What is the best history book you have read?

May 2008
1,296
Bangkok
#91
Guns, Germs, and Steel

While clearly full of mistakes and oversimplifications it was a marvelous effort to bring some order to history. Instead of just a clarification of disparate evens it proposed answers to the why questions historians are often forbidden to address.

Guns, Germs, and Steel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I can't recommend Victor Davis Hanson's Carnage and Culture enough after reading Guns Germs & Steel. It's pretty much the antidote to the geographical determinism angle of why Westerners project power disproportionate to their numbers.
 
Feb 2017
206
Canada
#94
Tuchman always gets a lot of cred in these threads, and I love her prose, but often find it too detailed and artistic for what I want out of a history book, which is boring as hell academia that gets straight and concisely to the point.

More toward that vein my favourite books I've read in the past few years are 'Maps of Time' by David Christian and 'A History of Christianity' by Paul Johnson. Both are just packed with relevant and interesting information, and I came away from both with an enormous amount of understanding about both the world, and Christianity, that I didn't have going in.
 
Aug 2014
517
Why do you want to know?
#95
It's difficult to pick just one, but my top three are probably "Scipio Africanus: Rome's Greatest General", by Richard Gabriel, "Caesar" by Adrian Goldsworthy, and "Persian Fire" by Tom Holland.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,744
Crows nest
#98
"Waterloo" By Commandant Henry Lachouque. Other books may be more detailed, but the way he tells the story makes you feel you are there on the battlefield, especially as the battle is ending.
 
Oct 2017
72
Austin, TX
#99
Here's a few that I've read and really liked.

NONFICTION

The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam. Best history of the Korean War I've ever read.

The Great War In Africa (1914-1918) by Byron Farwell. Good history of this little known theater of WW1. Detailed coverage of Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck, the guerrilla genius who fought very successfully in German East Africa.

The Life And Times Of Pancho Villa by Friedrich Katz. Covers the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).

FICTION

The Religion and The Twelve Children Of Paris by Tim Willocks. They are the first two books in a trilogy that covers late 16th Century Europe. Book 1 is about the siege of Malta (1565), book 2 the Huguenot massacre in Paris (1572).

The Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. Covers the adventures of Richard Sharpe starting when he joins the British Army in the early 1790's and finishes with the battle of Waterloo in 1815 when he has risen to Lt. Colonel. Action ranges from India, Spain and France. You won't be able to put these down! Try and get the whole series and start from the beginning
 
Nov 2017
61
San Diego
Tuchman always gets a lot of cred in these threads, and I love her prose, but often find it too detailed and artistic for what I want out of a history book, which is boring as hell academia that gets straight and concisely to the point.

More toward that vein my favourite books I've read in the past few years are 'Maps of Time' by David Christian and 'A History of Christianity' by Paul Johnson. Both are just packed with relevant and interesting information, and I came away from both with an enormous amount of understanding about both the world, and Christianity, that I didn't have going in.
Couldn't agree more, I am reading Distant Mirror currently and though I am enjoying it, I tend to skip a bit which I never do with a pure academic read. I am only finishing it because of all the good things I have heard about Tuchman
 

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