Sunday, February 28, 2010

Academic Would I Be

I am pushing through the last twenty pages of an insightful book - "The Hollow Crown" by Miri Rubin - that is, despite the author's position stated in the introduction to the contrary, an "academic" work. It reminds me of a book I slogged through in college - "A History of Greece" by A. R. Bury (or maybe it is Burns? - anyway a dense work that left me uninspired). This present book is an ambitious review of the Late Middle Ages in Britain that assumes a good amount of prior knowledge of the history of said time period.

The book is full of insights and interesting facts. I noted that the words "buoyancy" and "buoyant" occur at several junctures, usually applied to trade. The style is such that concerted concentration is needed, and at times I have driven through pages without remembering what I read (a defect in me, not the book) and having to backtrack.

This is not a traditional history - the kings are covered but the wool trade has just as much attention. I was fortunate to know the bones of the period (1307 - 1485), and this work was a deep enhancement of said knowledge. I learned that I have not the tenacity of an academic - perhaps my job takes that aspect out of me - but wish I could retain the information imparted by a work such as "The Hollow Crown" is.