Top critical review
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Only good as a starting point
on 25 June 2009
The author begins by laying out his method and reasons for writing the book and it sounds realy promising. He explains that the conflict isn't like a sporting event where you pick a side and route for them; also that being non-biased doesn't mean that you have to counter every story with an equally bad story from the other side; and that the story really isn't that complex and uncomprehensible. His motive in writing the book is that it is so difficult to find a comprehensive history of the full conflict in under 500 pages. All of this sounds fantastic but a third of the way through the book and he's still going on like this. You start to feel like he will never begin the book. When he does get started it's a cursory glance at 4000 years and then it ends in an indulgent conclusion.
So I was a little dissapointed...
I was willing to forgive historical cliches for the sake of brevity but after the indulgent introduction and conclusion I was more critical of the sacrifice of real history. Still if you treat it as the 'undercoat' before applying the real coat of knowledge then it's not too bad. It's also so quick to read that if you don't get much from it you won't feel you've wasted precious reading time.