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English Historical Documents Series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.
- William BLv 71 decade agoFavorite 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.)