AskHistorians Goodreads Bookshelves


AskHistorians is reddit’s most trafficked history subreddit, and one of the most trafficked historical forums on the Internet. We maintain a list of recommended books, curated by our panel of historians, and we have made a browseable copy on Goodreads for your reading pleasure! (source)

Title | Author | Avg rating | Num ratings | Review | Date pub | Pages

  1. Things Fall Apart | Achebe, Chinua | 3.6 | 203,089 | A work of fiction, Mr Achebe nevertheless lays out an accurate picture of the dislocations in Igbo society on the eve of colonization by the British. | 1958 | 209 pages
  2. The Story of Art | Gombrich, E.H. | 3.82 | 145,704 | Probably the best introductory text for art history and art theory that exists. Originally published in 1950, but subsequent editions (it’s up to the | 1950 | 688 pages
  3. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex | Philbrick, Nathaniel | 4.16 | 57,866 | A light reading account of the loss of the whaling ship Essex. She was rammed by a sperm whale and her crew took to the life boats for thousands of mi | Dec 01, 1999 | 238 pages
  4. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus | Mann, Charles C. | 4.01 | 41,305 | A popular history book that covers the general history of Native Americans until European contact. It discusses both North and South America. Although | 2005 | 541 pages
  5. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea | Demick, Barbara | 4.42 | 40,667 | A National Book Award finalist and deserving of all the accolades it’s received. Demick was a Los Angeles Times reporter assigned to the Seoul bureau | Dec 29, 2009 | 316 pages
  6. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time | Sobel, Dava | 3.94 | 40,637 | This book details how the world figured to procedure of finding longitudinal coordinates in the world. Great Britain offered a huge cash prize to anyo | 1995 | 192 pages
  7. Salt: A World History | Kurlansky, Mark | 3.73 | 38,572 | Somewhat obscure but still fascinating subject matter to narrate the rise of America (among other things). His work is very readable. | Jan 01, 2002 | 484 pages
  8. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War | Philbrick, Nathaniel | 3.86 | 26,29 | A very good book about the founding of Plymouth Plantation, and the first 50 years afterwards. | Jan 01, 2006 | 461 pages
  9. King Leopold’s Ghost | Hochschild, Adam | 4.15 | 24,808 | Details the motivations of Leopold II of the Belgians to establish a massive personal colony in Central Africa, the abusive system of rubber manufactu | 1998 | 306 pages
  10. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World | Weatherford, Jack | 4 | 24,644 | An nice introduction, entertaining, interesting and good for history geeks and the general population. However there are some misrepresentations that | 2004 | 312 pages
  11. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness | Alexander, Michelle | 4.47 | 23,276 | Groundbreaking, award-winning history of Mass Incarceration and Race in the US. | Jan 05, 2010 | 290 pages
  12. Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943 | Beevor, Antony | 4.29 | 19,589 | A good reading account of the Battle of Stalingrad during WW2. Beevor does a great job describing in detail the way Stalingrad was won by the Red Army | 1998 | 494 pages
  13. Battle Cry of Freedom | McPherson, James M. | 4.32 | 19,494 | | 1988 | 867 pages
  14. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families | Gourevitch, Philip | 4.31 | 18,497 | Probably the best account by a journalist of the Rwanda genocide of 1994. | Sep 30, 1998 | 356 pages
  15. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions | Kuhn, Thomas S. | 3.98 | 16,757 | This is one of the major methodological texts in the field, attempting to outline how scientific change occurs, what the role of the historian is in t | 1962 | 226 pages
  16. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 | Wright, Lawrence | 4.38 | 14,23 | Excellent narrative history of the birth and rise of al-Qaeda, told mainly through multiple biographies of the key players. | 2006 | 373 pages
  17. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World | Kurlansky, Mark | 3.93 | 13,46 | Somewhat obscure but still fascinating subject matter to narrate the rise of America (among other things). His work is very readable. | 1988 | 294 pages
  18. The Making of the Atomic Bomb | Rhodes, Richard | 4.31 | 12,795 | | 1986 | 886 pages
  19. In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors | Stanton, Doug | 4.25 | 12,409 | Stanton tells the story of the USS Indianapolis, the cruiser which delivered the atomic bomb to the front lines. Returning under radio silence she was | Jan 01, 2001 | 368 pages
  20. An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942–1943 | Atkinson, Rick | 4.24 | 12,064 | | Oct 02, 2002 | 681 pages
  21. Seven Years in Tibet | Harrer, Heinrich | 4.04 | 12,007 | Probably the most famous book regarding Tibet. This is a first-hand account of Tibet in the 1940s and ’50s which is a very unique look compared to the | 1952 | 330 pages
  22. A Little History of the World | Gombrich, E.H. | 4.09 | 10,06 | It is essentially a summary of human history to around the 1930s. It’s aimed perfectly at interested children, and manages to be accessible and entert | 1936 | 284 pages
  23. India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy | Guha, Ramachandra | 4.34 | 9,777 | One of the few histories of post-independence India, this gives a vivid account of India’s “tryst with destiny” and the problems/challenges it faced a | Apr 20, 2007 | 893 pages
