History Longshot

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History Longshot

Postby Watcher55 » 01 Dec 2010, 16:52

Hey y'all
I know this is a longshot 'cause this isn't a history message board so I won't get my feelings hurt if this thread drifts into Chaos with all those socks.

I don't guess I'm the only historical fiction writer in the world or even the only one who needs to know something about it so I thought I'd throw this out there and see if there's anyone else interested in this kind of, let's say, esoterica.

Obviously Ancient History is my main interest but I also have a broad understanding of American History in general and I've studied the Revolution and the Founding Documents in depth. I taught a half-credit (high school) course on the Holocaust (Facing History and Ourselves - if that rings any bells), for two years.

I wonder if there's anyone else here that likes this kind of nonfiction. Not just Ancient History but any era or place.

Currently reading
Cicero:The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician - Anthony Everitt (That's Kikero)

Have read
Lost Christianities - Bart D. Ehrman
Nero - Edward Champlin
Augustus - Anthony Everitt

These are just the titles that were layin' around my perch.

So, if nothin' else, this can be my way of sayin' "this is what I got in case you're lookin' for a piece of info or just wanna pick my brain."

Did you say "esoterica"?
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Cookie » 01 Dec 2010, 17:03

I love ancient history! All of history in general, but I seem to be drawn more to anything pre-Christian.
My most recent history read are:
Love and Louis XIV- Antonia Fraser
The Trojan War- Barry Strauss
Plutarch's Lives Vol. 1- Plutarch
The Inquisition- Edward Burman
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Watcher55 » 01 Dec 2010, 17:11

Cookie wrote:I love ancient history! All of history in general, but I seem to be drawn more to anything pre-Christian.
My most recent history read are:
Love and Louis XIV- Antonia Fraser
The Trojan War- Barry Strauss
Plutarch's Lives Vol. 1- Plutarch
The Inquisition- Edward Burman


Never heard of the Barry Strauss book - I'll have to get that for Christmas

I've teetered back and forth on looking into the Inquisition, just never got a round tuit.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Cookie » 01 Dec 2010, 17:16

Watcher55 wrote:
Cookie wrote:I love ancient history! All of history in general, but I seem to be drawn more to anything pre-Christian.
My most recent history read are:
Love and Louis XIV- Antonia Fraser
The Trojan War- Barry Strauss
Plutarch's Lives Vol. 1- Plutarch
The Inquisition- Edward Burman


Never heard of the Barry Strauss book - I'll have to get that for Christmas

I've teetered back and forth on looking into the Inquisition, just never got a round tuit.



It was pretty in depth. I recommend it.
I have probably a hundred history books on my wishlist, spanning every country and time period. I don't know how I'll ever get around to them all.
You know, that book made me kinda despise Christianity. Although I know that most Christians are not like that. The whole doing evil in the name of god thing really pisses me off.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Watcher55 » 01 Dec 2010, 17:22

Cookie wrote:
Watcher55 wrote:
Cookie wrote:I love ancient history! All of history in general, but I seem to be drawn more to anything pre-Christian.
My most recent history read are:
Love and Louis XIV- Antonia Fraser
The Trojan War- Barry Strauss
Plutarch's Lives Vol. 1- Plutarch
The Inquisition- Edward Burman


Never heard of the Barry Strauss book - I'll have to get that for Christmas

I've teetered back and forth on looking into the Inquisition, just never got a round tuit.



It was pretty in depth. I recommend it.
I have probably a hundred history books on my wishlist, spanning every country and time period. I don't know how I'll ever get around to them all.
You know, that book made me kinda despise Christianity. Although I know that most Christians are not like that. The whole doing evil in the name of god thing really pisses me off.


I just remind myself that there's a difference between Christians and Christ. The one tends to give the other a bad name.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Cookie » 01 Dec 2010, 17:26

Watcher55 wrote: I just remind myself that there's a difference between Christians and Christ. The one tends to give the other a bad name.


Yes, I have to remind myself that all the time. I like Christ, I just don't like what people do in his name.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Watcher55 » 01 Dec 2010, 17:44

Yeah, it's a large problem, but I'll say this: The Bible I read (4 times) implies that if you're not serving then you're prolly no doing it in His name.

ANYWAY: I think the Inquisition is worth looking into because after learning so much about the Holocaust and how just pure evil can be unleashed on the world, I just wonder what the similarities are. it helps to understand the enemy.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Cookie » 01 Dec 2010, 18:15

It is a fascinating subject. I would like to learn more about the holocaust myself. I've learned a little through my boss, whose grandmother is Jewish. I have also met a few survivors when I worked at a retirement home. They didn't really talk about it, but one woman was really screwed up from it. It was heartbreaking to watch her once you found out why she was like that.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Margo » 01 Dec 2010, 18:23

Heya, more history buffs! Excellent! My BA was in history, but that was a looong time ago. My topics were ancient and medieval Ireland and Roman, with a few side trips into things like Cluniac Monasticism and Colonial Africa (Chinese Gordon, Shaka Zulu). I was a semester away from the Classical Studies minor when my advisor left the university. The new advisor didn't want to approve the electives she had let me choose. Oh, I also love all of Ron Hutton's stuff on pre-Christian Britain. I met him once. I'm a history professor groupie.

