Christmas gifts for History lovers

Looking for a gift for the history lover in your life? This selection of bestselling historical fiction and award-winning non-fiction history books will keep them satisfied over Christmas.


Book cover for Christmas

Shedding light on the real stories behind our favourite Christmas traditions, including the origins of Father Christmas and his red coat  (it wasn’t invented by The Coca-Cola Corporation after all) and answering whether Christmas has always been a time for gluttony and spending, Christmas: A Biography is a fascinating exploration of the history of ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.

Black and British

by David Olusoga

Book cover for Black and British

In his award-winning book Black and British, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga examines how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, in Black and British shows how black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.

Dare Not Linger

by Nelson Mandela

Book cover for Dare Not Linger

Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, a nation in a state of change, and a new democracy. Drawing on the memoir that Mandela began to write but never completed and a wealth of previously unseen archive material, acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa paints a vivid portrait of Mandela and South Africa at a pivotal time in its history.

A Column of Fire

Book cover for A Column of Fire

Set in a Europe in turmoil following the coronation of the protestant Queen Elizabeth I in 1558, A Column of Fire is Ken Follett's first return to Kingsbridge since million-copy bestseller World Without End a decade ago. During his research for the novel, Ken Follett used 228 books and visited multiple European historical sites which feature in the story, including Loch Leven in Scotland, Antwerp and Seville.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Book cover for The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

In his book Michael Burleigh offers a forensic examination of the state of the world and the impact of the events that have shaped the beginning of the twenty-first century. Discussing China, Russia and the western model of liberal democracy and free trade, Burleigh asks, are we living in the best, or the worst of times?

The Women who Flew for Hitler

Book cover for The Women who Flew for Hitler

In The Women Who Flew For Hitler, acclaimed biographer and author Clare Mulley tells the real story of Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg, two talented and record-breaking women who fought who fought convention to make their names in the male-dominated field of flight in 1930s Germany. Both were driven by deeply held convictions about honour and patriotism but ultimately while Hanna tried to save Hitler's life, begging him to let her fly him to safety in April 1945, Melitta covertly supported the most famous attempt to assassinate the Führer. The Women Who Flew For Hitler is out in hardback now. 

The Darkening Age

Book cover for The Darkening Age

Classicist and journalist Catherine Nixey’s debut book tells the largely unknown story of how the rise of Christianity attacked and suppressed vast swathes of classical literature, ushering in centuries of unquestioning adherence to 'one true faith'.