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15 Best Medieval Books (Non-Fiction)

These are some of the best medieval books you can read to get an understanding of this fascinating time in history. It’s one of my personal favourite periods in history.

This is not a be all end all list of books as there are so many others worth reading, but if you are looking for some of the best ones out there this is a good place to start.

You may wonder what a ‘backpacking’ site has to do with medieval history, so I’ll tell you that I’m a big history buff and read all about the history of the places I travel to. I find that when visiting medieval castles, towns, cities (like Edinburgh), etc, reading some medieval books helps me understand the history of the place better.

Or, in other cases, reading ancient history books when visiting ancient sites, etc.

These medieval books are all non-fiction for medieval history buffs.


Disclaimer: I own none of the rights to the images here. They are used under fair-usage terms in order to discuss the movies.

Disclaimer 2: I’ve added links to where you can buy these medieval books on Amazon. They are affiliate links which means I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.


You will find quite a few books on this list from historians Dan Jones, Marc Morris and Thomas Asbridge, but I promise you I’m not affiliated with them in any way! I just enjoy their deep knowledge of medieval history and styles of writing.


Powers and Thrones

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Powers and Thrones is one of the newest medieval books released and is a complete page-turner and will bring you right through all the main events from the Middle Ages.

If there was one book to read about medieval times then make it this one.


I’m starting this next section with books about the Crusades as this was such an important part of medieval history.

Crusaders

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This is one of the best books about the crusades I have read and actually the one I just finished reading before writing this article.

Get Crusaders on Amazon.

The Templars

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The Knights Templar are steeped in legend and myth and for good reason. Their deeds during the Crusades are legendary.

Get The Templars on Amazon.

The Crusades

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Another great book on the Crusades that’s done by Thomas Asbridge. Personally, if I had to choose one medieval book about the crusades, I would go with the Dan Jones one, but this is also a good one to read.

Get The Crusades on Amazon.

The Greatest Knight

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An interesting look at a knight who held a lot of power in medieval times. William Marshal held a lot of power and had an influence on five Kings of England.

A really good book to read if you have an interest in medieval knights and politics in medieval times.

Get The Greatest Knight on Amazon.

The History of The Medieval World

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A really good overall concise history of the Middle Ages.

I would personally choose Dan Jones’s new book, Power and Thrones, mentioned at the beginning of the article, for an overall look at medieval times, but this is also a classic out of all the medieval books to get an overview o the Middle Ages.

Get The History of The Medieval World on Amazon.

Genghis Khan

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The best book about Genghis Khan and his life and conquests. I have read a few books about Genghis Khan and this was my favourite.

Although the Mongols were not in ‘medieval times’ themself, they had a big influence on the outcome of politics in Europe in the Middle Ages due to their conquests westwards.

Get Genghis Khan on Amazon.

The Norman Conquest

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This is the best book about the Norman conquest of England and the Battle of Hastings.

Marc Morris is one of my favourite historians and I actually went to a school in my teen years that was only a few miles from where the Battle of Hastings took place, so I had a great time reading this.

Get The Norman Conquest on Amazon.

The Plantagenets

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Great book about the Plantagenets from Dan Jone’s.

The Plantagenets had a massive influence on events in medieval England and Europe and out of all the medieval books about this time period in England, this is the best one to read.

Get The Plantagenets on Amazon.

Medieval Lives

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Terry Jones may be best known for his roles in Monty Python but he was also a great historian, especially about medieval times. As a big Monty Python fan, I had to check out Terry Jone’s writing and documentaries and they are excellent and told with his well-known wit and humour.

His style of writing and insight make this a must-read book about medieval lives (hence the title).

Get Medieval Lives on Amazon.

The Wars of The Roses

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Continuing on from Dan Jone’s book on the Plantagenets this charters the rise of the Tudors, who came along after the Plantagenets.

The Tudors just fit into the medieval history timeline, but that’s ok.

Get The War of The Roses on Amazon

Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings

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The Vikings are a very popular genre of medieval history and TV shows like ‘Vikings’ have made them even more mainstream, and along with it lots of Viking books have come out, some good, some not so great.

Children of Ash and Elm is one of the best books about the Vikings that I have read so far.

Get Children of Ash and Elm on Amazon.

A Great and Terrible King

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Edward I of Britain was known as a tyrant and suppressor of Scotland. In fact, one of their names for him was the Hammer of the Scots.

This is the definitive look at the life of one of Britain’s most (in)famous kings.

Get A Great and Terrible King on Amazon.

A Distant Mirror

Medieval books, book about middle ages.
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A look at people in the 14th century and what their lives were like.

This is one of the better medieval books looking at what home life was actually like in the Middle Ages.

Get A Distant Mirror on Amazon.

The Light Ages, The Surprising Story of Medieval Science

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Think the Middle Ages were all doom and gloom? Think again. This recent book sheds light on the great scientific advances during medieval times.

It was named a book of the year by BBC History Magazine.

Get The Light Ages on Amazon.


Medieval Books

I’m sure you will find some medieval books here that will interest you and give you a better understanding of one of the most fascinating times in history.

For more on medieval times take a look at the 21 best medieval movies to watch.


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