10 books like History of the Great Civil War

By Samuel Rawson Gardiner,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like History of the Great Civil War. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

The King's Peace, 1637-41

By C.V. Wedgwood,

Book cover of The King's Peace, 1637-41

This is another classic within the historiography of the period which along with S.R. Gardiner’s work is still considered one of the solid early professional histories of the period.  Although some historians may consider it a little dated, it is a concise and detailed analysis of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.  Wedgewood’s style of writing is accessible and lively. This 3 book series is still considered as some of the best books ever written on the period (be sure to check out The King's War and Trial of Charles as well).  

The King's Peace, 1637-41

By C.V. Wedgwood,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The King's Peace, 1637-41 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This volume tells the story of the four eventful years which immediately preceded the Civil War, years which transformed the tranquil dominions of King Charles into a land rent by mistrust and menaced by fire and sword. It tells of the rise of the covenanters in Scotland with such leaders as the gallant Montrose and the mysterious Argyll. It tells of Parliament's opposition to the King under the skilful leadership of John Pym. The tragedy of Strafford is linked with the terrible insurrection in Ireland. Miss Wedgewood has sought to convey the vivid day sequence of events as they flooded…


Britain in Revolution

By Austin Woolrych,

Book cover of Britain in Revolution: 1625-1660

This is an integrated and detailed account of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms across Britain and Ireland, the English Republic and the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660. It is written in an engaging and lively style and concisely integrates the large body of scholarship that emerged with the new British histories in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Britain in Revolution

By Austin Woolrych,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Britain in Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the definitive history of the English Civil War, set in its full historical context from the accession of Charles I to the Restoration of Charles II. These were the most turbulent years of British history and their reverberations have been felt down the centuries. Throughout the middle decades of the seventeenth century England, Scotland, and Ireland were convulsed by political upheaval and wracked by rebellion and civil war. The Stuart monarchy was in
abeyance for twenty years in all three kingdoms, and Charles I famously met his death on the scaffold.

Austin Woolrych breathes life back into the…


The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland

By Martyn Bennett,

Book cover of The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland: 1638-1651

Still the best introductory text for students covering all major events in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in a concise and accessible manner.  This book steps away from the more Anglo-centric analyses of the conflict, looking at events in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in some detail.  In contrast with the books above, Bennett also steps away from the experience of political elites and examines the experiences of ordinary soldiers and civilians during the conflict.  

The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland

By Martyn Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides a fresh perspective on one of the most complex and turbulent periods in the history of the British Isles. Setting the experience of Wales, Scotland and Ireland alongside England, the author examines the interplay of politics, societies and culture both within and between each of the four nations involved in the political struggles of the mid--seventeenth century.


Civil War

By Taylor Downing, Maggie Millman,

Book cover of Civil War

A personal favorite as I bought this book as a teenager during the 350th-anniversary commemorations of the civil wars in the 1990s.  An underrated book and an excellent introduction to the conflict for anyone interested in the period. Covering major events in Scotland, England, and Ireland it has a multitude of beautiful colorful illustrations that bring the period to life.  The main narrative is interspersed with text boxes focusing on fascinating individuals, events, and cultural and social aspects conveying the richness and diversity of the conflict.   

Civil War

By Taylor Downing, Maggie Millman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A paperback offering coverage of the English Civil Wars of the 1640s.


Witch Wood

By John Buchan,

Book cover of Witch Wood

Witch Wood tells the story of a high-minded, ardent and scholarly young Presbyterian minister, David Sempill, who is called to a benighted Tweeddale parish in 1645 at the time of the War of Three Kingdoms, and how his desire to root out covert witchcraft amongst some of his most ‘devout’ parishioners at a time of civil war and plague leads to tragedy and exile. The Marquis of Montrose, on whose biography John Buchan was working at the same time, has a walk-on part in the story. John Buchan considered this his best work of fiction, and I agree.

Witch Wood

By John Buchan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Witch Wood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Buchan's favourite of all his novels, Witch Wood deals with the hypocrisy that can lie beneath god-fearing respectability.

The book is set in the terrifying times of the first half of the seventeenth century when the Church of Scotland unleashed a wave of cruelty and intolerance. Minister Sempill witnesses devil worship in the 'Witch Wood' and is persecuted. It comes with an introduction by Allan Massie.


The God of All Small Boys

By Joseph Lamb,

Book cover of The God of All Small Boys

James is sent away to live with his mill-town relatives in this nostalgic, coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of Dundee during WW1.

Some summers were made for growing up…

Dundee, 1917. When his father goes to fight in the war, 11-year-old James is sent to live with his mill-town relatives and his cousin, Billy. At first, James feels lost and alone: his cousin hates him, the school bully is after him, and he is worried about his father’s safety. Gradually, he finds a new world of friendship, freedom, fun, and The God of All Small Boys, in a summer that will change his life forever...

I found this story both funny and sad, and altogether emotionally gripping. Highly engaging, and full of historical details of Dundee during the First World War – a sure favourite for middle grade readers.

