The History Book Club discussion

104 views
ARCHIVE > DAVE'S 50 BOOKS READ IN 2014

Comments Showing 1-50 of 57 (57 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Here is your new thread for 2014. Happy reading!


message 2: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments Many thanks! Time to get the books written down ;P


message 3: by Dave (last edited Jan 07, 2014 06:42PM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments JANUARY

1. Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an Islam and the Founders by Denise A. Spellberg by Denise A. Spellberg

Finish date: January 1st,2014
Genre: History
Rating: A
Review: A very interesting book related to the perception of Islam in America post American Revolution. Interesting insight on the debates about religious freedom in the colonies / states.


message 4: by Dave (last edited Jan 07, 2014 06:44PM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 2. The War That Ended Peace The Road To 1914 by Margaret MacMillan by Margaret MacMillan
Finish date: January 1st,2014
Genre: History
Rating: A+
Review: Once again, Margaret MacMillan does it all and brings us an amazing book about the causes and events leading to World War I. It brings a very interesting perspective on the creation of the alliance system which, once Europe was pushed to the brink of war, carried the entire continent in its wake toward impending doom.


message 5: by Dave (last edited Jan 07, 2014 06:46PM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 3. S. by J.J. Abrams by J.J. Abrams JJ Abrams

Finish date: January 2nd,2014
Genre: Fiction
Rating: A+
Review: A very interesting story, or should I say stories. The book revolves around a fake book "The Ship of Theseus" and the quest of two university students to uncover the real identity of its author V.M. Straka. The concept is quite new, as the "second story" is entirely made of footnotes, scribblings and notes left in the margins of the books, inserted photos, etc. A must read!


message 6: by Dave (last edited Jan 07, 2014 06:47PM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 4. The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge? A Philosophical Conundrum by Thomas Cathcart by Thomas Cathcart Thomas Cathcart

Finish date: January 4,2014
Genre: Philosophy
Rating: B
Review: Quite an interesting book, covering the Trolley problem elaborated by Philippa Foot in the 1960s.


message 7: by Dave (last edited Jan 07, 2014 06:46PM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien by J.R.R. Tolkien J.R.R. Tolkien

Finish date: January 6,2014
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Rating: A+
Review: What is there to say except Masterpiece? A little book that will bring you away from all your worries in a world of magic, elves, goblins and epic tales.


message 8: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Good start, Dave. BTW, you don't have to put the name of the book, just the image. If there is no image, use the link and always use the author link and photo (if available);otherwise you are off to a great start.

The Hobbit (Middle-Earth Universe) by J.R.R. Tolkien by J.R.R. Tolkien J.R.R. Tolkien


message 9: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments Thanks! I've got it all correct now I think :D


message 10: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Yes, you've got it. It just takes a couple of tries......I was terrible when I first started but then it became second nature.


message 11: by Peter (new)

Peter Flom Dave wrote: "JANUARY

1. Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an Islam and the Founders by Denise A. Spellberg by Denise A. Spellberg

Finish date: January 1st,2014
Genre: History
Rating: A
Review: A very int..."


Jefferson said it all on religious freedom in this quote:

"It does me no harm for my neighbor to believe in many gods or no god. It neither robs my pocket nor breaks my leg". Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson


message 12: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments Indeed, it is quite an interesting quote, specially given that in Québec, we are in the midst of an interesting debate regarding the wearing of religious symbol by state employees. ;)


message 13: by Bryan (last edited Jan 08, 2014 08:03AM) (new)

Bryan Craig I saw the Macmillan book in stores, so I'm glad you like it. I will add this one. Thanks :-)

The War That Ended Peace The Road To 1914 by Margaret MacMillan by Margaret MacMillan (no photo)


message 14: by Peter (new)

Peter Flom Dave wrote: "Indeed, it is quite an interesting quote, specially given that in Québec, we are in the midst of an interesting debate regarding the wearing of religious symbol by state employees. ;)"

I am an atheist. However, I think the "leg, pocket" test is a good one. Wearing a religious symbol? How does it rob the state's pocket or break the state's leg?

