Books

A Must-Read for History Lovers

Kendra Winchester is a Contributing Editor for Book Riot where she writes about audiobooks and disability literature. She is also the Founder of Read Appalachia, which celebrates Appalachian literature and writing. Previously, Kendra co-founded and served as Executive Director for Reading Women, a podcast that gained an international following over its six-season run. In her off hours, you can find her writing on her Substack, Winchester Ave, and posting photos of her Corgis on Instagram and Twitter @kdwinchester.

Welcome to Read this Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that needs to jump onto your TBR pile! Sometimes these books are brand new releases that I don’t want you to miss, while others are some of my backlist favorites. This week, let’s talk about the most recent winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

a graphic of the cover of The Rediscovery of America by Dr. Ned Blackhawk

The Rediscovery of America by Dr. Ned Blackhawk

In the fall of 2023, Dr. Ned Blackhawk won the National Book Award for his nonfiction The Rediscovery of America, a history of North America that intentionally centers the perspective of Indigenous Peoples.

From the colonialism of New Spain to Native American Sovereignty in the Cold War Era, Dr. Blackhawk details the major events that impacted the lives of Native peoples. As readers, we receive a macro-level look at the major movements of Indigenous groups, including their cultures, politics, and economic strategies. Dr. Blackhawk also notes what non-Indigenous scholars have often missed or underappreciated in their works that center colonialist perspectives of the United States.

Dr. Blackhawk’s work reinforces that Indigenous history cannot be ignored; it’s an integral part of the fabric of America’s existence. Every chapter of The Rediscovery of America could be a book — or many books — on its own. But it’s not meant to be an end-all-be-all history. Dr. Blackhawk provides us with a summary, a starting place for the study of Indigenous histories on Turtle Island. And with its extensive notes and annotations, The Rediscovery of America gives readers even more resources to study in the future.

The audiobook edition, performed by Jason Grasl, was recently released, making this much-needed history available and more accessible to a wider audience. With his performance, Grasl maintains listeners’ attention through every chapter, making this nonfiction book feel like a page-turner.

Well-researched, detailed, and deeply impactful, The Rediscovery of America is a must-read for any history lover.


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