The best books about England 📚

Browse the best books on England as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England

Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England

By Alan Macfarlane

Why this book?

Originally published in 1970, this was another foundational text for me and other witchcraft scholars of my generation.

It grew out of Macfarlane’s doctoral thesis focusing on Essex, which had been supervised by Keith Thomas, whose own great book, Religion and the Decline of Magic (much of which dealt with witches), came out the following year. Even then, the historian Macfarlane was on his way to becoming an anthropologist – a transition visible on every page of this fascinating book.

But its overriding character is that of a work of sociology. Social science models helped to impose interpretative order on…

From the list:

The best books on witch hunting in Britain and Europe

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England

Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England

By John Putnam Demos

Why this book?

While researching and writing My Enemy’s Tears, I found Entertaining Satan on the shelves of a bookstore in New York City. Sure enough, there was a chapter on Mary Bliss Parsons titled Hard Thoughts and Jealousies. A prominent historian studied my 8th great-grandmother’s case and wrote about it. Local gossip was the author’s first subject for exploration—right on, because gossip is what led to Mary’s imprisonment and trial. Demos explores the lives of many accused of witchcraft and the culture that accused them. Anyone interested in the history of women’s lives and the reasons behind the centuries-long belief…

From the list:

The best books about 17th century America

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Anglo-Saxon England

Anglo-Saxon England

By Sir Frank Stenton

Why this book?

This is the granddaddy of history books about the Anglo-Saxons. Much of the history has evolved and moved on since its original publication in the 1940s, but Sir Frank Stenton is comprehensive and thorough and the resulting tome is jam-packed with information.

From the list:

The best books on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Spirits of the Cage: True Accounts of Living in a Haunted Medieval Prison

Spirits of the Cage: True Accounts of Living in a Haunted Medieval Prison

By Richard Estep, Vanessa Mitchell

Why this book?

I will read absolutely anything that Richard Estep writes. He has written books about the Villisca Ax Murders, Malvern Manor, and other crazy-haunted places. This one, about a site in his native England, is utterly terrifying. Estep writes with a very straightforward, matter-of-fact style (his writing reminds me much of my own style), and the evidence he presents for this haunted site is deeply chilling -- especially since his team is one of the groups that has investigated the Cage. 

From the list:

The best books for paranormal enthusiasts

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England C.500-1066

Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England C.500-1066

By Ann Williams

Why this book?

For readers who want an expert introduction to the origins of kingship, power, and government in the centuries before the Norman Conquest, Ann’s Kingship and Government is the place to go. A great strength of her book is that it explains key concepts, structures, and terminology as the need arises, and in a way that clarifies the story that is being told. This equips the reader to explore what can otherwise seem like a strange and incomprehensible world. If you want the nuts and bolts of how Anglo-Saxon society and its power structures operated, this is the book for you.…

From the list:

The best books to understand Anglo-Saxon England

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Queen Emma and Queen Edith: Queenship and Women's Power in Eleventh-Century England

Queen Emma and Queen Edith: Queenship and Women's Power in Eleventh-Century England

By Pauline Stafford

Why this book?

Going back into the Anglo-Saxon period, Pauline Stafford’s joint study of the powerful Queens Edith and Emma is essential reading. Stafford’s research into these two women is peerless, providing the most comprehensive study of late Anglo-Saxon queenship to date. She has left no stone unturned in her research, giving fine detail to the lives and activities of her subjects. Stafford’s book certainly disproves the common misapprehension that the Anglo-Saxons did not have queens.

From the list:

The best books on England’s medieval queens

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 287 books about England

New book lists about England

All book lists about England

Bookshelves related to England

Browse books by…