WaPo lists top 10 history books of the year






American-Made, by Nick Taylor (Bantam). A succinct survey of the Great Depression and particularly its consequences for workers. -- H.W. Brands

American Transcendentalism, by Philip F. Gura (Hill and Wang). From 1830 to 1850, a group of New England intellectuals confronted the great polarizing tension in American history, that between hyperindividualism and brotherhood. -- MD

Capitol Men, by Philip Dray (Houghton Mifflin). Devotes the majority of his pages to a significant minority: some of the first African Americans ever to serve in Congress. -- Jabari Asim

The Day Freedom Died, by Charles Lane (Henry Holt). The story of the single most egregious act of terrorism during Reconstruction. -- Eric Foner

Defying Dixie, by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore (Norton). Readers will come away with a renewed appreciation for the complex origins of a freedom struggle that changed the South, the nation and the world. -- Raymond Arsenault

Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution, by Ian Kershaw (Yale). A splendid summary of Kershaw's conviction that ordinary Germans were what he calls "morally indifferent" to mass murder. -- James J. Sheehan

Lincoln and Douglas, by Allen C. Guelzo (Simon & Schuster). Guelzo, author of the best book about the Emancipation Proclamation, has now written an important one about this legendary campaign. -- Michael F. Bishop

Prague in Danger, by Peter Demetz (FSG). Demetz places his own unique experience against the catastrophe of World War II. -- Bradley Abrams

Sarah Johnson's Mount Vernon, by Scott E. Casper (Hill and Wang). While innumerable books have been written about the Founding Fathers, it's refreshing to read one in which slaves play a central part. -- W. Ralph Eubanks

This Republic of Suffering, by Drew Gilpin Faust (Knopf). The extent to which the Civil War found America unprepared to deal with its carnage at the most basic levels is fascinatingly horrifying. -- Stephen Budiansky

Throes of Democracy, by Walter A. McDougall (Harper). A rollicking trip through America's past self-deceptions and a laudable exploration of the American character. -- Heather Cox Richardson

Vermeer's Hat, by Timothy Brook (Bloomsbury). Uses pictorial elements to describe the economic entanglements between the Netherlands and China in the 17th century. -- Michael Dirda

Waking Giant, by David S. Reynolds (Harper). Reynolds's depiction of an exploding popular culture during the Jacksonian era makes this an unmitigated delight. -- Douglas Brinkley


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