Wednesday, October 29, 2014


You want to troll for a date? Try a bookstore. Or better yet, read a book.

Have you resolved to learn about the Norman invasion of England? Pick up a copy of David Howarth’s 1066: The Year of the Conquest. The first permanent settlement in the New World? Karen Lange wrote 1607: A New Look at Jamestown. America’s origins? How about David McCullough’s 1776.

You can read 1492: The Year the World Began by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. But if you want some more historical context, you can also pick up a couple of books by a fellow named Charles C. Mann—1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created.

As much as those distant histories fascinate us at the Why Not 100, this is a post about more recent historical accounts. And as much as we love 2001: A Space Odyssey, we’re going to focus on the 20th century.  If you have the time and the inclination, you can give yourself and at-home education by simply journeying through the century one book at a time.

Not every year offers a suitable selection (we decided the year has to be somewhere in the title). On the other hand, some years offer myriad possibilities. There are two books titled 1913, another called 1913: The Eve of War. And there’s 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War. And 1913: The Year Before the Storm. And so on.

The following is a list of 76 books about 76 years, from novels (i.e. 1984) to biographical studies (Elvis 1956), from broad nonfiction (1949: The First Israelis) to very specific accounts (Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934), from Dallas 1963 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis to October 1964 by David Halberstam.

We’ll start with a novel by Robert Conroy (1901), who also wrote books titled 1862… and 1920… and 1942… and 1945

1. 1901 by Robert Conroy
2. The 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates: Treachery and Triumph by Ronald T. Waldo
3. The 1903 World Series: The Boston Americans, the Pittsburg Pirates, and the "First Championship of the United States” by Andy Dabilis
4. 1904 St. Louis World's Fair by Michael W. Lemberger and Leigh Michaels

5. 1905 by Leon Trotsky
6. 1906: A Novel by James Dalessandro
7. The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm by Robert F. Bruner and Sean D. Carr
8. America, 1908: The Dawn of Flight, the Race to the Pole, the Invention of the Model T, and the Making of a Modern Nation by Jim Rasenberger
9. 1911 The First 100 Years by Patrick Sweeney
10. 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs—The Election that Changed the Country by James Chace
11. 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War by Charles Emmerson
12. The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began by Jack Beatty
13. 1915: The Death of Innocence by Lyn MacDonald
14. The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 by Sir Alistair Horne
15. 1917: Red Banners, White Mantle by Warren H. Carroll
16. 1918: A Very British Victory by Peter Hart
17. Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan, Richard Holbrooke and Casey Hampton
18. 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents by David Pietrusza
19. 1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York by Lyle Spatz, Steve Steinberg and Charles C. Alexander

20. Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One by Kevin Jackson
21. In 1926: Living on the Edge of Time by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
22. One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
23. 1928 by C. S. Alexander
24. The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith
25. New York 1930: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Two World Wars by Robert A.M. Stern, Gregory F. Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins
26. The 1931 Hastings Bank Job and the Bloody Bandit Trail by Monty McCord
27. The Speakeasies of 1932 by Al Hirschfeld and Gordon Kahn
28. America 1933: The Great Depression, Lorena Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Shaping of the New Deal by Michael Golay
29. Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934 by Charles R. Smith Jr. and Frank Morrison
30. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
31. Moscow, 1937 by Karl Schlögel
32. 1938: Hitler's Gamble by Giles MacDonogh
33. 1939: Countdown to War by Richard Overy
34. 1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler-the Election amid the Storm by Susan Dunn
35. December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World by Craig Shirley and Gen. P.X. Kelley

36. 1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls by Winston Groom
37. The End: Hamburg 1943 by Hans Erich Nossack
38. Warsaw 1944: Hitler, Himmler, and the Warsaw Uprising by Alexandra Richie
39. Year Zero: A History of 1945 by Ian Buruma
40. The Dream Team of 1947 by Arno Paul Niemand
41. 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America by David Pietrusza
42. 1949: The First Israelis by Tom Segev and Arlen N. Weinstein
43. Accordion War: Korea 1951: Life and Death in a Marine Rifle Company by Charles Hughes
44. Shoot Them Down! - The Flying Saucer Air Wars of 1952 by Jr, Frank Feschino
45. The Coup: 1953, The CIA, and The Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations by Ervand Abrahamian
46. .721: A History of the 1954 Cleveland Indians by Gary Webster
47. Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe
48. Elvis 1956 by Alfred Wertheimer

49. Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration by Shelley Tougas
50. The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL by Mark Bowden
51. Early Wynn, the Go-Go White Sox and the 1959 World Series by Lew Freedman
52. 1960—LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign That Forged Three Presidencies by David Pietrusza
53. Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault
54. The First America's Team: The 1962 Green Bay Packers by Bob Berghaus
55. Dallas 1963 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis
56. October 1964 by David Halberstam
57. The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America by James T. Patterson
58. 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East by Tom Segev
59. 1968: The Year That Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky
60. 1969: The Year Everything Changed by Rob Kirkpatrick

61. Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970 by David Browne
62. 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh by Srinath Raghavan
63. 1972: The Summit Series, Canada vs. USSR: Stats, Lies & Videotape: The Untold Story of Hockey's Series of the Century by Richard J Bendell
64. 1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol, and the Birth of Post-Sixties America by Andreas Killen
65. Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America's Pastime by Mark Frost
66. 1978: Crashed Memories by Ger-I Lewis
67. Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century by Christian Caryl
68. The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team by Wayne Coffey and Jim Craig
69. The Original 1982 by Lori Carson
70. Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983 by Barbara Kingsolver
71. 1984 by George Orwell
72. 1985 by Anthony Burgess
73. The 1986 Masters: How Jack Nicklaus Roared Back to Win by John Boyette

74. Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire by Victor Sebestyen
75. Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 by Anna Deavere Smith
76. 1996 by Gloria Naylor

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