Best products from r/history

We found 146 comments on r/history discussing the most recommended products. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 3,195 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

TLDR: the best products according to r/history

Top comments mentioning products on r/history:

u/omaca · 6 pointsr/history

I'm going to be lazy and simply repost a post of mine from a year ago. :)

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes is a well deserved winner of the Pulitzer Prize. A combination of history, science and biography and so very well written.

A few of my favourite biographies include the magisterial, and also Pulitzer Prize winning, Peter the Great by Robert Massie. He also wrote the wonderful Dreadnaught on the naval arms race between Britain and Germany just prior to WWI (a lot more interesting than it sounds!). Christopher Hibbert was one of the UK's much loved historians and biographers and amongst his many works his biography Queen Victoria - A Personal History is one of his best. Finally, perhaps my favourite biography of all is Everitt's Cicero - The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician. This man was at the centre of the Fall of the Roman Republic; and indeed fell along with it.

Speaking of which, Rubicon - The Last Years of the Roman Republic is a recent and deserved best-seller on this fascinating period. Holland writes well and gives a great overview of the events, men (and women!) and unavoidable wars that accompanied the fall of the Republic, or the rise of the Empire (depending upon your perspective). :) Holland's Persian Fire on the Greco-Persian Wars (think Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes! Think of the Movie 300, if you must) is equally gripping.

Perhaps my favourite history book, or series, of all is Shelby Foote's magisterial trilogy on the American Civil War The Civil War - A Narrative. Quite simply one of the best books I've ever read.

If, like me, you're interested in teh history of Africa, start at the very beginning with The Wisdom of the Bones by Alan Walker and Pat Shipman (both famous paleoanthropologists). Whilst not the very latest in recent studies (nothing on Homo floresiensis for example), it is still perhaps the best introduction to human evolution available. Certainly the best I've come across. Then check out Africa - Biography of a Continent. Finish with the two masterpieces The Scramble for Africa on how European colonialism planted the seeds of the "dark continents" woes ever since, and The Washing of the Spears, a gripping history of the Anglo-Zulu wars of the 1870's. If you ever saw the movie Rorke's Drift or Zulu!, you will love this book.

Hopkirk's The Great Game - The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia teaches us that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I should imagine that's enough to keep you going for the moment. I have plenty more suggestions if you want. :)

u/kixiron · 3 pointsr/history

I had a post regarding my recommended books on the rise of Islam. I'll post it here again for your benefit:

> Here's the best ones: Efraim Karsh's Islamic Imperialism: A History and Robert Hoyland's In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire

> Edit: I have read the two books aforementioned, but I'd also recommend this book, which I haven't read: Hugh Kennedy's The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In. All these books fit your criteria. I also have Tom Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire, but I think this is the least recommendable because of the controversy swirling around it and the documentary it spawned. But it is interesting nevertheless.

I hope this will help!

EDIT: I'll add more recommendations, in regards to the Golden Age of Islam:

u/Independent · 2 pointsr/history

I really like history books that don't at first seem to be history books, but are explorations of societies sometimes seen through the lens of a single important concept or product. For instance, Mark Kurlansky has several books such as Salt; A World History, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, The Basque History of the World, Nonviolence: 25 Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea that teach more history, and more important history than is usually taught in US public schools.

History need not be rote memorization of dates and figures. It can, and should be a fun exploration of ideas and how those ideas shaped civilizations. It can also be an exploration of what did not make it into the history books as Bart Ehrman's Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament or his Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why and Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels attest.

I don't wish to come across as too glib about this, but I feel like the average person might well retain more useful knowledge reading a book like A History of the World in 6 Glasses than if they sat through a semester of freshman history as taught by most boring, lame generic high schools. I feel like often the best way to understand history is to come at it tangentially. Want to understand the US Constitution? Study the Iroquois confederacy. Want to understand the French? Study cuisine and wine. Want to understand China? Study international trade. And so it goes. Sometimes the best history lessons come about from just following another interest such as astronomy or math or cooking. Follow the path until curiosity is sated. Knowledge will accumulate that way. ;-)

u/Valfias · 1 pointr/history

I've been asking myself that question recently, and after surfing around I've come to three answers that have helped me:

1.) Keep surfing around. Some of the history subreddits are great places for general information, trivia, and links to cool facts, while /r/AskHistory and /r/AskHistorians are great getting answers to specific questions you have.

