In the final few weeks of wedding planning, my normally voracious appetite for reading books came to a squeaking halt. I packed The Devil in the White City with every good intention of diving in. Needless to say, it sat untouched in my backpack until Chet and I landed safely back in Miami. But once the post-wedding exhaustion wore off, and routines re-appeared, I couldn’t put this bad boy down. If you’re in search of a fascinating history lesson (along with a tale of a devious serial killer), I couldn’t recommend this book enough. And here are 4 other books that serve up a dose of history as well…
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
Erik Larson intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.
A real peak into what life was like in America broadly, and the infamous “White City” specifically, as the 19th century drew to a fitful close.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. This phenomenal bestseller tells the story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine.
Maps the grandiose history of modern science as well as the intimate history of an unknowing contribution.
The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler
In this deeply moving and myth-shattering work, Ann Fessler brings out into the open the astonishing untold history of the million and a half women who surrendered children for adoption due to enormous family and social pressure in the decades before Roe v. Wade.
Examines the shame of getting pregnant in post-WW II USA, the lack of options and education women faced, and the agencies who profited from the results.
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
The Appalachian Trail trail covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. Bill Bryson introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the hardy folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears.
Hiking provides the backdrop to a sincere discourse on the social condition of America, local history, and environmental science.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.
Compiling over 10 years of research in more than 600 pages, this book takes on the biggest under-reported story of the twentieth century utilizing 1,200 interviews conducted personally by Wilkerson.
What books would YOU recommend for us history-lovin’ folk? Share below!
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