History Without the Boring Bits
by Ian Crofton
Quercus (2007) This edition 2015
Paperback 362 pp £9.99
Not so much a title as a challenge. I’m not sure I can resist it. Having read a previous book of Crofton’s on food, I wasn’t expecting too much but it was reduced to £2.99 so there wasn’t much to risk.
The food book was very basic, and a few hours on the internet would have given you most, if not all the information. This one is a step up from that, seeming to cram a lot more in. Unfortunately a succession of interesting snippets doesn’t make for an interesting book. I’d like to see fewer entries, with a bit more information about each one. Apart from the bits I already know, there are many entries that aren’t particularly interesting, and some that are just unpleasant. (To my mind he seems overly fond of mutilation.)
So, referring back to the challenge contained in the title, no it hasn’t missed all the boring bits out. It’s a good book to dip into, but sometimes you may have to skim before finding a gem. I was pleased with it after my earlier experience with the food book, though still a little ambivalent, and have just ordered another of his books from Amazon. It cost me £2.81 including postage and packing so even if it’s rubbish it’s not a great loss.
I’ll let you know what happens.