This week in the History charts, it is overwhelmingly obvious that American History is what readers are wanting to learn about. This comes under four sub categories, however, and while there are elements of overlap between them the distinct nature of these sub categories is surprising.
First up is recent American History. These books cover the period of the last few decades, from the end of the Cold War and into the present. There is a diverse mix of books in this section, some are personal memoirs, like David Bellavia’s, House to House: An Epic Memoir of War, or biographies by historians, like Steven M. Gillon’s, America’s Reluctant Prince: The Life of John F. Kennedy Jr. While others are analyses of current political events, such as The Mueller Report, by Robert S. Mueller and edited by The Washington Post.
Next is less recent American History, from the time of the Revolution, to the Pioneering days, to life in the major cities in the 1800s, all the way up to the Space Race. The American Revolution is covered by several books, 1776, by David McCullough, among others. He is also the author of, The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West, which pushes a bit further into American History. Meanwhile, Stacy Horn gives a riveting history of Blackwell’s Island in, Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York. And in a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of humanity reaching the moon, Carrying the Fire, by Michael Collins is being reissued with a new preface.
Third is the often fictionalised History books of the American West, featuring tales of cowboys and gunfights. There is not a lot of actual history in some of these books, though this does not seem to stop them from selling or from numerous Cowboy Novels hitting high on this chart.
And finally, also on the chart are books covering the lesser known parts of American History, in particular those parts experienced by the less privileged. For example, Dick Gregory’s, Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies, explores those bits of American History which were hard fought and often covered up. While, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann, covers a period in American History that few have heard of but which has shaped the lives of much of the population.
In this week’s chart, the History of the world outside of America that readers are buying is mostly limited to that of World War 2. A lot of the books this week are focused on spies and their stories, such as, The Bastard Brigade: The True Story of the Renegade Scientists and Spies Who Sabotaged the Nazi Atomic Bomb, by Sam Kean. But the majority of the books in this niche this week are instead focused on individual stories of survival, often from Jewish families, such as, Yoseph Komem’s, Courage and Grace: A Jewish Family’s Holocaust Survival Story.
History Readers this week have been very focused on what they want to read about, it is very interesting to wonder what could have focused their gaze so minutely.
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