For this month’s booklist, Ultimate Library we were lucky enough to receive our suggestions from best-selling historian, Peter Frankopan. He has provided an extensive list of his favourite top ten historical reads, from histories of the whole world to more niche histories of textiles and football. This list is certain to whet the appetites of all those budding historians out there!


Black Wave History Book

1. Black Wave by Kim Ghattas

A timely and outstanding guide to the recent past in the Middle East that provides much-needed insight to the challenges of today. Black Wave draws on a huge cast of characters across seven countries over forty years that examines the Middle East in both a bold and intimate exploration.


The Anarchy History Book

2. The Anarchy by William Dalrymple

Dalrymple is an extraordinarily impressive historian as well as a brilliant writer. This sobering account of the East India Company reads like a novel and tells the story of how one of the world’s most magnificent empires disintegrated.


The Golden Thread Kassia St Clair History Book

3. The Golden Thread by Kassia St Clair

A lovely idea that focuses on textiles and fabrics, but in doing so tells a much wider story of the past. An ingenious idea from a brilliant young writer which is brought alive with stories from history.


The Boundless Sea History Book

4. The Boundless Sea by David Abulafia

A heavyweight volume that looks at the roles played by the world’s great oceans. This is written by a Cambridge professor with an astonishingly broad range of interests and charts the world’s greatest force of nature.


The Five History Book

5. The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

This year’s winner of the Baillie Gifford prize – and rightly so. Rubenhold overturns a century of assumptions about the victims of Jack the Ripper and in doing so, tells a new story of five women in an account that is as moving as it is informative. 


Lords of the Desert History Book

6. Lords of the Desert by James Barr

A sparkling and sharp account that reminds us how Britain and the US became domineering rivals whilst carving up the oil of the Middle East.


China's Western Horizon History Book

7. China’s Western Horizon by Daniel Markey

Few commentators consider what China is trying to achieve in the countries that are its neighbours and near-neighbours. Markey’s book is a welcome and important corrective to that narrative.


The Lost Pianos of Siberia History Book

8. The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy Roberts

A lovely book that combines travel, history and a quest to better understand Russia’s past. Roberts writes beautifully in this sparkling debut.


How to Teach Philosophy to your Dog History Book

9. How to Teach Philosophy to your Dog by Anthony McGowan

McGowan explains the great historical traditions of philosophy to his dog Monty while taking him for long walks. An ingenious way of explaining complex ideas that is often laugh-out-loud funny.


The Names Heard Long Ago History of Football Book

10. The Names Heard Long Ago: How the Golden Age of Hungarian Football Shaped the Modern Game by Jonathan Wilson

Hungary dominated European and world football in the years following the Second World War. Britain’s pre-eminent football commentator explains why the golden age came – and went with great historical detail.

Ultimate Library would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Peter Frankopan for offering his brilliant suggestions for this month’s book list. If you would like to find out more about Peter and his work, please visit his website or you can find him on Twitter @peterfrankopan.