depicts the racial turmoil in Detroit in 1925 through the story of Dr. Ossian Sweet, an African-American physician who faces murder charges after trying to defend his home in an all-white neighborhood from mob violence. The grandson of a slave, Ossian moves northward during the Great Migration to get his education at Wilberforce and Howard Universities. After graduating Howard's medical school, Ossian sets up practice and residence in Black Bottom... Read Arc of Justice Summary


Publication year 2003Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Globalization, Society: Economics, Society: Education, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Politics / Government, Race / Racism, Social Justice, History: U.S., Sociology

Publication year 1978Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

In A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815–1837, historian Paul E. Johnson analyzes the social factors that led to Rochester’s religious revival in the 1830s. This guide follows the first edition of A Shopkeeper’s Millennium, which was first published in 1978. Rochester’s revival was part of a larger religious movement in 19th-century America, known as the Second Great Awakening, during which time numerous Americans joined evangelical Protestant churches. Rochester’s revival centered... Read A Shopkeeper's Millennium Summary


Publication year 1939Genre Novel, FictionTags History: U.S., Great Depression

Ask the Dust is the second and most famous of the Arturo Bandini quartet, a series of autobiographical novels by Italian-American author John Fante. The novel follows the coming-of-age of the young writer, Arturo Bandini, who moves from Colorado to Los Angeles in the late 1930s, at the age of twenty, to launch his career as an author. At the beginning of the novel, Arturo is consumed by worries about his financial difficulties and his... Read Ask The Dust Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Life/Time: The Past, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Economics, Society: Immigration, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Business / Economics

Publication year 1963Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Education, Race / Racism, History: U.S., Social Justice

Publication year 2010Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

In At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance—a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, historian Danielle L. McGuire uncovers the untold history of many black, female civil rights activists. McGuire’s book is meant to serve as a correction to popular accounts of the civil rights era. While the movement has frequently been associated with its male leaders, such as Martin... Read At the Dark End of the Street Summary


Publication year 1791Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fame, Society: Community, Society: Politics & Government, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Midlife, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Inspirational, American Revolution, Age of Enlightenment

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin was written in pieces from 1771 to 1790. The work was first published in 1791 in Paris, France, after Franklin’s death as The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin. The autobiography was then published in London in 1793. In his writing, Franklin reflects upon his academic, professional, and philosophical pursuits. He examines how he advanced his economic and social standing during the formation of the United States, covering from... Read Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Class, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Equality, Identity: RaceTags Technology, Politics / Government, Sociology, Science / Nature, Social Justice, Race / Racism, Poverty, Class, History: U.S.

Publication year 2001Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Great Depression, Creative Nonfiction

Rick Bragg’s Ava’s Man, published in 2001, is a work of creative nonfiction that centers around Charlie Bundrum, the author’s maternal grandfather. Although Bragg’s grandfather died before Bragg was born, the book is inspired by the innumerous stories, anecdotes, and memories of Charlie that the author heard from the people that knew and loved him. Bragg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is known for his nonfiction works that center on family in the Alabama region. Ava’s... Read Ava's Man Summary


Publication year 1792Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: GenderTags Gender / Feminism, Romanticism / Romantic Period, History: U.S., Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects was written in 1792 by Mary Wollstonecraft. It is often referred to as one of the earliest feminist texts, and Wollstonecraft herself described it as proto-feminist. In it, Wollstonecraft explores the oppression of women by men, and argues that no society can be either virtuous or moral while half of the population are being subjugated by the other half. Ultimately, Wollstonecraft... Read A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Summary


Publication year 1998Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Place, Relationships: Friendship, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Society: CommunityTags Travel Literature, Humor, Science / Nature, Animals, Anthropology, History: U.S., Relationships, Politics / Government, Sports

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail is a 1998 travel book by American-British author Bill Bryson. The book was a New York Times bestseller, and a 2014 Cable News Network (CNN) poll named it the funniest travel book ever written. In addition, it inspired the 2015 film A Walk in the Woods starring Robert Redford as Bryson, Nick Nolte as Stephen Katz (his primary hiking companion), and Emma Thompson as... Read A Walk in the Woods Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: War, Identity: GenderTags History: World, History: U.S., WWII / World War II, Holocaust

