A sister thread to History Buffs, what do you like to study most? That thread made me think that there were certain authors who could write on any topic they wished and I would still find it interesting. Might be more appropriate for Cafe Society, but I thought I’d start here and see how it does. Ye Mods, move as ye wish.
In no particular order and without shame or sneering, we proceed -
Samuel Noah Kramer
And you, fellow Dopers - any favourites authors or favourite series?
Sir Ronald Syme
Sir James Frazer (what? I guess I like knights.)
Lily Ross Taylor
And in the ancient vein:
I’m counting biographies as history and not distinguishing twixt scholarly and popular histories.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Lincoln bios mainly)
James McPherson (though I wish he’d write more about the western theaters)
Irving Stone (not his novels but his non-fiction- Men to Match My Mountainsis probably my favorite of his books)
Stephen Ambrose (yeah, I know, plagiarist- but still good and at least most of it had to have been his)
Robert Leckie (he wrote very good one volume popular histories of U.S. wars and the World Wars)
Stephanie Coontz (The Way We Never Were is particularly great)
Fawn Brodie (but with a big caveat: some of her conclusions are speculative at best, but her homework was excellent)
John Julius Norwich (his Byzantium trilogy is among my favorite books on medieval history)
John Toland (non-fiction only- his fiction was HORRIBLE)
Robert K. Massie (the father- author of Nicholas & Alexandra and Dreadnought; his son, R.K. Jr.*, is also an author)
Dava Sobel (Longtitude, Galileo’s Daughter)
Karen Armstrong (very readable histories on religion)
James Burke (bk4 Connections and Day the Universe Changed- though another caveat on not accepting his uncited statements at face value)
*Some trivia about Robert K. Massie, Jr.: he was born with hemophilia which inspired his father’s fascination with Nicholas & Alexandra and how their hemophiliac son changed history. Massie Jr. has been living with HIV (received through transfusion) for more than 25 years, one of if not the oldest cases of the illness for the person to still be living.
I guess I am a populist:
H.G. Wells (Especially The Outline of History)