Book recommendation/request thread

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Vaporous » 2012-02-14 02:00pm

I can understand ignoring his wife, since Frederick did that too. But no mention of Wilhelmina? There's some great stuff in those letters. Some horrible melodrama and plans for double suicide too, but its an important part of his life.

Can anyone recommend a good book on the Hapsburgs? I know any full history of the family would have to be immense, so I'm mostly focused on 1500-1648, and more on the religious struggle in the Empire than on Spain.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-02-14 03:35pm

Vaporous wrote:I can understand ignoring his wife, since Frederick did that too.


Frederick did it almost certainly out of a deep personal shame due to malformed genitalia - when he was a teenager, he had a great habit of partying with the local girls, which eventually lead to him contracting a vicious STD. The operation performed to heal that apparently left him permanently deformed.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby TC Pilot » 2012-02-14 07:02pm

Vaporous wrote:I can understand ignoring his wife, since Frederick did that too. But no mention of Wilhelmina? There's some great stuff in those letters. Some horrible melodrama and plans for double suicide too, but its an important part of his life.


The author does mention Frederick's correspondence with Wilhelmina, and their early childhood attachement, but not very much, and she virtually ceases to exist after Frederick becomes King, save for the occassional letter and ultimately her death.

Can anyone recommend a good book on the Hapsburgs? I know any full history of the family would have to be immense, so I'm mostly focused on 1500-1648, and more on the religious struggle in the Empire than on Spain.


You might like to try The Habsburgs and Europe 1516-1600 by H. G. Koenigsberger, though as the title suggests, it pays some detailed attention to regions besides Austria, like Spain and the Netherlands. It's more of a compilation of the author's essays than an overarching narrative, but it fits with your period of interest.

Also, consider A History of the Habsburg Empire, 1526-1918 by Robert A. Kann. I haven't read it myself, but I could dredge up numerous complementary reviews of it on JSTOR. Just don't expect mcuh prose, for that, you would need to look more toward, at the risk of trolling Thanas here again, Taylor's The Habsburg Monarchy 1809–1918, but that's not really the period you're looking for.

Also, and this is more of a shot in the dark, consider Peter Wilson's Europe's Tragedy, a fairly new account of the Thirty Years War, which I thought had some interesting things to say about the functioning of the HRE's political and legal structure pre-war. Depending on your take on the war, that's pretty much the religious struggle in the HRE.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-02-14 07:31pm

TC Pilot wrote: for that, you would need to look more toward, at the risk of trolling Thanas here again, Taylor's The Habsburg Monarchy 1809–1918, but that's not really the period you're looking for.


Why do you bring him up again? Do you really think people can learn anything from him? :roll:
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby TC Pilot » 2012-02-14 08:35pm

Thanas wrote:Why do you bring him up again?


Because Vaporous asked for works on the Habsburg monarchy, and I'm aware of a work he did on the Habsburg monarchy (one that, while I was checking, was reviewed positively, else I wouldn't have mentioned it). Further, the reviews I've read of the other two books I had suggested described them as being quite dry, so it serves at least as a stylistic contrast.

Do you really think people can learn anything from him? :roll:


Dismissing Taylor as irrelevant is, frankly, rather silly, though at least understandable given his noted Germanophobia.

Though, on that note, the two academic reviews of it I could find describe it as "scholarly, well-proportioned, and realistic" and "probably defined the interpretation of Central European history for a generation to come."
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby spaceviking » 2012-02-14 08:51pm

It has been a few years since I read it but I found Charles W. Ingrao's 'The Habsburg Monarchy, 1618–1815' to be an excellent survey. Though It is mainly the Austrian side of the family.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-02-14 08:53pm

TC Pilot wrote:Dismissing Taylor as irrelevant is, frankly, rather silly, though at least understandable given his noted Germanophobia.


Excuse me? Since when is dismissing people who are that biased that they cannot keep it out of their work "silly"?

Though, on that note, the two academic reviews of it I could find describe it as "scholarly, well-proportioned, and realistic" and "probably defined the interpretation of Central European history for a generation to come."


The reviews are from where and by whom?
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby TC Pilot » 2012-02-14 09:08pm

Thanas wrote:Excuse me? Since when is dismissing people who are that biased that they cannot keep it out of their work "silly"?


