Book Plunge: Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids

What do I think of Phil Mason’s book published by Skyhorse publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I will get back to Simplicity soon, but for now, I wanted to review this book I finished over the weekend. I enjoy reading about little oddities in history and this book is full of them. It’s my goal then to tell some that I really liked and give some thoughts from a Christian perspective.

At the start, Mason says that the reason we have civilization today is beer. We have an old Sumerian recipe for beer and that recipe caused people to stop and work on agriculture instead of being hunters and gatherers. After all, they wanted more beer. If this theory is accurate, then the reason we are on the internet today and I am writing and you are reading is because some people once wanted to drink beer. Incredible.

It has also been theorized that another drink helped save civilization. That is the sacred drink of tea. The Industrial Revolution took off in Britain according to this because people had to gather together and often, the water wasn’t the best, but tea contains enough health benefits that it could be used. No other nation had the Industrial Revolution take off so if this is so, tea has done our world a great service.

Now with many of these, from a Christian perspective, you could argue that God was orchestrating some events. That could be so, but I hesitate to say such a thing. After all, I have presented some positive events. What happens if I present negative events, and there are several of those.

Let’s start with the fact that starlings are in America because Shakespeare wrote Henry the IV. Yes. There was a man in America who wanted to bring every bird mentioned in Shakespeare to America and since Shakespeare referred to the starling one time in that play, 100 starlings were brought over and they have been a problem to our American ecosystem ever since. The same happened in Australia as a man wanted to hunt rabbits so he brought some over and now Australia has a problem with the rabbit population.

At Lincoln’s second inauguration, there was a young man who broke through the ranks and almost got to the president. He was stopped and restrained because the police thought he was really harmless and so they let him go. Want to know what happened to him? I’ll just tell you his name was John Wilkes Booth.

Why did the Battle of Gettysburg take place in the Civil War? It wasn’t planned, but one army leader heard a story about shoes being on sale in a town and his troops needed shoes. The journey to get them was seen as hostile by the other side and thus began a major battle that took place and could have changed the tide of the war, all because someone wanted shoes for his troops.

One example that should definitely give us pause in saying God is behind some events is Hitler. Mason lists numerous times that there were assassination plots against Hitler and at the last moment, something changed in Hitler’s plans and he avoided assassination every time. It was also through a quirk circumstance he describes that Mengele avoided capture as well.

This is the danger of many of my fellow Christians when we often try to read into history, including our personal history. We often like to try to read what we think God is doing in every situation in our lives. I have said before that it would be awesome if we Christians spent as much time trying to interpret Scripture rightly as we do trying to interpret our experiences rightly.

On the other hand, this book is informative, but it’s also fun. You can read about how some actors in Hollywood got big breaks through chance events. About the only topic I didn’t really get into was the one on sports since I didn’t understand a lot of the analogies.

People who like history should get this book and go through it. Each chapter contains several bite-sized section that would take at the most a couple of minutes to read. These will also be great conversation pieces to make any group gathering interesting and leave you looking really informed as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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