5 Books For The American History Fanatic

By August 23, 2017Culture, Literature

For many people history is compelling and fascinating, as well as utterly horrifying. In the UK and the US in particular we are not always told the whole truth of our history, often for shameful reasons, and for fear of losing patriotism.

It is important to understand what our nations did, and how we became the powerful countries we are today. The sacrifices made by our ancestors, as well as the now-abhorrent action taken in the name of progress cannot and should not be ignored.

To truly understand why certain people feel certain ways, and why others are treated the way they are to this day is related directly to our past. We start with American history- land of the free and home of the brave- But how did they get to that point?

These American history books are a fascinating look into how America became the multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual powerhouse she is today.




“In Lies Across America, James W. Loewen continues his mission, begun in the award-winning Lies My Teacher Told Me, of overturning the myths and misinformation that too often pass for American history. This is a one-of-a-kind examination of sites all over the country where history is literally written on the landscape, including historical markers, monuments, historic houses, forts, and ships.”

“In this collection of essays, Blight examines the meanings embedded in the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War, the nature of changing approaches to African American history, and the significance of race in the ways Americans, North and South, black and white, developed historical memories of the nation’s most divisive event. The book as a whole demonstrates several ways to probe the history of memory, to understand how and why groups of Americans have constructed versions of the past in the service of contemporary social needs.”

“Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the series of battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them and their people demoralized and decimated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was won, and lost. It tells a story that should not be forgotten, and so must be retold from time to time.”

“As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country’s greatest battles–the fights for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women’s rights, racial equality–were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance. Covering Christopher Columbus’s arrival through President Clinton’s first term, A People’s History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981, features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.”

This offering may seem a little left-field but for those of you who appreciate and understand satire, and enjoy boundless humour wrapped up in historically accurate pictures of tragic events- Flashman novels are for you. The language used is not for the sensitive heart, but George MacDonald Fraser creates a truly down-and-dirty account of historical settings, using Harry Flashman to propel a story into the ridiculous and sublime.




Julia Roberts to star in Chris Cleave novel adaptation

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Chris Cleave’s ambitious and powerful novel The Other Hand, known in the USA as Little Bee, is being adapted for Amazon this year.

The novel is a dual-narrative story which follows an asylum-seeker (Little Bee) from Nigeria and a British magazine editor, who meet during the oil conflict in the Niger Delta, then re-unite in England many years later. The Other Hand humanises asylum-seekers in the UK and the struggles they go through. Cleave examines the asylum system in Britain, and how the country treats refugees. He also touches upon the very relevant subjects of British colonialism and globalisation.

Amazon Studios plan to adapt this passionate and humane book, and Hollywood star Julia Roberts has also jumped at the chance to get involved.

The Wonder actor will play the character Sarah O’ Rourke, the magazine editor who meets Little Bee during the oil conflict in the Niger Delta. She is also producing the project with Red Om Films.

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J. K. Rowling and Stan Lee inducted into Sci-Fi and Fantasy Hall of Fame

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J. K. Rowling has been named as one of the writers to be inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame along with Marvel grandaddy Stan Lee.

The hall of fame for sci-fi and fantasy has been going since 1996 and Lee will be the first comic book writer to be included. Both he and Rowling have made a significant impact on the world of pop culture this past decade, with a stream of books and movies and an ever-expanding universe for both Marvel and the Potter fandom.

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Neil Gaiman’s Favourite Science Fiction Books

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Neil Gaiman was speaking to the BBC’s Front Row last month about the film adaptation of his story How to Talk to Girls at Parties as it hit UK cinemas.

As many good writers know one key to great writing is a lot of reading- and Gaiman is no different. His love for writing goes hand-in-hand with reading, so the BBC asked for his favourite science fiction novels.

These are the books he decided upon…

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Women’s Prize for Fiction Winner is Announced.

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Following the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist announcement on International Women’s Day 2018, and then the shortlist announced in April 2018, the judges have decided upon a winner.

The 16 original books were read and discussed by the panel of judges- Sarah Sands, Katy Brand, Anita Anand, Catherine Mayer, and Imogen Stubbs- and whittled down to a final fantastic 6. After much deliberation those 6 were discussed and debated until one winner was decided upon.

Congratulations to the winner- Kamila Shamsie with Home Fire. 

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Were Roald Dahl and Terry Pratchett pen-pals?

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When he was young Terry Pratchett worked as a reporter for the Bucks Free Press. On the 25th of April in 1969, the fresh-faced Terry (using his full name- Terence) wrote to famous author Roald Dahl to ask for an interview. Letters from the Roald Dahl Museum’s Archive show the communication between Pratchett and Dahl. Despite this tantalising look at what would’ve been a fabulous interview of two hilarious and creative minds- no other letters have been discovered, and no record yet of the interview.

Fingers crossed something emerges in the future…

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Famous Authors Are Donating Thousands of Books to Help Support Oxfam

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Margaret Atwood, Paula Hawkins, Neil Gaiman and Robert Webb are among a plethora of authors who will be donating thousands of books to the Oxfam today in an effort to raise money and support the charity. Writer Eric Ngalle Charles is launching the #BooksChangeLives campaign today (May 30) at the Hay Festival. The campaign encourages readers to share books that changed their lives on social media and donate unwanted books to their local Oxfam shops.

Several famed authors have been revealing titles which changed their lives and impacted them as a writer. Dolly Alderton, author of Everything I Know About Love, opted for The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks. “It taught me so much about men and women – about love and relationship dynamics and the myths we’re fed about romance,” she said. Read More

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