What Are You Reading? Part Deux

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Edward John

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Reading a book about american Civil War. Nothing reall new but very interesting to read a book not written by an american on it. It gives a new perspective on figures like, Lee, Grant, Lincoln, Stonewall Jackson, JEB Stuart, Sherman and others. Some of these figures have been iconized for a century or more so interesting to read a book by someone who was not raised in that tradition.
I'm a fan of Civil War history as well. You should check out this book, McPherson's (Great Historian) Jefferson Davis: As Commander and Chief, a very good account of the Confederate President. He was a fascinating man, was an officer during the US-Mexico War, became a Member of the House of Representatives, then became The Secretary of War, then of course became an advocate for Southern rights and eventually succession. But what I find interesting is Davis as a man, he was married for three months before his wife passed of malaria, he was also known as an obsessive and untrusting of others. He never got on well with State Governors or other officals, he was just as vilified among Confederate factions as he was in the North. A fascinating man, and I believe wrongly discreditied as a terribel leader by contemporary historians.

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Edward John

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I love how you are always challenging yourself to learn new things. It's really something we should all try to do. Too many people are myopic in the information they want to take in and process. I think they fear learning because that will challenge what they have stubbornly held onto as truth.

Good job Kurben!
Its great to have someone who respects and knows history. :)
 

Kurben

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I'm a fan of Civil War history as well. You should check out this book, McPherson's (Great Historian) Jefferson Davis: As Commander and Chief, a very good account of the Confederate President. He was a fascinating man, was an officer during the US-Mexico War, became a Member of the House of Representatives, then became The Secretary of War, then of course became an advocate for Southern rights and eventually succession. But what I find interesting is Davis as a man, he was married for three months before his wife passed of malaria, he was also known as an obsessive and untrusting of others. He never got on well with State Governors or other officals, he was just as vilified among Confederate factions as he was in the North. A fascinating man, and I believe wrongly discreditied as a terribel leader by contemporary historians.

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I have read his very good book Battle cry for freedom about the Civil war era. (1845-1870 about). Excellent book that goes through the meandering presidents and politics that lead up to the war and then finishes off with the watr and its aftermath. The point is that he is an american historian and interesting to see a war and its participants through different glasses. One of the main policies for the south was to engage britain on their side because of the cotton that british factories needed to work. Thats one of the big reasons Lincoln declared his emancipation act in 1862 that freed the slaves (in practice it didn't mean anything at the time because it only freed the slaves of the states in confederacy (which he had no control over), not the slavestates that stayed in the union like Maryland). But the emancipation Act meant that if Britain decided to enter the war because of the cotton they would also fight for slavery which was abhorrent to the british people. Result, the british never entered.
 

Kurben

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Its great to have someone who respects and knows history. :)
The same to you!! History is, to me at least, one of few sciences that encourages you to think for yourself. Thats why i always try to read at least two books on one subject to get different points of view and be able to form my own opinion. Some historians conclusions on some subjects seem to me to be founded more on traditionell thought than historical fact. Every authors opinion must be weighed against the facts. Sometimes they hold up and then there are some really horribly propagandist historians.
 

Edward John

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I have read his very good book Battle cry for freedom about the Civil war era. (1845-1870 about). Excellent book that goes through the meandering presidents and politics that lead up to the war and then finishes off with the watr and its aftermath. The point is that he is an american historian and interesting to see a war and its participants through different glasses. One of the main policies for the south was to engage britain on their side because of the cotton that british factories needed to work. Thats one of the big reasons Lincoln declared his emancipation act in 1862 that freed the slaves (in practice it didn't mean anything at the time because it only freed the slaves of the states in confederacy (which he had no control over), not the slavestates that stayed in the union like Maryland). But the emancipation Act meant that if Britain decided to enter the war because of the cotton they would also fight for slavery which was abhorrent to the british people. Result, the british never entered.
I think that a good alternate history novel would be a British invasion of the US after the Civil War. If Britain wanted to re-establish the colonies, then an invasion after the Civil War would have been perfect, because the US was financially destroyed by the toll of the Civil War. A joint invasion by Britain and the CSA, CSA from the south and Britain from the north would have been devestating, but, of course, this did not materialise. I will check out that book as well. :)
 
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Edward John

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The same to you!! History is, to me at least, one of few sciences that encourages you to think for yourself. Thats why i always try to read at least two books on one subject to get different points of view and be able to form my own opinion. Some historians conclusions on some subjects seem to me to be founded more on traditionell thought than historical fact. Every authors opinion must be weighed against the facts. Sometimes they hold up and then there are some really horribly propagandist historians.
You know what they say though, history is always written by the victors. :)
 

