Historical Settings I Enjoy


Salem Witch Trials. Growing up in the Boston area, Salem was a big part of our New England history curriculum. We even took a field trip there. I’d love to say it was as fun as Hocus Pocus, but alas, it was not. It was fascinating, however, and I love to take as many fictional (or non-fictional) trips there as I can. Books like The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, The Heretic’s Daughter by Katheen Kent, and The Witches, Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff all are great options.

Rocky Mountain Fur Trade. This is a more recent interest of mine. I vaguely remember reading about it when I was younger, but I’ve now taken an active interest in those who set out for parts unknown in the interest of trapping. Books like The Revenant by Michael Punke and Teton Sunrise by Peggy Henderson are a fascinating look at what life might have of been like in the region I live now.

Civil War. I am fascinated by the Civil War, anything from Ken Burns’ documentary to a Lincoln biography, it is amazing how relevant some of the issues still are. And amazing is not used positively there… Books like Wilderness by Lance Weller, Woe to Live On by Daniel Woodrell, and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith are excellent examples.

(That last one is a joke…)

18th Century Scotland. Blame this one on Outlander by Diana Galbadon. Castles! War! Gorgeous scenery!

1940s New Mexico during the Manhattan Project. The idea that a group of people came together to create a weapon that can destroy the world is enthralling. Kenneth Bainbridge called the Trinity nuclear test a “foul and awesome display” and declared “now we are all sons of bitches”, while Oppenheimer said “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” Books like The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit, The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church, and Red Alert by Peter George (the last one is not the best one, but the inspiration for Dr. Strangelove merits a mention) are good examples.

Late 18th/Early 19th Gothic England. Basically the setting of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (that general time frame and feeling). Those are kind of hard to beat.

What settings do you enjoy? For more lists, go here.

Image found on Atomic Archive.

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