This is an excellent work. It is meticulously researched and carefully presented in its context. As both the author and several other reviewers have noted, the influenza pandemic is frequently missed by the history books, being overshadowed by World War I and the Russian Revolution. Yet the pandemic killed more people, and its effects touched every corner of the world.
The context, which itself is scary on many counts, is necessary to understand how the disease killed so many so fast, as well as the effects the disease had on contemporary societies and the medical, political, military and popular responses to all that death and destruction.
Because flu is still a regular killer and is always a threat to become another scourge, the context of the pandemic, as well as the responses to it, are critical to our understanding of the current threat.
This is really a history of scientific theories of the moon's origins and makeup, rather than just an explanation of the current prevalent theory. Unlike an earlier reviewer, I found the history of earlier theories interesting, in that they help explain the development of the current Giant Impact theory.
What I found disappointing was the Appendix that addresses the claims of conspiracy theorists that astronauts never reached the moon. This was a very satisfying academic book and didn't need to descend to that level.
This is a great historic panorama of the Mediterranean. It is meticulously researched and cogently presented. As with any work that encompasses 7,000 years, it is in some ways an overview and introduction. At the same time, it provides valuable details into, and insightful analysis of, all historic periods. I therefore disagree with the earlier reviewer in that the book does tell a story, and there are themes. First among these is the cross-cultural mixing that has occurred ever since humans started to cross the sea.
Abulafia sees the nationalism and ethnic cleansing that has occurred since the end of WWI as a terrible break from that tradition. Yet he describes earlier pogroms and deportations, all of which had terrible human costs, but none of which could long prevent such mixing. I would argue that one could evaluate ethnic cleansing as a similar horrible reaction to the persistence of cultural mixing. In that vein, Abulafia also describes how tourism serves to continue such interaction across cultures in the present.
I think Abulafia therefore overstates his disagreements with Braudel. While political history is critical, he describes throughout the book how political decisions were limited by the geography and environments of the Mediterranean and its bordering regions. To me, this exemplifies Braudel’s argument that political history can exist only within the physical, environmental and economic worlds within which it takes place.
This is a great illustration of the series of challenges Mandela faced in attaining his goal as well as the ways he dealt with and overcame them. Unlike most revolutionaries, he was concerned not just with eliminating the injustice against which he fought, but also in creating the society that was to follow. Accordingly, the ways in which he fought apartheid were also calculated to create the nonracial society the ANC espoused.
I had known the general outlines of this story, but I had not been aware of, and was particularly impressed by, how many whites, of all political persuasions, Mandela was able to persuade to join him at each step of his struggles.
These essays are sophisticated historical analyses. A listener needs to be familiar with the major developments of the Revolutionary and early Republican periods as well as with the major historical interpretations of such periods. This is therefore not an introductory work.
It is instead an advanced scholarly work. The essays challenge some of the commonly accepted interpretations of our early history in some intriguing and well argued ways. I found them both convincing and enjoyable.
Two good stories wrapped around a political screed. This is Shute’s near-hysterical jeremiad on why he left England for Australia.
This is an exhaustively researched and incredibly detailed look at Peter’s life, the influences on him, and the results of his actions. It is a well organized and well told story. Massie does a good job placing Peter’s life in the context of his times. He also begins several tantalizing discussions about the longer-term effects of Peter’s life, such as changes to balance of power calculations in Europe and, following Solzhenitsyn, the effects of the subordination of the Russian church to the government. Such discussions are fascinating, but not fully developed.
This is a thorough, scholarly analysis of government regulations and tax records to shed light on developments in the production and use of beer and ale in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Unger covers ingredients, recipes, nutrition, technology, distribution, taxation, regulation and consumption. He draws some interesting conclusions about industrial, commercial, political and social developments involving beer in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and also provides contrasts with developments in some other industries of the times. While Unger uses his conclusions to throw some light on broader aspects of life in those times, he explicitly leaves most of such analyses to future scholars.
This is a panoramic and incisive work. It deftly explores the varied and surprising intellectual developments of several different leaders of the Revolutionary era--men from different sections and different backgrounds and with differing outlooks. Rakove develops his arguments elegantly and convincingly. He integrates his arguments with developments of the era, explaining how events helped shape his subjects’ intellectual developments. He does not, however, integrate such developments with the broader political currents. Rakove analyzes how his subjects’ intellectual developments helped cause their actions and reactions to events, but he does not evaluate how representative his subjects’ thinking were. Therefore, he cannot analyze how much such intellectual developments helped shape such events. Rakove is such a good historian, and the analysis he did is so compelling, that I finished the book wishing he’d tackled those two questions.
These are wonderful stories, and it's a classy move by Audible to produce them. Listening to them has been added to my holiday traditions.
The subject is fascinating; the arguments are convincing; the presentation is a little disjointed, and the narration is as dry as old bones.
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