Recommended History Books:


Medieval

  • Warriors of God (James Reston, Jr.):  Excellent portraits of the two great leaders who confronted each other in the Third Crusade--Saladin and Richard the Lionheart.
  • Dungeon, Fire and Sword (John J. Robinson):  Fascinating history of the rise and fall of the Knights Templar
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings (Amy Kelly):  What a woman! Abandoned one king, married another and was mother to two more!
  • 1215, The Year of Magna Carta (Danny Danziger):  An excellent view of not only the politics of the times, but all aspects of society at this pivotal moment in Western civilization.
  • ​The Greatest Knight (Thomas Asbridge):  A new and very readable biography of a neglected giant of English history--William Marshall.
  • A History of Wales (J.E. Lloyd): The first definitive history of Wales from the Norman Invasion to the Edwardian Conquest.  A classic.
  • The Age of Conquest (R.R. Davies):  Another great reference work on medieval Wales.
  • Llywelyn the Great (Roger Turvey):  The best biography of a great Welsh prince.


Middle Ages

  • Peter the Great (Robert K. Massie):  The extraordinary giant who pulled Russia, at least part way, out of the Dark Ages.

18th Century

  • His Excellency (Joseph J. Ellis): This biography forever replaces the wooden image of George Washington with a vivid portrait of the extraordinary and indispensable man he was at the birth of our nation.

19th Century

  • The Washing of the Spears (Donald R. Morris):  The classic history of the rise and fall of the Zulu nation under Shaka and his successors.
  • Team of Rivals (Doris Kearns Goodwin):  Pulitzer Prize telling of how Abraham Lincoln forged his government and won the Civil War.



I love history!  I've been a reader all my life, but it wasn't until I took an elective class on Peter the Great in college that I came to understand what great stories the past holds.  Did you know that Peter the Great was almost 7 feet tall at a time when the average man was 5' 4"?  Or that he traveled to Holland while he was Czar and worked for months as an apprentice ship builder?  Stranger than fiction--no?  So now I am playing out my long-time ambition to meld my love of great stories with my love of history by writing historical fiction.  On this page I plan to provide some of my thoughts on history and fiction and point the reader towards some interesting information on both.

Interesting Links:


Video on the longbow: 





History Behind the Fiction



Birth of a Weapon:

20th Century

  • Nicholas and Alexandra (Robert K. Massie)  The fall of the House of Romanov and the beginning of Communist rule in Russia.
  • The Fall of Berlin, 1945,  (Anthony Beevor):  It's hard to imagine the chaos that gripped Germany as the Allied armies approached Berlin.  Beevor makes it all shockingly imaginable.  Beevor's book D-Day is also an excellent account of the battle for Normandy.
  • Sea of Fury (Evan Thomas):  A concise history of the naval war in the Pacific told through the actions of four commanders--2 American and 2 Japanese.
  • Hell in a Very Small Place (Bernard. B Fall): The story of the besieged French defenders of Dien Bien Phu and the Viet Minh who defeated them.  A sobering foreshadowing of our own experiences in Vietnam.
  • ​Charlie Wilson's War (George Crile):  It's hard to put down this incredible true story of how a Congressman from Texas defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan