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Feeling woefully ignorant

of world history.

Got a list of books I should read to "bone" up?
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 17th, 2007 5:18pm
Did you finish that gay Hardy Boys stuff or whatever?
Permalink Send private email JoC 
July 17th, 2007 5:19pm
Read Lies my Teacher Told Me and 1491. You'll be a lot less ignorant of US and Western Hemisphere history.
Permalink LeftWingPharisee 
July 17th, 2007 5:36pm
Here you go.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newt_Gingrich#Books_authored

I am the new Denman.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 17th, 2007 5:38pm
Narrow the focus, start with Europe (as its histories are most accessible) and move on from there.  "World" history is too broad and books that try to treat it end up being superficial.
Permalink star wars kid 
July 17th, 2007 5:43pm
This one is awesome:

http://www.amazon.com/History-Eastern-Beginners-Writers-Readers/dp/0863162371

But it's an excellent summary of the history and the implications of the history of the balkans.  And as a bonus, it's a cartoon! 

I don't know if I like you well enough to email you a scan of it...

The only other history I've read recently is:

http://www.amazon.com/Russia-under-Old-Regime-Penguin/dp/0140247688

And it's excellent.  Even though it's totally dry material, he writes really well.  It makes it totally clear why the Russians act the way they do.  I haven't gotten around to getting any of his other books, they're probably just as good.  I've read this one about 3 times - got a copy at a book sale for $1, it's been sitting in a bathroom ever since and I read a few pages every time I'm in there.
Permalink Send private email Ward 
July 17th, 2007 5:57pm
HG Wells "A Short History Of The World"

no joke. He wrote great SF because his insight into history was absolutely fucking amazing. It's also spooky when you get to the end and read his views about the likely results of the Treaty Of Versailles - then check the date it was written.

Wells was a real, no messing about, top shelf genius.
Permalink $-- 
July 17th, 2007 7:15pm
the other thing about that book is you can read it in about 3 days, and it gives you a foundation for any other stuff you want to deal with.

I think I'm gonna reread soon.
Permalink $-- 
July 17th, 2007 7:16pm
You can go from the "Short history" to "The Outline of History" which is also by Wells.  I have to admit that I've never finished it...
Permalink Send private email Ward 
July 17th, 2007 7:21pm
Yeah, Sharky, how was the "Not So Nice Nurse" (and hopefully the sequels)?
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
July 17th, 2007 7:21pm
did you read "SHOTW", ward?
Permalink $-- 
July 17th, 2007 7:36pm
World history is very interesting. I particularly like analysis of ancient technology, customs, and such rather than specific history events.

Lots of cool books dealing with ancient Roman and Greek and Chinese etc.

I recommend those white DK children's books that have the full color pictures for an introduction to all this to learn some overviews.

I also highly recommend the bargain bins at the B&N/Borders where huge coffee table books on ancient civilizations tend to go for $5 since no one bought them.

I've a shitload of all these.

For actual historical events, the best books are those written between 1780 and 1915. These come up at book sales sometimes for 25 cents a volume or such.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 17th, 2007 7:43pm
No, I've got a copy of TOOH, but I've never read SHOTW.

The only other history I've read recently is this one (read it both online, and borrowed it from the library to see more pictures):

http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Docs/JLM/SaintPeters-1.htm

It's obviously not a general history book.  But there's been a church in the same spot for about 1800 years, and what was happening in the rest of the world had an impact on the basilica, so the book mentions a lot of history at least in passing.
Permalink Send private email Ward 
July 17th, 2007 7:47pm
For example, grabbing a large volume just now is "Past worlds - Collins Atlas of Archaeology". This covers most major civilizations in the world over the last 5000 years. Each gets two pages. It's a great reference and the ones I am more interested in, I'll go to wiki for links to other books on the topic. It cost me probably $8, list price was probably $35 or such.

I prefer obscure stuff so I do well at bargain sales and used book stores, where the coolest shit other people don't want.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 17th, 2007 7:47pm
Another site that has some history books.  I read a chunk of Polybius' Histories on his site, he's also got Suetonius' "The Lives of the Twelve Caesars" (in Latin and English) which is worth reading.

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/home.html

I've also read a bunch of the Biography of Robert E. Lee that  he's got:

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Topics/history/American_and_Military/home.html
Permalink Send private email Ward 
July 17th, 2007 7:55pm
Why not start with the history of technology?

http://www.amazon.com/Connections-James-Burke/dp/0743299558

Lots of tie-ins to the Reformation, the Rennaisance, and various wars.
Permalink Send private email xampl 
July 17th, 2007 8:24pm
Bother. I've had the first three of Colin_McEvedy's historical atlases so long I'd forgotten how good they were and this shows he kept on going!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_McEvedy

Top stuff - very condensed - left page is text, right page a map showing tribal/national boundaries as they changed over time.
Permalink trollop 
July 17th, 2007 8:49pm
That's so cool! I had no idea my atlas was written by a psychiatrist!
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 17th, 2007 10:01pm
Oh wait, mine is a DIFFERENT Collin. Collin Renfrew, University of Cambridge. But it's the same deal! Atlases with 2 page entries! There are two different Collin's that made these things.

Weird.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 17th, 2007 10:04pm
+1 on all the old stuff like The Twelve Caesars, and the old  histories in Latin and Greek by the original dudes. Can't do better than original sources.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 17th, 2007 10:05pm
Skip the Flannery book Eternal Frontier. It's just environmentalist wishful propaganda and not backed by science. He states that the Mammoth went extinct because paleo-indians over hunted them. This is not true. Westerners have to make up their minds if there were so few indians here as to hardly make a difference when the europeans came to use the land to its fullest, or if there were so many indians here than they hunted scores of animals to extinction tens of thousands of years ago. The whole argument is racist. Mammoths in Europe died due to disease and weather changes, but north american mammoths were special in that they were hunted to extinction by greedy red men.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 17th, 2007 10:27pm
That's the first thing humans always do, kill off a regions's megafauna.


Guns, germs, and steel.
Permalink Send private email strawdog sobriquet 
July 18th, 2007 1:10am
Please read the following paper:

http://www.unl.edu/rhames/courses/current/requiem-overkill.pdf

Thanks.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 18th, 2007 2:19am
"It's obviously not a general history book.  But there's been a church in the same spot for about 1800 years, and what was happening in the rest of the world had an impact on the basilica, so the book mentions a lot of history at least in passing."

that's the nice thing - once you get even a basic overview of history, you then see places and people in a different light. It's as if it gives you a frame of reference on things. Then as you find out more about more specific stuff, it starts filling in gaps here and there, giving you a more complete view.

I remember my dad going on about this when I would be complaining about doing history at school, and me thinking "yeah. whatever ... ", like most kids  :-)

"why not start with a history of technology"

exactly because it's slanted too much to one perspective. If you get an overview of how civilisations have always been through these big cycles, rising and falling, you see technology as a part of that - it's a manifestation of certain types of thought process. We are not a manifestation of it. A general reading is better for getting that kind of viewpoint.
Permalink $-- 
July 18th, 2007 9:53am
Dana:  I'm still on page 25 or so of the Hardy spoof book.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 18th, 2007 10:52am
Thanks for the suggestions, guys.  Russian history sounds insteresting...
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 18th, 2007 10:52am
how about the russian history of kettleballing?
Permalink Send private email pavel igorovitch historov 
July 18th, 2007 12:09pm
hah. hah.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 18th, 2007 12:32pm

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