Americans: just finished An Exuberant Catalogue of Dreams about Americans who restored country houses in the UK. William Randolph Hearst, the original Citizen Kane and his Welsh castle. Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and his Scottish castle, now a luxury hotel where Madonna got married. Broke aristocrats like Thomas Fermor Hesketh, who took a yacht to the US with some friends to search for rich American girls to marry. Millionare's daughter Lillian Hammersley, who changed her name to Consuelo, married the Duke of Marlborough, then divorced him. Millionaire Willie James, whose wife Evelyn was one of many lovers of Edward VII. Colourful people, outrageous wealth, stunning homes.
Romans: still really enjoying the series of Falco novels by Lindsay Davies. Witty, gripping crime thrillers set in Ancient Rome, where the hero is an early Philip Marlowe. Highly recommended as a light read.
Also a rather fusty old book Roman Remains in Britain. Amazing how many there are and how far the Romans reached. I always feel this is somewhat glossed over, especially in Scotland...I don't think the British like history where they are invaded rather than invading. The Romans specialised in cultural assimilation, they accepted local religions, tribes and leaders as long as they 'got with the programme' as we say now. Eventually the Romans withdrew from Britain as the empire was overextended and opened us up to the Viking and Anglo Saxon invaders instead.