I like history a lot – especially history which gets into the nitty-gritty of what people did and their motivations. That is often lost in histories, especially histories which are of large temporal scope, as this on (the entire 14th century). The tendency in many histories is to discuss events, as if they just happen, with insufficient setting as to understand why people pursued the amazing things they did.
Tuchman gets into the social, epidemiological (plague was a big thing) and political setup to the century — and goes further. She really got into the nuts and bolts of what motivated the class of people who had the largest impact on that era’s history: the nobles. It was due to their wars and follies that much of the wealth of nations was squandered, and by wealth, we include human life. The horrors of war, torture and vindictiveness which people of that era pursued makes the horror of present-day a little more believable, unfortunately. I refer to the atrocities of Daesh.
Well, Tuchman portrays a Catholic church which at that time was completely suborned by men of unabashed ambition, and despite the efforts of a few, for the most part it was part and parcel of many horrors perpetuated on the common people. The schism, between the Avignon and Rome papacies is central to this period and if you ever wondered just why that schism lasted so long, or desire to understand the base motivations behind it, Tuchman provides an enjoyable if horrifying account.
The subtitle is “The Calamitous 14th Century” and I don’t think anyone can argue with that. Tuchman lays it all out in detail, and it is at times unimaginable to understand how badly it all turned out, yet here we are. If there is good to be taken from the history of the time, it is that untrammeled pride, avarice and ambition will invariably lead to a bad end.
Scotch Single Malts - unpeated
Aberlour A'Bunadh + Followup
Balvenie DoubleWood 12
Bruichladdich Scottish Barley
Bruichladdich Islay Barley
Caol Ila 18
Dalmore King Alex III
The Macallan 12
Scotch Single Malts - island/peated
Caol Ila 12
Caol Ila Moch
Highland Park 12
Highland Park Magnus
Jura Origin 10
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Dewar's White vs. JWR
Grant's Family Reserve
Johnnie Walker Black
Johnnie Walker Green
NAS whiskies 2
Alone, Churchill and Dunkirk
Diaries, Vol 1 (Anaïs Nin)
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
Henry and June
A History of the English Speaking Peoples
Whisky Blogs I Read
I have learned (and still learn) much from these tireless bloggers. They all have their characteristic take on the subject, and are not marketers. There are many others on the net, these just happen to be in my faves list.
My grandma would have called Jason a “character.” Very honest reviews, usually with some off-the-wall take on things, which sometimes have to do with whisky.
For an enthusiastic but light-hearted take on the world of whisky — with a huge scope (these ‘Tassies’ get around) — check out the indefatigable Wafflers, Nick and Ted
ScotchNoob is another west coast whisky lover, has good detail and background in the reviews and I’ve referred to that blog enough it’s time to give credit up front.