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Bookclub Wednesday!

Hello everyone,

Welcome to our weekly e-book advice thread!

We now have discovered that lots of people come to this sub to ask for books about historical past or sources on sure subjects. Others make posts a couple of e-book they themselves have learn and need to share their ideas about it with the remainder of the sub.

We thought it might be a good suggestion to attempt to bundle these posts collectively a bit. One huge weekly publish the place everyone can ask for books or (re)sources on any historic topic or timeperiod, or to share books they lately found or learn. Giving opinions or asking about their factuality is inspired!

After all it’s not restricted to *simply* books; podcasts, movies, and so forth. are additionally welcome. As a reminder, [r/history]( past/) additionally has a beneficial listing of issues to [read, listen to or watch]([]( past/wiki/recommendedlist))

Comments ( 16 )

  1. I just started *Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Early Japan* by Karl F. Friday. It traces the evolution of state military institutions from the seventh to the twelfth centuries and examines the origins and early development of warriors in Japan. So far it’s pretty good but I haven’t read enough to give a full opinion yet.

    In a similar vein I would love some more sources on Samurai and their role throughout Japan’s history in conflict and peacetime. Ideally not a romanticized dude-bro examination of Samurai culture please and thank you!

  2. Happy Wednesday everyone!

    Finally got through Peter H. Wilson’s [Europe’s Tragedy: A New History Of The Thirty Years War
    ]( It’s by far the most complete and comprehensive account of the conflict that i’ve found, and for it’s length it’s very well written.

    The book also does a great job at untangling the complex web of politics and causes, as well as aggressive players, behind one of Europe’s most horrific wars.

    If you’re looking for a book that captures the war in it’s entirety over 900 pages, and thoroughly, you’ll love it. If, however, you aren’t a fan of detailed accounts, it may come off as dry to you. Overall, I really enjoyed it!

  3. I recently read “Facing the Mountain” by Daniel James Brown about what the U.S. government put Japanese-American citizens through during World War 2.Now I am looking for book looking for a book to say if there was any reason for that action.
    I know of German organizations like the German Bund and books like “Hitler in Los Angles ” by Steven Ross that detail German subversion in the U.S. for Nazi germany.But are there any books detailing Japanese subversion in America, was there any , or did we just Prejudge because of Pearl Harbor

  4. Read **The Global Age: Europe 1950-2017, by Ian Kershaw**

    4.5 rounding down for Goodreads.

    Not much to say about it. Very good political and economic history of Europe after WWII. There is more focus on the early part of this time period with it taking about half the book to getting to the 1970s oil and economic problems. Small edit – For comparison if you’re interested in an overview post-WWII Europe I’d reccomend this above Postwar by Tony Judt, mainly as it is quite a bit shorter and more readable (not going into VERY heavy detail) plus it covers up to a more recent date (2017 vs mid-2000s when Judt wrote his book)

    Now reading an older book that I bought a new more recent version of: **The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia by Peter Hopkirk**. About the 19th century British vs Russian competition over central Asia (Russia wanted to expand and deal with the slavers on its borders, Britain was worried about Russian expansion towards India). So far it is fine as a book about the adventures and exploration of the various British and Russian agents but I wouldn’t recommend it as an academic work on the time period. I’m not liking it as much as his other works “Setting the East Ablaze: On Secret Service in Bolshevik Asia” and “On Secret Service East of Constantinople: The Plot to Bring Down the British Empire” but they were based on the early 20th century/WWI/Russian Revolution which I find a lot more interesting than the 19th century.

  5. I’m looking for books on 19th century naval history. I’ve heard that Dreadnought by Massie is pretty good for the end of the century but haven’t been able to find books detailing the switch from wooden ships to ironclads. Does anyone know soem good books on this period?

  6. I read A Fistful of Shells by Toby Green, this was my first read on African history, and I found it too focused on geopolitics (ie exploring roots of the slave trade and the international wars etc.) which was interesting but somewhat one-sided. Could anyone recommend other books on African history please, with more of a focus on everyday life, myths maybe etc. Thank you!

  7. I recently read *Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair* by John Bossy. I’d picked it up as I’d been browsing for interesting previous Wolfson Prize winners, and this won in 1992. Not only that, but it also won a Crime Writer’s Award for Non-Fiction, so it came with pedigree.

