Historical Book Recomendation Thread

Truthy

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Book recommendation:
Shattered Sword, by Parshall & Tully. An account and analysis of the Battle of Midway focusing on the Japanese perspective, and keyed not on Fuchida's postwar account but on, essentially, all other sources including ship and squadron logs and firsthand accounts. It's scholarly but reads really well, the authors have a pretty dry sense of humor and it occasionally is visible. Among lots of other things, I learned that Tone's seaplane pilot that took off late and was late and unclear with reports wasn't truly as important to the result of the battle as popularly thought.
I read this as well. It's one of the best books I've read recently. Though it focuses on just one battle, it gives a lot of insights into the institutional and military-cultural problems that were endemic to Japan's war effort throughout the Pacific War. It also has some really interesting and vivid accounts of what it was like being on the Japanese carriers during the battle.
 
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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?

New to this Thread, so sorry for the late reply, but the Eastern Front (or "Great Patriotic War" to the Russians) covers a large part of my bookshelves.

First, generally, Anything by David Glantz. He is the master of the Eastern Front in English, over 60 books out, and was just about the first westerner to dive deeply into the Soviet archives. He co-wrote When Titans Clashed, and it's still a good one-volume summary of the campaigns.

Other good general works that make good use of both German and Russian sources are:

Bellamy, Chris Absolute War. 2007
- Bellamy uses a lot of current Russian and German historians as sources, so gets to 'piggy back' on a lot of post-Soviet archival research

Erickson, John, Road to Stalingrad and Road to Berlin
-Erickson was the first western author to make thorough use of the Soviet material available. They are a little 'long in the tooth' now, but solid works still

Rees, Laurence War of the Century 1999
- starting to show its age, but a lot of personal detail - mostly German, unfortunately.

Germany in the Second World War
- this is the translation of Deutschland im Zweiten Weltkrieg, the 'official' multi-volume German history of the entire war, written by the Military History Research Department in Potsdam and available (some of the volumes, anyway) in English. Massive detail, including essays on the economics, politics, diplomacy, as well as the military aspects. Great use of the German archves, but also a lot of material from post-Soviet Russian works as well.

On more specific topics:

Glantz has done multi-volume works on Smolensk (Barbarossa Derailed), the Stalingrad Campaign, and the Battle of Kursk, all of which are superb. The complete sets on Smolensk and Stalingrad, though, will fill an entire bookcase!

However, the best book on the great tank battle at Kursk is:
Zamulin, Valeri Demolishing the Myth - Zamulin was the director of the battlefield museum at Prokhorovka where the 'great tank battle' took place, and this is a translation of his work on the subject in Russian. Incredible detail, incredible access to archive source material

Luther, Craig Barbarossa Unleashed. 2013
Luther spent most of his academic career mining German source material, but in this book he also accessed the huge trove of Russian veteran's accounts from Artem Drabkin's website (iremember.ru) and this is as up close and personal an account as you will find from both sides.

Lopukhovsky, Lev The Viaz'ma Catastrophe 2013.
- Lev wrote this book originally because his father died in this great encirclement battle, but since he was himself a Soviet officer he got unprecedented access to the Soviet/Russian archives - and he taught German, so he had good access to German material as well. I doubt that anyone will ever be able to cover this battle in front of Moscow better.

Finally, for an example of what can be done with the archives from both sides now even on a very narrow topic:
Radey, Jack and Charles Sharp The Defense of Moscow, the Northern Flank. 2012
- a book focusing entirely on the fighting around Kalinin, northwest of Moscow (modern Tver') during the last half of October 1941. Now able to access the War Diaries of all the German units and the Combat Journals and many veteran's accounts from the Soviet units involved, they were able to cover the fighting literally day by day and in some places hour by hour. It reveals a 'battle of Moscow' completely different from what everybody thinks they know about it.
Full Disclosure: my name is Sharp and about a third of my own library on WWII is in German or Russian . . .
 

innonimatu

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Luther, Craig Barbarossa Unleashed. 2013
Luther spent most of his academic career mining German source material, but in this book he also accessed the huge trove of Russian veteran's accounts from Artem Drabkin's website (iremember.ru) and this is as up close and personal an account as you will find from both sides.

