• The best books on Alexander the Great - Alexander the Great: The Anabasis and the Indica by Arrian
  • The best books on Alexander the Great - The History of Alexander by Quintus Curtius Rufus
  • The best books on Alexander the Great - The First European: A History of Alexander in the Age of Empire by Pierre Briant
  • The best books on Alexander the Great - The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period by Amélie Kuhrt
  • The best books on Alexander the Great - Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault

The best books on Alexander the Great, recommended by Hugh Bowden

Alexander the Great never lost a battle and established an empire that stretched from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent. From the earliest times, historians have argued about the nature of his achievements and what his failings were, both as a man and as a political leader. Here, Hugh Bowden, professor of ancient history at King’s College London, chooses five books to help you understand the controversies, the man behind the legends, and why the legends have taken the forms they have.

  • The best books on Abraham Lincoln - Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington by Ted Widmer
  • The best books on Abraham Lincoln - Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words by Douglas L Wilson
  • The best books on Abraham Lincoln - Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America by Garry Wills
  • The best books on Abraham Lincoln - Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory by Harold Holzer
  • The best books on Abraham Lincoln - They Knew Lincoln by John E Washington

The best books on Abraham Lincoln, recommended by Ted Widmer

He came from humble beginnings and never went to high school. Going into the presidency, he had limited political experience and lacked business, legislative and military achievements. The one thing he did not lack was a moral compass, says historian and author Ted Widmer. He picks the best books on the ups and downs and Shakespearean-style plot twists that were the life of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.

  • The best books on Henri IV of France - Henri IV by Jean-Pierre Babelon
  • The best books on Henri IV of France - Henry IV: King of France by David Buisseret
  • The best books on Henri IV of France - France in the Age of Henri IV: The Struggle for Stability by Mark Greengrass
  • The best books on Henri IV of France - The French Wars of Religion, 1562–1629 by Mack Holt
  • The best books on Henri IV of France - Martyrs and Murderers: The Guise Family and the Making of Europe by Stuart Carroll

The best books on Henri IV of France, recommended by Vincent Pitts

At a time of bitter division, Henri IV succeeded to the French throne and managed to bring the country together after decades of civil war. He converted to Catholicism but brought in toleration for Protestants with the Edict of Nantes. In 1610 he was assassinated by a religious fanatic with a carving knife. Historian Vincent Pitts, author of a great introduction to Henri IV, talks us through the life and times of one of France’s most impressive monarchs.

  • The best books on Sultan Süleyman - Suleymanname: The Illustrated History of Suleyman the Magnificent by Esin Atil (editor)
  • The best books on Sultan Süleyman - The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire by Gülru Necipoglu
  • The best books on Sultan Süleyman - Bureaucrat and Intellectual in the Ottoman Empire: The Historian Mustafa Ali by Cornell Fleischer
  • The best books on Sultan Süleyman - Empress of the East: How a Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire by Leslie Peirce
  • The best books on Sultan Süleyman - Four Princes: Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions that Forged Modern Europe by John Julius Norwich

The best books on Sultan Süleyman, recommended by Kaya Şahin

The Ottoman ruler Süleyman was one of the most powerful men in early modern Europe and highly adept at building his reputation for posterity. In European languages, he is still often graced with the epithet ‘the Magnificent.’ The reality was much more mixed, as a new biography of Süleyman shows. Historian Kaya Şahin talks us through books to better understand Sultan Süleyman and the world he lived in.

  • The best books on Sigmund Freud - The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
  • The best books on Sigmund Freud - The Life And Work of Sigmund Freud by Ernest Jones
  • The best books on Sigmund Freud - Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst by Adam Phillips
  • The best books on Sigmund Freud - Dispatches from the Freud Wars: Psychoanalysis and Its Passions by John Forrester
  • The best books on Sigmund Freud - Tribute to Freud by H.D.

