We’ve rounded up the best page-turners for the history buff in your life
#1 ‘The Splendid and the Vile’ by Erik Larson
Combining diaries, archives and newly released intelligence reports, Larson weaves together an intimate and nuanced depiction of one of Britain’s most historical leaders during one of his most historical moments. This one has it all: scandal, courage and suspense. Get this for the family member who always has a World War II book in hand (we know you have one).
#2 ‘The Great Influenza’ by John M. Barry
We’ve heard a lot this year how we’re living in ‘unprecedented times.’ The Great Influenza, however, unpacks history’s most lethal influenza and offers us some perspective, advice and warning. If history is our best teacher, then this book is lesson #1.
#3 ‘A Woman of No Importance’ by Sonia Purnell
This was NPR’s Best Book of the Year, and we can see why. A Woman of No Importance follows Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who becomes the first Allied woman behind enemy lines during World War II. Espionage, heroism and a strong female character: this one has it all.
#4 ‘The House of Kennedy’ by James Patterson
We all know the Kennedy’s as political royalty. James Patterson, the world’s bestselling author, goes behind the curtain of Camelot. The Kennedy Family untangles a family we seem to know both everything and nothing about.
#5 ‘The Pioneers’ by David McCullough
David McCullough brings his signature energy to The Pioneers. This book covers the settling of the Northwest Territory (today’s Midwest.) Gift it to the historian in your life: they’ll love the ambition and courage at the heart of this incredibly American story.
#6 ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr
If you’ve missed this bestseller, use this extra time at home to savor it! All the Light We Cannot See (a KCM favorite!) is the best kind of historical fiction. Heartbreaking, inspiring and beautifully crafted: you’ll be talking about this one for awhile. We still are.
#7 ‘Eleanor’ by David Michaelis
David Michaelis’s latest biography offers an incredible portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt, America’s longest-serving First Lady. The bestselling author explores Roosevelt’s agency as a diplomat, activist and humanitarian. It’s a lengthy read — about 700 pages — but the perfect book for those who don’t know much about the greatest First Lady in history.
#8 ‘Caste’ by Isabel Wilkerson
Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste is a must read. The bestselling author explores how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system. It’s been called ‘an instant American classic’ by The New York Times and won the Goodreads Choice Awards Best History & Biography category.
#9 ‘The Girl Who Smiled Beads’ by Clemantine Wamariya
Meet Clemantine Wamariya. She was just six years old when she and her fifteen-year-old sister fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety. In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine looks beyond the label of “victim” and recognizes the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks.
#10 ‘The Long Pause and the Short Breath’ by Nicole Freezer Rubens
This is more current events than history, but we just love how Native New Yorker, Nicole Freezer Rubens, takes us deep inside the pandemic bubble of New York City through the lockdown, the endless sirens, the protests and more. The Long Pause and the Short Breath is a stunning collection of poems and photography that will make you pause and take your breath away.
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