The “indelibles” referred to in this book title are ten people who have left an indelible impression on the author. Each chapter in this book is dedicated to summarizing the story of one of these people, what they are well-known for (or some not so well known), and how their story has affected Philip, to the extent that they will always be remembered as remarkably important in his life and development. Most of us will probably have a similar list of people we can point to and thank (or blame) for their indelible impression on our life, though in most cases I suspect they will not be quite so spectacular or historically notable as Philip’s. And a mixed bag this author’s mentors are, too, from a man who spent years marooned on a desert island – being the inspiration for the book Robinson Crusoe – to a woman who literally ran around the world, as well as a diviner, a miraculous healer and someone who can only be described as spookily insightful. He has indeed compiled an interesting and eclectic little group of characters, and his knowledge, research and backstory narratives of these ten truly amazing and very interesting people are delivered with affection, dedication and tremendous capability by a decent writer.
However, it is fair to say that perhaps their very diversity is problematic for this book. Philip spends a lot of time writing about their effect on himself and his own life; when added to the fact that they are all so very different in their context, achievements and historical relevance, this book may struggle to find itself in a pretty generic readership pool. It is very difficult to pigeonhole this compilation into any particular niche of appeal; the only readers it seems to be attempting to target are those interested in historical figures generally – whilst this is an admirable objective, you are talking about a tough crowd and an elusive market. In my opinion, this book might be much better served by connecting the ten subjects with some specific context, that being more marketable than simply how they affected Philip himself. It gives the impression that he wrote this book for his own pleasure, with no plans, and was later persuaded or decided to publish it, which of course is fantastic, and a very common life-story for many a published book, but now it is published, it would be a shame not to attempt to get it out there, and share with the world the superb lives of these genuinely fascinating people. And should their achievements find some common ground, I wonder if this should then go on to form this book’s title: “Ten Trailblazers of…”, or perhaps “Famous (…) You’ve Never Heard Of…” – something along those lines, perhaps.
Due to upload size limitations on my form, I was only able to read a version without the photographs, which is regrettable; I’m sure they would have been fascinating. The proof itself also appeared to need a little work, though the author has assured me this has since been done, so I'm sure in its newest form it would be a different book entirely. He has put the work in, and is clearly a knowledgeable and hard-working author, who undoubtedly knows how to craft a reference book. He also has an interesting selection of subjects. As far as goes the complete, holistic package, I'm sure the superficial makeover has worked wonders, and suggest this book is well worth a read.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: philip-a-brown non-fiction reference people historical-figures facts