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Thread: What are you reading/What have you read recently? (merged)

  1. #381
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    I am also from the school of "Tell me a story", and Herman Wouk tells a great story. Citing a different war, I really liked Battle Cry of Freedom (non-fiction), but The Killer Angels (novel about Gettysburg) is one of my favorite all time reads. As for The Caine Mutiny, it's one of the unusual ones that was great as both a book and a movie. Among Humphrey Bogart's greatest achievements.

  2. #382
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    This will sound horribly smug and self-important and I apologize in advance, but it has to be said:

    History is more than interesting enough as it was. It does not need fictional stories of fictional people put into those real world situation to make it "better". This is a pet peeve of mine, especially with historical films.

    If the OP wants to know what happened, R&FotTR is the choice.

    If he wants to be entertained by a riveting insightful story, I'd say R&FotTR is STILL the choice.

    If he wants to read about people, there are plenty of real tales to be told.

    If he wants fiction.....read something else IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by BushyTheBeaver View Post
    To Warfish's comment, "History is more than interesting enough as it was. It does not need fictional stories of fictional people put into those real world situation to make it "better". " I could not disagree more. At least in this way: historical events, if not put in the context of how they influenced actual lives, are meaningless. It is the significance of, for example, the attack on Pearl Harbor had on real people, that gives it its importance. Without that context, it's just machines beating up on machines, faceless entities called "countries" beating up on other faceless entities also called "countries." Sure, you could spend 20 years interviewing people and make a written version of one of those World at War videos. Actually though, I always found that series pretty bloodless, boring, detached, and depressing. For the very reasons I cited: it tried to turn the depiction of war away from individuals, and make it Team A with weapons 1,2,3 versus Team B with weapons 4,5,6. Wouke was a master of blending real history with fiction in a way that showed the effect of real events on people. An yes, to do that effectively you need to take a certain amount of artistic license if your intent is to weave a tale.
    Quote Originally Posted by bullitt929 View Post
    I am also from the school of "Tell me a story", and Herman Wouk tells a great story. Citing a different war, I really liked Battle Cry of Freedom (non-fiction), but The Killer Angels (novel about Gettysburg) is one of my favorite all time reads. As for The Caine Mutiny, it's one of the unusual ones that was great as both a book and a movie. Among Humphrey Bogart's greatest achievements.
    Great thread. Part of me concurs with Warfish that history does not need fictional stories or fictional people to make it more interesting.

    With that said, I also agree with Bushy about the importance of the human perspective. Not just the soldier but also the civilians of war-zones and even those left behind in non-war areas, which for the most part, the US was in WWII.

    If done correctly, it can add depth to history and does it a service by giving the reader a perspective that he may not have considered. When done incorrectly, it makes a farce of the historical subject.

    Bullitt mentions The Killer Angels which is an incredible book. It is fictional but based on fact. It takes the historical record and brings it to life using the actual people from history. Yes there is some artistic license because the author puts worth into the mouths of Lee, Chamberlain and Longstreet among others, but he researched the men through their own words and was true to their actual character.

    The problem is that more often than not, artistic license crosses the line and you get something like the movie Titanic. I have always found the subject extremely interesting and looked forward to the movie but couldn't have hated it more. A classic case of what WF mentioned.

    So for the most part, I will read the type of book that Warfish prefers but if I do hear that something is done as well as The Killer Angels, it won't keep me from reading it.

  3. #383
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushyTheBeaver View Post
    To Warfish's comment, "History is more than interesting enough as it was. It does not need fictional stories of fictional people put into those real world situation to make it "better". " I could not disagree more. At least in this way: historical events, if not put in the context of how they influenced actual lives, are meaningless.
    Historical Fiction, it shouldn't need pointed out, is not about "actual lives".

    It's fiction. The author made it up. He might, possibly, have based it on real events, and gotten some (never all) of the History right.

    I enjoy Historical Fiction too, especially on TV (Rome, Borgias, Tudors, the Elizabeth films, Saving Private Ryan, etc). But I take it for what it is, a fictional story using non-fictional characters vagueuly related to real life.

    My point was that for WWII at the least, there is no shortage of real people who told their real stories about the real events that occured to them. And if one wishes, as the OP intimated, to get a feel for what happened in WWII, my view is reading what actually happaned involving those who made it happen and why is the best course, not seeking fictional entertainent or a story of one individual who suffered, surely, but played no role in forming teh events themselves.

