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Ace Cataphract
HG Alumnus
(id: Ace_Cataphract)
posted 02-26-06 11:12 PM EDT (US)         
This thread is essentially a place where you can talk about historical books you are presently reading or ask for book recommendations. You can recommend ANY (good) history book.

I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. ~George Carlin

[This message has been edited by Kor (edited 07-26-2008 @ 10:23 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 08-06-08 09:50 AM EDT (US)     151 / 212       
Shall I taunt you with snippets?

Like throwing boiling urine (one assumes to conserve water) into enemy mines as their men are about to emerge.

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 08-06-08 10:28 AM EDT (US)     152 / 212       
Hahaha, that is clever. More snippets are welcome, especially as it seems increasingly unlikely the book will arrive today.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
Gallowglass
Ashigaru
posted 09-22-08 01:52 PM EDT (US)     153 / 212       

A book I've read a bit of is The Lords of the Isles, by Ronald Williams. The title explains the subject, the Lordship of the Isles (alternatively the Kingdom of the Isles). From what I read, which is about half of it, it seems one of the best works about Clan Donald and its coastal empire, and other things such as battling the Vikings and the founding of Dal Riada.
Probably not the favourite topic of anyone here, not even myself, but a rarely-studied topic and an informative read.

And a book I would hate to, but have to, call an unbiased and truthful account is what could be described as follow-on reading to The Lords of the Isles.
It is called The Heather and the Gale. Anyone would probably recognise the two plant badges of Clan Donald and Clan Campbell - heather and bog myrtle (gale).

The book's synopsis on Amazon almost sums it up pretty good: 'After the forfeiture of the Lordship of the Isles, the Clan Donald and the Clan Campbell emerged as prominent amongst all who sought to fill the power vacuum in the West. Ronald Williams shows how their differing strategies led inexorably to that fatal confrontation, wherein Gaeldom, Catholicism and the King were eventually overwhelmed by Calvinism and bloody revolution. The author sets the stage and then, drawing upon personal research, sweeps through the saga of Montrose's campaign. There are detailed topographical references throughout.'

It basically describes the change in Scotland's culture, Highland and Lowland, that led to the events of later centuries in many ways.

------m------m------
(o o)
(~)

Monkey beats bunny. Please put Monkey in your signature to prevent the rise of bunny.
m0n|<3yz r 2 pwn n00b
Cordyceps
Naphal
(id: ArchDruid)
posted 09-22-08 02:00 PM EDT (US)     154 / 212       
I've been working on 'The Great Arab Conquests' by Hugh Kennedy. Quite accessible and a good read. I'll have more feedback when I've finished it.

Just as some bodies, from the moment of birth, are endowed with beauty, while on others nature from their very beginning bestows blemishes and wrinkles, so with souls too, some are distinguished at once with extreme grace and attractiveness, while others leave a trail of sombre and deep gloom. ~Michael Psellus, Chronographia
Porphyrogenitus
Ashigaru
posted 09-24-08 00:22 AM EDT (US)     155 / 212       
I just picked up an absolutely wonderful book. It's the new edition of Sowing the Dragon's Teeth, a compilation/translation by Eric McGeer. It is based around the Praecepta militaria of Nikephoros II Phokas and the Taktika of Nikephoros Ouranos (chapters 56-65 of the latter, since the earlier part is largely a rehash of the prior text), but includes plenty of modern commentary, articles, and other such additions for a second half. It presents the two texts in opposed Greek/English, with commentary on the translations on the Greek side. It has an extensive glossary, Greek index, and English index along with several appendices.

I'm only part way in to the praecepta militaria and, though it is a bit hard to follow for casual reading, still it is a fascinating read that deals with real-world situations and real-world solutions written by a veteran commander for his contemporaries.

I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to develop his tactical skills (many of the basic principles likely can apply to pretty much any form of warfare, and for ancient/medieval combat it is essentially unmatched. It is basically the playbook used by three of the most successful military commanders in the history of the world: Nikephoros II Phokas, John Tzimisces, and Basil II Bulgaroctonus.

0 Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance:
To our Rulers grant victories over the barbarians,
And by thy Cross protect thine own Estate.

- Prayer on the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross (September 14), established by Heraclius, Basileus (610-41), after recovering the True Cross from its captivity by the Persians and the utter defeat of the Sassanians by Roman arms.

Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 10-10-08 09:57 AM EDT (US)     156 / 212       
Last week I finished Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, dealing with the capture, trial and execution of Eichmann, one of the civil servants most involved with the destruction of the jews. The book's very well written and very well argued. Arendt, primarily a philosopher, has captured the political and legal implications of both Eichmann's tenure in the Reich and the trial itself sharply, as well as, of course, the philosophical and ethical aspects. The book is a riveting read and 'light' for a book describing the different ways in which the destruction of Europe's jews is recounted - not to say that it takes the matter lightly, but it's simply so well written that you find yourself reading it very quickly, almost as if it's a novel. Heartily recommended for anyone who wants to get a good view of what happened during the '30s and '40s in Germany and the rest of Europe.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 10-19-08 09:40 AM EDT (US)     157 / 212       
Now reading The Northern Crusades by Eric Christiansen. This book gives an overview of these crusades (although it more or less ignores the debate on whether or not they can be considered crusades) and gives a mostly military and political description of all of them, from those against the Pommeranian Slavs in the 1100s to the more well-known struggles against the Lithuanians and Estonians. It's very well written and well researched, though the bibliography is a bit limited - the author has omitted mentioning many studies he used that are not in English, as it's aimed primarily at English-speaking students. However, that's the only real flaw I've encountered thus far. Originally published in the 1980, the edition I'm reading is from 1997 and entirely updated to reflect modern research. Excellent.

Also reading Pade crom ende menichfoude. Het Reynaert-onderzoek in de tweede helft van de twintigste eeuw (Winding and numerous paths. The Reynaert-research in the second half of the 20th century). I should explain: the Reynaert is a very famous medieval story or rather universe of stories, set in the animal world. Reynaert is a fox who is something of a brigand in the animal kingdom. Most stories about him feature him breaking the rules and then cleverly manipulating his opponents or the king, exploiting their weaknesses and hypocrisies so as to get away with his own crimes. Many of the stories are similar to those in the Arthurian or Charlemagne universes also popular at the time, except these are biting satire rather than propagating chivalry (although some Arthurian and Charlemagne stories are also satire, but I digress).
The story is something of a treasure in Middle-Dutch literature; while the idea behind Reynaert is probably French (or Flemish; but in French the text was so influential that the word for fox in that language changed to Renard after the protagonist of the story), it is the Middle Dutch text Reynaerts Historie (the history of Reynaert, obviously) which proved to be the most influential: it is the text used for translation into English and German at later dates (the German translation was even made by Goethe). Consequently, also due to the incredibly high literary quality of Van den vos Reynaerde, it is an oft-researched subject. This book combines multiple articles on the text to give an overview of some of the different approaches that can be taken to study the text and to give some important conclusions more attention.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 10-19-08 10:42 AM EDT (US)     158 / 212       
Ever read the Life of Charlemagne by Notker the Stammerer? God-awful piece of writing, but a few of his stories are indeed humorous.

About to finish "La Chanson de Roland" I have a English and a modern French copy. Really good, I wonder why it has never been read for school?

Sometime today I am picking up some books at the library because my early medieval collection is depressingly small.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 10-19-08 06:11 PM EDT (US)     159 / 212       
Ever read the Life of Charlemagne by Notker the Stammerer? God-awful piece of writing, but a few of his stories are indeed humorous.
I've read it (I think we discussed it earlier?) but it's not what I meant with the 'Charlemagne stories'. I meant the heroic tales set in the reign of Charlemagne, similar to those Arthurian tales. Neither have anything to do with history, both have everything to do with the moral and physical ideals of the upper class. The Renaud de Montauban story is a good example of this (and demonstrates depth in having Charlemagne be the bad guy, pretty much), the Chanson de Roland is another, very early version. Later versions were more embellished and usually didn't even pretend to be telling a history tale. For example, there's one Charlemagne tale left in fragments in Middle Dutch, which is about Charlemagne's army invading some pagan land and deals with a knight and his trained bear, which he uses (and can communicate with) to instill fear into the hearts and minds of the poor pagans. The bear even eats a pagan cook to show his superiority. Then the bear and the knight stage a fight, with the knight winning, to cause the pagans to submit.
It's entirely absurd and has nothing to do with political history or Charlemagne at all, but it does tell us something of the 13th century depiction of Charlemagne's court and knightly ideals (the text, iirc, is 13th century).
Really good, I wonder why it has never been read for school?
It used to be read for school here in the first half of the 20th century, like the High German Hildebrandslied, but in our times French classes are mostly about asking directions to the beach, not linguistic transformation.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.

