Class, Revolts; Continent: Europe

Summer of Blood: England’s First Revolution by Dan Jones Epic part of British history…and incidentally the best-ever argument for a boy needing a male role model 238 pages (211 pages, counting the epilogue but excluding Notes, which might be worth a look) In the summer of 1381, England faced its first rebellion (no, fellow Americans, […]

Wealth and Society; Continent: Europe, North America

How to Marry an English Lord: Tales of Wealth and Marriage, Sex and Snobbery by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace Something to consider in case you need a new game plan for next Valentine’s Day 403 pages (320 pages of content until Register of American Heiresses, Index, etc.) As a Downton Abbey fan, I […]

Spies, World War II; Continent: Europe

Agent Zigzag: The True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben MacIntyre Action-packed and clever, but this bit of history has just enough “Hogan’s Heroes” to make you shake your head 364 pages (305 pages without Appendix and Notes) Who doesn’t love a spy story? Some of the best ones come from information […]

Exploration,Colonization; Region: Pacific Rim

Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz A thoughtful consideration of the impact Cook’s travels had on each of the cultures he visited as well as the one from which he hailed…along with a good chuckle in parts 500 pages (440 pages to Selected Bibliography) Back when I needed […]

Marketing, Business; Continent: Europe

Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead Same period as “Downton Abbey,” more name-dropping 336 pages (91% content before Acknowledgments, etc. begin) PBS’s “Mr. Selfridge” (a “Masterpiece” production) loosely bases its story on the life of Harry Gordon Selfridge. Selfridge was the American retailer whose London department store turned traditional shopping on its ear […]

Social Class, British History; Continent: Europe

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge Entertaining book in its own right has the added bonus of helping you figure out who does what in “Downton Abbey” 401 pages (Notes, etc. begin on page 326) This book attracted me because its title suggests a focus […]

Espionage, Cold War; Continent: Europe, North America

A Spy among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben MacIntyre 366 pages (306 pages of content, including the Afterward by John le Carré) Ian Fleming even makes a cameo in this story, so top that. Cambridge alumni and eccentric characters, drunken parties, plus all the classic spying locations from Istanbul to Switzerland: […]

Book 7; Continent: Europe

The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey Nonfiction to cure the hangover from your “Downton Abbey” Netflix-binge 465 pages (427 excluding the notes and the index, but including the worthwhile epilogue) Historian Catherine Bailey arrived at Belvoir Castle to research a book about World War I using the late Duke of Rutland’s exceptional library and collected […]