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We are so excited to kick on the Decades Reading Challenge, starting this month with the 1910s! We’ve compiled a list of thirty of the best books set in the 1910s, including books written in that decade, historical fiction set in this time period, as well as a few non-fiction books that read like novels.
If you stumbled on this post just looking for historical fiction books on women’s suffrage, books about life in the 1910s, or WW1 historical fiction recommendations, we hope you’ll love the choices. While you’re here, you can read all about our Decades Reading Challenge, download your free printable book tracker, and find book lists for the other decades here.
This list has something for everyone – books about everyday life reflecting the progress and struggles of the time, novels of conflict and revolution, accounts of tragic events, and even stories of romance set against the backdrop of a decade in which women were fighting for equality.
Major World Events of the 1910s
Before choosing a book, it’s helpful to have some context of the major events during this decade.
- Immigration hit an all-time peak with over 8.8 million immigrants in the 10 years from 1901-1910.
- In the winter of 1910, the Great Flood of Paris plunged the City of Lights into darkness.
- The sweatshop fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in Manhattan in 1911 killed 500 workers, and eventually lead to the establishment of building, fire, and safety codes.
- In 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank killing over 1,500 passengers and crew.
- The Ford Motor Company introduced the continuous moving assembly line in 1913, which could produce a complete car every two-and-a-half minutes.
- WWI began in 1914. In 1917, the US joined WWI as an ally of Britain, France, and Russia.
- In 1914, Charlie Chaplin first appeared in movie theaters as the Little Tramp in “Kid Auto Races at Venice.”
- The first transcontinental phone call was made in 1915. Four years later, the invention of the rotary phone allowed people to begin direct dialing numbers themselves, rather than requiring every call to go through an operator.
- The British ocean liner the Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915 and sunk off the Irish coast, killing nearly 1,200 people.
- The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans.
- The Women’s Suffrage Movement was in full swing in 1915 when 25,000 women marched up Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 1919 Congress passed the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, which was then ratified by all the states in 1920.
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