[This message has been edited by Kor (edited 10-19-2008 @ 06:13 PM).]

Andalus
Ashigaru
posted 10-27-08 09:12 PM EDT (US)     160 / 212       
I am now reading A Student's History of England by Samuel Gardiner, presented to my great-grandfather (Or it may have been great-great) as a prize in 1902, and I have just received it from my grandmother. I dount it is on sale anywhere.

The book itself has a beautiful decorated blue and gold hardback cover, patterned pages, and a school crest on the front. It is great just to look at. If I discover a camera in my house I will take a picture for you.

As for the content, from what I have read so far it is thorough and interesting. I have a feeling the chapter on Henry III will be very useful for my investigation into Simon de Montfort (History coursework). It will be particularly interesting to have an older historian's viewpoint, as evaluating the historian is an important specification.
MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 10-27-08 09:28 PM EDT (US)     161 / 212       
I've got a similar old book, though it is a fiction peace called "Fabiola" It's in French and my grandfather gave it to me, he got it in the early thirties from his middle school teacher. Beautiful book, and very good story from what I've read.

I've been reading a few different History of the Middle Ages books, mostly looking into information on 11th century France, and Europe in general.

I'm also finishing up Gregory of Tours Historia Francorum, which Is topped reading with a single book left about three months ago.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 12-15-08 06:33 AM EDT (US)     162 / 212       
As for the content, from what I have read so far it is thorough and interesting. I have a feeling the chapter on Henry III will be very useful for my investigation into Simon de Montfort (History coursework). It will be particularly interesting to have an older historian's viewpoint, as evaluating the historian is an important specification.
Hm, I missed this. You've probably finished that coursework already, but there's an excellent biography of Simon de Montfort written by J R Maddicott. It's very well written and as historical research goes really well done. It de-mythologises the events using primary source material and does an excellent job explaining the context. Also, it doesn't pick sides and approaches the subject of parliament etc very academically. It's a Cambridge uni book I think.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
Rex84
Ashigaru
posted 01-07-09 09:35 PM EDT (US)     163 / 212       
I just got The Trojan War by Barry Strauss. Excellent stuff from recent archaeological digs, as it was published in 2006.

"Cowardice and stupidity are vices which,
disgraceful as they are in private to those who have them,
are when found in a general the greatest of public calamities."

- Polybius of Megalopolis
Waffentraeger
Ashigaru
(id: Daelon)
posted 02-19-09 09:56 AM EDT (US)     164 / 212       
Franco Prussian war, by Michael Howard

Excellent so far, every step of the war is described with thought & logical reasoning with valid details. It's a must read for those enjoying 19th century warfare.
Ace Cataphract
HG Alumnus
(id: Ace_Cataphract)
posted 02-19-09 08:46 PM EDT (US)     165 / 212       
I just bought Marcus Aurelius' Meditations which I plan on starting tomorrow after finishing Xenophon's Anabasis again. I'm also reading chunks of Ovid's Metamophoses and Lucan's Pharsalia for a class of mine.

I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. ~George Carlin
MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 02-19-09 08:53 PM EDT (US)     166 / 212       
As a warning, some parts of the Meditations are wonderful.

Others make you question whether his battle speeches spoke of moon-people with funny hats.

I'm torn between reading Dante's Purgatory (I've read Inferno twice) or whether I should finish City of God (Augustine) which I started a while back.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 02-19-09 11:12 PM EDT (US)     167 / 212       
On a whim, I picked up "Osman's Dream: the History of the Ottoman Empire". It's quite good. Unlike a depressingly large amount of modern historical works, this book actually gives the history of the Empire, seamlessly blended with larger themes. It's quite well written too, and reads quickly despite its impressive size (It's a toe breaker).

I also picked up "The End of Kings: A history of Republics and Republicans". It isn't really a history of the political ideal, rather an excellent series of illustrations. Author Everdell is quite the Whig, which is a refreshingly interesting political position. It's basically a quick study of ten-or-so different republics and is quite the interesting blend of history and political science. Worth the bargain-bin price one is likely to find for it.

