Books Read

Below is a list (with descriptions) of nonfiction books that Andrew has read.

  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean
    • This book, as the title suggests, covers the history of the Periodic Table and the elements on it. Each element is covered group by group. The title refers to a gallium spoon dissolving when placed in hot water. 
  • The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery by Sam Kean
    • The Tale of Dueling Neurosurgeons is devoted to both the brain and the history of neuroscience. The two dueling neurosurgeons are Amboise Pare and Andreus Vesalius. 
  • The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean
    • The Violinist’s Thumb is similar to the two previous books and covers both genetics and the history of the study of genetics. The violinist in the title is Niccolò Paganini, who suffered from Marfan Syndrome. 
  • Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us by Sam Kean
    • This fourth book by Sam Kean is about the history of air. The history of both air in general and the components of air are discussed.
  • The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science by Sam Kean
    • Kean’s most recent book is about scientific ethics and the people who break them. The “icepick surgeon” in the title is lobotomist Walter Freeman. 
  • The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton
    • Edith Hamilton’s book on Greek mythology, Mythology, is still commonly used today. This book by Hamilton covers Ancient Athens in the fourth century.
  • Magnificent Machines by James May
    • Magnificent Machines covers the great technological developments of the 20th century, from the Model T to the Space Shuttle and the pacemaker. Each chapter shares the development of these important technologies and how they impacted our modern world. 
  • Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
    • Stuff Matters covers ten important solids integral to modern life, from Chocolate to plastic. Each chapter is presented in a different way: while one chapter may focus on the history of a substance, another is written like a movie script. 
  • Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives by Mark Miodownik
    • A sequel to Stuff Matters, Liquid Rules covers ten important liquids. 
  • SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
    • SPQR covers Rome’s history from the legends of Romulus to 212 AD. The book largely focuses on the city of Rome opposed to the Roman Empire. Beard is very well known in her native Britain for her work studying classical history. 
  • Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel
    • Banana is a history of the banana, from ancient banana eaters to modern banana republics. The book also talks about the future of the banana industry, and how our current banana may soon be extinct.
  • Brunel: The Man Who Built the World by Steven Brindle
    • This book is about the life and legacy of industrialist Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Each of his major accomplishments is covered, and it includes many little-known facts about Brunel’s life.
  • What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Monroe
    • What if? was written by Randall Monroe, a former NASA scientist. In this book, Monroe answers life’s important questions with science, including: “What would happen if you tried to fly a normal earth plane above different solar system bodies?” and “What would happen if you tried to pitch a baseball at 90 percent the speed of light?”
  • How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Monroe
    • How To is the sequel to What If?, with even more unique questions. While the questions are simple, such as “how to decorate a tree,” the answers are taken to the extreme. 
  • Marco Polo: The Journey that Changed the World by John Mann
    • This book retraces the route of Marco Polo’s journey to China. The book discusses both what the sites Polo saw looked like in his day but also what they are like today, and what places from Polo’s time can still be visited.
  • Paper: Paging Through History by Mark Kurlansky
    • This book covers the history of paper, from Egyptian papyrus to modern wood-based paper. It also covers the history of the uses of paper, from scrolls to books to money.
  • Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
    • Salt is about the many uses of salt from across history. Like Paper, Kurlanksy is very detailed in his research of such a simple topic. Kurlanksy has also written books on the history of cod and a history of the oyster.
  • The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization by Vince Beiser
    • Like Salt, sand seems like too simple a topic to be the subject of a book. However, Beiser’s book covers the many uses of sand from construction to microchips. It also shares the stories of people who mine sand, including “sand pirates.”
  •  Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pederson
    • Quackery covers the important medical missteps of the past, from radium cures to reusable laxatives. 
  • The Sawbones Book: The Hilarious, Horrifying Road to Modern Medicine by Justin McElroy and Sydnee McElroy
    • Similar to Quackery, this book covers the worst ideas from medical history. Major topics are covered in more detail than in Quackery
  • Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character by Adm. James G. Stavridis
    • In this book, Adm. Stavridis, a former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, documents the lives of ten important admirals from naval history, covering everyone from Francis Drake to Hyman Rickover. 
  • Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans by Adm. James G. Stavridis
    • Also written by Stavridis, this book covers the history of each ocean and how they influence modern global politics.
  • Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings
    • Maphead is about modern mapmaking and geography buffs. The book’s author, Ken Jennings, is best known for his 74-game record on Jeopardy!
  • Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U. S. Navy by Ian W. Toll
    • Ian Toll’s Six Frigates covers the early U.S. Navy, from the original six ships to the end of the War of 1812. Major naval leaders from this era, such as Stephen Decatur and William Bainbridge, are also discussed.
  • Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages, and the Greatest Naval Mystery of All Time by Michael Palin
    • Erebus documents the two voyages to the polar regions by the HMS Erebus, one trip to the Antarctic and one trip to the Arctic. The ship and her sister, the HMS Terror, mysteriously disappeared on their voyage to the Arctic. The author, Michael Palin, is best known as a part of Monty Python.
  • A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation by Simon Jenkins
    • A Short History of England covers English history from the Romans to today. The book focuses on politics, opposed to major societal changes.
  • A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton
    • This book begins in Ancient Babylon and ends with Google Earth. Twelve major world maps are covered, in addition to the societies that produced them.
  • The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West by David McCullough
    • The Pioneers traces the story of the Northwest Territory (the present-day Midwest), from the debate over its creation to the Civil War. 
  • A People’s History of the Supreme Court: The Men and Women Whose Cases and Decisions Have Shaped our Constitution by Peter Irons
    • Irons’ book documents the history of the US Constitution, from its beginnings at the Constitutional Convention to how it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court over the past two centuries. Many of the major cases that have impacted our nation are covered in detail, and the book shows just how important our Constitution is in day-to-day life. 
  • Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed the World by Penny Le Coutuer & Jay Burreson
    • This book covers seventeen molecules, and their important contributions to World History. The title refers to the tin buttons of Napoleon’s army, which may have led to his failure in Russia. 
  • John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred Kaplan
    • This excellent biography covers one of the most important and interesting forgotten presidents: John Quincy Adams. The book details many of the most interesting parks of his life: his childhood adventures to Europe, ending the War of 1812, his presidency, and his anti-slavery advocacy after he left office. 
  • A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg
    • Like John Quincy Adams, this book covers an often-forgotten part of American history before the Civil War: The Mexican American War. While the war is often a footnote, it created the legacy of James K. Polk, expanded our nation’s borders, and made Zachary Taylor president. This forgotten war greatly shaped our nation and Greenberg does an excellent job explaining its significance. 
  • The Sphinx: Franklin Roosevelt, the Isolationists, and the Road to World War II by Nicholas Wapshott
    • While Pearl Harbor is often considered the point America entered World War II, America was already preparing for the conflict. The Sphinx covers Roosevelt’s attempts to convince the nation war was inevitable, and his efforts to prepare America for World War II. 
  • This Hallowed Ground: A History of the Civil War by Bruce Catton
    • Bruce Catton’s book covers the Union Army during the Civil War. The period from Bleeding Kansas to Appomattox is covered in detail. The book is considered a modern classic, and Catton is well known for his efforts in sharing the story of the Civil War.
  • Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 by Nathaniel Philbrick.
    • In 1838, an expedition set sail to the Pacific Ocean, with the goal of documenting the unexplored area like Lewis and Clark had done on land decades before. The voyage enhanced our scientific understanding of the Pacific, but due to the actions of its egotistical captain was deemed a failure and became a footnote of history. Nathaniel Philbrick’s book does an excellent job of covering the forgotten U.S. Exploring Expedition. 
  • Conquest: How Societies Overwhelm Others by David Day
    • If there is more than one way to skin a cat, there are also many ways to conquer. Day’s book covers many of the ways utilized over the centuries, from warfare to cultural assimilation. 
  • Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager
    • As the title implies, this book covers the actions of Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812, particularly at the Battle of New Orleans. While the Battle of New Orleans was technically fought after the end of the war, it still greatly increased the morale of the young nation.
  • The Governors of Georgia, 1754 – 2004 by James F. Cook
    • The Governors of Georgia gives brief biographical information about each person who has held the office of Governor of Georgia. The highlight of the book is the Three Governors Controversy, when three men claimed they were the Governor of Georgia. 
  • 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann 
    • 1491 is about the great empires and cultures that dominated the Americas before Columbus. From the complex Iroquois Confederation to the powerful Aztecs, and the administrative Inca to the forgotten Amazonian empires, 1491 covers a wide variety of cultures, societies, and civilizations. 
  • A Brief History of the Age of Steam by Thomas Crump
    • This brief history covers the history of steam engines from their invention in the eighteenth century to the rise of internal combustion engines in the mid-twentieth century. The book discusses a wide variety of applications for the steam engine, from ships to trains.
  • Metropolis: A History of Mankind, Humankind’s Greatest Invention by Ben Wilson
    • Metropolis has a simple premise: what if our greatest human invention is not a device or gadget but the city. This book covers the creation of the city in Mesopotamia to modern metropolises like New York and Los Angeles. The book also discusses how cities have adapted to new societies and situations.
  • Seize the Fire: Heroism, Duty, and Nelson’s Battle of Trafalgar by Adam Nicholson
    • Seize the Fire is about the Battle of Trafalgar, particularly the English leaders. Because of the leadership shown by Lord Nelson and his “band of brothers,” the naval aspect of the Napoleonic Wars was over a full ten years before the fighting on land was done.
  • The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T. J. Stiles
    • First working as a ferry operator, Vanderbilt was an early adopter of steam power in the ferry industry. With this advantage Vanderbilt became one of America’s wealthiest men, even before he became a railroad tycoon. The First Tycoon not only covers Vanderbilt’s life but also covers the changes in American capitalism that took place during his life.
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
    • Shackleton’s expedition is one of the most heroic and adventurous stories of the twentieth century, and since its publication in the 1950s Endurance has been the definitive book on the expedition. 
  • The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip by Jeff Guinn
    • Starting in the mid-1910s, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, John Burroughs, and Harvey Firestone began taking summer road trips by automobile. For the next ten years they would visit remote parts of the country. At the same time the automobile was becoming more popular, and the Vagabond Trips coincided with the rise of the summer road trip in America. The Vagabonds is the story of these trips and how the public images of Ford and Edison changed during the decade they traveled.
  • Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician by Anthony Everitt
    • During Cicero’s life, he wrote many letters to a friend in Greece named Atticus. Amazingly a great deal of the content of these letters has been preserved, giving us a window into Cicero’s life. Using these letters to Atticus, Anthony Everitt’s Cicero chronicles the fall of the Roman Republic through the eyes of the esteemed Roman statesman. 
  • The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library by Edward Wilson-Lee
    • “In fourteen-hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Columbus would return to America three more times, including once with his illegitimate son Hernando. The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books is about Hernando, who helped curate his father’s image. Additionally, Hernando had a quest of his own: to build the world’s largest library. 
  • John Marshall: The Final Founder by Robert Strauss
    • This biography of former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall tells his life’s story and how he influenced the nation. The book also argues that Marshall is the final founding father. 
  • The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero by Peter J. Canellos
    • The Great Dissenter is a biography of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, the only dissenter in Plessy v. Ferguson. The book focuses on how Harlan was ahead of his time in many of his dissenting opinions and how he was later vindicated. 
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Life in War, Law, and Ideas by Stephen Budiansky
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., like John Marshall and John Marshall Harlan, was a giant of Supreme Court history. Known for his witty sayings and easy to understand court opinions, Holmes also played a key role in how we understand the Constitution. 
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Won and Lost a Naval Empire by Roger Crowley
    • At one time, the Mediterranean Sea was the most important waterway in the western world. One power ruled over the mighty Mediterranean: Venice. Rising to power after the Fourth Crusade, Venice would remain in control of Europe’s water trade until the Fall of Constantinople and the discovery of the New World.
  • The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes
    • The Forgotten Man recounts the Great Depression from the Roaring Twenties to the start of World War II. The book focuses on major players, such as Franklin Roosevelt, Father Divine, Andrew Mellon, and Wendell Willkie. The book covers much of the same time period of The Sphinx, but the two books have little overlap. 
  • The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
    • During Joseph Lister’s life, medicine changed from a messy, gory business into the clean and healthy profession it is today. Important in that change was the sanitizing of hospitals and the growing understanding of germ theory, and surgeon Joseph Lister played a vital role in both developments. 
  • The Canal Builders: Making America’s Empire at the Panama Canal by Julie Greene
    • When the Panama Canal was built, thousands of workers flooded to Central America to work on the project. While some lived a life of luxury, others lived and worked in conditions now considered intolerable. The Canal Builders is the story of both the canal’s construction and the people who built it. 
  • Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F. B. Morse by Kenneth Silverman
    • Samuel F. B. Morse was the nation’s most important painter, and one day had an epiphany. His idea became the American telegraph, which quickly became the standard telegraph in the world. Morse himself is a fascinating character, who briefly dabbled in politics and also helped pioneer American photography. 
  • Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts
    • Napoleon: A Life covers Napoleon from his birth on Corsica to his death on St. Helena. In between is a story of war, love, and politics. Considered a hero by some and a villain by others, Napoleon: A Life examines the man behind the myths.
  • Scientifica Historica: How the World’s Great Science Books Chart the History of Knowledge by Brain Clegg
    • Clegg’s book is about the history of science in writing, from Aristotle and Galen to Stephen Hawking. Scientifica Historica is devoted to the great science works of the past several millennia and covers every scientific topic imaginable. 
  • Barons of the Sea: And Their Race to Build the World’s Fastest Clipper Ship by Stephen Ujifusa 
    • In the 1830s, the opium trade with China was at its most lucrative point. In order to trade with China, it became necessary to build bigger and faster ships. This necessity created a new type of vessel called the Clipper Ship, and the race to build better ships would dominate the American shipping industry for the next thirty years.
  • Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick
    • When the Pilgrims landed in 1620 they faced many hardships, but by 1621 they were celebrating Thanksgiving. While the story usually ends there, in the 1670s King Philip’s War would ravage New England. Mayflower provides more detail about the story of the Pilgrim’s crossing, and how their actions lead to a war fifty years later.
  • Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
    • Since the Middle Ages cod has been one of the world’s most important sources of food, and Cod traces the history of cod and cod fishing since then. Cod is also about how Cod has been overfished and may soon be gone from our menus forever. 
  • The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shelf by Mark Kurlanksy
    • Since the earliest human settlements in New York harbor, the area has been known for its oysters. They became a business when the Dutch settled, an industry when the British took over, and an icon under the United States. The Big Oyster explains how the bivalve went from a world-renowned icon of New York City to a forgotten part of the history of the Big Apple. 
  • Our First Civil War: Patriots and Loyalists in the American Revolution by H. W. Brands
    • Our First Civil War is about the conflict which divided America into two warring factions: the American Revolution. Why did some people decide to create a new country? Why did others wish to stay allied with Great Britain? These questions are the theme of Our First Civil War
  • Conquistador: Hernán Cortés, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs by Buddy Levy
    • Conquistador is about the conqueror who took for Spain the world’s largest city: Hernán Cortés. At the time, Tenochtitlan was ten times larger than Europe’s largest city, and was the metropole of the massive Aztec Empire. Through firepower, diplomacy, and attrition, Cortés managed to capture the city for Spain. 
  • The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War by Michael F. Holt
    • Holt’s book documents the often forgotten and derided Whig Party. From its beginnings during Andrew Jackson’s presidency to its disintegration shortly before the Civil War, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party seeks to answer questions about how the Whig party came into power and how and why it fell apart so soon. 
  • The Nelson Touch: The Life and Legend of Horatio Nelson by Terry Coleman
    • Lord Nelson has been viewed variously as a hero, a villain, a daring adventure, a tyrant, and a saint. The Nelson Touch is a biography of the Admiral that seeks to examine these various interpretations and how they formed during and after his life, all while sharing his life story. 
  • The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw
    • Before his son was president, many expected his father Joe would become president. The Patriarch is about the rise, fall, and rise again of the patriarch of one of the nation’s most powerful political families;
  • Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-69 by Stephen E. Ambrose
    • In this book, Ambrose covers the birth and construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, one of the largest engineering feats of the nineteenth century. From its birth during the Mexican American War as a far-fetched dream to its realization after the Civil War, the railroad’s construction proves to be a fascinating story. 
  • Alexander the Great: His Life and His Mysterious Death by Anthony Everitt
    • The goal of Everitt’s biography is to show that Alexander still deserves the title of “the Great.” His military conquests created one the the largest empires in the world, but it all came crashing down after his death. Alexander the Great is an excellent biography of a unique character from the ancient past. 
  • The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans by David Abulafia
    • The Boundless Sea is an ambitious history of the oceans, from the earliest voyagers who set out into the Pacific to the massive container ships of today. Several thousand years of maritime history are covered in the weighty tome. 
  • Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels by Jill Jonnes
    • New York City’s Pennsylvania Station is a lost wonder of the Gilded Age. In Conquering Gotham, Jill Jonnes seeks to share the history of the creation of this Beaux-Arts monument from its conception in 1900 to its opening a decade later. 
  • Crusaders: The Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands by Dan Jones
    • Since the first crusade in the eleventh century, they have been idolized, vilified, and examined repeatedly. Crusaders seeks to share the story of the (many) Medieval crusades by providing overviews of their cause, leaders, battles, and effects on both sides of the conflict. Jones also seeks to show why the crusades are still relevant in the twenty-first century. 
  • All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard-Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy by Phil Keith with Tom Clavin
    • Eugene Bullard was a hero of France, serving in both world wars. He was a spy, helping the French as the Nazi’s overtook Europe. He was a boxer, who gained fame across the Old World. He was a nightclub owner, who was acquainted with everyone from Langston Hughes to Fred Astaire and Josephine Baker to Louis Armstrong. Most importantly, he was the first African American military pilot in history. All Blood Runs Red is the remarkable story of this often forgotten individual. 
  • American Republics: A Continental History of the United States, 1783-1850 by Alan Taylor
    • The history of early America is a nice, leisurely stroll through the first 70 years of our country. It covers a variety of subjects that impacted the nation and is a great starting point for research into this period. 
  • Nathaniel’s Nutmeg: or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader who Changed the Course of History by Giles Milton
    • Nathaniel’s Nutmeg covers the early history of the English East India Company and its rivalry with its Dutch counterpart. At the heart of the conflict is the Banda Islands, home of nutmeg trees. Eventually, one of these islands, Run, was exchanged for New Amsterdam. Because of this, the tiny island of Run will change the course of American history. 
  • Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony by Lee Miller
    • The mystery of Roanoke will likely never be solved. The colonists of England’s first New World settlement were last seen in 1587 and the colonists were never seen again. This is book on the colony, Miller proposes that Lord Walsignham hired spies to doom the expedition and that the colonists were sold into slavery in the middle of North Carolina. While the book does bounce around the island’s history, it still provides an entertaining read. 
  • Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern by Mary Beard
    • Since Ancient Rome the imperial images of Roman emperors have captivated audiences. Who were these individuals? How did they choose to be represented? How have others depicted them? These questions, and more, are detailed in this fascinating book by Mary Beard. 
  • John Marshall: The Man who Made the Supreme Court by Richard Brookhiser
    • John Marshall’s time on the Supreme Court changed our nation’s government forever. Regarded by some to be the final founding father, this biography by well-known author Richard Brookhiser is an exemplary look at his life and legacy. 
  • The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson
    • The desert’s of Egypt, even in the twenty-first century, are barren and inhospitable. How did one of the world’s longest lasting ancient civilizations grow and thrive in Egypt? What caused its fall? Wilkinson’s history of Ancient Egypt seeks to answer these questions while showing the pharaohs that reigned for over two thousand years.
  • Mirage: Napoleon’s Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt by Nina Burleigh
    • When Napoleon arrived in Egypt in 1798 he entered an unknown, antique land. To study the wonders of Egypt he brought with him a group of scientists called the savants. Mirage is the story of these scientists’ studies with several looks at individual savants.
  • The Keys of Egypt: The Obsession to Decipher Egyptian Hieroglyphs by Lesley and Roy Adkins
    • When the scientist’s of Napoleon returned to Egypt, they brought with them enough material from the expedition to start the field of Egyptology. There was only one problem: no one could read hieroglyphics. The Keys of Egypt is both the story of the race to read hieroglyphics, and the story of the man who cracked the code, Jean-Francois Champollion.
  • The First World War by John Keegan
    • World War I changed the face of the Earth, literally and figuratively. The impact of the war can still be felt across the globe, from America to Europe and the Middle East to Africa. The First World War is the story of this conflict: how it started, how it was fought, and how it ended. Keegan provides a wonderful overview of “the war to end all wars.”
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry
    • The 1918-19 Influenza pandemic, that spread across the globe in wake of World War I, remains the deadliest pandemic in history. The Great Influenza is the story of the American scientists working to stop the pandemic and the public who was faced with a menace unlike any seen before.
  • General Patton: A Soldier’s Life by Stanley P. Hirshson
    • Patton is a figure of contradictions, and remains one of the best loved general’s of World War II. In this biography, Hirshson traces Patton’s life from his birth to his death, and finally his legacy.
  • The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter
    • The Monuments Men, also called the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program, was a group of soldiers during World War II dedicated to preserving Europe’s cultural heritage. The Monuments Men tells the story of these brave soldiers and their quest to save the past for the future.
  • The Three Governors Controversy: Skullduggery, Machinations, and the Decline of Georgia’s Progressive Politics by Charles S. Bullock III, Scott E. Buchanan, and Ronald Keith Gaddie
    • Georgia’s Three Governors Controversy, which took place in 1947, is easily the strangest event to ever take place in Georgia political history. During this time our state had not one, not two, but three men who claimed they were the Governor of Georgia. This book shares the story of and the people involved with that unique chapter of our history.
  • Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller
    • David Starr Jordan was one of the best known ichthyologists (fish scientists) of his time. His rows and rows of specimens represented decades of hard work. One day, during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, his collection was destroyed entirely. Why Fish Don’t Exist is the story of Jordan, his collection, and how he rebuilt. It is also partly a memoir of the author, and is one of the most unique books I have read this year.
  • All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
    • All the President’s Men is considered a non-fiction classic. The book is about the investigations into Watergate, and was written by the reporters who first brought attention to the story. From burglary to the mysterious “Deep Throat,” All the President’s Men is an exciting tale of scandal and intrigue. 
  • Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings by Neil Price
    • The Vikings are some of the most enigmatic people in history, only because of their status as pop culture icons. Children of Ash and Elm seeks to show who the Vikings actually were: in society, in trade, and in war.
  • The Unexpected President: The Life and Times of Chester Arthur by Scott S. Greenberger
    • Few presidents are more forgotten than Chester Alan Arthur. Becoming our nation’s leader after the assassination of James A. Garfield, many viewed Arthur’s ascendancy with trepidation. He proved a capable leader, and The Unexpected President shows why Arthur should be remembered.
  • The Library: A Fragile History by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen
    • Since the Library of Alexandria the library has been a place of learning, and a status symbol. The Library: A Fragile History traces the many rises and many falls of libraries in world history. From the Medieval monasteries to the large public libraries of today, The Library is both comprehensive and engaging. 
  • Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World by Simon Winchester
    • There is very little that is done in life that does not involve land. It makes up 25% of the globe, and a great deal more of our day-to-day lives. Land seeks to share the story of this asset: how it is viewed, how it is owned, and how it is fought over. Winchester, in this far-reaching book, seeks to show just how important land truly is.
  • Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor by Russell S. Bonds
    • On April 12, 1862, the locomotive General was stolen, starting the Great Locomotive Chase. Stealing the General tells the story of this exciting adventure and the men who participated in it. Ultimately, the first Medals of Honor would be awarded to several of the “Andrews Raiders.”
  • Grant by Ron Chernow
    • Grant is not just the biography of a well-respected General, but the story of a forgotten President. Chernow seeks to show why Grant was one of the greatest Generals of the Civil War, and how his historical reputation has suffered because of his honesty and forward-thinking qualities. It is an excellent read, and provides valuable insight into the life of Ulysses S. Grant. 
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
    • Considered a modern classic, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is about Savannah, the oldest city in Georgia. The book is filled with unique individuals and stories that highlight the uniqueness of the history city. 
  • Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland
    • Rubicon tells the story from Sulla to Augustus, when the Roman Republic ended and was replaced by an empire. Along the way notable Romans like Caesar, Cicero, Pompey, Mark Antony, and Brutus are all introduced. This is a wonderful work about the first fall of Rome.
  • Sons of the Waves: A History of the Common Sailor, 1740-1840 by Stephen Taylor
    • CURRENTLY READING

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