Sometimes I feel like the only person I know who finds reading history fascinating. It’s so full of amazing-yet-true stories of people driven to the edge and how they reacted to it. I keep telling friends that a good history book (as opposed to some of those textbooks in school that are all lists and dates) does everything a good novel does–it grips you with real characters doing amazing things.I’m currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, so that’s history. Earlier this year I read a short story about Wallis Simpson that I really enjoyed, but I don’t seek out historical fiction - if I stumble upon it I’ll read it (but that happens rarely).
Am I REALLY the only person who feels this way? When is the last time you read a history book? Historical biography? You know, something that took place in the past but was REAL.
In my youth I recall reading some novel about who even knows what, and it ended with the Archduke Franz Ferdinand being shot, and I thought oooh, and started reading fiction that incorporated the events leading up to World War I, but not necessarily about the war. I also had a period of reading about World War II (both the events leading up to it and the Holocaust), the famine in Sweden, and slavery.
In terms of history in general I’m most interested in warfare, and when it comes to reading about it I prefer textbooks with clear explanations of military strategy rather than a fictional account of what may have happened at battle. I don’t want to read about how the soldiers had no shoes and torn jackets, I want to know how the war was fought, won, lost and why – facts stacked upon facts.