"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
Imperator Romano
Ashigaru
posted 02-20-09 01:57 PM EDT (US)     168 / 212       
I'm half-way through "The Twelve Caesars" by Michael Grant. He based most of his work on the original one by Suetonius.

Very interesting to say the least. To know detailed information about Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors, I highly recommend it to anybody interested in those times.
Ace Cataphract
HG Alumnus
(id: Ace_Cataphract)
posted 02-21-09 11:15 AM EDT (US)     169 / 212       
I'm torn between reading Dante's Purgatory (I've read Inferno twice) or whether I should finish City of God (Augustine) which I started a while back.
I'd definitely finish Augustine before reading Purgatorio. It's not as interesting as his Inferno and City of God is a great work. I also generally give preference to finishing a book before starting another.

I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. ~George Carlin
Imperator Romano
Ashigaru
posted 03-17-09 01:53 PM EDT (US)     170 / 212       
Well, I continue with my Roman readings. So I recommend "The Gallic Wars" by Julius Caesar or a translation by another author. Very interesting turn of events that lead into the conquest of Gaul. I love the descriptions of the battlefields by Caesar himself, it takes me back to those times. I recommend you pick it up if you haven't done so.
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 03-17-09 02:14 PM EDT (US)     171 / 212       
I just finished The Court as a Stage, a series of articles on court culture in the Low Countries, England and France, discussing various different aspects. Most articles were interesting; standing out, however, was the assessment of Charles the Bold's militarised court as compared to those of his predecessors as dukes of Burgundy. Although Maximilian e.a. were at war almost as often as Charles, their court was far less militarised and they cared much less for personal protection. Where Charles the Bold employed about a 1000 guardsmen in 1474, while Charles V in 1519 only had 65 archers as his personal guard.

Right now I'm reading a few things, which, outside study work, most notably includes the Chroniques Liègeoises. This is a set of chronicles on the lives of bishops of Liège and, despite the name, is an edition of Latin source texts. So I'm now practising my very rusty Latin! I'm only reading those chronicles pertaining to John of Bavaria's reign, by the way.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
Selifator
Ashigaru
posted 03-17-09 02:14 PM EDT (US)     172 / 212       
I bought Gallic Wars a while back, never got to reading it though. I've recently purchased a couple of new books, namely:
- Hannibal, Pride of Carthage, by David Durham
- Roman Warfare, by Adrian Goldsworthy
- In the name of Rome, by Adrian Goldsworthy
- The Punic Wars, by Nigel Bagnall
- The Fall of Carthage, by Adrian Goldsworthy
- Gallic Wars
- Xenophon

Good books all, though Hannibal, Pride of Carthage is mostly fluff, and all of the events are already known. Still it's a good book for atmosphere.
I also want to point out a book made by 6 guys at TWC.
Hannibal ante portas. It's a collection of fiction tales, 6 of them, and describes the Punic Wars from both Roman and Carthaginian viewpoint.

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

Chauvinism is not a particularly nice trait at the best of times but can be suicidal when the person your talking too can have you executed on a whim.

Facebook, anyone?
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 03-18-09 02:06 PM EDT (US)     173 / 212       
I bought The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan. It's a really good book and gives you a real insight in the war, it's origins, effects and impact on Greek society.

Also it has nice maps so that always helps!

General Rawlinson- This is most unsatisfactory. Where are the Sherwood Foresters? Where are the East Lancashires on the right?

Brigadier-General Oxley- They are lying out in No Man's Land, sir. And most of them will never stand again.

Two high ranking British generals discussing the fortunes of two regiments after the disastrous attack at Aubers Ridge on the 9th May 1915.
Imperator Romano
Ashigaru
posted 03-18-09 08:11 PM EDT (US)     174 / 212       
I bought Gallic Wars a while back, never got to reading it though.
Read it! It's a bit dull at times, Caesar goes into great detail throughout the book, he explains every single tribe living there, their movement, tribe numbers, sizes, weapons, different chain of events, army movement and strategy, heck! he even mentions the names of every diplomat and representative of each tribe.
- Hannibal, Pride of Carthage, by David Durham
- Roman Warfare, by Adrian Goldsworthy
- In the name of Rome, by Adrian Goldsworthy
- The Punic Wars, by Nigel Bagnall
- The Fall of Carthage, by Adrian Goldsworthy
Those sound good. I will look into them.
Selifator
Ashigaru
posted 03-19-09 07:25 AM EDT (US)     175 / 212       
Received In the name of Rome yesterday. A book about the generals of Rome. It's apparently a thesis against the general assumption that Roman generals sucked, and shows that the succesfull Roman generals didn't do anything different than the bad ones, they did the same but only better.
It's a good read, though I have only read the beginning so far.

