This thread is about books that are critical to a general understanding of history.
Please post an image of the cover as well as a link to where it can be purchased, along with a small summary and why it is worth reading.
The Inheritance of Rome
This is the quintessential tome of knowledge in regards to a modern, factually accurate understanding of what is known as the Dark Ages. It covers a span of 600 years, which is an immense timeframe for a single history book to cover with good detail, but it does so spectacularly. Wickham covers the general chronological development between the decline of Roman Imperial authority to the beginnings of Europe as we know it.
He takes a time period that is generally a mystery to most people and breaks down the political, theological, and migratory developments of each specific piece of the European stage as well as the Mid East. By the time you are down with this book, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the Early Middle Ages and what exactly happened during them, as well as the significance of the societal breakdowns and eventual rebuilding of new ones in their place.
The Histories of Herodotus
You'd be a pleb not to.
Obvious, most important work ever written on history.
If you ever need a book to explain how effective propaganda is and how ineffective fascism actually was this is the book
His Framing the Early Middle Ages is much better and goes into a lot more depth (naturally, given that Inheritance is a sort of precis of the earlier work) - the book's strength is in its comparative methodology, but I must dispute 'factually accurate'.
Taking the history of Sub-Roman Britain as just one example, Wickham ignores, seemingly without excuse, the testimonies of Gildas and St. Patrick's Epistola and Confessio, and refuses to examine Britain 400-600 because these important sources damage (as do other continental sources of equal prominence which he fails to use to their full) his Marxist view of the post-Roman Latin west.
Wickham is a giant of modern historical scholarship, but his work does contain a few gaping flaws of which one must be aware - as E.H. Carr noted, it is always best to find out which bees are buzzing in the bonnet of any historian. If you cannot hear the bees, it is not that there aren't any, but that you are 'tone deaf'. Wickham's openly Marxist interpretation of the early Middle Ages as a relatively egalitarian moment in the west's history when a capitalist and exploitative empire's burden was lifted from the common man ought to be borne in mind going in.
I'm not saying he is wrong - but just like all historians, he is guilty at times of suppressing loose ends that don't fit the mould.
In terms of recommending a must-read, A.H.M. Jones' History of the Later Roman Empire, 284-602. Still unrivalled as far as analysis of the workings of the late Roman state are concerned, but is badly outmoded in certain respects because of its failure to make use of what limited late antique archaeology was studied at the time.
You don't learn about history and society by getting the version that a few people recommend to you, you learn by constantly delving into as many sources as possible and always remaining open-minded to the possibility of having your thoughts challenged. I'm sure this book is great, but what one person takes away from it will be entirely different to another person.
Instead, just shitpost on /his/ :^)
Can anyone recommend good books about Slavs?
I would prefer ancient, medieval or imperial Slavs.
Not really a required piece but I'll post it anyway since it's an excellent book
collingwood - idea of history
explains perspectives and philosophic principles of all the main european historians up until 1940.
I'm most interested in Russian Slavs, but general Slav knowledge that's not specifically focused on any type of Slav would be great too.
Generally I'm pretty flexible time period and location wise, I really don't know a lot about Slavs and I would like to learn more, currently I'm especially interested in pre-communism Slavs
Also learning about Cossacks would be neat, if anything comes to mind in that department
All that is solid melts in air.
The best cultural history on the importance and topic on Modernity. Not stricly history, but rather combines sociology, literary criticism and philosophy to aproach the subject.
The Civil War: A Narrative
The definitive history on the American Civil War. Written in a narrative style, Foote achieves what I can only describe as a masterwork in terms of level of detail and entertaining style that allows him to turn historical figures into fleshed out characters through virute of the enormous amount of research he has done. The man belongs in the pantheon of historical writers in my opinion. I've honestly never heard of any person who is so unequivocally considered the foremost expert in their subject area.
Mircea Eliad - The Myth Of The Eternal Return
Totally changed the way i see the world and the way i think.
Eliad is one of the first historians of religion. This book specifically is about the perception of the time in different cultures and before judeo-christianism, and the way people from previous "archaïc" societies saw what we call now history.
It's mind blowing, but of course it can be criticised since its quite old.
