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cause i feel like going on a big history jag
expect a bump
I can't vouch for their accuracy, but they were really funny
how there's both an 'awesome' and an 'awful' egyptians :D
kind of history....they're brilliant. I'm going to get me some.
King Leopold's Ghost - Adam Hochschild - About the purchase, colonisation and rape of the Congo by the Belgian King Leopold. Beginning's a bit off but once he gets to the meat of it it's a good text.
Constantinople - Roger Crowley - About the fall of Constantinople, a good read about one of my favourite topics, but not very academic.
A People's Tragedy: Russian Revolution, 1891-1924 - Orlando Figes - A HUGE book, but very very good and about a very interesting topic.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - William L. Shirer - Again, a HUGE book, plus it's about a topic that's been done to death, but it's my favourite book about the event. Additionally it's got some interesting perspectives as he lived in the Reich until 1940.
So yeah, one of them.
Everyone should read this.
global history ftw!
Here's three good books anyway...
Rack, Rope and Red Hot Pincers, G. Abbott
The Fatal Shore, R. Hughes
A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia, Alexander Yakovlev (sp?)
any human history
How's my recent picks?
- Europe: Norman Davies. Does exactly what it says on the tin - it's a history of Europe. What I really like about this book though is that it intersperses the sometimes stodgy runthrough of everything that's happened in Europe since caveman times with occasional asides that are basically things that make you go "Oh, that's interesting!". Also good is the fact that Davies actually recognises that East Europe is Europe too, so the whole book isn't all about Britain and France rucking while Germany watches by the sidelines sinisterly waiting for its chance to attack.
- Barbarossa: Alan Clarke's seminal retelling of the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Does an excellent job of putting personality and motivation behind the famous names of that episode. One drawback is that it's pretty lop-sided in terms of its coverage - there's far more German action than there is Russian. But the explanation behind that is that it was written in the 60s and the Soviets back then weren't all that hot on letting historians in - foreign or otherwise - and rooting around all their documents. But it's still an amazing read.
- A Century of Violence: Yakovlev. Just do what Doubtful says, and read this heartrending account of the soviet system's many, many atrocities against its own citizens. Try not to become viciously Russo-phobic afterward.
- The Shield of Achilles: Phillip Bobbitt. This is a big 'un. Sure, it's long, but it also tackles some pretty big concepts. Basically the argument here is that in the last 600 hundred years or so of our history, there have been no more than a few epochal events - wars, and the associated judicial wranglings - that have consigned entire states, ideologies and philosophies to the bin forever, and defined the way the surviving states and societies have conducted themselves afterwards. This is the definition of stodge: A highly academic mashup of history, jurisprudence, constitutional law and military strategy. Hell, I still only get about 20% of it. But that's why you read these things more than once.
- War of the World: Niall Ferguson - Similar in parts to the Bobbitt book, Ferguson argues that the 20th century was actually the witness to an all-encompassing epochal conflict that spanned the 90-odd years from before World War 1 to the collapse of the USSR. A say similar, because it reiterates and depicts, clearly and in a readable manner, a central concept of The Shield of Achilles: A war doesn't end when the fighting stops, only when the issue the war was fought over is resolved. Where Bobbitt says that the 20th century war was primarily a battle between three opposing systems of government for supremacy, Ferguson argues that the primary issue in the conflicts of the last century was squabbling between ethnic groups. Obviously neither one discounts the other, and reading both of these books is very rewarding. One other reason I like this book is that it presents the economic motivations and issues for each participant of the 'long war' in a very clear manner, using copious amounts of numberage, which presents a number of surprising revelations they won't teach you at school. Well, at my crappy school, anyway.
- Empires of the World: Nicholas Ostler - A history of the world told through peoples' languages. A very worthwhile take on things, this indirectly and directly explains why certain languages have survived and why others have gone bye; and what factors work behind the scenes to make our world the way we see it today.
...and there's more, but I don't put out all the way on a first date, you know?
please? i'll buy you dinner?
You got greedy, and now you're cut off!
Okay, one more: One reason I like reading history books is that frequently, the stories they tell are funnier, more tragic, bizarre and/or angering than anything a novelist could come out with.
"Mimi and Toutou Go Forth" (www.fuckinggoogleit.com) is one of those stories. Think Blackadder/Flashman crossed with Heart of Darkness and you're coming close to the ridiculousness of a tale in which the admiralty, at the height of the first world war, send a captain to drag two boats through the African jungle to German-held Lake Tanganyika and retake it for King and Country. The only problem is, the man they send is a cretinous, cross-dressing loudmouth. Hilarity ensues.
Am I actually you?
You are the me I would actually be if I didn't regard deadlines as optional.
the prince - machiavelli
The Prince - History?
sort of. Its kind of like history i guess. politics and all that jazz too. in any case it was quite interesting when i read it.
It's about the abolitionist John Brown. It's a novel, but it's based on historical fact.
...he's a nice old school marxist - in with structure/economy, out with agency.... he also manages to condense most of modern western history into four volumes that are great to dip in and out of