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What Are The Classic Texts to Read in Historical Study?

I plan to enter a liberal arts college as a History Major within the next year. In preparation, I would like to read a list of books considered the "classic" or essential historical study books, preferably books that would commonly be assigned in college. My specific interest is in Modern European history.

I was homeschooled in high school so I never had AP classes or many prescribed history books.

The book list can consist of any era- classical/Roman/Greek- "Modern". Would prefer the recommendations to be books from "well-known" historians (not quite sure who they are yet!) and mostly non-fiction. I've read probably all the historical fiction there is :-).

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker: Because of your particular background, I recommend that you read (or read "in") certain books that are not "standard" texts, but that are books whose ideas you will be called on to defend or refute all your life. Gibbon: "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." Carlyle, "History of the French Revolution." Prescott, "Conquest of Peru." Churchill, "History of the Second World War."

For example, there is a recent book, "Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heather of Oxford. He argues that the Roman empire truly came to an end about AD 476, despite others' attempts to refute Gibbon,who wrote 250 years ago.

Next, I recommend you go to and get a cheap used copy of William L. Langer, "Encyclopedia of World History." An oldie but a goodie. It has dates and facts of every thing you want to know.

As for books assigned in college, they'll assign those to you in college LOL. You may get some good out of those, but really, you want the other good stuff at the liberal arts college where you go. (Wish I knew where you're going. I went to big state universities, and I loved them.)