Definitily worth the read though
10/10 fucking taste my man. Wickham is phenomenal. Averil Cameron, Peter Brown and all them lot were far too positive about the whole early part of the period. Framing the Early Middle Ages is definitely better though.
>A.H.M. Jones' History of the Later Roman Empire, 284-602
This is the titan of Late Antiquity.
I'm currently reading John Morris' Age of Arthur book on Sub-Roman Britain, a lot of is pure bullshit and it was rightly lambasted by pretty much every other scholar in the field, but it's a fascinating exercise in linking up the legends and the myths into a possible more grounded, more Roman framework. It's one of those things where you just wish it was all real, because it would be incredibly interesting.
His impression of a rebel yell still makes me laugh a little out loud sometimes when I think about it.
I really like the part where he talks about the old woman who let him swing around the saber and got offended when he said something nice about Lincoln and the part where he talks about the photograph of the Southern soldiers next to a fence
You sound like the one with bees in your bonnet m8, witch hunting marxists like that.
>the early Middle Ages as a relatively egalitarian moment in the west's history when a capitalist and exploitative empire's burden was lifted from the common man
Is completely absent in the book OP recommended
I wish Morris' vision had been real. Unfortunately it is utter tripe. Have you tried Guy Halsall's Worlds of Arthur? Despite the angry tone (present in all his work) and the fact that the title and front cover do exactly what he criticises others for in the opening, it is probably the best and most comprehensive overview of sub-Roman Britain to date.
When you read it, if you didn't know already, you will see how much Wickham ignored when he looked at Britain.
If you had read it, you would know that it isn't. Wickham states as much in his note on source selection and prioritisation.
I don't just 'witch hunt' for Marxists. I 'witch hunt' for anybody that openly attempts to view history through a very specific theoretical lens. We all look at the primary sources and secondary scholarship and pick and choose in some way - even a Rankian empiricist would find it hard not to do this. All history is an act of selection, but I feel that setting out to write a 'Marxist' or a 'Feminist' or even a 'Capitalist' history, especially of the pre-modern era, is doomed to distort the evidence terribly. By doing so you commit a heinous historian's sin - deciding what you want to find before you've found it.
I have bees in my bonnet when I read and write any history - I try to be aware of them, to counter for them, and where I fail, I am sure it is obvious to readers of my work.
>Guy Halsall's Worlds of Arthur
I'll try and find it. I've been obsessed with finding out more about sub-Roman Britain recently since it's such an marginalised period in historical thought. I read Peter Salway's Roman Britain and The English Settlements by Myres but they're rather out of date now (despite being excellent) so recommendations are appreciated.
>a guy who wrote down what people thought the world was like
>he's not worth studying because those people would later be proven wrong
>as though them being wrong isn't a reason to study them to being with
This is like saying you shouldn't read Daemonologie to understand James I's worldview because witches and demons aren't actually really.
annotated bibliography on muscovy and russia.
I'm reading janet martin's "medieval russia 860-1586" and its a solid introduction to the history of the region.
Roger Collins, Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000
>This book offers a fascinating account of Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire through to the end of the tenth century. In its wide-ranging coverage of the period, it takes into account social, economic and political changes as well as the important cultural changes, including the rise of Islam and the recreation of a western empire under the Cardingians.
>I was specifically talking about recording history in the Herodotean/Thucydidean style.
Well they certainly would not have been in the style of Greek historia. But they did have quasi-chronicles I believe.
For anyone interested in WW1, I'll just leave this repost here.
Beckett, Ian F. W. The Great War, 1914–1918. 2d ed. Harlow, UK: Pearson/Longman, 2007.
>Beckett provides an excellent survey of the Great War. Detailed, knowledgeable, and very well referenced, with an excellent bibliography, maps, and chronology, it contains much on the Western Front.
Sondhaus, Lawrence. World War I: The Global Revolution. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
>Aimed at general readers and students, Sondhaus provides an impressive array of sources to support his informed global history of the war, with up-to-date syntheses of the latest publications on the subject.
Stevenson, David. Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy. New York: Basic Books, 2004.
>A magisterial overview that examines the war’s outbreak, escalation, outcome, and legacy. Contains an extensive bibliography and a number of useful maps.
