I like to read history books. My college education gave me the great gift of learning to read and appreciate and enjoy “boring” books. I don’t do it as often as I would like, but when I’m not too busy, too tired or too lazy to pick up a good non-fiction, non-theological/devotional book, I love reading history. Specifically American history (although, as you’ve seen, Irish history always piques my interest).
My favorite professor in undergrad gave us the opportunity (actually, he forced us) to read good American historians who took and take their jobs seriously enough to not give in to political bandwagons or patriotic fairytale-isms. I appreciate authors and researchers who guard against their own biases.
If you’re curious, here are two of my favorite American historians and some of their books:
David Hackett Fischer. I’ve read a number of his books, and can whole-heartedly recommend them. Sometimes you forget you’re reading non-fiction.
- Paul Revere’s Ride. This was one of the first books I read in college, and it changed the way I felt about history classes and their “textbooks.” So worth it.
- Washington’s Crossing. Another early read, and once again, very worth it.
- Champlain’s Dream. This one is my favorite (probably of any historical books), hands down. I read it after graduation upon the recommendation of my aforementioned favorite professor, and wow. Just wow. I never enjoyed the history of exploration until this book.
Joseph Ellis. For writing style, I think Ellis is my favorite. He has a very personal and engaging tone in his books that makes whatever he’s writing about interesting.
- Founding Brothers. This book is amazing!! Basically, it’s a compilation of true short stories about various founding fathers, like the duel between Hamilton and Burr (got milk?).
- His Excellency. A biography of George Washington. I’ve not read other biographies of Washington, but Ellis just has a funny and fair way with words that makes me fairly confident this would be my favorite.
- American Sphinx. A biography of Jefferson. Full disclosure: I’m only sixty pages in. But so far, it’s great. I love Ellis’ candor and sense of humor.
There’s my list! Enjoy!