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Book Recommendation for History Buffs


TUG Member
Jun 6, 2005
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Resorts Owned
In searching our library eBooks list, I came across a title that interested me - 'The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean' by John Julius Norwich

I downloaded the book onto our Nook but didn't finish it before the lending period expired. So, I put my name on the waiting list & downloaded it again when it became available. I enjoyed this book a lot and learned a great deal.

For those who remember history being dull and lifeless, this book brings to life the people who lived and struggled around the Mediterranean.

Norwich begins the story with Crete which arose to be competition to the Phoenicians and the Egyptians, and whose civilization was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Crete is thought by many to be the source of the legends of Atlantis. The story continues with the rise of the Greek City-States and their threats from the Persian Empire. After the collapse of Alexander the Great's empire soon after his death, Rome makes an appearance on the world stage.

Norwich follows the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and its offspring, Byzantium and the Holy Roman Empire. He details the antagonism between the Muslim world and the Christian world and the effect of the various crusades. He continues through into the Renaissance and toward modern times and the creation of the familiar countries that surround the Middle Sea.

John Julius Norwich has a gift for narration and characterization that makes history come alive. I'm glad I read it as an eBook - when reading a history book such as this one, having the availability of the default dictionary with the choices of Google and Wikipedia also available made reading history transformational - I was able to learn more about place names and see their location on a map with links to further information if I wanted to explore more - great features to have available.