I say "popular history book" only to distinguish from academic sources. Thanks for your suggestions.
We tend to see much of the pre-Roman ancient world through Athenian eyes, because Athens produced so much literature, history, philosophy and sculpture. But there was a big world beyond Attica that gets misrepresented as a result. I'm looking for books or articles that correct this distorted view. [more inside]
There's a scene in the classic Star Trek episode "The Naked Time", which is mostly known for shirtless Sulu, where he stands in front of Uhura and says "I'll protect you fair maiden!" And she says, "Sorry, neither." I noticed this tumblr post pop up on Facebook and Twitter in the last few days suggesting that Nichelle Nichols adlibbed that line. Is that true? [more inside]
My project for 2017 is to read a biography, or a history of the presidency, of each President of the United States. I'd like to narrow it down to one apiece to fit the project into a year. Special cases of this question have been asked here and here, but I would like to extend the question to each administration.
I've decided the New Year's Day meal will be a simple Hopping John because of its associations with luck and wealth and folkloric good fortune. I've read this on the history of it and why it doesn't usually tun out well because of the inferior ingredients used now. I don't have time to order artisanal gold Carolina Rice or heritage red cowpeas from here so where in NYC can I find thier equilvents? [more inside]
I'm trying to get my dad into podcasts, so I'm looking for suggestions for podcasts he might enjoy. Can you recommend podcasts that he might dig, based on his interests? [more inside]
Does anyone know the name of this actress, (or she might be a singer)? She was featured in this WWII era USO film. Thanks in advance!!
Visiting Edinburgh in January and wondering what the hot new things to do, eat, see, or experience there since my last trip 3 years ago. We usually enjoy unusual museums and collections, vintage menswear , fine dining, LGBT stuff, and historical tours and sites like the Mary King's Close tour (We're both suckers for the macabre). [more inside]
I find myself drawn to a certain time period and focus of history. I'd like to know if there is a specific genre or time period or other way to describe my interest so I can more easily find books that appeal to me. [more inside]
I'm looking for readable, if not informative, non-fiction books about witches. [more inside]
Are there any events in the Americas before 1492 that we are able to date exactly with a reasonable confidence? What's the oldest such event? We know that Julius Caesar was assassinated on exactly March 15th 44 BCE. Do we know any such exact dates in the western hemisphere? [more inside]
I'm trying to come up with a Christmas present. My dad really loves naval history. I'd say his favorite periods are WWII (Pacific) and the Napoleonic wars, but I've seem him read and enjoy books from other periods. What books about naval history have you read and enjoyed?
I have a bunch of early Hollywood silent film clips that I am trying to source as part of a research project. Any idea of the titles of the films these clips are from? Thank you in advance! [more inside]
Around 1957, the Italian maid sang this lullaby to my father and his siblings. Based on my grandmother's remembered lyrics, can anyone help me find it? Sulla sedia io mi dondolo / E tu sei fra le mie braccia / Piccolina della mama / Nina nana nin' oe' [more inside]
My mom is obsessed with the Outlander series and really interested in that period of Scottish history (Bonnie Prince Charlie, Jacobite uprising, Culloden, etc.). I want to get her a solid, readable non-fiction book on that time period but I'm not too familiar with the material. Any recommendations?
I've settled on bringing a book and a thematically relevant trinket to my family's gift swap this year. The family consists of my grandparents (80s), my mother and her siblings (50s) and the grandkids (undergraduate/twenty somethings) with a few overlapping interests and I'm looking for a book that will be intriguing to as many of the attendees as possible - but particularly my grandparents who usually have the most trouble finding something interesting at our swaps. [more inside]
How did premodern universities, schools, convents, etc., work? This question is a bit confused as in formulating it I realized I was confused, but I will do my best! It came up when I was reading a fantasy novel and the novel was clearly "the author went to 20th century American college and just retrojected that on his imaginary medieval world." But what was it really like? I'm looking for the history of teaching, I think, and not just in universities. [more inside]
After Trump's victory, I feel the need to study, reflect, examine my assumptions about the world, and seek insight and solace. I'm looking for books that will help. [more inside]
Hypothetically, if you knew (or had strong suspicion) that a major global economic recession was on the horizon in the next few years, what would you do to prepare? Not like, society as we know it collapses into a dystopian Mad Max scenario-- buy all the gold and build a bunker; more like what could an average person have done in 1928 or 2007 that would have helped cushion the blow of an oncoming recession? [more inside]
Which is a good book to read about American History? [more inside]
What books would you recommend on the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise to power of the Nazis? I am not interested in WWII itself. Bonus points if it covers the rise of similar demagogues in other countries at the time.
I'm looking for a good, readable book or three about the social and political dynamics of fascist, demagogic, and authoritarian regimes (especially in the early, consolidation-of-power stages). Nothing too terribly academic – something approximately as accessible as Guns, Germs, and Steel would be ideal. [more inside]
I'm interested in reading first-person accounts of what it's like to be in a society that is falling apart - either through dissolution into civil war (e.g., Syria, Rwanda) or turning from a relatively free to oppressive government (Nazi Germany, Iran). [more inside]
It's been a few days and I've come down off of the ledge a little with regards to the US election and the President Elect. However, there's still a big chance that everything will be terrible and we'll need to make some huge decisions about what we'll need to do to either help our friends or leave the country. How do you know when it's really bad? [more inside]
I've seen requests from multiple acquaintances for materials suitable for 10 to 12 year olds the history of civil rights struggles and also in philosophy. Please help.
