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Amazing Tales for Making Men out of Boys [Hardcover]

Neil Oliver
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 May 2008

Tales of brave and selfless deeds used to be part of every boy's education. We grew up sharing stories with our fathers, uncles and grandfathers of how other men had lived their lives, met their challenges, reached their goals and faced their deaths. Becoming a man was about comradeship and standing by your friends whatever the circumstances. And it meant that sometimes it was more important to die a hero than live a coward's life.

Through Neil Oliver's vivid, stirring new accounts we can rediscover the stories that inspired us. These are the epics that we should all know by heart; the tales of courage, endurance and sacrifice that made men out of boys.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (15 May 2008)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0718153820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718153823
  • Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 3.7 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 469,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

'The Beauty of Scotland is overwhelming and I've often thought that Scotland's popular history is just like her landscape - impossibly romantic, obscured by mist and myth and always changing...'.

Neil Oliver is a Scottish archaeologist, historian, broadcaster and writer who has become widely known as the presenter of BBC television's flagship 10-part series A History of Scotland.

Before that his distinctive style was much in evidence as a charismatic presenter of the award-winning multi-part documentary series Coast and the author of its bestselling tie-in book.

His archaeological training at Glasgow University was put to good use in BBC2's series Two Men in a Trench where he visited historic British battlefields and attempted to recreate the events of each battle. He co-wrote the two accompanying books. He has also appeared as a contributor on The One Show, and as a presenter on The History Detectives, Time Team and Channel 4's The Face of Britain. His Amazing Tales for Making Me Out of Boys is published by Penguin. He lives in Stirling with his wife and three children.

Product Description


'A must-have collection' -- The Times

'Oliver is a wonderful storyteller. This is a book told from the heart with both a passion and breathless awe for the deeds recounted that leaps from every page. Sumptuously illustrated, beautifully told, and in turns both moving and inspiring, it is a joy from start to finish. I defy any reader, whether they be aged nine or ninety, not to walk with a slightly straighter back after putting down these amazing tales.' -- Sunday Telegraph

From the Publisher

Amazing Tales is packed with vivid new accounts of classic stories of courage and heroism including: The Battle of Britain, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Siege of Dien Bien Phu, The Cockleshell Heroes, The Battle of Isandlwana, The Penlee Lifeboat Disaster, Apollo XIII, The SAS and the Battle of Mirbat, The Yangtse Incident, The Battle of Trafalgar, Shackleton's Boat Journey, Scott of the Antarctic and many more

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book everyone should read 18 Dec 2009
By Cockers
I first heard about this book when I seen the Author on a TV show and he was promoting the book. Believe me he was right about everything he said, this book is brilliant. The stories make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end!! This is not a book you read and forget, you will want to read it again and again. What heroes they were, go for it, you won't be dissapointedAmazing Tales for Making Men Out of Boys
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ripping Yarns Revisited 10 Dec 2009
Really loved reading this to myself and my Grandson at bedtime. Full of stirring tales of how men used to behave when their back was to the wall. As a boy I used to read the Boys Own Paper,& Victor, Hotspur Comics. What memories it evoked.

I thoroughly reccommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book 17 Jun 2009
Great book for any man / boy. You can feel the passion in Neil Olivers writing. I love the way he sets the scene in each chapter regarding the era and the mindset of the hero(s).
Very educational for young readers. Each story is like a history lesson but more fun then school!
Of course it is a romantic view that he depicts, slighty distorted and glossy but for me that is what makes the book great. There must be many more tales of British history to be explored so I hope he will do another along the same lines.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At least tell these to your sons................ 16 July 2009
I didn't find this quite as riveting and `exciting' as some reviews say, not because of the lack of stupendous courage, and almost extinct `manliness', but more because it wasn't written in a particularly stimulating way. For me it's quite `dry' a lot of the time, and just lacks the `life' these stories should feel, because they certainly ARE remarkable stories in themselves.

It kept my interest, however, because it's impossible to not be in awe of the unbelievable courage in these stories, and maybe it's in describing the background history which robs the book of its momentum. Historic background is sometimes `dull' in it's telling.

This book does, however, strike a very powerful note with me. It makes a statement at it's core; that modern male children, and young men, have become so `feminised', and masculinity so unfashionable, that modern men of this new generation have lost their way. Traditional male roles have been so diluted that even men's appearance is strongly feminised. (You think not??? Well, when a man's body hair is now treated by most women with at least some revulsion, and that has resulted in many men waxing and shaving, even their legs sometimes, that's a very worrying trend.)

