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The Rule of Laws: A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the World

An intriguing synthesis of the history of global legal codes and their origins.

The Duchess Countess: The Woman Who Scandalized Eighteenth-Century London


The Vote Collectors: The True Story of the Scamsters, Politicians, and Preachers Behind the Nation’s Greatest Electoral Fraud

Graff and Ochsner’s colloquial style makes a dry subject into a fascinating read. Recommended for readers interested in politics and North Carolina.

The Approaching Storm: Roosevelt, Wilson, Addams, and Their Clash over America’s Future

Lanctot offers a well-written presentation on a familiar topic, which general readers might compare to Justus Doenecke’s Nothing Less Than War and G. J. Meyer’s The World Remade.

The Writing of the Gods: The Race To Decode the Rosetta Stone

Dolnick presents a fast-paced intellectual adventure for general readers that surveys the invention of writing and the processes of deciphering and decoding. Highly recommended for anyone who relishes challenging puzzles.

From Warsaw with Love: Polish Spies, the CIA, and the Forging of an Unlikely Alliance

A decent foray into post–World War II intelligence that should appeal to readers interested in Cold War espionage or 20th-century Polish history.

The Gilded Page: The Secret Lives of Medieval Manuscripts

A rare book about primary sources themselves, written in language that will appeals to medieval experts and new students alike.

The Last Emperor of Mexico: The Dramatic Story of the Habsburg Archduke Who Created a Kingdom in the New World

Crisply written and meticulously researched, Shawcross’s engaging book tells a lively story that will appeal to most history buffs.

Cuba: An American History

A captivating history of Cuba, highly recommended for general readers and specialists alike.

Conquistadores: A New History of Spanish Discovery and Conquest

A richly provocative retelling of the deeds of the conquistadores and the spirit of their age. Cervantes is a gifted scholar and storyteller who offers readers no easy moral clarity.

The Greeks: A Global History

The book’s wide historic focus offers something for general readers interested in any period of Greek history; particularly good for enthusiasts of Greek antiquity who want to expand their knowledge.

In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918–1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust

Highly recommended as a critical history analyzing the factors that led to the Holocaust and for readers interested in post–Great War Europe and the Russian Civil War.

Attacks on the American Press: A Documentary and Reference Guide

A well-curated compilation of important primary documents representing more than 200 years of American aggression toward the media. General readers and students of journalism, communications, history, and political science will find this work useful.

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story

Like the magazine version of the 1619 Project, this invaluable book sets itself apart by reframing readers’ understanding of U.S. history, past and present.

Read-Alikes for ‘Peril’ by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa | LibraryReads

Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love

This fast-paced book will find an eager audience among readers interested in Jewish, European, and World War II history; highly recommended.

The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics

Ngai’s thoroughly researched work is essential for anyone studying the Chinese diaspora in the Anglo American world, or gold rushes generally. Readers interested in Chinese immigrants in the 19th-century United States should also consider Gordon H. Chang’s Ghosts of Gold Mountain.

The Long War: The Inside Story of America and Afghanistan Since 9/11

This retrospective (offered rather early for historical perspective, but in time for policy debates) provides valuable insight on the longest conflict in U.S. history.

Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages

While this work does not break new ground, it will satisfy readers of popular history, particularly of the epic variety.

The Shattering: America in the 1960s

Fans of Boyle’s previous works and readers of books by Isabel Wilkerson and Jon Meachum will find exceptional research and powerful writing in this outstanding history.

American Revolution: The Essential Reference Guide

A basic but lucid and effective look at the American Revolution, with an emphasis on the major personalities, military maneuvers, and events of the war. General readers and high school students will find it useful.

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried To Make Her Disappear

This brilliant story of one woman’s amazing perseverance is guaranteed to inspire all those who continue Packard’s fight for social reform and true gender equality.

Robert E. Lee: A Life

Based on family letters and other primary documents, this fine biography is a must-read for Civil War enthusiasts and those interested in Lee’s legacy.

The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed To Survive

This book’s staggering accounts of inhumanity can be difficult to read, but the incredible stories of Holocaust survivors and the lives they built during and after the war are worth it.

Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War

Highly recommended for any audience (professional or general) with an interest in African or African diaspora studies, history of the Atlantic slave trade, the Atlantic world, pre-industrialization, U.S. history, general world history, or sociology.

The Transcendentalists and Their World

This lively social and cultural history should reward most readers interested in this critical period of American history.

The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773–1783

Ellis’s witty style and astute analysis make this essential reading for historians and enthusiasts at all levels who want to disentangle the complex historiography of the American Revolution.

The 2000s

Students and general readers curious about the 2000s will find the chapters engaging and the suggested reading lists thorough.

