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A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by Norman Stone

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A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by Norman Stone
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Blog of ReasonHelperUser avatarPosts: 240Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:28 pmLocation: League of Reason

Post A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by Norman Stone

Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:34 am
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by N

While I agree that a short book might not cover the full complexity of WWII, it may be a bit harsh to compare it to a book riddled with errors as the result of lax scholarship. Even if there are some factual inaccuracies it may just be due to writing a short, simplified version of history rather than lax scholarship. Introductory texts often have to be simplified to the point of inaccuracy just so the neophyte is not overwhelmed with complex information. In an ideal world people might be able to pick up a detailed history of the war and follow from start to finish but most subjects seem to be best taught from the simple to the complex.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:00 am
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theyounghistorian77ContributorUser avatarPosts: 726Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:43 amLocation: United Kingdom Gender: Male

Post Re: A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by N

Aught3 wrote:While I agree that a short book might not cover the full complexity of WWII, it may be a bit harsh to compare it to a book riddled with errors as the result of lax scholarship. Even if there are some factual inaccuracies it may just be due to writing a short, simplified version of history rather than lax scholarship. Introductory texts often have to be simplified to the point of inaccuracy just so the neophyte is not overwhelmed with complex information. In an ideal world people might be able to pick up a detailed history of the war and follow from start to finish but most subjects seem to be best taught from the simple to the complex.


I think i hear what you're saying but the thing is i wouldn't even recommend such a book as Stone's or Wilson's as an "introduction" if one wishes to take the subject seriously. My opinion is that the best introductions can be found, as with most other subjects, in the Textbooks that colleges and schools hand out are and few are better than "Years of the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich" in that department. The good thing to know about Textbooks is that one can certainly a decent standard of Rigour in its content in order to be the educative tools that they are and that means they do have to be generally accurate and reflect contemporary research for self evident reasons, even if they do reflect it in a more simplistic manner in order to accommodate the beginner. In addition to the commentary from the author(s), a good textbook would also contain a number of primary sources and set analytical questions to not only test your increasing knowledge as you go through the book but also test your understanding of the historical method itself. There's more to my craft than just remembering a few dates. So whilst the simplicity can be strength in regards to the textbook being an educative tool, that very simplicity, for lack of specificity within it's content can devalue the worth of the textbook as a academic citation. So for the citations i use, i go to the bigger books and deeper studies.

Neither Stone's latest book, or Wilson's, counts as such an in-depth study, or for that matter, a proper introductory textbook.

Conclusion: I also think i'm an academic snob. Sorry.
"Politics is weird, and creepy, and now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality." - Shep Smith
Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:12 pm
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by N

theyounghistorian77 wrote:I think i hear what you're saying but the thing is i wouldn't even recommend such a book as Stone's or Wilson's as an "introduction" if one wishes to take the subject seriously. My opinion is that the best introductions can be found, as with most other subjects, in the Textbooks that colleges and schools hand out are and few are better than "Years of the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich" in that department.
Hmm. while I would agree that a textbook is the *best* way to learn about a new subject I still think that popular level have an important roll to play. Having said that it is entirely possible this particular book could be a bad popular-level book, I have no way to now. I certainly don't think you are an academic snob for rejecting this book as an academic citation, but it may be the case this book was written for other reasons.

Good job on the blog post. We really should have got that Amazon affiliate thing set up when Spork was still around.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:33 am
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bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by N

Still longer than the sections on WWII my high school textbooks had
Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm
theyounghistorian77ContributorUser avatarPosts: 726Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:43 amLocation: United Kingdom Gender: Male

Post Re: A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by N

bluejatheist wrote:Still longer than the sections on WWII my high school textbooks had


Can you give me the Amazon link to the Textbook you used?
"Politics is weird, and creepy, and now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality." - Shep Smith
Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:34 pm
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by N

Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:43 pm
theyounghistorian77ContributorUser avatarPosts: 726Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:43 amLocation: United Kingdom Gender: Male

Post Re: A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by N

The textbook appears to me to be based around the teaching of an overview of the whole of American History and doesn't seem to place an emphasis upon any particular time period. That would explain the brevity of the World War 2 segment.
"Politics is weird, and creepy, and now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality." - Shep Smith
Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:56 pm
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: A Short post on why i am prejudging the latest book by N

The history teacher I had was pretty unorthodox in that he spent extra time on 'negative' aspects of U.S. history. The section on the Vietnam War was one of the longest for us and he made sure to emphasize people like General Westmoreland and the mistakes made by the government in handling an insurgency.
Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:19 pm
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