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Cicero "Defender" (England)

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32 Houses Later: (A Daughters Tale)
32 Houses Later: (A Daughters Tale)
by Mrs Julie A Wansboro
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Life as an army dependant, 11 May 2014
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Speaking as a former army brat myself, this book really brought back memories of that life. There is great attention to detail and it is presented in a direct, personal, down-to-earth way. You feel as though you are sitting in the author's kitchen in her army quarter and she is telling you one story after the other, some of them very funny, some very sad. Her father was in the Royal Regiment of Wales, and her first and second husbands were/are also soldiers. This has taken her to Germany, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Hong Kong and around the UK. Interwoven with the author's personal story, she gives her own musings on life and recalls the flavour of the times such as what was in the charts, events like the wedding of Charles and Diana, the long hot summer of 1976, and more sadly various IRA shootings and bomb attacks, including some against army personnel affecting people she knew or knew of. I hope there will be more books to come.

Tenor Trombone in Bb + Beginner Pack by Gear4Music
Tenor Trombone in Bb + Beginner Pack by Gear4Music
Offered by Gear4music
Price: 126.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, 1 Sep 2013
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A great kit with everything you need. It has been 35 years since I last touched a trombone, but I watched some YouTube videos then downloaded some sheet music and information about slide positions from the web and am getting tunes out of it already.

The Forbidden Universe: The Occult Origins of Science and the Search for the Mind of God
The Forbidden Universe: The Occult Origins of Science and the Search for the Mind of God
by Lynn Picknett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.19

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science comes full circle, 14 May 2012
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This book is in two parts which add up to a single theme: modern scientists are clawing their way back to insights that were intuitively obvious to medieval thinkers, and before them the ancient Egyptians.

The book's first part describes how the great thinkers who developed the modern scientific worldview, such as Copernicus, Galileo and Newton, took seriously and were inspired by esoteric ideas, especially the Hermetica, a collection of religio-philosophical writings compiled in the early centuries AD. It argues further that the Hermetic writings draw on and express much older concepts taken from ancient Egyptian thought. Finally, it suggests that esoteric concerns became suppressed largely for political reasons, not because scientists saw them as intrinsically without merit, but that this then led to the modern mindset in which spiritual speculations--about the meaning and purpose of the cosmos, its creator and humanity's place within it--are seen as almost diametrically opposed to the mechanistic and materialist scientific method. Of course, many people will know that Newton devoted as much energy to mystical issues like biblical prophecy and the dimensions of Solomon's temple as he did to his theories of optics and gravitation. However, what this part of the book does is show that the influence of esoterica was much more fundamental and far-reaching than we are generally led to believe. It suggests that we have been treated to a sanitised version of scientific history according to which scientists heroically threw off the befuddlement of esoteric thinking, whereas the truth is that early modern scientists could not have done what they did without the groundwork laid by esoteric texts such as the Hermetica. [The statement of one reviewer here that Newton succeeded in spite of not because of his occult influences is precisely what the authors attempt to show is a distorted modern myth.] A key aspect of the argument is that early scientists' problems with the Catholic church stemmed not from the 'scientific' content of their work but from its esoteric underpinnings, which conflicted with Christian orthodoxy and more importantly undermined the church's authority. Thus, Copernicus cited the Hermetica as a source of his heliocentric theory. In his lifetime, the church was not hostile to the specific claim that the earth went round the sun. The pope even listened with interest to a lecture on the subject and it was a Roman cardinal who encouraged Copernicus to go public. The church only became hostile later on because of the close association of the heliocentric theory with the Hermetic world-view and its claims that humans were or could become divine in their own right. That the Catholic church was fighting the Lutheran reformation at this time made it especially touchy about independent theological speculations occurring outside its purview.

