Tag: #history

“Stuff You Missed In History Class” from HowStuffWorks – Podcast

If you’ve been following me for any time you know that I like history, especially what I like call history’s quirky corners. And this podcast is full of them. There is a library of 11 years of episodes to choose from so if you can’t find something here you’d like to know more about than I don’t know where to send you. Each episode runs about 15 mins. and the hosts give you and in depth look at a particular person or event in history. Recently I enjoyed episodes about “How the Hearst Castle Works” and “The Caning of Charles Sumner on the Senate Floor”. The cover every era of history from the Ancient World to Modern Day politics and every corner of the world. I also like that at the end of every episode they will point you to further resources on the topic on the internet so you can keep digging if you’re so inclined. The hosts are very congenial and I find the presentations very well organized. So all you history buffs, if you haven’t come across this podcast yet you need to check it out.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

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“Queens of Georgian Britain” by Catherine Curzon

“Queens of Georgian Britain” by Catherine Curzon

Back in January I reviewed “Kings of Georgian Britain” by this author and now it’s time to talk about the Queens. This book is organized chronologically with four section, each describing the life and relationships of the queens. Act I starts with Sophia Dorothea, then we have Queen Caroline, Queen Charlotte and another Queen Caroline to end the Georgian era. Each of these women have unique stories that the author narrates expertly. The reader has a chance to become familiar with their personalities, their strengths and their weaknesses. Some of them were loved, while others were despised and rejected. Sophia’s story is one of disappointment and heartache, while the other 3 enjoyed great popularity, at least with the people if not their husbands. One thing is very clear and that is that you can’t pigeonhole these women, they are complex and intriguing.

Having now read a second book by this author, she has become a favorite. The writing style is clear and engaging. There is no heaviness and she uses lots of subsections which I like because sometimes you only have 5 or 10 minutes to read. It seems clear to me that she really enjoys her subject and has done copious amounts of research. After reading this book, I would say that these women have become real people in my mind, not just pictures in a history text. I highly recommend both this book and the companion book about the kings if you want to get a better understanding of the period of the Georgians. Well done!

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

“American Nations” by Colin Woodard

“American Nations” by Colin Woodard

A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

Narrated by Walter Dixon

If you ask a resident of America what it means to be an American, they will always have an answer. But what that answer is will depend on where you are in America. What Colin Woodard set out to do in this book is reveal the eleven distinct cultures that exist in North America and delineate how the differences have affected the development of the United States and continue to influence our politics going forward. If there is one thing that I could explain to the rest of the world it’s that America is different in every state, county, city and town. This is why when driving in Minnesota the speed limit is 70, but when you cross the border into North Dakota it goes up to 75. The rules and cultures that influence them change from region to region and if you understand this you can begin to see why American politics are so complicated.

If I could I would make this book required reading (or listening) in every school and give a copy to every immigrant. Colin Woodard has done a fantastic job, in my opinion, of explaining the origins of these cultures and delineating their differences in beliefs and influence on the national stage. I learned so much about the history of the United States that explained so much. I listened to this book through Audible and the narration was top-notch. Walter Dixon did a great job with this project and while this book doesn’t have different characters, per se, there are many places where historic figures are quoted and he did a great job of differentiating this material with his voice. I think this is an excellent book in every aspect, content, organization and narration, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a greater understanding of America.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Maladies & Medicine” by Jennifer Evans & Sara Read

“Maladies & Medicine” by Jennifer Evans & Sara Read

Exploring Health & Healing 1540-1740

Calling all medical historians! I have a little gem here for you. In “Maladies & Medicine” the authors explore the most common complaints of this early modern period and what type of treatments were available to patients at the time. The book is organized in a similar way to how the medical textbooks of the time were arranged. There are four parts, head complaints, abdominal maladies, whole body ailments, and reproductive maladies. Each part is then broken down into common ailments such as headaches, disorderly bowels, gout, and greensickness. While the chapters are relatively short, they are full of information often using quotes from medical texts of the time to explain the maladies and their treatments. Some of these ailments we find have disappeared in our time, smallpox, for instance, while others continue into modern times.

I found this book to be very interesting. It was well organized and covered a wide variety of medical maladies. It is in places a bit gross and I wouldn’t recommend reading this while eating. I also thought that some of the treatments that patients were willing to endure were quite shocking. In addition to the herbal type remedies you would expect from this time period, there were also treatments involving cow dung, and earthworms appeared far too often for my taste. Finally, I appreciated that the authors took the time at the beginning of the book to delineate what the theories of medicine were at the time and how those theories affected the way that doctors treated their patients.  A fascinating and well-presented piece of history.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating 4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

“Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century” by Mallory James

“Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century” by Mallory James

Ever wondered how ladies and gentlemen are supposed to behave? You will find all the answers in this book. The author breaks the subject down into categories such as dining, meeting on the street, and attending a ball. She walks the reader through a look at the nineteenth century as viewed through the etiquette books of the time. And the rules changed just about every decade. After reading this book, I feel like it would have been a full time job just to keep up with the rules and of course, the exceptions to the rules. Does it really matter who enters the dining room first? In the nineteenth century it mattered a lot and if not done right could leave with a reputation of being rude and undesirable at social gatherings. And please don’t show up at your neighbor’s house with mud on the hem of your skirt, even in London. This book is just full of little bits of formality that will make you glad you leave in the 21st century. I was also surprised though by how many of the rules continue today but in a watered down way. This is a great book for those interested in social history.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Death, Disease & Dissection” by Suzie Grogan