2.) Read a general world history. While a lot of these seems to be a bit Eurocentric and can't, by nature, go into great depth about any particular place or period, it seems to me that this is a good place to start if you aren't sure what interests you most. This reddit's book list mentions The History of the World by J. M. Roberts as a good world history book, and I've personally enjoyed The History of the Ancient World by Susan Bauer (and the other books of that series). Wikipedia is pretty great, too.

3.) Like another comment said, try to narrow your topic. It's easy to delve into history when you've picked something you find really interesting.

u/Bentresh · 6 pointsr/history

I added some Achaemenid works to the r/askhistorians reading list a while back:

u/Wylkus · 1 pointr/history

I feel the best way to go about this is to gain a general sense of the outline of history, which isn't nearly so difficult as it may seem as first once you realize that the "history" that mainly gets talked about is only about 3000 years. Learn some sign posts for that span, and then from there you can fit anything new you learn into the general outline you've gained. A couple good books for gaining those signposts are:

A History of the World in 6 Glasses. A phenomenal starting book. Gives very, very broad strokes on the entirety of human development, from pre-history when we first made beer inside hollowed tree trunks (it predates pottery), all the way to the dawn of the global economy with the perpetual success of Coca-Cola.

Roots of the Western Tradition An incredibly short (265 pages!) overview of Ancient Mesopotamia up to the decline of the Roman Empire written in very accessible language. Phenomenal text.

The Story of Philosophy. A bit more dense than the other's, but a tour de force breakdown of the history of Western thought.

Obviously the above is very Western centric, I wish I could recommend similar books that cover Asian history, but sadly I can't think of any (though hopefully others will point some out in the comments). Still though, once you gain the signposts I talked about, learning Asian history will still be easier as you can slot things into the apporpriate time period. Like "Oh, the first Chinese Empire (Qin Dynasty) rose up in the same era as Rome was rising as a power and fighting it's wars against Carthage". Or, "Oh, the Mongols took power in Asia just about right after the Crusades."

As a little bonus, they may not be accurate but historical movies can still help pin down those first signposts of your history outline. Here's a little list.

u/Sixteenbit · 14 pointsr/history

This is something that takes a lot of practice, and many schools don't or can't teach it. Fear not, it's easier than it sounds.

First, some background:

This will introduce you to most of the historical method used today. It's quite boring, but if you're going to study history, you'll need to get used to reading some pretty dry material.

For a styleguide, use Diana Hacker's:

It will teach you everything you need to know about citations.

As far as getting better at source analysis, that's something that comes with time in class and practice with primary and secondary source documents. If you're just going into college, it's something you're going to learn naturally.

However, I do have some tips.
-The main goal of a piece of historiography is to bring you to a thesis and then clearly support that argument. All REAL historiography asks a historical question of some sort. I.E. not when and where, but a more contextual why and how.

-Real historiography is produced 99.9% of the time by a university press, NOT A PRIVATE FIRM. If a celebrity wrote it, it's probably not history.

-Most, if not all real historiography is going to spell out the thesis for you almost immediately.

-A lot of historiography is quite formulaic in terms of its layout and how it's put together on paper:

A. Introduction -- thesis statement and main argument followed by a brief review of past historiography on the subject.

B Section 1 of the argument with an a,b, and c point to make in support.

C just like B

D just like B again, but reinforces A a little more

E Conclusion, ties all sections together and fully reinforces A.

Not all works are like this, but almost every piece you will write in college is or should be.

Some history books that do real history (by proper historians) and are easy to find arguments in, just off the top of my head:

For the primer on social histories, read Howard Zinn:

What you're going to come across MORE often than books is a series of articles that make different (sometimes conflicting) points about a historical issue: (I can't really link the ones I have because of copyright [they won't load without a password], but check out google scholar until you have access to a university library)

Virtually any subject can be researched, you just have to look in the right place and keep an open mind about your thesis. Just because you've found a source that blows away your thesis doesn't mean it's invalid. If you find a wealth of that kind of stuff, you might want to rethink your position, though.

This isn't comprehensive, but I hope it helps. Get into a methods class AS FAST AS POSSIBLE and your degree program will go much, much smoother for you.

u/ovnem · 2 pointsr/history

If you like Monty Python you should like Terry Jones' books. Post-Python he became a medieval historian and written Medieval Lives, Barbarians, and The Crusades. I just read Barbarians (about those who the Romans called barbarians) recently and loved it.

Rubicon by Tom Holland is an excellent account of the fall of the Roman Republic.

I'm currently reading Warriors of God by James Reston about the 3rd Crusade. Its very entertaining but lacks footnotes so I doubt its accuracy. Still for a casual understanding of the 3rd crusade I recommend it.

