The Ten Best Historical Books of All Time

Some of my favorite books fall under the historical fiction genre. Something about those novels makes it hard to put them down. There are countless historical novels and we will be listing the ten best historical fiction books of all time.

This list is going to condense a genre that is filled with dozens of amazing books. Many great books won’t be making the list because there are only ten spots. You can check out our full list of the best historical fiction books here. Let’s see which ten books made the cut!

The Ten Best Historical Fiction Books of All Time

The Ten Best Historical Books of All Time

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Aztec by Gary Jennings

Lots of Amazing Books

One of the best books that I have ever read is Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and it is a book I recommend everyone to read. Another books that is a favorite of mine is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It always breaks my hurt but it is a book that I will be reading many times down the line.

Two more books that I really enjoyed were The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. These books are some of the best writing I have come across and they incorporate historical knowledge to tell two amazing stories. I was not kidding when I said that some of my favorite books fall under this genre.

Other books that need mentioning are Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and Aztec by Gary Jennings. While I haven’t read Aztec, our readers voiced their opinion in having it on the list. There are many books out there and it is easy to never come across an amazing book that is beloved by many.

Conclusion  

That concludes our ten best historical fiction books of all time list. There are many books on this list that I love and I can’t wait to see what new books are added! What books should have made the top ten list? Let us know in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading!

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47 thoughts on “The Ten Best Historical Books of All Time

  1. Brett Harper says:

    The Red Heart by James Alexander Thom should have made the list of 10 best historical fiction books.

    Reply
      1. Anonymous says:

        Not exactly sure what criteria places a book in historical fiction genre but i would assume it’s a factual historical event or setting with some or mostly fictional characters, settings and stories within.
        The Bible is mostly fiction with a bunch of made up nonsense debunked by scientists and historians, and it contains a lot of fictional, even fantastical characters, creatures and events. Surprised The Bible wasn’t number 1. It literally fits the description.

    1. Jason Brzezinski says:

      James Michener could have a few on this list. Hawaii if I choose one.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous says:

      Diana Knightly’s Kaitlyn and the Highlander should be among the top historical fiction books. I thought at first it would be a cheap copy of Outlander but was oh so wrong. The story has more pep and versatility even than Outlander. Both are excellent.

      Reply
    3. Nancy K Irwin says:

      You must include the series of books by Dorothy Dunnett, including the Lymond Chronicles.

      Reply
  2. Johann Jells says:

    If Patrick OBrian isn’t on your list, you don’t know what you’re talking about

    Reply
      1. El says:

        Right?! Outlander garbage makes the list but not the GOAT Wolf Hall? or the other 2 in the trilogy. . . Rubbish list.

  3. Ana says:

    I would definitely include Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous says:

    Anything by James Michener beats most if those. Wolf Hall big miss.

    Reply
    1. alnessa2 says:

      Soooo true! Both The Source (his masterwork IMHO) and Hawaii are magnificent, and many others as well.

      Reply
  5. Warren Miller says:

    Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” belongs on that list.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous says:

    Killer Angels by Sharra. Should be on that list.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous says:

    How did you miss Herman Wouk’s Winds of War or War and Remembrance?

    Reply
  8. Alma says:

    Roots by Alex Haley belongs on the top 10 list.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous says:

    You forgot Caleb Carr’s The Alienist.

    Reply
  10. Roxy says:

    Viktor E Frankl: Man’s Search for Meaning

    Reply
  11. Roxy says:

    Oops. Man’s Search for meaning isn’t historical fiction—just one of the top 10 books of all time.

    Reply
  12. Christine says:

    Sharon K Penman books, Phillipa Gregory books and The Circle of Ceridwen series by Octavia Randolph should be on your list too.

    Reply
    1. textilia1 says:

      Phillipa Gregory plays fast and loose with the true facts which gives the uneducated reader a completely erroneous view of what actually happened, to whom, and when.

      Reply
  13. Anonymous says:

    The best historical novel is The Last Hero by Peter Forbath.

    Reply
  14. BookLover says:

    Sarah’s Key
    The Heretic’s Daughter

    Reply
  15. Brooke Neves Severe says:

    The nightingale is considered good writing? Maybe an easy and boring read, but in no way is it good writing.

    Reply
  16. Hedy says:

    Best Ten historical books of all times is “SALT” by Mark Krlansky It is a fascinating history of an indispensable ingredient

    Reply
    1. Bill Powers says:

      The Book “Hamilton” written by Ron Chernow is a Biography, not to be confused with the Musical Screenplay which would not fit into this category.

      Reply
  17. Dairy Maid says:

    And let’s not forget Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles. Beats most of the books on this list hands down.

    Reply
    1. MaryAnne Moore says:

      Dorothy Dunnett books make these look like comic books.

      Reply
  18. Dairy Maid says:

    Also agree about The Source. Phenomenal book.

    Reply
  19. Jennifer Weston says:

    I would have included ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.

    Reply
  20. Jason Brzezinski says:

    James Michener could have a few on this list. Hawaii if I choose one.

    Reply
  21. alnessa2 says:

    No kidding! That one and The Source, which I think was his masterpiece/work. Michener wrote brilliantly, covering so many of the world’s historic eras.

    Reply
  22. Anonymous says:

    Not at all sure your picks are really Historical Fiction! In fact I bet most of them are not!

    Reply
  23. Bill Powers says:

    Way too broad a topic, historical fiction, from a single readers subjective viewpoint, this should be called “A good historical fiction reading list” Or “10 great historical fiction reads” with a footnote that it covers a fantastic mix of old and contemporary authors on broad historical events covering different timelines and cultures.

    Reply
  24. James Eichele says:

    Panther in the sky. The story of Tecumseh

    Reply
  25. Grace Limoncelli says:

    “The Pope’s Ceiling” well researched book about Michelangelo. Fascinating detail about that era.

    Reply
  26. Deborah says:

    Roberta Gellis writes amazing historical fiction

    Reply

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