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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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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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2017 4. Middle Ages ★★★★☆ Europe Reviews

Slavery After Rome, 500-1100

★★★★☆ (2017)
Professor of Medieval History at King’s College, London, Alice Rio, looks at unfreedom in the early Middle Ages, focusing on Western Europe in the period 500 to 1100.

This period of history is bookended by iconic forms of unfreedom: the period before is associated with classical Roman slavery, which involved an all-encompassing form of domination by a slave owner. From the 11th century onwards, Western Europe is associated with both serfdom…

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

The English People at War in the Age of Henry VIII

★★★★☆ (2018)
Based on James Ford Lectures in British History given in 2015, Professor Steven Gunn’s book considers warfare in the ‘age of Henry VIII’ (adopting a loose definition covering a period of around hundred years from the 1470s to the 1570s) and how it was experienced by the English people, from nobility, gentry, clergy, through to artisans, yeomen, and peasants. The focus is on the impact of war on English governance and people, rather than recounting the strategies of battles fought or the politics of international relations.