Jump to content


Any good history books that read like a good novel?


Recommended Posts

Unbroken (the young adult adaptation maybe; your call) by Hillebrand

I love anything by Erik Larson (Devil in the White City; In the Garden of Beasts; Dead Wake, etc. These tackle tragedies and some tough stuff at times but so interesting.)

I'm currently reading and enjoying The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill by Greg Mitchell


How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France (this is on my to-read list so I can't give personal experience yet)

Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candace Millard

HIdden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (movie is based on this)

The Week the World Stood Still (about the Cuban Missile Crisis) by Stern  (I'm sure this one--and many historical accounts--have some inherent bias so you'd have to do your research if that matters to you!)

Failure is Not An Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond by Gene Kranz (several stories)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seconding Erik Larson.  My son loved Isaac's Storm  and then went on to read The Perfect Storm (by Sebastian Junger).  


In the Heart of the Sea is gripping but grim.  It's the true story of a whaling ship destroyed by a whale; the inspiration for Moby-Dick.  So interesting and well-written but... very disturbing in places.   I would read others by the author, Nathanial Philbrick.


My son has read a lot about World War II; he highly recommends The Winter Fortress by Neal Bascomb. 


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How "fiction" are you willing to lean? Bernard Cornwell had a few series that would fall into your categories, I'm thinking of one I read recently about the King Alfred vs. the Vikings in Britain. The stories are entertaining, formulaic, and usually have very flat female characters. The main events are there, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over the Edge of the World by Bergreen (about Magellan) - It was pretty slow to start, but I ended up really liking it.

Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery by Hollingham - This one goes way back and right up to the present (2008 at least). It was really good, and at times very gory!


I would say both of these are PG-13. I almost recommended Over the Edge of the World to my nephew, but he was 10 at the time and I changed my mind. The book talked about the sexual habits of pacific islanders in more detail than I was comfortable with for a kid. Blood and Guts has a chapter about sex reassignment surgery. Just FYI!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...