Daily Archives: May 10, 2014

26% done with A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

It’s amazing the perfect storm of bad luck that was the 14th century: plague (the Black Death) being carried by both rats AND fleas, famine and its associated economic implications, and really bad leadership made up of a lot of teenagers. It’s almost a wonder Western Civilization didn’t just dry up.

Tuchman falls victim to telling so much history that it gets hard to follow one strand very long – too many people.

7% done with At Play in the Fields of the Lord

That opening image of the shining airplane against the blue sky and above the peaks of the Andes mountains is so beautiful. In fact Matthieson reminds me of Conrad; his language is beautiful and filled with little poetic beats – such as the image of men leaping from an airplane into the jungle before the plane even comes to a stop, and the white sun in a white sky like a fried egg.

This is off to a great start.