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Old 03-02-2015, 08:14 AM
 
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I am having a hard time selecting a book for the final essay of my first year of university. The brief is:

Quote:
focus on a single book and explain how it contributed to its field, adding to or even entirely transforming our understanding of its subject matter. The task will involve not merely appreciating or describing the quality of the work but addressing its significance. This will involve reading more widely around the subject so that you are able to identify more specifically where it has taken the debate forward and where it has built on previous work and particular historiographical debates.
I am really unsure what book to focus on. I was considering The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan but I don't know if that had enough of an impact on historiography to fulfil the brief and I would rather write something on a topic that interests me more, such as political history.

I was wondering if you could give me some suggestions of books that changed/influenced historical debate. Some topics I am interested in are the Cold War, JFK's assassination, and the Vietnam War, but I would like suggestions outside of these areas too.

Thanks!
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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The easy picks might be from among:

The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe

"The Rights of Man" by Thomas Paine

"The Communist Manifesto"...Marx & Engels

"The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
The easy picks might be from among:

The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe

"The Rights of Man" by Thomas Paine

"The Communist Manifesto"...Marx & Engels

"The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin
The books have to be historiographical rather than actually part of history, so none of these would work unfortunately. Otherwise, good suggestions!
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:53 AM
 
Location: SE UK
8,137 posts, read 6,921,892 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
The easy picks might be from among:

The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe

"The Rights of Man" by Thomas Paine

"The Communist Manifesto"...Marx & Engels

"The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin
Does it have to be an American book? Charles Darwin wasn't American.
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
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Here's a few:

The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
The Best And The Brightest by David Halberstam
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
43,518 posts, read 19,124,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unsettomati View Post
Here's a few:


Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
I thought this work was Diamond taking unmerited credit for what was merely a rehash of the pre existing theories of geographical determination. What was at all original with that book?

"Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" is an excellent choice, it began a process of reorienting the public perception of the "winning of the west" and the fate of the tribes who were the losers. In a sense it was the bridge between the old time Hollywood shoot-em-up portrayals of ambushing savages, and the sort of depiction you got with "Dances With Wolves."
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GG306 View Post
The books have to be historiographical rather than actually part of history, so none of these would work unfortunately.
What does that mean?
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easthome View Post
Does it have to be an American book? Charles Darwin wasn't American.
Actually only Stowe was American from the list I provided.
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:24 PM
 
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Why is this even a thing? Are you on track for a PhD in History? Can there really be people so concerned about the historiography of books?

I guess the question is, is this just mental masturbation for the professor?
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,584 posts, read 10,093,666 times
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A Shopkeeper's Millennium by Paul Johnson, a case study of social and economic upheaval during the industrialization of the early 19th century.
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