Books Read – May 2012

Books Read / Films Seen on the right as usual. It’s been a month of two halves: the first half I watched films; the second half I read books.

Today marks a profound (or not so profound) change in my life, since I was finally released from the Marshalsea: so there should be more time in the future for the reading of books – or, indeed, other things.

4 thoughts on “Books Read – May 2012

  1. Nice to get your thoughts on Steven Runciman’s history of the First Crusade. By chance I happen to be listening to Zoe Oldenbourg’s history of the Crusades. There are so many to choose from that it’s difficult to know where to start. I’m definitely enjoying Oldenbourg’s account, too. I get the feel that you could expand any one section into its own book.

  2. Yes, Runciman is very good. This is only volume 1, a sort of introduction; volumes 2 and 3 are much bigger.

    The whole crusades business was quite mad, as far as I can see. Not merely invading the Holy Land, but the logistics of transporting all those soldiers from France and Germany to Constantinople in the first place.

  3. Good. I may follow up with his work to get more detail. Don’t get me wrong–Oldenbourg is very good. She includes all the crusades (I’m only starting on the second) and, despite being comprehensive, she takes care to mention where she’s skipping or compressing certain events.

    When reading books like hers…or some of the other histories I’ve read/listened to lately…I find myself asking how history in school could have been so soulless and boring. This is fascinating stuff.

  4. It’s very true. I gave up history at school as soon as I was allowed (13, I think), and didn’t come back to it until I was at university, where it ultimately became the subject I studied. Runciman makes crusading sound like fun.

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