Top Ten Favorite History Reads

My PC was in the shop this past Tuesday (trying to figure out why a new graphics card wasn’t working — turns out the card itself is defective), so I missed the “Books from Your Favorite Genre” list done on Top Ten Tuesday.    

1. The Airman’s War, Albert Marrin. Marrin’s WW2 trilogy made the war came alive for me,  especially The Airman’s War. (Read ~2001)

2. A Man on the Moon,  Andrews Chaikan. The definitive Apollo history.    (Read 2012)

3. On the Shoulders of Giants, Ray Spangenburg and Diane Kit Moser (Read 2008)
A series chronicling the growth of science from the ancient Greeks until the present day, 

4. The Horse in the City, Clay Shane and Joel Tarr   (Read 2015)

5. Living DowntownThe History of Residential Hotels in America, Paul Groth (Read 2014)

6. With Wings Like Eagles: The Battle of Britain, Michael Korda (Read 2011)

7. 1491: Revelations of the Americas before Columbus, Charles Mann

8. Persian Fire: The First World Empire, Tom Holland (Read 2009)
Holland’s history of the Persian empire (Achaemenid period)  also explores its culture. I found the religious background of Achamenid Persia most fascinating.

9. The Age of Faith, Will Durant (Read 2011)
The Age of Faith was the biggest  of Durant’s volumes in his Story of Civilization, taking readers through not only medieval Europe, but Sasanian-era Persia and the early Islamic period.    I certainly wouldn’t have predicted this volume to be my favorite, but so it is.

10. Life in a Medieval City, Frances and Joseph Gies.  (Read…2003, 2004?)
The Gies did many works about medieval culture, but this volume was the first I ever encountered, and remains the most memorable for me.  Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel, one of their works focusing on science and technology in the medieval period,  fundamentally changed the way I thought about the era.  George R. R. Martin also drew on Life in a Medieval City for his books.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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10 Responses to Top Ten Favorite History Reads

  1. Marian H says:

    There's several on here I'll want to check out, especially 2, 8, and 9. Thanks for sharing!Have you by chance watched the BBC Wartime Farm series, which someone put on YouTube? It's a documentary/reeanactment of the lives and sacrifices of farmers during WW2. I watched it recently and found it fascinating: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUsU5s0ofYo

  2. Stephen says:

    I haven't! Thanks for the link — I'll have to investigate it when I get home and can watch.

  3. R. T. says:

    My must read list suddenly grows longer …. thanks, Stephen!

  4. Stephen says:

    Always happy to aid and abet biblioaddiction..

  5. CyberKitten says:

    The Korda book was a favourite of mine too – but then I'm a sucker for anything on the Battle of Britain!

  6. Stephen says:

    I just found out he's done some biographies, including one on Robert E. Lee. I may have to give that bit of his work a try.

  7. mudpuddle says:

    ancient cathedral construction remains a serious interest… i'll have to check out the medieval book…

  8. CyberKitten says:

    Yes, noticed that: Lee, Grant, Ike & Lawrence of Arabia…. They're all on my 'Interest' List.

  9. Brian Joseph says:

    A very impressive list of books. I have only read 1491 which I also found to be excellent. At the very least, I hope to get to Persian Fire soon.

  10. Stephen says:

    Tom Holland's been a superb read every time I tried him!

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