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37 books for history lovers: 11 Historians Select Their Favorite Books of 2019

In the Christmas 2019 issue of BBC History Magazine, on sale now, 11 historians selected their favourite historical page-turners published in 2019 (listed below in alphabetical order)

1. The Boundless Sea by David Abulafia

Chosen by Alexander Watson

My latest read, and the book that has impressed me most, is David Abulafia’s The Boundless Sea (Allen Lane). Immensely erudite and readable, it is as ‘boundless’ as the waters in its title, exploring human interaction across the world’s waves from the Polynesians who sailed the Pacific tens of thousands of years ago to modern container ships. Trade, settlement and the violence that both could bring are at the heart of this fascinating global story.  

2. Electric News in Colonial Algeria by Arthur Asseraf

Chosen by Olivette Otele

Imperialism rested on an arsenal of communication tools. In Electric News in Colonial Algeria (OUP), Arthur Asseraf reveals how the reception of global news impacted on the country. Expansive in its source material and full of in-depth analysis, this fasc­inating book examines how the arrival of world news created both dissension and cohesion among late 19th- and early 20th-century Algerians.

3. Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future by Kate Brown

Chosen by Alexander Watson

A chilling account of the aftermath of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Kate Brown’s Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future (Allen Lane) also moved me. Though some scientists have challenged the book’s more extreme claims about the long-term health and environmental impacts of the Chernobyl Power Plant’s meltdown in 1986, nothing I have read conveys more vividly the accident’s lasting misery. This is captivating, controversial history.

Read entire article at BBC History Magazine