Magazine article History Today

Christmas Gifts: Books and Films for the Lover of the Past

Magazine article History Today

Christmas Gifts: Books and Films for the Lover of the Past

Article excerpt

Food: The History of Taste Edited by Paul Freedman Thames & Hudson 362pp [pounds sterling]24.95 ISBN 0 500 25125 5

Food history has been revolutionized in recent years through its connection with social history, and this lavish book is the first to attempt a worldwide approach to this romantic and sensual subject. Written by senior academics and edited by Paul Freedman, a professor from Yale, it combines fascinating essays with remarkable visuals, and is organized by what people thought was good and how food was part of distinctive societies.

Forgotten Voices of the Second World War Max Arthur Ebury Press 160pp [pounds sterling]12.99 ISBN 0 09 191774 6

The 'Forgotten Voices' series has become something of a franchise, with a number of titles using the formula of narratives of 20th-century history told through intercut oral accounts, many of them gleaned from the remarkable archives of the Imperial War Museum. Max Arthur, the progenitor of the series, has already produced a highly successful volume on the Second World War; this abbreviated and illustrated version picks out the best quotes and intersperses them with maps, timelines and box features to take the reader through the story of the War.

Stories from the World of Samuel Pepys Jonathan Bastable David & Charles 272pp [pounds sterling]14.99 ISBN 0 7153 2647 3

This not-dissimilar approach to recounting a familiar history intercuts Samuel Pepys' famous diary with eyewitness accounts of others--John Evelyn, of course, but many less well-known names from all levels of society as well--to offer a vivid portrait of Restoration England.

Michelangelo: Complete Works Frank Zolliner, Christof Thomenes, Thomas Popper Taschen 768pp [pounds sterling]120 ISBN 3 8228 3055 0

For those who like their books the size of doors rather than just doorstops, this vast volume (29x44cm in size) offers a systematic inventory of Michelangelo's complete oeuvre, much of it photographed in extraordinary vividness and presented in dramatic closeup.

3D EXPO 1862 Discovery Books 112pp ISBN 91 972118 2 6

This book guides you back through time to visit the International Exhibition of 1862, held in South Kensington, London. Fold out the magic stereo window in the cover, and as you look through the lenses at the original stereoscopic photographs, you will feel as if you were there. You can follow floor plans, walk round the exhibits and encounter other visitors in spectacular 3D. Many of the stereoscopic and other photographs are delicately handtinted. The experience is enhanced by first-hand reports written in 1862 by visitors to the Exhibition.

History: The Definitive Visual Guide Editorial Consultant Adam Hart-Davis Dorling Kindersley 620pp [pounds sterling]30 ISBN 1 4053 1809 9

Though the title itself is in the best traditions of DK hyperbole, this huge book really is a striking phantasmagoria of photographs, paintings, satellite maps and illustrated timelines on the people, events and ideas that have created our world (including timelines on every country in the world today). Arranged in spread-by-spread format, and written by contributors overseen by Hart-Davis and a group of regional specialists, the book will draw in the young reader and leave them wanting more.

The Book of Love: In Search of the Kamasutra, James McConnachie Atlantic Books 268pp [pounds sterling] 17.99 ISBN I 84354 373 2

How did an ancient Hindu treatise come to be the world's best-known sex manual? Part history, part exploration of sexual culture and part philosophical odyssey, The Book of Love tells the story of the Kamasutra from its birth in the 3rd century AD in northern India to its afterlife in the modern West, where it was found by Richard Burton, suppressed and finally excitedly rediscovered in the 1960s. …

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