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This topic contains 55 replies, has 29 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 3 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #15333

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    If you have any book recommendations, or are looking for a good history book, here's a good place to start your search!I'll start the conversation: An Imperial Possession by David Mattingly.A History of the English Speaking Peoples by Winston ChurchillBritannia by Shepard FrereRoman Britain by Peter SalwayRoman Britain by Guy De La BeoyereLater Roman Britain by Stephen Johnson

  • #16608

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    Here is my recommendation for the Roman Britain period!Roman Britain by T.W. Potter and Catherine Johnshttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1757099.Roman_Britain

  • #16609

    pamtoan
    Participant

    I think that my interest in history as a child was fired by reading historical fiction.  I well remember reading Rosemay Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth in the early 1960's.  Unfortunately history was very badly taught in those days and it was only reading historical novels that kept my interest alive.  I wonder if any others can trace their interest in history back to reading historical fiction in their formative years?

  • #16610

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    I think that is probably similar to many people.  I am only a little embarrased to say seeing movies like Braveheart and Gladiator when I was in school helped spark my interest.  I began to marvel at all the time that came before our modern era and wondered just how did those European countries get there in the first place? 

  • #16611

    Edgar Aurelius
    Participant

    I recently acquired a set of World Book encyclopedia’s from 1978. Now, I know what you're thinking……….but I've found it such an interesting tool for research. The progression of our knowledge of ancient civilizations and just general knowledge of the world and how far we've come in 30+ years is really amazing. As my Girlfriend likes to say, “Use books before they take them all away”. I Also have started The History of the English Speaking Peoples highly recommend.

  • #16612

    Zoie
    Participant

    When me and my little sister were younger, my father would tell us bedtime stories about Mt. Vesuvius (sp) erupting and covering Pompeii. (Morbid huh?) But anyway, he also read to us from this book of mythology from around the world. I would always wonder about these strange countries and places that I heard about at night, and when I got older, I was able to look into my favorites and consequentially got hooked on history. I still have the book too. It's called Classic Folk Tales from Around the World by Robert Nye if anyone's interested. It's a great read! ;D

  • #16613

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Your father is a man after my own heart.  :)

  • #16614

    Liam
    Participant

    i know its aimed at kids but its great if you want detailed background info very quickly: horrible histories  ;D and check out some of their clips on youtube. its just typical british humour

  • #16615

    anonymous
    Participant

    I know its a little early in the timeline of the podcast, but with the Anglo-Saxon period approaching, if you want to read ahead, Cambridge University's “Anglo-Saxon England Bibliography” is very handy.  Its very long, 280 pages, but has a ton of references.  I have a pdf, but I'm not sure if its legal to post it here.

  • #16616

    HayleeB
    Participant

    I have to admit that my passion for British history began with the first Elizabeth movie-I then devoured all fiction historical books related to the Tudors I could get my hands on. I have since moved onto non-fiction ones. My recent fave is A brief history of British kings & queens by Mike Ashley, its very brief and may not always be entirely accurate but it does help keep all the different royal families straight and also covers Scotland and Ireland and Wales royalty.One of my favourite fictional series is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon which covers the Jacobites, Culloden and also the American Revolution. Besides being a love story, its an incredibly detailed (and a little bit of the mystical) but is so detailed about the daily lives of the people and the notion of family/clans in Scotland pre & post Culloden-it has gotten me to widen my interest from my initial fascination with the Tudors!I have to say that my highschool history was so poor (it barely even covered Australian history and ancient history!), I've learnt so much more about the world just in my own readings and in my recent travels!

  • #16617

    Zoie
    Participant

    Another great fiction/ british author I know of is Connie Willis. She has this series about historians in the year 2060, who use time machines based in Oxford to research the past. There is one about the plague, the victorian era, and my absolute favorites, a 2 part about ww2 and the london blitz called Black out and All clear. they are absolutely amazing and combine a bit of sci fi, kick ass action, romance and most important of all, history!

  • #16618

    HayleeB
    Participant

    I'm just a massive book nerd so will prob post in here the most because I read quickly and I read a lot, so apologies!  ;DAt my work we have a company that drops of a selection of their discount books every month for staff to peruse and purchase (not a good idea for a book addict!). Amongst this months selections was The Horrible History of Britain and Ireland!! Suffice to say, less work than usual has been done in favour of perusing this very well written and entertaining book, even if it is aimed at kids! I just hope this series is being utilised fully by education departments around the world because who wouldnt be interested in history when its presented so brilliantly!! I am very tempted to get the whole catalogue now in preparation for my future kids education!!

