Fallen Glory by James Crawford.
I've been wanting to talk about this book for months and months. I read it way back in the summer when it was one of the books submitted for a project I was taking part in. I wasn't allowed to talk about it then but now the book has finally been released to the wide world I can do so.
I think that this may well be my favourite book of the year, fiction or non-fiction.
Crawford tells the history of the world in a new way, via the great buildings of various cultures. We visit, amongst others, the Tower of Babel, Troy, Mongolia, India, South America and then, right up to date, we get to the Twin Towers and September 11th 2001.
Of course it is only giving a snap shot of history but the buildings are cleverly linked and there are a surprising number of connections that I hadn't encountered before. Equally if a building/period of history isn't quite your thing then you can skip to the next location without disrupting the narrative.
Crawford is also good at explaining how myth interacts with reality and at no point did this book feel anything other than engaging, well written and informative. Not a hint of text book about it.
I don't think that the book was selected to feature on the radio as part of the project in the end but that shouldn't stop you from giving it ago.
At least of the other books that I read and enjoyed did make the cut and details of the whole project can be found here and here.