History Favorites

By Fair Isle Books

By Fair Isle Books

Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings

Neil Price

$35.00 $32.20

A fascinating cross-disciplinary look at the rise of the Vikings. This book tries to understand how the Vikings saw their world and what motivated them to pursue their raiding and conquering. Price draws on archeology, historiography, genetics, economics, and even climate science to develop as thorough a picture as possible of a culture that did not write it's own history or stories. He traces the Vikings rise from a multiyear winter caused by massive volcano eruptions that caused global climate impacts. He explores the similarities between Viking culture and pirate systems in the 18th century, the rise of sea kings, and the economic impact of raiding and trading on nordic populations. This is a clear-eyed view of what they were and how they saw their world and will realign any fuzzy popularized view you might have of Vikings.

The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch

Miles Harvey

$29.00 $26.68

A striking account of an enigmatic character. This is the story of America's most infamous con man: James Strang, You have probably never heard of him but in the middle of the 19th century he was the self-proclaimed divine king of earth, heaven, and an island in Lake Michigan, Harvey uses this seemingly crazy tale to late out many aspects of the social and political culture of antebellum America. This was time with disturbing parallels to our times. A good book for anyone interested in U.S. history but of particular interest to those of us in the great lakes area where much of the action takes place.

The Story of China: The Epic History of a World Power from the Middle Kingdom to Mao and the China Dream

Michael Wood

$32.50 $29.90

The long march of Chinese history is extremely relevant in these as they reasert their role in the world. Michael Wood does an excellent job presenting a large and complex history in an engaging and eye opening way. While it would be impossible for one book to present a complete and comprehensive view, Wood does manage to cover major political, philosophical, religious, and artistic developments from the beginning of recorded history to Xi Jinping. In addition to these major developments he presents informative anecdotal stories of the experiences in individual villages and of common people to give a perspective on the impact of the bigger developments.

Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War

Steve Inskeep

$32.00 $29.44

Steve Inskeep tells the riveting story of John and Jessie Frémont, the husband and wife team who in the 1800s were instrumental in the westward expansion of the United States, and thus became America's first great political couple

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Erik Larson

$32.00 $29.44

An entertaining and enlightening look at a critical point in world war II and a unique leader. Larson is at his usual level of solid writing and this is a fascinating subject. If you have an interest in WWII or would like an engaging view of Churchill as a leader this is a good book for you. Along with Churchill, there is a very interesting cast of characters who he engages with.

American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution

Nina Sankovitch

$29.99 $27.59

A readable and engaging look at three families who provided key leaders in the American Revolution. the Quincy's, Adam's, and Hancock families all came from Braintree Massachusets. Sankovitch provides a view of how these interconnected families provided leaders on both sides of the conflict. A good addition to the various Revolution histories.

Galileo: And the Science Deniers

Mario Livio


Sadly relevant to our current situation. Livio does a thorough job of laying out a biography with emphasis on the tactics and arguments used to attack him.

The Indomitable Florence Finch: The Untold Story of a War Widow Turned Resistance Fighter and Savior of American POWs

Robert J Mrazek

$28.00 $25.76

The true and amazing story of an amazing and little known hero. A self-effacing and brave woman who took on the Japanese during WWII in the Philippines. A well-researched book that tells Florence's story and the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

Iron Empires: Robber Barons, Railroads, and the Making of Modern America

Michael Hiltzik

$30.00 $27.60

The birth and growth of railroads in america was a tumultuous time. Iron Empires presents an interesting look at the rise of four key railroad robber barons and the empires they built. As much a history of Wall Street as a history of the railroads. The emphasis here is on the ownership struggles and the personalities rather than the details of how the specifics of the railroads involved. There is much here to contemplate in the context of our economic challenges and debate about the roll of concentrated wealth and Wall St, power on the rest of the country.

Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt

Steven Johnson

$28.00 $25.76

An enlightening look at a pivotal point in history when world trade, popular media, and piracy all came together to launch a new world order. Johnson is an engaging writer who connects the dots between a piracy event at the end of the 17th century and the development of England's position in the world.