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Helpful votes received on reviews: 52% (43 of 82)
Location: London, England


Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,033,830 - Total Helpful Votes: 43 of 82
In The Shadow Of The Sword: The Battle for Global &hellip by Tom Holland
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Overdue!, 16 April 2012
The early history of Islam has seemed like a no-go area for popular writing for years unless, like Karen Armstrong, you hold to the party line. So Holland's thesis is well-researched, ground-breaking and salutory. Best of all, it's not a thesis, it's a STORY, very well told, so the ideas arrive at the right time, and the growing complexity of the tale is not traduced. Best of all, it's witty and generous; and if it annoys some of the more hidebound minds in places like Saudi Arabia [which it surely must, as it argues that Mecca was a place of absolutely no signifiance until the early eighth century, long after the death of the Prophet] well and good. Omelettes and Eggs... this book is long… Read more
A Brief History of Britain 1066-1485 (Brief Histor&hellip by Nicholas Vincent
3 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars None, 11 Mar 2012
This is a very comfused book. Its erudition is not matched by vision or convincing judgement. You would be better off with David Carpenter's Penguin.
The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranea&hellip by David Abulafia
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Patchy, 3 Jan 2012
I started this book with high hopes, but, alas they were not really satisfied until Abulafia reached his own period of mediaeval history, at which point the focus sharpened, the colours brightened, and things went forward briskly. Before that, it was frankly disappointing, probably because it was drawn largely from secondary sources, some of which were quite out of date.

There seemed little discussion of whether there might be a characteristic Mediterranean way of life, or identity, which could embrace the different social groups on the various shores: are Croats like Cretans, or Cilicians or Catanesi or Catalans? And if so how? Of course what most obviously pulls the… Read more