By Ron Chernow
I recently visited Mount Vernon, George Washington's prized estate and residence in Northern Virginia. It was beautiful, elegant in its simplicity and cunning in its attempts to appear richer than it really was. The mansion still stands exactly as George... Read Review!
I am always thrilled to read anything about Henry VIII and his wives, one of my earliest historical interests! I read The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII in just a few short hours, and I found myself unexpectedly charmed by it. This "short romp"... Read Review!
By Joan Cashin
It always makes me sad to read a biography of a person who seems to have experienced far more misery and heartbreak in their lives than they did joy and love. I really hope I'm wrong in this case, that Varina Davis actually felt inner peace and happiness, but after... Read Review!
Lately I have been caught in the grip of another wave of Civil War obsession, and I desperately wanted to know about the adjustment of Civil War soldiers back to normal life after the war was over and their struggles with PTSD and reintegration into... Read Review!
Everybody knows about the Norman conquest of England in 1066, of the Battle of Hastings and King Harold getting shot in the eye with an arrow (though this is now being hotly debated). The name William the Conqueror is known to school children and... Read Review!
The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern WorldReviewed December 26, 2017
My journey through this book, not unlike the prehistoric Eurasian steppe cultures' journey south to the Mesopotamian world, was long, fascinating, and sometimes... Read Review!
I love Henry VIII, even though he had two of his wives' heads cut off and horribly mistreated his waistline. I am fascinated by Richard III, even though he likely murdered his two young nephews in order to seize the crown of England. For goodness' sake... Read Review!
A Royal Experiment: Love and Duty, Madness and Betrayal--the Private Lives of King George III and Queen CharlotteReviewed July 22, 2017
I honestly cannot make up my mind which historical families and dynasties were the most dysfunctional and the most worthy of a prime spot on a Jerry Springer episode... Read Review!
In 1649 something completely unprecedented happened in England: The King was murdered. Not just murdered in a dark castle chamber by members of his own family who wanted him out of the way. That actually happened quite a lot. What made... Read Review!
By Nigel Jones
If buildings could speak, we would probably all be long dead before the Tower of London finished telling the story of its life. Spanning over a millennium, the White Tower was the first true castle built in England, first in wood and subsequently in stone. The host... Read Review!
By Flora Fraser
When thinking of 18th century Georgian princesses, what comes to mind is beauty, opulence, voluminous satin gowns, airy palaces filled with elegant courtiers, and frivolity. Also powdered wigs and, for some reason, syphilis. But that was not at all the... Read Review!
By Stacy Schiff
Reading this book had special significance for me, because Cleopatra and Egypt were my first real historical obsessions. It all started on that day of days, when The Mummy remake came out in 1999. I was captivated, enthralled, absolutely in love with Ancient... Read Review!
Imagine yourself walking down a dimly-lit street in twilight, on your way to an auditorium to make a speech. You're minding your own business when, suddenly, a madman runs up and shoots you in the chest from mere feet away! You clutch the wound, seeing... Read Review!
By Stacy Schiff
We have all heard of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, when fourteen women and five men (as well as two dogs) were executed for witchcraft. But how many of us can say that we have been there, squinting in the smoky dark meeting house where the trials.... Read Review!
Strangely enough, I have found that the older I get (and the closer to death I suppose), the more fascinated I become with bodies, bones, and pathology. I am obsessed with skeletons and I harbor a secret dream of discovering a dead body (thank you Forensic... Read Review!
This book is 233 pages long. If you were to remove everything unrelated to the ivory Vikings or the woman who made them, I doubt whether this book would even be ten or twenty pages long. Don't get me wrong, that ten to twenty pages would be... Read Review!
I'll be honest, this book was incredibly disappointing and really hard for me to get through. The whole reading experience was something like wax fruit: It looks shiny, juicy and delicious, and your mouth waters anticipating the sweet, tangy taste...but you bite... Read Review!
I sincerely hope that Bruce Robinson has invested in a world class home security system. I would also highly recommend that he take out a generous life insurance policy, because after reading his incendiary book, They All Love Jack, I genuinely fear for his life... Read Review!
An Uncommon Woman: The Empress Frederick, Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Crown Prince of Prussia, Mother of Kaiser WilhelmReviewed August 30, 2016
What an unutterably tragic figure, what a horribly sad life. Reading about Vicky, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, in An Uncommon Woman has left me with an imprint on my heart and soul and a dark desire to strangle Kaiser Wilhelm II until I see the life... Read Review!
If I saw a unicorn with a diamond mane carrying Adrian Paul and a young, handsome Henry VIII, I still would not be as shocked and delighted as I was to read this book about Theodore Roosevelt. I knew little to nothing about him, despite his being... Read Review!
