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Bookclub and Sources Wednesday!

Hello everyone,

Welcome to our weekly ebook 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 matters. Others make posts a few ebook they themselves have learn and wish to share their ideas about it with the remainder of the sub.

We thought it will be a good suggestion to attempt to bundle these posts collectively a bit. One huge weekly put up 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](https://www.reddit.com/r/historical past/) additionally has a beneficial checklist of issues to [read, listen to or watch]([https://www.reddit.com/r/history/wiki/recommendedlist](https://www.reddit.com/r/historical past/wiki/recommendedlist))

Comments ( 11 )

  1. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good book on the Portuguese empire from say 1430 to 1800s?

  2. Does anyone have recommendations for books on ancient and/or pre-1900’s LGBTQ+ history? Can be specific to one place or generic world history on the subject!

  3. Going to be quite a long comment as I managed to get through a few books (but mostly copied and pasted). All First World War.

    Finished **On a Knife Edge: How Germany Lost the First World War by Holger Afflerbach**

    >4.75/5 very good about Germany’s failure in World War One. Would recommend if you are interested in WWI and have an ok knowledge of it.

    >Despite the book being translated into English I felt it was quite readable, not dry. The arguments suggested by the author, although I’m not sure I entirely agree with them, are well presented in a clear way. I’ve read quite a few books on the First World War by now and the author’s takes feel fresh and new to me, I haven’t really seen them in other things I’ve read. The bulk of the book is focussed on the decision making of the German political and military leadership – what decisions they made, why they made them, the factors that influenced the decisions made (public opinion, ideology, fear etc) and the consequences. Additionally there is also a lot on the disputes between the different factions and indivdiuals within the German political and military elite. There is a lot of information on the German peace efforts at the end of 1916 and also the role of the Reichstag compared to pretty much every other WWI book I’ve read.

    >In terms of arguments presented the main ones are that 1 – The result of World War One was a lot closer than traditionally argued and that if Germany had made better decisions it could’ve been a draw (hence the focus of the book on decision making). 2 – Germany didn’t set out at the beginning of WWI to have massive territorial conquests and that this goal came later as a consequence of the war rather than as a cause. so if Germany eventually had to return these territories as part of a compromise peace then it wouldn’t represent a major defeat (although this would’ve been very hard to get the German public to agree to). 3 – Compared to other historians he takes the German requests for peace at the end of 1916 as legitimate attempts, rather than cynical propaganda for domestic audiences. 4 – The biggest mistakes Germany made was the invasion of Belgium (making it very easy for the British government to justify entry into the war) and the continuation of unrestricted submarine warfare, based on misjudging the attitudes of the Americans. 5 – The Central Powers made various ‘moral mistakes’ (my words) that gave the Entente motivation not to agree to a compromise peace, The Rape of Belgium, the Armenian Genocide, the harshness of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that justified to the continued fighting. 6 – That the Entente’s refusal to agree to consider a compromise peace was the main reason for the continuation of the war and in the long-term was a major mistake, as the radicalisation and outcome of the war caused the future catastrophes of European history like the Nazis and the Second World War (this is one of the ones I’m iffy about, I’m not sure I agree with the view that the Entente’s decision to fight to a full military victory was a mistake) . There are the main arguments but there are some shorter ones focused on military outcomes such as alternative outcomes of the Schlieffen Plan or what Germany could’ve done instead of the 1918 Spring Offensive.

    Finished **The Last Great War: British Society and the First World War by Adrian Gregory**

    >4.5/5 rounding down for Goodreads. If you want an academic book about the WWI British home front I’d say it is worth a go (if you want a lighter read with more personal accounts then All Quiet on the Home Front by Richard Van Emden and Steve Humphries is a good alternative)

    >The writing is on the academic side but still readable, very little jargon or using dense language. The book is mainly about what motivated British people through the war as well as living standards and economics. The highlights of the book for me were the earlier chapters on beginning of the war and on atrocity propaganda. The chapter on the beginning of the war argues very persuasively IMO that the image of huge enthusiasm for the war is mostly untrue, that nobody believed that it would be a easy war “that’ll be over by Christmas”, that people recognised how bloody it would be and that the surge of recruitment was less from jingoism and more from unemployment, the sense of danger after the retreat from Mons and the confirmation of separation allowances so men knew their families would have some financial security. The main feeling the author suggests was a mix of sorrow and anger over the war which turned to hatred of Germany for causing it. The atrocity chapter argues that the government and the media (the Daily Mail mainly) didn’t set out to deliberately make up atrocity stories and instead genuinely believed what they were reporting, and that the more bizarre stories (German corpse being used in factories for example) were started by the public as urban myths from a lack of info rather than being made up by the press.

