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History books: recommendations needed

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by CELS, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. CELS

    CELS Brown Belt

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    I'm trying to learn more about the history of a few select countries, namely England, France, Russia, China and the USA. While I've read some history, I haven't really had the chance to delve deep in the history of particular countries. I'm hoping some of you will be able to recommend some good history books, focuing primarily on one of the five countries above.

    I'm looking for books that go back several centuries, even as far back as the medieval period. For example, I've previously read Howard Zinn's "A people's history of the United States", a somewhat controversial history book that attempts to tell history from the view of "the people". In other words, I'm not necessarily looking for regular schoolbooks, although I am open for those as well. If you can recommend an interesting history book with a particular perspective, I'm all ears.

    I know this is a forum primarily for politics, but history and politics goes very well together, and some history books do have a certain political perspective as well, such as the book mentioned above.

    TL;DR. Looking for history books dealing specifically with one of the following countries: England, France, USA, Russia and China. Ideally, the book should go back at least to the 1700's, but it could very well go back to the middle ages or even earlier.
     
  2. kuromusha

    kuromusha LONZO LOOMS 2019

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  3. Rusk

    Rusk Black Belt

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    I cant recommend any books, but i can give you "advice" on Russians history, since i got degree in history and most of it was on Russian history. It should be useful for something, lol.

    So yeah here it is:

    1. Start from the beginning, we talking like 800s here. This will give you a better understanding of what makes Russia, Russia.

    2. Go as objectively as possible. I mean be more about hard facts and numbers, it will help you with my 3rd point. Which is.

    3. Russian history is EXTREMELY biased. Its either very pro-russian or very anti-russian, and very little in between. So unless you just seeking confirmation bias when studying history you need to be aware of this, Russia is full of contrast and it can be good and bad at the same time.
     
  4. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    Kissinger's On China is a really good political history of China with modern implications, also very well written. If you're interested in contemporary US history, Perlstein's books on the rise of the modern GOP are very well written and fascinating.
     
  5. punkmother

    punkmother calf cruncher fan

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    1453: holy war for constantinople and the clash of islam and the west
     
  6. Fisticuffa

    Fisticuffa Purple Belt

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    American Holocaust by David Stannard
    Peter the Great by Robert Massie
    Catherine the Great by Robert Massie
    Almost a Miracle by John Ferling

    Of these Peter the Great is the best.
     
  7. Social Distance Warrior

    Social Distance Warrior Co-Founder of ILU (I love you) organization Yellow Card

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    Rise and Fall of the Third Reich....probably one of the best pieces of Non Fiction I've ever read...

    And, "Peoples History of US" by Howard Zinn offers a much different perspective...it will upset you, and make you think.
     
  8. sh1tehawke

    sh1tehawke Purple Belt

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    im no expert on these matters but i read quite a lot of history books, from an english POV some ones i've enjoyed are:

    for the medieval period of England and france i would recommend the excellent "A Distant Mirror" by Barbara Tuchman, it covers the 100 years war, the black death, papal schism and much more. Also by Barbara Tuchman "The Guns of August" which covers the the causes of and opening month of ww1 is awesome.

    im currently reading "The Norman Conquest" by Marc Morris, very good so far and the Norman invasion is one of, if not the, most important event in English history.

    "Lancaster and York" by Alison Weir which is about the Wars of the Roses.

    "The Great Game" by Peter Hopkirk which is about the political and strategic shenanigans between the British empire and Russia for control of central asia in the 19th century. This may sound dry but most of it is about British and Russian spies disguising themselves as natives and going on crazy missions in the Himalayas and central asian deserts.

    "In Search of the Dark Ages" by Michael Wood, good intro into dark ages Britain covering the main figures from the roman invasion until the normans.

    a bit of a leftfield suggestion but if you are interested in the British Empire in the 19th century you might like the "Flashman" novels by George Macdonald Fraser. They are very well researched and you can learn a lot about the famous events and people of the era in a very funny and easy to read manner.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flashman_Papers
     
  9. sh1tehawke

    sh1tehawke Purple Belt

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    just finished reading this last week, incredible book.
     
  10. emefer

    emefer Brown Belt

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    Why read about history when you could watch The History Channel?
     
  11. Bloodworth

    Bloodworth Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    The older it was written the better it may be.....some really crazy politics, gov, and history books out there.....wish i knew some off hand...wouldnt mind reading a few
     
  12. JonKunDo

    JonKunDo Postin 25/8

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    \haven't read it, but I'd imagine that it would be about as reliable as Bush on Iraq =]
     
  13. jehosafats

    jehosafats Zungguzungguguzungguzeng

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    The Unknown American Revolution by Gary B. Nash (Viking Press)
     
  14. Limbo Pete

    Limbo Pete Fake History Man

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    Any study of American history needs to include a close examination of the Civil War. Battle Cry of Freedom by McPherson is a good starting point for that specific subject. America makes so much more sense if you study the Civil War.
     
  15. sangreporsangre

    sangreporsangre Gold Belt

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    If you're interested in the Napoleonic era at all, I found these 2 books to compliment each other pretty well: The Campaigns of Napoleon by David Chandler, and Napoleon: A Political Life (I can't remember the author)

    Obviously one of them focuses on the military campaigns and glosses over his politics and personal life, and the other is the opposite, with a lot of good info on the French Revolution and all the crazy stuff that was going on in that era. There probably are. More comprehensive books out there regarding the politics, but I'm pretty sure Chandler's book is the definitive one on his campaigns. I can't imagine a book more detailed than that, it describes every war and conflict that Napoleon was personally involved with in painstaking detail.
     
  16. Tsar

    Tsar Brown Belt

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    Geoffrey Hosking, Russia: People and Empire the scope is from era of Peter the Great (late 17th century) onward.
     
  17. Sir Burton

    Sir Burton Anthropological Society of London

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    For what it
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  18. Concrete

    Concrete Steel Belt

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    1812 by Zamoyski, about the French (allied) invasion of Russia. Had a massive effect on Europe in particular Russia.
     
  19. trainharder

    trainharder Green Belt

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    War in the Time of Peace by David Halberstam.

    It about conflicts in Haiti, Somalia and mainly the Balkans. How politicians and generals that had skin in the game as far a Vietnam goes and those that didn't, and how they handle those conflicts.
     
  20. Pecker123

    Pecker123 Black Belt

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    Paul Kennedy - The Rise and fall of the great powers

    Great book explores the changing economic and political fortunes of rival nations relative to each other during the period 1500-1980.

    Lawrence James has written some good books on the British Empire. Raj the making and unmaking of British India is a good one.

    Alison Weir The Wars of the Roses is a pretty good one about that conflict and if you want some medieval English history.

    While a biography of Trotsky, Isaac Deutschers trilogy about his life has a lot of information on Russia during the revolution, Lenin and Stalin. The prevailing conditions, the Russian civil war of 1917 -1922 which is a sadly much overlooked episode in history and the rise to power of Stalin.
     

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