Wednesday, September 16, 2009

book reviwe:the isles

Quite good. Davies seeks to provide a history of Great Britain from pre-history until today, while at the same time, debunking the differently biased lenses through which this history has so often been viewed. This polemical aspect of the book is what makes it an experience distinct from another history of the isles.

Davies takes pains to argue against the Roman bias, the Anglican bias, the Imperialist bias, the Whig bias etc.

While you may or may not agree with Davies's interpretation, he always includes the traditional parsing of the narrative before explaining why it is an incorrect, or an inappropriate re-imagining of history.

Be warned that Davies assumes his reader has some sort of pre-existing nuts and bolts understanding of British history, and does not explain personalities or trends that he perhaps feels all his readers (or at least all of his British readers) would be familiar with.

As another reviewer noted, his tendency to use language to tell his story is one that I am philosophically in tuned with. But, frankly, is just sort of irritating when you are reading. For example, he refers to places by what theCelts would have called them (rather than the Romans), and William the conqueror is Guilliame.

Either way, this is an excellent primer for the...intermediate beginner —someone who has some idea of the chronology, but needs it reinforced. Or for someone well versed in British history, looking for a (?) take.


Wiley said...

i hate when people use language to tell a story. unless it's english, then it's ok. if it's a good story.

ben said...