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288

The idea that "most wars are caused by religion" is trivially false. From what I can see, this is a rhetoric rooted in a critique of theism, rather than serious historical analysis. Even a casual survey of history shows most wars had little to nothing to do with religious differences - according to quasi-original research on Wikipedia, only 6.98% of known ...


110

Louis-François Pinagot He was an illiterate shoemaker in western France in the 19th century. French historian Alain Corbin picked Pinagot at random on a town registry, and wrote his biography as a way to describe the social environment of 19th century France, collecting as much data as possible about Pinagot, his family, his village, etc. The result was ...


89

Do historians agree that most wars are caused by religion? No, historians have not formed such a consensus. There are numerous scholarly works reaching back 5 millennia demonstrating that this belief is apocryphal. This work demonstrates religion historically has played a small role in wars either as a major or minor cause. Is Religion the Cause of ...


70

"History is written by victors" may itself be an example of history written by the losers! While the quote is commonly misattributed to Winston Churchill, it's origins are unknown and it might be inspired by Hermann Göring's quote: We will go down in history either as the world's greatest statesmen or its worst villains. On a (perhaps) more serious note, ...


60

It seems to be the painting Suppression of the Indian Revolt by the English, a painting by the Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin c. 1884 According to the annotation on Wikipedia: It anachronistically depicts the events of 1857 with soldiers wearing (then current) uniforms of the late 19th century. The "photograph" originally appeared in a 1941 Nazi ...


57

The quote is by Harold Geneen from his 1984 book Managing. I first found evidence of this from Wikiquote: When you have mastered the numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading a book. You will be reading meanings. Managing, Chapter Nine (The Numbers), p. 151. To verify, I did a ...


56

Good editor. I wouldn't have thought to challenge that, but its true that numbers weren't exactly Du Bois' thing. Not saying he wasn't good with them, just that isn't what he's famous for, or spent most of his time dealing with. In fact, the actual source of that quote appears to be Harold Geneen, an accountant by training who retired as CEO of ITT. ...


39

All the bad press given to Vikings (and the like) by angry monks suggests not always. Depends if the victors build a tradition of literacy and of documenting history or whether they just go build more longboats and get drunk.


39

The book is well written and well explained; Jared Diamond actually takes real pain to explain that his theories are not implacable and must not be taken as a 100% reliable blueprint for predicting success or failure of any civilization (even if we could actually define what "failure" means for a civilization). The book, though, attracted criticism because ...


39

To the particular point of Norman Cantor's credit on the book you're looking at, I too am a big Cantor fan but he also kind of had a really bad drop-off at the end of his life. The Last Knight in particular was not terribly well researched and lacked a lot of the panache that Cantor's other work had. Perhaps this accolade came from that twilight era of his ...


37

It is spurious to assume that the French Revolution somehow originated the term, or otherwise set the standard for what could be called a "revolution". The reality is that different revolutionaries in different periods of history perceived the term differently. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 would be a much more immediate example to 18th century Americans. ...


36

The right response is to laugh at it. I don't think this can or should be directly rebutted. Arguing details of a theory that is that far from the mainstream implicitly puts it on equal logical ground with every mainstream analysis. This is ceding it ground it has not earned. There are still some first-hand witnesses to the Holocaust around. However, there ...


34

In addition to the good answers given already, I'd like to point out that wars are typically not mono-causal. Very often, several reasons as well as causes (i.e. sparks that light the fire) come together for a war to start. In addition, the reasons given in public are often not the actual reasons. There are a number of explicitly religious wars (the Islamic ...


34

Diffusion of technology and fashion. Some pre-written civilizations are identified by their artifacts, like the Beaker Culture or the Corded Ware Culture. A large-scale conquest would spread the artifacts of the dominant culture widely. Timing of large-scale destruction. If you look at Troy, there are a number of known destructions with their approximate ...


30

I think you may look into biographies of war heroes. War is an opportunity for a person to do something notable to attract biographers’ attention and still stay just one of the many. For example, The story of a real man, a novel by Boris Polevoy, is a biography of Alexey Maresyev (Meresyev in the book), a Soviet pilot who was shot down behind the frontline, ...


