Bookclub Wednesday, July 21, 2021

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Read **The White Ship: Conquest, Anarchy, and the Wrecking of Henry I’s Dream, by Charles Spencer**. 4/5. Read if interested in medieval history but it isn’t a must read. Pretty good. Covers the Norman conquest until the ascension of Henry II and the Plantagenets. Despite the name the actual White Ship disaster is crossed fairly quickly. The first half of the book is more about Henry I’s path from youngest son of William the Conqueror to becoming the king of England and gaining control of Normandy. There is a brief bit on the White Ship disaster and the immediate aftermath. Then the last bit of the book is about the long term consequences of the disaster and in particular the death of Henry I’s only legitimate male heir and how this led to civil war/Anarchy. The writing was good and it was well researched. But due to the topic (I prefer more recent history) the book didn’t really grab me On a historical fiction front I also read the **The Last Kingdom, by Bernard Cornwell** which was pretty good. Even though I only watched the first 2 seasons I think I preferred the TV version. Starting **The Russian Civil War, by Evan Mawdsley**.


1493: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, is a phenomenal environmental history book that details both the world of the Americas pre-contact, as well as the early Colombian exchange itself.


I don’t know anything about China. Any good books/podcast/anything to start learning about its history? Even just for getting a general idea.


Does anyone know any books based on the sea such as the battle of Trafalgar, Pirates, British exploration.


I’d like to learn more on the history leading up to the conflict in Afghanistan. I generally prefer a journalistic narrative than an academic one, but either would do.