Lively and robust history book discussion group. Travels through all eras and places. No membership requirement except interest. Meets 7:30PM on the second Wednesday of every month at:

3786 Howard Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895
(301) 949-9416
kensington.books@verizon.net 

Located one and one-half blocks east of Connecticut Ave. on Kensington's Antique Row. Look for the red and blue building. (see map). Check with the Kensingron Row Bookshop to see if the book you want it in stock -- you may save some money buying a previously owned volume.)

Check out the club blog for summaries of discussions of books, and lists of possible history books that might be of interest to readers like us.

For more information on the club send an email to john.daly@gmail.com

January 13, 2016


Brownworth is an author, speaker, broadcaster, and teacher based in Maryland, USA. Much of the British Isles fell before Viking swords, and the continental capitals of Paris and Aachen were sacked in turn. Turning east, the Vikings swept down the uncharted rivers of central Europe, captured Kiev and clashed with mighty Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. But there is more to the Viking story than brute force. They were makers of law - the term itself comes from an Old Norse word - and they introduced a novel form of trial by jury to England. They were also sophisticated merchants and explorers who settled Iceland, founded Dublin, and established a trading network that stretched from Baghdad to the coast of North America.

February 10, 2016: From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia by Pankaj Mishra. The Victorian period, viewed in the West as a time of self-confident progress, was experienced by Asians as a catastrophe. As the British gunned down the last heirs to the Mughal Empire, burned down the Summer Palace in Beijing, or humiliated the bankrupt rulers of the Ottoman Empire, it was clear that for Asia to recover a vast intellectual effort would be required.

Pankaj Mishra's fascinating, highly entertaining new book tells the story of a remarkable group of men from across the continent who met the challenge of the West. Incessantly travelling, questioning and agonising, they both hated the West and recognised that an Asian renaissance needed to be fuelled in part by engagement with the enemy. Through many setbacks and wrong turns, a powerful, contradictory and ultimately unstoppable series of ideas were created that now lie behind everything from the Chinese Communist Party to Al Qaeda, from Indian nationalism to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mishra allows the reader to see the events of two centuries anew, through the eyes of the journalists, poets, radicals and charismatics who criss-crossed Europe and Asia and created the ideas which lie behind the powerful Asian nations of the twenty-first century.

March 9, 2016: Magna Carta: The Making and Legacy of the Great Charter by Dan Jones.  From the New York Times–bestselling author of The Plantagenets comes a beautifully produced account of the signing, impact, and legacy of a document that became one of the most influential statements in the history of democracy. On a summer's day in 1215 a beleaguered English monarch met a group of disgruntled barons in a meadow by the river Thames named Runnymede. Beset by foreign crisis and domestic rebellion, King John was fast running out of options. On June 15 he reluctantly agreed to fix his regal seal to a document that would change the world. A milestone in the development of constitutional politics and the rule of law, the "Great Charter" established an Englishman's right to Habeas Corpus and set limits to the exercise of royal power. For the first time a group of subjects had forced an English king to agree to a document that limited his powers by law and protected their rights. Dan Jones's elegant and authoritative narrative of the making and legacy of the Magna Carta is amplified by profiles of the barons who secured it and a full text of the charter in both Latin and English.