lost_spook: (s&s - silver)
[personal profile] lost_spook
For the Talking Meme, from [personal profile] scripsi: Favourite period in history?

I'm not entirely sure I really have one. I'm pretty widely interested in history because, well, history is everything that ever happened and everybody who ever lived anywhere up until now, and people do tend to be odd and fascinating, and it's often the only way to understand how the world interacts - everything starts to make more sense when you learn something of the history of places and people. (Although it's fair to say that I don't enjoy some types of history - like that module of economic history I once had to do. It was useful, though, I have to admit. Even if it did contain terms like 'stagflation.' Economic history = not my thing, except in a more social history context. And I have mixed feelings about 20th C stuff, because it is a bit recent - but, OTOH, also interesting. It's all interesting when done right, that's the problem! History's only ever boring when it's history of a really dull technical subject or history done wrong by terrible history teachers.)

By default and not really by choice most history I've studied has been US or British (and mostly English, because it usually is, although some Welsh; I did go to uni at Aberystwyth) and what I've read most since has been for family history purposes, which means a lot of 18th-20th C British social history.

That said, I definitely love reading about the eighteenth century (usually British, see above, sorry), especially late 18th C and into the early 19th C - it's just far enough away to be alien and fascinating and yet near enough in terms of evidence left behind people, and, of course, it's the first period for which you start to have novels as well as letters and diaries, poems, plays, and official records. So, the long eighteenth century, maybe?

On the other hand, there's always something completely fascinating about seventeenth century history, and sixteenth century - and Shadow of the Tower got me interested in the reign of Henry VII (it's amazing how many history books on the Tudors skip straight to Henry VIII, and yet the period of 1483-1509 is no less lacking in incident just because the king wasn't busy chopping off his wives' heads).

And I've always loved everything around 1066 and want to read loads more about Anglo-Saxon England - and I loved my module on Roman history, and I really ought to be a lot less parochial and fill in some more European gaps, and beyond. And when I was a teenager, I got completely fascinated and obsessed by mid-Twentieth Century Chinese history, too. And I should definitely read more about Disraeli and Gladstone, because Disraeli and Gladstone, and I haven't since I was at college (UK college, not university), which is just wrong.

It's just... a mass of stories and people being stranger and worse and better than anyone could possibly imagine and there'll never be enough time to find out about it all. But I do like late eighteenth century things quite a lot, it's true.

Date: 31 Mar 2017 05:33 pm (UTC)
ext_3965: (Books - Too Many Books I Need To Read)
From: [identity profile] persiflage-1.livejournal.com
I have started trying to run down good (by which I mean well written to meet a layperson's interest) books about both Anglo-Saxon and Roman British history - entirely as a consequence of reading novels (the former because of Bernard Cornwell's AS-era novel series, the latter because of - um, can't actually remember what I read that sparked the interest in Roman Britain! Oops!) So if you find anything really readable, I'd be glad to hear of it.

Date: 31 Mar 2017 07:39 pm (UTC)
ext_3965: (I Prefer Reading)
From: [identity profile] persiflage-1.livejournal.com
Oooh, thanks. The Oliver is actually available in a Kindle edition, which is increasingly important to me since lugging around heavy paper editions of books is nearly impossible with my fricking knee.

I empathise with wanting to read ALL THE HISTORY and not having enough time (which is when a TARDIS'd come in dead handy!)

Date: 1 Apr 2017 11:05 am (UTC)
ext_3965: (8.5 War Doctor Day of the Doctor)
From: [identity profile] persiflage-1.livejournal.com
You know, after I hit the post comment button last night, I thought "I bet lost_spook says take the TARDIS to see history! " and lo and behold... 😁

Date: 1 Apr 2017 03:03 pm (UTC)
ext_3965: (10 + SJS Hug School Reunion)
From: [identity profile] persiflage-1.livejournal.com
*snorts* True. I just long for a TARDIS at my disposal so I can get ALL THE THINGS done!

Date: 31 Mar 2017 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swordznsorcery.livejournal.com
History, history, all of the history. All of it. Trouble is, you need all of history in order to fit in all the reading about it!

Have you read "1000", by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger? I think it came out back when we clicked over from 1999 to 2000, so you may well have encountered it by now. Short book, very readable, and highlights a period that a lot of us skipped over during our formal educations.

Date: 31 Mar 2017 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swordznsorcery.livejournal.com
They do look awfully good on the shelf (shelves!), don't they.

Sometimes a specific subject is a good way to begin. I have a book called "The Thieves Opera", by Lucy Moore, which is about Jonathan Wild, a favourite character of mine from 18th century London. He was a thief taker, in the old, pre-Peeler days. I also have one called "Blood And Guts" by Roy Porter, which is about the history of medicine. There's a lot of history in that one, jammed into a pretty short book. Good stuff (and not at all gory, despite the title!)

Date: 1 Apr 2017 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swordznsorcery.livejournal.com
He used to run a masters course at University College London on the history of science, medicine and technology. From what I gather, he felt that there was a lack of a good grounding book for that, so it more or less serves as an introduction. In that respect it's very good, and it does have a remarkable amount of detail in it. But yes, it's certainly no substitute for something big and weighty.

*ears perk up at possibility of cheaper certificates*

I seem to be getting a bit morbid when it comes to those things. ;)

Date: 2 Apr 2017 07:11 am (UTC)

Date: 31 Mar 2017 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ragnarok-08.livejournal.com
It's just... a mass of stories and people being stranger and worse and better than anyone could possibly imagine and there'll never be enough time to find out about it all. But I do like late eighteenth century things quite a lot, it's true.

I concur wholeheartedly.

Date: 1 Apr 2017 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emeraldarrows.livejournal.com
History. <333

I need to learn more British history, tbh.

Date: 1 Apr 2017 12:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dimity-blue.livejournal.com
History is fascinating. I love it too.

I'm with you on Henry VII. The guy pretty much stole the throne of England and managed to stabilise the monarchy enough for his descendents to be there today. They might not be called Tudor but he's their direct ancestor. The guy had nerve.

Date: 1 Apr 2017 02:20 pm (UTC)
liadtbunny: (Richard III Innocent)
From: [personal profile] liadtbunny
I feel a bit bad about the majority of my knowledge being about British history, but I did go to France with the French and then came back again:S

Henry VII had pretenders pop history writer! Pretenders are fun, well not for the people involved ...

Date: 2 Apr 2017 01:53 pm (UTC)
liadtbunny: (Richard III Innocent)
From: [personal profile] liadtbunny

Pretenders are the best! Richard is the most perfect man who ever lived, so fair's fair on that count;p


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