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Bookclub and Sources Wednesday!

Hello everyone,

Welcome to our weekly e-book suggestion thread!

Now we 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 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 will 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 just lately found or learn. Giving opinions or asking about their factuality is inspired!

In fact it’s not restricted to *simply* books; podcasts, movies, and so forth. are additionally welcome. As a reminder, [r/history]( past/) additionally has a really helpful record of issues to learn, take heed to or watch

Comments ( 15 )

  1. I am looking for recommended sources on the Greek and Roman empires. I am interested in both 1) histories of important events, and the people involved, and 2) interesting facts concerning culture, mindsets, opinions and lifestyles, including architecture, philosophy, and the geography. Books are sometimes slow for me to consume, I don’t like podcasts, but I can do YT channels just fine.

  2. Has a comprehensive, definitive **historiography of United States History** ever been published?

  3. Just finished C. V. Wedgwood’s history of the Thirty Years War. Her writing is impassioned and judgmental and I imagine historians today would bristle at the subjectivity that seems to seep in everywhere. For me though, as a non-historian, it was a great pop history of the war. The baroque political intrigues, the confused and conflicting issues at heart (protestants vs Catholics, German nationalists vs foreign interference, the Hapsburgs vs the world, etc), and yes, the complex characters she portrays all kept me hooked to the very end. And I like to think I learned something too.

  4. Happy Wednesday everyone!

    Just wrapped up Barry Cunliffes’s [The Scythians: Nomad Warriors of the Steppe]( and found it to be fantastic. It provides a comprehensive and visual account of Scythian history alongside an overview of the Black Sea region’s rich past. Highly recommended for any fans of Steppe history.

  5. Finished a few books but they are on the shorter side (I picked them due to being short, unintentionally all were about dark subjects). All reviews are copied and pasted from Goodreads.

    **A Village in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd and Angelika Patel**

    >4/5 I’d say it is definitely worth reading if interested in Nazi Germany.

    >About the village of Oberstdorf in southern Bavaria (which the author chose due to there being a lot of sources available). Plenty of context with a decent amount on the Weimar period and the lead up to the Nazis taking over. A mix of chronological chapters following the progress of WWII and how that affected the village as well as more specific chapters using the story of the village’s inhabitants to show the bigger things happening in Nazi Germany. For example a story of a blind man who was murdered in Aktion T4 to show how that process worked across Germany (one of the darker chapters but probably the best one for the information given) or attacks by local Nazi officials on the various Catholic organisations in the area like the nuns. The military chapters tend to follow the stories of the men who went off to fight mainly with the 98th and 99th regiments of the 1st Mountain Division in France, the Soviet Union and the Balkans as well as the atrocities they saw and sometimes were involved in.

    >Flaws – Personally I found the 1933-1939 bits to be a bit boring as there is a chapter specifically about the infighting and power struggles between the Nazi ‘old guard’ and the new members who signed up after the Nazis started to do well, but it is just a village and the stakes are rather low it wasn’t that interesting personally. Additionally but no fault of the authors the village chosen had a relatively moderate mayor, who despite being a Nazi was willing to cover up for Jews and wouldn’t report private criticism of Hitler, wasn’t really bombed during the war, and was occupied by the French and later Americans (rather than the Soviets) without a fight (due to a local coup imprisoning all the local important Nazis then surrending to the approaching French). Basically what I’m trying to get at is while the book is good at depicting what life under Nazi rule was like the area had it relatively ok compared to a lot of other areas across Germany during Nazi rule and at the end of the war and the experience of this village might not be representative of most places in this period.

    **Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning**

    >4.5/5 being a bit generous and rounding up for Goodreads. Highly recommend if interested in the Holocaust or WWII.

    >The writing is good. The book is about how ordinary, middle aged German men from a mix of backgrounds became mass murderers. The battalion was only made up of 500 men but via shooting and overseeing deportations to death camps killed at least 83,000 Jews. The book follows the process from the first massacre they were involved in then the various massacres they perpetrated over the course of 1942-1943. Then it ends with a long chapter on the psychology of the men and what led them to do the things they did. The main arguments are

    >(1) One of the main motivations for committing the atrocities was peer pressure and a desire to conform, not wanting to look weak / unmanly or to be seen not doing their share of the dirty work and leaving it to others.

    >(2) Fear of punishment was not a motivation as there were plenty of ways the men could get out of the killing.

    >(3) Ideology and anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda made it is for the men to become killers but was not the main cause, as the these were older men who had lived in Germany before the Nazis came to power and the various training materials they had weren’t specifically about killing Jews.

    >(4) There was a small group of enthusiastic killers, a main group who did the murders and the shooting but wouldn’t volunteer for extra killing, and about 10%-20% who refused.

