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Old 03-05-2011, 03:13 PM   #1
Rampage_Jackson
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Favorite History Books

What are you favorite history books? Mostly looking for classic works... not the modern crap out there. Some of the best ones I've read are:


The Fall and Decline of the Roman Emprire, by Edward Gibbon

The History of the Conquest of Mexico, by William Prescott

Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville

A History of the Modern World, by Palmer, Colton, and Kramer

The Civil War: A Narrative, by Shelby Foote

France and England in North America, by Francis Parkman
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:27 PM   #2
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Re: Favorite History Books

A study of history [Illustrated] [Hardcover]
Arnold Joseph Toynbee


http://www.amazon.com/study-history-.../dp/1566199379

The illustrated edition is a lovely book that should appeal to your senses with it's illustrations as it presents its bold notions about the rise and fall of civilizations.
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:36 PM   #3
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Re: Favorite History Books

I really enjoyed Max Dimont's "Jews, God and History".
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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Re: Favorite History Books

Readings in The Classical Historians, Selected and Complied by Michael Grant.

http://www.amazon.com/Readings-Class...9354476&sr=1-1



This is an excellent introduction to many different Greek and Roman Historians, with extracts from their best work -Very informative and worthwhile. And the readings give a sketch synopsis of much of Greek and Roman history.

-Zeno
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Old 03-05-2011, 05:28 PM   #5
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Re: Favorite History Books

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England. Describes life in 1400's England as if you were there, excellent book!

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...ngland&x=0&y=0
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:43 PM   #6
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Re: Favorite History Books

It's borderline for history as opposed to anthropolgy, but Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel is awesome.

Collapse, also by Diamond, is also terrific and more clearly history.

Also +1 to the OP's Shelby Foote vote.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:48 PM   #7
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Re: Favorite History Books

It might be outdated, but I really love "The Ancient City" by Fustel de Coulanges. This was the classic that made me want to specialize in ancient history.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:02 AM   #8
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Re: Favorite History Books

'Armageddon - The Battle For Germany, 1944 - 45' by Max Hastings
'Nemesis - The Battle For Japan, 1944 - 45' by Max Hastings

Both books are filled with valuable insights and a solid understanding of events. They are both gripping, compassionate and unsparing in their judgements. Max Hastings is one of my favourite WWII authors and I highly recommend both these books.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:00 AM   #9
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Re: Favorite History Books

If anyone is interested in the American Revolution - not the battles, but, the political history, I'd definitely recommend:

Gordon Wood - The Radicalism of the American Revolution. Definitely one of the best works of history ever written, every sentence is proving his point, very well done book. It challenges the notion that the American Revolution was a conservative event brought on by the aristocracy.

For a general overview of the period from 1760-1792, Robert Middlekauf's The Glorious Cause is also very good - doesn't really present an argument, so its good for just understanding the events.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:52 PM   #10
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Re: Favorite History Books

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Originally Posted by mpethybridge View Post
Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel is awesome.

Collapse, also by Diamond
i preferred the first over the second, but own both and they are excellent.

'The Collected What If?' by Robert Cowley is a must-have for history buffs. it's basically a series of short-stories taken throughout all of history where one thing changes. it's excellent.

also, i love Robert Conroy's historical fiction novels, 1862, 1901, 1942 and both of the 1945 books. not quite as history-focused as the 'collected what if', but very entertaining and for the most part historically accurate.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:40 PM   #11
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Re: Favorite History Books

Eugh counter-factual history can gtfo and go die in a corner somewhere. Such a silly, completely unrigorous concept.

Anything by Benny Morris is brilliant for the history of Israel, especially Righteous Victims, the Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem and 1948. An outstanding historian.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:32 PM   #12
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Re: Favorite History Books

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Originally Posted by mpethybridge View Post
It's borderline for history as opposed to anthropolgy, but Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel is awesome.

Collapse, also by Diamond, is also terrific and more clearly history.

Also +1 to the OP's Shelby Foote vote.
Diamond is pretty good, but I find it highly suspicious that he never references Alfred Crosby's Ecological Imperialism, which dealt with a good deal of similar subject matter. Crosby really gambled on his early career, but he did some outstanding work. Diamond is probably one of the better non-historian history writers out there, though.

