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Benjamin_Disraeli (W Yorkshire, UK)

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The Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of the House of Saud
The Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of the House of Saud
by Said K. Aburish
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed history of the House of Saud, 26 April 2006
Firstly a quick warning, this book was written in 1994 and re-printed in 2005, with only a minor preface detailing the events of the last decade. This book lacks any analysis of the W Bush administrations policies in the Middle East or of the Clinton administrations relations with the House of Saud. An additional chapter detailing the House of Sauds reaction and involvement in the second Iraq war would have been welcome. That said this book is still relevant, given the importance of Saudi Arabia and the House of Saud as the worlds largest exporter of crude oil.

I have read a great deal about the Middle East post-1919 having studied it at University. A lot of books on this subject are superficial, written from a western perspective. This book really gives a detailed insight into the House of Saud, its links with the US and its oil and business dealings. The tone of this book is decidedly against the ruling dynasty but the criticisms are always well supported, which makes the content of this book even more alarming. Aburish's prediction has not yet come about but for a history of the kingdom this is certainly well worth a read.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2011 2:43 AM BST

Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
by John Man
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars changed my perception of one of histories villains, 21 April 2006
This review is from: Genghis Khan (Paperback)
Genghis Khan is an unknown to most in the west, his name only synonymous with death and destruction. John Mann's book gives a stunning insight into the life and conquests of the nomadic conquer. Genghis was not just a butcher but a leader who in the course of his life time created an empire that spanned from Eastern Europe to China, a feat even more amazing given that it was accomplished on horse back. The narrative of the book is spliced with Mann's own visits to the Mongolian steppes, a landscape that has remained constant for hundreds of years. This is not just a book for those interested in military history, although there is plenty here for them as well. It's a journey over an area of the globe whose history and civilisation is alien to most of us in Europe. What ever pre-conceptions you hold regarding Genghis Khan, this book will make you think again.

Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
by Tom Holland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.56

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introdution to Roman history, 21 April 2006
My interest in Rome was recently awoken by a trip around the great city it's self and realisation that I new relatively little about such a huge period in human history. For those of us who attended school in the 1990s, and whose history classes mainly focused on Hitler or the feelings of the English peasantry under the Tudors, then this is a great introduction to the magnificence of the ancient republic. Starting with the founding of the city of Rome under Romulus to the death of the mighty Augustus Caesar, this is a great piece of narrative history.

Too many books taking on great historical periods limply drag from event to event. What Tom Holland has achieved is a history that engages the reader with its vivid descriptions of the streets of ancient Rome and the great men who helped shape them. Those who criticise this book attack its writing style or lack of depth in some areas. Holland does have a rich writing style, which I found fresh, given the dry texts of many history books. The book does move at a hectic speed and the importance of the minor figures can be hard to follow but persevere and this book will be very rewarding. Rome is a huge historical period, and the lack of depth in some areas, only gives the reader an opportunity for further reading having equipped them with the basic facts of the republic.

For those how know the story of Sulla, Caesar, Anthony, Cleopatra and Octavian then buy some thing else. If you went to a school where roman history had long ceased to be taught then buy this book. It sets out the key events and reasons for the collapse of the republic, and as Holland subtly alludes to, the lessons of the great republic have resonance today.

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