Historical accounts

I’ve discovered a love for good writing about historical events. This summer, quite accidentally, I came across this book by Timothy Egan about the Dust Bowl. I had suffered through memorizing dates about this era in high school, but Egan makes it all come alive. You feel like you were there. It is quite disturbing, but you gain insight into how people were thinking, why they stayed, how people overcome incredible suffering and how human behavior actually created the whole mess. Very interesting reading!:

* Egan, T. (2006). The worst hard time: The untold story of those who survived the Great American Dust Bowl. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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Do you like the idea of sailing? Get a realistic, historical account with these books:

* Philbrick, N. (2006). Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc.
* Philbrick, N. (2000). In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc.
* Chase, O., Nickerson, T., Philbrick, N., & Philbrick, T. (2000). The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc.

This last one is actually a first hand account of the trip which began in 1821 and inspired Melville’s Moby Dick. As with most things, the real account is much more interesting and gripping than the fictional version.

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Want to know what it’s like to discover modern sunken treasure?

* Kurson, R. (2004). Shadow divers: The true adventure of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II. New York: Random House.

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Want to know more about the Salem Witch Trials?

* Boyer, P., & Nissenbaum, S. (1974). Salem possessed: The social origins of witchcraft. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
* Baker, E. W. (2007). The devil of Great Island. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

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Historical problems are more similar to our own problems than you might think!

* Goodwin, D. K. (2005). Team of rivals: The political genius of Abraham Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Don’t let the length of this book intimidate you. My grasp of history and politics was very limited prior to reading this book. It amazed me how relevant the goings-on of Lincoln’s time are to issues we are struggling with now. The discussions about what would happen if slavery were abolished are remarkably similar to current discussions of migrant labor. Our country dealing with the Civil War is very similar to us dealing with the Iraq war. It was incredibly eye-opening and thought-provoking.