For those interested in WWII, Bloodlands is the hot new item.
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:34 PM   #13
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Re: Favorite History Books

People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Not a cheerful narrative and obv too far left for most people's tastes, but it does include, imo, an important inclusion of the consequences of our history rather than just the glory of victory and conquest.
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:01 PM   #14
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Re: Favorite History Books

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People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Not a cheerful narrative and obv too far left for most people's tastes, but it does include, imo, an important inclusion of the consequences of our history rather than just the glory of victory and conquest.
Calling this book "history" is a huge stretch. It's political commentary, imo - and often good/accurate political commentary, but its author's bias leads to this book bordering on dishonesty.
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:17 PM   #15
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Re: Favorite History Books

Quote:
Originally Posted by HorridSludgyBits View Post
People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Not a cheerful narrative and obv too far left for most people's tastes, but it does include, imo, an important inclusion of the consequences of our history rather than just the glory of victory and conquest.
This is being used in my wife's History class. Given Generals comments, Iwill ask what she thinks.
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:21 PM   #16
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Re: Favorite History Books

I really liked one of the textbooks used in both my Western Civilization classes (Prehistoric-Reformation) and (Post Reformation-Current) . It was a document book called Sources of the Western Tradition and was great for reading primary sources. I didn't want to sell it but I got a great offer for it and I needed the money.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:36 PM   #17
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Re: Favorite History Books

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Originally Posted by General Tsao View Post
Calling this book "history" is a huge stretch. It's political commentary, imo - and often good/accurate political commentary, but its author's bias leads to this book bordering on dishonesty.
It's really no more biased than most conventional histories. Frankly, it's decidedly less biased than most stuff written before 1950. It's just that it's taken for granted that writing about the rich and powerful and their interests is not "bias." Yes, there is political commentary that runs through it, especially at the end, but it's still meticulously researched and very direct in its approach to primary sources, which is incredibly rare for a book aimed at a popular audience.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:02 PM   #18
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Re: Favorite History Books

I'm trying to find more of the philosophical historians. When I read Shelby Foote's 3,000 page novel... one review on the back of the book mentioned that he writes in the style of a Gibbon, Prescott, Napier, and Freeman.

I read some Gibbon and he is by far my favorite author now; Prescott is amazing too.

Does anybody which Napier, or Freeman that comment might be refering to. I've tried searching for those names, but I'm not quite sure to who they are referrring?
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:25 AM   #19
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Re: Favorite History Books

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I'm trying to find more of the philosophical historians.
Daniel J. Boorstin!!! Should be exactly what you are looking for.

Could Freeman be Edward Augustus freeman?
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:29 AM   #20
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Re: Favorite History Books

Oh, somebody should have also recommended Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples by now.

Shame on us, imo.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:26 AM   #21
Rampage_Jackson
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Re: Favorite History Books

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Originally Posted by mpethybridge View Post
Daniel J. Boorstin!!! Should be exactly what you are looking for.

Could Freeman be Edward Augustus freeman?
Ahh nice, I'll check out some Boorstin.

Yea, I think that is right Freeman. I've tried searching on Amazon and there don't seem to be any quality publishers of his stuff... I wonder why Modern Library, Everyman's Library, or Penguin classics doesn't have his stuff.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:55 AM   #22
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Re: Favorite History Books

If you like ancient Roman history then you need go no farther then Plutarch.
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:00 PM   #23
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Re: Favorite History Books

1776
And all the jeff shaara books
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:46 PM   #24
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Re: Favorite History Books

God's Funeral by AN Wilson gives a good summary of the post-enlightenment 19th century until the 20th ,and, you guessed it, society's emerging collective belief that God is Dead.

The Worst Hard Time by Tim Egan is an awesome account of the dust bowl.

Last edited by SnotBoogy; 03-10-2011 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:21 PM   #25
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Re: Favorite History Books

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1776
And all the jeff shaara books
I just got 1776 from the library and am reading it over spring break.
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