  24. The Good Soldier Švejk | Hašek, Jaroslav | 4.12 | 9,604 | Left unfinished on account of its authors untimely death, this still-substantial collection of short tales tells of the exploits of a plump, indolent, | 1921 | 752 pages
  25. The First World War | Keegan, John | 4 | 9,255 | A fine single-volume introduction, and one of the most accessible. Keegan was one of the best popular military historians going, and he was generally | 1998 | 475 pages
  26. Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe | Bergreen, Laurence | 4.09 | 9,222 | Bergreen is not a professional historian, but he presents the story of Magellan’s circumnavigation in an entertaining way. He doesn’t add anything new | Jan 01, 2003 | 438 pages
  27. The Fall of Berlin 1945 | Beevor, Antony | 4.26 | 9,146 | | 1998 | 490 pages
  28. The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943–1944 | Atkinson, Rick | 4.33 | 8,585 | | Oct 02, 2007 | 793 pages
  29. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil | Arendt, Hannah | 4.19 | 8,302 | Arendt’s thesis, crafted after attending the Eichmann trial in Israel, on the ‘banality of evil’ has been a ongoing point of discussion in Holocaust H | May 17, 1963 | 312 pages
  30. Goodbye to All That | Graves, Robert | 4.05 | 7,468 | A remarkably literate (and literary) English novel-memoir by a man who would go on to be a very well-established poet and artistic/philosophical theor | 1929 | 281 pages
  31. The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding | Hughes, Robert | 4.06 | 6,881 | If you’re interested in the story of Australian convicts, this is the best place to start. The Fatal Shore is a very readable, if often harrowing book | 1986 | 688 pages
  32. A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World | Horwitz, Tony | 3.94 | 6,486 | A popular history book about early European colonisation attempts of America, before the successful Jamestown colony. Written as a semi-travelogue by | Jan 01, 2008 | 445 pages
  33. Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland | Browning, Christopher R. | 4.03 | 6,451 | This focused case study investigates the nature of German killers in the Holocaust, and concludes that the majority, at least in the unit surveyed, we | 1992 | 271 pages
  34. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 | Judt, Tony | 4.33 | 6,387 | A fantastic in-depth history of Europe after the second world war more-or-less up to the present day by one of the greatest historians of Modern Europ | Oct 18, 1999 | 933 pages
  35. The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag | Chol-Hwan, Kang | 4.06 | 6,098 | A firsthand account of a Japanese-Korean family’s experience in North Korea and its time in the Yodok concentration camp. The book’s publication is on | 1999 | 272 pages
  36. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin | Snyder, Timothy | 4.32 | 5,991 | Very readable account of the events in countries caught between the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany during the beginnings of WWII, starting with Ukr | Aug 11, 2010 | 524 pages
  37. Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63 | Branch, Taylor | 4.36 | 5,934 | a Pulitzer Prize winning book detailing, as the title implies, the civil rights movement in the United States. | Jan 01, 1988 | 1,12 pages
  38. Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates | Cordingly, David | 3.68 | 5,931 | | 1995 | 319 pages
  39. The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power | Yergin, Daniel | 4.4 | 5,894 | Describes the history of the oil industry beginning in the 1800s through the 1990s. Combines many historical narrative types to create a sweeping, glo | Jan 15, 1991 | 928 pages
  40. The Island at the Centre of the World | Shorto, Russell | 4.12 | 5,871 | The story of the founding of New York (New Amsterdam) based on 17th century Dutch records which have only recently been discovered/translated. An extr | Jan 01, 2004 | 507 pages
  41. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition | Okrent, Daniel | 3.87 | 5,857 | Very interesting, very readable history of prohibition | Apr 30, 2010 | 480 pages
  42. To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918 | Hochschild, Adam | 4.14 | 5,818 | An admirable attempt to integrate the story of objectors, resisters, pacifists and the like into the already well-established tableau of the war’s his | May 01, 2011 | 448 pages
  43. Gulag: A History | Applebaum, Anne | 4.18 | 5,765 | A harrowing book about one of the worst aspects of Soviet society; the prison work camps known as the Gulag. Applebaum seeks to clear the untruths and | Apr 29, 2003 | 610 pages
  44. The Civil War: A Narrative | Foote, Shelby | 4.55 | 5,724 | An engaging and well written narrative history of the American Civil War, written in three volumes. | Oct 12, 1963 | 2934 pages
  45. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 | Howe, Daniel Walker | 4.09 | 5,59 | | Oct 29, 2007 | 904 pages
  46. The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War | Nicholas, Lynn H. | 3.91 | 5,477 | A big concern of art history these days is provenance and repatriation, and Nicholas’ text is one of the most well-researched and comprehensive books | Apr 12, 1994 | 498 pages
  47. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789 | Middlekauff, Robert | 3.91 | 5,336 | Perhaps the definitive narrative history of the American Revolution. With its more fast-paced narrative and focus on the military and political aspect | 1982 | 736 pages
