Thursday, April 23, 2009

Heroes (book review)

Book review by The Movie Snob

Heroes: From Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar to Churchill and de Gaulle, by Paul Johnson (Harper 2007). I picked this book up from Half-Price Books for $8, figuring correctly that it would be a pleasant and breezy read. Paul Johnson is a British journalist-turned-historian who has written some really long books on historical subjects. His Modern Times, which is a world history of the 20th century, is a really enjoyable book. But this is one of his shorter works (280 pages), and it is just a series of vignettes about people that he (and, in most cases, many others as well) regard as heroes. Many are military figures and rulers, as the subtitle suggests, but a few of the people he includes are odd choices (Emily Dickinson?) and a couple were people I had never heard of. But his writing is always engaging, and it's nice to hear a Brit wax on about the heroic stature of George Washington.


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