Thursday, January 05, 2006
I've decided to add short reviews of all the books I read in 2006. This will not only serve as a mild form of public service for you, the Random Doubt audience but will also enable me to look back upon stuff I have read.
As many will know I undertook a successful New Year's resolution at the beginning of 2004. I was determined to read one book at a time and end my years of book adultery. This has led to two marvellous years of wholesome reading, hanging out with books I actually got to know and like. I also got to remember some of their names.
So here we go, first up for 2006 is 'Vive Le Revolution' by the revolutionary socialist stand up comic/writer/cricket lover Mark Steel (I wonder, does he get bored being introduced like that?)
I've long admired Mr Steel's work, on the TV, radio and in stand up form (although I've not seen him live but I have seen him on the TV, or listened on the radio).
'VLR' is a chronologically straight history of the French Revolution. There, nothing you wouldn't get from a good history teacher right? Steel brings comparisions, analogies, and a whole bunch of jokes. Not crass irrelevant jokes but humour based upon years of historical and philosphical thought, struggle and action.
He brings the events into a wider perspective within the context of enlightenment ideas, other revolutions and the eventual corruption of the dreams of the 'Sans Culottes' by folk such as Napoleon.
A thoroughly enjoyable read and one not to be mistaken for a pithy take on history, Steel knows his stuff and is funny to boot.
(not published in the US, either travel to the UK or visit Amazon.co.uk