Friday, February 05, 2010

Win a book about a pivotal city

The TBR pile is high with books set in turbulent cities of the highest historical importance: Berlin, Vienna, Potosí.

Potosí? These days it's not noted for much except being possibly the highest city in the world — 13,420 feet above sea level in the mountains of Bolivia. Once, though, slaves died by the thousands in its silver mines, and the metal they extracted kept the Spanish empire in business, paying that vast empire's entire military budget for years.

By the middle of the seventeenth century, Potosí was one of the world's biggest and most opulent places, in the words of the excellent Larry Gonick, a "weird and lawless city." Oh, and there was the Inquisition, operating with vigor from a new South American seat established in Colombia in 1610.

A weird and lawless city sounds like a promising place to set a mystery, and Annamaria Alfieri has done so with City of Silver.

You can join me in finding out how promising. I'll send a copy of City of Silver to the person who provides the best example of a city sunk from great prominence to a humbler state. (Real cities only. Atlantis doesn't count.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

Labels: , , , ,

75 Comments:

Blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Peter I do think Manaus is a good example.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manaus

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Peter Cordoba can be another qood example. In the latter half of the tenth century Córdoba, with up to 500,000 inhabitants, was then the most populated city in Europe and, perhaps, in the world.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%B3rdoba,_Spain

February 05, 2010  
Blogger ccqdesigns said...

Wow, I was thinking less obscure, like Machu Pichu.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the comments, Jose. A great city from a vanished civilization such as Muslim Spain is a perfect example. And, as a reminder of that vanished glory, here's the city's name in Arabic: قرطبة.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Did Manaus ever have a period of greatness to decline from?

Leighton Gage's novel Dying Gasp is full of harsh comments on the current state of the city: lawless, corrupt, uncomfortable.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

ccq, this post is proving more eye-opening than I expected. According to Wikipedia's article, we're not sure what Machu Picchu was for. The most interesting guess to me about its purpose is that it might have been a kind of agriculatural testing station, because of the various microclimates afforded by its terraces.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger ccqdesigns said...

Very Interesting Peter, I needed that history lesson. I was under the misguided understanding that it was a great civilization at one time in and around there. Of course being a history buff, my husband keeps yelling, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, and Constantinople, although both of them are still thriving cities if not near what they once were. I myself am not a historian by any means.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger ccqdesigns said...

Oh, and does Pompeii count? and you can't count my spelling please. And, I know that Pompeii was destroyed, but you didn't say anything about destruction.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger ccqdesigns said...

Peter, you might want to go back and read the entire Wiki page. the agriculture station is only one alternative theory. Here is a quote from Wiki "The space is composed of 140 structures or features, including temples, sanctuaries, parks, and residences that include houses with thatched roofs. There are more than one hundred flights of stone steps–often completely carved from a single block of granite–and a great number of water fountains that are interconnected by channels and water-drains perforated in the rock that were designed for the original irrigation system. Evidence has been found to suggest that the irrigation system was used to carry water from a holy spring to each of the houses in turn.

According to archaeologists, the urban sector of Machu Picchu was divided into three great districts: the Sacred District, the Popular District to the south, and the District of the Priests and the Nobility."

It is known as a great lost civilization of the Incas by most regarded archeologists and scholars.

And check out other sites, one of which has Yale's research data and states, "Whatever its origins, the Inca turned the site into a small (5 square miles) but extraordinary city. Invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu seems to have been utilized by the Inca as a secret ceremonial city. Two thousand feet above the rumbling Urubamba river, the cloud shrouded ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and some 150 houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation."

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Port Royal was once home to privateers employed to nip at superpower Habsburg Spain's empire when smaller European powers dared not directly make war on Spain. As a port city, it was notorious for its gaudy displays of wealth and loose morals and was a popular homeport for the English- and Dutch- sponsored privateers to spend their treasure during the 17th century.

