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Simon Schama


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Sir Simon Michael Schama CBE FBA FRSL is an English historian specialising in art history, Dutch history, Jewish history and French history. He is a University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University, New York. He first came to public attention with his history of the French Revolution titled Citizens, published in 1989.
8 books on the list
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The Paranoid Style in American Politics
Richard Hofstadter - Jun 10, 2008 (first published in 1964)
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This timely reissue of Richard Hofstadter's classic work on the fringe groups that influence American electoral politics offers an invaluable perspective on contemporary domestic affairs.In The Paranoid Style in American Politics, acclaimed historian Richard Hofstadter examines the competing forces in American political discourse and how fringe gro...
Simon Schama
Sep 16, 2020
@davidfrum time to reread - or update Hofstadter's great book The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Life     source
The Sea Around Us
Rachel L. Carson - Nov 12, 2003 (first published in 1951)
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Published in 1951, The Sea Around Us is one of the most remarkably successful books ever written about the natural world. Rachel Carson's rare ability to combine scientific insight with moving, poetic prose catapulted her book to first place on The New York Times best-seller list, where it enjoyed wide attention for thirty-one consecutive weeks. It...
Simon Schama
Aug 23, 2020
@smileyplankton I'd also recommend her first huge best seller The Sea Around Us. People mostly think of her just as the author of the Silent Spring but the marine books are extraordinary works of literature in their own right.     source
The Armada
Garrett Mattingly - Aug 01, 2005 (first published in 1959)
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Chronicling one of the most spectacular events of the sixteenth century, The Armada is the definitive story of the English fleet’s infamous defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The esteemed and critically acclaimed historian Garrett Mattingly explores all dimensions of the naval campaign, which captured the attention of the European world and play...
Simon Schama
Jun 03, 2020
@sixteenthCgirl his Armada book changed my life I think ( read at school) - but according to those who knew him at Columbia he could be ... difficult     source
The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci
Jonathan D. Spence - Sep 03, 1985 (first published in 1984)
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In 1577, the Jesuit Priest Matteo Ricci set out from Italy to bring Christian faith and Western thought to Ming dynasty China. To capture the complex emotional and religious drama of Ricci's extraordinary life, Jonathan Spence relates his subject's experiences with several images that Ricci himself created--four images derived from the events in th...
Simon Schama
May 22, 2020
@jhnmcky @davidrieff yes but the GREAT book on this is Jonathan Spence's The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci     source
American Scripture
Making the Declaration of Independence
Pauline Maier - May 26, 1998 (first published in 1997)
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Pauline Maier shows us the Declaration as both the defining statement of our national identity and the moral standard by which we live as a nation. It is truly "American Scripture," and Maier tells us how it came to be -- from the Declaration's birth in the hard and tortuous struggle by which Americans arrived at Independence to the ways in which, ...
Simon Schama
Jul 04, 2018
Best book ever written on Declaration of Independence is the late ( and deeply missed) Pauline Maier’s 1997 wonderful, readable work American Scripture     source
Exit West
A Novel
Mohsin Hamid - Feb 27, 2018 (first published in 2017)
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In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, t...
Simon Schama
Feb 26, 2018
Finished reading @mohsin_hamid on flight across Atlantic. Exit West is a miraculously perfect book - profound and deeply moving; best thing written on refugee uprootings and journeyings fiction or non fiction. Just feel deeply grateful he wrote this     source
Also recommended by
Barack ObamaEd Yong
Paul Beatty - Mar 01, 2016 (first published in 2015)
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A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial...
Simon Schama
Jun 17, 2016
‘The Sellout’, by Paul Beatty - via @FT My review of a brilliant book full of dark lsughter     source
Also recommended by
Jerrod Carmichael
Empire and Information
Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870 (Cambridge Studies in Indian History and Society)
C. A. Bayly - Apr 12, 1997
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In a penetrating account of the evolution of British intelligence gathering in India, C. A. Bayly shows how networks of Indian spies, runners and political secretaries were recruited by the British to secure information about their subjects. He also examines the social and intellectual origins of these informants, and considers how the colonial aut...
Simon Schama
Apr 26, 2015
Bayly changed Indian history; his insights acutely original. My favourite of his books is Empire and Information:     source