100 books like The Age of Empire

By Eric Hobsbawm,

Here are 100 books that The Age of Empire fans have personally recommended if you like The Age of Empire. 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 Lineages of the Absolutist State

Philip B. Minehan Author Of Anti-Leftist Politics in Modern World History: Avoiding 'Socialism' at All Costs

From my list on modern world history and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise comes through my work and degrees as an undergraduate, Master’s, and Phd student, in history and comparative historical sociology. It is demonstrated mainly in my two books, one on the Spanish, Yugoslav, and Greek Civil Wars, the other on Anti-Leftist Politics, listed above. It also comes through my teaching, which includes the entire world history sequence, in addition to numerous specialized courses and seminars. My passion could be described as a love for the world and its peoples, and a loathing for systems and politics of inequality and injustice.

Philip's book list on modern world history and politics

Philip B. Minehan Why did Philip love this book?

This book is both a soaring and substantive comparative analysis of early modern social classes and state formation in Europe, the Ottoman Empire, China, and Japan. 

For me and many others, it has been indispensable for understanding world power politics and history from the early modern era to the present. Methodologically, it is a genuine tour de force. Anderson’s scholarly output generally is in a class by itself.

By Perry Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lineages of the Absolutist State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forty years after its original publication, Lineages of the Absolutist State remains an exemplary achievement in comparative history. Picking up from where its companion volume, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, left off, Lineages traces the development of Absolutist states in the early modern period from their roots in European feudalism, and assesses their various trajectories. Why didn't Italy develop into an Absolutist state in the same, indigenous way as the other dominant Western countries, namely Spain, France and England? On the other hand, how did Eastern European countries develop into Absolutist states similar to those of the West, when their…


Book cover of The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe

Philip B. Minehan Author Of Anti-Leftist Politics in Modern World History: Avoiding 'Socialism' at All Costs

From my list on modern world history and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise comes through my work and degrees as an undergraduate, Master’s, and Phd student, in history and comparative historical sociology. It is demonstrated mainly in my two books, one on the Spanish, Yugoslav, and Greek Civil Wars, the other on Anti-Leftist Politics, listed above. It also comes through my teaching, which includes the entire world history sequence, in addition to numerous specialized courses and seminars. My passion could be described as a love for the world and its peoples, and a loathing for systems and politics of inequality and injustice.

Philip's book list on modern world history and politics

Philip B. Minehan Why did Philip love this book?

This book centers on historian Robert Brenner’s argument that the origins of capitalist production are to be found in changes that occurred in property relations in early modern English agriculture. 

What led me to Brenner and his argument were my unanswered questions in the sociology of Third World development. His work then led me to more systematic and comprehensive insights about the problem of capitalism’s uneven development worldwide. 

Brenner’s argument and its broad implications remain most persuasive and vital for a clear understanding of political economy and history from the early modern era to the present.  

By T. H. Aston (editor), C. H. E. Philpin (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Few historical issues have occasioned such discussion since at least the time of Marx as the transition from feudalism to capitalism in Western Europe. The Brenner Debate, which reprints from Past and Present various article in 1976, is a scholarly presentation of a variety of points of view, covering a very wide range in time, place and type of approach. Weighty theoretical responses to Brenner's first formulation followed from the late Sir Michael Postan, John Hatcher, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie and Guy Bois; more particular contributions came from Patricia Croot, David Parker, Arnost Klima and Heide Wunder on England, France,…


Book cover of The Kapetanios: Partisans and Civil War in Greece, 1943-1949

Philip B. Minehan Author Of Anti-Leftist Politics in Modern World History: Avoiding 'Socialism' at All Costs

From my list on modern world history and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise comes through my work and degrees as an undergraduate, Master’s, and Phd student, in history and comparative historical sociology. It is demonstrated mainly in my two books, one on the Spanish, Yugoslav, and Greek Civil Wars, the other on Anti-Leftist Politics, listed above. It also comes through my teaching, which includes the entire world history sequence, in addition to numerous specialized courses and seminars. My passion could be described as a love for the world and its peoples, and a loathing for systems and politics of inequality and injustice.