The Reagan Revolution and the Rise of the New Right

Though the analysis isn’t groundbreaking, the history of Reagan and his era is told clearly, with useful ancillary material. However, readers who are unfamiliar with U.S. history may come away with an overly rosy view of the Reagan administration.

The Taking of Jemima Boone: Colonial Settlers, Tribal Nations, and the Kidnap That Shaped a Nation

This is a stimulating read which honors the complexity of the events described. History buffs will eat it up.

Firepower: How Weapons Shaped Warfare

Readers of military history (particularly about military technology, warfare, and the effects of these on society as a whole) will find this book interesting. It includes extensive histories of many of the most important military technologies of the 16th through 20th centuries.

Choctaw Confederates: The American Civil War in Indian Country

Readers interested in history of Indigenous peoples and the U.S. Civil War will enjoy this look at the Confederacy through the lens of Choctaw people.

Fighting for Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer | Biography Reviews


The Hitler Years: Disaster, 1940–1945

This is a lengthy book, which sometimes moves from event to event and from subject to subject without any transitional passages. This is, however, a minor criticism, as McDonough packs a great deal of information into a narrative that still manages to hold readers’ attention throughout. Pair with the first volume for a solid history of World War II.

To Address You as My Friend: African Americans’ Letters to Abraham Lincoln

These letters provide telling examples of the ways that Black Americans, free and enslaved, proactively and persistently sought liberty by word and deed and laid claim to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship: a truth as pertinent and pressing in the 21st century as during Lincoln’s day.

A Nation of Descendants: Politics and the Practice of Genealogy in U.S. History

Recommended for historians and students of information and cultural studies for its expansive overview of a niche field.

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler

Donner’s meticulous research and novelist’s sensibility make for a riveting biography of a remarkable and brave woman; there’s also good insight into the German Resistance. Readers of Erik Larson’s biography In the Garden of Beasts will appreciate Donner’s different perspective on the same historical events and figures. Recommended to all who enjoy engaging narrative nonfiction.

Jackie Robinson: A Life in American History

Readers interested in history, sports, and Robinson (whether as an athlete or for his work beyond baseball) will learn much from this worthwhile book.

Scottish Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond

Lovers of Scottish history and readers searching for their Scottish roots will find an abundance of resources to keep them busy.

The Failed Promise: Reconstruction, Frederick Douglass, and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

Recommended for readers who enjoy 19th-century history or presidential studies, and those seeking to understand the failures of Reconstruction. This thorough account adds a much-needed perspective on Reconstruction and Johnson’s presidency; it speaks to the ongoing battles over voting rights and racism.

Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution

Holton’s exhaustive, masterfully written chronicle demonstrates that the Revolution was much more than a movement instigated by the political ideologies of a handful of elite, revered (although flawed) Founding Fathers against the British parliament and king. This book will be pivotal for scholars and requested by American history enthusiasts.

About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks

An interesting book for world history readers, especially those interested in the history of science or art.

The Generals’ Civil War: What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today

Cushman never fully demonstrates his argument that Civil War memoirs led to the emphasis on individual actors, rather than the collective people, as the touchstones of Americans’ reflections on their “self” thereafter. Regardless, this deep analysis of the process of creating and selling the memoir’s persona and form adds new insight to the subject of the Civil War memoir. A fascinating tour de force of scholarship.

Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery

A vivid tale of adventure and discovery that will draw in all history lovers. Reséndez’s skillful writing is fast-paced, inviting, and descriptive, setting this book apart.

The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars, and Caliphs

There’s no study more masterful than Baer’s on the lengthy rule of the Ottoman Empire, from its founding in the 13th century to its collapse in 1924. Baer is especially skilled at presenting extensive information in an engaging and accessible way.

Colonial America: Facts and Fictions

Thoroughly researched, clearly written, and eye-opening in major and minor ways, this book will be valuable not only to academics but to all readers.

Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern

Based on a series of Beard’s lectures, this lavishly illustrated volume will be accessible and interesting to a wide variety of readers; a must-read for anyone interested in classics or art history

The Gallery of Miracles and Madness: Insanity, Modernism, and Hitler’s War on Art

A moving account of art and mental illness in Nazi Germany. English’s accessible, inviting writing will draw in readers interested in personal perspectives of the Third Reich as well as aficionados of art history.

A Second Reckoning: Race, Injustice, and the Last Hanging in Annapolis

 Calling for ongoing systemic change, this short book packs a big punch and will resonate with many in the 21st century.

Beyond Slavery's Shadow: Free People of Color in the South

Synthesizing local histories and individual stories, Milteer opens to interested readers a fresh vista of a more complicated history of the South and the position of people of color, with implications for the 21st century.


Taking Paris: The Epic Battle for the City of Lights

Recommended for self-described history nerds and other general readers interested in World War II or French history.