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of Virginia Hall, WWII’s Most Dangerous Spy is a 2019 biography by Sonia Purnell. It tells the story of Virginia Hall, an American spy whose efforts were critical to France’s success in World War II. Despite its larger-than-life nature and importance to the Allied forces’ success, Hall’s story has remained largely unknown until now.Plot SummaryVirginia was born into an affluent family. Her mother, Barbara, wanted her to... Read A Woman of No Importance Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: Class, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: Community, Society: Globalization, Society: War, Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Economics, Society: ImmigrationTags History: U.S., Social Justice, Politics / Government

Publication year 2012Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Indigenous, Society: Colonialism, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Self Discovery, Society: Nation, Society: CommunityTags History: U.S., Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Depression / Suicide, Education, History: The Americas, Race / Racism, Social Justice, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Crime / Legal

Publication year 1999Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Gratitude, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Climate, Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags History: U.S., Health / Medicine, Animals, Action / Adventure

Publication year 2018Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Language, Identity: Race, Society: CommunityTags Historical Fiction, Harlem Renaissance, History: U.S., Race / Racism, African American Literature, Anthropology, Black Lives Matter, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Grief / Death, History: African , Social Justice, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Originally written in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” (2018) is the transcribed posthumous autobiography of the life of Oluale “Cudjo Lewis” Kossola (1841-1935), written by Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). Known for her involvement in the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston was a writer, anthropologist, folklorist, and filmmaker. In all her work, she held a special appreciation for Black life and Black culture of the US South. Her works... Read Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Gender / Feminism, Politics / Government, History: U.S., Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Becoming is a memoir by Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States from 2008-2016, originally published in 2018. In addition to describing her time in the White House, Obama details her upbringing, her education, her work in community outreach, and her relationship with former president Barack Obama, all of which contribute to the process of becoming the woman she is today. Becoming was the bestselling book of the year in 2018 and... Read Becoming Summary


Publication year 1993Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: NationTags History: U.S.

Becoming Mexican American is a nonfiction book published in 1993 by social historian George J. Sánchez. Sánchez examines the cultural adaptation of Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles between 1900 and 1945 and its role in the formation of Chicano identity. The Mexican population of Los Angeles combined practices and beliefs from Mexico and the United States to form a unique ethnic form of Americanism, which was later mobilized by the second generation of American-born Chicanos... Read Becoming Mexican American Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Race / Racism, Arts / Culture, History: U.S., Philosophy, Post-War Era

Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own is a non-fiction book by Eddie S. Glaude Jr., a Princeton University professor specializing in race and religion in the US. The title gestures to a passage in James Baldwin’s last novel, Just Above My Head (1979), which stresses the importance of new beginnings in the quest to rebuild the US as a truly multiracial democracy. A New York Times bestseller, Begin Again... Read Begin Again Summary


Publication year 1988Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Fathers, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Military / War, History: U.S., Gender / Feminism, Social Justice, American Civil War

Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy by Seymour Reit is a work of historical fiction and children’s literature based on the true story of a young woman who pretends to be a man so that she can join the Union army during the US Civil War. The book’s target audience is ages 10-14, and it uses a simple style to appeal to a young audience. It is categorized as... Read Behind Rebel Lines Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Politics & Government, Identity: DisabilityTags Disability, Social Justice, History: U.S., Politics / Government

Publication year 2003Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags History: U.S., American Revolution, Politics / Government

Publication year 2023Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice, Politics / Government, African American Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Race, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice, Politics / Government, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1997Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: European, History: U.S., Immigration / Refugee

Peter Balakian’s Black Dog of Fate: A Memoir (1997) tells the story of the author’s path to embracing his Armenian identity and understanding the legacies of a dark history. Born into the comfortable and consumerist suburbs of mid-century American suburbia, Balakian experienced the vestibules of his family’s Armenian culture mostly through the influence of his maternal grandmother. As he grew up, he caught other glimpses of the family’s heritage; in particular, home rituals in their... Read Black Dog of Fate Summary


Publication year 1932Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Black Elk Speaks (1932) is a book written by John G. Neihardt that relates the life of Black Elk, a member of the Ogalala band of the Lakota Native Americans. Though Neihardt is the book’s author, the book is based on a conversation between Black Elk and Neihardt and is presented as a transcript of Black Elk’s words, though Neihardt made some edits to the transcript. The book follows Black Elk from his boyhood to... Read Black Elk Speaks Summary


Publication year 1999Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags History: World, History: U.S.

