11.24.2008

Hanukkah and Christmas Presents: Non-fiction Books

With the holiday season approaching, I'd like to recommend a few books that would make great gifts.

For those interested in recent history, and why so many fiscal conservative voters have deserted the GOP, I'd recommend Bruce Bartlett's Impostor.

Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy - Amazon.com



This is the best introduction I know to Roman military history, and Adrian Goldsworthy is a brilliant and very sound academic who writes like a dream. In the Name of Rome covers the major commanders including Marius, his protege Sulla and his nephew Julius Caesar.

In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire (Phoenix Press)
- Amazon.co.uk
In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire (Phoenix Press) - Amazon.com
Adrian's The Fall of Carthage is a more specific military history dealing with Scipio and the end of the Punic Empire.

The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (Cassell Military Paperbacks) - Amazon.co.uk
The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (Cassell Military Paperbacks) - Amazon.com



Given the rise of Christian Fundamentalism in the States, Adrian Murdoch's life of Julian the Apostate is a fascinating insight into the last swansong of paganism, and the rise of Christianity as a state religion. It's also very easy to read.

The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World - Amazon.com
The Last Pagan - Amazon.co.uk
Julius Caesar was the last 'great' of the Roman Republic - a politician, a general, a lover and a fighter. Adrian's biography is heavyweight - but so was the man.

Caesar: The Life of a Colossus
- Amazon.co.uk
In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire (Phoenix Press) - Amazon.com
The wife of Sir William Hamilton, the lover of Nelson - and a fascinating woman. Kate Williams' biography of Emma Hamilton brings her to life, as well as 18th century Naples when archaeology was being born (Hamilton excavated at Herculaneum, and formed two great collections of antiquities).

England's Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton - Amazon.co.uk
England's Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton - Amazon.com

Kate's new biography is of Queen Victoria, or more specifically her early years Becoming Queen. A fascinating insight into the life of the woman who shaped 19th century Britain.
Becoming Queen - Amazon.com (US edition not yet available)
Becoming Queen - Amazon.co.uk


My book, the Elgin Marbles, is the story of the Parthenon and of the city of Athens from the dinosaurs to Greek Independence in 1831. If you think you know the basics about the Parthenon, it might surprise you. [for Greek friends I would recommend packaging it with an axe, as a novelty gift]

The Elgin Marbles
- Amazon.co.uk

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