Great first hand account of the Anglo-Boer war, from the perspective of an unusually astute young boer foot soldier.
Deneys Reitz not only saw a lot of...moreGreat first hand account of the Anglo-Boer war, from the perspective of an unusually astute young boer foot soldier.
Deneys Reitz not only saw a lot of action in the war, being involved in many of the most notable battles of which he gives a full personal account, but he also met many of the leaders and most prominent dignitaries involved in the conflict (Kruger, de la Rey, Smuts, Churchill, and others). As such, he is able to provide intimate details on the day to day life of the fighting men, and short vignettes of the personalities that helped a young fledgling nation take a stand against the British Empire.
"A lamentable tale of things done long ago, and ill done."(less)
Alain de Botton spends some time with cargo ship spotting enthusiasts, fisherman in the Maldives, career counselors, painters, accountants, entreprene...moreAlain de Botton spends some time with cargo ship spotting enthusiasts, fisherman in the Maldives, career counselors, painters, accountants, entrepreneurs, and a few others as he explores (what seems like) the few pleasures and depressingly large number of sorrows of work.
As an outsider whose livelihood, prospects for advancement, and respect of colleagues does not depend on the outcome of the various tasks and tedium he observes, he enjoys a level of indifferent objectivity which accentuates the absurdity of our preoccupations in our various vocations.
His approach is one of lighthearted irreverence, which makes for very entertaining reading and allows one to consider, with embarrassed amusement, the anxieties and seriousness with which we approach our own careers.
I could not help but be reminded of 'Ozymandias', the sonnet by Percy Bysshe. In contrast, Alain de Botton concludes that our work is not irrelevant and inconsequential, but essential in keeping our minds off the more troubling thoughts of *why* we lead our lives in a certain way ;)
The book is equal parts essay and photo reportage which encourages long moments of mulling over the images. And wondering what it may be like to lead the life of an accountant in London or rocket scientist in French Guiana.(less)