Lopukhovsky, Lev The Viaz'ma Catastrophe 2013.
- Lev wrote this book originally because his father died in this great encirclement battle, but since he was himself a Soviet officer he got unprecedented access to the Soviet/Russian archives - and he taught German, so he had good access to German material as well. I doubt that anyone will ever be able to cover this battle in front of Moscow better.

Finally, for an example of what can be done with the archives from both sides now even on a very narrow topic:
Radey, Jack and Charles Sharp The Defense of Moscow, the Northern Flank. 2012
- a book focusing entirely on the fighting around Kalinin, northwest of Moscow (modern Tver') during the last half of October 1941. Now able to access the War Diaries of all the German units and the Combat Journals and many veteran's accounts from the Soviet units involved, they were able to cover the fighting literally day by day and in some places hour by hour. It reveals a 'battle of Moscow' completely different from what everybody thinks they know about it.
Full Disclosure: my name is Sharp and about a third of my own library on WWII is in German or Russian . . .

Hi. Thanks for all these recommendations. I don't hope to ever pick more than one of tho of these books, but... shameless opportunistic question: from what you read, how exhausted were the soviets by late 1941.

There's always people saying "if Hitler had put more resources into the central group instead of the south, Moscow would have been captured and that would have been a big blow". I've always been skeptical of that idea, because logistics (men and material can't just be put into a place, they require the logistic to support them) and because the Soviets likewise could have redeployed. Moscow was well served by railways, my guess is that its concentrated defense would arguably be easier than defending Ukraine.
 
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Hi. Thanks for all these recommendations. I don't hope to ever pick more than one of tho of these books, but... shameless opportunistic question: from what you read, how exhausted were the soviets by late 1941.

There's always people saying "if Hitler had put more resources into the central group instead of the south, Moscow would have been captured and that would have been a big blow". I've always been skeptical of that idea, because logistics (men and material can't just be put into a place, they require the logistic to support them) and because the Soviets likewise could have redeployed. Moscow was well served by railways, my guess is that its concentrated defense would arguably be easier than defending Ukraine.

Everybody looks at the excellence of the German military in tactical combat and maneuver and forgets that they were almost hopeless when it came to strategic support and logistics (Fun Fact: the word "logistics" didn't even appear in German until After the war). Before they even started the war, Wagner, the Oberquartermeister (Supply Officer) for the entire Wehrmacht, warned the German General Staff that Germany had stockpiled enough fuel for 3 months' of combat. Period. After that, they could not sustain mobile operations at all, because they would burn more fuel each week than they could possibly supply from Europe. Sure enough, 3 months were up at the end of September, and when the attack on Moscow started on 2 October, within 48 hours over half the panzer divisions involved were complaining about lack of fuel hampering their mobility.

The argument that Army Group Center should have kept on advancing after the Battle of Smolensk and gone straight for Moscow overlooks two Facts:
1. When that battle ended in early August Army Group Center was Out of Supply: both fuel and ammunition stocks were exhausted, and any advance was going to be made on foot, without artillery - meaning they weren't going anywhere.
2. From early August it was the Soviet forces between Smolensk and Moscow that were attacking, not the Germans. These attacks were clumsy and they suffered horrible casualties, but they also mauled several German divisions (129th and 167th Infantry Divisions each had to disband 3 out of 9 infantry battalions because of casualties, and 7th Panzer Division lost 1/3 of its tanks in less than a week of combat)
In the event, for the Typhoon operation that started at the end of September against Moscow, the Germans did mass just about everything they had: 1.9 million men, 14 out of the 19 panzer divisions on the entire Eastern Front. That offensive achieved encirclements at Vyazma and Bryansk within a week that combined to produce one of the greatest tactical victories of the war - and by the end of October 1941 that offensive had collapsed everywhere: 2nd Panzer Army was stuck in front of Tula, far to the south and over 100 km from Moscow, 9th and 2nd Armies were guarding the flanks, 3rd Panzer Group was fighting off Soviet attacks coming at them from all sides in Kalinin to the north, and in 4th Panzer Group and 4th Army, the main forces actually directly attacking towards Moscow, at the end of October in all the supply depots servicing those forces, there was enough fuel left to move one panzer division 60 kilometers - and they were over 75 kilometers from the outskirts of Moscow. More disturbing to the Germans and their post-war apologists, at the end of October the average rifle company in 4th Army and 4th Panzer Group had just 57 officers and men left - out of 185 authorized.
Quite simply, the Germans massed everything they had as soon as they could supply it for an attack, and both the supply and the attack collapsed utterly due to Germany's inability to maintain the support and sheer casualties inflicted on them by the Red Army.