The God of All Small Boys

By Joseph Lamb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Some summers were made for growing up... Dundee, 1917. When his father goes to fight in the war, 11-year-old James is sent to live with his mill-town relatives and his cousin, Billy. In this unfamiliar world of poverty, bullying, and uncertainty, James fights to be accepted and learns the true value of friendship and family. 'The God of All Small Boys is the one who grows trees, with branches in just the right places, so we can climb right to the top. He invented fireworks and dogs and sticks and horses and muddy puddles. And he lets us find secret…


The Mark of the Horse Lord

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Book cover of The Mark of the Horse Lord

This novel reminds the reader that humans have carried certain truths from the dawn of time. It tells the story of Phaedrus, a slave from birth. When he gains his wooden-foil of freedom in the gladiatorial arena, he finds his life suddenly empty, and without purpose. This results in him agreeing to assume another’s identity. Not simply ‘another’s identity’ but to become a ‘king’ of the Dal Riada people of Scotland. Phaedrus, to his surprise, discovers leadership gives his life true purpose, friendship, and love. But the time comes when he must show himself worthy of the Mark of the Horse Lord. Beautifully told, the novel speaks of how sacredness and self-sacrifice intertwine for those who truly rule. 

The Mark of the Horse Lord

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Take my place, Phaedrus, and with it, take my vengeance . . .'

Phaedrus the gladiator wins his freedom after years of bloody battles in the arena. Soon he finds himself riding north towards the wilds of Caledonia on a strange mission. He is to assume the identity of Midir, Lord of the Horse People, to seek vengeance against the treacherous Liadhan, who has usurped the throne.

Ahead of him lies more adventure and more danger than he had ever known in the arena . . .


Darnley

By Caroline Bingham,

Book cover of Darnley: A Life of Henry Suart Lord Darnley, Consort of Mary Queen of Scots

The murder of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, has baffled historians and authors for centuries, yet the queen’s consort is often a minor figure in the greater tragedy/romance of Mary. While writing my own book, I was eager to know more about the ill-fated lang lad other than the results of his self-centred scheming conspiracies–David Rizzio’s assassination, his own murder at Kirk o Field, and ultimately Mary’s downfall. And so it was refreshing to read this excellent biography which gives Darnley centre stage. By recreating his childhood and family background, particularly around his ambitious mother, Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, Caroline Bingham offers a fascinating portrait of this flawed character who stole the queen’s heart and then broke it. 

At times her account made me feel sorry for this gullible pawn in the Game of Queens.

Darnley

By Caroline Bingham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Darnley was a murderer, and then himself a victim of one of the most famous unsolved murders of all time.


Whiteout

By Ken Follett,

Book cover of Whiteout

One of my all-time favourites I’ve read this book 3 times now and, after this review, I’m sure I’ll be tempted to indulge myself for a fourth time. Follett is the master of knife-edge thrillers, if you’ve never read him, start now. Full of treachery and violence, twists and revelations. It’s a scary, but utterly brilliant read.

Whiteout

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Everyone likes a page-turner, and Follett is the best." -The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A hell of a storyteller" (Entertainment Weekly), #1 New York Times bestselling author Ken Follett reinvents the thriller with each new novel. But nothing matches the intricate knife-edge drama of Whiteout. . . .

A missing canister of a deadly virus. A lab technician bleeding from the eyes. Toni Gallo, the security director of a Scottish medical research firm, knows she has problems, but she has no idea of the nightmare to come.

As a Christmas Eve blizzard whips out of the north, several people, Toni among them,…


The Steel Bonnets

By George MacDonald Fraser,

Book cover of The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers

By the author of the wonderfully wicked Flashman novels, this is simply the best book I know on the Reivers (Rustlers) of the Scottish-English Borderlands C14-16th. I referred to it often when constructing Rose Nicolson and Fair Helen. As with Flashman, it depicts resourceful, desperate men and women, trying to survive and prosper amid the shambles of History – in this case, the ungovernable Borderlands. Finely researched, vivid and balanced, Fraser brings to life the extraordinary people of Borders myth and history. Imagine a Wild West that lasted some 300 years of horse and cattle rustling, kidnap and ransom, protection rackets (the words gang and blackmail - black meal or black rent - come from the reivers exploits), with some great narrative poetry and jokes grim or hilarious. A Borderer himself, Fraser gets the romance and the less romantic necessities that governed these intensely-lived, skillful, precarious lives.

The Steel Bonnets

By George MacDonald Fraser,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Title: The Steel Bonnets( The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers) <>Binding: Paperback <>Author: GeorgeMacDonaldFraser <>Publisher: SkyhorsePublishing


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Scotland, and the American Civil War?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Scotland, and the American Civil War.

The Wars Of The Three Kingdoms Explore 6 books about the Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Scotland Explore 219 books about Scotland
The American Civil War Explore 233 books about the American Civil War