Romania has a fascinating history and, although we try to share as much as possible during our free tours, it is quite impossible to tell all the facts and stories in 2.5 hours. That’s why we prepared a short list of 10 English books that will give you a better image about Romanian History, Habits, Myths and, of course, Food.
1. A Short History of Romania by Ion Bulei. A history of Romania and Romanians in a European context.
2. Romania during World War I, Observations of an American Journalist by John Reed. Romania during World War I faced a unique situation. Although ruled by a German king, it had strong cultural and historical ties to France and the West.
3. Citadels, castles and other fortifications in Romania by Radu Oltean. The easy to read text gives a brief presentation of the military history of this geographic area, explaining the political context in which people built fortifications and citadels. The book is made valuable by the remarkably rich illustrations.
4. The Last Romantic: A Biography of Queen Marie of Roumania by Hannah Pakula.
The granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Queen Marie of Romania was one of the most fascinating crowned heads of Europe. She was one of the most admired beauties of Europe and she had a decisive role in the unification of all Romanian territories after World War I.
5. Michael of Romania: The King and the Country by Ivor Porte. The biography of King Michael of Romania, the last king of Romania. The book contains interviews with King Michael, Queen Helen and Crown Princess Margarita.
6. Athene Palace: Hitler’s “New Order” Comes to Rumania by R. G. Waldeck. On the day that Paris fell to the Nazis, R. G. Waldeck was checking into the swankiest hotel in Bucharest, the Athene Palace. A cosmopolitan center during the war, the hotel was populated by Italian and German oilmen hoping to secure new business opportunities in Romania, international spies cloaked in fake identities, and Nazi officers whom Waldeck discovered to be intelligent but utterly bloodless. A German Jew and a reporter for Newsweek, Waldeck became a close observer of the Nazi invasion.
Communism and revolution
7. Red Horizons – The True Story of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescus Crimes, Lifestyle, and Corruption by Ion Mihai Pacepa
8. Revolution 1989 by Victor Sebestyen. The book reassesses a decisive moment in modern history: when one-by-one, 10 nations threw off the yoke of communism and Soviet rule in peaceful revolutions which saw the will of the people triumph over tyranny. Born in Budapest, Sebestyen is a journalist who reported widely from Eastern Europe during this time.
9. From Vlad the Impaler to Dracula the Vampire, Neagu Djuvara.
Who wouldn’t want to know the history of the most famous vampire? But was he really a vampire or is there more to the story? Find out the about Vlad the Impaler, the ruler of Wallachia (currently the south part of Romania) and how he became associated with Dracul (the Romanian term for the Devil).
10. The Roma in Romanian History by Viorel Achim. Gypsies have been a permanent presence in Romanian history. From the second half of the fourteenth century onwards, this population of Indian origin has been present in the social and ethnic landscape of the Romanian lands. For four and a half centuries the Gypsies were kept in a state of slavery on Romanian territory. They were consequently a marginal element in society and had no impact on social developments, in which they were not included. Their status as slaves marked their destiny.
Bonus: Sanda Marin’s Traditional Romanian Cooking by Alina Deutsch. There is no Romanian woman, man or child that hasn’t heard about Sanda Marin. You will discover recipes for the best Romanian traditional dishes, food that lasted over the centuries and is still cooked in every household.