History book reviews

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



Steaming to Victory: How Britain's Railways Won the War
by Michael Williams
Ashley Jackson enjoys an exploration of the key role that Britain's railway network played in the Second World War
Red Nile: A Biography of the World's Greatest River
by Robert Twigger
Joyce Tyldesley rates a compelling take on thousands of years of life on the banks of the world’s longest river
Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution
by Nathaniel Philbrick
Benjamin L Carp commends an account of a key conflict in the American War of Independence
High Minds: The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain
by Simon Heffer
Yvonne Sherratt considers a masterful book that highlights the role of Victorian thought in the emergence of modern Britain
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One
by Charles Moore
Alwyn W Turner considers the first part of an ‘authorised’ Thatcher biography, exploring her life and career up to 1982
Rebranding Rule: The Restoration and Revolution Monarchy, 1660-1715
by Kevin Sharpe
Daniel Szechi has high praise for a study of the bond between England’s monarchy and subjects in the 17th and 18th centuries
Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air
by Richard Holmes
Julian Humphrys is captivated by a history of ballooning and the pioneers who risked their lives to reach new heights
Iron, Steam and Money: The Making of the Industrial Revolution
by Roger Osborne
Emma Griffin on an account that stresses the role of technology and invention in its chronicling of the industrial revolution
The Conquest of the Ocean: The Illustrated History of Seafaring
by Brian Lavery
Sam Willis has mixed feelings about a volume that comes up short in its aim to tell the global history of seafaring
Saint Augustine of Hippo: An Intellectual Biography
by Miles Hollingworth
Christopher Kelly on a new biography of St Augustine, whose ideas were central to the development of Christianity
July 1914: Countdown to War
by Sean McMeekin
Nigel Jones rates a new account exploring the diplomatic decisions that plunged Europe into the First World War
by Jonathan Conlin
Leo Hollis praises a perceptive take on the relationship between London and Paris, and how it shaped the modern global city
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