Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceTeaching · 1 decade ago

Can anyone recommend some good non-fiction history books?

I have two requirements: they must be both scholarly and readable. The following list will give you some idea of my tastes. Thanks, fellow history buffs!

David McCullough--The Great Bridge, A Path Between the Seas, Truman, 1776, etc.

Stephen Ambrose--Band of Brothers, etc.

Joseph Ellis--Founding Brothers, American Sphinx, etc.

Antonia Fraser--Cromwell; Mary Queen of Scots, etc.

H.W. Brands--bios of FDR, Franklin, Jackson, etc.

Alison Weir--Queen Elizabeth I; Eleanor of Aquitaine, etc.

Will and Ariel Durant--History of Western Civilization Series, 11 vols.

Thomas Costain--History of the Plantagenets, 4 vols.

John Toland--The Rising Sun, The Last Hundred Days, etc.

Cornelius Ryan--Longest Day; A Bridge Too Far

John Keegan--Face of Battle, Mask of Command, etc.

Martin Gilbert--Churchill; The Holocaust, etc.

Robert Remini--Andrew Jackson, 3 vols,; Henry Clay; Daniel Webster, etc.

Shelby Foote--The Civil War, 3 vols.

Bruce Catton--Army of the Potomac, 3 vols; Centennial History of the Civil War, 3 vols.

Douglas Southall Freeman--R.E. Lee, 4 vols.; Lee's Lieutenants, 3 vols; Geroge Washington, 7 vols.

Dumas Malone--Jefferson and His Time, 6 vols.

W. Bruce Lincoln--The Romanovs

Robert K. Massie--Peter the Great; Nicholas and Alexandria

Simon Sebag-Montefiore--Prince of Princes: Potemkin; Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar

Robert Aspery--Frederick the Great

C.V. Wedgwood--The Thirty Years War; The King's Peace, The King's War, A Coffin for King Charles

Thomas Pakenham--The Boer War; The Scramble for Africa

Martin Meredith--The Fate of Africa; Diamonds, Guns & War

John Julius Norwich--The Normans in Sicily; A History of Byzantium, 3 vols.

Lord Kinross--The Ottoman Centuries; Ataturk

John Glubb--The Great Arab Conquests, etc.

New Cambridge Modern History, 11 vols.

David chandler--Campaigns of Napoleon

Frank McLynn--Villa and Zapata; Richard and John: Kings at War

W.L. Warren--Henry II

Allan Nevins--Ordeal of the Union, Emergence of Lincoln, etc.

JB Wolf--Louis XIV

Jared Diamond--Guns, Germs & Steel

Christopher Hibbert--The Borgias and Their Enemies, etc.

Ross King--Michelangelo & The Pope's Ceiling

John Rewald--History of impressionism

Eamon Duffy--Saints & Sinners: History of the Popes

John Hemming--Conquest of the Incas

R.J. Knecht--Renaissance Warrior and Patron: Francis I

Howard Zinn--A People's History of the United States

English Historical Documents Series

Michael Grant--The Rise of the Greeks, etc.

Of course I've read the primary materials such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius, Livy, Tacitus, Suetonius, Dio Cassius, Procopius, Eusebius, Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Pan Ku, Froissart, Saint-Simon, etc. etc. I'm looking here for recommendations of secondary source histories and biographies that you have enjoyed and profited from. I may have already read it, but I appreciate any sharing of the love of history.

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I am not up to you level but two of my favorite books are

    A World Lit Only by Fire by William Manchester.

    It's a general intro to medieval Europe, very well written.

    Also, The Daugher of Time by Josephine Tey.

    This is fictional, but has a nice "scholarly" feel about a detective recovering from an illness who decides to examine whether Richard III was the evil king portrayed by Shakespeare. (Hint, the Richard the III Society likes this book.)

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