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Old 08-23-2011, 12:40 PM   #51
Al Mirpuri
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Re: Favorite History Books

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Thanks. I read that a while ago but couldn't remember to title or authors. Excellent book. Very readable though not necessarily all that rigorous (was a bit too biased towards Mountbatten IMO)
If you liked Freedom At Midnight then you should read another of their books:

Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre.

A populist account of the Parisian uprising in the wake of the D-Day landings.
The Allies wanted to go straight for Berlin without liberating the captive capitals of Europe. Once Germany was defeated what reason would the occupying armies in those capitals have for not surrendering? The Parisians pre-empted all this by rising up in revolt. Hitler ordered his general in Paris to burn it to the ground...
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:47 PM   #52
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Re: Favorite History Books

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Thanks. I read that a while ago but couldn't remember to title or authors. Excellent book. Very readable though not necessarily all that rigorous (was a bit too biased towards Mountbatten IMO)
This line of thinking very much depends upon whether one thinks Mountbatten could have done anything to have avoided or ameliorated the horrors of Partition. I am of the opinion that he couldn't have but then there are plenty who would disagree.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:09 PM   #53
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Re: Favorite History Books

Haha, I accidentally clicked on this forum and then was intrigued by this thread.

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This is a solid book, although it helps if you already have a boner for the golden age of physics.

Thread needs more Robert Caro. Master of the Senate (which I just finished) and The Power Broker are both very impressive books.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:35 PM   #54
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Re: Favorite History Books

Master of the Senate is one of the finest non-fiction books I have ever read. But I'd categorise it as biography rather than history.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:49 PM   #55
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Re: Favorite History Books

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Master of the Senate is one of the finest non-fiction books I have ever read. But I'd categorise it as biography rather than history.
Sure, it's LBJ focused. But I think it's a fantastic coverage of US political history from the late 40s through the 50s. I feel similarly about Rick Perlstein's books on Goldwater and Nixon, although I don't think they're as good as Master of the Senate.
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:59 PM   #56
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Re: Favorite History Books

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Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45:

http://www.amazon.com/Stilwell-Ameri...1743185&sr=1-7


The Guns of August:

http://www.amazon.com/Guns-August-Ba...1743185&sr=1-2

I can personally vouch that the above two books are excellent and provide exciting reading to boot. I would also assume that other books by Barbara Tuchman are equally well written, researched, and worthwhile:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...arbara+tuchman

-Zeno
I've read A Distant Mirror and found it both excellent and pleasurable to read. I frankly had a hard time with the Stillwell book. It was wonderfully researched but I found it a bit plodding to read.

Certainly one of the most influential history books ever written would have to be The Influence of Sea power Upon History 1660-1783 by Alfred Thayer Mahan. It had an enormous influence in shaping the strategic thought of navies across the world, especially in the United States, Germany, Japan and Britain, ultimately causing the World War I naval arms race.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:04 AM   #57
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Re: Favorite History Books

My personal favorite history book is "The Travels of Macro Polo" by Marco Polo

It is not the most historically accurate book, but still a good read.
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:12 PM   #58
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Re: Favorite History Books

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(x-posted from the Lounge)


Just finished Napoleon's Wars by Charles Esdaile. I was expecting a military history with a title like that, but what I got was a political and diplomatic history history of the period. That said, the book was great for me because I am a little deficient in this period of history.

The author's position is that at many times between 1803 and 1815 Napoleon could have ended the war(s) on very generous terms for the french. But his ego and messianic complex would not let him stop until he had lost it all.

I have no idea if this is true or not. English author may be biased here. But a serious work and it has been too long since I've read any serious history. I can recommend it as long as you are okay with very little time being spent on the battles. I think Austerlitz took up two paragraphs for instance in a 565 page book.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:45 PM   #59
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Re: Favorite History Books

T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom. He became close with George Bernard Shaw and you can read the influence in his writing. The book can be read on-line for free here: http://www.wesjones.com/lawrence1.htm

A brief example:

Eventually Clayton was driven out of the General Staff; and Colonel Holdich, Murray's intelligence officer at Ismailia, took his place in command of us. His first intention was to retain my services; and, since he clearly did not need me, I interpreted this, not without some friendly evidence, as a method of keeping me away from the Arab affair. I decided that I must escape at once, if ever. A straight request was refused; so I took to stratagems. I became, on the telephone (G.H.Q. were at Ismailia, and I in Cairo) quite intolerable to the Staff on the Canal. I took every opportunity to rub into them their comparative ignorance and inefficiency in the department of intelligence (not difficult!) and irritated them yet further by literary airs, correcting Shavian split infinitives and tautologies in their reports.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:56 PM   #60
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Re: Favorite History Books

A riveting book. Written by a Romanian who was imprisoned by the communists for his beliefs.

