His point of view is compelling, and gives definite weight to the view that all men are created equal, and 'Whites' for example aren't 'better' than anyone else, but that they had a better deck of cards than other peoples and cultures at a time when it mattered. I have heard others talk on the same issues and topics and make it much more engaging however. And while he titles the book "Guns, germs and steel", given what takes up the majority of the book it should be titled, "Grains, Vegetables and Domestic-able animals".
If what Kenneth states in this book is not true, then such a book should not have even gotten through the scrutiny of the editorial process.
However, if the facts revealed in this book are indeed facts and not opinion or a biased point of view, then we the general public are being lied to by just about everyone. Or at least intentionally kept in the dark. Whole governments are turning a blind eye to the concerted attack on the 'western' way of life. The media skews so much of the news involving Islam, rather than reporting what is actually happening. The religious leaders wear 'masks', and are false in their public dealings. The endless opinions regarding the flare-ups in the middle east that are based only one side of the argument.
We are apparently facing a real threat to our way of life here, and no-one seems to be talking honestly about it.
This is not a book for the faint of heart. It will shatter your illusions about what you think you know, and it does it comprehensively. It's really hard going at times, and I could feel the foundations of my worldview and understanding about global politics shifting. A painful process as you realize how ignorant you were just a few hours ago. A constant barrage of facts and information regarding hateful people, hateful statements, hateful activities and evil beliefs. Yes its hard to listen to, and yet I was drawn back again and again to hear about the abhorrent practices going on right under our noses that no-body seems to think are worth our attention.
I would recommend everyone should read/listen to this book, and use it as a stepping stone to further study. Whether you agree with the right or the left, are a green, a gun owner or a minority, you need to study this issue with an open mind, because if even half the claims of this book are true, then this clash between Islam and the West will be what defines this century. Is peace possible? Well that depends on your definition of peace...
A thorough examination of this enigmatic historical figure, this book exhausts the known information regarding not only the man, but the time in which he lived. While this may at times seem tedious or excessive, you emerge the other side with a better understanding of not only why King Charles was who he was, but also why he did what he did. A flawed character certainly, and yet Charles is shown to be much more than a brutish thug of a man as so many wielding power throughout the middle ages were. Head and shoulders above all others not only in physical stature, but also in intellect, passion, drive, ambition, cunning, zeal for the church and knowledge of the scriptures.
The theological studies contained within may be beyond the grasp of the secular mind to understand in full. The author nevertheless gives a clear understanding of the gravity in which these discussions were held, and how the nuances of biblical interpretation have affected the church, and therefore politics and every level of life, during the time period.
There are a great many excursus by the author regarding what Charles may have thought on a particular issue, or how a turn of events may have played upon his mind. We often have no evidence for the direction that the narrative takes, but that is precisely the point. The records that we have of Charles are often sketchy at best, and a purely historical study of the man would be a dreary monologue of names and dates that would leave us with nothing but a headache and a vague understanding of the man.
All in all an excellent book, but not for the faint of heart to undertake, as it can be tough going at times.
But then, you wouldn't be reading this unless you are interested in the first place, so you'll probably enjoy it.
Lars deals magnificently with the common misconception that the Roman Empire ceased to exist in the late 5th century. You get an almost living understanding of the men who steered the Eastern half of the empire through almost another millennia, until Constantinople was overrun by the Turks in 1453. The highs are very high, the lows totally abysmal, as Lars walks us through times that prove fact as being more interesting and stranger than fiction. Plague, famine, intrigue, war, triumph and chaos combine to give us this history of western culture, that grew up in the east. Without these rulers and people, we'd all be speaking Arabic. Because of them, we have the cultural excellence in the west today while the middle east is still sadly lacking an equivalent.
If you've ever enjoyed Roman history, then this is a must read.
Lars also has a podcast on iTunes that covers much of the same material in greater brevity.
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