What are you reading (July 2008)?

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What are you reading (July 2008)?

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1Shrike58
Juil 8, 2008, 8:47am

I just finished up Hitler's Death Squads, an examination of the field leadership of the einsatzgruppen via the lens of West German court records; more sociology than narrative history, besides being a critique of Hitler's Willing Executioners.

2tom1066
Modifié : Juil 9, 2008, 6:25pm

I'm reading America's Constitution by Akhil Reed Amar and Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt.

The Amar book is good stuff but slow going, even for a lawyer such as myself. I took Constitutional Law with his brother Vik, and their ideas are very similar.

The Greenblatt book is a very good read but, as with any book on Shakespeare, it is difficult to separate what is likely true in an objective sense from what is simply the author's personal hunch or wishful thought. I recommend it, but read Schoenbaum's Shakespeare's Lives and/or Ron Rosenbaum's The Shakespeare Wars first as a counter-influence.

3HarmlessTed
Modifié : Juil 11, 2008, 5:47am

After finishing Richard Holmes' Sahib - an interesting and very readable account of British soldiers in India between 1750 and 1914 - I am now 50 pages into From the Gracchi to Nero by H.H.Scullard, this being, although 40 years old, still the standard work for Rome between 133 B.C. and 68 A.D.

4Shrike58
Juil 21, 2008, 7:48am

I finished Chiang Kai-Shek over the weekend, a life and times of the Chinese Nationalist leader (B/B+); see my review.

5ThePam
Modifié : Juil 26, 2008, 7:23pm

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Simplexity by Jeffrey Kluger

and an article...

"Meat's Meat": An Account of the Flesh-Eating Habits of Western Americans

Author(s): Martin Schmitt

This is a short (fun) article that begins with Antelope and ends with Wolverine, covering a variety of creatures (sandhill crane anyone?) that early western travelers ate... including 'man meat'.

It will shortly be a blog item.

6marieke54
Juil 31, 2008, 7:05am

After finishhing A Peace to End All Peace, that kept me busy for more than a month, I started this week with another one about this particular peacemaking proces: Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War by Margaret MacMillan, who gives (more than Fromkin) great depictions about het protagonists.

7Essa
Juil 31, 2008, 12:47pm

I'm now reading Last Days in Babylon: the History of a Family, the Story of a Nation by Marina Benjamin. It tells about the author's family, particularly her grandparents -- their lives as Jews in Baghdad during WWI and II, and their subsequent emigration. By extension, it also contains a great deal of history on Baghdadi Jews and Iraqi history in general.

So far, it is quite good, and it is an enjoyable and informative follow-up to Naim Kattan's Farewell Babylon, an autobiographical memoir on the same topic. (His touchstone will not work for some reason.)

8JFCooper
Modifié : Août 6, 2008, 11:58am

Fallen Founder: the Life of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenberg and the Michigan Historical Reprint Series version of Jacob A. Riis's chronicle of urban decay and wealth disparity, How the Other Half Lives.

I'm using How the Other Half Lives in my U.S. History survey course this fall, and I expect to focus heavily on the rise, development, and decay of America urban centers. Riis's attitudes about ethnicities would now be considered racist, but his descriptions of living conditions and his images are extremely important in documenting the squallor in which many thousands of people lived in the late 1880s in New York City.

Caveat: If you get this version of Riis's work, you're going to want to look up his images and photographs on the web. The reprints of the prints of the woodcuts have been reduced to exactly two tones, BLACK and notBLACK. So nearly every one is indecipherable.

Nancy Isenberg has already shown me, half way through the book, that almost everything I knew about Burr was disseminated (mostly by Hamilton and his cronies) in order to impugn his character. At the moment, it looks to me as though Burr's political demise was due to Virginian power politics than to any major character flaw he might have had.

Daniel