On the other hand, I can see a better case for laws regarding facial covering, since being able to see a person's face is often important (e.g. in criminal investigation, in getting age information for e.g. buying alcohol and so on).

But governments don't want to appear to be anti-Islam, and, AFAIK, Islam is the only religion where some members cover their face for religious reasons.


message 15: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments Bryan wrote: "I saw the Macmillan book in stores, so I'm glad you like it. I will add this one. Thanks :-)

The War That Ended Peace The Road To 1914 by Margaret MacMillan by Margaret MacMillan (..."


I'm glad you will read it. I find it is a nice complement to this book :

The Sleepwalkers How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Munro Clark by Christopher Munro Clark Christopher Munro Clark


message 16: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments Peter wrote: "Dave wrote: "Indeed, it is quite an interesting quote, specially given that in Québec, we are in the midst of an interesting debate regarding the wearing of religious symbol by state employees. ;)"..."

Well, in our province, there is a general consensus that public services should be given and received with one's face uncovered.

The debate is more about which type of secularism should we enforce and about the neutrality of the state, more as if a public servant wearing a kippa or a hidjab is infringing on the religious neutrality of the state.

Anyhow, a Québec Minister made a bad interpretation of Jefferson and quote quite some flak for it in the NY Times. :D


message 17: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 6. The Zimmermann Telegram by Barbara W. Tuchman by Barbara W. Tuchman Barbara W. Tuchman

Finish date: January 9,2014
Genre: History
Rating: A
Review: An easy read, this excellent book by Tuchman brings light to the diplomatic play between the British, the US and Germany in the waning days of the peace for America. It portrays the meddling of Germany in Mexico and the fateful Zimmerman Telegram which tipped the scale toward War in the US public opinion. At 200 pages, it is a must read.


message 18: by Douglass, HBC Admin/TL - Economics/Finance/Entrepreneurship (new)

Douglass Gaking | 549 comments Mod
Dave, you have picked so many good books! My thread might start looking a lot like yours soon.


message 19: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Dave, you and I are on the same reading page. I have read most of the books you have been reading this year. Two kindred spirits!!!!


message 20: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 7. The Proud Tower A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914 by Barbara W. Tuchman by Barbara W. Tuchman Barbara W. Tuchman
Finish date : January 17, 2014
Genre: History
Rating : A
Review: An interesting book covering many facets of European society in the years leading up to WWI.

Chapter 1 deals with the conservatives and peers of England under the government of Lord Salisbury, as well as giving interesting information on Arthur Balfour.

Chapter 2 brings you in the philosophy of anarchism, covering the murder of heads of states (Empress Elizabeth, the Spaniard Premier Canovas, President McKinley, French President Sidi Carnot). The conceptualisation of Anarchism is well done, with understanding of Bakunin, Kropotkin,Reclus, etc.

Chapter 3 deals with the US, specially through the story of the Speaker of the House Thomas Reed, and deals with the abandonment of restraint in the pursuit of empire. It deals with the Spanish wars and the annexation of Porto Rico, the Philippines and Hawaii.

Chapter 4 deals with France and covers in great detail the Dreyfus Affair. A high moment of the book.

Chapter 5 deals with the Peace Movement and the two Hague Conventions.

Chapter 6 tries to describe Germany's culture through the evolution of music in Europe. Very interesting but at the same time, difficult of access for the reader.

Chapter 7 brings you into the parliamentary crisis over the 1909 budget in England, passed by the Liberal government but vetoed by the Lords. It deals with the end of the Era of Privilege and the rise of Labour in British politics.

Finaly, Chapter 8 covers the political philosophy of Socialism, with references with the German SPD and Jean Jaurès.


message 21: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 8. The March of Folly From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W. Tuchman by Barbara W. Tuchman Barbara W. Tuchman
Finish date: January 28, 2014
Genre: History
Rating: A

Review: In this book, Barbara Tuchman deals with the subject of "folly" or pursuit of policy contrary to self-interest by states through history.

