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Monday, January 19, 2009

Suggested Reading

I've been doing some research for an upcoming book and must recommend The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200 by Robert Drews. Although not a strictly new publication (1993) it offers an original and well written argument regarding the puzzling fall of so many bronze age civilizations.

However, the book also presents a great deal of insight into the politics of academia and the way in which contemporary politics imposes itself into such seemingly benign subjects such as the fall of the bronze age. The justification of modern social revolution by using past instances (based upon, at best, scanty evidence) is tangentially mentioned (but not advocated) by Drews. It demonstrates both the dangers of modern views coloring distant and alien cultures (and destroying any hope of historical truth in the process) and the stretches that some academicians will go to shape the world to conform to their contemporary political views. This is far from any arguments Drews attempts to make in his book, but perhaps my concern is far more relevant because of this.

Although his arguments are not quite flawless (he never gives a completely clear reason that certain military innovations that existed for years suddenly caused a great and abrupt collapse in geographically distant lands), they are grounded in evidence and well worth your time and consideration if you're interested in that period of history. Drews manages to make a meticulously researched book thoroughly accessible and enjoyable.

Read. Analyze and ponder. Enjoy.

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