100 books like Black Tudors

By Miranda Kaufmann,

Here are 100 books that Black Tudors fans have personally recommended if you like Black Tudors. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Merle Nygate Author Of The Righteous Spy

From my list on spy books that spies read and sometimes wrote themselves.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written and script edited in a lot of different genres, from factual drama to sitcom, children’s TV to fantasy. I’ve always loved spy stories, and I’ve always wanted to write one. Recently, at the University of East Anglia I studied for an MA in Crime Fiction, and that’s where I finally got the chance to study espionage and write a spy novel myself. I hope you enjoy my selection of books if you haven’t already read them. Or even if you have. They’re all so good that I feel like re-reading them right now. 

Merle's book list on spy books that spies read and sometimes wrote themselves

Merle Nygate Why did Merle love this book?

This is a non-fiction book but it reads like a novel and explores one of the great mysteries of the spy world: how on earth did Kim Philby manage to betray not only his country but also his friends over so many years? 

A former spy I had the privilege of interviewing described Philby as a shit, so maybe there’s the answer. I think this is a terrific read, and although Macintyre probably isn’t a spy, like Deighton, he knows them. 

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked A Spy Among Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kim Philby was the most notorious British defector and Soviet mole in history. Agent, double agent, traitor and enigma, he betrayed every secret of Allied operations to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War.

Philby's two closest friends in the intelligence world, Nicholas Elliott of MI6 and James Jesus Angleton, the CIA intelligence chief, thought they knew Philby better than anyone, and then discovered they had not known him at all. This is a story of intimate duplicity; of loyalty, trust and treachery, class and conscience; of an ideological battle waged by men with cut-glass accents and…


Book cover of The Making of the English Working Class

Stuart Carroll Author Of Enmity and Violence in Early Modern Europe

From my list on getting started with early modern history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of early modern Europe. I have a particular interest in the history of violence and social relations and how and why ordinary people came into conflict with each other and how they made peace, that’s the subject of my most recent book Enmity and Violence in Early Modern Europe, which compares the entanglement of everyday animosities and how these were resolved in Italy, Germany, France and England. I’m also passionate about understanding Europe’s contribution to world history. As editor of The Cambridge World History of Violence, I explored the dark side of this. But my next book, The Invention of Civil Society, will demonstrate Europe’s more positive achievements.

Stuart's book list on getting started with early modern history

Stuart Carroll Why did Stuart love this book?

I love this book because, as someone from a working-class background, this book really spoke to me as young person – I was born two years after it was published in 1965. It is profoundly wrong and romanticizes its subject, but it remains a classic, because Thompson was a brilliant writer and because henceforth no one could ignore those previously excluded from the historical narrative.

By E.P. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Making of the English Working Class as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fifty years since first publication, E. P. Thompson's revolutionary account of working-class culture and ideals is published in Penguin Modern Classics, with a new introduction by historian Michael Kenny

This classic and imaginative account of working-class society in its formative years, 1780 to 1832, revolutionized our understanding of English social history. E. P. Thompson shows how the working class took part in its own making and re-creates the whole-life experience of people who suffered loss of status and freedom, who underwent degradation, and who yet created a cultured and political consciousness of great vitality.

Reviews:

'A dazzling vindication of the…


Book cover of The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge and the Phoenix Park Murders That Stunned Victorian England

Kenneth L. Campbell Author Of The History of Britain and Ireland: Prehistory to Today

From my list on British and Irish history with a wide range of topics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Ph.D. in British history and have taught a variety of courses on the topic for the past 40 years. Since first visiting Scotland on a study tour in 1981, I have been to Britain and Ireland both multiple times and have spent extended periods of time there. From Shakespeare to the Beatles, from the Norman Conquest to the Second World War, from Roman Britain to Brexit, I have found each period of British and Irish history endlessly fascinating and sharing my passion with students and readers has been one of the great joys of my life. 

Kenneth's book list on British and Irish history with a wide range of topics

Kenneth L. Campbell Why did Kenneth love this book?