Sunk by earthquake, 1692.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

One could argue that Venice is a watery shadow of its former self, too.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

CCQ, among other things, Machu Picchu and Potosi are reminders that stupendous things happened in South America, and not just in Europe and Asia. Machu Picchu was undoubtedly the product of a great civilization, the Inca, but the question seems to be what the Inca used it for.

This post is teaching me about history, too. Among other things, I learned that the name is apparently pronounced Match-u Pick-chu, at least in Quecha. I'd always pronounced it Match-u Peach-u.

I can't count Rome and Constantinople/Istanbul among fallen cities because, as you say, they are still great cities, and both preserve relics of their past, some of those relics in magnificent shape (although if one considered just the Roman Forum or the Baths of Caracalla, for example, Rome might be eligible.)

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

1) You spelled Pompeii correctly.

2) True, I didn't say anything about destruction, but I might eliminate Pompeii on the ground that it never sank from prominence to a humbler state because it never had a chance to do so. Its remains suggest that the city was doing well when it came to its sudden end.

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Carthage.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd learned from the state the agrictural-station hypothesis was just one of several theories. I've to read more on the site -- and head down there and then up there for a visit one of these years. That description you provided makes Machu Picchu sound almost like a miniature Washington, D.C., -- a headquarters for all important administrative functions.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Peter I think Leighton Gage post about Manaus provide a good explanation of the rise and fall of Manaus: http://murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com/2010/01/man-who-brought-down-manaus.html

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Today the area is a shadow of its former self with a population of less than 2,000 and has little to no commercial or political importance."

Linkmeister, I'd say Port Royal has sunk to a humbler state, all right.

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Ebla, Syria.
Leptis Magna (Labday), Libya.
Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshīd), Iran.
Goa, India.

All these once-great cities are still inhabited, on a far smaller, less influential scale.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, Carthage is an particularly evocative example. It has subsided into a quiet residential suburb of Tunis. The tophet, with all its funerary stele of children, is right in the middle of a pleasant block of white houses.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

I have not seen mentioned yet Babylon.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Linkmeister, I wonder what Venice looked like at the height of its power. I suspect that other than cleaner fronts on its palazzi and fewer soft-drink bottles in the canals, it might not have looked all that different.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jose, here's how Leighton Gage begins his post about Manaus:

"In the years before the First World War, Manaus was one of the richest places in the Americas – North or South."

That's quite a contrast with the Manaus he writes about in Dying Gasp. Manaus is a fine choice. Thanks.

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, you just snagged Venice from me. I was thinking of cities associated with Aurelio Zen novels and Venice jumped into my head. I think Florence is another city that, like Venice, has fallen from being an international commercial and military power to one reliant on tourism for survival.

Jose, I did not mention Babylon because I believe the site is no longer inhabited. I didn't think deserted settlements "counted."

The same for Great Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe. The once-great city state is in ruins and uninhabited.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And here's how Babylon looks today.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I ought to turn this thread into an intinerary for future trips, or at least dreams thereof. A company I've travalled with does offer tours to Leptis Magna ...

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Thinking of Cordoba reminded me of Damascus; still a thriving city but not the international center it once was.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Florence is an odd city today -- the marvelous sights surrounded by reaoanbly well-preserved through not terrible exciting suburbs. I don't know how large this city loomed for the Phonecians, but it's an evocative site today. I visited it on the same trip that took me to Carthage -- a good trip to set the mind wandering.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The first great Islamic city, Damascus was.

Now, head east across Central Asia, and you'll probably find scores of fallen cities.

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Yes, Leptis Magna is most definitely on my Top Ten Places to See Before I Die. In addition to its well-preserved ruins (partly due to Mussolini's efforts) the coastal setting is spectacular. Boy, those Greeks and Romans sure knew the best place to build a theatre. I love those remote, off-the-beaten-tourist-path sites, like many we saw in Sicily (especially Morgantina and Eraclea Minoa) that have few visitors and one can feel a real visceral connection with the past.

I think I erased my planned submission of Selinunte, the great Greek city on the S coast of Sicily. It lies directly alongside modern Marinella, where Salvo Montalbano lives.

