View Full Version : OT: Need a good U.S. history book title.

01-15-2005, 01:05 PM
My old college history book fell apart a few years ago so I trashed it. Now I want a new one.

With the way some of you got involved in the good historical/political discussions we were allowed to have I'm sure some of you can recommend a good one or two volume text on general U.S. history.

How about some titles and authors?


01-15-2005, 01:08 PM
Son had AP US History last year and I think the book was pretty thorough. Can get you the title later today. Den

01-15-2005, 01:17 PM
Jon Stewarts new book is good.

And it's all true...after all, anything that is printed is true right?


Al Messer
01-15-2005, 01:43 PM
Any one of them that says that the "United Nations" won WWII, you don't want.

Forrest Addy
01-15-2005, 02:05 PM
Oh Geeze, here we go again!!

01-15-2005, 02:37 PM
I know you guys are just kidding around but before this thread gets locked down please know that I'm serious about this. I just want to know some good titles to look over. Some of you have to be history buffs, yes?

01-15-2005, 03:44 PM
What time period do you want in American History ? Also do you want new books or old books ? Remember every year newer the book is...the more older history that is deleted to make room for the newer events.

01-15-2005, 03:55 PM
And now for something completely different...

01-15-2005, 04:08 PM
It is very hard to write history without injecting ones own feelings based on where they sit on the political spectrum. Almost need to be an anthropologist who does not fall into the trap of enculturation to be completely neutral to the matter.
I have a few history books from college, but I couldnt tell you if they are good or not because I have yet to read them!

John Stevenson
01-15-2005, 04:12 PM
Buy one published by Hollywood.
They are the only ones who have got it right.

John S.

01-15-2005, 04:13 PM
Cant remember the last time Hollywood actually payed attention to reality.

01-15-2005, 04:22 PM
just get the history channel....i watched it for four hours last night...had a great episode on the b-52...then one on the bombers of ww2. Then they had something about the Apache indians. That was really cool.

i consider the history channel to be about as unbiased as any academic book...if i want further information about a subject, i look online and read all i can. this means reading both sides and interpretting YOUR understanding.

TV has went to hell, so the history channel is about all i watch anymore...unless i can find a good old movie like coolhand luke or flight of the pheonix.

i understand that you are looking for a good history book, but what i would recommend doing is buying a "coffee table" book at borders or the like...they usually have them for under ten dollars. Read in there, then go online and get further information.

I do recommend jon stewarts book...even though most of it is fiction, he does throw some interesting tidbits in there....it's good for a laugh.


01-15-2005, 04:55 PM
An excellent and comprehensive book, as is all of Asimov's non-fiction. The depth per topic must be limited of course:


Most books on general history can't devote the space necessary to really explain about anything in particular in too much depth, so I get books devoted to the topic in which I am interested in at the time. Your library will be full of this sort of book, and it won't cost you a thing.

01-15-2005, 05:10 PM
For Modern US History just watch "The Simpsons"

01-15-2005, 05:58 PM
I fear most curent school text books do not contain accurate history. You will find, instead, politicaly correct fantasy. Americans and particularly a certain race of people are presented as the cause of all the worlds problems! After looking at the pictures you will think white males no longer exist, or they are not worthy of being photographed.
I hope,some how, future generations can find accurate historical information.

MachineToolCityUSA- Cincinnati
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not more so."

01-15-2005, 06:05 PM
Paige Smith wrote a series of books on US history. I strongly suggest the first two volumes " A New Age Now Beguins " It is probobly the finest and easiest to read history of our revolution.

01-15-2005, 06:08 PM
Hey Dan, I've got a lot of good books from "The History Book Club" and "The Military Book Club"' both are avaliable on-line.

01-15-2005, 07:40 PM
Is an old joke considered history? Anyways, here goes...
Jimmy Carter, a president, invited Leonid Brezhnev to the White House for an evening of the usual state activities. As part of the entertainment, Carter invited Brezhnev to sit down at the official White House piano and play a dirge of the Volga or the Fall of Leningrad.

As Brezhnev sat down to play, he could not help but notice a red button at the end of the keyboard. Unable to restrain his curiosity, he pushed the button. Immediately, from the ceiling directly above, a large sliding door opened and a huge cascade of water was dumped on the Soviet leader's head.

The White House occupants and their staff laughed and laughed.

The months passed, and Leonid Brezhnev dried off and licked the SALT in his wounds. It came to pass then that he had occasion to invite Jimmy Carter to the official Red Residence in the Kremlin. After a fine repast, the official Red Square piano rolled in on its halftracks.

"Sit down and play a born-again-Baptist hymn for us," Brezhnev asked gently. As he poised to play, Mr. Carter noticed a small red button at the end of the keyboard. Curiosity was too much for the old Georgia boy, and he pushed the button.

Nothing happened.

The Kremlin crew guffawed, roared, snorted, and playfully punched one another's shoulders in obvious glee.