  • #16619

    nakirchoff
    Participant

    I'm listening to Scotcast: Part Two and you've got to read the tongue-in-cheek book “Motel of the Mysteries” by David Macauley.  It's “an illustrated satirical study of modern civilization, presented from the viewpoint of archeologists in 4022 examining artifacts of twentieth-century American life.”  95 pages of hilarity!

  • #16620

    Eldgeth
    Participant

    I admit that most of my reading has covered the periods later than the current podcasts.My favorite to date, for a 'official history' has been The Kings and Queens of England, edited by Antonia Fraser.  I have it as an audio book and have listened to it over and over.  Yes, history does repeat itself.Recently, I have been reading "History of the English Church and People" by yes, the Venerable Bede.  It is not what I, as a modern, had expected from a 'history'.  Miracles, magic, etc.  But an interesting window into the world view of a man from the 700's.I am wondering has anyone else read Alison Weir's books?  In every book there is something that makes me say, "Huh?"  For example, in her book about Isabelle wife of Edward II, she says that Edward II was not murdered, but was taken away to the continent where he became a monastic recluse. And in later life his son Edward III travelled to Europe and they had a meeting.

  • #16621

    anonymous
    Participant

    Even though I file it in the same drawer with Wikipedia (probably not the most reliable source, but quite entertaining and a fantastic jumping-off point for further research on topics), I'm a big fan of Michael Farquhar's “A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors”.  He's got a few others, but this one has been my favorite.  I'm also headed to the bookstore today to hopefully pick up a couple of historical atlases.  I spotted some the last time I was there, and I'm almost certain that one of them was specific to Celtic history.  Clearly a sign, right? 

  • #16622

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    Anyone interested in the Scotcats should readBritain BC by Francis Pryor.  I know Jamie's got it listed on the BHP website, but no one has mentioned it in here I think.  Its an easy to read overview of the archaeological record of Britian and Ireland 'Before the Romans'.  He writes with passion but also with levity and toward the general reader, not the academic crowd, so its not a slog to get through.  There is also a BBC tie-in 2 part TV documentary from the BBC that you can find on You Tube (at least here in the US we can).  You can tell he has a long passion for his work but doesnt take it too seriously.  Give it a try!

  • #16623

    anonymous
    Participant

    I admit that most of my reading has covered the periods later than the current podcasts.My favorite to date, for a 'official history' has been The Kings and Queens of England, edited by Antonia Fraser.  I have it as an audio book and have listened to it over and over.  Yes, history does repeat itself.Recently, I have been reading "History of the English Church and People" by yes, the Venerable Bede.  It is not what I, as a modern, had expected from a 'history'.  Miracles, magic, etc.  But an interesting window into the world view of a man from the 700's.I am wondering has anyone else read Alison Weir's books?  In every book there is something that makes me say, "Huh?"  For example, in her book about Isabelle wife of Edward II, she says that Edward II was not murdered, but was taken away to the continent where he became a monastic recluse. And in later life his son Edward III travelled to Europe and they had a meeting.

    This is a theory that Ian Mortimer (of 'Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England" and multiple medieval England biographies) has written about as well.  And, it appears to be plausible.  See the following link on his website:http://www.ianmortimer.com/EdwardII/death.htmOr, the article in the English Historical Review he wrote:http://ehr.oxfordjournals.org/content/120/489/1175.abstract

  • #16624

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    [I've moved the discussion of Britain AD and the Anglo Saxons to “Did the Anglo Saxons invade Britain?”http://thebritishhistorypodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=81.0

  • #16625

    anonymous
    Participant

    How about: An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon England by Peter Hunter Blair and Simon Keynes. And since we're on a Scottish theme right now, the New Edinburgh History of Scotland series has two volumes from the related area:From Caledonia to Pictland: Scotland to 795 by James Earle FraserFrom Pictland to Alba: 789-1070 by Alex Woolf

  • #16626

    drewster81
    Participant

    I would highly recommend The Inheritance of Rome:  Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000 by Chris Wickham, an Oxford historian.  Though it obviously deals with all of the territories of the Roman Empire, he goes pretty full-on in his explanation of Anglo-Saxon political structures in the wake of the collapse.  He is trying to find continuity between Rome's collapse and the polities that sprung up in its wake.  He makes the claim that Roman influence only gradually seeped out and that by 1000 AD, Rome's influence had finally bled away.  He even goes into how Carolingian political structures influenced the Anglo-Saxons as well.  It's pretty dense stuff, but fascinating if you give it a go.

