i was never that bothered about history but i’m geeking out a lot more over it as my 20s wind down. think i’m turning into mark corrigan.
i’ve really got into the dan carlin freebies on itunes, so much so that i’m tempted to pay a patreon subscription for the first time ever. really like how he simplifies without dumbing down.
so yeah, i watched the death of yugoslavia series over winter and became kind of obsessed with that whole war (wars?), freaks my nut all that shit happened in 90s europe. scary. really want to visit sarajevo but i bet loads of nerds say that and i’d feel like a bit of a ghoul so i probably won’t.
also fascinated by the sicilian mafia and the “mattanza” war of the 80s and early 90s.
there’s a great black panther documentary that was on iplayer last year. would recommend.
for more 60s stuff the oj simpson documentary is really interesting and there’s a fuck tonne of nam docs on youtube.
been reading loads about the IRA again because why not?
the dollop is also amazing, and the episodes about huey long and the early LAPD had me crying with laughter.
so yeah, post things/links/articles about history you are interested in here, let’s try to make this an informative and broad thread for history dweebs.
also just realised mine are generally violence-oriented subjects, so feel free to add some more variation, quirkiness, scary door-esque shit.
Ahoy! I “did” history at university!
1920s -1970s America
Pre Christian Europe
Ancient and classical history of all stripes
So… I’m very much the product of a western-focused education, then. I would love to learn more about the history of Africa, pre colonial India, China and Japan. But where does one begin?
I also done history at university! The most interesting topic we covered was the Mongol Empire - it’s something that just doesn’t get taught in the standard understanding of the Middle Ages, but it affects everywhere from Japan to Austria at various points in time, has fascinating internal conflicts and is a key factor in the understanding of the growth of Chinese and Russian civilisation.
Did you know that the only reason the Mongols didn’t take control of the Persian empire is because they ran out of grass and couldn’t feed their horses? Or that they got to the gates of Austria and Hungary, but were all recalled due to the need to sort out a succession debate? We never really study nomadic cultures in Western history, so it’s particularly interesting to look at one that was ‘successful’ within a Western, imperialist frame.
The other interesting thing I dug out of my degree was an appreciation for non-Grand Events history. We did a lot of work on historiography, including areas like Subaltern Studies and Women’s History (somewhat patronisingly, I suppose, but as a counterpoint to all the hideous masculinity going on across the subject, and a recognition that, hey, there were women in the past, doing things! Even writing them down!). Looking at history from the perspective of anyone non-White, rich, male, and winning, makes for a much more interesting field of study. My dissertation was on the popularity of eugenics as a concept in early C20th Britain, and I did most of my research from lifestyle magazines of the time, with medical journals as the establishment counterpoint. It was fascinating, to the point where I got so stuck into researching it, I forgot to actually allot time to write it up.
So yeah, obviously, the big stuff, battles and empires and all that is fascinating, but going round the outside and looking at things that aren’t part of the established, Whiggish history is even more interesting, and gives you loads of colour on any event.
I read a book on the Mongols recently (passing interest in history) and found it fascinating. Think it was Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Would recommend.
If you want to go full Corrigan, Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor was absolutely gripping.
I’ve been interested in World War 2 since I was a kid, as time has gone by, more interested in the personal stories than the military strategy - but that it pretty interesting, particularly if you really think about the numbers involved in the war on the Eastern Front, that truly does make you wonder just how barbaric humans can be.
I’m fascinated by the political manoeuvrings in the UK in May 1940, when Chamberlain fell and Churchill became PM - his struggle to assert his position as PM over the next twelve months is really compelling.
A lot of areas of the Cold War are really interesting - The Budapest Uprising, Berlin Airlift, Cuban Missile Crisis, Korean War, Vietnam - and also Watergate is well worth reading up about.
I’ve enjoyed reading about the Arab Israeli wars too, that is a really complex set of affairs to get your head around!
yeah i’ve been reading a lot about this subject of late, totally fascinating and a lot of info to get your head round.
Really rather into Ancient Greece and the Regency period. Not sure why those two stick out for me. Love most 20th Century social history, but not that keen on wartime.
Quite happy to read / watch / visit any historical thing.
The Israel/Palestine situation is really and truly unique. Like a constant reminder of how permanently WW1 + 2 shaped human society, but also a distillation of an entire millennia of ethnic and religious blood feuds.
The scale of WW2 is really difficult to comprehend. I really enjoy the personal stories too, the enigma stuff and the double-triple-quadruple agents working all sides at once.
Was in Berlin recently and I was full of actual delight when I saw the Soviet memorial. The Battle of Berlin is incredible story, and there’s something really…inspiring? difficult to understand? IDK…about how thankful or at least appreciative the Germans are to the Soviets.
Just finished A People’s History of the French Revolution. Really great book full of incredible quotes and stories.
Incredible used too much there.
I don’t suppose you can remember any of the key works on Mongol history from your degree?
Big ask, I know. I’ve forgotten almost every single historian I read.
Anyone else here interested in landscape history?
I believe this is the book I read when studying it: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/New-Reading-Landscape-Fieldwork-History-Studies/0859895807/
Basically, when you walk through the British countryside, almost everything you see is artificial. It’s no exaggeration to say that almost every inch of land was carefully managed during the later medieval period and beyond. Walking through the woods, you can tell within seconds whether you’re walking through truly ancient woodland or more recent, managed woodland - there are more trees in the UK today than there were during the medieval period!
You also start to notice subtle ridge and furrow in almost every field you see, and where you don’t see ridge and furrow you can be sure that you’re walking through pasture. Churches were built tall and castles (and later manors) were built on hills not just for defence purposes, but also so that they could be seen for miles around by those working the fields as a reminder of who owned the land they were working. Almost every village in the country was built using the same essential layout, and had so many cities not been decimated by German bombs in the war and subsequently rebuilt, it would probably be possible to find the original medieval street layouts in our cities, too.
And there’s a town in Nottinghamshire called Laxton, which has one of the only remaining open-field systems in the UK - that is, no fences or hedges. It’s a real wide-open space (MANSUN!), which makes you realise just how contained absolutely everywhere else is.
In short, landscape history completely transforms the way you see the world forever, and taking the course made me a total nerd for life.
Because I’m useless, no. In my defence, I graduated nine years ago, and my brain is like a sieve in any case! All I recall is that it’s very interesting. I just had a Google to see if I could pull up anything I recognised, but no luck.Sorry!
No worries, I understand. I took a course on the papal schism, but I can’t remember a single thing about it.
We studied it quite a bit a university too - both from a historical point of view, but also from a cultural point of view (i.e. romanticism/medievalism/arts&crafts/agrarian myth etc).
I can’t even actually remember all of the modules I took. How I managed to graduate at all is frankly baffling.
We had a course called Manchester: A Victorian City, which was all about its cemeteries, music halls, surgeons, and savants. I remember reading the course description, thinking “that sounds amazing”, then not taking the course.
Never forgive myself for that.
I think I enjoyed the prospectuses for each year more than I did the actual courses.
Been getting more and more into all the middle English stuff, reading a lot of Beowulf and heroic poems and
also searching out more Celtic and Viking folk tales too.
Might start wearing a smock.
the mid noughties - when indie music was at its PEAK.