If you're interested in military history check out Osprey Publishing. These books are very specific but also only 90 pages or with great illustrations.

Finally, if you're looking for historical fiction check out Bernard Cornwell whose written tons of historical novels. He's best known for the Richard Sharpe series about the Napoleonic wars but has also written on Anglo-Saxon England, the American revolution, and elsewhere.

u/blackcatkarma · 3 pointsr/history

Sapiens is a general history book about humanity, not so much traditional countries' history. It explores things like how did agriculture and warfare start, why is homo sapiens the only surviving human species etc.

For fun reading about history, I recommend anything written by Robert K. Massie. This is not general history; he wrote mostly about Tsarist Russia, but Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War is a good starter for pre-WW1 European history.
I say "a good starter" because Massie's approach is very biographical - he mostly tells the story through the lives and actions of the decision makers, with less "modern" emphasis on economic factors etc. But he's a really good writer and it's the kind of history book you can read on a beach.

u/MisterE_MD · 1 pointr/history

After I graduated high school/college, one of the first books I picked up for myself was A Short History of the World by H G Wells. It's ~300 pages and, I'm sure, is not a perfect account of world history... but, Wells takes the universe back to its origins to his present day (post WWI).

If you just want an explanation as to how civilizations formed and why some seem more successful than others, I loved Guns, Germs, & Steel. My world history teacher used it as a template for our course, and I read it after. Excellent book.

u/oievp0WCP · 22 pointsr/history

What are the best books on Hannibal (particularly ones that may have been overlooked)?

Personally I like Lazenby's Hannibal's War (for the academically inclined) and Dodge's Hannibal (for a general audience).


For those interested in learning more about Hannibal, here are my top picks from books actually on my book shelf:

  1. Hannibal's War by J. F. Lazenby (little dry, but well documented history)
  2. The First Punic War: A Military History by J. F. Lazenby (can't really understand Hannibal without the prelude)
  3. The Punic Wars by Adrian Goldsworthy (dude knows more about the Roman Army than anyone)
  4. Hannibal by Theodore Ayrault Dodge (Dodge was a Union officer in the Civil War and wrote some great books on Hannibal, Caesar, Alexander, etc. ... probably the best companion to primary source material on a first read through -- and it's out of copyright so you can find free copies online)
  5. Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon by B. H. Liddell Hart (was Scipio the real, and somewhat overlooked, genius of the Second Punic War?)

    And recommendations and from /u/gevemacd :

  6. Hannibal A Hellenistic Life by Eve MacDonald (/u/gevemacd herself!)
  7. Cannae: The Experience of Battle in the Second Punic War by Gregory Daly (I haven't read this, but the slow trapping and butchery 70,000 men on a hot day seems like a fascinating topic for history as it was actually experienced)
u/Feuersturm-CA · 3 pointsr/history

Most of my knowledge regarding the matter is European, so I'm going to give a list of my favorites regarding the European / African front.

To get the German perspective of the war, I'd recommend:

  • Panzer Commander - Hans von Luck - One of my favorites

  • Panzer Leader - Heinz Guderian - He developed Blitzkrieg tactics

  • The Rommel Papers - Erwin Rommel - Written by my favorite German Field Marshal up until his forced suicide by Hitler. Good read of the Western and African theaters of war. Also a good book to read if you're interested in what German command was doing on the lead up to D-Day.

    I have a few battle-specific books I enjoy too:

  • Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942-1943 - You really don't know the brutality of Stalingrad till you've read this book. You'll see it in a whole new light I think.

  • Berlin: Downfall 1945 - Battle of Berlin at the end of the war, another good book.

    Now if you want to play games, Hearts of Iron series is great (someone recommended the Darkest Hour release of the game. Allows you to play historical missions based on historical troop layouts, or play the entire war as a nation. Historical events are incorporated into the game. While you'll rarely get a 100% accurate game as it is abstracted, it is an excellent way to see what challenges faced the nations of the time. You could play as Russia from 1936 and prepare yourself for the eventual German invasion. Or maybe you decide to play as Germany, and not invade Russia. But will Russia invade you when they are stronger? Will warn you: It does not have a learning curve. As with almost all Paradox Interactive games, it is a learning cliff.
u/toast_monster · 1 pointr/history

With English history, I would start with the Romans. The "very short introduction" books have shown up in my old reading lists on multiple occasions at university.

I would then move on to the vikings. Again look at "a very short introduction". I would also look at "The Viking World". This is the textbook I used at Uni.

