Monday, 11 May 2009

The Crimean War

This is the one by Clive Ponting (I would guess it's not the only book called The Crimean War...). Well written, surprisingly readable. I was able to read it all in two days, without having to stop and read fiction in between sections like some non-fiction books make you do. Very interesting. There were one or two rather contentious points perhaps, and I would've liked a bit more detail in some sections (things like the hospital problems got a few paragraphs, the Charge of the Light Brigade received a few pages etc). However, that would've made the book considerably longer and I think overall the balance was right. Also liked the fact that a lot of the eyewitness reports he used were included in boxes in the text, making them stand out clearly.

I think though, that if Clive Ponting wanted, he probably has a case for plagiarism against the authors of Edexcel GCE History (my textbook for history). Ok, so they've quoted him as source material quite a few times, fair enough. But when you find passages in the text book which are virtually word for word, with no acknowledgement, just the odd word changed and the odd sentence moved... Well, it does make you wonder about the competency of those in charge of Edexcel. I've already found a couple of inaccurate passages and typos in the books. To find something that comes so close to plagiarism, even if, perhaps, it's not quite, is worrying. Especially when they make such a big thing of plagiarism.

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