History Reviews

The French Mathematician

[openbook booknumber=”0425172910″][rating:3/5]

While growing up in revolutionary France, Evariste Galois immersed himself in the study of mathematics, a pursuit that allowed him a welcome glimpse of order at a time when chaos consumed his country. Arrogant, ambitious, and brilliant, Galois dreamed of solving the quintic, a complex equation that had baffled many talented mathematicians before him–but after his father’s mysterious death, he devoted himself to Republican politics with the same fervent energy he had applied to his mathematical studies. Rich in historical detail and bursting with intellectual passion, this captivating novel describes a genius’s valiant quest for truth–in a turbulent and uncertain era that in many ways mirrors the one in which we live today.

I am sharing this review for posterity’s sake, this is the very first review I ever wrote and posted online. I blogged this review over ten years ago on December 13, 2001. I meant to post it here on its ten year anniversary but the holidays got in the way. Instead I am posting it today to kick off a new year with. This review is full of spoilers (seriously, it spoils just about the whole book) and is really more of a book report than a review but I can definitely see some of my beginnings in this and so I decided what better way to start a new year than with my start in book blogging. Enjoy!

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The Chalice and The Blade

[openbook booknumber=”0062502891″][rating:3/5]

The phenomenal bestseller, with more than 500,000 copies sold worldwide, now with a new epilogue from the author–The Chalice and the Blade has inspired a generation of women and men to envision a truly egalitarian society by exploring the legacy of the peaceful, goddess-worshiping cultures from our prehistoric past.

I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to read this book. A lot of what I read in its pages changed my entire worldview and caused me to reevaluate the history of the world as I knew it through a feminist lense and to change how I felt and thought about that history. There was a lot in this book that I didn’t completely agree with but there were many parts that I was glad to have read and have reached a deeper and richer understanding of the world because of it.

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The Age of Napoleon

[openbook booknumber=”0828104913″]

[rating:2/5]

Since I had started to develop a new found interest in the regency period I decided I wanted to know a bit more about the political events of the period. These almost always surrounded the Napoleonic wars, of which I knew embarrassingly little. So I picked up a book called The Age of Napoleon.

This book is part biography, part history book as it tells the story of Napoleon in the context of the times he was in: political, cultural, military, economic and social.

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The Princes in the Tower

[openbook booknumber=”0712673792″]

[rating:3/5]

For those of you who don’t know the story of the princes in the tower here is a quick re-cap.

There were two princes of England who were eight and twelve when the oldest of the two inherited the throne. Their father had died unexpectedly young and this lead to an unfortunate power struggle. The two boys were ultimately locked up in the White Tower by their uncle, Richard III who then assumed the throne.

Some year or so later the boys mysteriously disappeared. In modern times what is almost certainly their bones were found buried beneath a stair well in the tower which has brought the mystery of their plight and ultimate fate back to the fore-front of modern debate.

This book takes the debate, and approaches it in a very linear and logical fashion. The author lists all of the sources of reliable information and lists not only what she considers to be the best and worst sources, but why she considers them so.

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