It is a rare gift to make the intrinsically dull interesting, to tell you things you thought you didn’t want to know in a compelling manner – imagine a biography of Charles Lamb, say, that dealt exclusively with his nine-to-five at the East India Office and you have the literary equivalent – and Knight has that gift in spades.
– David Crane, reviewing Roger Knight, Britain Against Napoleon in The Australian, sec: Review, 7/12/13, p.18.
The best book reviews give important insights into what makes writing work, and this is one of those moments. The book’s subject matter is the ‘government contracts and procurement’ and the ‘mechanics of trade and finance’ powering Britain’s war against Napoleon. I almost want to read it, just to see how these things are made interesting.
Can you think of other examples of what the reviewer is talking about, the dull made interesting?