  • #16627

    anonymous
    Participant

    I would highly recommend The Inheritance of Rome:  Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000 by Chris Wickham, an Oxford historian.  Though it obviously deals with all of the territories of the Roman Empire, he goes pretty full-on in his explanation of Anglo-Saxon political structures in the wake of the collapse.  He is trying to find continuity between Rome's collapse and the polities that sprung up in its wake.  He makes the claim that Roman influence only gradually seeped out and that by 1000 AD, Rome's influence had finally bled away.  He even goes into how Carolingian political structures influenced the Anglo-Saxons as well.  It's pretty dense stuff, but fascinating if you give it a go.

    I second that recommendation.  Plus, I found it on the Kindle Store for under $9, a steal if you consider what you are getting.

  • #16628

    anonymous
    Participant

    WAY ahead of where we are in the podcast, but right now I'm reading “Into the Silence”, about Mallory's ill-fated attempt to climb Everest.  In order to put the climb in context, it covers a lot of WWI, empire, and related topics.  He also gives a feel for the society of the time.  I'm enjoying it immensely.

  • #16629

    Anomander
    Participant

    For a great, and very readable, introduction to the end of the Roman Republic I'd very much recommend Rubicon by Tom Holland. He has the knowledge and weaves a fantastic narrative. This is possibly my favourite narrative History book of all time. I guess this should really be about books relating to British History? ... There is some in there.'The Strange Death of Liberal England' by George Dangerfield is a fantastic curiosity if you can get it'The confident hope of a miracle' by Neil Hanson is a brilliant read about the spanish Armada.'Civil War' by Trevor Royle is a cracking account of the English Civil War.

  • #16630

    Anonymous

    I have a few books I use at primers since I'm relatively new at the subject:The Story of Britain by Rebecca Fraser. Spends little time of Roman (and Pre-Roman) Britain. The meat of it is really starts with the Anglo-Saxon period and on.The Oxford History of Britain, but each Chapter (era) is written by a different person and it really has little to no narrative structure or focus unlike the Fraser's book. I also own a small book called 1215: The Year of Magna Carta by Danny Danziger which interestingly paints a fairly vivid and informed portrait of life during the titular year. I find this just as interesting as the impassioned stories of kings and queens. I recommend it.I'm having trouble finding a copy of Churchill's History of the English-Speaking People. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

  • #16631

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    I've only seen them online or at Barnes & Nobles here in the States.  I think new copies here are only published by Barnes & Noble… anybody else know?  I've also got the 1215 book, I agree with you, its good. 

  • #16632

    JJ
    Participant

    Lots of great recommendations here.What I find really interesting is how the English language developed into the wonderful mess it is today. Bill Bryson's book The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way takes on this subject and is about the history of the English language. Actually, all of his books are great, interesting topics but written for non-experts. In his books he either tackles a subject he's unfamiliar with or is an account of his travels, I highly recommend them.The novel the Last English King by Julian Rathbone was a good read, it's about England in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings, I don't know how accurate it is but still enjoyable.

  • #16633

    anonymous
    Participant

    I'm having trouble finding a copy of Churchill's History of the English-Speaking People. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

    try an online used book store; you can usually find books in decent condition for a good price, my only caveat is that "free shipping" usually means via media mail which is notoriously slow. 

  • #16634

    Liam
    Participant

    Tom holland is a great historical author

  • #16635

    HayleeB
    Participant

    I have to mention the BBC history magazine. I have had a subscription for a few months but love it more with each month! It's informative, well laid out and interesting read whilst also covering a wide range of history in each edition!! I've also just realized you can get a kindle version! Highly recommended for all novices like myself whose highschool education was severely lacking!

  • #16636

    carleerun
    Participant

    Antonia Fraser's “The Weaker Vessel” about women's life during the 1600s (Civil War and Restoration) era.Topics include actresses/prostitutes/childbirth/women's work/marriage/. Her other books are very good too-including her biography on Oliver Cromwell.

  • #16637

    carleerun
    Participant

    I just finished “Death Comes to Pemberly” by PD James—other than Ruth Rendell, probably my favourite crime/mystery writer from the UK.Another good one is: At Home by Bill Bryson.

  • #16638

    anonymous
    Participant

    I have been enjoying perusing some of the book ideas you have been suggesting.  I also got into British history through the Tudors.  I began with historical fiction and with Henry VIII. I have read Alison Weir, Antonia Fraser and many others whose names escape me on a Friday late in the day.  I got into history after the events of 9/11 began to depress me.  Escaping into the past has been much more rewarding.  I am reading up on Elizabeth I as I write my graduation paper to become a psychoanalyst.  David Starkey is a good historian of Elizabeth.Another good source of history information is the Teaching Company lectures (www.Teach12.com).  If you like well taught history you can't go wrong with anything that Rufus Fears teaches.  He has a way of putting you in the scene of history.  He has lecture series on famous Greeks, famous Romans, Winston Churchill and others.  I highly recommend this source.Laura

  • #16639

    Anonymous

    So I found Churchill's history of the english-speaking peoples at the library…but the first volume was already checked out. Bummer! Because that's still where I'm kind of at in the chronology. But thanks for the heads up guys.Bought Britain BC too. Loving it so far. He has a enjoyable style of writing.

