Currently reading: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind — Yuval Noah Harari
The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science — Andrea Wulf
It’s about a fascinating subject — a guy called Alexander Von Humboldt — but somehow I didn’t really connect with this book.
The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War — Ben MacIntyre
You don’t have to like Cold War spy books to appreciate this gripping story. It reads like a novel.
The Laws of Human Nature — Robert Greene
Abandoned 211 pages in.
A little too repetitive and long. And I’m realising that any book that has even a whiff of treating human interactions as a sort of science to be examined and broken down puts me off. All I can ever think of this comedy sketch.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich — William L. Shirer
This 1,249 page mammoth from 1960 is considered a classic and is written by a journalist who actually lived during the rise of Nazism. You can tell he was a little too enamoured with recently released documents, but this is still a great look into the Third Reich, despite its age.
Churchill: Walking with Destiny — Andrew Roberts
Fantastic. After reading his book on “Napoleon” I had high hopes for this and it very much delivered.
City of Sin: London and Its Vices — Catharine Arnold
The title is slightly misleading as ‘vices’ like drinking gambling aren’t mentioned. This is actually mostly just a history of prostitution in London with occasional mentions of sex scandals and pornography. The writing is fine and the 300 or so pages are quickly and enjoyably read with plenty of interesting facts and stories throughout.
At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime — A. Roger Ekirch
We take artificial light for granted. But when you think about it, in comparison to how long humans have been on earth, it’s a very new invention. And life was very different in all sorts of ways before we tamed the darkness. This book is a fascinating look at what existence was like before artificial light.
Napoleon the Great — Andrew Roberts
Roberts’ writing doesn’t have much visuals, but it’s chocked full of facts and details and thoroughly fascinating throughout. There’s a weak chapter on the Iberian campaign, and the beginning and end of the book isn’t quite as strong as the sensational middle, but overall this is a fantastic read.