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Ace Cataphract
HG Alumnus
(id: Ace_Cataphract)
posted 26 February 2006 23:12 EDT (US)         
This thread is essentially a place where you can talk about historical books you are presently reading or ask for book recommendations. You can recommend ANY (good) history book.

I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. ~George Carlin

[This message has been edited by Kor (edited 07-26-2008 @ 10:23 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
Cordyceps
Naphal
(id: ArchDruid)
posted 19 March 2009 07:29 EDT (US)     176 / 212       
As a result of one of my classes I'm now reading Hammond's "The Macedonian State" which I have to say is one of the most enjoyable works I've ever read. It's organized logically and goes into great depth on essentially every detail. Absolutely invaluable to anybody who's interested in Macedonia, at all.

Just as some bodies, from the moment of birth, are endowed with beauty, while on others nature from their very beginning bestows blemishes and wrinkles, so with souls too, some are distinguished at once with extreme grace and attractiveness, while others leave a trail of sombre and deep gloom. ~Michael Psellus, Chronographia
Selifator
Legionary
posted 19 March 2009 14:17 EDT (US)     177 / 212       
Another series I can heartily advice, Troy, by David Gemmel. A fictional tale of the events leading on to the siege of Troy, the siege itself and I think some of the aftermath.
It's really good to read about the different characters, heroes and kings, who are really brought to life in these books.

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

Chauvinism is not a particularly nice trait at the best of times but can be suicidal when the person your talking too can have you executed on a whim.

Facebook, anyone?
MisplacedPope
Legionary
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 19 April 2009 15:11 EDT (US)     178 / 212       
I did read Purgatory, as thoroughly enjoyable and amazing as Inferno, it proved to be. Quite moving for myself, to be honest.

I'm now perusing Robert Graves "The Greek Myths" and perhaps getting sucked back into rereading Gregory of Tours History of the Franks.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 15 May 2009 03:18 EDT (US)     179 / 212       
Now reading Jonathan Sumption's Divided Houses; The Hundred Years War volume III. Just released in March, I've been waiting for this for a considerable time, ever since I finished the second volume of this all-encompassing history of the wars in about 2004. That volume was released in 1999, so it took the author about a decade to finish this one, but it's excellent. Starting off where the previous volume left off, at the outbreak of hostilities in 1369/1370, the book takes us through much of Western Europe: the British Isles, France, Flanders, Brittany, Scotland, Portugal, Castile, Navarre, Guelders, the Papal States and even the kingdom of Sicily, for a little while, yet this doesn't seem to be a problem to the author. To the backdrop of overtaxation, peasant revolts and devastation by war, the reasons for the utter English failure in this period become quite clear: the defeats of the last decade of Edward III and the entire reign of Richard II were not the exception to the general balance of power between England and France; rather, they were the rule. Edward III's early reign had been surprisingly successful, but had thereby in itself become an enemy of the preceeding years. Parliament was expecting similar achievements, but when they stayed out, they lost faith in the government and further undermined the already flagging tax system. France faced similar taxation issues after Charles V's death but, by violently suppressing the revolt in Flanders, managed to do away with parliamentary control over most of these taxes, giving them a major advantage.

The account of the war is enlivened by many anecdotes and incredibly readable. Furthermore, dealing with a much neglected phase of the war (it ends in 1399), it is a very welcome book. It does have 1000 pages so I can only suggest buying it if you're interested/have some time on your hands.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.

[This message has been edited by Kor (edited 05-15-2009 @ 03:18 AM).]

MisplacedPope
Legionary
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 17 May 2009 22:35 EDT (US)     180 / 212       
A Distant Mirror (The Calamitous 14th Century) by Barbara Tuchman. Excellent book on the period, follows the life of Enguerrand VII of Coucy. Just as good, if not better than The Guns of August.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Selifator
Legionary
posted 28 July 2009 13:15 EDT (US)     181 / 212       
Some new books have come my way:
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon and Musashi, by Eiji Yoshikawa. The first is, obviously, about the end-times for the Roman Empire and has a whopping 1300 pages. It's a very old book and thus I recommend it only if you're interested and have an abundance of free time.
Musashi is about the famous Miyamoto Musashi, his live and what happens to him during his travels. Though there are a lot of books about Musashi this one is very well written, and interesting for anyone interested in knowing more about Musashi.

