project: Broken Eagles

This one is going to be a little different, because it's post-concept and post-site on 50 Books: that is, rather than seeing what I did use that fit, and how having gaps might have held back a project, I'm going to build my research on a list, here. This will create my To Read List.

While on the one hand it's good to see what books I already have in stock that can be used, it's always good to get new stuff with new shocks to the brain.

If you hadn't recognized the date, it's the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848. I've heard people mourn our invasions in the Mideast as "The first time the US has ever gotten into a war where it wasn't good or necessary to do it." Hel-lo? Vietnam? Spanish-American War? And especially this one. I think it will resonate with today.

We're also not going to the Northern war area. I want people in the heart of the battle for Mexico City, some of them starting to go "Why are we here? What is this accomplishing?" (Though, frankly, that could change at any time.)

I can see that for some things I am going to rely on the mountains of Civil War reference for, say, surgery on the battlefield.

Book Codes

^ A preset from other lists. I already have it and it can be applied. I often prefer to switch these out with new research.

* March 2017 is when I'll start reading these. I hope to get enough done to tell me which books to buy and read in summer, and a fall batch right before NNWM. With luck, I'll have some characters and an idea of a plot that will arise from my reading, which is really how histfi works best. I'm not starting with a plot and then shoehorning it into a period. War stories, especially, need integral plots. A war is not a plot. Like a hurricane is not a plot. Wars and storms are what you fit a plot around and into.

One thing I notice is that I have a lot to fill in the basic 30 that provide everyday life.

¦ Suggested Reading at AskHistorians. Check this out in their sidebar. Remarks in quotes below are from them.

Edit in May 2014: Okay, I started reading one, and scanned others, but I got talked into teaching the Keys, and there went my free time. Watching Pancho Villa movies does not count, any more than Teddy Roosevelt movies would. This may be the 2016 NNWM, with research reading starting in June 2016. Edit June 2016: not with my present health. I'll be doing well if I manage to finish off some already drafted stuff. Looks like this moves up yet another year to 2017.

This list is increased by really needing two everyday lives, if not three: everyday life in Mexico, the everyday life in America that gets left behind, and everyday life in the war. Soldiers sit around and talk about life back home, especially when they come from places as different as Vermont villages and Charleston.

 THE ONE BOOK I MIGHT USE CONSTANTLY

Mexico as It Was and as It Is * (1847: Brantz Mayer, 1809-1879: Philadelphia, G. B. Zieber & company) was written by the man who was secretary to the legation of 1842, so he saw the country well before the war. It's looking very good.

1). A general history of the time, not over 200 pages.
Wikipedia^ will do. I will spend a day crawling this and compiling pages in PDF to read. Their little "build your own reference book" app is handy. I also found a Timeline of the War. This was a messy war, with unconnected theatres and poor communications, very unfamiliar to me, so this becomes the core of reference. The entire site of Mexican History is exceedingly useful for orienting myself.

2.) An "everyday life" book of the period.
Everyday Life Through the Ages
^ (1992; Reader's Digest Assoc, London) is not its usual help. The period is just not represented well. This is the problem with books that are too broad. They can only hit selected points, and they didn't select this one. I can only get a glimpse of fashion and technology of the time.

3.) General transportation
Transport Through the Ages.^ I can also use A Book about Travelling, Past and Present ^ (1877, London and Edinburgh, Nimmo) by Thomas Allan Croal, as being much closer in time, which actually has more on Mexico. It does show the men who carry you through the mountain jungles in chairs on their backs.

4.) General costume
Boucher, François 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment^, Harry N. Abrams, NY, with help from Costumers Manifesto^. The section on maja costume in Boucher is especially needful, as this is the classic "Spanish costume" everyone thinks of. But is it Mexican?

5.) Specific transportation
It's horses and wagons and boots. Perhaps I'm going to throw in one for the transport ships. However, I can rely on the Mulemeister, Harvey Riley and his The Mule, A Treatise on the Breeding, Training, and Uses to Which He May Be Put; ^ (New York, Dick & Fitzgerald,1867), which is geared to harness mules as well as pack mules. Just in case, I do need to check on early railroads (were there any in the area?): Nock, O. S., editor; Encyclopedia of Railroads ^ (Galahad Books, NY, 1977). Edit 2016: Nope, Justin Smith (#14) is not mentioning rail transport. Skip Nock.

