2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not Jan Morris at her best,
This review is from: Hav (Paperback)
I found this book almost impossible to come to terms with. With a different approach - one that took places and their inhabitants far more seriously - there could have been something worthwhile here, but I found the approach slightly snobbish, often supercilious, annoyingly knowing, and irritatingly British middle class.
Too often in the book, foreigners are treated as objects of amusement, and sometimes of ridicule. Jan Morris uses the opportunity to parade her very considerable and thoroughly admirable knowledge of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern history, but is weak and dismissive when it comes to modern and contemporary developments.
The result, for me at any rate, was sadly superficial. But for many of those who leaf through it on their hotel balconies in foreign parts as the sun goes down, nicely cooled G&T in hand, and an imported copy of The Times lying on the wickerwork table, with the crossword puzzle satisfyingly completed, it could well be a jolly good entertainment.
Those who want to read Jan Morris's writing at its best would be well advised to avoid this rather unsatisfactory attempt at fantasy, and read instead her excellent books on Venice, and especially her first-class survey of the history of the Venetian empire.