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Old 06-17-2016, 02:32 AM
 
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,535 posts, read 8,798,907 times
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Before I became an economist, i was a candidate for a Ph.D in history and continue to have an avid interest in US History.

Good luck. It's a rocky road out there with US History texts that cover the whole chronology - too many biases, many badly written, almost all will put you to sleep.

Pick a subject according to your interests and then go to Amazon.com and search. My reading of a single book usually takes me to others on the same topic. For example, my interest in the American Revolution and early Federalist periods has recently taken me to some primary sources, the letters between John Adams (2nd US President) and his wife, Abigail, and another book of letters between Adams and Thomas Jefferson (3rd US President).

I've recently gotten interested in frontier history of the more recent variety. The best book I've read so far is by Anne Hyde, Empires, Nations, and Families: A New History of the North American West, 1800-1860.
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:57 AM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
9,192 posts, read 3,034,538 times
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The only way you can come close to learning the facts about the history of anything, is to have many sources
and then thrash the little bits of truth out of them all. Having firsthand knowledge of something is always a big benefit in doing this.

I've seen several pieces of history in which I was involved personally or of which I had direct knowledge, change over my lifetime. What I know that really happened, is no longer supported by Historians, who now have their own, conveniently re-written versions. I've found that old newspaper clippings, with misprinted dates, have more credibility than eyewitness accounts. Many news archives have been purged of articles that told stories that someone in power wanted to be forgotten.

As they say, the winners write the history of wars.
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Old 06-17-2016, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,958 posts, read 54,331,694 times
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"I've seen several pieces of history in which I was involved personally or of which I had direct knowledge, change over my lifetime." That bears repeating. Attempts at cover-up or massaging facts are common, to the point that many times people in close proximity to an event have no idea of what really happened. Time and historical perspective sometimes put things in order, but sometimes the opposite happens. History is a treasure hunt.
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:37 AM
 
1,075 posts, read 1,230,350 times
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Battle Cry of Freedom is the single best work on the Civil War, but it's also a weighty one for a reader who is just getting into the subject.
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Old 06-17-2016, 06:35 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
3,287 posts, read 1,621,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve McDonald View Post

As they say, the winners write the history of wars.
The people who say that have never heard of Vietnam.
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Old 06-20-2016, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Independent Republic of Ballard
6,653 posts, read 5,085,079 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Statz2k10 View Post
But I think it would be important to also find a book that goes over some great world history.
A Short History of the World (short version) by H.G. Wells.

The Outline of History (long version) by H.G. Wells.

In Search of the Indo-Europeans by J.P. Mallory.

The Horse, the Wheel, and Language by David W. Anthony.

Early Dynastic Egypt by Toby A. H. Wilkinson.

The Iliad by Homer.

Histories by Herodotus.

The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhart.

The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution by Alexis de Tocqueville.

A History of Modern Ireland by Giovanni Costigan.

The Next Development in Man by Lancelot Law Whyte.




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Old 06-26-2016, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Southeast Michigan
2,839 posts, read 1,701,185 times
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All great suggestions.

If you want to read about earlier times, I highly recommend The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Everyone knows the movie, it was good and covered about 50% of the book . The other half of the book - perhaps more - was the great description of the period, the time that was far less complacent than you'd think. A lot of people have that idea that everyone in the West was Catholic, eventually people grew dissatisfied with some issues coming from Rome, and then the Reformation happened. The book shows at great length just how ever changing, non-conformant, and soul-searching the medieval society was way before the Reformation. A great read.

Another book I really like is The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman, it's about Richard III and the War of the Roses.
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
5,467 posts, read 3,780,204 times
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Hard to narrow it down with such vague criteria.

I would go to the prize-winning books. The most prestigious prizes in the field of history for single volume books are:

Francis Parkman prize
Albert Beveridge award
Bancroft prize
Pulitzer prize (obviously)

Doesn't really matter which year's winners or runner-ups you choose. If they reached that level of competition, they're all good.

If you just want facts you might hit up your local used bookstore and get a used textbook. That will also have bibliographical references for further reading.. There is also the Oxford History of the United States series.
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Old 06-27-2016, 11:59 AM
 
12,374 posts, read 18,463,797 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunterseat View Post
I love historical fiction and have learned a lot about stuff I didn't pay attention to in school. Yes, it's fiction but it's normally historically accurate.
Indeed, there is a place for "historical fiction" in the retelling of historical events. Pick and choose carefully, we don't mean the "bodice rippers" with a historical setting as a backdrop, but those that cover historical events.
Jeff Shaara and his father, and Bernard Cornwell are good historical authors that do good historical research to place there fictional characters and/or to give voice to their historical characters.
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:08 AM
 
1,075 posts, read 1,230,350 times
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Those books are still factually inaccurate. I love early Shaara and Cornwell, but they're not something you read to learn about a subject.

When I worked at a bookstore, I can't count how many times women would come in and ask for the history section. By history, they ALWAYS meant "bodice ripper" romances.
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