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Recommend me some good history books!

(15 Posts)
LazyLinePainterJane Tue 18-Sep-07 12:21:17

Am woefully inadequate on the subject of history (yes, all of it) and am after some books for the bookshelf to educate myself.

Obviously, it's a large subject, I am particularly interested in European history and Elizabeth I.

Help! Don't want to buy any duffers. grin

ledodgy Tue 18-Sep-07 12:30:07

Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution:Europe 1789-1848 Is a good overview for this period but remember he is a marxist so the book is obviously slanted towards this view.

RosaLuxembourg Tue 18-Sep-07 12:31:53

Do you want text-book or academic type books or readable popular books?
If the latter then Alison Weir is quite good for the Tudors especially. Her books are not the most academically rigorous but they do explain stuff in an enjoyable way. Her Eleanor of Aquitaine is good and she has covered the War of the Roses too and lots of Tudor stuff.
I also like Antonia Fraser - she has done biographies of Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell, Charles II and a great history of 17th century women called The Weaker Vessel. For an overview Simon Schama's History of Britain is good and for the nineteenth century I personally like Eric Hobsbawm's 'Age of' series - four books that stretch from 1789 up to 1990.
Depends if you want to be methodical about it or just pick and choose.

Turquoise Tue 18-Sep-07 12:54:28

Don't know if they're out of print now as my copies are ancient - but 'England under the Tudors' by G R Elton, and 'A Crown for Elizabeth' by Mary M Duke are excellent.

Coincidentally I've just finished that Alison Weir Eleanor of Aquitaine - loved it.

LazyLinePainterJane Tue 18-Sep-07 13:14:29

Thanks a lot.

RL, I would be happy with some of both. Am thinking of the future as well though, I loved flicking through books like this when I was younger, we had a lot of the more encyclopaedic volumes.

Was thinking about Schama.

Any more? Am creating the wishlist to end all....grin

tyaca Tue 18-Sep-07 14:00:24

how highbrow of you!

highly recommend mark mazower's dark continent. it's mod european, but goes up to 20th c. v readable

smeeinit Tue 18-Sep-07 14:05:50

the bible? grin wink

Marina Tue 18-Sep-07 14:06:20

Liza Picard's Elizabethan London is good for dipping, it's an A-Z

Orlando Figes writes well on Russian history

Ian Ousby on modern French history

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie's translated masterpiece "Montaillou - the story of a Cathar Village" is unforgettably brilliant and moving

James Shapiro: 1599 is an engrossing snapshot of life in that year in London, seen from Shakespeare's perspective

Antony Beevor's book on Stalingrad was offputtingly think but extremely good and worth sticking with

Piers Brendon wrote a fab book about the Spanish Civil War and I cannot remember what it is called, something to do with a Valley


TheArmadillo Tue 18-Sep-07 14:12:25

For a completely different point of view (in regards to early-modern European history)

Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500-1800, Wiedenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1977 - quite old now and often debated/disagreed with, but easy to read and great introduction to topic imo (don't let the size put you off).

Lyndal Roper, Oedipus and the Devil, Witchcraft, Sexuality and Religion in Early Modern Europe, Routledge, London, 1994. - my fav history book of all time. Very good, but not always the easiest reading (feminist/gender/psychoanalytical), it's definately worth reading.

Merry E. Wiesner (sometimes goes under Wiesner-Hanks), Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe, 2nd Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2000 - easier to read than Roper, but also very good on subject.

GR Elton is always good.

TheArmadillo Tue 18-Sep-07 14:13:08

Roy Strong, The Cult of Elizabeth: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry, London 1999 (first published 1977) - supposed to be very good, but never managed to get hold of it myself.

Linda Colley, Britons. Forging the Nation 1707-1837, New Haven/London 1992 - again debated, but good, easy to read book about British history and identity.

Frank Tallett, War and Society in Early Modern Europe, 1495-1715, Routledge, London, 1992 - a lot more interesting than it sounds.

Habbibu Tue 18-Sep-07 15:07:47

For medieval Europe, a good book to dip into: The Atlas of Medieval Europe, edited by David Ditchburn, Simon MacLean, Angus Mackay.

LazyLinePainterJane Tue 18-Sep-07 15:53:59

Wow! Thanks.

Armadillo, those sound great, shall search them out.

Lol smee grin

now just need million pounds.

sleepfinder Tue 18-Sep-07 19:12:59

The Russian Revolution, 1917-32 (Opus Books) (Paperback)
by Sheila Fitzpatrick
published 1984
still available on Amazon

janeitebus Tue 18-Sep-07 19:25:59

"Elizabeth And Mary" - Jane Dunn (I think)- once you've established who all the Marys are (and there are several!) it's a really good read; very knowledgeable but also very accesible.

LazyLinePainterJane Wed 19-Sep-07 07:30:12

Well, thank you all, have selected far too many and added them to the wish list, now just have to set about buying them. smile You really are a wealth of knowledge. Whatever did I do before MN?

And, janeitebus, it is Jane Dunn, thank you.

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