I did not even finish this book. Mr. Rutherford started losing me by the second chapter: The Barrow. It was interesting, I’ll grant you, but there was this one sentence at the beginning of the chapter that irritated me:
In the warm and fertile lands between the great rivers Tigris and Euphrates in present day Iran, an inventive and busy people – the Sumerians – were building the world’s first hill towns (40).
Sumerians in Iran? Huh? Weren’t they in Iraq? Well, since I know that until relatively recently Sumer was in Iran, I flipped back to the title page. Copyright date: 1987. Yep, still in Iraq. That little error bugged me for the rest of the chapter, which was otherwise somewhat interesting.
About the time I got to the Roman period of Sorviodunum, I began to grow bored. Plus, there was this statement to annoy me:
No emperor who valued the purple or his life, ever left two well-armed legions close to home with nothing to do. They had an uncomfortable habit of growing bored, and proclaiming a new emperor (143).
Ummm, Claudius was only the fourth emperor. The legions didn’t develop this “habit” until Nero was assassinated, bringing on the Year of the Four Caesars which ended with the elevation of Vespasian to the purple.
For some odd reason I’ll never understand, I kept reading until I got to the Stephen/Matilda war in the twelfth century. By then, I could take no more.
Rating: 2.25 out of 5 stars