This board has been transferred to www.wsc.co.uk,

    why not join us there

One Touch Football - Archive   
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» One Touch Football - Archive » Books » History book question (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 6 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6   
Author Topic: History book question
Danger Mouse
Member
Member # 111

 - posted      Profile for Danger Mouse     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Given a shocking lack of knowledge when it comes to history, alas I was at school when all you did was WW2 onwards, can anyone recommend any decent generic history books? I'm thinking probably Middle Ages onwards.

I can wander off in my own direction once I've found an area of interest but I was just wondering if anyone had any decent tips to start with

(Edit: defining the question better)

[ 22-10-2002, 09:27: Message edited by: Danger Mouse ]

Posts: 2176 | From: Baker Street | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tubby Isaacs
Member
Member # 223

 - posted      Profile for Tubby Isaacs     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you want British history, The Isles by Norman Davies is a real magnum opus but not unreadable. Some fantastic illustrations too, like the flag of Guernsey. I particularly like the Middle Ages stuff in here. For one reason, he gives the protagonists the names they actually used, so King Stephen becomes Etienne de Blois. You see him totally differently then, and disputes with the French look less like patriotic wars than dynastic ones.

It's not cheap at £15 in paperback, but it does crop up in remainder bookshops like Sussex Stationers.

Posts: 18279 | From: Georgica | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tubby Isaacs
Member
Member # 223

 - posted      Profile for Tubby Isaacs     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I should add that I totally agree with you about the narrow and over-modern focus of history teaching. I seemed to do the "Bolshevik Revolution" about 3 times at school, with odd bits about the crusades in the third (pre GCSE) year, because our teacher was interested in it. The focus on 20th Century stuff annoys me for a number of reasons, most of all the suggestion that "the kids" are only interested in the recent past. This is rubbish. Where schools offer it, ancient history and classical civilisation are quite popular, despite being run down as irrelevant all the time.

We shouldn't be surprised that the general public find it hard to see beyond Churchill in polls like Sunday's.

Posts: 18279 | From: Georgica | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Danger Mouse
Member
Member # 111

 - posted      Profile for Danger Mouse     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Very true. It sums it up when I was reading a book called Thunder at Twilight by Frederic Morton. Dunno if anyone has read it but it's essentially (loosely) about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the people who were around in Vienna prior to that and the beginning of the 1st World War.

It tells you something about secondary education when that's the most I learnt about the First World War.

Posts: 2176 | From: Baker Street | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gordon Bennet
Member
Member # 137

 - posted      Profile for Gordon Bennet     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They've just republished HG Wells' Brief History of the World, which I am told is very good.

A good companion piece to the British Isles book is one by (I think) the same author, titled simply Europe.

Posts: 750 | From: bad to worse | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mat Pereira
Member
Member # 43

 - posted      Profile for Mat Pereira     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
'The Gunpowder Plot' by Antonia Fraser is a brilliant, brilliant book and well worth reading. She kind of approaches the events leading to November 5th in a kind of realtime written documentary style, but with a really rich anecdotal feel for the period and she has a brilliant eye for detail and creating mood and atmosphere. She also makes a really fascinating parallel between the event itself and Shakespere's 'Macbeth' which was first played the following year.

It's really, really good basically and it's one of my favourite books.

Other than that, for me personally, I tend to read books based around particular periods that i'm fascianted by really. If that helps. I'm dead fascinated by the Restoration period, because it was full of massive changes in art, science, politics and culture, seems to have a inexhaustable supply of really bizarre people doing really bizarre things and really saw the birth of Parliamentary Democracy and what eventually led to the English Enlightenment with people like John Locke and the Rye House Plotters.

It helps if you're really into baroque art too, though.

Oh yeah, for early 20thC history anything by AGP Taylor is normally top drawer, particularly 'The Origins of World War Two' which is a must read book, I reckon.

Posts: 9018 | From: The Sticks | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sister Margherita
Member
Member # 421

 - posted      Profile for Sister Margherita     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Norman Davies is a good read but in his general history of Europe he concentrates too much on the East, particularly Poland. I'd recommend JM Roberts.
Posts: 54 | From: Dublin | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Etienne
Member
Member # 95

 - posted      Profile for Etienne     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I second the recommendation for The Isles, in fact it's where I got my name from.

Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers does the almost impossible in making economic history (since 1450) interesting.

