What is the best history book you have read?

May 2008
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/The-Men-No-Property-Eighteenth/dp/0312213395/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395409128&sr=8-1&keywords=jim+smyth+men+property"]Amazon.com: The Men of No Property: Irish Radicals and Popular Politics in the Late Eighteenth Century (Studies in Modern History) (9780312213398): Jim Smyth: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51V4BJN9GNL.@@AMEPARAM@@51V4BJN9GNL[/ame]

Took me a while to track down a cheap copy but was well worth the wait; traces the history of the working class backbone of the burgeoning United Irish movement in the 1790's from organisational tactics adopted from the Whiteboy agrarian struggles through to the recruitment tactics and ethos of the shadowy urban clubs and societies. Remains on top of all that the best history yet of the Defenders; in a word - gold dust.
Sep 2012
My favourites which I have read again and again but found some new light to shine through and something new to ponder over !
1) The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
2) The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich By William Shirer
3) Gallipoli by Alan Moorehead
4) Hitler-a study in tyranny by Alan Bullock
5) Hitler and Stalin-Parallel Lives by Alan Bullock
6) Stalin-A biography by Robert Service
7) The Last Days of Hitler by Trevor-Roper
8) Stalin-in the court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore
9) People's Tragedy-Russian Revolution 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes
10) Masters and Commanders How Four Titans Won the War in the West,1941-1945 by Andrew Roberts
11) Why the Allies won by Richard Overy
12) The Engineers of Victory by Paul Kennedy
If we can add fiction
1) Winds of War by Herman Wouk
2) War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
3) The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
4) For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway
5) H.M.S.Ulysses by Alistair Maclean
The O.P. presumably wants a poster to choose one book, an impossible task. In fact several other tittles are crying out for my attention.
Mar 2014
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Louisbourg Portraits - Five Dramatic True Tales of People Who Lived in an 18th Century Garrison Town - by Christopher Moore.

I've been reading it once every year or two for the past 30 years or so. It's just so nicely written, it takes you right there.
May 2008
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Summer-Moon-Comanches-Powerful/dp/1416591060/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419954579&sr=8-1&keywords=empire+of+the+summer+moon"]Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History: S. C. Gwynne: 9781416591061: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51M2Q6nfcjL.@@AMEPARAM@@51M2Q6nfcjL[/ame] by S.C. Gwynne. Sets out to tell the story of a few men in the 19th century during a few decades, and ends up edifying the reader as to the evolution of the American mythos in a way so efficiently and so entertainingly that I had to buy it for 2 of my friends, and over a year later, we're still talking about that book.
Feb 2015
Talking about the european history, my fav book is Europe: A History by Norman Davies.
Quite logical narration with many points of view and some interesting articles which help not to be bored
Jul 2014
Geneva, Switzerland
I really enjoyed reading this book.

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Caesar-Life-Colossus-Adrian-Goldsworthy/dp/0300126891"]Amazon.com: Caesar: Life of a Colossus (9780300126891): Adrian Goldsworthy: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418TWqdmWZL.@@AMEPARAM@@418TWqdmWZL[/ame]
Oct 2014
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich...William Shirer

The Second World War....John Keegan

Das Boot...Lothar Gunther Bucheim

Blind Man's Bluff (A history of submarine espionage)...Sherry Sontag

(A former U.S. Navy Submariner...I actually got to experience some of the above!)
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May 2008
King Leopold's Ghost. Harrowing but incredible.
Great book - a complete exposé.

Leopold was a thoroughly remorseless, calculating & scruple-free demon.

Spurred initially by jealousy of other colonial powers he acquired the Congo under the guise of an International Philanthropic Association which would promote Free Trade - a free trade in the lives of hapless Congolese villagers as it turned out.

Fatally for them the automobile industry was kicking off so Leopold's greed-warped mind figured he'd extract as much rubber from its forests as feasible; converting thousands of its natives into a ready army of slave labourers, halving the population while he was at it.

To think Lumumba's Belgian assassin a generation later cited his insulting the memory of their king as sufficient grounds for the grisly deed!

A classic from Adam Hochschild - he's written two other very good studies on the slave trade and WW1.

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