It seems that in this month’s line-up of the best history books there are no two books alike. Here are some of our favorites from the list:
Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler – Blitzed is one of those books that seemingly comes out of nowhere; and based on great reviews and word-of-mouth, it rockets up the best-seller lists. (Hillbilly Elegy is an extreme example of this kind of book.) Last year, Blitzed started getting great attention in the U.K., and that attention hasn’t waned with the March 7th publication in the States. This book is fun history: It paints a portrait of a drug-saturated, drug-powered Third Reich, tracing the shockingly heavy (and varied) drug usage, from soldiers and factory workers all the way up to a bunkered, and blitzed, Adolph Hitler.
The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan – The Great Lakes have been in the national news lately. That’s not necessarily a good thing. When Dan Egan began writing The Life and Death of the Great Lakes, he probably didn’t imagine he would be reading headlines like those above. Things were dire enough as it was. In his book, Egan traces the changes that wreaked havoc on the five huge lakes containing 20% of the world’s fresh water. And he looks at how those lakes might still be saved. There’s great reporting here. And great writing. I have a feeling this book will resurface during awards season.
Richard Nixon: The Life by John A. Farrell – Perhaps not surprisingly, Farrell paints a cautionary presidential tale in his book on Richard Nixon. What is surprising is how he uses the entirety of Nixon’s career–the big moments and the smaller anecdotes–to paint a full portrait of Nixon’s life and illustrate how his darkness eventually crept across the entire canvas.
Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Tom Clavin – A few things stuck out to me as I began reading this book. First of all, Dodge City was way out west in Kansas. Second, it really was a lawless time–shockingly so. And third, the people involved were quite young. But all that makes the story of Dodge City more fascinating. It was certainly a different time and a different sort of place. And it’s a lot of fun to read about Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and the wickedest town in the American west.
You can see all of our Best History Books of March here.
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