The Greatest "Nonfiction, American History, Native American" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Nonfiction

American History

The "American History" category encompasses a broad range of books that delve into the events, figures, and forces that have shaped the United States from its pre-colonial days to the present. This genre includes works on pivotal moments such as the American Revolution, Civil War, and civil rights movements, as well as studies of political, social, and cultural developments across various eras. It covers biographies of influential leaders, analyses of policy changes, and examinations of societal shifts. Whether providing comprehensive overviews or focusing on specific incidents or decades, books in the American History category aim to illuminate the complexities of the nation's past, offering readers insights into the events that have defined the American experience and the context for its ongoing evolution.

Native American

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  1. 1. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown

    This book is a compelling historical narrative that chronicles the systematic decimation of Native American tribes in the United States during the late 19th century. The author uses council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions to provide a detailed account of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that led to the destruction of the Native American way of life. The book centers on significant events such as the Battle of Little Bighorn and the Wounded Knee Massacre, offering a voice to the often overlooked Native American perspective.

    The 610th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Great Plains by Ian Frazier

    "Great Plains" is a travelogue that takes readers on a journey through the vast expanse of the American Great Plains, exploring its history, geography, and culture. The author travels from North Dakota to Texas, delving into the history of Native Americans, pioneers, and outlaws. The book provides a detailed account of the region, its people, and its significance in shaping the American West, offering a vivid portrait of the landscape and its influence on the country's identity.

    The 2224th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The True History of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Díaz del Castillo

    This book provides a first-hand account of the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish during the 16th century. It offers a detailed narrative of the events, battles, and interactions with native tribes, including the Aztecs. The author, a soldier in the Spanish army, provides a unique perspective on Hernán Cortés and his tactics, the politics of the time, and the cultural and religious practices of the indigenous people. The book also highlights the hardships, challenges, and ethical dilemmas faced by the conquistadors.

    The 2471st Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. This Hallowed Ground by Bruce Catton

    "This Hallowed Ground" is a comprehensive, detailed account of the American Civil War, from its origins to its aftermath. The book provides a vivid narrative of the battles, political events, and key figures of the war, skillfully blending historical facts with engaging storytelling. The author's perspective as a historian and journalist brings the era to life, offering readers an in-depth understanding of this pivotal period in American history.

    The 3115th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Collapse by Jared Diamond

    "Collapse" is an exploration of why certain societies throughout history have thrived while others have deteriorated and collapsed. The book delves into environmental problems, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwise political decisions as factors that contribute to the downfall of a civilization. The author uses examples from history such as the Mayans, the Vikings in Greenland, and modern examples like Rwanda and Haiti, to illustrate his points. It serves as both a historical analysis and a warning for modern societies to learn from the past in order to avoid a similar fate.

    The 8223rd Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon

    The book explores the concept of "neoslavery," which entrapped thousands of African Americans in the South in a system of forced labor after the Civil War. This system was perpetuated by local laws, racial prejudice, and economic manipulation, where black men were arrested on false charges, then sold to companies as cheap labor. The book illuminates the forgotten history of this "age of neoslavery" that persisted into the 20th century and its profound impact on the racial disparities that exist today.

    The 8577th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell

    "The Wordy Shipmates" is a historical narrative that explores the journey and lives of the Massachusetts Bay Colonists, who left England in the 1630s in pursuit of religious freedom in America. The book delves into the paradoxes of these Puritans, who were both freedom seekers and authoritarians, and their influence on American identity. It also provides a detailed look at their relationships, conflicts, and the hardships they faced, all set against the backdrop of their religious and political beliefs.

    The 9265th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation by David Brion Davis

    "The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation" is a historical work that explores the complexities of slavery and the abolitionist movement during the Age of Emancipation. The book delves into the moral, political, and ideological challenges faced during this time, focusing on the struggles of enslaved Africans and African Americans. It also examines the role of colonization and the struggle to redefine "black" and "white" identities in the aftermath of slavery. The author uses a comparative approach, looking at the American, British, and French experiences of slavery and emancipation.

    The 10417th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Encounters at the Heart of the World by Elizabeth A. Fenn

    This historical book delves into the rich and vibrant history of the Mandan Indians, a Native American tribe from the Great Plains region of the United States. The book details their complex agricultural society, their interactions with European explorers and traders, and the devastating impact of smallpox epidemics on their population. The narrative provides a comprehensive and vivid account of the tribe's cultural practices, social structures, and their resilience in the face of adversity.

    The 11314th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

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