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2018 3. Early Modern ★★★★★ Europe Reviews

Heretics and Believers

★★★★★ (2018)
Heretics and Believers, winner of the Wolfson History Prize in 2018, provides a comprehensive description and analysis of the English Reformation. The author, Peter Marshall, is a professor of history at the University of Warwick.

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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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2020 3. Early Modern ★★★★★ Central and South America Reviews

Fifth Sun

★★★★★ (2020)
If Flamingo Snake was going to get out of the palace alive he would have to drum with all the exuberance, the raw power that he possessed.

It shouldn’t even have been him leading the show: the chief musician had fainted – perhaps from terror – and Flamingo Snake had taken over the starring role at the last minute. For he and his men to survive, he would need to put all this out of his mind and instead focus on all his attention on his drum and his song: a protest song directed at the most powerful leader in the known world.

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2020 4. Middle Ages ★★★★★ Europe Reviews

Ravenna

★★★★★ (2020)
This is the celebrated Byzantine Emperor Justinian who is credited with reconquering the Western Roman Empire through his general Belisarius. The image itself is not from the capital Constantinople (now Istanbul) as you might expect, but instead from the small Italian city of Ravenna, on the north east coast of Italy…

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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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2021 6. Pre-Historic ★★★☆☆ Europe Reviews

Scenes from Prehistoric Life

★★★☆☆ (2021)
4070 years ago on the east coast of Britain a small community of about 200 people built a circular wooden palisade about 7 metres across. Right in the centre of this circle of upright timbers was an oak tree…

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2020 3. Early Modern ★★★★★ Global Reviews

The Enlightenment

★★★★★ (2020)
The author, Ritchie Robertson, is a professor of German language and literature at the University of Oxford. His treatment of the Enlightenment is broad, both in terms of subject matter and geographic scope…

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2. Late Modern 2021 ★★★★★ Europe Reviews

The Fall of Robespierre

★★★★★ (2021)
“GREAT CONSPIRACY. Today would have been one of the greatest events that France has ever known if conspiracy had had its way.”

What had so shocked Parisian diarist Celestin Guittard de Floriban were the earth-shaking events of 27 July 1794 that culminated in the execution by guillotine of Maximillian Robespierre, who only 24 hours before had been at the height of power in Revolutionary France…

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1. Contemporary 2. Late Modern 2021 Asia ★★★☆☆ Reviews

From Rebel to Ruler

★★★☆☆ (2021)
My in-laws like to tell a story about when the communists came to town. Their home was in a small village just outside the county town, about 5 hours west of Beijing. In the 1930s and 1940s the town was overrun by the Japanese…