By Sadie Trombetta • Bustle.com • Sept. 22, 2017
Right now all around the country, Confederate statues are being taken down, and the issue has the nation divided. On one side, Americans are ready to let go of memorials that glorify the leaders who fought to preserve slavery and promote racial discrimination, and on the other, people are claiming the removal of these monuments is an erasure of history. For those people who are worried that this country’s narrative won’t survive taking down these painful reminders of hatred, racism, and bigotry, these essential history books you didn’t read in school will fill in all those gaps and more.
They say that history is written by the victors, but what happens when those victors decide to leave the important details out? All too often, history texts and academic courses leave out the narratives of indigenous Americans, immigrants, forced and otherwise, black Americans, including slaves, the LGBTQ community, and the other marginalized groups that are a crucial part of U.S. history, but who are left our of every text book.
To be able to fully grasp the present political, cultural, and historical moment, it’s important to understand the past, and that including the dark and painful parts, the uncomfortable moments, the untold stories of every kind of American. That’s why you need to read these essential history books that your history teacher never assigned you.
‘A People’s History of the United States’ by Howard Zinn
A classic among progressive history texts, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States tells America’s story from the perspective of the people who are often left out of textbooks: Native Americans, African Americans, immigrant laborers, women, and others. Covering the country’s long and complicated history, from Christopher Columbus to President Bill Clinton, this American Book Award-winner doesn’t shy away from the most controversial topics, including slavery, genocide, child labor, women’s oppression, and so much more. An eye-opening text that sheds light on some of America’s darkest moments, A People’s History of the United States is an engaging book that will change the way you think of our country’s past.