Books by Kenneth C. Davis

Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times best-selling author of Don't Know Much About® History, Don't Know Much About® Geography, Don't Know Much About® The Civil War, and Don't Know Much About® The Bible. People magazine has said that "Reading [Davis] is


CHILDREN'S
Released: May 15, 2018

"Readable and informative. (notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)"
Facts, quotes, anecdotes, and visual images tell the combined history of the 1918 flu epidemic and World War I, emphasizing the role of disease in changing history. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"An important and timely corrective. (timelines, source notes, bibliography, index). (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
Known for his Don't Know Much About… series, Davis here focuses on the lives of five individuals who were enslaved to some of the most important proponents of American liberty; "Only then can we really understand and possibly move past the stain of a racist past that still haunts America." Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: May 5, 2015

"An informative, readable compendium of the many fallacies of modern warfare—including the fact that the inventor of the Gatling gun thought his instrument would decrease casualties."
Six turning points in military history and American democracy. Read full book review >
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS by Kenneth C. Davis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 11, 2012

"The tedious format only occasionally dulls the author's sharp descriptive and analytical skills."
The author of Don't Know Much About History and similar titles returns with a sometimes-saucy handbook on the American presidency. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: May 11, 2010

"Mostly engaging but rarely edifying."
Don't Know Much About® series creator Davis (America's Hidden History, 2008, etc.) examines six little-known episodes that influenced American history. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2005

"An accessible and informed guide to an always-fascinating subject, and an ideal reference for the general reader."
The latest addition to the Don't Know Much About series (Don't Know Much About History, 2003, etc.) is an engaging handbook on gods, goddesses and the civilizations they have inspired. Read full book review >
DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE PIONEERS by Kenneth C. Davis
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2003

In an addition to his series that repeatedly demonstrates how much we don't know, Davis tackles the pioneer days and routes to the west. The flyleaf sets the tone by alerting readers to the "cool quotes" and "fascinating sidebars" of the volume and proclaiming, "The West doesn't get any wilder than this." An accessible resource for the many teachers who do units on the Oregon Trail, this offering covers such topics as Lewis and Clark, mountain men, trail dangers, the Gold Rush, cowboys, railroads, and Indian wars. The question-and-answer format invites browsing and offers a fair amount of information, but the work is condescending to young readers who don't need silly illustrations and dumb questions to entice them. "Did the pioneers take the Yellow Brick Road to Oregon?" "Did the pioneers use their best parachutes for jumping off?" "Were there Pilgrims on the trail?" The breezy, casual style fails to provide sufficient context for the occasional serious sidebars, such as General Sherman's statement that "the more Indians we kill this year, the less will have to be killed in the next war." The work does succeed in one of its missions—to tell the interesting story of real pioneers "who braved harsh winters and burning summers, disease and disaster, to head west in search of a dream come true." Though an adequate introduction, this is not for serious readers. (time line, additional resources) (Nonfiction. 6-9) Read full book review >
DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE 50 STATES by Kenneth C. Davis
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2001

The author of the popular adult Don't Know Much About series goes after a younger audience, laying out a skimpy assortment of random facts about the states and using the same lighthearted Q&A format. With Andriani's small cartoon illustrations liberally scattered about for color, Davis pauses at each state in alphabetical order, starting with a box of facts in brief, then, along with the occasional lame joke ("What has four eyes but can't see? Mississippi"), introducing a handful of historical events, famous natives, natural features, or unique characteristics. Browsers may pause here for a few moments—before going on to more substantial tours of the US, such as Lila Perl's It Happened in America (1992). Because Davis's accuracy is sometimes as casual as his style—not all of the Alamo's defenders were Texans, for instance, and Davy Crockett wore a coonskin cap far more often in legend than in life—it's not a primary purchase for libraries. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)Read full book review >