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Good book about 20th C. European history?

Good book about 20th C. European history?

Old Sep 28th, 2014, 12:54 PM
  #21  
 
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I've read a lot on the rise of Mussolini, as part of my effort to understand more about my adopted country. Hitler was greatly influenced by Mussolini. Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini. I think they were the scars of World War I.

I read a very good book called "A peace to end all peace" about the carving up of the middle east in the aftermath of World War I. Another good book, about the Versailles peace conference, is "Paris 1919: Six months that changed the world", by Margaret MacMillan. It's astonishing the misunderstandings, the detachment, the sloppiness, the randomness of the decisions that were made (or not made). Wilson comes off as a humorless, self-righteous, rigid, ethnocentric know-it-all.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 01:49 PM
  #22  
 
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Thanks, Sparkchaser. I checked that book out on Amazon. I'll get it.. It sounds like just what I want.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 08:56 AM
  #23  
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Thanks, bvlenci. I don't think it would hurt to read the views of a gullible Marxist, as part of an overall picture. I've requested the Judt book, flanner. Thank you.

I love Churchill and his writing. (Once, in a phase of reading anything of his I could find, I started a novel of the US Civil War and couldn't believe the sappy prose. It turned out to have been written by the 1871-1947 American best-selling WC with no middle name.) I recently skimmed a bio of WSC's family, found a lot more detail about the who-slept-with-whom angle than I needed. Tsk, those bed-hopping Victorians. Will have to look for Manchester's. And thank you, too, Byrd and nyt.

Bet I'd have liked chatting with your mother, Patrick. I've requested the Davies book from our library system.

I go through phases, too, Peg.

Thanks, sparkchaser. Putting on my list.

I am interested in the whole Totalitarian, Cult of Personality phenomenon as practiced by Stalin, Ceaucescu and their ilk. Going strong in N Korea and no doubt several elsewheres that I am ignorant of. Working on one Russia, maybe? Shades of Ptelomies, I guess, and Caesars, but it seems to have taken mass communication to perfect.

My one rainy hotel TV evening in London this spring I was struck by a show where an earnest and educated panel discussed whether Great Britain should have entered WWI, with audience members equally engaged. Not that I watch much TV in the US, but I can't imagine such a televised conversation here.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 09:10 AM
  #24  
 
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Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt (Sep 5, 2006)
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 10:22 AM
  #25  
 
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You have to remember that World War I touched Britain much more than it did the US. About 800,000 British soldiers (including my uncle) died in that war, as against about 100,000 for the US. If you take it in proportion to the populations of the two countries, the difference is enormous.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 06:53 PM
  #26  
 
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Hi STOKEBAILEY,

Good question with interesting replies.

RJD says:

"You should read Jacques Barzun's "From Dawn To Decadence" a cultural history of the last 500 years. A great masterpiece." I am sure it is - love Barzun's writing and will check that book out myself. (I believe that Barzun wrote this tome as he approached his 90th birthday - the wisdom of ages.)

Another overview - CIVILIZATION: THE WEST AND THE REST by Scotch historian superstar Niall Ferguson (why the West came to dominate "civilization" and how that might change)

THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONARIES: THE MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD, 1776-1914 by Gavin Weightman (about the prime movers in the innovations that changed life forever in developed countries)

IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson (an American ambassador and his family's up close view of Hitler's terrifying rise to power in the 1930s)

THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES A Family’s Century of Art and Loss by Edmund de Waal (one Austrian family's near annihilation during the Nazi period, mostly set in Vienna)

Glad to see that THE ARMS OF KRUPP by William Manchester and THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH by William Shirer were suggested by others - both fabulous books that I read when they first came out in the 60s.

Then THE LONG SHADOW,THE LEGACIES OF THE GREAT WAR IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by British historian David Reynolds (the fallout from WWI for the following decades)

And there are so many others but I will stop here.
Stoke, looking forward to reading about another of your adventures some time soon. Have you any travel plans?
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 11:14 PM
  #27  
 
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>>You have to remember that World War I touched Britain much more than it did the US. <<

And in an odd sort of way, more than World War II, because the casualty rate was so much higher, and so contrary to expectations based on (limited) previous experience. The result was a shattering sense of loss, whereas WW2 was approached from the outset with a rather grimmer sense of reality - and ended with no doubt at all about the necessity of the whole enterprise.
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 02:05 PM
  #28  
 
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Hi PATRICKLONDON,

"...the casualty rate [in WWI]was so much higher, and so contrary to expectations based on (limited) previous experience. The result was a shattering sense of loss..."

Beautifully phrased.

London has so much to offer in commemoration of the WWI centennial. During my visit last June, I had just missed the WWI exhibit at the PORTRAIT GALLERY and was there before the restored IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM re-opened in July. But I did see the small but tasteful exhibit at the BRITISH LIBRARY called "Enduring War: Grief, Grit and Humour."

I had a few smaller WWI exhibits, one at UCL and one at the CARTOON MUSEUM on my radar, but did not get to them. You know how it is.

In my recent trip report I described a lively conversation that I had with an older fellow who was an attendant at the Silver Vaults. He told me that his two grandfathers had survived the Great War and about his treks to the battlefields in France and Belgium. Very interesting.

I did order a ceramic poppy from the "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" installation at the Tower of London. Some 888,246 poppies were "planted" on the Tower moat this summer representing Britain's war dead from that conflict.They will be retrieved after November 11 and shipped around the world.
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 10:19 PM
  #29  
 
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Still planting? I had the impression they would keep gradually adding them up to Nov. 11. I went past there yesterday and there is still (just) some green space in the moat.

I suppose it would have been too much to expect them to add them at the same "real time" rate over the whole four years......
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 04:39 AM
  #30  
 
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PATRICKLONDON,

"Still planting? I had the impression they would keep gradually adding them up to Nov. 11." Not sure.

I should have said that volunteers "started planting the poppies last summer." In any case, I am looking forward to receiving mine some time after the first of the year.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 10:09 AM
  #31  
 
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Actually, it looks from a quick Google as though they aren't setting any new dates for volunteers, so maybe they are all there. I certainly don't feel like counting all the ones that are there just to make sure!
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 03:34 PM
  #32  
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Hi, lateday. Good to hear from you. More good recommendations; thanks!

Barzun's was first to show up at my library, so I'm starting that now. Keeping an open mind on whether past 500 years has really been a slide into decadence, as subtitle seems to indicate.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2014, 04:17 AM
  #33  
 
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Hi STOKEBAILEY,

Interesting discussion. I met Barzun once at a public lecture in Boston- very charming. I have put that tome in my own reading queue.

"Keeping an open mind on whether past 500 years has really been a slide into decadence, as subtitle seems to indicate."

That is the subtext in most modern historical studies from my observation. I guess it depends on how you look at it - has the "West" declined or is it just that the "Others" (particularly Asia) have risen?

Have you any plans to return to Europe? Is your DD still studying?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2014, 06:15 AM
  #34  
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Hi, Lateday.

Hmm. Haven't gotten past the prologue so far. I assumed he meant cultural decadence. Politically, I like things lots better now than 500 years ago, with the added bonus that we get to be here to see it.

My husband plans to attend a jazz manouche festival near Paris next summer, and I may end up tagging along. How about you?

My younger daughter will finish local University this semester, now spends spare time figuring out how to live in London for awhile again. Her older sister, two years out of school, is afflicted with a similar desire to get back to lving in France. How to keep them down on the farm, if we had one?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2014, 01:28 PM
  #35  
 
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STOKE,

"How to keep them down on the farm, if we had one?" Like Mum, like daughters, eh? Can't blame them.

Your trip to Paris sounds promising. I have no definite plans.

Before my London trips, I signed up for email for several museums/universities events list - so I know what I am missing over there!

May do Ireland again - returning to my roots as my travel career winds down.
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