The second part of the book describes how modern scientists are increasingly finding that the universe seems to have been contrived (or designed) to support the existence of life. There appear to be numerous quirks in the laws of physics without which anything like the universe we know could not exist. For instance, the triple alpha process that leads to the creation of carbon in stars relies on an apparent coincidence in the energy levels of certain atomic nuclei, and if this were not the case the universe would consist of nothing but hydrogen and helium. Meanwhile, in biology, some crucial events in the history of life, such as the origins of the genetic code or the eukaryotic cell, are very difficult to explain in evolutionary terms and look more not less mysterious as time goes on, with theoreticians having no better explanation than a lucky turn of events. We then move on to quantum mechanics and the 'observer effect' whereby a quantum system's behaviour (specifically whether it acts like a particle or a wave) depends on the way in which it is observed. It seems the observer effect can even work backwards in time: the way a system must have acted in the past depends on how we choose to observe it in the here and now, and, although this has only been demonstrated over very tiny intervals, in principle it might apply on cosmological timescales. This suggests that the universe needs conscious minds to observe it in order to come into existence: not only does our observation of it cause the universe to be one thing or another, rather than a diffuse combination of all possibilities, but this applies back through time to the universe's very beginning even though we weren't ourselves around at that time. These ideas are not the personal ravings of the authors but represent the trains of thought of some very eminent scientists, most notably John Archibald Wheeler. And what is remarkable is how they echo the Hermetica's occult ideas such as that humans have a unique place in creation and are themselves part of the divine creative force.

The neat aspect of this book is that the notions described in the second part as growing out of consideration of modern scientific problems are seen to be very close to the notions of the Hermetic esoterica out of which modern science grew in the first place as described in the first part. I believe very little of this is the authors' own original work, and I would suggest going back to the sources they cite to get a fairer view of how far it is supported by evidence, but what they have done is create an accessible synthesis of a diverse but ultimately connected range of scholarly discoveries and speculations from the last fifty or so years. The proposal that, by being conscious, we are the creators of our own cosmos seems hugely important as a way of unlocking the fundamental conundrum of why the universe should exist at all. That said, such a proposal could be considered philosophically old hat, but this is largely the authors' point: the insights of ancient esoterica get at deep scientific truths and we should not assume that when brilliant minds like Newton took them seriously it was because they did not know what they were doing. The book's implication, that spiritual and materialist ways of understanding reality are not inimical to each other but intimately related, should be welcome to all those who are dissatisfied with the jejune vision of modern militant secularism.

The book has a readable style, good notes, an extensive bibliography and a useful index.

The Women's History of the World (Paladin Books)
The Women's History of the World (Paladin Books)
by Rosalind Miles
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.99

12 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tendentious polemic, 19 Jun 2010
On the first page, we learn that women are the true humans and men are, according to some authority, a biological afterthought. Apparently 'the creation of a male requires the branching off of the divergent "Y" chromosome, seen by some as a genetic error, a "deformed and broken X"'. Now a chromosome is just a molecule. To describe it in emotive terms of errors, deformity and brokenness is, shall we say, tendentious...and as if that has any relevance to human society anyway. Nevertheless, we are further told here that '[t]he woman's egg, several hundred times bigger than the sperm that fertilises it, carries all the genetic messages the child will ever receive'. Anyone with school biology will thereby recognise that the author's grasp of human reproduction lags behind her polemical purpose. But obviously, this is rhetorical tone-setting intended to advertise the kind of book we are in for...a one-sided tract designed to prove that men are inferior, puny, contemptible, indeed sub-human, while women are the epitome of loveliness and perfection, and where it's at as far as the human race is concerned.

You would never guess from this book that any man has ever loved a woman, still less that any woman has ever loved a man. Any suggestion of co-operation and complementarity between the genders is entirely absent. The two sexes are apparently engaged in a bitter struggle for supremacy, where men always fight dirty and, by their evil tricks, have too long cheated women of their original and rightful place as mistresses of the universe. Social institutions are seen here as having been fiendishly constructed and manipulated by men to trap, enslave and humiliate women. It is apparently inconceivable that such social institutions, while perhaps not ideal for either gender, have developed spontaneously to meet the basic needs of both...i.e. needs for sustenance, companionship, family-raising, physical security...let alone that they have done so in a moderately satisfactory way.

