Your favourite historical book Watch

Gremlins
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#21
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#21
(Original post by Adorno)
Some Kershaw Bloke. Oh dear me.
It made me grin. I actually find Kershaw's writing style fairly engaging and easy to get through, whereas some history/social science books just send me to sleep or hide the (generally poor) points they're trying to make under layers of horribly verbose flowery language which make it near-impossible to work out what they're actually trying to convey.
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BBandB
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#22
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#22
(Original post by Alasdair)
Really? What little of it I've read have been extremely tedious ramblings.

Yeah, it's just fascinating that the madman hat wrote these ramblings came to power. The Cardinal's mistress by Mussolini is also as funny as FCUK.
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Adorno
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#23
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#23
(Original post by BBandB)
Yeah, it's just fascinating that the madman hat wrote these ramblings came to power. The Cardinal's mistress by Mussolini is also as funny as FCUK.
But he didn't write most of it, he dictated it. That probably explains the rambling nature of the piece.
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TheConfuddledOne
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#24
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#24
I have to say I quite enjoyed Carr's What is History?. To be fair, there are far too many good historical books around to mention. To name but a few (not necessarily always well written but needed to be done for controversy etc., or simply a good read if you have the time and want to expand your horizons) , Hobson, Imperialism: A Study, Said, Orientalism, Goldsworthy, The Fall of Carthage, Zamoyski, 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow, Montefiore Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (wonder if his newer book Young Stalin is any good?), Goldsworthy, In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire, Fletcher, The Search for Nefertiti, Fox, Alexander the Great, Tyldesley, Hatchepsut, Man, Genghis Khan, Tooze, The Wages of Destruction.
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Bagration
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#25
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#25
Six Days by Jeremy Bowen
White Rajah by Nigel Barley
A History of Modern Russia by Robert Service

The last large book on history I read was probably Stalingrad, I'm too lazy to read huge historical documents
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Adorno
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#26
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#26
(Original post by TheConfuddledOne)
Montefiore Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (wonder if his newer book Young Stalin is any good?)
No, it's neo-conservative ****. Alas.
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CoolBeans_Yeahh
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#27
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#27
Finest And Darkest Hours by Kevin Jefferys is quite alright.
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Mr_K_Dilkington
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#28
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#28
I want to read good biographies of Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky over Christmas. Could anyone suggest a good, non-partisan author to me?

I've just read Robert Service's Comrades which was interesting enough, but completely ignored negative American interventionism (or at least tried to polish a turd) and had a rather simplistic interpretation of Communism (with a big "C" to avoid confusion and or pedants) in the 20th Century. Also, trying to do justice to the movement in such a short book (500 pages ish) really left me feeling unfulfilled. I know he has done biographies of Lenin and Stalin and has one of Trotsky coming out, but I'm not impressed at all after reading Comrades.
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Alasdair
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#29
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#29
Hobsbawm's Revolutionaries is a good collection of essays about Communist parties...doesn't hang together all that well, but they're all individually interesting.
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Adorno
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#30
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#30
(Original post by Jay Riall)
I want to read good biographies of Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky over Christmas. Could anyone suggest a good, non-partisan author to me?
I'm afraid there aren't any.

For Trotsky there's Bob's new one (I was taught by him at Oxford so it's hard to call him owt else :o: ) and the Isaac Deutscher trilogy (which I would recommend even if it's dated).

For Stalin, you cannot beat Robert Tucker's alas unfinished trilogy of work - he has two volumes of it out but the third has been wanting for years.

For Lenin, there's Bob's earlier three volume examination of Lenin. His single volume one is good too. Moshe Lewin's Lenin's Last Struggle is worth a read over.

I've just read Robert Service's Comrades which was interesting enough, but completely ignored negative American interventionism (or at least tried to polish a turd) and had a rather simplistic interpretation of Communism (with a big "C" to avoid confusion and or pedants) in the 20th Century. Also, trying to do justice to the movement in such a short book (500 pages ish) really left me feeling unfulfilled. I know he has done biographies of Lenin and Stalin and has one of Trotsky coming out, but I'm not impressed at all after reading Comrades.
Yes, his Comrades is one of his worst books of recent times. It certainly doesn't reflect his fantastic academic ability at all and I think was affected by his having undertaken the work at the Hoover Institution and thus it is very neo-con in its attitudes to Communism. If you're interested in that sort of thing, I would try also to have a look at David Priestland's The Red Flag: Communism and the Making of the Modern World which literally just came out and Archie Brown's The Rise and Fall of Communism also recently published.

Bob really doesn't like Trotsky so I'm not sure how his biography will pan out but I think I'll end up getting it anyway just because of old time's sake and it'll be one of the few biographies of Trotsky available. I wouldn't give up on Bob just yet but certainly do give up on Comrades!
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FrustratedHistorian
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#31
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#31
The World Turned Upside Down - Christopher Hill
The English Civil War at First Hand - Tristam Hunt

Time of great turbulance & turmoil
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TheFriendlySocialist
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#32
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#32
(Original post by necessarily benevolent)
In Defence of History by Richard Evans
I'm reading it right now - wouldn't call it one of my favorites, though. I'd say my favorite 'til now has been Tony Judt's Postwar.
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littleshambles
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#33
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#33
(Original post by Adorno)
Some Kershaw Bloke. Oh dear me.
I assumed people would realise it was a joke because he is cool-bananas famous. :sad:

I'm supposed to be reading In Defence of History for uni but I can't find it in the bookshops. And it's too late to get it from Amazon. Baaaah. (And I owe my library 20 quid so I can't go back :o:)
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Mr_K_Dilkington
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#34
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#34
(Original post by TheFriendlySocialist)
I'd say my favorite 'til now has been Tony Judt's Postwar.
It's a good book and very useful for getting background knowledge of certain periods and themes, but I found it a bit dry and clinical in places.
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iwilson03
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#35
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#35
I have a few which I like: In defence of history, our island story, how to stage a military coup and the historical fiction novels (do they count?) by C. Sansom.
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obscurename
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#36
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#36
Technically historical fiction but awesome, "Agincourt" by Bernard Cromwell.
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Norfolkadam
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#37
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#37
A History of Modern Britain - Andrew Marr
What If?: Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been - Various Historians

I realise these are the equivilant of The God Delusion and 'popular science' books but they're really quite intriguing. The Andrew Marr one is a really good guide for someone who, like me, loves politics but doesn't know much about history.
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Locke54
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#38
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#38
Mainstream narrative stuff:

Empire by Niall Ferguson (finally a non apologetic history of the British Empire that actually focuses on it's positives)
Three Victories and a Defeat by Brendan Simms (British foreign policy throughout the 18th century)
Fusiliers by Mark Urban (tells the story of the American Revolution through the experience of one British regiment)
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Sejanus
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#39
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#39
Quite clearly biased towards my research interests, but Contagion and the State by Peter Baldwin is one of my favourite history books- its is full of huge amounts of often quite specialist information about nineteenth century European health policies, yet still manages to make the subject matter both interesting and (occasionally) funny.
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tucker672
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#40
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#40
Ian Kershaw :love:
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