Tag Archive | Non-fiction

Review: ‘Digging in the Dark’, by Ben W. Johnson

I was sent this book by the publisher in return for an honest review.

(My reviews are always honest; I’ll bury alive anyone who slanders me by suggesting otherwise)

Digging in the Dark

 

Published by: Pen & Sword History

Publication date: 5th June 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781473878174

Format: Paperback

Price: £12.99

www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Digging-in-the-Dark-Paperback/p/13485

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Review: ‘Women at War in the Classical World’, by Paul Chrystal

Women at War in the Classical World

Published by: Pen & Sword Press

 

 

Publication Date: 20th March 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781473856608

Price: £25.00

Format: Hardback

Blurb

Paul Chrystal has written the first full length study of women and warfare in the Graeco Roman world. Although the conduct of war was generally monopolized by men, there were plenty of exceptions with women directly involved in its direction and even as combatants, Artemisia, Olympias, Cleopatra and Agrippina the Elder being famous examples. And both Greeks and Romans encountered women among their ‘barbarian’ enemies, such as Tomyris, Boudicca and Zenobia.
More commonly, of course, women were directly affected by war as non-combatant victims, of rape and enslavement as spoils of war and this makes up an important strand of the author’s discussion. The portrayal of female warriors and goddesses in classical mythology and literature, and the use of war to justify gender roles and hierarchies, are also considered. Overall it is a landmark survey of how war in the Classical world affected and was affected by women.

Available: here

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Review: ‘The Path of Paganism’ by John Beckett

 

Published By: Llewellyn Worldwide

Publication Date: 8th May 2017

Edition: Paperback

I.S.B.N.: 9780738752051

Price: $19.99 (US)

Blurb

The Path of Paganism provides practical advice and support for living an authentic Pagan life in our mainstream Western culture. Witches, druids, polytheists, and other Pagans will discover an experiential guide to the foundations and practices of these deeply meaningful traditions.

For John Beckett, practicing Paganism means more than adopting a set of books, tools, and holidays. Practicing Paganism means cultivating a way of seeing the world and your place in it. It means challenging the assumptions of mainstream society, keeping those that prove true and helpful while discarding those that show themselves to be false. It means building a solid foundation from which you can explore the nature of the universe, the gods, your self, and your community while learning to strengthen your relationship with all of them.

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Review: ‘Earth’, by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Linda T. Elkins-Tanton

                                                                 Publication Date: 9th May 2017

Published by: Bloomsbury Academic  

Edition: Paperback

I.S.B.N.: 9781501317910 

Price: $14.95

 

Blurb:

Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

In Earth, a planetary scientist and a literary humanist explore what happens when we think of the Earth as an object viewable from space. As a “blue marble,” “a blue pale dot,” or, as Chaucer described it, “this litel spot of erthe,” the solitary orb is a challenge to scale and to human self-importance. Beautiful and self-contained, the Earth turns out to be far less knowable than it at first appears: its vast interior an inferno of incandescent and yet solid rock and a reservoir of water vaster than the ocean, a world within the world. Viewing the Earth from space invites a dive into the abyss of scale: how can humans apprehend the distances, the temperatures, and the time scale on which planets are born, evolve, and die?

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

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Review: ‘What Regency Women Did For Us’ by Rachel Knowles

PubWhat Regency Women Did For Uslished by: Pen & Sword 

Publication Date: 5th April 2017

 ISBN: 9781473882249

Price: £10.39

Blurb

Regency women inhabited a very different world from the one in which we live today. Considered intellectually inferior to men, they received little education and had very few rights. This book tells the inspirational stories of twelve women, from very different backgrounds, who overcame often huge obstacles to achieve success. These women were pioneers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, authors, scientists and actresses women who made an impact on their world and ours. In her debut non-fiction work, popular history blogger Rachel Knowles tells how each of these remarkable ladies helped change the world they lived in and whose legacy is still evident today. Two hundred years later, their stories are still inspirational.

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Review: ‘The History of Newgate Prison’ by Caroline Jowett


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Review: ‘A Life Discarded’ by Alexander Masters

Published by: Fourth Estate

Publication Date: 5th May 2016

I.S.B.N.: 9780008130770

Format: Hardback

Price: £16.99

Blurb

Unique, transgressive and as funny as its subject, A Life Discarded has all the suspense of a murder mystery. Written with his characteristic warmth, respect and humour, Masters asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap.

A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation.

A Life Discarded is a true, shocking, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life. The author of the diaries, known only as ‘I’, is the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Part thrilling detective story, part love story, part social history, A Life Discarded is also an account of two writers’ obsessions: of ‘I’s need to record every second of life and of Masters’ pursuit of this mysterious yet universal diarist.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book, as much a biography of the mysterious diarist as an autobiography of Masters and his friends during the five years he worked on the diaries and writing this book. I sped through it in a matter of hours, the writing kept me transfixed.

Masters is a sensitive biographer, disclosing new information as he learns it, and dealing honestly with his qualms when he learns that the diarist, Laura Francis is still alive. The writing is fluid and engaging, humorous at times and honest.

5/5

I’ve just started studying the life-writing component of my MA Creative Writing. My tutor suggested we should start reading biographies if we didn’t already to get an idea of the diversity of the form. I’ve read biographies in the past, but this was a refreshing change. It only took me four hours to read this book, so I started another one, before I decided to write this review. The book I’m reading at the moment is a biography of Queen Victoria, in the form of fiction. They’re different ways of writing biography but they both work well.