  • #16640

    anonymous
    Participant

    I found a cheap copy of the first volume of Churchill at Abe books, online.  With shipping inthinkmit is about $6.00.I just began listening to the Audible version (I m a big Audible fan) and am enjoying it, so far.Laura

  • #16641

    anonymous
    Participant

    I have a book to recommend; “The Penguin Illustrated History of Britain and Ireland” edited by Barry Cunliffe, Robert Bartlett, John Morrill, Asa Briggs and Joanna Bourke.  I found it at Amazon for about $20.  I like to see maps and pictures of the things I am learning about.Laura

  • #16642

    Diane
    Participant

    I just picked up Britain After Rome by Robin Fleming (2010). I've only read the introduction, but the book basically covers 400-1070 CE and relies (so far) on a lot of archaeological evidence. I'm thinking its going to be a great read!Diane

  • #16643

    anglogeek
    Participant

    The Secret History of MI6 by Keith Jeffery is fantastic. If anyone is a fan of MI5 and sad of it's ending, this is a great book to give you insight on the beginnings of it's sister agency. If anyone is interested here's my take on it for a book review I did not to long ago, cheers!http://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/british-history/brit-book-reviews-the-secret-history-of-mi6/

  • #16644

    anonymous
    Participant

    I have some audible.com things to recommend.  There are some wonderful lectures on the celts, Anglo Saxons and history of the English language.  If you are an Audible subscriber you can get a 14 lecture series, plus free downloadable course guide for one credit.  It is a good deal.  I have already listened to the Celtic lecture series and have begun the Anglo Saxon series.  The instructors are engaging and the course books have good suggestions for further reading.

  • #16645

    anonymous
    Participant

    For the Georgian period I recommend “The Courtiers” by Lucy Worlsey.  Interesting read about court life and also specifically about Kensington Place. I also recommend, "The Weaker Vessel. Woman's Lot in 17th century England" by Antonia Fraser. And i am just starting "The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England. A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century" by Ian Mortimer. So far, so good!

  • #16646

    Roman I
    Participant

    Hey guys what do you think about the book “This Sceptred Isle by Christopher Lee?I am enjoying it now...

  • #16647

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Ok, I've added Motel of Mysteries to my free time list.  That sounds like a lot of fun.  :)

  • #16648

    anonymous
    Participant

    I've just finished reading A Child's History Of England by Charles Dickens.The book is,to put it frankly,brilliant-as all books by Charles Dickens are-and if your an adult don't be put off by the title, this is definitely a book for both adults and children alike. Another bonus is that if you have a kindle you can get this book for free on amazon (see link below).  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Childs-History-England-ebook/dp/B004UJ96FC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345824280&sr=1-1  

  • #16649

    Jamie
    Keymaster
  • #16650

    Dammy
    Participant

    I noticed no one mentioned two books by Norman Davies.  The first is The Isles and the second is Vanished Kingdoms.  The first book covers basically what our Humble Narrator is covering, a good read.  The second has one chapter on the kingdom of Dunbarton in Strathclyde. 

  • #16651

    i know its aimed at kids but its great if you want detailed background info very quickly: horrible histories  ;D and check out some of their clips on youtube. its just typical british humour

    I have an 8-yr-old nephew and I bought him "Groovy Greeks" and "Rotten Romans" for his birthday. He loved them so much he asked for more for Christmas. Definitely a great way to get kids interested in different areas of history. And my sister enjoyed reading them with him, even though she had a lot of the more general background.

  • #16652

    Lots of great recommendations here.What I find really interesting is how the English language developed into the wonderful mess it is today. Bill Bryson's book The Mother Tongue - English And How It Got That Way takes on this subject and is about the history of the English language. Actually, all of his books are great, interesting topics but written for non-experts. In his books he either tackles a subject he's unfamiliar with or is an account of his travels, I highly recommend them.The novel the Last English King by Julian Rathbone was a good read, it's about England in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings, I don't know how accurate it is but still enjoyable.

    Love Bill Bryson. I read "At Home" earlier this year. He tells social history through the lens of the various usage rooms in his old rectory would have had through the ages, things they would have had in them, etc. Very interesting.