6.) Etiquette, and I don't mean morals for maidens.
Still looking. Military and Mexican etiquette mostly is what I need. What I found was ... The Handbook of the Man of Fashion by the Author of "Etiquette for Gentlemen." * (1846; Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston); Etiquette for Gentlemen, Or, Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct in Society * (1847); Hints on Etiquette and the Usages of Society with a Glance at Bad Habits; Adapted to American Society * (1844: Boston: Otis, Broaders) by Charles William Day; The Young Man's Guide * (1849: Boston: Published by T.R. Marvin) by William A. Alcott; and A Manual of Politeness, Comprising the Principles of Etiquette, and Rules of Behaviour in Genteel Society, for Persons of Both Sexes * (1842: Philadelphia: Published by J. B. Lippincott & co.). The interesting part here will be seeing how much they all agree.

7.) Spectator entertainments, a general overview.
Still looking. This will not loom largely, and since I have already read Brockett, I think I may use this space for some other information. Ah, yes, sub period rules of war: Military Manners and Customs * (1885) by Farrer discusses historical changes of recent date.

8.) Self-entertainments
Still looking. The big question is dice or cards. What do they play in camp? What are the Mexican games of chance?

9.) Food and dining, including what sort of public dining was available.
Still looking. Some of the books I have below but haven't more than glanced through may give me an idea of what's happening in Mexico. Heller, say.

10.) Recipes for period food.
This isn't Tier One research. It's Tier Three and can be left to after writing the rough. In the meantime, I can leave it to fill in: <<describe dinner>>. I think French cooking will give me any upper class dinners in Mexico I might need. There, first try: The Complete Cook. Plain and practical directions for cooking and housekeeping; with upwards of seven hundred receipts: consisting of directions for the choice of meat and poultry; preparations for cooking, making of broths and soups; boiling, roasting, baking, and frying of meats, fish, &c., seasonings, colourings, cooking vegetables; preparing salads, clarifying; making of pastry, puddings, gruels, gravies, garnishes, &c., and, with general directions for making wines. With additions and alteratons * by J. M. Sanderson, of Philadelphia; With this is bound, as issued: The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-cook, and Baker. * (Philadelphia, 1846). Also I should read The Modern Housewife: or, Ménagère: comprising nearly one thousand receipts, for the economic and judicious preparation of every meal of the day: with those of the nursery and sick room, and minute directions for family management in all its branches: illustrated with engravings * (1851: New York: D. Appleton) by Alexis Soyer. An 1846 homeopathic cookbook tells me that some of the meds being handed out may be homeopathic. Well, that took about 15 minutes. With the Internet Archive, cookbooks are the easiest part to get.

11.) Marriage and family.
Still looking. #28 & #48 may fill me in on some of this.

12.) Specific dress styles, for your decade, including specialty costumes for clerics.
Julius M. (Julius Mendes) Price; Dame Fashion: Paris-London, 1786 - 1912 ^; London: S. Low, Marston; 1913, as Mexican ladies tended to be very oriented to Europe, though they had their own peculiarities. What I need here is a batch of Osprey uniforms books. Oh, my aching wallet ...

13.) Religion for the time and place.
Still looking. I'll need period Mexican Catholicism for starters. So far the closest I can get is John Frederick Schwaller, Church and Clergy in Sixteenth-Century Mexico ^ (1987; U of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque) and that's 300 years early.

14.) A fat history book of the area and century as an introduction.
"While much of the conclusions are outdated, Justin Smith's The War With Mexico ¦ continues to be invaluable for its use of primary source material unavailable elsewhere. It is also available for free online, thanks to its age." Published 1919, NY, MacMillan. Volume 1, Volume 2. Has a good introduction to the previous decade or more of interaction that eventually led to the outbreak. It's relatively easy reading, too. The only difficulty is that there is so much to cover, but it's good writing that keeps you in the landscape, which many war histories fail to. I can check the relevant chapter and usually find out what was visible or notable or what the climate was like. Volume 1; Volume 2.

15.) A history of the most influential country at the time (country A).

16.) A history of its rival (country B).

In this time, it's probably Britain and France, as the colonial land-grab in Africa heats up. This war is on the periphery of civilization, and I wouldn't be surprised if most Europeans today don't know it happened.

