Mar. 9th, 2006

chickenfeet: (enigma)
newel (n) - the central supporting pillar of a spiral staircase
chickenfeet: (widmerpool)
I recently got hold of a copy of David Carpenter's The Struggle for Mastery, the volume of the new Penguin History of Britain that deals with 1066-1284. I really like it. It was comprehensive in the sense that it gave good coverage to social and economic as well as political issues. More particularly it treated the British Isles in a holistic way (well maybe a bit light on those parts of Scotland beyond the sway of the King of the Scots but generally pretty good). I finished it feeling I had a much better grip on a period I've never really quite understood. Anyhow, I liked the Carpenter enough to want to explore the rest of the series. I'm not sure how many of the volumes have yet made it into paperback, or even print, in the UK, but there were only a few available here so my choice was limited. Susan Brigden's New Worlds, Lost Worlds covering 1485-1603 had pretty stellar reviews. Besides I used to play rugby with her brother when we were at school together so I went with that one.

I had a really mixed reaction. On the one hand it's a really excellent book in its own right. It's particularly strong on the intellectual history of English protestantism and it has very comprehensive coverage of Irish issues. On the other hand it scarcely touches on economic issues and, worse, all but ignores Scotland except insofar as developments in Scotland impinged directly on England. Now I appreciate that Brigden wrote the book she promised to write in her preface, and a fine job she made of it, but what was the series editor (David Cannadine) up to? Either the series is a history of Britain or it's not! And if it is, how on earth can the series editor allow an omission as crucial as the reformation of the Scottish church? I'm frankly flabbergasted.

I have to say I'm wary now about the other volumes. The reviews haven't all been stellar and if there is no consistency in coverage and style, what's the point?
chickenfeet: (bear&leela)
Little grey and white kitten weighed in at 690g today. w00t!
chickenfeet: (rugby)
Let's see how big an ass I can make of myself this week.

Wales vs Italy

Home field advantage has been huge this year and Wales are a better side than Italy in most departments. I can't see an upset here at all.

Wales 31 - Italy 10

Ireland vs Scotland

Two very similar sides; gutsy and determined but both lacking any real pace behind the scrum. It's got to be home field that decides it. I think this one will probably be a colossal bore.

Ireland 20 - Scotland 10

France vs England

This could be a real cracker or a damp squib. Both teams on their day can be awesome and Robinson has, in my opinion, been very shrewd in picking Dawson. The French defence of the inside channels has been dodgy and Dawson is well equipped to exploit that. In other areas there's not much to choose between the sides; muscular front fives, scary back rows, fast outside backs and questionable centres. My heart says England but I'm going to stick with the home team.

France 24 - England 20

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