  48. The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944–1945 | Atkinson, Rick | 4.42 | 5,003 | | May 14, 2013 | 877 pages
  49. Storm of Steel | Jünger, Ernst | 4.05 | 4,964 | The best of the German memoir-novels of the war, Jünger’s text conveys the experience of a young man who found himself exhilarated and challenged by t | 1920 | 288 pages
  50. The Coming of the Third Reich | Evans, Richard J. | 4.22 | 4,924 | | Feb 05, 2003 | 622 pages
  51. The Glorious Cause | Shaara, Jeff | 4.24 | 4,795 | | Nov 2002 | 680 pages
  52. Inferno: The World at War, 1939–1945 | Hastings, Max | 4.3 | 4,787 | Max Hastings was a disciple of John Keegan and it shows. Hasting’s book is the traditional, military focused narrative of World War Two. Hasting’s boo | 2011 | 752 pages
  53. All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror | Kinzer, Stephen | 4.22 | 4,741 | A great read about the overthrow of Iran’s shah, the role of the U.S. in that coup, and the eventual rise of the revolutionary movement in the region. | 2003 | 272 pages
  54. Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944–1945 | Hastings, Max | 4.23 | 4,7 | | 2004 | 584 pages
  55. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 | Clark, Christopher Munro | 4.19 | 4,57 | One of the better, if not best, books on the origins and causes of the First World War. A narrative that gives the reader an insight into the decision | Jan 01, 2012 | 682 pages
  56. 1861: The Civil War Awakening | Goodheart, Adam | 4.02 | 4,502 | A popular history book that discusses the mood of the nation in the lead-up to the Civil War. | 2011 | 481 pages
  57. The Worst Journey in the World | Cherry-Garrard, Apsley | 4.16 | 4,4 | This is a first hand account written by one of the scientist on the expedition to the South Pole. The book is impressive because of how disastrous and | 1922 | 640 pages
  58. A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785–1812 | Thatcher Ulrich, Laurel | 4 | 4,345 | Ulrich uses the diary of Martha Ballard to paint an incredibly detailed picture of life in the early republic, with emphasis on women and domestic lif | 1990 | 444 pages
  59. The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence | Meredith, Martin | 4.17 | 4,25 | I think this is the best single, readable volume on post-colonial Africa. Entertaining largely because of the ridiculous behavior of many of the chara | Jan 01, 2005 | 752 pages
  60. The Great War and Modern Memory | Fussell, Paul | 4.2 | 3,976 | | Jan 01, 1975 | 368 pages
  61. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 | Kennedy, David M. | 4.14 | 3,78 | | 1999 | 936 pages
  62. The Second World War | Keegan, John | 4.08 | 3,719 | It is an extremely readable work and is probably the best look at the war from a military perspective. In depth analysis of battles, tactics, and stra | 1989 | 608 pages
  63. Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 | Wood, Gordon S. | 4.09 | 3,681 | | 2009 | 778 pages
  64. Hitler: 1936–1945 Nemesis | Kershaw, Ian | 4.32 | 3,611 | | 2000 | 1168 pages
  65. Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust | Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah | 3.7 | 3,61 | Part of the debate with “Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland” by Christopher R. Browning, as both use the same | 1996 | 634 pages
  66. The Radicalism of the American Revolution | Wood, Gordon S. | 4.03 | 3,591 | Very much a continuation of Wood’s arguments originally set forth in The Creation of the American Republic, focusing on the American colonists’ radica | 1992 | 447 pages
  67. From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present | Barzun, Jacques | 4.12 | 3,55 | A magisterial work of cultural history, an end-of-life summa penned by one of the most civilized men ever to exist. It’s both scholarly and accessible | 2000 | 828 pages
  68. Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy | Hastings, Max | 4.15 | 3,515 | | Jun 06, 1984 | 400 pages
  69. The Peloponnesian War | Kagan, Donald | 4.1 | 3,483 | Written by one of the top experts on the war, this intelligent account is a condensed version of his four-volume history first published in the 1960s. | 2003 | 544 pages
  70. The Third Reich in Power | Evans, Richard J. | 4.28 | 3,439 | | Oct 20, 2005 | 941 pages
  71. The Cold War: A New History | Gaddis, John Lewis | 3.89 | 3,223 | An excellent introductory book for new readers; clear, precise, great analysis and a must read for those who want to familiarize themselves with the C | 2005 | 352 pages
  72. Plagues and Peoples | McNeill, William Hardy | 3.89 | 3,082 | This is a more general history of the role of disease in human history, but McNeill has an interesting chapter on “transoceanic exchanges.” | 1976 | 368 pages
  73. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863–1877 | Foner, Eric | 4.09 | 3,078 | Essential Reading on the Reconstruction Period. | 1988 | 690 pages
  74. The Third Reich At War | Evans, Richard J. | 4.31 | 3,024 | | Mar 19, 2009 | 926 pages
  75. Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East | Oren, Michael B. | 4.11 | 3,019 | A fantastic overview of the 1967 war, with great insights into both sides of the conflict and their preparations. A very well-researched and respected | Jun 06, 2001 | 460 pages