Oh, and at the end of October, when the German commanders from Halder in Berlin down to individual division commanders were all chanting that the "last battalion" would decide the issue, the Soviet Stavka was issuing orders for 8 new Reserve Armies to form up to the east, northeast and southeast of Moscow. When the Germans resumed their attack in mid-November, they had as much chance of taking Moscow as they had of taking Honolulu.

Another very good author who has covered the German operations in 1941 and specifically the battles at Kiev and Moscow in detail is David Stahel. He's an Australian historian who got his degree from Humboldt University in Berlin and made very good use of the German archives to lay out what really happened between 22 June 1941 and the end of that year. He is also a very good, very readable writer and most, if not all, of his books are now available in paperback.
 

PhroX

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It's worth noting that, to my understanding, many of the "The Nazi's would've beaten the Soviets if only Hitler hadn't given order xyz..." claims come from the post war journals of Nazi commanders, whos accounts went relatively unquestioned for many years, despite tham having a huge vested interest in making themsleves look good and Hitler look bad (especially as the latter was obviously in no position to refute them).
 
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It's worth noting that, to my understanding, many of the "The Nazi's would've beaten the Soviets if only Hitler hadn't given order xyz..." claims come from the post war journals of Nazi commanders, whos accounts went relatively unquestioned for many years, despite tham having a huge vested interest in making themsleves look good and Hitler look bad (especially as the latter was obviously in no position to refute them).

It is very enlightening to look at both the post war accounts and excuses and the official military documents and reports from the time. At the time, during Operation Typhoon and the subsequent 'advance on Moscow' in October, the most common words/phrases in the German reports translate as "traffic jam", "over trafficked" and the frequently repeated admonition that "once a (panzer) unit has used a road, nothing else can use it."
Which mean, respectively, that trying to move 200,000 plus vehicles, both horse-drawn and motorized, over a handful of roads is impossible in any weather: from the first days of the offensive in the center (2 - 5 October) and long before the first drop of rain fell anywhere in the area, German officers noted 4 - 5 columns of vehicles standing on 2-lane roads, unmoving because the traffic jams stretched for kilometers. Next, as any tank driver or military truck driver could tell you, if you move any heavy and/or tracked vehicles (like, thousands of German 12 to 18 ton half-tracks, 12 to 20 ton tanks, and 3 ton capacity trucks) over a dirt road the pressure will, essentially, liquify the road surface unless you are in a bone-dry desert. Finally, the majority of the Russian roads were designed as 'feeders' to move farm produce to the nearest railroad station: they had a capacity sufficient for light trucks and farm carts. Those 18 ton and heavier tracked vehicles and heavy traffic mentioned above caused all the bridges and culverts on those roads (most with less than 10 tons load capacity) to collapse: trying to move down the slope, ford the little streams and then climb the opposite bank quickly turned all the fords into sinkholes, and half-tracks had to be stationed at every crossing to tow the vehicles up the bank - one at a time - resulting in back-up traffic jams stretching back to the last collapsed bridge 6 - 10 kilometers behind.
None of the road problems, contrary to post-war claims, should have come as any surprise to the German Army: when Hitler took power in 1933 1/3 of all the roads in Germany were dirt roads: they should have had lots of experience with them long before they entered the Soviet Union in 1941, 8 years later.

Franz Halder, the ex-Chief of Staff of the German Army was put to work after the war directing a collection of ex-Wehrmacht officers writing reports for the US Army in Europe on their experience in the war, including numerous reports on Russian conditions and the Soviet military. Halder got a medal from the US government for this work, which lasted into the early 1950s. Since then, a letter from Halder to another German officer surfaced in the German archives, in which he admitted that his real purpose in all this work was to make sure that the German Army and the German officer corps did not get blamed for any of the mistakes that had been made during the war.
He succeeded all too well, so that amateur historians to this day can bring up 'what if' statements right out of the Wehrmacht Excuse Book that 'if only' they had done something a little different they could have won. This is fine if you are writing Fantasy, but falls apart as soon as you access the historical reality in the contemporary archive documents. For example, even if every road around Moscow had been a concrete all-weather superhighway, the fact remains that the German Army Group Center's casualty rate in October was twice as high as it had been in July, August and September. Mud may stop vehicles, but it doesn't usually kill your men in large numbers: that was done by the Red Army in front of Moscow, the other factor almost completely ignored in the German accounts.
 

