Al Singh

Author's posts

Dec 15 2014

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Some people come away from this play with the impression that it is anti-semitic, but Shakespeare puts such eloquent defenses and rebuttals in the mouth of Shylock, on behalf of himself and his people, that for me the charge does not ring true.  The more serious theme of this drama is the balance, at times …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/15/the-merchant-of-venice-by-william-shakespeare/

Dec 08 2014

A Monarchy Transformed: Britain 1603-1714 by Mark Kishlansky

The introduction conveys the author’s enthusiasm for the study of this period, but the expectation of excitement rapidly peters out in what amounts to a rather dull narrative. Nevertheless, this was a time of tremendous change and development in British history. Aside from the Civil War, the Commonwealth, the Restoration, and the Glorious Revolution, this …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/08/a-monarchy-transformed-britain-1603-1714-by-mark-kishlansky/

Dec 05 2014

Parkinson’s Disease: A Guide for Patients and Families by William Weiner MD, Lisa Shulman MD, and Anthony Lang MD

A good source of information with a surprisingly optimistic outlook on a really terrible neurological disorder. There is still no cure, but there are drug treatments that can alleviate the symptoms. I hate to dwell on such an irrelevant detail, but there was significant commentary on the effects of Parkinson’s on the patient’s sex life. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/05/parkinsons-disease-a-guide-for-patients-and-families/

Nov 28 2014

New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485-1603 by Susan Brigden

A pretty good account of what has to me always seemed like the most exciting and inspiring era of English history. There was a lot more discussion of Irish history than I looked for in a book about Tudor England, and there was almost no discussion at all of the cultural achievements of the Renaissance, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/28/new-worlds-lost-worlds-the-rule-of-the-tudors-1485-1603-by-susan-brigden/

Nov 25 2014

Shards of a Broken Crown by Raymond Feist

The final book in Feist’s Serpentwar Saga, unless there are more that I have overlooked. Like all of Feist’s novels, the story is incredibly tacky yet somehow enjoyable to read. There is a confusing jumble of place names and character names and story arcs, as well as a lot of implied back story that somehow …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/25/shards-of-a-broken-crown-by-raymond-feistthe-final-book-in-feists-serpentwar-saga-unless-there-are-more-that-i-have-overlooked-like-all-of-feists-novels-the-story-is-incredibly-tacky-yet-someh/

Nov 24 2014

Korea: The First War We Lost by Bevin Alexander

The subtitle may raise eyebrows, but the author argues that we defeated the North Koreans and were in turn defeated by the Communist Chinese. The figure of MacArthur looms large in this story, a figure of genius compounded with hubris. The Inchon landing was such an astoundingly successful maneuver that thereafter the Joint Chiefs and …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/24/korea-the-first-war-we-lost-by-bevin-alexander/

Nov 09 2014

History of the Second World War by B.H. Liddell Hart

J.F.C. Fuller and B.H. Liddell Hart are considered the two prime British military historians of the old school, and both have written well regarded books on World War II. But I found Fuller’s book rather dull, while this one was quite enjoyable. It is primarily a strategic analysis of the war that leaves out the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/09/history-of-the-second-world-war-by-b-h-liddell-hart/

Nov 06 2014

Rome and the Mediterranean by Livy

The last fifteen books of Livy’s surviving history, covering Rome’s conquest of the Hellenistic world after the Punic Wars. Aside from a few interesting anecdotes and episodes, most of this history was tedious and unmemorable. The saga might have been livened up if Hannibal had come out of retirement, but with his defeat in the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/06/rome-and-the-mediterranean-by-livy/

Nov 06 2014

The Cider House Rules by John Irving, revisited

I reviewed this earlier, but I gave it a somewhat negative review, and after I had time to think about this book some more I changed my mind about it. This is actually a beautifully written novel. I was a bit turned off by how slow it was at first, but contrary to expectations the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/06/the-cider-house-rules-by-john-irving-revisited/

Nov 02 2014

The Days of the French Revolution by Christopher Hibbert

Of the half dozen or so books on the French Revolution I have read so far, this is probably the best one. Yet the Revolution continues to confuse and bewilder me. How could something that began so well turn out so badly? It began as a genuinely democratic movement, but soon degenerated into something far …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/02/the-days-of-the-french-revolution-by-christopher-hibbert/