She raises 3 criteria for such "folly" which are :

1- The policy adopted must have been perceived as counter-productive in its own time, not merely by hindsight.

2- A feasible alternative course of action must have been available.

3- The policy in question must have been that of a group, not an individual ruler, and should persist beyond any one political lifetime.

She then proceed into a masterful analysis of different situations in history

A. The destruction of Troy by the scheme of the Trojan Horse.

B. The conduct of the Renaissance Papacy which led to the Protestant outbreak.

C. The imposition by Britain of the Intolerable Acts which led to the American Revolution.

D. The involvement of USA in Vietnam.

Overall, it is a great book, Tuchman's mastery getting more clear as we reach events closer in time.


message 22: by Dave (last edited Jul 18, 2014 07:52AM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 9. David and Goliath Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell by Malcolm Gladwell Malcolm Gladwell

Finish date : January 31, 2014
Genre: Essay
Rating : A+

Review : Once again, Gladwell can sew together powerful story from inspirational people and historical events delivering a powerful motivation to reassess the impacts of our weaknesses and the strenght they reveal or foster.


message 23: by Dave (last edited Jul 18, 2014 07:52AM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments FEBRUARY

10. The Myth of the Muslim Tide Do Immigrants Threaten the West? by Doug Saunders by Doug Saunders

Finish date : February 1st, 2014
Genre : Essay
Rating : A++

Review : A masterful essay that debunks with statistic and historical perspective many of the modern myths surrounding the muslim community's so called invasion of the West or "hidden agenda". A must read for lover of Common sense and cool-headed arguments.


message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Dave - some great books and you are pitch perfect with the standard - normally we add it in the first post. Only thing I would add is that for message three - place the month in bold - JANUARY and you forgot FEBRUARY in message 23. Other than that - everything is stellar.

JANUARY

1. My Early Life, 1874-1904 by Winston Churchill by Winston Churchill Winston S. Churchill
Finish date: March 2008
Genre: (whatever genre the book happens to be)
Rating: A
Review: You can add text from a review you have written but no links to any review elsewhere even goodreads. And that is about it. Just make sure to number consecutively and just add the months.


message 25: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 11. Shopping for Votes How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them by Susan Delacourt by Susan Delacourt Susan Delacourt

Finish date : February 9th, 2014
Genre : Political science
Rating : A+

Review : A very interesting analysis of the political positioning of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) in regards to connecting with the average voter. Very good elements about the rise to power of the Conservative party and the ascension of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.


message 26: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 12. Let Me Off at the Top! My Classy Life and Other Musings by Ron Burgundy by Ron Burgundy Ron Burgundy

Finish date : February 12th, 2014
Genre : Humor
Rating : A

Review : If you like the character of Ron Burgundy from Anchorman I & II, you will love this light-headed humor. It really is a continuation of the craziness of Ron Burgundy and I really enjoyed reading this book. There is absolutely nothing serious nor intellectual about this book, which is quite nice between two hard readings.


message 27: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 13. A Distant Mirror The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman by Barbara W. Tuchman Barbara W. Tuchman

Finish date : February 25th, 2014
Genre : History
Rating : A++

Review : This book is very interesting because of Tuchman's ability to create a compelling narative. Through the life of Enguerrand de Coucy, a well-off nobleman of Picardie, she is able to cover the themes of the Hundred Years War, the Black Death, the Papal Schism and the broader decline of Chivalry. As regards history books, this one remains a must-read.


message 28: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 14. Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth by Veronica Roth Veronica Roth

Finish date : February 27th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+

Review : This very well written fiction brings you in a dystopian society where the City of Chicago, following a sort of cataclysm, has been reshaped by a faction system based on human traits. The intrigue brings into play the factions of Amity, Candor, Erudite, Dauntless and Abnegation. The story is very appealing and it is very difficult to put the book down even for a minute.


message 29: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 15. Insurgent (Divergent, #2) by Veronica Roth by Veronica Roth Veronica Roth

