Recommended Reading: History: World

Welcome to my recommended reading list. On this page you will find my suggestions in the History – World category. You may select from other categories on the menu below.

   History—US    History—World    Public Policy    Education    General


Billingsley, Lloyd. The Generation That Knew Not Josef: A Critique of Marxism and the Religious Left.
The “Josef” in the title is Stalin. Billingsley, in this witty, well-written book, exposes the ignorance and the naivete of the religious left. Before it went out of print, I used it as required reading in a World Civilization course.

Butterfield, Herbert. The Origins of Modern Science.
Classic history of the Scientific Revolution. The value in this book is the author’s recognition that modern science is not at odds with Christian belief, but rather owes its existence to the Biblical worldview.

Cahill, Thomas. How the Irish Saved Civilization.
Shows how most of the written works of Western civilization would have been lost if not for the monks and scribes of the Celtic church.

Haynes, John Earl, and Harvey Klehr. In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage.
Historians have long been fascinated with the communist vision. They have continually portrayed those who fought against communism as contemptible villains. The authors show that, even after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union, historians continue either to ignore the evidence of the crimes of communism or attempt to provide excuses. In light of the massive information now available from the Venona files and the Soviet archives, there can be no doubt that the anticommunists were right in their opposition to this false ideology. Haynes and Klehr perform a valuable service in documenting and highlighting the bias of the historical profession.

Johnson, Paul. Intellectuals.
Fascinating glimpse into the philosophies and lives of people who considered themselves to be intellectual leaders. Johnson’s theme: before you decide to follow a person’s philosophy, look at his life; if it is a moral disaster, you may want to question his philosophy.

Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: From the Twenties to the Nineties.
Perhaps “magesterial” would be the best description of this tome. Johnson provides an in-depth look at the twentieth century through the eyes of faith. He focuses on the loss of the Christian ethic and its replacement with totalitarianism. This is historical writing at its best. Although it is massive (almost 800 pages), Johnson’s writing style is superb and keeps the reader engrossed in the narrative.

Kirk, Russell. The Conservative Mind.
This book is considered by many as the start of the conservative revolution in America. Kirk, a very perceptive critic of modern liberalism, provides ammunition against that philosophy from the lives of conservative thinkers throughout the modern era.

Lefkowitz, Mary. Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History
The title says it best. Lefkowitz demolishes the politically correct movement known as Afrocentrism, revealing the agenda behind the movement and the utter lack of historical accuracy upon which it is built.

Morris, Henry M. The Long War Against God: The History and Impact of the Creation/Evolution Conflict
Historical approach to the theory of evolution, tracing it back to the beginning of man’s history. Particularly strong on the effects of evolutionary theory on the twentieth century.

Nash, Ronald. Christian Faith and Historical Understanding.
A penetrating analysis of philosophies of history in historiography and how they relate to Christian truth. A primer (although “deep” at times) for Christians who need to come to grips with the historicity of the faith.

Nisbet, Robert. Roosevelt and Stalin: The Failed Courtship.
Chronicles the relationship between the two leaders. Shows the fawning approach taken by FDR and how Stalin used FDR’s naivete to get what he wanted from America and Britain. This book should remove whatever luster people still wish to attach to the FDR legend.

O’Sullivan, John. The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World.
Interweaving the lives and influence of Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher, the author explains how they came together in the 1980s to overthrow the Soviet Empire—without war. O’Sullivan shows how this decade was the high point of freedom in the twentieth century. He also makes it clear that this was not by chance, but through the character displayed by these three pivotal figures in world history.

Pipes, Richard. Communism: A History.
A concise, yet illuminating, overview of the rise and fall of Marxist communism in the Western world, at least as it pertains to governments operating explicitly under that ideology. All the essentials of communist philosophy and how it played out in the twentieth century are available here. The author served as President Reagan’s National Security Council advisor on Soviet and East European Affairs from 1981-1982.

Rose, Norman. Churchill: The Unruly Giant
Considered by many to be the best one-volume biography of Britain’s most renowned political leader.

Schaeffer, Francis A. How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture.
A learned overview of the rise and decline of Christian culture, which is the same as the rise and decline of Western thought and culture. Schaeffer begins with ancient Rome and takes the analysis into the 1970s.

Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time.
A short biography of the quest to determine longitude and the man, John Harrison, who eventually succeeded, despite all the odds. This is not only a narrative about how that problem was solved, but also a description of how other men selfishly attempted to block Harrison’s work and the fame and prize he deserved. It is as much a character study as a story about the need for finding longitude. A quick read and well worth the time.

Thiede, Carsten Peter & Matthew D’Ancona. Eyewitness to Jesus: Amazing New Manuscript Evidence About the Origin of the Gospels
Story of the discovery and significance of the Magdalen Papyrus, fragments of Matthew’s Gospel that are the oldest known remains of the New Testament. The authors date these fragments at no later than 60 A.D., thus confirming that Matthew’s Gospel is an eyewitness account of Jesus.

Tolstoy, Nikolai. Stalin’s Secret War.
The secret war was the war against the Russian people. A mountain of evidence that shows Stalin’s paranoia and how he strove to maintain absolute control.

Wapshott, Nicholas. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage.
The author provides a year-by-year appraisal of the strong relationship between Reagan and Thatcher throughout Reagan’s two terms as president. He stresses the personal friendship and agreement on general principles, while not ignoring the times when the two leaders disagreed. This is the best analysis of their relationship that I have found in modern scholarship.

Weikart, Richard. From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany.
What role did Darwinism play in the acceptance of eugenics, euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, and racial extermination? According to the author, it was the key component, and formed the basis for Hitler’s view of ethics. Weikart draws a portrait of a belief system that leads inexorably to Nazism. While some may not want to believe the evidence presented here, this scholarly endeavor documents the thesis thoroughly.

Wiker, Benjamin. 10 Books that Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others that Didn’t Help.
If you want an overview of why so many people have deviated from a Biblical worldview, this book is a good place to start. The author deals with all of the major figures of the modern age to show how they have changed people’s perspective on truth, politics, and society in general. Whether it is Marx, Darwin, Freud, Hitler, Mead, or Kinsey, Wiker writes with lucidity and humor (where appropriate)—and all from a Biblical base.