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Thread: Currently Reading: The Historical Non-Fiction Edition

  1. #26
    never mind the shorty angeliz2k's Avatar
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    I perused the local history shelf at the library and found a fantastic, and very large, book about Washington DC. I've been struggling to find the kind of information I need--where might people have lived, where might they have shopped, what they might have seen (aside from the obvious stuff I know about, like the uncompleted Washington Memorial). This book had tons of helpful pictures and maps. I loved it.

    I got really excited . . .

    ETA: This is my post #1000! Sweet.
    Last edited by angeliz2k; 12-23-2012 at 07:00 PM.
    "Cotton. Cotton until Kingdom Come."

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    WIP 5: The Cotton Wars [prequel].
    WIP 6: Sci-fi-ish. In progress.

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  2. #27
    Don't let your deal go down, Dave Hardy's Avatar
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    Recently read Banditry in West Java 1869-1942 by Margreet Van Till. It's an interesting monograph that looks at bandits in the later days of Dutch colonialism as a social issue, a law enforcement issue, and a cultural phenomenon. Deals a lot with Hobsbawm's Social Bandit thesis.

    At the moment I'm reading Border Patrol by Clifford Allen Perkins. It's a brief memoir about his years as an Immigrant Inspector and his service as head of the Border Patrol. There's a hell of a lot of gunfights, double-dealing, and bureaucratic infighting, but Perkins makes some interesting points about the role of a policeman enforcing laws that are widely disregarded. It's not exactly a "rah-rah, shoot the illegals" kind of book. If anything, Perkins rather subtly points in the opposite direction. He did get to be pretty quick on the draw though.
    In the words of Hasan i-Sabah: Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

  3. #28
    My rhymes are bottomless Hip-Hop-a-potamus's Avatar
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    I just finished "The Lost City of Z" by David Grann about explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in the Amazon in 1925.

    Seriously fascinating.

    But if you ever had any desire to visit the Amazon (even as much as it's changed in 90-something years), this will disavow you of your travel plans right quick.

    Despite the piranhas and funky fish that try to swim up your privates and use spikes to stay embedded inside, I still thought it sounded interesting. I just thought "I won't go in the water."

    But flies biting you and laying larvae under your skin with maggots emerging sometime later? Protozoa being deposited around your face so that it begins basically rotting off? COUNT ME OUT!!
    Last edited by Hip-Hop-a-potamus; 01-03-2013 at 04:58 PM.


  4. #29
    Dull Old Person Flicka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hip-Hop-a-potamus View Post
    I just finished "The Lost City of Z" by David Grann about explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in the Amazon in 1925.

    Seriously fascinating.

    But if you ever had any desire to visit the Amazon (even as much as it's changed in 90-something years), this will disavow you of your travel plans right quick.

    Despite the piranhas and funky fish that try to swim up your privates and use spikes to stay embedded inside, I still thought it sounded interesting. I just thought "I won't go in the water."

    But flies biting you and laying larvae under your skin with maggots emerging sometime later? Protozoa being deposited around your face so that it begins basically rotting off? COUNT ME OUT!!
    I saw a documentary of Percy Fawcett a while back and made pretty much the same reflection. No Amazon for me, ever!
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  5. #30
    Don't let your deal go down, Dave Hardy's Avatar
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    Lost City of Z is a damn good book. It's amazing how many people died/disappeared/went mad just looking for Fawcett. There was talk of Brad Pitt doing a movie based on Percy's life, but I don't think it went anywhere.

    John Hemming is still my favorite writer on S. American Indians.
    In the words of Hasan i-Sabah: Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

  6. #31
    My rhymes are bottomless Hip-Hop-a-potamus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hardy View Post
    Lost City of Z is a damn good book. It's amazing how many people died/disappeared/went mad just looking for Fawcett. There was talk of Brad Pitt doing a movie based on Percy's life, but I don't think it went anywhere.

    John Hemming is still my favorite writer on S. American Indians.
    That would have been COOL.

