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Historical Book Recomendation Thread

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

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  1. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    That should definitely include some insights gained from Soviet archives (access to which has since again been restricted).
     
  2. Hamilton321

    Hamilton321 Warlord

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    some history books you should read:
    Russia Against Napoleon: the True Story of the Campaigns of war and Peace by Dominic Lieven
    March 1917: on the Brink of war and Revolution by Will Englund
    Book of the Ancient Greeks by Dorothy Mills
    Book of the Ancient Romans by Dorothy Mills
    Book of the Middle Ages by Dorothy Mills
    Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You About the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History by James F. Dunnigan and Albert A. Nofi
    Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: the Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

    Edit: The Civil War State by State by Chester G. Hearn is also good
     
  3. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    I'm strangely watching a 90's series called "Sharpe" set in the Napoleonic Iberian campaign. Besides the novels, are there any good recommendations on the general history of the conflict? Wikipedia has a lot of references.
     
  4. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Chandler's Campaigns of Napoleon is a classic but IIRC only deals with the initial invasion of Spain since that was the only part of the Iberian campaign directed personally by Napoleon.
     
  5. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    I too wish I knew of one. There's lots of literature about it, more that enough to get lost in it. Most old and from a british perspective, which comes across as quite... skewed. The social aspects of the war and their impact on logistics is one area that I wish were better covered. Many of the french defeats were due to their inability to live mostly off the land as they were used to in the wars around France and central Europe.

    Imo the economic damage and the social transformations caused by the war in the Peninsula were greater that the impact of the whole French Revolution on France itself. Spain was thoroughly wrecked for the next century and Portugal for half a century, there was no easy return to stability afterwards.
     
  6. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    Thank you for the reference, still an interesting part to catch.

    It is truly staggering to find out how much a certain event that you know nothing about played an important role for an entire region. To me the Spanish Campaign was a secondary theatre in the Napoleonic Wars, but I now understand more how it changed it and how much is defined by it.

    I'd only add that, while the French Revolution and invasion were important for taking Spain out of the great nations games for a while it, to me, was only a natural continuation of the decline of the Spanish Empire and the revolutions perpetuated by European agents in Latin America. It was a decisive blow, but not the reason why Spain was knocked out for a while. I cannot say the same about Portugal though...
     
  7. Hamilton321

    Hamilton321 Warlord

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    Yeah, the Peninsular Campaign was both a massive drain on the resources and reputation of Napoleon's Empire. From 1808 to 1814 significant resources had to be devoted to Spain while Napoleon could not come personally to take command for most of the campaign because of the tenuous situation in Central Europe. Repeated frustrations in Spain also helped to break the veneer of French invincibility and encourage Napoleon's enemies to re-enter the war and launch aggressive campaigns against Napoleon's Empire. From the beginning of the Spanish campaign to the fall of Paris France would never know peace, it would always have an active land war.
     
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  8. Imaus

    Imaus Prince

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    So Spain was France's soft underbelly...maybe he should had bit the bullet and personally led a campaign or two.
     
  9. JohannaK

    JohannaK Careless Whisperer

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    He did, but it made no great difference in the end.
     
  10. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    This thread needs more books.

    Like, I don't know, part 3 of the momentous Thatcher biography just completed by a British journalist. According to the NYT Book Review it's not the definite biogrpahy (what ever is?), but dfinitely a Fundgrube for any historian with similar interests..:xmassign:

    Or this book on Pliny:

    9quote]
    THE SHADOW OF VESUVIUS

    A Life of Pliny

    By Daisy Dunn[/quote]

    As the reviewer, a classicist, reminds us,

    Well, that's were this dual biography comes in.

    Now it could be me, but collecting nonsense does not a polymath make - whether he can sit still or not. But anayway, as some of you may know the elder Pliny died trying to investigate the eruption of Vesuvius in the late first century. And we know thsi, because the younger Pliny mentioned it in one of his many letter, some 30 years later, writing to Tacitus. These letters often ended up in anthologies and this is how we today know of them - and do know a lot more about the pedantic lawyer, the younger Pliny than about the supposedly polymathic elder Pliny.

    The reason I knew of the younger Pliny is that he was

    Except I remember Pliny asking for advice in the matter rather than suggest how to proceed. Which also seems more in line with the fact that he wrote various letters to Trajan (the emperor in question), as well as a highly flattering Panegyric to the same.And it's these surviving letters that give us some interesting insight in Roman life and the empire around 100 AD.

    So was Pliny the elder the more interesting of the two? Who knows, it's the younger Pliny that gives us most of the information we have on both.
     
  11. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    He wouldn't have known it was nonsense. The rest of his resume as given in your quote fits with being a polymath though.
     
  12. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Warlord

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    Evening everyone. I've two questions:

    1. English books on Polish history seem pretty few and far between. I have Zamoyski's Poland, but other than that it largely seems to consist of books about the German-Polish war and the subsequent genocides that occured during WW2. I'm not expecting someone to point out a 400pg, accessible book on Jadwiga (okay seriously if someone manages that I WILL MARRY YOU), but greater depth on pre-industrial Poland would be pretty cool.
    2. If it's okay, could I post a photo of my newly-organised factual bookshelf and get recommendations on similar books that would fit in?
     
  13. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Have you tried stuff like the Oxford History of Poland?
    https://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Histo...0207/ref=mt_paperback?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=
    Or Cambridge Medieval Textbook, Central Europe in the High Middle Ages?
    https://www.amazon.com/Central-Europe-Cambridge-Medieval-Textbooks/dp/0521786959
    Oxford only only seem to have the first volume published, but it should give you a good starting point for authors in browsing the bibliography. I recommend looking for books put out by large university presses (Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, etc). Compilation books are particularly good as they have different authors writing essays on various sub-topics they specialize in so you can find other books but out by specific authors on topics you want to learn more about.
    Also, check to see if Zamoyski's book has a 'Further Reading' section in the back separate from the Bibliography. Many authors writing broad histories will list some modern and approachable books on certain topics, as Bibliographies tend to be very scholarly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  14. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Warlord

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    Thank you!
     
  15. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Not really. Merriam-Webster gives the meaning as ' a person of encyclopedic learning'. That's not the same as writing endlessly on all kinds of subjects/ And knowing if something is nonsense is pretty much the definition of 'learning'.

    Actual polymaths had (it's kind of impossible in this day and age) both a wide interest and wrote sensible things on all of those interests. Which is not quite the same as collecting known facts about just about everything there is. To wit, the e,cyclopédistes were not polymaths. But, as Pliny shows, they also didn't invent the encyclopedia. The difference is, the encyclpédistes (supposedly) provided actual knowledge. And thsi is why we still have encyclopedias, not because Pliny.
     
  16. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    I'm failing to see the distinction here.
     
  17. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Learning means knowledge Knowledge is something else than writing down hearsay. Because if it wasn't Donald J. Trump would qualify as a polymath ratehr than an ignoramus.
     
  18. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    We're talking about a dude that lived practically in the stone age. There was no other way of getting information than hearsay and no way to vet it. But going out of your way to learn as much about the world as you can to the extent that we're still talking about you and your works centuries later would in my opinion qualify someone as a polymath. You're trying to shoe horn him into a modern context that doesn't fit. Donald Trump has the body of scientific knowledge at his fingertips.
     

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