"...head east across Central Asia, and you'll probably find scores of fallen cities." Ah, but the "trick" is to find one that, unlike Troy, for example, is still inhabited. This restriction made me leave out Thebes, Egypt, for example.

Yep, I'm ready to hop on the next plane outta here!

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

"head east across Central Asia"

Oh, sure. The Silk Road had a whole lot of places that have fallen off the knowledge map.

Timbuktu, too.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Barbara said...

Timbuktu - their literary heritage now being housed in an actual library building. "Across Timbuktu, in cupboards, rusting chests, private collections and libraries, tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of manuscripts bear witness to this legendary city's remarkable intellectual history, and by extension, to Africa's much overlooked pre-colonial heritage."

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Jerry House said...

Loweel, Massachusetts. Once one of America's largest cities, it was the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. In its heyday, it was lauded as the Venice of America because of its intricate canal system. Both a mill city and a cultural center, Lowell was a popular tourist spot. Davy Crockett and Edgar Allen Poe visited there (not together, alas) and native Jack Kerouac's first novel was set there. Dan J. Marlowe and James Whistler were born in Lowell (neither stayed long, and Whistler was embarrassed about being born there). One of the many New England cities to be hard hit when the mills closed and moved south, it hit on very hard times. It started a comeback when it was named the first urban National Park. Ambitious redevelopment programs, placing the world headquarters of Wang Computer there, and strong efforts by citizens all helped in the city's renaissance. Wang Computer fell on hard times in the high-tech bust, and the economy has hit the city hard. Once great, then humbled, then climbing upward, then stalled...sounds like one of many cities that would fit your requirements.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Timbuktu, too."

Say that ten times fast. I once looked into Timbuktu as a travel destination, principally so see the Sankore mosque.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Peter, it's your fault that I've now found a new road I want to see before I die: The Karakoram Highway.

Had I not looked up the Silk Road I'd not have found it, so you're to blame if I'm lost on walkabout between China and Pakistan.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Yes, Leptis Magna is most definitely on my Top Ten Places to See Before I Die"

Elisabeth, if you decide to visit Leptis Magna (or "Lepcis," as fastidious classicists will insist), look into Andante Travels, based in England. I travelled with them to Tunisia and Croatia (Split). Their tours leave from and return to London, so I'd make two holidays in one for myself, spending some time in England before and after.

I've had an interest in Leptis since I first saw the Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum -- of great interest art historically compared to earlier arches. For some reason, the Antonine Baths at Carthage reminded me of what I expect Leptis must look like.

Mmm, I should try to work the great Neolithic site of Averbury into this discussion.

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Isn't Avebury a henge monument, not a "city"? Yes, it surrounds the modern day town but was it an inhabited place in its heyday? Picky, picky... Have you visited it? I lived not too far from it in the late 1970s and I found that because the site was so large and the stones were set so far apart that it did not impress me as much as Stonehenge did; it was difficult to take it all in.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Elisabeth ...

"My goodness, you've got a mind like a steel trap!


Oh, I don't know. Painting is a rare enough topic on a crime-fiction blog that anyone would have remembered the post. Now, had I written about a certain work of Dali's then forgotten about it, that would have been funny.

"...my friend the guitar nut."

Clapton was god to this friend of mine. Guys like Rory Gallagher and Mick Taylor were part of the heavenly host.

"Like some millionaire Gr. I winning filly who is now a fat and matronly broodmare who comes running up to a fence, covered in mud and her mane all matted, to accept a carrot from an adoring fan."

Ye gods, the old girl still has a twinkle in her eye, and for a moment you think you could recapture the old magic ...

Horse racing is just one of Peter Temple's settings because it's just one of the worlds in which he's interested. (I'm happy to report that Peter Temple once posted some amusing comments on this blog about wet-behind-the-ears book editors.)

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Barbara has left a new comment on your post "Win a book about a pivotal city":

Timbuktu - their literary heritage now being housed in an actual library building.


