December 8th, 2004, 05:05 AM
Seven Mary Four
History Books you can't stop reading...
We have all come across novels in all genres that are so good we can't put them down. We stay up late at night and even miss meals.
I was wondering if anyone has any History books that had that effect on them.
I like to consider myself an "amateur" historian, very "amateur", but I love to tear into a good fat history book and forget I am reading history.
December 8th, 2004, 08:04 AM
cynical master of time
Who were the celts
The Knights Templar
The Roman empire
any classical warfare books
December 8th, 2004, 08:19 AM
I'm reading Alison Weir's 'Eleanor of Aquitaine' atm, and that's certainly holding my attention! I was prompted to read it after I read Sharon Penman's novel 'Time and Chance', about Eleanor and Henry II. I find historical novels are often a trigger to read non-fiction about the same times/characters, as my interest in them has then already been piqued, and it makes the text less dry/abstract.
Next on my list is 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII', also by Alison Weir, which I picked up in a second-hand book shop for just Ł2, yesterday
December 8th, 2004, 11:12 AM
A History of Warfare, by John Keegan. His writing style has an excellent dry wit about it that makes him so much more fun to read than your average historian. Plus I learned a ton about military history that I had never known before.
December 8th, 2004, 01:02 PM
Lord of the Wild Hunt
Cymric, who are the authors of those books?
December 8th, 2004, 03:12 PM
I'm not sure these count, but two of my favorite books in the whole world are "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God" by Robert Graves. It is "history as fiction," but literally, with "I, Claudius" I couldn't put it down. Wonderful story! Reading those gave me so much insight into that period of Roman history. Now I know that Graves was very definitly putting forward his guess as to what Claudius' viewpoint would have been, and there are many other interpretations of that period, but none have been written about with so much character!
December 9th, 2004, 12:09 AM
Catching the LIght (the entwined history of light and mind) by Arthur Zajonc, Bantam 1993
Perhaps it is a bit more physics and psychology than history, and in some ways, unique and strange at the same time, really, really hard to put into a catagory. But really interesting.
January 6th, 2005, 07:37 AM
Finished 'Eleanor of Aquitaine' and am about half way through 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII'.....it's just as interesting as 'Eleanor', but written in a more haphazard way - Weir jumps around in time - so much harder to follow...
January 6th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Flags of Our Fathers is a pretty good story by the son of one of the Iwo-Jima troops hoisting the flag.
A very moving book too.
can't think of the author
January 9th, 2005, 08:44 PM
cynical master of time
The Roman Empire by Colin Wells ( I think that this book is actually a doctorail(sp?) thesis)
The Knights Templar by Sean Martin (pretty thin but informing and entertaining)
January 9th, 2005, 09:33 PM
Cranky old broad
I finally broke down and bought the Durant "Story of Civilization" books that I've been wanting for the last 40 years. I'm hoping that I won't be able to put them down.
Medieval European and early American history is my favorite. I think the Durant books will help me widen my focus a bit. I know zip nada nothing about Asian and Russian history, or the early Mideast civilizations.
January 9th, 2005, 11:17 PM
"A HISTORY OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA" by D.G.E. Hall. It's a University text book that I bought at a sale some years ago. It sparked my interest in south-east asian history.
As I grew up in Malaysia and had to learn it at school, I hated those history lessons. But being able to read it at my pace, for interest as opposed to having to, made a huge difference.
While momentous events were going on in Europe & the Americas, equally important events were unfolding in Asia. Western schools tend to gloss over Asian history if they actually cover them.
January 10th, 2005, 09:48 AM
I always liked Battle Cry of Freedom and Killer Angels...but I'm pretty fascinated by the Civil War, so that makes it easier. Just re-read The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy the other day....read it four times now. That is an incredibly facinating situation to read about. Lot's of conspiracy theories and discrepencies in the story, and this detective really breaks it down for you.
January 10th, 2005, 09:30 PM
Cranky old broad
Don Robertson has written some excellent Civil War books -- By Antietam Creek, The Three Days, and -- I forget the third title. If you're interested and can find them, they need to be read in order, because characters carry over from one book to the next.
January 11th, 2005, 02:09 PM
Witch of the Woods
I really loved Heroes of History by Will Durant. It's only a couple of hundred pages long (this is partly because he died before he could finish it) and much easier to breeze through than most history books. Despite the short length it's a fascinating book which provides an overview of the history of human civilization. (I believe the book was intended to be a greatly abridged version of Durant's History of Civilizaton).
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