Historical Fictionistas discussion

268 views
Historical Fiction Discussions > What book gave you the best insight into another time?

Comments Showing 1-50 of 82 (82 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 33 comments Charlie Chaplin was reputed to have said, "“There are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books." I have learned a great deal about various historical time periods and events from works of historical fiction. What about you?


message 2: by Jayme (new)

Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 2775 comments I learned alot from "Sarah's Key


message 3: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 33 comments I did too. Terribly, terribly sad. I'd like to reread it, but it's too painful. Is there anything particular that you learned? I got a better picture of the tragic deportation of Parisian Jews during World War II.


message 4: by Jayme (new)

Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 2775 comments I didn't know that Hitler took over France so that was a new fact for me. It was so tragic to learn her brother was still in the cabinet. :(


message 5: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 33 comments I felt the same way about the tragedy of her brother.


message 6: by Jayme (new)

Jayme (jaymetheghostreader) | 2775 comments They couldn't open the cabinet without the key. I would think his corpse would start to rot.


message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 33 comments Hmmm...hadn't thought about that.


message 9: by Jan (new)

Jan | 1803 comments Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "The First Man in Rome."
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree!


message 10: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) I found out a great deal about life in England during and after World War I in the Series which begins with Maisie Dobson. I haven’t kept up with the series so far but I think the last book takes place during World War II.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 398 comments Maisie Dobbs? Yes, the most recent book in that series is set in the spring of 1940. (And it's one of the best books in that series in years, too.)


message 12: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Susanna yes, Maisie Dobbs is the character and title of the first book. I don’t know what happens, I type a message- it looks good and when I look at it, my errors are so obvious.

I have read several books in a series and always begin with the first book. I have read Jonathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, Lee Child, Daniel Silva, Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben and James Patterson and too many others to list. But I must admit that I am a fair weather reader since the only series I have followed and read all of the books so far are those by Harlan Coben, Daniel Silva and James Patterson. Generally in a series at some point, I tire of the characters or the similar storylines to other books in the series and I don’t continue reading all of the titles from the series. Therefore I only read 6 of the books in the Maisie Dobbs series and may go back to read more.


message 13: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Dalby The Seeds of America trilogy (Chains, Forge, and Ashes) by Laurie Halse Anderson is eye-opening about the Revolutionary War. So little is taught about Northern slaves/African-Americans during that time period and all they did during the war.


message 14: by Linda (new)

Linda Bridges (lindajoyb) | 724 comments Books by John Jakes. He has several series beyond North and South. I really enjoyed Homeland which is about Chicago at the turn of the century and California Gold which is about late 19th century California.


message 15: by Deirdre (last edited Jul 29, 2018 06:27PM) (new)

Deirdre | 6 comments A Mercy I think that of all the books I read about America in the seventeenth century, this seemed to resonate most with what I knew of the period.

The Scarlet CityIn a Dark Wood Wandering: A Novel of the Middle Ages also plunged me into the Italian Renanssaince and the Late Middle Ages, respectively.

Most recently, I read The Book of Night Women


message 16: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 650 comments I really liked the world depicted in The Summer Before the War. It started out so lighthearted, and as the reality of war set in, the characters tried desperately (and ultimately failed) to hang on to the familiar. In a way, it brought home the horror so much more vividly than a straight-up war story.


message 17: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Hurley (fiona_hurley) | 247 comments I learned a lot about the Wars of the Roses from The Sunne in Splendour.

Anita Amirrezvani's books (The Blood of Flowers, Equal of the Sun) gave a wonderful insight into the history of 16th/17th century Iran, a place I knew almost nothing about.


message 18: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 459 comments The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1) by Colleen McCullough by Colleen McCullough. Sharon Kay Penman's books, and also Philippa Gregory's novels - especially The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9) by Philippa Gregory . For some reason I had never appreciated what a tyrant Henry VIII was until I read that novel.


message 19: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 33 comments Eileen wrote: "The First Man in Rome (Masters of Rome, #1) by Colleen McCullough by Colleen McCullough. Sharon Kay Penman's books, and also Philippa Gregory's novels - especially The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9) by Philippa Gregory. For some reason I..."
About books that are set during Henry VIII's reign...I plan to read "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel. It won the Man Booker Award. My husband loved it and her second book also.


message 20: by Barry (new)

Barry Marks | 53 comments I think the book that gave me the most feeling of experiencing a different time was Mika Waltari's "The Egyptian". It lets us experience a culture very different from our own and makes it seem vivid and real and all around us. I've never experienced anything quite like it.

