What are You Reading in what's left of 2008?

TalkHistory Readers: Clio's (Pleasure?) Palace

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What are You Reading in what's left of 2008?

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1ThePam
Edited: Aug 8, 2008, 7:01am

Well, we're a lazy bunch ain't we... still posting on the July thread :o)

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Just got "Sparta" from Interlibrary loan. Its more academic than I thought it would be. Which is okay, just a surprise.

It's a collection of previously published bits by experts in their repective areas. Edited by Michael Whitby.

I was interested in the problems with interpreting the literature and archeological evidence as it pertains to early Sparta. And about the personal-social relationships, such as the dining groups.

2DaynaRT
Edited: Aug 8, 2008, 10:52am

3HarmlessTed
Aug 9, 2008, 6:42am

I am half way through Troublesome Young Men by Lynne Olson, one of LT's recommendations. So far it's very interesting, but nothing actually new.

4nbmars
Aug 10, 2008, 11:08am

I'm wading through the very long but very fun Throes of Democracy. It's well-written and full of fun trivia about our history (e.g., why are people from Michigan known as "wolverines"? Where does the idea of NY as "Gotham" come from?). Also, McDougall is doing a great job of clarifying all the political players and affiliations of the 1800's, as opposed to, say, the author of 1912, a book which was often confusing to me in terms of who was with which party and what role he (or rarely, she) played. McDougall's book may take me quite a while to read, but I'm enjoying every moment!

5Tylman79
Sep 1, 2008, 10:40pm

Just started The Histories by Herodotus. One of the best books I've never read :P.

6HarmlessTed
Sep 2, 2008, 3:59am

I have finished Cicero by Anthony Everitt, which I enjoyed very much, and am now 50 pages into The Strange Death of Liberal England by George Dangerfield, an account of England during the time of the liberal government 1906 - 1914.

7Shrike58
Sep 2, 2008, 6:46am

I don't know about lazy, it's just that most of what I read is better noted at other groups.

Anyway, I did finish up Fries's Rebellion last week.

8marieke54
Sep 2, 2008, 11:26am

Now, that we are seeing so much American news on our tv (conventions, tornado’s), there is that little pile of TBR “Americana”, nagging:

The woman warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston,
Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair by Anthony Arthur,
William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism by Robert D. Richardson and
Mornings on horseback about the very young Theodore Roosevelt by David McCullough
The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen

At this moment I am half-way Hong Kingston beautiful book about a Chinese American girlhood which reads itself now in busses and trams, and want to make a start with Arthur’s biography: Upton Sinclair’s Lanny Budd was, translated in Dutch, one of the heroes of my youth, like Old Shatterhand and Kara Ben Nemsi, participating in fascinating times and places.

9Shrike58
Edited: Sep 16, 2008, 8:19am

Recent books I finished include Union Jacks and Deliberate Speed (see my reviews). My current reading is Eugenic Design.

10ThePam
Edited: Sep 27, 2008, 2:45pm

Yikes. Was just looking at the first post. Talk about lazy. I just posted my review of Sparta to my blog. If you've got nothing better to do, drop on by.

http://www.pageinhistory.com/

11Illiniguy71
Sep 27, 2008, 5:25pm

This afternoon on a beautiful sunny day in the Midwest, I'm reading Christopher Clark's Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947, which is a very well-written narrative, although long enough that I read 50 pages and then put it down for weeks before reading the next 50. Am also reading Fareed Zaikaria's The Post-American World currently on the NYT best seller list and rather reassuring about our confrontation with the Islamic world.

12DaynaRT
Sep 27, 2008, 10:20pm

Last night while making dinner I started on a Teaching Company course by Isiah Gafni, Great World Religions: Judaism.

13HarmlessTed
Sep 28, 2008, 5:25am

In the last 14 days I have read the first two volumes of Winston S.Churchill's Second World War memoirs, The Gathering Storm and Their Finest Hour and Rick Atkinson's An Army At Dawn, an account of the American operations in North Africa 1942/1943 - all in all 1700 pages, not bad for a fortnight.

At the moment I am watching a talkshow about yesterday's German soccer games and contemplating which book to pick up now: Either The Peninsular War, Gladstone or The Struggle For Mastery.

14ThePam
Edited: Sep 28, 2008, 8:30am

Yikes, such long tomes you guys are tackling. Good job!

And please drop a line here when you post your reviews (if you do review 'em). I'd be interested in getting your take.

15Shrike58
Oct 1, 2008, 7:05am

I just finished up The Planting of New Virginia, which is an almost sociological analysis of the process of settlement in the Shenandoah Valley (B/B+). While interesting, there are times when the author becomes a little bogged down in his details.

16ThePam
Edited: Oct 3, 2008, 7:28pm

Still sounds interesting Shrike58. Though I'd probably prefer an article to a book.

Just finished reviewing (and reading) "The Practical Surveyor" by Samuel Wyld. It was interesting, but not for many people. Orig. published in 1725. The current edition is more or less an exact replica.

Also, re-read and finally reviewed "Mountain Scouting: a handbook for officers and soldiers on the frontier". This one was published in 1881. It was alot of fun.

17marieke54
Nov 22, 2008, 8:56am

Finished Naomi Klein's Shockdoctrine, which is a great and important book.

Just made a start with FDR by Jean Edward Smith. A few things from the preface:
- "The riddle for a biographer is to explain how this Hudson River aristocrat, a son of privilege who never depended on a paycheck, became the champion of the common man".
- About Eleanor Roosevelt: "she had a gift for saying the right thing at the right time, and she could say it in several languages."

18JFCooper
Dec 3, 2008, 9:00pm

I'm about half way through Pauline Maier's From Resistance to Revolution.

Even after graduate classes in American History, there as always new perspectives to learn from. Reading Maier has increased my understanding of the political atmosphere of the colonies in the Stamp Act crisis and other protests prior to the outbreak of hostilities.

19Shrike58
Dec 17, 2008, 10:02pm

While I could point out the good books I've read of late, I have one for folks to avoid; Red Spies in America. It takes real talent to make an almost inherently interesting topic boring. The narrative here comes off as a mostly disjointed collection of anecdotes and I tossed it aside after about forty pages. That to tell this story properly you might have to get to grips with how the people in question could become Communists, and then spies, in Depression America seems to be a matter that never dawned on the author. Further glancing through the book the FBI is portrayed very blandly, and whatever your opinion of J. Edgar Hoover and his works I don't think that bland is the quality that comes to my mind.

20Shrike58
Dec 30, 2008, 8:29am

Hi folks, happy holidays.

The relevant books I finished up the year with include Over the Edge of the World (B+) and Explorers House (B).

21DaynaRT
Dec 30, 2008, 9:54am

A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World by Simon Schama is my current audiobook.