History Books (War,Politics, Secret Intelligence Service, Essays)

katia

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Kenneth M. Pollack-- The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America (for me this book was fascinating)
Bernard Lewis-- Faith and Power. Religion and politics in the Middle East
Bernard Lewis --Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry
*****
not a politics and not a history but something else
Anthony R. Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson -- Age of propaganda. The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion.
 

MaxSwagg

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Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow. An intensive treatise on just that: the unmooring of of the American military since 1980. And anything Christopher Hitchens.
 

Alba

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Thank you for your suggestions guys. :)
I haven't checked this topic for a while but I was searching for some books today and anytime I look for new books or movies I think of Olympia. I miss chatting with her about these things a lot. :cry:

Also, I miss BusyMom. I haven't seen her here since a year or more, I think. :scowl:
 

LRK

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Thank you for your suggestions guys. :)
I haven't checked this topic for a while but I was searching for some books today and anytime I look for new books or movies I think of Olympia. I miss chatting with her about these things a lot. :cry:

Also, I miss BusyMom. I haven't seen her here since a year or more, I think. :scowl:

I miss them both too! I do hope BusyMom is just... busy. But it's been a while now, hasn't it?
 

WeakAnkles

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There's a whole story behind this, but suffice it to say that when I was a wee child (we're talking 6-7 years old), a very elderly neighbor left me an incomplete set of Dickens in his will (I used to sit on his porch and talk to him--he was the nicest man! And he was 97 at the time). In any case, I finally took them out of the box I kept them in (they're from the early early 20th century, but they're pretty sturdy). One of the first books I've been reading is his A Child's History of England. And it's utterly fascinating and entertaining. For one thing, there is absolutely nothing objective about it. Mr Dickens is just full of pithy little acerbic comments about the foibles of some of English history's more colorful figures. It's probably available online somewhere, but if you like British history--and Dickens--I heartily recommend it.
 

LRK

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I've read it, and I agree - it's a good deal of fun, and completely subjective. And another thing that struck me was, that it wasn't exactly "watered down" for the "sweet little angels" - they arent's spared much of anything! But maybe the Victorians were just more.... tough? :)
 

actualrealliveanna

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My two favorite books in this genre are The Book Thief and Between Shades of Grey, by Marcus Zusak and Ruta Sepetys, respectively. Both are set during WWII, but take place in different countries - Germany for The Book Thief and Lithuania and the Soviet Union for Between Shades of Grey. Check them out if you haven't already!
 

LRK

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Maureen Waller: "Ungrateful Daughters" - The subtitle is: "The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown", and refers to James II's two daughters from his first marriage, Mary and Anne, who would both become queen in his stead (Mary as co-ruler with her husband William of Orange; and Anne after William's death.)

Absorbing. The personalities and times come alive on the page.

Not really a skating book, of course, but...

Soon the [trouble-making French] ambassador [Jean Antoine de Mesmes, Count d'Avaux] was scandalised by the sight of Monmouth and the Princess learning to skate together. 'It was a most extraordinary thing to see the Princess of Orange with very short skirts partly tucked up, and iron skates on her feet, learning to slide now on one foot and now on the other.'
 

skylark

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David Hackett Fischer: Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a Cultural History)

Fischer traces four early migrations from England to America: (1) The Puritans, from East Anglia to Massachusetts/ New England; (2) The Cavaliers, from southern Midlands to Virginia, Maryland and Carolina; (3) The Quakers, from north central Midlands to Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley; and (4) the Borderlands, from northern England/southern Scotland and northern Ireland (Scots-Irish), to Appalachia, the backcountry, and the frontiers to the West. All these groups were persecuted and out of the mainstream, at different times, in England. The Quakers were the only group who practiced equality for all and didn't exclude or persecute other groups the way they had been excluded.

