Friday, February 23, 2007

Turning back to non-fiction, I finished The Fall of Rome by Bryan Ward-Perkins yesterday. This is a very specialized history book. It's main purpose is to counter the very recent revisionism that asserts that there was no real "Fall of Rome" and subsequent decline in general welfare in the western world. This theory goes on to say that the Germanic tribes that are traditionally blamed for the demise of the western part of the Roman Empire actually integrated with Roman society.

I think the book does a good job of debunking this idea through the use of archaelogical records, contrasting the pre and post-fall Roman world and the western post-fall world with the eastern post-fall world where the Roman Empire never fell at all. An interesting book but very narrowly focused.

Amazon Link: The Fall of Rome

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I finished Bones of the Barbary Coast by Daniel Hecht a few days ago but haven't had time to write about it.

This is the 3rd book in a mystery series about a semi-psychic private eye. Normally that wouldn't interest me, but it is set in San Francisco so I decided to pick it up. I haven't read the first two books in the series but based on this one, I might go back and check them out. Hecht does a good job of creating some interesting characters, some un-expected plot twists and provides an interesting look at the pre-1906 earthquake San Francisco. As a plus, the sem-psychic/ghost sensitive angle doesn't come up very much either.

Amazon link: Bones of the Barbary Coast