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Derek Alcraft (Northumberland, UK)
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Tales from the Till: Chats at the Supermarket Checkout
Tales from the Till: Chats at the Supermarket Checkout
by Bill Cawley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When next at the Till.., 5 Oct 2014
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Who ever knew supermarket Till operators were human?
Well, read this book and you will realise that they are not only human, but witty and wise too. This book is a series of short snippets or snapshots of conversation at the till, interspersed with funny, sometimes mordant observations on life as it passes by. Bill is nothing if not eclectic, learned and insightful; and one quickly realises no friend of privelege, the Tories or certain knee-jerk right wing newspapers (roughly 80% of the press in today's UK). You are guaranteed flashes of recognition, little chuckles and a couple of belly laughs. I already have my favourite staff in my own local Asda and Morrisons whose humanity and friendliess shines out from the corporate 'image' - having read this book I've just added another one!


Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich
Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich
by Robert Gerwarth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant account of a monster., 24 July 2014
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Quite simply the best life of Reinhard Heydrich I've ever read. The book suceeds very well in helping to explain the man, without sympathising with him. The role of his wife, who at least initially was more of a Nazi than he was, was critical in him becoming the monster he actually became. She never changed her extreme views, even after 1945. His close relationship with Himmler is also convincingly described. The amateurish nature of Nazism is conveyed very well, 'working to the Fuhrer' these men made it up as they went along, until in the end they had almost the whole of europe to play with as a giant, grotesque racist experiment. The shambolic nature of it all is traced through the development of the Nazi security apparatus and then, also, the halting development of the Final Solution itself.
Heydrich himself played a crucial role in this, but he was not himself quite the master architect of the Final Solution he is made out to be; that was the work of a diffuse group who almost stumbled into it as an answer to the practical problem as the Nazis saw it, of what to 'do' with the Jews. The answer in the end, as the war radicalised Nazi policy, was extermination.
In the final period of his life Heydrich truly became the hangman in the Orwellian named 'protectorate' of Bohemia and Moravia. If he had had his way the Czech lands would have become a laboratory for the rest of Europe in a giant experiment in ethnic cleansing, building the nightmare idealised Nazi future. His assasination led not only to the martydom of his killers, but the destruction of the Czech resistance and the deaths of literally thousands in a whirlwind of Nazi vengeance. But it is typical of the racist arrogance and contempt of the man to the people that he claimed to rule, that he travelled in an open car, without escort. The Nazis gave him the most elaborate. literally Wagnerian state funeral ever held in the Third Reich, fittingly by their lights.
This book brilliantly explains why they thought he was worthy of that funeral, and also why he deserved to die for what he did.


Sub Sports DUAL Men's Compression Baselayer Leggings / Tights - Small, White
Sub Sports DUAL Men's Compression Baselayer Leggings / Tights - Small, White
Price: £23.93

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great kit!, 11 Feb 2012
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I bought these for running, and also for my wrestling hobby. They are ideal for both, close fitting and warm when running as a base layer, and good for wrestling by themselves. Highly recommended and good value.


Britain's Lost Cities
Britain's Lost Cities
by Gavin Stamp
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sad epitaph, 3 Jan 2010
This review is from: Britain's Lost Cities (Hardcover)
I'd agree with all the other reviews of this book. The photos are indeed the main glory of the book, supported by a perceptive and elgaic text. Most of the destruction we read about in this book was self-inflicted, if you consider that planning departments belong to us. There are so many other parallels, and as Gavin Stamp points out, a lot of the 60s and 70s mediocrity they created is being replaced. However by what? May I suggest often 80s, 90s and noughties mediocrity! An interesting point made by Stamp is the malign influence in many cases of the Universities for example in Edinburgh. I'd venture to suggest a similar influence is still at work in the recent (soon to end) University building boom - the recent example of Leicester and De Montfort University springs to mind - where the similar supine attitude of the Council figures large. So if you read this book, emerge into the present and let it inspire you to look around your own community!


Strongholds of the Border Reivers: Fortifications of the Anglo-Scottish Border 1296-1603
Strongholds of the Border Reivers: Fortifications of the Anglo-Scottish Border 1296-1603
by Keith Durham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant introduction!, 11 Jan 2009
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This is a superb addition to the Osprey series of publications, and manages to pack a quart into the pint pint of its slim volume. It gives a succinct but comprehensive account of Border fortifications from castles to bastles, via churches, peles and tower houses. It also manages to place these in the context of the wild and lawless Border society and the ongoing conflict between England and Scotland. The captions are excellent and informative with superb photos and drawings. As someone who knows most of the places mentioned I can vouch for its accuracy, and it is sure to whet the appetite of anyone with an interest in order history or fortifications. A highly recommended and beautiful book.


Khartoum: The Ultimate Imperial Adventure
Khartoum: The Ultimate Imperial Adventure
by Michael Asher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Illuminates a forgotten corner of imperial history, 4 Sep 2006
Michael Asher's book throws light on some forgotten corners of British Imperial history. While some of the central points, Gordon at Khartoum, and the battle of Omdurman are well known imperial myths, a lot of the rest was new to me. Asher writes with some feeling for the people of the Sudan, and what lay behind the rise of the 'Expected Messenger', or Mahdi, which has some echoes for today. He covers the defeats of Hicks Pasha and Valentine Baker in gripping style, and really to my mind exposes the stupidity and self-deception of Gordon. His real hero is Herbert Kitchener, who he shows as an innovative, logistical genius, who as Sirdar of the Egytian army reconqured the Sudan.

A gripping read if a bit politically simplistic.


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