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 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 need book recommendations (or genres?) that I can find at my public library tomorrow. Not musician biographies. [more inside]
I'd like references for books that describe the intellectual history of the past 200-odd years in the West, e.g. modernism, postmodernism, and whatever was before and after. [more inside]
My ten-year old son wants to understand everything. He is a voracious reader and doesn't confine himself to kids books. He loves reading the newspaper (NYTimes, Boston Globe), fiction, and non-fiction books. He's old enough to really learn things by reading. Agatha Christie is fun, but he's ready for more than that. He's full of questions about society, politics, science, economics. I'd like to get him some books that will expand his mind, begin answering his questions, and show him how the world fits together. [more inside]
I would like to study the history of the business of poetry publishing. Where should I look? [more inside]
When my mother was a child, she had a book that was 100 short biographies of "great men of history". I am wondering if such a book exists for the modern age. [more inside]
I have become very interested in reading a book describing the experience of non-nazi sympathizers in Germany - their thoughts and actions - in the years preceding and into the rise of Hitler and the regime. I am just wondering whether the sentiment was "this cannot actually happen," "there is no way this is going to fly," "what a whack job, who would support this?" and "who are these people?" I have found it hard to google, so turning to you all! Are there books that can satisfy this line of thought?
A long-shot find-me-this-book question, academic edition! A friend has mislaid the title of a book he needs on Mexican popular religion. Do you know the book, or where else on the Internet might be a good place to ask? [more inside]
I've always been more of a TV person than a movie person. Now I think I'd like to get more serious with my interest, and really delve into the history and theory of television, both in terms of the shows themselves and the industry behind them. Help me get started with this! [more inside]
I'm looking for exceptionally well written books on topics in Jewish history that don't focus on the Holocaust, the modern state of Israel, or are "complete" histories (i.e. "A History of the Jews") [more inside]
My undergraduate degree was in medieval history, and I still enjoy reading about the period. But I've a very narrow geographic range to what I've read about - mainly western Europe, with some on eastern Europe and the Middle East. I'd like to broaden my range with some good books about what was going on in the rest of the world from about 500CE to 1500CE. [more inside]
I'm trying to fill in gaps in my knowledge of recent history, and need additional reading recommendations. Can you suggest books? Very specific or specialized is fine! [more inside]
Can anyone recommend a good historical examination of literary and performed works throughout all of human history that stood out from their contemporaries for containing exceptionally violent/disturbing imagery, even for their own time? (more 'recent' examples being Titus Andronicus, the various Penny Dreadfuls, de Sade, Milton, etc) [more inside]
I'm about to finish Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era, which is a history of the songwriters and musicians who invented the classic "Brill Building Sound." What's the best book to read about Motown Records? [more inside]
I'm embarking on Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," and won't be dissuaded (plus, I already bought a great, modern edition). I am, however, aware that some parts of it have aged better than others. What should I be keeping in mind as I read? [more inside]
I'm seeking pretty much what it says on the tin: books that are about medieval and early modern British history, especially anything about Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Non-fiction preferred, well sourced fiction okay. [more inside]
I'm putting together a book for a very little girl who is going through a princess phase, hoping to expand her idea of who a princess can be - e.g., "Here's Princess Sophie - she worked for the World Childhood Foundation." Most of the lists of favorite princesses are Disney characters, and others are too specific to an era or kingdom. I realize that this project is subject to criticism, but I'm thinking of it as a "Yes, and..." contribution to her enthusiasm. Can you name me some good role model princesses?
tau_ceti and I are leaving for a vacation in Spain this week, hitting Madrid/Basque Country/Barcelona. We're looking for recommendations of stuff to read on our Kindles about the history, culture, geology, etc of regions we might be driving through. Ideas? [more inside]
So I recently read Hilary Mantel's old LRB piece on holy and secular anexoria, which reminded me of how much I like her style and insights in her non-fiction pieces and made me regret giving up on Wolf Hall a few years ago. Is there something on Tudor history that would help me enjoy Wolf Hall more? [more inside]
I'm looking for a book or website I read a few years ago about sovereign default and how it's actually a GOOD thing. The author pointed out several examples in history where countries had defaulted on their debt and emerged more-or-less okay (if I recall correctly there were examples dating back to antiquity). Does anyone have any idea what this was?
Tell me the history books you've read that you could not put down. History of just about anything, but especially historically significant people, say, before WWI. [more inside]
I just finished reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer again and it was just as incredible if not more so the second time around. I'm wondering if there are other nonfiction books of similar quality and comprehensiveness for other topics - primarily looking for a diabetes book but also interested in any other comparable books. [more inside]
I want to read very good history books. I know such threads exist. But I want recommendations from people who are very well read (decently well read, even) in the subject. If you have a particular interest, what is it, and what are some excellent books you've read and recommend? [more inside]
Every year I load up my Mom's Kindle library for Christmas. This year I'm finding a lot of stuff on the non-fiction end but very little fiction that is up her alley. Her fave books: Neal Stephenson's "The Baroque Cycle" and Gillian Bradshaw's "The Sand-Reckoner." Got a rec? Expanded explanation of her taste inside! [more inside]
I'm looking for books about the daily lives of ordinary, non-Jewish Germans in the run-up to WWII. Ideally about someone who wasn't that interested or involved in politics and didn't have any strong feelings about Jews, Roma or other Nazi targets. Specific questions inside. [more inside]
What are the best history (non-fiction) books concerned with the Oregon Territory, the Pacific Northwest, Washington State, the Puget Sound region, or Seattle?
Book recommendations, please! What's a good non-fiction book to sink one's teeth into about the technological developments leading to the Industrial Revolution?
My wife and I were talking the other night, and we were wondering about how human beings figured out what food is edible and what isn't - what possessed folks to figure out if they ate this part of the fish, but not that part, then they wouldn't die, or if they could just get past the prickly parts of this plant, the innards were good? [more inside]
I'd like to read some great non-fiction books about political revolutions, both successful and failed. I'm particularly interested in the past couple hundred years of history, and in revolutions involving (former?) colonies. [more inside]
I'm looking to read about the interesting, fascinating, and crazy lives people have lived. Any recommendations for biographies of people that have led fascinating lives?
So I met a guy who used to work on a few of the celeb shows of the 1970's - the Bert Convy, Jamie Farr, Young Betty White years. He was telling some stories that were equal parts shocking and hilarious. I was wondering: IS there some sort of oral history of the shows and all their craziness at the time BESIDES Confessions of Dangerous Mind? I'd love to read about it.
My question is two-fold, really. First, please recommend to me all of your favorite titles on the history of science, math, technology, and medicine. Secondly, how do you go about searching for good books in these topics? My favorite booksellers don't have a "history of science" search tag, unfortunately. Some of my past favorites and extended explanation below the fold. [more inside]
I recently found out that I'm not the only red sheep in my otherwise right-wing family. Apparently my great-grandmother was good pals with James Maxton and some of the other Scottish socialists of the day. I'm looking for book recommendations about Maxton and Red Clydeside in general.
Let's say you have a kid - 10-15 years old, so maybe grades 5-10 - and you decide to pull them out of school for a year. During that time, you are going to drive around the United States with the goal of learning, in an authentic way, as much as possible about American history, culture, and geography. Where do you go, and what do you read? [more inside]
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]
I'm in a mood to read non-fiction history books dealing with sailing ships. Any suggestions? [more inside]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
History Buffs of MeFi: Please share your most favorite, most compelling sources. Movies, books, graphic novels, fiction - everything is fair game. [more inside]
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]