Some favorite history items
This week I had a discussion with my neighbors about our mutual love of history, as a topic of study. I can’t say that I was as big a fan of history when I was in high school, but I wish I had been. The truth is, my love of learning came late. Now I’m passionate and excited by all the resources that are available. Here are a few of my favorites. Hours and hours of investment but every bit, worth the time to watch, listen and read.
+ A YALE course on the Civil War (free)
There’s a video version as well, but since it’s just a “talking head” lecture, it’s easier to plug in to the audio and be free to do stuff. I can now say that I have completed a class at Yale and am proud of it. 16ish hours worth. Gave me a VERY healthy respect for Lincoln and his keen legal mind that he brought to bear. Also gave me a deeper understanding (and respect, in some senses) of the South.
+ HARDCORE HISTORY
These are extensive but phenomenal. The older ones that were really good are archived off and for sale - so only the most current ones are still available for free. So many great questions are raised in these episodes. Dan Carlin’s exploration of the Eastern Front during World War II was extensive and amazing - something I had never studied. His episode on World War I was equally engaging and, in many ways, I find that period more fascinating than the later wars to come.
+ STUFF YOU MISSED IN HISTORY CLASS
“Lighter” than Hardcore History. Back in October (2013) they did a fun one on the history of the building of the haunted house at Disneyland… Also fun: “The Radium Girls”, “The Surprising Life of Henry Ford (2 parts)” and “HH Holmes and the Mysteries of Murder Castle (2 parts)”
+ GREAT TALES FROM ENGLISH HISTORY
For all of you who “can’t keep the English kings straight.” Thoroughly entertaining. I still get them mixed up but this is far far more interesting at least.
+ DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ANYTHING
I’m throwing this out there because this was a great book to have when my wife and I were dating. We would pull it out when we were at a restaurant, waiting for our server or food. The history snippets are short (a couple pages) and then have 5 trivia questions at the end. We would take turns reading and quizzing…
+ Some token HONORABLE MENTIONS:
KEN BURNS DOCUMENTARIES
Naturally, Netflix/Amazon has a whole bunch of copies (streaming/DVD) of Ken Burns documentaries. The Civil War one is one that people like to refer to but these were also entertaining and informative:
- The War (WWII)
The National Parks
THE RAPE OF EUROPA
AT HOME: A SHORT HISTORY OF PRIVATE LIFE