So a couple of months back I started reading again – a bit. Train time and all that. A few others on the list. (obviously, this post isn;t for you, dear reader, it’s for me in a few years time to remind me what I should go back and finish reading).

This month it’s been a couple of books that leave you in no doubt that civilisation isn’t all that civilised.

debt

Debt – the first 5,000 years

This is massive. I’ve almost finished it – a really interesting read. Now, I say I’ve almost finished it. I haven’t, because I haven’t read the footnotes – which make up about a fifth of the book. I’m a huge fan of footnotes. I love it when they take up large chunks of page. That Stewart Lee book tearing apart his shows, the Discworld books, and ‘proper’ books about chemistry had the best bits in the footnotes.

This book tucks them all away in the back of the book (100 pages of them) – rather than on the page. Grrr. Makes reading it a real pain, jumping back and fore. So after chapter one I just accepted that for the first run through I was going to skip the footnotes. Is that cheating? Probably.

My favourite thing about this book is that the first 220 pages are basically defining terms of reference before the actual historical run through starts.

debt

Establishment – and how they get away with it

Debt is a really political book, because the subject matter matters. Establishment is a really political book, but the subject matter is led by the politics. The politics are a bit more to the fore, and opinions are presented rather than formed through the text. It’s easier to argue with this one, or agree with it – depending on your world view.

The two made an interesting combo. I kind of feel I need a third book in this mix for balance – a sort of Thatcherite version of the Establishment. “The Establishment – and how they know best” perhaps?