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  1. The Guns of August

    by Barbara W. Tuchman
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    Readership: Eclectic

    Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time The Proud Tower, the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August, and The Zimmerman Telegram comprise Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic histories of the First World War era In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world. Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step that led to the inevitable clash. And … (Goodreads)

  2. Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943

    by Antony Beevor
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    Readership: Very niche

    The Battle of Stalingrad was not only the psychological turning point of World War II: it also changed the face of modern warfare. From Antony Beevor, the internationally bestselling author of ,D-Day, and ,The Battle of Arnhem., In August 1942, Hitler's huge Sixth Army reached the city that bore Stalin's name. In the five-month siege that followed, the Russians fought to hold Stalingrad at any cost; then, in an astonishing reversal, encircled and trapped their Nazi enemy. This battle for the ruins of a city cost more than a million lives. Stalingrad conveys the experience of soldiers on both sides, … (Barnes & Noble)

  3. Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

    by Stephen E. Ambrose
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    As good a rifle company as any, Easy Company, 506th Airborne Division, US Army, kept getting tough assignments--responsible for everything from parachuting into France early DDay morning to the capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. In "Band of Brothers," Ambrose tells of the men in this brave unit who fought, went hungry, froze & died, a company that took 150% casualties & considered the Purple Heart a badge of office. Drawing on hours of interviews with survivors as well as the soldiers' journals & letters, Stephen Ambrose recounts the stories, often in the men's own words, of these American … (Goodreads)

  4. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

    by Jared Diamond
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    "Diamond has written a book of remarkable scope ... one of the most important and readable works on the human past published in recent years." Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a national bestseller: the global account of the rise of civilization that is also a stunning refutation of ideas of human development based on race. In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then … (Goodreads)

  5. John Adams

    by David McCullough
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    The enthralling, often surprising story of John Adams, one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived. In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot -- "the colossus of independence," as Thomas Jefferson called him -- who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second President of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of … (Goodreads)

  6. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    by Doris Kearns Goodwin
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    Winner of the Lincoln Prize Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president. On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably … (Goodreads)

  7. Truman

    by David McCullough
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    Readership: Eclectic

    The book provides a biography of Harry Truman in chronological fashion from his birth to his rise to U.S. Senator , Vice President , and President . It follows his activities until death, exploring many of the major decisions he made as president, including his decision to drop the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki , his meetings and confrontation with Joseph Stalin during the end of World War II , his decision to create the Marshall Plan , his decision to send troops to the Korean War , his decision to recognize the State of Israel , and his … (Wikipedia)

  8. Battle Cry of Freedom

    by James M. McPherson
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    Readership: Very niche

    Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War. James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War--the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry--and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the … (Goodreads)

  9. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-40

    by William Manchester
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    Readership: Very niche

    ,“The best Churchill biography [for] this generation . . . Even readers who know the basic story will find much that is new.”—,Newsweek,,,,,,In this powerful biography, the middle volume of William Manchester’s critically acclaimed trilogy, Winston Churchill wages his defining campaign: not against Hitler’s war machine but against his own reluctant countrymen. Manchester contends that even more than his leadership in combat, Churchill’s finest hour was the uphill battle against appeasement. As Parliament received with jeers and scorn his warnings against the growing Nazi threat, Churchill stood alone—only to be vindicated by history as a beacon of hope amid the … (Barnes & Noble)

  10. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932

    by William Manchester
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    Readership: Very niche

    s/t: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory 1874-1932 When Winston Spencer Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace, Imperial Britain stood at the splendid pinnacle of her power. Yet within a few years, the Empire would hover on the brink of a catastrophic new era. This first volume of the best-selling biography of the adventurer, aristocrat, soldier, and statesman covers the first 58 years of the remarkable man whose courageous vision guided the destiny of those darkly troubled times and who looms today as one of the greatest figures of the 20th century. Black and white photos & illustrations. … (Goodreads)

