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Interesting History Books


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There's this English dude names Giles Milton who wrote a lot of cool, really accessible history books (this is good because I'm not one of those people who thinks something is better because it's academically written. Or worse, really, but still...) about a variety of topics mostly relating to early British exploration and colonialism. They read a lot like novels because he uses a LOT of quotations from people's journals and stuff.

Samurai William

My personal favorite, it's about English traders going to Japan and starting a bunch of wars, then one of them staying and joining Japanese society, he meets the shogun and gets recognized as a samurai with his own land and everything. Pretty interesting stuff and explains a lot about medieval Japanese history, including why it was closed to the rest of the world for so long.

His other books are rad too, though, he has one about the spice trade which is totally fucking epic because it's all about complete badasses who sail to the other side of the world just so they can stab some Portugese traders who were there first, then take like half a ton of nutmeg and go back and retire, because that's how expensive nutmeg was.

So I'm a little stoned but you get the picture.

Also you should check out the "Cartoon History of the Universe." It's absolutely amazing, this guy is making a series of comics to summarize all of world history, from the big bang to today. There's three volumes, currently its up to the Crusades or so. Really interesting stuff.

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Guns, Germs and Steel is definitely a good read. A great, new perspective on the study of history. You should also check out Collapse by him as well. I've only read excerpts from it, but what I read was good.

The Rise of Christianity is a fantastic book I just read.

I've heard 1421 and 1434 are both great (about the immense Chinese expeditions).

For American history, I've been wanting to read Team of Rivals for awhile.

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