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Desolation
04-23-2007, 04:26 PM
Hey guys ! As soon as summer break starts I want to read a few books about history (more focused on wars and dictators) and I'd like a few suggestions. I have my eyes on Marx's & Engel's Communist Manifesto but I'd like a few good reads on WWII, WWI, Vietnam, Cold War.. etc. Those books need to be affordable and on amazon.com though because book store around here don't have many English books.. Also, I don't want to read an interpretation but rather facts and an analysis so.. If you guys know of any good book, that'd make me really happy =)

Thanks !

Dave_Sinkula
04-23-2007, 06:54 PM
>I have my eyes on Marx's & Engel's Communist Manifesto

I believe you can find that online.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_manifesto#External_links

>I'd like a few good reads on WWII, WWI, Vietnam, Cold War.. etc.

Get lost in Wikipedia!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:War

Desolation
04-23-2007, 06:57 PM
Hey thanks. I prefer buying the paper version of the book though. I'll see what I can find on Wikipedia. I'll probably check the references and see if any of them are interesting.

whiteflags
04-23-2007, 07:02 PM
If you just want some paper between your fingers, I bet you could search the Library of Congress (http://catalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=Second) and find some history books on a particular person, event, or time period, although they would probably be written from an American perpective. After you find a book that looks interesting, plug the title and author in an Amazon Book Search.

Dave_Sinkula
04-23-2007, 07:11 PM
I don't want to read an interpretation but rather facts and an analysis so.."Neutral" history? It would be easier to prefer one that suits your own preference(s). :p

Desolation
04-23-2007, 07:20 PM
Yes, "neutral" is the word I was looking for :P I don't want to read a book that matches my preferences but rather a book that more or less tells the "real things".

Someone on another programming forum suggested Robert McNamara's In Retrospect which is about the Vietnam War and I have counter-balanced it with a suggestion from Amazon users, McMaster's Dereliction of Duty. I think I have enough reading for a little while =D (3 books ~500 pages each)

MacGyver
04-23-2007, 10:04 PM
Choose a subject today. Let's pick the Iraq War. You can't get people to agree on what is happening today with regard to that subject, and yet we're living through it right now in our lifetime.

So you realize an unbiased version of history might be difficult to achieve in some circumstances. :p

whiteflags
04-23-2007, 10:42 PM
I have this friend who at one point shared with me what her history assignment was. She basically had to do what historians do - compile the events occuring within a time period in order to present a thesis on why that time period was important. Information is by itself unimportant and neutral: When people died, when ships were christened, when organizations were formed as facts by themselves contribute nothing like why they were important. To make sense of the history in a time period, you're going to have to carefully reconstruct narrative, which will be written in the author's perspective, and perhaps indoctrinate reader's politically somewhat if it is hard to avoid and as long as doing so contributes to the thesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thesis)*. (A book discussing the social impact of communism might drum up exactly why it doesn't promote a competitive workforce that is so important to thriving economy, and thus won't advocate socialist values to a degree, for example.) Of course, you end up ignoring real events that support the contrary, but an all-encompassing approach to knowledge is disorienting.

It can be hard to find literature that goes against the mainstream, or whatever, but from an intellectual standpoint, ignoring one's supported opinion on a matter does more harm than good. People can't argue against what they don't understand. And for the matter, "analysis" can be interpretation also - see the Who's faster: C++ or Java debate.


The reason I chose to link to the thesis page is that raw data like the type you are wanting certainly can be valuable and is useful in lots of situations: submitting a dissertation is one of them. If the whole goal of learning were to recite what someone else said, then there would be nothing for you to contribute to the subject area. One way to get this type of data though is to read critically. You may find more enjoyment in what you read if you take the time to use that skill.

KONI
04-24-2007, 12:02 AM
A classic example from the World War II period would be "Adolf Hitler - Mein Kampf (my struggle)".

MacGyver
04-24-2007, 12:23 AM
Mein Kampf would be neutral history pertaining to WWII? It was written prior to WWII, and explained the basis for the warped way of thinking that is Nazism.

The book is the ravings of a mad man. It should not be taken seriously.

KONI
04-24-2007, 12:58 AM
It's not a neutral history book with facts and dates but rather one key element to understand the thinking and reasons he might have had to do what he did. If you are only interested in dates, events and names, then the book might not be for you, but if you want to delve deeper into a given time period and want to understand the motivations behind certain actions, then I think that book (there is also an annotated version with historic comments and relations to facts and events) is a very good start.

The Communist Manifesto is the same thing really, it explains a movement and less historical events.

h3ro
04-24-2007, 04:43 AM
If you want to make your own opinions to why things happend I agree with KONI and recommend you to read Main Kampf and other first hand sources. They will give you a very one sided view and requiere you to read more than one source if you want to see things from both sides. But the good thing is that there is not historien who has written the book and tries to make you believe the same as he does.


Mein Kampf would be neutral history pertaining to WWII? It was written prior to WWII, and explained the basis for the warped way of thinking that is Nazism.

The book is the ravings of a mad man. It should not be taken seriously.

If you are a bit serious about studying WWII you should read, or atleast know the key elements of that book. The book is a portal into the head of the man who started WWII(Can be debated)

Govtcheez
04-24-2007, 05:33 AM
> the man who started WWII(Can be debated)

Someone else invaded Poland?

I'll suggest this (http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Fall-Third-Reich/dp/1567311636/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-6569535-8909663?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1177414384&sr=8-1) if you want a complete history of the European theater.

nvoigt
04-25-2007, 08:41 AM
Well, back to topic :)

There is no neutral book. Every author has an agenda and as an amateur I find it easier to seperate agenda from truth if the point of view and intentions of the author are clear. I'd suggest reading books from people who were there. Who lived through it. This does include "Mein Kampf", it does include books like "Verlorene Siege" by Manstein ( Lost Victories ) or "Achtung, Panzer!" by Guderian, as well as their French, British, Russian or American counterparts.

In addition, Military Reports, though you can feel the virtual dust when turning the pages full of "bad weather, no action" boredom, provide good insight. But with everything written, remember that this is not the absolute truth either, it's just a report. As accurate as possible, but not "the truth". In case of WWII Germany, that would probably be "Berichte des OKW" ( Daily Reports of the German Army High Command ( (O)ber(K)ommando (W)ehrmacht ) ).

QuestionC
04-25-2007, 04:42 PM
On a somewhat related note, does anyone have a good book on the end of the US occupation of Japan?

I get the feeling that when some people think about going to war and occupying a country they think it will end in the same way.

I have not read it, but "Embracing Defeat" is about the US occupation. It is very highly reviewed on Amazon, and won the Pulitzer in 2000. Given my past experiences with Pulitzer Prize's nonfiction, I highly recommend it.

MacNilly
04-26-2007, 03:59 AM
Hey guys ! As soon as summer break starts I want to read a few books about history (more focused on wars and dictators) and I'd like a few suggestions. I have my eyes on Marx's & Engel's Communist Manifesto but I'd like a few good reads on WWII, WWI, Vietnam, Cold War.. etc. Those books need to be affordable and on amazon.com though because book store around here don't have many English books.. Also, I don't want to read an interpretation but rather facts and an analysis so.. If you guys know of any good book, that'd make me really happy =)

Thanks !

Read Mein Kampf? I haven't myself, but I've seen a few quotes. Interesting stuff if your into wars and dicatorships for sure.

Dave_Sinkula
04-26-2007, 09:04 PM
<<following an attempt at thread doctoring that began here, apologies for inconsistencies>>