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Author Topic: History book recommendations about American Politics  (Read 639 times)

Thrillho

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Hello all!

So as I get more emotionally healthy in life, I've rediscovered a love of American history. After repeatedly watching Ken Burns' The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, I got a biography of FDR and read the shit out of it very quickly. I'm currently halfway through the Pulitzer-prize winning trilogy about Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.

My interest in a load of political figures, mainly American presidents, has been piqued.

So, my fellow forumite history buffs, I seek your recommendations of books. Some of them might not exist, but I take personal recommendations from people I respect and who share my values much more seriously than reviews.

Here are the things I would like to read about:
- Is there a history book that gives a small encapsulation of the life and work of each American president (doesn't have to be up-to-date because Christ knows I don't want to read about Trump) in order, so I can decide which ones to read about next?
- Huey Long, legendary Louisiana independent, is already on my list and I've found a book to read about him. The footage I have seen of him is absolutely extraordinary, and hearing him referenced in songs by Randy Newman and as a footnote in FDR's story is fascinating.
- I'm interested in presidents, some of the more significant ones (Grant, Lincoln, Kennedy) but also just ones I personally find curious (Cleveland, Hoover, Eisenhower, Johnson, Wilson).
- I have a specific interest in the times when the Republican and Democratic parties kind of reversed positions as the main choice for people leaning right or left, which mostly seems to focus around the McKinley/Roosevelt/Wilson/Hoover/Roosevelt era.
- I'd also like to understand the American electoral system. I thought it was largely similar to the UK's first-past-the-post system, but I really don't understand the whole electoral college thing and what the purpose of your different houses of legislation is. I'd really love to read a book that breaks this down to me (not least because it will then leave me better informed to read about all the above presidents).
- I'd love to read something good about the American Civil War from the causes of it onto the beginnings of the Reconstruction.
- A slightly sideways note - the more I read about Woody Guthrie, the more I find him mesmerising. If there's a strong biography of him out there I'd like to read that.

Those of you with a similar interest in this kind of history to me - which presidents do you think are the most interesting? What books have you read?

Let me have it, people!
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LeeC

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Re: History book recommendations about American Politics
« Reply #1 on: 19 Jun 2018, 06:15 »

I'm currently halfway through the Pulitzer-prize winning trilogy about Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.
What a coincidence! So am I!  I am listening to it on audible and I'm on chapter 19 out of 29 of "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt."  Its a wonderfully written biography and the most remarkable and inspiring person I've ever read/heard about.  :parrot:  Sadly the second book in the trilogy is narrated by a very dry and boring sounding man so I may stop after this book.  I am waiting for audible to get the copy with the same narrator as book 1 and 3 for 2.

Delighted!  :-D
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Thrillho

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Re: History book recommendations about American Politics
« Reply #2 on: 19 Jun 2018, 08:20 »

I'm currently halfway through the Pulitzer-prize winning trilogy about Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.
What a coincidence! So am I!  I am listening to it on audible and I'm on chapter 19 out of 29 of "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt."  Its a wonderfully written biography and the most remarkable and inspiring person I've ever read/heard about.  :parrot:  Sadly the second book in the trilogy is narrated by a very dry and boring sounding man so I may stop after this book.  I am waiting for audible to get the copy with the same narrator as book 1 and 3 for 2.

Delighted!  :-D

Bully!

I'm actually at the almost exact mid point because he just got elected to his second term. Halfway through both book and trilogy.
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