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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 21 November 2010
For the author's sake I'm so pleased that so many reviewers like this book well enough to award it five stars because his often flippant writing style is infuriating beyond measure. As it is, a helpfully illustrated book has been ruined by a lack of focus.

Although there are some good maps showing important archiological sites the author then fails to capitalise on this by sensibly discussing each site under an appropriate heading. For instance, although Hoxne in Suffolk is marked on the map there's no heading for it in the text where it's barely mentioned and we are regailed instead by a large number of silly and superfluous descriptions such as: 'Sir Jocelyn is a snappy dresser: trousers with knife edge creases, shoes that glisten in the sun, double-breasted coats with a rose in the lapel. He is also a rapid walker and likes to get to the point in all manner of ways.' What about Hoxne? What about Creswell Crags?

Then we get overdosed with Flag Fen because that's where Mr Pryor did his excavations. This is all so sad because this could have been a firstrate book had it not fallen between two stools: chatty reminiscences on the one hand and archiological facts on the other. One of the best parts of the book is about how stone hand axes are made. Alas! The rest of the book fails to live up to this early promise.

Although I can appreciate why so many reviewers have given this book five stars, and the information it contains probably warrants this, I'm giving it just one star because of its lack of focus and its propensity for superfluity and silly side issues. For those of us who prefer succinct, straight to the point, clearly expressed, factual writing this book is not for us.
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4.2 out of 5 stars