Best 2019, Best Books, Best Year-End, History, Nonfiction

The Best History Books of 2019 (A Year-End List Aggregation)

“What are the best History books released in 2019?” We looked at 154 of the top History books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 23 books, all appearing on 2 or more “Best History” book lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 125+ titles, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Our other Best Of 2019 Articles:

Our Other Years: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

Happy Scrolling!



Top 23 Best History Books From 2019



23 .) American Radicals: How Nineteenth-Century Protest Shaped the Nation written by Holly Jackson

American Radicals: How Nineteenth-Century Protest Shaped the Nation

Lists It Appears On:

  • Smithsonian Magazine
  • The Pietist Schoolman

A dynamic, timely history of nineteenth-century activists—free-lovers and socialists, abolitionists and vigilantes—and the social revolution they sparked in the turbulent Civil War era “In the tradition of Howard Zinn’s people’s histories, American Radical



22 .) First: Sandra Day O’Connor written by Evan Thomas

First: Sandra Day O'Connor

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • NPR

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The intimate, inspiring, and authoritative biography of Sandra Day O’Connor, America’s first female Supreme Court justice, drawing on exclusive interviews and first-time access to Justice O’Connor’s archives—by the New York Time



21 .) Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, And The Last Trial Of Harper Lee written by Casey Cep

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, And The Last Trial Of Harper Lee

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • NPR

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION ‘A triumph on every level. One of the losses to literature is that Harper Lee never found a way to tell a gothic true-crime story she’d spent years researching. Casey Cep has excavated this mes



20 .) Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power written by Pemma Hämäläinen

Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power

Lists It Appears On:

  • Smithsonian Magazine
  • The Pietist Schoolman

The first comprehensive history of the Lakota Indians and their profound role in shaping America’s history This first complete account of the Lakota Indians traces their rich and often surprising history from the early sixteenth to the early twenty†‘first



19 .) Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler written by Lynne Olson

Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • NPR

The little-known true story of the woman who headed the largest spy network in Vichy France during World War II. In 1941, a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of Allianc



18 .) Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century written by George Packer

Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Pietist Schoolman
  • NPR

“Portrays Holbrooke in all of his endearing and exasperating self-willed glory…Both a sweeping diplomatic history and a Shakespearean tragicomedy… If you could read one book to comprehend American’s foreign policy and its quixotic forays into quicksand



17 .) Spying On The South: An Odyssey Across The American Divide written by Tony Horwitz

Spying On The South: An Odyssey Across The American Divide

Lists It Appears On:

  • Smithsonian Magazine
  • NPR

The New York Times-bestselling final book by the beloved, Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Tony Horwitz. With Spying on the South, the best-selling author of Confederates in the Attic returns to the South and the Civil War era for an epic adventure on the



16 .) The Cigarette: A Political History written by Sarah Milov

The Cigarette: A Political History

Lists It Appears On:

  • Smithsonian Magazine
  • The Pietist Schoolman

The story of tobacco’s fortunes seems simple: science triumphed over addiction and profit. Yet the reality is more complicated—and more political. Historically it was not just bad habits but also the state that lifted the tobacco industry. What brought abo



15 .) The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed By Jack The Ripper written by Hallie Rubenhold

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed By Jack The Ripper

Lists It Appears On:

  • Dan Jones
  • Goodreads

Miscast in the media for nearly 130 years, the victims of Jack the Ripper finally get their full stories told in this eye-opening and chilling reminder that life for middle-class women in Victorian London could be full of social pitfalls and peril.



14 .) The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America written by Karen Abbott

The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Smithsonian Magazine

The epic true crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy In the early days of Prohibition,



13 .) The Impeachers: The Trial Of Andrew Johnson And The Dream Of A Just Nation written by Brenda Wineapple

The Impeachers: The Trial Of Andrew Johnson And The Dream Of A Just Nation

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Pietist Schoolman
  • NPR

“When Lincoln was assassinated and Andrew Johnson became President, a fraught time in America became perilous. Congress was divided over how Reconstruction should be accomplished and the question of black suffrage. The South roiled with violence, lawlessne



12 .) The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 written by Garrett Graff

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “This is history at its most immediate and moving…A marvelous and memorable book.” —Jon Meacham “Remarkable…A priceless civic gift…On page after page, a reader will encounter words that startle, or make him angry, or heartbroken.”