It's been quite a while since I read a book that plunged me into the depths of desperate obsession; of hours of internet research and buying obscure documentaries on the subject; of having no wish in the world except to know every tiny detail of the subject... Read Review!
By John C.G. Röhl, Martin Warren & David Hunt
In this book the famous madness of King George III is explained with the theory of a rare metabolic disease that taints the entire royal English bloodline. Before I bought this book I read some of the Amazon reviews, which mostly said that it was very clinical and... Read Review!
I have tried for years to like Queen Victoria. Unfortunately, my extreme annoyance and contempt for her usually gets in the way of this. I devoured A Magnificent Obsession in two days, and though it did not give me any new respect for Victoria it did make... Read Review!
In the Ruins may be the most disturbing and depressing book I have ever read. It was never for one moment easy to read, and often I could only read a few pages at a time before touching it again for a week because it was so emotionally difficult... Read Review!
By Neil Oliver
It was with affection and excited expectation that I began Neil Oliver's The Vikings, after being utterly charmed by his previous work, A History of Ancient Britain. I was looking forward to Oliver's personality shining through the history, his sometimes funny and... Read Review!
I sat down to read The Vikings after watching the first season of the History Channel's Vikings, having been on a bit of a Viking Age kick lately, and I found it really informative and possibly worthy of a lawsuit. I can't even put into words the number of... Read Review!
Europe Between the Oceans is a wonderfully comprehensive overview of the history of humans in Europe from the time of the early settlers to the medieval period, told through the lens of geography and how it has affected the continent and its people... Read Review!
The time I spent reading this book was agonizing, but only because it was undoubtedly one of the best history books I have ever read. I started reading it the night before my first day at a new job, so for the next weeks I wasn't able to bury myself in it with... Read Review!
I normally read relatively modern history books, since they contain the most up-to-date information and latest discoveries and theories, and I never really expected to have my mind blown by a book written almost 40 years ago. But as I'm writing this... Read Review!
By Ian Mortimer
In the whole of English history, there has only been one man who dared to rebel against the king, seduce the queen, and then depose and murder that same king and rule as regent. That man was Roger Mortimer, and he was kind of a badass... Read Review!
By Dan Jones
The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic struggles set against a backdrop of extreme political upheaval and perpetrated by pretty much every character in William Shakespeare's historical plays... Read Review!
By Brian Fagan
'I picked up the dark-covered book with the bent corner and opened it carefully. Cream colored pages filled my eyes, their subtle grain visible against the solid blackness of the typed text. "Cro-Magnon", it read... Read Review!
I was so excited to read Before the Dawn, with its promises of groundbreaking scientific and genetic discoveries that could unlock some of the secrets of human evolution and our distant past. However, as I started reading, it was not quite excitement I felt... Read Review!
By Ian Mortimer
Henry IV has traditionally been one of the least well-known of England's kings, despite the fact that he had one of the most interesting lives and reigns. Ian Mortimer set out to fix this disconnect and bring Henry IV into the bright light of historical fame... Read Review!
By Allan Massie
Scottish patriotism? Absolutely. A preference for Scottish historical figures over English ones? Understandable. A slight bias against the English for their treatment of the Scottish people and nation? Sure. But what Allan Massie has created... Read Review!
People frequently ask me if archaeology is really like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and inquire as to the number of Nazis I have killed. Normally I roll my eyes and inwardly grimace, while maintaining a frosty politeness...Read Review!
By Simon Winder
Prepare to fall in love with Habsburg Europe, various late medieval emperors, and basically anything else that Simon Winder talks about! His personal style and sense of humor are so unique and so refreshing that... Read Review!
After finishing Anne Somerset's biography of Queen Anne, I can't think of any historical figure I have more pity for. In fact, I can't think of anyone living that I have more pity for. Somerset presents a definitive life... Read Review!
This book sorely needed an introduction. It begins abruptly with a mini-biography of Edward, first as Prince of Wales and later as King of England and then as Duke of Windsor. It gave a good overview of his character (although without delving... Read Review!
By Anne Sebba
Most people have heard of the English king who abdicated in the 1930's to marry a commoner, and of the storybook romance that led him to choose the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson over the throne of England. Much more obscure are... Read Review!
The Last Days of the Romanovs documents the final two weeks of the famous imperial family in Russia before their murder in 1918. Rappaport's obvious expertise in, and passion for, Russian history makes her a wonderful guide... Read Review!
Helen Rappaport's The Romanov Sisters left me with such heavy emotions that it is difficult to write objectively about it. But I know that I have nothing but praise and admiration for her amazing writing style and the tragic but beautiful story she has to tell... Read Review!
By Neil Oliver
As I started reading Neil Oliver's A History of Ancient Britain I was very skeptical, due both to the nature of Oliver's credentials and to the oddly sensual photograph of him on the back of the book. So I was very surprised... Read Review!