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Mr. Mathew Gumbley

Britian
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  • 10
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  • Against the Grain

  • A Deep History of the Earliest States
  • By: James C. Scott
  • Narrated by: Eric Martin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains and governed by precursors of today's states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good with some interesting insights

  • By Mr. Mathew Gumbley on 02-10-18

Good with some interesting insights

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-10-18

A good summary of recent scholarship that is accessible to a non academic audience (like me).

Not sure how appropriate some of the terminology is, like "proletariat" and "booty capitalism", but I am far from well informed on the subject.

The analysis is singularly materialistic; the cause of social change is explained wholly in terms of technology and the management of the surplus of wealth and grain.

Traditional historical narratives of development are complicated and undermined giving a broader context for the relation between different types of society, city and country, "civilized" and "barbarian".

The first chapters on pre-state agriculture and social organisation I found the most insightful.

Overall worth a buy.

  • The Dawn Watch

  • Joseph Conrad in a Global World
  • By: Maya Jasanoff
  • Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
  • Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

Migration, terrorism, the tensions between global capitalism and nationalism, the promise and peril of a technological and communications revolution: these forces shaped the life and work of Joseph Conrad at the dawn of the 20th century. In this brilliant new interpretation of one of the great voices in modern literature, Maya Jasanoff reveals Conrad as a prophet of globalization as we recognize it today.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing book!

  • By rochstar on 23-02-19

Very Good

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-04-18

A very good companion to Conrad. Jasanoff has skill in writing; and is able to carry you with her through the trials and tribulations of Conrads life.