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D. Halliday (Scotland)
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Western Civilization Bites Back
Western Civilization Bites Back
by Jonathan Bowden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Musings on art, philosophy, history and culture, 20 Jan. 2015
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Musings on art, philosophy, history and culture from Jonathan Bowden.

Although there are some short sections containing republished articles, most of the book consists of transcribed verbally delivered lectures or in one case, a radio interview. Inevitably, this tends to be more verbose and harder to follow than what has been carefully written.

The material covers mainly 20th century trends in culture, concentrating particularly on the Frankfurt School, Bill Hopkins and the Angry Young Men of the 1950's and post-war German cinema.

It seems to me that Jonathan Bowden had a lot of interesting things to say about art but not quite so much about politics and his explanation of the Frankfurt School is not the best available. Overall, I thought it was worthwhile.


A History of Everyday Life in Scotland, 1600 to 1800
A History of Everyday Life in Scotland, 1600 to 1800
by Elizabeth A Foyster
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.34

4.0 out of 5 stars More modern than Smout but perhaps not as cohesive., 17 Jan. 2015
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The structure of the book is theme based chapters, each chapter by a different author. The chapters are:

Everyday Structures, Rhythms and Spaces of the Scottish Countryside
Improvement and Modernisation in Everyday Enlightenment Scotland
Death, Birth and Marriage in Early Modern Scotland
Illness, Disease and Pain
Necessities: Food and Clothing in the Long Eighteenth Century
Communicating
Order and Disorder
Sensory Experiences: Smells, Sounds and Touch
Beliefs, Religions, Fears and Neuroses
Movement, Transport and Travel
Work, Time and Pastimes

There tends to be more concentration on the end of the period, perhaps because the sources are better but generally, each chapter has some comment on change over the period in question.
This is part of a series covering mediaeval times up until the present.

Although each chapter is by a different author, this is a serious academic work with a high standard of readability, rigour and there are very good references. I do get the feeling however that a single author might have produced something more cohesive. It's more modern and slicker than Smout but I felt Smout gave me a better understanding of how things changed over the period. Perhaps they could profitably be read together.

This is the Smout's A History of the Scottish People, 1560-1830

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-History-Scottish-People-1560-1830/dp/0006860273/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top


Court, Kirk and Community: Scotland, 1470-1625 (New History of Scotland): Scotland, 1470-1625 (New History of Scotland) by Jenny Wormald (1991) Paperback
Court, Kirk and Community: Scotland, 1470-1625 (New History of Scotland): Scotland, 1470-1625 (New History of Scotland) by Jenny Wormald (1991) Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good but quite expensive for a fairly short and dated book, 17 Jan. 2015
This is a wee bit dated now but this fairly short book presents a good overview of Scotland in the Reformation period with particular regard to politics and religion.

The author is extremely hostile to Mary Stewart but in this particular book, that's a very peripheral flaw.

Although there's nothing important to criticise about Wormald's book, for a similar price, Jane Dawson's more modern and more substantial book on the same subject matter seems a better choice eg.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scotland-Re-formed-1488-1587-Edinburgh-History/dp/0748614559/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_w


Court, Kirk and Community: Scotland, 1470-1625 (New History of Scotland): Scotland, 1470-1625 (New History of Scotland) by Jenny Wormald (1991) Paperback
Court, Kirk and Community: Scotland, 1470-1625 (New History of Scotland): Scotland, 1470-1625 (New History of Scotland) by Jenny Wormald (1991) Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good but quite expensive for a fairly short and dated book, 17 Jan. 2015
This is a wee bit dated now but this fairly short book presents a good overview of Scotland in the Reformation period with particular regard to politics and religion.

The author is extremely hostile to Mary Stewart but in this particular book, that's a very peripheral flaw.

Although there's nothing important to criticise about Wormald's book, for a similar price, Jane Dawson's more modern and more substantial book on the same subject matter seems a better choice eg.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scotland-Re-formed-1488-1587-Edinburgh-History/dp/0748614559/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_w


Scruffs Ranger Donut Pet Bed, Antique Brown, 76cm
Scruffs Ranger Donut Pet Bed, Antique Brown, 76cm
Price: £34.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too comfortable to waste on a dog, 16 Jan. 2015
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Too comfortable to waste on a dog, it makes a cosy pillow for reading and watching TV. I got the biggest size which is still going to be too small for the biggest dogs.


A History of Scotland [DVD]
A History of Scotland [DVD]
Dvd ~ Neil Oliver
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why oh why cover maps with clouds?, 16 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: A History of Scotland [DVD] (DVD)
Great photography, beautiful scenery, quite good presentation, unfortunate though understandable simplification of certain issues... this series is high quality and since there doesn't seem to be much alternative, can be strongly recommended.

