What is the best history book you have read?

Sindane

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,686
Europe
The Fatal Shore: Amazon.co.uk: Robert Hughes: Books

I've absolutely loved reading this book, which I bought to enliven a recent trip to Australia and then didn't actually begin until the journey home.

What did other people think of it?

If you're not familiar with it I've put a review on Amazon, rather than repeat it on here I'd just say it's straight into the list of greatest books I've read.
I love this book too
 

Edgewaters

Ad Honorem
Jul 2007
9,098
Canada
Bernal Diaz's firsthand account of the fall of the Aztecs, History of the Conquest of New Spain. It's just such a dramatic account.
 

arkteia

Ad Honorem
Nov 2012
4,723
Seattle
Hard to tell. My most favorite book of all times, Tolstoy's "War and Peace", could be probably called historic fiction.

Of the books that instantaneously come to mind, "A history of Greece" and "A history of Ancient Greece" by Bury.

Also, "The Cambridge Ancient History".
 
Mar 2015
402
New York
Diplomacy and World Order by Kissinger are really good. Whatever your opinion of Henry Kissinger in the public and private sector, read his books, he's a great historian in my opinion.

I enjoyed David Gergen's Eyewitness to Power, in it he analyzes U.S. presidents he's worked for.

Now I'm in the process of reading macrohistory and when I'm finished I'll give you my thoughts on authors takes on larger timespans.
 
Sep 2012
743
Las Cruces, NM
Probably my favorite is "Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" by Paul Kennedy, although I'm very fond of the American Heritage Picture History of World War 2 by Sulzberger.
 
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Mar 2015
76
AZ!
I am probably way-off the mainstream here, and not even sure my pick would be considered by some to be a history book. But I maintain it is, as it was written by, not a historian, but rather a former major league ballplayer.

It is "Ball Four" my Jim Bouton. LOL.

I am serious.

See, I have always been a huge baseball fan (Bosox, baby!) going back to t-ball then little league, and on through Pony League and high school and finally junior college.

I read Ball Four when I was only around 12 or 13. And I thought it was the greatest thing ever! To be inside the private lives and the clubhouse of real big league ballplayers, whom I idolized. And to realize they were, although I thought it was super cool at the time, alas: flawed human beings like the rest of us. Some of them worse.

I remember feeling like I was privvy to the greatest insider info in the world; me and my friends would talk about the stuff they did for hours. And quote the book endlessly.

Like most of you I am a major history geek, and minored in it in college and have read hundreds of "real" history books, on everythng from ancient Rome to the American Revolution to the Civil War to the World Wars. Bios also.

But I cannot recall ever enjoying any as much as Ball Four. Or getting that same feeling of being privileged to learn the inside scoop.
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,359
here
Well, if I have to pick only one.......

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Aug 2015
263
Indianapolis
The Frontiersman by Allan Eckert

Panther in the Sky by James Alexander Thom

Essentially the same story from opposite perspectives.

Follow the River is another great one by Thom.
 
Jun 2013
11
Midwest, USA
Jefferson Abroad by Thomas Jefferson

It's a hardback, over 600 pages and pretty awesome. It's not my favorite though, but the fact it was about TJ was a seller. I've always been a fan of his for many reasons. The obvious history aspect, he was a bibliophile as well, a lover of knowledge and so on.

FYI, this book is available on Amazon.