Top Ten Favorite Historical Novels

Below is a list of my top ten favorite historical novels of all times:

“North and South” (1982) by John Jakes – This is the first of a trilogy about two American families – the Hazards and the Main- during the mid-19th century. This superb novel is set during the two decades before the Civil War.

“Flashman and the Redskins” (1982) by George MacDonald Fraser – This superb novel from the Flashman series picks up where“Flash For Freedom” left off . . . with Harry Flashman stuck in New Orleans in 1849. He eventually joins a wagon train for the California gold fields. The story concludes 27 years later, on the Little Bighorn battlefield.

“The Wheel of Fortune” (1984) by Susan Howatch – This excellent saga tells the story of a wealthy Anglo-Welsh family named the Goodwins between 1913 and 1966. Filled with family feuds, traumas, insanity and romance, this is the best of Howatch’s family sagas.

“Love and War” (1984)  by John Jakes – The saga of the Hazards and the Mains continues in this story of their experiences during the American Civil War. One of the best Civil War novels I have ever read and probably highly underappreciated by critics.

“Shadow of the Moon” (1957; 1979) by M.M. Kaye – Set against the backdrop of mid-19th century India and the Sepoy Rebellion, this novel tells the story of a young Anglo-Spanish woman named Winter de Ballesteros and her love for British Army officer, Alex Randall.

“Flashman and the Dragon” (1985) by George MacDonald Fraser – This entry in the Flashman series is an account of Harry Flashman’s experiences during the Taiping Rebellion and the March to Pekin in 1860 China. A personal favorite of mine.

“The Bastard” (1974) by John Jakes – The first novel in Jakes’ “American Bicentennial” series is the story about Philip “Charbanneau” Kent, the illegitimate offspring of a French actress and a British nobleman during the years leading to the American Revolution. A personal favorite of mine.

“Jubilee” (1966) by Margaret Walker – This is a semi-fictional account of Vyry Brown, author Margaret Walker’s grandmother; who was a bi-racial slave in Georgia before, during and after the Civil War.

“Centennial” (1974)  by James A. Michner – A multi-generational saga about a small northern Colorado town, set between the 1790s and the 1970s is one of Michner’s best novels, in my opinion. The miniseries that it is based upon is also superb.

“Liberty Tavern” (1976) by Thomas Fleming – This hard to find novel is about a former British Army officer’s experiences during the American Revolution. An absolute gem by the famous historian.

“The Killer Angels” (1974) by Michael Shaara – This Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the Gettysburg Campaign, is considered one of the finest Civil War novels ever written. And I heartily agree.