Strachan, Hew. The First World War. Vol. 1, To Arms. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
>In the first of three planned volumes, Strachan examines the causes of the war and its opening battles on land and sea, and includes the economic history of the war, the war in Africa, and the expansion of the war outside Europe.
Strachan, Hew. The First World War: A New Illustrated History. London: Simon & Schuster, 2003.
>Written with a general audience in mind, to accompany the critically acclaimed television series The First World War. The book is richly illustrated and contains a lot of material on the Western Front, but also on all other aspects of the war.
Lafore, Laurence. The Long Fuse: An Interpretation of the Origins of World War I. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1981.
>Eschews discussion of war guilt in favor of analyzing Europe’s changing structure and mentality as central to the war’s outbreak. First published in 1965 (Philadelphia: Lippincott).
Martel, Gordon. The Origins of the First World War. Rev. 3d ed. London: Longman, 2008.
>Latest edition of a book first published with James Joll in 1987. Its conciseness (196 pages), sophisticated presentation, well-chosen sample of significant documents, and updated bibliography continue to make this an ideal “backpack book” for undergraduates.
Stevenson, David. The Outbreak of the First World War: 1914 in Perspective. Studies in European History. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997.
>Focuses on the discussions surrounding the war’s outbreak, still useful after more than a decade as a summary of the main lines of causes and responsibilities. Ideal for classroom use.
Strachan, Hew. The First World War. Vol. I, To Arms. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
>Includes a brilliantly presented analysis of the war’s origins, a state-of-the-art synthesis of evidence and approaches. The first one hundred pages are definitive and provide a useful overview.
The Guns of August
One of the greatest non-fic of all time
I'll suggest pic related, not only because it's a very good lecture, but also because it changed the way of making history in Italy
You probably know cossacks from their edgy letter to sultan.
They are nothing but a lawless thugs that hohols praise, the only moment they were worth something was when they got appointed to russian army, but they still were nigger tier
I'd also recommend:
Simon Esmonde-Cleary - The Ending of Roman Britain (has attained 'classic' status, a 'catastrophist' reading of the evidence)
James Gerrard - The Ruin of Roman Britain (very good, and has the virtue of questioning EVERYTHING archaeological again, much as Halsall's book goes back to square 1 with the texts. Archaeologically focused)
Michael Jones - The End of Roman Britain
(Runs with the idea that it was Britain that left Rome, not vice versa - personally I wasn't convinced, but worth a read)
Christopher Snyder - An Age of Tyrants (good, but getting a little dated)
Roger White - Britannia Prima: Britain's Last Roman Province (a regional study suggesting a very Roman state survived for a time based on the westernmost province of Britain - perhaps overly influenced by the Wroxeter excavation he dug on under his mentor Philip Barker)
Ken Dark - From Civitas to Kingdom and Dark - Britain and the End of the Roman Empire (Dark offers what is, outside Morris' and the slew of otherArthurian pseudohistories, the most 'maximalist' interpretation of the evidence. This has its benefits but go in with a big grain of salt ready)
Neil Faulkner - The Decline and Fall of Roman Britain (takes the Richard Reece line that Britain was never properly Romanised, and that the decline was swift and brutal, the end almost immediate. A Marxist who believes the end of Roman Britain may have seen a peasant revolution, and he wrote a chapter for the 410 conference proceedings calling Gildas the 'Red monk'. Just something to bear in mind)
These, with Halsall should give you a very good idea of the current state of play on the subject, and Halsall, Gerrard
>They are nothing but a lawless thugs that hohols praise
I'm not from Eastern Europe but this is utterly dumb if you've read some histories of the region. Like anything in history, the issue is not as black and white as you make it out to be. Cossacks did "good" things and "bad" things, to put it into your childish worldview.
Thucydides History of the Peloponessian War should be read by everyone, even if you're not interested in classical history. Caesar's Gallic Commentaries should be read by classical history students for the purpose of teaching skepticism of first hand accounts.
What do you guys think of these?
I know they are Portfolio society, idk how you all view them. I can see some people thinking of portfolio society books as a waste of money, but i liked the cover designs on these and the books themselves were a good read.
