on 10 September 2011
Almost 1 year after reading this book, I felt somewhat compelled to revisit the stories, and in the process refresh my review of the book. The gist of the feelings remain same: these stories try to associate certain locations with the ravages of violence & sadism in the past, so-much-so that at the slightest opportunity their long shadows (and on many occasions, the past perpetrators themselves) come back and affect the present. Some of them succeed to such an unnerving extent that you would be feeling rather extra-careful when you visit some of the locations (liberties have been taken, but that has made the 'spot-the-place' more attractive & dangerous) mentioned in the stories. Some of them feel contrived and simply created to give an idea somewhat bigger shape. But in all the stories, the researches have been Paul Finch's trademark, with the dull & routinely learned historical facts brought back to life with a vibrancy & violence that books (and even documentaries) would never be able to achieve.
The contents of this collection are:
(*) Introduction: A Welter of Lore: a snap-shot view of the history of Great Britain and the way the memories & legends of numerous people have got merged here.
1) The Killing Ground: A Story of the Midlands
2) The Gallows in My Garden: A Story of East Anglia
3) Be He Alive, Be He Dead: A Story of London
4) Tregeagle's Cove: A Story of Cornwall
5) The Crannog: A Story of Wales
6) This Place: A Story of the South Coast
7) Bloody Essex: A Story of the Home Counties
8) In the Black & Stinking Fume: A Story of Scotland
9) The Moon Rising Red: A Story of Northern England
(*) Story Notes
I encourage you to read this collection (it has gone out-of-print but used copies may be available from other retailers), and develop your own impressions. But if you have ever felt curious about the history of Great Britain, and about how deep the scars are that have been left in her fabric by the events of the past, then this is the book for you.