Unlocked – Historical Tales in Verse | Book Review
Unlocked – Historical Tales in Verse – Book Review
Book: Unlocked – Historical Tales in Verse
Author: Sonia Dogra
Reviewed By: Manas Mukul
Publisher: Self-Published (25 May 2020)
Pages: 134 (eBook)
Price: Free (as of now)
Genre: Non-fiction / Historical Poetry
My rating: 3.5/5
History was considered one of the most boring subjects during school days. Rarely did students like it. Sometimes because of the lack of interest shown by the teacher in the material while imparting the knowledge to the students and sometimes the sheer task of mugging dates, years, events, who killed who made it totally mundane. Sonia Dogra tries to take on the very fact, ‘history is boring’ and gives the recipe a twist in her second book ‘Unlocked – Historical Tales in Verse.’
‘Unlocked – Historial Tales in Verse’ is a collection of some known and unknown stories of personalities and events from the pages of history, retold in the form of poetry or as Sonia calls it in the form of verse. The book is currently part of the Blogchatter eBook Carnival and you can download a copy for free. Blogchatter is back with 63 books in its 5th season of the carnival.
About the Author
Sonia Dogra worked as a teacher and a reporter for a children’s newspaper before she decided to switch over to freelance proofreading services. Her random ramblings on her blog ‘A Hundred Quills’ turned into serious writing as she began to pen for various online portals. She has been part of an anthology, ‘Poems from 30 Best Poets’, published in 2019 by Literatureslight. She also has a collection of poems titled ‘Life, Women and Everything in Between’ on Juggernaut. Sonia can be caught napping on Twitter @SoniaDogra16 or slightly proactive at https://soniadogra.com (A Hundred Quills).
Cover and Title
The cover page is nicely done with historical figures and events represented in the forms of pictures. The title of the book is also apt – unlocking historical tales in a new form. The font of the title could have been a little formal.
‘Unlocked – Historical Tales in Verse’ has twenty-five poems in total with a complimenting poetic prologue. The book is divided into two parts – ‘The Famous and the Infamous’ and ‘Epoch Making Episodes.’
‘The Famous and the Infamous’, as the name suggests, has poems dedicated to historical figures. Sonia has discussed characters of each shade; from Adolf Hitler to Mahatma Gandhi, from Mohammad Ali to Fidel Castro, from known warriors like Genghis Khan to unknown courtesans of Cawnpore, whose sacrifices were lost as time turned pages of history.
‘Epoch Making Episodes’ delves into some of the significant events that have had an impact on history and at times even changed the course of it (or protected from changing it). The events discussed here range from the creation of the line that was the reason for the birth of Pakistan to how Nagasaki was bombed instead of Kokura, from how Titanic could have been saved if not for a missing key and a pair of binoculars to how one of the greatest speeches in history never got recorded, from the story of how getting quarantined came into existence to what sparked World War I. There is poem even on beard, nose, whiskey and a football war.
I particularly liked the way each poem begins with a little background story about the person or event in question and ends with a small concluding contemplation. In other words, every poem has a little prologue and epilogue of its own.
It is difficult to list out which ones are the best since all of them are well-conceived. You may like, some for the fact that it will help you in discovering a couple of events that you might not be aware of and some for the way it has been retold with a different perspective – history could have avoided ‘Hitler’ if his childhood issues would have been taken care of.
The best part about the content is that it is suitable for everyone – while the children will find a new way to learn and look at history, the adults can always revisit some of those chapters they deliberately skipped during school days.
It is a quick read with only 134 pages and around 17500 words. Since it is an eBook the font size used also matters and Sonia has done a good job of keeping it legible for mobile devices too. The footnotes are in abundance so that you don’t miss out on a single detail. The vocabulary used is good and it makes the reading pretty effortless.
It is not an out and out negative but when you read continuous poetries there should be a little variety in the way they are written. Though all the poems are different but reading them together in one go feels like they are all part of the same poem. The book would be better with another round of editing and cleaner formatting.
The content is diverse and covers a wide range of timeframes. Through her free verse style, Sonia showcases her in-depth research work gone into unraveling these stories and then converting them into poetry.
You would have read poems on history and definitely, history of poetry but I found this concept really unique. We often read poems when a big event takes place but seldom do we find such a poetic compilation with so much content on history. I am going with three and a half stars for Sonia Dogra’s Unlocked – Historical Tales in Verse – an extra half for making history interesting again. Don’t miss this unique take.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
You can download ‘Unlocked – Historical Tales in Verse’ for Free on Blogchatter for a limited period of time.
Rashi Roy and I have collaborated and come up with an anthology – ‘The Woman That I Am’, which is a part of the Blogchatter Ebook Carnival. It would be so great if you can download a copy. Do share your feedback on the same.
The other wonderful book that we chose to review is “It’s All Called Love” by Dipika Singh. Read more about her book and a fantastic review by Rashi Roy.
You can read all the previous Book Reviews here.
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