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

Chauvinism is not a particularly nice trait at the best of times but can be suicidal when the person your talking too can have you executed on a whim.

Facebook, anyone?
rhoops
Legionary
posted 05 October 2009 12:34 EDT (US)     182 / 212       
Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Aristophanes, Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Livy, Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Hesiod&Sallust, Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Tacitus...oh and Virgil for comic relief...
And some Grote, Oman, and Current Archaeology. But no more, never again Terry Jones and the contemporary tribe of journalist 'controversial', or the media-ising Phd'd and over referenced current mob of lightweight academic historians.

Pax Romana.. Pax Britannia.. Pax Americana..INTERREGNUM RHOOPSIUM
Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 05 October 2009 13:08 EDT (US)     183 / 212       
I would like to ask for a little advice.

I am currently immersed in a book called The Druids, by Stuart Piggott. It is second-hand, bought for me by an uncle. It was furst published in 1968. I am reading the 1975 edition.

My question is, does anyone else know this book? And, do you think it's too outdated to be of real independent use any more?

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

/\
/|||| ||||\

(dis ma house)
Revon
Legionary
posted 04 December 2009 09:42 EDT (US)     184 / 212       
Hey everyone, been reading these forums for about a month, finally joined because I wanted to post. One question is burning in my mouth, and that is what novel are you planning Kor?

My main question is what books can people recommend for the political history and military history of the renaissance period, alternatively the "pike and shot" period, or the period 1400-1700, maybe even to the mid-nineteenth century at a stretch. P.S. I'm not suggesting these are all one and the same. I have some free time at the moment and I thought I'd do some research into a book I've been thinking of writing.

I have made a note of the suggestions in MisplacedPope's post concerning the military side of this period, specifically 'Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe' by Hall, 'The Art of Renaissance Warfare' by Turnbull and 'Warfare in the Seventeenth Century' by Childs.
Pitt
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 07 December 2009 02:22 EDT (US)     185 / 212       
In the same Cassell History of Warfare series as Childs' book is Thomas Arnold, The Renaissance at War (2001), which covers the changes to warfare that accompanied the increased use of gunpowder. Arnold covers about 1450 - 1600.

You should also read Machiavelli's The Prince, if only for the entertainment value and some appreciation of the chaos in Italy at the time.

If you want specifically pike-and-shot, the major wars of the period were the English Civil War(s) (1642-1646; 1648-1649) the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), and the Dutch Revolt/Eighty Years War (1568-1648). There are quite a few books on these wars, to say the least.

The most recent book I'm aware of is Peter Wilson, Europe's Tragedy. A History of the Thirty Year's War (London: Allen Lane, 2009). Though I haven't yet had time to do more than skim-read it, it devotes a good deal of space to the political events leading up to the the war.

Many textbooks on political theory also start with the 1648 Peace of Westphalia that ended the TYW.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
Revon
Legionary
posted 07 December 2009 12:10 EDT (US)     186 / 212       
Many thanks Pitt, I will be sure to add your suggestions to my reading list.

I have a copy of The Prince sitting on my bookshelf, but I haven't read it since the first time, which was directly after I bought it, about four or five years ago! I will reread it as I seem to remember it takes at most a couple of days dipping in and out of it as it's so small.

I ordered Wilson on the Thirty Years War from Amazon about a day before you commented funnily enough! It seems to be making something of a stir, and whilst it's a bit daunting at around 1000 pages, he seems to be the man to read on that topic at the moment.

Thanks again, and whilst I am set up for a nice month of reading now, I would welcome any further suggestions.
mrcash
Legionary
posted 08 December 2009 19:51 EDT (US)     187 / 212       
You might want to try "Napoleon and Wellington: The Battle of Waterloo--and the Great Commanders Who Fought It" by Andrew Roberts. Be warned though, it is a revisionist book (it is even mentioned so on the front cover) and some of his arguments are not entirely agreeable. He gives lots of first person accounts and letters though, many of which are quite astonishing and sometimes even humorous.

