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Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, 1944 (Pan Grand Strategy Series)
Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, 1944 (Pan Grand Strategy Series)
by Max Hastings
Edition: Paperback

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good overview from the revisionist perspective, 23 July 2010
Max Hastings has written a readable, engaging book that provides an excellent snapshot of Second World War historiography in the late 20th century. Having gone through the post-war period of the official histories and memoirs (Wilmot probably being the best known), in the 1980s a number of historians and writers, such as Hastings and D'Este, began to re-examine the campaign with a view to debunking the notion that the Germans were plodding, unimaginative soldiers and were beaten by Allied flair and initiative. This outdated idea was ripe for puncturing, but arguably the revisionists went too far in the other direction; reading "Overlord" one is left wondering how the Allies ever managed to get off the beaches. Hastings clearly subscribes to the equally fallacious idea that the average German soldier was matched only by the very best the Allies could offer, and the British, Canadians and Americans went into Normandy woefully unprepared for the task at hand. There is perhaps some truth in this argument when one considers Allied and German tanks, but it's noteworthy that both sides were fighting the bocage as much as each other and it was the Allies that ultimately adapted best both tactically and strategically (for example, the Germans generally suffered greater casualties than the Allies when on the offensive, and their pyrrhic doctrine of immediate counterattacks on lost positions bled them white). Hastings manages to give Montgomery a fair and reasonably sympathetic treatment, and provides some interesting vignettes from the men on the ground, but in attempting to cover the entire campaign in a few hundred pages he necessarily skirts over some important actions and events.

In short: an entertaining read and a perfectly competent overview of the campaign, but one that should be read in the light of historiographical attitudes of the time.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't spend money on this!, 21 May 2010
This book is nothing more than a compilation of articles written by unpaid volunteers at Wikipedia. They are freely available to print directly from the Wikipedia website itself - do NOT pay for them and reward this cynical attempt to exploit both the goodwill of Wikipedia writers and Amazon customers.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 10, 2010 10:24 AM BST

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (PC DVD)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (PC DVD)

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother, 16 Aug 2008
This comes across as a cynical, half-finished attempt to cash in on the success of the TV series. While the story is as good as anything on the series, the execution, other than the voice acting, is very poor.

The graphics are dismal for the age of the game - pre-rendered low-quality backdrops, and superimposed characters that do little more than blink expressionlessly and move their lips. Glitches abound. On a few occasions the characters were completely obscured by large white rectangles, and the screen suffered from tearing when panning. To further hinder the illusion of involvement, one often has to wait for an animation sequence to finish before the mouse cursor becomes active. Clicking three or four times on something before the selection is detected really breaks atmosphere. The gameplay is rudimentary and, for what is basically a point-and-click adventure, would have been obsolete fifteen years ago: run the mouse around a scene until its cursor changes colour (given the blurred backdrops, spotting evidence visually can be problematic); click to zoom in on the evidence at that location (at which point the graphics become really pixellated); apply the appropriate tool; rinse; and repeat. 'Interviewing' suspects is simply a case of clicking through a list of pre-selected responses until everything has been asked (no need for thinking), and analysing evidence just means dragging it over the appropriate machine in the lab. Case files and evidence tags update automatically, so there's very little in the way of challenge. The only skill required is finding the evidence in the first place... and since the detection zone for the mouse cursor is huge, this isn't usually a problem. Even a little attention paid to the details would have helped. To take but one example, when chatting to the pathologist to determine cause of death for the latest victim, the corpse on his table is always the same. How much effort would it have taken to make the body match the victim found at the crime scene?

Replay value is non-existent. A percentage score is given depending on how many hints you ask your CSI partner for and how much evidence you uncover, but since this has no effect on the game other than to unlock concept art (and given the standard of the graphics, who'd want to?), there's no incentive to revisit a case once completed.

The software itself, while it installed fine on my Vista Home Premium machine, wouldn't detect my graphics card (so no DirectX or OpenGL acceleration). The game only runs in one fairly low screen resolution, with no option to change this in the preferences. It also needs QuickTime installed to run the video interludes, so if you object to having this piece of bloatware on your machine, unfortunately you'll be left with no choice. The only patch available crashed the game completely. Apparently the entire thing is written in Flash... and it shows. Do yourself a favour - don't bother.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 10, 2010 2:46 AM GMT

From Langley Park To Memphis
From Langley Park To Memphis
Price: 6.49

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sprouts are a matter of good taste..., 1 May 2005
This review is being written over 15 years after I bought my original 'From Langley Park to Memphis' on cassette tape: on the long-overdue occasion of its replacement by CD. The original was bought after hearing 'King of Rock 'n Roll' on the radio and thinking "that sounds like fun". Boy - if I had known what I was getting myself into!
Of all the Sprouts' albums (and I do have them all), this is for me one of the best. The sheer range of themes and styles sweeps the listener from the orchestral 'Manhattan' through the poignant 'Nightingales' to the slightly tongue-in-cheek 'Cars and Girls' without losing either ones interest or engagement. The lyrics are consistently intelligent without the impenetrability of some of the Sprouts earlier work, and Paddy never insults or cajoles his audience - just gently guides them (or perhaps 'seduces' would be a better word) through his emotional journey. I would defy any true romantic to hear 'I Remember That' without a sigh and a nod towards past loves long lost, or not to smile at the 'Venus of the Soup Kitchen' and wonder where to sign up.
Call it 'sophistipop' or 'intellipop' or whatever strange polyglot combination catalogues use to cram artists into a box; say they sound a bit like Blue Nile or Big Dish or some other band that makes their own way off the beaten track through the maze of life: Prefab Sprout are unique. Of course, I'm already a fan, so you'd expect a good review. But don't miss the point - it was this album that made me a fan in the first place.

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