Thanks. I had read something about Timbuktu's history as an intellectual center, possibly when I was thinking about visiting there. Saving that heritage is a worthwhile project and something the world, including the West, ought to be interested in for historical and tactical reasons.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jerry, Lowell, Mass., is a fine choice, and it leads one to the question of American cities left behind by everywhing from the march west to the construction of the interstate highway system to the rise and decline of industries.

I lived in Massachusetts for years, leaving about the time Wang was riding high, and Lowell was making plans for all sorts of heritage parks and other ways to take advantage of its past.

A number of Massachusetts cities might fit the bill: Lynn, Brockton, Fall River and New Bedford, even Waltham.

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, forget my Avebury comment. I see you have visited it. Yep, I performed a simple search and there it was... I will attempt to train myself not to jump the gun but it is hard to teach an old Aries a new trick that goes against her nature.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Peter, it's your fault that I've now found a new road I want to see before I die: The Karakoram Highway.

"Had I not looked up the Silk Road I'd not have found it, so you're to blame if I'm lost on walkabout between China and Pakistan."


Wow, a road dubbed The Ninth Wonder of the World. Sounds worth a look.

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I was racking my brain to think of US cities that might fit the bill but was stupidly limiting myself to Pre-Colombian places. Lowell, MA _is _ perfect. Which immediately made me think of Buffalo, NY, one of my favorite American cities.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, you're right about Avebury, but I chose it for three reasons:

1) Its situation surrounding the modern town.

2) Its situation as part of a larger complex that would have included other religious sites as well as settlements.

3) It's my own damn blog, and I can include whatever I want to.

Averbury's very size was part of its attraction for me precisely because I had to walk to take it in. That made me feel more a part of the scene. I'd have walked all the way along the West Kennet Avenue had I had more time.

A cool happening: Someone I hooked up with on Twitter is an archaeologist who has excavated at Averbury and offered to give me a tour if I go back.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Peter, forget my Avebury comment. I see you have visited it. Yep, I performed a simple search and there it was... I will attempt to train myself not to jump the gun but it is hard to teach an old Aries a new trick that goes against her nature."

No, your argument against Averbury was a good one; it was not a city. But once respondents starting bending the rules, I saw no reason not to put in a plug for my favorite Neolithic monument, and maybe my favorite monument from all the ancient world.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I was so taken by the suggestion of Lowell that I might award two books, one in the American division and one for the rest of the world.

You might recall that I wroe about Frederick Jackson Turner's "Significance of the Frontier in American History" some time back. In one essay, he remarks upon the rise of Pittsburgh as an example of the development that followed and constituted the American movement west.

February 05, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter,
3) It's my own damn blog, and I can include whatever I want to. -- Not being a blogger, I keep forgetting about this rule. Sorry!

"Avebury's very size was part of its attraction for me precisely because I had to walk to take it in. That made me feel more a part of the scene." -- I know what you mean, and I certainly feel this way when wandering around places like Morgantina and Paestum. I don't know, a henge monument just seems different to me somehow. Perhaps because, unlike a city, I don't really know how a henge site functioned.

Enjoy your behind-the-scenes tour of Avebury.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"I don't know, a henge monument just seems different to me somehow. Perhaps because, unlike a city, I don't really know how a henge site functioned."

Maybe that's why I liked Averbury. It permitted great free play for the imagination.

I felt like I was following in the footsteps of those who had gone before as I walked that long stone-bounded avenue. It was a raw fall day, too -- wicked evocative! And we visited Stonehenge the same day.

Of course, one gets this in a different way at sites whose purpose was more certain. At Pompeii, the brothel was cater-corner from the public bakery, leading me to remark that even then, man did not live by bread alone.

February 05, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Here's one I've actually been to: Jerome, Arizona. From 15,000 residents a century ago to 329 as of the 2000 census. One of many places called "the wickedest town in the West."

Once a big mining town (5th largest city in Arizona), it's an artist's colony now, with extraordinarily steep hills and stairways to houses above the streets.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"A hotbed of prostitution, gambling, and vice!" Looks like folks knew how to handle labor agitators there, too.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Except they weren't violent agitators, they were asking for changes in work rules. See Bisbee Deportation.

