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June Books 8) The Triumph of the West

8) The Triumph of the West, by J.R. Roberts

This book has been sitting guiltily on my shelves since Rathmore Grammar School awarded it to me in 1985 as congratulations on my A-level results. Roberts, a well-known academic historian, was given the task of doing an update of Clarke's "Civilisation" for the BBC, and this is the book-of-the-series. The New York times found the TV version uninspiring, and I regret to say I found the same of the book. Perhaps if I'd actually read it when I was 18, and knew a lot less about history than I do now... no, I don't think so. It's surprisingly meandering, mixes complacency with hand-wringing, and not very clear on who the target audience is. I read the first quarter, and decided I had done my duty by the school awards day of twenty years ago.

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