History book reviews

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

 

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Macaulay and Son: Architects of Imperial Britain
by Catherine Hall
John MacKenzie on a biography exploring the lives of two members of the same Scottish family - and how they shaped the British empire
William: King and Conqueror
by Mark Hagger
Marc Morris looks at an insightful but uneven biography of a monarch who remains contentious in the popular imagination
Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao's Great Famine
by Yang Jisheng
Robert Bickers applauds an account that casts new light on one of the darkest episodes in China's recent past
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944–1956
by Anne Applebaum
Michael Cox praises a masterful account of the rise of communism throughout eastern Europe after the Second World War
Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying
by Sönke Neitzel and Harald Welzer
Roger Moorhouse recommends a study of the secretly recorded conversations of Second World War Axis PoWs
Mr Foote's Other Leg: Comedy, Tragedy and Murder in Georgian London
by Ian Kelly
Hallie Rubenhold on a biography of an 18th-century actor and dandy
Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease
by Mark Harrison
Michael Worboys praises a history of global disease, and attempts to control it
Thomas Wyatt: The Heart's Forest
by Susan Brigden
George Bernard considers an emotive attempt to understand the trials and tribulations faced by a poet in the court of Henry VIII
A History of England, Volume II: The Tudors
by Peter Ackroyd
Susan Doran looks at the second part of a sweeping history of England, focusing on how four monarchs shaped the lives of the nation's people
Britain Begins
by Barry Cunliffe
Miles Russell on an authoritative account of the origins of Britain and Ireland, from 10,000 BC to the Norman Conquest
Histories of Nations: How Their Identities Were Forged
by Peter Furtado
Jerry Brotton considers an ambitious, if flawed, attempt to offer new accounts of the formation of national identities
Merchant, Soldier, Sage: A New History of Power
by David Priestland
Frank Trentmann looks at a valuable study of the ways in which the struggle for power has shaped global history
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