Best of 2017: History

by |December 28, 2017

Best of 2017 History

History is a wonderful thing. A healthy culture of recording, discussing and debating history is paramount to having a free society. This year saw all kinds of great history books arriving from Australia and abroad.

Some of the best books concern themselves with the stories defined by a special place – Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason and Woolloomooloo by Louis Nowra were two shining examples that made it high on our lists. Other standout books look to the most difficult and dark times of our modern era, recording the events and ramifications of colonisation with unfettered clarity. Shashi Tharoor’s Inglorious Empire and Nick Brodie’s The Vandemonian War help us work to reconsider our past and create a better future.

This year’s history winner comes from a crowd favourite, a writer synonymous with local history whose energy and ambition invigorate our past like no other.

Read on for our shortlist of the seven best history books of 2017 with one lucky winner and be sure to subscribe to the Booktopian for more of this year’s best.


History: Winner


Burke and Wills by Peter FitzSimons. 9780733634109.Burke and Wills
by Peter FitzSimons

The iconic Australian exploration story – brought to life by Peter FitzSimons, Australia’s storyteller.

‘They have left here today!’ he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.

Melbourne, 20 August 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Led by Robert O’Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26 camels… Learn more.


History: The Shortlist


 Best of 2017 History

Best of 2017 History

The Shortlist: Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason, Escape from Berlin by Peter Nash, Woolloomooloo by Louis Nowra, The Vandemonian War by Nick Brodie, Codename Suzette by Anne Nelson, Inglorious Empire by Shashi Tharoor.

Read a review of Saga Land by Booktopia’s Ben Hunter.

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About the Contributor

Tanaya has been a lover of books for as long as she can remember. Now, her book collection is a little out of control, mostly consisting of YA fiction and pretty hardcovers. When she’s not reading, she spends a lot of her time taking photos of books for her bookstagram account, @prettypagesblog. She also has a love of Disneyland, bullet journaling and cats.

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