Friday, 4 December 2009

Advent Favourites: The best books of 2009

Andy Patterson:
The Pain and the Privilege, Ffion Hague (HarperPerennial)
'A sweeping, emotional and thoroughly researched account of the women in Lloyd George’s life. No less than a social and political history of early 20th century Britain.'

Paul Lay:
The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000, Chris Wickham (Penguin)
'A magisterial account of the formation of the continent in its widest sense; essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand Europe’s present-day machinations.'

At the Bright Hem of God: A Radnorshire Pastoral, Peter J. Conradi (Seren)
'A beautiful, lyrical history of the Welsh Marches, notable for its accounts of the lives of the great Anglican mystics Thomas Traherne, George Herbert and Henry Vaughan.'

Sheila Corr:
The Winter Ghosts, Kate Mosse (Orion)
'The brother of a young soldier killed in the Great War travels to France in an attempt to come to terms with his grief and loss. In the snowy forests of the Pyrenees he stumbles upon medieval ghosts still mourning their own tragedy. Short and haunting, underscored by solid historical research.'

Derry Nairn:
Empires of the Sea, Roger Crowley and John Lee (Faber and Faber)
'All too rare a thing: a proper work of history that is nevertheless as gripping as the best of thriller novels. Of course, it helps that the subject matter – the Knights of Malta’s epic, century-long battle against the naval might of the Ottoman empire – would provide enough action for a dozen Hollywood blockbusters.'

Pinar Sevinclidir:
We Saw Spain Die, Paul Preston (Constable)
'A detailed account of foreign correspondents and writers in the Spanish Civil War. Paul Preston’s passion for his subject captures the reader straight away. The book details how battles of propaganda created a new war inside the war. Food was scarce in Madrid during the civil war, but not love. Florida hotel, a compound for journalists, accommodated plenty of famous love affairs.'

What were your favourite books of the past year? Please send us your nominations.
Visit our Books Blog for summaries of the books released in 2009.

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