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A Treat for Myself: History of the World War [Jul. 31st, 2015|12:43 am]
Tomas Gallucci
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I promised newmistakes that I would eventually post about a treat that I got myself and I'm just now getting around to doing so.

Two or three years ago, Dad showed me an amazing set of books: five, blue cloth-like volumes written by Frank H. Simonds; this was History of the World War. That there is no indication of which world war should be a clue: the set is about the First World War. In fact, the series was written by Simonds during the war, but according to the preface, Simonds, an American, wasn't able to start writing about the war until 1917 for security/political reasons. (This was a gag that was imposed on all authors and journalists if I understand the situation correctly. I think it might have been ok to write reports about what was happening, but publishing in-depth histories was considered taboo.)

As I had briefly studied World War I in a course on European 20th Century History, I really wanted to read these books.

Dad said he had been to an estate sale and picked up the set for $50. His copy of the work had been very well cared for.

When I deigned to go to the lake house and see the books on the shelf, I would ask him to give them to me or at least to let me borrow them, especially after I found out that he hadn't finished reading the preface, much less was actually reading the series himself. He would say that I could borrow a volume at a time, but knowing that I wouldn't be at the lake house that often, I didn't want to limit myself.

I had tried to find a complete set myself online, but my Google-fu was low. I could find two sales on eBay that I could put together, but nothing more. And it was going to cost at least $75, shipping not included. So I gave up looking.

Time passed.

I had heard of this wonderful new service called Get Magic via Gizmodo's article A Same-Day Delivery Startup Brought Me a Fish We Both Assumed Would Die which was possibly introduced to me via Daring Fireball. I had signed up for the waitlist and eventually, though enough bitching on Twitter got taken off the list. But other than confirming that they could receive my SMSes via the Messages app on OS X Yosemite, I hadn't really used the service. I was thinking about what I could get them to do for me and I had a short list. One of the tasks was to find a set of History of the World War.

Before I set them about the task, I decided to do one more Google search (since time had passed) to see if I could procure the series myself. "Of all the gin joints"–no, wait, wrong war! Of all the websites that I could have found a set on, I wound up finding a well-kept set on Etsy. I think the asking price was $75, so I immediately bought the set.

I present to you the seller's pictures:


Frank H. Simonds' History of the World War
Click for more pictures!


But the story doesn't end with just this series of history.

While I now have my own copy, I found something else extraordinary when I was searching for History of the World War: a ten volume series entitled The Literary Digest History of the World War published by the Frank and Wagnalls Company. I read the preface (or at least part of the preface) to this work and was under the impression that this series was also written at the same time as Simonds'; however, Googling during the drafting of this post has led me to come to understand that the work was published in 1920 and was a collection of reports, letters, etc. edited by Francis Whiting Halsey (no known relation to drax0r).

Again, I present that seller's images:


Funk & Wagnalls The Literary Digest History of the World War
Click for more pictures!


I was amazed when this work arrived. The box the books shipped in seemed too small to contain 10 volumes. I had thought, based on the seller's images, that they would be the size of History of the World War, but as you can see from my final image below, they are, in fact, about half the size.


World War I shelf


The image above is my World War I shelf. In addition to the to series I have written about in this post, pictured above are (left to right, back to front):



Not pictured:


Books I need to add to my collection (Amazon Wish Lists):


I haven't read any of the three series on the shelf, and only about a third of The Guns of August. Nor have I read Martin Gilbert's book, nor any of the books on my Wish Lists. I have read both July 1914 and Hew Stratchan's book, for school.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: newmistakes
2015-07-31 06:30 am (UTC)
At the risk of getting a convoluted answer, what's Google-fu??

Why would you be looking to add to your collection before you've read the tremendous collection of books you already possess? Are you one of those bookish types who prefers owning to reading? I like knowing books are MINE but only if they are good ones and after I've read them.

This is a great post and I'm very thankful that my hassling you to post has paid off in this pleasant manner. I'm quite magnificent!
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[User Picture]From: celtmanx
2015-07-31 09:46 pm (UTC)
"what's Google-fu??" Your Google-fu must be weak if you're asking that question. I recommend you practice your Google-fu more!!!