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War is a 1999 book by journalist Mark Bowden. It is a non-fiction account of the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia, which resulted from US forces’ attempt to capture the two lieutenants of Mohamed Farrah Aidid, a warlord who oppressed the Somali people and stole their humanitarian aid. Bowden originally published a 29-part investigation of the failed mission in The Philadelphia Inquirer, later expanding it into Black Hawk... Read Black Hawk Down Summary


Publication year 1961Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Identity: Race, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Journalism, Sociology

Black Like Me is a sociological memoir written by John Howard Griffin in 1960. It takes place in 1959 in the deep South of the United States during the end of the segregation era. Griffin, a white man, assumes the appearance and life of a Black man and records his experiences in an attempt to create understanding and bridge gaps between Black and white Americans. Black Like Me was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for... Read Black Like Me Summary


Publication year 1965Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Historical Fiction, Military / War, WWII / World War II, Japanese Literature, History: Asian, History: U.S., Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Black Rain is a 1965 historical novel by Japanese author Masuji Ibuse. The novel blends authentic accounts and information with a fictional plot to describe the aftermath of the destruction of the Japanese city of Hiroshima by an American atomic bomb in 1945. Black Rain was adapted into a film in 1989. This guide uses an eBook version of the 1979 edition of Black Rain, translated into English by John Bester.Plot SummaryShigematsu Shizuma is a... Read Black Rain Summary


Publication year 2006Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: FameTags History: U.S.

Published in 2001, Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West is a narrative history of the turbulent period from the 1800s to the 1860s, the “settling” of the American West. It frames the transformation of America into a transcontinental power through the life story of Christopher “Kit” Carson, a larger-than-life frontiersman, guide, and army officer who assisted the conquest every step of the way. Blood and Thunder is not author Hampton Sides’s first... Read Blood and Thunder Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Race / Racism, History: U.S., Crime / Legal, Civil Rights / Jim Crow

Blood Done Sign My Name (2004), by Timothy B. Tyson, is a nonfiction work of history centered on the racially motivated 1970 murder of Henry Marrow Jr. in Oxford, North Carolina. The killing occurred after Marrow, a 23-year-old Black Army veteran, husband, and father of two, allegedly made a flirtatious remark in the direction of a 19-year-old married white woman. The woman’s husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law chased Marrow down the street, shot him from behind... Read Blood Done Sign My Name Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Blood in the Water is a 2016 historical non-fiction book written by American historian Heather Ann Thompson. In it, she explores the uprising at Attica prison in New York State in 1971 and its bloody suppression by the state. As well as the causes of these events, Blood in the Water looks at their legal and political aftermath, in terms of both the state’s prosecution of prisoners and inmate efforts to find justice for violence... Read Blood in the Water Summary


Publication year 1982Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Place, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: NostalgiaTags Travel Literature, Action / Adventure, History: U.S., Race / Racism

Blue Highways: A Journey into America (1982) is an autobiographical travelogue by American historian William Least Heat-Moon. The trip in question—a 13,000-mile circuit around the States—began in 1978, the book’s title deriving from out-of-the-way routes drawn in blue on an old road atlas. The author-narrator researches local history of the areas visited and interviews the many people he meets. Heat-Moon spent the subsequent years composing and revising the manuscript, and after a few rejections, it... Read Blue Highways: A Journey into America Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Identity: Femininity, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Gender / Feminism, History: U.S., Incarceration, Internet Culture / Social Media, Journalism, LGBTQ, Love / Sexuality, Politics / Government, Psychology, Relationships, Social Justice, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Crime / Legal

Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Society: NationTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Race / Racism, Sociology, Military / War, Crime / Legal

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Equality, Life/Time: The PastTags Historical Fiction, Psychological Fiction, History: Asian, Politics / Government, History: U.S., Relationships, WWII / World War II

Burnt Shadows, first published in 2009, is the fifth novel by Pakistani-British author Kamila Shamsie. A political-historical novel, it was nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction, one of the UK’s most prestigious literary awards, and won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, which celebrates books that contribute to a greater understanding of racism and diversity. Shamsie has been shortlisted several times for a John Llewellyn Rhys Prize; she also received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literature... Read Burnt Shadows Summary


