This is definitely one of the more unusual historical books that have crossed my desk for a long time.
It takes a very different look at history, and the divisions between societies and countries. What Peter Spring has done is to focus on the way societies have defended themselves from aggressive or difficult neighbours by creating walls and linear defences.
Everyone has heard of the Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall – but there are numerous others that have been created that have not stood the test of time quite as well.
Spring sets out to look at the type of walls, type of defences that were created world wide from Offas Dyke on the English/Welsh border to earthworks in Nigeria and Easter Island; the Wall of Ston in Croatia, the Gates of Alexander, and the pre-WW2 Zmievi Vali near Kiev.
The book looks at how the walls worked, how they were named and their purposes.
It is unusual, extremely well researched and perfect for anyone interested in military or landscape history.
I am just surprised that no one has looked in such detail at the subject before – it is a topic that is long overdue. Although an academic book, it is quite readable and accessible for the general reader as well.