Books For Fans of Drunk History
I’ve started watching Drunk History and realized that many of the stories they feature, told pretty well therein, are told spectacularly well in a book. So this isn’t a bibliography of Drunk History, though that would be an interesting project. Instead, these are five books that not only relate to an episode of Drunk History, but are also really fantastic. Many historical books have a great story buried in them somewhere but aren’t that much fun to read—these are not those.
If you liked Paget Brewster on Allan Pinkerton and Lincoln’s inauguration travels (season 2, episode 4), you would like The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower. Equally good for true crime buffs as well as historical ones.
If you liked Mark Gagliardi on Stetson Kennedy and the KKK (season 1, episode 3), you would like There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975 by Jason Sokol. Deeply infuriating and inspiring by turns.
If you liked Amber Ruffin on Claudette Colvin (season 2, episode 1), you would like Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose. Though this won or was nominated for half the children’s book awards in the country, it’s detailed enough to work for adult readers as well.
If you liked Eric Falconer on the Statue of Liberty (season 2, episode 2), you would like Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build The Statue of Liberty by Elizabeth Mitchell. As with most of the Drunk History stories, the full backstory on this is even more ridiculous than you can imagine.
If you liked Patrick Walsh on the presidential election of 1800 (season 2, episode 8), you would like A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America’s First Presidential Campaign by Edward J. Larson. This book is also great to cite around election time, when people start bitching about how there’s no civility in politics anymore, where did decent human kindness go, blah blah blah. (Since, as you’ve probably gathered, that is complete nonsense, elections have always been horrible.)
Bonus round: two stories that really ought to be on Drunk History and would likely appeal to fans of the show:
K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude, Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America’s Most Unlikely Tourist by Peter Carlson. (This could be an entire episode unto itself, with each of Khrushchev’s three US visits being a different segment. They are all that nutty.)
The President is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth by Matthew Algeo. (If that subtitle doesn’t convince you, I’m not sure I can say anything else that will.)