Political correctness and the great feminist movement have brought us to be a shadow of what British men once were, ............and for being brave enough to make the statement it makes about that, means this book is well worth the reading.

It's aimed at older boys as well as adults, but I rather doubt many of those boys would read it cover to cover, which is a shame because they need to read, and be captivated by stories like these.

Had the stories been brought to life a little more, it would have got the full five stars from me.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This collection of tales of derring-do is easy to read, and each episode is told with Oliver's trademark enthusiasm and his obvious admiration for the heros involved. Despite the male-ness of the title it's equally rewarding for females to read -- it's just that the subjects of these adventures are mainly men.
The cover depicts the epic journey which Scott made to conquer the Antarctic, and that story provides the backbone which runs through the book. Scott's life story is told in segments, leading up to his fateful, final expedition. It's interspliced with other stand-alone epiosdes of heroic endeavour, many of which serve to illustrate one aspect of Scott's accomplishment.
So we also read about the 300 Spartans at Thermopyle, the pilots of the Battle of Britain, the lifeboatmen of Penlee, Ernest Shackleton, the French Foreign Legion, the Light Brigade and another half-dozen examples of heroic conduct plucked from the pages of history. All of it is delivered at something of a dash, creating easily-digested individual stories which are heavy on action and spiced with a little modern interpretation.
None of this is ground-breaking but it is a corking good read. At times the device of splitting up Scott's story doesn't work so well -- in fact, it makes the most important tale in the book feel somewhat disjointed, and reduced the eventual impact of the episode. That's the worst complaint, though.
Neil Oliver doesn't pretend to have any of the qualifications of the heros he describes, but he obviously admires the Britons who were prepared to sacrifice all for their countrymen and colleagues. I also liked the fact that he returns to the theme of 'Britishness' in his comments.
Recommended for all ages and both genders; very useful as a way to introduce younger folks to a bit of history. Perfect for long air flights, too!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 3 Aug 2008
I found this book hugely entertaining, informative and written in a style that took me back to those heady days reading the Topper and Victor. Great stuff Neil.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great project, but stretched a little too far 11 Sep 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is well presented with a bold cover, just like those magazines you might remember from when you were a kid. It's really all about the heroes boys used to aspire to be - in the days when it was better to die a brave death than to live as a coward. It's a worthy collection of classic battles and genuine heroes, but the intersections of Scott (of the Antarctic) are a bit tiresome and the defined audience is not really very clear. If it's for kids then it's really too big and long. If it's for adults then some of the language used is a bit archaic, or childish even. It is a good book and worth a look, but could have just done with a bit of final thought at the editing stage that could have made it great.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend.
Bought this for my husband and he couldn't put it down or stop talking about it. Recommend.
Published 3 months ago by EverLearning
5.0 out of 5 stars Stirring stuff
bought for one of my sons to give him a broader view of people and their aspirations, dreams and fears.
Published 9 months ago by MRS NICOLA TOLSON
4.0 out of 5 stars Stirring stuff
As always very well put together, and most readable. Another hit with the males in my family, as well as with me.
Published 15 months ago by binbon
5.0 out of 5 stars AWSOME !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Would highly recommend to anyone with a sense of adventure and history
Published 15 months ago by sjones
5.0 out of 5 stars Encourage adventure
In our current health and safety obsessed World it is great to be able to read an inspiring book all about risk and adventure and this one is full of it!
Published 19 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
We really liked watching Neil Oliver's Coast and History of Scotland, so this was a definite winner when it came to buying a good read.
Published 22 months ago by Pippa
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic.
This is a must read for anyone, the stories are brilliantly told and keep you wanting to read on. My only minor criticism is that it should be longer as they're lots more good... Read more
Published on 27 Feb 2012 by 7Rammo
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all aspiring young men!
A ripping good yarn. Loved Neil's commentary on his own feelings towards the stories and certainly a who's who of some key historical figures. Read more
Published on 9 May 2011 by Loulih
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and powerful
There are no words I can use to rate this highly enough. The very first story had me in tears. The rest ditto (even if that's not very manly of me... Read more
Published on 6 Feb 2011 by J. W. Treadaway
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales to tell to sons
Loved the book and shared the stories of heroic men with my sons. In a world where many are famous for nothing , it reminded my sons what makes great men. Read more
Published on 26 Jan 2010 by L. J. Nelson
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