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History books

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posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 01:44 PM
Anybody who likes reading history books, do you have any recommendations?

I like reading about many different historical subjects/topics but three of my favourites are, The Great war for civilization: The conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk, Bury my heart at wounded knee by Dee Brown and The Forgotten Solider by Guy Sajer.

So any recocommendations?

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 07:34 PM
reply to post by Kram09

Two books on history that I would recommend are Roosevelt'e Secret War by Joseph E. Persico and Italy's Sorrow: A year of War. 1944-1945 by James Holland. Both are crammed full of details that aren't found in other books on World War II.

posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 07:45 AM
Thanks for that, i've added them to my amazon wish list which currently stands at 206 books hahaha.

posted on Aug, 2 2009 @ 06:14 AM
Michael Parenti's work is usually pretty interesting, though he is a Marxist.

Anthony Sutton's work on technological transfers to the Nazis and the Soviet Union aren't particularly readable, but contain a wealth of astonishing information.

I have read some of Proofs of a Conspiracy, a couple of hundred years old book about Freemasons and the rise of the Illuminati and though the language makes it tough going, it is an excellent work.

posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 07:00 AM
One particular book comes to mind, "When Jesus Came, The Corn Mothers Went Away" Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846 by Ramon Gutierrez. It is a study of the encounters of Spanish and Indians in New Mexico and the colonial society they created.

posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 05:20 AM
Have you tried Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States?" It's a history of the USA from 1492 up to the time the book was written, about 5-10 years ago. It's got a lot of the history you don't usually hear in school. Absolutely fantastic. Lots of firsthand and secondhand accounts from people you don't usually hear from, like the natives of North America, or black slaves, or social activists.

posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 05:50 AM
reply to post by DragonsDemesne

I've heard of that book before. I've wanted to read it for a while.

I remember seeing this youtube video too.

posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 06:49 AM
A must read for an history enthusiast is William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It is a giant cockroach-killing tome but it is jammed with inside information on the Nazi Party, Hitler's rise to power, the miltary blunders on both sides and the eventual destruction of the Thousand Year Reich.

Another good one is The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire by Charles Luttwak. It details the military enterprise of the Romans, from Republic to Prinicpate, whose parrallels can be subsequently observed in modern American strategy.

[edit on 18-9-2009 by AugustusMasonicus]

posted on Mar, 19 2010 @ 01:57 PM
Here is the Amazon link for Wired for war, by PW Singer, which looks at how the military is melding automation with ordnance. It was published 12/2009:

As far as I know, ATS/BTS does not have regular coverage for book reviews. However, here is one site that does. This link describes one feature on this book review website, LibraryThing by name:

Once you are a member (you can describe up to 200 of your own books for free), you can post questions about history books or anything else bookish and get inundated with intelligent answers. Have fun.

If you like the description of "Wired for War", check out the weekly lists of book reviews on

--that's where I found out about Wired for War...they have discussions and interviews about tons of nonfiction books I often don't see discussed elsewhere.

Best nonfiction book I ever saw on Abraham Lincoln was the compendium volume edited by C-Span anchor Brian Lamb, released during the 2009 C-Span anniversary of Lincoln's birth. We gave a copy to one of our elder relatives who is a Lincoln buff and she said it was the best book on Lincoln she ever read, and it contains facts about Lincoln she had never known before. Here is a link to that book:

[edit on 3/19/2010 by Uphill]

posted on Mar, 22 2010 @ 05:55 PM
Another I'm reading now is 'Hegemony or Survival' by Noam Chomsky. It talks about history and current events from the 20th century, and is mostly about Americal imperialism and military interventions. It's a great book so far. It was also highly praised by Hugo Chavez, when he told people to read it to learn about the USA, and it became a bestseller :p (though I think it had already done well before that)

posted on May, 21 2010 @ 04:25 PM
I am presently part way through "Eyewitness to History" (edited by John Carey) and enjoying it immensely. It consists of a 2,400 year chronological presentation of important (and not-so-important) historic world events as described by eyewitnesses. Carey's sources are the eyewitness accounts as described in diaries, journals, letters to others, etc. The first-hand accounts by individuals from all walks of life far exceed in entertainment value the dry text-book versions to which we are accustomed.

I am also admittedly a huge fan of "alternative" history books -- that is to say, versions of history that challenge mainstream thought. The two most recent that I found to be very compelling reads were:

Gavin Menzie's "1421: The Year China Discovered America" and the subject matter-related book "The Island of Seven Cities: Where the Chinese Settled When They Discovered America" by Paul Chiasson.

posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 01:56 PM
Some of my favorites.

The Story of Civilization series by Will Durant, read this and you'll have a better education than most 4 year degrees would get you (and it will only cost you about $4 bucks a book, $44 verse $80k (?) quite a bargain). They're all 800+ pages but very readable.

