Historical Fiction books out there. If you would like to read something not on the list, please ask



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FolkTales from India

Ramanujan, A.K.

Folktales from India is an enchanting collection of one hundred and ten tales translated from twenty-two different languages, by turns harrowing and comic, sardonic and allegorical, mysterious and romantic. Gods disguised as beggars and beasts; animals enacting Machiavellian intrigues: sagacious jesters and magical storytellers; wise counselors and foolish kings -- all of these inhabit a fabular world, yet one firmly grounded in everyday life. Augmented by A. K. Ramanujan's definitive introduction and notes, this is an indispensable guide to India's ageless folklore tradition.

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Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylea

Pressfield, Steven

At Thermopylae, a rocky mountain pass in northern Greece, the feared and admired Spartan soldiers stood three hundred strong. Theirs was a suicide mission, to hold the pass against the invading millions of the mighty Persian army.

 genghis khan and the making of the modern world

 Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

 Weatherford, Jack

A re-evaluation of Genghis Khan's rise to power examines the reforms the conqueror instituted throughout his empire and his uniting of East and West, which set the foundation for the nation-states and economic systems of the modern era.

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Germinal

Zola, Emile

Expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few during the Industrial Revolution, but also shows humanity’s capacity for compassion and hope. Etienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Forced to take a back-breaking job at Le Voreux mine when he cannot get other work, he discovers that his fellow miners are ill, hungry, and in debt, unable to feed and clothe their families. When conditions in the mining community deteriorate even further, Lantier finds himself leading a strike that could mean starvation or salvation for all.

 gilgamesh

 Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative

 Mason, Herbert

Presents a verse narrative of the ancient Babylonian epic about love, death, loss, heroes, and friendship, including an historical essay on the original poem.

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 Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

 Diamond, Jared

 Dismantles racially based theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors he feels are responsible for history's broadest patterns.

 gunpowder

Gunpowder: Alchemy, Bombards, and Pyrotechnics

 Kelly, Jack

Traces the history of the explosive mixture created by Chinese alchemists in the tenth century, a critical invention that has fueled innovations and shaped the technology of warfare and the evolution of modern history.


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Guns of August

Tuchman, Barbara

The world leading up to the beginning of World War I – August, 1914.


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Haj

Uris, Leon

An epic story of hate and love, vengeance and forgiveness and forgiveness. The Middle East is the powerful setting for this sweeping tale of a land where revenge is sacred and hatred noble. Where an Arab ruler tries to save his people from destruction but cannot save them from themselves. When violence spreads like a plague across the lands of Palestine--this is the time of The  Haj.

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The Haunted Land: Facing Europe’s Ghosts After Communism

Rosenberg, Tina

The Pulitzer Prize-winning look at the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.

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The Heart of Darkness

Conrad, Joseph

Dark allegory describes the narrator's journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration.

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Heroines: Great Women Through the Ages

Hazell, Rebecca

The lives and contributions of such women as Joan of Arc, Sacagawea, and Marie Curie are portrayed here, showing that talent and determination can initiate progress despite obstacles.

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The Hidden Dimension

Hall, Edward T.

Not really history, but cultural and human “proxemics” – demonstrates how man’s use of space defines personal, business and cross-cultural relations.

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The Hiding Place

Boom, Corrie Ten

Corrie ten Boom was a woman admired the world over for her courage, her forgiveness, and her memorable faith. In World War II, she and her family risked their lives to help Jews escape the Nazis, and their reward was a trip to Hitler's concentration camps. But she survived and was released--as a result of a clerical error--and now shares the story of how faith triumphs over evil.

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Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

Bix, Herbert P.

In this groundbreaking biography of the Japanese emperor Hirohito, Herbert P. Bix offers the first complete, unvarnished look at the enigmatic leader whose sixty-three-year reign ushered Japan into the modern world. Never before has the full life of this controversial figure been revealed with such clarity and vividness. Bix shows what it was like to be trained from birth for a lone position at the apex of the nation's political hierarchy and as a revered symbol of divine status.

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Hiroshima

Hershey, John

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors.

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A History of the World in 6 Glasses

Standage, Tom

A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization.


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The Horse Goddess

Llewelyn, Morgan

Troy is in crumbling ruin and Athens is rising far to the south. It is a time when mortal men and women are becoming gods and goddesses as news of their extraordinary adventures sweeps across the land. In this world, Epona, a woman whose life is celebrated in legend, meets Kazhak, a Scythian warrior and prince. Their stormy love affair sends them sweeping across eighth-century Europe, pursued from the Alps to the Ukraine by Kernunnos--a mysterious Druid priest known as the "Shapechanger."

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I, Columbus: My Journal 1492-1493

Roop, Peter

Excerpts from Columbus’s journal.

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I, Juan de Pareja

Borton de Trevino, Elizabeth

Society of Classical Spain and the great painter Velasquez, through the eyes of his closest associate and servant. Yes, P-a-r-e-j-a.


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Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Harris, Robert

A novel of ancient Rome – the cautionary tale of Cicero, the greatest orator of all time, and his extraordinary struggle for power in Rome.


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The Inheritors

Golding, William

Eight Neanderthals encounter another race of beings like themselves, yet strangely different. This new race, Homo sapiens, fascinating in their skills and sophistication, terrifying in their cruelty, sense of guilt, and incipient corruption, spell doom for the more gentle folk whose world they will inherit.

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Isaac Newton

Gleick, James

Brings the reader into Newton’s reclusive life, but primarily provides clear explanations of the concepts that forever changed our perception of bodies, rest, and motion – ideas so basic to the 21st century that it can truly be said: We are all Newtonians! Recommended for math/physics students.


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Islam: A Short History

Armstrong, Karen

No religion in the modern world is as feared and misunderstood as Islam. It haunts the popular imagination as an extreme faith that promotes terrorism, authoritarian government, female oppression, and civil war. In a vital revision of this narrow view of Islam and a distillation of years of thinking and writing about the subject, Karen Armstrong’s short history demonstrates that the world’s fastest-growing faith is a much more complex phenomenon than its modern fundamentalist strain might suggest.

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The Janissary Tree: A Novel

Goodwin, Jason

Murder mystery set in the twilight of the Ottoman Empire.


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Jayne Eyre

Bronte, Charlotte

Jane Eyre is the story of a small, plain-faced, intelligent, and passionate English orphan. Jane is abused by her aunt and cousin and then attends a harsh charity school. Through it all she remains strong and determinedly refuses to allow a cruel world to crush her independence or her strength of will. A masterful story of a woman's quest for freedom and love. Jane Eyre is partly autobiographical, and Charlotte Brontë filled it with social criticism and sinister Gothic elements. A must read for anyone wishing to celebrate the indomitable strength of will or encourage it in their growing children.

 judge dee at work

 Judge Dee At Work: 8 Chinese Detective Stories

 VanGulik, Robert

 The eight short stories in Judge Dee at Work cover a decade during which the judge served in four different provinces of the T'ang Empire.

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Julius Caesar

Shakespeare, William

Roman dictator Julius Caesar returns from a victorious campaign in Spain, causing his fellow-citizens to mistrust the scope of his political ambitions. Afraid that he will accept the title of ‘king’, a group of conspirators persuade Marcus Brutus to join their plot against Caesar. William Shakespeare’s play revolves around Marcus Brutus as he grapples with issues of friendship, honor, and patriotism.


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King Leopold’s Ghost

Hochschild, Adam

The haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust.


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The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Czar

Alexander, Robert

Recreation of the the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra as seen through the eyes of the Romanovs’ young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs’ brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family.

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Le Morte D’ Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table

Baines, Keith

From the incredible wizadry of Merlin to the passion of Sir Lancelot, these tales of Arthur and his knights offer epic adventures with the supernatural as well as timeless battles with out own humanity.

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Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire

Remnick, David

An account of the collapse of the Soviet Union combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism.

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Les Miserables

Hugo, Victor

First published in France in 1862, it is Victor Hugo's greatest achievement--the ultimate tale of redemption. Former prisoner Jean Valjean struggles to live virtuously after an unexpected act of forgiveness by a kindly bishop changes his life. His righteous actions change people's lives in surprising ways and culminate in romance between two young people.


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Letters from Rifka

Hesse, Karen

Rifka knows nothing about America when she flees from Russia with her family in 1919. But she dreams she will at last be safe from the Russian soldiers and their harsh treatment of the Jews in the new country. Throughout her journey, Rifka carries with her a cherished volume of poetry by Alexander Pushkin. In it, she records her observations and experiences in the form of letters to her beloved cousin she has left behind. Strong-hearted and determined, Rifka must endure a great deal: humiliating examinations by doctors and soldiers, deadly typhus, separation from all she has ever known and loved, murderous storms at sea—and as if this is not enough, the loss of her glorious golden hair. And even if she does make it to America, she’s not sure America will have her.


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Life Along the Silk Road

Whitfield, Susan

Brings alive the now ruined and sand-covered desert towns and their inhabitants. Readers encounter an Ulghur nomad from the Gobi Desert accompanying a herd of steppe ponies for sale to the Chinese state; Ah-long, widow of a prosperous merchant, now reduced to poverty and forced to resort to law and charity to survive; and the Chinese princess sent as part of a diplomatic deal to marry a Turkish kaghan. In the process we learn about women's lives, modes of communication, weapons, types of cosmetics, methods of treating altitude sickness in the Tibetan army, and ways that merchants cheated their customers.
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