It took me less than a week to read this book. I have had it as a change from my usual Holocaust books, although linked in some way.
Although I found it interesting, reads as if intended for the general reader, which I found a little disappointing, the repetition of basic points tended to slow down the narrative. The real strength was the references to personal accounts, which I would love to pursue. The author further supports her work with memoirs and the research of other historians. One revelation was, passages from Guy Sajer’s ‘The Forgotten Soldier’ which could be found in various sections of the book, this is a book I read some 25 years ago, during my A levels, and it had a profound influence.
The sleeve notes give little away, but the book reads like a thesis, I suspect this is Isabel Denny’s first book, based on a thesis, but despite this I still found it gave a personal and human side to the conflict which few Histories of the Second World War give, as this does not give the military too much attention I found it readable, and like all the good books I have read recently it has added another piece to my developing understanding of this era.
I am currently reading this: The Last days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania, it is simply outstanding, i am only 50 pages in but each line is filled with meaning.
I took up ‘First Crusader’ by Geoffrey Regan not really knowing what to expect, as the Byzanthiums are a gap in my Historical knowledge, I knew enough to know this would not be about the crusades, and felt this book would shed some light onto, what is for me, a dark area of knowledge. this fine book did all this and more, recapping the spit and fall of the Roman Empire, it leads towards a wonderful military History. It can be seen as a continuation of the History of the Roman Emperors, as it gives a good account of the Eastern Emperors, and all their failings, without falling into too much political detail. If I take one thing for the reading of this book it is highlighting a forgotten hero: Emperor Heraclius, he re-captured the true cross from the Persian empire and took it back to Jerusalem on pilgrimage. I also feel that I author placed Islam in the context of its time.
Please see the 2010 Book reviews here : http://foxburg.edublogs.org/book-reviews/2010-book-reviews/