Good idea… suppose I’ll have to buy one online because I don’t recall ever seeing one at a book store.
I have four of Keegan’s books, but only have had the time to finish A History of Warfare. I mentioned that one because it seemed to fit the OP a little. I’ve read a good portion of his The Second World War and liked it, but The First World War seems much more detailed than either of those, and it’s likely most casual American readers would prefer the former two to the latter. The Face of Battle and Mask of Command are also on my reading list…
As I’ve posted in Great Debates, I have my own reservations about Diamond’s book, but since I’ve not yet finished that one either, I’ll keep them to myself. So many books, so little time.
A little “hint from Heloise” for this particular book:
Get yourself a pack of Post-It “Tape Flags.” Those are the little flags that are 2/3 clear, 1/3 color and feel like Scotch tape. They’re great for text. Put one by each map so that you can flip back easily. I found that although (with one or two exceptions) every location Keegan discusses is actually on a map somewhere, it could well be three maps ago and that wasn’t convenient. The flags make the flipping back and forth less tedious.
I would recommend The Fifties by David Halberstam. He writes about everything from the birth of the Cold War, Civil Rights movement and Beat literature, to the birth of Rock and Roll, McDonalds and Holiday Inn, with coverage of the space race, birth control, and the TV quiz show scandals thrown in. I find it to be a fascinating survey of a decade that most consider boring.
I’m no serious history reader, but I recommend Tuchman’s March of Folly. Not only will it change the way you look at history, it will change the way you look at the present world. Really.
Well, at least it did for me.
“From Dawn to Decadence”! Great book! it was my staff pick at work last month. And I’m happy to say I won for most books sold.It’s nice to hear people talking about it, I was afraid all those people bought it to have on their shelf.
If you liked that, Barzun certainly has enough other books to choose from (although a lot of them are out of print. I checked.)
I can’t think of any other SURVEY type books, other than the ones mentioned. But I just read “King Leopold’s Ghost”
about the Belgiun Congo.
I highly recommend “We were soldiers once and young” and “blackhawk down.” For a look at how war really is.
Thanks for the hint, but you’re a bit too late–I’ve already ordered a WWI Atlas and it’s on its way. That’s OK, though–it will go well with my WWII Atlas and my European History Atlas. The part that had really frustrated me was the Austrian-Russian campaign, which I had a hard time reconciling between the map and his prose.
Unfortunately, my free-time “indoor sports” constantly waver between DVD movies, books, and computer strategy games, and I’ve recently moved off books and back to Starcraft. I’m about halfway through Brood War (w/o cheating this time), so it’ll be a couple weeks before I get back into some serious reading.
Back on topic, I’d also second the nomination for Blackhawk Down, but be aware it’s not a survey history–it’s a grunt’s eye view of the tragic Somalia battle in 1993. FWIW, I think those types of detailed histories are far more interesting once you’re familiar with the basics.
Well I can’t reccommend it because i haven’t read it, but I just read a review of “Twentieth Century:The History of the World 1901 to 2000” by J.M. Roberts that sound like if you liked Barzun you’d like this.