History Corner

I have been a history professor for the last 18 years, and love teaching the subject.  Every time I began a new study abroad opportunity at my college, I would dive in deep into the history and culture of the places we would travel to on our trip.  I continue to do so for FFC Historical Tours.  My constant study and research to refine these trips has led to a treasure trove of books, videos and online sources.  On this page, I have pooled together a few resources that can help you understand the amazing places you will go to on our tours.  Feel free to explore, and feel free to contact me if there is a subject that I have not hit on.  I’ll do my best to get something that will help you gain a deeper knowledge of the subject.

With all of this in mind, I am on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (click on links below) all of which I am constantly adding to.  On those platforms I will post books I have read or am reading, podcasts I am listening to and websites I love to go to as well as app suggestions.  Enjoy. 

Happy exploring!

Ireland

Books:

A solid one volume work on the history of Ireland would be Joseph Coohill’s Ireland: A Short History.

For a more modern history Ireland in the 20th Century by Tim Pat Coogan goes over the main events of one of Ireland’s most dramatic century.

It is always a good idea to get a tour book of Ireland.  It will be helpful in plotting out any additional sights you may want to see.  Rick Steves’ guidebooks tend to be the best in terms of practical information while the DK Travel Ireland book has better photos and maps of the locations.

Videos:

Although we will see a number of these locations while in Dublin, this video might give you a few ideas of a place or two to hit on you free time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDnbOp81x0s

Websites:

The History Channel has put out a great introductory website to Irish history.  It breaks down, into manageable videos, a whole slew of Irish history covering everything from the ancient Celts to modern times.

https://www.history.com/tag/ireland

Great website to temp the tummy. All about the best Ireland has to offer in terms of food: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-foods-try-ireland

France

Books:

Normandy:

While in Normandy we will be using the services of Dale Booth who has been running tours for over fifteen years.  He is also has co-authored a concise battlefield book on the D-Day landing beaches and Airborne drop zones.  D-Day June 6 1944: Following in the Footsteps of Heroes by Dale Booth and Stuart Robertson is a great primer for anyone wanting to know more about the places we will visit in Normandy.  (Side note: Dale is always open to signing copies of his book once we conclude our tour day)

               Paris:

It is always a good idea to get a tour book of Paris.  It will be helpful in plotting out any additional sights you may want to see.  Rick Steves’ guidebooks tend to be the best in terms of practical information while the DK Travel Paris book has better photos and maps of the locations.

David McCullough’s The Greater Journey is a wonderfully written book explaining how Americans became drawn to this amazing city.  It shows the rise of Paris as a capital of world in the 19th Century and the American artists, sculptures, politicians, lawyers, doctors, philosophers who made their mark on Paris and Paris’ mark on them.  You will see how you are in a long line of people who were drawn to the City of Lights.

A good broader history that isn’t a multi volume work can be found in The Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne.

Pairs is not only about history.  It has great food, culture, shopping and sights.  The following can cover those topics:

The Historic Restaurants of Paris: A Guide to Century-Old Cafes, Bistros, and Gourmet Food Shops by Ellen Williams

The New Paris by Lindsey Tramuta (new and hip locations in Paris

Paris: Small Shops by Anne Ditmeyer

Markets of Paris by Dixon Long

Our tour will hit on WWII and its impact on France and Paris. When Paris Went Dark by Ronald Rosbottom focuses on when Pairs was occupied by Nazi forces.  The Blood of Free Men by Michael Neiberg describe the moments of liberation of Pairs in 1944.

Our Trip to Paris will not however just focus on WWII, the city has a deep and rich history.

Videos:

Here is a wonderful video that will get your taste buds going.  Food in Paris: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knnq7NClIto

Websites:

Some great photos of some great Paris locations.  We will visit a number of these, and you will have some free time to visit more if you wish: https://www.cometoparis.com/paris-guide/what-to-do-in-paris-s938

This website will point out the must eats while in Paris (and in fact the rest of France): https://sharedappetite.com/eat/the-top-10-foods-you-have-to-eat-in-paris/

Civil War

Books:

A Field Guide to Gettysburg by Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler is probably the best guide to the battlefield I have read.  It breaks down the action stop-by-stop, but is written in a very approachable manner. 

Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher White is the one of the best short books on this major battle.

Videos:

The American Battlefield Trust has some great narrated animated maps.  These are very polished and professional.  Below are a few that cover some of the locations we will visit

Fredericksburg: https://youtu.be/nJodzkWBjDk

First Manasses: https://youtu.be/SuSO1DHqPk4

The Overland Campaign (Wilderness and Spotsylvania) https://youtu.be/gxJTfwQjixE

Gettysburg: https://youtu.be/DUXpCfcJ7Ng

Antietam: https://youtu.be/_8ybkoGmHww

Websites

I am not going to try and reinvent the wheel.  The following website has the best library of Civil War websites.  It has everything from photo archives, museum links, bio etc. https://www.battlefields.org/civil-war-related-websites

Here is a nice quick overview of some of the best Civil War battlefield to visit. FFC Historical Tours will get you to four of these locations and about seven more battlefields that should have made the list: http://discerninghistory.com/2015/11/top-10-civil-war-battlefields/