Since we're mentioning subjects in which we might be good resources for people with questions, I'm also good with police issues and city/regional planning. Yeah the planning sounds boring until you get into things like rezoning scandals, crooked politicians taking bribes from developers, eminent domain, what happens to a small town when it loses population, community struggles over historical preservation, etc etc etc.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Watcher55 » 01 Dec 2010, 18:49

Cookie wrote:It is a fascinating subject. I would like to learn more about the holocaust myself. I've learned a little through my boss, whose grandmother is Jewish. I have also met a few survivors when I worked at a retirement home. They didn't really talk about it, but one woman was really screwed up from it. It was heartbreaking to watch her once you found out why she was like that.

Yeah, it makes you feel helpless because there's nothing you can do or say that would help even a little, except not dishonor what was taken from them. The worst thing we can do is forget.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Cookie » 02 Dec 2010, 04:11

Margo, I want to go get a BA in history, but I find that I am too poor at the moment. One of these days! I don't actually intend on doing anything with said BA, except feed my own insatiable curiosity.
Ancient Ireland though, THAT sounds fascinating. I have a book titled 'How the Irish Saved Civilization.' I haven't cracked into it yet, but it is on the shelf waiting for me.

Watcher, I completely agree with you there.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Fenris » 02 Dec 2010, 13:32

I'm interested in history as well (it's my current major in college), but I'm not exactly what most people would call a "buff." I guess it's because my main incentive to study history is not so much what happened (though I obviously need to know that), but more so why it happened. I don't care so much about, say, a war in and of itself. I'm interested in the idea behind it, why people did what they did. That's why terrible things like the Holocaust and the Inquisition hold a horrible kind of fascination for me--what on earth would drive human beings to treat each other like that?

History is one of my biggest sources of inspiration, especially since close observations can tell one exactly how human beings react to certain stimuli. A man's soul is barest when under pressure, so of course wars give incredible insight into how people react based on their differences, whether they're on the same side or not. I've found it's incredibly informative and helpful when writing, whether for inspiration or information. It's much better than a psychology class if you're looking to discover what makes people tick.

And--standing apart from the crowd, it seems--I love history after the dawn of Christianity. Things like the Crusades give incredible insight to yet another thing that will drive an otherwise sane man to insanity: faith. Aside from brain-numbing chemicals, it's one of the most intoxicating influences on Earth. It's not a bad thing in its own right, but the atrocities people commit in the name of their God are astounding.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Bryan Russell/Ink » 02 Dec 2010, 15:36

Hey, there's gotta be a few history buffs here.

I'm with Fenris on his point about the psychology of people. I'm not a big name and date sort of history reader -- I'm interested in the stories, in what makes people go tick and tock.

Areas of particular interest for me:
Roman history
Medieval History (and religion/philosophy)
The Crusades
Art History
Military History, particularly WWII and Vietnam
Genocide and War Crimes - the Holocaust, Rwanda, Armenia, Cambodia, etc.
Natural calamities
And various esoteric odds and ends (eg. imprisonment, such as the American Prison system, the Gulag, etc.)

I couldn't avoid a love of history, as my father was a history professor. He taught American history, with focuses on Sports history, the Revolution, the Civil War, Vietnam, and the Civil Rights Movement.

I just bought Tears of Darkness, by Elizabeth and Michael Norman, which is a narrative history of the Bataan Death March. Looking forward to it!
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Margo » 02 Dec 2010, 16:06

Fenris wrote:I'm interested in history as well (it's my current major in college), but I'm not exactly what most people would call a "buff." I guess it's because my main incentive to study history is not so much what happened (though I obviously need to know that), but more so why it happened. I don't care so much about, say, a war in and of itself. I'm interested in the idea behind it, why people did what they did. That's why terrible things like the Holocaust and the Inquisition hold a horrible kind of fascination for me--what on earth would drive human beings to treat each other like that?


I can't think of anyone in my major who liked history for the dry facts and dates. The human drama behind the facts was was did it for everyone.
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Re: History Longshot

Postby Watcher55 » 02 Dec 2010, 17:13

Fenris wrote:I'm interested in history as well (it's my current major in college), but I'm not exactly what most people would call a "buff." I guess it's because my main incentive to study history is not so much what happened (though I obviously need to know that), but more so why it happened. I don't care so much about, say, a war in and of itself. I'm interested in the idea behind it, why people did what they did. That's why terrible things like the Holocaust and the Inquisition hold a horrible kind of fascination for me--what on earth would drive human beings to treat each other like that?

History is one of my biggest sources of inspiration, especially since close observations can tell one exactly how human beings react to certain stimuli. A man's soul is barest when under pressure, so of course wars give incredible insight into how people react based on their differences, whether they're on the same side or not. I've found it's incredibly informative and helpful when writing, whether for inspiration or information. It's much better than a psychology class if you're looking to discover what makes people tick.

And--standing apart from the crowd, it seems--I love history after the dawn of Christianity. Things like the Crusades give incredible insight to yet another thing that will drive an otherwise sane man to insanity: faith. Aside from brain-numbing chemicals, it's one of the most intoxicating influences on Earth. It's not a bad thing in its own right, but the atrocities people commit in the name of their God are astounding.


"Buff" and "student" are two different things. If you want to be buff lift weights.

Why? is one of the central (and I would say indespensible) questions of Historical inquiry.

The insights - that's where it really gets fun, because people are people and we like to say, "We would never have done anything like that." or "Now the ways of the <insert nationality, race, tribe. . . > people are very strange to us."

My answer to the first one, without getting vulgar is, "That's a LIE"
because my answer to the second is that whether we roast a wild boar over a tree that's been struck by lightning or heating up a Swansons tv dinner in the microwave - People are people, our world views are different and that's what makes peoples (tribes clans nations) different. History, to me, is about discovering the dynamic involved when person(ality) meets or clashes with world view.

So I think you have the right idea there.
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