6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
OK, but no soul,
This review is from: A History Of The World In 10 1/2 Chapters (Paperback)
I am aware of the stature of Mr Barnes, and the strong acclaim this book seems to have received, though couldn't agree with all the unqualified 5* comments. For me (on a second reading) it seems short on that one intangible quality that I will probably annoyingly call 'soul' for want of a better word.
It comes across as academic (and the research is very impressive), rather than 'felt'. A profound and impressive narrative/idea that needed to show an emotional 'feel' of the characters all the more for that very reason. Also the stand-alone chapters blocked my involvement too, as some chapters are plain hard going, and rely I feel more on the 'goodwill' built up for Barnes by many people to give him the benefit of the doubt. A new author may not have been given such licence.
I also felt that the words were being somehow squeezed into the overall 'big theme' of the book which to me seems the wrong way around. For all its impressive qualities I felt rather empty and not particularly enlightened or entertained by the end.