Let's stop discussing David Foster Wallace and Stirner for a sec.
What are some great history books you'd recommend?
Any period and region.
inb4 germs guns and steel
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is still very readable, but it's a very different kind of history to what we're used to nowadays.
Charles C. Mann's 1491 is some good pop history.
It's not perfect but I'll be damned if it wasn't an interesting look in the development of Anne Boleyn as a pop culture figure.
The Iron Kingdom - Clark (on Prussia)
Hitler - Kershaw (extensive 2000 page biography)
Congo - Van Reybrouck (pre-colonial to today)
Eric Hobsbawm - The Age of [whichever one you want]
Some textbook authors:
>The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is still very readable, but it's a very different kind of history to what we're used to nowadays.
Yeah, nowadays we like facts and evidence and all those stupid things.
This dude is pretty point point
>implying balance is a real thing
Also uh.. it depends want you want to read about. I study French History with regards to the colonies in the 3rd and 4th Republics but I know most French history generally well so if you need any recommendations there:
Revolution - Twelve Who Ruled - R.R. Palmer
Interewar - Hollow Years - Eugen Weber
Storra's Algeria is a good overview of the subject and short
I've had to read two different textbooks on Rome, other than that I wouldn't know, mate, sorry.
R.J. Van der Spek (it's Dutch, might be translated, not sure) and Noble - Western Civilization Beyond Boundaries, but it's not all that exciting. The ''fall of the Roman empire'' in general is being discredited by many though, so the entire topic is dangerous teritory at the moment.
Few authors tackle such a huge scope as Gibbon these days, certainly not in his kind of depth.
Peter Heather - The Fall of the Roman Empire is a fairly good modern work covering a few hundred years. But expect to read numerous more narrowly focused works.
>not reading wikipedia summaries to get the most general and essential knowledge possible
The scope and the tower-building of the sciences has grown to be enormous, and with this also the probability that the philosopher grows weary while still learning or allows himself to be detained somewhere to become a “specialist”—so he never attains his proper level, the height for a comprehensive look, for looking around, for looking down.
It may be precisely the sensitivity of his intellectual conscience that leads him to delay somewhere along the way and to be late: he is afraid of the seduction to become a dilettante, a millipede, an insect with a thousand antennae
All of these ancients were after all themselves dilettantes in rhetoric, hence connoisseurs, hence critics and thus drove their rhetoricians to extremes; just as in the last century, when all Italians and Italiennes knew how to sing, virtuosity in singing (and with that also the art of melody) reached its climax among them.
And it is this kind of stupidity that makes them so bad. [citations needed] peppered over the page leading to a patchwork of repairs and scrabbling to find sources that barely address what they are supposedly supporting. Meanwhile massive errors and lacunae persist.
Apart from making counter intuitive and tendential claims from single sources such as letters, he presents underreferenced revisionism and elides massive known source collections in order to push anti-Slavic racist narratives. He also writes pop pabulum that avoids the actual questions of concern of historians dealing with the eastern front.
Try Overy instead if you need a summary of the east.
For 'popular' history as opposed to scholarly:
Donald Kagan, Paul Carteledge, Victor Davis Hanson
>Crusader and Medieval History
Jonathan Riley-Smith, Thomas Madden, John Julius Norwich
>General military history
Victor Davis Hanson again
If you are singularly unaware of the nature of the publishing industry I suggest you go to a large high volume book store, a "big box" store, and do a survey count yourself.
You will find that sports autobiographies, self-help, gutter theology, diet books, military, colour glossies and the like comprise non-fiction with a small ghetto filled entirely of BIG BOYS WAR STORIES written by journalists called "history."
>them semantic pretzels
Again, you want to define literature as "anything written" while objecting to an equally broad description of history as "past events."
Have fun defining yourself to victory. The adults are going to talk about big people books now.
Keep ignoring the disciplinary nature of the humanities, it gives a solid epistemological grounding to any of your claims.
Your misidentification of my argument as semantic instead of sociological is also delicious.
>That's why the discipline is called "Literary Criticism."
In some places. Most call it simply "Literature," as while textual criticism may be the meat of the discipline it is not the sum total.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E Lawrence should be pretty entry level.
Also have Hugh Thomas's The Spanish Civil War, I haven't read it yet but it looks like a pretty thorough book.
I recently watched Rose of Versailles recently and I want something to read about the French revolution or events leading up too it, anyone know any good books on the subject?
I-I thought it was a fun read though...
I'll check out Richard Overy then.
I enjoyed J.J. Norwich's A History of Venice. Does anyone know if his books on Byzantium and Norman Sicily are any good?
And are there any good books on medieval France and/or Germany in English?
The Secret History of the Mongols (I hear Rascheweltz did the best translation but haven't read his, I have read Onon's translation). Its a historical book commissioned by the Yuan Dynasty to try and recount Genghis Khan's life.
The books on Byzantium are fantastic. Probably the best books to read about the Byzzies until you're ready to move on to Warren Treadgold.
And speaking of Warren Treadgold, History of the Byzantine State and Society is fantastic.
John Julius Norwich: An epic journey through history. Acquaints you with 99 emperors and makes you sympathize with them while still condemning their vices. For beginners who want a kick out of history.
Warren Treadgold: Examines the structure of the state and the inherent qualities of it that caused its successes and its failures. Rather than go too far into detail by describing broken shards of pottery and what archaeologists can find in dung hills, it takes somewhat of a cursory glance through 1000 years of history that still manages to take up 1000+ pages. The focus of the work is the course Byzantium civilization was on and why it went that way.
Just got Sex and Punishment: 4000 Years of Judging Desire by Berkowitz, so I can't recommend it as good or not because I've yet to read it or anything else by him but it does sound relevant to your interests.
"Congo", by David Van Reybrouck. Comprehensive and well written history of, you guessed it, the Congo, from Belgian colonialism to the present.
"The Great Game", by Peter Hopkirk. Good history of the shadow conflict between Russia and Britain in Central Asia in the 1800s, written by a guy with Intelligence experience in the region.
Also, I would NOT RECOMMEND any books by Jung Chang because she's shit and wrong.
This is a good one. I've also got a few good books on Tasmanian history.
If you're okay with a slightly outdated but charming romp through Western Civ, you can't go wrong with Will Durant's: The Story of Civilization
I read Stalingrad and Berlin and dropped him on that basis. I have no desire to be outraged about Spain.
I hit the point where I just couldn't anymore. Particularly the mischaracterisations about mass rape in Berlin.