Customer Review

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Either too short or too long, 19 July 2010
This review is from: The Horses Of St Marks: A Story of Triumph in Byzantium, Paris and Venice (Paperback)
The biggest problem with this book is its lack of focus. It could have used the horses to explain classical metal casting techniques and sculpted art in which case it is way too long. Or it could have used the horses as a symbol of the changes in Western European history over 2,000 in which case it is way too short. The book tries to do both but ends up not doing either justice.

The best way to describe this book is it is like having a chat with a friend who is really passionate about a topic. Consequently what is being said is interesting but the info jumps around all over the place and you are not sure what the point is.

The book itself is quite short and yet the first 70 odd pages are on what a 4 horse drawn carriage meant in classical civilisations (which was genuinely interesting) but you start to wonder how many more examples of triumphs need to be used.

Charles Freeman admits this has been a life long interest and you can tell but I don't know how this book ever got published. I have no idea who it is written for (other than for the author) and the book itself has no real point because it falls so spectacularly between the 2 areas it should have concentrated on. It's not badly written and the facts are interesting it's just I am not sure what its purpose is- a curiosity of a book.

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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Dec 2010 15:56:03 GMT
Interesting take on my book. it is very different from what I normally write and , yes, there is a conversational feel to it. Yet some people say that it is their favourite among my books. Horses of St. Mark's for courses, I suppose!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Dec 2010 09:17:31 GMT
J. Duducu says:
I am honoured you commented on my review. Thank you. I always try and be fair in my reviews. It frustrates me when I am trying to work out if I should make a purchase and all you have is endless 5 star reviews from undemanding fanboys on an item that you can tell is not a prefect product. Or there is a venomous hater ranting at everyone, constantly throwing up 1 star reviews- neither is helpful feedback to the consumer. As you can see from the review I didn't dislike the book, it's fun and when I get to see the horses I will feel better equipped to appreciate them. I was wavering between the 2 and 3 star scoring but ultimately as by the end of the book I still didn't quite know what the central point was I erred on the side of caution.

If you want to see what I mean about nutty debates on Amazon then I urge you to have a peak here-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/0330352121/ref=cm_cr_dp_hist_1?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2011 08:59:30 GMT
J. Duducu. I have just seen your reply -thanks- it may interest you to look at the reviews I have had in the States ( on Amazon.com) and you will see what I mean about people seeing the book in different ways!
You are right about the five star fan club- it seems particularly bad in the UK- in fact the Society of Authors had an article saying that no one took Amazon reviews seriously any more and I know of one or two poor books that have got puffed by friends of the author well beyond what they deserved. So I appreciate your efforts to present your own views. Best wishes, Charles
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3.7 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)
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J. Duducu
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Location: Ruislip

Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,063