The Best History Books of November

Chris Schluep on November 06, 2017

HistoryCover200Just as we can count on the leaves turning and eventually falling from the trees, we can count on the fall to bring some great serious nonfiction. Big, bold books by award-winning authors. Stories of great leaders, the good ones and the not-so-good. But there's more to fall history books than just political icons.

Below are some standouts. You can also go straight to our full list of the Best History Books of November. 



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Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life by Robert Dallek - FDR was one of our greatest presidents, an unparalleled uniter and consensus maker. Robert Dallek’s Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life takes a fresh look at the many compelling questions that have attracted all his biographers: How did someone who never won recognition for his intellect foster revolutionary changes in the country’s economic and social institutions? How did Roosevelt work such a profound change in the country’s foreign relations? How did a man who came from so privileged a background become the greatest presidential champion of the country’s needy? 

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Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan - Supplemented by a cache of extraordinary documents and letters from Jann Wenner's personal archives, Sticky Fingers depicts an ambitious, mercurial, wide-eyed rock and roll fan of who exalts in youth and beauty and learns how to package it, marketing late sixties counterculture as a testament to the power of American youth. The result is a fascinating and complex portrait of man and era, and an irresistible biography of popular culture, celebrity, music, and politics in America.  

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Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 by Stephen Kotkin - Here is Vol. Two of Kotkin's impressive biography of Stalin. In 1929 Stalin formally ordered the systematic conversion of the world’s largest peasant economy into “socialist modernity,” otherwise known as collectivization, regardless of the cost. Having built a formidable industrialized military, the Soviet Union was effectively alone and surrounded by perceived enemies. The quest for security would bring Soviet Communism to a shocking and improbable pact with Nazi Germany. But that bargain would not unfold as envisioned. The lives of Stalin and Hitler, and the fates of their respective dictatorships, drew ever closer to collision, as the world hung in the balance.

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Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone by Richard Lloyd Parry - This is an admittedly difficult book to read, but it is also a mesmerizing, compelling portrait of tragedy on a mass scale. Here is the definitive telling of the 2011 Japanese tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people in the northeast of the country, written by the Japan correspondent of The Times of London. Parry interviews survivors to create an intimate and eerie portrait of what happened that day. It was the largest single loss of life in Japan since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, but he focuses on the individuals involved. We see it through their eyes.
Again here is the full list.






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