History is Not Boring discussion

What history are you reading April 2008?

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (mother_of_dinosaurs) What are you reading this month fellow history lovers?

message 2: by Arminius (new)

Arminius Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. It is taking me a while to get through it. It is so good and so detailed.

message 3: by Max (new)

Max | 5 comments The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. She has a very different interpretation of recent history, tracking the imposition of neoconservative economic policies by (and on) the US. Her theory is that the methods used to promote those policies (deprivation through sanctions, manufactured political and economic crisis, disinformation, war) mirror the techniques of torture developed by the CIA and refined by its proxies across the third world. Klein's examination of the internal political forces at work during the Polish revolution and the disillusion of the Soviet Bloc is particularly blowing my mind.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I've just started a holocaust memoir Ellie Weisel's Night and just completed River of the West:Chronicle of the Columbia by Robert Clark (I have a very mixed opinion on River.

message 5: by Jillian (new)

Jillian (mother_of_dinosaurs) I've read Night. It's a very good book I hope you enjoy it.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

thanks jillian it's nice to hear from you, haven't in a bit

message 7: by George (new)

George | 179 comments Mussolini and his Generals.

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim I finished Adams v Jefferson which was a gr8 book and relevant even now in many ways

not strictly "history" but started listening
to TREE OF SMOKE by Denis Johnson which starts around time of JFK's assasination and US involvement in Vietnam
really quite comprehensive and reveals where things were headed.

Unlike most books, this book puts U there intellectually and emotionally like no book 4 me in a long time

message 9: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 9 comments I'm going to be reading Catherine the Great: Love, Sex and Power by Virginia Rounding with another group here on goodreads (once I get my book from Amazon). If anyone has read it or is planning on reading it, you should join the discussion on it later this month (European Royalty group).

I'm currently reading Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber. I'm not sure if it really qualifies as history, but it is a biography written in the 1970s discussing a woman with multiple personalities and the treatment she underwent in the 1950s or so. It's fascinating so far, but reading about the horrific abuse the woman underwent as a child was very difficult (it was so graphic I literally almost passed out while eating lunch today - granted, I'm hypoglycemic, so it doesn't take much for me to pass out, but I've never reacted this strongly to anything I've read before).

message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 08, 2008 05:54PM) (new)

yah-i remember reading sybil ages ago
my mother was a social worker and had it in the house when i was a teen
it's fascinating as i recall and sort of the seminal work on both multiple personality and popular books about psychological issues
so certainly in the context of the study of psychology it was historic
it's interesting to read all the early psychological works
early thought encompassed
alfred adler
modern thought
fritz perls
watts broke the mold
eric hoffer

message 11: by Peter (last edited Apr 12, 2008 03:26AM) (new)

Peter Macinnis I am facing a hectic month, not in the least helped by my having been captivated by The Book Thief which I have just finished. This is mildly historical in its setting, Munich in the early years of World War II, but a brilliant work of fiction.

In 2002, we visited Cracow, Warsaw, Auschwitz, Dresden and Berlin, and then came home to see Adrien Brody in 'The Pianist', so the era has held a gloomy fascination for me since then -- Dresden's Frauenkirche is a lasting image, but I need to go back again to see the completed restoration.

Now, by way of relief, I am turning to Frank McLynn's '1759', which I picked up, of all places, in Bangkok's raffish Sukhumvit district. That was this time last year, and it has lain, only mildly picked-at until now. Suitable material for an autumn read, here in Oz, because the wars are far enough back to be less emotional.

message 12: by Happyreader (last edited Apr 08, 2008 08:53PM) (new)

Happyreader | 10 comments I just finished Pico Iyer's The Open Road: The Global Journey of the XIVth Dalai Lama which is more recent history and politics of Tibet, Dharamsala, and the Dalai Lama. It's not in-depth but it's a quick and enjoyable read and very relevant right now.

I'm now getting into Lord Kinross's The Ottoman Centuries which I've meant to read for ages. So far, so good.

I'm also looking for a good Indian history to read next since I loved the history in Eating India: An Odyssey into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices, which I also just finished, and want more. Maureen, thanks for looking into finding the Gandhi bio. If anyone else has additional Indian recommendations, I'm open to them.

message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 17 comments Happyreader: I'll be interested to know how you like The Ottoman Centuries - I know enough about the Ottoman Empire to know that I don't know that much so I would love an informative book to add to my to-read list on that subject.

This month I've got a couple books on my plate - I just finished Prisoners of the Japanese by Gavan Daws about Allied POWs in the Pacific during WW2. I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it. Daws tries to stay true to the voices of the prisoners so I first thought the book would be a lot of patriotic party-line... shows my ignorance! Very informative and very sad - like all books about war victims.

Next up, I'm reading Martyred Village dealing with the issue of history and memory in a French village that suffered under the Nazis.

And Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart which I am told promises to be a good read so I'm looking forward to it.

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

wow-you may want to wait on the achebe after those other reads
perhaps pick something light that show's something about the lighter side of life
achebe may put you over the edge

message 15: by Max (new)

Max | 5 comments Yeah, Happyreader, please let us know about The Ottoman Centuries. I just finished Lords of the Horizon and find myself increasingly fascinated by the Ottoman...

message 16: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 17 comments Oh Maureen... you are so right! Unfortunately these are all assigned readings. I'm a history grad student and this semester I have started to call my "atrocity semester." I'm taking two reading seminars - one focusing on Hiroshima and the atrocities of the Pacific War and the other on history and memory which pretty much means reading about war atrocities. Although what I have read this semester has been so compelling, there have been a few nights that I have come home, sneaked in to see my sleeping beautiful daughters and just sobbed. And Achebe was assigned in the class I TA for - so no reprieve there either.

But thank you for the heads up, you're very sweet. This summer I think I'm going to buy every Carl Hiassen book and just veg-out!

message 17: by Happyreader (new)

Happyreader | 10 comments I'll post my feedback on The Ottoman Centuries when I'm done. In the meantime, Max, I raided your booklist and stole your current read On Foot to the Golden Horn: A Walk to Istanbul as a future read so thanks for that. I agree. The Ottomans are fascinating.

message 18: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 17 comments Max, How did you like Lords of the Horizon?

message 19: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 17 comments Ben, what are your genocide readings?

message 20: by Max (last edited Apr 11, 2008 10:34AM) (new)

Max | 5 comments Re: Lords of the Horizon.
I dug it. Ottoman history encompasses such a long period that I found it difficult to keep the chronology straight, but Jason Goodwin is good at grounding larger geopolitical events in the flavor and details of everyday life. He also wrote a couple of excellent historical novels set in 1830's Istamboul.

message 21: by Jordan (new)

Jordan (jordieheartsbooks) I recently purchased:

by Guy de la Bédoyère

by Adrian Murdoch

Both are from The History Book Club and should arrive next week. I decided to look a little deeper into Rome after reading Jack Whyte's THE SKYSTONE. It's book 1 of an historical fiction series and is based in the Roman province of Briton. Made me want to know a little more about the time period, which then led to me wanting to learn more about how Rome overexerted itself eventually leading to its downfall.

message 22: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Griffin | 3 comments This month I'm reading HISTORY OF WALES by John Davies. It's 700 pages of verrry drrry history. I have about 140 pages to go, and so far I've learned that the citizens mined a lot of coal, were fractious, and had a hard time determining what being "Welsh" meant. Granted, there isn't a lot of written evidence before the 1700's, but Davies could have given a bit more personality to the majority of the recent important figures.

message 23: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1011 comments Mod
This month I've already read New Worlds, Lost Worlds, which is about the Tudors, and The Confident Hope of a Miracle, about the Spanish Armada. Both very interesting.

Currently I'm reading The Elizabethan Renaissance, by A. L. Rowse.

(I'm taking an enrichment course on the Plantagenets and Tudors, and although we have no assigned reading, it kinda inspired me.)

message 24: by Marian (new)

Marian (gramma) | 98 comments Started The Proud Tower by Barbara Tuchman. It's about Euopre from 1890-1914. I have already read Ms. Tuchman's The Guns of August which is about the events that lead to & the first months of The Great War, now known as World WAs 1.

The Proud Tower is interesting because the author delves deeply into the culture of Great Britain, France & Germany & the Autria-Hungarian Empire. The rulers of those countries had inter-married & formed a class of the elite which had little to do with the common people, so many of whom were to die in the wars which could have been prevented if sincer negotiations were held. Instead, none of the individuals involved wanted to give up even one particle of their advantage. This attitude continued in the negotiations which ended the war. The book ends at the beginning of the war. We know from history, however, that if there had been no WW1, there would have been no WW11 & the world we live in today would be much different.

I like Barbara Tuchman's books. She is very good at portraying the people of the times she writes about & getting the details of those times so that the reader can understand the reasons some things happened the way they did.

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

that sounds interesting marian
i'm not well versed in WWI and just got a job and some disposable income
i'm looking to invest heavily in books :)

message 26: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads, Crazy Cat Lady (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1011 comments Mod
I really enjoyed both The Proud Tower and The Guns of August. Have you read The Zimmerman Telegram? It's Tuchman's take on how the U.S. got drawn into the war. A nice fairly short read.

message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim Tuchman's DISTANT MIRROR was a great read

about the 13th Century which as I recall (it was a long time ago when I read it but wasn't in the 14th Century either) she said was like contemporary times but I don't remember exactly how the 2 centuries were similar except a lot of chaos going on in both times.

A great writer and historian -she'd be fun to meet if still alive.

any1 know?
any1 know her if she is - maybe something could be set up online with her?

message 28: by Sera (new)

Sera I'm reading the Virginia Rounding, Catherine the Great biography, and I am really enjoying it.

message 29: by Marian (new)

Marian (gramma) | 98 comments Barbara Tuchman has passed away. A Distant Mirror was a really great book. She brought the middle ages to life.

She has also written a book on writing. It is called "Practising History." It is shorter than her other books, but essential for anyone interested in writing historical stuff.

message 30: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (carrie15) | 1 comments I am reading The End of America by Naomi Wolf.

back to top