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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:
Emo_Slayer
Legionary
posted 29 April 2006 22:10 EDT (US)     26 / 212       
didnt see it mention but a good book is Rome and Her Enemies, forget the author but the illustrations turn me on and make my heartbeat speed up and my breathing slow
Legio Yow
Legionary
posted 06 May 2006 22:42 EDT (US)     27 / 212       
New Recommendation (Assuming Ace is still here. He is still here, right?)

It's called 'The Ancient City' by Peter Connolly, wh we should all know and love. It's actually a really good read, and I don't have to talk about the illustrations to anyone who has ever picked up one of his books.


"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry

[This message has been edited by Legio Yow (edited 05-08-2006 @ 09:34 PM).]

Rozanov
Legionary
posted 12 May 2006 06:30 EDT (US)     28 / 212       
one to look out for:

Terry Jones’ Barbarians by Terry Jones and Alan Ereira to be published by BBC Books on May 18 at £18.99.

and a new TV series too: Terry Jones’ Barbarians begins on BBC2 on Friday May 26

more details here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-2168328,00.html

Legio Yow
Legionary
posted 13 May 2006 18:15 EDT (US)     29 / 212       
Is this THE Terry Jones?

Woah.


"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
Rozanov
Legionary
posted 15 May 2006 07:36 EDT (US)     30 / 212       
yep the same Terry Jones
amateur_idiot v2
Legionary
posted 21 May 2006 04:28 EDT (US)     31 / 212       
4th Century BC - Alexander the Great - A. B. Bosworth - Alexander and the East: The Tragedy of Triumph
Very good read and extremely interesting. Deals with reconciling many facts with legend (or dissproving them). Rather anti-Alexandrian, so a good change for once.

_.,-=~+"^'`amateur_idiot ... lol`'^"+~=-,._
You cant beat an idiot, he'll just drag you down to his level and beat you with experience
You see, my fellow designers, the laser satellites were unnecess ary! Their minds are ours now, oh yessssss.... -CaptainFishpants
Russia has freedom of speech, its just the freedom after the speech you worry about- Anon
Eagles might soar through the sky, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines
I reject reality and subsitute my own
Rozanov
Legionary
posted 24 May 2006 08:17 EDT (US)     32 / 212       
have read the Terry Jones and Alan Ereira book.

good knock-about stuff. not an academic work but has useful bibliography for those wanting more info.

It's tied to a TV series that starts in UK friday 26th may. a 4 parter:

1) Celts
2) germanic peoples incl Goths and Dacians
3) hellenic and middle eastern peoples
4) vandals and goths

book has some great colour pix and the text is fine but due to space considerations can't really go into enough detail. nothing on sarmatians, roxolani, lombards; and allemani, burgundians get only a couple of mentions.

enjoyable chapter on the vandals and Huns.

Overall the book (and TV series i presume) make the point that the Romans idea of "civilisation" simply meant what they did, by modern standards they were as and sometimes more "barbaric" than the so-called barbarians.

overall it makes an excellent starting background text for RTW / BI players if they are unfamiliar with the times covered (approx 250 BCE - 450 CE) but if you want more detailed information you'll need to look elsewhere.

at £18.99 rrp it's a lot of pocket money for younger readers (and some of us older ones too!) so pop along to your nearest library and borrow a copy from there if you're interested.


Johndisp
Legionary
posted 23 June 2006 01:44 EDT (US)     33 / 212       
The Rise of Napoleon and the Reign of Napoleon, both by Robert Asprey. They give a wonderfully detailed acount of Napoleon as well as a reasonable explanation of his battles.

Life is full of challenges. You can either step up to them, or step out of the way. The ones who step up, are the ones who will someday rule the world.
McDucky101
Legionary
posted 28 June 2006 03:56 EDT (US)     34 / 212       
Right, I havent actually gone through the other posts with a fine tooth comb - so forgive me if Im repeating someone

Napoleonic:

"Waterloo - A Near Run Thing" by David Howarth
Excellent account of the famous battle - rather short but a captivating read. Really very good for anyone with any interest in the period

"Rifles - Six Years With Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters" by Mark Urban
Also a good read - covers part of the history of the regiment including equipment and uniform but does not cover Waterloo. Very good book - very accesable.

Ancient:

"Warfare in the Ancient World" by Richard Humble
Good book for a broad range of periods - from the warlords of the nile to Rome. Includes Geece, Mesopotamia and Assyria, Persia and the Roman republic (note: may be out of print)

"The Complete Roman Army" by Adrian Goldsworthy
Really an excellent book regarding the army of the republic all the way through the marius reform to the army of late Antiquity. Very detailled but also accesable. Highly recommended.