  76. The Midwife Trilogy | Worth, Jennifer | 4.4 | 3,015 | This book used to be really hard to find, but now that it’s a PBS miniseries it’s substantially easier. Anyways, Jennifer Worth was a midwife working | | 759 pages
  77. Hitler, Vol 1: 1889–1936 Hubris | Kershaw, Ian | 4.34 | 2,927 | | 1998 | 912 pages
  78. Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms & a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories | Winchester, Simon | 3.66 | 2,917 | It’s a very interesting history of the Atlantic Ocean, and particularly of the relationship between Britain and the Americas. It is somewhat similar t | Oct 27, 2009 | 495 pages
  79. Why the West Rules — for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future | Morris, Ian | 4.08 | 2,907 | | 2010 | 768 pages
  80. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution | Bailyn, Bernard | 4.01 | 2,852 | Classic study of the ideology of the Revolution. | Jan 01, 1967 | 416 pages
  81. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America | Takaki, Ronald | 4.09 | 2,77 | A broad reframing of American history, with emphasis on immigration and multiculturalism. | 1993 | 508 pages
  82. A History of the Arab Peoples | Hourani, Albert | 3.83 | 2,746 | A classic in the discipline. | 1991 | 551 pages
  83. Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War | Hastings, Max | 4.04 | 2,743 | This vivid examination of the opening phases of the war, both politically and on the battlefield, offer an neutral, enthralling journey through 1914 — | Sep 12, 2013 | 628 pages
  84. Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944–45 | Hastings, Max | 4.2 | 2,716 | | 2007 | 615 pages
  85. Panzer Leader | Guderian, Heinz | 4.08 | 2,698 | | 1950 | 528 pages
  86. The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad | Salisbury, Harrison E. | 4.16 | 2,662 | A bit dated, but nevertheless a seminal work on the siege. | 1969 | 672 pages
  87. Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire | Remnick, David | 4.16 | 2,648 | The tome for the fall of the Soviet Union. This New York Times reporter goes into detail about the collapse of USSR with depth, but also with a human | 1993 | 624 pages
  88. The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down | Woodard, Colin | 3.83 | 2,631 | | 2007 | 400 pages
  89. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II | Dower, John W. | 4.1 | 2,541 | | Jan 01, 1999 | 676 pages
  90. The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller | Ginzburg, Carlo | 3.95 | 2,458 | The author uses archival research to address questions of how common people lived in early modern (northern) Italy. The book offers a glimpse of the w | 1976 | 208 pages
  91. An Actor Prepares | Stanislavski, Konstantin | 4.03 | 2,427 | This and | 1938 | 320 pages
  92. The Making of the English Working Class | Thompson, E.P. | 4.18 | 2,413 | This covers the development of a political awareness amongst the lower orders of British society from the late 18th century through to the mid 19th ce | 1963 | 864 pages
  93. Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation | Ehle, John | 4.14 | 2,402 | A very readable history of the Cherokee Nation. It follows the life of John Ridge, a Cherokee leader whose rise and fall parallels that of the nation. | 1988 | 424 pages
  94. The Return of Martin Guerre | Zemon Davis, Natalie | 3.66 | 2,399 | Heavy archival research backs an exploration of common culture in a 16th-century French village. Particularly present are questions of identity, evide | 1983 | 176 pages
  95. The Autumn of the Middle Ages | Huizinga, Johan | 4.05 | 2,397 | In this old and very dated book, Huizinga nonetheless seems to come to very profound truths in examining the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Read | 1919 | 490 pages
  96. George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I | Carter, Miranda | 3.98 | 2,371 | | 2009 | 528 pages
  97. Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766 | Anderson, Fred | 4.14 | 2,371 | It was a great book about the events that proceeded (and Anderson asserts helped to bring about) the American Revolution while also touching upon the | 2000 | 912 pages
  98. A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891–1924 | Figes, Orlando | 4.27 | 2,302 | An incredibly broad, well-researched and well-written book covering almost every facet of the Russian Revolution from its roots in the late empire to | 1996 | 1024 pages
  99. The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler’s Germany 1944–45 | Kershaw, Ian | 4.07 | 2,301 | | Aug 25, 2011 | 592 pages
  100. Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947 | Clark, Christopher Munro | 4.12 | 2,284 | One of the few comprehensive accounts of Prussian history in English, written in exquisite quality. This book is by all means one of the best books to | Aug 03, 2006 | 800 pages
  101. Ivan’s War: The Red Army, 1939–45 | Merridale, Catherine | 4 | 2,282 | | 2005 | 396 pages
  102. American Slavery, American Freedom | Morgan, Edmund S. | 4.09 | 2,271 | One of America’s foremost colonial historians uses colonial Virginia as a case study in an attempt to understand how the slave economy came to influen | 1975 | 464 pages
  103. Eiffel’s Tower: And the World’s Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count | Jonnes, Jill | 3.75 | 2,269 | If you’re interested in the Eiffel Tower, this is the book to read. An informative — but concise, it’s not too thick — history of the Eiffel Tower and | 2009 | 368 pages