Men are here depicted as absolute savages who regard women as mere objects and receptacles for their semen. Women, on the other hand, are all wonderful human beings. There is a kind of schizophrenia running throughout the book. Male achievements are to be contemned as just further examples of men's selfishness and failure to pull their weight on the domestic front. Yet female achievements, of exactly similar nature, are to be celebrated as examples of spunky women overcoming prejudice and disadvantage to strike a blow for the sisterhood. So a diatribe against, say, men's putative 'rage to dominate, downgrade and destroy' is accompanied by a litany of female war-leaders who are held up as role models. Another kind of schizophrenia involves the author's pursuit of two seemingly contradictory themes. On the one hand, women are presented as the human race's real achievers, stronger and more able than men, who have done everything men ever did, in every field, while also having the babies and doing far more than their fair share of the housework. On the other hand, women are presented as perennial victims, whom men somehow effortlessly marginalise and control. But these themes are not really contradictory. The victim theme underpins and validates the high-achiever theme, explaining why women's overachievement appears as underachievement in the traditional history books, whose male authors so callously and thoughtlessly dealt with male concerns and saw the world through male eyes.

It is often those who are most vocal in condemning perversion who actually harbour the biggest perversions. Similarly women who condemn men for thinking with their penises often seem themselves to have an obsession with male genitalia. Here the author waves around the charmless word 'phallocracy'. This renders men's possession of a fleshy appendage as the chief, possibly the sole, factor in their supposed pre-eminence, thus obscuring the notion that it might have anything to do with other male qualities, perhaps concerning character, temperament or ability to form particular types of relationship with fellow men. It also places the whole burden for allegedly phallocratic social structure on men. That female behaviour patterns might contribute to so-called phallocracy is rendered inadmissible and unexplorable.

The author's basic thesis is this. Among early humans, women ruled ok. The evidence is the ancient goddess cult and ethnographic data showing that women's work supplies the majority of calories consumed in food-collecting societies. Of course, men still boorishly threw their weight about and were annoyingly unappreciative of women's qualities, but on the whole things were relatively good. This happy situation was perturbed by the arrival of 'patriarchy'. The entire male gender somehow banded together and set about oppressing women with a passion. Society resolved itself into two definite layers: men on top, women very much on the bottom. We all know this story, how men used their greater physical strength to keep women in their place, preventing them from writing Shakespeare's plays, painting Da Vinci's paintings, composing Mozart's symphonies, or discovering Newton's gravity, which they obviously otherwise would have done. The situation is only now beginning to ameliorate as a new breed of women force men to accept a reinvention of society along female-empowering lines, albeit that there is still a long way to go.

There are so many unexamined assumptions here...That only women have to overcome prejudice and opposition (tell that to Van Gogh, or to Cantor, whose set theory is now recognised as the basis of all mathematics but who died in a madhouse after it was rejected by his 19th century contemporaries, or to Mozart, buried in a pauper's grave). That only women suffer because of their gender (tell that to the male slaves whose life expectancy was measured in weeks in the ancient Greek silver mines, or to the countless adolescent boys conscripted to fight in wars they did not start or even believe in). That women are the only people written out of history (tell that to the anonymous soldiers and peasants who made possible the achievements of the heroes we read about in the history books; the deeper fallacy is that the lives of exceptional men are fair measures of the lives of ordinary men). That men as a class act against women as a class (I think of a 19th century photograph of a Chinese lady being carried in a litter by two ill-dressed, underfed male servants; in what sense is she the victim of their oppression?). That power in society depends on physical dominance (few rulers or military leaders, men or women, are physically stronger than those they command; if physical strength were all that mattered, elephants would dominate).

There is also industrial-scale cherry-picking of facts in the interests of painting a relentless picture of women's subjection to men's barbarity. To make a point about women's perceived disposability in medieval times, the author quotes an episode from the sixth century chronicler 'Geoffrey [sic] of Tours', in which the female lover of a lecherous priest is burned alive while he is spared. It would presumably come as a surprise to the author that Gregory of Tours is not exactly regarded by historians as a writer of reportage, and that there is a huge academic literature on his agendas and narrative techniques. In "Those terrible middle ages! Debunking the myths", the historian Régine Pernoud argued that the middle ages were actually a high point in women's rights. She is not necessarily correct, but there is obviously a debate there. However, source criticism and ambiguities of interpretation are niceties easily overlooked when one approaches one's material with a chip on one's shoulder.