It's fascinating how he traces very specific details in America's regional cultures to the area of England and the already formed cultures there. Also, he shows how subsequent immigrants to America picked up these folkways, regardless of whether they were from that ethnic group. For two instances: JFK and Michael Dukakis became New England Yankees, although ethnically, respectively Irish and Greek; Barry Goldwater became representative of Borderlands culture but was not descended from that group. Fischer wraps the book up with the substantial effects of these folkways on American politics and national life to this day.
 
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skylark

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Sally Jenkins, The Real All-Americans: the Team that Changed a Game, a People, a Nation

This is a fascinating history of Carlisle School for Indians in Pennsylvania, and the story of how a bunch of undersized Indians decided to play football. Their goal was to play Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and U. Pennsylvania, the best teams of the 1890s-early 1900s. To compete, they had to rely on speed, agility, and brain-power against opponents that at that time mostly employed brute force. Along with their innovative coach, Pop Warner, they created many of the famous plays of the present-day game.

I don't even like football, but I loved this book. Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe was part of the team pre-WWI, but some fascinating stories involve the players who, after graduating from Carlisle, went to law school and later helped keep their people from being cheated.
 
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dorispulaski

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David Hackett Fischer: Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a Cultural History)

Fischer traces four early migrations from England to America: (1) The Puritans, from East Anglia to Massachusetts/ New England; (2) The Cavaliers, from southern Midlands to Virginia, Maryland and Carolina; (3) The Quakers, from north central Midlands to Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley; and (4) the Borderlands, from northern England/southern Scotland and northern Ireland (Scots-Irish), to Appalachia, the backcountry, and the frontiers to the West. All these groups were persecuted and out of the mainstream, at different times, in England. The Quakers were the only group who practiced equality for all and didn't exclude or persecute other groups the way they had been excluded.

It's fascinating how he traces very specific details in America's regional cultures to the area of England and the already formed cultures there. Also, he shows how subsequent immigrants to America picked up these folkways, regardless of whether they were from that ethnic group. For two instances: JFK and Michael Dukakis became New England Yankees, although ethnically, respectively Irish and Greek; Barry Goldwater became representative of Borderlands culture but was not descended from that group. Fischer wraps the book up with the substantial effects of these folkways on American politics and national life to this day.

I am a little dubious about any author who claims New England is solely East Anglian/Massachusetts Bay Colony in culture, if he indeed did so?. The Pilgrims who haled from the Plymouth/Exeter/Devonshire area via the Netherlands, had significant cultural impact too. Mayflower by Philbrick discusses the similarities and differences.
 

skylark

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No, he didn't claim it solely, for either New England or any of the other regions or folkways. Thanks for asking this question so I could clarify.

In fact, he included maps that showed the regions of England from which immigrants came in each wave, bringing their folkways. For instance, the Puritans came, over thirty years, from disparate parts of England; but the largest number had been clustered in and around East Anglia.

I've read Mayflower also; a fascinating history but difficult emotionally, as so much history is. But worth it. Philbrick detailed, in a way new to me, how one reason the Pilgrims were able to establish their colony and keep it going, as others hadn't at that point, is because they'd already immigrated as a group to the Netherlands and had survived there as a community for 20 years already. I think Mayflower is where I got this bit, but please correct me if I've mis-remembered. It's been several years since I read it.
 
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skylark

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Maureen Waller: "Ungrateful Daughters" - The subtitle is: "The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown", and refers to James II's two daughters from his first marriage, Mary and Anne, who would both become queen in his stead (Mary as co-ruler with her husband William of Orange; and Anne after William's death.)

Absorbing. The personalities and times come alive on the page.

Not really a skating book, of course, but...

Soon the [trouble-making French] ambassador [Jean Antoine de Mesmes, Count d'Avaux] was scandalised by the sight of Monmouth and the Princess learning to skate together. 'It was a most extraordinary thing to see the Princess of Orange with very short skirts partly tucked up, and iron skates on her feet, learning to slide now on one foot and now on the other.'

