Hidden History

Little-known, hidden or unusual stories from history.

Updated September 25, 2023
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Slaying the dragon : a secret history of Dungeons & Dragons
Riggs, Ben
Role-playing game historian Ben Riggs unveils the secret history of TSR-- the company that unleashed imaginations with Dungeons & Dragons, was driven into ruin by disastrous management decisions, and then saved by their bitterest rival. "Ben Riggs manages to...
The quiet zone : unraveling the mystery of a town suspended in silence
Kurczy, Stephen
In this riveting account of an area of Appalachia known as the Quiet Zone where cell phones and WiFi are banned, journalist Stephen Kurczy explores the pervasive role of technology in our lives and the innate human need for quiet. "Captures the complex beauty of a...
Wake: the Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts
Hall, Rebecca
A Best Book of 2021 by NPR and The Washington Post Part graphic novel, part memoir, Wake is an imaginative tour-de-force that tells the "powerful" (The New York Times Book Review) story of women-led slave revolts and chronicles scholar Rebecca Hall's...
Code girls : the true story of the American women who secretly broke codes in World War II
Mundy, Liza
In the tradition of Hidden Figures and The Girls of Atomic City, Code Girls is the amazing true story of the young American women who cracked German and Japanese military codes during World War II. More than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during...
The way I heard it
Rowe, Mike
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Executive producer and host Mike Rowe presents a delightfully entertaining, seriously fascinating collection of his favorite episodes from America's #1 short-form podcast, The Way I Heard It, along with a host of personal memories,...
In the shadow of the moon : America, Russia, and the hidden history of the space race
Cherrix, Amy E.
An exhilarating dive into the secret history of humankind's race to the moon, from acclaimed author Amy Cherrix. This fascinating and immersive read is perfect for fans of Steve Sheinkin's Bomb and M. T. Anderson's Symphony for the City of the Dead. You've heard of the space race, but do...
The secret history of home economics : how trailblazing women harnessed the power of home and changed the way we live
Dreilinger, Danielle
The term "home economics" may conjure traumatic memories of lopsided hand-sewn pillows or sunken muffins. But common conception obscures the story of the revolutionary science of better living. The field exploded opportunities for women in the twentieth century by reducing domestic work and...
The Burning Blue: The Untold Story of Christa Mcauliffe and NASA's Challenger Disaster
Cook, Kevin
Winner of the American Astronautical Society's 2021 Eugene M. Emme Award The untold story of a national trauma--NASA's Challenger explosion--and what really happened to America's Teacher in Space, illuminating the tragic cost of humanity setting its sight on the...
Empire of pain : the secret history of the Sackler dynasty
Keefe, Patrick Radden
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR * A grand, devastating portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by OxyContin. From...
This land is their land : the Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the troubled history of Thanksgiving
Silverman, David J.
Ahead of the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving, a new look at the Plymouth colony's founding events, told for the first time with Wampanoag people at the heart of the story.In March 1621, when Plymouth's survival was hanging in the balance, the Wampanoag sachem (or chief),...
American Sherlock : murder, forensics, and the birth of American CSI
Dawson, Kate Winkler
Known as the 'American Sherlock Holmes,' Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America's greatest forensic scientists, with a skill level that seemed almost supernatural. Heinrich spearheaded the invention of new forensic tools that police still use today, including blood spatter analysis, ballistics,...
The golden thread : how fabric changed history
St. Clair, Kassia
From colorful 30,000-year-old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to the Indian calicoes that sparked the Industrial Revolution, The Golden Thread weaves an illuminating story of human ingenuity. Design journalist Kassia St. Clair guides us through the technological advancements and...
Liberty is sweet : the hidden history of the American Revolution
Holton, Woody
A "deeply researched and bracing retelling" (Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian) of the American Revolution, showing how the Founders were influenced by overlooked Americans--women, Native Americans, African Americans, and religious dissenters. Using more than...
Cattle kingdom : the hidden history of the cowboy West
Knowlton, Christopher
 A revolutionary new appraisal of the Old West and the America it made The open range cattle era lasted barely a quarter-century, but it left America irrevocably changed. These few decades following the Civil War brought America its greatest boom-and-bust...
Gateway to freedom : the hidden history of the underground railroad
Foner, Eric
More than any other scholar, Eric Foner has influenced our understanding of America's history. Now, making brilliant use of extraordinary evidence, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian once again reconfigures the national saga of American slavery and freedom. A deeply entrenched...
Beyond measure : the hidden history of measurement from cubits to quantum constants
Vincent, James (Journalist)
From the cubit to the kilogram, the humble inch to the speed of light, measurement is a powerful tool that humans invented to make sense of the world. In this revelatory work of science and social history, James Vincent dives into its hidden world, taking readers from ancient Egypt, where...
The puzzler : one man's quest to solve the most baffling puzzles ever, from crosswords to jigsaws to the meaning of life
Jacobs, A. J.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically goes on a rollicking journey to understand the enduring power of puzzles- why we love them, what they do to our brains, and how they can improve our world. "Even though I've never attempted the...
American sirens : the incredible story of the Black men who became America's first paramedics
Hazzard, Kevin M.
The extraordinary story of an unjustly forgotten group of Black men in Pittsburgh who became the first paramedics in America, saving lives and changing the course of emergency medicine around the world   Until the 1970s, if you suffered a medical crisis, your...
The facemaker : a visionary surgeon's battle to mend the disfigured soldiers of World War I
Fitzharris, Lindsey
A New York Times Bestseller Finalist for the 2022 Kirkus Prize | Named a best book of the year by The Guardian "Enthralling. Harrowing. Heartbreaking. And utterly redemptive. Lindsey Fitzharris hit this one out of the park." --Erik Larson, author of...
The declassification engine : what history reveals about America's top secrets
Connelly, Matthew James
SHORTLISTED FOR THE CUNDHILL HISTORY PRIZE * Every day, thousands of new secrets are created by the United States government. What is all this secrecy really for? And whom does it benefit? "A brilliant, deeply unsettling look at the history and inner workings of 'the dark state'.......
Sisters in resistance : how a German spy, a banker's wife, and Mussolini's daughter outwitted the Nazis
Mazzeo, Tilar J.
In a tale as twisted as any spy thriller, discover how three women delivered critical evidence of Axis war crimes to Allied forces during World War II: "A tantalizingly novelistic history lesson" (Kirkus).   In 1944, news of secret diaries kept by...
The five : the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper
Rubenhold, Hallie
Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London--the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper. Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine...

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