I resolved to read one book on American history every month before I came here. This is the list so far:
August: None, as I was to busy settling in, and I was only here for about half the month anyway so only the purists would demand that I read a book om America this month, and I hate purists that demand that sort of thing.
September: “Independence – The Struggle to Set America Free” by John E. Ferling.
This was a quite good and very detailed book, which unfortunately wasn’t about the independence war as such, which is what I would have assumed he meant with “struggle”, but about the political and philosophical debates among the various prominent colonists before they declared independence. I think the book actually ends when they signed the declaration. Still, a very good book.
October: “The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon” by William M. Adler.
A VERY good book, which not only summarized the life and trial of Joe Hill, but also gave a very vivid and good insight into what the labour movement was up against, and why they choose to fight, and how they fought. As it ends with the miscarriage of justice that was the trial and state-sponsored murder of Joe Hill, it unfortunately doesn’t say much about what happened afterwards, but that’s not really the scope of the book, either.
November: “Eldorado: The California Gold Rush” by Dale L. Walker.
Also a quite nice book, but too detailed and repetitive in some cases, and with too little detail in other cases. The most interesting part is about John Augustus Sutter, but his life, especially after gold was found near his fort, is not explored thoroughly enough for my taste. Still, I enjoyed the book.
Now it’s almost December, and I still haven’t decided on a topic for the next book. Any suggestions? I live quite close to two very good book stores, and as Americans love their own history (and also guns and Baby Jesus), there shouldn’t be any problem to find a book on more or less any topic. If I don’t get any suggestions, and can’t come up with any good ideas myself (and I’ll be browsing in at least one of the book stores this weekend to get some Christmas gifts…), I’ll just read a book on Russian history I found recently.