Review: Eruption, Steve Olson

Rating: 5 out of 5

High praise for this! Not only did Mr Olson give a thorough overview of the story of (European) human population in the Northwest, but there was a solid coverage of the geologic, economic and environmental history as well. Now, one might wonder why I am emphasising the non-geological aspects here as a volcanic eruption is primarily of course a natural disaster and associated with this discipline. I assure you, however, that I have good reason to do so! Continue reading “Review: Eruption, Steve Olson”

Review: Queens of the Conquest, Alison Weir

Rating: 3 out of 5

I’m one to like a good narrative history, especially of the earlier medieval times in England. However, this book suffered from random jumps in content. I can vividly remember a rather long section on the way bedchambers were set up, for example. It felt, in the majority, that as the queens that the book treated — three Matilda’s and one Maude — have so few facts to describe them, that Ms Weir had to resort to desperate measures to pad out the book. Continue reading “Review: Queens of the Conquest, Alison Weir”

Rating: A Great and Terrible King, Marc Morris

Rating: 3 out of 5

I like what Marc Morris writes — his style is readable, his thoughts proceed in an orderly manner. The last is especially important as unlike his book on John, the story of Edward proceeds in a clear chronological sequence. This is both a blessing and a curse: the overarching thesis seems to be that Edward wasn’t as bad as history makes him out to be. And, yet, the older he gets, the more absolute he wants to reign and the more tyrannical he comes through as well. Continue reading “Rating: A Great and Terrible King, Marc Morris”

Review: The History of Ancient Egypt, Bob Brier

Rating: 4 out of 5

I have found Ancient Egypt interesting for a long while and yet I had not picked up a single book or title to investigate it further. This is partially because I had not had the chance, but also due to it being very difficult to figure out what would adequately cover such a period — three thousand years after all. That being said, this installation ended up being my choice and I don’t regret it. Continue reading “Review: The History of Ancient Egypt, Bob Brier”

Review: The Fortifications of Malta, 1530-1945, Charles Stephenson

Rating: 3 out of 5

I expect more from an Osprey book. I would definitely expect more from an Osprey book that dealt with the islands of Malta. Not only is Malta a perfect place to study 16th to 18th century fortification theory, but the islands are well-documented and the theory behind the various constructions is also well known. At times, the distinction between various phases of fortifications is also not well noted which is a pity as the pre-1565 siege status as opposed to latter fortifications should have been clearly noted. The drawings are, as always, superb. Continue reading “Review: The Fortifications of Malta, 1530-1945, Charles Stephenson”

Review: The Great Swindle, Virginia Cowles

Rating: 3 out of 5

This is a very technical history of the South Sea Crash. As we are dealing with coverage of an economic event, this means that a lot of this text relates to economics though fairly basic ones. Even so, however, I did not find the author’s descriptions of the main characters in the story and the way the manipulated the marked to have been particularly helpful to understanding, and this is my main reason for the low rating.

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Ülevaade: Eesti feldmarssalid, Andres Adamson

Hinnang: 3/5

Võttes raamatu algselt kätte, oli mul tunne, et tegu võiks olla lühidalt hariva looga, mis heidab pilgu Eestimaal (ja Liivi- ja Kuramaal) sündinud, elanud või surnud väejuhtidele. Eks tegelikult raamatul ka selline eesmärk on ning ta seda mõneti saavutab — mis minu jaoks rikkus korralikult lugemiskogemust oli autori pidev sõbramehelik stiil, mis ei lasknud nautida ülevaatlikku teksti, vaid pani pigem mõtisklema sellise kirjutamisstiili üle.

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Review: The Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan

Rating: 2 out of 5

I found that I had a problem with this book. We have a British author who wants to re-centre the world, and yet the book he writes is more Anglo-American than many others. Not only this, the author does not even do courtesy to the Spanish and Portuguese, noting that in those languages the people “call” themselves by other names as if the English version was what the people would have recognised at the time. This hypocrisy surrounds this entire work, though it is not without a saving grace (which I will get to).  Continue reading “Review: The Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan”

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