An addendum to my post of last week about blogging, history and relevancy: Chris Thompson posts about a rather strange review by Will Podmore of Michael Braddick’s God’s Fury England’s Fire, published in Tribune (itself the focus of some interest today). I wrote some very brief thoughts on the book some time ago, and suffice to say I share Thompson’s surprise at the review. It is thoroughly partial, cherry-picking quotes with abandon, to the extent that that I don’t recognise the book as Podmore characterises it.
This is all well and good editorially – the review plays to the gallery, emphasising why Braddick’s book might interest the readership of Tribune. The problem is, it is a book which rejects such a partial reading of the past. The review concludes, “It was “a decade of intense debate and spectacular intellectual creativity… the beginnings of a passage from the world of Reformation to the world of Enlightenment’.” This and the rest of the piece makes it sound like Braddick has a single vision of the period as a time of radical revolt, which entirely misrepresents the whole “conclusionless” thrust of the book.
As if the reminder was necessary, you can go too far with the relevancy thing.