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

Chauvinism is not a particularly nice trait at the best of times but can be suicidal when the person your talking too can have you executed on a whim.

Facebook, anyone?
Cordyceps
Naphal
(id: ArchDruid)
posted 03-19-09 07:29 AM EDT (US)     176 / 212       
As a result of one of my classes I'm now reading Hammond's "The Macedonian State" which I have to say is one of the most enjoyable works I've ever read. It's organized logically and goes into great depth on essentially every detail. Absolutely invaluable to anybody who's interested in Macedonia, at all.

Just as some bodies, from the moment of birth, are endowed with beauty, while on others nature from their very beginning bestows blemishes and wrinkles, so with souls too, some are distinguished at once with extreme grace and attractiveness, while others leave a trail of sombre and deep gloom. ~Michael Psellus, Chronographia
Selifator
Ashigaru
posted 03-19-09 02:17 PM EDT (US)     177 / 212       
Another series I can heartily advice, Troy, by David Gemmel. A fictional tale of the events leading on to the siege of Troy, the siege itself and I think some of the aftermath.
It's really good to read about the different characters, heroes and kings, who are really brought to life in these books.

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

Chauvinism is not a particularly nice trait at the best of times but can be suicidal when the person your talking too can have you executed on a whim.

Facebook, anyone?
MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 04-19-09 03:11 PM EDT (US)     178 / 212       
I did read Purgatory, as thoroughly enjoyable and amazing as Inferno, it proved to be. Quite moving for myself, to be honest.

I'm now perusing Robert Graves "The Greek Myths" and perhaps getting sucked back into rereading Gregory of Tours History of the Franks.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 05-15-09 03:18 AM EDT (US)     179 / 212       
Now reading Jonathan Sumption's Divided Houses; The Hundred Years War volume III. Just released in March, I've been waiting for this for a considerable time, ever since I finished the second volume of this all-encompassing history of the wars in about 2004. That volume was released in 1999, so it took the author about a decade to finish this one, but it's excellent. Starting off where the previous volume left off, at the outbreak of hostilities in 1369/1370, the book takes us through much of Western Europe: the British Isles, France, Flanders, Brittany, Scotland, Portugal, Castile, Navarre, Guelders, the Papal States and even the kingdom of Sicily, for a little while, yet this doesn't seem to be a problem to the author. To the backdrop of overtaxation, peasant revolts and devastation by war, the reasons for the utter English failure in this period become quite clear: the defeats of the last decade of Edward III and the entire reign of Richard II were not the exception to the general balance of power between England and France; rather, they were the rule. Edward III's early reign had been surprisingly successful, but had thereby in itself become an enemy of the preceeding years. Parliament was expecting similar achievements, but when they stayed out, they lost faith in the government and further undermined the already flagging tax system. France faced similar taxation issues after Charles V's death but, by violently suppressing the revolt in Flanders, managed to do away with parliamentary control over most of these taxes, giving them a major advantage.

The account of the war is enlivened by many anecdotes and incredibly readable. Furthermore, dealing with a much neglected phase of the war (it ends in 1399), it is a very welcome book. It does have 1000 pages so I can only suggest buying it if you're interested/have some time on your hands.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.

[This message has been edited by Kor (edited 05-15-2009 @ 03:18 AM).]

MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 05-17-09 10:35 PM EDT (US)     180 / 212       
A Distant Mirror (The Calamitous 14th Century) by Barbara Tuchman. Excellent book on the period, follows the life of Enguerrand VII of Coucy. Just as good, if not better than The Guns of August.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Selifator
Ashigaru
posted 07-28-09 01:15 PM EDT (US)     181 / 212       
Some new books have come my way:
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon and Musashi, by Eiji Yoshikawa. The first is, obviously, about the end-times for the Roman Empire and has a whopping 1300 pages. It's a very old book and thus I recommend it only if you're interested and have an abundance of free time.
Musashi is about the famous Miyamoto Musashi, his live and what happens to him during his travels. Though there are a lot of books about Musashi this one is very well written, and interesting for anyone interested in knowing more about Musashi.