    He was probably too busy fighting Leonardo di Caprio for the rights to World War Z, which they've COMPLETELY screwed up. He's not trying to stop the damned plague. It's already over. Grrrr....


  7. #32
    practical experience, FTW mayqueen's Avatar
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    I don't know if this exactly counts or not, but I'm reading Foucault's The Birth of the Clinic for a book group in my department. It's more philosophy than straight history, but I love medical history, so of course I love it.
    "I'd rather be a cyborg than a goddess." -Donna Haraway

  8. #33
    Dull Old Person Flicka's Avatar
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    I'm stuck in India. Currently reading The Ruling Caste by David Gilmour, Modern India by William Eleroy Curtis (from 1904) and Handbook of the Punjab (a traveller's guide) from 1883. The latter aren't historical non-fiction since they were written to be read by their contemporaries but they're research so I include them.

    Topping that with some of the cooking/home management books from the 1920s that my lovely sister gave me and some "real crime books" for the blog.
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  9. #34
    bushed Bushrat's Avatar
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    I'm currently reading "The Incredible Eskimo" by Raymond de Coccola, the memoir of a Jesuit priest's decade in Canada's central Arctic. He was there in the 1930s and 40s, although it sounds like a much earlier time. Baby girls and elders were at times still abandoned on the ice, and people still lived a very traditional, nomadic life.

    And I'm trying to keep my hands off "Good Time Girls" by Lael Morgan, about dance hall girls and prostitutes of the Alaska-Yukon gold rush. It features a number of detailed portraits, photographs, as well as background info on the social mores at that time and place.
    Another book, "Women of the Gold Rush", is sorely tempting me--part of my research material for the gold rush novel that's been bugging me. But it'll have to wait a few more months First, I have to finish editing my WIP, or I'll never get around to querying that sucker.

  10. #35
    JWNelson JWNelson's Avatar
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    As mentioned earlier in this thread, I finished "Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield" by Kenneth D. Ackerman. An excellent overview of the political practices of the era in addition to the human story behind Garfield. Following that was "Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man" by Walter Stahr. Another interesting glimpse into politics from the 1830's until 1870's. The Civil War section was especially illuminating, although I felt I got more out of "Team of Rivals" when it came to the Lincoln-Seward relationship.
    Currently reading Ackermann's "Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York." This is another eye-opening book about mid-19th century American politics.

  11. #36
    practical experience, FTW Sunflowerrei's Avatar
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    I am reading two non-fiction books right now. One for research for my WIP: The Children of Africa in the Colonies: Free People of Color in Barbados in the Age of Emancipation.

    The other is To Marry An English Lord. So entertaining and very wittily written.
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  12. #37
    Don't let your deal go down, Dave Hardy's Avatar
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    I just started A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett by Himself.
    In the words of Hasan i-Sabah: Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

  13. #38
    Lolling about on Gin Lane... schizoidwoman's Avatar
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    I've just started Courtiers by Lucy Worsley, which was a christmas present from my husband. So far it's an entertaining read!

  14. #39
    Don't let your deal go down, Dave Hardy's Avatar
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    Six Years with the Texas Rangers by Jim Gillett, a first hand account of ranger service in the 1870s & '80s, dealing with everything from Indian skirmishes, train robbery, feuds, and rustling.
    In the words of Hasan i-Sabah: Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

  15. #40
    My rhymes are bottomless Hip-Hop-a-potamus's Avatar
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    The Genius of the System

    About four of the main Hollywood studios from just before the advent of sound into the 40s or 50s. Research, of course.


  16. #41
    Don't let your deal go down, Dave Hardy's Avatar
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    In between reading paperback Westerns and Hard Case Crime pbs, I've been re-reading (skimming really) The Northern Crusades by Eric Christiansen. It's the best English-language account of the Crusades in the Baltic region against the Wends, Prussians, Livonians, Estonians, Finns, and Russians. I've been interested in that ever since I saw Aleksander Nevsky when I was a kid.
    In the words of Hasan i-Sabah: Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

  17. #42
    practical experience, FTW firedrake's Avatar
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    I'm reading Ten Days That Shook The World by John Reed, for research purposes, since part of the WIP is set in Petrograd during the Bolshevik uprising.