    Since it’s a narrative history with some degree of mystery and uncovering of facts in a detective-like fashion, to go too far into the details would spoil things. But there is a reveal, in the traditional murder-mystery fashion.

    The backdrop is Elizabethan London, in the 1580s, just before the demise of Mary Queen of Scots. It centres around activities and characters based at the French Embassy in London. There’s lots of subterfuge, spying, plotting, and political intrigue.

    Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I didn’t get on with the book at all. Whilst billing itself as a narrative history, it gets bogged down in details of establishing fact – e.g. when a particular book was written. It may add to the veracity of the big reveal, but it makes the book a very turgid read. There’s no flow. The cast of characters becomes confusing. There are longs passages of literary analysis, which doesn’t really go anywhere. By the end, I was almost skimming, as I found myself not really vested in the story.

    Giordano Bruno is an absolutely fascinating historical figure, and features prominently in this story. So learning more about him than I already knew (my knowledge was limited to his execution for heresy in 1600) was a small benefit. But overall, the book was hard to digest, and ultimately unrewarding.

  8. Just finished Robert Moses: Fall of New York by Robert Caro. It’s 1200 pages, but if you’ve got the time and an interest in NYC mid last century it’s worth the read. Built an empire that he wound up toppling himself

  9. Hi all,

    St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford, is sadly closing. However, we have a number of withdrawn History (and Philosophy, Classics and Theology) books (all in good condition) on sale much cheaper than the equivalent on Amazon or Abebooks.
    Take a look!

    Currently only shipping to the UK, but get in touch if you are overseas and we can see what we can do!

  10. I’m looking for a podcast or audiobook series about the Ancient Near East (ideally starting as early as the Ubaid period) that is arranged *chronologically* rather than *thematically*. So rather than following a particular culture and then jumping back in time whenever the focus shifts to another semi-overlapping culture, it would introduce contemporary developments as soon as they occured or became noteworthy, and hence be much more chronologically linear while jumping around geographically.

    While I understand the appeal of the thematic approach, I personally find it completely useless when not accompanied by lots of cartographic material which audio resources intrinsically lack. It also seems to lend itself to a style of writing where large periods of time are either filled with difficult to retain events of minor import or skipped altogether.

    So basically, I’m looking for an in-depth timeline of the Ancient Near East (or just all of history) in audio format. Does anything like that exist?

  11. Hi all,

    Been a while since I’ve checked in on these Bookclub Wednesdays, but I’ve found a number of great recommendations in the past. I’m looking for a book about colonial British America leading up to 1776 and the War of Independence that offers a good overview of the colonies and explores the differences between colonies or unique characteristics of each or by region. I recently read John Charles Chasteen’s “Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America” which discussed such differences between regions of colonial Spanish America and I thought how I want a similar overview of U.S. history.

    One google search on this top revealed “American Colonies” by historian Alan Taylor. Anyone read? Does it seem like the right fit for what I’m looking for? Thank you!

  12. What are some good books about the military history of ancient Rome? Any time period.

  13. Looking to get into history reading. I’ve always enjoyed history and learning and want to know where to start. This is admittedly a huge wide open question so to narrow it down or not here is sort of what I’m looking for. Readability and reasonable length. I want to the book to not be to dense or tedious to read. I don’t much care about the topic and as far what sort of history it is I don’t much care. It could be about US, Europe, Germany about a war about science, about a little town where some crazy shit went down. Just want something entertaining to dip my toes into the water.

  14. Hi all,

    Im looking for recommendation for books about post war Germany. Books that tell stories from the 50s to the 90s. Would love to find something that is written through the point of view of someone who lived it, while also giving insight in to the politics, culture and society at the time.

  15. I’m looking for any good books on Saladin (preferably biographies or anything related to him military conquests)

  16. Hello all! I know this is going to be really broad, but I’m looking for anything that can help refresh my knowledge of World War I and where I can possibly learn from it. I’m interested in the military tactics, politics, and society of WWI. Anything would be of great help and I can’t wait to read what you’ve got!

    Edit: Just bought “The First World War” by Hew Stracham. If anyone has recommendations outside of that, I would appreciate it.

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