A book list

Last updated July 16, 2022

Sometime around 1973 a friend asked me to recommend some science fiction books. I prepared a list and sent it to her, but I also kept a copy and have been updating it over the years. I have generalized it to include books in all fields that have made an impression on me, and deleted some entries to keep the overall list manageable. Please note that this is my list. YMMV.

“Amazon review” simply means that I reviewed the book on Amazon.com.

Joseph AlsopFrom the Silent Earth: A Report on the Greek Bronze Agehistory-Bronze Age
Poul AndersonThe Queen of Air and Darknessscience fiction
Poul AndersonThree Hearts and Three Lionsfantasy
Poul AndersonHomebrewscience fiction, fantasy
John D. Barrow and Frank J. TiplerThe Anthropic Cosmological Principleastronomy, physics
Roger R. Bate, Donald D. Mueller, and Jerry E. WhiteFundamentals of Astrodynamicsspace, astronomy (technical)Amazon Review
James BlishBlack EasterFantasy
Oliver BurkemanThe Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinkingself-help, philosophy
Robert Farrar CaponHunting the Divine Foxreligion
Robert Farrar CaponThe Supper of the Lambfood
Robert Farrar CaponThe Third Peacockreligion
John ChadwickThe Decipherment of Linear Blinguistics, history-Bronze Age
L. Sprague deCampThe Ancient Engineers. technologyFirst sentence: “Civilization, as we know it today, owes its existence to the engineers.”
L. Sprague deCampLest Darkness Fallscience fiction, technology
Ray D’InvernoIntroducing Einstein’s Relativityphysics, astronomy (technical)
Robert DrewsThe End of the Bronze Agehistory, Bronze Age
Freeman DysonDisturbing the Universephysics, space, technology
Cyril FallsElizabeth’s Irish Warshistory-Celtic, history-Early Modern
Arthur FerrillThe Fall of the Roman Empirehistory-RomeAmazon Review
George MacDonald FraserThe Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivershistory-Early Modern
Martin GardnerFads and Fallacies in the Name of Sciencescience, skepticism
Ignace J. GelbA Study of Writinglinguistics
Robert A. HeinleinRevolt in 2100science fictionI first read this as a teenager, and it permanently colored my views on religion and politics. Unfortunately, more relevant today than ever before.
Cecelia HollandUntil the Sun Fallshistorical fiction
Tom HollandRubiconhistory
Tom HollandDynastyhistory
Fred HoyleThe Black Cloud science fiction
Fred HoyleOssian’s Ride science fiction
William Graves HoytPlanets X and PlutoastronomyGreat history, but from before the discovery of Kuiper Belt objects other than Pluto.
Edward N. LuttwakThe Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century A.D. to the Thirdhistory-RomeAmazon Review, where I wrote: ‘It is interesting to note the state that gave us the term “imperialism” was actually much more concerned with defense than with aggression.’
J.P. MalloryIn Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology, and Mythlinguistics, archeology
Wilson McLeodDivided Gaels: Gaelic Cultural Identities in Scotland and Ireland c.1200-c.1650
Michael NewtonA Handbook of the Scottish Gaelic World history-CelticAbout real Highland culture, as opposed to what you usually see at Scottish-American events.
Larry Niven and Jerry PournelleLucifer’s Hammerscience fiction
Larry Niven and Jerry PournelleThe Mote in God’s Eyescience fiction
James E. ObergRed Star in Orbitspace
Sir Charles OmanA History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages: 378-1278 AD
A History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages: 1278-1485 AD
A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century
history-Early Modern
The links here are to editions currently available on Amazon. I still have my father’s old hardbound volumes.
Gerard K. O’NeillThe High Frontierspace
Denys L. PageHistory and the Homeric Iliadhistory-Bronze Age
Holger PedersenThe Discovery of Language: Linguistic Science in the 19th CenturyLinguistics
Alfred RomerThe The Restless Atom: the awakening of nuclear physicsphysics
Robert T. Rood and James S. TrefilAre We Alone?: The Possibility of Extraterrestrial Civilizationsastronomy, space
Anne Ross and Don RobinsThe Life and Death of a Druid Prince: How the discovery of Lindow Man revealed the secrets of a lost civilizationHistory-Celtic
Ramamurti ShankarBasic Training in Mathematics: A Fitness Program for Science Studentsmath (technical)Amazon Review review
Neal StephensonThe Baroque Cyclehistorical fiction
Neal StephensonCryptonomiconhistorical fiction
David StevensonHighland Warriorhistory-Celtic, history-Early Modern
S.M. StirlingDies the Firescience fiction, technology
S.M. StirlingIsland in the Sea of Timescience fiction, technology
S.M. StirlingUnder the Yokescience fictionDystopia
J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Ringsfantasy
S.M. UlamAdventures of a Mathematicianmath, physics
Roy UnderhillThe Woodwright’s Shop: A Practical Guide to Traditional Woodcraftcrafts, technology
Dan Van Der VatThe Ship That Changed the World: The Escape of the Goeben to the Dardanelles in 1914history-WWI
R.L. Weber (ed.)A Random Walk in Sciencehumor, science

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