Fellow amateur historians, what books that you've read in 2009 do you recommend?

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Fellow amateur historians, what books that you've read in 2009 do you recommend?

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Nov 8, 2009, 10:11am

Three books by David Hackett Fischer-his most recent, Champlain's Dream, his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Washington's Crossing and his 1994 book, Paul Revere's Ride.
All 3 books are discussed on these very brief YouTube interviews:




Until I read Paul Revere's Ride, I never properly appreciated that the New England Minutemen saw themselves not as revolutionaries, fighting for new rights, but rather as defenders of their old, inherited folk rights, their self-government, a basic condition of their lives for 6 generations.

Feb 19, 2010, 8:06am

The popes of Avignon by Edwin Mullins
M: The man who became Caravaggio by Peter Robb
A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin
Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Troublesome Young Men by Lynne Olson
Benevolence and betrayal by Alexander Stille
The Lost: a search by Daniel Mendelsohn
They would never hurt a fly by Slavenka Drakulic
Sheherezades weblog by Fatima Mernissi

A big surprise for me was:
Dutch Archives and Greek History by Ben J. Slot, which gave me some terrific mornings in the National Archives, reading hand written reports (ship journals) of an 18th century Frisian marine fighting pirates in the Aegean Sea.

Edited: Feb 24, 2010, 4:47pm

This is my 2009 list of just history titles:

Noah's Flood – William Ryan & Walter Pitman (1-31-09)
Courtesans and Fishcakes – James Davidson (2-10-09)
Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder – Lawrence Weschler (2-28-09)
Under the Banner of Heaven – Jon Krakauer (3-17-09)
Hellenica – Xenophon (3-23-09)
The Honey and the Hemlock: Democracy and Paranoia in Ancient Athens and Modern America – Eli Sagan (4-14-09)
Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History – David Christian (4-17-09)
America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink – Kenneth Stampp (7-16-09)
The Beautiful Cigar Girl – Daniel Stashower (9-2-09)
The Long Fuse – Dan Cook (9-6-09)
Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore -- Bettany Hughes (10-17-09)
Black Elk Speaks – John G. Neihardt & Black Elk (11-5-09)
Europe Between the Oceans – Barry Cunliffe (12-6-09)

Maps of Time was extraordinary

PS -- excuse the dates -- I just copied & pasted this from my reading journal and excised the non-history titles.

We don't have a thread for 2010 yet right?

Jun 30, 2010, 9:37pm

The Mind of the Master Class

The Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early republic, 1789-1815

Battle Cry of Freedom; The Civil War Era

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution

A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962

Edited: Jul 1, 2010, 8:01am

Bill, Battle Cry of Freedom is THE best single volume history of the Civil War IMHO

(message edited because poster is spelling-challenged)

Jul 1, 2010, 8:49am

IMHO Battle Cry of Freedom is important as a history of the Civil War era. It begins with the end of the Mexican War and the Civil War does not start until around page 250. It is also more than a military history of the war. The political and social changes in the country are also covered very well.

Jul 1, 2010, 9:53am

I would also urge you to read April 1865 -- outstanding history, very well written, brings a lot of material to the table in a unique way. Like McPherson, very, very readable ....

Jul 1, 2010, 2:51pm

It may be focused towards younger people, but there is a japanese anime that focuses on the world history called Hetalia Axis Powers. It has manga and comics...
It's not exactly a textbook, but the references are there and you do actually learn a lot from it. The show is coming to America soon.