Book review: War: What is it good for? The role of conflict in civilisation, from primates to robots by Ian Morris

I have only read a handful of pages of the introduction to this long, weighty book, but I can honestly say I have never disagreed so profoundly with so much in so many different ways as I do with this author. To be precise, if the introduction is a faithful summary of the book asContinue reading “Book review: War: What is it good for? The role of conflict in civilisation, from primates to robots by Ian Morris”

Book review: The Real Band of Brothers – First-hand Accounts from the Last British Survivors of the Spanish Civil War by Max Arthur

This book is a collection of eight first person narrative accounts of the Spanish Civil War, told by International Brigade survivors. Accounts such as this, obviously inspired at least in part by the fading away of the last of the Great War veterans, are an important historical legacy. This is not a history of theContinue reading “Book review: The Real Band of Brothers – First-hand Accounts from the Last British Survivors of the Spanish Civil War by Max Arthur”

Book review: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

What a curious, complex novel this is. Let’s start with the title. Late on in the novel we find a reference to Japan (the book’s setting) as the “land of a thousand autumns”. So on one level the novel’s title can be interpreted as “Jacob de Zoet’s life in Japan”, which would be entirely accurate.Continue reading “Book review: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell”

Book review: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, 2014

David Mitchell’s novels defy categorisation. Anyone who has read Cloud Atlas, or seen the pretty trippy film version, will know that he is keen to break down the traditional structures of the novel. The Bone Clocks is no exception, and I am reasonably sure that if it had been published anonymously it would have beenContinue reading “Book review: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, 2014”

Book review: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

There’s a Darwinism in play which determines whether novels continue to be read after the author’s death and the passage of a few decades. Authors that were once widely read and popular turn out over time to be of interest to only a very specific audience, and do not translate well into later periods. AsContinue reading “Book review: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte”

Book review: Game of Thrones

I started to read GoT for two simple reasons. First, I watched the television series, but found the constant cutting between scenes made it really hard to follow the story. I suspect my constant “Which one is he trying to murder/trap/skin?” became somewhat annoying. Second, my teenage sons raved about them, and in the past theirContinue reading “Book review: Game of Thrones”