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Historical Book Recomendation Thread

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

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  1. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    This is not really a thread intended for in-depth discussions, folks. That's why we have the rest of the sub-forum.
     
  2. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    In many cases the two were the same. Rhodesia, Portugal, and South Africa (and Katanga, but Katanga is weird) explicitly linked majority rule with communism and painted anyone who thought majority rule might be good as a "communist". It would at times go the other way, with the Baluba refugees outside Elisabethville naming the roads in their camp "Khruschev Street" and that because Khruschev, a communist, fought against white rule, and the refugees fought against white rule, communism meant fighting against white rule.
    (Which, given that the communists were often the only ones doing more than saying "and that's terrible" as South African security services gunned down children one can see their point easily.)

    Vaguely socialist with a heavy bent toward state interventionism was seen as the way of the future, in Africa and in Europe. Europe was dominated by Social/Christian Democrats with dirigisme economic planning. That newly independent countries might want to copy that is hardly surprising.


    That's really all I can say. Even a brief perusal of post-Independence African history would show that is both straight up wrong, and utterly fails to explain why conflict has been so endemic in Africa. The largest conflict in African history, the complete disintegration of Zaire in "Africa's World War" had nothing to do with Communism or Marxists and everything to do with sordid little dictatorships doing their damned to loot a corpse.

    EDIT: Sorry, didn't see your post Arakhor. Got bumped to the next page.
     
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  3. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Surely ethnic divisions and tensions, partly exacerbated by the history of colonialism and post-colonialism that forced different groups together, is a far more obvious candidate for "main cause of African conflicts". For example, two of the most iconic and brutal such events, the Biafran War and Rwandan civil war and genocide, had nothing to do with communism either. I think the same is largely true of the Sudanese civil wars, which if they were about ideology at all were more about Islam than communism.
     
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  4. Imaus

    Imaus Prince

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    Thanks.
     
  5. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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  6. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Looking for stuff on the Outremer, specifically ideology, society, and maybe some daily life.

    EDIT: I'm currently reading Runciman's history and I can already see some howlers. Which parts of his work are considered still accurate/useful today?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  7. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I've just started reading Volker Ullrich's biography of Hitler (translated by Jefferson Chase), which is the first of two parts, though as far as I can tell the second part is not published yet. I'm hoping it will be by the time I finish the book, it's a page-turner and I stayed up later than I should have last night because of that.
     
  8. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Bit late to this, but Christopher Tyerman's God's War is enough of a doorstop that you should be able to find what you are looking for in there, at find some good further reading material.
     
  9. Imaus

    Imaus Prince

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    Should we try to make a catalogue of suggested books? A .xml file, perhaps?
     
  10. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    I'm putting together a Christmas list with books on it, does anyone have any to recommend? Preferably US or UK domestic policies in the Cold War, such as the post-war consensus or the Great Society; but anything interesting would be appreciated.

    Also, has anyone read Worlds of Arthur by Guy Halsall? If yes, thoughts on it?
     
  11. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Deity

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    Did the cold war ever end ?

    I think not. At least never imo in the geopolitical situation of Europe and the Middle East. The sharp edges were gone for a while, but never the geopolitical positions.
    I guess you do not read books in German. Otherwise "Rußland im Zangengriff" (Putins empire between Nato, China and Islam) and "Der Weg in den neuen Kalten Krieg" (The road to the new cold war) would be insightful.

    Here in English a small article on Peter Scholl-Latour, on his book "The Curse of the Evil Deed"
    https://www.zeit-fragen.ch/en/ausga...r-scholl-latour-der-fluch-der-boesen-tat.html
    And here wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Scholl-Latour
    I guess he is not well known in Anglosaxon literature (language can be a real barrier), but well worth knowing. Besides his brave and unusual personal life, he was very well informed with lots of inside info from high level, especially on Indo-China and also on the realation between the cold war and the Middle East. He had, as chief for a while of German TV broadcasting, a big influence on the German foreign political thinking including effecting a sceptical position of Germany to the foreign policies of the US and the UK.
     
  12. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Are there any good books about the early Republic of China from a non-military perspective? The only one I've found so far is Frank Dikötter's The Age of Openness, and the author's reputation as the reigning demonologist of Mao makes me a bit wary.
     
  13. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Yes. I own it.

    I enjoyed it. It was written for a more general audience, so there aren't any footnotes, but it's not terribly difficult to follow his sources. The writing contains a fair bit of Halsall's sardonic wit and moves along reasonably well. He covers historiography, archaeology, and the state of the sources without getting too bogged down in sometimes-incomprehensible detail. The only part of the book that was kind of hard to follow was the bit about dates in Nennius' Historia Brittonum, but it's hard for me to see how he could have made it any easier. Fun book.

    The main problem I recall some of its reviewers (a couple-three letter writers and Amazon purchasers) having is that they didn't understand the concept of "historiography", so when Halsall introduced the old school perspective on sixth-century Britain at the beginning, then the revisionist take from the seventies, and finally the current state of the field, these idiots claimed he was being contradictory. In reality, the major flaw I remember in the book was that he used a Doobie Brothers song lyric as a chapter quotation.
    I'd be interested in finding those, too, because much of what I have read also comes from a military perspective.
     
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  14. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Adam Tooze The Deluge, if I remember correctly, has a surprisingly large amount on the economic and diplomatic affairs of the Republic of China as it relates to the United States and the Entente during WW1. If anything the book might lead you to some other sources.
     
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  15. JohannaK

    JohannaK Careless Whisperer

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    I read In Search of Modern China some time ago. It had a braoder approach, but it also covers from the Late Qing to Communist China, so it doesnt cover the period in great depth.
     
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  16. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Yes, that is a good textbook and a fine starting place for somebody not familiar with the period.
     
  17. Takhisis

    Takhisis is it fall yet

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    I've just been re-reading H.G. Wells' Pocket History of the World (ed. 1941). It's not exactly what you're asking for, but you get an interesting insight in how the future actors of the then-impending cold war were seen at the time (including an Englishman's views on the already possible end of the British Empire, right before the US and the Soviets entered the war, and a call for something to replace and improve on the League of Nations). I think it's not as good a read as Ernst Gombrich's Eine kurze Weltgeschichte für junge Leser but it's still worth it.
     
  18. Truthy

    Truthy Idle

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    Anyone have recommendations for books about the Eastern Front of WW2 in general? Specifically something that's up to date with the historical consensus and provides a good overview of tactics and strategy? Economics-y angles are good too.

    I see some books like "When Titans Clashed" get recommended a lot. But that's from 1995. I imagine quite a lot of new info has come out since then as historians have had time to comb through Soviet records. However, I see a revised edition was released in 2015. So perhaps it's still a solid single-volume read?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  19. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Can't really help on the Eastern Front as far military stuff goes, but The Wages of Destruction by Adam Tooze, specifically Part 3, has some very good stuff on the Nazi economy and is very approachable.
     
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  20. Truthy

    Truthy Idle

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    I actually own Wages of Destruction and read a fair amount of it a few years ago, but didn't finish (or even get to Barbarossa) because I was reading it over a break in college and ran out of time before the semester started. In fact, iirc I bought it on advice from people in this thread. But thanks for pointing that out. I get that for such a massive, sweeping event as the Eastern Front, you can only ask for so much from a single volume and I can use Wages to cover a lot of the economics-side. At least from Germany's POV.
     

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