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Thread: The Past; our only guide in answering questions of the present

  1. #1 The Past; our only guide in answering questions of the present 
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    Too obvious ? It would seem so. Yet so many people don't quite make this connection. It seems simple cause-and -effect arguments are wasted on so many ordinary folks, of which I'm one. Common as dirt, I am. But the bone-heads I know mostly don't know history, or care much. Too bad. Only by examining the past can we understand the present. Why is this simple idea so commonly tossed aside as being irrelevant to the here and now ? Self-examination is also thought useless by many. I don't know why. Our personal past contains clues as well. I know, that's 'personal'. What isn't, besides science ?
    The thing I love about History is this: Something happened somewhere. What really happened and how, why ? The past is a Distant Mirror, as Barbara Tuchman's great history of the 14th century reveals. Highly recommended for those fascinated by the Dark Ages. Best history I ever read.


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  3. #2  
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    How did history happen you ask?! One answer!!! SCIENCE!


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  4. #3  
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    history is very important. no doubt of this. but there subjects that are important now that history can not help us with. things like GMOs, detecting genetic defects in embryos, cloning, various internet situations like cyberbullying, cyberspying, hacking, identity theft, cyberwarfare, drone warfare, violent video games, violent television.
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    Most History happened before science was developed. History, some say, is an agreed upon fable. There is some truth in this. It's harder to discern what actually happened the further into the past we peer. But the question of what actually happened, supported by solid research and study , can reflect back to us a revealing
    view of present attitudes and beliefs. My point was that the nature of the present is revealed in the course taken to get here. Accurate history is vital. And under-appreciated.
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". George Santayana

    "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results". Attributed to various.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
    Mark Twain

    History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
    Ambrose Bierce


    What is history but a fable agreed upon?
    Napoleon Bonaparte


    History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren't there.
    George Santayana
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    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
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  8. #7  
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    any recommendations for a great history or bio. I value history-lovers opinions.
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  9. #8  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umbradiago View Post
    any recommendations for a great history or bio. I value history-lovers opinions.
    As a start, I can recommend these:

    Alan Clark 'Barbarossa' Orion Publishing Group Ltd 1965 ISBN:1-84212-234-X
    Arthur Herman 'How the Scots Invented the Modern World' MJF Books 2001 ISBN:978-1-60671-049-4
    Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein 'All the President's Men' Warner Books 1975 ISBN:0-446-89093-6-195
    Dava Sobel 'Longitude' Walker & Company 1995 ISBN:0-8027-1312-2
    Daniel Yergin 'The Prize' Simon & Schuster 1991 ISBN:0-671-50248-4
    Jared Diamond 'Guns, Germs and Steel' W.W.Norton and Company 1997 ISBN:0-393-03891-2
    Michael Balter 'The Goddess and the Bull' Simon & Schuster 2005 ISBN:0-7432-4360-9
    Misha Glenny 'The Balkans' Granta Books 1999 ISBN:1-86207-073-3
    Thomas . Carlyle, 'The French Revolution' Chapman and Hall
    W. Travis Hanes III, Julian Thompson 'The Opium Wars' Barnes & Noble 2002 ISBN:978-0-7607-7638-4
    Winston Spencer Churchill 'A History of the English Speaking Peoples' The Folio Society 1956
    Richard Rhodes 'Dark Sun' Simon & Schuster 1995 ISBN:0-684-80400-X
    Ernst Hanfstaengl 'Hitler' Skyhorse Publishing 1957 ISBN:13-978-1-61145-362-1
    Brigitte Hamman 'Hitler's Vienna' Oxford University Press 1999 ISBN:0-19-512537-1
    Anthony Beevor 'D-Day' Penguin Books 2009 ISBN:978-0-670-02119-2
    Cornelius Ryan 'A Bridge to Far' Hodder & Stoughton 1974
    Simon Winchester 'The Man Who Loved China' Harper Collins 2008 ISBN:978-0-06-088459-8
    Allan Bullock 'Hitler' Konecky & Konecky 1962 ISBN:1-56852-036-0
    Harry Harrison 'Captive Universe' Science Fiction Book Club 1969 ISBN:0
    Ian Kershaw 'Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis' W.W.Norton and Company 2000 ISBN:0-393-04994-9
    Ian Kershaw 'Hitler 1889-1936 Hubris' W.W.Norton and Company 1998 ISBN:0-393-04671-0
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    Thanks John. This looks like a very good list and the subjects interest me.
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  11. #10  
    Anti-Crank AlexG's Avatar
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    In the realm of accurate historical fiction, I'd recommend books by Dorthy Dunnett, the House of Niccolo series and her Crawford series.
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    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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  12. #11  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I just noted that a Harry Harrison SF novel crept into the list. I screwed up the extraction from my library database.

    If your specific interest is WWII or Hitler, I can recommend further titles.
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  13. #12  
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    Sometimes I don't worry today because I remember my past or worrying yesterday.
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  14. #13  
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    I actually disagree with this sentiment, learning from the past simply provides us with information of things that have previously happened, it may be the case that some information in the past is of great relevance to modern day thought, but the best guide to the present is the present.
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  15. #14  
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    Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
    ― Søren Kierkegaard


    We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it;
    and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.

    ― George Harrison (Beatles)
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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  16. #15  
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    What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?
    ― F. Sherwood Rowland, on accepting his 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for ozone depletion
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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