Vol 1 Our Oriental Heritage
Vol 2 The Life of Greece
Vol 3 Caesar and Christ
Vol 4 The Age of Faith
Vol 5 The Renaissance
Vol 6 The Reformation
Vol 7 The Age of Reason Begins
Vol 8 The Age of Louis XIV
Vol 9 The Age of Voltaire
Vol 10 Rousseau and Revolution
Vol 11 The Age of Napoleon

Shelby Foote's Civil War Trilogy

Modern Times and A History of the American People by Paul Johnson

Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris

Two volume biography of Winston Churchill by William Manchester

Two volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

The First American by H.W. Brands (Ben Franklin bio)

Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose (Lewis and Clark)

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes

Peter the Great by Robert Massie

Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes

edit on 29-11-2010 by SevenBeans because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 01:56 PM
Looking for some quality books on the following:

The American War of Independence (something balanced and not too biased towards the American side, if written by an American author)

The War of 1812 (again same as above)

The American-Mexican War

The American Civil War (I'm reading John Keegan's American Civil War, which by all accounts isn't supposed to be very good, but as a introduction it's not too bad. I also have Battle Cry of Freedom and Shelby Foote's trilogy, but I haven't got round to reading them yet).

posted on May, 19 2011 @ 07:16 AM
I’m going to recommend books that are fun to read, though you may not think so from their titles. The classics are no bad place to start.

  • History, by Herodotus, is the first history book of all and still a great action-packed read. It tells the story of the Greek world up to about 440BC, which is when it was published. Lots of myths and semi-myths are included, like the story of King Croesus and the legend of Arion and the dolphins, but the bulk of the book is about the Persian invasion of Greece and there are great descriptions of the battles of Thermopylae, Plataea, Salamis, etc.

  • Anabasis or Going Up-Country by Xenophon. The author was an Athenian nobleman who fought as a mercenary in a Persian civil war and found himself stranded in Mesopotamia with his fellow-Greeks because of an act of treachery by their Persian officers. Xenophon organized the Greeks into a company and marched them home through hundreds of miles of hardship, privation and danger. The book is an account of these events, written in a very clear, hard-hitting style.

  • Twelve Caesars by Suetonius. Twelve scandal-packed, warts-and-all accounts of the reigns and personalities of the first dozen Roman Emperors, including some of the really interesting ones like Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Nero.

There are plenty of others, but these three are the ones I found most fun to read.

The best history of classical times is, of course, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. Published in 1776, it is still considered an authoritative source. It is also one of the finest pieces of prose ever written in the English language – lucid, erudite, humane and at times bitingly funny. The original text runs to twelve volumes, but there are many good one-volume abridgements. If you can read Latin you’re in for a smutty treat among the footnotes, because he leaves all the juicy bits untranslated.

Original sources are often much pleasanter to read than modern history-books, which have to meet present-day standards of academic rigour and political correctness – hard to do without being boring. A few other old history-books I like reading are

  • Geoffroy de Joinville, Life of St. Louis. This one should have been subtitled ‘What I Did in the Crusades’. A fabulous war memoir and travelogue by a noble knight who went on crusade to Palestine with his lord, King Louis II of France and lived to tell the tale, growing old, rich and content at his castle in Champagne. Geoffroy is a great raconteur; his book was dictated, since he wasn’t very literate, and it reads like a great brandy-fuelled after-dinner story. The author misses little, has an eye for telling details of humanity, object and landscape, and is clearly, though he makes light of it, a very brave, honourable and decent man. Do not miss this one.

  • If possible, read it side by side with Arab Historians of the Crusades, a collection of first-hand accounts by Arab scholars of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, translated into English by Francesco Gabrieli, which describe the same events Geoffroy speaks of (and many others) from the opposite side of the lines. The pen-portraits of Saladin by Al-Athir and Al-Din and the various accounts of the Arab loss and reconquest of Jerusalem are particularly good. Also interesting is the contrast between the rich, cultured and clean Arabs and Turks on the one side and the rough-and-ready, generally poor and inarguably unwashed Crusaders on the other.

  • Another very good old book is the Baburnama, the memoirs of the Mongol emperor Babur (1483-1530), who founded the Mughal dynasty in India (yes, the Mughals were Mongols). He was an amazing character – a man of culture, a poet, a sensualist, a lover of bloodshed and massacres, a great builder and a great destroyer, and his book is all about what it’s like, day to day, to be the despotic ruler of millions. Do not miss this one either.

I’ll finish with a couple of modern history-books I have particularly enjoyed.

  • Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth, by Gitta Sereny, contains material obtained in dozens of interviews with the Nazis’ chief architect and stage-manager, Minister for War Production after 1942 and the only man, probably, whom Adolf Hitler genuinely thought of as a friend. Intimate glimpses of life among the Nazi high command and the Führer’s inner circle, and a hell of a lot of what you might term practical moral philosophy.

  • Passionate Minds, by David Bodanis, is a biography of Émilie du Chatelet, lover of Voltaire and probably the greatest scientific mind in France in her day. Du Chatelet was a poor girl who married into the nobility, spent years at Louis XIV‘s court in Versailles and was the first French person to understand Newton’s Principia, giving an introductory talk on his ideas to the Académie Française. Her life was a tragedy, as the life of any learned and liberal-minded woman in eighteenth-century France was bound to be, but it makes an excellent story.

