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Give me your best non fiction and fiction for 1850-present


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I am going to have them read Hero of the Empire by Millard. (non fiction about Boer War and Churchill)

What else is engaging non fiction for anywhere in this time period?

I have Just Mercy on my next to read list, so I might have them read that.

Also, fiction that is set in this historical time period?  As opposed to strictly historical fiction.  So, I will have them read Blackout and All Clear by Willis. Time travel, but such a great immersion in what it was like to be in London during the WWII bombing raids.

Thanks in advance,

Kendall 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think they have all read Sherlock Holmes, but I'll check. Dickens we did this year.   I'm happy with a range of suggestions!   Non fiction, both biography and more event focused, is my first priority.

 

I found some novels here that I might try reading myself. I don't know if any of them will be appropriate for high school.

https://modernmrsdarcy.com/immersive-historical-fiction-books-overlooked-events?utm_source=convertkit&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=📚15+immersive+fiction+books+about+overlooked+historical+events+%2B+a+book+birthday - 5409522

 

Farrar- great question, why indeed. hmm I should think about this more, but first I want something that is well written and engagaing so that they are interested in it. They will be reading a sweeping history text and I want to zero in on some different events or time periods.  You get more of a feel for what events and life was really like reading biographies or narrative like non fiction or just well written non fiction. 

I'll try to think of some events/time periods but I'm more concerned with it being engaging and well written than I am in covering certain time periods. 

For the most part, fiction will be for suggested reading in their free time for my more voracious readers.

 

Thank you!

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So... you'll be doing modern history and want a few books to zero in on a few topics?

Well, for nonfiction, literally off the top of my head, I'd suggest...
The Ghost Map - cholera in 1850's London
God's Chinese Son - Taiping Rebellion in China in the 1850's
The Poisoner's Handbook - poisoning, forensic science, etc. in the US in the early 1900's
King Leopold's Ghost - the Belgian Congo and imperialism
The Guns of August - leadup to WWI
The Warmth of Other Suns - the Great Migration in the US
The Rape of Nanjing - WWII in China
The Good War - the US in WWII
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families - Rwandan genocide

That's not terrible for well-rounded either, I think... 

I like memoirs for history, so I'll toss in some memoirs...
A Daughter of Han - Qing China
Wild Swans - late Qing, republican, and up through the Cultural Revolution China
Maus - the Holocaust
Persepolis - Iranian revolution
Born a Crime - Apartheid
A Long Way Gone - child soldiers in Africa

I'll leave historical fiction for others to take a stab at. 

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4 minutes ago, Farrar said:

So... you'll be doing modern history and want a few books to zero in on a few topics?

Well, for nonfiction, literally off the top of my head, I'd suggest...
The Ghost Map - cholera in 1850's London
God's Chinese Son - Taiping Rebellion in China in the 1850's
The Poisoner's Handbook - poisoning, forensic science, etc. in the US in the early 1900's
King Leopold's Ghost - the Belgian Congo and imperialism
The Guns of August - leadup to WWI
The Warmth of Other Suns - the Great Migration in the US
The Rape of Nanjing - WWII in China
The Good War - the US in WWII
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families - Rwandan genocide

That's not terrible for well-rounded either, I think... 

I like memoirs for history, so I'll toss in some memoirs...
A Daughter of Han - Qing China
Wild Swans - late Qing, republican, and up through the Cultural Revolution China
Maus - the Holocaust
Persepolis - Iranian revolution
Born a Crime - Apartheid
A Long Way Gone - child soldiers in Africa

I'll leave historical fiction for others to take a stab at. 

Man, I wish I liked non-fiction better. I always look at lists like this and think I'd enjoy reading them, and then I just don't 😕 . I prefer my books to be story-driven. 

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Man, I wish I liked non-fiction better. I always look at lists like this and think I'd enjoy reading them, and then I just don't 😕 . I prefer my books to be story-driven. 

So, most of the ones I listed there are highly story-driven. Like, if you usually hate nonfiction, try The Ghost Map. My high school class this year mostly loved it. It inspired and lengthy discussion in class. Steven Johnson is just a great historical storyteller.

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1 minute ago, Farrar said:

So, most of the ones I listed there are highly story-driven. Like, if you usually hate nonfiction, try The Ghost Map. My high school class this year mostly loved it. It inspired and lengthy discussion in class. Steven Johnson is just a great historical storyteller.

Oooh. Excellent. If you had to narrow down to "the ones that read the most like fiction," which ones would they be? 

I don't mean to sound so picky, but I know myself. I feel like I learn way more about a time period from pieces that are story-driven than I do from other things, because I pay way better attention and enjoy the book more. 

Thanks so much for the recommendations! I've been meaning to learn more history before I teach the kids, and story-driven books are a great way to go about it for me. 

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Thank you so much!!! I just put quite a few on hold and am picking up several of the others tomorrow at the library. I'm looking forward to a few months of history reading for myself as I choose which ones my girls might most appreciate.

 

4 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Man, I wish I liked non-fiction better. I always look at lists like this and think I'd enjoy reading them, and then I just don't 😕 . I prefer my books to be story-driven. 

Here are a few more story driven non fiction works

The Hero of the Empire that I mentioned above and the author has written some others

The Great Halifax Explosion by Bacon

 

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1850s will cover westward expansion.  Do you want books covering that subject?

US Civil War and post/reconstruction period?

Roaring 20s

Dustbowl

Great Depression

WWI and WW II

Cold War

Vietnam

Can you narrow down your interest....country?  theme?

 

 

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On 4/27/2021 at 10:49 AM, Kendall said:

Also, fiction that is set in this historical time period?  As opposed to strictly historical fiction.  

Can you clarify what you mean by this? I have some suggestions for 1860s-1910s, but I want to be sure I understand what you're asking for. Are you more wanting books *about* the period but not written during, or do you want a mix?

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I'd highly recommend Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith, if you're wanting world history. It goes through each African country after they get their independence, so it covers about 1950-2000, maybe 2010. Very readable. If you want a novel to go with it, try Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton.

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On 5/1/2021 at 6:43 AM, Amy M said:

I'd highly recommend Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith, if you're wanting world history. It goes through each African country after they get their independence, so it covers about 1950-2000, maybe 2010. Very readable. If you want a novel to go with it, try Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton.

Thank you! Fate of Africa is the kind of book I'm looking for! 

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Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. Be sure to get the new translation of the recently rediscovered original German manuscript. https://www.amazon.com/Darkness-at-Noon-Arthur-Koestler/dp/1501161318/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1CPGZSKEJD2RE&dchild=1&keywords=darkness+at+noon+by+arthur+koestler&qid=1620177694&sprefix=darkness+at+noon%2Caps%2C276&sr=8-1

Gulag Archepeligo by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

Witness by Whittaker Chambershttps://www.amazon.com/Witness-Cold-Classics-Whittaker-Chambers/dp/162157296X/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=autobiography+w+chambers&qid=1620177988&sr=8-7

I also second King Leopold's Ghost, but I would pair it with the Joseph Conrad novel, Heart of Darkness. 

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24 minutes ago, Steven said:

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. Be sure to get the new translation of the recently rediscovered original German manuscript. https://www.amazon.com/Darkness-at-Noon-Arthur-Koestler/dp/1501161318/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1CPGZSKEJD2RE&dchild=1&keywords=darkness+at+noon+by+arthur+koestler&qid=1620177694&sprefix=darkness+at+noon%2Caps%2C276&sr=8-1

Gulag Archepeligo by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

Witness by Whittaker Chambershttps://www.amazon.com/Witness-Cold-Classics-Whittaker-Chambers/dp/162157296X/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=autobiography+w+chambers&qid=1620177988&sr=8-7

I also second King Leopold's Ghost, but I would pair it with the Joseph Conrad novel, Heart of Darkness. 

Thank you! Our library has the new translation of Darkness at Noon. I've put the others on hold. I'm excited about my reading summer! 

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I thought of another book that is less overtly political than my earlier suggestions:

And Ladies of the Club https://www.amazon.com/Santmyer-Helen-Hooven-Ladies-Hardcover/dp/B00J5T4L34/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=and+ladies+of+the+club&qid=1620223417&sr=8-2

This book wasa best seller when in came out in the mid 1980s. Having grown up in Ohio, I found it especially interesting since it traced the lives of the families of a group of women in Ohio who form a book/literary club right after the end of the civil war. It gives excellent insights into social, religous, and political attitudes from 1865 to 1930. I found the religous topics particularly interesting, as it explores the conflicts in beliefs and attitudes among various Protestant groups in matters ranging from Christmas parties to vaccines. The men in the novel are largely Civil War veterans who become the prominent businessmen in town and leaders in the Republican Party at a time when Ohio was a key political player. The portrayal of blacks, Jews, and Catholics in the town's life is also very interesting. 

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