Publication year 1970Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Society: War, Identity: Indigenous, Natural World: Place, Natural World: EnvironmentTags History: U.S., Military / War, Race / Racism, Politics / Government

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, a nonfiction history by librarian and historian Dee Brown, was published in 1970 and became a widely influential bestseller. Dee Brown (full name Dorris Alexander Brown) was the author of more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books. As a librarian at the University of Illinois, he had access to the primary historical records from the late 19th century that became the main... Read Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, History: U.S., Gender / Feminism, Colonial America

Caleb’s Crossing (2011) is a historical fiction novel based on the real life figure of Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University in 1665. Born into the Wampanoag tribe on an island near Cape Cod, the historical Cheeshahteaumuck converted to Christianity and attended a preparatory school before enrolling in Harvard. In her novel, Pulitzer Prize winning author Geraldine Brooks tells a fictionalized version of Caleb’s story in the form of a... Read Caleb's Crossing Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Music, Society: CommunityTags Arts / Culture, Race / Racism, History: U.S., Social Justice, Poverty, Music

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop (Young Adult Edition) is an abridged version of the original 2005 non-fiction historical account of the origin and evolution of hip-hop culture written by Jeff Chang and David “Davey D” Cook. Jeff Chang is an American journalist, music critic, and historian who, in 1993, co-founded the hip-hop label Solesides, which aided in the launching of artists like DJ Shadow and Blackalicious. Jeff Chang earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the... Read Can't Stop Won't Stop (Young Adult Edition) Summary


Publication year 1991Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Crime / Legal, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, History: U.S.

Celia, A Slave is Melton A. McLaurin’s book-length analysis of the trial and execution of Celia, a slave in Callaway County, Missouri who kills her master and burns his body in her fireplace.  McLaurin, a historian, argues that Celia’s case offers us important insights into how together, gender and racial oppression render enslaved women completely powerless to protect themselves from sexual exploitation, and how the moral ambiguity caused by slavery is often reconciled in the... Read Celia, A Slave Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Fame, Society: Community, Relationships: Teams, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Future, Identity: Race, Identity: Gender, Identity: Mental HealthTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Satire, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, Business / Economics, Grief / Death, History: U.S., Incarceration, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Social Justice

Publication year 1983Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Colonial America

William Cronon wrote a scholarly assessment of the ecological changes in the land wrought by the arrival of New England’s European settlers from about 1620 to 1800 called Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (1983). Cronon examines both the Native American and European land usage during the pre-colonial time period, including farming, hunting, fishing, and the commercial harvesting of the fruits of the land. In particular, Cronon explores the... Read Changes in the Land Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: U.S., Crime / Legal

Publication year 2009Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: FameTags History: U.S., American Civil War

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer is a YA novel adapted from the adult version, Manhunt, both by James L. Swanson. Manhunt is a meticulously researched nonfiction novel describing the hunt for John Wilkes Booth, and includes previously unpopularized transcripts, archives, and interviews. Published by Scholastic in 2009, Chasing Lincoln’s Killer makes these rare historical finds digestible for younger audiences and provides a rapid-fire, abridged version of the narrative of the pursuit of John Wilkes Booth. Those who... Read Chasing Lincoln's Killer Summary


Publication year 1952Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Class, Society: Economics, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Politics / Government, History: U.S., Cold War

Publication year 1990Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Life/Time: Birth, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: FamilyTags Lyric Poem, History: U.S., Trauma / Abuse / Violence, African American Literature

Marilyn Nelson is part of a coterie of writers who published in the late-1970s and 1980s after the revolutionary fervor of the Black Arts Movement. Though the period during which Nelson wrote is less acknowledged than those aforementioned, it was a time when diverse Black poetic talents emerged. Nelson’s contemporaries included Afaa Michael Weaver, Yusef Komunyakaa, Rita Dove, Ntozake Shange, Melvin Dixon, and Essex Hemphill. Their work grappled with the aftermath of the Vietnam War... Read Chosen Summary


Publication year 1990Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: World, History: U.S.