"They asked for an end to physical examinations, two workers on each drilling machine, two men working the ore elevators, an end to blasting while men were in the mine, an end to the bonus system,[7] no more assignment of construction work to miners,[8] replacement of the sliding scale of wages with a $6.00 per day shift rate, and no discrimination against union members. The company flatly refused all the demands." (My italics)

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

One man's insistence on dignity and safety is another's violent agitation. It all depends where one sits, you see.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Heh. I know whose side I'm on. It's interesting that it was the Wobblies who organized, not the UMW.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm not up on my labor history, especially as concerns union rivalries. I've just read about dissatisfaction that the UMW were too close to centers of power, but that did not happen until after the Jerome Deportation.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Carthage which you and I have both visited has had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. I guess sowing the fields with salt works.

Further along the coast Alexandria is a filthy shadow of what it was in the classical world and again what it was pre Nasar.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Peter I'm not sure if Samarkand qualifies but I'm sure it is worth to include her name in the list of 100 places to visit before you died.
Info and photos in Wikipedia.
Your post was a nice idea Peter and you come up with plenty of places of interest.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, someone mentioned Carthage a few comments above. Carthage has had two falls from grace, in fact. Or maybe fall from grandeur would be better. A sleepy residential suburb is not the worst thing in the world to be.

I wonder how many cities founded by or associated with Alexander the Great belong on this list.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jose, I don't know what shape Samarkand is in today, but it certainly has a lower profile than it once did, so it qualifies.

I don't remember enjoying a post and its comments as much as this one. It makes me want to take to the road or at least head for the library.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Not sure if you're still moderating this comment on your Chomsky/Foucault item or whether I just typed the v word in wrong but I'll say it again in case I screwed up:

A visit to S 21 in Phnom Penh cured me of any love of Noam Chomsky however at least he didnt lie down in the urinal troughs of Paris and urge young men to piss on him.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've gone back and forth on moderation as spam has ebbed and flowed.

I wonder if Chomsky just never grew out of his angry-college-sophomore phase. And I guess Foucault was into new technologies of pleasure, all right.

February 06, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, I'm reading a book of Foucault's short work: interviews, his course outlines for the College de France and so on. He talks about new sexual practices and expanding sexual enjoyment to new areas of the body.

It reminded me of Ken Bruen, and hold your astonishment for a moment. If I recall the details correctly, an interviewer asked Bruen about sin, and Bruen replied that the big sin he could think of was inhibiting someone's personal growth. I remember being surprised that a psychobabblish phrase like "personal growth" could cross the lips of one of our leading noir/hard-boiled crime writers. But Foucault may have been ahead of the curve when he talked about the care of the self and so on as an ethical issue.

February 06, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I was thinking of Babylonia/Babylon myself but it's referred to above.

Also, I'd add Alexandria, Egypt, however it's the second biggest city in Egypt today. However, it once was the largest city in the world and housed the most amazing library. Merchants, sea captains and others would bring scrolls, manuscripts and books from their travels which would be copied by scribes and held in the library.

This was until it burned down after hundreds of years.

Glad Muslim cities of Spain were mentioned and Timbuktu.

And, hey, I'm on the side of the labor agitators fighting for decent pay and working conditions.

It's in my DNA, family history going back generations to pre-WWI occupied Poland, resistance to the pogroms and on the other side of my family, Irish farmers and workers.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Good god, this is turning into the most interesting thread this blog has seen. Lots of political, social, economic and personal history here. I think I'll go read some travel books.

Someone mentioned Alexandria earlier, and your comment has me thinking about the allure of great cities ...

Though it's a region rather than a city, Angkor in Cambodia deserves a spot on this list.

Hmm, perhaps ravenna deserves a spot, too. It's not so shabby today, but silting up has deprived the city's port of its contact with the sea, and not too many emperors and exarchs have stopped in in recent centuries.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Ken's a sophisticated guy and it cant be easy being out there in staunchly conservative West Galway.