I could go on, but readers of this review will know by now how I feel. So let me end by saying that this is nevertheless a book worth having if you are interested in perspectives that challenge the woman-free history we tend to imbibe at school and in the media. The author has collated a lot of interesting and thought-provoking facts, and presents them in a well-organised thematic way. If you are a woman, you will also be able to take a warm bath in your own prejudices and chauvinisms. If you are a man, you will have to steel yourself against the unrelieved misandry. Whatever sex you are, you should be aware this is partisan rather than a thoughtful attempt to write a 'women's history of the world', and you are also probably well advised not to place any great reliance on the author's specific information without first checking either the original sources or more nuanced historical works.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2013 2:13 PM GMT

In Search of Herne the Hunter
In Search of Herne the Hunter
by Eric Fitch
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough but needs to identify its sources, 11 Feb 2010
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I was somewhat disappointed when I received this, as it has the look and feel of a self-published work, although it is not in fact self-published (see the publishers' website to get a feel for their operation). However, if you want to learn about Herne the Hunter (and why else would you be buying this book) then it is all here - every possible theory and angle. The big drawback is the lack of references. There is a bibliography and the author to some extent discusses his sources in the text, but too often he introduces important facts without saying where he got them from - we need precise works and page numbers. So, if you just want a light read about the Herne legend, this will suit you to a tee. But if you are interested in Herne as part of some bigger piece of research, this will alert you to important issues but it will still leave you to do your own leg-work in tracking down chapter and verse.

The author's thesis is that the Herne legend draws on a number of mythological themes, including the ancient horned deity (Cernunnos), the sacred oak, Woden's self-sacrifice, and the "wild hunt" in which the devil gathers souls. These ideas have been covered elsewhere, but the author draws them together in a compendious way (although the book is still relatively short).

The Tribes of Britain
The Tribes of Britain
by David Miles
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.69

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile and informative though tangential and agendaed, 11 Feb 2010
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This review is from: The Tribes of Britain (Paperback)
If you are thinking of buying this book, I would certainly recommend it as great value for money. It is lucid and packed with interesting facts about every era of British history, so you are bound to have your mind expanded in some way.

The author was Chief Archaeologist of English Heritage and brings a huge amount of personal knowledge and experience to the subject - he seems to have done one or other excavation relevant to practically every subject he talks about, and to have spent time all over the British Isles.

The basic idea of the book is to start at the beginning and talk about the successive waves of people who have come to the British Isles - from the pre-H. sapiens Boxgrove man of 500,000 years ago, via the first modern humans arriving after the last glacial maximum, the Celts, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings, the Normans, the Huguenots, the East European Jews, the West Indians who came on the Windrush in 1948, and the Ugandan Asians, up to the Somalis arriving as we speak.

The trouble is that the author continually loses focus and the book degenerates into a (very readable and original) social history of Britain. At one point, after reading several pages on the Vikings in Iceland, I thought "hang on, what has this got to do with the matter in hand?" The answer is, not a lot; the author just got carried away retailing his knowledge of the Viking migrations - but it was interesting all the same.

As far as the book's ostensible purpose is concerned - i.e. the ethnic make-up of the British population and how it got to be that way - it all ends up being rather vague. This is no doubt a reflection of the fact that no one really knows to what extent, say, Anglo-Saxon invaders displaced an existing British population; people argue about it but there are no definitive answers. The author makes some passing references to DNA studies, but he does not much use them in his main narrative. On the other hand, those who do use the DNA to build a picture of the biological origins of the British population (e.g. Stephen Oppenheimer) can seem to be missing the point when they imply that their forensic accounts of ancient migrations explain who we are and render conventional history and archaeology obsolete. Surely, it is things like the Roman period, the Norman invasion and the arrival of the Huguenots that are truly relevant to understanding modern British society, not what we've got on our Y-chromosomes. It doesn't matter whether I'm biologically descended from the Normans or not - the way I live is still shaped by their legacy. In this respect, the present author, by focusing on the social effects of the migrations rather than on numbers and percentages, can be said to supply a good antidote to the "DNA fundamentalists".

