Your favourite historical book Watch

TheConfuddledOne
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#41
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#41
(Original post by Jay Riall)
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.
Agree with you there.
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Adorno
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#42
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#42
(Original post by tucker672)
Ian Kershaw :love:
It's funny reading over the lists in this thread, you can tell the A Level students from the University Students by the general citation of Richard Evans and Ian Kershaw by the Sixth Formers and a broader less Nazified historical taste among uni students. That's really the problem with A Level these days: too much Hitler not enough Harry Pollit.
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Celtic_Anthony
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#43
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#43
Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, John Lee Anderson is probably the most authoritative historical book I have read. I also enjoyed The Scottish Enlightenment, Arthur Herman.

Alas, I have never studied History at any level, although my study of Law has touched upon some political history in parts- the case of Entick v Carrington as a defining moment of liberty stands out.
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TheFriendlySocialist
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#44
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#44
(Original post by Adorno)
It's funny reading over the lists in this thread, you can tell the A Level students from the University Students by the general citation of Richard Evans and Ian Kershaw by the Sixth Formers and a broader less Nazified historical taste among uni students. That's really the problem with A Level these days: too much Hitler not enough Harry Pollit.
Substitute Bullock for Kershaw (at least then you get both Hitler and Stalin), add a generous sprinkling of A. J. P. Taylor and Eric Hobsbawm, top it off with a few Americans (Walter LaFeber or even John Lewis Gaddis?) for a slightly improved A-level recipe. Or at least, that's a novice's perspective on it.

Having done supervisions with him, how would you describe Robert Service, by the way? I got the impression from a few of his books (Comerades, the Lenin biography), that he had an axe to grind with Communism and Lenin in particular. Does he give the same impression on a face-to-face basis?
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blinkbelle
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#45
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#45
Any Horrible Histories xx
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Colbert
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#46
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#46
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar was brilliant.
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Adorno
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#47
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(Original post by TheFriendlySocialist)
Substitute Bullock for Kershaw (at least then you get both Hitler and Stalin), add a generous sprinkling of A. J. P. Taylor and Eric Hobsbawm, top it off with a few Americans (Walter LaFeber or even John Lewis Gaddis?) for a slightly improved A-level recipe. Or at least, that's a novice's perspective on it.
Yeah except really for Stalin & Hitler together you're now better off reading Richard Overy's The Dictators. But yes you're right, so long as we give kids books that are well over 10 or 20 years old (in Hobsbawm's case over 40 years old) then we'll be absolutely training good historians. *sigh*. I'm quite glad I did neither the Nazis nor the Soviet Union for A Level but the age-old, bland teaching is very much in evidence in the "favourite" books in this thread. I guess I sound very obnoxious but there's so much that people can read that if they're relying on AJP or Hobsbawm for everything then they're missing out massively.

Having done supervisions with him, how would you describe Robert Service, by the way? I got the impression from a few of his books (Comerades, the Lenin biography), that he had an axe to grind with Communism and Lenin in particular. Does he give the same impression on a face-to-face basis?
Tutorials boy: supervisions are a filthy Cambridge thing. :p: Bob is very good and less axe-grinding in real life. He definitely doesn't like Trotsky and not much less Lenin. Of Stalin he is more measured, I think. However, my attitude to how Soviet history should be studied is a little different to his - I'm less interested in the big names and more in the society but no, I like Bob even if he's quite neo-con. He used to be very anti-Thatcher so he's shifted massively.
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Plaguerat
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#48
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#48
I'm quite enjoying André Pichot's The Pure Society: from Darwin to Hitler
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Locke54
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#49
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#49
(Original post by blinkbelle)
Any Horrible Histories xx
They were the thing that first got me into History, I can still remember the first one I bought, it was the Groovy Greeks bought from the school bookclub in year 4
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Aeolus
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#50
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#50
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor. One of the best pieces of narrative history ever written in my opinion

The first crusade, a new history by Thomas Asbridge. My favourite book on the Medieval period, and, obviously the First Crusade. Explores the real reasons the Princes went east.

Behind closed doors, Stalin the Nazis and the west. Quite a recent one from Laurance Rees to accompany the TV series. But has a lot of interesting revelations with regards to the relations between the leaders. I would highly recommend it.

Nemesis the battle for Japan 1944-45 by Max Hastings. Awesome account of the final year of war in Japan. Personally bought up alot of questions, as to the justifications given for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The British Officer, leading the army from 1660 to present by Anthony Clayton. More of a personal favourite than an influential work. I very nearly joined the army as an officer because of this book.
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Pryste
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#51
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#51
(Original post by Alasdair)
What's your 'favourite' historical book?

Mine is probably either Napoleon and His Marshals, by AG MacDonnell - a novelist who writes a wonderful biography-***-general history of Napoleon and the men that shaped Europe in the 20 years from 1790-1815...

OR The Revolution and Civil War in Spain by Pierre Broue and Emile Temime - a great overall history of the Spanish Civil War, with much more discussion about the Revolution itself than in Beevor's or Hughes' books.
For me it is probably Arnold Toynbee's Study of History, simply because it tackles such a wide range of subjects and the means to interpret them. I also like a bit of Sitchin (yes, I know his conclusions are rather fantastic and tenuously made but it made learning about Mesopotamia interesting). The Court of the Red Tzar is perhaps the most interesting one I've read lately.