Barry


message 21: by ROBERT (new)

ROBERT | 35 comments Geraldine Brooks and her book the Year of Wonder. Also, Stephen Pressfield's The Gates of Thermopylae.


message 22: by ROBERT (new)

ROBERT | 35 comments I thought of another one that was great at transporting me to another time and place. The Awakening Land Trilogy. The Trees is the best book that I have read on the wilderness experience and challenges. The growth of the area in the Fields and the Town just continued my awe.

The Trees

The Fields

The Town


message 23: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 33 comments Sounds interesting!


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Kindred by Octavia E Butler. It's like being thrown back in time alongside the main character. If you can get over the time travelling issue then it really is an interesting read.


message 25: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) The Source by James Michener

With a piece found at an archeological sit, Michener tells the story of Israel till their statehood. This book made me feel as though I was there at each of the time periods.


message 26: by Brian (new)

Brian | 1 comments Empire of the Summer Moon. I never knew a thing about Quanah Parker and was shocked that he wasn't taught along with Sitting Bull and the rest in my history classes.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...


message 27: by Barry (new)

Barry Marks | 53 comments If you're interested in Quanah Parker take a look at "Ride the Wind" by Lucia St. Clair Robson. It's the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, the mother of Quanah Parker and it also covers his story in depth.

Cynthia Ann Parker's story is very much taught in history classes if you grow up in Texas. I'm sure we went through that at least a dozen times while I was in school. It was also the inspiration for the John Wayne movie "The Searchers" and her story has been told a couple of times on the TV show "Death Valley Days" as well as other times on other TV anthology shows. There have also been a lot of documentaries and other movies about her.

Fort Parker, near Waco, Texas is still there. I went through it about 35 years ago. It's amazingly small and the houses they lived in were tiny.

Back to the book; it's an excellent story with characters as vivid as can be.

Barry


message 28: by Alice (last edited Aug 02, 2018 10:08AM) (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) I would pick:

Doctor Zhivago (set in revolutionary Russia)
Corrag (set in late 17th century Scotland)
Blood & Beauty: The Borgias (set in Renaissance Italy)


message 29: by Leah (new)

Leah Moyes | 22 comments I really felt like Nefertiti was a fantastic way to experience ancient Egypt, the sights, smells, deceit, all came alive for me.


message 30: by Jodi (new)

Jodi (molomonkey) | 103 comments Leah wrote: "I really felt like Nefertiti was a fantastic way to experience ancient Egypt, the sights, smells, deceit, all came alive for me."

I enjoyed that Nefertiti. A fun read. My favorite author for ancient Egypt is Pauline Gedge. I feel like I’ve been brought back in time reading her books. The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George is another great one.


message 31: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 33 comments Nancy from NJ wrote: "The Source by James Michener

With a piece found at an archeological sit, Michener tells the story of Israel till their statehood. This book made me feel as though I was there at each of the time p..."

I really enjoyed "Tales of the South Pacific" by Michener. I think it's his first book. His prose was beautiful. It was published in 1946, so it wasn't historical when he wrote it. But it feels like historical fiction now.


message 32: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I think I would have to go with The Fixer by Bernard Malamud. A Pulitzer Prize winning novel, it was set in the Pogroms of Czarist (Tsarist?) Russia. It really gave me an insight into the prejudice that Jews had to undergo in the 19th century.


message 33: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 33 comments Thanks for reminding me of this novel. I have always wanted to read it.


message 34: by Leah (new)

Leah Moyes | 22 comments Jodi wrote: "Leah wrote: "I really felt like Nefertiti was a fantastic way to experience ancient Egypt, the sights, smells, deceit, all came alive for me."

I enjoyed that Nefertiti. A fun read. M..."


Thank you for those suggestions! I have not read either one, but will add them now, thanks again!


message 35: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Barbara wrote: "Thanks for reminding me of this novel. I have always wanted to read it."

It's very, very good. Very absorbing.


message 36: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Leah wrote: "Jodi wrote: "Leah wrote: "I really felt like Nefertiti was a fantastic way to experience ancient Egypt, the sights, smells, deceit, all came alive for me."

I enjoyed that Nefertiti. ..."


Speaking of Nefertiti, another good one is Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead by Nick Drake. It's a historical mystery set in the same time period.


message 37: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Kirstin - the 19th century didn't hold a candle to the treatment or non treatment of Jews in the 20th century.


message 38: by ROBERT (new)

ROBERT | 35 comments One interesting book was People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

It follows the travels of a Jewish manuscript from the 15 century to the 20th going backwards. The story focuses on about 6 stops along the way throughout Europe.