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

Chauvinism is not a particularly nice trait at the best of times but can be suicidal when the person your talking too can have you executed on a whim.

Facebook, anyone?
rhoops
Ashigaru
posted 10-05-09 12:34 PM EDT (US)     182 / 212       
Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Aristophanes, Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Livy, Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Hesiod&Sallust, Caesar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Tacitus...oh and Virgil for comic relief...
And some Grote, Oman, and Current Archaeology. But no more, never again Terry Jones and the contemporary tribe of journalist 'controversial', or the media-ising Phd'd and over referenced current mob of lightweight academic historians.

Pax Romana.. Pax Britannia.. Pax Americana..INTERREGNUM RHOOPSIUM
Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 10-05-09 01:08 PM EDT (US)     183 / 212       
I would like to ask for a little advice.

I am currently immersed in a book called The Druids, by Stuart Piggott. It is second-hand, bought for me by an uncle. It was furst published in 1968. I am reading the 1975 edition.

My question is, does anyone else know this book? And, do you think it's too outdated to be of real independent use any more?

• EDORIX •
~ ancient briton ~

/\
/|||| ||||\

(dis ma house)
Revon
Ashigaru
posted 12-04-09 09:42 AM EDT (US)     184 / 212       
Hey everyone, been reading these forums for about a month, finally joined because I wanted to post. One question is burning in my mouth, and that is what novel are you planning Kor?

My main question is what books can people recommend for the political history and military history of the renaissance period, alternatively the "pike and shot" period, or the period 1400-1700, maybe even to the mid-nineteenth century at a stretch. P.S. I'm not suggesting these are all one and the same. I have some free time at the moment and I thought I'd do some research into a book I've been thinking of writing.

I have made a note of the suggestions in MisplacedPope's post concerning the military side of this period, specifically 'Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe' by Hall, 'The Art of Renaissance Warfare' by Turnbull and 'Warfare in the Seventeenth Century' by Childs.
Pitt
Daimyo
posted 12-07-09 02:22 AM EDT (US)     185 / 212       
In the same Cassell History of Warfare series as Childs' book is Thomas Arnold, The Renaissance at War (2001), which covers the changes to warfare that accompanied the increased use of gunpowder. Arnold covers about 1450 - 1600.

You should also read Machiavelli's The Prince, if only for the entertainment value and some appreciation of the chaos in Italy at the time.

If you want specifically pike-and-shot, the major wars of the period were the English Civil War(s) (1642-1646; 1648-1649) the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), and the Dutch Revolt/Eighty Years War (1568-1648). There are quite a few books on these wars, to say the least.

The most recent book I'm aware of is Peter Wilson, Europe's Tragedy. A History of the Thirty Year's War (London: Allen Lane, 2009). Though I haven't yet had time to do more than skim-read it, it devotes a good deal of space to the political events leading up to the the war.

Many textbooks on political theory also start with the 1648 Peace of Westphalia that ended the TYW.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
Revon
Ashigaru
posted 12-07-09 12:10 PM EDT (US)     186 / 212       
Many thanks Pitt, I will be sure to add your suggestions to my reading list.

I have a copy of The Prince sitting on my bookshelf, but I haven't read it since the first time, which was directly after I bought it, about four or five years ago! I will reread it as I seem to remember it takes at most a couple of days dipping in and out of it as it's so small.

I ordered Wilson on the Thirty Years War from Amazon about a day before you commented funnily enough! It seems to be making something of a stir, and whilst it's a bit daunting at around 1000 pages, he seems to be the man to read on that topic at the moment.

Thanks again, and whilst I am set up for a nice month of reading now, I would welcome any further suggestions.
mrcash
Ashigaru
posted 12-08-09 07:51 PM EDT (US)     187 / 212       
You might want to try "Napoleon and Wellington: The Battle of Waterloo--and the Great Commanders Who Fought It" by Andrew Roberts. Be warned though, it is a revisionist book (it is even mentioned so on the front cover) and some of his arguments are not entirely agreeable. He gives lots of first person accounts and letters though, many of which are quite astonishing and sometimes even humorous.

