DARN: Somehow I managed to shave the final minutes off the video while recording! Still, the main points are covered.
A short video review of John Man’s book, The Gutenberg Revolution: How Printing Changed The Course Of History, on Johann Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press and creator of the Gutenberg Bibles.
I discuss the merits of the book, how well written it is, the way that it deals nicely with the material, especially relating to the innovation and inventiveness of Gutenberg and how satisfying a read it is.
You can get a copy of the book here from rbooks, Random House’ customer facing bookstore.
A short video review of The Training Ground: Grant. Lee, Sherman and Davis In The Mexican War, 1846-48 by Martin Dugard (ISBN: 978-0-316-16625-6).
I mention that I enjoyed the writing style but felt the short chapter structure was an annoying feature.
I also mention my bigger issue which was the absence of proper detail on the military aspects of the campaign and the fact that the Mexican side of the story is mostly ignored except for a very cursory analysis.
I encourage people to read the book however as is an enjoyable read despite its problems.
What has always amazed me about that battle and the characters involved is that in Harold Godwinson we have on the one hand the known villain of subsequent (and of the contemporary) propaganda especially the amazingly effective Bayeux Tapestry (a quite incredible piece of public propaganda which is well worth visiting). Harold has come down by the victor of the Battle of Hastings word as an oath breaker.
Because of that twist of faith, we don’t remember Harold’s own victory at Stamford or the fact that he was seen by many Saxons as England’s bulwark against Norman influence. What’s more because of Hastings, we don’t hear the story of the brother’s Godwinson or indeed of Harald Hardrada who as the link above makes clear had a fascinating life himself.
All told, Stamford Bridge and the ignored heroism or at the very least success if you will of Harold reinforces for me the sense that very often history recalls not the reality of a persons life but only the most resonate aspect of it, that events which have relevance are often overshadowed by subsequent less important but better recorded happenings.
Links & the rest
I decided I would search out George Monck information on the web and the results are pretty great. Google has an interesting timeline feature. You can view it here, but I’ve a screen grab below: