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Recommended Reading

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  • #2


    Another good book on the period of the Irish War of Independence about a figure from the war who should be much more well known.

    "Rebel Heart: George Lennon: Flying Column Commander" by Terence O'Reilly


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    I'm slowly going through Kilkenny in revolutionary times by Eoin Swithin Walsh. It's good and easy read, I'm just stuck for time to read it in.


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    Found the Nigerian History Quiz Book a fun way to navigate the history of Africa's most populous and diverse country.


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    I have a ton of books on Northern Ireland conflict. The Best ones I have are

    A great series by Henry McDondald, Jim Cusack & Jack Holland on the non-IRA paramilitaries which include.... "INLA - Deadly Divisions" I have both the 1994 & 2007 versions, the updated version of "UVF - Endgame" & "The UDA - Inside The Heart of Loyalist Terror" - Great books, I love all the little details about dates, times, places, how exactly an action happened etc... I don't like the political tone, but it's a very well written book.

    "The Road to Balcombe Street: The IRA Reign Terror in London" by Steven P. Moysey - Very interesting book, badly written in that there's spelling mistakes on every second page, but even still a fascinating book.


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    Peter Taylors book on the IRA, "Provos: Behind The Mask" - I thinks that's the best book written on the Provisional IRA. Peter Taylor unlike a lot of other authors really understands the the Republican movement & it's culture, and he has a great insight into it.

    "Big boys Rules: The SAS and the Secret Struggle against the IRA" by Mark Urban is briliant. Again I love the little details he goes into, for example like explaining the IRA's digger bomb attack on The Birches, from planning stages, right up until the IRA Volunteers got back to safety, explaining how man men were used & how they were used, that a small bomb attack on Pomperoy barracks wa just a diversion, how the IRA vols escaped into Belfast b boat through Lough Neagh which is only about a mile from the Birches. Details like that in it were great.

    Anne CadWallader's books "Lethal Allies: Britih Collusion in Ireland" is a great book on the activities of the Glenanne Gang from 1972 - 1978.

    And both Don Mullan's & Joe Tiernan's books on the Dublin & Monaghan bombings are both very good.


  • #2


    Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing.
    Re-reading this for the excellent sections on how the crew survived months of social isolation on limited rations during the time they were trapped on the ice-flows.


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    I mentioned in another thread that I'd read Marc Morris' three books, A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain, King John: Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta & The Norman Conquest. I highly recommend all three books. Morris seems to have really done his research and constructs an excellent and compelling narrative for all three books.

    I recently finished Dan Jones' The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England. It's a good primer to the subject but I do think that, for myself at least it's better to read a whole work about a specific monarch or historical figure as even a few chapters only really scratch the surface. I think this book was originally only intended to chronicle the life of Richard II but it evolved to cover the entire Plantagenet line beginning with Geoffrey of Anjou and finishing with Richard II's deposition by Henry of Bolingbroke.

    Today, I've started Lauren Johnson's Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI. My housemate has been raving about this one and he's quite well read on English history. So far, I'm impressed. Johnson writes a very engaging narrative. So far, I'm still on the introductory material about Henry V but I think I'm going to really enjoy this. The Wars of the Roses is a very complex topic but to read the Yorkist side, I've picked up Thomas Penn's The Brothers York: An English Tragedy, again at the recommendation of my housemate.


  • #2


    Homage To Catalonia.

    It's still so relevant to our world today.

    It's a little more to do with the revolution rather than the civil war & a lot on the in-fighting between the the CNT, the POUM, The Stalinists & other left groups. It paints a grim picture of war, Orwell points out that the poorer people in Barcelona looked upon the Francoist Assault Guards "as something rather resembling the Black and Tans"
    He goes on to say that...
    "when I see an actual flesh & blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman , I do not have to ask myself which side I am on (the workers).

    ^ Shades there of the conflicts in Ireland, in the 1920's the RIC & the Auxies, in following decades the RUC & B-Specials and later UDR. And their enemy was mostly poor, working class Irish people.

    Like Noam Chomsky I think this is Orwells best book, along with "Burmese Days".


  • #2


    Homage To Catalonia.

    It's still so relevant to our world today.

    It's a little more to do with the revolution rather than the civil war & a lot on the in-fighting between the the CNT, the POUM, The Stalinists & other left groups. It paints a grim picture of war, Orwell points out that the poorer people in Barcelona looked upon the Francoist Assault Guards "as something rather resembling the Black and Tans"
    He goes on to say that...
    "when I see an actual flesh & blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman , I do not have to ask myself which side I am on (the workers).

    ^ Shades there of the conflicts in Ireland, in the 1920's the RIC & the Auxies, in following decades the RUC & B-Specials and later UDR. And their enemy was mostly poor, working class Irish people.

    Like Noam Chomsky I think this is Orwells best book, along with "Burmese Days".

    Ah the 'working class' get way too much homage. The working class are always in the heart of conflict with the law..its followed on to the Guards from the RIC .I d agree with that assertion..Luckily most people are middle class now . If I see a policeman keeping the peace against a bunch of trots or vandals I want to lend a hand.


  • #2


    Mod Note: @BloodyBill - Please keep posts on topic, i.e. recommended historical resources.


  • #2


    Today, I've started Lauren Johnson's Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI. My housemate has been raving about this one and he's quite well read on English history. So far, I'm impressed. Johnson writes a very engaging narrative. So far, I'm still on the introductory material about Henry V but I think I'm going to really enjoy this. The Wars of the Roses is a very complex topic but to read the Yorkist side, I've picked up Thomas Penn's The Brothers York: An English Tragedy, again at the recommendation of my housemate.

    This one's a recommendation I think.

    I'm going to read Penn's Yorkist book next and his biography of Henry Tudor.

    Has anyone here read anything good about Henry VIII? There's a few books focusing on his wives and one by Alison Weir who's not a historian.


  • #2


    I’ve started on “The Boer War” by Thomas Packenham - very much enjoyed the Scramble for Africa which is the last book of his I read so hoping this will be of a similar standard


  • #2


    Has anyone here read anything good about Henry VIII? There's a few books focusing on his wives and one by Alison Weir who's not a historian.

    Tracy Borman has one on Henry VIII himself, might be a good place to start. I believe she also has an upcoming book covering all the Tudors.


  • #2


    For the period of the Old West of the US, "Dreams of El Dorado" by W. Brands was an excellent read.


  • #2


    Tracy Borman has one on Henry VIII himself, might be a good place to start. I believe she also has an upcoming book covering all the Tudors.

    I bought on specifically about Henry VII Thomas Penn. I prefer to read reign by reign but it might come to that. Most of the Henry VIII books tend to focus on his wives but the Borman book looks like the best option at least until Waterstone's reopens and I might see something on paperback.


  • #2


    This one's a recommendation I think.

    I'm going to read Penn's Yorkist book next and his biography of Henry Tudor.

    Has anyone here read anything good about Henry VIII? There's a few books focusing on his wives and one by Alison Weir who's not a historian.

    Both of Penn's books are must reads IMO, especially The Brothers York. Winter King is a much less fluid read as it handles much less compelling subject matter but Henry VII is a unique character among England's monarchs.

    Leaning towards Borman's Henry VIII book. Most of them are concerned with the wives which is irritating. I'm just after a solid narrative biography.

    Has anyone read anything good about Elizabeth I?


  • #2


    Any recommendations about the crusades?


  • #2


    Any recommendations about the crusades?

    Yep:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006ZD19TC/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    It's masterful. I can't imagine there being a better book available.


  • #2


    Any recommendations about the crusades?

    I’ve read Christopher Tyerman’s “God’s War” which is excellent but massive and insanely detailed.


  • #2


    Dan Jones also has a recent book on the subject:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crusaders-Dan-Jones-ebook/dp/B07K2FX94P/ref=pd_vtp_351_4/261-0500380-6035212?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07K2FX94P&pd_rd_r=8c698db4-30d8-4fc7-b81e-1867fb7a6640&pd_rd_w=XJdXH&pd_rd_wg=rQncu&pf_rd_p=18bc5366-21e6-460e-84bc-9a61ea576c49&pf_rd_r=Z0FNG6G8Y3EQ11XCM7RK&psc=1&refRID=Z0FNG6G8Y3EQ11XCM7RK

    The Asbridge book I linked to above really was a phenomenal overview. A friend is reading and enjoying the Jones book but I really do think the Asbridge one is the one to go for.