-Hell hath no fury like an Urban Cohort.
-Ah! The clans! They are numerous but not good for much!

The Rise of Nations Heaven forums need you! Join up and get the forum active again (if you have RON of course).
Gnarlyhotep
Ashigaru
posted 01-28-10 02:40 PM EDT (US)     188 / 212       
The most recent book I'm aware of is Peter Wilson, Europe's Tragedy. A History of the Thirty Year's War (London: Allen Lane, 2009). Though I haven't yet had time to do more than skim-read it, it devotes a good deal of space to the political events leading up to the the war.
I'm currently reading this and although I'm only through the portion of the book giving the background situation, I do highly recommend it. Quite a detailed account giving, so far, an encompassing view of the issues at play. He certainly doesn't go for the simplifying view of the Thirty Year's War as a purely political or religious issue, but goes to great lengths to show the intertwined nature of both issues, as well as showcasing the importance of the Ottoman War as a backdrop for the genesis of the turmoil.

Can anyone recommend a good biography of Gustavus Adolphus, that isn't a general history or history of the Thirty Year's War?

[This message has been edited by Gnarlyhotep (edited 01-28-2010 @ 02:41 PM).]

Revon
Ashigaru
posted 03-08-10 01:07 AM EDT (US)     189 / 212       
A couple of books by M Roberts come to mind. Firstly his 2-volume Gustavus Adolphus: A History of Sweden 1611-1632, and secondly his later work Gustavus Adolphus (Profiles in Power). You know them?
Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 03-26-10 10:50 PM EDT (US)     190 / 212       
Recently finished The Fall of Carthage by A.G. I have started In the Name of Rome.



Soon all my new reading material will be gone

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 03-27-10 07:42 AM EDT (US)     191 / 212       
Recently finished, not for uni purposes but for my own benefit, Watts, The Making of Polities. Europe 1300-1500; Sumption, Divided Houses. The Hundred Years War volume iii; Odoric of Pordenone, My journey to the Far East (transl. Vincent Hunink); various, The Gilgamesh Epic (transl. Theo de Feyter); Richard Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
Thrashmad
Ashigaru
posted 03-28-10 02:26 PM EDT (US)     192 / 212       
I am reading Svensk Historia (Swedish History) 600-1350 by Dick Harrison. This is the second part of a new series covering the history of Sweden. I haven't read the first part, I got this as a present. It is good so far, it tells what basis the historical theories have (different texts, archaeological findings etc.), explain some misconceptions and give a good look on how society worked at the time. The only real downside is that there are no timeline, which would be useful at is gets a bit confusing sometimes to remember when something happened in relation to something else

"The satisfaction in this game lies in to see 300 heavy armoured horsemen ride chock in an easy snowfall, while fire arrows criss-crosses the evening sky" - Swedish historian and permanent secretary of The Swedish Academy Peter Englund on Medieval 2: Total War (translated by Thrashmad)

"A game that contains both Carl Linnaeus and five different types of artillery projectiles are indisputable exceedingly detailed." - Peter Englund on Empire: Total War (translated by Thrashmad)
Revon
Ashigaru
posted 06-09-10 07:34 AM EDT (US)     193 / 212       
Can anyone recommend a good biography of Gustavus Adolphus, that isn't a general history or history of the Thirty Year's War?
I have also just got M Roberts, Essays in Swedish History. It has a couple of chapters specifically dealing with Gustavus Adolphus, and Roberts was an extremely highly regarded historian and his writing is very lucid. Worth a look I guess.
Pitt
Daimyo
posted 02-16-11 09:16 PM EDT (US)     194 / 212       
Jon Latimer, 1812. War With America. Harvard University Press, 2009.


An excellent book, giving the background to the war in some detail and exposing as hollow many of the popular justifications for the war. Issues such as impressment of US citizens (far fewer than generally believed) and neutral rights are covered well.

One of the many curious things about the war is that the states supposedly most affected by the British 'injustices' were the states most strongly opposed to the war, and those that had been completely unaffected were the most pro-war.

The war caused regional divisions in the US that were not surpassed until the American Civil War. Only two out of nine northern states voted for President Madison's re-election in 1812. Congress's vote for war was the narrowest in US history: it took weeks of political wrangling to get a positive vote, of 79 to 49 in the House of Representatives. It took a further fortnight to get the Senate to vote for war, by 19 to 13. Every state north of Pennsylvania opposed the declaration of war.

