Review: Otherlands (2022) by Thomas Halliday

Assessment 9 out of 10 This is a superb book. It describes different worlds on earth in increasingly deep time, starting with the most recent and delving into the most different and furthest away from us in time. Halliday comments on the place value of ecosystems, our expectation of what we are familiar with, noting Continue reading Review: Otherlands (2022) by Thomas Halliday

Review; The Gates of Europe; a History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy(2015) Assessment 8 out of 10

Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard. Hrushevsky himself was a Ukrainian politician and historian, who wrote 10 volumes covering Ukrainian-Rus up to 1660. At 354 pages, plus notes and glossary etc, this makes The Gates of Europe a tearing rush of a book.  Indeed the earlier chapters on steppe tribes Continue reading Review; The Gates of Europe; a History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy(2015) Assessment 8 out of 10

Human Evolution: A Pelican Introduction by Robin Dunbar (2014) Assessment 10 out of 10

Dunbar is an anthropologist, specialist in primate behaviour and evolutionary psychologist, a polymath.  Relying on on his original research, although described as an Introduction, this is not an easy read. You can sense Dunbar thinking out the questions and possible answers when considering human and hominin evolution against the theories he developed and tested. Time Continue reading Human Evolution: A Pelican Introduction by Robin Dunbar (2014) Assessment 10 out of 10

AnthroVision; How Anthropology can Explain Business and Life by Gillian Tett (2022) Assessment 9 out of 10

I enjoyed & learnt from Anthrovision.  It explains anthropology and its relevance. You listen and watch, until you go, “Oh like that”.  The oddity of western views is highlighted. The WEIRD, western, educated, individualistic, rich & democratic approach, is the exception not the rule. Oddly we think of ourselves based on what we do, not Continue reading AnthroVision; How Anthropology can Explain Business and Life by Gillian Tett (2022) Assessment 9 out of 10

Review; “The Frontiers of Imperial Rome” by David Breeze (2011) Assessment 8 out of 10

 Rome didn’t originally have frontiers. Virgil described an Empire without limits, so were the frontiers symbols of failure, that there were limits?  In the early Empire forts were lightly defended. Given Roman soldiers’ reputation they did not expect to be attacked. Roman frontiers differed between those in the Near East and elsewhere. In the Near Continue reading Review; “The Frontiers of Imperial Rome” by David Breeze (2011) Assessment 8 out of 10

Review: Britons and Anglo-Saxons; Lincolnshire AD 400-650 by Caitlin Green (2020) Assessment 9 out of 10

Lindsey has been described as a forgotten Anglo Saxon Kingdom. Proofs that it existed: Genealogy of its kings preserved in an 8th Century collection Bede refers to it as a Provincia, the term he uses for Anglo-Saxon kingdoms Up to the 9th century it had its own bishop, indicative of being a former kingdom The Continue reading Review: Britons and Anglo-Saxons; Lincolnshire AD 400-650 by Caitlin Green (2020) Assessment 9 out of 10

Review: The Anarchy; the relentless rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple (2020) Assessment 9 out of 10

This is a wonderful book showing both deep research and deep knowledge of India. It concentrates on the last fifty years of the 18th Century in which the East India Company seized territories, which were parts of the Moghul Empire and around which the British Raj was formed. A work of detailed narrative history, Dalrymple Continue reading Review: The Anarchy; the relentless rise of the East India Company by William Dalrymple (2020) Assessment 9 out of 10

Review:“I am an Island” by Tamsin Calidas (2020) Assessment 3 out of 10

I am sorry but fundamentally I did not like this book. It is well written, so you read paragraphs impressed by the writing style, but begin to tire as you learn nothing new and nothing happens. I would start a chapter with enthusiasm, but then skimmed through to the end, hoping that something was going Continue reading Review:“I am an Island” by Tamsin Calidas (2020) Assessment 3 out of 10

Review: City of Djinns; a Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple (1993) Assessment 10 out 10

Djinns are spirits, representng pagan beliefs, which were integrated into Islam. The name was anglicised as genie. This is a wonderful book by a wonderful writer. Dalrymple lived in Delhi, with his young wife, the artist Olivia Fraser, who provided the book’s numerous sketches. Some passages are very funny covering their relationships, including with their Continue reading Review: City of Djinns; a Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple (1993) Assessment 10 out 10

Review: East West Street; On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity by Philippe Sands (2016) Assessment 9 out of 10

This is a great book. It reads like a thriller. It is at the same time a study of legal theory, territorial and urban history and a multiple cross generational biography. The legal theory concerns the formulation in international law of crimes against humanity and genocide. Both can be committed by states, but are visited Continue reading Review: East West Street; On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity by Philippe Sands (2016) Assessment 9 out of 10