Kurben

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You know what they say though, history is always written by the victors. :)
True to a certain degree. One of the most obvious cases are Richard III. The history everyone cites until very recently as the truth was Thomas More and he was 4 when Richard died. He served and grew up under Henry and wrote to flatter him and darken his opponent. If you check it for facts you can, even today see pure lies, exaggerations and big omitments. But the civil war have plenty of diaries, letters and memoirs from the south and its soldiers. So a good historian ought to be able to get a better balanced view. The problem is that even these memoirs often glorify your own input into the war to make it more heroic, more important and in some cases decidedly decisive for the way the battle went. Its an act of balance to write a good history.
 

Edward John

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True to a certain degree. One of the most obvious cases are Richard III. The history everyone cites until very recently as the truth was Thomas More and he was 4 when Richard died. He served and grew up under Henry and wrote to flatter him and darken his opponent. If you check it for facts you can, even today see pure lies, exaggerations and big omitments. But the civil war have plenty of diaries, letters and memoirs from the south and its soldiers. So a good historian ought to be able to get a better balanced view. The problem is that even these memoirs often glorify your own input into the war to make it more heroic, more important and in some cases decidedly decisive for the way the battle went. Its an act of balance to write a good history.
That would be one of the great things about a time machine, you could check if the historians got it right or not. There is a book just about bias in history, and it makes a good point, that all historians are biased, whether they realise it or not, which is true. Was Richard the final English monarch to perish in battle?
 

Kurben

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That would be one of the great things about a time machine, you could check if the historians got it right or not. There is a book just about bias in history, and it makes a good point, that all historians are biased, whether they realise it or not, which is true. Was Richard the final English monarch to perish in battle?
Yes, he was. Charles I was captured and then they chopped his head off so i guess he does not count. Thats rather remarkable comparably. I mean in sweden both Gustav II Adolf died in battle 1632 and Charles XII in 1718. Both long after Richard.
 

Edward John

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Yes, he was. Charles I was captured and then they chopped his head off so i guess he does not count. Thats rather remarkable comparably. I mean in sweden both Gustav II Adolf died in battle 1632 and Charles XII in 1718. Both long after Richard.
Also, Richard I perished uncerimoniously, by a an archer in France. Very surprised at Charles XII, not many monarchs fought in battles as advanced in time as that. Just a good thing that Arn Magnusson did not, don't you think? :)
 

Kurben

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Also, Richard I perished uncerimoniously, by a an archer in France. Very surprised at Charles XII, not many monarchs fought in battles as advanced in time as that. Just a good thing that Arn Magnusson did not, don't you think? :)
He was wellknown for it. Idolized by his men but also thought to be a little crazy for his wish to go among his soldiers. Won a big a battle against Russia whtere he fought himself, at Narva in 1700. Then the swedes lost everything they won in 1709 at Poltava. In that battle he didn't fight because he was injured two days before by a bullet in his foot. His luck ran out in 1718 during a siege in Norway.
Arn Magnusson was lucky!!
 

Edward John

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He was wellknown for it. Idolized by his men but also thought to be a little crazy for his wish to go among his soldiers. Won a big a battle against Russia whtere he fought himself, at Narva in 1700. Then the swedes lost everything they won in 1709 at Poltava. In that battle he didn't fight because he was injured two days before by a bullet in his foot. His luck ran out in 1718 during a siege in Norway.
Arn Magnusson was lucky!!
That reminds me of Napoleon. Napoleon was known to fight with his men as a General in his early career. He fought quite a bit during the French campaign in Italy I believe, he even led the charge at Arcole I believe. Once he got older and became Emperor he stopped right enough. That is a shame about Charles, goes through all those battles only to perish at a siege, the same thing happenned to Richard I weirdly enough. Yes, Arn was lucky. :)
 

FlakeNoir

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History question for Kurben.
Have you ever researched/studied Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War, and if so, do you believe that Cromwell's rebellion was justified?
Just a quick thought, have you ever thought of PMing Kurben with your historical questions? It's getting too late now on SKMB time, but maybe you could start up a new thread on the Playground? Kurben is such a well of knowledge, he might be happy to share. :smile:
 

Edward John

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Just a quick thought, have you ever thought of PMing Kurben with your historical questions? It's getting too late now on SKMB time, but maybe you could start up a new thread on the Playground? Kurben is such a well of knowledge, he might be happy to share. :smile:
Good point, although, maybe others are interested? :) Plus, we'll probably still use the same thread on Playground.