    >(5) The men who refused to kill tended to do so out of disliking the physical violence of killing rather than out of ethical or moral concerns.

    >It’s not a long book, the version I read was 190 pages plus a 40 page afterword describing how another historian who disagrees with him is very wrong and has a rather selective interpretation of the sources. It is an older book (from the 90s) and the Holocaust isn’t one of my main areas of interest so I don’t know if there has been any major changes in the historical research since then.

    **A History of Torture in Britain by Simon Webb**

    >3.75/5 not a must read but if the topic interests you then I’d say give the book a go.

    >Covers the history of torture for information and as punishment from the medieval times to the 1970s/80s in regards to Northern Ireland. A short book at 140 pages but with a lot information anyway as well as plenty of examples. Well written. There are 2 chapters on torture within the British Empire, one focusing on the Caribbean in the 18th century and the torture of slaves. The other focusing on more recent colonies like Kenya during the 1950s with the Mau-Mau, India and also Cyprus, but this mainly focuses on Britain using locals to perform the torture as part of a divide and rule tactic. One chapter focusing on torture within the British army and navy, but this is more about flogging and keelhauling.

  6. One of my focus areas in history is the cryptography of WWII from the Allied perspective.

    One of the resources that I use is:


    There are plenty of “famous” people who worked at BP and their stories are readily available in books and the like. Folks like [Alan Turing](, [Gordon Welchman](, [Stuart Millner-Barry]( and the like are readily available.

    There, however, were a lot of regular folks who worked there during the war years and some of them have had their stories recorded at BP. Their stories provide a different perspective than those “famous” folks.

    For example:

    PO Wren Joyce Ethel Baker, she was a bombe operator and worked on Japanese codes. Her BP story is [here](

    If you want to read about the regular folks’ contribution to the war effort, this is a great place to start.

  7. Can anyone recommend any good books (and/or novels) on Islamic Spain?

  8. Devil in the white city

    1880 worlds fair in Chicago and HH HOLMES, America’s first known serial killer

  9. I am looking for book recommendations regarding the Cossack in Siberia and the colonization of Siberia in general. I am interested in the pre-Soviet period specifically. I’m hoping to learn more about specifics about how the Russians used the Cossacks as an apparatus to extract tribute and colonize the vast expanse of land that is Siberia. Yermak’s initial conquest is interesting to me but I’m hoping for something that will go into detail beyond those initial wars. Books about specific episodes from the colonization for instance. But any recommendations regarding the pre-Soviet period of Siberia are welcome

  10. Not sure if this has been posted before but this is a great resource for vintage archival footage.

  11. Hi All,

    I am looking for a good modern, single volume introductory history on the whole of the North African and Mediterranean theatre of operations in WW2. It seems like most of the books I see widely recommended on the web are either rather old or very American- or Anglo-centric.

    I am really most interested in understanding the Italian and British perspectives (tactically and strategically), as they seem to have been the progenitors of the theatre and it’s primary combatants. The role of Italian imperialist expansion into Libya threatening Allied control of the Suez Canal seems incredibly important to the wider war, but I rarely see anything more robust on the subject than stuff that romanticizes tank duels and the Montgomery/Rommel rivalry.

    So whatever you can recommend that is up to 800-ish pages long, holistic, and ideally reads well would be great. For those who are familiar with the title, on some level I am looking for a book similar to Richard Frank’s “Tower of Skulls,” but for North Africa/Med rather than South East Asia. Thanks in advance!

  12. Hi! I’m writing a research paper for school on Christopher Marlowe’s the Jew of Malta- I’m not sure exactly where I’m going to take it, but I have a few things I’m interested in learning more about-

    -Conceptions of Love in late Tudor england

    -Conceptions of Money in late Tudor England

    -Conceptions of the intersection of both (i.e prostitution) in late Tudor England

    If anyone has any recommendations in terms of primary or secondary sources and resources I’d be really happy!!!

    Thank you !!

  13. I’m looking for free sources (websites, documentaries, essays, etc.) on the American Frontier. Also any recommendations for good but relatively simple American History textbooks that cover a lot of ground? Thanks

  14. I’ll be visiting Norway in a month and I always like to familiarize myself with a country’s history before traveling there, to put everything I’ll be seeing and experiencing in a broader context. I’m soliciting recommendations for books/podcasts that give a good overview of the past 1-1.5 millennia of history in what is now Southern Norway, particularly Vestland and Vestfold og Telemark where I’ll be visiting, and Agder where about 1/4 of my ancestors lived at least as far back as the 17th century. Thanks in advance!

  15. Has anyone read a world undone? Do you recommend it? Thank you

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