Reading Non-Fiction October 2012

Posted: November 2, 2012 in Book Awards, England, France, Germany, Historical, Indian sub continent, Off Topic

I love history therefore in October along with two crime fiction books I read two non fiction books, and also started a third. 

They may seem depressing alternative choices to dark Scandinavian crime fiction but in fact one of them, Into The Silence, The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis was an inspiring tribute to the men who survived the trenches to risk their lives climbing Everest in the 1920s. Into The Silence has been nominated for the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize and must be a strong contender as despite its length, 578 tightly packed pages, it is a wonderfully interesting read. Within its covers are an English social history of the Edwardian upper class, a demolition of the Great War generals, tales about the Raj, information on Tibetan culture, and an exciting story of mountaineering on the highest point on the planet.  

Europe’s Last Summer by David Fromkin goes into great detail about the path by which Europe went down the path to war in 1914 lead by leaders who did not really understand what they were doing. The Great War was the tragedy from which all the other tragedies over the last century have flowed. 

As late as 1926, as the nation mourned the death of nearly 1 million men, Haig would write on the future of war. ” I believe that the value of the horse and the opportunity of the horse in the future are likely to be as great as ever. Aeroplanes and tanks are only accessories to the men and the horse, and I feel sure that as time goes on you will find just as much use for the horse-the well bred horse-as you have ever done in the past.”     Into The Silence: Wade Davis    

[Update 13 November: Into The Silence by Wade Davis did win the Samuel Johnson Prize]

  1. Norman – Those do look like interesting choices. Both of these books are about such an important time in our history and one that’s not always well-understood. I’m glad you enjoyed them and thanks for the recommendation.

  2. kathy d. says:

    Let’s hear it for non-fiction. Only I don’t heed my own advice, as I read crime fiction at any excuse. For instance, this hurricane: I hunkered down with my flashlight and read mysteries, one of them by Margot Kinberg. It got me through these four days with no electricity, heat, phones, etc.

  3. Norman Price says:

    Kathy thankfully you are safe and managed to read without any power. One of my cousins near Baltimore had 24 hours without electricity, but from the devastation on TV it looks as if some people will suffer for a lot longer. In the UK some coastal areas and places near rivers are regularly flooded, especially in Devon and Cornwall because of the steep hills back from the coast and lining the river valleys. But the authorities persist in allowing green areas and flood plains to be concreted over for housing exacerbating the problem.
    I have one of Margot’s books on my TBR shelf and am saving it up as a treat to read over my difficult period in January.

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