Well, much excitement last night as “my” book from the shortlist for the Wolfson History Prize only went and won it! I reviewed David Abulafia’s “The Boundless Sea”, which is a history of the oceans from prehistory until 2000 earlier in the month for the blog tour, and I also wrote a slightly different review for it for Shiny New Books which was published last week. In that review, I dared to say

I felt it was a strong contender, in terms of the depth and breadth of the scholarship and research, and the global reach of the descriptions.

which I don’t think I dared to say in my review on this blog. I was very taken with it, though, and really appreciated its purposeful concentration on other than European sailors, traders and adventurers, the intelligent appraisal of the role of the slave trade in world economics and history, while unequivocally decrying it, and the repeated insistence that coming across a land that is already inhabited does not constitute “discovering” it. A good counter to previous narratives, then, as well as a great book in itself.

Do please pop across to read my review on Shiny New Books here, and you can read the announcement about it winning the Wolfson History Prize here.

Thank you again to the Wolfson Prize people and Midas PR for providing me with a digital copy to read in return for an honest review.

When I review a book for Shiny New Books, I don’t always review it here, too, although my kind editors never mind if I do. I have another review in Shiny today that you haven’t read about first on here, this time for a rather different book, “Home Computers: 100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation” by Alex Wiltshire and John Short. We read about 100 computers used in offices as well as the home, but mainly the home:

While the first two are early kits, the rest are machines you could buy and take home, dated from the 1960s to the early 1990s, with one leap forward to compare the design features of the Apple iMac with the sometimes highly utilitarian beige boxes that came before it. Each computer has at least one double-page spread, with details of the manufacturer, date, country of origin and some technical information, lovely colour photos and text explaining the machine and its inventors/designers. Some major pieces like the Spectrum have a larger section, and there are also great photos of the handbooks and ephemeral pieces that came with the machines, which can give a thrill of recognition after all these years.

As you might gather from the end of the review on Shiny New Books (which you can read here), my husband Matthew has been reading it too and has got more and different things out of it than I do, as he knows many more of the computers.

Thank you to Thames & Hudson for sending me this book in return for an honest review.