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Civil War Battles Top Ten Booklist

A DailyHistory.org top ten booklist focusing on best book on the battles of the American Civil War. The books on this list explore the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, and many others. The list includes the works of several of the most prominent historians on this topic including James McPherson, Gordon Rhea, Stephen Sears and Craig Symonds. Take a look at our list.Read more...

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Privateering during the War of 1812: Interview with Faye M. Kert

During the War 1812, US and Canadian privateers fought most of the naval battles between the United States and Great Britain. These privateers were comprised of captains who were motivated by the promise of profit to fight for their countries. There was a strong legal framework in both the United States and Great Britain that normalized piracy. Canadian and American ship owners and investors took advantage of it and funded privateering outfits during the war. Needless to say, privateers were incredibly risky investments.Read more...

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Nature's Path: Interview with Susan E. Cayleff

At the very end of the 19th Century, a new system called naturopathy was created by Benedict and Louisa Stroebel Lust. Unlike many of the 19th Century medical systems created, naturopathy has persevered to this day. Naturopathic healing was founded and based on number of influences including botanics, hydrotherapy, eclecticism, temperance and vegetarianism. Read more...

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Why did the Battle of the Somme largely fail to achieve its objectives?

The Battle of the Somme or the Somme Offensive was a series of battles that occurred during the Summer and Autumn of 1916. It involved British and French forces launching a massive assault on the German lines in an effort to break the stalemate on the Western Front. The Battle was primarily a battle between the Germans and the British. The offensive achieved very little and both sides suffered heavy casualties. The British only advanced a few miles and the German lines held. The stalemate was not broken by the offensive. Read more...

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Origins of World War One - Top Ten Booklist

The First World War was an incredibly destructive and wide ranging catastrophe. Not only did it dramatically change the map of Europe and the world and it led to further instability. The First World War was one of the most important wars in human history. There has long been a debate about the exact cause of the First World War. The assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand triggered the war but its ultimate causes were far more complex. Read more...

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Fate of the Revolution: Interview with Lorri Glover

Starting in 1787, states began to ratify the newly drafted federal Constitution which would determine the fate of the new American Republic. In order for the Constitution to go in effect, nine of the states needed to agree to the document. While five states quickly ratified the Constitution between December 1787 and January 1788, the country's eyes stayed on Virginia. Virginia was the most populated and largest state and it was critical for the state to ratify the Constitution to legitimize the process. Read more...

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Why was Epicurus and his philosophy so important?

Epicurus is often associated as one of the Greek philosophers more interested in pleasure or its pursuit than other ideals. While at times this led to a negative view of his philosophy, the reality is his thinking was very advanced and developed, leading to his ideas becoming highly influential in modern thought in many regions of the world today. He was one of the first Greek philosophers to develop a strong tradition that avoid superstition as a core ideal.Read more...

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American Revolution Top Ten Booklist

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress. This act was only the first step towards the creation of the United States. The United States then fought a seven year war to cement its independence from England. The successful fight for independence has had a remarkable impact on world history over the past 200 years. The United States gradually transformed itself from a former colony into a superpower. The impact of this revolution cannot be ignored. Read more...

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What was Plato's academy and why did it influence Western thought?

The Academy, founded by the philosopher Plato in the early 4th century BCE, was perhaps one of the earliest institutions of higher learning. While it was not like a university where people would enroll and obtain advanced degrees, it functioned as one of the first places for dedicated research into scientific and philosophical questions, at least in Europe, took place by gathered scholars. Its main function was to teach Plato's philosophical understanding, but it also challenged its scholars to develop a new understanding of our universe. Read more...

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The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798: Interview with Terri Halperin

The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 were four laws that were passed by the predominantly Federalist Congress and signed by John Adams to strengthen the national security of the United States. These acts not only restricted the ability of an immigrant to become a citizen, but made it easier to deport non-citizens who were either deemed dangerous or were citizens of hostile countries. Perhaps the most contentious aspect of the new laws criminalized the printing or speaking allegedly false statements about the federal government. Not surprisingly, these laws were incredibly controversial and strongly opposed by Thomas Jefferson's opposition Democratic-Republican party.Read more...

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Why did the Gallipoli Landings fail in WWI?

The Gallipoli campaign was an amphibious landing in the Dardanelles Strait in modern Turkey, that sought to knock the Ottoman Empire out of WW I. The landings were exceptionally daring for the time and it ultimately failed to achieve its objectives. It cost tens of thousands of lives and it can be regarded as a total failure for the allies and a Turkish victory.Read more...

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Did Theodore Roosevelt really save Football?

In 1905, American football faced an crisis. Far to many young men were being killed while playing football and no one was taking any serious actions to reduce the risks. The headline at the top of the right hand column in The Chicago Sunday Tribune on November 26, 1905 screamed, "Football Year's Death Harvest - Record Shows That Nineteen Players Have Been Killed; One Hundred Thirty-seven Hurt - Two Are Slain Saturday."Read more...

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Was the Destruction Perpetrated by Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman Necessary to End the Civil War?

January 1, 1863 marked a pivotal moment in the American Civil War. On this date the Emancipation Proclamation, the preliminary of which was issued by President Lincoln on September 22, 1862, took full and permanent effect, thus changing the Union’s ultimate war goal. The Civil War was no longer being fought to preserve the antebellum Union but rather, in the words of Lincoln, was to be a war of “subjugation…the [old] South” was to be destroyed in favor of “new propositions and ideas.”Read more...

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Why did Germany lose the Battle of Stalingrad?

Hitler saw the war in terms of his personal rivalry with Stalin and he decided to attack the city, because of its symbolic value. However, the original aim of the offensive in Southern Russian was to secure the oil fields in the Caucasus. The oil was essential for the German war machine. Hitler knew this – instead of opting for concentrating all his forces on the conquest of the oil fields, he made perhaps a fateful mistake.Read more...