  • #16653

    Not strictly speaking British History, but check out 100 Objects that Changed the World. It's written by the curator of The British Museum with insights from various colleagues in specialized fields. It is organized chronologically, starting with Stone Age artifacts and progressing through to the modern age. There are chapters of on average 5 pages devoted to each object with pictures and analysis of the significance of the object, what it means about the world it was created in, etc.

  • #16654

    Blaze2242
    Participant

    I don't think it's been mentioned yet, but 'Life in a Medieval Village' by Frances Gies and 'In the Wake of the Plauge: The Black Death and the World it Made' by Norman Cantor are great books about the 14th Century.

  • #16655

    anonymous
    Participant

    I really love the works of Edward Rutherford. He wrote an amazing journey of London, as well as a book about the Salisbury plain, and one on the King's forest. All worth a read.

  • #16656

    TaylorsSC
    Participant

    From 1st Empire / American colonial history:Crucible of War - regarding the Seven Year's War - http://www.amazon.com/Crucible-War-British-America-1754-1766/dp/0375706364/ref=cm_lmf_tit_10Big Chief Elizabeth The Adventures and Fate of the First English Colonists in America http://www.amazon.com/Big-Chief-Elizabeth-Adventures-Colonists/dp/0312420188/ref=cm_lmf_tit_13Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750 - extensive study of early conflict between British Colonies in America and French Canadahttp://www.amazon.com/Big-Chief-Elizabeth-Adventures-Colonists/dp/0312420188/ref=cm_lmf_tit_13

  • #16657

    anonymous
    Participant

    Would highly recommend Tower: An Epic History of the Tower of London.  Great book that gives an overview of some pretty interesting tales of British monarchy. 

  • #16658

    anonymous
    Participant

    Barry Cunliffe's Britain Begins (http://amzn.com/0199609330) just came out this year. It goes from myths to prehistory up to 1100 C.E. It's excellent, from what I've gleaned so far.

  • #16659

    TaylorsSC
    Participant

    Not strictly speaking British History, but check out 100 Objects that Changed the World. It's written by the curator of The British Museum with insights from various colleagues in specialized fields. It is organized chronologically, starting with Stone Age artifacts and progressing through to the modern age. There are chapters of on average 5 pages devoted to each object with pictures and analysis of the significance of the object, what it means about the world it was created in, etc.

    I listened to the 100 Objects that changed the world podcast. Great series, and well worth it. Even got to visit some of the objects in the BM last year.

  • #16660

    Alswitha
    Participant

    Barry Cunliffe's Britain Begins (http://amzn.com/0199609330) just came out this year. It goes from myths to prehistory up to 1100 C.E. It's excellent, from what I've gleaned so far.

    Thanks to Jamie for inspiring me to take an interest in early British history and prehistory, and read this. It is excellent, readable and scholarly, but, although the bibliography is full and thorough (as a librarian I always look at that first), there are no footnotes, which means his assertions aren't always sourced, and, more annoyingly, you can't check the sources of some of his anecdotes and read further - eg the Viking who thought he had reached Rome when he hadn't, but sacked the place anyway. Much more seriously, he confuses mitigate and militate. (page 67 of the hardback). How could you, Sir Barry? English is part of our heritage just as much as archaeology. You wouldn't confuse a male and female skeleton. Why confuse two words? And as an archaeologist you must have some Latin.

  • #16661

    Alswitha
    Participant

    “1066 and All That” by W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman. Not sure whether it's still in print, but it should be available through your local library. Very funny and the antidote to school text books. It has naughtily sneaked in here, as it is not a Learned Book at all.

  • #16662

    anonymous
    Participant

    Thanks to Jamie for inspiring me to take an interest in early British history and prehistory, and read this. It is excellent, readable and scholarly, but, although the bibliography is full and thorough (as a librarian I always look at that first), there are no footnotes, which means his assertions aren't always sourced, and, more annoyingly, you can't check the sources of some of his anecdotes and read further - eg the Viking who thought he had reached Rome when he hadn't, but sacked the place anyway. Much more seriously, he confuses mitigate and militate. (page 67 of the hardback). How could you, Sir Barry? English is part of our heritage just as much as archaeology. You wouldn't confuse a male and female skeleton. Why confuse two words? And as an archaeologist you must have some Latin.

    Oh no! Well, the "mitigate"/"militate" thing might be an editing issue. What an author submits to a publisher is NEVER perfect.I'm sure Cunliffe has other works (maybe articles rather than full-length books?) that might be more completely referenced and that are geared to a more scholarly community.

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