  11. A People's History of the United States

    by Howard Zinn
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    In the book, Zinn presented a different side of history from the more traditional "fundamental nationalist glorification of country". Zinn portrays a side of American history that can largely be seen as the exploitation and manipulation of the majority by rigged systems that hugely favor a small aggregate of elite rulers from across the orthodox political parties. A People's History has been assigned as reading in many high schools and colleges across the United States. It has also resulted in a change in the focus of historical work, which now includes stories that previously were ignored Library Journal calls Howard … (Goodreads)

  12. A Bridge Too Far

    by Cornelius Ryan
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    ,A Bridge Too Far, is Cornelius Ryan's masterly chronicle of the Battle of Arnhem, which marshalled the greatest armada of troop-carrying aircraft ever assembled and cost the Allies nearly twice as many casualties as D-Day. In this compelling work of history, Ryan narrates the Allied effort to end the war in Europe in 1944 by dropping the combined airborne forces of the American and British armies behind German lines to capture the crucial bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem. Focusing on a vast cast of characters -- from Dutch civilians to British and American strategists to common soldiers and commanders … (Goodreads)

  13. The Making of the Atomic Bomb

    by Richard Rhodes
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    Readership: Very niche

    Here for the first time, in rich, human, political, and scientific detail, is the complete story of how the bomb was developed, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan. Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly -- or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity there was a span of hardly more than twenty-five years. What began as merely an interesting speculative problem in physics grew into the Manhattan Project, and then into the Bomb with … (Goodreads)

  14. Cosmos

    by Carl Sagan
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Cosmos has 13 heavily illustrated chapters, corresponding to the 13 episodes of the Cosmos television series. In the book, Sagan explores 15 billion years of cosmic evolution and the development of science and civilization. Cosmos traces the origins of knowledge and the scientific method, mixing science and philosophy, and speculates to the future of science. The book also discusses the underlying premises of science by providing biographical anecdotes about many prominent scientists throughout history, placing their contributions into the broader context of the development of modern science. The book covers a broad range of topics, comprising Sagan's reflections on anthropological, … (Goodreads)

  15. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

    by Barbara W. Tuchman
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    Readership: Eclectic

    The 14th century gives us back two contradictory images: a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and a dark time of ferocity and spiritual agony, a world plunged into a chaos of war, fear and the Plague. Barbara Tuchman anatomizes the century, revealing both the great rhythms of history and the grain and texture of domestic life as it was lived. … (Goodreads)

  16. Means of Ascent

    by Robert A. Caro
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    Readership: Very niche

    Robert A. Caro's life of Lyndon Johnson, which began with the greatly acclaimed The Path to Power, also winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, continues -- one of the richest, most intensive and most revealing examinations ever undertaken of an American President. In Means of Ascent the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer/historian, chronicler also of Robert Moses in The Power Broker, carries Johnson through his service in World War II and the foundation of his long-concealed fortune and the facts behind the myths he created about it. But the explosive heart of the book is Caro's revelation of the true … (Goodreads)

  17. D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches

    by Stephen E. Ambrose
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    Readership: Very niche

    Now illustrated with an extraordinary collection of over 125 photos, Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, June 6, 1944, the day that changed the course of history. D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged. Drawing on more than … (Barnes & Noble)

  18. We Were Soldiers Once... and Young: Ia Drang - The Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam

    by Harold G. Moore
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    Readership: Very niche

    Each year, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps selects one book that he believes is both relevant and timeless for reading by all Marines. The Commandant's choice for 1993 was We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young . In November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was chopped to pieces. … (Goodreads)

  19. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

    by Lawrence Wright
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    Readership: Very niche

    A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States. The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the interweaving lives of four men: the two leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; the … (Goodreads)

  20. The Longest Day

    by Cornelius Ryan
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    Readership: Very niche

    First published in 1959, ,The Longest Day, is one of the bestselling military history books of all time, and the inspiration for the legendary 1962 film. Cornelius Ryan pioneered a new style of military writing based on interviews with more than a thousand battle participants from both sides. This beautifully designed archive edition incorporates 25 original research documents with Ryan's classic text, along with an additional 120 photographs. … (Barnes & Noble)