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Friday, 30 June 2017

Review - Kenneth Clark: Civilisation

Kenneth Clark: Civilisation
Kenneth Clark
Civilisation: A Personal View (3*)

I feel inadequate in giving this only three stars, but I’ve struggled for over a month and cannot say I’ve enjoyed it. Civilisation the book is the word-for-word script of the 1969 television series of the same name. It was considered a towering achievement in its day, and I would agree with that, but reading today I find Clark too taken up with his own knowledge and cleverness, too certain in his opinions. Unlike Bronowski in his series (see earlier blog from March 2016), Clark lacks humility. Perhaps the old programmes are more palatable. I have actually owned the book since 1978, and have struggled with it in the past. No doubt I’ll keep it, but I doubt I’ll try to read it again. 

Key to star ratings: 5* would read over and over again, 4* enjoyed it a lot and would recommend, 3* enjoyable/interesting, 2* didn't enjoy, 1* gave up.

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