The Stonehenge Bluestones is a semi-glossy, well-produced, slim, populist volume that, after ten years, replaces John’s earlier book, The Bluestone Enigma. It is the better of the two, with fewer factual errors, less immoderate language, and a closer understanding of the complexities of the ‘problem’: whence did the bluestones come and how were they moved to Salisbury Plain?
The evidence for John’s own theory – that glaciers dumped 40 to 80 random erratics on, or very near to, Salisbury Plain – is slight and unbalanced. Indeed, it is the lack of any undisputed erratics on Salisbury Plain or within its sediments that shreds this mono-thesis, making it scientifically extraordinary.
The book has abundant colour photographs, many of them previously unpublished. Some of his snaps of the Preseli Hills outcrops are more eloquent and convincing than the accompanying text, and complement the standard views seen in the archaeological literature. Alongside a bag of chips and plenty of salt, reading this book is a cheap way to pass an evening – though his novel, Acts of God (also featuring glaciers), is plotted even better.
This review appeared in CA 341.