all 31 comments

[–]dropbear123 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Finished one book I started last week and really enjoyed plus two shorter books that were not as good. All reviews copied and pasted

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 by Adam Hochschild


Not much to say about. Very well written. Half about the various Americans involved in Spanish Civil War (mainly the volunteers in the Lincoln Battalion and various journalists) and half general introduction to the war. By the topic of the book it has to be mainly focused on the pro-Republic Americans in Spain but there is also quite a bit on Texaco oil company providing huge aid to the Nationalists. (oil for the Nazi and Italian provided trucks and planes, intelligence on where the oil tankers headed for the Republic would be for submarines). Additionally there is some stuff about the British volunteers as well, mainly Orwell on the Republic's side and a guy called Peter Kemp who volunteered for the Nationalists.

It would be a good first book on the subject I think and overall I highly recommend it.

A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Murder in Ancient Rome by Emma Southon


Each chapter covers killing in a different context, political killing, killing within the family, execution etc. My favourite chapters were on 'murder in the slave state' which covered killing of slaves and by slaves and the chapter on gladiators. The information is good and there is a lot of insight into the Roman world view. The book is pretty easy to get into and doesn't need any prior knowledge of the Romans.

The main reason I am only giving it 3/5 stars is the tone and writing style. There are a lot of jokes, modern culture references like TV shows and movies, joking about modern British politics (from a leftwing perspective) and generally just trying to be funny. Additionally there is a lot of swearing - things like "stabbing the shit out of each other", "massive fuck off monuments" and insulting various people (who probably deserve it) like describing the emperor Domitian as a dickhead. Some people might like that style of writing but personally it didn't appeal to me. The information in the book was good but it could've been a lot shorter without the comedy.

Would I recommend it? Only if you like the sort of writing I described.

Just finished up War: How Conflict Shaped Us by Margaret MacMillan

3.5/5 rounding down for goodreads.

Each chapter covers a different topic of military history such as reasons for war, the impact of war on society, how civilians are affected, attempts to regulate war (one of the better chapters imo) etc. The writing is clear and accessible but with a tendency towards stating things that are sort of obvious. There isn't any great analysis and the book hasn't really changed my views much. As an introduction to various military related topics it is fine but if you've already read a bit on the topic you're not going to get much new out of this. Considering I really liked MacMillan's 'War That Ended Peace' and 'Paris 1919' books this one is a bit disappointing.

[–]ThunderStorm2137 2 points3 points  (8 children)

I have a pretty major fascination with Napoleon. What are some of y’all’s recommendations? Thanks.

[–]Doctor_Impossible_ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Zamoyski's book on Napoleon is excellent. Roberts is very much a Napoleon fanboy and worships him too much. There's a great discussion here.

[–]DominikFisara 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Not a book but have you listened to the Age of Napoleon podcast?

[–]ThunderStorm2137 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I have not I’ll have to check it out. Is it the one by Everett Rummage?

[–]DominikFisara 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That’s the one! It got a little dry at points for me during Napoleon’s early life but on the whole it’s fantastic imo

[–]ImOnlyHereCauseGME 1 point2 points  (1 child)

There’s a podcast called Real Dictators which did a series on Napoleon. Very interesting, but I had little knowledge of Napoleon before hand so it is likely a more surface level understanding of events leading up to and through his rule. Also highly recommend this series in general.

[–]ThunderStorm2137 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That’s actually what started my interest. Agreed, it’s a great podcast, too many breaks though.

[–]No-Strength-6805 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Andrew Robert's 976pg biography well known author

[–]TormundIceBreaker 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I posted this on r/suggestmeabook but figured I may get a better response here. Copying my post below:

Looking for a non-fiction book (or a series) that covers the American Civil War, primarily covering the military campaigns of the North & South.

I have recently read When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler by Jonathan House and David Glantz*, The First World War* by John Keegan, and The Franco-Prussian War by Geoffrey Wawro (I recommend all of them to those who are interested). All of these books were well researched, densely packed with facts, but still did a good job of going over the major campaigns without getting bogged down in minutia.

I know a lot about the major battles of the American Civil War and the general ebb and flow of the conflict, but want to read a more exhaustive overview that covers everything from Bull Run to Appomattox.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

[–]No-Strength-6805 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The Longest Night:A Military History of the Civil War by David Eicher ,Forward and Introduction by James Macpherson

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I am looking for some solid reads on the CIA and different operations and coups. I haven’t narrowed my interest down to any particular subject matter but I have been intrigued by paperclip and cointelpro related things. Drugs, mind control/psychology stuff, infiltration of movements. I’m pretty open, though.

[–]WeeklyIntroduction42 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Bitter Fruit-The story of the American coup in Guatemala is a good read

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’ll check it out! Thank you!

[–]GoodSpeakersRWorthIt -1 points0 points  (2 children)

Looking for recommendations for a brief overview of regional histories. Timeline is more contemporary. Ideally Around 100 years ago to 1960s, (decoloniz era), bleeding into the present is fine.

Particularly focusing on India, China, Brazil, and the Middle East.