For me the most annoying aspect of the book is the underlying "right on" attitude. This is something it is hard to put your finger on, but there is a subliminal tendency towards looking down on the people of the past who did not share our modern concerns for equality and human rights regardless of class, gender, race or sexual orientation. It sometimes seems that the author's basic thesis is that the British are and always have been racists. On the one hand, he describes how Britain has repeatedly accepted refugees and taken a principled stance over things like the slave trade, but on the other he also makes sure to mention lynchings and rabid rhetoric against blacks or Irish Catholics etc., sometimes quoting extremists as if they represented mainstream opinion. You could say this is balanced but the scales always seem to tip slightly towards representing the British as peculiarly hostile to outsiders. In other words, there is a bit of a guilt trip involved. To give an example, with reference to Britain's Aliens Act of 1905, which restricted immigration for the first time, we are told the Tory government "succumbed to...pressure" and "xenophobia was made respectable" - a rather loaded statement betraying little sympathy for the concerns (misguided or not) that lay behind the act. By contrast, we are told simply that there were "restrictions on entry to the United States as a result of the McCarron Act [sic] of 1952"; i.e. when it comes to the US we get a neutral statement with no mention of anyone succumbing to xenophobic pressures (pp. 429, 441).

To finish on a positive note, one thing I liked about the book was the author's eye for detail. When he mentions the Huguenots, for example, he takes the trouble to explain where the word comes from (actually two competing theories), and this is typical throughout. He explains why and when ideas, names and practices arose so that dimly remembered factoids from one's schooldays begin to slot into place and make sense.

Overall, it's not quite what it says on the tin, but it remains an interesting perspective on the history of the British Isles.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2011 8:57 PM GMT

Global Environments through the Quaternary: Exploring Environmental Change
Global Environments through the Quaternary: Exploring Environmental Change
by David E. Anderson
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview, 31 May 2009
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This is a good text-book-style coverage of climatic changes over the quaternary (from 1.8 million yrs ago to the present), and of the implications for vegetation, wildlife and humans. The authors take account of the controversy over the start of the quaternary (some date it to 2.6 million yrs ago) without coming down either way, and generally try to present an impartial view of the field and its ongoing debates.

The first chapter explains, in historical perspective, the discovery/reconstruction of geological periods in general, the quaternary in particular, and ice ages. The second chapter explains the various kinds of evidence that can be used to reconstruct past climates. This assumes some knowledge of concepts in physical geography. Although there is a glossary at the back, it by no means contains all the specialist terms used. However, you can look up specific words in a dictionary, and otherwise the text is perfectly accessible to the layman. This remains an overview, and, though the detail is reasonably satisfying, there are repeated statements to the effect 'that is beyond the scope of this book'. Therefore, if you want to understand a particular technique or kind of evidence in detail, you will need a specialist text. References for further reading at the end of each chapter provide a starting point in this respect.

The next five chapters contain a narrative of climatic/environmental changes, sub-divided in several ways. First, mid to high latitudes (chap 3) and low latitudes (chap 4) up to the beginning of the holocene (i.e. the last glacial retreat, 11,500 yrs ago). Next, the holocene, covering the world as a whole (chap 5). Then a chapter (6) dedicated to the last century or so, when climatic changes are known from actual meteorological records, and finally a chapter (7) specifically on sea level changes over the entire period. Although this narrative covers the whole earth and the whole quaternary, it is very patchy. This, no doubt, reflects the present state of knowledge. I was hoping for something that would show me, millennium by millennium, a snapshot of the world as a whole. Instead, the authors jump around, focusing on times (e.g. the last glacial maximum) or places (e.g. North American lakes) that have been studied intensively. They also rely on material from the Quaternary Environments Network, which is freely available on the web, and the book's patchiness reflects the patchiness of the QEN site. Nevertheless, the book contains enough extra material to be still a very worthwhile purchase, and I would certainly recommend it. I found it helpful to have something that hangs together as a complete text, to supplement what I could glean from the internet.

The penultimate chapter discusses the implications of past climates for human biological and social evolution. For me, this is a particular area of interest. It is a huge subject, of course, and the chapter is just a taster, but it is a welcome inclusion in the book.

