Another review for you! All about one of my favourite historical characters, Brasidas the Spartan.
Mike Roberts, Two Deaths at Amphipolis: Cleon vs Brasidas in the Peloponnesian War, (Barnsley, 2015)
Pages: 264 ISBN: 978-1783463787 Continue reading
I think I should just give up and call this my Ancient PTSD blog!
It is that time of year again when someone posts an idea which links modern PTSD with ancient experiences. However, there is a growing trend that is more concerning than the intellectual mistakes or flaws that are inherent in this approach. Since the turn of the 90’s there has been a growing use of ancient ‘examples’ to justify PTSD as a concept (as a way to challenge the prevailing views of old that it was a ‘problem’ or a ‘weakness’ with the people who had it).
This use of ancient history saw the famous works of Jonathan Shay (Achilles in Vietnam, and Odysseus in America) come to the fore, and is in my opinion a good thing. Unfortunately, since the success of Shay’s work, there is a new trend which is to use ancient history to not only validate the diagnosis, but to actually justify therapies and, worse now, to present new ones. Continue reading
Another review! But, unlike my usual reviews, this one is not about a history book but, indeed, a travel/adventure/endurance book. I knew one of the authors (Paul Archer) from our schooldays together, so I was intrigued by this project of his as it grew in magnitude over the medium of social media. Hence the review here! Continue reading
(Review) Ben Hubbard, The Samurai: Swords, Shōguns and Seppuku, (The History Press, 2014)
Pages: 156 ISBN: 978-0-7509-5589-8
A book that claims to offer a “complete, concise account of samurai history and culture” in just under 160 pages is either purposefully misleading or downright deluded. To even think that 1,000 years of history, numerous political and social upheavals, various religious syncretisms – and more importantly for the topic of this book, the evolution and changes in warfare – can be surmised without missing important elements is, at best, very naïve. That is not to say that this book is not well written, and an entertaining read at times but it suffers with two important elements: structure and idealism. Continue reading
I have decided to add a ‘book review’ section to my blog because, well, I get asked to write a lot of book reviews! So here’s one to start it off which I particularly enjoyed reading:
(Review) James Waterson, Defending Heaven: China’s Mongol Wars 1209-1370, (Frontline Books, 2013)
Pages: 236 ISBN: 9781848326606
Asian medieval history is a very alien world when compared to European medieval history; especially when it concerns military history. At the drop of a hat, the Song dynasty could muster an army of 2-300,000 men; they could have a state-funded, standing army of over 1,000,000 men; they could throw explosives around a battlefield; and they could fire projectiles with the aid of gunpowder – this just wasn’t imaginable in Europe at that time. What they could not do was stop the Mongol tide from washing over their lands, and a major cause of this will sound very familiar to European historians – they could never unite and face the Mongols as a single force. Continue reading