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Non-Fiction > History & Politics

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message 1: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments A place to talk about and recommend your favorite books in the field of History and Politics.


message 2: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Reading a book titled Jesus, An Historical Approximation. It looks simple and yet engages the reader with very interesting historical, social and cultural details of Jesus' time. It looks to present Jesus in his historical setting as a historical person. Will talk more about it when I finish the book.


message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris (cdavies1951) | 80 comments I've recently read Azincourt. I've heard of the battle many time, but never really read about it. this is a historical fiction account, but very good. I am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell.


message 4: by Karl (new)

Karl Wardlaw I've always liked the Tony Benn Diaries. Whether you agree or not they're a fascinating read.


message 5: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11717 comments Mod
The only book I have read which would fall into this category is A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. It was very interesting to read.


message 6: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments For those interested in English history, I would strongly recommend the 4-volume series on the Plantagent kings by Thomas B. Costain. The Conquering Family is the first book I think...


message 7: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Finished the book Jesus, An Historical Approximation. A highly recommended book. If any one wants to know more of the historical Jesus this book would satisfy your curiosity. It is not a popular book like that of Dan Brown's works. It is a scholarly work taking the materials from the meticulous researches and written in a lay man's language.


message 8: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Dhanaraj, I see how his post fits into history, but maybe it would be worth double posting it into philosophy & religion as well? And thank God it's not a Dan Brown book! LOL


message 9: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Since it was a search into the historical person of Jesus, I thought it would be appropriate in this section. But then you are also right that I could have double posted it in 'Philosophy and Religion section' as well. Anyway, I did that now.


message 10: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments You're perfectly right posting it here, I just thought if someone was looking for recommendations on books with religious context they might be glad to find it there as well.


message 11: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments I get your point.


message 12: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11717 comments Mod
I have a number of history non fiction books waiting in my kindle, I have never read any for pleasure so it should be interesting.


message 13: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments History can be very addictive, Alannah.
For that matter most of the subjects are addictive when they are explained well.


message 14: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I am not generally a nonfiction reader, and when I do read it, history is not the type I would pick. However, I did love Costain's history of the Plantagent kings (which I mentioned in an earlier post), so I am trying a book about the Tudors. It isn't the traditional history but more a collection of facts - On This Day in Tudor History.


message 15: by Jenny (last edited Jan 04, 2014 09:27AM) (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments I entirely forgot to recommend the best book of non-fiction I have read in 2013:

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit. I wrote a small review on it which is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show....

I think it is a great book for anybody who's interested in the history of Israel or the history of it's conflicts.


message 16: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Reading Wole Soyinka's Climate of Fear: The Quest for Dignity in a Dehumanized World. I just completed the first essay. And I can say that this is a fine book that deals with the theme 'fear' in the present context of 'terrorism' and 'war on terrorism'. This book had come out after 9/11 and Soyinka's observations are very revealing and chilling.


message 17: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Both the book and the author sound very interesting. Wole Soyinka seems to have written a huge body of work, including plays, poetry, fiction and non-fiction! Is he part of your literary mission to read all the Nobel Laureats?


message 18: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments That is right. He is one of the Nobel Laureates to be included to my book shelf. I had read one of his plays during my Bachelors (it was part of syllabus) and I loved the play very much. The title was: The Lion and the Jewel. Read it and you will laugh a lot. It is a funny play and at the same time it is also a serious play in which the African identity was very clearly established and the imperialism was criticised in an interesting manner.


message 19: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Funny, I was just browsing through his books, and couldn't decide whether I would want to read The Lion and the Jewel or The Interpreters by him in order to get to know him ;)


message 20: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments I haven't read any other books by him. So I could be of no help....Try one and you will know him or ask someone who has read him a lot.....


message 21: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Well seeing as The Lion and the Jewel was among the two contenders anyhow, I will trust your verdict and get started there.


message 22: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Just finished a small booklet charged with high octane emotions, titled Time for Outrage!. A booklet that sold more than 600,000 copies in three months after its publication. A French writer asking the young generation to feel outraged against any kind of rejection/denial of human rights by the governments, especially by privatising the public sector services such as education, health care and banking system, is the crux of the book. After the publication of the book, there were many student protests in France and in Britain over the alteration of the education policy of the governments. An interesting booklet.


message 23: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Completed reading Hiroshima. Some six atomic bomb survivors narrate the events as they saw it and it speaks both of the level to which a human person can decide against humanity (the one who bombed) and of the level in which the human being defy the sufferings to support the other (the victims of the bomb).


message 24: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ I own that one and is one someone recommended to me. What did you think of it?


message 25: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Daine S. Read it and you will not regret it. You can try my review to have an idea : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 26: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Thanks will pull it out and get to it soon. Just wish the print was bigger in this darn paperback. Good review.


message 27: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Thanks for the good words. The more I read books related to war the more I hate the war. And I hope that you too find the book of some service to you and thus to humanity.


message 28: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie After reading you very good review I have decided to add this to my wish list. It is from here I buy my books and these are the books I will be reading soon. Thank you.


message 29: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Chrissie wrote: "After reading you very good review I have decided to add this to my wish list. It is from here I buy my books and these are the books I will be reading soon. Thank you."

