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”

Ordensburg Segewold (Sigulda)

Not having written about any castles in a while, I am not sure my mindset is the same as it was beforehand. I have also been to quite a few historical sites over the last few months, so I am talking from a more general point of view.

Sigulda — or Segewold as it was known beforehand — was an incredibly important Livonian fortress. Not only was it one of the better-fortified sites (and the natural geography of the area is absolutely superb: I would not have wanted to be attacking Segewold in its heyday), but it was also part of the corridor of Order-owned forts which connected their fiefdoms of the north to the south. The neighbouring castles in their majority were owned by the Archbishop of Riga — an enemy at worst, and an unwelcome ally at best. Continue reading “Ordensburg Segewold (Sigulda)”

Review: Prisoners of Geography, Tim Marshall

I recently read Tim Marshall’s ‘Prisoners of Geography’, and this short post here is meant to be a brief look at some points within there that I disagreed with.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Overall, the book is written in a very poetic style — too much so for what it should be like for the topics considered. What is more important, however, is the cluttering of bad phrases and inadequate comparisons which do no justice to the book. Continue reading “Review: Prisoners of Geography, Tim Marshall”

Review: Spitfire, Leo McKinstry

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Spitfire is a plane most everyone can imagine when it gets mentioned. But, really, it is far more than a plane. The Spitfire is a dream that someone dared to dream — and this dream became a reality just in time for the British to make it into their collective saviour in the 1940’s. However, as these things so often begin in another time, the history of the Spitfire reaches back beyond that into the early 20’s, and it is this whole story that Mr McKinstry provides. Continue reading “Review: Spitfire, Leo McKinstry”

Ordensburg Arrasch (Araiši)

Arrasch is a site which is more known for its pre-Christian lake dwelling reconstruction, but the locale also hosted an Ordensburg for many centuries — and indeed this is what I was hoping to describe here. The truth is, however, that we know very little about this place under the order and the ruins which are extant today do not create a mighty impression. We are truly talking about a smaller holding in between the major castles of Cesis (Wenden) and Sigulda (Segewold) with the Order properties hemmed in on either side by the Archbishop of Riga.

Continue reading “Ordensburg Arrasch (Araiši)”

Bischofsburg Ringen (Rõngu)

Rõngu is a small place in Southern Estonia, much like that of Rannu a bit to its north. The one exception, and it is a relevant one, is that the ruins here are situated in a public park (gifted to the local community by one of the Baltic German nobles) — and there is also something here to see. This last bit is potentially the most striking of differences, and though the ruins are not extensive, they are interesting. Continue reading “Bischofsburg Ringen (Rõngu)”

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