-Hell hath no fury like an Urban Cohort.
-Ah! The clans! They are numerous but not good for much!

The Rise of Nations Heaven forums need you! Join up and get the forum active again (if you have RON of course).
Gnarlyhotep
Legionary
posted 28 January 2010 14:40 EDT (US)     188 / 212       
The most recent book I'm aware of is Peter Wilson, Europe's Tragedy. A History of the Thirty Year's War (London: Allen Lane, 2009). Though I haven't yet had time to do more than skim-read it, it devotes a good deal of space to the political events leading up to the the war.
I'm currently reading this and although I'm only through the portion of the book giving the background situation, I do highly recommend it. Quite a detailed account giving, so far, an encompassing view of the issues at play. He certainly doesn't go for the simplifying view of the Thirty Year's War as a purely political or religious issue, but goes to great lengths to show the intertwined nature of both issues, as well as showcasing the importance of the Ottoman War as a backdrop for the genesis of the turmoil.

Can anyone recommend a good biography of Gustavus Adolphus, that isn't a general history or history of the Thirty Year's War?

[This message has been edited by Gnarlyhotep (edited 01-28-2010 @ 02:41 PM).]

Revon
Legionary
posted 08 March 2010 01:07 EDT (US)     189 / 212       
A couple of books by M Roberts come to mind. Firstly his 2-volume Gustavus Adolphus: A History of Sweden 1611-1632, and secondly his later work Gustavus Adolphus (Profiles in Power). You know them?
Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 26 March 2010 22:50 EDT (US)     190 / 212       
Recently finished The Fall of Carthage by A.G. I have started In the Name of Rome.



Soon all my new reading material will be gone

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 27 March 2010 07:42 EDT (US)     191 / 212       
Recently finished, not for uni purposes but for my own benefit, Watts, The Making of Polities. Europe 1300-1500; Sumption, Divided Houses. The Hundred Years War volume iii; Odoric of Pordenone, My journey to the Far East (transl. Vincent Hunink); various, The Gilgamesh Epic (transl. Theo de Feyter); Richard Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
Thrashmad
Legionary
posted 28 March 2010 14:26 EDT (US)     192 / 212       
I am reading Svensk Historia (Swedish History) 600-1350 by Dick Harrison. This is the second part of a new series covering the history of Sweden. I haven't read the first part, I got this as a present. It is good so far, it tells what basis the historical theories have (different texts, archaeological findings etc.), explain some misconceptions and give a good look on how society worked at the time. The only real downside is that there are no timeline, which would be useful at is gets a bit confusing sometimes to remember when something happened in relation to something else

"The satisfaction in this game lies in to see 300 heavy armoured horsemen ride chock in an easy snowfall, while fire arrows criss-crosses the evening sky" - Swedish historian and permanent secretary of The Swedish Academy Peter Englund on Medieval 2: Total War (translated by Thrashmad)

"A game that contains both Carl Linnaeus and five different types of artillery projectiles are indisputable exceedingly detailed." - Peter Englund on Empire: Total War (translated by Thrashmad)
Revon
Legionary
posted 09 June 2010 07:34 EDT (US)     193 / 212       
Can anyone recommend a good biography of Gustavus Adolphus, that isn't a general history or history of the Thirty Year's War?
I have also just got M Roberts, Essays in Swedish History. It has a couple of chapters specifically dealing with Gustavus Adolphus, and Roberts was an extremely highly regarded historian and his writing is very lucid. Worth a look I guess.
Pitt
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 16 February 2011 21:16 EDT (US)     194 / 212       
Jon Latimer, 1812. War With America. Harvard University Press, 2009.


An excellent book, giving the background to the war in some detail and exposing as hollow many of the popular justifications for the war. Issues such as impressment of US citizens (far fewer than generally believed) and neutral rights are covered well.

One of the many curious things about the war is that the states supposedly most affected by the British 'injustices' were the states most strongly opposed to the war, and those that had been completely unaffected were the most pro-war.

