logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: the-end-of-civilization
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-01-30 12:04
A heart-warming, fun, and light sci-fi novel, with fabulous characters
The Earthling's Brother - Earik Beann

I am writing this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team, and I thank her and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I have read two other books by Beann, one a science-fiction novel and the other a non-fiction book, enjoyed both, and loved the cover and the premise of his new book, and I’m pleased to say that I wholeheartedly recommend it as well.

The book reminded me of yesteryear science-fiction movies, but with a touch of self-awareness, humour, and diversity that made it thoroughly modern. It made me think of The Day the Earth Stood Still, Starman (the movie) and, to a certain extent, Terminator, especially the beginning, although here we have a bit of a twist, and more than one being from outer space (but I’ll try not to spoil the story).

The story is not hard science-fiction, and I suspect lovers of detailed scientific explanations and high-tech might find this book too light, but the setting is very compelling, there are plenty of adventures, and lots of fun to be had. And the characters are all winners.

Maria Rodriguez is a great protagonist. She works hard, loves her sick nephew and tries her best to help him get better, looks after everybody, and she is willing to help, no matter what. She gives “Sam” the benefit of the doubt, even if she thinks he is under the influence of some drug or other and a bit weird, and she ends up being pulled into an adventure that we’d all love to find ourselves in. Sam is another great character, like a grown-up child, and allows us to see ourselves from a completely fresh perspective. What would somebody from another world think about us? Mustafa… Well, I won’t tell you anything about Mustafa, other than he’s amazing, and we also have a proper villain (I’m talking about you, Sanders), and some other not very nice characters, although they don’t get off lightly. I particularly liked “Mother”, which is quite a special character but shows a great deal of insight into the workings of the world, despite her limitations, and Pepe… I think all readers will love Pepe.

The story has a bit of everything: there are some quasi-magical elements about it (be careful what you wish for!); we have police persecutions and interrogations; we have references to migration policies and to asylum hearings (this is priceless!); we have alien civilizations intent on destroying the world as we know it; trips to Las Vegas and big winnings at the casinos; a road-trip; flying secret planes; a stand-off between USA and Canadian soldiers, and even a little bit of romance thrown in.

The writing style is smooth, easy-to-read, and there are plenty of action scenes, humour, suspense, and some pretty scary moments as well. Although there is destruction, mayhem, and violence, it is not very extreme or explicit, and most of it is only referred to in passing. All these elements, and the story, that has an all-around feel-good happy ending, make this book perfect for YA readers, in my opinion, and I think older children might enjoy it as well, although I’d recommend parents to check it out beforehand.

In sum, this is a joy of a book. It can be read as a fun and light sci-fi adventure book, although it does deal in topics that are serious, current, and it has a message that humanity would do well to listen to. It suits all ages, and it leaves readers smiling. What else should we ask for? (Oh, and I especially recommend it to any Canadians out there!)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-12-31 00:17
Western Civilization since 1500
Western Civilization Since 1500 - Walther Kirchner

Covering over 450 years of history in a little over 300 pages seems a daunting task, even more so when it begins in Europe and slowly spreads across the globe.  Western Civilization since 1500 by Walther Kirchner is a survey of the rise of European global dominance from the beginnings of “modern times” to the generation after World War II when the periphery powers of the United States and Soviet Union rose to dominance.

 

Kirchner spends the first 20 pages doing a quick recap of Western Civilization from its Sumerian beginnings to 1500.  Then over the course of the next 300 pages, Kirchner divides the approximately 450+ years of history into 20 chapters of specific “eras” whether political and/or cultural developments and happenings.  Unlike Kirchner’s previous survey, there was no real “highlight” for the general reader though the significance of some cultural individuals—writers, painters, composers, etc.—that in my own Western Civ and World History classes in high school and college were never mentioned or those that were mentioned that Kirchner didn’t thus showing the difference 30-35 years makes in historical studies.  Kirchner obvious adherence to the Marxist theory of history was on full display, but it did not necessarily mean a favorable view of Communist regimes or leaders.  As study aid for college students in the mid-1960s there were some interesting miscues (the misdating of the Battle of Yorktown stands out), omissions (the genocidal famine caused by the First Five Year Plan), and downright lies (that the U.S. citizens were sympathetic to the British from the beginning of WWII).  Given that this book is over 50 years old there is dated terminology that wouldn’t be used today, not all for politically correct reasons, that would make the reader do a double take if they didn’t know when this book was published.

 

Though this small volume is meant as a study aid to college students and a quick reference for general readers, to which is essentially succeeds, it is pretty old and should be used by astute history readers to learn how the study of history has changed over time.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-08-16 10:43
1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline
1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed - Eric H. Cline

TITLE:   1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

 

AUTHOR:  Eric H. Cline

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2015

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  9780691168388

_______________

DESCRIPTION:

"In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh's army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians. The thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C., which had stretched from Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia, suddenly ceased to exist, along with writing systems, technology, and monumental architecture. But the Sea Peoples alone could not have caused such widespread breakdown. How did it happen?

In this major new account of the causes of this "First Dark Ages," Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life the vibrant multicultural world of these great civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and globalized peoples of the Late Bronze Age and shows that it was their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse and ushered in a dark age that lasted centuries.

A compelling combination of narrative and the latest scholarship, 1177 B.C. sheds new light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and ultimately destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age--and that set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece.
"

______________________

REVIEW:

 

This book seems to have improved on a second reading 2 years after the first.  

Cline has written a well researched, interesting and serviceable literature review of the end of the Late Bronze Age, the three preceding centuries, and the multitude of causes attributed to this decline/collapse.  Cline spends a lot of text on urban archaeological findings, palatial elites and trading links, but practically ignores the role of agriculture and rural populations.  The role of climate, disease, famine and earthquakes (and anything else) is also dealt with in one chapter only.  There is nothing new in this book, but it does bring together the events of the time and various hypotheses in one book in a semi-popular style history book.  The organisation and repetitiveness of the book leaves something to be desired.  A time line would have been useful. 

 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-07-16 18:06
Crowdsourced History Reading -- TA's List No. 1: Bulk Entries and Basics
The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in Seventeenth-Century England - Antonia Fraser
The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation - Ian Mortimer
Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty - Dan Jones
Shakespeare: For All Time - Stanley Wells
The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean - John Julius Norwich
The Rise And Fall Of The House Of Medici - Christopher Hibbert
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - Jared Diamond
The Story of Civilization - Will Durant,Ariel Durant
Encyclopedia of World History - Oxford University Press
Putzger: Historischer Weltatlas - Ernst Bruckmüller,Walter Leisering,Friedrich Wilhelm Putzger,Michael Ackermann,Bruno Mègre,Rudolf Berg,Manfred Vasold,Peter Claus Hartmann,Jochen Grube,Martin Clauss,Bernd Isphording,Stephan Warnatsch,Christina Böttcher,Hans Weymar,René Betker,Ralf Kasper

I'm going to split up my submissions for the crowdsourced history reading list initiated by Chris into several topical lists (with cross references), beginning with the authors and book series I'm submitting in toto, as well as some basic reference material.  So:

 

ALL BOOKS BY ...
* Antonia Fraser (women's history, Tudors & Stuarts)
* Ian Mortimer (British history, particularly Middle Ages)
* Dan Jones (ditto)
* Stanley Wells (Shakespeare -- everything from biographies and history to criticism)
* John Julius Norwich (British and Mediterranean history)

* Christopher Hibbert (ditto)
* Jared Diamond (intersection of (world) history, geography, and sociology)

 

SERIES
* Will Durant, Ariel Durant: The Story of Civilization (11 volumes, Ancient Orient to Age of Napoleon)

* Various Authors: Fischer Weltgeschichte (published elsewhere as Weidenfeld & Nicolson Universal History / Siglo XXI Editores Historia Universal / Storia Universale Feltrinelli, and Bordas / Fayard Histoire Universelle, respectively) (36 vols., prehistory to present day)

BASIC REFERENCE
* Oxford Encyclopedia of World History
* Putzger Atlas der Weltgeschichte (unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge not translated into English -- but for my money, one of the best historical cartographical works in existence)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-02-04 06:15
Civilization Critical by Darrin Qualman
Civilization Critical: Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future - Darrin Qualman

TITLE:  Civilzation Critical:  Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future

 

AUTHOR:  Darrin Qualman

 

EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE:  1 May 2019

 

FORMAT:  Netgalley ARC

 

ISBN-13:  9781773630861

_________________________

NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

_________________________

DESCRIPTION:

"With human civilization hurtling closer and closer to the brink of collapse, big-picture solutions are needed. Fast.

In Civilization Critical, Darrin Qualman argues that in order to understand our present situation and our possible futures, we must focus on material and energy flows. The dominant patterns of nature are loops — circular flows of nutrients, seeds, water, carbon and other materials — while human systems are linear: moving from extraction to the factory, the store, the consumer and the landfill. Our petro-industrial systems are misshapen and cannot be sustained by the biosphere. Sustainability requires reconfiguring the linear flows of human systems to match the circular, recycling flows of natural (and pre-industrial) systems. Once we undertake this transformation, many of our problems will begin to abate; until we do so, most will intensify.

In this sweeping work, Qualman pushes the boundaries of existing environmental analysis by looking across the millennia to identify the core processes that give rise to environmental and economic problems and reveals how our sometimes-wondrous, sometimes-monstrous civilization really works and how it is threatened."

___________________________

REVIEW:

 

This is a book that examines the interaction between the Earth's natural cycles and the evolution of human civilization and progress - a cmbination of technology, culture and biology.  It examines how out petro-chemical "mega-civilization" has decoupled from nature's cyclical processes, the sustainability of this type of civilization and the recommended paths to take in future.  In my opinion this is an important book that sheds light on our history, our future, and how we came to live in our current civilization.  However, I did find some sections to be repetitive and some too generalized.  The author also fails to discuss the elephant in the room:  overpopulation.  Otherwise an interesting and informative book.

 

 

 

 

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?