MontyJava

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Got a lot of good recs from this thread, figured I'd pitch in with some less discussed or ignored ones.

World Wars:
The Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
I haven't read Rise and Fall, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the writing and content of this after picking it up at a sale. The writing is very balanced between dry/technical and easy/readable. Starts with Hitler in WW1 and moves from there. Information dense without feeling like it.​
When Titans Clashed
Haven't seen it mentioned, but an excellent account of the Eastern Front in WW2. Goes well with Wages of Destruction.​
A Peace to End All Peace
Mentioned once, worth a re-mentioning. Excellent account of the conquest and partitioning of the Ottoman Empire during WW1 with a heavy emphasis on the bureaucratic decision making process from the British side. Nice counterpart to Guns.​
Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror
Great read, also picked up randomly on sale. Haven't read the more famous bio on him to compare it to. Seems as objective as you could be with a title like that.​
Life and Fate
Technically a fictional account of WW2 from the Soviet side, though it is written by a Red Army journalist, and probably the best account of that time and place that you could find, even if the persons are fictionalized. Also just an excellently written novel, even through translation. Had to be smuggled out via microfilm, the forward is almost as interesting as the story itself.​

20th Century, Other:
The Great War for Civilisation
Mentioned once, worth another. A personal journalist's account of the Middle East from the 70s onward. Not an academic work per se, and may have minor errors in the way of names/places/dates when he goes into broad overview mode, but the personal stories are phenomenal and the writing quite good. Legit page turner. It is generally my go-to first recommendation for this period, and it pairs well with A Peace.​
Beirut Fragments
A semi-fictional novel account of the Lebanese civil war from the POV of a resident in Beirut. Along the lines of Life and Fate, in that it's not technically non-fiction history, but it is just as valuable.​
JFK and the Unspeakable
Get your conspiracies here - the CIA. Definitely biased with a narrative construction and Christian themes, but also has 100 pages of footnotes and citations to go with it. Highly recommended, though it strays over into a political work rather than pure history (as does much of the post-War period, I guess).​

Other:

Daily Life in China
Mentioned in passing in the "all things China" post, I have really enjoyed this short book. Probably outdated a bit now, but an easy afternoon read.​
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, Tuchman
The first third is a great history of one historic person from a minor house's voyage through the tumult in France at the time. The rest of the book bogs down into name & date spam, and I couldn't get far into it. Worth it for that first third, though. Pairs well with the Life in a Medieval X series.​
The March of Folly, Tuchman
General history book about human folly. A lighter read, though depressing.​
A History of Western Philosophy, Bertrand Russell
As lively as a straight history on the subject can be, as told by an eminent philosopher, it has to be the most readable 900 pages on philosophy out there. Goes through the major movements, periods, and figures from Greece onward. Definitely gets bogged down at times, but that's philosophy. Russell does not aim for pure objectivity, and can bring a good wit and personal take on a lot of what transpired, which makes it far more interesting than a drier purely academic textbook (it's still fairly dry). Thankfully written before post-War philosophy, so you don't have to deal with bats and mind-body navel gazing much. More or less the go-to if you want any philosophy on your book shelf, well distilled.​

Requests:
1. Any more "slice of life at X time and place" books like Daily Life would be appreciated.
2. Anything on India/South Asia. This subject has been almost entirely ignored by the thread, despite being one of the most important civilizational centers throughout history.
 