    It is the significance of, for example, the attack on Pearl Harbor had on real people, that gives it its importance.
    When 30 million real people were killed, hundreds of millions more displaced and/or wounded, and the majority of the globe engaged in armed conflict, there are plenty of real, non-fictional, tales to be told.

    I'm not against "individual" stories, although they usually miss the greater forest for their own personal suffering trees (understandably), I'm against the use of historical fiction as a replacement for actual history.

    The tale of the individual in great historic wars is usually the same, some varient of "why is this happening to me, why am I suffering, oh ****, now I'm suffering more, **** ****, now I'm dead. Story over.".

    To understand history, one needs to know those who shaped it, not fictional stories of those who suffered under it, IMO.

    An yes, to do that effectively you need to take a certain amount of artistic license if your intent is to weave a tale.
    I couldn't possibly disagree more. The real events and real people were more than "effective" enough in my view. I don't need Stephen King or Dead Koontz to tell me made up stories about it to make it "better".

    Last edited by Warfish; 08-02-2012 at 09:45 AM.

  4. #384
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post

    This will sound horribly smug and self-important and I apologize in advance, but it has to be said:

    History is more than interesting enough as it was. It does not need fictional stories of fictional people put into those real world situation to make it "better". This is a pet peeve of mine, especially with historical films.

    If the OP wants to know what happened, R&FotTR is the choice.

    If he wants to be entertained by a riveting insightful story, I'd say R&FotTR is STILL the choice.

    If he wants to read about people, there are plenty of real tales to be told.

    If he wants fiction.....read something else IMO.

    Understatement of the week.

    Tell us again how stupid comic book movies are

    _

  5. #385
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    Quote Originally Posted by bullitt929 View Post
    I am also from the school of "Tell me a story", and Herman Wouk tells a great story. Citing a different war, I really liked Battle Cry of Freedom (non-fiction), but The Killer Angels (novel about Gettysburg) is one of my favorite all time reads. As for The Caine Mutiny, it's one of the unusual ones that was great as both a book and a movie. Among Humphrey Bogart's greatest achievements.
    Killer Angels is right up there with my favorites--GREAT read--but unfortunately Michael Shaara died and when his son Jeff took over the franchise, he didn't have the same style.

    Best historical fiction I've ever read was Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield. It's the story of the Battle of Thermopyle (i.e., the 300 spartans). Outstanding.

    Caine Mutiniy was a great war book, not so much in terms of historical fiction, but just the story. Kind of like The Thin Red Line by James Jones or Matterhorn (a novel of Vietnam) by Karl Marlantes. All great reads ABOUT war, but not so much about the historical events that happened.

    Winds of War and War and Remembrance, as long as you don't have a stick up your ass about the folly of reading fiction (written beautifully and researched diligently) is a GREAT read, but if you are really serious and really smug, it's probably not for you.

    _

  6. #386
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStokes View Post
    Understatement of the week.

    Tell us again how stupid comic book movies are

    _
    I think I've been more than fair in my posts in this thread, explaining my position and the reasons for my position.

    If all you want to do is off-topic flame me for it, so be it.

    On this, I think my viewpoint stands on it's own merit.

  7. #387
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    I've purchased Pale Blue Dot. Haven't started reading yet.

  8. #388
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    I think I've been more than fair in my posts in this thread, explaining my position and the reasons for my position.

    If all you want to do is off-topic flame me for it, so be it.

    On this, I think my viewpoint stands on it's own merit.
    I'm not flaming you, I just don't understand the Warfist condescension in making a point, never have.

    _

  9. #389
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    the Story of the Celts...very interesting...first headhunters...

  10. #390
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStokes View Post
    I'm not flaming you, I just don't understand the Warfist condescension in making a point, never have.

    _
    What you see as condescension, I see as explaination of a viewpoint.

    If you don't get it, won't ever get it, and I'm not changing, whats the point of being a dick about it at this late date in a semi-serious thread like this Stokes?

    The OP (well, old pre-merge OP) asked for something, and I gave what I consider a well reasoned, strong and considered argument as to why I suggested what I did, and why I hold the view I do. And I even tried to be self-depreciating about my personal viewpoint by provided a pre-apology for it to avoid just this kind of sniping.

