History Channel: Best Books of 2017

The Best Books, Shows, Films and Podcasts of 2017 for History Lovers


The year’s best historically inflected fiction offered reflections on wars and family ties across generations.

In a year when the Syrian refugee crisis loomed large, Pulitzer Prize–winner Viet Nguyen gathered short stories of people linked by the experience of the Vietnam War and its legacy in the collection The Refugees (Grove Press). Against the backdrop of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s young son Willie entered the liminal realm of ghosts in Lincoln in the Bardo (Random House) in the latest from Man Booker Prize–winner George Saunders. In her second novel, Pachinko (Grand Central Publishing), Min Jin Lee traced the story of one Korean family through the 20th century, from Japanese-occupied Korea to 1980s Japan. Kamila Shamsie reworks the ancient story of Antigone in Home Fire (Riverhead Books), a family tale set in the time of ISIS. An Irish-Catholic enclave in Brooklyn became the setting for Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a story centered on a widow, her daughter and a convent of nuns. Rachel Seiffert explores the intertwined lives of a Ukrainian town in the days after the German invasion of 1941 in A Boy in Winter (Pantheon).

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