(Now we get to medieval England, my favourite) Look at the history of the medieval church christianity was central to medieval life. Look at the Black Death King Death: The Black Death and its Aftermath in Late-Medieval England, it is one of my favourite books of all time and an absolute pleasure to read. This book is a very good overview of medieval Europe This book is also a very good, but brief, introduction. I would read that one before the other one.

The Hundred Years war is an important part of English and French history. The Hundred Years War is a good brief book.

Now we get to the War of the Roses (if you like game of thrones, this is what it is based on). Hicks, M. A., The war of the Roses (2003). He wrote another longer book in 2010. Both are very good, but the 2003 book is much much smaller.

I never studied the Tudors or Stuarts at uni but I am sure someone else would be able to direct you to good books. When buying books look for "University Press" books. They are written buy lecturers and professors, world leaders in their field.

The Empire Project is a very good book, but not as small as the others I have suggested (well, except for the viking age one).

Don't be disheartened by the amount of books I have suggested, I promise the majority are tiny and pictures do take up a lot of room. If you were to combine them, they probably would be as many words as 2 big books. Wait for the books to become cheap or call up a university second hand book shop to see if they have them in stock. Again I highly recommend the "a very short introduction" books if you want to get to know an area of history without making the commitment of buying larger more expensive books. If you want my old reading lists I can send them too you if you PM me.

u/diana_mn · 1 pointr/history

I see a lot of great books already listed. I'll offer a few lesser-known books that haven't been mentioned yet.

Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe series is brilliant for general readers of almost any age.

I see William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich has been mentioned, but I find his book on France - The Collapse of the Third Republic - equally compelling.

For those who love Barb Tuchmann's Guns of August,
Dreadnought by Robert Massie and The Lions of July by William Jannen are excellent additions in covering the lead up to WWI.

For Roman History, I'd recommend Adrian Goldsworthy's Caesar: Life of a Colossus and Anthony Everitt's Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

u/Discoamazing · 0 pointsr/history

By far the most interesting and well written "popular history" of republican Rome that I've read is "Rubicon" By Tom Holland.

He paints a beautiful picture of the city itself and life within it, as well as of the various people who lived there.

Here's the Amazon link:

I highly recommend that you look over the first few pages at least, you'll be hooked right away.

u/Gorm_the_Old · 1 pointr/history

There's a lot of discussion on this subject, and a lot of debate between academics, but no real consensus. Some people think they have the answer - William McNeill is an older example and Jared Diamond is a more recent example - but the debate is still ongoing.

I would say, though, that at a very basic level, the Old World was simply larger and more interconnected than the New World. With more people in the Old World and more people connected to each other, technology was developed more quickly and transmitted across a wider distance. That meant that even though the Old World had its ups, like the dramatic technological advancement of the Roman Empire, and its downs, like the Mongol conquest, it more or less moved forward.

The New World actually had significantly better technology several hundred years prior to the arrival of the conquistadors. The Mayan civilization was much more advanced than the Aztec civilization, including a much more sophisticated system of writing that let them preserve knowledge. But the Mayans went into a long-term decline for reasons that are still not entirely clear. They didn't have as much contact with neighboring groups as civilizations in the Old World did, so when they went into decline, they took much of their technology with them. Contrast that with the fall of Rome - even as Rome fell, much of its knowledge and technology was preserved in the Islamic world or in the monasteries of Europe. That didn't happen for the Mayans, and so the native peoples that were met by the conquistadors were significantly behind where they had been a thousand years previous.

u/The-MeroMero-Cabron · 2 pointsr/history

I read two history books this year that were excellently written and very-well researched. One is "Augustus: The life of Rome's First Emperor" by Anthony Everitt and The First Crusade: A New History: The Roots of Conflict between Christianity and Islam. Both great books and they'll keep you engaged the whole time. I truly recommend them.

u/Borimi · 3 pointsr/history

I'm assuming here that you haven't really studied any history since high school, and at the time you likely found it dreadfully boring (don't we all). If this is correct, take solace in the fact that you were being taught history in likely the worst way possible, and the system almost seems designed to bore you and the rest of the students to death.

One tactic, then, would be for you to work on thinking about history more as it is: seeking answers to the fundamental "why" questions that tell what it means, collectively, to be us. It's a study of choices and struggles and understanding the challenging, horrible, daunting circumstances they faced. High school curriculum drives out such notions of struggle and difficulty because they invite controversial questions, like why the rich manipulated the poor or why the white mistreated and killed the black/Native American. In doing so they deny any of the historical actors, whether oppressed or oppressor, their humanity, and without that who cares about studying them?