The scenes of dripping blood, spilt wine and soldiers dressing for battle which are repeated quite often throughout the narration can get a bit tedious. Another serious annoyance was the ridiculous computer generated map displays. Not only did they twirl around from unpredictable directions (perhaps the makers thought the convention of showing north at the top is boring?) but they were covered in clouds! CLOUDS! If you want to show the viewer where something is, just show us the map! Just because Scotland is usually covered in clouds doesn't mean the map has to be too.

Neil Oliver isn't bad at all (some of the actors aren't quite so good though). He's very earnest, quite charismatic but he's not really a historian and it's a bit unconvincing that he pretends to be. Never mind, the material was written with the consultation of real experts so apart from the simplifications to save us from confusing complication, it's quite good.


Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I
Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I
by Michael S. Neiberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Description of attitudes before and after the outbreak of war, 16 Jan. 2015
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It's not obvious from the title or cover but this is not a general book about how World War I. It looks in detail through quotes and examples (rather than statistics) at the evolution of attitudes towards politics, enemies and the the international situation of (mainly) ordinary people leading up to the outbreak of war and more briefly, how these attitudes changed afterwards.

It certainly doesn't analyse political and diplomatic decisions to explain how the war came about - not a problem of course except that it's not really clear until you read it.

It doesn't really try to analyse attitudes statistically either so it's hard to know to what extent the endless examples represented are really representative.

It's not a bad book, it gives some feeling of popular attitudes but it's not as useful as I was hoping and I didn't feel like I really learnt a lot from a relatively long book.


Scotland Revisited (A History Today Book)
Scotland Revisited (A History Today Book)
by Jenny Wormald
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collection of essays by academic historians looking at various aspects of early modern Scotland, 16 Jan. 2015
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This is a collection of essays by academic historians looking at various aspects of late mediaeval/early modern Scotland and the Scottish Reformation. It's quite short but the essays are on eclectic, specific topics.

It's not the book to get if you want to know about Scotland generally, it's not a good summary of early modern Scotland, it's really aimed at those who already have some understanding of early modern Scotland and are interested in improving this understanding without trying to answer any particular question.. and for this purpose, it's excellent.

Wormald was the editor but only wrote one of the essays.


The Long European Reformation: Religion, Political Conflict, and the Search for Conformity, 1350-1750 (European History in Perspective)
The Long European Reformation: Religion, Political Conflict, and the Search for Conformity, 1350-1750 (European History in Perspective)
by Professor Peter G. Wallace
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fairly dense but overall, a very good summary packed in to relatively few pages, 16 Jan. 2015
This is a fairly dense overview of the Reformation, covering the whole of Europe (including Britain) which is probably a good starting point to the Reformation rather than reading about a particular country's experience before having such an overview.

When I did the OU course which requires this book, a lot of people complained that it was too dry and hard to read but I didn't find it too bad and I don't think any book could really cover the material properly without being fairly dense.

The author takes a fairly neutral, academic viewpoint (I think) whereas certain other authors have a bit too much bias for one side or the other. Overall, I think it's very good and I found it useful to refer back to for a European context when I was later looking in to the Reformation in Scotland specifically.

but overall, a very good summary packed in to relatively few pages


Slavery and the Numbers Game: A Critique of Time on the Cross (Blacks in the New World)
Slavery and the Numbers Game: A Critique of Time on the Cross (Blacks in the New World)
by Herbert G. Gutman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.49

4.0 out of 5 stars It had a job to do, it did it but it's only for a reader with a specialist interest in cliometrics, 13 Jan. 2015
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This book was written for a very specific purpose, as rebuttal to Time on the Cross, a cliometric investigation of American slavery:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Cross-Economics-American-Slavery/dp/0393312186/ref=sr_1_1

When it was published, Time on the Cross received wide public acclaim despite its severe flaws (see my separate review of that book). Therefore, a detailed critique was justified and this book by Gutman is it.

It was written to do a job that needed to be done, made its point and (to my satisfaction), did a good job of settling the argument. This doesn't make it a particularly useful or fascinating book for the general reader however; if you want to know about slavery in the American South, this isn't really the right book for you .... maybe this would a better choice:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Roll-Jordan-World-Slaves-Vintage/dp/0394716523/ref=sr_1_1

If you're particularly interested in the development of cliometrics however, you might find it worthwhile to read in conjunction with Time on the Cross.

If you’re doing a cliometric study yourself, then I think this book would be a very worthwhile warning of potential mistakes to avoid.


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