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Thread: I need recommendations for history books

  1. #1
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    I need recommendations for history books

    Hi, I am a high student school student and I would like to learn about american and world history. I havn't started history yet, but I would like books that would carry me over to university. What two books would you guys recomend? They should be one-volumed, authoritive, and inclusive. I have heard that A People's History of The United States is a good american history book, but I have no clue what to get for world history. Any advice and recommendation would be aprreciated, thanks.

  2. #2
    L'artiste est morte crisaor's Avatar
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    On world history, try Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century (1914-1991), by Eric Hobsbawm. For previous periods, try the "Era of" series.
    Ningķn hombre llega a ser lo que es por lo que escribe, sino por lo que lee.
    - Jorge Luis Borges

  3. #3
    Right in the happy button IWilKikU's Avatar
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    Most world history books can't be all that inclusive. If you want books that will carry over into university, I recomend getting area or time/sittuation specific books. For example, Simon Schama's History of Great Britain, or a book on the prodestant Reformation. Those are the types of books that would be the most useful in more than one history class.
    ...Also baby duck hat would be good for parties.

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    For world history, you might try A Brief History of the Human Race by Michael Cook, or Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.

    JM Roberts has done a one-volume History of the World which is good.
    Faith is believing what you know ain't so - Mark Twain

    The preachers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves - Henry David Thoreau

    The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason - Benjamin Franklin

    The teaching of the church, theoretically astute, is a lie in practice and a compound of vulgar superstitions and sorcery - Leo Tolstoy

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    I recommend Modern World History (Palmer and Colton, if I'm not mistaken), it's quite comprehensive.

  6. #6
    a people's history of the united states is a good leftist take on our past. howard zinn did a lot of work with noam chomsky, who is one of the most politically influential people alive today.

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    Don't Know Much about History by Kenneth C. Davis.
    I haven't read this book, but I've read another of his book and it's plain fun!
    You're just another bastard.

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    The title is interesting ...

  9. #9
    Not really what you are looking for, but a very amusing and critical take on classic stories in history - "Decline and fall of Practically evrybody" by Cuppy.
    "Man was made for joy and woe;
    And when this we rightly know
    Through the world we safely go" Blake

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    Originally posted by subterranean
    The title is interesting ...

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    The following books by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto:

    1) Millenium
    2) Civilization
    3) Ideas that Changed the World
    Faith is believing what you know ain't so - Mark Twain

    The preachers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves - Henry David Thoreau

    The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason - Benjamin Franklin

    The teaching of the church, theoretically astute, is a lie in practice and a compound of vulgar superstitions and sorcery - Leo Tolstoy

  12. #12
    Originally posted by star blue
    a people's history of the united states is a good leftist take on our past. howard zinn did a lot of work with noam chomsky, who is one of the most politically influential people alive today.
    Good recommendation. I find terms like "leftist"and "intellectual" misleading. Zinn's account of US history is objective, as opposed to the revisionist brand we all learned in public school where, as Ralph Nader puts it, "you won't find the proper name in a civic's text book of a misbehaving corporation."

    Anytime people recount historical events or foreign policy that doesn't mesh with the official version, they're called "leftists," or "intellectuals." Using these labels immediately marginalizes those who oppose current policy makers in America or imperial power. Reminds me of when Jeff Greenberg was asked why Chomsky never apperared on Nightline. He said something like, " he's not even in the same world," meaning the corporate owned media world of course, and what he means is that Chomsky's views are not governed by corporate tyranny.
    Last edited by hal9000; 02-27-2004 at 05:19 AM.

  13. #13
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    I'll have to throw in with Hal and add that rather than "leftist" or "Intellectual" I think Zinn's focus was to write a history from the average Joe's perspective. That is to say, from the perspective of those influenced by policy not those making policy.

    While the nation was becoming powerful during the industrial revolution on natural resources, what was life like for an eastern Kentucky coal miner?

    President Lincoln, Generals Grant and Lee changed history but what did the average rifleman think? (he was probably more interested in finding a pair of serviceable boots)

    I love (and hate) the way the book starts: There's an entry from Columbus' log recounting his initial encounter with the Arawac indians as he sailed into the bay in Haiti (Hispaniola) and the natives swam out to greet the ships. He comments that the indians are healthy, attractive and hospitable. Then he sums up his thoughts with the conclusion that they would make excellent slaves.
    Uhhhh...

  14. #14
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    A recent book along those same lines, although more narrowly focused, is a slim volume by Paul Fussell, "The Boys' Crusade." Its the American Infantry in Northwestern Europe from 1944 to 1945 from the dogface soldier's perspective.

    Having spent much of my adult life with the modern American Infantry, I've always been slightly suspicious of those heroic "Greatest Generation" war stories. Make no doubt, I feel incredibly indebted to the greatest generation, but sometimes the histories seemed to have been written with rose colored glasses. When I read "The Boys' Crusade," I immediately recognized the average Grunt.

    Ahhh, these guys are the real deal. There are hilarious parts and there are tragic parts but there doesn't seem to be any embellished parts.

    A good read.
    Uhhhh...

  15. #15
    Sancho,

    I enjoyed reading both your posts, and look forward to reading, The Boys' Crusade.

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