This week there are several very clear themes that are catching people’s interest in the History ebook chart. Primarily these appear to be histories involving women, military histories, histories of the Native American peoples, histories of American Politics, and histories of World War 2. Most of these themes overlap with each other, especially the interest in in women’s history.
First off, women’s history. From books focused on the lives of famous women, to book on forgotten women who had a massive impact on the world, there is a breadth of interest here which is gratifying. There is a lot interest in the female point of view of World War 2, primarily in the civilian survivors, such as in Isabella Leitner’s, Fragments of Isabella: A Memoir of Auschwitz, or Wendy Holden’s, Born Survivors. However, there are also books following the lives of women on the military side, such as Denise Kiernan’s, The Girls of Atomic City, but also books about women who were spies, such as Sonia Purnell’s, A Woman of No Importance. This shows that there is interest in the female point of view across the range of experiences, rather than in one particular event. There is also a clear interest in books about famous women, such as J. B. West’s, Upstairs at the White House: My Life With the First Ladies, which looks at the lives of these women who were so tightly linked to power and yet were frequently forgotten about. Similarly, there is interest in women from eras as well as settings, as shown in the popularity of Olivier Bernier’s, The Eighteenth Century Woman. This book may or may not focus on the rich and famous women of that century, but given that the cover shows a painting of a woman in a ballgown that must be metres and metres of embroidered silk, it does imply where the focus will lie.
Secondly, there is a lot of interest in the history of the Native American peoples. Or at least their latter history, most of the interest seems to lie on what happened in the lat few centuries, and not any history before then. This does create a slightly imbalanced view of their history, especially since the books are focused on tragedies. In Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown gives an exhaustive look at the betrayals and pain felt by the Native American people between 1860 and 1890, while in David Grann’s, Killers of the Flower Moon, the persecution of the Osage Indian nation is shown in the context of a True Crime book.
Military history is also popular, especially, once more, looking at World War 2 and life in the “Wild West.” However there are also outliers, such as Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War. There are a lot of historical fiction books set in the “Wild West” this week, which is interesting given the interest which is also being shown in books about the mistreatment and murder of the Native American peoples. But the interest over all seems to be quite broad and in many small clusters, rather than clearly defined trends. Many of the books in this niche are also in one of the other niches, which seems to underline the idea that, perhaps, Military History being popular is more a symptom of History being popular than new trend.
Likewise, American Politics is a very broad area this week. There is not so much a clear interest in the niche, as it seems to be feeding into many of the other niches as a smaller part of the whole. There are some biographies of politicians, and texts looking in detail at certain eras, but it is quite vague.
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