logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: history-general
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-12 06:52
Mortal Republic by Edward J. Watts
Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny - Edward Watts

TITLE:  Mortal Republic:  How Rome Fell Into Tyranny

 

AUTHOR:  Edward J. Watts

 

PUBLICATION DATE:  6 November 2018

 

FORMAT:  ARC ebook

 

ISBN-13:  978-0-465-09381-6

_________________________________

 

NOTE: I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

_________________________________

 

Book Description:

"A new history of the Roman Republic and its collapse.

In Mortal Republic, prizewinning historian Edward J. Watts offers a new history of the fall of the Roman Republic that explains why Rome exchanged freedom for autocracy. For centuries, even as Rome grew into the Mediterranean's premier military and political power, its governing institutions, parliamentary rules, and political customs successfully fostered negotiation and compromise. By the 130s BC, however, Rome's leaders increasingly used these same tools to cynically pursue individual gain and obstruct their opponents. As the center decayed and dysfunction grew, arguments between politicians gave way to political violence in the streets. The stage was set for destructive civil wars--and ultimately the imperial reign of Augustus.

The death of Rome's Republic was not inevitable. In Mortal Republic, Watts shows it died because it was allowed to, from thousands of small wounds inflicted by Romans who assumed that it would last forever.
"

______________________________

 

I usually battle to enjoy history books that deal with the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire - they are just too confusing and boring.  THIS book is different.  I actually enjoyed reading it.  The writing is clear and accessible, the subject straightforward, and the relevance of that subject to the current political climate highlighted.  

Mortal Republic covers the Roman Republic period between 280 BC and 27 BC, when the Roman Senate formally granted Octavian overarching power and the new title Augustus, effectively marking the end of the Roman Republic.  This book is not a biography of any particular set of Romans nor is it exclusively a military history.  It does however successfully weave together politics, military, social and biographical details, along with the how and why events occurred and what this meant for the Repbulic in the long term.  
 
In addition to a general history of the Roman Republic, Watts attempts to understand the current political realities of our world by studying what went wrong in the ancient Roman Republic, upon which many modern republics are based.  The author makes evident that serious problems arise from both politicians who disrupt a republic's political norms, and from the citizens who choose not to punish them for doing so.  In the end, Romans came to believe that liberty - political stability and freedom from domestic violence and foreign interference - could only exist in a political entity controlled by one man.  This book explores why one of the longest-existing republics traded the liberty of political autonomy for the security of autocracy.  

I found this book to be enjoyable, well-written and providing a new perspective on an old topic.

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-04 06:03
The Big Ones by Lucy Jones
The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do about Them) - Lucy Jones

TITLE:  The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do about Them).

 

AUTHOR:  Lucy Jones

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2018

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9780385542708

 

_____________________________

From the blurb:

"By a veteran seismologist of the U.S. Geological Survey, a lively and revealing history of the world's most disruptive natural disasters, their impact on our culture, and new ways of thinking about the ones to come.

Natural disasters emerge from the same forces that give our planet life. Earthquakes have provided us with natural springs. Volcanoes have given us fertile soil. A world without floods would be a world without rain. It is only when these forces exceed our ability to withstand them that they become disasters. Together, these colossal events have shaped our cities and their architecture; elevated leaders and toppled governments; influenced the way we reason, feel, fight, unite, and pray. The history of natural disasters is a history of ourselves.


The Big Ones is a look at some of the most devastating disasters in human history, whose reverberations we continue to feel today. It considers Pompeii, and how a volcanic eruption in the first century AD challenged and reinforced prevailing views of religion for centuries to come. It explores the California floods of 1862, examining the failures of our collective memory. And it transports us to today, showing what Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami can tell us about governance and globalization.


With global temperatures rising, natural disasters are striking with greater frequency. More than just history, The Big Ones is a call to action. Natural disasters are inevitable; human catastrophes are not. With this energizing and richly researched book, Jones offers a look at our past, readying us to face down the Big Ones in our future."

_________________________

 

This book provides a superficial look at a few of the world's biggest natural disasters and how these disasters effected societies.  Jones explores how the disaster victims and relevant governments dealt with the catastrophe and what they are doing to mitigate the adverse effects of any subsequent natural disasters.  This is a history book with minimal, superficial science.  The book is informative with an easy going writing style, however, I was hoping for more specific information on the disaster themselves and the engineering options used to mitigate disaster impacts.  This book makes for a good introductory text to the subject.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-02-02 05:46
The Accidental Scientist by Graeme Donald
The Accidental Scientist: The Role of Chance and Luck in Scientific Discovery - Graeme Donald

TITLE:   The Accidental Scientist: The Role of Chance and Luck in Scientific Discovery

 

