Terry Deary is a children's author now living in County Durham, England. A former actor, theatre-director and drama teacher, Deary says he began writing when he was 29. Most famously, he is the author of the Horrible Histories series of books which is popular among children for their disgusting details, gory information and humorous pictures and among adults for getting children interested in history. Books in the series have been widely translated into other languages and imitated.
Note from Gary: Terry has cheated and given his top three OneBooks but who am I to argue?
The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe by Charles Nicholl
Historical detective work at its best. Not only does Nicholl recreate the Elizabethan underworld in all its chilling seediness, he investigates the murder with the pace and technique of a mystery novelist. In the end he doesn't quite convince me, but his book should be compulsory reading for all writers of popular history.
In Search of the Trojan War by Michael Wood
In children's non-fiction books it's not enough to inform the readers; first you have to engage them. Michael Wood is above all an engaging writer as well as an erudite historian. Whatever he writes about he brings to life. A rare talent.
They Called it Paschendale by Lyn Macdonald
Books like this transcend ordinary literature and provide a service to humanity. Macdonald has collected the testimonies of the men who fought in the first world war and tells the story from their point of view. It's humanity in the raw and it's not all bleak.