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Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister

★★★☆☆ (2019)
This is a book about the three most famous sisters in Chinese history: the Soong sisters. They were international celebrities: highly educated, politically pivotal and ridiculously rich. They embodied the changes and tensions of early twentieth century China as the country set its political engine-room to warp speed 9…

Personality in popular history

This post is a rumination on the pitfalls and promises of focussing a history book too much on personality… or not at all. Along the way I will touch upon the toilet habits of the first president of the China, the ancient secret to a healthy life, and the views of a talking mouse…

History books published in September 2021

I’m pretty impressed with the new history book line-up for September 2021: 23 new ones including some big hitters such as: Mary Beard with “Twelve Ceasars” Dan Jones with “Powers and Thrones” Peter Ackroyd with “Innovation: History of England” They are all worth a browse, with some of the others […]

Dress Codes

★★★★☆ (2021)
Richard Thompson Ford, the author of How Fashion Made History, loves suits. Really loves them. And to some extent, he has written a book explaining how all fashion up to the present day leads to suits as the ultimate in menswear…

Past Mistakes

★★★★☆ (2020)
Close your eyes and conjure up an image of Christopher Columbus… Did you do it? What did you see? If you are anything like me you will envisage a cheerful little fellow wearing a captains hat, pantaloons and buckled shoes…


★★★★☆ (2015)
The tagline for this book could be ‘a biography of an autobiography’ – it conveys a sense of what Robin Lane Fox manages to achieve in his award winning book, an analysis of how one of the greatest thinkers in Christian theology thought about himself and his relationship to God.

About Time

★★★★☆ (2021)
Clocks are about more than just telling the time. At one level this is a statement of the obvious: we all know that the watch you wear is not chosen purely for its practicality as a time-keeping device…


★★★★☆ (2020)
In 371 BCE the Thebans achieved one of the most shocking victories in the history of warfare, by trouncing the previously invincible Spartans at the battle of Luectra despite being outnumbered almost two to one.

History books published in August 2021

Last month’s history books (August 2021) are a fairly eclectic mix – geographically and through time, with flag mix: 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇩🇪🇩🇪🇫🇷🇫🇷🇮🇪🇮🇳🇮🇹🇳🇱🇷🇴🇷🇺. The ones I have my eye on are: The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris (Colin Jones), Scenes from Prehistoric Life (Francis Pryor) and perhaps also Paul Kenyon’s […]


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