My Love for Brief Histories

March 20, 2012 at 9:07 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

and how aliens should stay on the Tardis

Title: A Brief History of Stonehenge: A Complete History and Archeology of the World’s Most Enigmatic Stone Circle

Found image at

Author: Aubrey Burl

Publisher: Constable & Robinson

Genre: Non-fiction, Archeology

Length: 368 pages

Although I read mostly fiction, nonfiction (history and science mostly) has a special place in my library and heart.  Where I devour stories and riveting tales, I pour over facts and dates.  I underline and disparage intelligent books with my amateur notes in the margins.  My nonfiction books take a beating my fiction titles can’t even dream of… ink splatters from broken fountain pens, pages become stained and wrinkled from spilled coffee and dog-eared corners.  There’s sticky residue from too many post-it notes.  Where my fiction books radiate and breathe the word “treasure,” my nonfiction books tiredly whimper “tool.”

My collection of “A Brief History of…” books are prime examples,Stonehengeby Aubrey Burl being the most recent victim of my hunger for knowledge.

“I’m reading about the history ofStonehenge.” – Me

“That’s silly, no one knows the history ofStonehenge, it’s a mystery.  The aliens did it.” – My sarcastic sister.

Its moments like these when the dichotomy of my reading habits collide the most often.  Where science fiction and fantasy novels are, at times, the highlight of my day, I like these kinds of conjectures to stay in novels.  The concepts of the pyramids being mystical,Stonehengebeing magical, and the world being over-ridden by alien beings from other planets make great stories – awesome Dr. Who episodes – but really annoying documentaries.

That guy with the hair on Ancient Aliens, you know who I’m talking about, the one that shows up in every show about everything with his orange face and tan lines around the eyeballs… he totally cracks me up! But I think he’s a nut and I’d much rather sit and read an archeologist’s account of their findings than risk that guy interrupting my research, telling me (yet again) that the aliens did it.

I love how Diana Gabaldon uses Stonehenge-like structures as her premise for time travel in the Outlander series.  Its brilliant! But don’t try to convince me that little piece of fun is the real deal, the actual way of the world.

Aubrey Burl has delivered exactly what I want out of my nonfiction reading.  It’s a complete and thorough report on every piece of archeological evidence, history, and anthropological speculation (minus the aliens) that has been made over the years. It’s got maps, diagrams, measurements, and so on.  From the Druids, to 1500-1800 literature, to the most recent of science experiments, Burl gives me enough information to feel knowledgeable enough to either putStonehengeaside and call myself learned or have a solid basis at which to do additional research and know where to look.  And its reader friendly, even if my copy has been treated maliciously by ink and coffee.
Buy Stonehenge by Aubrey Burl

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