Particularly useful in that, as its title suggests, it looks into the British perspective on the war and its causes, something which is often overlooked in other treatments of the war. It also quotes from American leaders at the time, revealing that they believed it an opportune time to invade Canada while Britain was stretched to the limit fighting Napoleon.

The story of the war is told in narrative fashion, covering the skirmishes and battles on the frontier and the Great Lakes, as well as the war at sea. British raids on the Atlantic coast are also covered, including the burning of the White House in revenge for the destruction of York by American troops.

It also considers the effect of the war on the American national consciousness (such as the rampant anglophobia that remained a strong feature of American discourse until after WW2) and its impact on domestic politics. Many states utterly refused to cooperate with the federal government, and winked at illegal trade with the British in Canada. Indeed, the British forces were largely fed on American beef and grain.

The federal government itself authorised exceptions; to curry favour with the south and midwest and gain export revenue, the President allowed US grain to be shipped to Portugal to feed Wellington's army.

It's about 400 pages, with another 200 or so pages of endnotes and bibliography. It's very accessibly written.


Highly recommended.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
GeneralKickAss
Ashigaru
posted 05-03-11 01:58 AM EDT (US)     195 / 212       
First, apologies if this isn't the right place.

I was really keen on getting beyond In the Name of Rome, so now I'm thinking about ordering A.G.'s The Punic Wars or The Complete Roman Army on Amazon, since the libraries here don't seem to have them. Question is, which one? Any of you knowledgeable ones here read them?

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
Pitt
Daimyo
posted 05-03-11 06:09 AM EDT (US)     196 / 212       
The Punic Wars is well worth acquiring. As well as a history of the battles, sieges and the like, there's also a reasonable amount covering how the Roman army of the time was organised.

Of course, the scope is limited (even though covering much of the third century BC).

I don't have a copy of The Complete Roman Army and can't remember reading it, but it's been quite favourably reviewed. I understand it has a number of colour illustrations, which The Punic Wars does not.

Looking on Amazon, there's a paperback edition of TCRA coming out in September (the 5th for Amazon.co.uk, and 30th for Amazon.com). So if you don't want it desperately soon, you could pre-order it and just sate your hunger in the interim with The Punic Wars.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins

[This message has been edited by Pitt (edited 05-03-2011 @ 06:17 AM).]

Punic Hebil
Centurion
(id: Punic Hoplite)
posted 05-03-11 07:02 PM EDT (US)     197 / 212       
I have AG's Punic Wars. Quite good. Gives a very good overview of the wars. I find it a good tool for when Polybius cannot be had, and it's also much easier to find things in AG's book than Polybius for specific information.


I whole heartily recommend The Punic Wars

I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
Rinster
Ashigaru
posted 05-03-11 07:03 PM EDT (US)     198 / 212       
There is also another one that is a complete overview of the roman army, by Stephen Dando-Collins, called Legions of Rome

I really have nothing to say at this point.
Other than this.
Total War Games Played:
RTW
---|---|---|---
Je parle un peu de français
GeneralKickAss
Ashigaru
posted 05-04-11 07:42 AM EDT (US)     199 / 212       
Alright, Punic should be on the way.

Rinster, that book sounds like a good read too, but I'm still sticking with AG.

Thanks for the answers everyone.

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
"You see, this is what happens when you don't follow instructions, GKA..." -Edorix
Guild of the Skalds, Order of the Silver Quill, Apprentice Storyteller
Battle of Ilipa, 206BC - XI TWH Egil Skallagrimson Award

The word dyslexia was invented by Nazis to piss off kids with dyslexia.
Bulba Khan
Ashigaru
(id: stormer)
posted 11-19-11 04:03 AM EDT (US)     200 / 212       
Does anyone know a series of historical fiction novels a bit like The Masters of Rome series?

I feel the same way I did after playing Stronghold 2 for about 15 minutes, like it was my birthday and all my friends had wheeled a giant birthday cake into the room, and I was filled with hopes dreams and desires when suddenly out of the cake pops out not a beautiful buxom maid, but a cranky old hobo that just shanks me then takes $60 dollars out of my pocket and walks away saying "deal, with it".
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