Aug 30, 2011

Top 10 Best History Books

1. Necropolis:
Price: £7.99

London and Its Dead By Catharine Arnold From burial mounds to charnel houses, the capital's first crematoriumto the black crepe and floral tributes of East End memorials, Catharine Arnold's account of death in London is by turns fascinating, stomachchurning and poignant. She is especially good on the endlessly over-the-top Victorian funeral business.

2. Warsaw 1920:
Price: £14.99

Lenin's Failed Conquest of Europe By Adam Zamoyski This slim work tells the story of a now largely forgotten battle that nearly shattered the peace of post-Versailles Europe and almost brought Russian Bolshevism to the gates of Western Europe. No dull military history, but rather a real page-turner.

3. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee:
Price: £8.99

An Indian History of the American West By Dee Brown Charting the genocide of the Native American people, from the arrival of smallpox with the conquistadors to the final brutal massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, this important book should be compulsory reading for all students of American history.

4. A People's History of the World
Price: £12.99

By Chris Harman By discarding a traditional narrative that concentrates on great men and dates, Chris Harman instead offers a politically conscious counterhistory of theworld. It is one that sweeps across the centuries and continents, charting how ordinary men and women transformed their societies through conflict and class struggle. A perfect read for armchair revolutionaries.

5. Empires of the Sea:
Price: £20

The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580 By Roger Crowley Despite a title that ignores the Second World War, this book is a page-turning narrative of an epic struggle between rival empires and faiths, while the tale of Barbarossa proves that pirates aren't just peg-legged buccaneers in the Caribbean.

6. Liberation:
Price: £25

The Bitter Road to Freedom, Europe 1944-1945 By William I Hitchcock In a history that jars with images of grateful civilians showering soldiers with flowers, William I Hitchcock's vivid account of post-war Europe paints a violent and chaotic picture of liberation and recovery. It should be essential reading for any leader hankering for regime change.

7. The Ascent of Money:
Price: £25

a Financial History of the World By Niall Ferguson The author suggests that the use of credit and debt has been "as important as any technological development". Hence our current difficulties: too little of one and too much of the other.

8. Clean:
Price: £12.99

An Unsanitised History of Washing By Katherine Ashenburg Who knew that keeping clean ? or not, in the case of Europeans during the Middle Ages ? could be so interesting? Or that our cult of hygiene can be traced back to America's early 20th-century advertising industry? This history of soap and water is a refreshing read.

9. Pompeii:
Price: £25

The Life of a Roman Town By Mary Beard Mary Beard uses the ancient relics buried by the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvius to bring the existence of everyday Roman people to life. Covering everything from government to graffiti, Beard's work takes the humdrum of Roman domesticity and turns it into a compelling account of the life of one Roman town.

10. Henry:
Price: £25

The Virtuous Prince By David Starkey This, the first of two books on England's most famous king, Henry VIII, is undoubtedly among David Starkey's finest works. In a colourful study of the young Henry, he displays what one reviewer has described as "the mind of an historian but the eye of a court painter".
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