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friedag

Free for All Comers Discussion: History and Science

friedag
9 years ago

History and science get a lot of mentions by RPers in various threads. I love both and would enjoy knowing more and getting recommendations for books to read -- especially books, but I'm also open to television programs. Either straight history or straight science, but a combination is luscious as I am all for the multidisciplinary approach.

Mary, I'll answer your last question to me in the January Reading thread here since someone will be starting the February thread soon.

I don't have Mann's 1491 with me so I presently can't look up what he has to say about L'Anse aux Meadows. But in Collapse Jared Diamond writes about it briefly, saying that the two sources of information are written accounts -- the Icelandic manuscripts called Greenlanders' Saga and Erik the Red's Saga written down in the 1200s -- and archaeological studies made since 1961 when L'Anse aux Meadows was located in Newfoundland.

The two sagas had been considered mythology before 1961, but they have been validated as 'true' or 'meant to be true' in the style of the times in which they were composed. Historians and archaeologists have been mining the sagas for information ever since.

Apparently L'Anse aux Meadows was not a settlement colony but rather a base camp where the Norse Greenlanders could overwinter when they went on their explorations for timber and iron that they could take back to Greenland with them. They probably also used it for reconnoitering the whole area that they called "Vinland." They might have been trying to find a place to settle permanently, but as you read, Mary, they had a problem with the Skraelings, who were numerous and not particularly willing to interact with the Norse Greenlanders. The natives killed Thorvald, the expedition leader and son of Erik the Red, after the Norse idiotically killed eight out of nine natives that they first encountered. Reminds me of what happened between the English and native Americans some 580-plus years later at Roanoke.

Thank you for the list of American West books. I haven't read any of them, so I'm ordering a couple today: Encounters at the Heart of the World and Sleuthing the Alamo, just because I found them most appealing at first glance at Amazon. Historians are always revising so I'm sure I am out of date, although at one time I knew, or thought I knew, a good bit about the American West as I was born and raised west of the Mississippi and have lived in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. My son currently lives in northern Arizona and I always enjoy reading about Arizona history.

Okay! What kind of science do you like to read about? Do you like it hard or soft? My background is in the soft sciences but I'm married to a hard scientist, a geophysicist. :\-)

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