Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Salon, Third Post, November 18

Saxons, Vikings, and Celts is nicely paced narrative, unpretentious and written for the general reader. The author is likeable and has a quiet humour which is appealing. His book is peppered with entertaining anecdotes and is certainly holding my attention.

We are told that very often oral 'myths' of a region are closer to the truth subsequently revealed by genetic testing than are conclusions based solely on archaeological evidence. Somewhat disconcertingly, Sykes also reminds us of the dangerous myths that have caused so much damage - most notably the "Aryan myth" (must read more on Max Muller who is given credit/blame as the originator of that one).

I'm reading chapter four at the moment, an overview of the Celt versus the Saxon. Robert Knox, who wrote "The Races of Men" (published 1850) didn't think much of the Celts! I suspect they didn't think much of him either. The viciousness of his diatribes against the Celts is really quite laughable. It makes me think - surely that should be the favoured way to handle all racial hatred - laugh at it! Hatred shouldn't blanket an entire population. I think we need to choose the objects of our own particular revulsion very carefully in order to be sure that they are truly worthy.

I'm finding so much interesting material in this book! This is why I seldom read fiction.


At 12:46 AM, Anonymous Clare said...

As a Celt myself I am finding this book more and more interesting with every post you write. I think maybe I shall buy this book for my Saxon (or maybe Norman) spouse just so I can borrow it and read it myself.

At 8:58 PM, Blogger joeB said...

Hello Susan,
Sounds like a good read, but fiction is king!
Best Regards,


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