If you want to understand why we are the way we are, you have to understand the past, and sometimes the very far away past. Be it Greek or Medieval, what happened then informs what happens now. With that in mind, two books I’ve read in the past few months have excellently schooled me on some of the “why”. Follow the links to the Amazon pages, they write far better reviews than I can and are more thorough than I intend to be.
In the Wake of the Plague
By Norman Cantor
Fantastic book, fascinating in its subject and scope. This book covers the catastrophe of the plague from it’s beginnings to its aftermath, a far reaching aftermath. I loved this book, not just because it told the story of the plague, but because it offered just a cogent, detailed history of what we lost and gained because of the vastness of the death toll. Great reading.
Carnage and Culture
Victor Davis Hanson
Another fantastic book. A part of me wants to make at least the first chapter on the battle of Salamis required reading for every man and woman who enters the military. And the entire book for everyone else. Here is the story of where the ideals of freedom and democracy came from, and why those ideals are so important and vital, to us generally and specifically to us now.
Get these books. Read them, underline the good bits. Then read them again. Then make the people you love read them.