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By Heisenberg
#15173725
So my ancient history mood passed before I could be bothered with Alexander or Carthage. Lol.

Instead, I went for God's Shadow by Alan Mikhail: a biography of the wonderfully named Ottoman sultan Selim the Grim, which makes the case that the European settlement of the Americas can be understood as a crusade against Islam and the Ottomans. Ottoman history is something I basically know nothing about, so it was an excellent introduction.

Now, I'm taking a crack at The Silmarillion for the first time.
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By Potemkin
#15173730
Heisenberg wrote:Instead, I went for God's Shadow by Alan Mikhail: a biography of the wonderfully named Ottoman sultan Selim the Grim, which makes the case that the European settlement of the Americas can be understood as a crusade against Islam and the Ottomans. Ottoman history is something I basically know nothing about, so it was an excellent introduction.

The European discovery of the Americas, like almost everything else in the late medieval period, was motivated by a desire to escape the millennia-long Muslim encirclement of Europe.

Now, I'm taking a crack at The Silmarillion for the first time.

Good luck. You'll need it. Lol. ;)

You might have better luck with Unfinished Tales. Many of the same stories, but in a much more readable format. There's a reason Tolkien didn't publish The Silmarillion in his own lifetime. I think he regarded it more as a set of crib notes to keep himself straight while writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
By Rugoz
#15173733
Potemkin wrote:Instead, I went for God's Shadow by Alan Mikhail: a biography of the wonderfully named Ottoman sultan Selim the Grim, which makes the case that the European settlement of the Americas can be understood as a crusade against Islam and the Ottomans. Ottoman history is something I basically know nothing about, so it was an excellent introduction.


It was an attempt to remove the middle man in the trade with India/China. It was motivated by profit and not religion, AFAIK.
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By Potemkin
#15173734
Rugoz wrote:It was an attempt to remove the middle man in the trade with India/China. It was motivated by profit and not religion, AFAIK.

I agree. Calling it a "crusade" is incorrect, imho. The desire to open up trade routes to the Far East which would bypass the Ottoman Empire was the main motivator. They never expected what they actually got....
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By Heisenberg
#15173738
Rugoz wrote:It was an attempt to remove the middle man in the trade with India/China. It was motivated by profit and not religion, AFAIK.


Potemkin wrote:I agree. Calling it a "crusade" is incorrect, imho.

True, but there was also a huge religious motivation. Columbus wrote extensively about his plans to link up with the "Grand Khan of Asia" - a fictional Christian monarch who would help the Spanish encircle and destroy Islam - this was one of the explicit aims of his first voyage, and how he got Isabella and Ferdinand to sponsor him.

The crusading sentiment is also evidenced by how the Spanish settlers interacted with Native Americans - Cortes, for example, described Montezuma as a "sultan", and referred to "mosques" and "Moorish women" in Mexico.

It's also important to remember that all of this was happening immediately after the Reconquista, and while Innocent VIII and Alexander VI were regularly calling for another crusade in the Holy Land.

I agree it's overly simplified to say the settlement of the Americas was only, or even primarily, motivated by religion, but it was certainly a bigger factor than the traditional narrative lets on. (It's also worth mentioning Mikhail is writing primarily for an American audience, who will have been raised with the babyish Columbus myth).

Potemkin wrote:Good luck. You'll need it. Lol.

Ha, I started last night with the first couple of chapters, which are basically just the creation myth. I've already forgotten 90% of the names. :lol:

I do love Tolkien though. Everyone I know who has read the Silmarillion says there's a moment where it "clicks" and you start to appreciate it, even if it is a slog at first.
Last edited by Heisenberg on 23 May 2021 16:20, edited 1 time in total.
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By MistyTiger
#15173796
I've been reading a fantasy fiction series taking place in a faerie land.

Starting reading book 3, The Queen of Nothing.

It's interesting. I might want to see if I can write some fantasy short stories.
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By Godstud
#15173818
The Silmarillion? Ugh... it's like reading the Bible, but by Tolkien. I found that I couldn't finish the book.

I just started the Foundation trilogy, by Isaac Asimov.

I finished Really? by Jeremy Clarkson. Always funny.
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By Drlee
#15173841
Neil Degrasse Tyson. "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry"

Fun, surprisingly easy read.
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By blackjack21
#15173851
My recent reads include:

The Storm Before the Calm - George Friedman
Disunited Nations - Peter Zeihan
Revenge of Geography - Robert D Kaplan
Prisoners of Geography - Tim Marshall
A Crack in Creation - Jennifer A Doudna, Samuel H Sternberg
The Devil's Chessboard - David Talbot
Algorithms to Live By - Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths
Sea Power - Admiral James Stavridis USN (retired)
The Future is Faster Than You Think - Peter H Diamandis, Steven Kotler
The Madness of Crowds - Douglas Murray
Operation Dark Heart - Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer (retired)

I'm still working on:

Return of the God Hypothesis - Stephen C Meyer
Intelligent Automation - Pascal Bornet, Ian Barkin, Jochin Wirtz
The Rise and Fall of American Growth - Robert J Gordon
American Caesar - William Manchester
Inside the Company - Philip Agee

My favorite of these is A Crack in Creation - Jennifer A Doudna, Samuel H Sternberg. It talks about the discovery of CRISPR-cas9 as a tool for gene editing, discovered by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier.
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By Heisenberg
#15173896
Godstud wrote:The Silmarillion? Ugh... it's like reading the Bible, but by Tolkien.

That's kinda the point, though, to be fair. :excited:

I think you have to get into the right mindset for it, which is why I've waited more than a year since buying it to actually give it a read. I'm finally ready for Aule and Yavanna and Melkor and Manwe and Aule and... eugh. :knife: :D
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By Godstud
#15176467
@Rugoz Terribly written or are the topic and ideas poorly conceived?

I am finishing "Really?" by Jeremy Clarkson. A compilation of articles on cars he has done. Very amusing and light.

I am also about half way thru Ender's Shadow -Orson Scott Card, and The Foundation trilogy - Isaac Asimov.

I sort of usually have more than one book going at a time. :D
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By MistyTiger
#15176471
I used to read more than one book at a time. But work and school keep me busy.

I am rereading the fantasy fiction series. I'm not sure what to read next.
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By Godstud
#15176490
@MistyTiger What fantasy/fiction series are you re-reading? Twilight? :excited:
By Rugoz
#15176516
Godstud wrote:Terribly written or are the topic and ideas poorly conceived?


They start by "refuting" other theories, such a geography or culture, but it's done is such an amateurish and arrogant way that I have little trust in the rest of the book. Then they have some incredibly simplistic views of historical events, which makes me think the authors are shitty historians (they're economists). On top of that, it's very repetitive.
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By MistyTiger
#15176587
Godstud wrote:@MistyTiger What fantasy/fiction series are you re-reading? Twilight? :excited:


It's the Folk of the Air series by Holly Black. She wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles. I have not read that series yet.
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