UCBRC Book Club

About the UCBRC Book Club

If you are passionate about books, interested in history, and enjoy stimulating discussions, you are invited to join the UCB Retirement Center Book Club. The Club was started in 2007 by Robert Middlekauff, Professor Emeritus in the UCB History Department. Books are chosen by UCB staff retiree Steve Owen, who also leads the book club discussion. The selected books are usually from well-regarded historians, and deal in an accessible way with important events or ideas. The topics most often deal with American history, but also cover such things as late 20th century Europe, Japan during the American occupation, and the role of disease and climate change in the decline of the Roman Empire.

Since 2020, Book Club meeting have been held via Zoom, which has proved both safe and convenient. The Club hopes at some point to have at least some in-person meetings, but have not made any plans for this yet.

If you are interested in joining the group, please contact the Retirement Center at ucbrc@berkeley.edu for the meeting details and to be added to the email list. If you have questions about the club, you are welcome to contact Steve Owen at swowen@aol.com

Next Book Club Meeting:

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022 10:30 am - Noon via Zoom

Reading: On Juneteenth, by Annette Gordon-Reed


Books We've Read (an incomplete list)

  • Atticus Finch, The Biography, by Joseph Crespino
  • The Strange Career of Jim Crow, by C. Vann Woodward
  • All Shook Up: How Rock 'n' Roll Changed America, by Glenn C. Altschuler
  • Nell Irvin Painter, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol
  • Kyle Harper, The Fate of Rome: Climate, Dosease, and the End of an Empire
  • Andrew Jackson, Sean Wilentz
  • Democracy in America, Vol. 1 and 2, Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop, eds., Tocqueville
  • Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, Gordon Wood
  • The Federalist Papers, Hamilton, Jay, Madison
  • Benjamin Franklin, Edmund S. Morgan
  • Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus, Samuel E. Morison
  • Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, John W. Dower
  • Young Men and Fire and A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean
  • All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warrend
  • The Death and Rebirth of Seneca, Anthony F. C. Wallace
  • To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949, Ian Kershaw
  • Women and Power: A Manifesto, Mary Beard
  • Elizabeth I, by J. E. Neale
  • James Madison: A Biography by Ralph Ketcham
  • The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson by Bernard Bailyn
  • Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave Written by Himself
  • Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner
  • Berkeley and the New Deal by Harvey L. Smith 
  • The New Deal & Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry by Gordon Lloyd & David Davenport
  • The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays by Richard Hofstadter
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans
  • Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression by Studs Terkel
  • Eleanore Roosevelt: The Defining Years 1933-1938, by Blanche Wiesen Cook
  • A Mercy by Toni Morrison
  • A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony by John Demos
  • The Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah Berlin
  • The Puritan Family by Edmund Morgan
  • Peculiar Institution by Kenneth Stampp
  • The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman
  • Abraham Lincoln: A Biography by Benjamin Thomas
  • Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies by Robert Middlekauff
  • Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England by William Cronon
  • Boston’s Immigrants, Oscar Handlin
  • The Way of Duty: A Woman and Her Family in Revolutionary America, Joy and Richard Buel
  • The Warden by Anthony Trollope
  • The Minutemen and Their World by Robert Gross
  • American Diplomacy, 1900-1950 by George Kennan
  • The Armada by Garrett Mattingly
  • Ferling, John, Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800
  • Professor Gene Brucker’s Giovanni and Lusanna: Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence
  • Marion L. Starkey, The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials
  • John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash
  • American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia by Edmund S. Morgan