Edited at 2015-07-31 10:05 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: newmistakes
2015-08-01 05:59 am (UTC)
Nice icon!

My google-fu may be weak but the force is strong in me so surely it all evens out?

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[User Picture]From: celtmanx
2015-08-01 06:24 am (UTC)
Thanks!!! Smoking baby speaks in a French accent.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:12 pm (UTC)
Le bébé parle avec un accent Français.
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[User Picture]From: newmistakes
2015-08-04 04:50 am (UTC)
Well, that was a given! All smoking babies speak with a French accent!
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:03 pm (UTC)
Google-fu means the ability to use Google to find the answers to you questions.
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[User Picture]From: newmistakes
2015-08-04 04:51 am (UTC)
I eventually figured that out through osmosis! Who needs google-fu when you have osmosis?!
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:31 pm (UTC)
The reason I want to add to my collection before I've finished reading all the books I own probably has more to do with my ADHD than anything else, i.e. I can't concentrate long enough, so I wind up and start more books.

But I do really want to read the books that are on my wish lists. And for the record, I have 42 Amazon Wish lists. A handful of those are holding on to items like the bed and mattress I currently own. Most of the Wish Lists are for periods in history, one for Kindle and one for physical books. I really do want to read all of these books as well as every book I own both physically and electronically.

I don't think I'm the kind of person who prefers owning to reading, though owning gives me two advantages: 1) I can read the book whenever I want and don't have to worry about late fees because I own the book 2) it has allowed me to build my physical library. It's not the alcove of books I want in my eventual mansion that looks like something come out of an English library, but I'm proud of what I own and could probably list every book from memory.
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[User Picture]From: newmistakes
2015-08-04 04:54 am (UTC)
I've never really understood book wish lists. If there's a book I want I buy it. If I can't afford it right at that moment it's on my freaking mind until I can. I think I'd fill a book wish list with books that I'm kind of interested in but not enough to buy, thus making the whole thing redundant.

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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-04 04:57 am (UTC)
I'm kinda the opposite: I see so much I want to read and know that I have limited time and shelf space, so I buy what I can, when I can when I'm in the mood for the particular subject.

One should also keep in mind as you look through my wish lists that I'm putting books on there so I won't forget them in the future. Despite what you may have seen or read, I am only human and, like computers, have a finite amount of memory. Thus, booklists are a way for me to record my thoughts.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:33 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you think this is a great post. I'm not sure that it should necessarily go down in the annuls of history, but I'm happy that you're happy you think you can take credit for it. This is one of the many posts I have wanted to write for some time now but just haven't gotten around to do it.

When you said that you were taking your laptop with you on your vacation, I thought I had to actually sit down and type the words to make the post.

I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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[User Picture]From: newmistakes
2015-08-04 04:55 am (UTC)
No post should ever go down in the annuls of history and if one ever does then something has gone drastically wrong with society/the world.

I appreciate your effort and hope that it will be repeated at regular intervals.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-04 05:07 am (UTC)
I've had many thoughts about how to accomplish this. I mean, yeah, at it simplest, it's the old Nike formula, yeah? (Just do it!)

But how regular should I be?

ehowton writes one blog post a day and has done so for years. (Actually, he has a queue of them.) I wonder if one post a day from me would be too much.

I usually have a lot to say and have trouble organizing my thoughts and getting them all out coherently. As a consequence, that's why I usually clock in at 1500 words in a post.

If I posted more often, I would need less words per post unless I become that prolific or that good at writing.

I've wondered if two or three days a week makes more sense..

On the other hand, I'd like to run something like a linked-list blog, something along the lines of Daring Fireball. Hence the reason I started all those Tumblrs years ago. (And yes, I've been slack there too.)

Right now, I'm just aiming to write something every day or every few days even if it isn't all public or in one spot. I haven't been using Day One that often, but I have recorded some personal thoughts in there from time to time. And even though my name isn't attached, there is a wonderful site I have been writing on sporadically for several months where I have the freedom to explore both more "adult" topics as well as be more truthful without having to deal with what I say coming back to haunt me because I'm bitching about life or work or whatever.

