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Topic: 2012 History Challenge Discussion Thread

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Kat (polbio) -
Subject: 2012 History Challenge Discussion Thread
Date Posted: 12/10/2011 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I know it seems there are very few followers or posters of this forum, however I was wondering if anyone would be interested in a Non-Fiction History Challenge for 2012. I would be happy to put the challenge together, if there is enough interest. Maybe it would help bring some more followers. wink



Last Edited on: 12/13/11 10:06 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/10/2011 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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Kat,  Great categories,  I will only have to search out a few books to round out the challenge thanks for doing this.  I  read mostly non fiction for a few years so this will be a reason to get to those book languishing on my shelf.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/10/2011 6:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I'm glad you like the categories. I am afraid I was a little self serving in some of them, lol.

Date Posted: 12/12/2011 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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I have a question about the natural disaster category.  Are disease epidemics considered natural disasters?  I usually see things like floods and earthquakes listed, but a definition I saw said "a disaster not brought about by humans".  I guess I can interpret that either way.

I know it doesn't really matter but thinking these things out are part of the fun of choosing the books!

Diane

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/12/2011 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Yes, I would include epidemics for that category. . I have a book on my TBR about the Flu Epidemic in 1918 that I would consider a natural disaster.

Date Posted: 12/13/2011 10:00 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Okay, then I'll read an epidemic books for that category.  I saw in the Lists thread that we can start reading now--I've never taken advantage of that before but since I'm finished with 2011 challenge books and one of the history books is coming from the library and is available now, I just might start it early.

Is this a separate discussion thread or should we discuss in the lists thread?

Diane

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/13/2011 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I would say, discuss in here, so we dont clutter up the list threads.  I may start different threads for each category if everyone wants to discuss or review their reads.

 

Date Posted: 12/13/2011 10:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Thanks for setting up the challenge! I have already unearthed one book that I have been meaning to read for, let's see . . . at least 2 years! I doubt I will have time for more than six books or so but I am looking forward to reading more nonfiction this year.

 

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/13/2011 11:09 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Your very welcome. I am glad to see so many interested in history books.

Date Posted: 12/17/2011 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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I'm excited about this challenge...thanks for pulling it together!  

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/18/2011 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Your Welcome Vicky. I am glad you joined it!!

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 12/21/2011 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Thanks for the challenge!  One of my personal goals is to read 30 nonfiction books next year, and this will help.  

Date Posted: 12/21/2011 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Well, I recently looked at the post in the lists threads saying we can start reading now, and realized it didn't say we can start reading only one book now, it just says start reading now!  smiley

I always considered it cheating to start early, but I think I feel differently now because I finished all of my 2011 challenges 3 weeks before the end of the year--which means I'll probably do the same next year, so it will still be a challenge that covers one year.  Or, maybe I just am eager to start reading. 

So, I started two books already.

Can I assume "history" means anything that happened in the past, even the recent past?  Because I'm eyeing a book on the Iraq war as one of my choices. 

Diane



Last Edited on: 12/21/11 8:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/22/2011 5:50 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Hi Diane,

Absolutely, recent past is encompassed in History. The one thing you should remember about history though, is that any books written within roughly 50 yrs of an event has a higher chance of biases. With that said, the Iraq War is now a part of our History even if it is currently happening. So it most definitely qualifies fro these challenges.

Enjoy!!

Kat

Date Posted: 12/27/2011 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
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So tempted! My first love is non-fiction, but I just got started on the 2012 historical fiction challenge. Before I decide to jump into another challenge, I'm going to be over here on this fence for a while.

Updated about an hour later: Nevermind. I'm in! So much for sleeping on it.



Last Edited on: 12/27/11 5:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/27/2011 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Am I the only person who has started reading already?  I'm enjoying both books that I started--one is about Doctors Without Borders, the other is about the leper colony at Molokai, Hawaii.  The latter is especially intense reading, I knew nothing about this subject before starting this book.

I think I have chosen 5 of the 6 books that I'll be reading.

Diane

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 12/28/2011 8:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I will probably start today...I am picking up Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard from the library shortly.  I'll probably use it for the "American Political History" category.  I think it's centered around the Assassination of James Garfield, but deals with the entire political and social context.  I know Garfield more as a cat than a president, so it should be an informative read  wink

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/28/2011 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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LOL. The story behind Garfields assasination is interesting. He was shaking Robert Lincoln's hand when he was shot. Alexander Graham Bell was called into to use his new invention, The Metal Detector, to try and find the bullet. Garfield was laying on a mattress with metal springs, so the metal detector kept going off and they couldnt find the bullet. Garfield later died of infection from the wound. He suffered quite a while, if i remember correctly. Let me know how the book is, maybe I will use it for the same category.