11 .) The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West written by David McCullough

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story–the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that



10 .) They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South written by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers

They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South

Lists It Appears On:

  • Smithsonian Magazine
  • The Pietist Schoolman

A bold and searing investigation into the role of white women in the American slave economy Bridging women’s history, the history of the South, and African American history, this book makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery.



9.) Thomas Paine and the Clarion Call for American Independence written by Harlow Giles Unger

Thomas Paine and the Clarion Call for American Independence

Lists It Appears On:

  • Smithsonian Magazine
  • The Pietist Schoolman

From New York Times bestselling author and Founding Fathers’ biographer Harlow Giles Unger comes the astonishing biography of the man whose pen set America ablaze, inspiring its revolution, and whose ideas about reason and religion continue to try men’s so



8.) A Woman Of No Importance: The Untold Story Of The American Spy Who Helped Win World War II written by Sonia Purnell

A Woman Of No Importance: The Untold Story Of The American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
  • NPR

The never-before-told story of Virginia Hall, the American spy who changed the course of the World War II, from the author of Clementine In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and



7.) Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster written by Adam Higginbotham

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • NPR
  • The Pietist Schoolman

–THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER– ‘An invaluable contribution to history.’ Serhii Plokhy, Evening Standard ‘Tells the story of the disaster and its gruesome aftermath with thriller-like flair. Midnight in Chernobyl is wonderful and chilling … written wit



6.) Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder And Memory In Northern Ireland written by Patrick Radden Keefe

Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder And Memory In Northern Ireland

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
  • NPR

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR – TIME MAGAZINE ONE OF THE BEST 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR – WASHINGTON POST NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD “Masked



5.) The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, And The Pillage Of An Empire written by William Dalrymple

The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, And The Pillage Of An Empire

Lists It Appears On:

  • Telegraph
  • Goodreads
  • NPR

“Superb … A vivid and richly detailed story … worth reading by everyone.” -The New York Times Book Review From the bestselling author of Return of a King, the story of how the East India Company took over large swaths of Asia, and the devastating resul



4.) The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 written by Rick Atkinson

The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Pietist Schoolman
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon

From the bestselling author of the Liberation Trilogy comes this extraordinary history of the American Revolution.



3.) The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present written by David Treuer

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Pietist Schoolman
  • Goodreads
  • NPR

FINALIST FOR THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Chapter after chapter, it’s like one shattered myth after another.” – NPR “An informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait…



2.) The Season: A Social History Of The Debutante written by Kristen Richardson

The Season: A Social History Of The Debutante

Lists It Appears On:

  • Smithsonian Magazine
  • The Pietist Schoolman
  • NPR

In this enthralling history of the debutante ritual, Kristen Richardson sheds new light on contemporary ideas about women and marriage. Kristen Richardson, from a family of debutantes, chose not to debut. But as her curiosity drove her to research this end



1.) How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States written by Daniel Immerwahr

How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States

Lists It Appears On:

  • Telegraph
  • Smithsonian Magazine
  • The Pietist Schoolman
  • Goodreads
  • NPR

A pathbreaking history of the United States’ overseas possessions and the true meaning of its empire We are familiar with maps that outline all fifty states. And we are also familiar with the idea that the United States is an “empire,” exercising power aro




