Book Excerpts From a
Range of Prominent Writers
Each of these pieces was chosen for one of several reasons: to show history writing at its most readable (for example, the excerpts from Barbara W. Tuchman and Carl Sandburg), to illustrate how historical scholarship was presented in centuries past (Gibbon), to show that a good writer can generate history prose that kids will love (Enid LaMonte Meadowcroft), because it’s great stuff that has been somewhat overlooked (Page Smith).
This list is a bit heavy on war and on male writers. We needed to draw primarily on out-of-copyright material published before the explosion of social history that began in the 1950s and ’60s, and continues to the present day, bringing a greater range of people into the field of history than before, writing about a broader set of subjects than had previously engaged the profession – the history of women, minority groups, working people, etc. Valuable and readable work has resulted. But it’s copyrighted. We hope, in time, to broaden this list.
See here and here for Q-and-A interviews with outstanding social historians (Nell Irvin Painter and Gary B. Nash) and here for a Q-and-A conversation with a graduate student (Mireya Loza) hoping to make a mark in the field. – H.F.
The Battle of Chancellorsville by Bruce Catton
Pickett’s Charge by Shelby Foote
Appomattox by Douglas Southall Freeman
Ancient Greece by Edith Hamilton
“Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Silver for General Washington by Enid LaMonte Meadowcroft
The Gettysburg Address by Carl Sandburg
Journalism in America in the Late 19th Century by Page Smith
The First World War (Prelude to the Fighting) by Barbara W. Tuchman