History is Not Boring discussion

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What are you reading?

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message 1: by Vince (new)

Vince (vchile) | 22 comments I'm waiting for Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition from my library.


message 2: by Marian (new)

Marian (gramma) | 98 comments A biography of General Douglas MacArthur "American Caesar" by William Manchester. It is very well-written and quotes from both supporters & detractors, but its tone is neutral. Right now, MadArthur is in Australia, having fled from the Philipines with his wife & son. Roosevelt appointed him to be the head of operations in the Pacific Theater - the war with Japan. This is about the middle of the book, the US Marines are invading Guadalcanal.


message 3: by J. (last edited Aug 19, 2010 04:37PM) (new)

J. Pearce (jlpearce) | 3 comments I recently finished Signs of Resistance: American Deaf Cultural History, 1900 to World War II by Susan Burch (who I love), and will soon be delving back into The New Disability History: American Perspectives again. (Sadly, the co-editor of the book, Paul Longmore, passed away earlier this month.)

Although you remind me that I need to pick up Canada Dry: Temperance Crusades Before Confederation sometime soon. I love reading about the Temperance movement.


message 4: by Teaberry (new)

Teaberry | 1 comments The Story of Britain: From the Romans to the Present: A Narrative History

Haven't made it very far; I think I'm up to the late 1300's. I'm enjoying it, although sometimes the author leaves loose ends or makes references that are apparently meant for an audience already familiar with the content, which I'm not. Overall, though, it's fascinating!


message 5: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (lynnellingwood) | 12 comments I am reading Appetite for America, a book about Paul Harvey and his development of a restaurants and hotels along railroad lines in the West. Very interesting.


message 6: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (lynnellingwood) | 12 comments Vince wrote: "I'm waiting for Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition from my library."

I heard that book was very good. Would like to read it soon.


message 7: by Vince (new)

Vince (vchile) | 22 comments Lynn wrote: "Vince wrote: "I'm waiting for Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition from my library."

I heard that book was very good. Would like to read it soon."


I've had a long wait from Chicago PL. I think I've read 3 books & am starting a 4th since putting my name on the list.


message 8: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (lynnellingwood) | 12 comments Sorry the man who created the restaurants and hotels in the West is Fred Harvey! lol

Many libraries are facing cuts in services now.


message 9: by Vince (last edited Aug 21, 2010 06:32PM) (new)

Vince (vchile) | 22 comments Lynn wrote: "Sorry the man who created the restaurants and hotels in the West is Fred Harvey! lol

Many libraries are facing cuts in services now."


How true-combined with a popular title here in the town Capone built.(CPL has 35 copies)
That book you're reading now looks good.(CPL has 5 copies)


message 10: by Mike (new)

Mike Carey | 8 comments I am reading "The Power Broker - Robert Moses and the Fall of New York" by Robert Caro. A huge book about Robert Moses, the use of power and his contributions to & vision of New York City. The detail Caro brings to his subject is incredible ( the same type of detail he brings to his 3 volume biography of LBJ). Moses jumps off the pages as a giant - flaws and all, ( lots of flaws) who knows how to get big things done. The book is not only a biography of Robert Moses but a terrific history of NY City during his career.


message 11: by J. (new)

J. (yankeeslefty) | 5 comments I am reading "The Last Campaign" by Thurston Clarke. It is about Robert F. Kennedy's 82 day campaign leading up to his assassination.


message 12: by Anthony, Trivial Pursuit Master (new)

Anthony (bluekabuki) | 43 comments Mod
I'm reading Gotham. This book weighs a ton, and led me to order a Kindle.
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898


message 13: by Maphead (new)

Maphead | 5 comments Just started Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary
So far I'm enjoying the heck out of it. While some readers might not think it's academic enough, so far I like it.
Destiny Disrupted A History of the World through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary


message 14: by Dan (new)

Dan  | 7 comments I am reading "A Short History Of The United States." By Robert V. Remini. The title basically says what it's about.


