15 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Spoilt by Amateur (and Immature) Writing Style.
, 3 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom (Hidden History) (Paperback)
This book is considerably diminished by the authors choice of descriptive content. His over familiarity with his readers destroys any sense of gravitas or authority that the book could have conveyed and reduces the work to the level of a popular magazine - Chatty and inconsequential. This destroys any confidence in the author. In my experience people who read subjects as specialised and obscure as works concerning dark ages Northumbria expect a certain level of seriousness.
The introduction starts with a quote from a song.
"Remember when you were young. You shone like the sun".
(Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd)
There seems to be no particular relevence to this quote and I believe it was an example of misplaced informality that demonstrates the authors lack of literary maturity and tendency towards self indulgent content.
Gething (the author) then explains that Northumbria no longer exists but Northumberland does, but much further north than the Humber River that originality delineated its southern border and was the basis of its name.
"...like calling Canada North Mexico...."
To me this level of explanation shows a worrying lack of belief in the intelligence of his readership.
This book does not appear to be aimed at school children but much of the language in the introduction does seem to expect readers of 8 to 12 years old.
"Northumbria used to be bigger.....Before Northumbria's kings, the other rulers of the kingdoms of Britain used to bend their knee and offer their homage. To put it bluntly: Geordies ruled us all."
The oversimplification of this sentence is only matched by the crassness of the sentiment.
At this point I started to feel that this book had been marketed dishonestly and was far more suitable for children and people with an excess of regional pride/local interest than serious students of history.
A title such as:
"Away The Romans, Angles, Saxons and Vikings, Pet"
And a cover as equally lacking in subtlety (such as a stereotypical barbarian in a black and white football top) would have demonstrated this particular books attitude and level.
An interest in the historic formation of Northern England is a very different thing to an interest in the Ant, Dec, Gazza, Jimmy Nail, loud mouthed fantasists, Peas Pudding, the long term unemployed and other nauseating realities of todays Newcastle.
And this crass book has far more to do with the Jordan and Jade Goody celebrity scene of the modern UK than of early medieval Northumbria.
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