However, to save money, time, and space, I'm going to play the "area" card to make this countries of North America, so the USA and the USM. Politics is very important, but I'm likely to slight debates in Congress as sheer boredom as they are too far away to be anything but newspaper reports.

"More generally speaking, the best book to my knowledge detailing the military history of the Mexican War is K. Jack Bauer's The Mexican War, 1846-1848. ¦ You may also find Robert Selph Henry's The Story of the Mexican War ¦ a good introduction."

"John Eisenhower's So Far From God: The U. S. War With Mexico, 1846-1848 ¦ is not a campaign history but is a good and comprehensive general history. His evaluation of Winfield Scott is particularly valuable. A newer history of the war with great insights on the Mexican side is Timothy Hendersons's A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States. ¦ Other books of interest on different aspects of the war, which may be more, less, or not at all useful, depending on what it is on which you decide to focus, include John H. Schroeder's important Mr. Polk's War: American Opposition and Dissent, 1846-1848 ¦ and Robert W. Johannsen's To the Halls of the Montezumas: The Mexican War in the American Imagination. ¦"

As Schroeder probably covers, I would also like to point out that the early Abolitionists were active in this, as they felt that a Mexican land-grab was done primarily to benefit the slave states by getting new cotton-growing land below the Mason-Dixon Line. The Slave Power * (1916): Theodore Parker, 1810-1860; James Kendall, Hosmer, 1834-1927, ed.: Boston: American Unitarian Association. Contains "A sermon of slavery"; "The Mexican War"; "A letter on slavery"; "The destination of America"; "The abolition of slavery by the French Republic"; "The anti-slavery convention"; "The Free Soil movement"; "Reply to Webster"; "The slave power"; "The function of conscience"; "The Boston kidnapping." "The present volume, containing anti-slavery papers written by Theodore Parker between the years 1841 and 1852, does not present all that he wrote upon this topic during the period."--Editor's preface

17.) A biography of the leader of country A

18.) A biography of the leader of country B

A Sketch of the Life and Character of Gen. Taylor, the American Hero and People's Man, Together with a Concise History of the Mexican War .. * (1847: New York, N. H. Blanchard; Boston, J.B. Hall) because this is where Zachary Taylor made his rep for his presidential run.

Need a modern Santa Ana bio. And one on Taylor and one on Scott.

19.) A history of the country you are setting in, general.
I especially like these because the Peace Society, as you might guess, was not pro-war. A Review of the Causes and Consequences of the Mexican War * (1850, c1849) by William Jay,, 1789-1858; Boston: American Peace Society. The War with Mexico Reviewed * (1850) by Abiel Abbot Livermore, 1811-1892: Boston, American Peace Society.

20.) A history of the country you are setting in, that era.
Review of the Mexican War, Embracing the Causes of the War, the Responsibility of Its Commencement, the Purposes of the American Government in Its Prosecution, Its Benefits and Its Evils * (1849) by Charles T: Porter, Auburn, N.Y., Alden & Parsons. The War with Mexico * (1849) by R. S. Ripley, 1823-1887: New York: Harper & Brothers. These are more mainstream than the Peace Society.

Velasco Marquez, A Mexican Viewpoint on the War With the United States. ¦

The View From Chapultepec by Cecil Robinson. ¦

21.) A biography of the leader of the country of your setting.
Got that at #18. Substitute The Mexican War and Its Warriors; Comprising a Complete History of All the Operations of the American Armies in Mexico: * (1849): Frost, John, 1800-1859: New Haven, Philadelphia, H. Mansfield, because that gives me major figures in the Army.

22.) An everyday life for the commoner/lower classes of your time and place.
Mexico as It Was and as It Is
* (1847: Brantz Mayer, 1809-1879: Philadelphia, G. B. Zieber & company). Note that it was published just before the war began.

23.) An everyday life for the upper classes of your time and place.
Mexico as It Was and as It Is
* (1847: Brantz Mayer, 1809-1879: Philadelphia, G. B. Zieber & company). I'm not finding alternatives. This is a war often found only under the couch cushions, in the shadow of the Americal Revolution and the Civil War. It's like no one much pays attention to the War of 1812, either. In March, added Life in Mexico: during a residence of two years in that country (1843) by Mdm. Calderón de la Barca (Frances Erskine Inglis), then about 39.

