lovelycudy: (Default)
I gave it one star because Scurr is a good writer: her prose and style are good and easy to read.

And that is the only positive thing I can say about this book.

The author claims she wants to write an unbiased, non-partisan biography of Robespierre. And the title led me to believe that the core of the book was the concept of virtue and the consequences it had for Robespierre personally and for the Revolution as a whole. But what I found is a work that makes no attempt to make true of its objectives. Scurr sustains and repeats the most traditional and reactionary readings of Robespierre's life trough the abundant and uncritical use of Thermidorian propaganda as sources. Proyart, to name one, is quoted without reservation while sources favourable to Robespierre (mainly Charlotte's memoirs) are doubted. The most striking example is, I think, is the fact that Scurr reproduces the description of Robespierre's rooms filled with paintings, busts and engravings of himself; but this account appears only after 9 Thermidor and by hostile authors. And yet the author does not provide this simple qualification.

Too many things that add to the obvious bias of the author and that made this book a thoroughly unpleasant experience. I would tell anyone who is interested in knowing about Robespierre, his life, his ideals and his role in the Revolution to skip this book completely.
lovelycudy: (Default)
've seen many people mentioning that this book was dry and I can't agree. It might be the fact that I am used to reading historical theory books or that my definition of dry is closer to Suimption's, exquisitely detailed and masterfully researched, Hundred Years War series, but I found this book lively and easy to read.
It is true that Schofield reaches some hagiographic moments in his defence of Cromwell, but I think that is to be expected when writing about a man so often slandered with such little reason. Like others, I've came to this books after reading Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies and I have always liked Thomas Cromwell, so I am of course biased. But we all are, in the end, and I think Schofield's description of CRomwell's last months show that he was, indeed, capable of doing morally reprehensible things.

Two things I loved about this books. The first was the clear explanation on Lutheran theology which, being raised in a Catholic family and a Catholic country and having attended a Catholic university was never too clear for me. The second is the abundance of sources and reference works. Too often one finds history books and biographies that make statements without citing their sources, which is frustrating at best and bad research at worst. But Schofield's book has a great bibliography section and his statements are backed up by evidence; a gift for those of us who want to keep reading on the subject.

An interesting exercise was going back to Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies to compare and contrast how Schofield and Mantel tell the same events and Schofield's influence is pretty clear, something I really enjoyed and allowed me to understand some parts of the novels better.

All in all, I loved the book and I'll be re-reading it often
lovelycudy: (Default)
Let's start by saying that, on Monday, I failed a final for the first time in my life and I was surprisingly calm. No anger, no sadness, no crippling insecurities about my self worth. I'm surprised with myself. Or maybe I'm not myself but one of the pod-people. In any case, I smoked less and my lungs are kind of grateful. 

Yesterday, on the other hand, I had a great day. First of all, I got the translation of Hetalia's movie so I could proof read it. I really enjoyed it, I hope the final products looks fine. Then I want to the mall and my cousins dragged me into the book store (much to my chagrin, as you can imagine, lol) and I ended up buying Louis XVI et Marie-Antoinette: Un couple en politique by Joël Félix (but in Spanish because my French is not that good D:) which I've been trying to get for almost an year. I saw it at half price, and I just couldn't resist it. 

Then we went to buy school supplies and I love school supplies with pretty colours. I'm such a child. 

And at night I caught a mini-series called Jeanne Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour that kept me awake until 6 AM but it was so worth it. I actually cried. I even felt but for Louis and I've never been a fun of his. Now I have to try to find it and download it because I know I'll want to watch it again. 

So, after the English overload, some Bourbon stuff. 

Book Meme

Feb. 10th, 2011 07:58 pm
lovelycudy: (Default)
Taken from  [ profile] sir_pinkleton 

Last book that I read: The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century  by Ian Mortimer

Amazing, to be honest. It's everything that social history should be. Interesting, easy to read, well researched and surprising human. The section about the Black Death is haunting: we are used to see the Black Death in its economical/political/religious dimension and how it helped to jump-start the birth of a new era but Mortimer reminds us of the people who died, of how families (almost every family) were hit by it and I'd be lying if I say that I didn't shed a few tears. 

