Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Good history books?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5

    Good history books?

    It's dawned on me that although I've taken many history classes in school I still don't know that much of the history of the world other than US history and some general knowledge of the great powers of the past and their culture. Do you guys have any nice books in mind that would be of interest on this subject? I'm not looking for anything in particular so any suggestions are welcome.

  2. #2
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,336
    The History of The World by J.P. Roberts, and illustrated set. Cambridge has a great 2-volume pocket set as well.

    anything by niall ferguson or john keegan. ferguson published an excellent book fairly recently called Empires. check out Keegan's Book of War.

    many have recommended Guns, Germ, Steel by Jared Diamond that runs the gamut of history.

    enjoy
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  3. #3
    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    In one of the branches of the multiverse, but I don't know which one.
    Posts
    7,013
    Blog Entries
    440
    Look in used book stores. There were excellent history books, but they are out of print.

  4. #4
    Booze Hound Noisms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Kanagawa, Japan.
    Posts
    139
    Guns, Germs and Steel is a great book if you're looking for a theory of History - why things happened the way they did.

    If you're looking for more specific things...well, there are hundreds. Anything by Orland Figes is great. He's an expert on Russian history, and his A People's Tragedy is a masterpiece, I think. He's just released a new book about life under Stalin.

    Antony Beevor is definitely recommended, too. His Stalingrad is very famous - about the eponymous battle - but he's also written about the Spanish Civil War and the history of France.

    I also like Hugh Thomas. He's written lots of history books, mostly about the slave trade and the Spanish empire.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    151
    I recommend anything written by Anthony Beevor. If you want to read about WW1, I suggest you read anything from Richard Van Emden. He's written several great books about life in the trenches on the Western Front.

  6. #6
    Registered User MrD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    England
    Posts
    24
    I didn't like Anthony Beevors Stalingrad too much myself. It seemed less a history book than an attempt to hype up facts in his own view. Many references he simply doesn't provide. He just says he has data, but doesn't say where from.

    You'd actually be better off asking your teachers or googling current reading lists for specific universities in the areas you want to learn in.

    Although problems in Japan mean that WWII isn't likely to be on their reading lists, so if you want to learn about the pacific theatre you have to go elsewhere for material!

    The basic rule is properly referenced evidence. Not heresy or opinion.
    Light Travels Faster Than Sound, Which Is Why Some People Appear Bright Until You Hear Them Speak.

  7. #7
    Booze Hound Noisms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Kanagawa, Japan.
    Posts
    139
    Quote Originally Posted by MrD View Post
    The basic rule is properly referenced evidence. Not heresy or opinion.
    What an odd thing to say. Properly referenced evidence is vital, yes, but heresy and opinion are both good and stimulating things in a history book, are they not? Do we really want new books to just endlessly re-hash the accepted view of everything? I'd argue that revisionism is an important impulse in historical research, because it's what allows the subject to grow and broaden. Sometimes we might no agree with what revisionists have to say, but it's important that they have the chance to say it. And usually it's interesting and refreshing to read it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrD View Post
    I didn't like Anthony Beevors Stalingrad too much myself. It seemed less a history book than an attempt to hype up facts in his own view. Many references he simply doesn't provide. He just says he has data, but doesn't say where from.
    My copy of Stalingrad is painstakingly referenced; Beevor cites all his sources in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrD View Post
    Although problems in Japan mean that WWII isn't likely to be on their reading lists, so if you want to learn about the pacific theatre you have to go elsewhere for material!
    That's a bit of a myth, actually. WWII is a big part of the school curriculum in Japan. It's just that they don't learn the same things about it that kids in America or Britain do.

    I recommend to anyone who's really interested in the Pacific Theatreduring WWII to read books by Japanese historians. There's still a considerable number of them who argue against the view that their country was entirely in the wrong. I don't necessarily agree with them, but it's interesting to hear another side of the story.

  8. #8
    Fingertips of Fury B-Mental's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    a rock on a beautiful mountain
    Posts
    4,569
    Blog Entries
    140
    Eventhough you said you are familiar with American History, I still recommend the book 'The People's History of the United States'. It covers a great deal of American History from an alternate point of view. Its a little less optomistic on the righteousness of American History. A must read for history buffs.
    "I am glad to learn my friend that you had not yet submitted yourself to any of the mouldy laws of Literature."
    -John Muir


    "My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light"
    -Edna St. Vincent Millay

  9. #9
    Sweet farewell, Good Nite
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,336
    i forgot to mention Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and The Last Man.
    "He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
    ---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll

  10. #10
    Registered User ReynardtheFox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Leytonstone, London
    Posts
    34
    Daniel J Boorstin - The Discoverers

    I enjoyed it because he focusses on an discovery made by an individual, and from this position puts the discovery in its social and historical context, so the microcosm of a certain invention (eg. accurate ways to tell time, longitude etc.) leads to a greater understanding of the world at that time. Quite Western history focussed however, so if you wanted Asian or African history you should look elsewhere.
    I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees ~ Pablo Neruda

Similar Threads

  1. Lolita
    By waxmephilosophical in forum General Literature
    Replies: 236
    Last Post: 02-24-2015, 12:26 PM
  2. Victorian Fantasy books?
    By rae_of_light in forum General Literature
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 08-18-2008, 03:16 AM
  3. Any good vampire books?
    By natelie in forum General Literature
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-21-2007, 08:47 AM
  4. Good books with character development and hope
    By ucdawg12 in forum General Literature
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 08-14-2007, 10:47 AM
  5. Putting God on Trial: The Biblical Book of Job
    By Robert Sutherla in forum Religious Texts
    Replies: 63
    Last Post: 04-09-2007, 11:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •