U.S. history

I need to pick, buy and send a book on U.S. history to an old friend in Belgrade. It should be an objective, academic book, 600+ pages, not more than $50 used at Amazon. Is there such a thing and if so, what shall I get?

6 responses to “U.S. history

  1. There are no objective history books. None. When you pick one you pick a position.
    If I wanted to indicate to someone in Belgrade how we got to where we are I would pick David McCullough’s Truman.
    I would order it at abebooks.com where the shipping prices can be adjusted to any destination by correspondence. You can’t correspond with Amazon.

  2. Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is outstanding.

  3. A history teaching colleague of mine suggests
    “America: A Concise History” by Henretta et al.

  4. While david is right, I would say that there are those that pragmatically engage with objectivity (see Novick, Peter) and those that throw the whole notion out the window. I imagine that coturnix would prefer the former.
    That said, the request is a bit vague – are you looking for a book that is generally about American History as a whole, or one that illuminates a specific historical topic? If you lean toward the latter, I presume that you are looking for something with a certain contemporary relevance (otherwise, I’d recommend Richard White’s _The Middle Ground_, Gordon Wood’s _The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin_, or Hasia Diner’s _Hungering for America_). The McCullough isn’t a bad choice, and (on the plus side) your recipient could probably discuss it with any moderately well-educated Americans one might encounter in Belgrade. If the recipient is more of a foreign policy type, either Walter Russell Mead’s _Special Providence_, or Eric Rauchway’s _Blessed Among Nations_ is the way to go. If they prefer more domestic topics, then Lisa McGirr’s _Suburban Warriors_ might be a good choice, as would Mae Ngai’s _Impossible Subjects_ or Alan Dawley’s _Changing the World_.
    I could probably come up with a couple dozen more, but that should be a start.

  5. I just got Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen for Christmas. It looks interesting, but I think it probably doesn’t meet any of your criteria at all. I’ll have to print the comments to this post and put some of them on my To Read list.

  6. Thank you all. I’ll check them out. I had Truman, but I think I sold it or donated it to a library.