Microreview 27: First Law Trilogy

Abercrombie, Joe. The First Law. 3 vols (The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings). London: Gollancz, 2006-2008. ISBN 978-1473213708. Great character-driven British fantasy, styled in raw, abrasive realism. The universe too, somewhat less developed than the uniquely strong… Read More ›

MicroReview 26: Strange & Norrell

Clarke, Susanna: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. London: Bloomsbury, 2004. ISBN 978-0747579885. Vast in scope & admirably written, this book rejuvenated European speculative fiction. 2 rival magicians battle Napoleon & each other in a cruelly exquisite mock-Austen Regency England. I give *****/5…. Read More ›

MicroReview 22: Industrial Enlightenment

Jones, Peter M. Industrial Enlightenment: Science, Technology, & Culture in Birmingham & the West Midlands 1760-1820. Manchester, UK: Manchester UP, 2013 (2008). ISBN 978-0719089121. Outstanding academic analysis & survey of the lush intellectual environment around key Industrial Revolution pioneers during the late… Read More ›

MicroReview 20: Mining in World History

Lynch, Martin. Mining in World History. London: Reaktion Books, 2002. ISBN 978-1861891730. Historical narrative of mining & metallurgy from Renaissance to our age, illuminating its vast political, economic, & technological ramifications. Thoughtful, informative, reads like a novel. I give ****/5. * (Webfront photo caption & credit… Read More ›

Radical Traditionalism: 3 New Highlights in Anglo-American Education

Anyone interested in Europe’s continued intellectual & technological development should pause before 3 exceptional higher education initiatives here in 2012. All are conspicuous for their bizarre but not unconvincing blend of radical vigour with stodgy traditionalist caution. 2 are American (cited for inspiration), the last is British. 1) New York City’s “game-changing” tech… Read More ›

MicroReview 10: Isaac Newton

Gleick, James. Isaac Newton. Paperback ed. London: Harper Perennial, 2004. ISBN 978-0007163182. The essentials about Isaac Newton, last of the great magicians, early Enlightenment man. Ordered, entertaining, but short on the math. I give ***/5.