John Julius Norwich never disappoints. Wikipedia describes his as a popular historian, which probably means academics wouldn't regard him highly. Who cares. I read his fantastic history of Byzantium, and I was hooked. Flipping through The Middle Sea, a History of the Mediterranean, and I read this description of Caesar.
Charles Mudede is a fantastic writer, economist, film-maker...how do people get so talented at so many things. He has an article in The Stranger about climate change [https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2021/09/02/60958535/floods-and-wildfires-show-that-climate-change-is-to-the-us-what-world-war-was-to-the-uk] that made a lot of sense to me, things I've been thinking