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My favourite history books 2013: Alison Weir

In a special supplement in our October issue, leading historians pick their favourite history book of the year so far, their all-time favourite and the title that they're most looking forward to in the coming months

Published: October 17, 2013 at 1:52 pm
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My favourite history title of the year so far is Edward III and the Triumph of England (Allen Lane) by the award-winning Richard Barber, one of our finest medieval historians. But this is no dry overview of the Hundred Years War; it is a sound, lively and engagingly detailed book about the individuals who fought in that war, of knights, chivalry, fashion, literature and the enduringly fascinating private lives of everyone from queens to freebooters. It will satisfy academics and history buffs alike. I cannot praise it highly enough.


Favourite history book of all time

It’s a huge challenge choosing my favourite history book of all time, as I have shelves full of favourites. Yet I have to opt for The Complete Peerage, a veritable treasure trove of information that is a must for every historian – and anyone who (like me) is captivated by royal and aristocratic genealogy. I first discovered The Complete Peerage when I was just fifteen – and I’ve been discovering wonderful things in it ever since.

Most anticipated history title

The history book I’m most looking forward to in the coming months is Tracy Borman’s Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction (Jonathan Cape). Having always been intrigued by witchcraft and the supernatural, this is a must for me, and all the more so because the story it relates is a historical one – that of the notorious witches of Belvoir. Tracy Borman, the joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, is a fine historian, and in her capable hands this grim tale will be told well.


Alison Weir's Elizabeth of York: The First Tudor Queen will be published by Jonathan Cape in November. Read Tracy Borman's feature on witches in the October issue of BBC History Magazine, on sale now


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