 

I started reading World War I by Hew Strachan. I have read a book by the same title by John Keegan, but Stachan's is a bit different, so far. I need to slow my self down, or I will finish it before the 1st, lol.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/28/2011 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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LOL, DW< Glad you decided to join us!!

Date Posted: 12/29/2011 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
Posts: 473
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Your profile pic about sums up my situation!

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/30/2011 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Yeah, for me too DW. lol.

 

Diane, How is the book about the leper colony going? I read a very long article (something like 20 pages) about the leper colony in one of the deep southern states (Alabama, Mississippi, or Loussiana) several years ago. It was very informative about what leperacy actually is and the fact that it is still around today. I didnt know there was a colony in Hawaii.

Date Posted: 12/30/2011 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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How is the book about the leper colony going?

Well, I didn't expect this book to be so depressing.  The only thing I knew about leprosy before starting this book was that it was a disease that carried a great stigma because it was contagious, and that it caused people to lose parts of their extremities.  Oh, and also that it was now curable with antibiotics.

Spoilers ahead for anyone intending to read this book:  (can there be spoilers for a nonfiction book?  I guess so!)

Apparently in the mid-1800s there were numerous cases of leprosy in Hawaii, and the government at the time was trying to increase tourism to the area.  Someone came up with the idea of isolating people with the disease.  Okay, I guess I understand the logic so far.  But here's what happened.  They opened a "hospital" and announced that people with leprosy were required by law to come to this hospital for treatment.  After they were there, and they confirmed that they had leprosy (which was done very unreliably) they told them that they were being sent to a colony, without their families, where they would have to stay as long as they lived.  Then they were forced to go.

They found a very sparsely populated peninsula on a stormy coast--one that was entirely surrounded by cliffs so there was no escape route.  They bought out the few people who lived there, and because it was summer and some of the people had planted crops, they decided that the "patients" would become self-sustaining by farming the land, thereby saving the government money in having to feed them.  They sent the first group of about a dozen people, some of whom were pretty sick, and just dumped them on this land.  And, because of logistical problems (like finding a ship that was willing to transport the "unclean" passengers)  they arrived much later than anticipated, and found that the crops had rotted in the ground. 

Needless to say, the first group didn't survive very long.  And they kept sending people there until the 1940s!  Of course in the meantime, they built villages and conditions steadily improved, but I just couldn't believe the way people were treated and how they had to live.  This is really a heartbreaking book.

The other book I'm reading is about how Doctors Without Borders goes into areas of countries where there are famines, wars, genocide, etc. to take care of the people that have no other hope of care.  So I'm thinking that I chose a couple of books that are sad--and then I took a look at the other titles I chose.  They are all the same!!  Not one of them is about a happy topic.  All fascinating ones, though.

Diane

 

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 12/30/11 11:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/31/2011 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
Posts: 473
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Diane, what's the title of the leper book? I saw, Well, I didn't expect this book to be so depressing," and thought to myself, 'Well, now, there's a book I'd like te read!' I also saw your spoiler alert and didn't want to read any further. So I may have missed if you posted its title.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/31/2011 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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The article I had read years ago, said that Lepracy was a form of diabetes and wasnt really contageous. I never did look to see if that was factual. That does sound like a sad book.

Do you have a thing for sad books, lol.( As DW is jumping for the chance to read the depressing titles, lol). I dont handle depressing books very well (I am too emotional, lol). Although I do read a lot of war books blush

Date Posted: 12/31/2011 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Do you have a thing for sad books

Well, when I noticed that every one of the six books I've chosen for this challenge will be depressing, I spent some time thinking about this subject.  History by definition includes people, so when you're talking about things that happened in the past, they only fall under the category "history" if people are affected.  For example, for the natural disaster category, if you were studying how a glacier affected the earth millions of years ago, it would be categorized as geology or something similar, even if it had a timeline of an event.  The part that makes it a "disaster" is the effect on humans, so, will there be a book that fits the natural disaster category that isn't sad?  I don't think so.  Of course, there are happy events in history, but they are happy because they're usually preceded by sad events.  Which brings us to the idea: ccould we be truly happy if we didn't suffer as well, so we know the contrast?

Which is now going off into philosophy and psychology, which just goes to show that history encompasses those subjects too.

Dw, the title of the leprosy book is The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai by John Tayman.  Polbio, I'm not sure where the connection to diabetes comes in--there IS a form of it that's called the tuberculoid form, maybe that's what you were thinking of?  There are different forms of it, some more serious than others.  Apparently untreated leprosy is contagious to the 20 percent of the population that has the genes that make them susceptible.  Treatment is a cocktail of antibiotics that sometimes has to be taken for weeks or months, but after treatment the person is no longer contagious.  But, it took a really long time to refine the treatment to make it really effective.  And the southern colony you're thinking about was in Louisiana, it's mentioned several times in this book.

Diane 

 

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