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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Tyler


  1. Travel: THE LAND OF MAYBE by Tim Ecott, former BBC correspondent.

Tells the story of a year in Faroese life. Much of the book is about the natural history of the islands, plus a large dollop of Faroese culture. Included in the culture is the blood and gore of whale, hare, and bird hunts - not for the squeamish. Yet, this was a way of life for many in Northern Europe in the past, from Iceland to The Outer Hebrides, from Shetland to Ireland's Aran Islands.

2. History : RAVENNA by Judith Herrin.

The story of this Italian city, from its replacement of Rome, in the 5th century, as the capital of The Roman Western Empire. It takes the story on, through Visigoth rule, Byzantine rule, right through to the rule of The Franks and of Charlemagne. A history, I guess, that is less well known to many, unless you have visited Ravenna and seen its stunning mosaics for yourselves. For the rest of us and inducement to go.

3. History: WAVES ACROSS THE SOUTH by Sujit Sivasundaram (Professor of World History at Cambridge).

This is a look at the region of the Indian and Pacific Oceans in the period 1790s to 1840s. It tells the story of the British Empire but from the perspective of the peoples living there. An unique approach, and as with the book above, a subject many of us no little about. I was hooked on the very first page when I read, ' .... the intent is to turn the story of the dawn of our times inside out. It is to insist on the critical significance of the peoples and places in this oceanic tract in shaping the age of revolutions and so our present; and, accordingly, the need to meditate on this part of the world in considering the human future'. Those of you who have attended my courses will appreciate that this hits every button for me, as it makes the argument for linking past, present, and future. The core purpose of history in my view.

4. Poetry: ENGLAND.

Edited by by Kate Clanchy. These are poems by immigrant children from a British Comprehensive, lucky enough to have had Miss Clanchy as their teacher. The content is amazing as is the use of language. This is no school selection for adoring parents but a genuine book of poetry with strong messages, all delivered in beautiful English. An argument too for wide Humanities teaching in our schools, as well as for recruiting charismatic teachers.

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