Saturday, May 31, 2014
My Favorite Historians?
“Denny, I know your academic training was in history and that you remain deeply interested in it. I was wondering if you could tell me who the best historians are for me to start reading?”
My reply --
You raise an interesting question and it's been kinda' fun for me to think about. Of course, the first issue is selecting the type of history. The fellows dealing with the history of philosophy or ancient Rome or World War II are, most likely, going to be different. Naturally then, my favorites will be guys who cover the areas of history I'm most interested in.
Another thing I should mention is that some of my very favorite books of history were not written by professional historians at all. A conservative speechwriter wrote my favorite history of the Reagan administration -- Peggy Noonan. A soldier wrote my favorite history of the American Civil War -- Ulysses Grant. And my favorite histories of the U.S. space program were written by two scientists and a novelist -- Chris Kraft, Gene Kranz, and Tom Wolfe.
By the way, among these my absolute favorites are Foote, Morison, Lord, and Hillenbrand.