Byzantium (forgot they dont have the title on the cover, sorry)
Really enjoyed The Pursuit of Glory when I read it. It's a great overview of the time period and while there are some parts I found weaker than others mainly due to lack of interest in the subject (agriculture was the big one) it's still a really good book imo and the parts I enjoyed (the development of roads, hunting, attempts to abolish serfdom... a lot of stuff really) I loved.
Japanese history I'd recommend two I'm reading through off and on.
One is The Making of Modern Japan by Marius B. Jansen which covers Japan mainly from the Edo period through the modern day (around 2000 at the time) and goes into just about every detail you could ever want.
There's also Embracing Defeat by John Dower which is a fairly in-depth account of othe immediate post-war years (up through the early 1950s). Learned some nice things in there like the fact that the bread eating races I see in my animoos came from a children's game where you were so hungry that whoever reached the bread first won because they actually got to eat and food was damn near non-existant.
I'll look into it, looks interesting. Among the many works I found on sacred-texts.com, I found myself fascinated with the translation of the Hermetic treatise "The Virgin of the World" by Anna Kingsford and The Golden Bough.
A book that made be change my thoughts on the history of the liberal arts was a small, well-illustrated square book in my Barnes & Noble called "Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology". Very inspiring.
you can see pages of that book on http://www.woodenbooks.com/; look through the main catalog.
Wandycz, Piotr- The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present
As the title explains, the book is a nice general overview of the east-central European region (the modern nations of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic and Slovakia) from their acceptance of Western Christianity (which integrated the region with Western Europe religiously and culturally) in the Middle Ages all the way to the rapid political developments of the early 1990s. It's around 200 pages, but this was the only part that focused on the Cossacks mind you.
heres a free download and the excerpt you'll see in the link:
>This book, as the title suggests, tries to make the case for perceiving Poland, former Czechoslovakia and Hungary as a single cultural entity, as a region with certain common characteristics and historical experience. However, as the reader reads on, she/he cannot help the feeling that the book unintentionally proves the exact opposite. This is not to say that the author is a charlatan - for there can be no doubt about the his erudition. Rather, Wandycz seems to be under the influence of the current geopolitical situation in Eastern Europe when the four countries (P, H, CZ, S) actually do face similar problems and tasks - but such moments are rare in their histories and cannot be taken as a starting point of writing their joint history. Nonetheless, the book would serve as an excellent introduction into the general history of the countries in the region.
Regardless of this comment, I think its an interesting and informative comparative history.
Any good books about history of exploration? It can be anything from Age of Exploration to expeditions from 19th and 20th century. Sea, mountains, polar regions, aviation.
I just got my copy of God's Playground vol. 1 in the mail the other day ;^). But it looks like its a dense book so I think I'd recommend Wandycz to get a small taste of polish history considering its length.
Lots of interesting classics. Some of them are interesting for their historical value not for their accuracy. But I don't see Tocqueville whose book is a must read. But ok I assume it's mostly about politics and not travel.
Twain was also great.
Curiously there are lots of memoirs. Kingsley, Shackleton (why not Cherry-Garrard who's a better writer than both of them?).
This one was a decent read, the eastern front of ww1 rarely gets mentioned outside the context of the revolution and I feel that this book does a good job covering this overlooked area of history.
From the Netherlands, my first conception of the war was just a bunch of burgers fighting each other because of slavery/state rights/federalism (still secretly about slavery)
Foote shows that the conflict had a romance to it, it was sometimes literally brother against brother. Northerners fighting for the south, southerners for the North. It made me apreciate the conflict a whole lot more
Why would you choose The Myth of The Eternal Return over, The Scared & The Profane?
De tocquevilles the ancien regime and the revolution.It kind of took me by surprise with how interesting it was. I think its an entertaining book on thr french revolution when compared to the writings of william doyle, georges lefebvre and alfred cobban, who seem pretty drab.
Also, i think its pretty funny how he compares the french farmers to the jews.
I got this after seeing it mentioned somewhere. It may be that it is the audiobook version but I don't care for it and feel it was either poorly written or perhaps written not suitable for audiobook listening while commuting.
