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Of course, it does not end there. Displaying the kind of dazzling scholarship that most academics can only aspire to, Merton zigzags across the intellectual horizon on a quest for the lighter side of truth. In doing so, he exposes many of the pretensions of scholarly work, plagiarism and specious logic. Leaving no stone unturned, we are as likely to find ourselves in pursuit of Tristram Shandy as we are to be wandering through the transept of Chartres Cathedral. All in a mad search to uncover who really used OTSOG first.
It needs to be said that Merton is, on his own, an extremely respected sociologist, one who often has used the scientific and academic world as the focus of his remarkable eye. OTSOG sets out to make points by mimicking its subjects rather than lecturing about them. Whimsical and witty, it still touches on serious issues while exposing a great deal of fascinating minutia. Certainly it is a one of a kind work that enjoys a large cult following among those who are reluctant to take themselves seriously. Look out for Umberto Eco's foreword and Merton's riposte-face as well.
Churchill had a way of mixing humor, invective and sarcasm to drive home his point, but never in a base or vulgar way. He never pandered to the audience or talked down to them; he spoke honestly in a determined and forthright manner that assumed a level of intelligence capable of understanding whatever he said.
Churchill was the most quotable of twentieth century world leaders. Who could forget his cut at Mussolini: "An Italian sausage in a Sam Browne belt." Or this gem about truth which should have been played weekly during the political scandals of the 1990s: "Truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance deride it, but in the end, there it is."
This book also serves as an excellent historical reference. It is thoroughly indexed and has a comprehensive table of contents. The editor has written a helpful preface to each series of speeches to provide background for the modern reader. The book should prove interesting to any history buff, and should read like poetry to those who love the English language, properly used.
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The book is a history of the birth and construction of the telescope. It is the only popular acccount, and as such is an important source of information for anyone wanting to know about this trail-blazing telescope.
The book is a logical sequential account of the birth of the telescope. The writing suffers a little by being shared between three authors, some of whom are more accessible than others; but this is a minor quibble in what is otherwise an authoritative account of an important instrument.
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"The natural appetite or tast of the human mind is for Truth"
"Art is a point of view, Genius a way of seeing."
If the artist can grasp the truths in this book they will recieve the keys to the kingdom!
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An interesting exploration of the dandy concept as personified by Beerbohm. Read this to understand how Beerbohm "concealed in his works of prose fantasy, elaborate and profound allegories of the state of man's soul during the palmy days of the bristish empire"
An interesting peek into Beerbohm, "the dandy, talker, caricaturist parodist, esayist and dramatic critic". Read to find more!
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Sir Robert Carey was widely though of as the Queen's nephew (the illegitimate grandson of Henry VIII) and Chisholm makes the most of this fact in her mystery, using her hero's physical resemblance to the Queen and his father, Lord Hundson's, temperamental resemblance to Henry VIII to build a complicated tale of revenge, ambition, and murder. A score of minor--but also real!--characters thread through the story: Mistress Bassano (a member of a real family of Jewish musicians at the court), Robert Greene, Christopher Marlowe, and even the balding Will Shakespeare appear.
So many historical mysteries are more about evoking a powerful setting than telling a complicated tale of skulduggery, but with this book you get to have both. The setting and characterization are nearly perfect, and the central mystery pivoting around the consequences surrounding an alchemical experiment gone wrong is not only perfect for the period but darned confusing as well! I highly recommend this book, and the other books in the series. But, read A Famine of Horses (the first in the series) first or you will find yourself a bit lost for the first half.
Written in a spare yet vivid style, with outstanding dialogue, Plague of Angels features well-known characters from the first three books of Chisholm's series. But, due to a letter from Carey's father, they've had to ride south to London. Readers be encouraged: this is no Renaissance Faire.
Characterization is particularly strong in this volume because it's from the point of view of Sergeant Dodd, the tough, morose, thoroughly engaging Borderer. His viewpoints on London, the aristocracy, and Carey are not only humorous but have a certain ring of truth. I'd always liked Dodd, but in the course of this book he became one of my favorite historical fiction characters of all time. Carey, seen through Dodd's eyes, retains his notable charm and savoir-faire. And Chisholm does something nearly impossible: writes about real historical characters and does it well. Yes, Shakespeare is in this book, and yes, it works.
The plot is an exciting one, of course. Some of the twists aren't quite as well developed as they could be, but between the plague, the Fleet Prison, and our hero facing torture by the bad guys, it's hard to care.
I was particularly impressed here with Chisholm's presentation of Renaissance mentalities. The pure terror evoked by the plague, in an age when diseases were unstoppable and more or less uncurable, is very well described. It's also worth mentioning that, although her protagonists are male, Chisholm does well with female characters, making them realistic products of their time but still strong, interesting individuals.