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Old 02-29-2012, 09:15 AM
Location: Miami, FL
8,087 posts, read 9,583,514 times
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Most of the posts here tend to be on fiction. Thought to start a thread on non-fiction titles dealing with any aspect of history you prefer. Memoir, military history, history, exploration, economic,etc.

Son of the Morning Star by Evan S. Connell (a novelist) is one. He rambles all over the Old West in the period before/during/after the Little Big Horn. It is story telling but with facts. I have not found anything similar.

The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II by Fernand Braudel is another. My first exposure to the Annales school of history and it was enlightening to read history in terms of geography and not dates and names. I also enjoy his volumes on Capitalism.

Regarding personal memoirs there are a few- Bernal Diaz of the conquest of mexico(New Spain), Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer(WWII eastern front combat), and the memoirs of Alonso de Contreras who fought Turks in the Mediterranean when Spain and the Ottoman were competing for primacy. Robert Graves Goodbye to All That but I understand it is considered semi-fictional now.

Last edited by Felix C; 02-29-2012 at 10:01 AM..
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:49 AM
9,238 posts, read 22,452,085 times
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There are so many. The recent ones I've really enjoyed are:

The Forgotten Man: (Amity Schlaes) A must-read about the truth of Roosevelt's New Deal. We are all taught in school how the New Deal ended the Depression and saved us all, but that was not the case. As someone who leans Libertarian, the author was "preaching to the choir" a bit with me. But I wish more people who idolize FDR would read this book.

Freakonomics: (Levitt & Dubner) Enjoyable application of the sciences of economics and social psychology to the decisions people make. Mostly funny, some parts a little scary.

Liberty and Tyranny: (Mark Levin) A really clear exploration and explanation of how it's not so much left vs right as the big political issue, but more freedom vs. more government control. I really think people on both the left and right could benefit from reading this book, and see that more government control, from either a government on the left or on the right, is not a good thing.

In the Garden of Beasts: (Erik Larson) Memoirs of the US ambassador to Germany and his family during the rise of Hitler. Frustrating attempts by some to warn the US government and the rest of the world about what was coming in Germany, and how these warnings were ignored.

The Miracle of Freedom: The Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World: (Stewart) Scenes from world history, written like fiction but based on fact, examining how ideas from early western democratic thought and Judeo-Christian tradition brought about more and more personal freedom among people of the world. A lot on emphasis on how in most of the world, most of the time, people did not know "freedom" as we know it.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:09 PM
Location: Colorado
1,904 posts, read 3,933,912 times
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FDR - Jean Edward Smith
The life and accomplishments of FDR.

Blood & Thunder and Hellhound on his Trail - both by Hampton Sides
Blood and Thunder: the conquest of the West by the Army of the West.
Hellhound: James Earl Ray and the assassination of MLK.

Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee - Dee Brown
The massacre of the plains indians by the Army of the West.

The Last Stand - Nathaniel Philbrick
Custer's last stand and the events leading up to it. Very tactical in some areas.

The Longest Winter - Alex Kershaw
The battle of the bulge and the struggles of the men involved.

The Best and The Brightest - David Halberstam
Before, during and after the Vietnam War. Very insightful.

Just a few...I'm sure I will think of more.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:40 PM
Location: Nassau/Queens border
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"Berlin at War" by Roger Moorhouse
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Old 02-29-2012, 02:29 PM
Location: Colorado
4,307 posts, read 13,277,625 times
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Mary Boleyn: Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir
Considerably more accurate version of Mary's life than anything written by Philippa Gregory

The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury
The short life and tragic death of Louis XVII, son of Marie Antoinette

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory & the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis

The Tigress of Forli: Renaissance Italy's Most Courageous and Notorious Countess by Elizabeth Lev
The amazing life of Caterina Sforza, who went up against the Borgia family and almost won
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:28 PM
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i loved Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:53 AM
Location: Georgia
840 posts, read 768,033 times
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Already put some of these on hold at library so please keep listing them!!
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:52 AM
Location: Portland, Oregon
2,502 posts, read 4,920,225 times
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Barbara Tuchman - A Distant Mirror and other books.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:24 PM
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I like the books that are collections of Ernie Pyle's columns.

"Home Country" - pre-war

"Ernie Pyle In England" - Ernie in England during the blitz

"Here Is Your War" - Invasion of North Africa and Italy

"Brave Men" - D-Day to end of European campaign
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:01 PM
Location: Old Mother Idaho
28,894 posts, read 21,463,888 times
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Wow! Tons of good recommendations here!

I go on history reading jags regularly. Same with biographies.

A couple of my favorite histories are both very flambouyant:

J. Anthony Lukas' Big Trouble.
This big book has all the ingredients of a big novel- mine riots, the assassination of a former governor, kidnappings, bloody doings, unscrupulous detectives, cowboys, miners, a train ride across two states at 90 miles and hour, and a cast of leading characters- Clarence Darrow, Big Bill Heywood, William Borah, the Lion of the Senate, E. H. Harriman the railroad magnate, and a young Ethel Barrymore, who was the top hottie of the time.
While the 20th century had many 'crimes of the century', this one was the first to bear the title, and it was truly more major than most that followed.

It is an account of the trial of Harry Orchard, the man who blew former Idaho governor, Frank Stunenberg, to pieces with a bomb planted in the ground underneath the entrance gate to Stunenberg's home. The events leading up to the trial are thoroughly detailed in vivid Technicolor, and the outcome was astonishing. It's all true, and it reads like a sprawling adventure novel.

The second is:
Erik Larson's bestselling Devil in the White City.
Larson is hard for me to decide whether he is a true crime writer or a great historian. He writes historical true crime books that all have tightly intertwined murder mysteries that occurred with big historic events, and he always provides all the goods a fine mystery novel has.

Devil in the White City is about the Great Chicago Exposition of 1893, the brilliant World's Fair that secured the United States' position as a major world power. It was a foretelling of what the 20th century would become.
At the time the Exposition was going on, there was simultaneously a series of mysterious disappearances and murders going on among the thousands of people who flocked to Chicago looking for jobs that the Exposition created. Half the book is devoted to the story of the exposition, and the other half to the murderer and his eventual capture.

It's a real page turner and an engrossing story. I liked it so much I read it twice.
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