I wasn't really planning on sorting this topic this week, but I'll give it another think.

I'd say something along the lines of "you need to post more often and more regularly too" but you've done so thus far while on your trip. But I know that you have the time for posting and I imagine you're pretty much on top of the world right now. As you admitted to me in a thread on your blog, you like to post when you are happy and things are going good. Perhaps you can find a way to make blog posts during your more melancholy and less happy times. I'd even suggest you blog anonymously if that's what it takes, but of course, I want to read those posts too.

I wished we had two weeks of dinners and hang outs to talk these things through. The irony of course is that we'd have so little to say if we were afforded the privilege.
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[User Picture]From: newmistakes
2015-08-04 05:58 am (UTC)
I don't want to record any of my more melancholy or less happy times. I don't think they deserve that kind of oxygen.

You would be too overawed by my presence to speak perhaps? And rightly so - it is a natural and justified reaction to my astounding level of awesome!!
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[User Picture]From: gradumacated
2015-07-31 06:25 pm (UTC)

WWI

I'm incredibly jealous - that's an impressive World War I library collection! I think Winston Churchill published his thoughts about WWI in some form; I recommend you try and find that. I have his WWII history as well as David Reynold's analysis of how reality differed from Churchill's recollections. Got a bit of a way into that, but still need to finish it.

I'm also disappointed that I haven't given you the update for Texas and I that you asked for - it's coming, I promise! Even my parents are behind the loop so you're not the only one :P

The three bits of most interesting news are:
Texas and I are now MAs, and I am an internship/practicum away from my second MA
Texas has a great job starting on Aug 12 that's paying her the higher end of the scale for recent grads
I'm involved with the local Bernie Sanders for President campaign and had our first meeting on Wednesday. A lot of enthusiasm, a lot of support, so we'll need to see where this takes us.

I'll try to post a lengthier update soon (but no promises!)
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:36 pm (UTC)

Re: WWI

While I will admit that I have found good catches with the series that are on my shelf, I will fully admit that my collection is not nearly full enough and would only begin to become so if I could add the titles on my wish lists. (As I told newmistakes above, I have 42 Amazon Wish lists. Even if I had every single book on that list, I still wouldn't feel like my collection was impressive enough in the broad scheme of things.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:46 pm (UTC)

Winston Churchill's Writing

I think I downloaded (for free) Churchill's four volumes on World War II to my Kindle. One of these days, I'd love to read The Official Biography–all eight volumes of it!–along with the three volume series The Lsat Lion.

I know that Churchill wrote about World War I–coincidently, he made a great deal of his fortune from his writings. I'll have to look up David Reynold's work; if you could give me either a title or ISBN, I would greatly appreciate it.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:47 pm (UTC)

MAs

You both have MAs in History, right?

What is your second MA in?

Edited at 2015-08-01 03:48 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:54 pm (UTC)

Updates

I'm happy to hear that you are both prosperous.

You want to talk about jealousy? You could have a copy of my entire library for a pittance of value compared to being married and both partners being highly educated and in well-paying jobs. (Unless her field is one of those fields that never pays much and she's on the high end of that, but I didn't get that vibe reading your comment.)

I don't want to discuss it here publicly, but the past several months have been nothing but backwards progress for me financially, academically and career-ly. There have been two minor good things happen lately, but they are far out-weighed by the enormous black raincloud that hangs over me. I've been debating blogging about this for quite some time, but there's a particular person's feedback I don't want to receive on this issue.

As for news from you and Texas, I keep expecting to hear that she's pregnant.

Have the both of you–as a couple–decided whether or not you're going to have kids?
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2015-08-01 04:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Updates

Hope things start to look up for you soon.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-04 05:09 am (UTC)

Re: Updates

Thanks!

I don't know what it will take to turn things around at this point and I know I need to be proactive, but it's nice to have some cheerleading from time to time.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 04:10 pm (UTC)

Campigns

This is the hardest reply for me to author: I have spent a lot of my life avoiding or ignoring things I don't like and attempting to change the world around me to suite my desires.

When we first met on Xanga, I enjoyed our political conversations and would like to have more of the same. I thought for a long time you were libertarian-ish, but as Obama's campaign took off, you and agnophile (or whatever his handle was from Xanga) really bonded politically; I was quite disappointed to see that progression.

It would be an easy criticism to make: "Ole gradumacated came from England via Crim Rock and found a home as a socialist in academia." But that's not quite the correct level of nuisance even from my own ignorant position (i.e. we haven't really kept each other that informed.)

During my foray into politics, I have to say that I made two good friends, though one has done the keeping up even though I was abusive towards the end of his time in town; he and I don't talk much, but I value his input and insights. The other guy I really liked, but we lost touch all together. And then there was some drama in his family which, ironically enough, my dad was on the periphery of even though Dad was never that political. (Dad just happened to come into contact with that family after the politics and my connections to that family died down.)

You may recall I was a big supporter of one of the Congressional candidates for my Congressional district. (Name withheld because this is public; if you care to know, shoot me an email) We get together a couple of times a year for drinks and a lite meal. While we're not best friends, I would call him more than an acquaintance. He was a just a guy who was fed up and wanted to right the wrongs he saw was happening in his country; now he works and his wife owns a business.

Being involved politically was an awesome experience and I would love to do so again. Unfortunately, I don't have the looks or the money or a candidate that I feel that compelled to help.

I can't say I'm surprised that you have chosen to support Bernie Sanders, though I do think that's radical even for you. (I don't think he has much of a chance, especially with Granny Hills on the ticket.) I'd otherwise say I don't wish you well, save for the fact that if Sanders becomes a viable candidate–even, perhaps, becoming his party's nominee, it's quite possible that could do more to elect someone much more to my political tastes.

Let's just say that I hope you have a blast engaging in politics in America.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2015-08-01 04:51 pm (UTC)

Re: WWI

Two months ago I registered in Kansas for the first time since I left Texas in 2011 to vote for Bernie. Good luck and have fun!
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[User Picture]From: celtmanx
2015-07-31 09:51 pm (UTC)
I'm very impressed with your recent acquisitions and a little jealous. If I haven't told you before I really enjoyed the book about WWI, Goshawk Squadron that you sent me many moons ago.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:15 pm (UTC)
As far as I recall, I never sent you a book about World War II.

Several years ago, I think you wound up with a book that I sent ehowton: The Twilight of Courage
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[User Picture]From: celtmanx
2015-08-01 06:18 pm (UTC)
You sent me both Goshawk Squadron, a book about a WWI British pilot and Twilight of Courage about WWII.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 06:19 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't remember sending you Goshawk Squadron.
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[User Picture]From: celtmanx
2015-08-01 06:33 pm (UTC)
It was back in 2006-2007. As I recall you were a very heavy drinker during that time frame. I have yet to read Twilight of Courage but it is in the queue.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 06:40 pm (UTC)
I was never that much of a drunk and I don't recall sending the book. Prior to this thread, I had never heard of the title.

It's possible I might have sent you a copy of When the Odds were Even.

I bought that book as a recommendation from a blogger who was a big history guy on Xanga. He knew the author and said I should buy a copy to help his widow out. I never read it because I didn't understand what the book was on about. Now that I have a much better idea, it's back in the queue (though quite far back at the moment.)
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[User Picture]From: celtmanx
2015-08-01 06:43 pm (UTC)
"I was never that much of a drunk". I've got some pictures around here somewhere that say otherwise.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 06:46 pm (UTC)
*le sigh*

I hate you.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2015-08-03 07:05 pm (UTC)
LOL!
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2015-08-01 03:17 pm (UTC)
I will admit that my recent acquisitions are great catches, provided I actually, yannow, read them. During my Googling for the post, I saw search results for both sets. So if can bear squeaking as you let go of your pennies, you could probably pick up both sets for about $150 off of sites like eBay and Etsy.
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