Chris' Fish Place

Thoughts on things, mostly books.




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Essential History Add Ons

1. Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansay


History with a Muslim focus.


2. 1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus


A look at America before the Europeans showed up.


3. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson


While this book is more about the environment, it is extremely important to history as well.


4. The Analects by Confucius


5. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith


6. The Art of War by SUn Tzu


7. The Baurnama edited by W. M. Thackston Jr.



memoir of the founder of the Mughal Empire.


8. Lose Your Mother by Saidiya Hartman


Part memoir, part history, part travel. Hartman's journey is about finding her past and confronting slavery.


9. A Century of Dishonor by Helen Hunt Dishonor


Jackson was one of the first authors (white, established) to publicly  call out the US government's treatment of Native Americans.


10 A Very Expensive Poison by Luke Harding


Concerns the famous poisoning case of Litvienko


11. The Romavs by Simon Sebag Montefiore


A good history of the Tsars


12. Northern Armageddon by D Peter MacLeod


Battle of Quebec


13. As Long as the Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker


Native Americans and history of environment/land justice


14.  Spying on the South, Voyage Long and Strange,  and Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz 


15. Chaucer's Knight and Who Murdered Chaucer by Terry Jone


The first changed Chaucer criticism, the second is really interesting.


16. Trials of Oscar Wilde by Hyde



They have been added to the doc. 



Essential History Add ons

1. Landscapes of the Imagination Series published by Oxford University Press


This series takes a region or a river and details the culture and history of the place.  I am not sure how many books are in it but there seems to be around 20.


2. Cityscapes series by OUP


Like the Landscapes series by deals with cities.  At least 10 books in the series.


3. Wonders of the World Series by Various (Harvard University Press)


The series is in part edited by Mary Beard and includes a book length history of a various places or items.  Such as the Buddas that were destroyed by the Taliban.


4.  Portraits and Ways of Seeing both by John Berger


I admit these books a pushing the history description a bit, but both are important.  Portraits because of the variety of art dealt with, and Ways of Seeing because it talks about how we look at things.


5. Planet of Slums by Mike Davis


Groundbreaking work about slums.


6. No Turning Back: The Extinction Scenario by Richard Elllis


More natural history but discusses animals that have become or are going Extinct


7. In Search of Dracula by Radu Florescu


Really good book about the real Dracula.


8. Ghostland by Colin Dickey


Dickey's book takes the most famous ghost stories in American history and shows the truth of the stories.


9. The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli


I can't believe I forgot this one.


I'll add some more later.


(These have been added to the Google Doc) 

Some great, some funny, some meh

Unidentified Funny Objects 2 - Alex Shvartsman

The best story in this collection is the first by Ken Liu.  Liu makes good use of golem lore and applies it to a family vacation.  It was also wonderful that the chosen one was a girl.


Esther Fresiner's "Service Charge" and J. W. Alden's "Item Not Described" will both do your soul a world of good, esp. if you are fed up with dealing  with people.


Reading Jim C Hines' short story about a superhero battling cancer was, well, strange and moving considering Hines' wife's ongoing treatment for the illness.  (Kick butt Amy).  But it was a great rip off of Superman.


Fran Wilde's short story about toddler is great and includes a wonderful bit about teens.


If you like Lovecraft, check out "The Girl with the Dagon Tattoo".


The scariest story (and a funny one too) was "On Safari" which is basically what Alexa and Suri are going to do to us. 

Kindle Freebies (at least in the US)

There is another bunch of Endeavour Media for free.










CRE Ugihars



Essential History List

Thanks to the wonderful Themis-Athena, we have been able to enter all the books so far.  We have a total of 629.  You can see the complete list here.


We are putting out another call out for books.


In particular, we are looking for more books about religion other than Christianity, South America, Africa (we really need these), Australia.


We are also accepting what could loosely be described as history and travel.  Think of Tony Horowitz for example.  Or the Lost City Of Z.


If you had history books on Moonlight's 1001 list, would you like us to add them to the history list?



RIP Andrea Camilleri

The creator of the Inspector Montalbano novels died this week.  He was 93.

Essential History World Wars

This should be my last one, unless we end up needing more books or I discover I left something out.