  104. Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto | Deloria Jr., Vine | 4.09 | 2,172 | This book went a long way in shifting the focus of Anthropology and History away from Indians as objects and victims towards Indians as active partici | Oct 01, 1970 | 296 pages
  105. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890–1940 | Chauncey, George | 4.17 | 2,109 | Brilliant work on the evolution of Gay identity and Culture in New York City during the late 19th and Early 20th Centuries. | May 1994 | 496 pages
  106. A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army | Grossman, Vasily | 4.11 | 2,046 | | 2005 | 380 pages
  107. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West | Cronon, William | 4.18 | 2,034 | Who would have thought that an economic history of late-19th century America could be a gripping page-turner? A story of trees, pigs, grain and steel. | Mar 01, 1991 | 592 pages
  108. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England | Cronon, William | 4.03 | 1,996 | Environmental history of New England and the effects of European Contact. Very accessible and readable, and a groundbreaking work of American environm | 1983 | 288 pages
  109. In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu’s Congo | Wrong, Michela | 3.98 | 1,985 | A close look at the rise and fall of Zaire’s dictator. Very readable. | 2000 | 338 pages
  110. The Strange Career of Jim Crow | Woodward, C. Vann | 4.08 | 1,962 | Classic history of the Jim Crow era. | Feb 1955 | 245 pages
  111. The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King — the Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea | Borneman, Walter R. | 4.22 | 1,942 | | May 01, 2011 | 559 pages
  112. Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan’s Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws’ Bloody Reign | Talty, Stephan | 3.84 | 1,908 | | Jan 01, 2007 | 332 pages
  113. Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age | Boyle, Kevin G. | 4.02 | 1,903 | Winner of a National Book Award, this book is a great introduction to housing discrimination and racial tensions in Detroit in the early part of the 2 | Jan 01, 2004 | 415 pages
  114. What Is History? | Carr, Edward Hallett | 3.86 | 1,903 | Read this for the same reason you would read Gibbon’s | 1961 | 209 pages
  115. Reformation: Europe’s House Divided, 1490–1700 | MacCulloch, Diarmaid | 4.12 | 1,901 | A magisterial take on the Reformation across the world, from late medieval Wittenberg to Puritan New England. In contrast to historians who seem to si | 2003 | 864 pages
  116. The Search For Modern China | Spence, Jonathan D. | 4.14 | 1,891 | It’s a pretty good overview that starts with the Ming and goes through the late 1980s. Covers all the bases. Nothing is covered in exceptional depth ( | Apr 1990 | 912 pages
  117. Batavia’s Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History’s Bloodiest Mutiny | Dash, Mike | 4.12 | 1,847 | Written in an easy reading style it is the story of how the voyage of one Dutch East Indiaman went horribly wrong. | 2001 | 512 pages
  118. The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land | Asbridge, Thomas | 4.12 | 1,814 | Asbridge is one of the leading modern scholars of the crusades, and this books is not only expansive in its scope, covering the crusading movement fro | 2010 | 784 pages
  119. Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World | Ostler, Nicholas | 4.04 | 1,784 | A great work of general world history for the general public. Exploring history through the lens of languages give a new perspective on many eras. As | Feb 21, 2005 | 615 pages
  120. The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 | Horne, Alistair | 4.27 | 1,772 | | 1962 | 388 pages
  121. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts | Finkelstein, Israel | 4.08 | 1,766 | Among the most popular introductory level books on any biblical subject ever written. Just be a little bit careful, Finkelstein works in his “low chro | 2001 | 385 pages
  122. Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age | Eksteins, Modris | 4.13 | 1,757 | Views the war in terms of aesthetic Modernism — the war is its crux, cause, and almost pre-emptive culmination. I have never found a book simultaneou | Apr 01, 1989 | 396 pages
  123. A History of Western Music | Grout, Donald Jay | 3.92 | 1,758 | This textbook is one of the standard texts that surveys Western music history from antiquity up to present times. It’s used in many Western music hist | 1960 | 965 pages
  124. The Conquest of New Spain | Díaz del Castillo, Bernal | 4.08 | 1,749 | One of the most popular and comprehensive primary sources on the Conquest, the work offers a first hand account of the Conquistador’s campaign through | 1632 | 412 pages
  125. Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty | Martin, Bradley K. | 4.05 | 1,644 | An excellent general history of Korea under the Japanese empire, Kim il-Sung’s life and rise to power, and how the North Korean government developed t | Oct 15, 2004 | 874 pages
  126. The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers | McGregor, Richard | 3.97 | 1,638 | Never before has there been such an amazing in depth look at the inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) before the publishing of this boo | 2010 | 320 pages
  127. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory | Blight, David W. | 4.05 | 1,611 | Great study of how the civil war was remembered and how memories/interpretations changed over time. | Jan 01, 2001 | 528 pages
