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Christians and Pagans: The Conversion of Britain from Alban to Bede Hardcover – October 26, 2010
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Great Expectations. Perhaps you ordered Malcolm Lambert's book based on the loving review by Lawrence S. Cunningham in the June 2011 "Commonweal." Clearly, Cunningham only read the courtesy promo blurbs from the publisher. Poor you.
Writing history is not so obtuse, so complex, so opaque, that the reader is flummoxed. It should be clear, with a story to tell. I'm familiar with the work of archaeologists throughout the British Isles, and Lambert's book is like some cartoon version. The history is deplorable, Lambert can't maintain a consistent narrative from one paragraph to the next. He consumes a whole page to say what could be described in only a few sentences. The most egregious example actually involves a digression on Harriet Tubman, the Mason-Dixon line in the antebellum South, and Saint Patrick that is both insulting to all parties. A bizarre addition to this unwieldy, patronizing tomb.
This is a work of hack academia, without a clear thesis, but loads of opinion are run through a blender. Lambert lambasts the oral traditions recorded in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle," stating that "both African and early medieval Germanic societies" undermine the use of these fragments (2010:54). Hey, that lunch down in the basement must have been pretty good; Welch Rarebit, anyone? On Scotland's ancient Dunadd, he mixes three historic periods in one sentence, with no logic or clarity.Read more ›