Read it, Chrissie and you will not regret it.


message 30: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie thank you for bringing it to my attention, Dhanaraj.

Earlier this year I read American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. An absolutely excellent book. I don't usually give books five stars because then they REALLY have to be amazing, but I gave it to this one. It is all about the atmosphere that swallowed up America during the era of McCarthyism and the Cold War. The reader comes to understand Oppenheimer - his creativity, his imagination and his failings too.


message 31: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments I remember reading a review of this book or another biography on Oppenheimer in TLS. It seemed well written and now that you confirm it makes it right. I may look into it later. Thanks for the recommendation.


message 32: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie You are welcome.


message 33: by Roberto (new)

Roberto Perrini | 29 comments Gli enigmi della storia. Un'indagine storica e scientifica da Stonehenge al Santo Graal by Massimo Polidoro
is a book that sheds a little light on the great mysteries of history


message 34: by Gökhan (new)

Gökhan (darkorder) | 41 comments I am not sure if it fits in this category, but i am currently reading "The Epic of Gilgamesh". A must-read in my opinion, it is wonderful!


message 36: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Gökhan wrote: "I am not sure if it fits in this category, but i am currently reading "The Epic of Gilgamesh". A must-read in my opinion, it is wonderful!"

Gökhan, I tried listening to the Gilgamesh version by Raoul Schrott a few weeks back. Unfortunately I really couldn't stand the audio-drama adaptation, but maybe I'll try the print version. (Somehow I am really unlucky with audiobooks at the moment)


message 37: by Gökhan (last edited May 12, 2014 02:01PM) (new)

Gökhan (darkorder) | 41 comments Jenny wrote: "Gökhan, I tried listening to the Gilgamesh version by Raoul Schrott a few weeks back. Unfortunately I really couldn't stand the audio-drama adaptation, but maybe I'll try the print version. (Somehow I am really unlucky with audiobooks at the moment) "

I am reading this free ebook by Peter Dyr on my Aldiko eBook reader:

http://epicofgilgamesh.webs.com/

It contains: The Epic Of Gilgamesh, The Teachings Of Siduri And How Siduri's Ancient Advice Can Help Guide Us To A Happier Life

I'll try another book after this one to compare them.

Edit: Also available as .PDF

Edit 2: It is an easy to read version, great for laypeople ;)


message 38: by Chrissie (last edited May 12, 2014 10:27PM) (new)

Chrissie I am readingAmerican Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee. here you get a depiction of the Lost Generation in the US, Vaudeville and the burlesque scene and of course, it being a biography, Gypsy Rose Lee, too.

I don't like how it continually jumps back and forth from the 1940s to after WW1. Why do contemporary authors think this adds to the story? No, it is just disruptive. I can see no reason for doing this in this book.


message 39: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ Very true Chrissie, seems to be the new trend, hope it passes quickly.


message 40: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Diane S. wrote: "Very true Chrissie, seems to be the new trend, hope it passes quickly."

Me too!


message 41: by Bailey (new)

Bailey Barbour | 365 comments Just for those who are interested in the Civil War and ship history, I suggest The Sultana Tragedy: America's Greatest Maritime Disaster by Jerry Potter. It tells the story of The Sultana and causes for it's explosion.


message 42: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments After visiting the British Museum and being taken in quite a major way by the Assyrian exhibits I've started doing a little reading on the subject; I've started with the British Museum book by Julian Reade on Assyrian Sculpture and after borrowing a first edition of Layard's 1853 account of his expedition to Nineveh (near Mosul in what is now northern Iraq) but fearing damaging it I bought a beautiful edition from the British Museum Bookshop:

Discoveries Among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon With Travels in Armenia, Kurdistan and the Desert by Austen Henry Layard

I've read a few books on ancient civilisations, though more for appreciation than anything as I really don't retain that much in the way of facts from them! I have been collecting them like mad though, a number on Troy and Egypt and a raft of secondhand Folio Society books; The Conquest of Mexico and some on The Inca, The Maya and The Aztec, ones on The Hittites, Phoenicians, Carthage, The Egyptians, Babylonians, The Hittites, The Persians and on Vikings and Celts. Plus I've a few on China; an interesting book I read on The First Emperor and the Terracotta Warrions, and another on The Early Civilization Of China, plus I've just bought a book, The Penguin History Of Modern China: The Fall And Rise Of A Great Power, 1850 - 2008 as I saw a tv documentary on the period that was very interesting.