Rozanov
Legionary
posted 30 June 2006 07:18 EDT (US)     35 / 212       
A book club i belong to features the first 4 of these this month. shame i can't afford to buy them.

Anyway I've added the amazon links if anyone in UK wants them, also gives more details, reviews etc.

I'd be interested in hearing other peoples' opionions on them:

Some recent titles that may be of interest to forumites:

Rupert Matthews "The Battle of Thermopylae" Spellmoubnt Publishers 2006 RRP £20.00
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1862273251/

J.E. Lendon "Soldiers and Ghosts" Yale University Press 2005 RRP £18.95
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0300106637/

Tim Everson "Warfare in Ancient Greece" Sutton Publishing 2004 RRP £20.00
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0750933186/

Simon Anglim et al "Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World 3000BC - 500AD" Spellmount Publishers 2005 £20.00
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1862272980/

Matthew Bennett "Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World AD 500 to AD 1500" Spellmount Publishers 20054 RRP £20.00
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1862272999/

[This message has been edited by Rozanov (edited 06-30-2006 @ 07:22 AM).]

D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 02 July 2006 13:05 EDT (US)     36 / 212       
An excellent book on Waterloo is Waterloo: the Great Battle Reconsidered by Hamilton-Davies. The definitive English language account. Well written overview of the campaign and battle. Lays many old myths to rest.

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 02 July 2006 15:09 EDT (US)     37 / 212       
D Furius Venator, I seriously disagree (and, slightly pedantically, the book is called "The Great Battle Reappraised and the author is David Hamilton Williams). Whatever good descriptions the book may have - I actually own it myself - their value is entirely negated by the falsifying by the author of his notes. A real historian actually checked out some of the archival sources he had "used", and they did not in the least bit coincide (going on memory here, I believe he referenced books of his own he hadn't written yet and sources in archive boxes which simply don't exist). Apart from that, many broad statements which do challenge the standard appraisal of the battle go reference-less, and have therefore no back-up. Simply put, Hamilton Williams made up his references and can therefore not be relied upon.

Alessandro Barbero's description of Waterloo is very good. It was translated from the Italian and, as no patriotic feelings of any kind interfered, the narrative is more neutral than many out there; not really a scholarly work but entertaining to read. It also gives more attention to the German and Dutch troops and view-points than the majority of the British books.


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.
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 02 July 2006 15:23 EDT (US)     38 / 212       

Really? I'm very surprised.

You're right about the title (I'm moving so all my books are packed).

Hamilton-Williams was rather pro the Dutch/Belgian involvement so I'm rather taken aback that he's made stuff up. Can you recall exactly what?


Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 03 July 2006 15:21 EDT (US)     39 / 212       
It's a real pity that he did turn out to be a fraud - there are quite a few British historians who only bothered to study British sources; the Dutch-Belgian troops almost arbritrarily get overlooked and simple generalisations and legends end up retold time and again in history books, when they have long been disproven. I didn't actually read Hamilton-Williams' book, because I found out he was in error before I had time to read it, so I do not know which claims he makes regarding the Dutch-Belgians that may be untrue (I have studied the case in some detail, thanks to Dutch and Belgian studies, and therefore have a clue of what went on).

However, on one of Amazon.com's reviews of the book, there was an example of the kind of bad referencing Hamilton-Williams did:

Quote:

I live close to Hanover and have visited the archives on several occasions. Below are my conclusions:
The research done for this book is far from meticulous or painstaking. On the contrary, it is most questionable. For instance, not one of the author's references to the Hanover Archives actually checks out.

The relevant files in the Hanover Archives are:

Hann. 38D - Records of the King's German Legion 1803-1816

Hann. 41 - Files of the General Command, etc.

Hann. 48a I - Army Lists and Journals of the Hanoverian Forces, etc.

On page 372, footnote 25 of this book, the author makes reference to the 'Dornberg MS', saying it is in Hann. 41 XXI 150-6. That is not quite correct. It is in Hann. 41 XXI 152 (6). This mistake could be excused as a typing error. However, the author claims that this file contains 'Major-General Dornberg's own account of the transmission of Grant's information.' It does not.

On page 375, footnote 54, we are told that this 'Dornberg MS' is the same one referred to by the German historian Pflugk-Harttung in his "Vorgeschichte". It is not. Hamilton-Williams is confusing two different MSS. There is one in the Hanover Archives and there was once another in the Berlin Archives that went missing in 1945. Its file ref. was VI. E 58. Pflugk-Harttung printed it in his book, so it would be an easy matter to compare one with the other, if, indeed, the author had ever been to Hanover and referred to the original document.

