Frankopan must have had great publishers. Aside from the aesthetically pleasing cover design with sumptuous Islamic floral and geometric patterns overlaid with gold lettering, the selling point of the book is its ambitious thesis: to reposition the centre of the world and repatriate the influence that Eastern regions have had on global events. The book is undoubtedly a titan effort in scholarship.
As a self-professed “agnostic protestant”, Norwich claims he has “no axe to grind”; he steers clear of theology and achieves a style which is anecdotal, witty, and irreverent. A story less sacred than profane, he relishes with morbid fascination the unpleasant details of the institution’s sinners, while displaying undisguised admiration for its saints.
Throughout the later chapters of Rise, VanZant takes readers on the rollercoaster of her professional career. From the incredible flying head kick finish of Bec Rawlings to her famous defeat at the hands of Michelle Waterson in the main event of UFC on Fox 22, we see her excitement and disappointment at various moments in her career. No matter if she’s sharing the highs or lows, it is impossible to read these reminiscences without rooting for her every inch of the way.
David Blight’s book delivers the new Frederick Douglass standard-bearer for years to come. In our own troubled times the “prophet of freedom” can indeed offer wisdom, but we must be cognizant of the pitfalls of forcing him into modern controversies. We should acknowledge his compelling radicalism without sidestepping his essential complexity.
If you want to fit in, to know the dos and don’ts, and to understand the cultural oddities, you’ll need a copy of Ian Mortimer’s Time Traveller’s Guide. In it, he paints a living, breathing picture of the sickness and the suffering, the power and the glory that was Elizabethan England, and tells you everything you’ll need to know to survive in their world. When you arrive, you’ll find that your “ancestors are not inferior to [you]; they do not lack sophistication, subtlety, innovation, wit or courage”.
Civil War is not for those who want a detailed account of the Civil war period specifically; it is particularly void of military detail, but offers an insightful and vivid narrative of the whole of 17th century England that retains the period’s intricacy and complexity. While Ackroyd’s style is to make the civil war period seem rather like a series of accidents, common themes emerge that still influence our culture today.
Now this was a big surprise, a highly detailed historic guide that is very easy to digest and also presented in a captivating and powerful graphic form, making it an excellent ready reference for students and the politically aware. This is not another boring history book. The first couple of sheets will confirm that as a fact. As each new page was turned I congratulated Rupert and Oscar for their informative style. It reminded me of a rather good visual lecture that lucky students would certainly appreciate.
A person who has experienced deep tragedy and lived to tell the story often comes to grips with profound truths along the way. Such is the case with Phan Thi. As she started her recovery, she had to endure daily baths to treat her burns. She says, “Those baths were worse than death itself. Dying is far worse than death.” As I’ve observed this with people I know in my own life, I know this is a profound truth.
Moore writes like her life depends on it. She dissects the stories of her life with intelligence and precision, and invites the reader to share in her examination. Feminist, political, funny, and irreverent, Moore’s essays are masterful, and show a true love of the form; the stories are deeply personal, while still tapping into shared human experience.
It follows that A Way Out does not hesitate to divulge its author’s most intimate secrets in her long battle with depression and social anxiety. Such honesty and candour lays bare an individual life in ways that illuminate our own experiences of mental illness: in speaking of herself, she speaks of us all.