Best Books of 2022: History


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Mussolini in Myth and Memory: the first totalitarian dictator
by Paul Corner, Oxford University Press £20 / $27.95

Many, but not all, Italians on the far right take a somewhat permissive view of Benito Mussolini’s dictatorship. in the book Timely, balanced, terse polemic and utterly compelling, Paul Korner, a leading authority on Italian Fascism, interprets the disturbing gap between popular memory and the harsh reality of Mussolini’s rule.

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Straits: Beyond the Magellan Legend
by Felipe Fernandez Armesto, Bloomsbury £25 / University of California Press $29.95

Felipe Fernandez Armesto is not just a leading scholar of the Spanish Empire and the Age of Discovery, but a historian who tells wonderfully readable stories. in Straits It offers an original reappraisal of Ferdinand Magellan, who died while leading the first circumnavigation of the world.

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Muslims and the Industry of Modern Europe
Written by Emily Gribble, Oxford University Press £26.99 / $35

Emily Grebel’s important book casts modern European history in a new light by focusing on the continent’s indigenous Muslims. A Vanderbilt University historian chronicles events from the Berlin Conference of 1878 to the formation of Communist Yugoslavia in the 1940s.

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Normans: Power, Conquest, and Culture in Eleventh Century Europe
by Judith A Green, Yale University Press £25 / $38

Starting from their small duchy in northern France, the Normans made a profound impact on medieval European politics and culture by conquering the British Isles and expanding their power into the Mediterranean. Judith Green’s book is very easy to read and is based on impeccable scholarship.

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ChristendomIntisar al-Din
Written by Peter Heather, Allen Lane £35 / Knopf $35

The Christianization of Europe appears in a wonderful new light in this a picnic Through 1,000 Years of History by Peter Heather, Chair of Medieval History at King’s College, London. Coercion by rulers and armies was often more important than personal conversion, and the victory of the new religion was by no means inevitable.

Written in 2022

All this week, Financial Times writers and pundits have shared their favourites. Some highlights are:

Monday: Business by Andrew Hill
Tuesday: environment by Pilita Clark
Wednesday: economics by Martin Wolf
Thursday: imagination by Laura Patel
Friday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Saturday: Critics’ Choice

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We are minersAutonomy in the California Gold Rush
Written by Andrea J McDowell, Harvard University Press £34.95 / $39.95

When Mexico ceded California to the United States in 1848, much of the land was populated with little organized government. Andrea McDowell’s engaging study of the ensuing Gold Rush challenges Wild West stereotypes and explains how the miners who poured into California built practical forms of self-government.

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horizons: a global history of science
by James Buskett, Viking £25 / HarperCollins $30

Generation after generation, people in Western countries have been taught to believe that the history of modern science basically began in the seventeenth century in Western Europe. in the book Of stunning scope and quality, James Bosquet deconstructs that parochial version of events and produces a fascinating world history.

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Mad Emperor: Heliogabalus and the Decline of Rome
by Harry Sidebottom, Oneworld Publications £20 / $28.95

Ancient history has never been less dry than in Harry Sidebottom’s brilliantly entertaining and always academic account of the reign of Heliogabalus, early third-century Roman emperor. There is something for every reader: sex, politics, scandal, and a compelling portrait of imperial society and culture.

Tell us what you think

What are your favorite books from this list – and what have we missed? Tell us in the comments below

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Maria Theresa: Empress of the Habsburgs in her time
Written by Barbara Stolberg-Rellinger, translated by Robert Savage, Available Here. Princeton University Press £35 / $39.95

Ruler of the Habsburg Empire from 1740 to 1780, Maria Theresa towers over the history of German-speaking Europe as Elizabeth I over the history of England. This comprehensive work by Barbara Stolberg Rillinger, an expert on the Holy Roman Empire, will remain the definitive study for many years to come.

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Judgment, nostalgia: a backward history of Britain
By Hannah Rose Woods WH Allen £20 / $28.95

impressively the book Ranging from the sixteenth-century Reformation to Brexit, Hannah Rose Woods explores the long and rich history of nostalgia in British culture and politics. They show that episodes of backward imagination were typically associated with economic and social change that gave rise to concerns about national identity.

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