Ordnance

Ordnance
Stokes Mortar - one of the simplest inventions

Friday, 23 May 2014

Ashley Jackson's Very Short Introduction to the British Empire

Ashley Jackson's Very Short Introduction to the British Empire

This book sets out to answer questions without bias since this subject attracts strong views on both sides. One point he seems to miss early on is just why the British sought to impose their ideas on the peoples they governed. 
Let us suppose that I have a better way of thinking that you have. Common sense would suggest that I keep my secret to superiority rather than share it. The British thought their way was better but then went on to try to share it with most of the world's population. 
I suggest that this was central to the 19th century view that people could be improved and so be more likely to be among the saved of God. It is a mindset we can no longer readily grasp but I think it unlocks some of 19th century thought 

Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth

This book is a celebration in plotting. Dickens would have been proud. It takes the reader through half forgotten streets of the political stresses of the seventies. The three day week, Northern Ireland and Heath v Wilson. It takes us close to the literary world almost mixing history with fiction. His characters condemn nihilist writing and then he gives us a nihilist ending.
He just gets better

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Magna Carta - The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015

Third Millennium are publishing a quite excellent book on Magna Carta edited by Professor Nicholas Vincent. It has a special Lincoln edition which highlights the particular role of this city in the Magna Carta story.

There is currently the opportunity to subscribe to this edition. Here is the link http://tmiltd.com/products/magna-carta-lincoln

I have had a sneak preview and find something totally absorbing. This ranges from the nature of law to the detail of just what the pressures were that brought it all together. But there is much more, it is the legacy of Magna Carta that truly matters. This is seen clearly in the constitution of the United States, but it is much wider. It is almost the legal air we breath, in much the same way as the christian heritage of 1000 years is the air we in the western world breath. It may not have detailed application but its influence in unmistakeable.