The late nineteenth century is key to understanding the modern relationship between Britain and Ireland and no book does a better job of defining and exploring that relationship than this one.

The author deftly transitions between Charles Stewart Parnell, the Land War, and the Home Rule movement in Ireland on the one hand and Prime Minister William Gladstone, Queen Victoria, and British parliamentary politics on the other. The central focus, though, is on a murderous conspiracy that had long-range implications for both Britain and Ireland and includes a detective story to solve the murders that could have come straight out of the pages of Arthur Conan Doyle.

The book also includes the story of the informer whose attempts to escape retribution constitute an adventure story in its own right. 

By Julie Kavanagh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Irish Assassins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF THE TIMES' BEST HISTORY BOOKS OF 2021

'The tale of the Phoenix Park murders is not unfamiliar, but Kavanagh recounts it with a great sense of drama... Kavanagh's account reminds me of the very best of true crime.' The Times (Book of the Week)

On a sunlit evening in l882, Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke, Chief Secretary and Undersecretary for Ireland, were ambushed and stabbed to death while strolling through Phoenix Park in Dublin. The murders were carried out by the Invincibles, a militant faction of republicans armed with specially-made surgeon's blades. They ended what should have…


Book cover of Bosworth 1485: The Battle that Transformed England

Kenneth L. Campbell Author Of The History of Britain and Ireland: Prehistory to Today

From my list on British and Irish history with a wide range of topics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Ph.D. in British history and have taught a variety of courses on the topic for the past 40 years. Since first visiting Scotland on a study tour in 1981, I have been to Britain and Ireland both multiple times and have spent extended periods of time there. From Shakespeare to the Beatles, from the Norman Conquest to the Second World War, from Roman Britain to Brexit, I have found each period of British and Irish history endlessly fascinating and sharing my passion with students and readers has been one of the great joys of my life. 

Kenneth's book list on British and Irish history with a wide range of topics

Kenneth L. Campbell Why did Kenneth love this book?

Also published as Bosworth 1485: The Psychology of a Battle, this is one of my all-time favorite books on military history. Like Josephine Tey’s historical novel, The Daughter of Time, Jones challenges the Shakespearean and Tudor versions of Richard III’s reign.

Unlike Tey, Jones does not completely exonerate Richard for the murder of his nephews, but nor does he regard the future Henry VII in any more favorable of a light. What I liked best about this book is the way in which Jones humanizes the historical participants in the Wars of the Roses to a degree usually reserved for historical novels.

The reader will finish this book with a better understanding of the human factors, complexities, and contingencies of late medieval history—indeed of history in general. 

By Michael Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bosworth 1485 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On August 22, 1485, at Bosworth Field, Richard III fell, the Wars of the Roses ended, and the Tudor dynasty began. The clash is so significant because it marks the break between medieval and modern; yet how much do we really know about this historical landmark?

Michael Jones uses archival discoveries to show that Richard III's defeat was by no means inevitable and was achieved only through extraordinary chance. He relocates the battle away from the site recognized for more than 500 years. With startling detail of Henry Tudor's reliance on French mercenaries, plus a new account of the battle…


Book cover of England's Other Countrymen: Black Tudor Society

Kirsten Claiden-Yardley Author Of The Man Behind the Tudors: Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk

From my list on everyday life in Tudor England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and historic buildings consultant with a longstanding interest in 15th and 16th century England. In addition to my own work on memorials, funerals, and the Howard family, I have worked as a researcher and consultant for television and books, including being a production researcher for the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall. 

Kirsten's book list on everyday life in Tudor England

Kirsten Claiden-Yardley Why did Kirsten love this book?

In this thought-provoking book, Onyeka Nubia encourages us to re-examine Tudor concepts of race and ethnicity in Tudor (and Stuart) England without assumptions based on post-colonial narratives. What emerges is a nuanced picture of complex interactions, attitudes, and prejudices. As well as studying the writings of Tudor scholars, theologians, and authors, Nubia looks at the lives of individual Africans in England, showing that they weren’t “strangers” but lived as part of English communities - whether in cosmopolitan London parishes such as St Botolph without Aldgate, or in rural villages.