Philip's book list on modern world history and politics

Philip B. Minehan Why did Philip love this book?

The Kapetanios put me on a course that I have expanded upon since 1980. 

It’s a close-up and dramatic account of the civil war that took place in Greece, beginning in the period of the Axis occupation, but continuing off and on in the post-WWII period to 1949. In 1980, I had wanted to travel to Greece but could not. The best I could do was find a good book on its modern history. 

I found The Kapetanios at People’s Books (now sadly defunct) in Milwaukee, WI. There are reasons to question its historical accuracy – normal for any history – but the book and its subject matter grabbed me and never let me go. I’d still recommend the book to anyone interested in that tragic, important, and avoidable conflict.

By Dominique Eudes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Greek Civil War was one of the bloodiest of modern times: it cost the lives of more than 600,000 people out of a population of 7 million. It was one of the founding moments of the Cold War and a pilot experience, in Europe itself, of the Western imperialist intervention practised in South-East Asia and elsewhere today. This book is the first blow-by-blow account of the process of the Greek Revolution and its background in the Resistance against Nazi occupation and fascist collaboration in the Second World War. The 'kapetanios' were the guerilla chiefs in the mountains in Greece…


Book cover of British Policy towards Greece during the Second World War 1941-1944

Philip B. Minehan Author Of Anti-Leftist Politics in Modern World History: Avoiding 'Socialism' at All Costs

From my list on modern world history and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise comes through my work and degrees as an undergraduate, Master’s, and Phd student, in history and comparative historical sociology. It is demonstrated mainly in my two books, one on the Spanish, Yugoslav, and Greek Civil Wars, the other on Anti-Leftist Politics, listed above. It also comes through my teaching, which includes the entire world history sequence, in addition to numerous specialized courses and seminars. My passion could be described as a love for the world and its peoples, and a loathing for systems and politics of inequality and injustice.

Philip's book list on modern world history and politics

Philip B. Minehan Why did Philip love this book?

After forty years, this remains the outstanding work on its crucial subject matter. 

For me it sets the standard for expert treatment of great power archival materials that pertain to extremely controversial questions. In this case, what was the role of the British foreign policy operatives, from top to bottom, in the making of the Greek Civil War? 

The book’s author, along with his wife and colleague, helped me come to terms with British role in Greece, but also with the more general problem of the raw power maneuvers of great power states against weaker ones.

By Procopis Papastratis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked British Policy towards Greece during the Second World War 1941-1944 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book examines in detail how British policy towards Greece was formulated and implemented from 1941 to 1944. The defeat of Greece and the fall of the dictatorial regime of General Metaxas confronted the British with new problems, the most important being the reconciliation of military and political objectives. The main political objective was to ensure the continuation of Britain's political influence in Greece after the war. This policy would be greatly facilitated by the restoration of King George, a firm advocate of the British connection, though the King's popularity in Greece had been seriously eroded by his close association…


Book cover of 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Eran Pichersky Author Of Plants and Human Conflict

From my list on how plants have had a dramatic influence on human history.

Why am I passionate about this?

After serving in the military for several years, I pursued a scientific career as a plant biologist. It was during my military service in a unit that spent most of our time in the wilderness that I discovered plants, and particularly their smells. One cannot help it–if you step or crawl on a plant, you will smell it. As a military history buff, I also learned that many wars were fought over plants, and so I decided to write a book that combines the two–explaining what these plants do, why they are so important to people, and, therefore, how plants basically drive human behavior, often to violence. 

Eran's book list on how plants have had a dramatic influence on human history

Eran Pichersky Why did Eran love this book?

This is the real title of the book, referring to the year 1493 AD.

Even as a plant biologist, I had no idea how much Columbus’ trips across the Atlantic Ocean scrambled the world's living species. The flora and fauna of the world today look nothing like they did beforehand.