24.) An everyday life for the middle class of your time and place.
Mexico as It Was and as It Is
* (1847: Brantz Mayer, 1809-1879: Philadelphia, G. B. Zieber & company). Also El Puchero or, A Mixed Dish from Mexico, Embracing General Scott's Campaign, with Sketches of Military Life, in Field and Camp, of the Character of the Country, Manners and Ways of the People, etc * (1850): McSherry, Richard, 1817-1885: Philadelphia, Lippincott, Grambo & co, from just after the war.

25.) An everyday life for women of your time and place,
Still looking. But Josefa Zozaya Valdes (1822-1860), Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico's Heroine, September 23, 1846 * (1996: Maria de la Garza Dellinger: estate of Maria de la Garza Dellinger) gives us one of the extraordinary ladies of the time, even if she's in the Californian theatre of the war. In March, 2016: Travels of Anna Bishop in Mexico.1849 (1852) by Anna Rivière Bishop, 1814-1884; Deal, Charles, pub. With Madame C., this may tell me enough. So delays are sometimes in one's favour.

26.) An auto/biography of someone like your protagonist, or a book as much as possible focused on people like that.
To Mexico with Scott; Letters of Captain E. Kirby Smith to His Wife * (1917): Smith, Ephraim Kirby, 1807-1847; Emma Jerome Blackwood,; R. M. (Robert Matteson) Johnston, 1867-1920: Cambridge, Harvard University Press; [etc., etc.] Though I actually don't know who my protagonist will be, it's likely a soldier.

27.) A book on houses and furnishings of the period, if possible.
In Mexico, I was able to find a missionary's book about the 1870s. In the case of the common classes, I doubt the building of stone houses has changed in a mere 25 years, especially since she must have arrived no later than 1850 to get 20 years in, which is almost on the dot for me. So Twenty Years among the Mexicans: A Narrative of Missionary Labor * (1875) by Melinda Rankin, 1811-1888: Cincinnati: Chase & Hall, Publishers. Mayer helps somewhat.

28.) A book about courting, romance, and sex of the time.
Facts for the People: or, Things Worth Knowing. A Book of Receipts in Which Everything is of Practical Use to Every Body has a chapter on "The Etiquette of Courtship and Marriage." It's more than we find in many periods!

29.) A book for naming historical characters properly.
Holly Ingraham, People's Names: A Cross-Cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures ^, 1997, McFarland.

30.) Medicine of the time and place.
The usual A History of Medicine ^, (1945 Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd;. London, Edinburgh, Paris, Melbourne, New York) was a start for general theory. Outlines of Military Surgery * (1844; Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black) by Sir George Ballingall was my good basic surgery tent on the battlefield. Homoeopathic Domestic Medicine * (1843: New York: William Radde) by Joseph Laurie, d. 1865; Amos Gerald Hull, 1810-1859, editor, picked up on the earlier clue that homoeopathy might be in use, especially for everything not surgical. But the gem was On Feigned and Factitious Diseases: Chiefly of Soldiers and Seamen, on the Means Used to Simulate or Produce Them, and on the Best Modes of Discovering Impostors: Being the Prize Essay in the Class of Military Surgery, in the University of Edinburgh, 1835-6, with Additions * (1843: London, J. Churchill) by Hector Gavin. Since I found it, you just know I have to have someone who uses it.

31.) Climate, weather, and seasons.
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850^
by Brian M. Fagan (2001, Basic Books) Eurocentric, but some clues.

PERIOD MAPS

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

Heck's Iconographic Encyclopaedia of Science, Literature, and Art, 1851, has physical and political maps of North America, as believed at the time. A lot of North America, especially in the West, had never been surveyed, so they're guessing at the Rockies and the surrounding area.

Because it's a chart of placement, I'm going to include something I frequently forget to mention: one needs a program to make calendars for the target year, then add in holidays, full moons, and anything else I can find, including major events. Don't want them referring to fighting on Sunday on what was actually a Tuesday, or under a wrong moon phase. See #37.

32) Mexican Army: Need organization and arms. It looks like Osprey, though they probably haven't but a half-dozen books on this war. Not like using them for Napoleonics, where you can get a full shelf of volumes. Which is a mercy when you consider reading all these references on button detail.

33) American Army: ditto. Pleez let me find them cheap second-hand or this is going to eat my whole book budget for the year. "James M. Mccaffrey's Army of Manifest Destiny: The American Soldier in the Mexican War, 1846-1848. ¦ Richard Bruce Winder's Mr. Polk's Army: The American Military Experience in the Mexican War ¦ is, in many ways, similar and improved."