Plenty there to keep me busy!


message 43: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments Gökhan wrote: "Jenny wrote: "Gökhan, I tried listening to the Gilgamesh version by Raoul Schrott a few weeks back. Unfortunately I really couldn't stand the audio-drama adaptation, but maybe I'll try the print ve..."

Thanks for that, I've just added a copy to my phone; it's something I felt I would like to read for a while as it has been mentioned on a group I frequent on librarything quite a bit. The intro sample to that version on amazon looks quite interesting!


message 44: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments I discovered yesterday that Bernard Cornwell has a new book out and it's a non-fiction history book rather than a historical novel.

Waterloo The True Story of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell
Waterloo: The True Story of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles

I don't usually go in for heavily military-based history (at least not of this period), but I've enjoyed Cornwell's books and the Sharpe TV programmes so much that I felt it worth giving a go. With his other books it tends to be the Anglo-Saxon period I like reading about, and although he writes battle scenes incredibly well it's the aspects surrounding the wars, the details of people's lives, that tends to attract me. I think it will be a 'marmite' book; I'll either find it fascinating or extremely boring!


message 45: by Paulfozz (last edited Sep 18, 2014 09:28AM) (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments Although I have a secondhand copy of Robin Lane Fox's biography of Alexander The Great that I bought a short while ago I thought I might ease myself into that (it's slightly intimidating!) by reading a lighter book about Alexander so I was interested to see a biography by Mary Renault, The Nature of Alexander in my local Oxfam this week, and I bought it today. Dipping into it at the shop by reading the first page was tremendous, incredibly gripping; if it continues as it began then it will be a wonderful read.


message 46: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments I started reading The Nature of Alexander yesterday and I hadn't realised that Mary wrote in such a 'literary' language - i.e. I'm finding that as well as trying to understand the history I'm having to spend as much 'brain time' trying to decode her sentence structure. It doesn't bode well - literary language styles are something of an anathema to me, I like my factual books to be written for comprehension, not florid. By the time I work out how she's said something I've lost the understanding of what she's talking about!


message 47: by Paulfozz (last edited Nov 23, 2014 12:37AM) (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments I've officially given up on The Nature Of Alexander, but I picked up Germany: Memories of a Nation yesterday, written by Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum. It follows the Radio 4 series and the little I've read of it is really fascinating.

I've also read a little of Life in a Medieval Village by Frances Gies, which concentrates on the village of Alton in East Anglia. I've only read a little of it but should be quite interesting - it's part of a set which includes two other books, one on life in medieval cities and another on life in medieval castles.


message 48: by Paulfozz (last edited Nov 23, 2014 10:27PM) (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments I'm about 70 pages into Germany: Memories of a Nation and it's proving to be far more than just a copy of the Radio 4 series - it has the same themes of discussion but Neil is able to expand upon them in the book. It's the first history book for some time to really grip me. Not being a straight history book that goes from date to date really works; instead Neil concentrates on key aspects that have shaped Germany through the past 600 years.

My only gripe is that the size of the book means I will get a few raised eyebrows if I read it during breaks at work… e-readers do have 'some' advantages. ;-) Probably better that I read it at home where I won't be constantly distracted though.


message 49: by Monica (new)

Monica Davis I recently completed Discovering the Rommel Murder which explores not only Rommel's military career, but his family life as well. Many personal notes are included. I found the book quite interesting.


message 50: by Laurel (new)

Laurel | 283 comments I've just finished reading The Ancient Paths: Discovering the Lost Map of Celtic Europe which I found really interesting. Basically he was looking at how the people of Iron Age Gaul had surveyed their land and aligned a lot of their sacred and important sites along lines that followed the path of the sun at the solstices. Fascinating stuff for someone into archaeology and early history, but more convincing for France than when he tried to apply it to Britain in the last few chapters - I thought he had to stretch it a bit then and started to go into ley-line territory where anything can be joined together on a map but that doesn't mean that it actually had significance for ancient people. Kept me interested though and a good read so I gave it 4 stars.


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