The Republic for Which It Stands- The United States During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896 by Richard White

An excellent and thorough examination of the period preceding the Progressive Era; a period of identity crisis where Irish and Italian Immigrants, Indian wars,  the very incomplete emancipation of southern Blacks, industrialization, recurring panics and depressions, and westward expansion created tensions in search of resolution.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt- Champion of Freedom by Conrad Black

A deep and stunning biography of FDR by a conservative historian. Illuminates the president as our best Commander in Chief controlling several Generals in multiple theatres, balance with appeasing Russia and China, ingeniously enlisting industrialists to create a magnificent war production industry. He also proved to be the most politically astute President we have ever seen.

The High Cost of Good Intentions –  A History of U.S. Federal entitlement programs by John F. Cogan

A unique look at our history of entitlements from the Revolutionary and Civil War pensions to our current array of entitlements. This history displays a pattern of expanding eligibility and benefits, extravagant cost over runs, political vote currying, and the immense difficulty of reversing or regaining control. We will inevitably need to address these programs, and this book is the guide to fighting the demagoguery that will inevitably confront any effort to constrain their growth.

The Age of Reform by Richard Hofstadter-

His classic look at the Progressive Era

Bourgeois Dignity by Deidre McCloskey

Part of her Trilogy with Bourgeois Equality and Bourgeois Virtues. A unique look at the dramatic improvement in human betterment that can not be explained in merely economic terms.  Her work blends history, religion, and literature with incredible authority how the rise of the respect for the middle class has driven our progress far more than the development of institutions of government and the mere growth of commerce.