34) Conspiracy Theories: The Evolution of the Myth, as Exemplified in General Grant's History of the Plot of President Polk and Secretary Marcy to Sacrifice Two American Armies in the Mexican War of 1846-1848 * (1890): [McPherson, John D.]: Washington, D. C., W. H. Morrison. I'm really eager to read this after I get my basics down so I know what he's talking about.

35) Atrocity Propaganda: No war is complete without it. You always have to demonize the enemy. I mean, just because I read it doesn't mean I believe it. I also don't necessarily disbelieve it, and I don't discount Americans misbehaving -- but this is the talk that will be going through the ranks. This is all one title! Mexican Treacheries and Cruelties. Incidents and Sufferings in the Mexican War; with Accounts of Hardships Endured; Treacheries of the Mexicans; Battles Fought, and Success of American Arms; Also, an Account of Valiant Soldiers Fallen, and the Particulars of the Death and Funeral Services in Honor of Capt. George Lincoln, of Worcester * (1848): [Allen, G.N]: Boston and New York.

36) War Anecdotes: How else would we know so much about the general's horse? Soldiers talk about this. The Rough and Ready Annual; * (1848: New-York, D. Appleton & Co.: Philadelphia, G. S. Appleton), a great collection of anecdotal material, of the "let's not forget our war" sort.

37) An Almanac of 1848: It's like divine approval to get almanacs for a project. The Whig Almanac, 1848 * (1847): David Young; Corwin, Thomas, 1794-1865; Clay, Henry, 1777-1852: [New York]: [Greeley & McElrath]. The number of darkey stories for humour is revelatory. As they show up elsewhere (#36), I can't really consider this booklet unusually racist: the whole culture was like this, and I have to remember to play the people authentically. Southern officers bring their personal slaves with them as servants.

38) Contemporary Novel: Of course, it's going to be Victorian over-dramatization, but it is a very period view. Señora Ines; or, The American Volunteers, a Tale of the Mexican War * (c1848: Boston, F. Gleason) by A. S. St. Clair. It also gives accepted period behavior. Real period behavior is more variable.

39) Too Much Military Detail: Official List of Officers Who Marched with the Army under the Command of Major General Winfield Scott, from Puebla upon the City of Mexico * (1848): United States. Adjutant-General's Office: Mexico, "American Star" Print. Anyone fictitious will be a very conscious choice on my part now.

40) Personal Narratives: The Mexican War, by an English Soldier. Comprising Incidents and Adventures in the United States and Mexico with the American Army * (1860: George Ballentine; New York, A. A. Townsend & Company.) An outsider's inside view!

41) Personal Narratives: Recollections of a Virginian in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars * (1894): Dabney Herndon Maury, 1822-1900: New York, C. Scribner's Sons. On a side note, it's good to remember, o ye Civil War writers, that a lot of senior officers were veterans of this war, and will recall it. Say, Lee and Grant.

42) Conspiracies & Propaganda: A Series of Intercepted Mexican Letters: Captured by the American Guard, at Tacubaya * (1848): Robert Hall Smith,: Columbus, Ohio, Statesman Steam Press. (Must -- resist -- steampunkery.) Daring Deeds of American Heroes, with Biographical Sketches * (1856): James O. Brayman,, 1815-1887: New York and Auburn, Miller, Orton & Mulligan

43) Naval War: History of the United States Navy: and Biographical Sketches of American Naval Heroes from the Formation of the Navy to the Close of the Mexican War * (1852): Charles Jacobs Peterson,, 1819-1887: Philadelphia: Gihon

44) Officer Bio: The Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant ¦

45) You Are There: The History of the Raising of the First American Flag on the Capitol of Mexico * (1856): United States. Congress (34th, 1st session: 1855-1856). Senate. Committe on Military Affairs: Washington: Printed by C. Wendell. A Thanksgiving Sermon, Preached in the National Palace, City of Mexico, on Sunday, October Third, A.D. 1847: on the Occasion of a Public Thanksgiving for the Victories Achieved by the Army of the United States, in the Basin of Mexico, under Command of Major-General Winfield Scott * (1847: John McCarty,: México: Printed at the office of the "American Star,"). A real page-turner. Not. I'll refer to this, but I'm not going to inflict but a few lines on the readers.