  18. #43
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Gods With Thunderbolts: Religion In Roman Britain (Guy De La Bedoyere)
    Jerusalem: The Biography (Simon Sebag Montefiore)
    Life and Leisure In Ancient Rome (JPVD Balsdon)

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  19. #44
    practical experience, FTW benbenberi's Avatar
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    La Varenne's Cookery: The French Cook, The French Pastry Chef, & The French Confectioner, ed. Terence Scully

    La Varenne, chief cook of the Marquis d'Uxelles, published Le Cuisinier Francais in 1651. It was a huge best-seller across Europe for decades. A foundational cookbook: food for all meals & all seasons, aimed primarily at his fellow kitchen professionals. The recipes are clearly in close continuity with recognizable modern French cuisine -- very few traces of medieval styles of food remain -- but there are also some interesting differences. - This modern edition (2006) includes a long introductory essay discussing the social & cultural context as well as the publication history, and the translation has useful text notes throughout.

  20. #45
    figuring it all out moreferarum's Avatar
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    How have I only just seen this thread? Historical Non Fiction is pretty much all I read!

    Currently I'm reading Rubicon by Tom Holland. I've only read the first chapter but so far I'm enjoying it. I like how he started with the story of Tarquin and The Sibylline Books.
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  21. #46
    Steamcleaning everything in sight SpinningWheel's Avatar
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    I'm reading 'In Bed With The Tudors: The Sex Lives Of A Dynasty From Elizabeth Of York To Elizabeth I' by Amy Licence. Really fascinating though I think she takes things a bit too literally sometimes (eg Catherine of Aragon's complaints about not having enough to eat after Prince Arthur dies.)

    Sunflowerrei - I've read the Hochschild book you mention. I agree, it's not a hard read at all. I read it after liking William Hague's biography of Wilberforce and wanting to know more about the abolitionist movement as a whole.

    Your project sounds extremely interesting!
    Five Wounds is out!

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  22. #47
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moreferarum View Post
    How have I only just seen this thread? Historical Non Fiction is pretty much all I read!

    Currently I'm reading Rubicon by Tom Holland. I've only read the first chapter but so far I'm enjoying it. I like how he started with the story of Tarquin and The Sibylline Books.
    Fantastic book. I love the way Holland framed it with Caesar and his legions standing at the edge of the Rubicon, knowing that crossing the river was an act of civil war.
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  23. #48
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I'm currently reading, "Twelve Unlikely Heroes" by John MacArthur. I'd like someone to look at and critique my book, "Jesus Told Me To Do What? Looking Beyond The Golden Rule" by Peter Bakich but am not sure how to do that without stirring up trouble. Perhaps that's the real story here.

  24. #49
    practical experience, FTW Sunflowerrei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpinningWheel View Post
    Sunflowerrei - I've read the Hochschild book you mention. I agree, it's not a hard read at all. I read it after liking William Hague's biography of Wilberforce and wanting to know more about the abolitionist movement as a whole.

    Your project sounds extremely interesting!
    I only just saw this! Thank you! Of the research books I've gone through for this WIP, Bury the Chains was by far the easiest read.

    I'm just about finished reading Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth and am in the middle of The Gentleman's Daughter by Amanda Vickery, for book research purposes.
    Current Projects:
    Pearl: A Novella (working title): Historical fiction, 1799 Barbados and England. Currently with an editor.

    Novel, Victorian London/modern day New York.

    Blog: The Sunflower's Scribbles

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  25. #50
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Just finished Mary Beard's Pompeii, and currently reading Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilisations (Martin Goodman) and Bar-Kokhba (Yigael Yadin.)
    The Speculator: On submission.
    Aelia: Work In Progress

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