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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-20 07:48pm
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I wouldn't mind finding a good account of the unification of Germany under the Second Empire, including a look at the diplomatic and constitutional processes that persuaded Bavaria, Wurttemburg, and other sizable German states to join. I mean, Massie covered some of this in Dreadnought, but Thanas brandished a sausage threateningly when I brought that book up*... :mrgreen: :wink:

* - Comedic hyperbole, for those unfamiliar with it. :P



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-20 08:54pm
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The best book is IMO Lothar Gall's "Bismarck, the white revolutionary". The best book there is bar none.

Cristopher Clark and his momentous work on Prussia (Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia) is the second best choice.

Another option is Otto Pflanze, Bismarck and the Development of Germany. Otto Pflanzes books about Bismarck are sheer monsters, among the largest books in volume I own. Vol 1 (Bismarck and the Development of Germany: The Period of Unification, 1815-1871) is what you are looking for here. Far better than Massie and....you can read most of it online for free. A word of warning though - he is of the opinion that Germany was a "special case" that slid away from Europe and therefore started a long slide into barbarity. This is a much disputed view and I have plenty of issues to take with the book, but it is still a must read on Bismarck.

If you got the chance between Pflanze and Gall, take Gall.

But if you are looking for more of a general overview instead of detailed questions and answers, I suggest taking Clark or the new Bismarck book by Steinberg (Bismarck: A Life), though the latter is not that great.



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-21 06:23am
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Bleh, damn library. It has none of these titles.

Oh well, I still have Christopher Andrews' book on the Mitrokhin Archive to finish.... Finished Montefiore's Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar yesterday.



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-21 02:04pm
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Since those books aren't available to you, I'll toss in a suggestion of The Course of German History by A.J.P. Taylor. It's a substantially less intensive survey of German history from the fall of Napoleon, but really, it's Taylor, what's not to like? :D



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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-21 02:23pm
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You can't be serious. That guy is as anti-german as they come and his book is nothing but a germanophobic polemic.

He even writes:

Quote:
it was no more a mistake for the German people to end up with Hitler than it is an accident when a river flows into the sea
and to do that he plots a straight course from the HRE to Hitler. :wtf:



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-21 03:00pm
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Like I said, it's Taylor. You read it as much for the prose as you do for the information. Still, I'll admit a :P would probably have been more appropriate in-context than a :D

"From the HRE to Hitler" isn't really all that remarkable either. Actually, Steinberg touches on much the same thing in his biography of Bismarck (from Wagner to Hitler, basically), just not very well.



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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-24 03:39pm
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Thanas wrote:
You can't be serious. That guy is as anti-german as they come and his book is nothing but a germanophobic polemic.

He even writes:

Quote:
it was no more a mistake for the German people to end up with Hitler than it is an accident when a river flows into the sea
and to do that he plots a straight course from the HRE to Hitler. :wtf:


I'm curious to know what logic led him to that....



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-24 03:45pm
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Germanophobia. The guy lived through WWII, was friends with communists, a lover of Russia...all things which do not exactly make one love the Germans. That he was a revisionist did nothing to help him either.

Logic got nothing to do with it.



Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-24 04:40pm
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Thanas wrote:
Germanophobia. The guy lived through WWII, was friends with communists, a lover of Russia...all things which do not exactly make one love the Germans. That he was a revisionist did nothing to help him either.

Logic got nothing to do with it.


Wonder how he feels about the Terror....



”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-24 04:57pm
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Steve wrote:
I'm curious to know what logic led him to that....


You could try reading it to find out :P

Or, you could read the condensed form of that historiography on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonderweg



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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-10-24 05:03pm
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He's not really a Sonderweg historian and it would do others, like Wehler, great injustice to consider them part of a group. Taylor is a fringe historian when it comes to that. I got no problems with legitimate Sonderweg historians, but he is not one of them.



Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2011-11-08 10:27pm
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I find myself recommending The Golden Empire: Spain, Charles V, and the Creation of Modern America by Hugh Thomas (called The Golden Age in the UK), which I just recently finished. It's certainly worth looking into if you're interested in King Charles V or life in Spain or the New World in the 16th Century. Unfortunately, it's also something of a mess. It's part two of a three-part series (the first being Rivers of Gold) and starts after the conquest of Mexico by Cortes, immediately diving into a rather detailed description of the rebuilding of Tenochitlan-Mexico (mirrored by a description of Vallodolid) that presages a meandering narrative as if (or I suspect) it is simply continuing where he left off in his last book. Names and places are thrown at the reader in huge quantity often without any clear purpose or structure, suggesting that he is simply committing all his research to paper. But, organizational mess aside, it's a new account of a very old story from a man who has spent the last half-century studying the subject, so I feel it worth mentioning.



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"Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero."

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-01-07 10:21am
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hi everyone.

I'm interested in finding out about ordinary life in the communist countries past and present - how one went to school, how one found a job, how one shopped, how young people went on dates.

do you have recommendations on books that cover topics like that ?

thanks in advance.



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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-01 02:06am
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Can anyone recommend some good reads about Victorian Age militaries and strategies? Particularly regarding land warfare and state/military structure for the powers on the continent.



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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-02 04:50am
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spartasman wrote:
Can anyone recommend some good reads about Victorian Age militaries and strategies? Particularly regarding land warfare and state/military structure for the powers on the continent.

The book Mr. Kipling's Army: All the Queen's Men covers this topic rather well.

xerex wrote:
hi everyone.

I'm interested in finding out about ordinary life in the communist countries past and present - how one went to school, how one found a job, how one shopped, how young people went on dates.

do you have recommendations on books that cover topics like that ?

thanks in advance.

Stas, our local Glamorous Commie, has posted several works about this around the board. here are some, though they are more about industry than life in general: viewtopic.php?f=52&t=129320

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-02 05:03am
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Steve wrote:
I wouldn't mind finding a good account of the unification of Germany under the Second Empire, including a look at the diplomatic and constitutional processes that persuaded Bavaria, Wurttemburg, and other sizable German states to join. I mean, Massie covered some of this in Dreadnought, but Thanas brandished a sausage threateningly when I brought that book up*... :mrgreen: :wink:

* - Comedic hyperbole, for those unfamiliar with it. :P


A bit of a necro question to Thanas, but why is Dreadnought (and / or Massie in general) bad? Should his books be avoided like the plague?

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-02 08:55am
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Zinegata wrote:
A bit of a necro question to Thanas, but why is Dreadnought (and / or Massie in general) bad? Should his books be avoided like the plague?


The book is pro-British in its extreme. Just look at how he describes the two capitals - Berlin is always dark and gloomy, the spymaster of the German Empire is a monster of the labyrinth (he uses this cite but then does anything but disspell that notion) etc. He does not mention British atrocities at all. He does no original research yet rips off previous historians (like Marder and woodson, whose books are actually better despite being written fourty and 70 years before).

He does not ask questions and try to answer them. His work is descriptive, not critical.



Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-03 04:03pm
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Thanas wrote:
The book is pro-British in its extreme. Just look at how he describes the two capitals - Berlin is always dark and gloomy, the spymaster of the German Empire is a monster of the labyrinth (he uses this cite but then does anything but disspell that notion) etc. He does not mention British atrocities at all. He does no original research yet rips off previous historians (like Marder and woodson, whose books are actually better despite being written fourty and 70 years before).

He does not ask questions and try to answer them. His work is descriptive, not critical.

What would you recommend for the German perspective?

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-03 04:27pm
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Sadly, there seems to be lacking a good general work on it. I honestly do not know one.

However, I would recommend Marder - he is the best british author out there IMO.



Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-03 08:35pm
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Thanas wrote:
The book is pro-British in its extreme. Just look at how he describes the two capitals - Berlin is always dark and gloomy, the spymaster of the German Empire is a monster of the labyrinth (he uses this cite but then does anything but disspell that notion) etc. He does not mention British atrocities at all. He does no original research yet rips off previous historians (like Marder and woodson, whose books are actually better despite being written fourty and 70 years before).

