Monday, January 08, 2007

Don't Know Much About History

As part of my New Years Resolutions, I have decided to start studying history. I'd like to say I've always loved history but that's far from the truth. I mean I paid attention to history in high school and found some of it to be interesting, but never enough to make me read about it on my own.

In college, well I know Jamison will remember how boring the Hick's classes were. The only thing I remember from those classes are that history can actually be interpreted many different ways, and that Jamison remembers all the lyrics to Neil Young's "Unknown Legend."

Perhaps it is the advent of the History channel, or maybe it is my need to watch Band Of Brothers over and over again, but I've recently become much more fascinated by not only our own history, but the worlds. Actually in a sense, it all boils down to wanting to have a wider education. Jamison's recent Boston Tea Party post illustrates my point beautifully. I had no idea it was the anniversary of the Party and I honestly barely remembered what the hub-ub was. I'd like to fix that.

Initially I thought I'd take one subject at a time and read about it for a month before moving on. I had hoped to start early with the Greeks before moving onto the Romans and then, perhaps to the Chinese, but a quick visit to the old bookstore today made me give up such hope. Oh, they had lots of books about the Greeks, but with just a thumb-through I couldn't tell whether they were worth the sticker price.

I'm a beginner, you see, and I don't want a massive, boring tome that will kill this knowledge gaining before it even starts. I did pick up the general history book, which my title comes from, and it is proving to be a fun read, but it's very basic covering subjects in but a few paragraphs and I'd like to dig a little deeper.

Ah, and now we reach the point. I would like some suggestions from ye, my well read friends on some good history books to read. Jamison, I'm looking directly at you.


Jamison said...

May I recommend the journals of Lewis and clark? Not any biography or any boring crap like that. Get the journals. Riddled with mispellings and poor grammer and most version will have journal entries from other members of the group.

Why let some one who wasnt there tell you about history when you can read first hand accounts? Its my fave history to study.

bigsip said...

I also love the history channel. It's been one of my favorite things to watch for years.

I've become addicted to a show recently named "Dogfights". Howeverr, the part of it that interests me the most isn't the fights, but the actual interviews of these WWII and other Aces. It's amazing to listen to actual historical accounts like that.

I've always been one to interview and seek the stories of "The Greatest Generation", too. Talk to old people. Ask them about what they lived through. I've heard the best history from those folks.

I don't read nonfiction often, but when I was researching Runaway Swimmer, I read a book about the Cherokee people by Thomas E. Mails that was captivating and astonishing. I'd recommend it to anyone studying history because it brings in not only Native American history, but the surrounding influences as well.

mmullinz8 said...

I think I would start this journey into the past with something you are interested in. I’ve read a few Viet-Nam books because of my father’s involvement. I had a semi-direct connection to the event and its significance.

Obviously you’re not going to find too many folks who were involved with the wars against the Greeks around today but I think you’ve got to find something that really interests you on what ever the subject is.

I would also agree with Jamison that reading a first hand account, or as close to that as you could find would be best to start out with.

You could start slow and buy a couple of the Archeology Today magazines and see what stories are pulling you in. I’d not drop more than ten bucks on anything that didn’t really interest you.