Virginia History Books

Browse selected volumes on popular topics, such as the Civil War, the American Revolution, Fredericksburg, and the surrounding counties. These titles are updated frequently, so check back often for more recommendations. Most books can be requested and checked out from your home library branch. Use the menu below to limit your search to areas that interest you.

For students wanting historical tales--true and otherwise--check out our lists of Virginia History Books for Kids.

"Negro President"--Jefferson and the Slave Power

By Garry Wills

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Wills argues that the U.S. Constitution's three-fifths clause for slave "representation" in Congress and the Electoral College gave slave holders the edge in winning most presidential elections, controlling the federal government, and maintaining slavery by throttling personal liberties.

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A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia

By Thomas Hariot

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As the first volume in de Bry's celebrated Grand Voyages, a series of publications chronicling many of the earliest expeditions to the Americas, this book, which incorporates a 1588 text by Thomas Hariot, was illustrated and published in four languages. It became for many Europeans their first glimpse of the American continent. Accompanying the Latin facsimile is an English text. The first section is modernized from earlier versions of the English, and the second part, which accompanies the plates, is newly translated from the original Latin.

In addition to a valuable introduction, the book includes two illuminating essays. The first, by Karen Ordahl Kupperman, examines the early American settlement and tells how a collaboration between the writer and mathematician Thomas Hariot and the artist John White (later governor of the Roanoke Colony) evolved into a rich study not only of English colonial life but of the Indian culture and the natural resources of the region. The second essay, by Peter Stallybrass, uncovers new information in the much studied plates and presents an intriguing theory about the creation and importance of the engravings.
(From the publisher's description)

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A Dictionary of Marks: Metalwork, Furniture, Ceramics; the Identification Handbook for Antique Collectors

By Margaret Macdonald-Taylor

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"Including the marks of American and British metalwork, this book also includes coverage of ceramics and furniture. The ceramics include English and European marks, as well as Japanese date marks and Chinese reign marks. English, French and European furniture and tapestry marks are also included." (Pickabook Books)

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A Field Guide to American Houses

By Virginia and Lee McAlester

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The guide that enables you to identify, and place in their historic and architectural contexts, the houses you see in your neighborhood or in your travels across America. 17th century to the present.

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A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors

By Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

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"This first-ever guide reveals special strategies for overcoming the unique challenges of tracing female genealogy. Readers will be able to uncover historical facts, personal accounts and recorded events to form an intriguing narrative biography of the women in their ancestries."

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A History of Our Own: Stafford County, Virginia

By Albert Z. Conner, Jr.

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Mr. Conner's book gives Stafford County its own place in American history, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Filled with photographs and illustrations, this handsome book gives an excellent overview of the county's development and includes noteworthy individuals and events that impacted the area.
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A Pocket History of the Civil War

By Martin F. Graham

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This is a small book. It lacks gorgeous illustrations, but it -is- concise, plainly-written and published by one of the most recognized companies for military history for the National Civil War Museum. If a reader wants a compact overview, complete with "Test Your Knowledge" sections for each chapter, the pocket history is the way to go. Includes a glossary.

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A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom: Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation

By David W. Blight, editor

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Through a combination of intelligence, daring, and sheer luck, the men reached the protection of occupying Union troops. Historian Blight prefaces the narratives with each man's life history. Using genealogical information, Blight has reconstructed their childhoods as sons of white slaveholders, their service as cooks and camp hands during the Civil War, and their climb to black working-class stability in the North, where they reunited their families. In the stories of Wallace Turnage and John Washington, we find portals that offer a rich new answer to the question of how four million people moved from slavery to freedom.
From the publisher's description.

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A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans: Pirates, Skinflints, Patriots, and Other Colorful Characters Stuck in the Footnotes of History

By Michael Farquhar

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Michael Farquhar ransacked the archives to rescue 30 almost-famous Americans from the dust bin of obscurity. These colorful figures range from Mayflower Murderer John Billington (1624) to Dick Fosbury, father of the "Flop" (1968).
Also available to download as an audiobook.
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