The Summit: The Biggest Battle of the Second World War - Fought Behind Closed Doors by Ed Conway
Don't tell Conway economics should be a dull read. He has created an entertaining account of the Fawlty Towers-style Bretton Woods conference. Roosevelt and Churchill knew that the world financial order was a dangerous source of instability, but what should the post-war order look like? They turned to the pragmatic but chauvinistic Dexter White and the foremost theoretical economist of his day, Maynard Keynes, to argue it out with 730 worldwide delegates.
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark
Why did that glorious Victorian age of Pax Britannica come to an end in 1914? Clark argues that other powerful forces were at work besides the Germans wanting to dominate Europe before Russia rearmed. France wanted Alsace-Lorraine back, Russia feared Austro-Hungarian meddling in the Balkans and the Ukraine. The various cynical miscalculations, comparing military strengths, ignored the mass blood letting of industrial warfare and allowed the continent to 'sleepwalk' from prosperity to catastrophe.
Dictator by Robert Harris
This is a meticulously researched history lesson and a thundering good yarn as well. What was it like to live in the last days of Republican Rome? Civil wars between the mighty Pompey and the ruthless Caesar leave little room for Cicero, the foremost orator of his day, to act upon his instincts. The story, told by Cicero's slave Tiro, of how Caesar became a dictator and how Cicero met his end, leaves no place for winners, save Tiro himself.
Saving Jaguar by Sir John Egan (Porter Press, £24.95) is out now. Visit porterpress.co.uk