1. King, Greg.  The Assassination


2. Butcher, Catherine. Edith Cavall


3. Preston, Diana.  Lusitana



4. Tuchman, Barbara. Works


5. MacMillan, mararget.  Paris 1919


6. Englund, Peter.  The Beauty and the Sorrow





1. Letts, Elizabeth.  The Perfect Horse


2. Gross, Jan Tomez.  Neighbors


3.Davies, Norman.  Rising 44


4. Holliday, Laurel Children in the Holocaust


5.Gilbert, Martin.  The Holocaust


6. Kramer, Rita.  Flames in the Field


7. Nicholas, Lynn.  Works


One book about art, another about children


8. Greene, Joshua.  Witnesses


Interviews from the Shoah Foundation


9.Zapruder, Alexandra.  Salvaged Pages


Diaries other than Frank


10. Friedman, Saul. Nazi Germany and the Jews


11. Snyder, Timothy.  Bloodlands


12.Ten Boom Corrie.  The Hiding Place


13.Prose, Francine.  Anne Frank The Book, The life, The afterlife


14. Mendelsohn, Daniel.  The lost


This book is actually part memoir, part quest to find out what happened to Mendelsohn's family.  But it really highlights how much was destroyed in terms of culture and life.


15. Tec, Nehma.  Defiance


16. Lee, Carol Ann. Hidden life of Otto Frank

Essential History Misc Con't

1. Marozzi, Justin. Baghdad.


2. Pages, Meiram. From Martyr to Murderer


about the assassins


3. Dalley, Stephaine.  The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon.




4. Smith, Jay.  Monsters of the Gevaudans


5. Levy, Adrian.  The Siege


Mumbai attacks


6. Chamberlain, Joshua How the Horse Shaped Civilization

Essential History Misc

1.Tooze, Adam.  Crashedf


about the financial collapse



2. Mayne, Alan  Slums


3. Kalder, Daniel.  The Inferenal Library


about the literature of dictators.


4. Lord, Walter  Titanic books


5. Manguel Alberto.  A History of Reading.


6. Fisch, Joerg. Burning Women


about the burning of widows.


7. Fagan, Brain. Elixir: Water


8. MacGregor, Neil.  History of the World in 100 objects


10. Eisner, Will.  The Plot


About how the fake Protocols.


11. Baez, Fernando. A universal History of the Destruction of Books


12. Knuth, Rebecca LIberacide


13. Resendez, Andres.  The Other Slavery


14. Brown, Nancy. Ivory Vikings


15. Jones, Gwyn. History of the Vikings


16.Magnusson, Magnus.  Scotland A History of a Nation


17. MacCulloch, Diarmaid. The Reformation


18. Evans, Richard J.  Works


19. Bullock, Alain.  Hitler and Stalin 


20. Lipstadt, Deborah.  Denying the Holocaust and Denial (History on Trial) and Antisemitism


21. Keefe, Patrick Radden.  Say Nothing


22. Rhode, David. Endgame


about Srebenica


23. FitzSimons, Peter.  Batavia


24. Shorto, Russell Amsterdam

Essential History France and Canada

1. Breton, Pierre.  Works


I haven't read everything by him, but he is the HIstorian of Canada.


2. Sebba, Anne Les Parisennes


3. Curtis, Michael.  Verdict on Vichy



4. Beckman, Jonathan.  How to Ruin a Queen


5. Alleg, Henri.  The Question


about the use of torture 


6. Darton, Robert Works.


7. Delbo, Charlotte.  Auschwitz and after




8. Talaga, Tanya Seven Fallen Feathers



9. MacDonald, Laura.  Curse of the Narrows



10. Beattie, Owen.  Frozen in Time


Franklin expedition's fate


11. Cooper, Afua.  Hanging of Angelique



Angelique was a slave in Montreal and accused of setting fire to the city.


12.Scanlan, Lawrence. Little Horse of Iron


about Canada's national horse

Essential History British

1. The Shire Series by various


Okay I haven't read every book that Shire has put out.  But I doubt that there is a topic in British history that they don't cover.


2. Robertson, Geoffrey.  Trial of Lady Chatterly


An account of the famous trial.


3. Flanders, Judith.  The Victorian City  and Invention of Murder


4. Lindsay, Karen.  Divorced, Beheaded, Survivied


Feminist look at Henry VIII's wives.


5.  Thomas, Keith.  Religion and the Decline of Magic


6. Escott, Beryl.  Heroines of SOE


Brief biographies of the women who worked for SOE


7. Seacole, Mary.  The Wonderful Adventures of


Seacole worked as a nurse during the Crimean War, but she didn't work with Florence because her color was all wrong for the lady of the lamp.  But Seacole was much loved by the men.


8. Weir, Alison.  The Lady in the Tower


Weir's best work about the days leading up to Anne Boleyn's death.


9. Cannon, John.  Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy


10. Somerset, Anne.  Unnatural Murder


about the murder of Thomas Overbury.