Online here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/31067286/M...hard-Wurmbrand

Reviews on Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.com/Marx-Satan-Ric.../dp/0891073795

Easy to read and only 88 pages.

Quotes on the book:

The late Reverend Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years as a prisoner of the Communist government in Romania.

His experience led him to spend further years researching Karl Marx and the Communist doctrines he developed.
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:50 AM   #61
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Re: Favorite History Books

I love the ancient history books.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:27 AM   #62
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Re: Favorite History Books

More recommendations:

Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern by John Gray (yes, the subject matter is a little recent, but there is a lot of early 20th-century stuff in there... Gray's other books are quite good and original, if disturbing)

The World That Trade Created by Kenneth Pomeranz and Steven Topik (if only for the awesome section on the economic culture of drugs)
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:04 AM   #63
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Re: Favorite History Books

From Wurmbrand's book on Marx, a quote:

In The Revolted Man,

Albert Camus stated that thirty volumes of Marx and Engels have never been published and expressed the presumption that they are not much like what is generally known as Marxism. On reading this, I had one of my secretaries write to the Marx Institute in Moscow, asking if this assertion of the French writer is true. I received a reply. The vice director, one Professor M. Mtchedlov, after saying Camus lied, nevertheless confirmed his allegations. Mtchedlov wrote that of a total of one hundred volumes, only thirteen have appeared. He offered a ridiculous excuse for this: World War II forestalled the printing of the other volumes. The letter was written in 1980, thirty-five years after the end of the war. And the State Pub fishing House of the Soviet Union surely has sufficient funds. From this letter it is clear that though the Soviet Communists had all the manuscripts for one hundred volumes, they chose to publish only thirteen. There is no other explanation than that most of Marx’s ideas were deliberately kept secret.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:33 PM   #64
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Re: Favorite History Books

Got 3 new (e)books for Christmas and I can't wait to read them. Just started the first today. They are:

Nimitz and his Admirals: How They Won the War in the Pacific - Holt

The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy - Charles R. Morris

James Madison - Brookhiser

3 of my favorite things to read about, WWII and the Navy, The guilded age super rich and the founding fathers!
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:28 PM   #65
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Re: Favorite History Books

Two books I finished in the past year that I enjoyed reading:

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition - I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as Prohibition is a topic I enjoy learning about. This book was great in terms of telling of the history of Prohibition as well as the anecdotes and stories told about the American public and Prohibition.

Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion - A book that doesn't "glorify" American expansion/Imperialism. I also enjoyed the fact that it's discussed in terms of three waves of expansion (age of the settlers, American Imperialism in terms of the Pacific, and modern times).
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:06 AM   #66
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Re: Favorite History Books

Just finished reading Declaration by William Hogeland which I found to be fascinating. It only covers a short period of time (May 1 to July 1776) and tells the story of how independance was actually declared. I am a big fan in the history of this period and the founding of the US.

Samuel and John Adams, John Dickenson, and Richard Henry Lee are the main players along with a group of radicals lead by Samuel Adams who basically overthrew the government of Pennsylvania lead by Dickenson to make Pennsylvania for independance rather reconcilation.

It is a short book but very interesting and informative. I have read many biographies of the major players from this period and now am itching to read them on both Samuel Adams and John Dickenson.

If you are a fan of revoultionary history you will likely enjoy this book.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:17 AM   #67
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Re: Favorite History Books

Two books by ancient authors I found entertaining and readable:
“A History of the Peloponnesian War” by Thucydides—Written by an Athenian general who actually took parts in the events. He was banished from Athens and got to talk to some people on the other side and record their side of things. Interestingly he meant for the book to be read by countless future generations. Wouldn’t suggest reading it in a vacuum, do it in association with an online course or general book about the war. The one from the Teaching Company is excellent if you’re willing to spend the money.

“The Twelve Caesars” by Suetonius—essentially a collection of gossip about the first 12 emperors. Often hilarious and gives a view of what Romans in 121 thought about these people.

For modern scholarship on Rome, especially the Roman army, I loved “The Complete Roman Army” by Adrian Goldsworthy. Basically a coffee table book, it has plenty of insightful text to go along with the many pictures and illustrations. A must have if you’re interested in the subject.

