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Beyond the Newsstand

American History

Battles of the Revolutionary War 1775-1781 1995 William J Wood ISBN:0306806177
Good chapters on some of the major battles of the war.  The end focuses on the  "Chesapeake Capes" and the naval duel, rather than Cornwallis at Yorktown, which is a better way to explain why he could not get away than the focus of most books on the war. 

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The First Salute 1988 Barbara Tuchman ISBN:0394553330 
The American Revolution seen through the contending interests of the European countries, the naval aspects of the struggle, and the culminating Yorktown campaign.  See some of Tuchman's other books at Amazon, or find them used through .

Patriots:  The Men who Started the American Revolution 1988 A J Langguth ISBN:0671523759 (hardcover) ISBN:0671675621 (paper)
Interesting method presenting the Revolution.  Each chapter moves forward in time and focuses primarily on one person's biography, but several mini-bio's are presented, and each moves the story of the struggle forward.

Another Such Victory  1981 Thomas E Baker  ISBN:091599206x
The story of a narrow Patriot defeat at the hands of Cornwallis, which crippled his army, led him to abandon plans of conquering the southern colonies, and ultimately brought his army to Yorktown and surrender.

The Minutemen 1989 John Galvin ISBN:008036733X
Written by a US General, at the time Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.  This book examines the background, training, and preparations of  both British and Patriots before Lexington and Concord and follows the course of the battles that day.  He sets several standard conceptions of the Minutemen on their heels.  If someone has it available at  buy it.
American Battlefields 1995 Howard Cobb ISBN:0028604288
This book is more a history than a guide book.  It describes battles fought on American soil, with descriptions of the major conflicts, sidebars on tactics, units, and arms, customized maps for major battles, and summaries of the action running from a few paragraphs to a few pages.

Lords of the Land 1977 Dana L Thomas
A financial writer with several other books to his credit, Thomas took a look at famous and infamous land deals in our history.  See if  has this or one of his other books for sale.

Battles and Leaders of the Civil War various eds. Four Volumes.
Originally published some years after the war by The Century magazine, this is probably the largest collection of first-person (almost all high-ranking officers) accounts of the campaigns and battles of the war.  Although it seems to be perpetually on the cut-out tables (our volumes were bought 30 years ago as cutouts), it also seems to always be available.  Check with  for availability of recent, or old, editions.

The War of 1812 A Forgotten Conflict, 1990 Donald R Hickey ISBN:0252060598
The writing is a bit dry, but this was the first major study of the war in almost a century.  Good background reading on a little-known war that had far-reaching consequences.  Look for it first at

Undaunted Courage 1996 Stephen E Ambrose
The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, told by one of the best-selling history authors ever.  Find it at Amazon Undaunted Courage or .

Lincoln At Gettysburg  1992 Garry Wills ISBN:0671769561
Always thought provoking, Wills examines the Gettysburg address as a speech, as a crystallization of Lincoln's thought, and the circumstances surrounding the address.  Find a copy at

Wilderness at Dawn The Settling of the North American Continent 1993 Ted Morgan ISBN:0671690884
A history of  settlement of the continent, from the crossing of the Bering Land Bridge to the establishment of the United States, largely as seen by the actions and words of ordinary people.  

The Dawn's Early Light 1972 Walter Lord  ISBN:0393054527
An account of the British campaign in the War of 1812 which led to the burning of much of Washington, D.C. and the writing of the "Star Spangled Banner."  Written by Walter Lord, probably best known for his account of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Day of Infamy.

The Great Divide 1988 Studs Terkel ISBN:0394570537
Any of Studs Terkel's books could have been at the head of this section.  He can get anyone to talk to him, and then take dozens and hundreds of conversations and winds them around a theme.  This book is about what happened to our culture in the 1980's.  If you want a good cross-section about what real people have thought about in the 20th century, take a look at all of Studs' books.

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Paul Revere's Ride  1994 David Hackett Fischer ISBN:0195088476 (hard), ISBN:0195098315 (paper)
A detailed account of the famous ride from Boston, with background on the events leading up to it and the battle that followed.  Lots of maps. (bravo!)

A Short Chronology of American History  1952 Irving S and Nell M Kull
There are more recent chronologies out there, but this one has a nice clean layout.  Year by year, with a brief annotation for each major event of the year, then brief annotations for days on which events occurred.

American Patriots 2001 Gail Buckley ISBN:0375502793
The history of African Americans in U S military history, starting with Crispus Attucks in pre-Revolutionary Boston and going through Desert Storm. 

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Don't Know Much About History  Kenneth Davis
A little of this, a little of that.  Question and answer format with additional material.  History with some wit and humor.

A People's History of the United States Howard Zinn
A populist history, told from the bottom up -- how and what moved ordinary people to participate in the history we usually read about from above looking down.

Album of American History 1985 ISBN 0684174405  6 volumes of pictures in chronological order, mostly photographs, all in black & white.

United States History Atlas 

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