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14 Best History Books Every Historian Needs To Read: Cundill History Prize Longlist

History is a captivating tapestry that reveals the triumphs, struggles, and evolution of societies worldwide.

For historians, delving into exceptional history books is a lifelong quest.

The Cundill History Prize Longlist showcases works that illuminate diverse periods, cultures, and pivotal moments. Here are the top 14 history books from the longlist that every historian should explore:

Do you have any of these books and will you be adding any to your collection?

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post features Amazon affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.

In "The Loss of Hindustan," Manan Ahmed Asif offers a thought-provoking exploration of the concept of India. He challenges traditional narratives and exposes how the idea of India was constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed throughout history. Asif's work delves into the complexities of identity, colonialism, and the fluidity of geographical and cultural boundaries.

Guy de la Bédoyère takes readers beyond the grand battles and conquests of the Roman Empire, revealing the everyday lives of Roman soldiers. "Gladius" provides an intimate glimpse into the experiences of these soldiers, from training and discipline to the challenges they faced on and off the battlefield.

"Survivors" by Rebecca Clifford tells the heart-wrenching stories of children who survived the Holocaust. This book sheds light on the long-term psychological, emotional, and social impact of the Holocaust on its youngest survivors, exploring how they navigated a world forever changed by the atrocities they witnessed.

Linda Colley's work examines the interplay between warfare, constitutional development, and the shaping of the modern world. She traces how conflicts, technological advancements, and political ideologies have shaped societies and redefined the balance of power on a global scale.

Marie Favereau's "The Horde" explores the profound impact of the Mongol Empire on world history. From the Silk Road to the spread of cultural exchange, the book illustrates how the Mongols transformed global connections and shaped the course of history.

Tim Harper's work uncovers the stories of global revolutionaries who fought against colonial empires. "Underground Asia" reveals the interconnectedness of anti-colonial movements, highlighting the ways in which individuals and groups across Asia collaborated to challenge imperial powers.

Shay Hazkani's book offers a deep dive into the social dimensions of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. "Dear Palestine" sheds light on the experiences of ordinary people caught in the midst of conflict, offering a perspective often overshadowed by geopolitical narratives.

Judith Herrin's exploration of Ravenna takes readers on a journey through its transformation from the capital of the Western Roman Empire to a pivotal center of medieval Europe. "Ravenna" showcases the city's rich history and its enduring legacy on European culture.

"Vanguard" by Martha Jones highlights the often-overlooked contributions of Black women in the fight for suffrage and civil rights. Through their stories, the book showcases the essential role these women played in shaping the trajectory of American democracy.

Marjoleine Kars explores the Berbice slave uprising and its impact on colonial power dynamics. "Blood on the River" offers a detailed account of this lesser-known event, shedding light on the complexities of resistance and freedom in the Atlantic World.

Louis Menand's book examines how art and intellectual thought intersected with the politics of the Cold War era. "The Free World" explores how cultural expressions and ideas were influenced by and, in turn, influenced the geopolitical landscape.

"An Infinite History" by Emma Rothschild offers a unique perspective by tracing the story of a French family across three centuries. Through the lens of this family's experiences, the book provides insights into the broader historical shifts that shaped their lives.

Sujit Sivasundaram's work offers a fresh perspective on global history by exploring the interactions between revolutionary movements and imperial powers in the Southern Hemisphere. "Waves Across the South" illuminates the often-overlooked dynamics of revolution and empire in this region.

Tyler Stovall's "White Freedom" delves into the concept of "white freedom" and its historical implications. The book examines how this idea has been used to justify racial hierarchies and how it has evolved over time.


If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my history book lists on my blog-

These 14 books from the Cundill History Prize Longlist provide readers with a diverse and captivating array of historical insights.

From reimagining the idea of India to uncovering the lives of Roman soldiers and exploring the impact of revolutions, each book offers a unique lens through which to view the complexities of human history.


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