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Historical Book Recomendation Thread

Discussion in 'World History' started by Babbler, Nov 28, 2008.

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  1. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    I haven't read it. At first, I also thought the publication history would be a warning sign, but that's unfair.
     
  2. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    I agree, which is why I asked.

    What do you recommend for WWI history these days? I would imagine there have been quite a few publications in the past 4 years.
     
  3. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Cambridge University Press rolled out a series on the Armies of the Great War, as institutional and social histories. They're all very useful. So far, they've only covered America, France, Britain, and Italy. The book on the British Army in particular is quite good, as one would expect when Ian Beckett is one of the co-authors. (There is a similar book on the Russian Army, but it's not in the same series.) Dennis Showalter produced a sound book on the German military in a similar vein for Osprey's new line of higher-end works. David Stone's The Kaiser's Army is also worth a read.

    In 2016, Graydon Tunstall produced a book on the siege of Przemyśl that has a wealth of useful information but which is unfortunately kind of difficult to read. Geoff Wawro's A Mad Catastrophe on the outbreak of the war in the Habsburg Empire is written with his usual forcefulness and attention to detail, and highlights a few things about the opening campaigns in the East and Southeast that are often forgotten in the West. Alexander Watson's Ring of Steel, a general history of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires during the war, is outstanding. Eugene Rogan and Sean McMeekin have both produced books on the final years of the Ottoman Empire that do not focus on the Ottoman aspect of the war, but touch on it in some detail and contain useful bibliographies for further research.

    There are rumors that, now that Strachan is at St. Andrews instead of Poxbridge, he might start work on Volume 2 again. I'm not holding my breath. He's behind schedule on a book about the relationship between war and politics, which seems to be more interesting to him lately (a lot of his recent articles and lectures have focused on Clausewitz).

    Since I'm basically out of the game, I'm not up on journal articles. As I understand it, there have been some decent papers out of conferences and articles in collected packages. I couldn't begin to tell you about them, though.

    Hopefully that's all useful to you.
     
  4. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    Looks good. Hopefully I can get around to it at some point once I'm done drowning in Early Reformation scholarship. And Nominalist theologians. And archival research. And these random extra reading assignments my Latin professor assigned me (and nobody else - that's the last time I volunteer the fact that I read German).
     
  5. Live trash can

    Live trash can Warlord

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    Is there a must read book on Science of Religion or History of Religion?
     
  6. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    That's a pretty massive topic.

    There are tomes - volumes upon volumes of tomes written just on nominalism, Aristotelian thought, and their impact on 13th and 14th century Neoplatonic Christian theology, to give an example.

    So you're going to have to specify your answer a bit, I think. Are you looking for intellectual history of specific religious topics? Or are you looking for an origins of religion? À la the (rather flawed) Joseph Campbell book, or the more modern linguistic and comparative religions treatments of the topic? The psychology of religion?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  7. Live trash can

    Live trash can Warlord

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    I have noe idea :lol:

    So I guess my question is a bit like: Is there a good book written on Philosophy?

    But there are areas in philosophy. And I guess what I am looking for is a well-written book, no matter what subject (within religion it is). And perhaps I just have to start somewhere!
     
  8. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    It comes down to what, in particular you're interested in?

    I guess a good place to start, at least for the Western philosophical tradition would be to read through the major Greek schools, so reading some of the core texts of Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius/Epicurus, some Stoics like Zeno and Seneca, and Skeptics like Sextus Empiricus and Pyrro.

    Here is a decent overview (albeit old). Here is another.

    If you're interested in the Theological history of the Church, then you would want to pay careful attention to Neoplatonism, and in particular the Neoplatonism of Augustine, as that essentially set the standard upon which pretty much every Catholic theologian argued all the way up to Luther and beyond. He is referred to in Medieval texts as "The Doctor" (The Teacher) for a reason.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  9. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    Charles Freeman did a fairly chunky book on early Christianity, starting with the Judaism of Jesus' time and going on from there.
     
  10. Live trash can

    Live trash can Warlord

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    Thanks both of you!

    Do you know if Charles Freeman has been criticized in any way? :)
     
  11. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    Haven't the foggiest, but if you like his work, he also did a sizeable book on the Ancient Mediterranean.
     
  12. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Yes.

    His book The Closing of the Western Mind, on medieval European philosophy, contains bizarre gaps and strange holes. Not coincidentally, the gaps correspond to aspects of philosophy that do not mesh well with his thesis. His argument is that the advent of Christianity, a religion fundamentally antithetical to the expansion of reason and the development of knowledge, destroyed the classical Greek concept of learning and introduced a real dark age of philosophical and scientific thought. While he is quite adept at marshaling support for some aspects of the argument, he largely fails to acknowledge the many things that poke serious holes in it.

    Since Freeman is notorious for tracking down online reviews of his work and arguing about them, I now live in paralyzing fear that he will find this comment and try to shame me over it.

    I haven't read, and am not really qualified to discuss, anything else he has written, although he did respond to one review of Closing to claim that the book on early Christianity doubles down on the views expressed in the first book. Maybe @Plotinus would have more to say, if/when he returns.
     
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  13. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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  14. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Of course if you want to know the truth about early Christianity you'd have to read my book on the subject...

    I haven't read Freeman so I can't comment on what he says.

    If you want an overview of western philosophy you couldn't really do better than Anthony Kenny's book. (Bertrand Russell's is more famous, of course, but although it's beautifully written it's so outdated and full of errors that it could only be recommended as a source for what Russell thought about various topics, not as an objective introduction to those topics.)
     
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  15. Live trash can

    Live trash can Warlord

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    "This book is no less than a guide to the whole of Western philosophy―the ideas that have undergirded our civilization for two-and-a-half thousand years."

    (Kenny's book)

    That sounds interesting! And it has quite good reviews.

    I have touched upon a series called "A History of Western Philosophy" OPUS
    Do you know anything about that? :)
     
  16. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I'm not sure what series you're talking about - that is the title of Russell's book, but it's also the title of a thousand other works of one kind or another!
     
  17. Live trash can

    Live trash can Warlord

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    I know! It usually has a number on the cover (8 or more small volumes). And sometimes the letters OPUS.
     
  18. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    Is it this one? OPUS standing for Oxford Paperback University Series?
     
  19. Live trash can

    Live trash can Warlord

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    weirdly enough it's not!

    There are 8 volumes.

    It is Oxford University Press.
     
  20. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    In that case I don't know what series you're referring to, but if it's OUP it will almost certainly be reliable.
     

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