I would hope that once you get more exposed to actual history and not names and dates, that you'll grow more of a natural interest for the subject. As such, I have two books to recommend you:

  1. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. This book, initially controversial, will turn your initially learned narrative of American history on its head. The good people are usually bad and the quiet people are loud. Be careful, though. It's a new, highly useful angle from which to view American history but its not some gospel of truth either, just because it has a forbidden fruit feel, like you're learning what they don't want you to know.

  2. Lies my Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. This book says in better words that I mentioned already, how school textbooks water down American history into nothing so that everyone swallows it without complaint. It'll also shake up a bunch of assumptions and, hopefully, leave you wanting more.

    These books won't give you a complete view of American history but my hope is that they'll introduce you to a form of history that's interesting while also exposing you to a wide array of American history topics. From there you can see what you actually enjoy learning about and pick better books from there.
u/celsius232 · 7 pointsr/history

Complete novice? Extra Credits.

Seconding the Podcasts from Carlin, "Punic Nightmares" and Duncan's History of Rome and Born Yesterday. Seriously, Duncan is amazing. Major history hard-on.

Also, the History Channel has a pretty fun website, and there aren't any pawnshop aliens American Trucker-Pickers.

And if you want to read something that was written a tad earlier, Appian's histories cover the Second Punic War in several sections: The Spanish Wars, The Hannibalic War in Europe, and The Punic War and Numidian Affairs about Scipio in Africa (he also writes about the First Punic War), Livy deals with the Second Punic War in chapters 21-25 and 26-30, Polybius uses the Punic Wars to extol (and for us, explain) Roman virtues and institutions, and Plutarch gives two Generals treatment in his Parallel Lives, Fabius and Flaminius.

Modern books, I liked Adrian Goldsworthy's [The Punic Wars] (, and had WAY too much fun reading this book about Scipio and this book about Hannibal in tandem.

Oh... after you're done with all/any of that you might want to go buy Rome Total War and play as the Scipii. Extra points if you download Europa Barbarorum. Rome 2 is out and presumably awesome (and EB2)

u/innocent_bystander · 10 pointsr/history

Very interesting original report of a POW interrogation that details the weeks after the Normandy invasion for a SS PzG division from the perspective of one of the division staff officers. Summary in the article and the entire actual report is provided as well.

EDIT: This intel report covers a similar time frame, location, and scope as one of the memoirs I have, Panzer Commander from Hanz Von Luck. It's a good read if you haven't gone through it, and want to get into additional first hand experience at a similar level on the same battlefield.

u/sgtredred · 2 pointsr/history

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. A surprisingly fun read and interesting read.

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage. Another fun read. Touches on some great topics, like the "which came first: beer or bread" debate, but doesn't go into topics as deeply as I would have liked.

I haven't read these two yet, but it's on my list:

Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner

An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage

u/DarthRainbows · 3 pointsr/history

Not been too many great replies here. I have the perfect book for you. Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Ancient World. It takes you from the dawn of history (~3,000BC) to Constantine, and is a really easy read, in fact it reads almost like fiction. A real pleasure. She also has two more, taking you up to 1453, but you can decide if you want them after you have read the first one.

I'm also going to suggets Francis Fukuyama's Origins of Political Order. This was the book that made me realise I didn't understand history or politics (most people go through life without ever realising this). Its also a history book, but focusing on the theme of the origins of our political institutions. A real good one. BTW ignore the boring cover that makes it look like a dry academic read; it isn't.

u/baconautics · 43 pointsr/history

I'm partial to A Cartoon History of the Universe for several reasons:

  • It is actually surprisingly well researched and written. It is pithy and covers a lot of material, including some subjects a lot of other histories gloss over.
  • More importantly, the bibliography (and bibliographical comments) are very extensive, so if you find something you like or want to research more about, you can flip to the bibliography and find the reference material.
  • Well, it is entertaining, too.
u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/history

I just finished reading Rubicon and Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor back to back. Very enjoyable follow on read.

I'm hoping to read Holland's Persian Fire soon.

I would also highly recommend Lords of the Sea about the birth of the Athenian Navy.

If you like narrative history and are interested in the American Civil War, nothing beats Shelby Foote's trilogy. Historians correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's generally pretty accurate and very entertaining.

u/Gulchgamer · 5 pointsr/history

The German Wehrmacht did use flame throwers. And they were very effective during WWII. However flame thrower operators were always high priority targets and therefore were offered bonuses. For reference please read Anthony Beevor's book Stalingrad.

Also the US Marine Corps while fighting the Japanese loved using flame throwers against bunkers.

u/Procrastinator_5000 · 1 pointr/history

Very nice work!

This reminds me very much of the book In the shadown of the sword by Tom Holland. Which in my opinion is an excellent read!

Perhaps I buy the pdf and otherwise the paperback. Good work!

u/jones1618 · 4 pointsr/history

I'd really recommend Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.

It's one of the rare history books that takes on the grand sweep of human history, upending a lot of what you were taught and weaving it all together in a highly-readable and entertaining way.

u/wedgeomatic · 2 pointsr/history

I don't think Europe is really, as you claim, a byproduct of the Roman Empire. Think about anomalous areas that are either European ( such as Germany, Scandanavia, etc.) but were not Roman or Roman but not European (the Middle East, Egypt, Africa, etc.). Europe is much more, in my opinion, a creation of the Carolingian Empire (and it's Frankish predecessors and successor states), and the post-imperial notion of Christendom, than the Roman. This is an excellent book on the subject.

u/ByzantineBasileus · 2 pointsr/history

For military history, I would recommend Shadows in the Desert, by Kaveh Farrokh:

Whilst he does utilize ancient Greek Sources, he also makes it a point of referring to archaeological and pictorial evidence from Persia itself, such as the surviving bas-reliefs as Persepolis. He is also fairly balanced in that he objectively describes both the strengths and weaknesses of the Achaemenid army, especially in regards to Greece. Whilst he does advocate the idea that Indo-Europeans originated in the middle-east (which has been disproven with the confirmation that the Yamna Culture as the source of the original migration, I believe), in all other areas he is quite accurate.

Another book in relation to Persian military history is the Achaemenid Persian Army, by Duncan Head. It was published by Montvert, a company that is now out of business, so there are no copyright issues from reading it online here:

In regards to a general political, economic, legal and social examination of the empire, I would suggest Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 B, by Matt Waters:

I similarly have that book and I can assure you it is incredibly informative and very well written, and makes use of a wide range of primary courses from the Iraq/Iran region rather than just relying on Greek authors.

u/Senrabil · 1 pointr/history

A really interesting history of Salt that I read a couple year's back is Kurlansky's (sp?) "Salt: A World History". It's pretty long, but I found it intriguing!

Edit: Here's an Amazon link -

Edit 2: He also has a couple of good books on Cod and Oysters!

u/Naughtysocks · 1 pointr/history

The Fall of Berlin by Antony Beevor is an amazing book.

Also Stalingrad The Fateful Seige by Beevor is great too.

u/cassander · 3 pointsr/history

Robert Massie is my favorite historian, and he has 3 amazing books on the period. Dreadnought, about the Anglo-German naval rivalry that led to WWI, Nicholas and Alexander, a biography of the last Czar and the fall of the Russian Empire, and the beautifully titled Castles of Steel, about the naval battles of WWI.

u/moxy801 · 1 pointr/history

Nothing is perfect or without issues, but Cartoon History of the Universe is as good a place to start as any.

If anything particularly piques your interest, then start going down that road to learn more.

u/Fimbul-vinter · 6 pointsr/history

I read a lot of historical fiction, hope thats allowed to recommend:

The book that made the greatest impression on me with regards to the frontlines in WW2 was It is a fantastic story seen by the footsoldier. I really, really, REALLY dont want to be on the receiving end of artillery fire after reading this book.

A very different book is this

Here you experience the war from a senior officers point of view. It mostly works on a division/batallion level. Instead of describing the horrors in detail, it often just states "we took heavy losses". Still it takes you from Germany to France to Russia to Africa to France to Germany to Russia to Germany, so you get to experience the war in many different places, stages, viewpoints (attacker, defender, prisoner) and times.

