Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Downfall

I finished Berlin: The Downfall 1945 last night; an epic and tragic account of the end game of World War II in Europe. I have to discuss it on the weekend so I am going to keep my powder dry for that but it has sparked some amorphous ideas about publishing that I want to try and begin to shape.

Antony Beevor published Annexes to the book, details of his cuts, plus Errata and Addenda on his website. This is great and useful, but I could have done with more.

It is difficult to see how a computer screen will ever compare to the printed page for ease of reading, espeically in my default mode; deep in an armchair or feet up on the couch with a glass of something fortifying to hand.

What I found with a book on a topic as complex as the last days of the Third Reich was that paper was best only for linear reading. Whenever I marked my place to look at a map, check a note, or backtrack to identify a proper name about which I had got confused; whenever I stepped out of the flow of the narrative, in other words, I felt that it would have been easier and better to go to the PC for elucidation.

I'd like to see comprehensive maps and glossaries online to support the book.

I wonder if - taking a leaf out of the DVD market - if there is not a place for an extended edition of a publication like Berlin: The Downfall 1945 which would include all of the above and, perhaps the audiobook version in one package?

I'd certainly be prepared to pay a couple of quid more for it.

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