Mike Davis’ City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, won the 1990 Social Science Association Best Book Award. Davis is a Marxist urban theorist, historian, and political commentator who, following the success of City of Quartz, has written monographs on other American cities, including San Diego and Las Vegas. In his writing for The New Left Review journal, he continues to be a prominent voice in Marxist politics and environmentalism. His acclaims include... Read City of Quartz Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: courageTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice, Civil Rights / Jim Crow

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Relationships: Grandparents, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Fathers, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags African American Literature, Children's Literature, Realistic Fiction, Action / Adventure, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, History: U.S., Black Lives Matter, Grief / Death

Publication year 2000Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Cold War, Politics / Government

Publication year 1900Genre Poem, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags History: World, History: U.S.

Publication year 1850Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Society: Politics & Government, Society: NationTags Politics / Government, History: U.S.

Publication year 1998Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Sociology, Action / Adventure, History: U.S., American Civil War

Confederates in the Attic is a non-fiction book written by Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz. The book is a mixture of ethnography—the study of a specific group of people in a specific place—and travel writing, where Horwitz attempts to dive deeply into his childhood fascination for the American Civil War by traveling through the deep South, visiting Confederate battlefields, museums, and monuments, and interviewing the locals that he comes into contact with about their relationship to... Read Confederates In The Attic Summary


Publication year 1787Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: NationTags Politics / Government, History: U.S., Crime / Legal

The Constitution of the United States is the oldest national constitution that’s still in use. The idea of founding a government on the basis of a written constitution was revolutionary when the US Constitution was drafted in 1787. The idea had two novel components: first, the document both establishes and limits the power of the government—no figurehead, ruler, or body of legislators stands above the Constitution. Second, it was written by representatives of the governed—55... Read Constitution of United States of America Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: U.S., WWII / World War II, Politics / Government

Publication year 1896Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: EconomicsTags Politics / Government, Business / Economics, History: U.S., Gilded Age

Publication year 1969Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Indigenous, Society: Colonialism, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Race / Racism, Social Justice

Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto was written in 1969 by Vine Deloria Jr., a historian, theologian, activist, and member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The work explores the oppression and exploitation of Native people in the United States, outlines the history of Indian resistance, and recommends a course of action for modern Indigenous people. Extremely influential in the 1960s and 1970s Native American Movement, Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto remains... Read Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: NationTags History: U.S., Politics / Government

Publication year 1835Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, French Literature

Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America is a work of history and political philosophy published in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840. Tocqueville embarked on his own political career in France but is best known for his contributions to history and political philosophy.The first volume is based on Tocqueville’s nearly yearlong sojourn in the United States, ostensibly to study its prisons and prison reform. In his introduction Tocqueville emphasizes that... Read Democracy in America Summary


Publication year 1982Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Asian Literature, Japanese Literature, History: U.S., Race / Racism, WWII / World War II

Desert Exile tells the story of the author Yoshiko Uchida and the Uchida family’s experience as Japanese-Americans interned in concentration camps by the U.S. government after the Pearl Harbor attacks during World War II. The book follows a linear narrative arc that details the Uchidas’ experience, while Uchida often reflects discursively, using one point in her life as a vortex for connecting that moment to another memory and in turn creating a larger impression of... Read Desert Exile Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags History: U.S.

Destiny of the Republic, a nonfiction book written by Candice Millard in 2011, tells the story of President James Garfield’s death in 1881 after being shot by Charles Guiteau. The first section, entitled “Promise,” provides the necessary background of all the individuals who play a role in the story. The first chapter is about the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, introducing Garfield, Alexander Graham Bell, and Joseph Lister–three men whose lives would intersect years later... Read Destiny of the Republic Summary


Publication year 1832Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: Race, Natural World: Place, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Travel Literature, Satire, History: U.S.

Frances (Fanny) Trollope, today best known as the mother of the popular Victorian author Anthony Trollope, was herself an extraordinarily productive writer in many genres. Her literary career began in middle age when, out of financial desperation, she wrote a travelog describing her impressions of America, gathered on a three-year excursion there. Published in 1832 in two volumes, Domestic Manners of the Americans was a runaway bestseller and a wildly controversial takedown of what Trollope... Read Domestic Manners of the Americans Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Economics, Society: Politics & Government, Identity: RaceTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Science / Nature, Health / Medicine, Crime / Legal

Publication year 1976Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Relationships, History: Middle Eastern, History: U.S., Post Modernism, American Literature

