How did society arrive at where it stands today? To learn about the politicians, scientists, innovators, leaders and rulers whose actions shaped the present, peruse these summaries.
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Doris Kearns Goodwin

Simon & Schuster, 2018

A Brief History of Humankind

Yuval Noah Harari

Vintage, 2015


John Maynard Keynes

Prometheus Books, 1997


John Lewis Gaddis

Penguin Press, 2018

An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World

Jennifer Palmieri

Grand Central, 2018

The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History

David Enrich

Custom House, 2017

A History of the United States

Jill Lepore

W.W. Norton, 2018

R 10
Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century

George Packer

Knopf, 2019

R 8
The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West

David McCullough

Simon & Schuster, 2019

The Battle for Our Better Angels

Jon Meacham

Random House, 2018

R 8
Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom

Ariel Burger

Houghton Mifflin, 2018

The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington

Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

Flatiron Books, 2019

R 7

Yuval Noah Harari

Spiegel & Grau, 2018

R 8
It’s the ultimate political weapon. But we’ve never agreed on what it’s for.

Jill Lepore

The New Yorker, 2019

The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Caroline Fraser

Metropolitan Books, 2017

R 9
Lessons from Dealmaking at the Highest Level

James K. Sebenius et al.

Harper, 2018

The Fates of Human Societies

Jared Diamond

W.W. Norton, 2005

R 10

Niccolò Machiavelli

Oxford UP, 2008

Myth and Reality

Stanley McChrystal et al.

Portfolio, 2018

R 9
The Surprising History of New Ideas

Steven Poole

Scribner, 2018

The Origins of Western Liberalism

Larry Siedentop

Belknap Press, 2014

The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism

Steve Kornacki

Ecco, 2019

R 8

Thomas Hobbes

Oxford World’s Classics, 2011

The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder

Peter Zeihan

Twelve, 2014

The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans

James Stavidris

Penguin Press, 2017

How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Jared Diamond

Penguin, 2005

The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents from Kennedy to Obama

David Priess

Public Affairs, 2016

What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice

Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Knopf, 2014

R 8
How to Create a Movement that Drives Transformational Change

Greg Satell

McGraw-Hill, 2019