So two books I really love are Heaven to Betsy and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I love how they go into the details of the period they take place, particularly the fashion and food. It was also only recently I realised that they take place roughly around the same era. It really surprised me because they are so completely different to one another. Francie has an alcoholic father and the family can barely get food on the table; Betsy's biggest ordeal is falling in love with a boy that doesn't like her back and not studying for an essay contest. So my question is two-fold and is aimed at requesting book suggestions. [more inside]
posted by like_neon
on Jul 25, 2014 -
I am seeking recommendations for (reputable/peer-reviewed) essays or books that could help me develop a nuanced but well-rounded understanding of the social, political, and economic climate in 1980s America (economic deregulation is a particular point of interest). [more inside]
posted by coastisclear
on Jul 14, 2014 -
I want to read some non-Western history, from pre-colonial periods. All I ask is that it be a good read, but non-Western authors would be a cool bonus. [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz
on Jun 3, 2014 -
I love conversing with people who know history and are sparkling, highly opinionated storytellers. Often these are foreigners or emigrants speaking about their country. They're unafraid to draw sharp, outspoken conclusions that frame major situations (e.g. that some leader was an incompetent fool or that an accident of geography is what will ensure conflict between two groups continues). What are some book equivalents of that conversational experience? They can be on any period or region. I do not want a magisterial treatise. I want a keen-eyed, slicing talk with someone really well-informed and cynical over several drinks who's gonna say what's what.
posted by shivohum
on May 22, 2014 -
I'm craving a particular subtype of historical novel: the kind that posits a dimly-remembered reality behind a famous myth/legend/story, sort of filling it out and extrapolating the details into realism.
My favorite of this kind is Mary Renault's "The King Must Die" about Theseus (also the sequel). I also enjoyed "Eaters of the Dead", about the events of 'Beowulf'.
But what are some other good ones you can recommend? More examples and specifics inside! [more inside]
posted by theatro
on May 15, 2014 -
I'm new to history as a field of study, and I chose World War 1 as a place to start. Having finished reading several books on the topic, I'm ready to move past World War 1 for now. My first instinct was to dive into the seemingly infinite pool of literature that is World War 2, but I'm not sure if I'd be doing the 20th century justice by skipping the intervening years. Essentially, I'm looking for a book that covers the period between the World Wars. Ideally, this book would focus on Europe but touch on at least some of the rest of the world. Bonus points if this book is available as an audiobook.
posted by jqb603
on Apr 28, 2014 -
I just finished reading Zealot
, by Reza Aslan, and I found it to be a fascinating book. I'm looking for similar books! [more inside]
posted by graventy
on Mar 17, 2014 -
I'm working on an architectural research project on late gothic Germanic churches (from about 1500-1650), and feel hamstrung by my ignorance of the cultures and economies in which the architecture was produced. [more inside]
posted by sakahane
on Feb 14, 2014 -
I've recently developed an interest in ancient history (yes, the recent history-related posts on the blue may have helped) and am looking for good books on the subject that I can buy/check out from the library. I'm particularity interested in technological and cultural histories of major ancient civilizations. [more inside]
posted by Noms_Tiem
on Feb 7, 2014 -
I'm a grad student in conservation biology who has always had a strong interest in conservation issues. However, I feel like the technical side of my education is much stronger than the philosophical side, and I want to restore that balance. Who should I read, what resources should I look into, what organizations or publications are out there that will help me gain a deeper understanding of the philosophical, historical, and cultural components of environmentalism? [more inside]
posted by Scientist
on Jan 24, 2014 -
I'm interested in tea and its history, especially its role in global trade and conflict. Are there any great nonfiction books that cover the subject without focusing exclusively on a certain time period or location? [more inside]
posted by cowbellemoo
on Jan 13, 2014 -
Trying to find the perfect book to scratch a partner's literary itch for macrohistories related in some way to music. Details within. [more inside]
posted by Stacey
on Dec 28, 2013 -
History Buffs of MeFi: Please share your most favorite, most compelling sources. Movies, books, graphic novels, fiction - everything is fair game. [more inside]
posted by gnutron
on Dec 17, 2013 -
Looking for a fun gift for an 8-year-old that might fuel his interest in American history (or any history) ... Any ideas? (Some specifics provided inside.) [more inside]
posted by pokermonk
on Dec 16, 2013 -
My nine year old just read "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry. It is her first introduction to really high quality historical fiction. She is excited to read more books that teach her about history, but are also fun to read because they are fiction.
Do you have any ideas about historical fiction books that are excellent quality like "Number the Stars" but that are age appropriate for my nine year old?
posted by lynnie-the-pooh
on Dec 15, 2013 -
I'm in the middle of In Search of Lost Time
. It's interesting me in French history. It's better to learn about it from non-fiction, though, since Proust mixes real figures and facts with ones he made up. What good books are there about any period of French history between 1789 and, say, 1939? Popular or academic books are fine, and they don't have to concern themselves with wars, arms races, and treaties, either. Cultural histories are good.
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Nov 4, 2013 -
You're teaching a massive survey course on the history of the 20th Century. What books are on the syllabus, in what order? [more inside]
posted by grrarrgh00
on Oct 25, 2013 -
My wife & I share an interest in history, but where I had a succession of quite good history teachers, she did not. We're many years out of college now, but she wants to broaden her knowledge through (relatively) easy reads. [more inside]
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught
on Sep 26, 2013 -
I'm looking for book recommendations for thorough, engaging, and rigorous histories of Savile Row tailoring and/or books that talk about the history and philosophy of fine men's tailoring and dress. I'm not averse to books with technical information, as well as historical and cultural information. Thank you!
posted by moxie_milquetoast
on Sep 15, 2013 -
I am looking for fiction or non-fiction books (or movies - documentaries or fiction) about societies that are collapsing or falling apart -- anything from the late Roman Empire to 1990s Yugoslavia. I'm especially interested in books or movies that focus on the lives of regular people while the collapse is happening.