For modern history I found “Shooting at the Moon” by Roger Warner to be the best Vietnam war book I’ve ever read. It’s about the CIA’s covert war in Laos and is extremely well-written and engaging.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:42 PM   #68
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Re: Favorite History Books

"When Presidents Lie" by Eric Alterman has always been a favorite of mine. A great expose on the reasoning behind many American Presidents shenanigans, although it is a bit more current then most examples on this post, ending with Reagan if I remember right.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:42 AM   #69
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Re: Favorite History Books

I have just finished 'The Wall' by John Hersey.

Written using archived materiel hidden by Noach Levinson, chronicler of the Warsaw Ghetto, it describes the daily lives of some of the Jews leading up to and including the uprising and the escape of 40 members of the Jewish resistance.

The archive was found after the war ended and consisted of 17 iron boxes and a number of small packages wrapped in rags and was incredibly detailed.
The Levinson Archive is famous in Poland and in Palestine and so far 37 volumes have been published with more to come.

It is a compelling and fascinating book and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in that period of history.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:25 PM   #70
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Re: Favorite History Books

A short history of Byzantium by John Julius Norwich
Mohammed et Charlemagne by Henri Pirenne
The Crusades by Jonathan Riley Smith
Lees Miserables by J. Tracy Power

...just to name a few...
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:04 AM   #71
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Re: Favorite History Books


Debt: A history, the first 5000 years
1/4 through and it is quite an enjoyable read. Very applicable to modern times as well. The first half of the book is mainly theory, but the second half is more specific history. For those looking for intense economic history, this is a must.


Bondage and Travels of Johann Schiltberger
This was a blast. Diary(for lack of a better word) of a captured german knight forced in the Janissary corps in the 15th century. He then gets captured by Tamerlane and his turned into a mongol horse warrior and then eventually returns to Germany. Obviously like most medieval text, theres a couple of ''roll your eyes'' moments and extensive description of religious ceremonies, but still a very fun read to get an insight in medieval culture. Love his encounter with a ''brigade'' of female horse archers on the Eurasian steppes. His reaction his priceless. To quote him ''I saw it with my own eyes!''

Last edited by Adaptation; 08-22-2012 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:00 PM   #72
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Re: Favorite History Books

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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.
Bumping this as I just finished my reread (the first time I read it, I was an undergrad in skim-and-analyze mode) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Wood is a great historian, if perhaps a little sunny toward the Jeffersonians (this comes through in some of his other work). I'd add to that that he makes the case that some revolutionaries were indeed aristocratic and classically republican (most of the "Founding Father" sorts) in their leanings, but in spite of their efforts, America because a liberal democracy, not a classical republic because of changes wrought by the revolution and what it meant in terms of challenging old sources of legitimate authority. It's definitely a great work that hits many different facets of the revolution in new and exciting ways. I wholeheartedly recommend it as the best political history overview of the revolutionary period.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:18 PM   #73
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Re: Favorite History Books

[QUOTE=Adaptation;34412212]
Debt: A history, the first 5000 years
1/4 through and it is quite an enjoyable read. Very applicable to modern times as well. The first half of the book is mainly theory, but the second half is more specific history. For those looking for intense economic history, this is a must.

This was a great book. Makes you think a lot about the 2008 financial crisis and even the US future.
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:36 PM   #74
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Re: Favorite History Books

Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe Jonathan W. Jordan



Just finished this and I found it to be terrific! Very interesting and informative look at the big 3 US Generals of WWII in the European theater. Shows how they worked together and all of the many ebbs and flows of their relationships with each other. They often disagreed as well as supported each other. The one thing they had in total agreement was a dislike of Montgomery.

If you have even remote interest in the US involvement in the European theater of WWII I would highly recommend this book. It is a very engaging read on some very interesting American historical figures.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:37 PM   #75
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Re: Favorite History Books

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Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe Jonathan W. Jordan



Just finished this and I found it to be terrific! Very interesting and informative look at the big 3 US Generals of WWII in the European theater. Shows how they worked together and all of the many ebbs and flows of their relationships with each other. They often disagreed as well as supported each other. The one thing they had in total agreement was a dislike of Montgomery.

If you have even remote interest in the US involvement in the European theater of WWII I would highly recommend this book. It is a very engaging read on some very interesting American historical figures.
I also enjoyed Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War



I got the audio book and enjoyed it greatly.
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