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Tom Holland

Recommended Books

Tom Holland is an award-winning historian, biographer and broadcaster.
26 books on the list
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Latest Recommendations First
The Emergence of the English book cover
The Emergence of the English
Susan Oosthuizen - Apr 30, 2019
Goodreads Rating
This book takes a critical approach to the dominant explanation for the transformation from post-Roman to 'Anglo-Saxon' society in Britain from the fifth to the eighth century: that change resulted from north-west European immigration into Britain. After testing this paradigm, the author explores the increasing amount of evidence for the gradual ev...
Tom Holland
May 18, 2021
@ADShimmin @dcsandbrook @TheRestHistory @Real_HistoryGuy @DrSueOosthuizen’s recent (& accessibly short) book on the origins of the English particularly bracing      source
This Sporting Life book cover
This Sporting Life
Sport and Liberty in England, 1760-1960
Robert Colls - Oct 27, 2020
Goodreads Rating
Why did killing a fox mean liberty? What did parish revels have to do with the Peterloo Massacre? What did animal cruelty have to do with the English constitution? What did the Factory Acts mean for modern football?In This Sporting Life, Robert Colls explains sport as one of England's great civil cultures. The lived experiences of people from all w...
Tom Holland
Feb 28, 2021
I’m so enjoying Robert Colls’ book on the history of English sport, #ThisSportingLife. Not just boxing - fox-hunting and poaching too. I had no idea they were so fascinating!      source
Moses the Egyptian book cover
Moses the Egyptian
The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism
Jan Assmann - Oct 15, 1998 (first published in 1997)
Goodreads Rating
Standing at the very foundation of monotheism, and so of Western culture, Moses is a figure not of history, but of memory. As such, he is the quintessential subject for the innovative historiography Jan Assmann both defines and practices in this work, the study of historical memory--a study, in this case, of the ways in which factual and fictional ...
Tom Holland
Feb 20, 2021
One of the most thrilling books on Akhenaten I've read is Jan Assman's Moses The Egyptian, in which he relates Tacitus' garbled version of the Exodus myth to buried memories of Akhenaten's heresy. Maybe it will come up when @dcsandbrook & I record this?      source
Escape from Rome book cover
Escape from Rome
The Failure of Empire and the Road to Prosperity (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World, 94)
Walter Scheidel - Oct 15, 2019
Goodreads Rating
The gripping story of how the end of the Roman Empire was the beginning of the modern worldThe fall of the Roman Empire has long been considered one of the greatest disasters in history. But in this groundbreaking book, Walter Scheidel argues that Rome's dramatic collapse was actually the best thing that ever happened, clearing the path for Europe'...
Tom Holland
Feb 10, 2021
I finish @WalterScheidel’s Escape From Rome: a book which ranges across time & space in the best manner of global history, & is not only hugely stimulating, but great fun. Anyone who has ever played Civilization will particularly enjoy it.      source
History Has Begun book cover
History Has Begun
The Birth of a New America
Bruno Maçães - Sep 01, 2020
Goodreads Rating
Popular consensus says that the US rose over two centuries to Cold War victory and world domination, and is now in slow decline. But is this right? History's great civilizations have always lasted much longer, and for all its colossal power, American culture was overshadowed by Europe until recently. What if this isn't the end?In History Has Begun,...
Tom Holland
Jan 08, 2021
@peterpomeranzev Have your read @MacaesBruno's book on America? You must, if not!      source
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible book cover
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible
Peter Pomerantsev - Sep 21, 2017 (first published in 2014)
Goodreads Rating
A journey into the glittering, surreal heart of 21st century Russia: into the lives of Hells Angels convinced they are messiahs, professional killers with the souls of artists, bohemian theatre directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, supermodel sects, post-modern dictators and oligarch revolutionaries.This is a world erupting with new money and ne...
Tom Holland
Jan 08, 2021
@EscaleraCat @pollsstar @MacaesBruno Cf @peterpomeranzev brilliant book on Putin’s Russia      source
Also recommended by
John Sipher
The Enlightenment book cover
The Enlightenment
The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680-1790
Ritchie Robertson - Feb 23, 2021
Goodreads Rating
This magisterial history—sure to become the definitive work on the subject—recasts the Enlightenment as a period not solely consumed with rationale and reason, but rather as a pursuit of practical means to achieve greater human happiness.One of the formative periods of European and world history, the Enlightenment is the fountainhead of modern secu...
Tom Holland
Dec 17, 2020
My review for @TheTimesBooks of a book I hugely admired & enjoyed, & learned a lot from: Ritchie Robertson's The #Enlightenment. (Cricket fans, be warned: do not let skimming this tweet fool you into thinking that the book is by a West Indies Test great.)      source
Fifth Sun book cover
Fifth Sun
A New History of the Aztecs
Camilla Townsend - Nov 01, 2019
Goodreads Rating
In November 1519, Hernando Cortés walked along a causeway leading to the capital of the Aztec kingdom and came face to face with Moctezuma. That story—and the story of what happened afterwards—has been told many times, but always following the narrative offered by the Spaniards. After all, we have been taught, it was the Europeans who held the pens...
Tom Holland
Dec 06, 2020
@KateLeeComms I just read a wonderful book called 5th Sun by Camilla Townsend - about the Aztecs.      source
The Last Wolf book cover
The Last Wolf
Jim Crumley - Sep 26, 2010
Goodreads Rating
In The Last Wolf, Jim Crumley explores the place of the wolf in Scotland - past, present and future - and challenges many of the myths that have been regarded for centuries as biological fact. Bringing to bear a lifetime's immersion in his native landscape and more than twenty years as a professional nature writer, Crumley questions much of the wri...
Tom Holland
Nov 24, 2020
@Tu59564061Linda It’s a wonderful book, I thought. Accessible, passionate, moving.      source
The Beginnings of Rome book cover
The Beginnings of Rome
Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c.1000-264 BC) (The Routledge History of the Ancient World)
T. J. Cornell - Oct 05, 1995
Goodreads Rating
Using the results of archaeological techniques, and examining methodological debates, Tim Cornell provides a lucid and authoritative account of the rise of Rome. The beginnings of Rome, once thought to be lost in the mists of legend, are now being revealed by an ever-increasing body of archaeological evidence, much of it unearthed during the past t...
Tom Holland
Oct 17, 2020
@Sou_Flamengo81 First books of Livy, Cornell’s The Beginnings of Rome, & Remus and The Myths of Rome by TP Wiseman - as starters!      source
Remus book cover
A Roman Myth
T. P. Wiseman - Sep 07, 1995 (first published in 1899)
Goodreads Rating
Romulus founded Rome -- but why does the myth give him a twin brother Remus, who is killed at the moment of the foundation? This mysterious legend has been oddly neglected. Roman historians ignore it as irrelevant to real history; students of myth concentrate on the more glamorous mythology of Greece, and treat Roman stories as of little interest. ...
Tom Holland
Oct 17, 2020
@Sou_Flamengo81 First books of Livy, Cornell’s The Beginnings of Rome, & Remus and The Myths of Rome by TP Wiseman - as starters!      source
Our Place by
Angels with Dirty Faces by Jonathan Wilson
Winter King by Thomas Penn
The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell
The Missing Lynx by Ross Barnett
The Fortunes of Francis Barber by Michael Bundock
Green Smoke by Rosemary Manning
The Hindus by Wendy Doniger
Digging Up Britain by Mike Pitts
On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
The Secret History of the Roman Roads of Britain by M. C. Bishop
The Northumbrians by Dan Jackson
The Greek Experience of India by Richard Stoneman
The Moon by Oliver Morton
The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs by Adrian J Desmond