Which reminds me I'm reviewing the new Lee Child for the Melbourne Age and I am definitely going to include that dodgy Lee Child clone Sebastian from Bruen's The Max.

I am no prude but I draw the line at accepting as sane lying down in urinals to be pissed upon. To me that isnt a fetish its a pscyhosis.

February 07, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I hate to bring this up but what about all of the cities in Poland, the rest of Eastern Europe and elsewhere that were ravaged during WWII?

Many have rebuilt but not to the status or greatness they had pre-war, such as Bialystok, Poland.

There are so many in this category that it would be a huge list.

This is an interesting discussion. Never heard of Rory
Gallagher and will look him up.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've never read Lee Child. I know him best as the host, nominal or otherwise, of an annual party at Bouchercon. Among "The Max"'s achievements are its non-nauseating references to other crime writers. Can't blame Paula Seagal for having a crush on Laura Lippman.

Bruen is said to have a Ph.D. in metaphysics, which has always seemed an odd way of portraying the credential. Still, I have no doubt that he thinks seriously about serious matters, which is why I did not roll my eyes at the "personal growth" statement.

One doesn't see those troughs much anymore. The last ones I remember were at Fenway Park. Was Foucault a baseball fan?

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, don't hate to bring that up. Poland and Lithuania were vast powers in the Middle Ages also. Those years must hae left haunting remains as well.

February 07, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

It just gets too depressing to think about parts of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe where whole populations and their cultures were ravaged pre-and-during WWII.

Think I'll move on to more uplifting topics such as corporate/military malfeasance and corruption in Joseph Finder's thriller, "Vanished," which I must go back to now.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Not to mention the remains those populations have left behind.

I think I'll go read a thriller now.

February 07, 2010  
Anonymous John H said...

I must say that if you are going to pick up a thriller put Lee Child at the top of your list. His character, Jack Reacher, is one badass dude and turns up in the oddest of places. All in all fun reads that are hard to put down.

This has been one of the more enjoyable threads for me. I always enjoy a little history and all of these cities gave me a ton of interesting things to look up. I've spent some hours on this thread and am finished yet. One thing leads to another.

My first thought was of the Incas and Aztecs but ccq beat me to the punch. Unfortunately we know very little about civilizations of Central and South America. Traces of those cultures were systematically destroyed to point where we have only vague ideas of what we have lost.

Thanks for a thought provoking thread that nothing to do with crime books.

vword=readm maybe read thrillers

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The dog that belongs to the owner of Houston's excellent Murder by the Book bookstore is named Jack Reacher.

"one badass dude and turns up in the oddest of places" is an attractive description.

I could bring this thread back to crime books as asking readers to say why they think the cities they suggest might be good settings for a crime story. I could even ask for brief plot proposals.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I got so absorbed in the thread that I forgot I had a book to award as a prize. The competition is tough. I may have to bestow more than one.

February 07, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

The last Lee Child book I read annoyed the heck out of me so I'm not reading any more now.

I read all kinds of mysteries, but have seriously gotten into Michael Connelly's books and now will be reading Joseph Finder's and I enjoyed "Vanished" a lot.

And back to the Scandinavians. Finished "The Demon of Dakar" and liked this by Kjell Eriksson so am looking to see what others are at my public library which I have not already read and which are available.

And may be looking at some more British and Canadian authors.

February 07, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I've read Eriksson's "Princess of Burundi," and made some posts about Eriksson here.

February 07, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, I read "Princess of Burundi," and liked it and now liked, "The Demon of Dakar," a lot, which also has a good feel for Mexico.

Didn't care much for "Cruel Stars of Night."

Hope more of Eriksson's will be made available in the U.S.

Have read many Scandinavian writers but am always on the lookout for more.

February 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Here's a good place to look for information about Scandinavian crime writers. Here's a place to discuss them.

I didn't realie "The Demon of Dakar" involved mexico. Thanks.

February 08, 2010  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home