Thursday, January 5, 2012

Top 10 History Books of 2011

Rankings are based on popularity determined by circulation statistics.

1. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
By Larson, Erik
2011-05 - Crown Publishing Group (NY)

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

2. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
By McCullough, David
2011-05 - Simon & Schuster

McCullough tells the story of the American artists and scientists who studied in Paris, and changed America through what they learned there.

3. Zeitoun
By Eggers, Dave
2009-07 - McSweeney's Books

"This is a beautiful book. "Zeitoun" is a poignant, haunting, ethereal story about New Orleans in peril. Eggers has bottled up the feeling of post- Katrina despair better than anyone else.

4. The Perfect Nazi: Uncovering My Grandfather's Secret Past
By Davidson, Martin
2011-03 - Putnam Adult

Using the skills he honed as a documentary producer for the BBC, Davidson explores the truth behind his family's dark secret--his grandfather was a Nazi SS officer.

5. The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss
By de Waal, Edmund
2010-08 - Farrar Straus Giroux

In the 1870s, Charles Ephrussi assembled a collection of 360 Japanese ivory carvings known as "netsuke." In this grand story, a renowned ceramicist and the fifth generation to inherit the collection traces the story of a remarkable family and a tumultuous century.

6. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
By Hillenbrand, Laura
2010-11 - Random House
Telling an unforgettable story of a young lieutenant's journey into extremity, "Unbroken" is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

7. Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization
By Miles, Richard
2011-07 - Viking Books

The first full-scale history of Carthage in decades, "Carthage Must Be Destroyed" reintroduces modern readers to the larger-than-life historical players and the ancient glory of this almost forgotten civilization.

8. Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
By Puleo, Stephen
2003-09 - Beacon Press
The Boston molasses flood lives dimly in popular memory, but no historian has explored it fully until now. Puleo brings this disaster to life with vivid prose, using the dreadful catastrophe as a lens through which to view the panorama of a changing Boston, as well as to survey the major events that would shape the future of 20th-century America.

9. The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army, and the Emergence of George Washington
By Lockhart, Paul Douglas
2011-06 – Harper

One hot June afternoon in 1775, on the gentle slopes of a hill near Boston, Massachusetts, a small band of ordinary Americans--frightened but fiercely determined--dared to stand up to a superior British force. Paul Lockhart combines military and political history to offer a major reassessment of one of the most famous battles in American history.

10. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
By Mann, Charles C.
2005-08 - Knopf Publishing Group

In this groundbreaking study, Mann shows how a new generation of anthropologists and archaeologists, using new research techniques, have come to the persuasive conclusion that more people lived in the Americas in 1491 than in Europe.


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