Isn’t Reading History Great?

On June 16th, I began reading William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.  As I indicated in my now reading post, I’m reading this book with my brother.  We’re having a pretty good discussion about it on a group site we created on Posterous.  It’s been lively and interesting.  We’ve even gotten my sister involved recently in some of the posts, even though she isn’t reading the book with us.

In the last week or so, I’ve managed to get through 2 parts of the book, and I can’t help but think how much I miss reading about history.  The last set of historical books I read was about two years ago when I completed Shelby Foote’s Civil War:  A Narrative series.  Which, if you haven’t managed to read yet, I highly recommend it, I guarantee, you’ll learn much more about our Civil War than ever.  🙂

I find the German Third Reich to be quiet interesting.  Sure, I took a a couple of German history courses while I was studying history at GW, and I truly enjoyed those.  But after college, I really didn’t concentrate so much on German and/or European history, and read a few US history based books.  Which, while I found interesting, I still felt that I was missing reading about European history.

I feel it’s so important to read about history and learn about our past.  Not just to know about the bad things that happened, but to remember the good as well.  Plus, those who don’t learn history, are doomed to repeat it, is so true.  In the case that relates to what I’m currently reading, Hitler didn’t learn from Napoleon about invading Russia.  But I definitely feel we, as a people, need to know where we came from, as it’s a pretty good indicator of where we’re going.

I definitely feel I should make a commitment to reading more history, so I believe I will begin by reading at least two books of a historical nature every year.  Fortunately, there are so many out there, I don’t think that will be too difficult of a challenge to keep.  Do you ever take the time to read some history?  If so, what types of history do you like?  Anything interesting you’re reading?  I’d love to hear about it!


About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

13 Responses to “Isn’t Reading History Great?”

  1. Sometimes I find historical reading fascinating…in the past year, I read a mystery set during the time of the Third Reich, but it wasn’t something literary like the one you’re reading. However, the kind of book I read can encourage other books about an era.

    Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.

  2. I love nonfiction. One of the most powerful books I read last year was a history book, The Warmth of Other Suns. I also loved Unforgiven, a history book published last year.

    Here’s my Sunday Salon: Une Petite Visite à Paris. (And don’t worry….it’s in English. I just like to pretend to speak French.)

    • The Warmth of Other Suns looks like it could be very interesting. I haven’t heard of Unforgiven. I’ll definitely have to take a look at it and see if I might find it of interest.

  3. I think you’ve probably heard me say this before…so I won’t say it all, but will just say I love The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. As for history, I love reading all about different time periods. One of my favorite historical writers is David McCullough. His Truman to me is still the definitive book on the subject (not that I’ve read a lot of other Truman tomes, but I imagine it would have to be because it’s so darned brilliant 🙂 ). Today, no history for me, but another selection from the Kathy Reichs’ Bones/Temperance Brennan series: Fatal Voyage.

    • I’ve only read one book by David McCullough and that was 1776 which I found to be extremely well written. I’ve had my eye on both Truman and John Adams for quite some time. I’m hoping to be able to tackle both of those very soon.

  4. I do read a lot of histories. I especially enjoy histories about the early explorations of the New World and American History from the founding to the beginning of the 20th century. I listed some of my favorites here:

    Favorite Non-fiction books

    Tossing It Out

  5. It is great to read history specfically if trust the author and it is written well and not like school books. I like reading fictional-history more which creates a story around real historical events.

    • I agree. You definitely need to trust authors of historically based books. They need to be reputable. A lot of history I’m finding these days, is written in such a manner that it appeals to everyone. Fictional history can also be great. I’ve read a bit, but not too much. Would like to read more of it, that’s for sure.

  6. My mom just ordered that set of Shelby Foote books! I have been eyeing them eagerly…

    And I agree with you 100% about history.

    Every read The Gangs of New York? You should! I see great value in reading historical essays, too. Civil Disobedience, Emerson, Lincoln’s speeches, The Federalist Papers, etc…

    • I think you’ll truly enjoy the Shelby Foote books! Trust me when I say they’re definitely a long term project. I truly enjoyed them and learned so much from them about the Civil War.

      I haven’t read The Gangs of New York but it’s one I’ve had my eye on. I’ve also been meaning to tackle Civil Disobedience for several years. I tackled The Federalist Papers a couple of years ago, and found them fascinating.

  7. It’s one of the best things about reading, I think, when you discover an area or time in history you don’t know much about and you follow it up. I don’t have much time right now to read serious history books due to all of the academic reading I need to do for my thesis but once I’m finished there are loads of things I want to catch up on and find out more about, especially the history of Taiwan.

    • You’re completely right about that! You know, I’ve always been interested in learning more about Taiwan’s history, especially after Chiang Kai-shek was forced from mainland China in 1949. I’m definitely interested in how the government came to be there.

      Definitely something I should look into reading!

      Good luck with your thesis! What’s it about?

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