Finish date : February 28th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+

Review : Second tome of this amazing trilogy. Will not say anything else because of possible spoilers.


message 30: by Dave (last edited Jul 18, 2014 02:47PM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments MARCH

16. Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Roth by Veronica Roth Veronica Roth

Finish date : March 2nd, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+

Review : Third tome of this amazing trilogy. Will not say anything else because of possible spoilers. However, the ending is both spectacular and unexpected.


message 31: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 17. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare

Finish date : March 8th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A++

Review : First book of the amazing serie call "The Mortal Instruments". Here is the beginning of a story about Shadowhunters and demons, of a chase that has been going on for centuries and the concealment of such a world from the human population. When Clary Fray discovers that she can suddenly see this "parallel world", events unravels at an incredible pace.


message 32: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 18. City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare

Finish date : March 13th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+

Review : Second opus of "The Mortal Instruments", this book focuses more on the power politics of Downworld New-York, where factions of downworlders all have their hidden agenda.


message 33: by Dave (last edited Jul 18, 2014 10:27PM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 19. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare

Finish date : March 16th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+

Review : Third book of the serie. Always as good, lots of action and deepening of the universe. Totaly recommend it.


message 34: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 20. City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare

Finish date : March 21st, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A++

Review : Fourth book of the Mortal Instruments serie. Once again, Clare delivers a solid tale that mixes an amazing universe with deep and thick power plays.


message 35: by Dave (last edited Jul 19, 2014 10:14PM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 21. City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare

Finish date : March 27th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+++

Review : This fifth installment of the amazing series "Mortal Instruments" marks the return of an old enemy, striking back from the shadows. The dilemmas and emotions of Clary as very interesting and bring the character forward.


message 36: by Dave (last edited Jul 19, 2014 10:15PM) (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments APRIL

22. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare

Finish date : April 2nd, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+

Review : In keeping with her entire world developed in "The Mortal Instruments", Cassandra Clare offers us a new serie in which the action takes place about 140 years earlier. Introducing interesting characters such a James Carstairs, Will Herondale and Tessa Gray, this book moves the action to London and gives us a good glimpse of the Shadowhunter world at that moment. An old ennemy, and old menace, some mystery, the reader will be pleased although it takes some time to get used to the new characters versus "The Mortal Instruments".


message 37: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 23. Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare

Finish date : April 8th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+

Review : Second installment of "The Infernal Devices", this book is in keeping with the first tome and also very good.


message 38: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 24. Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare

Finish date : April 17th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+

Review : Last tome of "The Infernal Devices". Very interesting to see the end of this trilogy. The weaving of the characters with the main universe developed in "The Mortal Instruments" is very well done.


message 39: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments MAY

25. 1177 B.C. The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline by Eric H. Cline Eric H. Cline

Finish date : May 9th, 2014
Genre : History
Rating : A

Review : This book is about the successive downfall of Late Bronze Age societies such as Minos, Egypt, the Hittite, the Trojans and the Babylonians. Very interestingly, it paints a very interconnected pictures of such societies, with extensive trade and communications between them. A short read, I found it a nice introduction to the Late Bronze Age era, of which I am not very knowledgeable.


message 40: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 26. Bible and Sword England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour by Barbara W. Tuchman by Barbara W. Tuchman Barbara W. Tuchman

Finish date : May 11th, 2014
Genre : History
Rating : B-

Review : This interesting book is about the relation between England and various points in history and Palestine, in regards to the events, in the two thousand years leading to the Balfour Declaration.

While is is amazingly interesting for the parts describing Lord Balfour and Lord Salisbury, and their respective government and carriers, I found rather painful to go through the rest of the book, which, while masterly and scholarly, I did not found very engaging.


message 41: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 27. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green by John Green John Green

Finish date : May 14th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A+++

Review : Without any hesitation, the best novel I have read this year.

The story is about Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, two cancer patients in their teenage years who falls into a poignant romance.

The author really brings you into the difficult emotions of sickness and the injustice of cancer.

