PDA

View Full Version : History Buffs



SantiagoOdyssey
10-26-2009, 03:39 PM
.

Richard White
10-26-2009, 03:56 PM
You may need to narrow it down a bit.

Late 19th century Europe? America? Japan? China? Australia? Belgian Congo?

Lots of material out there, but it would help to know what you're looking for specifically.

Puma
10-26-2009, 05:09 PM
There are lots of good novels out there. You might want to do a little searching someplace like Amazon for titles for the American Civil War (and reconstruction), the development of the American West (and railroads), the Gay 90's (Meet Me in St. Louis was a good, old-fashioned movie), the Spanish American War, Teddy Roosevelt, Queen Victoria, and even the Roaring 20's (can't remember the dates for Ragtime by Doctorow, but good). To make it easier, you could look for movies covering the periods and see whether your local library has them to borrow.

You could also do a Google search for a timeline showing cultural or industrial highlights for the period to narrow down what you're looking for. Hope that helps a bit. Puma

Zelenka
10-26-2009, 05:37 PM
There are lots of good novels out there. You might want to do a little searching someplace like Amazon for titles for the American Civil War (and reconstruction), the development of the American West (and railroads), the Gay 90's (Meet Me in St. Louis was a good, old-fashioned movie), the Spanish American War, Teddy Roosevelt, Queen Victoria, and even the Roaring 20's (can't remember the dates for Ragtime by Doctorow, but good). To make it easier, you could look for movies covering the periods and see whether your local library has them to borrow.

You could also do a Google search for a timeline showing cultural or industrial highlights for the period to narrow down what you're looking for. Hope that helps a bit. Puma

Ragtime's about 1902 or thereabouts if I remember rightly. Brilliant book though.

Maybe if you could narrow it down also in terms of specifics to do with your story or the type of story you're looking for - do you want romance or mystery or whatever, or do you need specific resources on any particular place or industry etc?

One I'm reading just now is 'London in the 19th Century' by Jerry White and it's a really entertaining as well as informative general overview of the period.

There's also a lot of contemporary literature from your time period that might be of use. Again, knowing what sort of story you were thinking of could narrow that down as well.

StephanieFox
10-26-2009, 09:08 PM
There's a really good book about a very important and famous cholera epidemic in London around 1854. The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson, follows the hunt for the source of the outbreak, but it also goes into detail about the governmental structures, medical attitudes, sanitation, population and a lot of other things. Don't worry, it's not a dry history. It reads like a medical mystery (think "House".) The epidemic was the turning point in London history, marking a change to the modern world as we know it. It changed a lot of things. I think this would be a valuable book for your research.



http://bookblog.alibris.com/20070627/ghost-map-steven-johnson-review/

Sarpedon
10-26-2009, 09:19 PM
I would say you should decide whether you want pre or post WW1 pretty quick, as things changed radically afterwards.

Prewar was still very Victorian, culturally. Uptight, moralistic, sexually repressed, et al, while after the war saw a very lively explosion of pop culture. Sex, jazz, dancing, etc. Pick which one would suit your story better. From the sound of it, prewar would work better. but thats just a superficial impression.

RobinGBrown
10-27-2009, 12:09 AM
The Victorians by A. N. Wilson is a pretty good source but it mostly covers things before your specific time frame (i.e. between say 1900 and 1920).

Sarpedon
10-27-2009, 01:20 AM
1905-1917 is still considered to be Victorian. Remember that the king of england at that time was Queen Victoria's son, and Kaiser Wilhelm was her grandson (and virtually every monarch in Europe was related to her in some way, shape or form)

Zelenka
10-27-2009, 02:04 AM
The Victorians looks a bit early, but he has one about the aftermath of the Victorians which would be just right I think. I'm thinking the pre-WWI and into WWI may be the best setting. 1905-1917ish or thereabouts. Would give a pretty large, rich canvas in which to set things.

Thank you everyone for the recommendations so far, please keep them coming!

For the UK for that period you could try looking for stuff under 'Edwardian', as the period is quite often referred to as such. I've found even looking for materials for the late 1880s, Edwardian books have more accurate information as "Victorian" covers such a big period, since Victoria reigned for 60+ years, and quite often Victorian sources can refer more to the 1850s and thereabouts.

SantiagoOdyssey
10-27-2009, 02:58 AM
.

