Book publishing has its shortcomings. There’s always been a suspicion that many good books are left unpublished because of corporate pressures, editorial indifference or other troubling reasons. And, arguably, there are many areas in which today’s publishers may be more timid and unimaginative than their forebears.
But that’s not true with histories.
Over the last thirty-five years the number of provocative, high-quality, well-written histories in book stores has grown substantially. Many of these have been published by mainstream, non-academic publishers. The quality has been high. And these highly-regarded, well-researched books have found a general audience that might not have been predicted a few years back. To a non-historian, it appears that the gap between professional and non-professional historians has been bridged. Many journalists, essayists and writers from other fields have taken up the task of writing history, and they’ve done historical-writing a favor. They have brought a quality of rich story-telling that brings history to life.