Well, he was a pretty major historian...

Anyway, you make it sound as if there is any historian in existence who doesn't have bias in their work.

Funnily enough, I could completely disregard what you're saying by your own criteria.

The reviews are from where and by whom?


The two were pulled from JSTOR. The first by R. W. Seton-Watson in The English Historical Review, Vol. 57, No. 227 (Jul., 1942), pp. 389-392.
The second by Martin Wight in International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Vol. 25, No. 3 (Jul., 1949), pp. 369-370
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-02-15 05:44am

TC Pilot wrote:
Thanas wrote:Excuse me? Since when is dismissing people who are that biased that they cannot keep it out of their work "silly"?


Well, he was a pretty major historian...


So was Dahn, but you don't see me recommending him.

Anyway, you make it sound as if there is any historian in existence who doesn't have bias in their work.

Funnily enough, I could completely disregard what you're saying by your own criteria.


False analogy. Anyway, his works are old and outdated.

The two were pulled from JSTOR. The first by R. W. Seton-Watson in The English Historical Review, Vol. 57, No. 227 (Jul., 1942), pp. 389-392.
The second by Martin Wight in International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Vol. 25, No. 3 (Jul., 1949), pp. 369-370


As I thought, reviews from the 40s.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby ray245 » 2012-02-15 11:10am

Is there any good works on Byzantine relationship with the western world during the 6th-10th century?
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby spaceviking » 2012-02-18 07:15pm

pwb002 wrote:I have always been fascinated with WWII history. There are so many layers to dig through and mysteries to unravel. I want to know, what is the absolute BEST non-fiction book out there for a comprehensive look at the "real historical account" of World War 2?

Thanks for your responses!


Ya, no one is going to be able to answer this question well. "Best" is subjective and really depends on what particular area you are interested in.

I would suggest 'Ivan's War', if you are interested in the experien that the average soviet soldier went through. The book is really good at not forgiving the Soviet brutalities, but explaining them.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-02-18 09:57pm

Obvious Spambot is obvious.

And banned.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Steve » 2012-02-23 05:16pm

Hrm, might need to pick up Ivan's War. Think I saw it at the library.

I just finished Max Hastings' "Retribution: The Battle for Japan 1944-1945", which I thought was good. Now on to Thomas Cahill's "How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe", because... hell, with a title like that, I couldn't help but wonder just what the author was going to claim. Thankfully it's not a big book... I have Dresden Files to get back to now that OCLS has finally sent my copy of "Grave Peril".

Oh, and, uh... I also checked out three A.J.P. Taylor books out of morbid curiosity: "The Origins of the Second World War", "The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918", and "Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman". I just have to see what it is about this guy that makes Thanas ready to go Dark Side. :mrgreen: :twisted:
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Zinegata » 2012-02-23 09:35pm

Does Hastings get less opinionated in Retribution? I kinda liked Armageddon but I was concerned about the scholarship given how liberally he sprinkles his opinion on the piece.

I've only peaked at AJP's Origins and it didn't seem THAT horrible.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-02-23 09:50pm

Zinegata wrote:I've only peaked at AJP's Origins and it didn't seem THAT horrible.


Assuming you believe Germany had special circumstances as a nation since the 1600s which all led to the nazis and have a strong anti-german bias, then no, it is not that horrible.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby TC Pilot » 2012-02-23 10:46pm

Steve wrote:Oh, and, uh... I also checked out three A.J.P. Taylor books out of morbid curiosity: "The Origins of the Second World War", "The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918", and "Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman". I just have to see what it is about this guy that makes Thanas ready to go Dark Side. :mrgreen: :twisted:


The only thing particularly remarkable about Taylor's argument in Course is the vehemance and showiness he argues it with, case in point being that quote from the preface Thanas posted awhile back about Nazism being the outcome of German history like a river meeting the sea. I can think of at least one point in the book where he talks about how German unification under Prussia and under Bismarck was neither inevitable nor particularly likely, and there are plenty of times where he asserts Germany could have taken a course of economic domination rather than violent extermination, so ultimately he is couching the argument in the actual text of the piece to a degree.

What's he's doing basically is overreacting to the immediate post-war view that Germany had been hijacked by a bunch of evil lunatics. They weren't hapless victims, but neither were they predestined to do what they did.

Anyway, Mastery is quite a good read and much weightier than Course, and probably his best work overall. That and Bismarck are far less controversial, too. Actually, Bismarck comes off fairly well in all three of those works (or comparatively so in Course).
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-02-23 11:31pm

His Bismarck book is pretty much rife with errrors and outdated, denying Bismarck had a grand plan to unify Germany.

I repeat that anybody who thinks Taylor is legitimate history is automatically losing all credibility in my eyes. I might just as well bring up all the "perfidious albion" historians so popular before the 2nd world war as legitimate portrayals of English history.

He:
- ascribes a national character to Germany in the 1400s, when no national character exists for any nation of that time period.
- Of course, said character always wanted to exterminate the barbaric east (disregarding of course several attempts by German monarchs to be crowned king of Poland, The Hansa, over 300 year of peaceful German colonisation of that east etc.)
- "The History of the Germans is a history of extremes. It contains everything except moderation…"
- describing Bismarck as a "barbarian of genius"
- Prussia, "excelling in nothing but savagery and conquest" (they had more jews in high office and had earlier nationwide equal voting than your own country, also they were the first to have nationwide health insurance...)
- Of course, the reforms which actually lead to the greatest liberation of serfs in all of Germany are described as: "In other countries the revolution gave the people universal suffrage; in Prussia it have them universal military service"
- regarding protectional tariffs for German steel industry and farming falling behing US producers: "[they] made the survival of Germany conditional on the conquest of Europe"
- "The Bismarckian system aimed at security and peace; but it left the ruling classes of Germany no alternative --- to preserve themselves they had to enter on a path of conquest which would be their ruin"
- and of course having a course of peace would be impossible because "every German desired the achievement which only total war could give. By no other means could the Reich be held together. It had been made by conquest and for conquest; if it ever gave up its career of conquest, it would dissolve"

You see, they totally could have won by peaceful means....if they had not been such barbarians. :roll:

Jesus Christ. How can anybody read the above and think he is actually a good read?
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Zinegata » 2012-02-23 11:32pm

Thanas wrote:
Zinegata wrote:I've only peaked at AJP's Origins and it didn't seem THAT horrible.


Assuming you believe Germany had special circumstances as a nation since the 1600s which all led to the nazis and have a strong anti-german bias, then no, it is not that horrible.


Like I said, it was only a peek. Never got to the "Germany was destined to produce Nazis!" part.

The above sounds frakking awful though.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Steve » 2012-02-24 03:41pm

Well, I haven't read any of that yet. Started the Bismarck book today. Will probably finish it this weekend when I endure 2 days of 12 hour shifts.

(ooooh, overtime...)

So, please don't bludgeon me with the Sausage of Doom? :wink: I'm just curious as to what the writer is like, really...
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Bernkastel » 2012-03-08 12:26pm

Hi.

I'm looking for books on the history of the Eastern Roman Empire. Recommendations for books on the Soviet Army and it's organisation would also be appreciated.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-03-08 12:43pm

Go for Ostrogorsky.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby TC Pilot » 2012-03-15 10:42pm

How does it compare with Vasiliev's History of the Byzantine Empire? I've been meaning to get around to that.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-03-15 11:32pm

Haven't read it, though Ostrogorsky is considered the gold standard.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Fenreer » 2012-05-04 10:22pm

Recommendations:

Free e-book for cheapskates: De Bello Gallico (Caesar's Gallic Wars by the man himself)

Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton (special forces role in invading Afghanistan and ousting the Taliban from rule)

The Backyard Blacksmith: Traditional Techniques for the Modern Smith

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby edaw1982 » 2012-05-05 08:58am

I would like to recommend "Raptor Red" by Robert T. Bakker, because it is a story telling the life-and-times of a Raptor (The heroine of whom the book is named after), one of the utahraptors, she teams up with her sister, and her sister's chicks, with side-characters like the aged dactyl, and the scorpion-slaying-raptor-saving mammals.

But it's told not in the style of animal-xeno-fiction books, And Fiver went, "Oh Crap I'm having another vision, sent by the great googly mooglie! We're screwed! Praise Bugs!"
Rather, it is told in the third person as though it were Sir David Attenborough telling Red's story.
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