User Tools

Site Tools


Resources : Good History Books

Resource recommendations concerning useful non-fiction and reference books and other publications.

General discussions on history books

World History and Cliodynamics

Cliodynamics refers to general theories of historical causation.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond (2005).
Explains why societies collapse, concentrating on environmental causes. Historical societies examined in this book include Viking Greenlanders, Maya, Anasazi and Polynesians.
*link to Wikipedia - *link to - *link to

The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization by Brian Fagan (2004).
How climate change has affected history over the last 15,000 years.
*link to - *link to

The New Penguin History of the World (4th ed.) by J. M. Roberts (2003).
*link to - *link to

The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History by Philip Bobbitt (2002).
Covers the period from 1494 to 2050 (i.e. speculation about the future).
*link to - *link to

Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years by Jared Diamond (1997).
Covers approx. 11,000 BCE to 1600 CE. Explains how civilisations in Eurasia developed faster than those in the rest of the world, enabling Europeans to conquer the world after 1492.
*link to Wikipedia - *link to - *link to

Millennium: A History of Our Last Thousand Years by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (1995).
*link to

The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West by Niall Ferguson (2006).

Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Glover (1999).

The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century 1914-1991 by Eric Hobsbawm (1994).
*link to Wikipedia - *link to - *link to

The Structure of Everyday Life: Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century Volume 1 by Fernand Braudel (1979).
The first volume in a series of three on the period 1400-1800. About everyday life across the world but with an emphasis on western Europe.
*link to

Napoleon's Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed History - An interesting book of chemistry & history, by Jay Burreson and Penny Le Couteur.

Prehistory, Evolution and Big History

Big history is the study of history across long time-frames.

The Ancestors Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life by Richard Dawkins (2004).
A history of human ancestors, told backwards from the invention of agriculture to the dawn of life.

Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History by David Christian (2004).
A history of the universe from the Big Bang and the formation of stars, through evolution and the agricultural and industrial revolutions, to the present.

Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright (2000).
A history of the world from the beginning of life to the present day, with an emphasis on human history, and how co-operation leads to success.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee: How Our Animal Heritage Affects the Way We Live by Jared Diamond (1991).
Essays on topics relating to human evolution and history.


Good Books on Medieval Cities ?

The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914 by Philipp Blom (2008).

Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945 by Tony Judt (2005)

Dark Continent: Europe's 20th Century by Mark Mazower (1998).

Hitler's Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe by Mark Mazower (2008).

Political Movements

History of Fascism by Walter Payne

The First World War

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman (1962).

Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918 by Richard Holmes (2004).

The First World War by John Keegan (1999).

Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War by Robert K. Massie (1991).
Much wider ranging than it sounds. Loads of information on the major figures and events of the pre-war period.

The Second World War

Why the Allies Won (2nd ed.) by Richard Overy (2006).

Stalingrad by Anthony Beever (1998).

The Second World War by John Keegan (1989).

Visions of Victory by Gerhard L. Weinberg (2005).

Hitler's War Aims (vol. 1 and 2) by Norman Rich (1973-1974).

The Wages of Destruction by Adam Tooze (2006).

Looking for WWII history books

The United States

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek (2007).
A powerful and shocking insight into the foreign policy of the Nixon Administration that utilises into a 'host of (then) recently declassified documents.'

The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside Americas Pursuit of its Enemies Since 9/11 by Ron Suskind (2006).
How the Bush administration, the CIA and the FBI attempted to prevent another attack on America. Not flattering to Bush.

The Penguin History of the United States of America (2nd ed.) by Hugh Brogan (2001).

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen (1996).

Books on US Civil War

Central and South America

The British Isles and the British Empire

The Tribes of Britain: Who Are We? And Where do We Come From? by David Miles (2005).
History of the British Isles, written by an archaeologist. It focuses on the various peoples who have lived in the British Isles, and what everyday life was like in different periods. No maps.

William Pitt the Younger by William Hague (2004).

Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World by Niall Ferguson (2003).
A short, extremely readable history of the British Empire.

Finest and Darkest Hours: The Decisive Events in British Politics, from Churchill to Blair by Kevin Jefferys (2002).
Each chapter covers one event, from the Battle of Britain to the rise of New Labour.

A Very Different Country: A Typically English Revolution by Nicholas Faith (2002).
A social history of Britain since 1952.

The Long Weekend: Social History of Great Britain, 1918-39 by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge (1940).


The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany, 1780-1918 by David Blackbourn (1997)

Surviving Hitler: Choices, Corruption and Compromise in the Third Reich by Adam Lebor and Roger Boyes (2000).
How ordinary people reacted to the moral dilemmas of living in the Third Reich.