  • #2


    Dan Jones also has a recent book on the subject:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crusaders-Dan-Jones-ebook/dp/B07K2FX94P/ref=pd_vtp_351_4/261-0500380-6035212?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07K2FX94P&pd_rd_r=8c698db4-30d8-4fc7-b81e-1867fb7a6640&pd_rd_w=XJdXH&pd_rd_wg=rQncu&pf_rd_p=18bc5366-21e6-460e-84bc-9a61ea576c49&pf_rd_r=Z0FNG6G8Y3EQ11XCM7RK&psc=1&refRID=Z0FNG6G8Y3EQ11XCM7RK

    The Asbridge book I linked to above really was a phenomenal overview. A friend is reading and enjoying the Jones book but I really do think the Asbridge one is the one to go for.

    I would also look at The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors also by Dan Jones. I read it during the summer and found it very interesting and insightful.


  • #2


    I would also look at The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors also by Dan Jones. I read it during the summer and found it very interesting and insightful.

    Thanks, everyone. I've read a couple of Jones' books in the past and found them accesable, I might give his a shot.


  • #2


    I would also look at The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors also by Dan Jones. I read it during the summer and found it very interesting and insightful.

    It's on my list. If you enjoyed it I might bump it up as they feature in the Crusades but their end isn't something I know a great deal about.


  • #2


    The classic work on the Crusades is Steven Runciman’s 3 volume history. Haven’t read it but it is said to be a great work of literature, but a bit outdated in terms of scholarship on the topic.

    Apart from those mentioned above, look for works by Jonathan Riley-Smith and Jonathan Philips.

    Also Amin Maalouf’s “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes.”


  • #2


    Has anybody read Anne Chambers' Grace O'Malley book?
    I tried but just could not get past the first few pages with unrecognizable and unpronucable names. I thought the writer should be aware of how off putting this might be. Surely there's a story to be told? I just wonder if anyone has read this book and their thoughts. Any orher books on her?


  • #2


    bobbyss wrote: »
    Has anybody read Anne Chambers' Grace O'Malley book?
    I tried but just could not get past the first few pages with unrecognizable and unpronucable names. I thought the writer should be aware of how off putting this might be. Surely there's a story to be told? I just wonder if anyone has read this book and their thoughts. Any orher books on her?

    Having names in the Irish language are off-putting and unpronounceable? jaysuz someone needs to park their colonial mentality. Good luck reading anything on medieval Irish history with that attitude.


  • #2


    dubhthach wrote:
    Having names in the Irish language are off-putting and unpronounceable? jaysuz someone needs to park their colonial mentality. Good luck reading anything on medieval Irish history with that attitude.

    I just want feedback on what people thought of the book.
    If you read the book, what did you think of it?


  • #2


    Both of Penn's books are must reads IMO, especially The Brothers York. Winter King is a much less fluid read as it handles much less compelling subject matter but Henry VII is a unique character among England's monarchs.

    Leaning towards Borman's Henry VIII book. Most of them are concerned with the wives which is irritating. I'm just after a solid narrative biography.

    Has anyone read anything good about Elizabeth I?

    The Borman book is excellent. Highly recommended.


  • #2


    bobbyss wrote: »
    I just want feedback on what people thought of the book.
    If you read the book, what did you think of it?


    I've read it - ages ago. I recall enjoying it and subsequently being disappointed to learn that some scholars took issue with several of her claims (I think about the meeting with QE1 ??). I've not followed up on that. I've no recollection of the Irish names being an issue and I'm by no means fluent. Chambers' book on the Countess of Desmond is also a good read.


  • #2


    Mick Tator wrote:
    I've read it - ages ago. I recall enjoying it and subsequently being disappointed to learn that some scholars took issue with several of her claims (I think about the meeting with QE1 ??). I've not followed up on that. I've no recollection of the Irish names being an issue and I'm by no means fluent. Chambers' book on the Countess of Desmond is also a good read.


    Great stuff. It's good to get feedback. Will give her another go on that one. Currently reading life of George 111 by Janice Hadlow.


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