message 15: by Count (new)

Count Jared | 39 comments Just picked up a 1933 printing of Geo. Frederick Young's The Medici and it has me riveted thus far.


message 16: by Tim (new)

Tim (mcgyver5) | 17 comments I'm reading "Means of Ascent" by Robert Caro. As Mike said above, Robert Caro really brings his subjects to life. LBJ is scaring the poo out of me.


message 17: by M. (last edited Aug 24, 2010 11:36PM) (new)

M. Chandler (teamchandler) | 2 comments I just finished chewing my way through Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam, which I really enjoyed; the author has an engaging 'voice' and the story is riveting.


message 18: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 1439 comments I just finished "Versailles, A Biography of a Palace".

A great book showing the behind the scenes life styles of the courtiers of Louis XIV,XV, and XVI. Not just the big names, but also the guards, servants, merchants, and clergy.

The book was full of surprising facts about food, clothing, hygiene, sex and privacy.


message 19: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy Manuel, I'll never forget visiting Versailles. The tour guide showed us a corner behind a curtain where people went to the bathroom if they were too cold or too lazy to go outside. The whole area was deteriorated.

He described people washing up by cleaning their hands and then rubbing circles on the tips of their noses. Perfumes covered up body odors.

What were some of the surprising facts you found?


message 20: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 1439 comments It was incredibly interesting.

Baths became popular in the reign of Louis XV when members of the aristocracy returned home after spending time in the Sultan of Turkey's court. During the reign of Louis XIV, people took baths, but it was considered medicinal, something to be done occasionally when you were sick, not a daily event.

Even in Versailles, some courtiers could not be weened from the custom of throwing the contents of their chamber pots out their windows. One day Marie Antoinette was pelted with someone's night water.

I was most surprised to discover Louis XV loved to cook. He had a personal kitchen installed in his suite and he would occasionally cook for a few select friends.

The book also noted the growing importance of indirect influence on the French government. If one could not see a government official about a particular concern......it was very helpful to have the ear of the king's mistress, or the king's valet, or even the royal children's governess or perhaps the chambermaid of the king's third cousin once removed. It was a huge network of interlocking alliances.


message 21: by ☼Bookish (new)

☼Bookish in Virginia☼  (ren_t) I'm reading Old Cookbooks, of all things. Have no idea how I got on this reading jag, but currently working my way through Amelia Simmons "American Cookery" -- circa 1796. The first cookbook that originated in the Colonies. Having a difficult time working with the long Ss (f).


message 22: by Vince (new)

Vince (vchile) | 22 comments M. wrote: "I just finished chewing my way through Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam, which I really enjoyed; the author has an engag..."

Added to TBR. Thanks!


message 23: by Terence (new)

Terence (spocksbro) | 35 comments I'm prepping for a quasi-marathon of American history:

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln
Disunion!

Before that, though, I'm going to decompress with Dinosaur Odyssey


message 24: by Tanya (new)

Tanya | 1 comments I'm focusing on Romanticism. At the moment I'm reading three great books about it: The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science,
The Roots of Romanticism and Romantiek, een Duitse affaire. Even if you're not especially interested in Romanticism 'The age of wonder' should still be very interesting, it's combining science history, literature and biographies of leading 18th century scientists.


message 25: by Chris (new)

Chris Abel (abelchr) | 1 comments I am currently reading EUROPE. A History. by Norman Davies. So far, I'm a bit disappointed.

I haven't actually taken a formal history course since high school, and I hoped that Davies' book would provide a firm foundation for further reading. Unfortunately, in numerous instances in the first two chapters, he seems to assume that the reader is already familiar with the basic facts and personalities of the historical era. He then takes a deep dive into a few specific topics.

On more than one occasion, I have found myself headed to Wikipedia to fill in the gaps. (For example, at the end of the chapter on Ancient Greece, he jumps into the middle of the Second Punic War, without any background on who Hannibal was or how his army got to Northern Italy).