To clarify, instead of reading a heavy time commitment Art History Monograph, like 300-400 page "Caravaggio - Complete works,"

(example: https://www.amazon.com/Caravaggio-Complete-Works-Sebastian-Sch%C3%BCtze/dp/3836555816/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?crid=RFMAP68B3T7S&keywords=caravaggio+schultz+sebastian&qid=1679977268&sprefix=caravaggio+schultz+sebatian%2Caps%2C77&sr=8-1-fkmr1&ufe=app_do%3Aamzn1.fos.006c50ae-5d4c-4777-9bc0-4513d670b6bc )

I'm looking more for the Taschen "Basic Art" series, abbreviated version. (100pages)

(example: https://www.amazon.com/Degas-Basic-Art-Bernd-Growe/dp/3836532719/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3B3UP3FXAF1VX&keywords=degas+taschen&qid=1679977415&sprefix=degas+tashen%2Caps%2C69&sr=8-1 )

...Where it's still high quality and worth reading, but not spelling out every minute genealogy and every possible pov (art technique, history, ideological, etc)

Googling around, I found some of these:

Cambridge Concise History of India (too long, 400 pages)https://www.amazon.com/dp/110767218X/?coliid=I1R9D0SP60JC91&colid=3RRM95BN0YKZU&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Robert's Concise History of China (too long, 368 pages)


Cambridge Concise History of Brazil (too long at almost 500 pages)


Al-Marashi's Concise History of Middle East (too long, at 500+ pages)


For what it's worth, I'm most interested in Econ History, but ideally a competent/not overly academic writing style.

History books I like:

CLR James - Black Jacobins

Thiong’o – Decolonising The Mind

Baptist - Half Has Never Been Told

Mills - Power Elite (*he sucks at writing though)

Zinn - People's History of USA

Grant - Natural Mystics: Marley, Tosh, & Wailer

Steel - Vive La Revolution

B. Ogot - Zamani - Survey of E. African History

Ntarangwi - East African Hip Hop


The Economist

Transition (Duke Uni Press)

Have some understanding of the India / Brazil / China / MidEast regions, reading Economist pieces here & there for past 10 years, but wanted to just have a little more overall continuity.

Def don't want to pay for 500 pages that the cover dawn of time to now, just last 100 years or so, even last 50 years.

Def don't want a large textbook i got no space for.

100-200 page paperback is ideal.


[–]MeatballDom 1 point2 points  (1 child)

There's a good reason most of those are in the 400+ page range.

And keep in mind that many of them are proper academic works, so they'll include a lot of pages on notes, bibliographies, historiography, abbreviations, and other things you can just skip over. In fact, if you're only interested in a certain set of years you can just skip the chapters that cover things before them, but you're getting a better overall product.

As for space, most books can now be found in digital format, but a 500 page book isn't as thick as you might think.

[–]GoodSpeakersRWorthIt -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Thanks for replying.

Yeh, skipping to the good stuff makes sense. Just extra dolares n space for stuff I'm not gonna use.

I actually can't read tablets, hurts my eyes (even w those gunnar pc glassses), + physical space is limited.

Was hyped to find those "BASIC ART" Taschen books. They really are amazing quality and short, and give you a great pov. Way better writing than I expected, and thoughtful analysis, so wudd if it's not every single painting, u kno.

A past 100yrs history version of that would be ideal.

yurr academic/researched work is necessary, but I find a lot of academic writing fails at writing. Exceptions being ppl like Baptist and CLR James, Thiong'o, sometimes Zinn.

Mills is the worst. Literally repeats an obvious idea for 10 pages at a time, with little cohesion.

S'like, Dude, Mills, give it a couple more passes before publishing, lol.

I feel like, especially, anything history-inclined, you should always use examples and case studies. But he writes oceans of generalities, supported in footnotes/bibliographies, vs. Baptist's ability to novelize threads from various sources (being a competent enough writer).

So you get the themes from slave narratives, plantation investor's deals w lawmakers, accountant records/audits, and political movements, banker policy, all with real-world examples, with the econ ethnic stakes made pretty clear. (and still all the academic footnotes etc)

Vs. the more cooped-up, badwriter academic vibes, where it's like allergic to specific, lived experience examples.


Pardon my frivolous ranting, how often does one get to talk about books nahdaze.

[–]mregner 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’m 15 pages away from finishing A TrampAcross the Continent by Charles F. Lummis.

It’s a fun little first hand account of a man walking across the closing frontier from Cincinnati to LA via Denver Albuquerque and across the Grand Canyon.

It’s very entertaining and interesting to see how a lot of places were quickly left behind after the frontier had passed them over.

[–]Ranger176 0 points1 point  (0 children)

To mark the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, I have several recommendations.

  1. Slate Slow Burn podcast on Iraq. This is a decent, nuanced history on the road to the invasion, more than I expected from Slate, honestly. Unfortunately, the last two episodes are behind a paywall so this will be a partial recommendation.

  2. The Regime Change Consensus by Joseph Stieb: Think of this as a more academic version of the Slate podcast, specifically episodes four and five which dealt with liberal support for the invasion. This book places the Iraq War in the context of the 1990s in the wake of the Gulf War and the Soviet collapse, showing that the political conditions for regime change were set well before 9/11.

  3. A Prisoner in His Palace by Will Bardenwerper: I haven’t started this one yet but it tells the story of the surprisingly intimate relationship between Saddam Hussein and his American jailers in the months leading up to his execution. The author was on NPR a few years ago talking about it.

[–]Historic12 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Sources on racial passing during reconstruction era

[–]No-Strength-6805 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Eric Foner Columbia University

[–]irequireausername 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I’m curious about how the Democratic and Republican parties switched their positions from Democrats supporting states’ rights to Republicans supporting states’ rights. Does anyone have any good recommendations on resources to help me understand that better?

[–]Brendan2803 0 points1 point  (0 children)

What's the primary sources for the 5 good emperors I just finished sutonius and wanted to continue reading primary sources about the roman empire. Thanks