When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe

An interesting look at the lives and relationships of four of the Renaissance’s most powerful women, though general readers might find the focus too scholarly and the arrangement of information somewhat muddled.

Across the Airless Wilds: The Lunar Rover and the Triumph of the Final Moon Landings

The latest by Swift will especially appeal to all those interested in U.S. space programs and anyone seeking a well-written story of action and adventure.

Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee’s Army After Appomattox

Similar to Janney’s previous works, this detailed military history will find an eager audience among Civil War enthusiasts.

Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the English Country House After World War II

A gossipy look at British estate owners. Recommended for readers interested in stately homes and aristocrats.

The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World

As in Herman’s previous books, his writing is engaging and accessible and will engage fans of popular history. It doesn’t aim to be an in-depth, exhaustive history, but rather offers some highlights and bite-sized narratives that make it an excellent armchair read.

Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away

Engaging narrative nonfiction that will thrill readers who are drawn to works by Ben Macintyre and Kate Moore.

By the Light of Burning Dreams: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution

The Talbots cover a lot of ground in this wide-ranging yet accessible work. Readers interested in 1960s counterculture and activism will enjoy this history, especially when it discusses less written-about leaders.

The Essential Kerner Commission Report

The Kerner Commission Report was in its day a tour de force of investigation and recommendation, with a sense of urgency that still echoes in this edition. What was true in 1967 remains so in the 21st century, and this version of the report might point the way toward a national resolution, if the United States summons the will and wherewithal to make change.

New Women in the Old West: From Settlers to Suffragists, an Untold American Story

This well researched and expertly documented account of noteworthy women who effected change during a pivotal era in the United States is a welcome addition to all history collections. Gallagher’s emphasis on the diversity of her subjects makes the book exceptional.


Eight Days in May: The Final Collapse of the Third Reich

Ullrich offers little new information or critical insights, but his book delivers to historians of all stripes a lean and perceptive survey of the last week of the Third Reich.

In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism

Complete with maps and photographs, this outstanding work should satisfy history enthusiasts of all levels. Daughton’s writing is heartfelt throughout.

Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution

A highly readable biography of a committed liberal activist caught up in the fickle political passions of revolutionary extremism, violence, and war. Like Duncan’s previous work, this book is engaging and accessible.


The Howe Dynasty: The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain's Wars for America

This engaging popular history stands apart for its different perspective of the British side of the American Revolution and the Howe family’s involvement in peace efforts.

The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge and the Phoenix Park Murders That Stunned Victorian England

Expertly blending history and true crime, this is an essential read for anyone wanting to understand modern Irish history. Kavanagh’s writing is engaging from start to finish.


Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy

This enjoyable read, as intensely researched as all of Philbrick's books, offers insight into the motivations and career of the author (a self-described history geek), and the vision, character, and impact of Washington. For history readers at all levels.

The Hitler Years: Triumph, 1933–1939

McDonough largely succeeds in writing a nuanced overview of the early days of Nazi Germany and creating a work that will bridge the divide between popular and academic audiences. It will pair well with the second volume, The Hitler Years: Disaster, 1940–1945.

The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II

Eder’s engaging writing makes these compelling histories read like a suspense novel. A highly recommended account that will draw in readers of U.S. history and women’s history.


Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them

This fast-paced, well-written social history will appeal to fans of women’s history who enjoy reading interesting life stories.

The Artist and the Eternal City

Some prior familiarity with Bernini and baroque Rome is helpful here. Still, many readers fond of European art and history will find this short volume worthwhile.

By Water Beneath the Walls: The Rise of the Navy Seals

Rich in action-packed narrative but light on analysis, this book is recommended for readers looking for a navy-focused popular history of special operations warfare.

Once More to the Sky: The Rebuilding of the World Trade Center

Complete with extensive photographs of people and place, this is a comprehensive look at one of the most famous spots in the United States, from a different perspective. This book is meant for readers who like learning background details and want more than a surface-level look at landmarks and monuments.

The Eternal Decline and Fall of Rome: The History of a Dangerous Idea

While not as strong as Watts’s last work, Mortal Republic, this is still a compelling read. It will find an audience among classicists as well as readers interested in contemporary discourses concerning American decline and possible renewal that draw from the narrative of Rome.

The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History

Fans of military history will appreciate this book’s attention to the Ottoman side of the war; general readers will learn much about the influence of mass psychology. Like Fox’s previous works, this latest is a page-turner.

When Evil Lived in Laurel: The “White Knights” and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer

An interesting account of civil rights–era Mississippi, although it’s largely focused on the perspective of white men. Recommended for readers interested in civil rights history.

Surviving Southampton: African American Women and Resistance in Nat Turner’s Community

An important new perspective on the Turner rebellion for readers of Black U.S.history.