Of the plethora of stuff on the French Revolution, Simon Schama's Citizens is a good bet.

Mary Louise Roberts Civilization without sexes is a very good post-modern look at France after WWI

Marc Bloch Strange Defeat is excellent on the French defeat in WW2.

Posts: 7411 | From: some place more ... you know. | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mat Pereira
Member
Member # 43

 - posted      Profile for Mat Pereira     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
George Rude's my favourite writer on the French Revolution, he's not so into the cult of personality as Schama. In fact the total opposite, his big project he described as 'trying to see the faces in the crowd'. He still yells you what happened and stuff though.

Anyway, 'The French Revolution' is cool, not so much a coffee tabe book as Schama's (it's really thin, you could read it on the train) and 'The Crowd In The French Revolution' is well, self explanatory, more of an analysis of the social conditions, 'Robespierre' is a kind of biography, done through selected primary sources and loads of analysis, it's not an easy read though.

Like lots of historians though, he tends to have a really really dry prose style to be honest, which can make him seem a bit ponderous considerng he's writing about one of the most dynamic and thrilling events ever. He doesn't pontificate though, thank God, he gives it to you straight.

Posts: 9018 | From: The Sticks | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Spearmint Rhino
Member
Member # 189

 - posted      Profile for Spearmint Rhino     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My experience of History at school is completely the opposite of Sickboy's and Danger Mouse's.

For a start, up until the age of 16, we did King bloody Alfred, the Vikings, Henry VIII, Roman Empire, certainly nothing since the Industrial Revolution, all the bloody obvious biscuit tin stuff, taught in a safe, non-contentious manner.

My A Level course was better-taught and more analytical (I credit my two history teachers, more than anyone, with teaching me how to think), but time constraints meant that a course which was supposed to be British and European History 1815-present actually got no further than the end of WW2.

I would love to have studied the really juicy post-war stuff - Cold War, Suez, France '68, Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, Korea, Israel/Palestine, all that stuff - but we never got around to it.

Posts: 23907 | From: the Naughty North to the Sexy South, we're all singing 'I HAVE THE MOUTH!' | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Danger Mouse
Member
Member # 111

 - posted      Profile for Danger Mouse     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think I'm a fair bit younger than you though aren't I SR?

We did get bits about Romans and (possibly) the Vikings up until 11. But then it was WW2 untilend of GCSEs.

What really annoyed me at school was that when you came to take your options at the end of the third year it was History OR geography; Business studies OR loads of arty stuff.

I was never any good at art so picked business studies. No complaints so far except when I found out two or three months ago from a school friend that she chose history AND geography. I would have liked to have thought I'd have gone for that option but I suppose if I'm honest it's only in later life that I've become more interested in history.

Posts: 2176 | From: Baker Street | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gangster Octopus
Member
Member # 49

 - posted      Profile for Gangster Octopus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I think I'm a fair bit younger than you though aren't I SR?
Oooo, Simon, that's got to hurt...

I've just started a book on the French Revolution, imaginatively called The French Revolution by a bloke called George Lefebvre. Actually, to be fair, I'm reading an American translation of it. I chose this one over the Schama one because a) it's physically smaller and easier to carry; and b) it's got a recommendation by AJP Taylor (probably related to Matt's mate AGP Taylor). It's not an easy read, mind.

Posts: 20721 | From: Far away, without a city wall | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Oolon Colluphid LLB
Member
Member # 123

 - posted      Profile for Oolon Colluphid LLB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Anyone read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States? I'd recommend that as a good read.
Posts: 3194 | From: a Distance' is a rubbish song | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dav
Member
Member # 364

 - posted      Profile for Dav     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Simon Schama's books (linked with the TV series) are quite good for an overall general view of British history.
Posts: 25 | From: Middlesbrough, England | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Alan Rebhuhn
Member
Member # 128

 - posted      Profile for Alan Rebhuhn     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Schama's television series has been very Anglo-centric though.

In common with most people my age, Scots history simply didn't exist, until the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when, amazingly and suddenly a nation state, with its own capital, monarchy, parliament, and legal system sprang into full creation north of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Fitzroy MacLean's "Scotland - A Concise History" isn't too bad as a primer for what else was going on.

Posts: 887 | From: this valley they say you are going, | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 6 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | WSC

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2

    This board has been transferred to www.wsc.co.uk,

    why not join us there