“Death, Disease & Dissection” by Suzie Grogan

The life of a Surgeon-Apothecary 1750 – 1850

It’s time for another corner of history. In this book Suzie Grogan explores the history of the Surgeon-Apothecary. The period 1750 – 1850 was a pivotal one in the development of the roles of Surgeon and the Apothecary. Prior to 1750 there was no formal training required for either one, but during this time the official association were formed, licensing was introduced, qualification exams were created, and the roles of these professional men were defined in the communities.

I think the author has done a wonderful job of researching the topic and presenting the history of the profession, and biographical information on some of the most influential Surgeon-Apothecaries of the period. There is also discussion in the book on what kind of ailments these men were able to treat and some of the remedies they had available to them. The author also presents a discussion of the “Quacks” and their “remedies” as well. This book is well organized and full of fascinating information on the topic.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Children’s Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain’s Young” by Peter Higginbotham

“Children’s Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain’s Young” by Peter Higginbotham

This book is exactly as it describes itself, a history of the care of children. In this case we are talking about orphans, waifs, strays, kids who today would be in the care of social services. The author has chapters discussing the different charitable and governmental organizations that had responsibility for the care of these children. There is also a look back at the development of child care philosophy, from large institutional care to the foster system we are more familiar with today. The author discusses the most prominent movers and shakers in the history of children’s homes and also some of the lesser known lights. The book concludes with a discussion of day to day life in the different types of children’s homes and some of the more notable instances of abuse.

I found this book to be another well written history of a social issue in Britain. It’s a very approachable book and not a heavy history tome. I really appreciated learning about how social services for children got to where they are today and how they have changed along with the changing of the surrounding culture. All in all, an enjoyable look at a critical but often overlooked social issue, probably best enjoyed by those interested in these issues.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“Childhood & Death in Victorian England” by Sarah Seaton – History Book Review

“Childhood & Death in Victorian England” by Sarah Seaton – History Book Review

When this book popped up on my TBR I couldn’t help but wonder what I was thinking when I picked out such a gory sounding book. But I read it anyway and it turns out to be a fascinating look at the potential pitfalls that children in Victorian England faced. The book is broken down into 5 chapters each covering a different “cause of death” including Industrial Mishaps, Accidents, Poverty and Health, Murder, and Infant Deaths. It was a bit surprising to me as read the different chapters that the only category that as a society we have really eliminated is Industrial Mishaps. We still see childhood deaths in the other 4 categories on a pretty regular basis, at least here in the U.S. I am constantly reminded, when reading history books, that the human struggles never really change, whether you’re talking about our vulnerability to disease or the presence of evil.

The author uses real stories to relate the conditions of the time and it was really interesting to see how far our culture has come in the last 200 years in some of the categories. Thank goodness we don’t have 8 year olds working in factories anymore. It’s also eye-opening to realize that the concept of a carefree childhood that we have today only existed for a very few in the Victorian period. The book is written in a way that is easily readable for anybody but I expect will be particularly interesting to those who enjoy social history or the Victorian period in particular.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“The Kings of Georgian Britain” by Catherine Curzon

“The Kings of Georgian Britain” by Catherine Curzon

Who knew that reading history could be fun! Catherine Curzon takes the reader on a journey through the lives and reigns of the four Kings George and she does it with a sense of humor. This is not your stereotypical dry history narrative. The book is broken down into sections, one for each King and tells their story starting with their birth and ending with their death. She will see what they’re their childhoods were like, who had the strongest influence on them, what kind of fathers and husbands they were, and the politics of their respective monarchies.

As you can probably guess, I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t sure I would because the British monarchy is so complicated, there are tons of players, and I’m an American, so I was delighted that this was such a great read. George the First’s story was a little confusing at first but only because there were so many women named Sophia in his life. I recently received the companion book “The Queens of Georgian Britain” and I’m very excited to read it after enjoying this one so much. For American readers the section on George III would be very interesting as he was the king during the War for Independence. The author really made these men come alive and in a reader-friendly way. I highly recommend this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon Canada

“The Modoc War” by Robert Aquinas McNalley

“The Modoc War” by Robert Aquinas McNalley

A Story of Genocide at the Dawn of America’s Gilded Age

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating

This is the story of the war that the United States waged against the Modoc Indians in the Lava Beds of southern Oregon in the late 19th century. The author has done a great job of bringing to life the main players of the story, both Americans and Indians, and discussing their motivations. The Americans were determined to destroy the Modocs largely for the purposes of profit but also because of the mindset at the time that saw the Indians as little better than animals. I appreciated the author’s dip into the history of how this attitude came about in the culture of the time. I found this story to be riveting and thoroughly researched. It still surprises me that as a culture we know so much about the atrocities committed against blacks, but almost nothing about what was committed against the Indians. This is an excellent book in its category and I highly recommend it.

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads