Weekly Web Links:
- As someone who has a remarkable inability (I feel I may have mentioned this before but its so true it’s worth saying twice) to do their own hair now with modern tools (granted I don’t have nice easy cooperative hair; it’s kinda more like what would happen if a poodle got an electric shock most days) I am particularly impressed that the ancient Egyptians were so good at styling their hair that the do’s have lasted over 3,000 years.
- The seven most terrifying archaeological discoveries. Personally I don’t necessarily agree with all their pics but number three is quite disturbing.
- Excavations in a 5,000 year old city in the eastern province of Hatay (Turkey) have uncovered what appears to be a music room dating back to the Roman occupation of that region.
- As this past week has been Banned Books Week; here is a history on the censorship of books which seems like such an ancient practice but actually still continues to this day.
- The world’s oldest beehive, dating back to the 1400’s, has been found in a chapel in Scotland. This is one of those discoveries that’s really cool until the whole thing breaks open an ancient zombie bees start terrorizing the planet…
- Cases of mass hysteria that have occurred throughout history.
Historical Book Review for the Week:
India: A History by John Keay
While it hasn’t been an intentional decision on my part, my historical education has, for the most part, been contained to three major sections:
- North American
- Western European
As a result of this, I am really quite ignorant about even the basic history of countries in other parts of the world and so I decided that I needed to expand my knowledge in order to have at least a general understanding. John Keay’s book covering the whole of Indian history from its pre-historic origins to its modern incarnation is my first reading of Indian history for its own sake rather than this bits that I have previously encountered through its interactions with the histories of more familiar countries (in India’s case this was typically Britain). While the author is clearly highly knowledgeable of his topic and the text itself is laid out in as straight a form and chronology as is possible I do have to admit that I did have some difficulty with this history. Now, I will fully acknowledge that this is guaranteed to be more of a fault of my own rather than the authors; my lack of experience with the history of the country meant that I often struggled with keeping regions, places, people, and dates straight in my head and there was so much unfamiliar information presented that I’m not sure if I’ve actually retained anything read.
This book provides a fantastic overview along with a ton of detail but rather than it be a a good starting place for information about India’s history, I think its something that would definitely read better for someone who already had at least a little bit of prior knowledge about the region. I had a much easier time with the first sections which covered the ancient pre-history of the region which would go on to become India and the latter parts of the book which focuses on more modern event as I had some background with this through news articles, current events, and the interaction between India and other countries in its more recent periods.