The best history books of April

Chris Schluep on April 13, 2020

The best history books of April

I put together this collection of four of the best history books of the month, and when I looked back at it I realized that each book represented a different form of travel. Tombstone's got horses; The Women with Silver Wings has got planes; Square Hauntings has got writing; and Lincoln on the Verge has got the train. They're all forms of escape.

Is that a stretch? Maybe. But while you're sitting on your couch, these books are sure to transfer you to someplace else. Happy reading.


Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride from Hell by Tom Clavin

Hot off the heels of last year's Wild Bill, and following up on Dodge City, which featured Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West, Tom Clavin brings us Tombstone. This new book features the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday, along with a vendetta ride from hell, which captures the imagination, especially when you can't go anywhere yourself.


The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck

The Women with Silver Wings is the story of the American women who answered the call of WWII by joining the WASP, or Women Airforce Service Pilots. While they were not allowed to fly combat missions, these talented pilots could instruct and transport bombers and fighters. With more than 1,000 WASPs, it was a profoundly useful venture; but in 1944, Congress disbanded the organization. Highlighting individual women who served, this book recognizes their contributions and establishes their place in history. 


Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars by Francesca Wade

Francesca Wade uses London's Mecklenburgh Square to anchor her history, exploring the lives of a group of female writers whose lives intersected there. In the early 20th Century, five writers—modernist poet H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers, classicist Jane Harrison, economic historian Eileen Power, and author and publisher Virginia Woolf—inhabited Mecklenburgh Square. It represented a place where they could live and work, bravely and independently, and Wade brings these pioneers to vibrant life.


Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington by Ted Widmer

With Lincoln's inauguration less than two weeks away, he left the midwest for Washington, D.C. He traveled by rail, a physical representation of the strength and expansion of the country, but it was a country on the verge of being pulled apart. There was a conspiracy to assassinate the President-elect in Baltimore, and as we watch him travel closer to the capital, we see a figure rising to meet the moment. Widmer does a great job of capturing the times and the president the times helped to create.

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