The shift towards a farming existence is conventionally described as one of "Man's" greatest achievements. Yet.... the initial impetus came from women rather than "Man".Now I wouldn't mind so much, but the use of the word "man" in this context denotes mankind, humankind if you prefer, or humanity, rather than men. Historians, had they meant that "the shift... was one of men's greatest achievements", would presumably have said so. So we then have to wade through the author's tedious destruction of this straw man. I have the feeling that it's about needing to say "Look how PC I'm being, aren't I a good boy?". Perhaps that's what it takes to get a reference book published these days, but I find it irritating. All the author needed to say was
"The shift towards a farming existence is conventionally described as one of man(kind)'s greatest achievements, and the initial impetus came from women".A bit later on in the book, we have this, when discussing the maximum population counts of some of France's (Gaul's) earliest cities:
"...its biggest conurbations - Narbonne, Nîmes, Lyon, Autun, Reims and Trier - did not exceed the 20,000 to 30,000 population band."Now the problem I have with this, is that I don't know what the author is trying to say: I have to guess. It's the use of the word "exceed" together with a population "band" that confuses me. If he means that the populations did not exceed 30,000, then he should say so, and there is no need to mention the 20,000 figure because it means nothing. If he means that all the towns listed had population counts of between 20,000 and 30,000 then that's what he should say instead. There are plenty of other possible meanings as well. All he has to do is choose one and write it.
A final comment. This is from the Cambridge University Press. My alma mater. Is this the best they can do? The shame!!
On a more positive note, I haven't, for a long time, enjoyed any novel as much as I have enjoyed "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and its sequel "The Girl Who Played with Fire". Those dashed cunning marketing chappies at Amazon hooked me with a cheapo Kindle download of the first one, and, as they doubtless planned, I got hooked, and paid much more for the second. I wonder if they have ever traded street drugs? I'm going to have to wait for a rainy week to download the third one, since I can't put them down, and really should be in the garden as much as the weather permits.