By Charles C. Mann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1493 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A deeply engaging history of how European settlements in the post-Colombian Americas shaped the world—from the highly acclaimed author of 1491. • "Fascinating...Lively...A convincing explanation of why our world is the way it is." —The New York Times Book Review

Presenting the latest research by biologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the post-Columbian network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City—where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted—the center of the world. In this history, Mann…


Book cover of After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400-2000

Christopher Goscha Author Of The Road to Dien Bien Phu: A History of the First War for Vietnam

From my list on empires in world history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Christopher Goscha first fell in love with world history while reading Fernand Braudel's La Méditerranée in graduate school in France and doing research for his PhD in Southeast Asia. He is currently a professor of international relations at the Université du Québec à Montréal where he teaches world history and publishes on the wars for Vietnam in a global context. He does this most recently in his forthcoming book entitled The Road to Dien Bien Phu: A History of the First Vietnam War.

Christopher's book list on empires in world history

Christopher Goscha Why did Christopher love this book?

You might not know who Tamerlane is, but you should. He was one of the last of the ‘World-conquerors’ in the tradition of Genghis Khan, the man who marched the Mongols from one end of Eurasia to the other in the 13th century. Tamerlane died in 1405 and with him the last nomadic empire of the Eurasian steppes. The Europeans then took up the quest ‘to conquer the word’. But John Darwin tells this story like no one else before him: Rather than starting the story of the European “Age of Discovery” on the bows of Iberian ships crossing the Atlantic ocean, Darwin keeps his readers grounded in Eurasia. He redirects our gaze to this massive continent as we follow emerging European empires as they had to compete with pre-existing ones. Anyone interested in understanding the global dynamics of the early 21st century should read this book with…

By John Darwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tamerlane, the Ottomans, the Mughals, the Manchus, the British, the Soviets, the Japanese and the Nazis.

All built empires they hoped would last forever: all were destined to fail. But, as John Darwin shows in his magnificent book, their empire building created the world we know today.

From the death of Tamerlane in 1405, last of the 'world conquerors', to the rise and fall of European empires, and from America's growing colonial presence to the resurgence of India and China as global economic powers, After Tamerlane provides a wonderfully intriguing perspective on the past, present and future of empires.


Book cover of Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory Over the West

John Grant Ross Author Of Formosan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present

From my list on Taiwan’s history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on Taiwan’s history

John Grant Ross Why did John love this book?

Few stood against many as the fate of Taiwan hung in the balance. This is a gripping account of the 1660s clash between Ming loyalist Koxinga and besieged Dutch colonists at Fort Zeelandia. Written by a historian with a flair for narrative, Taiwan’s most exciting historical episode is recounted in fascinating detail, with twists and turns, and wide zooms out for comparisons of European and Chinese technological prowess. It’s an accessible book yet so richly informative and dramatic that it rewards multiple readings. 

By Tonio Andrade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the seventeenth century, Holland created the world's most dynamic colonial empire, outcompeting the British and capturing Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Yet, in the Sino-Dutch War - Europe's first war with China - the Dutch met their match in a colorful Chinese warlord named Koxinga. Part samurai, part pirate, he led his generals to victory over the Dutch and captured one of their largest and richest colonies - Taiwan. How did he do it? Examining the strengths and weaknesses of European and Chinese military techniques during the period, Lost Colony provides a balanced new perspective on long-held assumptions about Western…


Book cover of African American Childhoods: Historical Perspectives from Slavery to Civil Rights

Hoda Mahmoudi Author Of Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on childhood and globalization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been interested in children’s lives for as long as I can remember. I think my own childhood experiences provoked my curiosity about the world as observed and perceived by children. My own childhood was affected by globalization in the broadest sense. When I was a child, my family moved to the United States from Iran. I grew up in Utah where I encountered a different way of life than the one I left behind. The shift from one culture to another was thrilling and scary. The encounter with a new world and a different culture has taught me important lessons about children’s creativity, strength, and curiosity as well as their fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.  

Hoda's book list on childhood and globalization

Hoda Mahmoudi Why did Hoda love this book?

I am very interested in the unique challenges that African American children face in the United States. The impacts and continuing effects of slavery and systemic racism begin affecting them before they can articulate the discrimination they experience. This book makes me question the root causes of prejudice and how it is instilled in and inflicted on children.

By Wilma King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

African American Childhoods seeks to fill a vacuum in the study of African American children. Recovering the voices or experiences of these children, we observe nuances in their lives based on their legal status, class standing, and social development.