I like all of the Geraldine Brooks books that I have read for their ability to transport me in time.


message 39: by Barry (new)

Barry Marks | 53 comments "The Fixer" is one of my favorite books. Not because the topic is Jews, although I am Jewish, but because it's one of the best examples I've ever read of a character being changed by circumstances. He starts out a pretty slimy guy that you sure wouldn't want to be around much and in the end he's as noble as a man can be. The beauty of this novel isn't just that that happens; it's that we share, in detail, just how and why he changes, and we somehow change with him.

As for which century treated Jews worse I'm not sure there's a lot of value in trying to parse that. Bad things happen sometimes. Sometimes the scale increases. To those in the middle of a bad event that one is the worse.

My grandmother was born in a tiny town whose name I can't recall in a remote location in Russia. When she was 13 her mother gave her and her 11 year old sister a bunch of food wrapped in cloth on a stick so they could carry it easily on their shoulders and told them to start walking over the mountains and keep going till they get to Europe. They did. A short time later Cossacks killed most of the people in the village. She walked to Europe and eventually made her way to America. She did survive. Many didn't. That vs the holocaust is a matter of scale, not of degree.

I love being a Jew in America! Although I'm glad I'm old now because the future is starting to look pretty scary.

Barry


message 40: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Nancy from NJ wrote: "Kirstin - the 19th century didn't hold a candle to the treatment or non treatment of Jews in the 20th century."

No, but it was interesting in how they were discriminated against, as well as the ideas people had about Jews.


message 41: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) ROBERT wrote: "One interesting book was People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

It follows the travels of a Jewish manuscript from the 15 century to the 20th going backwards. The story focuses on ..."


I loved that book!


message 42: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) In Pearl S. Buck's Peony, she tells a pretty good chunk of history of the Jews living in Kaifeng, China.


message 43: by Deirdre (new)

Deirdre | 6 comments I forgot to mention The Twelfth Transforming. Even though a number of Ancient Egyptian practices (namely the incest) squicked me out, Gedge was able to immerse me in that world so deeply that I was able to some extent to overlook the "icky" parts.


message 44: by Annette (new)

Annette | 1 comments I felt really transported to another time & place that I was not familiar with in Pillars of the Earth. One of my favorite books of all time!


message 45: by Barry (new)

Barry Marks | 53 comments "People of the Book" was excellent. It was one of the best things I've read in a while. I haven't read any of her other books although I've bought a couple and I will.

I first read "Peony" decades ago, probably in the 1960s. I've read it every 4 or 5 years since then. It's always been a favorite. I read it a again a few months ago. Pearl S Buck is a favorite. I've read a number of her books, mostly several times.

Barry


message 46: by ROBERT (new)

ROBERT | 35 comments Barry wrote: ""People of the Book" was excellent. It was one of the best things I've read in a while. I haven't read any of her other books although I've bought a couple and I will.

I first read "Peony" decades..."


I have read a number. In order of how much I liked them it was: Year of Wonders; Caleb; People of the Book; March; and The Secret Chord. Really good historical novels. She works hard.


message 47: by Herman (new)

Herman | 28 comments Well Leon Uris "Trinity" very well written an omni-narrative giving multiple character storylines, backstories, politics very well explained I really felt I learned a lot about that time.


message 48: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 459 comments ROBERT wrote: "Barry wrote: ""People of the Book" was excellent. It was one of the best things I've read in a while. I haven't read any of her other books although I've bought a couple and I will.

I first read "..."


Geraldine Brooks is getting to be one of my favorite writers.


message 49: by Diane (new)

Diane | 211 comments Many of the books mentioned have me nodding in agreement. But I don't think anyone has mentioned Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. Although dauntingly long, it was an excellent window into the time.


message 50: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) I am also Jewish and my father cane to the US from Russia with his 4 siblings. They left in 1910 and it is unlikely that any of his family who was left survived the pogroms or WWII. My father when he was older was chosen by the family to go to college. They all worked and pooled their money for my father and his needs. Then when he became a successful accountant,he mad sure that all of his neighbors and nephews went to college and he paid for them as payback. My family have always enjoyed being American Jews, travel to Israel often and make it a point to visit Jewish communities when we travel. This year we will visit these communities In Shanghai and Beijing.


« previous 1
back to top