  128. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class | Roediger, David R. | 3.94 | 1,611 | Pioneering history of “whiteness studies” — a classic. | Sep 17, 1991 | 197 pages
  129. The First World War: A Complete History | Gilbert, Martin | 4.08 | 1,544 | The title is a bit of a lie, but this work from Winston Churchill’s official biographer is as lucid and sensitive as anything else he’s written. Gilbe | 1994 | 688 pages
  130. The Holocaust | Gilbert, Martin | 4.32 | 1,538 | A very accessible general history by one of the most prominent English language historians. Features a depth of first-hand accounts, presented in an a | Jan 01, 1978 | 960 pages
  131. Hitler’s Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe | Mazower, Mark | 4.13 | 1,518 | | Jan 01, 2008 | 768 pages
  132. The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico | León-Portilla, Miguel | 3.91 | 1,501 | Uses recountings and poetry from native sources to create a counter-point to the story of the Conquest popularized by Bernal Diaz and other conquistad | 1959 | 196 pages
  133. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made | Genovese, Eugene D. | 3.99 | 1,504 | Old but still indispensable overview of what life was like for American slaves in the 19th century. Long and comprehensive. Genovese’s theory of “pate | 1974 | 864 pages
  134. A Savage War of Peace: Algeria, 1954–1962 | Horne, Alistair | 4.21 | 1,471 | A classic in the literature of modern warfare, this outdated classic still works today as a primer to the Algerian War (despite its countless referenc | 1977 | 608 pages
  135. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan | Bix, Herbert P. | 3.78 | 1,468 | | 2000 | 832 pages
  136. Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb | Rhodes, Richard | 4.14 | 1,442 | | Aug 01, 1995 | 736 pages
  137. Dark Continent: Europe’s Twentieth Century | Mazower, Mark | 3.99 | 1,432 | Less a comprehensive history of the continent than a piece to explain how “civilized” Europe became the bloodiest continent in that century, Mazower b | 1998 | 512 pages
  138. The Scramble for Africa: The White Man’s Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912 | Pakenham, Thomas | 4.13 | 1,428 | | Jan 01, 1991 | 800 pages
  139. The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters | Myers, B.R. | 3.91 | 1,419 | An exhaustive examination of the history of postwar North Korean propaganda, and how it’s developed and changed to reflect the Kim regime’s priorities | Jan 26, 2010 | 208 pages
  140. The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant | Crossan, John Dominic | 4.01 | 1,417 | A contrast to Sanders view, representing two sides of one of the major debates of the last quarter century or so. | 1991 | 544 pages
  141. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt: The History of a Civilisation from 3000 BC to Cleopatra | Wilkinson, Toby A.H. | 4.04 | 1,418 | It’s very well written with a superb narrative style and from an academic perspective its predominantly spot on. It tends to gloss over some of the de | Aug 02, 2010 | 646 pages
  142. The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years | lewis, bernard | 3.71 | 1,415 | This is a very readable book by the field’s leading scholar. | 1995 | 433 pages
  143. The Age of Reform | Hofstadter, Richard | 3.89 | 1,415 | Classic account of the progressive and populist movements — quite outdated now, but still interesting from a historiographical perspective. | 1955 | 352 pages
  144. Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway | Parshall, Jonathan | 4.39 | 1,41 | An excellent book that takes on a new understanding of the Battle of Midway, specifically from the Japanese perspective, and helps to counter some of | Nov 08, 2005 | 612 pages
  145. Pompeii : The Life of a Roman Town | Beard, Mary | 4.03 | 1,402 | Readable and lively, Beard captures the vivacious character of Pompeii in a book designed for a popular audience by one of the world’s foremost expert | 2008 | 360 pages
  146. The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain | Menocal, María Rosa | 3.9 | 1,397 | A brilliant introduction to the multifaceted society of Medieval Spain, which consisted of a community of not only Muslims, Jews, and Christians livin | May 02, 2002 | 315 pages
  147. How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower | Goldsworthy, Adrian | 3.91 | 1,375 | Goldsworthy is the author of numerous works of popular history and is very familiar with the form. He provides and excellent and detailed narrative, a | Jan 01, 2009 | 560 pages
  148. The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787 | Wood, Gordon S. | 4.11 | 1,371 | One of the seminal works on the American Revolutionary era. Wood attempts to refute previous scholarship which focused primarily on the economics of t | Jan 28, 1969 | 675 pages
  149. The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War | Englund, Peter | 4.16 | 1,362 | A fascinating narrative history that contains about twenty interwoven accounts of the war from a variety of perspectives, many of them on the home fro | Oct 04, 2008 | 488 pages
  150. Russia’s War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941–1945 | Overy, Richard | 4.12 | 1,348 | | Jul 1997 | 394 pages
  151. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit | Sugrue, Thomas J. | 4.18 | 1,347 | Extremely influential study of the importance of race in urban history. | Dec 01, 1996 | 375 pages