Edit: If you are interested in Alexander the great and want action packed historical fiction, do this one:

u/NLight381 · 1 pointr/history

For anyone looking for an easy and entertaining introduction to this period, I highly recommended Rubicon by Tom Holland

u/NYC_summer · 4 pointsr/history

I would recommend you read Guns, Germs and Steal by Jared Diamond. Talks about this subject and it is an easy read.

u/subpoenaduece · 8 pointsr/history

Anthony Beevor's Stalingrad was a pretty gripping read about the battle and the fate of the 6th army. I'm sure some of the more hardcore history buffs out there have more detailed suggestions, but if you're looking for a good layman's history of Stalingrad you can't go wrong with it.

u/CantLoseCudi · 2 pointsr/history

This book seems surprisingly interesting. Thank you!

u/superduperly1 · 1 pointr/history

They talk about this in A History of the World in 6 Glasses:

A pretty good book all in all, even if some of the connections seem tenuous.

u/changeworld9 · 0 pointsr/history

Ask them to try Cartoon history of the universe by Larry Gonick. 5 volumes of comics covering history to the 21st century :)

Thats the link to the first volume :)

u/vimandvinegar · 2 pointsr/history

Christianity: I've heard that Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch is fantastic. I haven't read it. It's called "Christianity", not "Catholicism", but it might work for you given that Catholicism pretty much was Christianity until (relatively) recently.

French Revolution: Citizens by Simon Schama.

Can't help you with Zoroastrianism.

u/Braves3333 · 1 pointr/history This book i found to be very interesting when talking about old egyptian history. It gives a look into early society and how they went from scattered communities to a kingdom, but it focuses on the religious aspect.

I would think a book on Napolean would be a good start, and also a book on the French Revolution.

u/machete_io · 1 pointr/history

If this topic really interests you, you'll really like the book "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond. It discusses the multitude of ways that make some civilizations spread and dominate others. IIRC, a contributing factor for the "migration" to Europe was that originally the Tigris/Euphrates had a ton of forrest and as the society advanced they essentially cut it all down and it turned into a desert.

Here is a link to the book:

u/Morazan1823 · 1 pointr/history

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York:Norton, 1999. Print.

Paperbacks on Amazon selling from $5.50


If you're into Mythical Legends, The Nobel Literature Prize winning author, Miguel Angel Asturias wrote Legends of Guatemala, a collection of Mayan Mythical Legends. I highly recommend it, it's a bit trippy, and surreal. $13 on Amazon.

... And there's Popol Vuh, The 'Book of Genesis' for the Mayan people. It's FREE via PDF, starts at page 51. If I recall my favorite story, two brothers (Xb‘alanke & Junajpu) avenge the demons who killed their father. They are summoned to the seven level of Hell and are forced to play an ancient form of what is soccer (World's first sport, Mayans invented the rubberized ball), for their lives... they failed purposely and escape with their lives to accept harder challenges, in order to find the head demon and obtain sweet revenge, It's an epic.

u/M0nthu · 0 pointsr/history

My favorite is Howard Zinn's A people's history of the United States . It is concise and to the point.

u/dhpye · 5 pointsr/history

Hans von Luck was Rommel's favorite junior officer. While he was no Nazi, he was from a strong Prussian military background, and he fought from the invasion of Poland through to 1945. His autobiographical book offers a somewhat rare perspective on good soldiering on the Axis side.

u/_WishIThoughtOfThat · 1 pointr/history

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond covers pretty much most of these details, while looking at how different societies progressed differently.

u/SweetAndVicious · 9 pointsr/history

The book Salt: a world history is pretty cool.

Salt: A World History
by Mark Kurlansky

u/mymybrimi · 1 pointr/history

Mark Kurlansky wrote one a few years ago.

I read his book on Cod, which was surprisingly interesting, if not a bit exhaustive.

u/mule_roany_mare · 1 pointr/history


We take for granted how important salt is since it so ubiquitous.

Salt: A World History

Salt shaped cities and societies and industries.

Supposedly salt is so rare in the rain forests that certain natives have evolved to not sweat.

u/MONDARIZ · 1 pointr/history

The best current writer on World War II is without doubt Anthony Beevor. A great historian and a riveting writer.

Anthony Beevor: Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943

Anthony Beevor: The Fall of Berlin 1945

Anthony Beevor: D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

u/Bucephalos12 · 2 pointsr/history

The last kingdom by Bernard Cornwall. Excellent fictional account of the Viking invasion and the old English push to throw them out

u/toomuchcream · 1 pointr/history

A World Undone about WWI.
I've never read it myself, but many people have recommended it to me.

Also you can never go wrong with something about Stalingrad

u/lamecode · 1 pointr/history

This book, by Susan Wise Bauer, covers the earliest periods of (known) human civilization, across multiple civilizations (Middle East/Asia/Europe/etc.). Volumes 2 and 3 take you right through to 1453.

u/haploid-20 · 1 pointr/history

Hap hap hello there! I am a bot and you linked to Amazon.

