The Story of English
The Story of English (New and Revised Edition) by Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil, 5/5
Any doubts as to this book’s authoritativeness were quelled upon learning the illustrious identity of its three main consultants – the Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, the Editor-in-Chief of the Random House Dictionary and Professor Sir Randolph Quirk (who presumably has credentials as fantastic as his name). Though, at 10 years old, it could use an update, this book is readable, comprehensive, well-researched and supported by an excellent annotated bibliography.
[Why I read it: it was a birthday gift from my parents.]