Lexicus

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It is very enlightening to look at both the post war accounts and excuses and the official military documents and reports from the time. At the time, during Operation Typhoon and the subsequent 'advance on Moscow' in October, the most common words/phrases in the German reports translate as "traffic jam", "over trafficked" and the frequently repeated admonition that "once a (panzer) unit has used a road, nothing else can use it."
Which mean, respectively, that trying to move 200,000 plus vehicles, both horse-drawn and motorized, over a handful of roads is impossible in any weather: from the first days of the offensive in the center (2 - 5 October) and long before the first drop of rain fell anywhere in the area, German officers noted 4 - 5 columns of vehicles standing on 2-lane roads, unmoving because the traffic jams stretched for kilometers. Next, as any tank driver or military truck driver could tell you, if you move any heavy and/or tracked vehicles (like, thousands of German 12 to 18 ton half-tracks, 12 to 20 ton tanks, and 3 ton capacity trucks) over a dirt road the pressure will, essentially, liquify the road surface unless you are in a bone-dry desert. Finally, the majority of the Russian roads were designed as 'feeders' to move farm produce to the nearest railroad station: they had a capacity sufficient for light trucks and farm carts. Those 18 ton and heavier tracked vehicles and heavy traffic mentioned above caused all the bridges and culverts on those roads (most with less than 10 tons load capacity) to collapse: trying to move down the slope, ford the little streams and then climb the opposite bank quickly turned all the fords into sinkholes, and half-tracks had to be stationed at every crossing to tow the vehicles up the bank - one at a time - resulting in back-up traffic jams stretching back to the last collapsed bridge 6 - 10 kilometers behind.
None of the road problems, contrary to post-war claims, should have come as any surprise to the German Army: when Hitler took power in 1933 1/3 of all the roads in Germany were dirt roads: they should have had lots of experience with them long before they entered the Soviet Union in 1941, 8 years later.

Franz Halder, the ex-Chief of Staff of the German Army was put to work after the war directing a collection of ex-Wehrmacht officers writing reports for the US Army in Europe on their experience in the war, including numerous reports on Russian conditions and the Soviet military. Halder got a medal from the US government for this work, which lasted into the early 1950s. Since then, a letter from Halder to another German officer surfaced in the German archives, in which he admitted that his real purpose in all this work was to make sure that the German Army and the German officer corps did not get blamed for any of the mistakes that had been made during the war.
He succeeded all too well, so that amateur historians to this day can bring up 'what if' statements right out of the Wehrmacht Excuse Book that 'if only' they had done something a little different they could have won. This is fine if you are writing Fantasy, but falls apart as soon as you access the historical reality in the contemporary archive documents. For example, even if every road around Moscow had been a concrete all-weather superhighway, the fact remains that the German Army Group Center's casualty rate in October was twice as high as it had been in July, August and September. Mud may stop vehicles, but it doesn't usually kill your men in large numbers: that was done by the Red Army in front of Moscow, the other factor almost completely ignored in the German accounts.

To amplify this point somewhat: the only real "what if" scenario that matters here is "what if the Soviet government had collapsed completely at the first shock of the German attack?" That was what the German plan had gambled on: a quick and complete political collapse of the USSR was the only way Barbarossa could possibly have a positive outcome for Germany. All the Soviets had to do to make the German strategic position completely hopeless was to stay in the war, keep fighting, not surrender.

The most interesting thing I've read on this subject somewhat recently is Vol. II of Volker Ullrich's biography of Hitler, where he posits that Hitler was actually the first person to realize that Germany was doomed, and that this realization came in roughly July (or August at the latest) 1941, when the Soviet Union didn't just fall apart. That failure meant that Hitler had just locked Germany, already battling a coalition of greater industrial and technical capacity in the British Empire and its allies (who were increasingly being supplied by the United States), into a fight to the death with another country that also, on its own, outweighed Germany both industrially and in terms of manpower.
 
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To amplify this point somewhat: the only real "what if" scenario that matters here is "what if the Soviet government had collapsed completely at the first shock of the German attack?" That was what the German plan had gambled on: a quick and complete political collapse of the USSR was the only way Barbarossa could possibly have a positive outcome for Germany. All the Soviets had to do to make the German strategic position completely hopeless was to stay in the war, keep fighting, not surrender.

The most interesting thing I've read on this subject somewhat recently is Vol. II of Volker Ullrich's biography of Hitler, where he posits that Hitler was actually the first person to realize that Germany was doomed, and that this realization came in roughly July (or August at the latest) 1941, when the Soviet Union didn't just fall apart. That failure meant that Hitler had just locked Germany, already battling a coalition of greater industrial and technical capacity in the British Empire and its allies (who were increasingly being supplied by the United States), into a fight to the death with another country that also, on its own, outweighed Germany both industrially and in terms of manpower.