By Onyeka Nubia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked England's Other Countrymen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Tudor period remains a source of timeless fascination, with endless novels, TV programmes and films depicting the period in myriad ways. And yet our image of the Tudor era remains overwhelmingly white. This ground-breaking and provocative new book seeks to redress the balance: revealing not only how black presence in Tudor England was far greater than has previously been recognised, but that Tudor conceptions of race were far more complex than we have been led to believe.

Onyeka Nubia's original research shows that Tudors from many walks of life regularly interacted with people of African descent, both at home…


Book cover of The Tudors: A Very Short Introduction

Toni Mount Author Of How to Survive in Tudor England

From my list on survival in Tudor England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve studied and written about the Tudors for many years including a monthly article in Tudor Life magazine, plus I’ve written several successful books looking at the lives of ordinary people in history and now, my first full scale look at the Tudors. The Tudor period is one of the best known in our history and is dominated by so many well-known and fascinating characters but my interest rests with the ordinary folk and how their lives changed so fundamentally in this time. The dissolution of the monasteries changed everyday life for many and marked the end of the medieval period and the beginning of a more enlightened time. 

Toni's book list on survival in Tudor England

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

This is an indispensable summary of sixteenth-century English history, but it’s not as short as you might expect (the second edition actually includes greater content). The facts are well-researched, and the details are concise.

If you know nothing of the Tudors this is a good place to start, but being ‘very short’ it will leave you wanting to know more.

By John Guy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tudors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The monarchs of the Tudor period are among some of the most well-known figures in British history. John Guy presents a compelling and fascinating exploration of the Tudors in the new edition of this Very Short Introduction.

Looking at all aspects of the period, from beginning to end, he considers Tudor politics, religion, and economics, as well as issues relating to gender and minority rule, and the art, architecture, and social and material culture of the time. Introducing all of the key Tudor monarchs, Guy considers the impact the Tudor period had not only at the time, but also the…


Book cover of How to Be a Tudor

Toni Mount Author Of How to Survive in Tudor England

From my list on survival in Tudor England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve studied and written about the Tudors for many years including a monthly article in Tudor Life magazine, plus I’ve written several successful books looking at the lives of ordinary people in history and now, my first full scale look at the Tudors. The Tudor period is one of the best known in our history and is dominated by so many well-known and fascinating characters but my interest rests with the ordinary folk and how their lives changed so fundamentally in this time. The dissolution of the monasteries changed everyday life for many and marked the end of the medieval period and the beginning of a more enlightened time. 

Toni's book list on survival in Tudor England

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

This is a guide to being a Tudor, everything from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night. Ruth Goodman gives us all the details of everyday life.

History very often concentrates on the lives of the rich and famous, the kings and queens, but it's the life of the ordinary person that always interests me. And this book fully illuminates that.

Known to many as a TV presenter, Ruth writes in an easily readable style.

By Ruth Goodman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Be a Tudor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the heels of her triumphant How to Be a Victorian, Ruth Goodman travels even further back in English history to the era closest to her heart, the dramatic period from the crowning of Henry VII to the death of Elizabeth I. A celebrated master of British social and domestic history, Ruth Goodman draws on her own adventures living in re-created Tudor conditions to serve as our intrepid guide to sixteenth-century living. Proceeding from daybreak to bedtime, this "immersive, engrossing" (Slate) work pays tribute to the lives of those who labored through the era. From using soot from candle wax…


Book cover of All the King's Cooks: The Tudor Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace

Kirsten Claiden-Yardley Author Of The Man Behind the Tudors: Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk

From my list on everyday life in Tudor England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and historic buildings consultant with a longstanding interest in 15th and 16th century England. In addition to my own work on memorials, funerals, and the Howard family, I have worked as a researcher and consultant for television and books, including being a production researcher for the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall. 

