The designers took care to include a bibliography in d20 Past, but there wasn't enough room in the book for it by the time they got done with everything else! We're happy to present the bibliography here so you can get insight into the time periods covered in the game and what inspired the designers to write d20 Past.
"In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time; the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream."
Carlyle, Heroes and Hero-Worship
Most of these books are currently available through libraries or booksellers.
These volumes provide a great basic library.
Timeline of the Arts and Literature. David M. Brownstone and Irene M. Franck.
This volume is particularly handy if you're interested in adding cultural details to your setting. Year by year, it tells you the significant events in literature, visual arts, theater and variety, music and dance, and highlights of world events. While it does include occasional information on non-Western happenings, the timeline of arts focuses almost exclusively on Western culture. Listings are very brief and generally don't include locations or nationalities. It's a good book if you're already familiar with the names and events and just want to know dates.
The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Bernard Grun, based on Werner Stein's Kulture Ahrplan.
Excellent book. Uses a visual, chart format that clearly lays out the events in rows and columns. Covers areas of history and politics; literature and theater; religion, philosophy, and learning; visual arts; music; science technology, and growth; and daily life. Usually includes country reference for events. The "daily life" section is brief but of particular interest to those who want to know details such as that a particular bad famine starved Florence in 1497 or that England introduced income and property taxes in 1642.
A History of Private Life. Philippe Ariès and Georges Duby, General Editors.
Incredible series of books that detail what life was like for most people. It provides information on day-to-day activities. Even more important, it describes the worldviews and philosophies held by the general population toward diverse topics such as religion, pets, literature marriage, sex, and gender. Includes a few color plates and many black-and-white illustrations, but a mature, scholarly, almost textbooklike read.
The Encyclopedia of the Victorian World: A Reader's Companion to the People, Places, Events, and Everyday Life of the Victorian Era.
The title pretty much sums up the book. A good reference work if you are running or playing in an English Victorian-era campaign. It functions well as a resource in which to look up an unfamiliar term or person.
Pirates of the Spanish Main. By the Editors of American Heritage The Magazine of History. Narrative by Hamilton Cochran.
This Golden Press, American Heritage Junior Library book is an easy read with numerous pictures. It gives an excellent overview of the age of piracy and includes exciting accounts of derring-do.
These selections might not be capstone books in your arc of history, but they'll provide enjoyable reading material and some interesting ideas.
The Eternal Search. Richard Mathison.
A rollicking read with many amusing anecdotes about medicine. It covers everything from aphrodisiacs and poisonous cosmetics (including lead and arsenic) to the death of Charles II despite (or because of) the attentions of the era's leading healthcare specialists.
Here's Your Hat. Bill Severn. If the Shoe Fits. Bill Severn
Definitely not a good choice for a broad overview of history, but an excellent selection if you want to add flavor and detail to your campaign or character. These two books were published in the 1960's. Each is a delightful read focusing on one particular aspect of clothing through the ages. They're available through many libraries via interlibrary loan. It's also possible to buy them cheaply through a secondhand bookseller, especially through the internet.
Pirates of the Spanish Main. Editors of American Heritage: The Magazine of History. American Heritage Junior Library.
A great example of how a book aimed at younger readers can provide excellent source material. Histories told as action-packed stories. Good use of dates and wonderful anecdotes about the Age of Exploration's dramatis personae. Other books in the series include Trappers and Mountain Men and The California Gold Rush.
Want to get a great feel for how people looked in the earlier historic eras? These books have wonderful illustrations. Most folk won't be interested in owning these books, but they're available from many local libraries.
Historic Costume in Pictures: Over 1450 Costumes on 125 Plates. Braun and Schneider.
These black and white plates were collected from a German magazine, Münchener Bilderbogen. Styles range from ancient Greece to 19th-century Asia. Shows attire of different social strata. Predominantly Western, but a nice assortment of clothes around the world for 19th-century garb. No text beyond illustration tags.
What People Wore: 1,800 Illustrations from Ancient Times to the Early Twentieth Century. Douglas Gorsline.
An assortment of black and white pictures of European and American garb. Nice assortment of illustrations of clothes in the Old West. Occasional pictures of details such as gloves or undergarments. Brief text entries describe the styles and the changes in fashion.
The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Costume and Fashion: From 1066 to the Present. Jack Cassin-Scott. Revised and Expanded Edition.
Almost every page has a full-color picture of two or three people and a couple of short paragraphs describing the garb and its details. Samples variously show male, female, and children's attire.
20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment. Francois Boucher. Expanded Edition.
If you want to devote time to reading about fashion, this is the book for you. This heavy, coffee-table book style volume contains articulate, scholarly prose and numerous illustrations (both black-and-white and color). Not an optimal book for a casual browser, but a good work for a reader desiring depth.
The Historical Encyclopedia of Costumes. Albert Racinet.
The most culturally diverse of the costuming books examined here, this volume's color illustrations are lavish with detail. Each plate has a page of text that discusses not only the clothes but the cultural details shown by the illustration, such as Egyptian chariots, an Eskimo's walrus bone knife, or Manchu women's hair customs. A great book for anyone interested in a non-European campaign.
The internet offers a wealth of information. Many of the best sites, such as Britannica.com, are subscriber restricted.
Wikipedia. This is a free encyclopedia of incredible breath and depth. Its articles have numerous hyperlinks to pictures and related texts.