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What should I read next?

Boy reading a magazine at the Manzanar Relocation Center (538076)
Boy reading a magazine at the Manzanar Relocation Center (538076)

Four times a year in Prologue magazine, we feature an interview with an author who has written a book that draws on the holdings of the National Archives.

So, far I have learned about the naval aspect of the Civil War and the unexpected connection that Fort Wool has with several Presidents. Our summer issue will feature this book about the Civil War–era correspondence between Walt Whitman, his soldier brother, and their family.

Now I need to read something for the fall issue. Has anyone read something good recently that features our documents?

I confess—I’d like to read something that doesn’t focus on the Civil War or the military. I’m also interested in learning about the rest of the country—please help me find something that isn’t based in the East Coast.

Of course—I’m happy to take all suggestions if it was a good book! Please leave the title—and maybe why you liked it—in the comments.

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Comment from Joanne Silva
Time June 15, 2010 at 11:05 am

How about, “Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: A National Security Archive Documents Reader”?

Comment from laura
Time June 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

How about White Collar Radicals: The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Knoxville Fifteen, The New Deal, and the McCarthy Era? The book chronicles 15 young, idealistic people who migrate to Knoxville to work for TVA, and dabble in Communisim, only to find it follows them decades later. It was a fascinating read!

Comment from Sarah
Time June 15, 2010 at 11:52 am

I know you said no civil war books but read Manhunt. It’s about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. Even though it’s nonfiction it reads like a Dan Brown novel. Fantastic book.

Comment from Allison
Time June 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I second White Collar Radicals!

Comment from SP
Time June 15, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I would suggest also Cadillac Desert (about California’s water issues), or Nothing Like it in the World by Stephen Ambrose (about the building of the transcontinental railroad).

Comment from Battleshipbob
Time June 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

As an employee of NPRC I could never get tired of Military History. I will cut you some slack though. My recommendation is About Westward expansion beyond the West Coast. A time least studied around 1905. “Imperial Cruise” It will change everything you thought you knew about Teddy Roosevelt.

Comment from adp
Time June 16, 2010 at 10:22 am

Yes, White Collar Radicals uses quite a number of neglected files from the National Archives. A good read for those interested in the Cold War, the Great Depression, and biography.

Comment from Nick
Time June 16, 2010 at 10:31 am

I just finished “Lords of Finance: The Bankers who Broke the World.” It starts a bit slow, but it does an excellent job in explaining how the depression started and how the 4 major central banks contributed to the situation.

Comment from Kira
Time June 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

White Collar Radicals was an excellent read! I certainly wasn’t an expert in the TVA before, but the book provided a wealth of information in a great narrative of overlapping lives.

Comment from parkinson
Time June 16, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions–I will definitely check out all these titles, especially White Collar Radicals.