Best book on Alexander I've read so far. It covers many things, among them the mindset and diet of the macedonians at the time.
That;s a big period mate, if you have no prior particular knowledge start easy with something on the late republic/early empire and then span out from there. Top shelf in pic might have something for you, not best pic but you can go through the titles/authors on amazon or something and get an idea of where you might want to start.
Yeah, when did the Romans ever write shit down.
On topic, I'm partial to a bit of Hobsbawm, he's an unrepentant Marxist but Age of Revolutions is really rather good for explaining the complete uniqueness and inter-dependancy of the Industrial/French Revolution and all the shit that went down in 19thC Europe.
>a capitalist and exploitative empire's burden was lifted from the common man
Mate, I don't think Wickham ever wrote anything about Rome being "capitalist". Also, Jones is great. Excellent taste there. But I woud also recommend reading Moses Finley and every critique he makes of Jones' view of slavery in the imperial period. It's a very entertaining debate.
apologies for the late response. these editions are from the folio society which is why they look sparkly. you can get the regular books from amazon for way less cash.
John Julius Norwich - Byzantium
>Dark > Ages
>Implying 'Mussolini' isn't better
muh lost cause
>asspained Itali- Frenchman
>Eastern front >Relevant
I'll give you this one...
The Fall of the Roman Empire
In it Heather makes a pretty damn convincing argument that the historiography for the fall of Rome is unnecessarily complex. Meaning that he believes there was nothing critically at fault with Rome internally before it fell apart, but that the barbarian invasions and migrations are sufficient in explaining its downfall. Usually a summary of Rome's decline will throw a bone to each of the major theories, but Heather singles out the barbarian invasions as the only real reason for why things turned out the way it did.
The cover itself mentions it was inspired by the microhistory of Montaillou, which is another excellent read. I kept getting stunned by how real, human, complex and foreign these lowborn medieval people came across.
I'm about to wish/buy a few books, but I have no idea which version/modern author is best. I hope you guys could help me out:
The Gallic War
The Poetic Edda
This one, the part that describes what the Bolsheviks did to enemy POWs during the civil war was fucking sickening and I'm not even a /pol/ boo. The scene where the cadets who surrendered to the red guards in Kharkov were tossed alive into the blast furnace of a steel refinery gave me nightmares.
>He would kill these
Bolsheviks were scum
Commies are scum
Mohammed and Charlemagne by Henri Pirenne.
Pirenne succinctly demonstrates that the "Dark Ages" were caused by the expansion of Islam and the division of the Mediterranean into two civilizations. He also states that while there was a "dark age" around Rome and the Western Mediterranean there was a huge upsurge in development in northern Western Europe (parts of modern day France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and England).
Bullshit and you know it. Being butthurt about the Algerian War does not constitute sufficient proof
I'm pretty sure the implying Japanese are people thing is based on Japs spending every waking moment of their youth studying so that they may slave away at a large Japanese company and live with their parents until they are 40
Also WW2 era sentiment of Japs being non-human because they apparently didn't value their own life as much as their enemies would
If you go by terrible warcrimes you could say that about pretty much every society in human history.
Which book did you read? I don't really know a lot of details of Jap warcrimes and I'm interested to know more
Not him but I'm reading 'The Storm of War' by Andrew Roberts; here are some excerpts (most of them quotes from primary sources):
This takes place in the Red Cross hospital in Manila, source is its manager, Modesta Farolan.
>'Women were raped and sliced with bayonets from groin to throat and left to bleed to death in the hot sun. Children were seized by their legs and had their heads bashed against the wall. Babies were tossed into the air and caught on bayonets. Unborn fetuses were gouged out with bayonets from pregnant women'
A separate event:
>On 7 Feburary 1945, advancing American forces discovered the mutilated corpses of forty-nine Filipinos on the corner of Juan Luna and Moriones Streets in Manila. One-third of the corpses were omen and another third babies and infants. All had been shot, bayoneted or beheaded, and most of the femals - of almost all ages - had been raped. Pregnancy was certainly no protection, as a mountain of contemporaneous evidence proves.
