Max Carmichael's Reviews > Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations

Vanished Kingdoms by Norman Davies
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's review
May 17, 2012

it was ok
Read from April 25 to May 17, 2012

Ironically, Davies starts out bemoaning the over-specialization of historians, and then gives us the same old litany of ruling dynasties, their capitol cities, and their wars. What I look for is a historical rendering of place and daily life, society and ecology, but I got virtually none of that here. On the plus side, he wisely uses contemporary regional poetry throughout to evoke those dynasties and wars, and the natives' poetry is naturally stronger than the historian's prose could ever be. And he frequently reminds us that all nations collapse, including his own UK - an eternal truth which Americans might find themselves on a watch list for expressing.

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