The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans (2003)

The Third Reich in Power by Richard J. Evans (2005)

The Third Reich at War by Richard J. Evans (2008)

Plotting Hitler's Death: The German Resistance to Hitler 1933-1945 by Joachim Fest (1996).

Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider by Peter Gay (1968).

Imperial Germany 1867-1918: Politics, Culture, and Society in an Authoritarian State by Wolfgang Mommsen (1995).

Central Europe: Austria, Hungary, and Austria-Hungary

Hitler's Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man by Brigitte Haman (2010).

Central Europe: Other

General historiography of Slovakia - Click link for a list of non-fiction bibliographical recommendations.

History of fine arts, culture and society of Slovakia - Click link for a list of non-fiction bibliographical recommendations.

Military history of Slovakia - Click link for a list of non-fiction bibliographical recommendations.

The Balkans

The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804-1999 by Misha Glenny (1999).

Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know by Tim Judah (2008).

Salonica, City of Ghosts: Muslims, Christians, and Jews, 1430-1950 by Mark Mazower (2004).


Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915-1945 by R.J.B. Bosworth (2007).

Russia and the Soviet Union

Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Fidges (2002).

Russia in the Age of Modernization and Revolution, 1881-1917 by Hans Rogger (1983).

Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore (2004).

Young Stalin by Simon Sebeg Montefiore (2008).

A History of Modern Russia: From Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century (3rd edition) by Robert Service (2009).

A Radical Worker in Tsarist Russia: The Autobiography of Semen Ivanovitch Kanatchikov edited by Reginald Zelnick (1986).

The Jewish People and Israel & Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt (1968 ed.).

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher Browning (1992).

Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” by Norman Cohn (1966).

There Once was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok by Yaffa Eliach (1999).

The Pity of It All: A Portrait of Jews in Germany, 1743-1933 by Amos Elon (2003).

Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939 by Saul Friedländer (1997).

Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination, 1939-1945 by Saul Friedländer (2007).

Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland by Jan T. Gross (2001).

The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism by David I. Kertzer (2001).

1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War by Benny Morris (2008).

Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 by Benny Morris (2001 ed).

Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory by Deborah Lipstadt (1993).

History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving by Deborah Lipstadt (2005).

The Labyrinth of Exile: A Life of Theodor Herzl by Ernst Pawel (1989).

The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land by Donna Rosenthal (2008 ed.)

The Course of Modern Jewish History by Howard M. Sachar (3rd edition, 2006).

Dreamland: Europeans and Jews in the Aftermath of the Great War by Howard M. Sachar (2003).

1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East by Tom Segev (2006).


Books on African history

Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller (2004).

Diamonds, Gold, and War: The Making of South Africa by Martin Meredith (2007).

The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair by Martin Meredith.

Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader (1997). - A history of Africa.

African Cities and Towns Before the European Conquest by Richard W. Hull (W.W. Norton, 1976) - It isn't specific to West Africa or the 13th century, and some of the discussion is outdated, but it's a solid overview of the origin of cities, their structure and government, and precolonial urban life.

General History of Africa I. : Methodology and African Prehistory, ed. J. Ki-Zerbo, Heinemann California & UNESCO - Available as a downloadable free .pdf.

General History of Africa II. : Ancient Civilisations of Africa, ed. G. Mokhtar, Heinemann California & UNESCO - Available as a downloadable free .pdf.

General History of Africa III. : Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century, ed. M. Elfasi, assist. ed. I. Hrbek, Heinemann California & UNESCO - Available as a downloadable free .pdf.

General History of Africa IV. : Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century, ed. D. T. Niane, Heinemann California & UNESCO - Available as a downloadable free .pdf.

General History of Africa V. : Africa from the Sixteenth Century to the Eighteenth Century, ed. B. A. Ogot, Heinemann California & UNESCO - Available as a downloadable free .pdf.

General History of Africa VI. : Africa in the Nineteenth Century until the 1880s, ed. J. F. Ade Ajayi, James Currey California & UNESCO - Available as a downloadable free .pdf.

General History of Africa VII. : Africa under Colonial Domination (1880-1935), ed. J. F. Ade Ajayi, Heinemann California & UNESCO - Available as a downloadable free .pdf.

General History of Africa VIII. : Africa since 1935, ed. Ali A. Mazrui, assist. ed. C. Wondji, Heinemann California & UNESCO - Available as a downloadable free .pdf.

See Also

resources/history_books.txt · Last modified: 2023/04/01 09:10 by max_sinister

Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki