Friday, February 23, 2024


 I grew up reading history. I read everything I could get my hands on and if some of it was beyond me I wouldn't have known. I knew a lot of history and other things as a result of reading both at home and the libraries in the various towns and places I grew up. I was just reading that academics produced a list of the greatest U.S. Presidents and that Obama was 7th greatest and Biden was 14th greatest. 

It strikes me now that I stopped reading history about 25 years ago when I finished the coursework for Strategy and Policy for the Naval War College. I confess I read a great deal of history during a fairly short period but it wasn't burnout that ended my love of reading history but rather the weak stuff I saw in the marketplace back then as we prepared for the new millennium. The only things I ever found in the history section in Borders or Barnes and Noble were crap books praising Clinton, the other Clinton and/or were all written by left wing Party apparatchiks and there was no question but that the books were all worthless.

I kept up with some of the biographies that came out then and later but the academic writing of history was very much a light that failed in the 20th century. I see that vox is publishing a number of Sir Charles Oman's Peninsular histories and that is a good thing but I was introduced to Oman as a freshman in 1979 and had read everything I of his I could get my hands on which included the Political History of England in 12 volumes. Yep, the stacks in Old Main contained a copy of every book. I've walked through modern university libraries and they have hardly any books at all.

I've recently thought about visiting the history section of the local B&N but catch myself asking, why?

On the other hand there's a fine place just down the road in Wooster than may have some good used history tucked away that will justify the journey and be worth the read.


Dman said...

If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend "The Admirals", by Walter Borneman.
Nimitz, Halsey King and Leahy, the admirals during WW2.

samoore said...

Tom Holland's "Persian Fire", about the Greek-Persian War.

Dan said...

History is written by the victors. Guess who won the war that most of us didn't even know we were fighting in the last half of the 20th century. The American Communist Party, formerly the Democrat Party won the war. And for the past 2-3 decades they have been busily writing and rewriting history to serve their needs. We spent decades and trillions of dollars fighting communism EVERYWHERE but where it mattered

HMS Defiant said...

Yep and thank you for the recommendations. I already have a copy of The Admirals because my better half read it last year. She also recommended it so read it I will.

Anne Bonney said...

I second the recommendation of The Admirals. If you do not have it, it is on my kindle.

Borepatch said...

I just finished Tom Holand's "Pax" about the Pax Romana. Recommended.

Also "A History Of The World In Six Glasses". Enjoyable read.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I miss Borders. It was a nicer sopping experience than B&N.

HMS Defiant said...

I still miss it every week although I must say our local B$N is getting closer to the old Borders. It doesn't have comfy chairs but they pushed the floors back to the local managers who customize it as they see fit and they also seem to have a much wider/Curtis approved set of books. They would really need to improve some sections but I think that is the blind spot from hiring people who don't really read outside the

jadair04 said...

Stephan Kotkin and Robert Citino.