Book that I'm reading: The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation, also by Ian Mortimer

Right now, I'm in the middle of the plot against Mortimer (not the author, Roger, lol) and Queen Isabella and I have to say that I'm hooked. Like the previous book, Mortimer writes in an agile, interesting way, but the topic changes and so does his style. This book requires some more background knowledge (it helps knowing about Philip the Fair and the general rules of feudal loyalty, as well as the status of Normandy and Guyenne before the Hundred Years War) but it's easy to follow. As the title indicates, it puts emphasis on Edward's role as a "nation maker", which is a really interesting approach and something that is helping me to create a (very) tentative plan for my thesis. Mortimer speaks (writes) about it here: Englishness is more about Crécy than cups of tea

Book I will be reading next: I'm not sure if I'm going to read A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain (Marc Morris) or Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, the Battle (Juliet Barker). 

First of all, a cookie to anyone who can tell the running theme of my summer break reading material, lol. But I'm in a full "OMG I NEED TO THINK OF A THESIS SUBJECT AND I FEEL LIKE GOING BACK TO MY FIRST LOVE: DEAD ENGLISH KINGS, YEAH". Also, I got some extra money and, being the nerd I am, I went to Amazon to buy books and they have links to other precious things and "Frequently Buy Together" deals and I'm only human! But the important thing is that I don't know if I'll feel like going backwards and get some Longshack stuff or go forward and read about my beloved Henry V (who totally looked like K. Brannagh in my mind) and the longbows (I'm actually thinking of buying this, btw). What to do? True, chances are that as soon as classes start again I'll have to read about WWI... which may be an excuse to buy this

So yeah, books.
lovelycudy: (Default)
I just finished this book and I have to say that I highly recommend it. Ian Mortimer is a great writer who manages to provide a lot of information in an easy-going and interesting manner. I even laughed a few times. My favourite parts were those about the cities, accommodation, health and clothing. I learnt a great deal about those little things that regular history books don't tell you (what was a toilet like in the 14th century? How did people bath?) and that really help you to understand that history is nothing but people. People like you and me who lived centuries ago but who still laughed and cried and fucked and prayed. 

Something that really impressed me was the section about the Black Death. We are taught that the plague was vital to the development of Modern Europe, jump-starting the religious turmoil and economic change. But Mortimer reminds us that all those people who died were, well, people. He makes the devastation palpable, clear, solid, human. I almost cried. And I was reminded, once more, why I love History so much. It's so alive! So filled with wonder and magic and I suck at explaining this, but God, how I love it. 

Umm, sorry for the uncalled burst of enthusiasm. My point was that this is an excellent book for all of those who enjoy reading about the Middle Ages or English history in general. 
lovelycudy: (Default)
From The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: "Prostitutes are not tolerated in London except in one street, Cock Lane". I totally snorted. This is why I love History. And yes, I'm that juvenile.
lovelycudy: (Default)
I bought a new book, and a Shakespeare play, at that! Edward III has been incorporated to Shakespeare's canon and aSpanish translation was released this year. The book just hit the book stores and I had to have it. I'm still reading the prologue but I'm so damned excited about it. I mean, it's Edward III after all. 

Thank you to every one who has been there to support me and hold my hand. You are wonderful. 
lovelycudy: (Default)
I wonder of anyone can help me to find some information about the October Crisis and the FLQ. I have the final exam of American (the continent) History next week and I have to pick a theme to start my exam. I picked this one (I'm not sure why) and I'm looking for articles/information that I can read. Do you know any? In English, please, I don't trust my French enough to use it for an exam. 

lovelycudy: (Default)

Today, 156 years ago, Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin. There's nothing I can say about him that have not been said over and over again. I'll just add that The Picture of Dorian Gray is still my favourite book 12 years after reading it for the first time and one of those works that changed my life. 

I tip my hat in this genius' honour. 

PS: My England shimeji decided to get naked while I was writing this. Maybe Arthur's way to pay homage?
lovelycudy: (Default)
 But in the mean time, I LOL'd with this and not only because I just finished studying the Seven Weeks War

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