Rise and Fall of the Third Reich was how I learned of nazis, the Holocaust and WWII, when I was about 10 or 11. One of my grandmothers had stored stacks of old magazines in her basement, brought to her by family members and community members, which I dug into relentlessly from the first moments I had memory and could read. Among them were old issues of The Readers Digest, which abridged and serialized the book, as The Readers Digest did. The Readers Digest, as monthly magazine and book club was an institution where I grew up in Nowherelandia, bringing books by mail into many homes.
For over a year I spent every visit to Gran's down there, reading each installment in a haze of fascination and complete historical ignorance, and surely understanding very little, yet, still compelled by what I read. It was one of the beginnings of my education into history, along with much else that went on in her basement, including the ritual of Great Gran in a rocking chair and my brother perched on one of the rocker's broad arms, and I on the other. She'd settle, we'd settle, then I'd demand, "Tell me about when you were a little girl. Start with your favorite horse." I always say I started on the road to becoming an historian in my grandma's basement.
Currently re-reading Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire and the Birth of Europe (2007) by William Rosen. Even more interesting to read now than back when it was first published.
Have just finished from the publisher -- it's just about to become available for purchase -- Haunted by Slavery: A Southern Woman's Memoir of the Freedom Struggle by the still sharp as hell, 90+ year old Gwendolyn Medlo Hall. Gwen pioneered the compilation of databases as the primary historical research tool they now are. She did this BEFORE computers, while being harassed and abused by the FBI -- they kept getting her fired from jobs, evicted from her homes, denied banking service -- she had to move to France for a while -- and of course threatened with death and worse by the good white racists of Louisiana where she did this pioneering work. They would try to deny her access to the public records in court houses and so on because, "They ain't gonna do you any good, little girl, cause they're in French." "O that's just fine. I read and speak and write French just fine."