November was quite a busy month for me, so I haven’t found the time to post any reviews – or to even read a lot! But I did tackle four books over the month, which I will very briefly review during this post, despite it being the middle of December.
I actually received an Economist subscription for my birthday a few months ago and it’s only dawned on me recently how long it takes to read; I easily spend 3-4 hours going through each edition every week: time that could invariably be spent reading other things.
Once again, I read a few historical texts – and also managed to squeeze in yet another Tom Holland book. But I also ventured into economics/finance with The Economist Guide to Financial Markets. The intention was to shore up my knowledge of financial markets – unsure if its paid dividends or not…
David Edgerton, ‘The Rise and Fall of the British Nation’ (Allen Lane)
Excruciatingly researched. The level of detail is astounding – clearly the culmination of decades of academic study. Fundamentally a revisionist work that debunks popular myths surrounding the British nation, but also a lot more than that.
Dense, scholarly and testing – not for the faint hearted. I found myself zoning out at times, especially when Edgerton starts one of many long-lists (on every British trade union in the inter-war period, for example).
Tom Holland, ‘Persian Fire’ (Little, Brown Book Group)
My favourite Tom Holland work so far. Explores the Greco-Persian wars of the 5th century BC, playing close attention to battles like Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae.
I learned a lot about Persian and Athenian culture, as well as Spartan ideals and practices (elite men had to live in military housing until they were 30?)
Mark Levinson, ‘The Economist Guide to Financial Markets, 7th Edition’ (Profile Books Ltd)
Easing into this at the moment. Reads like a textbook, but definitely the kind of thing I was after. Would have liked Levinson to contextualise the markets further with more real-life examples, however.
Mark Twain, ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ (Penguin)
One of the quintessential American novels. Read this a few years ago and loved it. It’s a struggle to get-to-grips with the character’s vernacular initially, but after a chapter or two you get the hang of it. In fact, the variations in vernacular become a real highlight.