    >The other chapters focus on religion (the only chapter I didn’t really like), recruitment and conscription, economics, living standards and working conditions and disputes. These chapters tend to be bit more numbers heavy with lots of percentages and some tables with info on them. The idea of sacrifice is mentioned quite a lot as well, with people on the home front being well aware of what was going on militarily and being willing to make sacrifices on behalf of the soldiers. There is some historiographical discussion and critiques of historians.

    >The notes section is better than most as instead of just being a list of sources there is also a lot of extra information, debates, caveats etc.

    Also managed to finish **The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army by Gary D. Sheffield**

    >4/5 Not much to say about it. Solid, fair biography of Douglas Haig. Defends him against unfair criticism but also criticises hims when he deserved it. Overall quite positive about Haig. Worth a read if interested in the WWI British Army.

    Now reading **Shots from the Front: The British Soldier 1914-1918 by Richard Holmes**. Short book with lots of photos. Decent so far.

  4. Anyone have good sources on Japanese internment camps

  5. Can anyone recommend me any books/podcasts/docs about Taiwanese history? I’ve read Forbidden Nation by Manthorpe and I’m looking for more.

    Additionally, any good bios or histories on Sun Yat Sen? Thx!

  6. I have taken an interest in Catherine de’ Medici as of recent. Any good books about her life, reign, and legacy?

  7. Almost done with “The Conquest of New Spain” by Bernal Diaz. Highly recommend it to anyone studying Latin American history and the exploration era as it is a heavily detailed account of the expeditions of Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, Juan de Grijalva and the famous Hernan Cortes (all of which mostly take place around the Yucatan Peninsula and southern Mexico).

    The Hernandez and Grijalva expeditions were both failures as Francisco Hernandez was killed in 1517 after being fired up on by the indigenous people of the Yucatan and dying of his injuries. Later on Juan de Grijalva went on to go further south of the Yucatan in present day Honduras where he was killed in 1527 by the native people. The only successful expedition was Cortes’s expedition who landed on the Yucatan coast and established contact with Montezuma II. Most of these expeditions are accounted well by Diaz who makes you feel like you are looking through his eyes in the story.

  8. As someone who never read non-fiction, the book “Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II” absolutely blew my mind

    As someone who prides themselves with a good grasp of world history and especially American history, I had only ever viewed the occupation of japan from americas perspective, a shinning example of nation building with only a few blemishes such as the policy of “reverse course” which in my opinion held modern japan back in accepting their participation of numerous atrocities and warcrimes, they could have been similar to how modern day Germany accepts their past crimes. As well as the fact we never did hold Hirohito accountable.

    However, after reading “Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II” by John Dower, my perspective on the occupation of Japan has completely shifted. Dower’s book presents a comprehensive and thought-provoking account of the post-war period in Japan that goes beyond the typical American narrative.

    Through his meticulous research and vivid storytelling, Dower exposes the complex and often contradictory nature of the occupation. He highlights the struggles and challenges faced by the Japanese people during this period, as well as the tensions and disagreements between the various parties involved in the occupation, including the Americans, Japanese officials, and the Japanese public.

    One of the most striking aspects of the book is how it highlights the resilience and creativity of the Japanese people during this time of upheaval and reconstruction. Its an event on such a scale that it has never happened before or since, the reforming of a society on such a scale.

    Despite the immense destruction and loss of life, Dower demonstrates how the Japanese people managed to rebuild their lives and their country, often in ways that were very different from what the American occupiers had envisioned. It showcases human resilience and makes me proud to be human, it gives me hope that we can survive anything, we can bounce back from the brink, even when the galaxy begins to fade into darkness, we will be the keepers of the last light.

    Overall, “Embracing Defeat” is a deeply engaging and enlightening book that provides a nuanced and multi-faceted view of the post-war period in Japan. As someone who typically avoids non-fiction, I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging and accessible Dower’s writing is. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in history, politics, or international relations.

  9. Looking for history of Thailand, texts, biographies, or mythology. Really anything, I’m starting at 0, thank you!

  10. Best books on post-Soviet Russia?

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