As July approaches, here in the US we look forward to celebrating our national independence day. This year, July got me thinking about the idea of independence around the world. “Independence” has meant different things in different countries – armed rebellion against another nation, a traditional founding date or “National Day,” a date of unification or separation, or a date when a country achieved some sort of autonomy.
We have a display of books on the first floor related to the history of countries that celebrate or acknowledge some sort of date of independence. A list of all countries that have an independence day can be found at the CIA World Fact Book. We have books on display covering numerous regions of the world, including:
A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic / John E. Ferling (2003). Spanning the period between the Stamp Act of 1765 and Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration as president in 1801, veteran historian Ferling surveys the politics and politicians of the American Revolution and early republic… Ferling focuses on the process of signal events, particularly the continual reevaluation of power, motive, and future expectations that political players make. –Booklist
The Middle East
Afghanistan: A Short History of Its People and Politics / Martin Ewans (2002). With a comprehensive understanding of Afghan history, Ewans portrays the rise of the Taliban in the context of a nation that had known no peace in 40 years and little peace in all its history. An epilogue, which contains the most compelling writing of the book, explores the aftermath of September 11 on Afghan history… the best book-length examination of Afghanistan’s history we’re likely to have for some time. –Booklist
Roots of Revolution: An Interpretive History of Modern Iran / Nikki R. Keddie (1981). The roots lie deep in Iran’s history, although the revolution of 1978 had many immediate as well as underlying causes. In her narrative of political events … Keddie, a scholar with impressive credentials on Iran, is more or less conventional. Where the history is interpretative is largely on the intellectual-cultural-religious side, and here it broadens the Western reader’s understanding of why and how the revolution happened as it did. –Foreign Affairs
Yugoslavia: A Concise History / Leslie Benson (2001). [This] easily digestible and highly informative survey traces Yugoslav history from the birth of the nation after World War I to its ongoing dissolution over the past two decades. This is a fast-moving narrative history, which glosses over many cultural developments. However, Benson shows great insight in illustrating the historical and cultural factors that prevented true national unity from taking hold in this tortured land. –Booklist
Turkey: The Quest for Identity / Feroz Ahmad (2003). …Turkey has a rich and fascinating history which is ably charted in this absorbing new addition to Oneworld’s short history series… Ahmad identifies the root causes of Turkey’s modern political malaise examining the tension between politics and the military, between democracy and republic, and between religion and secularity which have dogged contemporary governments … –Middle East
Brazil: Five Centuries of Change / Thomas E. Skidmore (1999). Skidmore probes Portugal’s remarkable command of the vast country in the face of the advances of the Spanish, French, and Dutch colonial interests; Brazil’s compromised independence in 1822; … and the creation of the republic in the late nineteenth century… [T]his eloquent and detailed look at Brazil will be the standard history of the country for years to come. –book jacket
Click here to see a list of all the books in the display. All of the books on display are available to check out.