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Old 12-20-2015, 01:00 AM   #1
FatGuy
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Serious Help: History Ebooks?

I LOVE reading about American History and Japanese History, but I'm noticing a VERY disturbing trend in my reading and that is that I'm reading Wikipedia more and more.

I want to stop reading Wikipedia since Wikipedia can be edited by anyone and isn't proof-checked by a real professional publisher.

I want American and Japanese History ebooks that I can be certain has been verified by a professional publisher so I can read without worrying.

I'd be grateful for any help!

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Old 12-20-2015, 03:11 AM   #2
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I usually scan through the Pulitzer shortlist for the History prize. Here you can check out the shortlist nominees for a decade or so back. http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat/History Very likely they've been ebookerized... Hope that helps some.
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Old 12-20-2015, 03:55 AM   #3
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Thanks!

Is every book on that list the best history book written for that particular year?
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:31 AM   #4
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Best is fairly subjective. As far as history books, what exactly are you looking for? Are you looking for a general history book, or a book about a specific period or subject?

Some of the authors that I can recommend are
David McCullough (various books in different periods, his biographies on Adams and Truman, plus 1776. I have like all his books)
Joseph J Ellis (a number of books on the Revolutionary War period, Founding Brothers was his best)
Edmund Morris (his biographies of Theodore Roosevelt)
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals)
Shelby Foote (American Civil War)

If you are looking for a general American History book, then ignoring the standard text books, I will give a recommendation that might be a bit controversial, depending on your political leanings. America: The Last Best Hope (3 vol.) by William Bennett. Bennett is a conservative and former Sec of Education. That causes some to reject the series out of hand, but the series is a very good traditional overview of American History.
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:54 AM   #5
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I want American and Japanese History ebooks that I can be certain has been verified by a professional publisher so I can read without worrying.
I'm afraid you're out of luck, then. Publishers don't verify the information in the books they publish. If you're lucky, the writer has an editor and a copy editor who know something about the subject and catch egregious errors, but that's not all that likely.

However, at least the traditional publishers aren't publishing books by anyone at all, so there's that assurance. The writer can be assumed to have some competence in his or her field, but even that's not definite. Flimflams and outright hoaxes have been published by the majors. Think of The Education of Little Tree just as one example off the top of my head.

So what you can and should do is check the credentials of an author. But even that's not a certainty; Doris Kearns Goodwin, recommended upthread, is both a Harvard PhD and a plagiarist.
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Old 12-20-2015, 02:02 PM   #6
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Quite a few major historians have been accused of plagiarism. Sometimes it's a technicality (i.e. failed to properly footnote or include quote marks properly) sometimes it isn't. The accusations against Goodwin are in the properly quote mark variety.

Pretty much every historian quote from other people's material. Observing the technicalities is a big deal in the academic area. I'm a bit more interested in if the material is accurate and how well it's written, rather than does it scrupulously follow some technical guidelines. As long as the source material is knowledged (which Goodwin did), then I'm not bothered by it.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:23 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for the informative replies!

Unfortunately, I still seem to really love using Wikipedia and I'm getting most of my knowledge from Wikipedia. I was just wondering if there's an alternative encyclopedia that has been verified by someone?

I'm using my iPad Mini to do my reading so an app in the iOS store would work really great!
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:25 PM   #8
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Encyclopedia Britannica.
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Old 05-04-2016, 11:09 PM   #9
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Encyclopedia Britannica.
Thanks! I did some searching and it's actually available on the iOS store.

Anyone else thinks it's weird how it's free? I thought people used Wikipedia over other encyclopedias because it was free. This is the link I'm looking at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ency...447919187?mt=8
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Old 05-04-2016, 11:34 PM   #10
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Anyone else thinks it's weird how it's free?
It's free, but has in app purchases of $1.99 and $14.99 for "content". Not sure what that means, but it looks like only some of the info is actually free.
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Old Yesterday, 05:39 AM   #11
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I think that a lot of people use Wiki as an initial starting point, but in general, you want to follow up on specific topics and not take what you read in Wiki as the gospel. There are certain subject where it can be rather one sided in what it says.
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Old Yesterday, 10:17 AM   #12
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It's free, but has in app purchases of $1.99 and $14.99 for "content". Not sure what that means, but it looks like only some of the info is actually free.
You're right... I just read all of the information about the Britannica Encyclopedia app and it's not free, but I don't mind paying for it if it's good stuff.

Quote:
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I think that a lot of people use Wiki as an initial starting point, but in general, you want to follow up on specific topics and not take what you read in Wiki as the gospel. There are certain subject where it can be rather one sided in what it says.
I'm trying to avoid Wikipedia as much as I can now, but I'm noticing how dependent I am on Wikipedia for my information... I NEED a replacement!
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Old Yesterday, 11:12 AM   #13
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For books on Japanese history, do a search for the following authors:

Marius Jansen
Donald Keen
Conrad Totman
John Whitney Hall
Stephen Turnbull

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Old Yesterday, 06:08 PM   #14
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It has been years since I read his work, but I remember enjoying Bruce Catton's books on the American Civil War. Keep in mind that they were written some decades ago and so they don't reflect the very latest research.

Wikipedia is convenient and it has coverage on a lot of popular culture that doesn't end up in traditional reference works. Wikipedia should however be taken with a grain of salt, especially when you look up controversial subjects or people who have recently been in the headlines.

No encyclopedia, especially Wikipedia, should be used as the basis for serious research. Encyclopedias are best used to give you an overview and to point you towards more in-depth resources.

Last edited by LovesMacs; Yesterday at 06:10 PM. Reason: Forgot that Catton's books are old
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Old Today, 09:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by FatGuy View Post
Thanks! I did some searching and it's actually available on the iOS store.

Anyone else thinks it's weird how it's free? I thought people used Wikipedia over other encyclopedias because it was free. This is the link I'm looking at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ency...447919187?mt=8
I remember reading this some years ago, and this topic reminded me

http://www.cnet.com/news/study-wikip...as-britannica/

Personally, I have seen some horrific editing in Wikipedia, obvious lies and such, but in this day and age, I don't know of too many people who still use the old Encycopedia Britannica anymore.
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