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u/Hollowgolem · 1 pointr/history

If you want a book that takes a look at this dynamic, regarding pack animals, check out Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond or Why the West Rules—for Now by Ian Morris.

u/Dilettante · 1 pointr/history

A History of the World in Six Glasses is a nice, very approachable book for someone who's not very into history. It's not a deep book, but it has some interesting ideas and can serve as a jumping-off point for people.

Another very easy-to-get-into source is one that I cannot recommend highly enough: Larry Gonick's series of cartoon histories: The Cartoon History of the Universe, in three volumes, covers world history from the age of the dinosaurs to Columbus' journey, and his later two-volume series Cartoon History of the Modern World picks up where that leaves off, going all the way up to 9/11. They are surprisingly well-researched, with each volume having pages of references at the end. There are unfortunately few pages of this series online to read - here's one I found from the first volume, and here's another in low resolution from his later volumes.

u/IronCena · 1 pointr/history

Scipio , he face HANNIBAL and defeated him and Carthage. Also, I recommend book by B.H Liddell Hart which goes to an in-depth analysis of the tactics and strategies of Scipio. IMHO, Scipio is better.

u/youarearobot · 1 pointr/history

I highly recommend Dreadnaught by Robert K Massie. It is a fascinatingly in depth, if a bit dense, history of the events leading to World War I starting from the foundation of Germany. To be honest, I started it 5 years ago and still have not finished it (it is huge!), but I do not think there is another book on the subject that comes close to the level of detail it contains. Read it if only to understand the complex personal relationships of the Royal families of that era that had such a great impact on the coming war.

u/onlysane1 · 1 pointr/history

The classic go-to book for the Christian period of Rome seems to be Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, covering the years 98-1590. I suggest an abridged version though, I didn't read much of it but it tends to draaaaaag at parts. Main thing is that Gibbon is criticized for having an overly anti-Christian slant to it.

kindle version

For a more general viewpoint, Susan Wise Baur gives an account of many ancient civilizations throughout the world in her book, The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome. I did read all the way through this one and it's what I recommend for anyone needed a basic crash course of ancient world history.

u/Trexdacy · 3 pointsr/history

Dreadnought by Robert K. Massie. It starts well before the war (1900-ish) and is a bit of a dry read. I found it fascinating, however.

u/CaesarAugustus · 5 pointsr/history

This might be worth a look. It's pretty much limited to political history (with limited focus on, say, cultural elements), but it's a one-volume history of the period.

u/RochnessMonster · 1 pointr/history


Book I read last year after a deep dive into Carlin's Hardcore History podcast. I got curious about how and why certain civilizations form the way they do and how quickly they advance, and I knew if you toss out the obvious, wrong answer (racism) there had to be a whole bucket of knowledge exploring it.

u/MBAMBA0 · 3 pointsr/history

u/RenixDC · 187 pointsr/history

I remember reading a book called Guns Germs and Steel back in the day that seemed to cover all of these developments!

u/unbibium · 1 pointr/history

I've just started reading The History of the World in 6 Glasses. Chapter 1 is beer, so I suppose you're right.

u/Darragh555 · 4 pointsr/history

Tom Holland's Rubicon is a really good narrative history of the last two centuries BCE. It mostly focuses on the fall of the Republic and includes the civil wars but there's a few chapters that go back earlier than that too. One of my favourite books in general!

edit: formatting

u/Tempest_1 · 5 pointsr/history

Yes, Hitler made tons of tactical blunders with Russia. Timing was his biggest blunder (he should have waited to invade). But even then he had assembled a 6million man army that proceeded to crush Russian forces for the first couple months. The defeats only came with trying to take Moscow and Stalingrad. Many historians conjecture that if Hitler had diverted forces to the oil fields in the Caucasus instead of Stalingrad, the Eastern Front would have looked much differently for the Germans.

If you haven't This is a great book on the subject

u/plokijuhujiko · 15 pointsr/history

Well, it was the deciding factor in the birth of human civilization. Without the shift to agriculture from hunter/gatherer societies, we could never have achieved the necessary population to create virtually every human innovation that has ever happened. It is true that agriculture led to most of humanity's woes as well: war, plagues...Glenn Beck, etc... But without that shift we would still have an average lifespan of 30-40 years, and our population would be in the thousands instead of the billions. There are pretty valid arguments for why that's not such a great thing, but it's really a moot point. We're here, we did what we did, so that's that.

On a side note, anyone who hasn't read this book is missing out.

u/radiumdial · 1 pointr/history

Citizens by Simon Schama well written and a compelling read, though with a somewhat anti-Jacobin slant
a good but less thorough book is Paris in the Terror by Stanley Loomis