I must say that History was one of my least favourite subjects in school, that and Geography. At the first opportunity, when I had a choice in my subjects and I believe that was when I was in Grade 10 at Brookfield Secondary School in Ottawa, I dropped both. I don't know if it was the teacher, what history we were learning, but I do recall when we took Canadian history, just finding it so boring.
I tried again in University to take a couple of history courses, when I had to pick up some half courses in second year. I think one dealt with the Spanish Reformation, the other with the history of Spain after the Spanish armada (something like that anyway).. Yawwwwwnnnnn!! I guess the problem wasn't so much history itself (see my Blog on the first of my Top Ten books, The Guns of August), more likely, I just didn't like the analyzing and writing essays on the subject. Yes, I'm basically lazy.
So with that preamble about history as a subject, I thought I'd go through some of my favourite history books. I think the theme this time will cover England and the period of the Boer War through to current history of the country. Firstly, what do I enjoy about reading a particular history? And here I go analyzing.. lol, amazing. I think part of it is comparing a particular period to the present, also maybe getting a picture of a particular period that I've discovered in reading fiction or mysteries set in that time frame. Basically, I just like a good story and that's what history basically is I guess, a story of a particular time, and if it's presented well, it's worth reading. That's why I liked The Guns of August so much. Barbara Tuchman displayed the period so well, described the characters and events in such a manner to put you in the events taking place.
So on to the books for this particular Blog. I'll cover 5 books here.
The Great Boer War, by A. Conan Doyle. It was written in 1900. This particular edition was published by George N. Morang @ Company of Toronto, third Impression of January 1901. I bought it at the Grafton Book Shop in Victoria, BC. They have a really nice collection of old books and I did like to wander through it, admiring their collections.
The first thing I liked about this book was its age and the excellent condition it was still in. It's got that texture to the pages where they develop little ridges (I think that's the way to describe it best). It makes you take a great care when you sit down to read it.
As well, there are five maps inside of the different points of the battles that Mr Doyle describes throughout. Basically, it's a lovely book first.
Troublesome Young Men was written by former White House correspondent Lynne Olson. It covers the events after Hitler's invasion of Poland and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's attempts to appease Hitler.
The troublesome young men are a group of rebellious Tory MP's who risked their political careers to bring down Chamberlain and his policies. They included Harold Macmillan, Robert Boothby, Leo Amery and many others.
The fact was that a great majority of the press and powers that were supported Chamberlain. Not only did they not want another war, many actually supported Hitler.
This group of politicians worked behind the scenes in difficult circumstances, risking everything to have Chamberlain removed. Oddly enough, Churchill did not vocally support them as he was a loyal party member. The wheeling's and dealings are covered very well in this novel. The results are obviously known by all, with Churchill taking over as Prime Minister during a critical period in Great Britain's history and standing firm against Hitler and the Nazis. The book covers a critical time in World history and is well written and well worth reading.