I love the little skating bit. :) Does this author detail that Mary and Anne had been raised as Protestant by order of their uncle Charles II, and that their father James II converted to Catholicism upon his second marriage, with opposition from his brother Charles? I ask because a fellow history buff whom I met while in England told me that the trouble with James II, leading to William of Orange invading and becoming co-monarch with Mary, was largely because the English people, by and large, had "had it" with Catholic monarchs at that point.
 

LRK

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I love the little skating bit. :) Does this author detail that Mary and Anne had been raised as Protestant by order of their uncle Charles II, and that their father James II converted to Catholicism upon his second marriage, with opposition from his brother Charles? I ask because a fellow history buff whom I met while in England told me that the trouble with James II, leading to William of Orange invading and becoming co-monarch with Mary, was largely because the English people, by and large, had "had it" with Catholic monarchs at that point.

Yes, it goes into these things in great detail. Also the accusation - which I didn't know about at all (but then, I know very little about this time period in general) - that James II's son - and therefore heir, and who would precede his daughters in the succession - with his second (Catholic) wife, Mary Beatrice - was a changeling.

The way the book is set up is very interesting. After a little Prologue in which James II, having been caught whilst trying to run away, ponders his possible fate, we then come to a section called "The Family". In this part of the book one chapter is given to each major person involved, their life history up to the point of the birth of James' son, and their point of view, and situation, and character. The persons are: Queen Mary Beatrice, Princess Anne of Denmark, Princess Mary of Orange, King James II, Prince William of Orange. After which the next part is called "The Revolution", which is followed by "Consequences".

It goes into both the situation as a whole, and the political consequences for the country, but also for the people involved. It's very simple to follow along, even for me, who, as mentioned, didn't really know much beyond the bare basics, and not much of that either - but it is in nowise simplistic.

I'd really recommend this - it's just a very good read; I'd bestow upon it the highest accolade I know for non-fiction: It's just as good as fiction. :)

ETA - Oh yes, I forgot - it seems that James actually converted to Catholicism whilst still married to his first wife "the commoner" Anne Hyde - and she converted also. At the moment I don't recall the exact details of when he came out with this information, and how much people suspected, and when... though it's gone into much detail in the book.
 
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LRK

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Oh, another snippet - apropos the baby, the Prince of Wales, mentioned above:

One of William's most active agents in England was James Johnston, a cousin of Gilbert Burnet. Johnston had assumed the identity of a Mr Rivers and communicated with Bentinck from Huguenot accommodation addresses in London to the same in the Netherlands. His letters looked like business correspondence, until soaked in a solution, when a cipher message written in invisible ink emerged. Every titbit of information was passed on to William, even popular lyrics being sung in the streets, such as this one about the hapless Prince of Wales:

Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.
 
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skylark

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LOL. I've always wondered where in the heck the lyrics came from, and who in the world would want to sing them to their child as a lullaby!

A changeling? that is fascinating. Thanks for giving me so much about the book. It does sound like it's wonderfully put together. Especially that bit about the chapters being about each of the principal characters, so that each one presents a story. I don't know when I'll get to it, but you've interested me in this book.
 

LRK

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LOL. I've always wondered where in the heck the lyrics came from, and who in the world would want to sing them to their child as a lullaby!

A changeling? that is fascinating. Thanks for giving me so much about the book. It does sound like it's wonderfully put together. Especially that bit about the chapters being about each of the principal characters, so that each one presents a story. I don't know when I'll get to it, but you've interested me in this book.

Maybe I should add about the changeling thing, lest I made it seem as it likely was so - Mary Beatrice gave birth in a room full of people - and I mean full! - basically it seems that anyone at court could wander in... Some people may have believed in the Catholic conspiracy, of course - but basically they needed a reason to disqualify the rightful heir. Anyway, yes it's interesting. Should you ever get to it, I hope you'll enjoy it.:)
 
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