Monday, 8 June 2015

Book Review: White Rajah by Nigel Barley

Early of May, I received my poem's payment. On the next week, I spend it around. Oh, before I wasted my payment for nothing, I saw one medium old-book on the shelf. The book's name is White Rajah by Nigel Barley. Unbelievable! This kind of book is so hard to find these days. Without a second thought, I bought it and be part of my mini library.

Title: White Rajah [A Biography of Sir James Brooke]
Author: Nigel Barley
Price: RM 51.90 (I managed to gain 10% discount- RM46.71)
Type: Paperback
Pages: 272 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Year: October 1, 2002
ISBN-10: 0349116733
ISBN-13: 978-0349116730
Bookstore: Smart Bookshop Sdn. Bhd

I have read this book for a while (as my reference) because printed material is important to me as a writer and 'amateur historian' (I called myself like that). Just like other people said, this is a readable book. Full of information that I never knew, a lot of pictures and full of crazy theories.

To add up few positive reviews about this book, I spend a bit of time to digest the story that Mr. Barley want to tell. As far as I concern based on other reviews (my reading is still in progress so I need other's review):
  • This book is well-written about the life story of James Brooke, brutal honest about
    his weaknesses, his secret, and cuts through the mythology and beautification about him.
  • Gathered some interesting tidbits such as his mother's background,  love interest, nice drawings of Sarawak's tribe, funny-yet-provoking epilogue etc.
  • The idea that he's gay is not being proved officially but the author seems want to challenge other biographers to dig more about him. Curious? Yes.
  • Evocative strokes are everywhere, humorous and unconventional.
  • Fun read about an obscure and exotic subject.
  • This book is not all about his role as a hero, adventurer or being Rajah. It filled with some questions and brave theories.
  • Non heavy-duty history book, nice to read.
  • I liked The Schooner's poem. I really mean it (I read this part, okay?)
The things I don't really enjoy about this book, to be honest:
  • The type of font, hurts my eyes.
  • There are so many information, each chapter is packed with stories. Crowded in one-long-and-wordy paragraph. Argh!
  • I'm not captivated about the political  stuff.
  • Some part of his reign's story is sometimes a bit too great and too scholarly.
  • Focus a bit much about his gay possibilities. I wonder about this whether it is true or not.
  • Got disturbed by 'Saribus' spelling...Saribas, not 'Saribus'. (Maybe I'm too rigid...hahaha~)
For the whole reading, I give 3.8 out of 5. It is indeed a fun and nice book to read.


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