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CFC's Top Recommended Historical Works

Discussion in 'World History' started by Antilogic, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    Probably helps that the film was based on the aforementioned book.

    I thought Herbert's biography Lincoln was both better written and more factually rigorous.
     
  2. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I'm going to have to second-guess Doyle, m'fraid. The revisionist school does provide some necessary criticisms of the Marxist/structuralist interpretation's deterministic tendencies, but itself tends to relegate social issues to the periphery in favour of a narrowly political and ideological narrative. I think that we're better off with something more contemporary, that avoids both the iceberg-lie inevitability of the Marxists and the fundamentally-intellectual-conflict-and-whoops-somebody-brought-guillotines narrative of the revisionists- although I'm afraid that I can't suggest any list-worthy texts off the top of my head.

    Or, I guess, you could read Doyle and Lefebvre back to back and make up your own mind. :dunno:
     
  3. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    While that is a favorite criticism of mine, I have never read Team of Rivals and so would be unable to say whether it is applicable to that book. I don't believe you got that from me.
     
  4. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    Oh, my recommendation:

    The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development by Joseph A. Jungmann, S.J. I think it's on a 6th edition or so as of 2012. It's a thesis which envelops the theological (and some musical) developments of the Roman-rite liturgy up to right before Vatican II.

    Anything else I'd contribute is already well-known things that you can get off of Oxford Press.
     
  5. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    I'd like to recommend The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes (1986). Another Pulitzer Prize winner (and a slew of other awards), it's a history not only of the Manhatten Project, but of physics, chemistry and the notable scientific personalities in the early 20th century - Einstein, Szilard, Oppenheimer, Neuman, Teller, Meitner, Rabi, Bohr, Fermi, Bethe, Hagiwara, Heisenberg, Conant, Zinn, Lawrence, etc., etc., etc.

    I've read and would like to second;

    Battlecry of Freedom by James McPherson
    John Adams by David McCullough
    Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Howe
     
  6. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus

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    My mistake, in that case.

    Well, the French revolution was still at heart a far more 'bourgeois' revolution than most that have gone after it: it was very much a time of big ideas, and probably the first time - with the possible exception of the American Revolution, though I admit I don't know very much about that - that the lone intellectual writing in his study had the power to change the world. You're probably still right, though.
     
  7. SeekTruthFromFacts

    SeekTruthFromFacts King

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    I would second this. An introduction to the whole world of Late Antiquity as reinterpreted in recent decades.

    Shouldn't we have something by our very own Guy Halsall? :mischief: I've never read any of his books since they all look too technical for a lay person.
     
  8. GamezRule

    GamezRule Inconceivable!

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  9. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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  10. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus

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    Yes, I had that in mind, but I don't know how much that was a cause, rather than a product, of the revolutionary spirit.
     
  11. Icaria909

    Icaria909 Emperor

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    I've read several sections from that book at my university. I know my professor and many of the graduate students enjoyed the book as well. I think it should definitely be added
     
  12. Icaria909

    Icaria909 Emperor

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    I have read that as well and its thesis was well argued. It was a pretty long book though...
     
  13. Serutan

    Serutan Eatibus Anythingibus

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    John Erickson's The Road To Stalingrad and The Road to Berlin. I like it because it's
    written from the Soviet point of view, and although it's mostly a military history of the Russian
    Front, there is some discussion of internal and inter-Allied politics as well.
     
  14. JohannaK

    JohannaK Heroically Clueless

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    Awesome thread. I have personally read one The Peloponnesian War by Kagan, which I liked a lot, and I wanted to buy some of Beevor's books (primarily The Battle for Spain, because obvious reasons :p) but I'll wait to see if they're really worth it. :D
     
  15. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    Okay, I had a busy week, but I promise I haven't forgotten about this thread!

    First, some comments:

    @LS: I think it was you who mentioned Elliott's Imperial Spain in another thread, I'm just finishing up the section on Ferdinand and Isabella. What did you think of it?

    @SeekTruthFromFacts: I think some books on the Dark and Early Middle Ages is a good thing--it's an underappreciated and misunderstood topic. I haven't read anything by Guy Halsall yet, but I think I have one of his books on my to-read list. Wickham's book is the only piece of modern scholarship I've read recently that doesn't get everything... trying to self-censor... terribly wrong.

    @Icaria909: I know people have different levels of tolerance for different page counts. For me, page count doesn't matter so much as whether the book is readable (i.e. it's not so terribly written I have to put it down and avert my eyes every other page) and whether it comprehensively and intelligently approaches its subject matter. Cronon's book hits on the booster theories of city growth, the development of massive industries and their associated financial services, and on city debt and financial matters more generally. Any individual chapter or section of his book is great as a stand-alone essay on the subject at hand since it is arranged thematically. And with only one small exception in the lumber chapter, he reviews other theories in good faith and comments critically, which I think is the hallmark of an excellent historical work. Partly, it must look at the prior historiography and critically examine it.

    (So, I hope these comments give at least a little of what I'm looking for in this list and maybe give some inspiration as to what we are looking for.)

    Based on the prior discussions in other threads and here, I think we have the following as solid core list of recommended works:

    The First World War by Hew Strachan
    Iron Kingdom by Christopher Clark
    Battlecry of Freedom by James McPherson
    1491: New Revelations of America before Columbus by Charles Mann
    What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Howe

    I think our nominated list looks something like this now (books that more than one poster have mentioned, are being discussed, I've re-scanned the thread to put down whether I think the comments have been positive for inclusion or negative for exclusion on the list):

    Nature's Metropolis by William Cronon (+)
    China Marches West by Peter Perdue (+)
    Kingdom of Matthias by Paul Johnson
    1493 by Charles Mann
    Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (+/-)
    The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861 by David Potter
    The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
    The Inheritance of Rome: History of Europe from 400 to 1000 by Chris Wickham (+)
    John Adams by David McCullough (+)
    Oxford History of the French Revolution by William Doyle (+/-)



    I hope I didn't miss anyone's suggestions that were seconded/discussed. I'm going to edit the 2nd post now with the recommended works and links.

    I'm thinking in the future, we might want to split our core recommended list into two--one for biographies, if we obtain enough of them, and one for thematic/overview-type works of a historical period. Maybe even a third list for particular wars.
     
  16. History_Buff

    History_Buff Knight of Cydonia

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    Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy should probably be up on that list. Seems to be a favorite of most of the knowledgeable here.
     
  17. Antilogic

    Antilogic --

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    You are right, missed that one. I quoted it from Dachs in another thread, for some reason I didn't list those books as having come up in discussion.

    I still need to read it--I ended up reading Wedgwood's work, which I'm told is a little behind the times compared to Wilson. Hopefully, once I read both, I can comment more completely on them.
     
  18. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    you also missed halsall's book

    we should probably recommend plotinus books too
     
  19. Yui108

    Yui108 Deity

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    I'd also recommend the Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848. Another, a little less scholarly but very strong, book I just finished is Russia Against Napoleon by Dominic Lieven. Goes into great depth on the personalities of the various national high commanders. Good stuff.
     
  20. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    Just ordered Strachan's The First World War on Amazon. Likin' this thread.:snowlaugh:
     

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