The war caused regional divisions in the US that were not surpassed until the American Civil War. Only two out of nine northern states voted for President Madison's re-election in 1812. Congress's vote for war was the narrowest in US history: it took weeks of political wrangling to get a positive vote, of 79 to 49 in the House of Representatives. It took a further fortnight to get the Senate to vote for war, by 19 to 13. Every state north of Pennsylvania opposed the declaration of war.

Particularly useful in that, as its title suggests, it looks into the British perspective on the war and its causes, something which is often overlooked in other treatments of the war. It also quotes from American leaders at the time, revealing that they believed it an opportune time to invade Canada while Britain was stretched to the limit fighting Napoleon.

The story of the war is told in narrative fashion, covering the skirmishes and battles on the frontier and the Great Lakes, as well as the war at sea. British raids on the Atlantic coast are also covered, including the burning of the White House in revenge for the destruction of York by American troops.

It also considers the effect of the war on the American national consciousness (such as the rampant anglophobia that remained a strong feature of American discourse until after WW2) and its impact on domestic politics. Many states utterly refused to cooperate with the federal government, and winked at illegal trade with the British in Canada. Indeed, the British forces were largely fed on American beef and grain.

The federal government itself authorised exceptions; to curry favour with the south and midwest and gain export revenue, the President allowed US grain to be shipped to Portugal to feed Wellington's army.

It's about 400 pages, with another 200 or so pages of endnotes and bibliography. It's very accessibly written.


Highly recommended.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
GeneralKickAss
Legionary
posted 03 May 2011 01:58 EDT (US)     195 / 212       
First, apologies if this isn't the right place.

I was really keen on getting beyond In the Name of Rome, so now I'm thinking about ordering A.G.'s The Punic Wars or The Complete Roman Army on Amazon, since the libraries here don't seem to have them. Question is, which one? Any of you knowledgeable ones here read them?

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
Pitt
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 03 May 2011 06:09 EDT (US)     196 / 212       
The Punic Wars is well worth acquiring. As well as a history of the battles, sieges and the like, there's also a reasonable amount covering how the Roman army of the time was organised.

Of course, the scope is limited (even though covering much of the third century BC).

I don't have a copy of The Complete Roman Army and can't remember reading it, but it's been quite favourably reviewed. I understand it has a number of colour illustrations, which The Punic Wars does not.

Looking on Amazon, there's a paperback edition of TCRA coming out in September (the 5th for Amazon.co.uk, and 30th for Amazon.com). So if you don't want it desperately soon, you could pre-order it and just sate your hunger in the interim with The Punic Wars.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins

[This message has been edited by Pitt (edited 05-03-2011 @ 06:17 AM).]

Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 03 May 2011 19:02 EDT (US)     197 / 212       
I have AG's Punic Wars. Quite good. Gives a very good overview of the wars. I find it a good tool for when Polybius cannot be had, and it's also much easier to find things in AG's book than Polybius for specific information.


I whole heartily recommend The Punic Wars

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Rinster
Legionary
posted 03 May 2011 19:03 EDT (US)     198 / 212       
There is also another one that is a complete overview of the roman army, by Stephen Dando-Collins, called Legions of Rome

I really have nothing to say at this point.
Other than this.
Total War Games Played:
RTW
---|---|---|---
Je parle un peu de français
GeneralKickAss
Legionary
posted 04 May 2011 07:42 EDT (US)     199 / 212       
Alright, Punic should be on the way.

Rinster, that book sounds like a good read too, but I'm still sticking with AG.

Thanks for the answers everyone.

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
Bulba Khan
Legionary
(id: stormer)
posted 19 November 2011 04:03 EDT (US)     200 / 212       
Does anyone know a series of historical fiction novels a bit like The Masters of Rome series?

I feel the same way I did after playing Stronghold 2 for about 15 minutes, like it was my birthday and all my friends had wheeled a giant birthday cake into the room, and I was filled with hopes dreams and desires when suddenly out of the cake pops out not a beautiful buxom maid, but a cranky old hobo that just shanks me then takes $60 dollars out of my pocket and walks away saying "deal, with it".
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