2018 Reading Challenge: History or Politics

To many, this may be one of the more daunting tasks on our 2018 Reading Challenge. Books about history and politics are often long, dense -- and sometimes even boring -- reads. But while that's often the case, there are countless books about history and politics that do not fit this mold! Here are some of our favorites:


1. One Summer: America, 1927 (Bill Bryson): I've enjoyed every book by Bill Bryson that I've read, but this one was particularly enjoyable. I love Bryson's nonfiction because he picks a broad topic and then explores every angle of it. In this case, it's the summer of 1927 and the events that happened, including Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic, Babe Ruth's home run record, the premiere of The Jazz Singer, and more!

2. Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (James Forman Jr.): This book just won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, and it tackles a topic that is relevant to all readers regardless of political belief -- our criminal justice system. It clocks in at just over 200 pages, so this would be a great pick if you wanted a quick read about an important contemporary politics issue. 

3. Janesville: An American Story (Amy Goldstein): Janesville is the story of a small industrial American town as it deals with the closing of its main factory. Like Locking Up Our Own, this is a book about contemporary politics that takes a nonpartisan approach to exploring important issues. 

4. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon (David Grann): If you're looking for a history book full of action and adventure, this is the book for you. Grann traces the story of the British explorer Percy Faucett who disappeared in 1925 on a quest to find a legendary civilization in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. It's a fascinating and fast-paced read! (See also: Killers of the Flower Moon by the same author, which Annie loved.) 

5. The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation's Largest Home (Denise Kiernan): The Last Castle is a biography of the Biltmore and the people who built it and cared for it. I loved this book because not only did I get the story of the house itself, but also the story of the surrounding area and the historical events that happened contemporaneously. 

6. The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote (Elaine Weiss): If you can't decide between reading a book about history and a book about politics, The Woman's Hour is both! This book focuses on the story of the Nineteenth Amendment, especially the wait for the final vote for ratification in Nashville, Tennessee. It's an exciting historical read!

Happy reading!