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history booksHistory Generally

History, including biography, is to me more interesting and exciting than reading a novel. Provided it is well researched and written, of course.

This page is intended to list those books that have given me the greatest pleasure to read. It will take time for me to compile this list but as a start here are some great books about German History.

One book leads to another. Picking up Roy Jenkins' book about Gladstone in a bookshop I realised how little I know about that period in British politics. This led on to Douglas Hurd's book on Disraeli and Richard Aldous' unkind (but probably justifiable) biography on both entitled The Lion and the Unicorn. (If you thought bad behaviour in parliament was new this will cure you). Douglas Hurd's book led me on to his book about Robert Peel, prime minister at the time they entered parliament. I'll be listing my favourites in this area soon.

Another engrossing read on another topic is William Dalrymple's Return of a King, the Battle for Afghanistan Bloomsbury Publishing 2014. Couldn't put it down!

Some historical maps of London:

Roque London Map 1746
Horwood Map 1799
National Library of Scotland maps
Crutchley Map 1849
Stanfords London map 1862
Historic England searchable listed buildings
Stanfords London map 1872
6 inch OS maps London 1896
Railway Clearing House map 1899

 

Title
Author
Publisher Date
Iron Kingdom; The rise & downfall of Prussia 1600-1947 (Preußen, in Germany)
Christopher Clark
Penguin 2007
Unbeatable clear, balanced history which is becoming an authoritative classic; eminently readable
Dreadnought; Britain, Germany and the coming of the great war
Robert K Massie
Vintage 2007
Not just about the arms race leading up to WW1 but much personal detail of people of influence and their activities in both Britain and Germany
The Three Emperors: Three cousins, three empires and the road to World War One
Miranda Carter
Penguin 2010
A real hoot from start to finish; couldn't put it down
The coming of the Third Reich
Richard J Evans
Penguin 2004
The best book I know that tracks the events in Germany leading to Hitler's rise to power in 1933
Evening in the Palace of Reason, Bach meets Frederick the Great in the age of enlightenment James gaines Harper 2005
Portraits of Bach and Frederick in great detail
Bismark, A life Jonathan Steinberg Oxford 2011
A detailed study of Bismark. The depth of the detail means it isn't the easiest read but it is masterfully researched and written.
Bismarck The Man and the Statesman AJP Taylor Vintage 1967
Direct and accessible this old classic requires some prior knowledge on the subject
The Sleepwalkers, how Europe went to war in 1941 Christopher Clark Penguin 2014
opening with the assassination of the unpopular royal family of Serbia in 1903, shows how the responsibility for 1st WW is shared among many nations, not all obvious; little detail about Germany, which is available in his other books
Englanders and Huns: The culture clash which led to the First World War James Hawes Simon&Schuster 2015
Interesting to say the least. Some fascinating facts about the German navy and the effects of newspapers on public opinion
The Deluge The great war and the remaking of Global Order Adam Tooze Penguin History 2015
Perhaps a book more about the United States than Germany. A mammoth book well worth the effort if you can get past the introduction
The War that Ended Peace Margaret MacMillan Profile Books 2014
 
The Perfect Nazi Martin Davidson Penguin 2010
An insight into how a man developed into a Nazi from the time of the 1st World War
Towards The Flame Dominic Lieven Penguin 2015
Insights into the origins of the First World War from the Russian Perspective. The later part of the book is facinating
The German War A nation under Arms 1939-45 Nicholas Stargardt Vintage 2016
Following the 2nd World War from the writings of Germans at arms and at home. What they really thought - an eye-opener

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