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Top 10 Arkansas History Books


These books are interesting, informative and will help you get to know the history and culture behind the state. Arkansas is rich and diverse and so are the people who made up it's history.

1) "Sisters, Seeds, and Cedars"

Get a feel for the character, personality, and specifics of 19th century life by reading the personal letters of two sisters from Arkansas. These letters start in 1850 and end in 1928. By reading the correspondences of these sisters, you can see what it was like to grow up in young Arkansas.
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2) "Arkansas in Short Fiction : Stories from 1841 to 1984"

This is a great collection of short fiction written by authors from all over Arkansas. By reading these, you can learn a lot about the culture and attitudes of the time.
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3) "Things Grew Beautifully Worse"

This book is heavily composed of the diary of a Confederate officer (from the 30th Arkansas Infantry) who was locked in a Union prison. There is a great first hand account of the battle of Murfessburo among other things. The diary is accompanied by footnotes which identifying persons, battles, and other detail to place the writing in historical context. It really is an interesting read.
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4) "The Long Shadow of Little Rock : A Memoir"

The biography of Daisy Bates does deal with Central High but also recounts her life in Arkansas and her activity in the civil rights movement (she did more than just Central High). Even though Daisy Bates was no ordinary woman, her memoir gives a good feel for what it was it like to be black in Arkansas.
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5) "Arkansas Odyssey : The Saga of Arkansas from Prehistoric to Present"

This book is a very in depth and very comprehensive history book. Some may find it bland however anyone interested in knowing a lot about Arkansas history will enjoy it. It is a must read book for the Arkansas scholar and a great reference for students.
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6) "Born in the Delta"

"Born in the Delta" is the memoir of a stereotypical white Southern lady growing up before integration. It goes into every aspect of life in the South from cooking for the family to the farm-based economy. It gives the reader an interesting perspective on Arkansas.
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7) "A Piece of My Soul : Quilts by Black Arkansans"

Learn the history of black quilting in Arkansas (and see some patterns) and learn a little about the culture of blacks in Arkansas. Women really did put their souls into some of these quilts. This book goes with an exhibit at the Old Statehouse.
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8) "Sentinels of History"

This book has great historic photos of buildings around Arkansas. The book also has thirty-nine essays, each of which showcases an important Arkansas site. There's also a location map so you can find the places. It's a fun way to learn a little history.
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9) "The Rumble of a Distant Drum : The Quapaws and Old World Newcomers"

The Quapaw were the original settlers of Arkansas. This book goes into their dealings with the French at what was known as Arkansas Post. It also shows how the Quapaw succeeded in maintaining their ethnic identity.
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10) "If These Walls Had Ears : The Biography of a House"

This is the history of a 70-year-old Little Rock house and the eight families who lived in it.It's an interesting book that reveals a little bit about life in middle-class Little Rock. It does have some architectural background on the actual house and problems encountered with the house but any homeowner can relate and I think the little window into the past makes it worth a read.
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