Red Mutiny: Eleven Fateful Days
on the Battleship Potemkin,
2007. The mutiny of the Russian battleship Potemkin in 1905 was part of the revolutionary wave that swept Russia that year. This exciting and fast paced book provides valuable lessons from history of how the spontaneous revolution erupts, shows the back and forth of its struggle to achieve its immediate aims, and explores the indispensible role that conscious revolutionaries play in developing the class perspective necessary to move the struggle forward.
Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History,
2005. Christian begins with the origins of the universe and travels all the way through the evolution of planetary and human life, the development of civilization, and into our possible future. No one can read this book without getting a sense of the vast sweep of history, the dialectical thread of qualitative and quantitative change, of interconnection, and constant motion.
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief,
2008 In this study of Abraham Lincoln as a military leader, McPherson shows that leaders are not free to do whatever they want, but are constrained by a myriad of factors. Effective leadership lies in recognizing this fact, and thinking through the steps that will lead to the desired goal. Abraham Lincoln was hemmed in politically by broad support for slavery, battles within his own cabinet, and resistance from his generals to formulating a coherent military strategy. Yet no matter the attacks, the ridicule, or the resistance, Lincoln step by step doggedly pursued the goal of preserving the Union and holding back the flood of reaction.
The Soong Dynasty,
1985. Seagrave presents a fascinating history of a remarkable family's coldblooded rise to wealth and power in early 20th century China. Of the six children of Charlie Soong, one daughter became the powerful wife of Chiang Kai-shek, another married the principal banker of Nationalist China, and Soong's son T.V. Soong became the economic wizard of China's rise to power. Standing alone, one daughter married Sun Yat Sen and later supported the Chinese Communists. It describes the complex struggle for power within the Chinese nationalist movement, and reveals how the Soongs with the support of Henry Luce and his Time/Life media empire dominated America's policies in Asia for decades.
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