Puma
10-27-2009, 03:39 AM
Try these links - especially the first one. Puma

http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade10.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/US-History-1901-1920
http://womenshistory.about.com/od/suffrage1900/Women_s_Suffrage_1900_1920.htm
http://www.archaeolink.com/early_20th_century_america_1900_.htm
http://www.lib.washington.edu/subject/History/tm/american2.html#

StephanieFox
10-27-2009, 04:29 AM
That would include the Progressive Era, the rise of labor unions after the repression of the 'Gilded Age,' huge immigration from those nasty unwashed peoples from Italy, Sweden, Eastern Europe (lots of Jews, like myn grandparents) and elsewhere pouring into the USA through Ellis Island.

Not everyone came through Ellis Island. If you were Anglo-Saxon, you could come in and settle without the hassle. Like my other grand parents.

This was a time when started to look to the government for solutions to problems with new government entities Pure Food and Drug Act an the FDA, for example and public health, the FTC and the Federal Reserve. This was at the beginning, a reaction against corrupt political bosses and corporations (like the RRs) which make the lives of many Americans difficult. The Progressives were very strong in states such as Oregon and Wisconsin and California.

Previously, the economic and political doctrine was lassez-faire (hands-off), opposing government interference in the economy except to maintain law and order. (Think the modern tea-baggers.) When the change came, it came fast and furiously (think social changes in the 1960s).

Tarriffs were imposed and the fairly new sherman Atni Tris Act was inforced.

During this period was the first income tax (at that time mostly on the very richest, only), prohibition was started, senators were elected directly by voters and women got the vote.

Because of these changes, there was a increase in the middle class. Regular people were able to buy goods such as cars and fine china.

Journalists exposed corruption and scandal in national magazines (a new medium). Science began to be seen as the way to solve problems. Think Thomas Edison & Nikola Tesla.

During the run up to WWI, American did not want to get involved. They elected Woodrow Wilson on a "he kept us out of war' position, but finally sent the American troops 'over there.'

In 1918, during the was, the Great Spanish Flu epidemic. Not Spanish at all, this virilant new strain of flu spread through troop movements all over the United States, to Europe and to the rest of the world and some say that no onein the world was not exposed to the new disease.

This is a really interesting period of American History, probably my favorite. Writers of this period that you should read include Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, Walter Lippman, Booker T. Washinton, herbert Croly, Charles Beard, W.E.B.Du Bois, Lincoln Steffens.

Read "The Jungle." See the movie 'Inherit the Wind.' There's a lot of info out there.

Swordswoman
10-27-2009, 05:44 AM
From the sound of your story, probably the most valuable contemporary UK fiction would be John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga - or at least the first six books, which cover the 1880's to 1926 (The Man of Property, In Chancery, To Let, The White Monkey, The Silver Spoon and Swan Song). The first wasn't actually published till about 1922, but Galsworthy lived through most of the period and was writing what he clearly knew well.

Why it might suit you is because he's actually writing about the social changes in England over that period, especially as they affected the 'middle classes'. So much other fiction (and an awful lot of history) either deals with lords and ladies, or Hardy type rustics or Gaskell type city poor - no-one else really bothers with the middle. Galsworthy's characters vary from landed gentry to lawyers, stockbrokers, wine-merchants and politicians - very appropriate to your Old Money/New Money theme. He shows the 'Bohemian' side too -from impoverished architects and painters through to poets and publishers. There are even some (not every well drawn) American characters, as one of the heroes brings back an American wife. Stories run from adultery and divorce to litigation and corruption, via society scandals and family feuds, and the approach is surprisingly modern. Galsworthy was the first writer I know of brave enough to tackle the concept of rape within marriage...

Oh, and they're actually rather good... If it feels like too much, you could also try and get hold of the DVD of the 1960's BBC adaptation of all six books, 'The Forsyte Saga'. It's black and white, shot 'live', complete with occasional line fluffs, but it was a wonderful achievement in its day and I still love it now.

Louise

pdr
10-27-2009, 12:56 PM
if you go down to Genre Specific and find Historical you will find a sticky at the top of the board called Resources by Era. It has a vast range of resources general and specific which you might find useful.

Forgot to add that John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga as recommended by Swordswoman is an excellent resource for that period. The BBC version as recommended above has never been bettered for giving the 'feel' of the time.

Smiling Ted
10-27-2009, 05:00 PM
Try The Proud Tower, by Barbara Tuchman.
It's not exhaustive, but it will give you some good insights.