11, Tinniswood, Adrian.  The Verneys


12. Warnicke, Retha.  Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn


13.Ives,  Eric.  Anne Boleyn


Essential History America (Misc)

1. Lowen, James.  Works.


Best know for his books dealing with errors in textbooks and historical places, Lowen is always a pleasure to read.


2. Perdue, Therda.  North American Indians A Very Short Introduction.


short but packed with information.


3. Baldwin, James.  The Fire Next Time


If you are an American, you should read it.


4.  Kurin, Richard.  A History of American in 100 Objects.


What the title says.  Really fun read too.


5. Krist, Gary.  Works


Krist tends to focus on crime, but his books are a joy to read.


6. Grua, David W.  Surviving Wounded Knee


About Native American and various movements.


7.  Garrow, David.  Liberty and Sexuality.


History of abortion rights in America.


8. Fenn, Elizabeth.  Encounters at the End of the World


History of Manden people.


9. Steward, David O.  Summer of 1787


10. Grimes, Sandra. Circle of Treason


About the hunt and capture for Ames.


11. Lee, Nancy Howell.  Search for an Abortionist.


Study about abortion when it was illegal.


12. Rowland, Debran,  Boundaries of Her Body


A history of women and law.


13. Miles, Tiya.  Tales from the Haunted South


14. Zinn, Howard.  A People's History of the United States


15. Brown, Dee.  Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee


16. Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne.  An Indigenous People's History of the United States


17. Field, Douglas.  A Historical Guide to James Baldwin.

History Reading List - USA Slavery/Civil War/Reconstruction/Jim Crow

1. Berlin, Ira.  Many Thousands Gone.


A history of the first two centuries of slavery in the US.


2. Blight, David.  Frederick Douglass.  Race and Reunion.


Blight's biography about Douglass deserves all the praise that it has gained.  Race and Reunion is about how the South manipulated how the war was remembered.  


3. Wells-Barnett, Ida B.  Complete Works


Wells-Barnett is responsible for the first major study/report of lynching in the South, among other things.  There really should be a statue for her on the National Mall.


4. Sublette, Ned.  The Great American Slave Coast


I don't know if this is the best study of the slave trade in the US, but it sure feels like it.


5. Foner, Eric.  Complete Works.


When a fellow teacher found out I was teaching Tony Horowitz's Confederates in the Attic, he said to read all of Foner.  He was right.


6. Gordon-Reed, Annette.  Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings


Gordon-Reed's book pretty much settled the whole Hemings' relationship with Jefferson question.


7. Robertson, Davis.  Denmark Vesey


An account of the first slave rebellion in the US.


8. Breen, Patrick.  This Land Shall be Deluged in Blood.


Great book about Nat Turner.


9. Swanson, James L.  Manhunt.


Thrilling account of the hunt for Booth.


10. Bapist, Edward.  The Half that Has Never Been Told


Slavery and the connection to US economic development.


11. Kendi, Ibram X.  Stamped from the Beginning


A study of racism in America


12. Rothstein, Richard.  The Color of Law


Details the use of law to promote racial housing policies


13. Slave Narratives


I thought long and hard about this.  The one good thing about ereaders is that it is far, far easier to read first person narratives then ever before.  And to recommend some over others is a bit tricky, but  the following should be read:


Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl


One of the few accounts from a woman.


The Life of Josiah Henson


His story inspired Uncle Tom's Cabin.


Barracoon - Zora Neal Hurston


Hurston worked collecting oral history during the Great Depression.  This is an important manuscript because the man was one the last people taken from Africa and kidnapped to the states.


Solomen Northup - 12 Years a Slave and Frederick Douglass's works.








A video to make you glad.

One video to make you mad.

Essential History - Misc Asia/Africa

1. Afghanistan A Modern History by Angelo Rasanayagam


Pretty much what the title says. Great for understanding the whole rise of the Taliban.




2. Elephant Company by Vicki Croke


Details an escape from Burma when the Japanese invade.


(WWII, Burma)


3. Unbound by Dean King


About the women of the Long March


(women, china)


4.The Rape of Nanking by Isis Chang


A difficult read but details what the Japanese did to the Chinese during WWII.

(WII, China)


5. Midnight Furies by Nisid Hajari


About the partition of India and Pakistan.




6. Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry


Account of the Japanese Tsunami


7. A Savage War of Peace by Alistair Horne


Account of Aligers fight for independence.


8. Adam Hochschild  -Works


I have about four books to add by him, and I doubt I am the only one.


9. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela


His memoir.  (South Africa)


10. Oxford Illustrated History of Ancient Egypt by Ian Shaw


(Ancient Egypt)


Currently reading

At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America
Philip Dray