History book reviews

Reviews of the latest history books, all written by expert historians.



The Arabs: A History
by Eugene Rogan
Nelida Fuccaro reads an accomplished narrative of five centuries of Arab history
The Popes: A History
by John Julius Norwich
Jonathan Wright on a rewarding narrative of papal history that is brimming with saints and sinners
How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism
by Eric Hobsbawm
Gregory Elliott on an enduring relationship between a Marxist historian and his muse
Reprobates: The Cavaliers of the English Civil War
by John Stubbs
Mark Stoyle finds that an otherwise interesting survey of 17th-century notables promises more than it delivers on the English Civil War
Shapely Ankle Preferr’d: A History of the Lonely Hearts Ad
by Francesca Beauman
Hallie Rubenhold browses personal columns of the past
Molotov’s Magic Lantern: A Journey in Russian History
by Rachel Polonsky
Rob Attar on a novel exploration of Russia's past
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and
by Judith Flanders
Clive Emsley discovers how ghastly crimes caused a sensation in Victorian Britain
Aristocracy: A Very Short Introduction
by William Doyle
Peter Jones relishes a trip through upper class history
Myths of the Pagan North: The Gods of the Norsemen
by Christopher Abram
Judith Jesch reviews a thoughtful investigation into Norse religion
Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean
by Philip Mansel
Patrick Seale reviews a moving history of the cosmopolitan cities in the Levant that came to grief in the 20th century
Bible: The Story of  the King James Version 1611–2011
by Gordon Campbell & David Crystal
Justin Champion enjoys some clinical dissections of the King James Bible, from its massive influence on our language to the delicacy of translating the original 1611 edition
Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science
by Jim Al-Khalili
Jerry Brotton is disappointed by Jim Al-Khalili’s attempt to address the injustices done to Arabic pioneers
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