On page 379, footnote 36, we are told that the 'Notizen MS', 'General Commando MS' and 'Kielmansegge MS' can be found in Hann 38D. They are not in that file and do not appear to exist anywhere in the Hanover Archive. However, these MSS are cited in Beamish's "History of the King's German Legion".

On page 387, footnote 17, we are referred to the 'Baring MS' and are told this can be found in Hann. 41 XXI, Nr. 99-137. It is not there. Baring's report on the Battle of Waterloo can be found in Hann. 41, XXI 152 (8). Again, this is not a mere typing error. The quote the author uses does not come from the report held in Hanover, but from a published article based on a different document, namely Baring's journal. This can be found on page 106 of Pflugk-Harttung's book "Belle Alliance".

On page 393, footnote 7, the author claims there is more from Baring in Hann. 38D, Nrs. 230-43. There is not. The files contain a history of the artillery of the KGL, a history of the expedition to Spain in 1808, a history of the KGL's documents, correspondence and orders, but nothing from Baring.

On page 393, footnotes 2 and 4, we are referred to the Wynecken and Heise MSS in Hanover. There are no such MSS deposited there. However, Beamish cites these MSS in his book.

On page 394, footnote 10, we are referred to a 'Report of the 5th Battalion' in Hann. 48A Nrs. 100-30. This is an incorrect reference. 48A does not exist.

One is left with the impression that this author has never been to the Hanover Archives and has never referred to the original documents, but has merely lifted quotes from printed sources and then attached a likely sounding archive file no. to them.

This gives you an idea of what kind of mis-referencing Hamilton-Williams has done - basically, while there may be truth to his stories, unless someone actually checks all the footnotes, there's no way to be certain what is true and what isn't. I know that the author was entirely discredited in the Napoleonic magazine "First Empire" in issues 23, 25 and 26.


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.
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 03 July 2006 15:54 EDT (US)     40 / 212       

What a pity, it's an excellent read (as is his 'Final Betrayal').

He cites a huge number of academics and institutions in his acknowledgements, from all over Europe.

I'd be intrigued to discover if any of his main points were erroneous or whether he's merely done slipshod research or recording of research. Poor show though....


Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Mechstra
Banned
posted 04 July 2006 04:40 EDT (US)     41 / 212       

Quote:

"Rifles - Six Years With Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters" by Mark Urban
Also a good read - covers part of the history of the regiment including equipment and uniform but does not cover Waterloo. Very good book - very accesable.


I heartily agree there. Rifles is an excellent book, focusing mainly on the Peninsular campaign and going into some detail on that. Reliable, too.

I got another of Urban's books recently - Generals. Haven't read it yet.

Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 04 July 2006 08:31 EDT (US)     42 / 212       

Quote:

I'd be intrigued to discover if any of his main points were erroneous or whether he's merely done slipshod research or recording of research.


Principal erronous point was his entire theory on Siborne; Siborne was actually discredited by Wellington himself for being too pro-Prussian! (This was because of a huge miniature made of the battle by Siborne, where the Prussians were depicted as arriving on the field; Wellington would have preferred this to not have been shown.)

I saw the long list of academics who helped Hamilton-Williams, too, and I noticed that N Vels Heijn was among them. He has written a very good book on the Dutch-Belgian perspective of the conflict, debunking some of the myths (anti- as well as pro-Dutch), so it's quite likely that Hamilton-Williams got that part quite right. I'd actually have to check that, though.


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.
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 04 July 2006 09:15 EDT (US)     43 / 212       

I thought the problem with Siborne was his over-reliance (due to shortage of funds) on accounts of British (as opposed to Allied) officers, hence ignorance of huge areas of the battle where KGL, Brunswickers, Hanoverians, Dutch-Belgians etc were prevelant.

Hamilton-Williams' main point really seems to be that the contribution of te Allied troops (especially the Dutch-Belgians) has been unfairly ignored/maligned by most British historians of the battle. I could find little wrong with his account of the battle itself, which is very readable. His other book (that he referenced) is a co-work that was published after the Waterloo account. It deals with the entire hundred days and I suspect his original idea was to have just the one volume rather than the two book structure his publishers seem to have pressed upon him. That may account for some of the bizarre references (though not for making references up!).


Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 04 July 2006 09:48 EDT (US)     44 / 212       
His idea was actually to publish three different books on the matter, as a trilogy, but the last was never published because the publisher withdrew when the bad news broke. I agree though that foreign perspectives have generally been ignored by British historians regarding the battle. I much preferred Blücher's idea, too, to call the battle Belle Alliance, of the spot where the Allies met.
(Until the early twentieth century, the battle was called Belle Alliance in Germany, Mont St Jean in France and Waterloo in the UK, obviously; in the Netherlands and Belgium it was called both Mont St Jean and Waterloo, Belgium preferring the former and the Netherlands the latter.)