I am specifically NOT looking for sci-fi dystopias or fantasy novels, so please don't recommend any.
posted by empath
on Sep 9, 2013 -
I'm looking for recommendations for unusual guidebooks to Seattle and the surrounding area, with a particular emphasis on ghost stories, the supernatural, the strange in general and the just plain odd. Being well tied in to historical context would be an advantage, as would be meatier text rather than just bullet points and captioned photos.
posted by Artw
on Sep 8, 2013 -
Pretend I came from another planet yesterday. Pretend that today I listened to everything by The Rolling Stones. Pretend that tomorrow I want to read a book about the band/their history/their music. What would that book be? [more inside]
posted by greta simone
on Sep 7, 2013 -
A friend of mine is about to move to Vietnam. I'd like to get him a book as a farewell gift.
Please give me your recommendations for books about Vietnam the country
- that is, books that cover something of the country's history, society and politics other than the American war.
posted by girlgenius
on Jun 1, 2013 -
I've lived all my life in the shadow of the Appalachians. Now, I'm moving to Arizona. What are some books that I should read, or music that I should hear, to help me get the feel of the Southwest? [more inside]
posted by WidgetAlley
on May 23, 2013 -
I'm looking for the US equivalent of Dominic Sandbrook's State of Emergency: Britain 1970–1974
—books that explore not just the politics, movements and 'big events' of the decade, but aspects such as pop culture and the changes in daily life and habits. [more inside]
posted by kaisemic
on Apr 10, 2013 -
Can you recommend a good book on papal history that is solid on facts and theology, honest about blemishes, but doesn't revel in scandal? Oh, and I hope I can find it in a Kindle version. [more inside]
posted by OrangeDisk
on Feb 26, 2013 -
I've been listening to 'Escape from Camp 14' on audiobook for the past few days, and I was struck by a brief overview of & reference to the story of Charles Robert Jenkins, an American defector to North Korea. I found the concept as mystifying as it was intriguing, so I would like to know if any of you have heard of any non-fiction books about other defection stories that involve citizens of democratic nations obtaining residency in nations that would be deemed objectively totalitarian and renouncing their countries of origin. I'm on the lookout for his book, 'The Reluctant Communist,' but I'd like to hear about other stories of this type as well.
posted by Selena777
on Feb 3, 2013 -
I only really have time to read a single book on the origins of photography. What do you recommend? Think Daguerre and Talbot, no need for hundreds of pages devoted to the camera obscura. I'd also prefer something heavier on text than actual photographs.
posted by Lorin
on Jan 25, 2013 -
I'm finishing up The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman, and while it's a really good read, it does what it says, and covers the beginning of the war. I'm interested in other books on WW1. What do you recommend? I'd like to read both a good, solid overview of the whole war, then maybe later read more in-depth books on certain parts or phases of the war. [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah
on Jan 12, 2013 -
Why does Mircea Eliade get short shrift in Robert N. Bellah's Religion in Human Evolution
? [more inside]
posted by ibmcginty
on Dec 18, 2012 -
I'm looking for your favorite books on early modern European history (~1550-1750 ish) to inform my reading of the Baroque cycle by Neal Stephenson. I usually rely on Amazon ratings to pick good books, but they are coming up short. History buffs of AskMeFi, please help! [more inside]
posted by permiechickie
on Dec 11, 2012 -
Looking for good, critical books and resources on martial arts and fighting. I prefer them to be academic enough to have survived peer review, but will take what I can get. Anything martial arts related would do, I'm interested in understanding martial arts and fighting in a more general sense. [more inside]
posted by Stagger Lee
on Dec 8, 2012 -
Is there a good book for an older kid about the history of China? Or, related questions, other great world history books for kids? [more inside]
posted by latkes
on Nov 2, 2012 -
Speculative fiction about historical gradualism: I'm looking for SF stories which begin in the real historical world (past or present) and then gradually diverge from it, without
any single decisive turning point. [more inside]
posted by RogerB
on Sep 19, 2012 -
I need help with a book suggestion! All my particulars found within, within, within.. [more inside]
posted by kbanas
on Sep 3, 2012 -
Can you recommend a popular history of Scotland--book, documentary, TV series, whatever--that I can consume before our trip there next summer? [more inside]
posted by WorkingMyWayHome
on Sep 3, 2012 -
I'm doing some research on the nineteenth century in the U.S. and I've realized I need to understand the Civil War better. Can you help me? [more inside]
posted by colfax
on Jun 26, 2012 -
Great non-fiction books for a smart 9 year old search: my kindle owning niece is embarking on summer vacation. I'd like to gift her some good books to fill up her summer days... she reads a huge amount, and I'd really like to encourage this. She's nine but has a roughly 9th grade reading level, so she's definitely capable of handling somewhat advanced books, and she's curious about a wide range of things. Really I'm looking for pretty much anything non-fiction & interesting. [more inside]
posted by lyra4
on Jun 24, 2012 -
I just got back from Brazil and want to read about its history. What are the best books in English? I'm particularly interested in the period from the arrival of the monarchy in 1808 to the founding of the republic in 1889.
posted by ocherdraco
on Jun 1, 2012 -