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2020 8. All time periods ★★★★☆ Global Reviews

The Fabric of Civilisation

★★★★☆ (2020)
“Surrounded by textiles, we’re largely oblivious to their existence and the knowledge and efforts embodied in every scrap of fabric.”

Any visitor to the West Berkshire Museum can see the Newbury Coat, a coat made in 1811 from sheep to finished garment within a day…

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2021 4. Middle Ages Africa Asia ★★★★☆ Europe Reviews

Powers and Thrones

★★★★☆ (2021)
After reading this book, I asked my dad to buy me Dan Jones’ Plantagenets for Christmas. So I clearly enjoyed reading it. At 639 pages long (excluding index and bibliography) it makes light work of a 1,000 years of predominantly European history. In the opening few pages we are promised ‘it is going to fun’ and it delivers…

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1. Contemporary 2. Late Modern 2020 ★★★★☆ Europe North America Reviews

A Curious History of Sex

★★★★☆ (2020)
Sex, as we all know, has been around for about two billion years or so. But we humans continue to struggle with what sex is supposed to be all about. As Kate Lister notes in the introduction to “A Curious History of Sex”: “Humans are the only creatures that stigmatise, punish and create shame around their sexual desires…

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1. Contemporary 2. Late Modern 2021 ★★★★☆ Europe North America Reviews

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…

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2020 8. All time periods ★★★★☆ Europe North America Reviews

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…

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2015 5. Ancient Africa ★★★★☆ Europe Reviews

Augustine

★★★★☆ (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.

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2021 8. All time periods ★★★★☆ Global Reviews

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…

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2020 5. Ancient ★★★★☆ Europe Reviews

Thebes

★★★★☆ (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.

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1. Contemporary 1997 2. Late Modern ★★★★☆ Europe Reviews

In Defence of History

★★★★☆ (1997)
I have never knowingly met a post-modernist. Perhaps I have been going to the wrong parties – back in the days when I went to parties. I am keen to meet one. If you are one or can introduce one get in touch.

The reason that I am so interested to make this acquaintance is…

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2. Late Modern 2011 ★★★★☆ Europe Reviews

Castlereagh

★★★★☆ (2011)
This book comes highly recommended as a comprehensive and highly readable account of the life of one of Britain’s most influential Foreign Secretaries, with a particular focus on the earlier stages of Castlereagh’s life and career and the formation of his political philosophy.