Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I started this blog while I was reading The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.  Then I decided I needed to finish the book before I wrote any more.

I hadn't anticipated the scope and impact of this book, which I would describe as having the same impact on the internal basis of modern life as Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies has on on the historical basis.

It took me longer to finish M&E than I thought.  It is a thick book: 460 pages, plus 120 pages of end-notes and bibliography.  It's well written, if a bit esoteric (e.g., it doesn't always translate the non-English phrases it presents.)  But the length and erudition weren't the reason it took so long.  I was continually blown away by the revelations and implications of the book: I had to put it aside to assimilate, and sometimes cry.

I'm not actually finished with the book, but that's another quirk of mine.  Often with a book I really enjoy, I don't want it to end.  The book can't get any longer, but I can delay the finish and stay in the ambiance of the book a bit longer.  (I did this with Life of Pi for several weeks, making the amazing finish all the more powerful.)

One impact of M&E is that I will probably write about it more than I was expecting to.  However, it still doesn't seem to tell the whole story, so the other books I mentioned are still relevant.

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