AUTHOR:  Graeme Donald

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2014

 

FORMAT:  Hardback

 

ISBN-13: 9781782430155

 

___________________________________

 

This is a rather short, but interesting, book that takes a look at the history behind various scientific discoveries and inventions.  All of the topics were chosen because chance or luck were involved in their discovery/invention.  Each chapter is a separate unit that covers a particular topic, such as botox, explosive cellulose, synthetic dyes, penicillin, post-it notes, lobotomies, the cellphone, LSD etc.  This book isn't in-depth science or history but is entertaining and informative without being boring.  The writing style is particularly conversational and witty.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-26 20:34
Fun Questions with In depth Answers
Toiletrivia - General Trivia Sampler (History Trivia, Movie Trivia, Sports Trivia, Geography Trivia, and More): The Only Trivia Book That Caters To Your Everyday Bathroom Needs (Volume 6) - Jeremy Klaff,Harry Klaff

Yes, I know it says Toiletrivia, but I like trivia and when I was able to get these for free for my Kindle, I got them and put them on my to be read list. Recently, when I was going through the books trying to decide what would be fun, I sent this to my Kindle and it covers a wide range of topics, so I think this will be fun for the girls. 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-13 09:00
East West Street: On the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity" - Philippe Sands

Of all the books I've read thus far this year, "EAST WEST STREET: On the Origins of 'Genocide' and 'Crimes Against Humanity' " is perhaps the most powerfully affecting and well-written. At times, as I read deeply into this book, it felt as if I was reading a family history, mystery novel, and story of the development of 2 key legal concepts from 2 remarkable men from Poland (Hersh Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin) which revolutionized the study and practice of international law - with respect to human rights - in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.

 

This book gets its impetus from a visit the author (a British law professor and international lawyer) made in 2010 to Lviv, a city in the Ukraine that over the past century changed hands and names several times. Prior to November 1918, Lviv was known as Lemberg within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had a rich, diverse Jewish culture and distinguished university and law school in Lemberg University (now Lviv University). Then with the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy, Lemberg became Lwów within a newly independent, re-established Poland. But with the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Lwów fell under Soviet control as a result of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact, which carved up Poland between Berlin and Moscow. This control proved to be shortlived, for once Germany invaded Soviet Russia in June 1941, Lwów became German and its Jewish population between 1941 and 1944 (when the Soviets retook the city, renaming it Lviv) was ghettoized and largely wiped out in the Holocaust.

 

What makes Lviv significant in this book is the connection the author's family and both Hersh Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin have to it. Sands' maternal grandfather Leon Buchholz and the families of both Lauterpacht and Lemkin lived in or near Lviv. Through sheer determination and lots of what can be likened to detective work, Sands shares with the reader the histories of his family through Leon's long, challenging and varied life (which took him from Poland to Vienna to Paris in January 1939) and that of Lauterpacht and Lemkin. Lauterpacht made a life for himself in Britain, where he achieved renown as a law professor and legal mind whose development of the concept of 'crimes against humanity' became widely adopted within international law during the Nuremberg war crimes trials of 1945-46. Lemkin, who was slightly younger than Lauterpacht, was a polyglot who spent most of his working years in Poland as a successful lawyer til he was forced to leave the country shortly after the beginning of the German occupation. In contrast to Lauterpacht who asserted that "the individual human being ... is the ultimate unit of all law", Lemkin developed during the Second World War the concept of "genocide", a deliberative action by a state to exterminate a people (along religious, racial, national, or ethnic lines). Indeed, Lemkin coined the word and tried throughout the war crimes trials in Nuremberg to have "genocide" formally adopted and accepted as a part of international law.

 

"Lauterpacht never embraced the idea of genocide. To the end of his life, he was dismissive, both of the subject and, perhaps more politely, of the man who concocted it, even if he recognized the aspirational quality. Lemkin feared that the separate projects of protecting individual human rights, on the one hand, and protecting groups and preventing genocide, on the other, were in contradiction."

 

Sands also sheds light on Hans Frank, Hitler's former personal lawyer who later was named Governor-General of Occupied Poland, where he figured prominently in the disenfrachisement and murder of Jews. In this capacity, Frank made a stop in Lemberg in August 1942, where he made a speech promoting his anti-Jewish policies. Frank later was tried for war crimes along with a number of top surviving members of the Third Reich (e.g., Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Rudolf Hess, Wilhelm Keitel, Ernst Kaltenbrunner of the SS, and Alfred Jodl who had been Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces) at Nuremberg, where Lauterpacht and Lemkin watched him testify.

 

This was a book I enjoyed reading from start to finish. It embodied all the attributes of a novel and mystery thriller. And yet the fact that "East West Street" is a true story made my reading experience even more rewarding.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?