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14 History Books That Will Change Your Life
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14 History Books That Will Change Your Life

Picture of Sophia White
Updated: 2 August 2016
From period dramas to museums and re-enactments, history is a popular commodity in our cultural consciousness. There is sometimes the misconception that history is dry, boring and even irrelevant, when in actual fact it often teaches us plenty about ourselves. Below are 14 history books that will change your life.

A People’s History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millennium | Chris Harman

Most people contributing to world history were not kings, queens, or social elites. Recommended by fellow ‘history from below’ historian Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the World gives a counter-history to the usual ‘battles and dates’ style that has long dominated popular history. The book examines the rise and fall of different societies across the world, dating back to pre-written history. Indispensable reading for those who want to know about world history, this is one for those with an interest in societal change.

Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town | Mary Beard

In Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town, Britain’s best known classicist Mary Beard uses ancient relics and archaeological evidence to rejuvenate the long-buried Roman town. The history of the city has long interested scholars and the public, but for obvious reasons has often eluded deep investigation. Covering everything from market stalls to government, the humdrum to the thrilling, Beard gives an immersive account of life in a lost city.

The Story of Art, E.H. Gombrich

The Story of Art is one of the most famous and best selling books on the history of art, and continues to be a bible within the art world some 50 years after its first publication. Gombrich‘s clear writing style and intelligent discussions on art coupled with the new edition’s redesign with 376 colour and 64 black and white illustrations makes this one of the most attractive art books available. It is sure to inspire and educate even those with just a passing interest in art history.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, William L. Shirer

Winner of a National Book Award and a bestseller in the US and Europe, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich tells the history of Nazi Germany like no other book before it. Shirer gained access to secret and previously unseen documents and diaries to comprehensively tell the story of Hitler’s regime from 1920 to 1945. Having provoked much scholarly and popular debate, the book continues to enlighten readers about one of the most provocative periods in world history.