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What was the dominant medical sect in the United States during the 19th Century?

Nineteenth-century medicine was characterized by constant competition among three major medical sects: Regulars, Eclectics, and Homeopaths.[1] Each of these medical sects not only meaningfully disagreed on how to treat illnesses and diseases, but sought to portray their type of practice as the most effective and scientific. Arguably none of the three sects was superior to the others, but their adherents concluded that their sectarian beliefs were better than their competitors.Read more...

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Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers and Christianity: Interview with Sam Haselby

Recently on Twitter, a debate broke out between Annette Gordon-Reed, Sam Haselby, and John Fea on the nature of Thomas Jefferson's religious beliefs. Instead of recreating the debate, it made more sense to contact one of the participants, Sam Haselby, whose recent book The Origins of American Religious Nationalism (published by Oxford University Press) examines how a conflict with Protestantism, in the decades following US independence transformed American national identity.Read more...

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Engineering Victory during the Civil War: Interview with Thomas F. Army, Jr.

Logistics win wars. Logistics is the coordination of complex operations such as moving, housing and supplying troops and their equipment. War is the ultimate test of any logistician. During the Civil War, the Union troops fought almost the entire war in the South. Thomas F. Army, Jr. argues in his new book Engineering Victory: How Technology Won the Civil War published by Johns Hopkins University Press that the Union's engineering prowess during Civil War gave it an distinct advantage over the Confederacy.Read more...

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Shantytown, USA: Interview with Lisa Goff

The Harvard University Press recently published Lisa Goff's new book Shantytown, USA: Forgotten Landscapes of the Working Poor. There's a chance that one of your American ancestors lived in an American shantytown. While we may not realize it now, shantytowns were a common feature of 19th century America. Goff's book explores not only how shantytowns became a prominent feature of America's towns and cities, but why middle class Americans eventually turned on them and their residents. Read more...

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The Mysterious Illness of Jim Bowie: How Did He Contribute to His Own Decline?

Directly or indirectly, Jim Bowie’s enigmatic illness resulted from his own actions. A hearty man of six feet in height, Bowie was a walking contradiction; a slave trader who fought for freedom, a generous and congenial man who called out his thunderous temper on a whim, and a commanding leader who was prone to binges of sloppy drunkenness. Read more...

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How did modern boxing emerge?

Boxing is one of the oldest sports known to us. From very early historical records, to its professional development in the last century, and modern prizefights, the sport has become a global phenomenon watched by millions. Although modern boxing has a lot of similarities with its ancient cousin, the mix with television, big money, and big personalities has forever changed the sport. Read more...

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Alexander the Great Top Ten Booklist

Creating a top ten list for books on Alexander the Great is not easy, since few ancient historical figures have been written about as much. Everything from his complex personality and his sexual life to his military and logistical tactics have been analyzed by historians. Alexander, simply put, stands out as unique among ancient historical figures for having so much detailed assessment made on his life and times. Read more...

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Was the Destruction Perpetrated by Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman Necessary to End the Civil War?

January 1, 1863 marked a pivotal moment in the American Civil War. On this date the Emancipation Proclamation, the preliminary of which was issued by President Lincoln on September 22, 1862, took full and permanent effect, thus changing the Union’s ultimate war goal. Once the aim of the war changed for the Union, so too did its leaders. The harsh and unpopular actions that were necessary to prevent the prolonged bloody carnage of continual war were tasked to three men: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and William T. Sherman. Read more...

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What Factors Led to the Creation of the First Cities?

The rise of cities in the ancient Near East during the fourth millennium BC (4000-3000 BC) is a key event in the history of the world, as urban patterns that first arose there became patterns inherited in many societies, including in the West. Cities in the ancient Near East were the first to develop major temples, palaces, large urban dwelling areas, city walls, governments, and religious authorities that become features seen in later cities. Read more...

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Why was France defeated in 1940?

In September 1939, the Nazi War Machine invaded Poland and World War II began. France and its Britain declared against Nazi Germany in 1939. The French army was in theory as strong as the Germanys and it had a vast Empire and a sophisticated arms industry. It had also established a series of fortifications in the east of the country, known as the Maginot Line. The Line was designed to keep German forces out of France. Read more...

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Hodges' Scout: Interview with Len Travers

Johns Hopkins University Press has recently published Len Traver's new book Hodges' Scout: A Lost Patrol of the French and Indian War. Travers' book examines a group of colonial scouts who were ambushed on a patrol in upstate New York by French and Native American soldiers during the French and Indian War. Travers uses this massacre to explore the lives of the colonists who fought, died and even survived this massacre. Read more...

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Gilded Age/Progressive Era History Top Ten Booklist

Creating a Top Ten List for the Gilded Age/Progressive Era is challenging. There are an extraordinary number of outstanding books on this period. These books are a selection of our favorites. Most of these books are focused on trying to define this era as whole, instead of focusing on a single issue. In other words, several of these books are seeking to create a grand narrative of the era to help their readers understand it. Read more...

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The Best Historians and Books According to James McPherson

In 2014, the New York Times published a brief interview with noted Civil War historian James McPherson, The George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University. McPherson is considered to be the dean of Civil War historians. He is best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning book Battle Cry of Freedom which is the best overview of the Civil War. Read more...

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Angels of the Underground: Interview with Theresa Kaminski

The Oxford University Press recently published Theresa Kaminski's Angels of the Underground: The American Women who Resisted the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II. Kaminski's book follows the lives of four American women who were stranded in the Philippines after Japan invaded during World War II. Publishers Weekly described her book as a "fast-paced true story" that documents how these women resisted Japanese occupation. Read more...

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