Eaters of the Dead is a 1976 historical novel by Michael Crichton. Crichton (1942-2008) is known for his best-selling novels, many of which have been adapted into movies, as well as TV and filmmaking. His books include Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, The Lost World, Prey, and Disclosure. Crichton also worked in filmmaking and in the TV industry, most notably on Westworld (writer, director), ER (creator), and on the Jurassic Park franchise based on his... Read Eaters Of The Dead Summary


Publication year 1863Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Identity: RaceTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Race / Racism, American Civil War

Publication year 2014Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Empire of Cotton is a nonfiction book published in 2014 by the German-American author and historian Sven Beckert. By chronicling the history of the global cotton trade and its vast network of growers, merchants, and manufacturers, the book explores the origins and evolution of modern capitalism. In a narrative spanning over two centuries, Beckett takes readers through the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the American Civil War, and the collapse of colonialism following World War... Read Empire of Cotton Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: Class, Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Health / Medicine, Politics / Government, History: U.S., Addiction / Substance Abuse, Business / Economics, Crime / Legal, Finance / Money / Wealth

Publication year 2010Genre Biography, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne, published in 2010, is a work of historical nonfiction and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. The book narrates a history of the Comanche Nation, and also follows the fates of the Parker family, from whom the book’s central figure, Quanah Parker, descends.The Comanches... Read Empire of the Summer Moon Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags History: U.S., Politics / Government

Publication year 2005Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Mothers, Society: ImmigrationTags Politics / Government, Social Justice, History: U.S., Immigration / Refugee

Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother is a best-selling nonfiction book by Sonia Nazario, an American journalist best known for her work on social justice. Originally published in 2006, the book is based on Nazario’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Enrique’s Journey” series, which was written in six parts and published in The Los Angeles Times.The book, which has been published in eight languages and adapted for young adults in... Read Enrique's Journey Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Escaping Salem, written by Richard Godbeer and published in 2004, is the true story, based on historical records, of a second, lesser-known set of witch trials that took place in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1692, the same year as the more famous Salem witch trials. The author’s aim is, in part, to undermine the commonly-held conception of New Englanders at the time as feverish, irrational witch hunters, which is based on the mass panic of the... Read Escaping Salem Summary


Publication year 1942Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Immigration, Society: War, Identity: RaceTags Politics / Government, History: U.S., Incarceration, WWII / World War II, Race / Racism

Publication year 1992Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Race / Racism, History: U.S., Sociology, Social Justice, Politics / Government

Publication year 2001Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

In his 2001 book Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America, historian Daniel K. Richter presents an account of early U.S. history from a rarely seen perspective: that of the American Indians. Using primary sources and imaginative reconstruction, the book reorients us to see the arrival of the European settlers, the growth of the colonies, and the founding of the American Republic as Natives might have experienced them, exploring would happen... Read Facing East from Indian Country Summary


Publication year 1988Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Lyric Poem, History: U.S., Vietnam War

The poem “Facing It” by Yusef Komunyakaa is a meditation on the first time Komunyakaa visited the US Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. Komunyakaa served in the Vietnam War as an Army journalist for the military newspaper, Southern Cross, until he was discharged in 1966. He began writing about the war approximately 14 years after coming home from Vietnam.Prior to this, he had only written one poem about his experience in the war, and... Read Facing It Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: ImmigrationTags WWII / World War II, History: World, Military / War, History: U.S., History: European, Grief / Death

Publication year 1933Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Self Discovery, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Natural World: Animals, Society: CommunityTags Classic Fiction, Children's Literature, Historical Fiction, Agriculture, Animals, History: U.S., Parenting, Religion / Spirituality, Science / Nature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 1971Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: NationTags Auto/Biographical Fiction, Journalism, Addiction / Substance Abuse, History: U.S.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1971 novel by American author Hunter S. Thompson. The book chronicles the story of journalist Raoul Duke and his attorney Doctor Gonzo who drive to Las Vegas, ostensibly to cover an iconic off-road vehicle race. However, they are also looking to “find the American Dream” and take with them a car’s load of hard drugs. Duke is a fictionalized surrogate for Thompson, while Gonzo is based off... Read Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Language, Identity: Race, Relationships: Teams, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Economics, Society: Immigration, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Natural World: PlaceTags History: U.S., Immigration / Refugee, Social Justice

Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy (2011) is a historical nonfiction book intended for an audience of young readers. It was written by Albert Marrin, a former history professor and author of dozens of historical nonfiction books.Marrin, whose academic focus was on liberty under the law, wrote often about times of suffering and movements for liberation, including The War for Independence: The Story of the American Revolution (1988), Years of... Read Flesh and Blood So Cheap Summary


Publication year 1997Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War is a 1997 nonfiction book by James M. McPherson. McPherson has taught at Princeton since 1962 and written numerous books on the American Civil War, including Battle Cry of Freedom, which won the Pulitzer Prize in History. After several instances of visiting Civil War battlefields and finding himself unable to satisfactorily answer why so many men gave their lives in the war, McPherson sets out... Read For Cause and Comrades Summary


Publication year 1970Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Economics, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Politics / Government, Gender / Feminism, Women's Studies (Nonfiction), History: U.S.

Publication year 2004Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S., American Revolution, Colonial America

Published in 2004, Cokie Roberts’s Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation is a non-fiction, historical study of the role women played in establishing the United States as an independent nation. This study guide refers to the first edition of the text, published by William Morrow-HarperCollins in 2004.  In her introduction, Roberts recalls her childhood delight at hearing tales of her ancestor William Claiborne, who met the Founding Fathers. However, she recognizes that she... Read Founding Mothers Summary


Publication year 1941Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Nation, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: U.S., Politics / Government

Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice, African American Literature, American Civil War

Publication year 1947Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Free verse, Race / Racism, History: U.S.

Publication year 2018Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Race / Racism, History: U.S., Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Politics / Government, American Civil War, Reconstruction Era

Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: courageTags History: U.S.

Publication year 2002Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice

Publication year 2012Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Race / Racism, History: U.S.

Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Identity: Race, Society: Class, Society: Colonialism, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Community, Society: Economics, Society: Education, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Black Lives Matter, Race / Racism, Social Justice, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, History: U.S., Business / Economics, Diversity, Class, Education, Finance / Money / Wealth, Poverty, Politics / Government, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2003Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Ira Berlin’s Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves (2003) is an analytical work of historical research and synthesis that traces the development of American slavery from the 17th century to national Emancipation. Berlin compares the development and conditions of slavery across regions including the North (usually New England and the Mid-Atlantic states), the coastal South (or sections of it most relevant to the corresponding timeline), and the Southern Interior, particularly in the Lower... Read Generations of Captivity Summary


Publication year 1796Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Nation, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: U.S., Politics / Government

Publication year 1863Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags History: U.S., American Civil War

Publication year 1775Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, American Revolution

Patrick Henry, widely considered a Founding Father of the United States, delivered his speech “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death” to the Second Virginia Convention in 1775. The goal of the convention was to decide how to handle Britain’s military threat. Henry believed in fighting for independence—the speech’s immediate goal was to convince Virginia to raise a militia—while others wanted to compromise with Britain. Although no manuscript of Henry’s speech exists, accounts from convention... Read Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Biography, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Politics / Government, Crime / Legal

Publication year 2023Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Society: Economics, Relationships: Teams, Emotions/Behavior: ApathyTags Finance / Money / Wealth, History: U.S., Leadership/Organization/Management, Philosophy, Business / Economics

Publication year 2017Genre Biography, NonfictionTags Politics / Government, History: U.S., American Civil War

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Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: War, Relationships: Siblings, Natural World: Place, Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, WWII / World War II, Military / War, Grief / Death, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, History: Asian, History: U.S., Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1982Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: The PastTags History: U.S., Great Depression

Russell Baker (b. August 14, 1925) is an American newspaper columnist, humorist, political satirist, and author. He earned a B.A. from Johns Hopkins in 1947 and began his career at the Baltimore Sun as a police reporter. He was a columnist at the New York Times from 1962 to 1998 and host of PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre from 1992 to 2004.His Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, Growing Up (1982), recounts his childhood and adolescence during the Great Depression... Read Growing Up Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Play, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: Race, Society: Immigration, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Literature, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Military / War, History: U.S.