The best books on Sigmund Freud, recommended by Lisa Appignanesi

Born into a middle-class Jewish family in Moravia in the Austro-Hungarian empire, Sigmund Freud spent most of his life in Vienna, until fleeing to London just before his death in 1939. Using his classical education to illustrate his points, he introduced the idea that we have an ‘unconscious’ that plays an important role in our actions. For his sessions when patients talked freely to him about their thoughts in a one-on-one setting, he coined the term ‘psychoanalysis.’ Freud expert Lisa Appignanesi talks us through books that shed light on his life as well as his work.

  • The best books on Mary Seacole - Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole
  • The best books on Mary Seacole - Victorian Lady Travellers by Dorothy Middleton
  • The best books on Mary Seacole - Florence Nightingale: The Woman and Her Legend by Mark Bostridge
  • The best books on Mary Seacole - Mrs Duberly's War: Journal and Letters from the Crimea, 1854-6 by Fanny Duberly, edited by Christine Kelly
  • The best books on Mary Seacole - An American Diary by Barbara Bodichon

The best books on Mary Seacole, recommended by Jane Robinson

Mary Seacole looked after and provided support to British troops during the Crimean War (1853-1856), setting up a hotel for sick and recovering soldiers close to the fighting near Balaclava. In her day, she was as celebrated as Florence Nightingale, but it was not until the rediscovery and publication of her diary in the 1980s that she came to be widely known as a Victorian heroine in modern times. In 2016, a memorial statue of her was unveiled in London, the first in the UK in honour of a named Black woman. Here her biographer, Jane Robinson, tells us more about the remarkable life of Mary Seacole and the world she lived in.

  • The best books on Saint Teresa of Avila - The Book of Her Life by Teresa of Avila
  • The best books on Saint Teresa of Avila - Imperial Spain 1469-1716 by JH Elliott
  • The best books on Saint Teresa of Avila - The Avila of Saint Teresa: Religious Reform in a Sixteenth-Century City by Jodi Bilinkoff
  • The best books on Saint Teresa of Avila - Ruth Burrows: Essential Writings by Ruth Burrows
  • The best books on Saint Teresa of Avila - Teresa of Avila: Doctor of the Soul by Peter Tyler

The best books on Saint Teresa of Avila, recommended by Rowan Williams

St Teresa of Avila was one of the towering figures of the Counter-Reformation, both as a theologian and as a reformer of the religious life. Here, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, discusses her insights into spiritual growth and prayer, the impact her Jewish roots had on her life and career, and why Bernini’s statue of her in ecstasy is unhelpful.

  • The best books on Catherine the Great - Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great by Isabel de Madariaga
  • The best books on Catherine the Great - Catherine the Great by Simon Dixon
  • The best books on Catherine the Great - Catherine the Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair by Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • The best books on Catherine the Great - Selected Letters of Catherine the Great by Catherine the Great
  • The best books on Catherine the Great - Working the Rough Stone: Freemasonry and Society in 18th Century Russia by Douglas Smith

The best books on Catherine the Great, recommended by Andrei Zorin

She was born in 1729 as Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, a German princess, but by 1762 had become Empress of All Russia and went on to rule for 34 years as Catherine II. She regarded herself as an enlightened despot who embraced the ideas of the Enlightenment and consorted with the French philosophes. Russian historian Andrei Zorin introduces the remarkably industrious and able politician who is remembered as Catherine the Great.

  • The Best Mary Wollstonecraft Books - Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke
  • The Best Mary Wollstonecraft Books - A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful by Edmund Burke
  • The Best Mary Wollstonecraft Books - A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, edited by Sylvana Tomaselli
  • The Best Mary Wollstonecraft Books - Letters written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark by Mary Wollstonecraft
  • The Best Mary Wollstonecraft Books - The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith

The Best Mary Wollstonecraft Books, recommended by Sylvana Tomaselli

Mary Wollstonecraft lived by her pen and wrote trenchant critiques of the role of women and marriage in late 18th century British society. She died aged 38, a few days after giving birth to her second daughter, Mary Shelley. She is often remembered for writing the Vindication of the Rights of Woman, but it was not in fact her best book, says Cambridge intellectual historian Sylvana Tomaselli. Here, she recommends books to read to get a good understanding of the extraordinary Mary Wollstonecraft, and the writers she was both influenced by and reacting against.