Welcome to my Book Lover’s Gift Guide Series! I’m helping you take the guesswork out of shopping for some of the difficult people on your Christmas list by providing you with interest-focused gift guides. Each week from November 4 through December 16 I’ll post a new Gift Guide. Be sure to subscribe to my email list for regular updates!
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These books are personal recommendations by me. And it’s a short list, especially for this genre. But they are all great additions to a home library for the book lover or history buff! I love history, and I am a little partial to original sources whenever possible, so most of these books fit that perfectly.
The Doomsday Book – this is an incredible book! It’s the oldest surviving public record. In 1086, William the Conqueror ordered a survey of every part of British lands, including the people, lands, and cattle. He needed to be able to fight the invading Scandinavians, and so took a sort of census to determine the population and wealth of his new lands. From domesday.com: The Domesday Book provides an invaluable insight into the economy and society of 11th century Norman England. For historians it can be used, amongst other things, to discover the wealth of England at the time, information about the feudal system existent in society (the social hierarchy from the king down to villagers and slaves), and information about the geography and demographic situation of the country. For local historians it can reveal the history of a local settlement and its population and surroundings, whilst for genealogists it provides a useful and fascinating resource for tracing family lines. Through the centuries the Domesday Book has also been used as evidence in disputes over ancient land and property rights, though the last case of this was in the 1960s.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – It is an incredible gift to modern readers to be able to own a paperback copy of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for a few dollars. As Bob Carruthers states in the introduction: “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is one of the most important sets of historical documents concerning the history of the British Isles. Without these vital documents we would have virtually no knowledge of some of the key events in the history of these islands during the dark ages.” The Chronicle was begun in the 9th Century A.D. by a scribe in Wessex, and chronicles the history of Britain from 60 B.C. It is a a must-have for students and history buffs!
Marco Polo’s Travels – When Marco Polo traveled east to Asia in the late 1200’s, he saw a civilization that most Europeans were ignorant of. After the 24-year journey, he returned home to Venice, Italy and was promptly imprisoned. While there, he dictated the account of his travels to a cellmate. He was released from prison in 1299, and published his book in 1300. His writings would influence many explorers and mapmakers for many hundreds of years.
A Time to Stand – Freedom lovers and all Texans will enjoy this excellent narrative of the Texas fight for independence. It’s history, adventure, and revolution all wrapped up in a well-written story. I always recommend this book to anyone planning a visit to the Alamo. You won’t see the old mission the same way ever again.
Journals of Lewis and Clark – When the American west was newly purchased from France, President Thomas Jefferson wanted an official exploration of this new, wide land, and he hand-picked two men perfectly fit for the job. They kept detailed records of every mile of the trip, from the Indian tribes, the flora and fauna, the animals, streams, weather, and more. It’s a science book as well as a history book. Imagine seeing the west with Lewis and Clark! This book is the closest we can come today.
Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the Mountains – This story is the autobiography of William F. Drannon, who spent his early years as a mountain man under the eye of Kit Carson in the primitive days of the American West. It was published in 1903 and is a hilarious and entertaining ride back in time! Some have accused him of making the whole thing up, but I tend to ignore those armchair historians. This is both fun and educational.
Mohammed & Charlemange – I’ll preface this recommendation by saying I have not read this book yet, but it’s on my list and looks very intriguing. From Amazon: The final work of the great Belgian historian Henri Pirenne, this remarkable classic — published after his death — offers a revolutionary perspective on how Europe under the influence of a Roman Empire centered in Constantinople evolved into the Europe of Charlemagne and the Middle Ages. Departing from the standard view that Germanic invasions obliterated the Roman Empire, Pirenne advances the radical new thesis that “the cause of the break with the tradition of antiquity was the rapid and unexpected advance of Islam,” and event of historical proportions that prevented the western Mediterranean from being what it had always been: a thoroughfare of commerce and thought. It became instead what Pirenne refers to as “a Musulman lake,” thereby causing “the axis of life [to shift] northwards from the Mediterranean” for the first time in history. This is a good pick for anyone who’s interested in world history and its big picture.
History of the English Speaking Peoples – Winston Churchill began writing the history of the English people before WWII began. Not surprisingly, he had to put it aside for some years. But he completed this 4-volume work and published it in the 1950s. It is well written, and easy to read, just like a great story. The first volume begins at the point where Julius Ceasar turned his notice to Britain, and the 4th volume ends in the early 20th Century. I was fortunate enough to find a hardback set at a used book sale for $4. It is available in paperback, Kindle, and Audible.
These are some of my favorites, but there are SO many more that could go in this category. Do you have some good recommendations? Please share in the comments below!
Do you want some of these added to your wish-list? Hey, I totally understand! Share this post on your social media as a hint for your loved ones. : )
If YOU are a history buff, well…join the club! You might like my HISTORY page. Stick around!
Hi! I’m Nicki! Welcome to my blog! I live in Texas with my husband and five children, and a wild assortment of dog, cats, chickens, and ducks. I’m a second-generation homeschooler, a book lover, and history enthusiast. I gush about all of these things on this blog, and I hope to share the love with you! Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Join my subscriber list for access to my FREE Download Library:
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