Tuesday, September 27, 2011

uncompleted books

Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men (Corgi, 2003)
Every time I try a Terry Pratchett novel and find it just not very interesting, the Pratchett fans are always at hand to say, "No, you have to try this one." I've been through three or four of them this way, and this is the latest, recommended by someone at Reno for being believably from the viewpoint of a pre-teen girl. Which it may be, but it's also full of the same wearisome lame flop-sweaty attempts at humor as all the others, so I'm not going to get very far.
(Interruption: I just used my copy to swat a silverfish.)

Isaac Asimov, The Golden Door (Houghton Mifflin, 1977)
Recent perusals of Asimov's books of ancient history surprised me for being much better than I'd recalled from previous attempts (The Land of Canaan [HM, 1971], rather strangely dedicated to Arthur C. Clarke, was particularly illuminating, if you're willing to acknowledge that the Bible is not a history book), so I decided to try one of his American history books. This one covers 1865-1918. So I was a bit shocked to find it full of inaccuracies, and things I believe are inaccurate, particularly on foreign affairs. Did the Russians really sell Alaska to the U.S. rather than the U.K. because they were still pissed at the British over the Crimean War? I'd always thought it was to put a counterblock against the British, what with the NW Territories and all, being the dominant power in the region. As for "Prussia went on to annex other German states to form the German Empire" (p. 37), that's just wrong. Italy was formed by annexation; Germany was a confederation, which is why it was called an empire rather than a kingdom.

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