Clichés are often over-generalizations for rhetorical purposes. “History is written by the victors” is punchy, but it is too often a cynical dismissal of objectivity in history. So here is the beginnings of a list of influential history books that do not fit the cliché:
* Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War (431 BCE) was an Athenian’s account of a long war (431–404 BCE) between Athens and Sparta. The Spartans won.
* Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776) was not written by one of the victorious barbarians.
* Friedrich Meinecke’s The German Catastrophe (1946) was a hugely influential work, nationally and internationally, by a German thinker grappling with his homeland’s disastrous record.
American examples would include the many histories written by southerners after the Civil War and the outpouring of post-Vietnam War books by U.S. historians.
Feel welcome in the Comments to add to the list.