Favourite History Books

Since it’s history week, thought it would be good to recommend history books you have enjoyed reading.

Europe: A History by Norman Davies is one I’ve had going on my Kindle for years now, rarely go in for a long read of it but I find it is actually great in that format to dip in and out of whenever I want some quality non-fiction without having to remember where I last read up to. Very easy to read, hugely informative, tons of interesting side notes. Covers all of Europe basically from the very beginning through to late 20th century, so assume it’s a massive beast in a physical copy.

1 Like
1 Like

A peoples tragedy took me about a year to read, but it was well worth it.

1 Like

Came to post about Norman Davies when I saw the thread title. Great book.

This one’s good too:

1 Like

Need to read more non-european history.

About to start reading this

I’ll tell you next week if it’s any good.

3 Likes

Got a couple of Max Hastings ones I’m yet to read - All Hell Let Loose & one on the Korean war. Is he any good?

This is completely devastating, but absolutely essential imho.

1 Like

oh, I’ve had this for years but never managed to get round to reading it.

See also: Stalingrad by Antony Beevor.

1 Like
1 Like

Have read about 50 pages of the Vietnam War book in a year. Quite dry thus far.

1 Like

I enjoyed All Hell Let Loose (as much as you can enjoy a book about such a horrific topic). Obviously when it comes to WW2 there’s a huge number of books to choose from but as a single volume it does a really good job of encompassing the scale and the cost to ordinary people of the war.

1 Like

I have read this. Bit Tory.

2 Likes

The Art Of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History Of South-East Asia is a firm favourite, though a very heavy read and not exactly accessible. just a great set of ideas.

The other one along those lines that I like is Peasants Into Frenchmen. kind of an amazing way to turn your idea of what recent (late 19th C) history was like, and also just how weird and connected to that period our lives are now, as in the lives of us proles

1 Like

That’s a shame, was interested in getting round to it at some point. Can be a bit of a pitfall with some history books.

How so? out of interest

1 Like

Beevor is your classic fall of the berlin wall marked the end of history kind of a guy and is predisposed to associating any historical trends towards collectivism or redistribution intrinsically with Stalinism and mass murder. I’ve only read a bit of one of his books, and it’s not like it’s frothing right wing bullshit like David Starkey or anything, but the undertones of it are a bit jarring.

1 Like

Alison Weir’s book on The War Of The Roses was brilliantly written and simplified a hell of a complex family tree. Worth a look into.

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read:

Not strictly history, it’s more economics really I guess. A history of capitalism is getting towards an accurate summary.

1 Like

My dad loves a history book, so it’s always a safe bet as a Christmas/Birthday present.

image

Battle Cry of Freedom has been his absolute favourite - apparently extremely accessible and readable, so need to read it myself soon.

1 Like