Clio's (Pleasure?) Palace Message Board
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I really enjoyed Matthew Stewart's The Courtier and the Heretic, which ties together the lives and philosophy of Spinoza and Leibniz very nicely.
7AlexTheHunn First Message
A_musing, glad to hear you liked William Cooper's Town - one of my very favorite books. Alan Taylor's newest, The Divided Ground came earlier this year and I thought that was really excellent as well.
I just started The Most Famous Man in America, a biography of Henry Ward Beecher that came out recently. So far, so good.
However, the best history book I've read in a LONG time is Gulag: A History. THis book is so brutal in its descriptions it's hard to read at some times. But to think this was going on in a "modern" country in my lifetime (I'm 25) is unfathomable. A great lesson in why America was right to stand up to the USSR.
I was a history major as an undergrad. After entering library/grad school, I don't get to read too much besides textbooks and articles.
25winstonsmithlives First Message
I recently read Edward Ayers' In the Presence of Mine Enemies : war in the heart of america, a localist take on the civil war as experienced in Virginia and Pennsylvania. You can read my long review on the work page, but to put it very briefly it is high quality history that doesn't quite live up to its own hype.
I also finally got around to reading Labor and Monopoly capital by Harry Braverman. This is the most trenchent look at the changing nature of work under capitalism ever produced. However, it is in sore need of an update given the upheavals wrought by the economic transition of the 1970s. (I'll write a longer review at some point).
I first encountered the New York Conspiracy of 1741 in Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker's The Many-Headed Hydra. I have yet to pick up Lepore's book, but Linebaugh and Rediker's rendition convinced me that this event could make an excellent movie, preferably by someone like John Sayles.
That one sounds fascinating.
There's a interesting book written by my great-grandfather (Dennis Collins (that I likely would have never picked up but for the relation) called Indian's Last Fight; or the Dull Knife Raid that includes a lot of personal recollections of interactions between settlers and Indians about a decade to a decade and a half later on the high plains of Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. While I haven't read the West book yet, from your description I'd bet the Collins books would be an interesting contemporaneous take that could be worked into that thesis.
I think you should split your history book discussion into 1) books which bring some place/period and/or its people (eg.Aubrey's Lives) alive, 2) books which follow a chronology and 3) books which have one foot in the past and one in the present (Like my Topsy-turvy 1585 * which you may peek into at Amazon). Or, is there a better way to do it? Maybe first we need a Types of History Group to work this out! Even as i write, i am thinking of other types . . .
In Topsy-turvy 1585's intro, i have a history of topsy-turvy from Herodotus to Al Biruni to Valignano to Frois to Maffei (to Montanus etc ) to Alcock to Chamberlain . . . and would love to have some critical response from history-loving amateurs, as the author, himself, is an amateur...
Rise, Ye Sea Slugs!
The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon Wood; he weaves his argument so well that Gary Nash will never convince me.
The Making of the Middle Ages by R. W. Southern, a beautiful and incisive story; I've copied out most of the primary source quotes in it, just to ponder them.
I love ritual for the sake of ritual, so consider me initiated.
Before then I'll have to get the English Civil War (or rather the Wars of the Three Kingdoms) out of my system, having recently read a handful of marvellous books. If anyone can enlighten me further and suggest more books on this topic, I'd be ever so grateful. My list so far:
The Century of Revolution and The World Turned Upside Down by Christopher Hill
Civil War by Trevor Royle
Britain in Revolution by Woolrych Austin
Cromwell by Antonia Fraser
The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland by Martyn Bennett
The English Civil War by Diane Purkiss
Fire from Heaven by David Underdown
A Monarchy Transformed by Mark Kishlansky
… and a handful of others, but I'm still really open for books I might have missed!
P.S., I'm very sorry, my Touchstones have gone absolutely haywire, so I'll just remove most of them...
Geert Mak is quite someone for Clio's (Pleasure?) Palace: he gives his readers history from a very human point of view and is a joy to read! (I'm sorry, but I can only talk in superlatives about this author. He is one of my hero's and his book is one of Holland's finest exportproducts of the last years)
Marieke, just added to my "to be read" database. Thanks!
You might be interested in the forum on The Radicalism of the American Revolution in the July, 1994 issue of The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 51, No. 3; also the forum on Wood's earlier work, The creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 in the July, 1987 issue of WMQ, Vol. 44, No. 3.