History book reviews

Reviews of the latest history books, all written by expert historians.



The Power of Knowledge: How Information and Technology Made the Modern World
by Jeremy Black
Aileen Fyfe on a sweeping effort to unpick the complex links between data and the development of western societies
Buildings of Empire
by Ashley Jackson
Denis Judd assesses an exploration of the spread of the British empire through the physical structures it left behind
Goodbye to All That?: The Story of Europe Since 1945
by Dan Stone
Odd Arne Westad commends a balanced, insightful take on the challenges faced by Europe following the Second World War
Book review – Red Fortress: The Secret History of Russia's History
by Catherine Merridale
Simon Dixon praises a history of the Kremlin that examines those who sought to control Russia from behind its walls
Empress Dowager Cixi
by Jung Chang
Hans van de Ven explores a biography of the unofficial, but powerful, ruler of China's Qing dynasty for almost 50 years
The Men Who United the States
by Simon Winchester
Adam IP Smith commends an imaginative survey of the men and institutions responsible for building the United States
The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence
by Charles Townshend
Cormac Ó Grada assesses a study of the key individuals and events that shaped Ireland’s path to independence
The Rainborowes
by Adrian Tinniswood
Claire Jowitt on a biography of one 17th-century family, and its role in religion and war in England and the US
When Britain Burned the White House: The 1814 Invasion of Washington
by Peter Snow
Andrew Lambert praises a look of the roles of statesmen and servicemen in an often neglected period of US history
The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945–57
by Frank Dikötter
Robert Bickers on a vivid exploration of the bloody reality behind the ‘golden age’ of the Chinese Revolution
The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BCE – 1492 CE
by Simon Schama
Colin Shindler commends the first volume of a witty and wide-reaching history of the Jewish people across centuries
Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot
by Giles Milton
Nigel Jones is gripped by a vivid account of the efforts by members of the Secret Intelligence Service to infiltrate Russia
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