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8 New History Releases to Look Forward to

January, February, and March are full of promising new reads.

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  • Photo Credit: Aditya Vyas / Unsplash

With the holiday season already becoming a distant memory, there is no better way to relieve those winter blues than by settling down with a good book. Here are eight of the hottest new nonfiction history releases which allow you to relive the past from the comfort of your own home. There really is a topic to suit every kind of history buff here, including a real-life murder mystery dating back over two millennia, a fascinating insight into one of the last segregated asylums in the US, and the forgotten history of climate change.

Release date: January 9

new history books january 2024

The World That Wasn’t: Henry Wallace and the Fate of the American Century

By Benn Steil

Serving as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice president during World War II, Henry Wallace travelled widely as a roaming US ambassador and formed a particularly close relationship with the Soviet Union. All this changed when Wallace surprisingly failed to be re-nominated as vice president at the 1944 Democratic Party Convention. Debate has raged ever since as to why this happened and whether the Cold War would have been averted if Wallace had continued to exert influence over US foreign policy. 

Award-winning author Benn Steil offers an entirely different perspective in his compelling new biography of Henry Wallace. In The World That Wasn’t, Steil sets out to challenge many of the previously held assumptions regarding Wallace’s career, based on fascinating new material from Soviet Russia and FBI archives. Along the way he uncovers plenty of evidence to support his theory that the politician’s fall from power was not as significant in terms of the Cold War as has been previously suggested.

Hardcover release date: January 9

new history books january 2024

Venice: The Remarkable History of the Lagoon City

By Dennis Romano

Dennis Romano’s sweeping history of Venice is a must-read for anyone wishing to discover more about how a once-obscure fishing community developed into one of the world’s most celebrated cities. Romano’s comprehensive account begins back in the last Ice Age, some 12,000 years ago, and traces every stage of Venice’s evolution from an independent city-state wielding enormous maritime power to its present status as a major tourist destination and cultural center. Along the way, Romano focuses on the lives of the people who have made the city their home, highlighting their cultural, political and economic achievements, as well as examining the ongoing challenges caused by Venice’s unique location.

Release date: January 23

new history books january 2024

Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum

By Antonia Hylton

Following a decade of research into hospital records, personal documents and newspaper articles, Emmy award-winning journalist Antonia Hylton has produced this compelling history of Maryland’s Crownsville Hospital. Opening in 1911 as the state’s Hospital for the Negro Insane, Crownsville was in operation for 93 years and is notable as one of the last segregated asylums in the US. Hylton sensitively intermingles the moving personal stories of Crownsville’s patients with those of the people who worked there. In so doing, she also raises many thought-provoking questions on a range of important wider issues relating to civil rights and mental healthcare provision.

Release date: February 6

new history books january 2024

The Shadows of Socrates: The Heresy, War, and Treachery Behind the Trial of Socrates

By Matt Gatton

The Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates has captured the imagination of the Western World ever since antiquity. Not only have his teachings influenced philosophical thinking all over the globe for well over two millennia, but the manner of his death has also been long debated. In this absorbing new book, Matt Gatton sets out to solve one of the most enduring unsolved mysteries in history, discovering how and why Socrates was put on trial for “impiety” and who was responsible for the decision which ended with the great philosopher’s death penalty.

Release date: February 6

new history books january 2024

From Genghis Khan to Tamerlane: The Reawakening of Mongol Asia

By Peter Jackson

By the mid-14th century, the great Mongol Empire, established by Genghis Khan, appeared to be in terminal decline until the rise to power of the warlord, Tamerlane. In his latest book, Peter Jackson provides a vivid portrayal of these two contrasting characters, whose legacy helped to shape the destiny of the region for many centuries to come. Drawing on many years of painstaking research, Jackson’s authoritative account is particularly insightful when re-evaluating Tamerlane’s contribution to Asian history.

Release date: February 27

new history books january 2024

Normal Women: Nine Hundred Years of Making History

By Philippa Gregory

So many history books look at the past from a mainly male perspective that it is refreshing to discover this groundbreaking new book by bestselling author, Philippa Gregory. Using a wide range of different source material spanning 900 years, she has produced a unique history of Britain which tells the story through the extraordinary lives of “normal women”. From the Norman conquest to the present day, Gregory has uncovered daring tales of female jousters, highway women and Spitfire pilots, but equally powerful are the stories of those women who helped to shape the future direction of British society from their own homes.

Release date: March 12

new history books january 2024

Chaos in the Heavens

By Jean-Baptiste Fressoz & Fabien Locher

The debate regarding the need for action on climate change continues to gain momentum and, without doubt, it represents one of the most significant challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. However, it may come as a surprise that discussion regarding this seemingly contemporary issue dates back centuries. In their thought-provoking new book on the forgotten history of climate change, French historians Jean-Baptiste Fressoz and Fabien Locher show that debate regarding environmental issues has consistently resurfaced at times of dramatic upheaval throughout history—until the coming of the 19th-century industrial era, when the powerful Western nations began to adopt a studied indifference to the subject. Along the way, the authors uncover some fascinating examples of historical environmental debate, ranging from the conquistadors in the New World to the French revolutionaries of 1789.

Release date: March 12

new history books january 2024

Plentiful Country: The Great Potato Famine and the Making of Irish New York

By Tyler Anbinder

Award-winning historian Tyler Anbinder recounts in his latest book the fascinating story of the Irish immigrants who fled from their native land during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s for a new life in New York. The Irish community rapidly became one of the city’s largest ethnic groups, yet they were often subject to discrimination, and even today those early Irish immigrants are often depicted as downtrodden victims. The culmination of a 10-year research project, Plentiful Country aims to turn this perception on its head, using the individual narratives of the Irish refugees themselves to tell the true story of what happened to these enterprising people and their descendants.

Feature image: Aditya Vyas / Unsplash