Tag: history

Salt: A World History

Salt: A World History

by Mark Kurlansky (Knopf Canada, 2002); audiobook read by Scott Brick (Phoenix Books, 2003)

Book cover: 'Salt' by Mark Kurlansky

A comprehensive discourse on the role salt has played in shaping world history and individual cultures. Unfortunately, Kurlansky loses focus and digresses—often at great length—into subsidiary areas of food preparation. His inclusion of recipes is particularly grating in audiobook form.

The Great Escape

The Great Escape

by Paul Brickhill (Faber & Faber, 1951)

Brickhill_The Great Escape

Brickhill’s eyewitness description of the infamous tunnel break from German POW camp Stalag Luft III — enshrined still further by the film of 1963 — remains a sincere and clearly written record, and a lasting testament to its protagonists’ spirit, ingenuity and sheer perseverance.



Australia: 160 Iconic Images

Australia: 160 Iconic Images Celebrating What Makes Us Different

by Bruce Postle (Affirm, 2016)


Part art, part historical record, part opportunistic novelty, photojournalist Bruce Postle’s collection captures many different aspects of life in Australia, preserving images of a developing nation from the 1920s onwards (some earlier pictures being taken by his father Cliff, also a photojournalist).


Orwell’s Cough

Orwell’s Cough: Diagnosing the Medical Maladies & Last Gasps of the Great Writers

by John Ross (Oneworld, 2013)

Ross_Orwell's Cough

Whereas the medical diagnoses alone would have made for a much shorter book, (Dr) Ross has used the subject of medicine as a unifying theme by which to biograph and contextualise a dozen famous writers, astutely dissecting their lives and (squalid) times.


Star Wars and History

Star Wars and History

ed. Nancy R. Reagin & Janice Liedl (Wiley, 2012)

Reagin_Liedl_Star Wars and History

This collection of academic articles, ostensibly undertaken in close collaboration with George Lucas, purports to show the manner and extent to which Star Wars draws on real history. In truth it clutches at loose parallels, showing little or no evidence of causation.


Time and Time Again

Time and Time Again

by Ben Elton (Bantam, 2014)

Elton_Time and Time Again

An ex-soldier is sent back in time to prevent World War One. Elton’s focus is less on changing history, more on the contrast between today’s spoiled society and the boundless potential of yesteryear… until this perfectly paced paradox novel hits its straps.