The Warm and Witty Side of Attila the Hun is a collection of historical anecdotes; odd, humourous facts; and things you will never forget, once you know them. They are the product of a life devoted to history.
In the words of the author: "I once had a student ask me point blank and in all seriousness, 'Do you really know all this stuff, or are you just making it up?' Delightful question, and unwittingly flattering. There is no need for any serious teacher of History to make up any unbelievable stories, because so much of it is unbelievable in the first place. I mean, really, think about it: if the story of Henry VIII and his six wives hadn't actually happened, for example, would anyone believe it? Is there any drama more intense than the story of Cleopatra, Caesar, Antony, and Octavian? (Heck, the entire story of the Julio-Claudian dynasty reads like one long soap opera!) And if Shakespeare had known the details of the life of his two-thousand-mile-away contemporary Ivan the Terrible, my God, what a tragic drama he could have written! (Speaking of which, let us not forget that Macbeth is based on a true story.)
"There is no particular order to these anecdotes (except that I tried to adhere to chronology with the presidents), and no claim is made to comprehensiveness or, for that matter, importance. This is simply a collection of things I have come across over the years, things that I remembered, things with which I amused, horrified, and intrigued my students, nothing more, nothing less. Think of it as the mental junkyard of an aging History teacher."
"If the reader is constrained by the chains of political correctness, please be forewarned that the writer is not. There may be material here that some people will find offensive. I don't care. Other readers may recognize some of these stories and may object to inaccuracies or distortions. I don't care about that either. This is something of an eclectic and eccentric reminiscence, not an academic work.
In the pages that follow the reader will find stories about kings and queens, presidents and dictators, personalities light and dark, events amusing and horrible. There are no funny stories about Attila the Hun, by the way. But there are a few real rib-ticklers about Hitler."
©2011 Jeffrey Sackett (P)2011 David N. Wilson
The stories covered a lot of ground and were very interesting, some quite funny. Craig Allen read very well.
"Neither warm nor witty."
I am at a loss to understand the reason why this seeming random series of somewhat dull anecdotes was published. Listening to it was like being forced to attend the worst History Faculty end of term party in, well, in history. Academics have a reputation for being self-indulgent bores when it comes their subject and sadly this book does nothing to correct this usually unjustified stereotype. Also, a disappointing lack of Mr the Hun.
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