Best books on medieval / early modern British history?
May 23, 2015 11:04 AM   Subscribe

I'm seeking pretty much what it says on the tin: books that are about medieval and early modern British history, especially anything about Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Non-fiction preferred, well sourced fiction okay.

A few examples of what I'm looking for are The Plantagenets by Dan Jones and Stormbird by Conn Iggulden, but am having a harder time finding things that aren't just about the English monarchy.
posted by youcancallmeal to Education (7 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England and The Time Travelers Guide to Elizabethan England are good places to start. They give a nice perspective on "you walk into a town/village/city and this is what you would see..." that most crown and gown histories lack.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:10 AM on May 23, 2015 [5 favorites]

The Lords of the Isles by Raymond Campbell - a fantastic history of Clan Donald and the shaping of modern Scotland through the politics and machinations of the mid-late medieval period.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:26 PM on May 23, 2015

Winston Churchill: A History of the English Speaking Peoples
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:51 PM on May 23, 2015

Dan Jones recently published, The War of the Roses. As the title implies, it's specific to Shakespeare, but 1599, A Year in the Life of Shakespeare, is quite good and includes a great deal of social history.
posted by kaybdc at 7:15 PM on May 24, 2015

Francis Pryor's Britain in the Middle Ages: An Archaeological History. Although he does discuss some Welsh and Scottish sites, the book is mostly focussed on England. "I am aware that I will be criticised by some academic reviewers for nost saying more about Scotland or Wales in the Middle Ages, but I would say in my defence that both these areas were on the periphery of the 'engine room' of change." It is readable and at times polemic and personal.

He has also written The Birth of Modern Britain: A Journey into Britain's Archaeological Past: 1550 to the Present, which I haven't read.

You might also be interested in Robin Fleming's Britain After Rome: The Fall and Rise, 400 to 1070 if it's not too early for you.
posted by paduasoy at 3:01 PM on May 25, 2015

One more, a few days late: Down the Common - it is super well researched fiction about the daily life of medieval English peasants Simultaneously boring and fascinating.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 8:10 PM on May 26, 2015

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