The Rayburn Book Club – Recommended Reads for History Lovers

Last updated: Jan 30th, 2019

Recommended Summer Reads for History Lovers

The summer holidays are here and now’s the time to escape: to the beach, to the mountains or to the world of a good book!

As a team of history enthusiasts, we’ve always got a good history book on the go and we wanted to share some of our favourites with you.

So put the kettle on, pull up a chair and tuck into one of our top summer reads…

Midnight’s Children,

Salman Rushdie

Dealing with India’s transition from British colonialism to independence, Midnight’s Children interweaves actual historical events with historical fiction in Rushdie’s portrayal of the problematic notion of representing a nation through fictional accounts that claim to be factual. The protagonist, Saleem Sinai, is born at the stroke of midnight at the exact moment of India’s independence and his story unfolds in a whirlwind of disasters and triumphs that mirror the course of modern India.

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

It may take you the full six weeks to get through it, but it’ll be worth it! Tolstoy’s epic masterpiece chronicles the history of the French invasion of Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society. We follow the rise and fall of five Russian aristocratic families as they struggle with the problems of their era, history and culture during the turbulent time of war.

Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Set in 1960s Nigeria, the shocking horror of the Biafran war is told through the stories of five characters caught up in the turmoil of the decade. This remarkable novel examines moral responsibility, class, race, displacement, love and loyalty in the face of war’s atrocities.

The Things They Carried,

Tim O’Brien

A harrowing yet important read, The Things They Carried is a collection of linked short stories following a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War. Adopting a structure that reflects the protagonists’ attempts to remember the details of his experience, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination and the redemptive power of storytelling that will stay with you for a very long time.

Beloved, Toni Morrison

Inspired by the story of Margaret Garner, an African American slave who escaped slavery in Kentucky and fled to Ohio, Beloved examines the devastating effects of slavery on an individual’s identity. The novel’s protagonist, Sethe, attempts to make a new life and a new home but is haunted by the memories of her past and the ghost of ‘Beloved’.

Check out our top summer read recommendations for art lovers! And keep an eye on our blog for more recommended reads!