Sir Simon Michael Schama CBE FBA FRSL is an English historian specialising in art history, Dutch history, Jewish history and French history. He is a University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University, New York. He first came to public attention with his history of the French Revolution titled Citizens, published in 1989.
26 books on the list
Latest Recommendations First
Enemies and Neighbors
Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017
Deeply sorry to hear of Ian's tragically early death. His middle east books especially Enemies and Neighbours will endure as essential reading ; he was a lovely man as well as a brilliant writer – source
"Seven Types of Ambiguity" is a renowned literary analysis that delves deep into the nuance of language and the various interpretations that arise from it. The author brilliantly categorizes and examines works from literary greats, including Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Eliot. This thought-provoking and widely quoted book is a must-read for any avid reader seeking to expand their understanding of language and its infinite possibilities.
a very great book - big influence on the teenage me – source
Discover the poignant life of a single object passed down through three generations of Black women, told with brilliance and tenderness in this National Book Award-winning book. A cotton bag filled with precious items became a token of love and survival in the face of the imminent sale of a nine-year-old slave girl named Ashley. Her granddaughter Ruth embroidered the bag with haunting language, preserving a sweeping family history of loss and love. Historian Tiya Miles uses objects and art to uncover the stories of these resilient women, revealing unknown facets of the experience of slavery and uncertain freedom in the United States. All That She Carried is a visionary tribute to the fierce resourcefulness of those who preserve family ties against steep odds.
phenomenal book – source
A novel by Charles Dickens that explores themes of poverty, injustice, and social hierarchy in 19th century England. The story follows the life of a young woman named Little Dorrit as she navigates the complexities of living in a debtor's prison and strives for a better life. Available in digital format, including Kindle.
@MarBenCel1 Little Dorrit's opening and closing are astonishing - unlike anything else in his books I think - more like Hugo or even Zola.. architecture is a character in its own right as it is so often w Hugo. Miss Wade a riveting character. – source
"Discover the fascinating histories behind some of the world's greatest works of art paired with creatively inspired cocktails in this collection of lively and informative essays. From medieval times to the early twentieth century, explore exemplary pieces from esteemed New York collection as curators share their knowledge on famed artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Velázquez. Each work is thematically paired with a delicious cocktail recipe, adding a delightful twist to this crash course in art history. Whether you're an art enthusiast or cocktail lover, this innovative and intoxicating book is a must-have addition to any collection."
here's a lovely thing - just arrived - book form ( w brief foreword by me) of weekly talks during Covid lovkdown by brilliant @frickcollection curators on masterpieces from the collection plus matching cocktails. A saver of sanity; weekly glass of learned pleasure. – source
A captivating historical fiction novel set in Tudor England, The Mirror & the Light tells the story of Thomas Cromwell's climb to power and wealth after the execution of Anne Boleyn. Despite the threats of rebellion, traitors, and invasion, Cromwell imagines a new country in the future, but wonders if a person or a nation can truly shed their past. Hilary Mantel brings the trilogy that began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies to a triumphant close with this defining portrait of predator and prey, royal will and common man's vision, and the creation of a modern nation through conflict, passion, and courage.
The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel — ‘majestic and poetic’ my tribute to this very great book and its author – source
Explore the untold stories of South Asian families who witnessed one of the most tumultuous events in the 20th century – India's partition. After discovering her father's suppressed memories of this devastating aftermath, author Kavita Puri felt compelled to seek out other first-hand accounts. Partition Voices unravels a breathtaking tapestry of human experience spanning seven decades, shaped by pain, loss, and compassion. Through empathy and nuance, Puri confronts the difficult truths at the heart of Britain's shared history with South Asia.
ditto - absolutely wonderful book about a deeply tragic moment – source
Explore the largest uprising in human history and the foreshadowing of China's terrible convulsions in God's Chinese Son. This powerful historical account follows the Taiping rebellion of 1845-64, with the failed Confucian student Hong Xiuquan at its center. After ascending to heaven in a dream and meeting his heavenly family, including God and Jesus, he returns to earth with a mission to eradicate the "demon-devils," the alien Manchu rulers of China. His success leads him and his followers to rule a large part of south China for over a decade, until their decline and fall results in the death of over 20 million Chinese. Witness the narrative power of a great historian at his best in this must-read book.
Another of Jonathan Spence's extraordinary books was God's Chinese Son, his history of the Taiping Rebellion - no one can really claim they know the 19th century unless they have understood this epic upheaval that took millions of lives. – source
Discover the fascinating world of ants with this comprehensive and visually stunning book. Written by the world's leading experts, it covers all aspects of ant anatomy, physiology, social organization, ecology, and natural history. With almost a thousand illustrations, it is both an introduction to the subject and an encyclopedia reference for researchers in entomology, ecology, and sociobiology.
The Ants (1990) is an astonishing book; absolutely gripping and confounding - however much you think that entomology isnt your thing, it will be,, I promise. It's a huge book about amazing creatures. And Ed Wilson was a lovely committee colleague at Harvard when I was there. – source
Immerse yourself in the world of Anne Elliot with this special edition of a much-beloved classic. Experience Jane Austen's captivating story of second chances and enduring love in a whole new way with removable replicas of characters' letters and other paper ephemera. With two upcoming film adaptations of Persuasion, now is the perfect time to revisit the original text and deepen your connection to Austen's world. This unique format, featuring masterful calligraphy and historical detail, stands apart on the shelf and makes for a truly lovely gift and keepsake for fans of Jane Austen, letter writing, and vintage ephemera.
@CassCookson the book is so wonderful - autumnal, stained with sorrowing regret, intense with its quietness .. makes Emma look lurid and contrived by comparison and P n P too stagey – source
Also recommended byBethanne Patrick
Albert and the Whale by Philip Hoare
Jews Don’t Count by David Baddiel
Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera
Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
James Joyce and Italo Svevo by Stanley Price
Sellout by Paul Beatty
The Armada by Garrett Mattingly
Empire and Information by C. A. Bayly
American Scripture by Pauline Maier
The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadter
The Sea Around Us by Rachel L. Carson
The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci by Jonathan D. Spence
The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan by Vartan Gregorian
A Certain World by W. H. Auden