Kirsten's book list on everyday life in Tudor England

Kirsten Claiden-Yardley Why did Kirsten love this book?

Peter Brears takes us ‘below stairs’ at the court of Henry VIII and into the kitchens that fed and waited on up to 1000 people a day. Structured around the different rooms that made up the kitchen, he details the food and drink that was being produced and gives a snapshot of the ordinary people working there. The book is nicely illustrated with sketches of Tudor implements and methods of cooking. For anyone who wants to try eating like a Tudor, the book concludes with a selection of recipes, all of which have been trialed in the kitchens at Hampton Court and adapted for the modern kitchen.

By Peter Brears,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All the King's Cooks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Possibly the first industrial complex to be operated in England, the kitchens at Hampton Court Palace were highly organised and built to feed the whole of King Henry VIII''s household. Brears traces their history & functions in this illustrated volume.'


Book cover of Woodsmoke and Sage: The Five Senses 1485-1603: How the Tudors Experienced the World

Sylvia Barbara Soberton Author Of Ladies-in-Waiting: Women Who Served Anne Boleyn

From my list on by Tudor historians.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author, researcher, and historian writing about Tudor women. As a woman myself, I’m naturally interested in what life was like for those who came before me, and I’m very passionate about writing the lesser-known, forgotten women back into the historical narrative of the period. We all know about Henry VIII’s six wives, his sisters, and daughters, but there were other women at the Tudor court whose stories are no less fascinating.

Sylvia's book list on by Tudor historians

Sylvia Barbara Soberton Why did Sylvia love this book?

What did Tudor England look, sound, or smell like?

This is an innovative work from Amy Licence, historian of women's lives. Using the five senses, she skilfully plunges readers into sixteenth-century England, letting us see, hear, smell, taste, and (almost) touch the Tudor world like we've never experienced it before.

By Amy Licence,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Woodsmoke and Sage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Traditionally history is cerebral: what did they believe, what did they think, what did they know?

Woodsmoke and Sage is not a traditional book.

Using the five senses, historian Amy Licence presents a new perspective on the material culture of the past, exploring the Tudors' relationship with the fabric of their existence, from the clothes on their backs, the roofs over their heads and the food on their tables, to the wider questions of how they interpreted and presented themselves, and what they believed about life, death and beyond. Take a journey back 500 years and experience the sixteenth century…


Book cover of Houses of Power

Elizabeth Goldring Author Of Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist

From my list on Tudor art and architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the Tudors since childhood – in spite of, or perhaps because of, the fact that I grew up in the American Midwest, where Tudor artefacts were few and far between. A family holiday to England, when I was fourteen, sparked the beginning of a life-long love affair, which I have been lucky enough to turn into a career focused on all things Tudor. After receiving my PhD from Yale University, I took up a post-doctoral fellowship in England, at Warwick University, with which I have been affiliated ever since. I am currently an Honorary Reader at Warwick and working on a new book, on Hans Holbein.

Elizabeth's book list on Tudor art and architecture

Elizabeth Goldring Why did Elizabeth love this book?

A learned, yet eminently readable, book which synthesizes and knits together the findings contained in several of Thurley’s earlier, landmark publications, including The Royal Palaces of Tudor England (Yale, 1993) and Whitehall Palace (Merrell, 2008). Houses of Power is a compact volume (and available in paperback, too). I have often taken my copy with me for reference when visiting the sites described in it. Thurley’s illustrations include fascinating conjectural reconstructions of buildings that either no longer survive or have been greatly altered since Tudor times. A wonderful tool when trying to visualize now-lost buildings.

By Simon Thurley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Houses of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What was it like to live as a royal Tudor? Why were their residences built as they were and what went on inside their walls? Who slept where and with who? Who chose the furnishings? And what were their passions?

The Tudors ruled through the day, throughout the night, in the bath, in bed and in the saddle. Their palaces were genuine power houses - the nerve-centre of military operations, the boardroom for all executive decisions and the core of international politics. Houses of Power is the result of Simon Thurley's thirty years of research, picking through architectural digs, and…


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