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.
Mechstra
Banned
posted 04 July 2006 10:14 EDT (US)     45 / 212       
Both Wellington and Blucher were to call it La Belle Alliance, I believe, but as Wellington stamped his despatch of the battle as coming from Waterloo (the village where he wrote the despatch) the name stuck.
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 05 July 2006 13:15 EDT (US)     46 / 212       
I've just finished Barbero's book, which is rather good. It'd be time consuming to compare his account and that of Hamilton-Williams point by point but it is certain that Hamilton-Williams gives just as much prominence and importance to the actions of the Allied troops as Barbero. The only obvious poiunt of difference was Barbero's description of the Middle Guard as being rather less than elite at Waterloo (though there might be others).

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 05 July 2006 14:38 EDT (US)     47 / 212       
I had an hour to spare this morning so I read Hamilton-Williams' description of Quatre-Bras and compared it with other sources (really only with N Vels Heijn and Luc de Vos, both Dutch sources), and it conforms to the standard view in pretty much all details. However, I did notice a pretty significant error on the part of Hamilton-Williams: namely, the downplaying of the importance of the mis-directing of d'Erlon by both Ney and Napoleon.
IMO it should be stressed that Napoleon's calling away of d'Erlon's corps (20 000 men) and Ney's subsequent recalling of the corps as it was converging on Ligny, prevented a victory at both Quatre-Bras and Ligny. Hamilton-Davies actually went so far as saying that Ney could look back on a successful day and handled everything well, but I think it is the principal error of the day. Ney recalling these troops when it was past 15:00 meant that the troops could never arrive before dusk, and when they did arrive at Quatre-Bras the battle was over. Obviously part of the error here lies with d'Erlon himself, for following the commands so meekly, but Napoleon should not have taken away the troops from Ney without informing him and Ney should not have recalled them.
I think overall H-W gives Napoleon too much credit.

Also, I had a laugh when reading the notes: Hamilton-Williams says virtually none of the British officers spoke "Dutch, Flemish or Walloon". I would be surprised if they did, because Walloon is not a language (at best a collection of dialects) and Flemish was not viewed as such at the time. It's a bit like saying not many Frenchmen knew Yorkshirian.

And I'm sort of bemused why Hamilton-Williams is so boastful about his supposed rewriting of history; what I've read is pretty much accepted fact.


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.
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 05 July 2006 14:49 EDT (US)     48 / 212       

I think his point was really that previous British historians had rather shabbily treated the contribution of the Allied contingents (he wrote in 1993).

Barbero makes one or two rather trifling errors. For instance on p18 he misunderstands the term 'young soldier' which refers to time spent on campaign, not actual age. Hence Uxbridge can easily be a 'young soldier' at 47! On p19, he describes Hardinge as losing an arm. In fact he lost a hand. Minor points but its worth noting that he's not perfect.


Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 09 July 2006 15:41 EDT (US)     49 / 212       
His point, according to the book cover, is that part of the battle/campaign has been mis-described and that he personally unearthed this great secret and put it right. The cover is really very boastful of his achievements, when all he does is retell what we already know. His disection of strategy and tactics has definitely a Bonapartist slant to it, though, with all the actions of the Emperor being judged lightly well Wellington constantly gets the short end of the stick. His dealing with d'Erlon's marching is just one of many of dubious judgments.

I agree though that Barbero is inclined to a more traditional view. However, it serves better as an introduction; David Hamilton-Williams requires the reader to already know what happened before he can judge how accurate the author is - which means he could basically ignore the book altogether.

Osprey Publishing has released three books concerning the subject, too, which are enlightening and far more accurate. "Wellington's Dutch Allies" and "Wellington's Belgian Allies" give a good description of the actions of these troops (the first giving a description of Quatre-Bras and the second of Waterloo) and debunking some of the myths. Their "Dutch-Belgian Troops of the Napoleonic Wars" is older and contains errors, but its description of Waterloo is still useful (it was written by a German and contains some amateurish errors, most notably that the Dutch referred to King Louis as "Ludwig", which is his German name, not Dutch).
Best book on the subject of the Dutch-Belgians is still N Vels Heijn's "Glorie zonder Helden", but it has not been translated and so you'd have to learn Dutch to understand it. It's excellent, though.


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.
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 09 July 2006 17:06 EDT (US)     50 / 212       
Again, in his defence (but I don't for a moment condone his making up of evidence), authors do not write cover blurbs, publishers do. I don't think that in 1993 there was a book in English that gave due credit to the part played by the allied troops. HW certainly did that.

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
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