I have literaly cried for the last 50 pages of the book.


message 42: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 28. Writing on the Wall Social Media - The First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage by Tom Standage Tom Standage

Finish date : May 19th, 2014
Genre : Essay
Rating : B+

Review : The more your learn, the less you affirm. In this interesting book, Tom Standage takes a look at "social media" in the last 2,000 years. Far from being a discovery of our times, social media has basically existed under many forms throughout history.

Standage raises as examples the papyrus letters exchanges by leading statements of Rome, upon which they would write their own comments and pass it forward. He also discusses the pamphlets and tracts during the Reformation and the American Civil war and the advent of the newspaper.

An interesting reading to say the least, but not exceptional.


message 43: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments JUNE

29. A Mad Catastrophe The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire by Geoffrey Wawro by Geoffrey Wawro Geoffrey Wawro

Finish date : June 2nd, 2014
Genre : History
Rating : A+

Review : The book is about the beginning of World War I from the Austro-Hungarian point of view.

Very interesting and well documented. I had a difficult time in assessing the neutrality of the author who seems through the pages to have a major bone to pick with Austria-Hungary.

I say Austria-Hungary, but I should rather say Austria, because there is very few information about Hungary, who is pitted in the role of a trouble-maker who's conduct was part of the Empire's crumbling. (Not entirely untrue).

Otherwise, the passages on the ill-equipped Habsburg army, the deep flaws in leadership, the fall of Lemberg and the blunders in the battle for Serbia are all high moments of this book.

I recommend it.


message 44: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The book sounds like something I would like, Dave. If you are interested in that period and the fall of the Houses of Habsburg and Hohenzollern, I would recommend the following:

Fall Of Eagles;The End Of The Great European Dynasties by John Elliot by John Elliot (no photo)


message 45: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 30. City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6) by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare Cassandra Clare


Finish date : June 14th, 2014
Genre : Fiction
Rating : A++

Review : Final novel of "The Mortal Instruments", City of Heavenly Fire weaves together the characters of "The Infernal Devices" and those from mortal instruments in one amazing finale. It even gives a glimpse of what the future series will look like.


message 46: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 31. I segreti d'Italia by Corrado Augias by Corrado Augias Corrado Augias

Finish date : June 17th, 2014
Genre : History / Anthropology
Rating : D

Review : I guess I was not aware of the real nature of this book. I was hoping for secret and histories about Italy, but it really is an anthropological essay on the Italian soul and mindframe. Big letdown.


message 47: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 32. The First Salute by Barbara W. Tuchman by Barbara W. Tuchman Barbara W. Tuchman

Finish date : June 28th, 2014
Genre : History
Rating : A

Review : The First Salute is a masterful recollection of the naval war component of the American revolution. Very nice details about the Dutch presence in the Caribbean and the Naval war between De Grasse and Admiral Rodney. One sweet reading, once again, Tuchman brings the quality to the story.


message 48: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 33. Doomed to Repeat The Lessons of History We've Failed to Learn by Bill Fawcett by Bill Fawcett Bill Fawcett

Finish date : June 30th, 2014
Genre : History
Rating : A+

Review : A small interesting book about historical situations from which we should take insight regarding the current events. From recessions to wars. Very good.


message 49: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments JULY

34. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield by Chris Hadfield Chris Hadfield

Finish date : July 2nd, 2014
Genre : Biography / Essay
Rating : A+

Review : Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield pens this autobiography and essay about his own life and the challenges he had to face to take part in the space program. Very inspiring and particularly humorous!


message 50: by Dave (new)

Dave McMahon | 63 comments 35. Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince on The Art of Power The New Illustrated Edition of the Renaissance Masterpiece on Leadership (The Art of Wisdom) by J.W. Marriott by Niccolò Machiavelli Niccolò Machiavelli

Finish date : July 4th, 2014
Genre : Political Science
Rating : A++++

Review : Re-reading the Prince has been an absolute delight!


« previous 1
back to top