rob crawford

"Rob Crawford"
Top Reviewer Ranking: 685
Helpful votes received on reviews: 79% (1,785 of 2,264)
Location: Balmette Talloires, France
In My Own Words:
I am an American freelance writer and live in the French Alps. I write mostly about business, but began as a science journalist in Japan.

Writing reviews of what I am into is a hobby and a way for me to record what I think is most important about the subject. While I take books and political issues very seriously, I do not consider my reviews to be anything but an attempt to be helpful to rea… Read more

history, politics, art, film


Top Reviewer Ranking: 685 - Total Helpful Votes: 1785 of 2264
The Kingdom in the Sun, 1130-1194 by John Julius Norwich
The Kingdom in the Sun, 1130-1194 by John Julius Norwich
Having hugely enjoyed the first volume, I approached this one with great anticipation. People I respected as deep readers of history had recommended these books to me for years, even though it covers, well, a pretty obscure chapter of the middle ages.

The story takes up at the moment when Roger II, the son, has been anointed by the Pope as sovereign of Sicily and a large portion of Southern Italy. Roger II earned this as the only major political leader to support the Pope in a divisive schism, for which he was to prove decisively useful in exchange for the legitimacy conferred. As king, it is he who garners the loyalty by feudal oath and contract of the various lords who are… Read more
Albrecht Durer: His life and work by Marcel Brion
This book covers Durer's life and times and purports to interpret his work. It has an old-fashioned tone to it, a kind of flowery description that glosses over many things yet keeps the reader's interest throughout and is chock full of ideas.

Durer was of Hungarian origin, though was born in Nuremberg. His father was a jeweler, in the craft tradition, and had 18 children. Albrecht was the only one who became an artist, starting with an apprenticeship in his father's workshop, then moving on to successive mentors, first in Germany and then Italy. Each mentor had something unique to offer in technique but also in the ideas of the Renaissance, which Brion covers in sumptuous detail… Read more
Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of t&hellip by Peter Green
This is a massive, endlessly fascinating, 360-degree view of the empires that sprung up in the wake of Alexander the Great's premature death. As the foundational period of Greco-Roman culture, not only is it essential to know, but Green writes with a literary elegance and subtlety that are a constant pleasure. That being said, it is not a book for beginners: the reader should be well versed in Roman and Greek Classical history, e.g., if you know who Sulla and Mithridates are, you will be able to revel in Green's interpretations and references to them and many others. The book is also peppered with foreign words, from French to Latin and ancient Greek, which annoys many American readers but… Read more