Publication year 1970Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags History: U.S., Great Depression, Poverty, Depression / Suicide

Publication year 1951Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: The Future, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: NationTags Lyric Poem, Harlem Renaissance, African American Literature, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, Race / Racism, History: U.S., Urban Development

Publication year 1955Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, American Civil War, African American Literature, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad is a 1955 biography by American author Ann Petry. This book takes the reader on a journey through Harriet Tubman’s life, from her birth to enslaved parents on a Maryland plantation to her death as a free woman in New York in 1913. Tubman is a well-known figure in American history and is best known for her heroic actions as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. After escaping... Read Harriet Tubman Summary


Publication year 2000Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America (2000, revised 2011), authored by Juan Gonzalez, is a comprehensive account of the intersection of Latin-American history with United States history. Immigration is one of the biggest issues facing America, and the debate over immigration reform has suffered from relentless propaganda, mythologizing, and stereotyping, resulting in much fear, anxiety, and anger. Gonzalez seeks to reveal the story hidden behind many of these stereotypes as he explores... Read Harvest Of Empire Summary


Publication year 1959Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Indigenous, Society: Colonialism, Society: GlobalizationTags Historical Fiction, History: U.S.

Hawaii (1959) is one of the earlier books by well-known and prolific author James A. Michener. The novel is typical of Michener’s historical epics, which focus on transgenerational family sagas played out against the backdrop of world events. Prior to writing Hawaii, Michener had already gained fame with Tales of the South Pacific, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1948, and was later adapted into the Broadway musical South Pacific. The author gained... Read Hawaii Summary


Publication year 1948Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Community, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Place, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Travel Literature, History: U.S., Urban Development, Creative Nonfiction

Publication year 2016Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: GenderTags Gender / Feminism, History: U.S., Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race is a 2016 nonfiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly. Shetterly grew up in Hampton, Virginia, where her father worked at Langley Research Center, on which the book is centered. Thus, she knew firsthand both the story and many of the people involved. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the business school at the University of... Read Hidden Figures Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Space & The UniverseTags History: U.S., Science / Nature, Gender / Feminism, Race / Racism

Publication year 2004Genre Biography, NonfictionTags History: U.S., American Revolution

Historian Joseph J. Ellis was fascinated by George Washington ever since Ellis’ boyhood in Alexandria, Virginia, where Washington’s estate, Mount Vernon, is located and his historical presence was strongly felt. By the time Ellis wrote His Excellency: George Washington in 2004, he had already produced several popular books about early American history. His Excellency is a more intimate biography of Washington than many previously written, focusing as much on the subject’s character as on his... Read His Excellency: George Washington Summary


Publication year 2000Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Identity: Race, Life/Time: The PastTags Lyric Poem, Race / Racism, Civil Rights / Jim Crow, History: U.S.

Publication year 2020Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Politics / Government

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Immigration, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, Politics / Government, Immigration / Refugee, Social Justice, September 11 Attacks, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Race / Racism, History: U.S., Class

Publication year 1858Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Class, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Politics / Government, History: U.S.

Publication year 2008Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: MarriageTags Sociology, History: Middle Eastern, History: U.S.

How Does It Feel to Be A Problem: Being Young and Arab in America (2008) is a nonfiction text by Brooklyn College English professor and Arab-American Moustafa Bayoumi. The title comes from W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1903 text, The Souls of Black Folk, wherein he directed this question toward the African-American experience. Following the stories of seven young ArabAmericans living in Brooklyn, and including their struggles after the 9/11 attacks, Bayoumi’s book suggests that present-day ArabAmericans absorb the... Read How Does It Feel to Be A Problem Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Colonialism, Society: CommunityTags Historical Fiction, History: U.S., Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Published in 2013 by Tim Tingle, How I Became a Ghost is a work of middle grade fiction that follows a young boy in the Choctaw nation and his death on the Trail of Tears. The Choctaw Trail of Tears refers to The Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the forced relocation of Choctaws from their homes in the deep south to areas further west. How I Became a Ghost has received an American Indian... Read How I Became a Ghost Summary


Publication year 1890Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Immigration, Society: Class, Society: CommunityTags Journalism, History: U.S., Sociology, Poverty, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Depression / Suicide, Race / Racism, Urban Development

Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives (1890) is a photojournalistic account of New York City’s working class of the late 19th century and the tenements that housed them. Riis exposes the appalling and often inhumane conditions in and around the tenements. He attributes New York City’s squalor and degradation to sheer greed on the part of landlords who prioritize maximum profits over basic decency. More importantly, he documents these conditions with more than 40... Read How the Other Half Lives Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice, Politics / Government