I have become obsessed with studying history. I’ve got a stack of thick tomes about the minutiae of events long-past, and I relish every opportunity to curl up with them.
Before the second year of university, I had a lot of vague, unspecific knowledge about world history, but – if I’m frank – I knew basically nothing about anything. And I didn’t care, either. It was only during my history courses at Ryerson with the brilliant Arne Kislenko that I developed a way of seeing history and contextualising it. Seeing the arc of history in a way that made sense to me. I’m at the beginning of a long road, now, and I love it.
Though I’m 100% committed to screenwriting, I’ve even flirted with the idea of doing a BA in History. I decided that I don’t have the time or the money to justify it, so I’m doing what I see as the next best thing: studying it independently.
Below is a bit of a cross-section of what I’m reading now, to give a sense of my studies. Note that I did my best to give a ‘central point’ location each revolves around, though it’s likely each touches on history in a variety of other places.
The Civil War, vols 1-3 by Shelby Foote.
Arctic Revolution: Social Change in the Northwest Territories by Hamilton John David.
Northern Canada, 1935-1994.
Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday.
Hirohito: Emperor of Japan by Leonard Mosley.
Che: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson
South America, 1927-1967.
The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes
Sources of Japanese Tradition Vol 2 pt 2, compiled by Wm. Theodore de Bary, Carol Cluck, & Arthur E. Tiedemann.
Peace and War: Armed Conflicts and International Order by Kalevi J. Holsti.
World History, 1648-1989.
The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America by Bernard Bailyn
North America, 1600-1675.
The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers by Misha Glenny
The Balkan States, 1804-1999.
Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 by Christopher M. Andrew
United Kingdom, 1908-2008.
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner
United States, 1946-2007.
Lots of thick, fascinating tomes on there! And once I’ve read through these, I’m sure I’ll have another To Read list just as long. Currently focusing on The Fatal Shore, plus Che/Mao/Hirohito/Japanese Tradition as I don’t want to have to bring them back from my parents’ house after I’m done my vacation. History buffs, I’d love your recommendations!
In the meantime, plenty to read…