    Not sure what else you want man, you disagree, great. Tell us why you hold your view next time, explain why fiction is better than non-fiction, instead of just giving me **** about my view.

  11. #391
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    What you see as condescension, I see as explaination of a viewpoint.

    If you don't get it, won't ever get it, and I'm not changing, whats the point of being a dick about it at this late date in a semi-serious thread like this Stokes?

    The OP (well, old pre-merge OP) asked for something, and I gave what I consider a well reasoned, strong and considered argument as to why I suggested what I did, and why I hold the view I do. And I even tried to be self-depreciating about my personal viewpoint by provided a pre-apology for it to avoid just this kind of sniping.

    Not sure what else you want man, you disagree, great. Tell us why you hold your view next time, explain why fiction is better than non-fiction, instead of just giving me **** about my view.
    I never said anything about fiction being better or worse that non-fiction, I wouldn't even hazzard going there--especially in historical fiction.

    I just threw a good read out there, didn't feel the need to explain why it's any better or worse than what someone else reads, don't feel the need to dump on or demean an entire form of literature.

    Some people like fat chicks, some people don't--it's all personal preference.

    I'm sure The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is outstanding.

    /shrug

    _

  12. #392
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStokes View Post
    it's all personal preference.
    Except it's not. Not every question can be answered by "personal preference". If I say "50 Shades of Grey" is the best WWII book, becuase thats my personal preference, thats not ok just because of personal preference. All depends on the question asked.

    This OP asked:

    Whats going on fellas im looking for a real good book about WW2, Nazi Germany, Holocaust and all the crazy, messed up ****, that happened during that time, stuff you wont learn about in school. i want something from how they hitlers child camps, ww2, concentration camps, ect ect, just something that would blow mind away
    I tried, in a rather serious manner appropriate for this serious subject, to answer that question. In doing so explaining why an overall History book was the right choice and why Historical Fiction was not the best route to answering that question and why.

    If anything, my mistake here is trying to be serious or expecting people on the internet not to get offended, pissed and snipery when someone dares say X is better than Y for purpose Q.

    The fact that you think I'm "demeaning" Histroical Fiction, despite writign that I am in fact a fan of that genre, shows you didn't even really read what I've written, you just jumped right tt being offended, tossing out teh usual Warfish is a jackass lines, and getting a few kicks in.

    So be it, last word is yours. I'm out.

  13. #393
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey Z 6 View Post
    Whats going on fellas im looking for a real good book about WW2, Nazi Germany, Holocaust and all the crazy, messed up ****, that happened during that time, stuff you wont learn about in school. i want something from how they hitlers child camps, ww2, concentration camps, ect ect, just something that would blow mind away
    Try:

    Into that Darkness, AN Examination of Conscience by Gitta Sereny

    Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher Browning

    Also:

    Holocaust Journey by Martin Gilbert
    Last edited by VonRotten; 08-02-2012 at 12:36 PM.

  14. #394
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    Just finished "Yes, Chef." It's Marcus Samuelsson's memoir - from being a near-dead orphan in Ethiopia to being adopted by Swedish parents at age 4 (?) in Sweden to becoming a world class chef. Genuinely the most interesting life I've ever read about. He traveled everywhere and so much happened in his life it's almost unbelievable that it's all real. Great summer read and I highly recommend it.

    He owns Red Rooster in Harlem. I'm going there with my family for my birthday dinner in December and cannot wait.

  15. #395
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post

    Not sure what else you want man,
    does anyone here get into more fights than Stokes? Seafaring Gentleman....
    Frisky Street Brawler.

    Inscrutable.

  16. #396
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    Quote Originally Posted by southside View Post
    I've purchased Pale Blue Dot. Haven't started reading yet.
    You will love it.

    Love everything and anything by Carl Sagan.

  17. #397
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timmy® View Post
    does anyone here get into more fights than Stokes? Seafaring Gentleman....
    Frisky Street Brawler.

    Inscrutable.
    Napoleanic rage.

  18. #398
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    Can anyone recommend a good Churchill biography?

  19. #399
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmitexxi View Post
    in on book 1 of this set. It stated a little slow, but its picks up nicely and much better than the show

    Same here...haven't seen the show though...

  20. #400
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBIII View Post
    You will love it.

    Love everything and anything by Carl Sagan.

    I saw an excerpt reading from this book on Youtube. It was pretty awesome. Hoping that the book as insightful as I'm hoping for.

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