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History Books

Book History Text

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IMO, to understand what is going on in the world today and what may happen in the future, we must learn from history. And so, this is a thread dedicated to history books that may be relevant. Here are a few I’ve been reading and that I highly recommend: 
The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic (by Mike Duncan)
1877: America’s Year of Living Violently (by Michael Bellesiles)
The Search for Modern China (by Jonathan Spence)
The Cambridge History of Turkey Volume 2: The Ottoman Empire as a World Power, 1453-1603.
The Cambridge History of Turkey Volume 3: The Later Ottoman Empire, 1603-1839.
The Cambridge History of Turkey Volume 4: Turkey in the Modern World. 
The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804-2012 (by Misha Glenny)
More to come.




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*** World War 2 by Winston Churchill.


First book of the ww2 volume.
Separate volume for ww1.

If you're going through hell, keep going. - Winston Churchill

You don't decide your future. You decide your habits, and your habits decide your future.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln.




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The United States:


The European Discovery of America – The Northern Voyages, Samuel Eliot Morrison


Savage Kingdom, Benjamin Woolley


The Creation of the American Republic, 1776 – 1787, Gordon Wood


The Contours of American History, William Appleman Williams


North and South America:


1491, Charles Mann 


Stolen Continents, Ronald Wright 


Great Britain:


The Isles- A History, Norman Davies


The Century of Revolution, 1614 – 1714, Christopher Hill


The Making of the English Working Class, E.P. Thompson




The Ornament of the World, Maria Rosa Menocal




The Unknown Story of Mao, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday



The Outline of History, H.G. Wells 
A Short History of the World, J.M. Roberts

Silk Roads – A New History of the World, Peter Frankopan

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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I've read many of them, of course, but big part is about Russia / written by Russian authors / in Russian language.


As for world history, i highly recommend one of books i've recently read: "Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism" by Perry Anderson. Its theme is both wider and deeper than just "passages". Author (marxist) describing and comparing the economic basis of different ancient (slavery-based) and medieval (feudal) societies and its impact on their politics and culture.


What was the impact of widespread slavery on ancient philosophy and labor ethic? Why Greeks failed to create the empire while Romans succeeded? Why seemingly advanced Byzantium stuck halfway from slavery to feudalism and fell into social stagnation? And so on... you may not agree with author in some things, but this is still very interesting reading.




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Also, there is A Marxist History of the World: From Neanderthals to Neoliberals by Neil Faulkner. A bit too Trotskyite for my tastes when it comes to analysing 20th Century socialist states, but the rest of it is pretty decent and comprehensive. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn is another zinger.




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Just finished a very good (though aready a bit outdated) book "Dawn of civilization. Africa in ancient world" by Y.M. Kobishanov. This is one of few (i mean, literally few) Russian non-fiction books about precolonial Africa. In this regard, Africa is indeed "black area", compared to hundreds and thousands of books about Greece, Rome, Babylon, India, China, etc...


In short, it was interesting and broke some of my stereotypes :) Ancient and medieval Africa was described more developed (cities, trade routes, metallurgy, widespread feudalism) than I expected, and medieval kingdoms of West Africa were at par with Europe. At the same time, this is not "afrocentic" (in the bad sense of this word) book and author himself mocks afrocentrists with their "we lived in harmony and wisdom and then the White Devil stole this all". One way or another, the real History is better than any myths (even bright and inspiring ones).

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