Five history books I read in 2017 that I might recommend to non-historians who want to read a little history

1. Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line, by Heather Hendershot

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 2.17.28 PM.png

I hear a lot of people talk about how American conservatism used to be different. Hendershot shows how and why.

2. Village Atheist: How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation, by Leigh Eric Schmidt

This is a book of weird characters you won't soon forget. Also, it turns out you can learn a lot about American religiosity from the people who are against it.

3. Billy Sunday Was His Real Name, by William G. McLoughlin

If you've asked yourself "but what is an evangelical?" this year, reading about one of the most famous evangelists could provide some (complicating) perspective. This is an older book that really holds up.

4. All the President’s Men, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

A rollicking narrative about how the press held a president accountable. Oddly relevant to our present political moment.

5. A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression, by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe

There was a lot more liver in 20th-century casseroles than you would expect. This book shows how historical forces influence the food on the table--and how history is, invisibly, at work in our everyday lives.

All 51 books I finished in 2017: 

A Torch Kept Lit, by William F. Buckley Jr.
Surge of Piety: Norman Vincent Peale and the Remaking of American Religious Life, by Christopher Lane
March: Book Two, by John Lewis
Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon, by Kathryn Lofton
Entertaining Judgement: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination, by Greg Garrett
Selected Letters of P.T. Barnum, by P.T. Barnum
The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu
Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line, by Heather Hendershot
The Churching of America, 1776-2005, by Roger Finke and Rodney Stark
Struggles and Triumphs: or, Forty Years’ Recollections, by P.T. Barnum
The Circus Age: Culture and Society Under the American Big Top, by Janet M. Davis
Billy Sunday the Baseball Evangelist, by Craig A. Bishop
Exiles from Eden: Religion and Academic Vocation in America, by Mark Schwehn
The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion, by N.T. Wright
To Serve God and Walmart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise, by Bethany Moreton
Village Atheist: How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation, by Leigh Eric Schmidt
Billy Sunday Was His Real Name, by William G. McLoughlin
Preacher: Billy Sunday and Big-Time American Evangelism, by Roger A. Bruns
All the President’s Men, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
The Trial and Death of Socrates, by Plato
American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation, by Michael Kazin
The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, by H.W. Brands
Sophocles I: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Odeipus at Colonus, by Sophocles
The Remarkable “Ma” Sunday, by Opal Overmyer
Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P. T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity, by Eric D. Lehman
In Rare Form: A Pictorial History of Baseball Evangelist Billy Sunday, by W.A. Firstenberger
The Crusader: The Life and Tumultuous Times of Pat Buchanan, by Timothy Stanley
The Comedians, by Kliph Nestoroff
Nixon’s White House Wars, by Pat Buchanan
Analects, by Confucius
Basic Writings, by Xunzi
A Whale Hunt, by Robert Sullivan
Basic Writings, by Zhuangzi
Nicomachean Ethics, by Aristotle
Genesis, trans. by Robert Alter
Roosevelt and Wilke, by Warren Moscow
In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult, by James Wasserman
The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat, by Bob Woodward
Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, by Studs Terkel
My Bright Abyss, by Christian Wiman
Confessions, by Augustine
The Sabbath, by Abraham Heschel
The Prince, by Niccolò Machiavelli
The Surprising Work of God: Harold John Ockenga, Billy Graham, and the Rebirth of Evangelicalism, by Garth M. Rosell
The Tempest, by William Shakespeare
The Business Turn in American Religious History, ed. Amanda Porterfield, Darren Grem and John Corrigan
The Word and Its Witness: The Spiritualization of American Realism, by Gregory S. Jackson
Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process, by John McPhee
A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression, by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe
The Real Cool Killers, by Chester Himes