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Metamacrohistory (The meta is only there to annoy you.)

  1. Nov 2, 2009 #1
    Metamacrohistory (The "meta" is only there to annoy you.)

    I just finished The World and the West by Toynbee. I'm in the middle of the Civilization on Trial. I'll probably start scratching some surface on A Study of History soon. I'm a multi-tasker when it comes to reading, though, a defense developed early on to battle the onset of seeping boredom or growing disinterest, (the cause of which is usually seeing the same writing style day after day, not the content itself).

    I'm looking for some works to aid and abet my study of history. I'm looking for content similar to Toynbee's - the study of histories growing and falling, the world's encounter with the west, basically "macro-history" lessons focused on the effects of culture-clashes with analyses of what happened, (cue John Madden: And then you see Gandhi really Trying to stop the play over here in the yellow circle, but then BOOM! The cultural blend is complete).

    If that's out of your common knowledge vs. interest-range in history, then...

    List your top 10 all-time must-read history books?:

    Thanks in advance !
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2009 #2


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    Re: Metamacrohistory (The "meta" is only there to annoy you.)

    Top ten history books would be tough. It depends on the period. Or is one interested in books on the history of all of humanity.

    Here's an interesting abstract by L. B. Namier on his 1949 review of Civilization on Trial, by Arnold J. Toynbee
    There is Europe, A History by Norman Davies, 1996, Oxford University Press. It covers from the Ice Age through the Cold War.

    If one wants a period book - what period. I'd recommend Peter Heather's The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians, 2005, Oxford University Press.

    or for something more contemprary - David Andelman's A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today, 2007, Wiley. I highly recommend this book for understanding a number of the conflicts of the 20th century. Andelman delves into many of the personalities who re-mapped the world after The Great War (WWI).

    Then there is more recent - the rest of the 20th Century - and before.

    Here's an interesting essay - Napoleon’s Total War




    It's about personalities, egos, aspirations, ethnism, nationalism, . . . .
  4. Nov 8, 2009 #3
    Re: Metamacrohistory (The "meta" is only there to annoy you.)

    Ah thanks. This will supply me with reading material for quite a long time.

    If I had to pick a specific place and time I'd love to learn about, I'd have two very specific points:

    New Orleans inception until now
    Pre-colonial North America

    A short story by Neil Gaiman gave birth to my interest in the former. I've read that Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee can help me some with the latter. Any recommendations are welcome.
  5. Nov 8, 2009 #4
    Re: Metamacrohistory (The "meta" is only there to annoy you.)

    P.S. I noticed you mention Satriani in your little quip there - listen to any Buckethead?
  6. Feb 19, 2010 #5
    Re: Metamacrohistory (The "meta" is only there to annoy you.)

    Completely off topic but I stumbled here and saw buckethead mentioned. I saw him at Wakarusa a few years ago. I was in a good place at the time and it was just awesome!
  7. Feb 25, 2010 #6
    Re: Metamacrohistory (The "meta" is only there to annoy you.)

    I'm in the middle of Barbara Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror," which is a narrative history of the 14th century, and it is excellent. A fantastic read, and a horrifyingly fascinating period in history! Highly recommended.
  8. Mar 29, 2010 #7
    Re: Metamacrohistory (The "meta" is only there to annoy you.)

    Maybe a bit off topic, but be mindful when reading macrohistory of how sweeping generalizations and assumptions of collective existence are simply assumed a priori in the language of the narrative.

    It's practically impossible to trace networks of inter-individual interactions through specific micro contexts over extended distances and periods, but this fact requires you to read macro-history through a filter if you have any concern with empirical accuracy.
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