A Sail to the Past Reading Challenge

I am surveying the possible challenges for next year, and for the most part I am undecided so far, but when I saw Fanda's history challenge I knew I would have to join right away.  Also, I love the image!  And it even matches my blog design.  So here it is, my signup post.  Fanda says:

**What books to pick?**

1. Pick one or more History books written by historian(s)—must be pure non-fiction; historical fiction is not allowed.
2. It has to be a work through investigation and researches, and not only collecting and listing historical data.
3. Biography is permitted, but not Autobiography, as I think autobiography lacks the objectivity of a history.
4. I’m not an expert in this area (history), so you are more than welcome to correct or add something if I’m wrong.
5. Frankly speaking, I don’t read many histories yet (and that’s why I’m creating this challenge), so I might not be the right person to consult with, about whether this or that is a pure history or not. For reference, you can consult these lists:
100 Best History Books
Goodreads’ Best History Books

Note: The 100 Best History Books is more reliable than Goodreads list, as Goodreads created the list from people’s labels, and it is proved sometimes not accurate. So, be careful before picking a book, you better check the synopsis first or even better…google it! :)

**Challenge level**
I have set several levels to challenge ourselves along the year:

Student : read 1 to 3 books
Scholar : read 4 to 6 books
Historian : read 7 or more books

**How to join?**
1. To join in, you must have either blog/Facebook/Goodreads where you can post your thoughts.
2. Pick one of the level suits you, and post about this challenge in your blog, or just comment in this post. You can mention books you’d like to read too—but no obligation (I’m only curious!). Of course, you might change the level or the books later on along the event.
3. Register through the linky below (you might put the link to your challenge post or just your blog/FB/Goodreads URL).
4. Place the challenge banner somewhere on your blog, linking to this post, in case others want to participate too.

**Optional analysis – more challenge!**
After reading and reviewing, you might want to add more challenge to your history reading. As I am working on WEM project, I picked these analysis questions from the project that would be interesting to work on. Go to the analysis questions

Of course you can choose to work on all of it, or parts of it, or none at all. It’s optional, anyway. But….your efforts would well rewarded, as in the end of the challenge, every analysis post would be included in….


I will provide a master post with a linky, where you can put all your posts (review and/or analysis). At the end of the challenge I will pick randomly 2 (two) winners (one from review posts and one from analysis posts) to win: history book(s) of your choice max. $15 from The Book Depository.

Fanda has also included some great analysis questions, so head over there to check them out and sign up.

I have lots of great history books that I want to read, so I'm going to get ambitious and sign up for the Historian level of 7 or more books.  Here are my tentative picks (unless I read one of them before the new year starts, then I'll have to pick another!):

  1. The History of the Renaissance World, by Susan Wise Bauer (brand new, looking forward to reading it!)
  2. Roll, Jordan, Roll by Eugene Genovese
  3. Revolutionary Mothers, by Carol Berkin
  4. The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman (for the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI)
  5. Affairs of Honor, by Joanne Freeman
  6. Eight Pieces of Empire, by Lawrence Scott Sheets 
  7. The History of the Ancient World, by Susan Wise Bauer (this is a necessity, to prep for my 13yo's history course next year!)

 There are many others I would like to read, but these are my current picks.  I'm excited; thanks Fanda!


  1. This looks like a really neat challenge.

  2. Have you ever read any of Bauer's other History of the World books? I've never looked at one before, but I am curious.

  3. I've read the first two. I actually got to read a review copy of the second one! I reviewed it at http://howlingfrog.blogspot.com/2010/02/history-of-medieval-world.html . Now I need to re-read the first volume to teach it next year.

  4. Wow...it's really an ambitious challenge, Jean! I'm curious with your Susan Wise Bauer's world histories. Can't wait to start the challenge... Good luck for you ;)

  5. Thanks, Jean, for the link. I think I am going to check with my library to see if they have copies so I can look through them.

  6. Thank YOU Fanda for your great challenge idea!

  7. Looks like a really great list. I have Bauer's Ancient history book on my list as well.

    Popping over from the History Reading Challenge linky!


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