Carter was puzzled. He appealed to Brezhnev, "Tell me, please-- what amuses you and your staff so much? I mean, there was no water or anything. What is so amusing? Please tell me, so I can share your unique Soviet humor with my fellow-Americans back in the United States."

Leonid Brezhnev smiled. "What United States?"

01-15-2005, 07:56 PM
Not limited to American history,but I can recomend Quest for a hemisphere,everything from Columbus to Ronald Reagan,written before dead white male bashing was in vogue.

Its not too terribly deep on any one era,but it is accurate.

01-15-2005, 09:40 PM
I didn't care much for history when I was going to school. I think for the most part it was just names and dates, etc. very little about the actual people and ideas of the times involved. Recently I read:
"A History of the American People" by Paul Johnson. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and learned more in reading it than several years of forced classes.


01-16-2005, 01:44 AM
This is probably the funniest part:

... Jimmy Carter, a president, invited Leonid Brezhnev to the White House ...

Was Carter such a bad president that his name is less recognizable than than a Soviet PM?

Stu Miller
01-16-2005, 01:21 PM
Carter? President? Of what?

01-16-2005, 02:27 PM
Look in Webster's under pathetic,his picture is right there http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

01-16-2005, 03:14 PM
I agree with Joel. Use library sources profusely, and read multiple sources on any given topic. After a while the personal bias of the authors starts to jump out at you. Also agree that the older sources are better.

Regarding TV, I saw an article in newspaper a few days ago about a "Military Channel" due to come on line soon. ...along the same lines as the History Channel. That will be nice.

01-16-2005, 04:50 PM
Look at Democracy Under Pressure, published by Harcourt Brace, Copyright 1997, ISBN 0-15-503195-3. I also have a book from my college Government class, American Government, published by West, copyright 1994, ISBN0-314-02876-5. This is really more of a government text, but has some history in it. Lastly, I have a text from about 5th grade, purely American history, The American Adventure, copyright 1970, Standard Book Number 514-02409-7. It's pretty simplistic, but has the basics of U.S. History.

If you ever become interested in a more detailed history of American WW II History, I suggest A Democracy At War, copyright 1993, Published by Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-19737-2. I highly reccommend this one although it concentrates on WWII, not American History in general.

I would be concerned in your search that newer books may tend to have some "revisionist history" contained in them which may be skewed by a desire to obtain political correctness. I can't recommend any of the above books with regard to being historically accurate except for the WWII book and perhaps the Elementry School text due to it's publication date.

I hope this helps.

01-16-2005, 09:57 PM
Try "A Peoples History of the United States" by Howard Zinn.

01-16-2005, 10:22 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SJorgensen:
Try "A Peoples History of the United States" by Howard Zinn.</font>

I've not read the book, but I saw an interview with him on The Daily Show and he struck me as a bit of nutcase.

By far, the best history book I've read was The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough. I had to read it in college about 15 years ago and I've reread it at least once a year ever since. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=UH08gBmAhA&isbn=0671207148&itm=1

01-16-2005, 10:58 PM
"A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn is an excellent general history of the US and is pretty cheap. He has some other good books as well. For a different take, try a book called "History Lessons". It shows how history books in other countries view American history. Definitely different.


01-17-2005, 01:26 AM
History is written by the winners.

01-17-2005, 08:09 AM
I'm glad some of you mentioned Howard Zinn's book. I bought it Saturday night and began reading it Sunday morning. It's definitely not your average history book. I like it so far.

Saturday afternoon I talked to a friend of mine who has a Master's degree in Political Science and recommended it. I was surprised because Zinn does seem to be a nut case according to some reviews I've read. But many people that wrote reviews really like his book(s).

Thanks for the recommendations everyone.

01-17-2005, 02:38 PM
Two days ago Howard Zinn was interviewed on C-Span and he fielded phoned in questions. He impressed me. The man is over 80 and is still "spot on." The host Brian Lamb did something unusual to him that I haven't seen a host do to a guest before. He made Zinn take two phone questions at a time, and still it didn't throw Zinn off kilter. It is viewable on C-Span.org and I recommend it. His viewpoint may come from the Left but still Republicans should hear, and well consider what this WWII veteran has to say.

01-17-2005, 09:21 PM
Howard Zinn a nut case? No,just a monkey slinging feces.Typical of the people who think the world began(and ended)with FDR.

His reaction to 9/11 was nothing short of ignorant,peace comes only when one side or the other is dead,will somebody please give the man some lithium.

01-18-2005, 12:17 AM
For general American history I like Samuel Eliot Morrison. His Oxford History of the United States is a bit old (1927). Oxford History of the American People is more recent (1965).

By far, the best history book I've ever read is The Heroic Years, by Fletcher Pratt, but it only covers Jefferson's election to the end of the War of 1812. On the plus side, it's online at