Monday, October 06, 2008

Star Power: Tom Holland

Last year I came across Persian Fire by one Tom Holland, a thick book of ancient history with terrific notices from a lot of British reviewers. Persian Fire focusses on Marathon and Salamis and the classic story of the plucky little Greek democrats and their resistance to the Persian empire, but its originality lay in its lengthy account of who the Persians were and how they had come to rule the world. For a popular history, it seemed both very assured and remarkably au fait with a lot of new research in classical history. This guy Holland knew his Classics, I thought.

Then I saw his previous book, Rubicon, had been about Rome. And now he has another book, Millennium, about the 11th Century. This guy can do anything, it seems, and he never picks the easy subjects. And his author photo makes him look about 21.

Make a living as a trade book writer doing ancient history exclusively. Only in Britain, you say. Pity. (And you'd still have to be damn good at it.)
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