Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: The Bartered Virgins by John David Merwin

I don't know about you, but I love watching those shows where people are picking a house or apartment from among a few different options. My favorites are when they're set in exotic locales like Hawaii, Fiji or the Virgin Isles. What I doubt I've ever thought, though, is "I wonder. What is the specific history (down to what time a certain meeting on a certain day occurred), of these locations?" If, unlike myself, you are the kind of person who wonders that sort of thing, then do I have a book for you!

The Twitter² Summary:
John David Marwin's The Bartered Virgins is a very brief historical tour of the history of the United States Virgin Islands. Its devotion to the specific history allows this slim volume to claim authority on the history of these small tracts of land.

The Low-down:
Though The Bartered Virgins is generally well-written, it comes across as rather dry in places. In spite of this, I found it to be an interesting read. It is not a long book, coming in at a meager 96 pages (35 of which is devoted to appendices). If you're the kind of person who is really interested in history for history's sake - you will probably like this book. If, however, you are the kind of person for whom history class was a dull slog through dates, names and places - this is probably not right for you.

Merwin's attention to detail is admirable, but occasionally breaks down the narrative approach for which he strives. For scholars of the history, Merwin's inclusion of the text of treaties and agreements in appendices are wonderful.

The Rating:
3 of 5 Stars (A book to check out from the library, but not to own)

The Link:
The Publisher’s Book Page

Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received this book free from Dorrance Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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