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David Richardson

Recommend a History Book!

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I've just been asked by a teacher in a school in Gnosjö in Sweden if I can recommend good books in English about 19th and 20th century history. He asked me about British history, but I'm sure he'd like to hear other suggestions too.

What would you expert history teachers recommend?

Edited by David Richardson

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It is not about British history I am afraid but one of the best books that I have ever read (and used for teaching) is 'A People's Tragedy, the Russian Revolution 1891-1924' by Orlando Figes. Incredibly detailed and fascinating. I shall always remember the lesson that I taught about Rasputin in which I quoted from the book about the reasons why he was reputed to be such a prodigious lover (he had a strategically placed wart on his penis!), the girls were suitably in awe.

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I have two recomendations to the teacher from Gnosjö. One weakness of these books though are the fact that they count on you having a separat book about British History (they cover a little bit but as I said they count on you having more resources)). The first book is "Europe 1760-1871" skriven av Derrick Murphy, Terry Morris, Richard Staton & Sally Waller (www.CollinsEducational.com ISBN 0-00-327132-3) and the other one is "Europe 1870-1991" written by Terry Morris and Derrick Murphy (same company ISBN 0-00-327133-1). The last one is fine up to 1945 - you would need some other book to cover the time after WWII.

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I would suggest New World Coming by Nathan Miller. This covers America during the 1920's. The Great Depression by T.H. Watkins also does a great job covering America in the 1930's. In fact the two books overlap just a bit. The Warrior and th Priest by John Milton Cooper, Jr. is also a great book. It compares Teddy Roosevelt with Woodrow Wilson and their carriers in government. The History of the World in the 20th Century, by J. A. S. Grenville is also a great overall history.

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1. "Only Yesterday"

2. "The Glory and the Dream" Wm Mancester

3. "Disraeli" Andre Maurois

4. "Detroit" Thomas Sugrue

5. "Democracy in America" Alexis de'toqueville

6. Anything by Eric Foner, especially "Reconstruction"

7. "Distinction" by Pierre Bourdieu

8. "America" by Alistair Cooke

9. Gore Vidal's "Burr" "Empire" "Lincoln" and "1876"

10. McCardell "The Idea of a Southern Nation"

11. "Miracle at Philadelphia" by Catherine Drinker Brown

12. "The Power Elite" C. Wright Mills

13. "The Organization Man"

14. Anything by Vance Packard

Shanet Clark, Woodruff Fellow of Southern History GSU Atlanta

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Sir,

Two years back I had read 'The Twentieth Century World International History' by William Keylor, 1984, Oxford University Press, New York.

It is not on British History. However, I share an experience. The author is very candid in accepting that it is a work based on secondary sources. Secondly, I did not have the clarity about the Great Depression. However, after reading the chapter on Great Depression, I found that I had developed the right perception of this phase of world history. It helped me to understand the New Deal from H. B. Parkes which is on History of America. Now I am able to give facts and figures in a better way and if any good query comes from my students, I am very comfortable in answering them. No doubt, I have latter added to my understanding by collecting more data on Great Depression and New Deal.

The third thing, which I am able to appreciate about this book is that there is organic unity in narration on every topic. The book is based on secondary sources. But the author has not just gone for a cut and paste method to provide the understanding of a topic. He had first himself understood that what he had read and what he understood from that. Then he has written that in his own words. This is something which as a teacher I appreciate the most.

There is an author in India named Dr. A. C. Arora. He has retired from Punjabi University Patiala, Punjab, India. His daughter is a teacher in History Department of PUnjab UNiversity Chandigarh. He has written books on European History and World History. Dr. A. C. Arora is known that he always kept on jotting down from different books and had made files on every topic. In case of his one Book, the World History from Renaissance Period to 1870, which is basically written for University syllabus of PUnjab Universities in INdia. I have made marks on the book showing that from where the Dr. Arora had borrowed his wordings. But the finnest thing about his books is that there is an organic unity. the similar thing I have found in the book of Keylor.

Sumir.

I've just been asked by a teacher in a school in Gnosjö in Sweden if I can recommend good books in English about 19th and 20th century history. He asked me about British history, but I'm sure he'd like to hear other suggestions too.

What would you expert history teachers recommend?

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Thanks for all the tips so far. Jörgen is reading this forum regularly himself, but I'm meeting him tomorrow, so I'll make sure that he knows about the latest tips.

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I can recommend:

HITLER'S SCIENTISTS - SCIENCE, WAR & THE DEVILS PACT by John Cornwell (ISBN 0-670-89362-5)

RUIN FROM THE AIR by Gordon Thomas & Max Morgan-Witts

TOO SECRET, TOO LONG by Chapman Pincher (ISBN 0-312-80902-6)

DEEP BLACK - THE SECRETS OF SPACE ESPIONAGE by William E. Burrows (ISBN 0-593-01342-5)

A MAN ON THE MOON by Andrew Chaikin (ISBN 0-670-81446-6)

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