After I thought about my Time Travel game, I ended up thinking that there are certain topics of history I just do not know a whole lot about. And even more so, I found I wanted to find more about it and that longing caused me to purchase a few books on those topics. Outside the newest Erik Larson book, all of them are heavy, academic reads but since there is no test later, I find I enjoy reading them more.
I decided I would share blurbs on a few topics I wish I knew more about.
|KEEP HIM ON THE 10!|
At the time, the two camps hated each other. They got downright petty too, publishing articles defaming one another. Jefferson absolutely detested Hamilton and the feelings were mutual. And Jeffersonian scholars often picked up on that strong dislike and placed it in their own writings about him. I never felt I got a balanced view about Hamilton as I undertook my project. Furthermore, I even felt my history books growing up kind of looked at Hamilton in a comical way -- "He wanted a KING" Taken out of context. "HE DIED IN A DUEL WHAT A LOSER!" ... ok? Like my High School history book gave Hamilton credit for the US Treasury and such but there was always this underlying snark about it. Of course, history is written by the victors and there was only one Federalist in power -- John Adams. Afterwards, the Democratic Republicans dominated the White House for a few decades.
In the last few years, Hamilton has been revisited by scholars. Heck, there is even a Hip-Hop Musical on Broadway about him (seriously, I want tickets. Like now). And there is a lot to like about Hamilton. He was a bastard who came from nothing and rose through the ranks using his intellect and charming the pants off George Washington with his military tactics prowess. He also was against slavery and wanted to abolish the whole practice. Also, he advocated for the rights of Jewish people in a time that they they were a small minority but also disliked.
Hamilton was far from perfect but I really want to give him a fair shake and learn more about him outside the point of view from scholars who have a hard-on for Jefferson.
|Yosuke Matsuoka -- what were you?|
But when people talk about Japan, most people struggle to remember the leader there. Most people will think of Hirohito, the Emperor. Or the Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. But mostly, people talk about Japan as one entity as if the entire population of that country were somehow like the Crystal Gems in Steven Universe and joined into one body. The government of Japan committed many atrocities that like the Holocaust should be studied and remembered and made sure they do not happen again.
I consider myself an anime fan and am interested in Japanese history and culture. But sadly, I am more familiar with the Meiji Restoration and some Feudal Era History and surprisingly, I know a lot about the Ruso-Japanese War. WWII, I just only know the bare minimum. Japan committed atrocities in China. We got angry at them and cut off their oil supply. They bombed Pearl Harbor. We join into the war and fight in the Pacific then we bombed them back with horrific bombs. That's it. But I really don't know much how Japan got to that point. I don't understand the internal dynamics of the government. Like I said, Japan is always treated as one entity -- which yes, I assume a lot of that is due to racism.
One of my book purchases was a book about exactly this topic. I'm on page 125 or so of an 800 page book and my mind is already blown. Just how decentralized and disorganized the Japanese government was leading up to WWII is mind-boggling. Also the personality clashes. That is why I posted a picture of former foreign minister Yosuke Mastuoka up there. He clashed with so many people and the decisions he made as foreign minister was what lined Japan up for war in many ways. Then he ... was uninvited to the cabinet because he was disliked so much.
It doesn't excuse what happened in the rest of Asia. The Japanese government was at fault. But it does explain how things could have gotten out of control so fast, especially in Manchuria. Essentially, the central government had the least power. They couldn't do anything without the permission of the Army in many cases. The emperor was more of a formality. This book also discusses the different type of personalities involved too which also brings a clearer picture to what exactly was going on.
Also, the Eastern Front. The bloody eastern front in which Germany fought against Russia. The thing that blows my mind is Russia lost the most soldiers AND civilians out of any country. This video blew my mind because I tend to respond better to seeing visual representation than seeing numbers. I took a Russian Culture class in college and I remember the teacher, who was Russian, said the Russian Army didn't have enough weaponry during WWII, so they would send those to the front line with weapons and when they were shot, the people in the next line would step up and pick up the weapon and continue.
Then I read an anecdote recently about the Battle of Stalingrad (actually it may have been Leningrad) and how as the siege went on, radio stations were slowly blown out so the only stations people could get was the one that tracked airstrikes. It was a slow clicking sound that would speed up. It kind of blew my mind and made me realize how much I didn't understand about the Eastern Front. Americans like to downplay Russia's sacrifice in the war because... Cold War, you know. But all I can think is about living in the Eastern Front and you had the choice of surrendering to Hitler's forces or Stalin's forces. That is like being stuck between Scylla and Charybdis.
|We all know Stalin was Scylla|