This page will serve as the ‘library’ of books and websites I do my research on for Hashtag History, both the blog and the video series!!
|William Pitt the Younger William Hague
This book is a very thorough, very informative look at not only Britain’s youngest Prime Minister, but also the complex processes that surround the day to day operations of Westminster. Hague, the current Foreign Secretary of the UK, gives us an insider’s look at the complexities and difficulties of running the UK while talking about the difficult choices made by this remarkable man. A must read book for those looking to understand William Pitt the Younger and early 19th century British Politics.
|Nelson’s Trafalgar: The Battle that Changed the World Roy Adkins
This book is an excellent read for anyone trying to figure out what life in Nelson’s Royal Navy would’ve been like, as well as trying to understand the complex decision making methods, and strategies that made up not only Trafalgar, but almost all the Napoleonic naval campaigns leading up to this historic battle. Adkin’s writing pulls you into the action in way that would make Pirates of the Caribbean and Master and Commander jealous, while giving the reader an amazing amount of depth into this amazing and pinnacle moment in the history of warfare.
|When the King Took Flight Timothy Tackett Tackett gives the reader a brilliant look into the life and confusing political and philosophical world of Revolutionary France. This book gives the reader a thorough understanding of the life, thoughts, and actions of all three levels of French life (Nobles, Clerics, and Third Estate) in the moments leading up to, and in the political fallout of King Louis XVI’s disastrous attempt to flee France.|
|Society and Economy in Modern Britain 1700-1850 Richard Brown
This is a very dry, statistical, academic book, so read at your own peril. (Meaning, you must really love history, like I do, in order to get into, or anything out of, this book). Want to know how the industrial revolution changed British society? Want to know about Britain’s economic prowess in the late 18th century and early 19th and how it impacted her strategy? This book is a great start.
|That Sweet Enemy: Britain and France: The History of a Love-Hate Relationship Robert and Isabelle Tombs
As I’ve said several times in Hashtag History, the 18th century rivalry of Britain and France gave birth to much of the modern world. But what led to this rivalry? And where did this rivalry go after its climax during the Napoleonic War? And are Britain and France basically friends now-a-days? (Or are they not?) This excellent book gives you both the British and the French perspective on it, written by a husband-wife team of historians (he’s British, she’s French) and leads you from the medieval origins of Britain and France’s troubled relationship to its modern strained state.
|When Asia Was the World Stewart Gordon
In the entry in which I talked about South Asia’s involvement in the Napoleonic War, I hinted at South Asia’s former status as the global centre and host of superpower by touching briefly on the Mughal and Maratha Confederacies. But that’s the mere tip of the iceberg. From the collapse of Rome to the rise of Portugal and Spain (and later Britain and France), Europe couldn’t keep up with Asia at all. This excellent book takes us from the ancient Caliphates of the Mideast and North Africa to the imperial courts of China where paper, gunpowder, and print were invented, and to the Ottoman and Mughal Empires, two super powers that I will go in depth on later. None the less, don’t wait for me, discover here the world’s balance and politics when Asia was the world. (The book covers 500 CE to 1500 CE).
|The Bourgeois Virtues Deirdre N. McCloskey Out of all the books on this list, this one has a special place in my heart, since I personally know the author. That said, I knew her for nearly two years before I discovered she was a world renowned and famous economic historian. Now, I get to brag that I know her. She’s also an excellent writer and a true inspiration. In Bourgeois Virtues she makes a case that I tried briefly to make before, that capitalism is actually good for us, and has its roots in liberal movements. Not just is this a thorough history on the evolution of capitalism and its critics, but it’s also a very long, different, and eloquent argument in favour of capitalism, while also acknowledging where it can and should do better. A must read.|
|Bourgeois Dignity Deirdre N. McCloskey This is the sequel to Virtues. Without going too in depth into it (I myself am still in the middle of this one), it is basically about how our perception of the middle class is crucial in shaping our economy, and ensuring its long-term health. Basically, the key to a healthy capitalist economy is to idealise the middle class, and try to keep it as large as possible.|
|Civilisation Niall Ferguson This is the book that kicked off my fascination with economic history. Before this, as a historian I focused almost exclusively on military history, thinking it was the thing that shaped human history. I was really, very, quite wrong. Culture, education, economy, religion, and confidence all shape human history, and all need to be thoroughly and equally researched and understood in order to truly appreciate history. I may not agree with all the conclusions that Mr Ferguson comes to, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the man is a brilliant historian and well worth reading. A good introduction to those who want to figure out how to dive deeper into economic and cultural history.|
|One Hundred Days Alan Schom Want to read more about Napoleon’s escape from Elba and his crazy attempt to rebuild his empire? Want to read more about how rapidly Napoleon failed and how Wellington brought a quick and decisive end to the Napoleonic War for once and for all? This is a good book to read on just that.|