View Full Version : OT The Book that Keeps defeating me.

08-16-2005, 02:15 PM
I bought this book 20 years ago in University.

I drag it out every couple years since then.

I recognize it as a quality book, but I can never read it without falling asleep...and loosing interest.

I now present the most boring book I have heard of, own, and have never really read.

The Pursuit of Power - by William H. Mcneil

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/022656158...nce&s=books&n=507846 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0226561585/qid=1124223051/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-0208713-6544824?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)

Book Description
In this magnificent synthesis of military, technological, and social history, William H. McNeill explores a whole millennium of human upheaval and traces the path by which we have arrived at the frightening dilemmas that now confront us. McNeill moves with equal mastery from the crossbow--banned by the Church in 1139 as too lethal for Christians to use against one another--to the nuclear missile, from the sociological consequences of drill in the seventeenth century to the emergence of the military-industrial complex in the twentieth. His central argument is that a commercial transformation of world society in the eleventh century caused military activity to respond increasingly to market forces as well as to the commands of rulers. Only in our own time, suggests McNeill, are command economies replacing the market control of large-scale human effort. The Pursuit of Power does not solve the problems of the present, but its discoveries, hypotheses, and sheer breadth of learning do offer a perspective on our current fears and, as McNeill hopes, "a ground for wiser action."

08-16-2005, 02:22 PM
Don't feel bad, I have had a similar experience.

I have owned for over 15 years all three volumes of Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative, and I have yet to finish the 1st one.

The problem is not that it's boring, but that they are so thick. I get started on the first one & then something always happens that gets me distracted from it so I never finish it.

08-16-2005, 02:23 PM
I read the Pursuit of Power when it first came out and it is one of the books that has been the most influential on how I view history and the world.

I don't remember it being that dry though. And I read it just for the fun of the pursuit of knowledge.

Perhaps it's just a subject that you're not particularily interested in.

He wrote another good one about the spread of infectious diseases between civilizations.

08-16-2005, 02:38 PM
I take back a bit of my comments.

The first book that I read by McNeill was the Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community. This one really opened my mind to the interaction of ancient civilizations, and lead to a lifelong interest in the ancient history of Central Asia.

Then Plagues and Peoples. Quite good too.

The Pursuit of Power was drier than the first two, but still very interesting.

Have you read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond? Very interesting and keeps you interested.

08-16-2005, 04:48 PM
Perhaps it's just a subject that you're not particularily interested in.

Aside from the ancient history part it is exactly my kind of book. But it reads like the phone book.

I read the Coming Plague... a few years ago. It was great.

I SWEAR am going to read this book cover to cover within the month!

08-17-2005, 02:37 AM
i couldn't read the description without humming a song in my head and realizing i had stopped paying attention

08-18-2005, 11:40 AM
The only book I didn't finish is "Moby ****" in the language that was used in the original.

Old English is hard for someone who doesn't live in England http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

08-18-2005, 11:44 AM
Ow blast... the second word in Moby D*ck is a bad word of course. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif