The best history books of November

Chris Schluep on November 24, 2020
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The best history books of November

Every month, the Amazon Books editors get together to select the ten best books of the month. After we've picked the main list, we break off to determine the best books in a variety of categories. One of the categories I pick is the history category.

Below are four standouts from the best history books of November—the first one, Pappyland, also made our top 10 Best Books of the Month. But I'll point out that any one of the books below could have ended up on the main list and no one would have blinked. These are all really good books.


Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last by Wright Thompson

We picked this one for our list of the 10 Best Books of November. In her review, Amazon Senior Editor Seira Wilson had this to say: "Pappyland goes inside the cult of Pappy Van Winkle whiskey to meet its charismatic creator, Julian Van Winkle III, and learn the fascinating story of a legacy lost and reclaimed. A delicious tale of perseverance and craftsmanship, of Kentucky, and of family that is as smooth and satisfying as a glass of the rare Pappy itself."


First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country by Thomas E. Ricks

Few have the discipline to spend years reading Greek and Roman speeches in the basements of college libraries. That’s okay—Thomas E. Ricks did it for us. Now readers can enjoy the thrill of First Principles, an illuminating book that will heighten your sense of where the Founders, steeped in the classics, were taking our country and where we are supposed to go from here.


The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest by Ed Caesar

I looked at this book and said to myself, Boy, I hope this book is half as good as its cover. And guess what? It is as good as its cover. Here's a story from another era, back when people buried their psychological war wounds deep down inside and tried to salve them by heroic acts of bravery. The result is a life that isn't cookie cutter, that stretches for the unattainable, and that makes for a really great read.


Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South by Rick Bragg

These are all previously published stories from Rick Bragg's celebrated career, but that doesn't detract from their ability to entertain, inspire, and provoke a rainbow of thoughts and images. It's like sitting on a porch with a Southern man, a great story teller, maybe someone who looks a lot like Rick Bragg, and having him download all his thoughts, insight, and humor into your mind. If the South is a place you love, you'll love reading this book. If it's a place you just wonder about, chances are you'll love reading this book. 


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