Historical Nonfiction Books: 10 of the Best Books in the Genre

Explore the fascinating tales of history’s most pivotal moments and uncover the truth behind the events that defined our present.

Historical Nonfiction Books: 10 of the Best Books in the Genre

History books serve as windows into the past, offering insights into the events, cultures, and individuals that have shaped our world. The best history books provide not only a chronological record of events but also in-depth analyses and narratives that bring history to life. 

They help us understand the complexities of human societies and the forces that have influenced the course of history, making them essential reading for anyone interested in learning about our shared heritage.

Uncover the Past With These Historical Nonfiction Books

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

  • Genre: Non-fiction
  • Type: Historical overview and analysis

This acclaimed book offers a sweeping overview of human history, from the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa to the present day. It examines the cognitive, agricultural, and scientific revolutions that have shaped human societies and explores how these developments have influenced our world.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

  • Genre: Non-fiction
  • Type: Historical analysis

Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book investigates the factors that have shaped the development of human societies. He argues that geography, environment, and the availability of resources played crucial roles in determining the fates of different civilizations, challenging traditional views on the rise and fall of empires.

The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

  • Genre: Non-fiction
  • Type: Historical account

Thucydides’ classic account of the conflict between Athens and Sparta provides a detailed and critical analysis of the war’s causes and consequences. His work remains a foundational text in the study of history and political science, known for its rigorous methodology and insights into human nature.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany by William L. Shirer

  • Genre: Non-fiction
  • Type: Historical chronicle

Shirer’s comprehensive chronicle of Nazi Germany offers an in-depth look at the rise of Adolf Hitler and the catastrophic impact of the Third Reich. Based on extensive research and firsthand observations, the book provides a detailed account of one of the darkest periods in modern history.

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

  • Genre: Non-fiction
  • Type: Historical narrative

Zinn’s influential book presents American history from the perspective of marginalised groups, including indigenous peoples, African Americans, and labourers. By highlighting the struggles and contributions of these groups, Zinn challenges traditional narratives and offers a more inclusive view of U.S. history.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

  • Genre: Non-fiction
  • Type: Personal diary, historical document

Anne Frank’s poignant diary, written while she and her family were hiding from the Nazis, offers a deeply personal and moving account of life during the Holocaust. The diary provides valuable insights into the human impact of war and persecution, making it an essential historical document.

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman

  • Genre: Non-fiction
  • Type: Historical account

Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book details the events leading up to and the first month of World War I. Through meticulous research and vivid storytelling, she illustrates how miscommunications and political decisions led to one of the deadliest conflicts in history.


The best history books offer rich narratives and profound insights into the events and forces that have shaped our world. From ancient conflicts and the rise and fall of empires to personal accounts of survival and resilience, these books provide diverse perspectives on human history. 

They not only educate us about the past but also help us understand the present and anticipate the future. By delving into these essential works, readers can gain a deeper appreciation of our shared heritage and the complex tapestry of human experience.

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Layaba Noor

Layaba Noor

Layaba Noor, also known by the pen name Yarah Noor is an author and writer based in India. Apart from writing, Noor is a passionate reader who has deep admiration for literary giants like Haruki Murakami and Paulo Coelho.

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