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Historical Novels
Old 11-08-2012, 09:47 PM   #1
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Historical Novels

I’m interested in reading some good historical novels over the winter months. Particular areas of interest include the civil war and Native Americans. I’m also open to other topics. I have no doubt many of you will come with some good suggestions.

I’m also fascinated with the history of the dust bowl because of my Kansas roots. BTW, don’t forget Kens Burns special on the dust bowl is coming up soon. Can’t wait for that! Here’s the link: http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl/
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:51 PM   #2
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One of the best Civil War historical novels isThe Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:19 PM   #3
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This is one of my favorites.

Lucia St. Clair Robson, historical novelist - Ride the Wind - the story of Cynthia Ann Parker and her life with the Comanches
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:55 PM   #4
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I read the book that the Ken Burns show is based on. I'm certain I would have died in those dust storms since I have asthma! They sounded horrible. It was a good book.

It was called The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:10 PM   #5
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Great historical novels, although earlier history than you mentioned in your post:
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:22 AM   #6
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Ken Follett's Middle ages books Pillars of the Earth and the later World Without End and his two 20th century books Fall of Giants and Winter of the World
Lonesome Dove is a great slice of life in the Old West
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:09 AM   #7
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Agree with Lonsome Dove (**I** thought the mini series should have been Clint Eastwood for Woodrow Call and Willie Nelson for Agustus McCrea). ANOTHER is the James Michener Centenniel (tho in HIS style he DOES begin with the beginning of the earth. Literally. The story REALLY begins something like 1/3 of the way thru IIRC)
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:06 AM   #8
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In addition to the other excellent suggestions, I would check out anything by Phillipa Gregory---mostly historical fiction set in England such as The Other Boleyn Girl, The Red Queen, etc.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:36 AM   #9
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Not a novel but I just finished The Journals of Lewis and Clark, very interesting.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
One of the best Civil War historical novels isThe Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.

And be sure to check out the books written by Michael's son, Jeff Shaara.

The Killer Angels is about the Battle of Gettysburg. Jeff Shaara wrote two novels that cover the Civil War before and after Gettysburg. Also wrote a two volume set on Revolutionary War, one on War of 1812, one on Mexican War of 1840s, three volume set on WWII. I'm currently reading one on the Battle of Shiloh, A Blaze of Glory.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:23 AM   #11
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James Michener wrote several historical novels, in my opinion all very well written. Centennial is about development in the western US and includes Native American character, although admittedly the book is not about Native Americans per se.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:48 AM   #12
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Long ago I did read Michener's Hawaii and a few others. Very enjoyable.

If one were interested in England's history around Henry XIII time, I'd recommend the series of novels by C.J. Sansom starting with Dissolution. The hero is a lawyer who investigates a murder at a monastery. Part mystery but very much more about historical fiction.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:08 PM   #13
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If war time settings interest you, here's a few classics that pop to mind:

A couple of Hemingway novels take place in Spanish Civil War or WWI Europe. For Whom the Bell Tolls; A Farewell to Arms.

Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities - French Revolution

Around WWII or leading up to it - Anything by Hans Fallada. WWII Resistance Berlin is the setting for "Every Man Dies Alone".

Two others were set in economically challenged Weimar Republic pre-WWII Germany. These give particularly good perspective on the mindset and lives of some in 1930's Germany that led to what came to pass during the War. Little Man, What Now. And Wolf Among Wolves. I enjoyed the former book a little better but both were great.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ally View Post
I read the book that the Ken Burns show is based on. I'm certain I would have died in those dust storms since I have asthma! They sounded horrible. It was a good book.

It was called The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan.
As usual, I can count on all of you for great suggestions This one interested me right now because of the upcoming Burns documentary, but many others put forth on this thread are on my reading list for sure! More suggestions will be much appreciated. I have a feeling this will be a long winter requiring many books to get me through to spring.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:05 PM   #15
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Dust Bowl? -- Definitely John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:14 PM   #16
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On WWII:

Herman Wouk, Winds of War. Then his next novel, War and Remembrance.

The Winds of War: Herman Wouk: 9780316952668: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:30 PM   #17
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I recently finished "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel and have started the second book of the series, "Bring Up the Bodies". They are really, really good! They tell the story of Henry the Eighth from Thomas Cromwell's point of view. It's a whole different take on the story from the (also really, really good) TV series "The Tudors".
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:42 PM   #18
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Dust Bowl? -- Definitely John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath
I saw the movie again just the other night. Four out of four stars for sure. Never have gotten around to reading the book though. A great movie but I'm sure there's much more in the book. Isnít that usually the case?
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
On WWII:

Herman Wouk, Winds of War. Then his next novel, War and Remembrance.

The Winds of War: Herman Wouk: 9780316952668: Amazon.com: Books
A big +1 on these. And add The Caine Mutiny, another suberb WW2 novel by Wouk.

To look at one from The Great War, and one that is quite a bit less gung-ho, try Erik Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front.

In a sense, most serious novels are historical novels. One of my favorite among American authors is J.P. Marquand, as in The Late George Aply.

Perhaps the greatest of all historical novels is War and Peace.

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Old 11-10-2012, 08:19 AM   #20
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By a wide margin, the best historical novels I have read are the Aubrey / Maturin books by the late Partick O'Brian. There are a dozen or so books all essentially telling a single story, all equally well written, set during the Napoleonic wars. Aside from excellent characters and stories, O'Brian had an exceptionally accurate and refined understanding of the period and people he wrote about.
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