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Summer Reading of a History Undergrad

NCH Student Blog | July 27, 2020

In this crazy, new situation we are all living in, it can be hard to remember to stay motivated and keep your brain engaged and active! For me, reading always helps! Therefore, I decided to form a list of my favourite history books of all time. Admittedly and unashamedly, most are books on the Tudors. However, they are all still very good reads! If you are a History buff like me – or just fancy something new – have a read of one (or all!) of the books below:

In no particular order…

  1. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore. At almost 700 pages long, this history book is definitely a long, but interesting, read! Named History book of the Year in 2003, The Red Court of the Tsar is a comprehensive and in-depth study of Stalin and his reign. Buy here.
  2. The Rise of Female Kings in Europe, 1300-1800 by William Monter. In this beautifully written book, Monter explores how, in such a deeply rooted, misogynistic society, 30 women were in power across Europe. I definitely recommend this book- especially the chapter on Elizabeth I! Buy here.
  3. Elizabeth’s Rival by Nicola Tallis. This book has to be one of my favourites of all time! The book looks at Lettice Knollys- Elizabeth’s greatest rival. However, she was not a rival in the typical sense for a Queen. Knollys sought to outdo Elizabeth. The boon explores how Knollys went against Elizabeth- going as far as to marry her favourite: Robert Dudley. Buy here.
  4. The Tudors by Jane Bingham. This book is a very easy read and is great for those wanting to learn about the Tudors. In vivid detail, Bingham factually details the reign’s of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. A great background work on the Tudors! Buy here.
  5. Finally (and not a Tudor book!) The Darkening Age, by Catherine Nixey, is another great read! The book focuses on ancient history, looking at the Christian destruction of the Classical World. In this well-written book, Nixey takes the reader from the deserts of Syria to Athens and beyond.