Modern U.S. History Reading List

Important Historiographic Collection

Foner, Eric. The New American History

Antebellum/Sectional Crisis

Recommended Synthesis Sectional Crisis: Elizabeth Varon, Disunion! The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859

  • Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America
  • DuBois, Ellen. Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women's Movement in America, 1848-1869
  • Foner, Eric. Free Labor, Free Soil, Free Men
  • Litwack, Leon. North of Slavery
  • Walters, Ronald. American Reformers, 1815-1860


Recommended Synthesis Civil War: James McPherson. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Recommended Synthesis 1877-1920: Jackson Lears, Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920

  • Ayers, Edward. The Promise of the New South.
  • Bender, Thomas. Toward an Urban Vision: Ideas and Institutions in Nineteenth-Century
  • Blight, David. Race and Reunion
  • Fink, Leon. Workingmen’s Democracy
  • Foner, Eric. Reconstruction
  • Gilmore, Glenda. Gender and Jim Crow
  • Hahn, Steven. A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration
  • Limerick, Patricia. Legacy of Conquest
  • Postel, Charles. The Populist Vision

Twentieth Century

Recommended Synthesis Depression and World War II: David Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945

Recommended Synthesis 1945-1974: James Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974

Recommended Synthesis 1970s-2000: James Patterson, Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore

  • Brinkley, Alan. The End Of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War
  • Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939
  • Gaddis, John Lewis. The Cold War: A New History
  • Gilmore, Glenda, ed. Who Were the Progressives? [ANTHOLOGY]
  • Gitlin, Todd. The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage
  • Herring, George. America's Longest War: The United States in Vietnam
  • Jacobs, Meg. Pocketbook Politics: Economic Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America
  • Lichtenstein, Nelson. State of the Union.
  • Leuchtenberg, William. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal
  • Marable, Manning, Malcolm X.
  • May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound
  • Sugrue, Thomas. Sweet Land of Liberty.
  • Schulman, Brad, and Julian Zelizer, eds. Rightward Bound. [ANTHOLOGY]


  • Daniels, Roger. Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life
  • D'Emilio, John and Estelle Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America
  • Herring, George C. From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776.
  • Mintz, Steve and Susan Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life