Librarians, curators, history and literature nerds - can you help? My JSTOR and googlefu is failing me. I'm trying to find out whether anyone has researched the phenomenon of writing inscriptions on glass with a diamond which was trendy in the late 18th/early 19th century. [more inside]
Are there good examples from history of fascists or proto-fascists being granted power, and then subsequently being repudiated or de-fanged before becoming completely entrenched and without significant bloodshed? I'm looking both for strategies to consider and reassurances that it might be possible.
Jeremiah Denton was an American POW in Vietnam. When interviewed for a propaganda video by the North Vietnamese, Denton provided confirmation of conditions by blinking "T-O-R-T-U-R-E" in Morse code while feigning light sensitivity. How did American intelligence know he was blinking Morse code? [more inside]
My grandfather has a fascinating life story, maybe even the stuff historical dramas are made of. In the past few years he made a serious attempt to write it all down, but his efforts were thwarted by a computer crash. He has not started again because his wife doesn't want him to overexert himself. Now his memory is starting to slip, and one of our concerns is getting his history written down before it's lost forever. [more inside]
What are your favorite primary source documents (historical speeches, essays, quotes, letters, etc) related to women making history and women's rights? [more inside]
On November 5th 2008 and November 7th 2012 here in London England, I tried to collect as many British newspapers as I could that featured Barack Hussein Obama II's historic election to the presidency of the United States. The whole world was united in pride for the US on both of those days. Now that he's moving out of the White House, I feel like it's time to give them away; the question is, who gets them? [Preferably to someone in New York City. Sorry Duluth.] [more inside]
I'd like to read a book about the Puritans, in particular John Winthrop. Any suggestions? Ideally the book would've been written in the past few decades.
I'm looking for books that provide insight to a (perhaps) underrepresented group, time, or event. Happy to have fiction or non-fiction (but if non-fiction, prefer a more journalistic or narrative bent). [more inside]
I really enjoy reading semi-novel style books on the story of companies and technology. Do you have any recommendations for me? [more inside]
I need some cool resources for topics relating to the Middle Ages (Europe for now, but soon Japan, northern Africa, the Middle East, etc.) that are appropriate for middle schoolers (11-13 years old, decently diverse with lots of students with special needs). Here's the catch: I would really like sources that DON'T propagate myths about the middle ages (burning witches, world is flat, church put scientists on trial, etc.) AND are interesting. [more inside]
I am reading The Orenda right now, which is set in 17th century Canada and told from the point of view of a Huron man, an Iroquois girl, and a jesuit priest. This has me wanting to read a history book about Canada that focuses on the indigenous nations that were here: can you suggest the best one? [more inside]
Identify the quote. [more inside]
I was listening to an episode of the BBC's "History Extra" Podcast sometime in the last year or two and they interviewed a historian who'd recently written a book about utopias, specifically a failed New England farm in the 1800's started by people with good intentions but who weren't good at farming. Does anyone remember this episode or know the book it was talking about? [more inside]
I'm making a list of folks who did something world-altering but died before turning 40. Historical/political/scientific like Alexander the Great or Srinivasa Ramanujan preferred, recent/pop cultural like the 27 Club, not so much. Thanks!
I'm hoping some History fans can help with resources on what life would have been like for a person who was an Irish historian during the 1300s. [more inside]
Herman Melville was an obscurity when Carl Van Doren (with Raymond Weaver's help) started promoting his work in the 1920s. Domenico Scarlatti was a completely forgotten Baroque composer until Ralph Kirkpatrick wrote his biography and republished his sonatas, which are now part of the keyboard canon. Petrarch discovered Cicero's letters and supposedly kicked off the entire Renaissance. What are some other examples of famous artists, writers, historical figures, etc. whose reputations were revived by a single person?
Inspired by the recent unveiling of the new MOMA exhibition archive, I was hoping you could share with us some brilliant examples of institutions showing off their history and heritage in new and interesting ways? [more inside]
I need new podcasts to listen to! I like two kinds of podcasts: 1) high-production, good sound design, on almost any topic (think 99% Invisible, RadioLab) and 2) historical and/or biographical topics (Everything is Stories, Backstory, Criminal). And a few others. But my playlist has gone stale -- refresh me? Examples of what I already like and dislike are inside. [more inside]
With Hillary Clinton favourite to win the US presidency, at which other points in history (if any) could it be argued that the most powerful person in the world was a woman?
What are these coins? [more inside]
I'm looking for good books and documentaries on Russia. I took a course on this topic in college (starting with the fall of the Tsars, through the USSR, and finally into Putin's first presidency), and I found it fascinating—but this was a decade ago, and clearly things have changed. Recent events have inspired me to start reading in this area again; help me sort out the wheat from the chaff. [more inside]
I am looking to settle into a nice, weekly marathon tele night where I can binge on one or two episodes of a riveting historical drama series or mini series... [more inside]
I remember reading in the past few years about an old machine that was like a paid bulletin board. You'd pay a nickel to leave a small (business card or smaller) sized message and people could check it. I think the article I read compared it to Twitter, and was illustrated with an old engraving. [more inside]