  152. The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln | Wilentz, Sean | 3.95 | 1,344 | Epic history of the evolution of American Democracy from the revolution to the civil war. Controversial. | Oct 24, 2005 | 1044 pages
  153. The First World War | Strachan, Hew | 3.86 | 1,319 | Offers a remarkably international view of the conflict, and in a compact single volume at that. This was meant as a companion piece to the (also quite | Jan 01, 2003 | 384 pages
  154. Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market | Johnson, Walter | 4.08 | 1,301 | Fascinating study of how the slave market worked in New Orleans. A reminder that images of large plantations don’t do the reality of slavery justice. | 1999 | 320 pages
  155. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States | Jackson, Kenneth T. | 3.92 | 1,278 | Classic history of suburbanization. A bit dated, but still a great read. | 1985 | 432 pages
  156. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America | Chasteen, John Charles | 3.88 | 1,196 | This work gives an overview of Latin American history and is remarkably readable. It is an excellent starting point for anyone new to the study of Lat | 2000 | pages
  157. Why the Allies Won | Overy, Richard | 4.12 | 1,192 | | 1995 | 396 pages
  158. The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity | Lepore, Jill | 3.94 | 1,184 | Prize-winning study of King Phillip’s War and Puritan-Indian Relations. | Jan 20, 1998 | 368 pages
  159. Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error | Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel | 3.97 | 1,175 | One of the first and best microhistorical books, this is a highly interesting account of the inquisition of the small village of Montaillou in the 14t | 1975 | 416 pages
  160. The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848–1861 | Potter, David M. | 4.1 | 1,135 | This Pulitzer Prize-winning work is the standard account of the history of the United States from the late 1840’s leading to the Civil War. It is easi | Jan 01, 1976 | 672 pages
  161. War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War | Dower, John W. | 4.04 | 1,119 | Pretty much the best comparative look at race and ideology in the Pacific War. It’s long and a bit academic, but there’s none better. | Apr 12, 1986 | 399 pages
  162. Byzantium: The Early Centuries | Norwich, John Julius | 4.3 | 1,109 | Don’t get the shortened version, it’ll seem too rushed. Norwich is a master storyteller with an eye for details, and livens up the thousand plus year | 1988 | 408 pages
  163. Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire | Herrin, Judith | 3.82 | 1,086 | A very well-written introduction to Byzantium that approached the topic thematically rather than chronologically. High recommended for newcomers to By | Sep 06, 2006 | 416 pages
  164. The Days of the French Revolution | Hibbert, Christopher | 3.76 | 1,049 | A good general history but not the best as it’s general semi-pop history. | 1980 | 352 pages
  165. The Horse, the Wheel and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World | Anthony, David W. | 3.95 | 1,038 | A slightly polemical book that uses a multi-discipline approach to trace the roots of Indo-European languages, and, in the author’s opinion, culture. | Nov 19, 2007 | 553 pages
  166. Homeward Bound: American Families In The Cold War Era | May, Elaine Tyler | 3.83 | 1,028 | A very interesting history of the post-war family, women’s roles, and the fifties-era cult of “domesticity.” A classic, and a very interesting read. | 1988 | 288 pages
  167. The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America | Demos, John Putnam | 3.68 | 1,028 | Highly readable account of a white girl kidnapped by Indians in New England and the heavy consequences for everyone. | Jan 01, 1994 | 316 pages
  168. The Boer War | Pakenham, Thomas | 4.15 | 1,016 | | Oct 03, 1979 | 784 pages
  169. The Historian’s Craft: Reflections on the Nature and Uses of History and the Techniques and Methods of Those Who Write It. | Bloch, Marc | 4 | 1,003 | He is definitely in league with historians such as E.H. Carr in defining the field. He focuses primarily on the general methods of inquiry, the questi | 1949 | 224 pages
  170. The Destruction of the European Jews | Hilberg, Raul | 4.29 | 1,002 | Basically the original work on the Holocaust by the father of Holocaust studies. Originally published in 1961, and revised in 1985, it is available in | 1961 | 360 pages
  171. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate | Ahmed, Leila | 4.06 | 980 | The foundation for scholarship on women in Islam, both in historiography terms and as a historical take. Ahmed starts her story in medieval Arabia, sh | 1992 | 296 pages
  172. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle | Payne, Charles M. | 4.26 | 963 | Payne’s work looks at the local, longer history of the civil rights movement. | May 10, 1995 | 552 pages
  173. Under Fire | Barbusse, Henri | 3.77 | 961 | A very dark and unhappy volume, most notable now for having been not only published but popular while the war was still going on, and seemingly antici | 1916 | 352 pages
  174. Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England | Thomas, Keith | 4.17 | 949 | One of the pioneering works on how anthropology can help our study of history focusing on superstition in the late medieval/early modern period, this | Jan 01, 1971 | 736 pages
  175. America’s Constitution: A Biography | Amar, Akhil Reed | 4.2 | 938 | Professor Amar is one of the United States’ most-cited and influential legal scholars. Here, he attempts to ground the Constitution, and the discussio | Sep 13, 2005 | 657 pages