Book cover of Inventing the American Astronaut

Slava Gerovitch Author Of Soviet Space Mythologies: Public Images, Private Memories, and the Making of a Cultural Identity (Russian and East European Studies)

From my list on astronauts and cosmonauts.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in space history began with stamp collecting and continued much later with visits to Russian archives, Star City, and aerospace companies, and interviews with cosmonauts and space engineers, who often told their personal stories for the first time. As a historian of science and technology teaching at MIT, I was especially interested in cases where technology and society intertwined: cosmonauts and engineers lobbied politicians with competing agendas, personal rivalries tore apart ambitious projects, and pervasive secrecy perpetuated public myths and private counter-myths. My digging into tensions and arguments that shaped the Soviet space program resulted in two books, Soviet Space Mythologies and Voices of the Soviet Space Program.

Slava's book list on astronauts and cosmonauts

Slava Gerovitch Why did Slava love this book?

Hersch applies the sober, decidedly unsentimental, and almost brutally incisive analytical framework of labor conflict and professionalization to a whole range of issues negotiated within NASA—from the criteria for astronaut selection to the degree of spacecraft automation to mission programming. Each of these issues emerges loaded with interests of various professional groups—test pilots, military pilots, scientists, engineers, and managers. The astronaut profession is born through a series of clashes of professional cultures, each competing for influence within the US space program.

In my view, comparing this story with the parallel developments on the Soviet side reveals drastic differences. While the pilots-cosmonauts found themselves almost completely at the mercy of powerful space engineers, the astronauts skillfully used their symbolic capital to gain influence on decision-making at NASA.

By Matthew H. Hersch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inventing the American Astronaut as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who were the men who led America's first expeditions into space? Soldiers? Daredevils? The public sometimes imagined them that way: heroic military men and hot-shot pilots without the capacity for doubt, fear, or worry. However, early astronauts were hard-working and determined professionals - 'organization men' - who were calm, calculating, and highly attuned to the politics and celebrity of the Space Race. Many would have been at home in corporate America - and until the first rockets carried humans into space, some seemed to be headed there. Instead, they strapped themselves to missiles and blasted skyward, returning with a smile…


Book cover of The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991

Caner Tekin Author Of Debating Turkey in Europe: Identities and Concepts

From my list on European identity for history readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a postdoctoral researcher, I'm fascinated by the notions of cultural belonging to Europe and European nation-states, as they have evolved throughout history in relation to what the holders of these notions call their "others". I know of few cases in the field of identity and memory politics that are as controversial, as curious, as fragile, and yet as fascinating as the idea of a Europe, a social and political construct that emerges from past events but is shaped for political purposes. Debates about a common European history and memory are intertwined with those about the geographical and cultural definitions of Europe, and my book list often includes the most recent examples of these interactions.

Caner's book list on European identity for history readers

Caner Tekin Why did Caner love this book?

Especially in the 20th century, the development and recognition of the ideas of Europeanism depended on developments beyond Europe in a global context.

It is impossible to understand the development of European integration and its pan-Europeanist rationale without understanding the history of colonialism, nationalism, the international socialist movement, and, of course, war. Against this background, Hobsbawm discusses, among other things, how the European project was promoted as an alternative to, and in turn threatened by, extremisms, particularly nationalism.

I am captivated by this powerful analysis done on a very large scale. Perhaps this is why the founders of the House of European History in Brussels acknowledge the influence of Hobsbawm and this book in their narrative.

By Eric Hobsbawm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dividing the century into the Age of Catastrophe, 1914–1950, the Golden Age, 1950–1973, and the Landslide, 1973–1991, Hobsbawm marshals a vast array of data into a volume of unparalleled inclusiveness, vibrancy, and insight, a work that ranks with his classics The Age of Empire and The Age of Revolution.

In the short century between 1914 and 1991, the world has been convulsed by two global wars that swept away millions of lives and entire systems of government. Communism became a messianic faith and then collapsed ignominiously.  Peasants became city dwellers, housewives became workers—and, increasingly leaders.  Populations became literate even as…


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