46) Cussing: Because someone might do it seriously in an army with mules. Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing ^ by Melissa Mohr, Oxford University Press, 2013. I got the Kindle edition. I'm dealing in soldiers, so it's invaluable to know that they will not use the same bad language as a modern one: their ideas of "tough talk" were different.

47) Now, can I find a traveler's guide to Mexico that describes the areas back then? Today's landscape may be hotter, drier, better watered artificially, missing islands, with dredged-out harbors that didn't hardly let a canoe in then, or missing hills leveled for building in 1950 or cliffs that spontaneously fell into the ocean in 1870. So, I acquired Alone in Mexico: The Astonishing Travels of Karl Heller, 1845-1848,* recently translated from the German. This may be the closest we get. He describes the horrific heat, but he's from Germany and I'm used to travelling around the Southwest deserts. Probably a better outlook than mine for most New Englanders in the Army.

48) Ordinary Knowledge: The American Pocket Library of Useful Knowledge * (1841; Philedelphia, Griffin & Simon) by Thomas Curtis Clarke. "Contains articles on agriculture, horticulture, health, Thomsonism, temperance, phrenology, and cookery" How many farmboys are in this army? I had better know my ag. Similar but different is Facts for the People: or, Things Worth Knowing. A Book of Receipts in Which Everything is of Practical Use to Every Body * (1850; Philadelphia, Laraway & Holstz)

49) San Patricios: "Johnson, Devotion to the adopted country: U.S. immigrant volunteers in the Mexican War ¦ - 2012 · Stevens, The Rogue's March: John Riley and the St. Patrick's Battalion, 1846-48 ¦ - 1999. Sword and Shamrock ¦." Will they make it into my story or not?

50) Music: I probably have a better chance of finding authentic Sumerian music than period songs here, especially not the Mexican. One tone-deaf lead character coming up. I might be able to locate some Californio fandango records at Lark in the Morning, but that's about it. (It just so happens there is an album with Sumerian music, based on archaeological info, and I know where to get it if I need it.)(And by this date, I got it. Bronze horns of ancient Ireland, next!)

Amazing how it has filled up, but actually there's a huge gap of a dozen books in everyday life up higher, including the need for Osprey. Specifically, I still need, often with a Mexican orientation ...

  • A modern Santa Ana bio.
  • Etiquette (since the Mexican is usually fairly different from the Anglophone). I will probably have to pick this out of context, and throw in Viva Mexico! by Flandrau, w/manners of the hinterland c. 1900-1910.
  • Spectator entertainments, a general overview. My books on Andalusian bullfighting and California fandangos may or may not apply. Flandrau at least covers the posadas at Christmas.
  • Self-entertainments.
  • Food and dining, including what sort of public dining was available.
  • Marriage and family.
  • A fat history book of the area and century as an introduction.
  • A book about courting, romance, and sex of the time. (Not likely.)
  • Mexican Army organization & equipment:
  • American Army organization & equipment.
  • (and I still wish my pal had the time to write The Everyday Misery of the Common Soldier Down the Ages.)

Some of this may be covered in other reading, but basically I see over a dozen book purchases here if the PDF libraries don't cough up something. Santa Ana is the minimum in bio purchases: I need modern books on all the major players, because older ones are so resolutely one-sided. So while period books can often give me a lot of period information, especially the limits of knowledge then, for biography I need the balance of this being a long time ago.

And that is how, with an idea in mind, you sit down, fill out the list as well as you can, and settle in to read your way to your novel, knowing in advance whether or not you have all or most of your bases covered. Reading with note-taking ought to run me about three months, maybe four. So for NNWM, I need to start reading no later than the start of June. March would be better. Writing histfi "in a hurry" is about a year of work, and I read fast.

copyright Holly Ingraham

 

50 Books for:

The Peloponnese, 396 BC 

 Early Viking, c. 850

The First Crusade, Outre-Mer 1098 

 The Hundred Years War, France1352

Richelieuan France, 1630

Pirate Caribbean, 1670 

 Napoleonic London Highlife 1803

Regency London Highlife 1817

Mexico, 1846-8

 London Low-Life 1870
 

 Gilded Age New York 1898

Check the Near History sample guides. There's more to read, but mostly lighter stuff, as well as lots more in video. A few appropriate movies from a year are much easier to get through than a detail biography of a president and will tell you more about ordinary life.

Return to introduction.

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