Anyway, if anyone can recommend a more basic factual overview of European history, I'm all ears.


message 26: by P. (new)

P. | 16 comments I'm about to re-start 'Stilwell and the American Experience in China 1911-45' by Barbara Tuchman. I lost track of it a while back, although it was quite interesting, and think this might be a good time to pick it up again.


message 27: by Terence (new)

Terence (spocksbro) | 35 comments P wrote: "I'm about to re-start 'Stilwell and the American Experience in China 1911-45' by Barbara Tuchman. I lost track of it a while back, although it was quite interesting, and think this might be a good ..."

Tuchman is very good. It was reading A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century in high school that steered me into my subsequent history degrees.


message 28: by P. (new)

P. | 16 comments I enjoyed Distant Mirror as well, although I found it a bit uneven. I have quite a few books by her and while I couldn't get into Proud Tower [can't remember why now] I was fascinated by the Zimmerman Telegraph and Guns of August. I got Bible and Sword because of the chapter on Troy which I find endlessly fascinating. I even have a copy of her graduate thesis on a thumb drive. 'The Lost British Policy - Britain and Spain since 1700' written in 1938 when she was Barbara Wertheim. I've never read it. Maybe I should.

P.


message 29: by Terence (new)

Terence (spocksbro) | 35 comments P wrote: "I enjoyed Distant Mirror as well, although I found it a bit uneven. I have quite a few books by her and while I couldn't get into Proud Tower [can't remember why now] I was fascinated by the Zimmer..."

I haven't read any Tuchman since The First Salute, and that was quite a while ago. I'd recommend her collection of essays - Practicing History: Selected Essays - if you haven't already read it.

She really was quite an influence on me when I first began studying history in college (Medieval and Late Antiquity as it turned out).


message 30: by P. (new)

P. | 16 comments This tickled in the back of my mind. It was the 'March of Folly' that started off with Troy.


message 31: by M. (new)

M. Chandler (teamchandler) | 2 comments I just finished The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. The book's theme is 'interesting stories about all the elements on the periodic table', and many of those stories are historical in nature, some of those absolutely fascinating.

Molybdenum, for example: during WW1, the Germans discovered that adding molybdenum to steel prevented their 'Big Bertha' guns from melting and deforming under the stress of repeated firing. The problem was that pretty much all the known molybdenum in the world at the time was a stockpile in a failing mine in Colorado--the rest of the story is a movie-worthy explosion of espionage, assassination, and gunslinging.

The book is kind of chunky on the science (and why wouldn't it be?) but I was able to follow it despite having little enough mind for science. The science is interesting, and sometimes fascinating; it's definitely the historical stories where the book shines, though, so I feel safe in mentioning it over here.


message 32: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I should be getting my copy soon. I can hardly wait to read it & then will pass it to my son who is a science teacher (although he doesn't teach the periodic table). I think it sounds fascinating & I'm not a science person either.


message 33: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I'm pretty disappointed. I checked to see if they shipped it & it's out of stock. :-(


message 34: by P. (new)

P. | 16 comments Martha,

I ordered it yesterday from Amazon and it was shipped today. $13.12. The site says it's still in stock.


message 35: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) Thanks, P. I really want that one.


message 36: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) Ordered ... along with another book and 3 DVDs. This is why I don't go to amazon often!! HA


message 37: by P. (new)

P. | 16 comments I know what you mean but I can't resist Amazon.


message 38: by Pete (new)

Pete daPixie Astronomy has dragged me into the periodic table. Many thousands of years after the Big Bang only simple atoms were able to form, i.e. Hydrogen the most common. Star formation began when this stuff clumped together. When these early stars died and exploded (Supernovae) they produced heavier stuff.
So all the elements in the periodic table that are heavier than lead come from exploding stars. The Joni Mitchell song is true...we are stardust.


message 39: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) The only non-fiction I'm reading now is The Autism Answer Book. I coach a 14 year old autistic boy in Special Olympics & don't know that much about autism ... yet! Am sure I will learn a lot from him!! This book was recommended to me by GR friend in another group.


message 40: by Maureen (new)

Maureen | 4 comments Pam wrote: "I'm reading Old Cookbooks, of all things. Have no idea how I got on this reading jag, but currently working my way through Amelia Simmons "American Cookery" -- circa 1796. The first cookbook that..."
Pam, I got a copy of "American Cookery" after reading "American Chestnut". It led to some fun research on food and some really weird meals.


message 41: by P. (new)

P. | 16 comments I am a bit astonished to see that the 'Amelia', as I call it, is being read today. I wrote a mystery where the 1823 copy of 'American Cookery' plays a pivotal role. It's out of print now, but I just got the rights back and when I have time I'm revising it, and am thinking of putting it up on Amazon. You ladies cheered my day!

P.

Is this the book you mean?
American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree by Freinkel?


message 42: by Vince (new)

Vince (vchile) | 22 comments Vince wrote: "I'm waiting for Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition from my library."

It's finally arrived - I'll pick it up Saturday.


message 43: by Maureen (new)

Maureen | 4 comments P wrote: "I am a bit astonished to see that the 'Amelia', as I call it, is being read today. I wrote a mystery where the 1823 copy of 'American Cookery' plays a pivotal role. It's out of print now, but I jus..."

P,
Yes, that's the one. I was astonished that most people don't know about the chestnut blight. Which made me search out chestnuts. There weren't any recipes in "Amelia" for them, but I enjoyed it. Let me know if your book gets done.

Maureen


message 44: by P. (new)

P. | 16 comments Maureen,

A little bit like Dutch Elm disease, although the elm is not nearly as majestic. Sad. I'm ordering the book. Thanks.

P.


message 45: by Vince (new)

Vince (vchile) | 22 comments Vince wrote: "Vince wrote: "I'm waiting for Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition from my library."

It's finally arrived - I'll pick it up Saturday."


Just started it, hope it was worth the wait.


message 46: by P. (new)

P. | 16 comments What I'm reading this fall: First up is 'Soldiers and Ghost's [Lindon], followed in no particular order by: 'The Tradition of the Trojan War in Homer and the Epic Cycle' [Burgess]; 'Honor, a history' [Bowman]; 'The Western Way of War' [Hanson]

P.


message 47: by Matt (new)

Matt | 6 comments I'm reading "Wealth of Nations". I read about 2/3 of it of it a few years ago, but did not read it very critically. I'm also trying to see how his examples may and may not be analogous to today.

For example: he talks about labor (labour) being the true measure of value of anything and that the value of "corn" being the only true way to compare labor costs in different locations, given the variability of wages and relative scarcity of labor between different locations.

One thing I am thinking about is whether Smith thought deliberately about profit or if he just assumes that profit is a natural component of cost.


message 48: by Maureen (new)

Maureen | 4 comments So, I finished Muhammad by Deepak Chopra. I was raised Christian and know nothing about Islam and this novel was a good place to start. It's written in first person by people who knew him throughout his life. Now I need a good book about Islam that doesn't have a political or religious slant. Any sugggestions?


message 49: by Terence (new)

Terence (spocksbro) | 35 comments Maureen wrote: "So, I finished Muhammad by Deepak Chopra. I was raised Christian and know nothing about Islam and this novel was a good place to start. It's written in first person by people who knew him through..."

I haven't read it since my undergraduate days but there's Fazlur Rahman's Islam and there're Karen Armstrong's Islam: A Short History and Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet (though, IMO, she tends to sugar coat the less pacifistic traditions of the faith).

For a glimpse at some scholarly controversy, there's What the Koran Really Says: Language, Text, and Commentary. Some of the articles are too technical for the general reader but others are accessible and fascinating.


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