Over the years I’ve collected quite a few books, websites, and other useful resources for those who want to learn more about history. Some of the below are also useful when learning how to research and look at history. I’ve decided to put all of my resources here in case it may interest someone. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. These are mainly confined to the books, and the Amazon links are fairly easy to distinguish. If you have your ad blocker on, they may not show up, so I’ve also provided a text link in the title of each book.
In the collections below, I’ll try to go from general to specific, so if you’d like to get into a new topic, you can start with any of the first books to get a decent grounding in the subject. I will be continually updating this page, so make sure to check back often! I have plenty of resources to share, but it will take a while for me to get all of them up.
General History Resources
These books are what I consider general “History” books. They don’t necessarily focus on one place or time, or may be about a specific topic that spans multiple places and times. These make for great history resources when you are looking for an idea for a paper or post.
The Book of This Day in History by Jim Daley.
This book is probably the most general book you can find about history. Pick a date, and author Jim Daley will tell you some of the notable events that happened on that day. He does not stick to a particular topic or subset of history. You can find technological history, political history, sports history, etc. etc. in this book. It’s great if you want a quick daily read on history.
Flappers, Bootleggers, “Typhoid Mary” and the Bomb by Barrington Boardman
I tend to find this book just pain fun. Barrington Boardman looks at the 20th century. It’s marketed as US history, but I’ve found plenty of history regarding other countries in here as well. Boardman walks through 1923-1945, going year by year. Much like This Day in History above, he takes the most notable events on a variety of topics. You’ll find war history next to history of fashion, and heart warming stories next to weird history. It’s a light and easy read.
Hung, Drawn and Quartered: The Story of Execution Through the Ages By Jonathan J. Moore
Jonathan Moore examines execution throughout human history, from the earliest recorded instances of execution right up to the present day. This book is 250 pages of grisly death and fascinating stories. NOTE: This book appears to be out of print, so if you would like a copy, I would purchase one while you can, or check your local library- they are getting harder to find.
Atoms and Ashes: A Global History of Nuclear Disasters by Serhii Plokhy
This gripping book details six of the world’s major nuclear disasters. Plokhy writes an astonishingly detailed account of each of the disasters. He also examines all the various factors that contributed to each event.
Ancient Egypt is one of my favorite topics to study. There is an incredibly long ad rich history there and my fascination with this ancient civilization started way back when I was in third grade, so I have plenty of books to recommend!
The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Edited by Ian Shaw
This is my ultimate reference guide to ancient Egypt. Don’t get me wrong, it is an incredibly dry read. And it’s long. But this book is so utterly chock full of information that it is an absolute must on this list. The Oxford history series is really almost always a great resource. I say almost always because there are times that the dry reading can be a huge drain. This may not be a book to read cover to cover in just a few weeks, but it is invaluable as an introduction to Ancient Egypt. I tend to use this for fact checking and spot research now, but I did rely heavily on this when I was younger
A History of Ancient Egypt By John Romer
John Romer published a two-part series on Ancient Egypt. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and experienced- he’s worked in Egypt since 1966 on archeological sites. I’ve only read the first volume so far, which covers from the first farmers to the Great Pyramid. What I love about this first volume is the focus on pre-dynastic Egypt. There are very few written records from this time. Most books touch on this time period as a springboard into the dynastic periods, but Romer gives the pre-dynastic era the attention it deserves.
The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern World by Justin Pollard and Howard Reid.
This book is one of my favorites and I can honestly say that there are sections that I like to go back to when I feel stuck or have writers’ block. Pollard and Reid did a great job in researching and writing about Alexandria. From the time that Alexander the Great began planning it to its ultimate decline, they present Alexandria in an amazing amount of detail. To be completely honest, I never enjoyed the Ptolemaic period, but Pollard and Reid convinced me to take another look at the whole period.
The Royal Tombs of Ancient Egypt by Aidan Dodson
Aidan Dodson focuses in on just the royal tombs of Egypt. Well worth a read for any one fascinated by the ancient tombs!
Minoans: Life in Bronze Age Crete by Rodney Castleden
This is a great primer on the Minoans. Castleden looks at various parts of Minoan society, history, economy, architecture, etc. If you want to know more about the Minoans, I would definitely start here!
Gods and Garments: Textiles in Greek Sanctuaries in the 7th to the 1st Centuries BC by Cecilie Brøns
Cecile Brøns does an absolutely wonderful on this book. This book, by focusing on textiles, weaves its way between Ancient Greek history and Ancient Greek mythology. This is definitely a more advanced book and assumes the reader has previous knowledge.
American History Resources
I concentrated on American History while getting my History degree, so I have a large assortment of books that I both had to read for classes and ended up reading to write the many many papers I needed to do to graduate. I’m breaking this section down a bit further into sections by era.
These history resources are all web-based. Most of what I use is free to all, however there are some sites that I pay to get access to. Any sites that require a subscription will be noted as such. If you’re looking for more scholarly articles, I would check your local library. Many times they have access to history resources such as JSTOR, EBSCO, etc. and you may be able to use your library account to access them.
This site is free to access. JSTOR Daily is a news site linked to JSTOR. It’s full of interesting history articles and all are free to read. They are longer form, and I like to make sure I have time to sit and read when I go to this website. Having problems with the link? Try here:
Library of Congress
This list of history resources would be in no way complete if I didn’t mention the Library of Congress. You’ll have to dig around on the site a little, just because there is so much here. There are online digital collections, blogs, videos, guides…. the list goes on. I cannot say enough positive things about this website. You have to check it out. Having issues with the link? Try here:
The Smithsonian magazine covers way more than just history, but has an impressive section dedicated to history. I’m never quite sure of what I’m going to find on here, but I’m always impressed by the quality.
Having issues with the link? Try here:
The Public Domain Review
The Public Domain Review was our interesting website of the week for the week beginning March 27th! This website lives for the art, photos, writing, etc. that have entered the public domain. Their collection is immense, and they have essays that laser in on some of the more interesting pieces.
Having issues with the link? Try here:
Street View of 1940’s New York
This website is really cool. It’s an interactive map of NYC, circa the 1940’s. Each dot on the map is a picture of a building from the 1940’s! Step back in time and see the Big Apple as it once was.
Having issues with the link? Try here