Deborah Ideiosepius's Reviews > The Sea Kingdoms: The History of Celtic Britain Ireland

The Sea Kingdoms by Alistair Moffat
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Oct 30, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: 2016-reading-challenge, marine-and-oceanic, historic-fact, non-fiction
Read from September 22 to October 08, 2016

This is a difficult book to review, I find. I love the fact that someone was so into the Celtic history of the UK that they went around researching and visiting all the out of the way, forgotten kingdoms, fading languages, strange customs and half-forgotten stories. The combined stories are beautifully told in a writing style that I found flowed admirably. The amount of work that went into compiling this book is formidable.

So, the above elements of the book were absolutely riveting. It provided a lot of information about the Celtic history of the UK which to my mind is the most interesting part of the old history and I certainly feel I know more about that than I did before. However, by the last third of the book I started to be aware of the very strong agenda that the author has. There are omissions, that even I, with little knowledge of the matters discussed, could see and did not understand. This awareness means that I found myself forced to take a lot of the bald assentations this book makes with a grain of salt; not a bad thing to do with any history really, I suppose but it is a shame the agenda is so strong that it made me cautious of the facts.

Also, I found the first half, or possibly even third to be the most interesting and the only part that actually reflects the title. My interest in this book was captured primarily because of the ‘sea kingdoms’ theme, and it is strong, relevant and very readable in the first part of the book. The later part is very much Scottish and much more related to the Highlands than anything else. While it was interesting and much of it totally new to me, I was sad to have left the sea so far behind that it was not mentioned for chapters at a time and had little relevance to the stories being told.
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Reading Progress

02/21/2015 marked as: wish-list
05/17/2016 marked as: acquired-as-yet-unread
09/22/2016 marked as: currently-reading
10/04/2016 page 187
59.0% "Tall men are arraying the fleet, which swiftly holds its course on the sea's bare surface: no hand lacks a trim warspear, in battle of targes, polished and comely..."
10/30/2016 marked as: read
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