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 Post subject: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:29 am 
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Anyone familiar with her? I don't remember now who or in what context she was recommended to me, other than that her book "A Distant Mirror" addressing the collapse of the Church and society coming out of the Middle Ages (Avignon Papacy, plagues, widespread corruption in the high clergy, materialism in the wealthy, debauched nobles, collapse of the structure of economics, etc..) had at it's root much of what we're experiencing today.

Anyway, I am not sure but I feel like I'm getting some anti-Catholic bias in the book. She was Jewish. Shouldn't be here or there, but sometimes one's religion/culture matters in how one reads history.

Familiar with her, anyone??

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:14 am 
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I own one of her books - The Guns of August - about the Great War.

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:10 am 
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I've read GUNS OF AUGUST, maybe a couple of others. Most prominently, I've read her STILWELL AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IN CHINA, which is, basically, the American attitude toward the subject. Though recently, revisionist writers (Frank, Mitter) are appearing.

I don't worry a lot about bias. I read in breadth and depth, and the bias (if any) gets isolated and discounted in the big picture. Got one in the reading lineup now, which addresses one of my primary subjects, and appears to be full of bushwa, on the face of it. But I bought it.

Point being: read sufficiently to both spot and counter any bias. And not all points of difference are bias.

Of course, that attitude is a crusade of mine, not shared by all.

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:14 am 
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Look! It's a windmill!

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 8:18 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Look! It's a windmill!


Windmills are among my favorite subjects. One needs to read about them,360 degrees, so to speak. As one needs to delve deeply into the subject of mines and tunnels. And cover light houses from top to bottom.

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:14 pm 
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but if you covered the lighthouse, it would be rendered worthless... a beacon to no one :fyi: 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:21 pm 
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faithfulservant wrote:
but if you covered the lighthouse, it would be rendered worthless... a beacon to no one :fyi: 8-)



I'll clean up, afterwards.

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:33 pm 
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GKC wrote:
I've read GUNS OF AUGUST, maybe a couple of others. Most prominently, I've read her STILWELL AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IN CHINA, which is, basically, the American attitude toward the subject. Though recently, revisionist writers (Frank, Mitter) are appearing.

I don't worry a lot about bias. I read in breadth and depth, and the bias (if any) gets isolated and discounted in the big picture. Got one in the reading lineup now, which addresses one of my primary subjects, and appears to be full of bushwa, on the face of it. But I bought it.

Point being: read sufficiently to both spot and counter any bias. And not all points of difference are bias.

Of course, that attitude is a crusade of mine, not shared by all.


I find that for the big historical topics, it is good to read many books from many different points of view.

If you read a book about Alexander Hamilton, ( such as the one by Ron Chernow) then Thomas Jefferson is the big villain. But if you read a biography of Jefferson (such as the one by John Meacham) then Alexander Hamilton is the big villain.

Neither is really "correct" but it us helpful to try to see things from multiple perspectives.

As was famously said

"Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either. Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin. There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each one differently."

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:48 pm 
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Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
I've read GUNS OF AUGUST, maybe a couple of others. Most prominently, I've read her STILWELL AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IN CHINA, which is, basically, the American attitude toward the subject. Though recently, revisionist writers (Frank, Mitter) are appearing.

I don't worry a lot about bias. I read in breadth and depth, and the bias (if any) gets isolated and discounted in the big picture. Got one in the reading lineup now, which addresses one of my primary subjects, and appears to be full of bushwa, on the face of it. But I bought it.

Point being: read sufficiently to both spot and counter any bias. And not all points of difference are bias.

Of course, that attitude is a crusade of mine, not shared by all.


I find that for the big historical topics, it is good to read many books from many different points of view.

If you read a book about Alexander Hamilton, ( such as the one by Ron Chernow) then Thomas Jefferson is the big villain. But if you read a biography of Jefferson (such as the one by John Meacham) then Alexander Hamilton is the big villain.

Neither is really "correct" but it us helpful to try to see things from multiple perspectives.

As was famously said

"Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either. Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin. There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each one differently."


I think I'll agree with Doom.

Of course, there is likely another way of looking at it.

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Save that the sky grows darker yet
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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:34 am 
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Doom wrote:

If you read a book about Alexander Hamilton, ( such as the one by Ron Chernow) then Thomas Jefferson is the big villain. But if you read a biography of Jefferson (such as the one by John Meacham) then Alexander Hamilton is the big villain.

"


And all along it was gherkin! :fyi:

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:40 am 
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As a UVa alumnus, I must insist that Mr. Jefferson, at any rate, was NOT the villain. :fyi:

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 Post subject: Re: Historian Barbara Tuchman
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:54 am 
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gherkin wrote:
As a UVa alumnus, I must insist that Mr. Jefferson, at any rate, was NOT the villain. :fyi:


No one was a villain, really. But if you're going to write a book from the perspective of Alexander Hamilton, Jefferson is not going to come off well. Neither will John Adams.

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