Checkmate in Berlin: The Cold War Showdown That Shaped the Modern World

Weaving together archival transcripts and an incredible array of secondary sources, this book satisfies on many levels and will engage fans of military history, as well as readers looking for fresh takes on World War II. As in his previous books, Milton’s writing here is accessible and holds readers’ attention from start to finish.

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

Readers interested in often-overlooked lives and experiences, and anyone who cherishes a handcrafted heirloom, will enjoy this fascinating book. With YA crossover appeal, the accessible, personal writing sets this book apart.

Great Sieges in World History: From Ancient Times to the 21st Century

Never glossing over the human casualties and physical destruction wrought by war, Tucker’s thoughtful work will help readers understand the evolution of siege warfare. Highly recommended for those interested in military history.

Rosa Parks: A Life in American History

Those interested in learning more about Parks and the civil rights movement will find inspiration in this enlightening work.

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried To Make Her Disappear

A must-read for anybody interested in women’s history or the history of reform in the United States. Like Radium Girls, this volume is a page-turner.

The Sacred Band: Three Hundred Theban Lovers Fighting To Save Greek Freedom

Interest in Thebes among general readers of popular classics is rising; as such, this book is highly recommended and will appeal to fans of Thebes, by Paul Cartledge, as well as readers of LGBTQ+ history.

Geniuses at War: Bletchley Park, Colossus, and the Dawn of the Digital Age

Incredibly well-written and well-researched, this fast-paced book reads like a novel. Highly recommended to readers with an interest in World War II and 20th-century history, as well as anyone looking for an exciting story of code breaking and intrigue.

Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth

Not only an essential work of Texas history, but popular history at its best. The book shines when detailing the power of telling one’s own story.

Unsung Hero of Gettysburg: The Story of Union General David McMurtrie Gregg

Longacre’s skill at military history makes for fascinating reading for those desiring to broaden their knowledge of the Union army’s officer corps.

The Verge: Reformation, Renaissance, and Forty Years That Shook the World

This work of popular history will appeal to readers of Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve or William H. McNeill’s earlier The Rise of the West.

The Florentines: From Dante to Galileo; The Transformation of Western Civilization

Bringing the Renaissance into better focus, this well-researched work is highly recommended for readers with an interest in the era, art history, and Italian history.

The Man Who Hated Women: Sex, Censorship, and Civil Liberties in the Gilded Age

Both entertaining and informative, this volume will appeal to readers interested in feminism, freedom of speech and the press, and U.S. history in general.

The Man in the Iron Mask: The True Story of Europe’s Most Famous Prisoner

Dense with detail, this comprehensive work requires some knowledge or interest in this specific period of French history.

From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West

This is not just the story of two bitterly determined railroad companies; it’s also a portrait of a violent and visionary strain of the American psyche, one that Sedgwick argues is very much still with us. This will primarily appeal to readers interested in railroad history.

Kennedy’s Avenger: Assassination, Conspiracy, and the Forgotten Trial of Jack Ruby

This account makes the trial accessible and presents Ruby sympathetically, as a man victimized by lawyerly theatrics, a media hungry for a conviction, and a nation grieving over the loss of Kennedy. The book will fascinate nonfiction courtroom drama readers and JFK assassination buffs still looking for a conspiracy link between Oswald and Ruby.


The Orphans of Davenport: Eugenics, the Great Depression, and the War Over Children’s Intelligence

A remarkable unsung history, told with empathy, nuance, and a knack for character-driven storytelling.

War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, the Texas Rangers, and an American Invasion

A thorough overview of an often-overlooked period in history that helps put present-day U.S.–Mexico relations into context.

Clear, Hold, and Destroy: Pacification in Phú Yên and the American War in Vietnam

This academic yet highly readable study will appeal to readers interested in the Vietnam War and its failures and lessons.

African Europeans: An Untold History

Meticulously researched and beautifully written, this is an essential work of historical scholarship that is highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.

The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live

An intriguing analysis of a stereotyped field that will find a welcome place among collections specializing in feminism and women’s studies.

The Appalachian Trail: A Biography

For readers interested in the outdoors. The complicated and colorful people who brought the AT to life deliver a distinctive view of its creation.

The Words That Made Us

Although sometimes dense in detail, Amar’s original work offers general readers an accessible and often entertaining narrative and lessons to glean from the founding document of the United States. The wide range of material covered in the book will give scholars plenty of interpretations to engage with.

Daily Life of Women in Postwar America

Readable, reliable, and wide-ranging, this volume will appeal to those with a general interest in U.S. cultural history.

America’s National Anthem: “The Star-Spangled Banner” in U.S. History, Culture, and Law

Intended for readers interested in American history and culture, this insightful, well-researched work offers a nuanced and balanced look at one of the United States’ core historical markers.

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