(Original post by Aeolous)
The first crusade, a new history by Thomas Asbridge. My favourite book on the Medieval period, and, obviously the First Crusade. Explores the real reasons the Princes went east.
I don't suppose you've read God's War: A New History of the Crusades? Picked it up in waterstones on a whim, rather interesting, especially the bits about the relationship between Byzantium and Christendom.
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g_star_raw_1989
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#52
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#52
Origins of the Second World War - A.J.P Taylor

Berlin/Stalingrad- Anthony Beevor

China: A History - John Kear
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Alasdair
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#53
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#53
(Original post by Adorno)
It's funny reading over the lists in this thread, you can tell the A Level students from the University Students by the general citation of Richard Evans and Ian Kershaw by the Sixth Formers and a broader less Nazified historical taste among uni students. That's really the problem with A Level these days: too much Hitler not enough Harry Pollit.
Absolutely. The obsession with authoritarianism is really bad at A Level History. I think out of my six units, three were about Hitler, two about Mussolini (thankfully mildly less ubiquitous than Stalin) and one about British voting reform 1832-1933 (the end date being chosen not because it was at all significant, but because it fulfilled both the requirements of being British and spanning more than 100 years without taking away from the fascism-love fest!).

BORING.
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Pryste
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#54
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#54
(Original post by Alasdair)
Absolutely. The obsession with authoritarianism is really bad at A Level History. I think out of my six units, three were about Hitler, two about Mussolini (thankfully mildly less ubiquitous than Stalin) and one about British voting reform 1832-1933 (the end date being chosen not because it was at all significant, but because it fulfilled both the requirements of being British and spanning more than 100 years without taking away from the fascism-love fest!).

BORING.
It's not just A-Levels. In IB the strict focus was on Europe in the 20th century, only altering slightly in higher level to encompass the 19th century unifications of Germany and Italy...
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Locke54
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#55
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#55
(Original post by Aeolus)
Nemesis the battle for Japan 1944-45 by Max Hastings. Awesome account of the final year of war in Japan. Personally bought up alot of questions, as to the justifications given for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I'm actually reading this at the moment, mainly for the information it has in it about the British campaign in Burma which is usually ignored in books on the Pacific War, my grandfather fought in it and I know precisely nothing about it, so I thought I should make an effort to learn a bit about it.

(Original post by Alasdair)
Absolutely. The obsession with authoritarianism is really bad at A Level History. I think out of my six units, three were about Hitler, two about Mussolini (thankfully mildly less ubiquitous than Stalin) and one about British voting reform 1832-1933 (the end date being chosen not because it was at all significant, but because it fulfilled both the requirements of being British and spanning more than 100 years without taking away from the fascism-love fest!).

BORING.
Meh, it all depends on what sixth form you go to and what options they pick to teach you, the syllabus from when I went was pretty damn varied in it's options, it's just that most sixth forms elect to teach Hitler, Stalin et al because it's the easiest. When I went, my sixth form taught three units of Britain 1815-1914 and three units on Russia 1861-1990, Stalin only formed a part of the Russian course, which covered the Tsarist period from the Crimean War to WW1, Lenin and the Civil War, Stalin obviously, Khruschev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev.

We did have a Classics teacher teaching us it though, which kinda annoyed me as I would have liked to have done some Roman history for A Level and heres someone with a degree in it teaching me about the emancipation of serfs in Russia, meh.
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Andy the Anarchist
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#56
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#56
(Original post by Adorno)
It's funny reading over the lists in this thread, you can tell the A Level students from the University Students by the general citation of Richard Evans and Ian Kershaw by the Sixth Formers and a broader less Nazified historical taste among uni students. That's really the problem with A Level these days: too much Hitler not enough Harry Pollit.
Yeah, I'm guilty as charged.

Give it three years and hopefully I'll be more broadly read.
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littleshambles
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#57
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I can barely remember my A Level History modules already. AS was Britain 1892-1918, Russia 1864-1917, and course essays on the Russian revolution and the decline of the Liberal party. A2 was the "hundred year question" (so Russia from 1825 and Germany from around unification up until 1941) and Britain 1918-1951. Overall it wasn't all Hitler, there was only a few weeks of Hitler at the end of A2 actually. There's not room for many topics but it was about 40-40 between Tsarist and revolutionary Russia with some Stalin at the end and Britain, and 20 Hitler. I estimate.

But I personally (I realise I am in a small minority here) had never come across Hitler or Stalin in any history lesson ever before in my life, so it was pretty new to me. :dontknow: I don't really care whether they're hackneyed subjects to proper historians (I'm not a historian nor is history my particular interest), just whether they're interesting. They seem like as good topics as any.
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Mr_K_Dilkington
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#58
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#58
(Original post by Aeolus)
The first crusade, a new history by Thomas Asbridge. My favourite book on the Medieval period, and, obviously the First Crusade. Explores the real reasons the Princes went east.
Great book, but I'm a bit bias since he taught me medieval history last year :cool: His Crusades lectures were absolutely awesome, he is an enthralling speaker. I'm going to miss doing medieval history the next few years (decided to focus on modern history).
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Aeolus
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#59
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(Original post by Jay Riall)
Great book, but I'm a bit bias since he taught me medieval history last year :cool: His Crusades lectures were absolutely awesome, he is an enthralling speaker. I'm going to miss doing medieval history the next few years (decided to focus on modern history).

I am extremely jealous! His narrative is incredible. Especially when describing the seige of Antioch.
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Folderol
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#60
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#60
Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World by Niall Fergusson
Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict 1881 - 2001 by Benny Morris

And if this counts..

The 9/11 Commission Report
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