The 125+ Additional Best History Books Released In 2019



#BooksAuthorsLists
241919Eve L. EwingNPR
25A Good American Family: The Red Scare And My FatherDavid MaranissNPR
26A Wild And Precious Life: A MemoirEdie Windsor and Joshua LyonNPR
27Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, The World’s Greatest Rodeo, And A Hidden History Of The American WestDavid Wolman and Julian SmithNPR
28American Pop: A NovelSnowden WrightNPR
29An American Sunrise: PoemsJoy HarjoNPR
30Attlee and Churchill Telegraph
31
Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society
 Goodreads
32Big Wonderful Thing: A History Of TexasStephen HarriganNPR
33Birds in the Ancient World: Winged WordsJeremy MynottFive Books
34Bringing Down The DukeEvie DunmoreNPR
35Building Anglo-Saxon EnglandJohn BlairFive Books
36Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead Amazon
37Cantoras: A NovelCarolina De RobertisNPR
38Cherokee America: A NovelMargaret Verble
The Pietist Schoolman
39
Code Name: Lise. The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy
 Goodreads
40Cold Warriors Telegraph
41Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials that Defined Modern Britain Telegraph
42
D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
 Amazon
43Delayed Rays Of A Star: A NovelAmanda Lee KoeNPR
44Desire LinesElizabeth KingstonNPR
45Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind Telegraph
46Drive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through The Heart Of America’s Fast-Food KingdomAdam ChandlerNPR
47Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II Goodreads
48EdisonEdmund Morris
The Pietist Schoolman
49Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and England, Mother of EmpiresSara CockerillDan Jones
50Elizabethan Globalism: England, China And The Rainbow PortraitMatthew DimmockNPR
51Empress: Queen Victoria and IndiaMiles TaylorFive Books
52Epic Continent: Adventures In The Great Stories Of EuropeNicholas JubberNPR
53First to Fight: The Polish War 1939 Telegraph
54Floating Coast: An Environmental History Of The Bering StraitBathsheba DemuthNPR
55Fry Bread: A Native American Family StoryKevin Noble Malliard, illustratedNPR
56Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called QuestHanif AbdurraqibNPR
57God Save The Queens: The Essential History Of Women In Hip-HopKathy IandoliNPR
58Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy Amazon
59Hitler Telegraph
60Hitler: Only the World Was Enough Telegraph
61Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz And The Secret History Of L.A.Lili AnolikNPR
62How Was It For You? Women, Sex, Love and Power in the 1960s Telegraph
63Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War Amazon
64In WavesA.J. DungoNPR
65Inventing VictoriaTonya BoldenNPR
66Jerome Robbins, By Himself: Selections From His Letters, Journals, Drawings, Photographs, And An Unfinished MemoirJerome Robbins, editedNPR
67Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries Of African-American CookingToni Tipton-MartinNPR
68Just Like Beverly: A Biography Of Beverly ClearyVicki Conrad, illustratedNPR
69King and Emperor Telegraph
70King of the World Telegraph
71Lady In The Lake: A NovelLaura LippmanNPR
72Last Boat Out Of Shanghai: The Epic Story Of The Chinese Who Fled Mao’s RevolutionHelen ZiaNPR
73Legacy Telegraph
74Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography — Herself AloneCharles Moore
The Pietist Schoolman
75Mitz: The Marmoset Of BloomsburySigrid NunezNPR
76Mrs. Everything: A NovelJennifer WeinerNPR
77NightingalePaisley RekdalNPR
78Nobody’s Looking At You: EssaysJanet MalcolmNPR
79Norco ’80: The True Story Of The Most Spectacular Bank Robbery In American HistoryPeter HoulahanNPR
80Oblivion or Glory Telegraph
81One Day: The Extraordinary Story Of An Ordinary 24 Hours In AmericaGene WeingartenNPR
82Opium: How An Ancient Flower Shaped And Poisoned Our WorldJohn H. Halpern and David BlisteinNPR
83Oscar: A LifeMatthew SturgisFive Books
84Out Of Darkness, Shining Light: A NovelPetina GappahNPR
85Permanent RecordEdward SnowdenNPR
86Places And Names: On War, Revolution, And ReturningElliot AckermanNPR
87Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom 
Smithsonian Magazine
88Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself Telegraph
89Queen Of The SeaDylan MeconisNPR
90RebelBeverly JenkinsNPR
91Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for JusticeMary FulbrookFive Books
92Republic Of Shame: Stories From Ireland’s Institutions For ‘Fallen Women’Caelainn HoganNPR
93Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations Amazon
94Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to SegregationSteve Luxenberg
The Pietist Schoolman
95Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI Telegraph
96Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11James Donovan
The Pietist Schoolman
97Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives In World War II Goodreads
98Spy RunnerEugene YelchinNPR
99Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim CrowHenry Louis Gates
The Pietist Schoolman
100Supreme GlamourMary Wilson with Mark BegoNPR
101Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine Amazon
102The Archive Of Alternate EndingsLindsey DraggerNPR
103The Border: A NovelDon WinslowNPR
104The Broken Road: George Wallace And A Daughter’s Journey To ReconciliationPeggy Wallace KennedyNPR
105The Brothers York: An English Tragedy Telegraph
106The Castle On Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, And Scandal At Hollywood’s Chateau MarmontShawn LevyNPR
107The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an AgeLeo Damrosch
The Pietist Schoolman
108The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and the Dawn of the American CenturyClay Risen
The Pietist Schoolman
109The Darksome Bounds of a Falling World Telegraph
110The Dead Queens ClubHannah CapinNPR
111The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story Goodreads
112The Downstairs GirlStacey LeeNPR
113The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California Amazon
114The Education Of An Idealist: A MemoirSamantha PowerNPR
115The End Is Nigh Telegraph
116The Europeans Telegraph
117The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington Goodreads
118The Future Of Another TimelineAnnalee NewitzNPR
119The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians and Other European Immigrants Out of AmericaDaniel Okrent
The Pietist Schoolman
120The Heartland: An American HistoryKristin L. HogansonNPR
121The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick Goodreads
122The Man Who Was Saturday Telegraph
123The Map of Knowledge: How Classical Ideas were Lost and Found: A History in Seven Cities Telegraph
124The Mastermind: Drugs. Empire. Murder. Betrayal.Evan RatliffNPR
125The Mosquito: A Human History Of Our Deadliest PredatorTimothy C. WinegardNPR
126The Nickel Boys: A NovelColson WhiteheadNPR
127The Old Drift: A NovelNamwali SerpellNPR
128The Plaza: The Secret Life Of America’s Most Famous HotelJulie SatowNPR
129The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution Amazon
130The Secrets We Kept: A NovelLara PrescottNPR
131The Shadow King: A NovelMaaza MengisteNPR
132The Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VILauren JohnsonDan Jones
133The Song of Simon de Montfort: England’s First RevolutionarySophie-Thérèse AmblerDan Jones
134The Stationery ShopMarjan KamaliNPR
135The UndefeatedKwame Alexander, illustratedNPR
136The Voices of Nîmes: Women, Sex and Marriage in Reformation LanguedocSuzannah LipscombDan Jones
137The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul From the Revolution to the Civil WarAndrew Delbianco
The Pietist Schoolman
138The War Nobody Wanted: 1939: A People’s History Telegraph
139They Called Us EnemyGeorge Takei, Justin Eisinger and StevenNPR
140They Will Have To Die Now: Mosul And The Fall Of The CaliphateJames VeriniNPR
141This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s ManifestoSuketu MehtaNPR
142Trading in War: London’s Maritime World in the Age of Cook and NelsonMargarette LincolnFive Books
143Underground: A Human History Of The Worlds Beneath Our FeetWill HuntNPR
144Unexampled Courage: The Blinding Of Sgt. Isaac Woodard And The Awakening Of President Harry S. Truman And Judge J. Waties WaringRichard GergelNPR
145Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis Goodreads
146Useful Enemies Telegraph
147Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories Of Social UpheavalSaidiya HartmanNPR
148What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir Of Witness And ResistanceCarolyn ForchéNPR
149When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten HistoryMassoud HayounNPR
150Who Dares Wins: Britain 1979-82 Telegraph
151Winds of Change Telegraph
152Witcraft Telegraph
153Working Amazon
154You Will Be Safe HereDamian BarrNPR


8 Best History Book Sources/Lists



Source
Amazon
Dan Jones
Five Books
Goodreads
NPR
Smithsonian Magazine
Telegraph
The Pietist Schoolman

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