>As well as bayonet wounds, some young female survivors of a separate massacre had had 'both of their nipples amputated from their breasts, and a 2-year-old boy had had both of his arms cut off by the Japanese. Some children as young as five were nursing stab wounds and severe burns caused by sadistic Japanese naval troops for no other reason than to inflict pain and suffering on infants.'
The chapter ends with:
>There were many other scenes described to the war tribunal - and not denied by the perpetrators - that are simply too disgusting to recount here. Men of the Imperial Japanese Navy were undoubtedly every bit as depraved, sadistic and ruthless as described
These are just some specific examples of captured villages. If you're interested I can post the stories of the crews of captured boats and submarines.
Some other infamous examples are: Unit 731 and Unit 100's human experiments, the Kachanburi death camp, Changi Jail in Singapore, Korean Comfort Women and the Bataan Death March.
I only know Roberts from that great Napoleon biography he wrote, I'm not sure why but until now I wasn't even he wrote on WW2
Thank you for the recommendation, I will read that book
Does the book go into the details of the human experiments that were conducted by the Japanese?
My knowledge in that department is lacking
I actually recall a story about how the vikings did a similar thing with throwing babies in the air to catch them with spears
That's not what Pirenne's work says at all. Muhammad and Charlemagne is about the end of the Dark Ages because of Charlemagne and his reforms and grants that laid the foundations of the Medieval merchant guild city and productive monastery industry, which happened because Henri believes the Muslim Mediterranean turned Western Europe towards economic independence and reform from the stagnant and Eastern Roman dominated system of subsidized government shipping.
It's since been shown that this break happened a century earlier than Muhammad, and the opposite in the form of increased communication and trade with the Mediterranean and East in general started after the Arab conquests, but the point about Western Europe's agricultural and economic changes in the form of its new cities is worth reading for.
>Does the book go into the details of the human experiments that were conducted by the Japanese?
I'm only half way through and there has only be mention of the human experimentation as of yet. Though the book has not reached the liberation of China yet, where that would most likely be located. I can't vouch for what kind of detail he will go into since that may well come under the category of "simply too disgusting to recount here". (Though he did go into a fair bit of detail about the holocaust)
Anyone got a book on the SS? Not specific units or memoirs like Sven Hassel but a history of the organization since its establishment with notable in depth mention of every division?
The book was written prior to WWII. He doesn't attack Islam as a religion, he demonstrates that the Mediterranean world was split into two firmly separate, often hostile, civilizations due to the emergence of Islam.
I'm looking for recommendations on the ancient Near East and for the history of Christianity. Also curious if there is anything reliable concerning the Vatican from Italian imperialism to WWI and II.
are there any more of these reading trees? This is a really neat info graphic and gives structure to reading instead of just a random list of books for you to jump into. I like structure.
The introductory works shown here on Republican China. Zarrow and Spence don't go into depth about Republican era politics because how complicated it is. The Cambridge histories of China do go in depth about the intricacies of republican politics.
free downloads of the cambridge histories:
>...the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age
Great primer on space history. His use of a new meaning of the concept of technocracy gives very good insight on how the Cold War affected the US and the USSR.
Diplomacy, by henry kissinger, plus Social Theory of International Politics as a mirror.
Howard Zinn - A People's History of the United States - biased as it gets, but important to read.
Adam Smith - The Wealth of Nations - wouldn't say it's a genius book, but fundamental to understand modern times. The Capital is a good mirror, read it if you can.
Thomas Kuhn - The Structure of Scientific Revolutions - this book is about science, but the parallels it draws enable a lovely understanding of how knowledge is acquired and how communities of practitioners change their conceptions.
No, but a friend of mine's recommended it to me. Will read it eventually.
Here, have Diplomacy - https://politicainternacionalcontemporanea.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/05-henry_kissinger-diplomacy.pdf
Just start by reading a chapter or two, it's enough to learn a lot. If you have the time, then feel free to delight yourself in the man's knowledge.
Fuck off. We're not talking about inherent value of people, but of fundamental knowledge that is not acquired by reading polandball and getting into arguments on 9gag comments, you smug toad
>shits on everything but rates a book about one of the most overrated and inconsequential civil wars in history
You're probably an American redneck. The exact cancer ruining this board.