He does not ask questions and try to answer them. His work is descriptive, not critical.


Ah. Would you say that he exaggerates the complications of the German royal family, or is it more of him failing to mention similar disfunction occuring in the British royal family?

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-04 06:16am
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Zinegata wrote:
Thanas wrote:
The book is pro-British in its extreme. Just look at how he describes the two capitals - Berlin is always dark and gloomy, the spymaster of the German Empire is a monster of the labyrinth (he uses this cite but then does anything but disspell that notion) etc. He does not mention British atrocities at all. He does no original research yet rips off previous historians (like Marder and woodson, whose books are actually better despite being written fourty and 70 years before).

He does not ask questions and try to answer them. His work is descriptive, not critical.


Ah. Would you say that he exaggerates the complications of the German royal family, or is it more of him failing to mention similar disfunction occuring in the British royal family?


Both, but more of the latter. Just look at a few episodes. For example, when Wilhelm is using his good hand to crush the hands of people he shakes hands with, he is portrayed as a weak and insecure monarch. When the British crown prince cannot stand a remark about his weight, the offender is banished in he night. Yet a few pages later it is the insecure Wilhelm who is taking away the joy of being from the "jovial, jolly" Brit.



Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-04 09:18pm
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I'd say going out of your way to inflict pain when shaking hands is a bit more extreme than kicking someone out who calls you fat. While I'm not going to dispute your overall point (can't, since I haven't read the book), that doesn't sound like a very good example. On a related note, Massie's new work, a biography of Catherine the Great, apparently has some of the same issues. He's much more trying to tell a character story than analyzing a subject. That it's subtitled Portrait of a Woman isn't a surprise.


Anyway, I recently got done with Robert Asprey's Frederick the Great: The Magnificent Enigma, rather recently reprinted, which I quite enjoyed. It goes into fair detail about life in the Prussian army and the way he writes the various battles Frederick fought in (detached narrative, very simple, terse statements of "fact") was very well done. The biggest problem, in my view, was the almost total neglect of Frederick's personal life, such as it was. About the only relationship which he explores in any detail is that of his father, which is oversaturated with block quotes from suitably melodramatic letters. Queen Elizabeth basically doesn't exists, nor do most of his siblings, save his brothers, who you would think should be strung up for serial-insubordination from the way they're depicted. That and the maps, which are usually two page spreads, meaning most of the important locations are lost inside the binding.



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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-04 09:40pm
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TC Pilot wrote:
I'd say going out of your way to inflict pain when shaking hands is a bit more extreme than kicking someone out who calls you fat.


Not when said person is:
- your guest
- clearly joking
- drunk
- you insulted him first

And Wilhelm wasn't inflicting pain, he had a rather strong handshake. It is even more funny when considering that Wilhelm was supposed to be the thin-skinned one.


Quote:
Queen Elizabeth basically doesn't exists, nor do most of his siblings, save his brothers, who you would think should be strung up for serial-insubordination from the way they're depicted. That and the maps, which are usually two page spreads, meaning most of the important locations are lost inside the binding.


Prince Henry was an amazing General and statesmen. He might even have been more talented than Frederick himself.



Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-05 12:30am
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Ah, thanks. Got it (re issues with Massie's description of the German royal family). Essentially, Massie was exaggerating for dramatic (and pro-British) effect, ala how they exaggerated the king's speech impediment for The King's Speech.

Makes for good drama (and a pro-British drama), but not good history.

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 Post subject: Re: Book recommendation/request thread PostPosted: 2012-02-05 02:20pm
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Thanas wrote:
Prince Henry was an amazing General and statesmen. He might even have been more talented than Frederick himself.


Yes, that's a sentiment touched on in the book several times, including quotes from letters of Henry and others saying just that. But I lost track of how many times Frederick ends up bombarding his brother with letters and orders, with him more often than not dragging his heels or outright ignoring them.



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