The last chapter describes the numerous mechanisms that have been proposed as causes of climatic change. It is mostly neutral on the merits of different theories, except that the authors seem convinced by the Milankovitch theory of variations in the earth's orbital parameters (which affect insolation) being a fundamental driver and creating cyclical patterns in climate. While they are fair and discuss the problems (e.g. they reference the book 'Weather cycles: real or imaginary?' by W. Burroughs), I was disappointed they did not talk more about climate as a chaotic system with its own dynamic. The authors also seem to endorse that contemporary shibboleth, anthropogenic climate change, and, having brought the subject up, do disappointingly little to expose the complexities of what is treated so superficially in public discourse. That said, their references to the topic are mercifully few.

I have found the book a useful source for my own research. It provides a broad/shallow treatment for the non-specialist, and is an effective starting place for anyone wanting to know about past climates of the last two million years.

History's Great Untold Stories: Obscure Events of Lasting Importance
History's Great Untold Stories: Obscure Events of Lasting Importance
by Joseph Cummins
Edition: Paperback

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and thought-provoking, 7 Jan 2009
I initially bought this as a Christmas present, but just as I was about to wrap it up I had a quick flick through and I thought, "Hey, there are lots of incredibly interesting snippets in here". So I'm afraid I decided to keep it and read it myself. I am glad I did. We usually get history as sweeping narrative. Cummins gives us it as little vignettes, so that we see history up close but in a way that helps make sense of much bigger processes. As his title suggests, he seeks out the more obscure and unsung characters, showing history as more three-dimensional than the simplifying and summarising accounts we get taught at school. For example, he tells us about Rabban Sauma, an emissary of the Mongols who travelled to France in the 13th century, bringing contact between east and west before Marco Polo. I found the chapter on the assassination of William the Silent interesting because of its modern parallels. William the Silent was the first political leader to be assassinated by a hand-gun, and this touched off a political hysteria as Europe's rulers, suddenly realising how vulnerable they were to the new technology, saw plots everywhere and legislated madly (I epitomise drastically). This is typical of the book. It makes us see both past and present in unsuspected but revealing perspectives.

The Real Middle-Earth: Magic and Mystery in the Dark Ages
The Real Middle-Earth: Magic and Mystery in the Dark Ages
by Brian Bates
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful evocation of Anglo-Saxon mentalities, 16 Oct 2008
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Yes, one can level fair criticisms at the scholarship of this book, as some reviews have done. In the acknowledgements, Brian Bates thanks one colleague for sharing with him "her visions of the Celtic Otherworld, and also her sensitive insights into King Redwald". Obviously, "visions" and "sensitive insights" are not redolent of academic objectivity. Bates takes us on journeys through his own emotions and imagination - finding the ancient yew or contemplating the mounds at Sutton Hoo. He plunders Tolkien's writings to back up his account, as though this work of 20th century fiction is on a par with original documentary sources. The Tolkien stuff, along with discussion of Celtic, Norse and high/late-medieval material, could be regarded as so much padding, compensating for the limited sources for his real, central concern, namely the imaginative world of the 5-7th century Anglo-Saxons.

But if we process all that, and accept what kind of book we are dealing with, Bates offers us an original, powerful and highly credible insight into the mindset of the people who occupied England after the withdrawal of Roman rule. He conjures up a sort of post-apocalyptic scenario, with the Anglo-Saxons living a very simple life in small villages of wooden huts close to the forest edge, while surrounded by the decaying monuments of a superior but failed civilization - the abandoned Roman towns, crumbling, increasingly overgrown and the haunt of ghosts and wild animals. He is interesting about the way the Anglo-Saxons saw their 'greener' kind of society not as a regression but as a deliberate rejection of the arrogance of Roman civilization, which had, after all, proved unsustainable.

Bates has a talent for getting us into the thoughts and attitudes of people in this highly obscure period, and making their outlook seem quite logical and understandable. His discussion of the Anglo-Saxon poem, 'The Ruin', brings out very well the sense of loss and resignation. And I have always found Beowulf absurd and rather boring, but Bates makes it so vivid and visual that it is almost like watching a film (which has now been made).

I would not recommend anyone to quote this book in their PhD thesis. But I would still think even academic historians could gain a lot from it. It may not be how the Anglo-Saxons actually thought, but it is a very coherent interpretation of how they might have thought, and, in this respect, it allows a person to look at the period with new eyes.

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