Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 30

Thread: Read any good books lately?

  1. Top | #11
    Super Moderator Mediancat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    1,055
    Rep Power
    71
    Making a point of reading about countries not my own at this point: I have two books dealing with the history of Ireland, and a biography of Simon Bolivar.

    Rob

  2. Top | #12
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Searching for reality along the long and winding road
    Posts
    6,368
    Archived
    12,976
    Total Posts
    19,344
    Rep Power
    71
    Read any good books lately?
    Would interesting books do?

    DEAR READER, The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il by Michael Malice I found interesting and informative. Malice visited North Korea and collected the materials that are used for teaching history in the schools in NK... so essentially what North Koreans believe about the world, their country, and about Kim Jong Il. It reveled a rather odd (sometimes fanciful or even magical) alternate reality North Koreans live in.

    One example:
    The Titanic sinking was a sign to the world from the heavens that the "Dear Leader" (Kim Jong Il) had been born.

    I wouldn't necessarily call it a good book but it was definitely an interesting book.
    Last edited by skepticalbip; 02-18-2021 at 04:49 AM.

  3. Top | #13
    Formerly Joedad
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    PA USA
    Posts
    7,481
    Archived
    5,039
    Total Posts
    12,520
    Rep Power
    83
    Because I became re-interested in the Shakespeare Authorship Question I read Looney's Shakespeare Identified and followed that up with Mark Anderson's Shakespeare by Another Name. Both made the case for the 17th Earl of Oxford being the primary composer of the Shakespeare Canon. Very interesting reading.

  4. Top | #14
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Land of Smiles
    Posts
    1,254
    Rep Power
    15
    If "World History" includes Prehistory, I have three books to recommend:

    (1) Memory Code by Lynne Kelly. (There are different editions of this work. The earlier one I read was less expensive than the Amazon price I see for this one.) Kelly's controversial idea — that preliterate societies were dependent on mnemonic devices — has changed the views of many top anthropologists. The memory device could be a portable board, still found in primitive African and Australian societies as in this photo:

    ... or much larger, like the monoliths and pavilions for music at Stonehenge.

    (2) Europe Between the Oceans (9000 BC to 1000 AD) by Barry Cunliffe. A good look at Europe's pre-history (although when he wrote the book, Cunliffe lacked modern understanding of the very important Indo-European expansion).

    (3) Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings by Jean Manco. This will fill in some of the picture Cunliffe misses, but will appeal most only to those interested in details of DNA evidence.

  5. Top | #15
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Port Clinton, Ohio
    Posts
    4,300
    Archived
    591
    Total Posts
    4,891
    Rep Power
    71
    We Survived (compiled by Eric H. Boehm) was published in 1949 and reissued in 2003. It collects the stories of 14 survivors of Nazi persecution. Boehm was a press officer with the occupation government, and in that position he sought out survivors with stories to tell. I have read the first three narratives, and they are riveting. The first chapter is the story of a Jewish lady who was given shelter by a courageous young woman who had only a small apartment to share with her, which put both of them in extreme peril. (They were in Berlin, and when the air raids began in earnest, their situation quickly got desperate.) The second chapter is by a man who joined a Communist youth group in the mid-30s and quickly drew the attention of the Gestapo. In April 1945, as the Reich was collapsing, he was ordered into a column of men who were designated to be shot by the SS... The third narrative concerns an art student who was assigned to the Luftwaffe's painters' unit -- he was to produce stirring propaganda art showing Germany's brave pilots. But he loathed the Nazis, and began to cultivate friendships with others who shared his views. Before long, he was denounced by men who had heard him spreading defeatist views.
    Well worth reading. I'm about 80 pages in (of 300+) and I think I'll finish it tomorrow.

  6. Top | #16
    Super Moderator Mediancat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    1,055
    Rep Power
    71
    Finished Tim Pat Coogan's biography of Michael Collins -- I have his book on The Twelve Apostles (The Irish freedom fighters) on order. Never read too much about modern Irish history and felt it was a gap I needed to fill.

    Am currently reading Young and Damned and Fair -- an excellent biography of Catherine Howard, the second "beheaded" in the list of Henry VIII's poor wives. The author does a good job of making it clear she wasn't particularly anyone's pawn, and wasn't promiscuous by any definition of the word, but she still seems to have been in well over her head as Henry's wife, and not been overly wise, either.

    Rob

  7. Top | #17
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Land of Smiles
    Posts
    1,254
    Rep Power
    15
    The thread title asks for books we've read "lately", but I'm here to recommend a book I read decades ago. I expect scathing reviews as soon as I mention the author's name, so please read the whole post before pounding on the Reply botton! And anyway, further discussion of this book definitely requires its own thread.

    I recommend The Sign and the Seal by Graham Hancock. It will present an interesting new perspective on the earliest history of the Jewish religion, the Knights Templar, Ethiopia and more.

    Graham Hancock's career can be broken into three distinct phases:
    • He was an accomplished writer of non-fiction. He worked as correspondent for The Economist and several newspapers. His books included Ethiopia: The Challenge of Hunger.
    • He became obsessed with the Ethiopian legend that the Ark of the Covenant is housed today in Axum, Ethiopia. Yes, that Ark of the Covenant, allegedly containing the stone tablets on which the Finger of Yahweh had inscribed the Ten Commandments. Between 1989 and 1995 Hancock published only one book: The Sign and the Seal, a report on his investigations into the Ark of the Covenant. As an indication of this obsession, he notes on the dedication page that his (first) marriage did not survive the writing of the book.
    • The Sign and the Seal became a major bestseller. Perhaps in part because he had found a path to wealth, he then authored or co-authored a number of books about lost civilizations and so on, widely derided as pseudo-science or conspiracy-theory crackpottery. Let us NOT discuss those books.

    I think that The Sign and the Seal should be judged on its own merits. Even if we stipulate that his later books were crackpottery, it doesn't follow that everything in this book is wrong. And there is much of interest in the book.

    Even if you decide that EVERY hypothesis Hancock presents is false, and that his accounts of history are distorted, the book is still an interesting read! He presents a very personal narrative, e.g. about his trip through a war-zone to reach the city of Axum. And if the elaborate patterns he weaves together to support his wild hypotheses are indeed fabricated, you may still admire his handicraft at weaving these patterns!

    One simple fact assures me that "scholars" have not given this book fair attention. Two on-line reviewers state that the book supports the Ethiopian myth that the Ark was brought to Ethiopia in the time of King Solomon by followers of Menelik, Solomon's son by the Queen of Sheba. In fact Hancock specifically rejects that myth; much of the book is taken up with reasons that myth is wrong, and a very different proposal is developed with much detail and much evidence. Yet reviewers get this completely wrong! Clearly they've made no effort to even skim the book, yet are happy to pontificate about it.

    Example: there was a Jewish temple on Elephantine Island near present-day Aswan. This was a rather recent discovery and should be of great interest to Jewish scholars, yet it seems almost ignored — an unsettling mystery they'd rather not think about? Yet the Elephantine temple meshes perfectly with the hypothesis Hancock constructs.

    Discussion of the Qemant people and Beta Israel intrigued me and made me interested in the earliest history of the Hebrew people. There is much more of interest in Hancock's book, even if you reject his constructions as overly fanciful.

  8. Top | #18
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Port Clinton, Ohio
    Posts
    4,300
    Archived
    591
    Total Posts
    4,891
    Rep Power
    71
    In the Sewers of Lvov: A Heroic Story of Survival from the Holocaust (1990) by Robert Marshall
    Horrifying but often inspiring account of Jews who escaped the Lvov ghetto as the Germans set about executing all the remaining inhabitants. They'd prepared a tunnel into the Lvov sewers. A desperate mob of refugees followed the original group, but within a few weeks, only a core group remained, and by the end of their ordeal, some 14 months later, the group numbered about 12. They survived because a Polish sewer worker took up their cause and made daily trips down to their hiding place, with whatever food he could find for them. One of the survivors gave birth in their refuge, which led to an excruciating scene.
    This true story was filmed as In Darkness in 2011.
    Last edited by ideologyhunter; 04-04-2021 at 01:24 AM.

  9. Top | #19
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Chochenyo Territory, US
    Posts
    6,184
    Rep Power
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    One example:
    The Titanic sinking was a sign to the world from the heavens that the "Dear Leader" (Kim Jong Il) had been born.
    Surely you mean Kim Il Sung, who was born on that day?
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

  10. Top | #20
    Contributor
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Georgia, US
    Posts
    5,311
    Archived
    3,862
    Total Posts
    9,173
    Rep Power
    83
    I have been neglecting my book reading over the past few years, but I finally finished "Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari.


    I really enjoyed the book and learned some things I had never knew much about or had considered before. After finishing it, I've decided that humans would have been better off if we had remained as hunter gatherers, instead of fucking up the planet and so many of the other species on it.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •