The Making of Oliver Cromwell by Ronald Hutton. Published only a few days ago this book is bound to be of importance given the stature of its author, as well as covering the early period of Cromwell's life, so often overlooked. Early reviews support my view that this will prove a great read and challenge many previously held views. Don't miss reading
'A Note on Style', at the front of the book, which I found absolutely fascinating. In fact it has gone to the top of my 'To Read List'.
Scenes from Prehistoric Life by Francis Prior, the popular archaeologist, is another great book covering a topic in a new and challenging way. The book covers the period from The Ice Age to The Romans in Early Britain. Each chapter takes up a particular story, or as the title says 'scene', to illustrate its period. To give a flavour the first chapter is sub-titled, 'Happisburgh [pronounced incidentally as Hayborough], Pakefield, and Boxgrove. The final chapter is sub-titled, ' Rural Roman Britain, West Stow, Canterbury, and Brixworth. Incidentally the dust jacket is one of the best I have seen - very atmospheric.
Minarets in the Mountains by Tharik Hussain is part travel memoir and part history. It looks at what the author calls 'Muslim Europe', that is that part of Eastern Europe which once formed part of The Ottoman Empire. The book is divided into six parts, each dealing with a specific country from North Macedonia to Albania and much else besides. This is a great way to approach what can seem to many a difficult subject to understand. The author is a British journalist who has written widely on Muslim culture and heritage. It is beautifully written and thus a delight to read.
Scoff by Pen Vogler is a social history of food in Britain, now available in paperback. It enjoys a very large bibliography which is a great bonus, as is its inclusion of recipes at the end of each chapter. Yet its greatest merit is that it covers in short but informative chapters all the questions you ever wanted to ask, from when did tinned food appear, class and food as with middle class avocados and working class tripe, through to local dialect names for cakes. Another 'wow' of a book to keep you engrossed for hours.
And, finally, some old favourites
1984 by George Orwell, which is being much quoted today to describe some of the political issues Liberal Democracy is facing (v. my earlier Summer Blog, just scroll down). Every time one returns to this masterpiece it hits you between the eyes all over again.
KIm by Rudyard Kipling, again a book with a contemporary message about The North West Frontier of India, Afghanistan, and Russia.