Author Topic: Looking for good history books.  (Read 2730 times)

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Offline mrfuzzer

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Looking for good history books.
« on: June 11, 2015, 06:42:20 PM »
I just read "Masters of the word - William J Bernstein". Im looking for something similar.
Yes i know its abit simplistic as to its conclusions, but i just love the narrative and as far as i can see the facts presented are quite solid.

So it could be about almost anything i suppose but here are a few suggestions on topic.
History of Medicine. (Something like a brief history of time format would be great)
History of Agriculture.
History of Philosophy. (Again imagine something like A brief history of time but about philosophy)
History of  Civilization. (Would love to read more about buildup to Mesopotamia and beyond i find it fascinating)
History of Mathematics. (Starting pre Socrates would be cool)

Something like that. But i want the facts in it to be solid with references. Id like a narrative but it can be quite technical too.


Yes and btw has anyone read: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind -Yuval Noah Harari.
And if so, is it good?

Best regards / The fuzzy one

Offline Drunken Idaho

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 08:04:04 PM »
I'm not well-read in this field, but if by chance you haven't read Guns, Germs, and Steel, I'd toss it on the top of your "to-read" pile.
Strange women lying in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government.

Offline mrfuzzer

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2015, 12:07:14 AM »
Thanks, i put it on top of the list and ordered it.
Ill start with it after the one im currently reading.

Still looking for others though so keep em coming.

Offline Drunken Idaho

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2015, 01:12:04 AM »
Thanks, i put it on top of the list and ordered it.
Ill start with it after the one im currently reading.

Still looking for others though so keep em coming.

You will not be sorry. I was riveted throughout, and I learned more from that book than maybe any other ever.
Strange women lying in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government.

Offline Tatyana

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 06:34:35 AM »
I'm not well-read in this field, but if by chance you haven't read Guns, Germs, and Steel, I'd toss it on the top of your "to-read" pile.

I concur. I really quite like a few books by Jared Diamond including 'Collapse'.


Online Sawyer

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2015, 10:27:46 AM »
You seem to be aiming for a slightly earlier time period, but here's a couple history of science books I've read that might fit the theme:

The Alchemy of Air by Thomas Hager - invention of synthetic fertilizer and the weapons that came with it
The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson - discovery of cholera transmission and the precursor to the germ theory of disease
Longitude by Dava Sobel - navigation was a nightmare before we had watches

Goodreads probably has several anthropology and early history lists.  I usually trust their recommendations

Along this line, I'm currently looking for a good book on the Royal Society of London.  I've read a Newton bio by James Gleick but it's very short.

Online fuzzyMarmot

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2015, 11:53:13 PM »
I haven't read this, but this sounds The Clockwork Universe by Edward Dolnick sounds like a great fit for Sawyer's interests.

For Mr. Fuzzer, I'd add "The Ascent of Money" by Niall Ferguson, "The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood" by Gleick, and "Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species" by Sean Carroll.

Offline Chairslinger

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2015, 09:35:19 PM »
The History of the Ancient World by Susan Bauer is an excellent general overview of Eastern Hemisphere ancient society from the dawn of written language to around the time of Classical Greece and the Roman Imperium(if memory serves, it ends with the reign of Constantine).

It's a good overview to give you an idea of what particular era and culture you might want to look further into. As with most histories it is heavy on the ancient near east(Mesopotamia), Egypt, Greece, and Rome. But also covers about as much as can be said from the limited ancient sources from India and China.

I think she is a bit credulous on historical claims in the Bible. But not to an ax grinding degree. Mostly just because you have to be a little less picky if you want to take just about any source prior to 500BC at their word.


Offline Drunken Idaho

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2015, 01:09:10 AM »
Thanks for the recommendation, Chairs, and welcome!
Strange women lying in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government.

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2015, 02:55:16 PM »
Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is a good read as are all of Jared Diamond's work.
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

Online Ah.hell

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2015, 05:17:50 PM »
Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is a good read as are all of Jared Diamond's work.
I like Diamond but if you read any 2 of his books, you've pretty much read everything he has to say. 

Offline EgeneBlankenship

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2015, 06:43:46 PM »
I'm not well-read in this field, but if by chance you haven't read Guns, Germs, and Steel, I'd toss it on the top of your "to-read" pile.

I concur. I really quite like a few books by Jared Diamond including 'Collapse'.

"Why Sex Is Fun" is also a good one.

Love his accent, too.  He has one of those old school Boston accents.

Online Ah.hell

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2015, 07:08:16 PM »
Despite my earlier criticism, Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamnond takes care of 2 or 3 of the OPs subjects.  Everything else by him is redundant. 

If you're willing to go old school, the rise of the Roman Empire by Polybius, written by a Greek to explain why they were then ruled by the Romans.  There's an interesting section comparing and contrasting various forms of government that existed a century or so before Christ.
Less old, the Discourses by Machiavelli, compares and contrasts the Roman Republic with the then contemporary Italian republics.  IMHO, far better than the Prince.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 07:11:12 PM by Ah.hell »

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2015, 02:22:53 PM »
This is another great Jared Diamond effort, far shorter than most of his tomes.

http://www.ditext.com/diamond/mistake.html

This might be why some folks don't like his work.

he "Third Chimpanzee" isn't really history but more great thoughts from the man. 
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Looking for good history books.
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2015, 03:35:13 PM »
The aforementioned Short History of Nearly Everything by Bryson covers the history of science pretty well. The Disappearing Spoon is another good book specifically about the periodic table and the history of the discovery of the elements in it. That's written, I believe, by Sam Keane, who's done a number of other good books on science history (the Dueling Neurosurgeons is another good one).
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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