Here at the BHPL Reference Department, we keep getting high school students looking for something "good" to read to fulfill their A.P. U.S. History summer reading assignment. Well, "good" is a subjective term, but we know most students mean "short" for one thing when they say that. What follows is a list of entertaining, readable, fairly short, books about some aspect of American history. We hope this helps some student out there.
Please add to this list by clicking on "comment" and telling about your favorite. "good" American history book.
Really Readable American History books for AP U.S. History Students
Ashes of Glory, Richmond at War by Ernest B. Ferguson (975.5 Fur) Life in the capitol of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Confederates in the Attic, dispatches from the unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz (973.7 Hor) Reporter's humorous take on Civil War reenactments across the South.
The Day Lincoln Was Shot by Jim Bishop (Bio Lincoln) An hour by hour account of the President’s assassination.
Devil in the White City: murder, madness, and magic at the fair that changed America by Erik Larson (364.1523 Lar) A portrait of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and American life in that era.
Fire in the Lake, the Vietnamese and the Americans in Viet Nam by Frances FitzGerald
(959.7 Fit) One of the first and one of the best histories of that war.
Flag of Our Fathers by James Bradley (940.5426 Bra) The Battle of Iwo Jima.
Founding Brothers, the Revolutionary generation by Joseph J. Ellis (973.4 Ell) The lives of Adams, Burr, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison and Washington converge to create the new republic.
General Washington’s Christmas Farewell, a Mount Vernon Homecoming 1783 by Stanley Weintraub (973.4 Washington) After the war, Washington steps down and resigns his commission rather than accepting a third presidential term.
Ghost Soldiers, the forgotten epic story of World War II’s most dramatic mission by Hampton Sides(940.5425 Sid) U.S. prisoners of war in the Philippines.
The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan (940.54 Rya) D-Day by WW II war correspondent.
In Pharoah’s Army (Bio Wolff) Recollections of a Viet Nam veteran.
Men to Match My Mountains, the opening of the far west 1840 – 1900 by Irving Stone (978 Sto)
Shadow Divers, the true adventure of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson (940.5451 Kur) In 1991, two scuba divers found a German U-boat wrecked off the coast of New Jersey in WWII.
Terrible Swift Sword by Bruce Catton (973.7 C) Dramatic history of the Civil War by preeminent Civil War historian Catton.
To America, Personal Reflections of an historian by Stephen Ambrose (973 Amb) Highlights of American history from the Revolution to present day.
Triangle: the fire that changed America by Dave Von Drehle (974.71 Von) The 1911 factory fire that changed American labor and safety laws.
The Wild Blue, the men and boys who flew the B-24’s over Germany by Stephen Ambrose (940.5449 Amb) The story of WW II flyers told by a very readable historian.
Two more readable history titles are: Raising the Hunley, the remarkable history and recovery of the lost Confederate submarine by Brian Hicks and Schuyler Kropf. Sunk in an 1864 battle, the sub was raised from Charleston Harbor in August 2000.
4th of July, Asbury Park, a history of the promised land by Daniel Wolff is a colorful, well-told social history complete with stories of greed, famous musicians, the rise and fall of a town.
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