  • Barbara Tudjman’s The Proud Tower tells the story of how the Great Powers of Europe pushed each other to the brink of war and over the edge in 1914. A modern classic.

  • The Scramble for Africa, by Thomas Pakenham, is an absolutely riveting account of how those same Great Powers carved up Africa between them with nary a thought for the natives. It includes an appalling history of Congo Free State, the African ‘colony’ more or less personally owned and plundered by Leopold II, King of the Belgians, and quite a bit about the slave trade. Not an easy book for white readers, but salutary – to say the least.

  • Millennium, by Felipe Fernández-Armesto, was written to celebrate the recent one. This global review of the last thousand years is one of the most readable history books ever, flitting nimbly from place to place and period to period, beginning with tenth-century Japanese society as portrayed in The Tale of Genji, the first novel ever written, and going on from there to cover all kinds of tasty stuff.

I could go on for pages – I love good history books – but these should be enough to go on with. Happy reading!

edit on 19/5/11 by Astyanax because: I declined and fell.

posted on May, 19 2011 @ 07:24 AM
reply to post by Kram09

The American War of Independence (something balanced and not too biased towards the American side, if written by an American author).

Try Part 2 of The March of Folly by (see above) Barbara Tudjman. Part 4 is pretty good on Vietnam, too. But this is a history book with a political agenda, so beware.

edit on 19/5/11 by Astyanax because: everything is upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped.

posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 04:30 PM
Before you go wasting your time you should read some books on epistemology. We cannot know history. The longer ago it happened the less accurate information about it may be. I can recommend
Knowing the Past, by Peter Kosso
In the words of Heinrich Ford "History is bunk"

posted on Jun, 26 2011 @ 12:35 AM
reply to post by CoRiBu

Before you go wasting your time you should read some books on epistemology. We cannot know history. The longer ago it happened the less accurate information about it may be.

We cannot know anything for certain, except perhaps that we exist. Obviously we cannot know all about events in the distant past. As for epistemology, the ways in which we come to know about history are rather well established.

I’m sure the OP knows all this. A habitual reader of non-fiction soon comes to understand that a degree of speculation is often employed by academic writers on occasions when facts are in short supply and the available ones can point to more than one conclusion. One is often surprised at what slim evidence is adduced for a given conclusion, but quickly learns to practise caveat lector.

Besides, isn’t it a little naive to believe that wanting to know what happened long ago is a person’s only motive for reading history books? It certainly isn’t mine.

I can recommend Knowing the Past, by Peter Kosso

Thank you. Would you like to tell us a little more about the book, and why you recommend it? That would give your comments a little context, greatly increasing the value of their contribution to the thread.

I did try to find a review or discussion about it on the internet, but it doesn’t seem to be a very popular book.

In the words of Heinrich Ford "History is bunk".

Aren’t these words part of history now?

Well then, if ‘history is bunk’ is history, then ‘history is bunk’ is bunk too, isn’t it?

posted on Jun, 26 2011 @ 05:25 AM
reply to post by Astyanax

“Some of what we claim to know about the past is true; the rest is false."-Peter Kosso
I have not read the book but I plan to. It just seemed relevant. Forget the book. How do you know what you know, how do you know what you can know? How do you know that a man named Plato wrote the works that are attributed to him? Maybe Socrates was an imaginary person in the mind of Plato. Donald Rumsfeld talks about unknown unknowns, known unknowns, etc. You can find the interview on it is kind of relevant.
If reading history is done for reasons other than knowing history what are some reasons?
You got me on the Ford quote. But it is just a quote. Maybe Ford didn't even say it just like Jackson never said that stuff about routing out a den of vipers. However somebody did say it, who it was we may not know. I apologize for the misunderstanding. Thank you

posted on Jun, 26 2011 @ 06:15 AM
reply to post by CoRiBu

I have not read the book but I plan to. It just seemed relevant.

You mean you recommended a book you have not read? :shk:

posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 02:22 AM

The Blue Nile
by Alan Moorehead

I finished this recently and found it one of the most enjoyable history books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. As this review says, it is history written as tales of brave adventure. Moorehead describes the modern discovery of the Blue Nile and its isolated peoples by Western civilization. It’s a tale of Mameluke cavalrymen riding into battle in gorgeous silks and jewels, black mediaeval Christian knights fighting British redcoats among the mountains and ravines of Ethiopia, intrepid Scottish explorers, Arab and European traders in ivory and slaves – and towering above all these, the heroic figure of Napoleon Bonaparte. Few popular history-books can be more colourful or exotic than this.

Published in 1962, The Blue Nile is not always politically correct, and is positively steeped in what is nowadays denigrated as ‘Orientalism’. Be that as it may (and speaking as a man of the Orient myself), this is a brilliant book. I cannot recommend it too highly.

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