Surround Sound U.S. History Lessons

by Marina M.

Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

I may have just missed the opportunity to highlight some special titles for National Audiobook Month in June. Never fear, I’m just going to take that missed opportunity and turn it into a July two-fer.

As I’m sure you all know, we will celebrate our country’s independence in a few days (*cue fireworks and please stay safe and legal). The history nerd in me has discovered a treasure trove of wide-ranging U.S. history books to enjoy. From political to natural to scientific, many aspects of our nation’s history have played out through the speakers of my car.

Reliving History

Sarah Vowell‘s humorous history books are a particular favorite of mine. If you have listened to her audio and you get a sense of deja vu it’s because Sarah Vowell is the voice of Violet in The Incredibles movies. Along with her narration, some of her famous friends (such as Jon Stewart, Keanu Reeves, Maya Rudolph, and more) pitch in to voice historical figures in the books. My favorite (make no mistake, they’re all both very informative and entertaining) would probably be Assassination Vacation. Vowell, and at times her nephew Owen, traveled to the sites relevant to assassinated presidents Garfield, McKinley, and Lincoln. This book was my introduction to her style of history book and it immediately hooked me. And I’ve listened to it twice.

Speaking of traveling to relive history in modern times, Rinker Buck and his brother Nick outfitted themselves with a covered wagon, a team of mules, and the supplies needed to follow the Oregon Trail. As close to the same path as the pioneers in the 1800s considering modern roads, developments, and trespassing restrictions. All the while hoping to avoid the snakebites, drowning, or dysentery that plagued the original travelers.

One Nation?

Doug Mack‘s The Not-Quite States of America gave me a very thorough introduction to the US territories and commonwealths. Until listening to this book my knowledge consisted solely of the fact that that list included Puerto Rico and Guam. Not only did I learn there were more than those two, I also found out that they were categorized differently (organized vs unorganized, incorporated vs unincorporated). I also learned how they came to be part of the United States (but not really), the rights (or lack thereof) of the citizens, and so much more.

Four Score . . . Go Read Some More

Below you will find additional books to continue your audio U.S. history lessons.

Wait, what? You want even more history? We’ve got you covered! There are several research databases on the Sno-Isle website for you to explore. As for me, I am always looking for my next audio history read so please share your favorites in the comments below.


Surround Sound U.S. History Lessons



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