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Theodore Felix View Drop Down
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  Quote Theodore Felix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Topics and Books: Ask and recommend!
    Posted: 01-Jun-2007 at 22:36
I opened this simply for the purpose of creating a centralized topic on book recommendations. This is not a "what are you reading" topic. Rather it is one for recommendations. Come here if you have developed a specific interest and dont know where to start. Those who have an interest if you could be so kind as to give the newbie some directions?

To start things off. Me!

I have developed an interest in the military history of the American Civil War. Looking around on Amazon and the varying reviews has got me confused. Those who do know about this particular topic: can you recommend me something?

Edited by Theodore Felix - 01-Jun-2007 at 23:03
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  Quote kilroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2007 at 00:22
Excellent topic Smile.  I too am interested in military history, and have come across many books that i feel are worthy of recommendation,

1.  Six Frigates by Ian W. Toll.  Probably one of the best books i've read in the past year.  This book is about the founding of America's navy.  The ships, the battles and the politics that almost crushed it.  You would be surprised by how many of the founding fathers wanted nothing to do with an American navy.  Fascinating read.

2.  To read along side of the book above, i also recommend Pirate Coast by Richard Zach's.  Zach's writes about William Eaton's famed assault on Tripoli during the early 1800's.  Reading these books side by side offers a different perspective.  Zach is quite critical of the navy during the entire Tripoli incident, while Toll has a less critical view.  Both great books. 

3.  Utility of War by (general) Rupert Smith.  Smith writes about the ever changing art of war on the modern battle field. 

4.  The Complete Roman Army by Adrian Goldsworthy.  I'm sure you've already know about this.  But i must include it anyways.  This is probably one of the finest volumes on the entire Roman army i've ever seen.  Goldsworthy is taking his place as one of the best military historians today (more specifically of ancient Rome). 

Well thats all i have for now. 

Now, can anyone recommend anything along the lines of Ancient Chinese history?  I'm woefully ignorant of that time and place in history and would like to know more Smile.
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  Quote akritas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Jun-2007 at 03:13
My propositions regarding the Greek history are
 
Ulrich Wilcken, History of Greece
Amazing book if you find it.Was speaker of the ancient Greek.

Nicholas Hammond, History of Macedonia & the Macedonian State
One of the worlds best wtiters in Macedonian history and of course his work regarding Macedonia quoted as source in many books.Was speaker of the ancient Greek.Valuable book

L.S. Stavrianos, Balkans since 1453
A monumental work of scholarship, The Balkans Since 1453 stands as one of the great accomplishments of European historiography. Long out of print, Stavrianos' opus both synthesizes the existing literature of Balkan studies since World War I and demonstrates the centrality of the Balkans to both European and world history, a centrality painfully apparent in recent years. At last, the cornerstone book for every student of Balkan history, culture and politics is now available once again. Valuable book


Mark Mazower, The Balkans
An accessible discussion of the causes and circumstances for the historic and prevailing ethnic unrest in southeast Europe. Because of the brevity of this work, the author necessarily makes assumptions and offers opinion with minimal substantiating evidence, but critical readers can find much here to take to the examination of other information sources, including daily newspapers.Is not good as Stavrianos work

Mark Mazower, Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44
Drawing on eyewitness accounts and previously untapped archives, Mazower's notable study offers a detailed chronicle of the German occupation of Greece and the rise of the resistance movement. He traces the rapid growth of the National Liberation Front/People's Liberation Army after communist activists created an organization that harnessed the anti-Axis sentiment of the populace at large, and describes the bloody reprisal campaigns launched by the Wehrmacht against the guerrillas in the mountains. Mazower also presents a documented account of the fate of Greek Jewry between 1941 and 1944, the first of its kind in English. He covers the bitter fighting between British and Greek forces after the October 12, 1944, liberation of Athens and the internecine clashes that led to civil war. Finally, he reveals new details of the systematic oppression of the Greek Left after the liberation. As late as the 1960s, Greece's prisons were crowded with men and women whose only crime was to have fought against the Germans.Excellent book

Chris Woodhouse, The Struggle for Greece, 1941-1949
Woodhouse prime position as commander of the Allied Military Mission to the Greek guerillas in German-occupied Greece enabled him to write the definitive history of the Greek civil war,an account of the turning point in Communist fortunes in Europe that has achieved the status of a classic. He analyzes the characters, ideologies, and events behind one of the longest and most bitter civil wars of modern times. Also excellent book


Edited by akritas - 02-Jun-2007 at 03:15
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Theodore Felix View Drop Down
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  Quote Theodore Felix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jun-2007 at 01:46
I would add:

The Early/Late Medieval Balkans by John V. A. Fine. The works is monumental and remains one of the most cited publications on the period; especially the Late Medieval, which is a 600 page publication on the years between 1200-1460.

Misha Glenny The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804-1999 . One of my favorite pieces on the development of nationalism, role of the Great Powers, modernization of the Balkans and how it all came together in the last 200 years to create the present status. At over 700 pages, the work is quite the read.

The Anatomy of Error: Ancient Military Disasters and Their Lessons for Modern Strategists is a collaborative work by Barry S. Strauss, Josiah Ober. It goes chronologically reviews many of the major campaigns of antiquity, from Xerxes' failed invasion of Greece to Julian's invasion of Persia. What went wrong, why it went wrong and what were the effects?

History of the Persian Empire by Olmstead. A monumental piece by the passed Chicago U professor. The work gives a large overview of the Persian Empires 200 year history, from the events to the culture, religion, life and science of each particular province. An amazing work, albeit, probably antiquated.

Alexander of Macedon: 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography by Peter Green, Second Ed.. Green is also the author of the exhaustive "History of the Hellenistic Age"(which I have to read) and a great authority on Alexander the Great. His second edition was done in the early 90's and was a major improvement of his older bio of Alexander. The work is over 500 pages and start with the rise of Philip to the death of Alexander. Amazing piece on the guy. In particular is Green's ability to give more of a more grim realistic and modern image of Alexander.

Edited by Theodore Felix - 03-Jun-2007 at 02:00
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  Quote kilroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2007 at 01:42
I've composed a list of books that i've found useful in understanding the history of the Roman Republic and include an extremely brief explanation as to why i think the book is good.  I'll try and keep the list short Confused.


The Etruscans by Graeme Barker and Tom Rasmussen.  Rome was heavily influenced by the Etruscan civilization, and i feel they are sorely overlooked.  Everything from Roman art, religion, architecture and everything in between was influenced by them.  This book is an excellent overview of their culture.

The Beginnings of Rome: Italy from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars by Tim Cornell is an excellent survey of early Roman civilization.  This part of Roman history is often overlooked since many find the drama of the Late Republic to be more entertaining. 

A Critical History of Early Rome by Gary Forsythe provides a more.. well.. critical view of the history of early Rome, and in some instances challenges Cornell's work and is cautious about what we actually know for sure about the early Romans. 

The Ancient Celts By Barry Cunliffe is an excellent look at one of the peoples that neighbored Rome for centuries.  I believe to understand Roman history, one most also appreciate its rivals.  This offers a comprehensive look at the Celtic peoples. 

The Punic Wars by Nigel Bagnall offers a comprehensive single volume study on the wars that made Rome an empire. 

Rubicon by Tom Holland offers one of the best overviews of the Late Roman Republic and it's downfall.  Holland's work is probably one of the best reads that i have ever had the pleasure of purchasing, but the author is heavily critical of two main figures in the story, Caesar and Cicero.  To balance this book off, i would recommend these two books:

Caear By Adrian Goldsworthy is an excellent biography on one of Rome's most popular, influential and controversial historical figures.

Cicero by Anthony Everett is another excellent and balanced biography on Rome's most accomplished orator and statesmen.  He is the source of much of our primary material from the era, and i believe it is imperative that any student of the Late Roman Republic should study him. 

The Assassination of Julius Caesar by Michael Parenti offers a perspective that is heavily critical of many of the leading scholars of not only today (examples, Mommsen, Syme, Miller, Gruen and Lintott) but also of the ancient authors, such as Cicero, Plutarch and Suetonius.   Best balanced with any of the books above.

If you already know the basics of Roman history (such as politics's, the people the wars and so fourth) i also have a list of more advanced reads that i think require some background information before reading. 

The Roman Revolution by Sir Roland Syme.  The Standard reading material for the late Roman Republic.  Syme believes that the fall of the Republic was inevitable and unavoidable and backs up his claim.  Thick, detailed and thought provoking. 

The Last Generation of the Roman Republic by Erich Gruen is an excellent balance to Syme's work.  Gruen believed that the Republic would have sustained itself, if it were not for Caesars interruption.  He backs up his claim with legislation, lists of office holders and a whole slew of other evidence. 

The Constitution of the Roman Republic by Andrew Lintott is the only single volume study of the unwritten Constitution of the Roman Republic.  Lintott goes into detail about the evolution, offices and laws of the Republic. 

The Crowd in Rome in the Late Republic by Fergus Miller is another standard in the study of the Late Republic.  Miller believes that the Republic was indeed a Republic, as opposed to an oligarch ruled by the aristocrats and provides and explanation of this thesis in detail. 

This is a 'short' list and i have purposely left out books on religion during the Republic since i have not read any yet.

Hope this list helps, i may add more later. 

-kilroy

PS. Keep posting the lists, and no one has responded to my Ancient Asian History request yet!!! 

A quick note, i always encourage the reading/use of the primary sources.  They all can be found easily and for cheap on amazon/bookstores etc. 









Edited by kilroy - 08-Jun-2007 at 02:07
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2007 at 02:42
Venture of Islam Vol. I, II, and III by the late great Marshall Hodgson.
 
A comprehensive neutral look at Islamic history from Muhammad up to post-WWII.
 
 
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2007 at 02:48

Warren Treadgold -A History of the Byzantine State and Society

Available in paper back short version, and a long comprehensive period study several hundred pages long. A great interesting read, and a great work on Byzantine history.
 
Steven Fanning - Mystics of the Christian Tradition
 
A great conscise work on Christian Mysticism. A great medieval history professor, also my advisor on my history major.
 
 
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Oct-2007 at 04:28
I found this topic using the forums search engine. I noticed there has not been a post in some time but I would like to resurrect this thread with a few questions.

I'm thinking about going back to college and obtaining a degree in History, but in the mean time, what are some good general world history books to read?

As far as my interest go. I'm really interested in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. There are so many books I don't even know where to start (note: I just bought "Flags of our Fathers").

I'm interested in a lot more, especially ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages era, but for now anything on the above topics will be a good start. =)

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  Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Oct-2007 at 17:14
I have developed something of an interest in Japanese culture. Can anyone recommend a place to start reading on Japanese history? perferrably a book that covers a large period and that aims at an ignorant audience like me, with litttle to no basic knowledge on the subject, and yet does a little more than scratch the surface. Smile

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  Quote kilroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Oct-2007 at 21:55
Originally posted by Aelfgifu

I have developed something of an interest in Japanese culture. Can anyone recommend a place to start reading on Japanese history? perferrably a book that covers a large period and that aims at an ignorant audience like me, with litttle to no basic knowledge on the subject, and yet does a little more than scratch the surface. Smile


I would be very interested in this as well!  I want to expand my knowledge of history into Asia.  Chinese history as well.
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