In praise of “popular” books


In response to K. Harbaugh's inquiry I re-state my opinion that old, readable books written for us average folk can often be more valuable than books written for specialists in a given field:

Some books:

"The Story of Civilization" by Will and Ariel Durant (eight volumes)

All the books on Arab and Islamic history by Sir John Bagot Glubb

"The Crusades" by Sir Steven Runciman

"Caravan, the Story of the Middle East" by Carlton Coon

"Captain Sam Grant." (Loyd Lewis) "Grant tales Command." and "Grant Moves South" (Bruce Catton)

"The Second World War" by Winston Churchill

"A History of the English Speaking Peoples" by Winston Churchill

"The Civil War, a Narrative" by Shelby Foote

Suggestions and comments are welcome.  pl

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6 Responses to In praise of “popular” books

  1. Jim Ticehurst says:

    Colonel Lang…Sir..I recommend you add your Own Books to That List..And I would encourage you to Use Your Very Creative Talents..To Write a New Book..With Full Knowledge of Appreciation for the Depth and Meaning of President Lincolns..”Gettysburg Address”..Based on Current events,,A “Great Civil War…Testing Whether That Nation…or Any Conceived..and So Dedicated..Can Long Endure”

  2. Fred says:

    One addition discussed recently: The Washing of the Spears by Donald R. Morris. I read it long ago while on active duty.

  3. turcopolier says:

    A very good book written in London by the US Naval Attache in his off duty time.

  4. turcopolier says:

    Jim Ticehurst
    Very kind of you. I am trying to summon the courage to begin again on the Egypt project.

  5. Martin Oline says:

    I was reading the Broos Campbell trilogy last year (No Quarter, Peter Wicked, and The War Of Knives) which are about the nascent American Navy just after the Revolutionary War. It was so nice to read about American instead of British sailors. The trilogy dealt with the Caribbean and especially the Haitian Revolution, of which I know very little. By chance, I came across a reference to Madison Smartt Bell’s Haitian trilogy about the subject. I had read and enjoyed his works before so I read these. The three books are All Souls Rising, Master At The Crossroads, and The Stone That The Builder Refused. These are historical fiction, but are an excellent glimpse of the Haitian Revolution and gave me a clearer understanding of why the slave holders in America feared an upraising of the slaves in the south. They are not books for the squeamish. Apparently in 1803, after Jean-Jacques Dessalines had rid the country of the last of the ‘blancs’, he also removed the white stripe from the French tricolor to make Haiti’s flag.

  6. JP Billen says:

    Ambrose Bierce’s “Shadows of Blue and Gray”. An anthology of his writings including his memoirs of Shiloh and other battlefields. It’s a shame that he did not survive his trip to Mexico to report on Pancho Villa.

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