I’ve been reading a lot of history. Like, a lot of it. I’ve read almost no novels in the past 18 months or so. I think the last one I read was really re-reading The Hobbit before I went to see the movie, so that was in December. And before that it was Red Plenty, which is a novel set in the Soviet Union that’s really a history book masquerading as a novel. That was pretty good.
My bachelor’s degree is in history, as is my unfinished master’s degree. I focused on Ancient Greece and Rome two decades back, and this history kick started with me wanting to revisit that period and refresh my memory. That was really rewarding, and sucked me back into reading history for pleasure.
Then I dove deep into the American Revolution. It’s a period I never studied after 11th grade, and one I didn’t know really anything about. That sucked me in big time, and as you’ll see I went deep into American History in a way I’ve never done before. I also had an idea for a video game and a board game I want to make some day, so that kept me going.
I’ve always been fascinated by revolutions, ever since I took a class on them in college called Dynamics of Political Change (American University loved it’s evocative/obscure course titles). The American Revolution naturally led me into the French Revolution and that led me right into Napoleon.
I’m now deep, deep into the Napoleonic Era. I’ve got a shelf and a half of Napoleonic wargames. I’ve got super-fancy limited edition books. I’ve made custom boxes for my game pieces. I’ve got that Napoleon bug bad. I’ve got import-only DVDs of movies. I’m looking at miniatures with a longing in my heart.
I never knew anything about Napoleon, or at least I didn’t remember anything. Now I know a lot, mostly how little I know. I keep thinking I’ll take a break and try something else for a while, but then I find another book I have to read first. Why I’m fascinated by Napoleon and his wars is a topic for another post. Implying I’m going to actually post on a regular basis. That’s the plan. Really.
But hey! I have not given up on novels. In fact, starting tomorrow my friend Becky and I are going to start reading Moby Dick 1 chapter a day until we’re finished. There will be tweeting and facebooking on it every day.
In the meantime, here’s the list of 36 History Books I’ve Read in the past 18 months or so, in the order I read them. Or listened to them. A lot of these were audiobooks, especially early on.
Absolute Monarchs by Julian Norwich
Rubicon by Tom Holland
Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles
Augustus by Anthony Everitt
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
The Great Fire of Rome by Stephen Dando-Collins
Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia byChristopher Clark
Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China byDavid Sibley
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen
Proving History by Richard Carrier
Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War by Fred Anderson
The Glorious Cause by Robert Middlekauff
The Black Count by Time Reiss
The Thirty Years War by C.V. Wedgwood
The American Revolution: A History by Gordon Wood
American Tempest: How the Boston Tea Party Sparked a Revolution by Harlow Giles Unger
As If an Enemy’s Country: The British Occupation of Boston by Richard Archer
The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon Wood
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
Forced Founders by Woody Holton
Common Sense, The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
1848: Year of Revolution by Mike Rapport
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin by Gordon Wood
Cradle of Violence: How Boston’s Waterfront Mobs Ignited the American Revolution by Russell Bourne
Empire of Liberty by Gordon Wood
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Thomas Jefferson by R.B. Bernstein
The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir
What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe
Napoleon by Frank McLynn
Napoleon by David Markham
Finding Florida by T.D. Allman
The Oxford History of the French Revolution by William Doyle
Desperate Sons by Les Standiford
Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna
by David King
Incomparable: Napoleon's 9th Light Infantry Regiment
by Terry Crowdy
The Campaigns of Napoleon by David Chandler