Monday, August 21, 2006

The ultimate insult?

Today I noticed, in a bookstore, Tom Holland's Persian Fire on the shelf otherwise dedicated entirely to fiction, mostly to historical novels set in the classical world.

Can there be a worse insult for a historian than to have his books placed on the fiction shelf?

I laughed a year or so ago when I saw, in another bookstore, something similar happen to one of Anne de Courcy's society histories (I forget which one — perhaps 1939: The Last Season), which was shelved amongst chick-lit or some such fluff. But when the same thing starts happening to histories of sober subjects such as the Persian wars, perhaps it's time to start getting worried and not just amused.


Anonymous cookie said...

maybe somebody saw it, wanted to buy it and ran home to get money. And in the mean time, he hid the book in the most unlikely place for a avid historian-friend to look. They ARE after the facts, right;)?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 7:03:00 AM  
Blogger ill-advised said...

I guess that's possible, but I'm not sure if hiding Holland's books in the fiction shelf is the best idea. If I judge by his Rubicon, he writes so well that the book could easily be bought by someone who came looking for fiction and didn't notice it was non-fiction until it was too late :)

I'd hide it on the "alternative history" shelf. Those who came looking for factual history wouldn't touch the alternative history shelf with a ten-foot pole, while those who came looking for alternative history will avoid Holland's book because the blurbs on the back aren't sensational enough and it doesn't mention any of their favourite buzzwords (no Templars, grail, Atlantis, aliens, etc.).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 7:52:00 AM  

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