Expansion and Emigration
Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening
of the American West
(1996) by Stephen Ambrose
. The story
of the Corps of Discovery, led by Meriwether Lewis and William
Clark, which left Saint Louis in 1804 and returned to
Washington, D.C. in 1806, bringing with them maps, descriptions,
and knowledge of the recently-acquired Louisiana Purchase.
Across the Great Divide: Robert
Stuart and the Discovery of the Oregon Trail
story of Robert Stuart, who was the leader of the party
consisting of the first white men to traverse South Pass in 1812
- albeit from west-to-east - the opposite direction to what was
the usual westward emigration route to Oregon and California.
Jedediah Smith and the Opening
of the West
(1953) by Dale L.Morgan
. Jedediah Smith, but also a
general history of the early fur trappers and mountain men,
including John Colter, Thomas Fitzpatrick, David Jackson,
William Sublette, Hugh Glass, Jim Bridger, and many others.
Give Your Heart to the Hawks: A
Tribute to the Mountain Men
(1973) by Win Blevins
history of mountain men and fur trappers, with some details
intentionally embellished for effect.
Across the Wide Missouri
(1947) by Bernard DeVoto
History of the fur trapping industry in the 1830s. Pultizer
The Plains Across: The Overland
Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-60
(1979) by John D. Unruh, Jr.
Detailed account of westward emigration on the Oregon and
California Trails from 1840 to 1860. Originally written as a PhD
The Year of Decision: 1846
(1942) by Bernard DeVoto
Three major themes involving westward expansion centered on the
year 1846: the acquisition of Oregon Territory through treaty
with Great Britain, the acquisition of most of the southwest
U.S. through war with Mexico, and the first significant surges
of emigration along the Oregon and California Trails.
Desperate Passage: The Donner
Party's Perilous Journey West
(2008) by Ethan Rarick
well-documented and even-handed version of the Donner Party
Winter of Entrapment: A New
Look at the Donner Party
(1992) by Joseph A. King
treatment of the Donner Party saga puts particular emphasis on
descriptions and activities of the particular individuals
involved (especially the Breen family), the relief parties, and
a detailed account of the aftermath.
Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church
(2002) by Richard Abanes
A history of the Mormon Church, beginning with the birth of
Joseph Smith in 1805 and continuing up to 2002. [In progress]
Nothing Like It in the World: The
Men Who Built The Transcontinental Railroad 1863 - 1869
by Stephen Ambrose
Entertaining, comprehensive, and well-written but subject to
concerning the accuracy of several accounts and statements.
Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861
(1976) by David M. Potter.
Describes the chaotic political situation in the United States
in the thirteen years prior to the firing on Fort Sumter.
Emphasizes the interaction of westward expansion and the slavery
question as a significant contributor. Pulitzer Prize winner.
The Real Lincoln: A New Look at
Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War
(2002) by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.
Critical analysis of Abraham Lincoln's handling of the Civil
Battle Cry of Freedom: The
Civil War Era (1988) by James McPherson. One-volume history of the
Civil War. Pulitzer Prize winner.
Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving
Free Men: A History of the American Civil War (1996) by
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel.
Critical analysis of some of the less-commonly considered
aspects of the Civil War.
Explorer King: Adventure, Science, and the Great Diamond Hoax
-- Clarence King in the Old West (2006) by Robert Wilson. Biography of
Clarence King and the mapping surveys of California and the 40th
Parallel. Also includes the story of the Great Diamond Hoax of
Mountain West: Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, 1859-1915
(1992) by Duane A. Smith.
History of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana from 1859 to 1915.
Rocky Mountain Heartland: Colorado,
Montana, and Wyoming in the Twentieth Century (2008) by Duane A.
Smith. History of
Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana in the 20th Century. [In
Depression and the New Deal
Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged
America (2008) by Burton
Folsom, Jr. History and critical analysis of the New
New Dealers' War: F.D.R. and the War Within World War II
(2001) by Thomas Fleming.
Revealing history of behind-the-scenes dealings and
policy-making in the Great Depression and WWII eras.
The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet
Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (1986) by Robert Conquest. Account of
the collectivization, dekulakization, and other atrocities
imposed by the Soviet regime on the peasantry during the 1920s
and early 1930s, topped off by the terror-famine of 1932-33.
D-Day: The Battle for Normandy
(2009) by Anthony Beevor.
Preparation and execution of the invasion of Normandy on 6 June
1944. Includes the post-invasion breakout from the beachhead and
covers the Allied advances until the liberation of Paris on 25
Steve may be reached
Rubicon: The Last Years of
the Roman Republic (2003) by Tom Holland. Focus on the last
century of the Roman Republic, during which
transformations and upheavals paved the way for the
formation of Imperial Rome. [In progress]