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review 2019-03-11 00:22
The Madness of Europe
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds - Charles MacKay

We tend to think of sarcasm as a modern affliction, but Charles Mackay's writing is as sarcastic as anything I have ever read. Extraordinary Popular Delusions is a 700 page study of what Mackay calls the Madness of Europe, up until 1841. The book is divided into long and short sections, depending on how exhaustively the author wanted to explore a given topic. Some of the long sections include financial bubbles, alchemy, the Crusades, and witch hunting frenzies. Shorter sections cover various types of medical quackery, doomsday prophets, poisoners, and dueling.

 

Every now and then Mackay pauses to praise his own age as having put such outbreaks of public madness as the Crusades and witch trials behind them. Of course Mackay did not live to see two World Wars nearly destroy Europe. As far as witch trials, it was only a few years ago that the recovered memory fad led to accusations as insane as any ever made by a witch hunter. Financial bubbles will continue as long as people are willing to risk their life savings on investments that they do not understand and are designed not to be understood. And while alchemy may be largely forgotten, modern day New Age gurus and televangelists will continue to exploit greed and fear of death in the never ending dance of the gullible and the fraud.

 

I bought a copy of this book at least 25 years ago for the title alone and it sat on my shelf unread until now. Not a lot of 19th century non-fiction gets read these days, mostly because the value of non-fiction tends to diminish the more out of date it becomes. Also because 19th century books tend to be very long and dense in comparison to modern books. Mackay's topic is unfortunately timeless and his sarcastic tone is very readable. If you try the book and get bogged down in the details of 18th century investment ripoffs, you might try skipping ahead to the Crusades and the witch mania which is more engaging.

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review 2019-03-01 00:34
A mediocre mini-series with a mediocre ending...
Man Without Fear (2019) #5 (of 5) - Danilo Beyruth,Kyle Hotz,Charles MacKay

Worth it mostly because I'm a DD completist, particularly with his series, and contemporary stuff. 

 

Glad I'm enjoying the newer stuff more though.

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review 2019-02-28 23:59
Stll meh.
Man Without Fear (2019) #4 (of 5) - Danilo Beyruth,Kyle Hotz,Charles MacKay

Still only working as a filler.  It explains a bit, like Blindspot being gone, but again, not well done. 

 

I'm certainly glad Zdarsky is writing the new series, and they got a new artist!

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review 2019-02-28 23:55
Feeling meh about this series
Man Without Fear (2019) #3 (of 5) - Jed MacKay,Iban Coello,Kyle Hotz

In retrospect, this is an important bridge between the two DD series.  (One just ended, one just started; this mini-series was published between those two things happening.)

 

But it feels very much like filler.   It's good for bridging, but not all that much more in my opinion.  I see what Marvel was trying to do, but I think it was just flat out done fairly poorly.

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review 2019-01-12 04:22
I really enjoyed this take on DD's lovelife
Man Without Fear (2019) #2 (of 5) - Charles MacKay,Kyle Hotz,Stefano Landini

It was told in a roundabout way that I didn't quite get at first.   The confusion soon lifted: this issue was devoted to what loving Murdock can do, and Matt's guilt about his ex-girlfriends who tend to be either dead now or mad.   

 

It was actually more enjoyable than the first issue on that level, but maddening because I really don't think the art fits this series.   The storyline also has issues - like confusing the reader to show Matt's own confusion. 

 

I do like how he comes clean to Blindspot, making this not only about Matt's broken love life.   I think it would be too brutal on one level and too sappy on another if it was only about his romances.   

 

Blindspot was Daredevil's protege, and after the scenes in this comic, I wonder if he'll take over in the new series, even though Murdock told him not to, or he'd end up as beaten down and broken as Murdock is now.   

 

 

 

 

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