I am aware of Ullrich's biography, and some of his conclusions were echoed by David Stahel in his works on the campaign in the Soviet Union in 1941.
From my research, I would put it slightly later: in late September 1941.
Wagner, the Quartermaster-General (supply officer, basically) for the Wehrmacht, had told Halder and the General Staff before 22 June that Germany had enough petroleum products stockpiled for 3 months. Which meant that the war had to be over in three months, because after that stalemate was inevitable - there would not be enough fuel to support more offensive operations to end the war quickly. That drove all the German planning. They had to assume conditions that would bring the war to a successful conclusion before the end of September: the Soviet Army would conveniently all be west of the Dnepr River where it could be quickly destroyed, the Soviet government would collapse at the first shock, the German forces could basically motor anywhere they wanted to go after the first battles.

Absolutely none of the German assumptions upon which they based their planning proved to be true. Almost 2/3 of the Red Army was east of the Dnepr when they attacked, the Soviet government was quick to turn the war into a Great Patriotic War (Veliky Otechestvennoi Voiny) for the Motherland instead of a war for Communism, and at no time in 1941 did the Germans have Open Space in front of them: no matter how many Soviet divisions and armies they destroyed, there were always more blocking the way - in fact, the size of the Soviet forces facing the Germans, despite all the great German tactical/operational victories in the summer of 1941, grew steadily larger from 22 June to 1 October!

And, of course, when those Red Armies were still in front of them in mid-September, Time Was Up. Army Group Center was barely getting enough fuel deliveries to maintain a mobile defense, let alone build up stocks for an offensive, and when they did start another offensive - Typhoon ('Taifun') against Moscow on 2 October, within 72 hours half the panzer divisions in the attack were reporting fuel shortages and curtailed mobility as a result. By the end of October, in all the depots supplying the German 4th Army and 4th Panzer Group in front of Moscow, they had enough fuel to move one panzer division 60 kilometers, and they were, on average, 75 - 100 kilometers from Moscow. They had at that point as much chance of taking Moscow as they had of taking Honolulu, and most of the 4th Army, in fact, had already been on the defensive for most of a week by 31 October.

Hitler's last important Miscalculation was to assume that Germany could still pull off a victory by seizing enough petroleum production sources in the Caucasus in 1942 to fuel his armies and air force and hold the USA at bay for years. To cause as much damage as possible to the USA, he declared war on it on 11 December and released the U-Boats against American shipping. Unfortunately for him, his armies never reached the Baku oil fields and the USA could build freighters faster than U-Boats could sink them - and build Escort Carrier groups that could sink U-Boats faster than Germany could build them (Nasty Fact: the most dangerous thing anyone could do in WWII was serve on a German U-Boat: 39,000 officers and men served in the U-Boat arm, and over 30,000 of them died. Even being a Kamikaze pilot was safer: 2/3 of them never got into the air because the Japanese ran out of aviation fuel for them!)
 

Snorrius

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The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci (Jonathan D. Spence, 1984)

Judging from the title one might suggest it is about loci method, used by practitioners of memory arts, but actually this book is a biography of Matteo Ricci, specifically devoted to his life in China. It does talk about how Ricci used Memory palace. He got a very good education in Jesuit college and they had to memorize a lot, so students were taught with basic memory techs, but Ricci, it seems, was outstanding in this. He used it not only to memorize Chinese characters but to all of Confucian Canon and could quote it not only normally, but in reverse as well.

For the most part, though, this book devoted to his life in China and life in China in general.

Some interesting bits. His Christian crucifix with realistic image of Christ on the cross was perceived by Chinese as a tool for black magic and got him into troubles.

His mission required quite a lot of money and, in spite of all troubles, he was able to procure them, so Chinese thought he is an alchemist.

Unlike in other parts of the worlds, Chinese intellectuals were much less impressed with European culture except clocks. But Catholic Christianity with its rites and metaphysics they could easily counter with Confucianism and -- for those who would like some complex metaphysics -- Buddhism.
 
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