Saturday, September 1, 2012

British History with a Twist

Lora knows I like to read and that my reading interests lie in many genres. She purchased a book for me (while she was in the UK) that she knew I would like.

It combines history and satire. I love it!

Here's a short excerpt:

"As a piece of engineering, Stonehenge is an incredible achievement and there is something rather symmetrical about Microsoft providing a photo of Stonehenge as a standard wallpaper for the twenty-first-century computer screen. No one knows quite why it was built, but it seems sensible to presume that some ancient ceremony took place there every year, hopefully slightly more meaningful than today's annual beating up of New Age travelers by the local riot police. The sheer scale of the monument and the logistics that must have been involved in constructing it tell us something of the society that built it. We know that they followed the movement of the stars and the planets, the presumption being that they worshiped the sun, which as religions go, seems a bit "first base", but then it was a long time ago. In fact the site was of religious significance for far longer than Christianity or Islam have existed. It is the temple of a civilization about which we know very little and so tend to presume was very simplistic, but they must have had a fairly advanced social structure; in addition to a good number of labourers or slaves they would have needed managers, engineers, surveyors and designers. Basically they must have had a middle class. How Stonehenge managed to get planning permission with all those objections from the "friends of Salisbury Plain" is just another of its ancient mysteries."

It's going to be a challenge for me to be productive until I finish reading this tome.  I'm making very slow progress because I find myself reading bits and pieces of the book over and over again. The most amusing parts of this book for me are the frequent pokes at today's western culture and society.

I wonder if I can locate other books by John O'Farrell?

"History is the sum total
of things that could have been avoided."
~ Konrad Adenauer

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