Of all the Oxford History books i have read so far ~ maybe a quarter of them altogether ~ this has been the least satisfying, i’m afraid. Why? I’m not really sure, in detail, except that it seems to be the one in which the least amount of good history is given. Or, to be specific, my kind of history. There is all to much here of an explanation of why we don’t know enough, and how we know what we know, but all of it seems to rely on just enough specialist knowledge that it is just beyond my ken, leading to a feeling of constant struggle to catch up and understand, which is not a pleasant feeling to have as i read. I can’t say i didn’t learn at all, because that simply wouldn’t be true; the truth is that i have not learned as much as i wanted, with the result that i am left still partially in the dark about the period of sub-Roman history, as it seems to be called, not really understanding how the Saxons and their colleagues came, to where (or even, fully, whence), when, and in what manner they settled and blended or otherwise with the established population. I can’t even tell, really, if this is a fault in myself or in the book, or mine expectations for the book, which may have been incorrect. In the end, all i can do is reiterate my response from the first sentence, that i am not well satisfied with having finished this one of the series.
Bernard Whimpress, Nigel Hart
An account of a dozen Test matches between England and Australia, those in the authors’ view as being of particular value or interest for the strength of the game. I enjoyed it, but not as much as i had hoped i might, not being as fluent in cricket as i’d like. In some ways, i really can wish quite strongly that i didn’t move to Canada when i was ten ~ for all the benefits it bestowed, it also caused some pains, which surely Mum & Dad must have foreseen and decided that the benefits outweighed the costs. As a result, though, i find that although i know some names, some characters have made a sufficient impact that even in Canada or the US i heard of them, most are completely unknown to me, and events which the authors take as read aren’t, and, to be sure, some of the terms and ideas are insufficiently developed here (which is understandable) for me to understand fully. Again, a shame, but an interesting read. I should like to see the concept developed for other sports; i think it could be interesting.