From the list on making history live and breathe.
Who am I?
History has enthralled me from a very young age, drawn as a child as I was to Vikings, cowboys and Indians, medieval knights, ancient conquerors, and mythological gods. After practicing law in Boston for 38 years, I retired to write history full time, not to string dates and facts together in a powder-dry mix but to try to breathe life into the vibrant men and women who enlivened their times and can shed a timeless light on the challenges of ours. Hard work though it is, I have never been so satisfied with life.
James' book list on making history live and breathe
Why did James love this book?
A longtime diet of tasty historical novels having left me entertained and lazy, my first look at volume one of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, a blacksmith’s son who rose to precarious power as King Henry VIII’s ruthless fixer and lost his head for his trouble, was not a case of love at first sight.
It is not a passive read. For me, it took a second trip to Chapter One to discover that Wolf Hall is a work of art. Given the focus it deserves, it brings to vivid life a terrifying world of 16th-century intrigue and proto-totalitarianism, densely populated with scheming complex characters and treacherous maneuvers.
I found it artfully wrought, beautifully written, worthy of its Booker Prize, and brewed to be sipped, not gulped.