  176. Hippie | Miles, Barry | 4.14 | 925 | An excellent, detailed history of the counter culture from 1965–71 in both England and the U.S, from Ken Kesey and the Magic Bus, to the music scenes, | Oct 09, 2003 | 384 pages
  177. A General History of the Pyrates | Defoe, Daniel | 3.71 | 911 | | Jan 18, 1724 | 733 pages
  178. Memoirs of an Infantry Officer | Sassoon, Siegfried | 4.11 | 904 | The second of Sassoon’s “George Sherston” novels (the first being Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man and the next being Sherston’s Progress), but the most d | 1930 | 336 pages
  179. The Fall of Rome And the End of Civilization | Ward-Perkins, Bryan | 3.89 | 902 | A work that has quickly become a standard, it uses archaeology to provocatively draw a harsh line between the Roman and post-Roman world. It also func | 2005 | 239 pages
  180. The Russian Revolution 1917–1932 | Fitzpatrick, Sheila | 3.61 | 894 | A shorter summary of the Revolution which is extremely readable. | Nov 24, 1982 | 208 pages
  181. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War | Foner, Eric | 4.08 | 892 | Classic study of the ideological origins of the Civil War. | 1971 | 400 pages
  182. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II | Weinberg, Gerhard L. | 4.25 | 886 | This look at the Second World War is the counter balance to John Keegan’s the Second World War. Weinberg looks at the war from a very political and ec | Jan 01, 1994 | 1208 pages
  183. Campaigns of Napoleon: The Mind and Method of History’s Greatest Soldier | Chandler, David G. | 4.45 | 881 | If there must be a Bible about the Napoleonic Wars, it is this. Well written, easy to read, and balanced around a difficult figure, Chandler gives a c | 1966 | 1172 pages
  184. Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900–1900 | Crosby, Alfred W. | 3.98 | 875 | An expanded/updated work by Crosby, which looks at other areas of the world as well | 1986 | 368 pages
  185. The Balkans: A Short History | Mazower, Mark | 3.66 | 859 | A Brief Summary of Balkan history to the present day, but nevertheless very insightful. A great starting point to see why people tend to have been wro | 2000 | 240 pages
  186. The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past | Gaddis, John Lewis | 3.71 | 838 | If you are interested in how History and Historians view the world around them and the world of the past this is for you. You’ll often hear references | 2002 | 192 pages
  187. The Middle Parts of Fortune | Manning, Frederic | 3.95 | 817 | This Anglo-Australian novel was published anonymously under this title in 1929, and in an expurgated version (under the title Her Privates We) a year | 1929 | 341 pages
  188. History: A Very Short Introduction | Arnold, John H. | 3.73 | 815 | It’s short. It’s less a true ‘historiography’ in that it doesn’t get into method or theory and is more a history of history. To quote a far more able | 2000 | 137 pages
  189. War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust | Bergen, Doris L. | 4.05 | 788 | A brief, yet comprehensive, and accessible overview of the Holocaust, tracing from the prewar Nazi ascent to power through the end of World War II. Wr | Oct 16, 2002 | 263 pages
  190. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt | Shaw, Ian | 4.04 | 788 | Fairly standard text on Ancient Egypt, with sections on each part of Egyptian history. A good jumping off point. | 2000 | 554 pages
  191. The Penguin History of New Zealand | King, Michael | 4.11 | 783 | By shifting the focus from the Pakeha experience of New Zealand to that of the Māori, and then emphasising relationships rather than conflict, King re | 2003 | 570 pages
  192. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919–1939 | Cohen, Lizabeth | 3.81 | 775 | Prize-winning study of the “New Deal Coalition” | Sep 28, 1990 | 544 pages
  193. The Thirty Years War: Europe’s Tragedy | Wilson, Peter H. | 3.87 | 768 | One of the most popular English-language accounts of one of Europe’s most destructive wars, an important factor in the Reformation, Counter-Reformatio | 2009 | 997 pages
  194. Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran | Axworthy, Michael | 3.84 | 757 | | May 06, 2008 | 333 pages
  195. Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974 | Patterson, James T. | 4.02 | 753 | | Apr 18, 1996 | 829 pages
  196. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815 | White, Richard | 4.05 | 752 | Excellent and interesting study of “native-newcomer” relations. | Sep 27, 1991 | 562 pages
  197. Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity | Pomeroy, Sarah B. | 3.95 | 742 | One of the first studies on women’s history of any place or period, this book was revolutionary when it was published, and is still seminal today. | 1975 | 304 pages
  198. The Maya | Coe, Michael D. | 3.87 | 722 | This is a comprehensive volume on every aspect of Mayan culture, from daily life to royal succession. Coe and Houston are some of the best archaeologi | 1966 | 272 pages
  199. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Volume I | Braudel, Fernand | 4.25 | 716 | Possibly the most important work of history of the 20th cen. I probably wouldn’t argue this, but my point is the case can and has been made. It’s a ma | 1966 | 642 pages
  200. Byzantium: The Apogee | Norwich, John Julius | 4.38 | 716 | | Jan 01, 1991 | 389 pages

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