We often remark that history is what we make of it, but that sentiment now sounds more like an elegant platitude than a sober assessment of reality. However, one thing is for certain: those who are unable to recall the past will be doomed to repeat it in the future (George Santayana).
Throughout the course of thousands of years, there have been a number of significant events that have taken place in this civilization. We must study and understand history if we are to achieve greatness and success in life, and one of the easiest ways to do so is to read about it.
The following are some of the best history books that you can read and benefit from.
History Adventures, World of Characters, Revolutions & Industrialization, 1750 – 1900
Creator: Spencer Striker, PhD
Is there a method of learning about World History that you prefer? Award-winning History Adventures takes you back in time to 1750-1900, allowing you to witness the stories of five extraordinary personalities who lived during this fascinating period.
Hewlett-Packard has partnered with Spencer Striker, PhD, the creator of History Adventures to bring world history teaching to a whole new level. After each character narrative, you will also be able to test your understanding by taking multimedia, rich assessments.
The Guns of August
Author: Barbara W. Tuchman
World War I, the first major conflict of the modern era, was one of the bloodiest and longest-lasting international conflicts ever fought. Nearly 17 million people died as a result of its horrors, while countless others were harmed all across the world. The ‘Guns of August’ gives you a deeper look at the circumstances that sparked this war, which will be the subject of numerous publications.
The Liberation Trilogy
Author: Rick Atkinson
The European and African fronts of World War II are the focus of this book. It’s one of the best trilogies out there for learning about the European theater of World War II. In these novels by Rick Atkinson, we travel to the frontlines of war in North Africa, Italy, and Europe’s western half.
Author: David McCullough
David McCullough, a modern-day Picasso of American history, is the author of this literary masterwork. His ‘1776’ was the catalyst for the American Revolution and the creation of the United States. General George Washington is shown to have been a real person in the book, along with his British counterpart Willian Howe, who proves to be a tough foe. It is unquestionably one of the greatest American novels ever written.
Author: Charles C. Mann
The pre-Columbian history of America, as implied by the title, is the story of the continent before Columbus discovered it and revealed it to the world. In this book by Charles C. Mann, the pre-European civilizations of North America are discussed.
The Crusades: Thomas Asbridge
The title is self-explanatory: this masterwork examines one of history’s most delicate yet pivotal moments. From the 11th century through the 13th century, this book recounts the Crusades for Jerusalem.
Caesar and Christ
Author: Will Durant
One of the earliest modern civilizations was Roman Civilization, which may have been the first of its kind. Will Durant’s book on the Roman Empire focuses on its leaders and how religion had a major role in the empire’s downfall.
A History of American People
Author: Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson, a world-renowned author, wrote this masterpiece. From the beginnings of the United States through the end of the twentieth century, A History of the American People tells the tale of how America became the world’s most powerful nation.
Churchill: A Life and the Second World War
Author: Martin Gilbert
Martin Gilbert’s book examines the horrors of World War II. Throughout the book, readers will learn about the war’s human toll, as well as how Winston Churchill rose to the occasion and developed into the iconic leader we know and love today.
Guns, Germs, and Steel
Author: Jared Diamond
There are few books like this one by Jared Diamond. While other history books focus on a specific group of people, area, or race, this one focuses on the overall history and context in which an event took place.
Genghis Khan: The Making Of The Modern World
Author: Jack Weatherford
Genghis Khan, the renowned Mongol leader and creator of the Mongolian Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries, is the subject of the book’s title. The book tells the story of Mongolia’s rise to dominance under Genghis Khan and the impact it had on the rest of the world, particularly Europe.
Europe: A History
Author: Norman Davies
The book, written by Norman Davies and released in 1996, focuses on the political, economic, and territorial dimensions of the European Union. For everyone interested in European history, especially modern European history, this book is a must-read.
The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich
Author: William L. Shirer
The book is primarily concerned with the rise and fall of the Nazi regime in Germany. Famous journalist William L. Shirer penned the book. It covers the time span from Hitler’s birth in 1889 to the fall of the Third Reich in 1945. The book takes readers on a journey through the highs and lows of Nazi Germany.
Postwar: A History of Europe
Author: Tony Judt
Tony Judt, a renowned and award-winning British historian who specializes in European history, penned this book. The book examines Europe’s economic, territorial, and political highs and lows following World War II.
The Communist Manifesto
Author: Karl Marx
It’s possible that this was the most well-known book on this list, meaning that many people have heard of it but haven’t really read it. It was written by Marx and Engels and focuses on communism as the title suggests. Some believe it to be the first document ever written regarding communism and that its publication marked the beginning of communism.
Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age by Annalee Newitz
Annalee Newitz writes in Four Lost Cities that “it’s terrifying to realize that most of humanity lives in places that are destined to die.” According to Kirkus’s book review, the “global-warming present” has clear implications for the journalist’s investigation into how cities fall apart. Using the Neolithic city of atalhöyük in southern Anatolia as a starting point, the Roman city of Pompeii in 79 CE, the Khmer capital of Angkor in the middle ages, and the pre-Hispanic city of Cahokia in what is now Illinois as a case study, Four Lost Cities explores the ups and downs of these seemingly disparate societies and the surprising connections that can be drawn between them.
Each of the four cities had a well-developed infrastructure and engineering marvels. It was thanks to the sophisticated canal and reservoir network that Angkor became an economic powerhouse, whereas Cahokia was noted for its enormous earthen pyramids, which the residents viewed as spiritually significant. “Prolonged periods of political instability—often precipitated by poor leadership and social hierarchies—coupled with environmental collapse” are what Newitz describes as the fate of the featured urban hubs. These issues are still prevalent in today’s cities, but the past offers valuable lessons for preventing such disasters in the future by investing in “resilient infrastructure,… public plazas, domestic spaces for everyone… social mobility and leaders who treat the city’s workers with dignity.”