How and why did an Anglican power allied with a Roman Catholic power seek to bolster an ailing Islamic power against an Orthodox one?
Ken Lucid writes:
Cecil Woodham-Smith... Cecil Woodham-Smith... shiver.
Ugh! Back when I was taking Eng Lit 'O' level ('O' levels - remember them?) they stuck us with The Reason Why by Ms Woodham-Smith (yeah - stupid name for a girl) to read.
History as literature, you see.
It was an examination of why the Charge of the Light Brigade happened. Went through all that crap about the purchase system, how Cardigan was a nut case, the "black bottle affair" and so on.
For crying out loud it was dull! I never finished it I seem to recall.
You know, you take a subject because you like it, and they make it crap!
Well I did get a liking for Shakespeare, I suppose. But not poetry.
This is by that bloke from Birkbeck, Orlando Figes - "The Berk friom Birkbeck" he's called here at UTVE after that stupid business when he admitted he had been praising his own stuff on Amazon.
I happened to see Max Hastings's review of it in The Sunday Times this week. Dear old Max! He says no-one knows more about Russian history than Figes... Max! That's what you think. They don't call me "The Tsar of all the Russias" for nothing you know!
Anyway, there's some new stuff in this book. Good luck with it 'Lando.
* A note on last week's review of The German Genius (Sept 29): I see some plonker wrote to The Sunday Times this week "pointing out" that Mozart and a couple of other "German geniuses" were in fact Austrian. Pillock! They're all Germans... they just lived in different German-speaking states.
Ken Lucid is Professor of Modern History at the University of Thames Valley East.