29

I was referring to Alexei Isaev's book Antisuvorov (Russian). He lists a bunch of falsifications in the preface of his book. First example is Suvorov's quoting of colonel S. Hvalei's book (approximate translation): It happened that the division was immediately behind the frontier posts at the start of the war, meaning right next to the state border. ...


29

No. Japan had almost no capability to continue waging war. In fact, strangled by the American blockade, Japan was tottering on the brink of collapse. Experts both then and since believed that the combined pressure of the Soviet entry, the relentless blockade (and usually, the conventional aerial bombardment campaign) would have compelled Japan to surrender. ...


29

The simple answer is that often the people involved write down (or verbally pass on information that is later written down by other people) these 'private communications' after the event, in memoirs, journals, letters, etc. Also 'official' secrets don't have to permanently stay secret, especially if the original reason for keeping them secret no longer ...


28

Thomas Pornin's answer is very good answer to the question of "Can we know anything about Jesus?" But since your question was technically "What do we know about Jesus?", I thought I'd add a few facts about Jesus that the majority of secular and religious historians alike agree upon. Jesus existed Virtually no serious historian believes that Jesus never ...


28

The Merchant of Prato by Iris Origo (1957) is a biography of Francesco Datini a 14th-century merchant banker. The only distinguishing factor of Datini is that by chance a huge stash of his written accounts and letters had been preserved and discovered in 1870.


26

The Wikipedia entry on the book is pretty thorough. Guns, Germs, and Steel is definitely controversial, because Diamond is writing from the perspective of an evolutionary biologist, and essentially is arguing that history is if not wholly determined by geography, at least heavily influenced by it. From the Wikipedia entry: Guns, Germs and Steel met with ...


25

An important example from ancient history is the Peloponnesian war. The most important account of it comes from Thucydides, "the father of history". Thucidydes was an Athenian, and Athens lost the war. I am not aware of any Spartan accounts of this war that survived.


25

Historians quite widely agree that there very probably was a historical person called Jesus. They do agree that this person provided the blueprint or projection space for the belief that centered on and around him. A belief that was a Jewish sect during his lifetime and later slowly forming into what we know today as Christianity. I wrote "widely" as there ...


24

The basis for the 5,000 years figure comes from tracing Chinese "history" to the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. This figure includes over 1,000 years of legends. The next 1000 years are semi-legendary, being only somewhat corroborated by historical evidence. We start to have fragmentary historical records for a few centuries after that, but true ...


24

To my surprise, this may be somewhat accurate. In the critical Battle of Sedan on May 13, Guderian fielded 1st and 2nd Panzer divisions, reinforced by Grossdeutchland infantry regiment, one regiment of assault engineers, and divisional artillery from two panzer divisions. To compensate for the absence of his artillery reserve, still in transit to the front, ...


23

Not a book, but there is a long-running documentary film series in the UK following the lives of ordinary people with a film every seven years from the first when they were seven years old. The latest, '63 Up', has just shown. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_(film_series)


22

The claim is sourced from 明興野記, lit. Unofficial Records of the Rise of Ming, by the contemporary Yu Ben. It was originally titled 紀事錄, lit. Chronicles, but a certain Zhang Da Tong later changed it because it wasn't fancy enough. Zhang also inserted some editorialising, especially to defend the emperor, as well as an abstract introducing Yu's work as "...


22

What are you trying to rebut, that the plaque changed, or that the number of deaths is uncertain? Maybe the plaque originally stated the estimated number killed total, but now it just refers to the number killed at Auschwitz. Without knowing the exact text of the plaque, it is hard to say. The death of 1.1 million is the current total accepted by the ...


22

As Will & Ariel Durant's History of Civilization first pointed out to me several decades ago, reinforced by Kenneth Clark's Civilization BBC TV series, history is far more than just the chronological litany of battles and rulers through time (as important as those are). It also incorporates the art, architecture, culture, and more of those civilizations ...


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