Saturday, June 6, 2015

So you say you want a revolution?

After a couple of months almost entirely devoted to England, 'tis time to part -- momentarily.   It's June, and almost time for my annual tribute to the American revolution. I had thought to have an appropriate mix of English and American colonial history  before launching into the revolution itself, but the books ensnaring my interest lately have been more diverse.  I'm not through with England for this year, as I still have an itch to read about  the English Civil War.  The next couple of weeks will feature a couple of books on the colonial period as a segue.  We've already seen one in Daniel Boorstin's The Americans: The Colonial Experience.

Once the Revolution series starts in earnest, it will include:
- two biographies of lesser known Founders,  one being John Dickinson;
- a novel by David Liss (whom I've read before) set in the early Republic during a crisis
- a book on Tom Paine and political philosophy
- a look at Constitutional opposition
- a comparison of Canadian, American,  Australian, and English governance
...and possibly a history of how Parliament came to fight its own colony.  

If time allows, I'll also throw in Bob Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, as it's inspired by the American revolution.

Read of England 2015

English Classics
Come Rack! Come Rope!, Robert Hugh Benson
Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

English History
Boudica, Vanessa Collingridge
Faith and Treason, Antonia Frasier
The Fall of  Saxon England, Richard Humble
Agincourt: The Battle that Made England, Juliet Barker
The Wars of the Roses, Alison Weir

 Fiction, Set in England
Armada, John Stack (Historical)
In a Dark Wood, Michael Cadnum (Historical)
The Other Queen, Phillipa Gregory (Historical)
Ruled Britannia, Harry Turtledove (Alt-History)
The Inimitable Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse
Bachelors Anonymous, P.G. Wodehouse
Very Good, Jeeves, P. G. Wodehouse

Books by English Authors
Medieval Essays, Christopher Dawson.
The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton

I also made it halfway through The Vicar of Wakefield before becoming distracted by history.


  1. I have a few books coming up (around Christmas at this rate) about Britain's sometimes less than 'special' relationship with the US.... [grin] I'm sure you'll like them.

    But my next two history 'blitz reads' will be on Ireland and Germany (once I've finished with Afghanistan).

  2. The difficulty in reading German history is finding books about its more peaceful eras. Granted, since 1871 there haven't been many, but not every German is a Prussian maniac. I'll read something in that area myself around October or November, myself.

    Once this series is finished, I intend on taking a break from the serious history/literature current and do some variety reading...indulge in random mixes. Star Trek, transportation, science, whatever catches my eye. The problem with that is that I also want to deep into southern history/lit again, and do a run in Byzantine history, too...

  3. So many books................... So many topics of interest... [grin]

  4. Oh, as to the German books. One is a history of Prussia, one is about the financial crisis in the Weimar Republic and the last one is about 1960's Cold War Berlin.... so a nice mix I think.

  5. BTW - Do you have access to BBC-iplayer? If so there's a one off documentary about Joan of Arc and a mulit-part documentary about The Spanish Armada that are worth catching if you can.

  6. Thanks for the heads up! I will try to play one when I finish work tonight. I listen to podcasts while playing Civ 3 and such.

    As far as the mix, I'd look most forward to the one in Cold War Berlin...East Germany is such a bizaare place, a police state created by people who had just survived a police state, and considered their present police state its exact opposite. "Das Leben der Andern" is a favorite movie of mine, about a Stasi agent who realizes his 'noble' office is being abused by a corrupt official, who labors to redeem himself.

  7. The whole idea of free capitalist West Berlin embedded within communist East Germany was a truly bizarre state of affairs. Made for some gripping spy stories though!

    As well as the book on Berlin (in 1961 I think) I have another about the building of the wall - plus a few on deeper in the Communist Block. No doubt I'll get around to them eventually. They're just too interesting to ignore for long!

    Oh, I think both progs where/are on BBC2 if that helps. They're available for 30 days here so I presume it's similar/the same for you - probably.

  8. I doubt it would be geographically restricted -- they can't call it the "World Service" for no reason!

    You might like Phillip Kerr -- he does a lot of German spy novels.

  9. I have several of his spy stories in my TBR pile(s). I do miss a good bit of espionage..... Speaking of which - if you're on the BBC iplayer site anyway... try on the Cold War spy drama called 'The Game'. Brilliant.


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