In 2008, I started borrowing and reading my dad’s history books.
I started *roughly* at the beginning – Benjamin Franklin – and read four or five books until I got to James Madison. But, wait!! No books about James Madison in my dad’s library?? What? And what about everything that came before Benjamin Franklin? And then there was another gap at John Quincy Adams and everything between Andrew Jackson and the Civil War.
This would not do.
Off to the library, where I was reminded of all the other hundreds of people and events and places and theories from the beginning of American History that I hadn’t yet read about.
So I started keeping notes. I started a running Word document, and I would send myself emails when I was out somewhere and reminded of someone or something I wanted to learn about (example “Jamestown 1600s” was all I needed). I started branching out past just politics (Washington Irving is the first of many American writers I will read). My Goodreads To Read shelf is completely out of control.
I made for myself a bit of a history class. I would go to college forever, if I could afford it – but mostly because I love getting book lists and recommendations for what to read. So I decided to do that myself.
This site is a record of what I am reading for my own self-paced, totally made-up, ridiculously thorough American History class. In the 5 years I’ve been reading, I’m still not any farther than Andrew Jackson. But I don’t even care.
Hopefully you’ll find some great books to read (and what books to avoid) as you peruse. Check out the full book list for titles read, organized roughly by decade.
What era of US History do you teach?
Nope, not a teacher. Just a ridiculous enthusiast.
How do you decide what to read next?
A combination of Goodreads recommendations, Amazon searches on specific subjects and randomness. I have a running list of people and topics I would *like* to read about, and just fill in the gaps as best I can. And then more books get published so I have to go back. Which is why I’ve been doing this since 2008 and am only as far as Martin Van Buren.
Any other questions? Let me know!