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Ten books to get your history nerd friend this Christmas

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The Christmas season is upon us! With the start of December comes Christmas music, Christmas meals and of course, Christmas shopping. Books are always a great present to give, and luckily with so much variety out there there's something to suit every interest. If you have a friend who loves history and you're stuck on what to get them, then never fear, because TNS is here with a handy list of history themed books to put a smile on their face.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


1. Bygone Badass Broads, by Mackenzi Lee

If you have a history loving friend who is particularly fascinated by lesser-known historical women, then Mackenzi Lee's non-fiction book based on her Twitter series of the same name, which follows 52 forgotten women throughout the world, would be absolutely perfect for them this Christmas.

2. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

A particular favourite of mine, The Book Thief follows young Liesel Meminger as she is sent to live with the Hubermann family in Nazi Germany in 1939. Narrated by Death, the story follows Liesel through several years of her life in war torn Germany. 

3. Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

If your friend loves spies, aeroplanes, WWII and female friendships, then Code Name Verity is a great shout for their Christmas present. It follows Maddie and "Verity", a pilot and SOE operative respectively in WWII, the story starts with "Verity's" confession and jumps between past and present from there, so you get to see how "Verity" wound up at that point and what happens from there. It's a beautiful story, but be sure your friend has the tissues handy!

4. Fawkes, by Nadine Brandes

If your friend enjoys their historical fiction with a bit of a magical twist, then Fawkes would be a great gift for them. It's basically a retelling of the gunpowder plot told through the eyes of the son of Guy Fawkes, Thomas, and everyone can use these masks which allow them to magically control different colours. Perfect for anyone who loves their Stuart era history! 

5. Timekeeper, by Tara Sim

If your friend is more of a Victorian history lover, then Timekeeper which follows clock mechanic Danny and his lover, clock spirit Colton, would be the perfect choice, as it is set in a steampunk-esque Victorian world.

6. Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary, by Anita Anand

Given that this year was 100 years since the first women in the UK got the vote, if your friend is a big fan of the suffragettes, then you might want to consider this biography of a lesser known, but incredibly fascinating suffragette. Sophia Duleep Singh had an incredibly interesting life, from growing up as a princess in India, to being exiled to England, to fighting for women's rights, your friend will not be bored if you give them Sophia's story to read for Christmas.

7. Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda

If you have a Hamilton obsessed friend in your life (which chances are you probably do, there's a lot of us out there!), then getting Lin-Manuel Miranda's affectionately named "Hamiltome" for them this Christmas, the book that goes behind the scenes of the Broadway phenomenon, is sure to be a hit.

8. The Crown's Game, by Evelyn Skye

For those history loving friends who enjoy a bit of Imperial Russia (and like a bit of magic), this book is the perfect combination of the two, following two sorcerors, Vika and Nikolai as they compete to be the Imperial Enchanter to Russian Tsar Alexander I. 

9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris

If your friend  is interested in WWII and prefers their historical fiction to feature real people from history, then Heather Morris's reimaging of the life of Lale Sokolov, a real Auschwitz prisoner who was assigned the job of tattooing his fellow prisoners, would be a great gift for them.

10. Circe, by Madeleine Miller

Circe is more mythology than history, but since mythology is intricately bound up with Ancient Greek history, your history loving friend will probably still appreciate it, especially if they are a big fan of Ancient Greece. Circe is a retelling of the famous Circe, the sorceress who in a run in with Odysseus, turned him and his friends into pigs. If your friend enjoys stories about powerful women, Circe is definitely one for them! 

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