The best history books 📚

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

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Book cover of What Is Global History?

What Is Global History?

By Sebastian Conrad

Why this book?

So, what, exactly is this ‘world’ or ‘global history’? Authors slap the two words on their books, universities offer new courses in it, and government officials across the planet now speak of ‘global this’ and ‘global that’. One could be forgiven for throwing up one’s hands in exasperation for failing to understand what exactly these two words mean. That is until Sebastian Conrad published this gem of a book aptly entitled: What is Global History? Yes, it’s a bit academic, but it’s also clearly written, logically organized, and succeeds brilliantly in explaining what global history is and is not…

From the list:

The best books on empires in world history

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Book cover of The Nile: History's Greatest River

The Nile: History's Greatest River

By Terje Tvedt

Why this book?

Water expert, academic, and documentary filmmaker Terje Tvedt fell hard for the Nile decades ago. His third book on the life-giving river is an expert weaver's tapestry of history, ecology, and politics on the Nile.

From the list:

The best books on the beauty and world of the river Nile

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Book cover of Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany

Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany

By Jane Mount

Why this book?

From the workspaces of famous authors to bookish quiz questions to portraits of the most adorable bookstore cats, this one is an illustrated love letter to the universe of books. Jane Mount recommends her best reads from memoirs to fantasy, shows her favourite bookstores, and presents songs about books, books that were turned into great films and so much more, including for sure some beautiful book facts that are new to your giftee.

From the list:

The best books to give a book lover

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Book cover of Growing Up in Medieval London: The Experience of Childhood in History

Growing Up in Medieval London: The Experience of Childhood in History

By Barbara A. Hanawalt

Why this book?

I learnt so much from this book when I was writing my biography of Chaucer. It is hard to find out information about childhood in history, and yet it is impossible to try to understand a society if we don’t know how children were brought up, what games they played, how they were educated, what adolescence was like. This book tells us about all those things. You can find out about how children learnt to read, what happened to orphans, the opportunities for pre-marital sex. Looking at a wide range of historical records and literary texts, Hanawalt pieces together a…

From the list:

The best books on medieval life

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Book cover of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

By James W. Loewen

Why this book?

Loewen’s book, updated since its original publication, explodes some of the many myths and falsehoods contained in textbooks on American history. Whether stories of the first Thanksgiving or America and the Vietnam War, the book challenges interpretations presented as facts and facts that are contested. The result is an indispensable argument for trying to get the facts right when discussing American history.

From the list:

The best books on the real history of America

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Book cover of Sport and the British: A Modern History

Sport and the British: A Modern History

By Richard Holt

Why this book?

Before Holt, the history of the British and their relationship with sport was just a muddy field with some green patches near the press box. Then Holt came along to drain the land, roll the turf, and set the boundaries. Most of all, he explained how modern sport was invented in the leafy streets of the suburban South and the wastes and alleyways of the industrial North. An absolute classic. First published in 1990, a new edition is on its way.

From the list:

The best books on sport history from someone who is mad for history

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