I read numerous books for research purposes, and I do have a project ongoing that I need to make myself more familiar with. Well, either that or I just love reading books about the ancient history of the peoples of the Mediterranean Sea.
Generally speaking some of the books I read succeed in terms of facts and scholarly, academic information, but do not entertain. Some of them are highly entertaining, but have only a little academic worth. The best make you love learning the event, culture, people while entertainingly telling the story in question.
Donald Kagan, Peter S. Wells, Adrian Goldsworthy, Victor Davis Hanson are so good at what they do. The prose is constructed in ways that the reader is engaged, and the information is transferred well.
I have read a number of reviews of these works, and the reviewers come in two categories, high mind snooty academician, and someone who was confused and thinks these books are novels. And then there are the people who don't like history but want to review it to shit upon it? I get not liking something, I don't share that desire to poop on something because of it, but I absolutely understand that not every area of existence appeals to people. Poetry, which I love doesn't appeal to even most people. Unless you think Lyrics in music is a form of poetry, which I don't.
But Archilochus is amazing.
"Heart, my heart, so battered with misfortune far beyond your strength,
up, and face the men who hate us. Bare your chest to the assault
of the enemy, and fight them off. Stand fast among the beamlike spears.
Give no ground; and if you beat them, do not brag in open show,
nor, if they beat you, run home and lie down on your bed and cry.
Keep some measure in the joy you take in luck, and the degree you
give way to sorrow. All our life is up-and-down like this." Archilochus
I get asked why History? Why not science or philosophy, religious studies or any other discipline. I have no choice in what moves me. But I'd definitely suggest that part of why history appeals to me is the possibility to answer questions that I feel are important. Without aiming at any group or viewpoint, I think most of history is accurate, but the people using history to support their wrong viewpoint should be punished. When the supposed race of Aryans were said to be the original supermen, they'd been created by the group inserting them into history, and that is bad. But when people say Cleopatra was black, when she was so clearly of Macedonian and Greek heritage, when people argue that the native Americans were indigenous to the Americas from the beginning, it makes me want to vomit. Similarly, there are idiots on Youtube who give Top 10 list or something, using jet fighters footage in WWI, or tanks in the Civil War, these people should go snort Ajax, and scrub their brains with Comet. They are utterly stupid. Which isn't to say Black History cannot be proud of many things. Nor, would an essay or documentary about war in the general sense need to have specific pics. I think the idea that controlling the past allows empowerment in the present is somewhat valid, but not authentically so. I have always said if you need to lie about a subject to make it work, it doesn't, actually, work.
"Let who will boast their courage in the field,
I find but little safety from my shield.
Nature's, not honour's, law we must obey:
This made me cast my useless shield away,
And by a prudent flight and cunning save
A life, which valour could not, from the grave.
A better buckler I can soon regain;
But who can get another life again?" Archilochus