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Historical Novels

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Historical Novels

This page lists historical novels that either I or someone else has read and provided at least a minimal amount of information on. Whenever possible each novel listed will have a link to it's own dedicated page. These pages will include additional information about the novel such as quotations from the novels back cover, maps, time lines, my comments, and any comments I receive from others.

If you have read a historical novel that you would recommend to others, let me know what it is. I will post your recommendations and comments for others' enjoyment. If I read the book, (or after I get enough information on the book), I will create a separate page dedicated solely to that book. And, if you have read any of the books already listed here, send me your thoughts on it. I will include your comments with that novel.

The Books

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This is a fabulous story set within the context of Afgan history of how one man deals with his feelings of guilt over a betrayal of his childhood friend. It is an easy to read, quick paced, and absorbing story, but it is not exactly a light read either. The emotional content can be pretty heavy, but Hosseini does a great job of balancing dark events with hope and compassion.

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
This is another outstanding novel by Sienkiewicz. It is set during the later days of Nero's reign, (54-68 AD), and includes an incredible description of the burning of Rome, and the persecution of the early Christians. Also typical of Sienkiewicz, it includes a wonderful love story with ups and downs that keep you turning page after page to find out what happens next.

The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
A novel about the beginnings of WWII.  Does a great job of showing on the one hand how trivial the war was to most Americans before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and on the other what a nightmare it was in Europe. 

The Hope by Herman Wouk
Terrific story of Israel from 1948 to 1967. This is the book that started my interest in historical novels.

The Glory by Herman Wouk
Sequel to The Hope covering Israel's history from 1967 to 1988.

Russka by Edward Rutherfurd
Eighteen hundred years of Russian history. One of my favorites because of the way Rutherfurd ties Russia's long history together through the use of family trees. Before this book I had no idea of Russia's long and incredible history.  To me Russia had always just been the United States communist enemy in the Cold War. This book showed me what a narrow view that was.

Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd
The story of England. Like Russka, Rutherfurd ties the story together with an excellent family tree, though personally I did not find Sarum quite as interesting as Russka.

Court of the Lion by Eleanor Cooney and Daniel Altieri
Very well written story of the passing of the Tang Dynasty in 8th century China. Almost poetic. Outstanding characters.

Poland by James Michener
Eight centuries of Polish history. Shows the incredible tribulations that Poland has endured century after century. Great contrast through the centuries of various social classes: Counts, petty nobles, and peasants.

The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric
Balkan history through the portrait's of the people's lives who lived by the Bridge on the Drina. Excellent portrayal of religious and social tensions. A bit slow if you are looking for action; however, this book has one of the most horrifying descriptions of torture that I have ever read.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
A bittersweet romance novel set on the Italian front during WWI.

1812, a novel by David Nevin
An eye opening novel about the United States' war with Britain in the period between 1812 and 1815.

Caribbean by James Michener
A great novel covering about 700 years of Carribean History. Before I read this book, the Carribean was just a vacation dreamland. Michener's book gave the Carribean a lot of depth and character for me.

Mexico by James Michener
Another great Michener novel.

A Road We Do Not Know: A Novel of Custer at the Little Bighorn by Frederick J. Chiaventone
This was recommended by a good friend of mine. She paraphrases the author's note: "A Road We do Not Know is a rather different approach to the battle of the Little Bighorn. The characters who usually assume so much prominence in most of the literature on this event - George Custer, Sittiing Bull, Crazy Horse - are, in this work, almost secondary. The real focus of this book is the experience of battle, from the perspective of ordinary men (and women) on both sides, drawn into to circumstances beyond their control."