Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Canoncial U.S. History List

David Sehat comes up with his list of 100 canonical U.S. history texts covering the period of about 1815 to the present. It's an interesting list. Hard to disagree with too many of the choices--Novick's That Noble Dream is a book I've always thought was popular because historians like to think of themselves as important. It's important for graduate students to have a sense of their profession's changes, but its value seems more or less limited to that. I'm not sure Herring's America's Longest War is really canonically important anymore, but maybe some will disagree. One might think we need more than 1 book on World War II, though Dower's War Without Mercy is certainly worthy. It's also really heavy on the antebellum period (20 books or so), which while covering slavery and a lot of other important issues, seems a bit too weighty.

I'd also like to see more than one book from my own field of environmental history, Cronon's Nature's Metropolis, but I'm really not sure what that book would be.

Anyway, it's a great reading list at the very least. I'd recommend most of the books on there that I've read