Profile for R. A. Fallows > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by R. A. Fallows
Top Reviewer Ranking: 466,083
Helpful Votes: 6

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
R. A. Fallows "Radio Man" (East Sussex, UK)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3
pixel
A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command
A Willingness to Die: Memories from Fighter Command
by Brian Kingcome
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the lot, 18 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have read a great many books of fighter pilots' exploits; of those a very few I rate as standing out well beyond the rest. When I first saw this book, I was captivated by its cover and title, but was not expecting it would offer such compelling reading. I couldn't put it down, yet read it in small amounts as I didn't want to finish it so quickly. I love the author's approach, which is rather like listening to one's father or granddad reminisce over a cup of tea; the story teller can digress at any moment, either forward or back in time. This is one of the reasons I enjoyed his stories. Another is that Kingcome gives as many facts and facets of a story as he can, so you are not left wondering what became of so-and-so, or pondering about any other details. There is near the end of the book an emotional passage where he reflects on the excitement of being a fighter pilot during 1940 which could be some author's over sentimental view, except that it isn't; it's the real view of a man who risked his life willingly and saw the deaths of others who did the same. It leaves the reader feeling somewhat as Shakespeare said in Henry We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
...and you are left feeling rather flat and dull and somewhat envious, but nevertheless inspired by such a great man's story.


Life's Too Short to Cry: The Compelling Memoir of a Battle of Britain Ace
Life's Too Short to Cry: The Compelling Memoir of a Battle of Britain Ace
by Tim Vigors
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable story, remarkable man, 26 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have read so many fighter pilot stories that I doubted whether this one would be unusual. I'm glad I doubted because it made the surprise all the better; this is an outstanding story, perfectly written. Ignore any of the derogatory comments of others on this site. Far from glorifying himself, the author openly writes of his some dreadful failures.
Like any captivating read, I was sorry that this one came to an end, but I was left continually thinking how the events in this book, the turbulent and dangerous action, his achievements in flying and promotion to positions of great responsibility, unbelievable luck in escaping certain death, and his general living life to the full, all occurred before he was twenty years old.
Tim Vigors was a good writer and an interesting, friendly character who like so many of that age and time had to adapt themselves to living in the midst of death as best they could. It is quite plain that he is a sensitive man who had to deal with grief and hardship and yet carry on.


Twelve Years a Slave
Twelve Years a Slave
by Solomon Northup
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars If you have seen the film, 2 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Twelve Years a Slave (Paperback)
or if you intend seeing it - read the book. It is interesting to learn the greater complexity of the story. Most films based on books have to edit out various events. The film stays very close to the original story, but if you are interested in this history, then reading the book gives you all the missing parts. A great read - I particularly enjoy the (now) old-fashioned style of speech and expression. However, just how Solomon Northup wrote is a matter of contention as I have heard that his story was written, even then, by a 'ghost writer'.


Twelve Years a Slave
Twelve Years a Slave
by Solomon Northup
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.13

5.0 out of 5 stars A vital history, 7 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Twelve Years a Slave (Paperback)
If you intend to see the film, I suggest you see it before reading the book. Films are usually condensed versions of books. They also have episodes strictly edited and re-modelled; all necessary to speed the narrative. This book/film is no different. You can read at leisure the fuller facts of each episode and also learn many which were omitted.
I don't know why this book seems to have been largely unknown until its screen dramatization. If the film moves you, then you will find the book absorbing.


Hiroshima (Penguin Modern Classics)
Hiroshima (Penguin Modern Classics)
by John Hersey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hersey - The man who showed the world the truth of the atomic bomb, 14 Dec 2013
I won't write my own revue, but after reading the reviews of many on this site, I thought it best to clip some parts from Wikipedia which reiterate opinions stated after its publishing in August 1946 because I thought that the passage of time has understandably dulled and distanced us from the emotions in the aftermath of world war.
One reviewer had derided it somewhat for its novel-like approach.

John Hersey was a journalist ahead of his time or at the head of his time, but he wrote like no other - and he was the first to interview survivors and write a book solely about the aftermath of this horrific and uniquely brutal event that was the dawn of a terrible new age.

Furthermore, (quote) - "Hersey's account of the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was adjudged the finest piece of American journalism of the 20th century by a 36-member panel associated with New York University's journalism department."

Time magazine said about Hiroshima:

"Every American who has permitted himself to make jokes about atom bombs, or who has come to regard them as just one sensational phenomenon that can now be accepted as part of civilization, like the airplane and the gasoline engine, or who has allowed himself to speculate as to what we might do with them if we were forced into another war, ought to read Mr. Hersey. When this magazine article appears in book form the critics will say that it is in its fashion a classic. But it is rather more than that".[9]

The magazine later termed Hersey's account of the bombing "the most celebrated piece of journalism to come out of World War II."
It was quickly a book in the Book-of-the-Month Club and distributed for free because of its impact on the humanity of the human race.[16] Hiroshima was also read word for word on the radio by the American Broadcasting Company, amplifying its effects.
Published a little more than a year after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the American public was shown a different interpretation of the Japanese that had been in the media previous to this.[9] The Americans could let go of some of the guilt knowing that the Japanese did not blame them for this terrible act of war.[9] After reading Hiroshima a Manhattan Project Scientist wrote that he wept as he remembered how he celebrated the dropping of the atomic bomb.[9] Scientists along with the American public felt shame and guilt at the suffering of the people of Hiroshima


The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Clark, Christopher on 27/09/2012 unknown edition
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Clark, Christopher on 27/09/2012 unknown edition
by Christopher Clark
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sleepwalk to extortion, 11 Nov 2013
4,000 ?!! You can not be serious! Is it bound in gold or signed by the Kaiser and Lord Kitchener?


War Is A Racket
War Is A Racket
by Smedley Darlington Butler
Edition: Paperback
Price: 2.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Who can disagree?, 1 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: War Is A Racket (Paperback)
What drew me to this book was a quote from Smedley's lectures - unfortunately that same quote didn't appear in the book - I think that he might have added quite a bit more to this fairly slim essay. He concentrates almost entirely on the profit made by those who supply the armed forces and says little about the overall strategies behind the furtherance of wars. However, it is a surprising statement to have written by someone so highly decorated and from so long ago (although Tolstoy wrote scathingly of war long before Smedley).
Certainly an interesting and worthwhile statement.


Ten Minutes to Buffalo: The Story of Germany's Great Escaper
Ten Minutes to Buffalo: The Story of Germany's Great Escaper
by Ulrich Steinhilper
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting cover - Exciting reading, 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When I came to the end of Steinhilper's first book, Spitfire On My Tail, I was left wondering what happened next. It was a great ending which left the reader wanting more, but at the time I had no idea that the author had written another book to continue the story. Furthermore, he had actually written a trilogy. Whereas the first book starts and continues at a slow pace (but highly interesting) until the Battle of Britain begins, this second book is full of suspense and action from beginning to end. I have read so many books of fighter pilots and escapes, but Ulrich Steinhilper's work stands out high above the rest. I really warmed to him and his style of writing. At the moment I am looking forward to reading the last of the trilogy, which, perhaps as a mark of its popularity, is often for sale at a price three times that of other works of the type.


The Silver Spitfire: The Legendary WWII RAF Fighter Pilot in his Own Words
The Silver Spitfire: The Legendary WWII RAF Fighter Pilot in his Own Words
by Wg Cdr Tom Neil
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good front, 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
but nothing like his main book 'Gun Button to Fire' - This work is about the author's war work after the Battle of Britain when he was employed as a liason officer. A very interesting read, but definitely lacking in the action of the first book. Also, a bit misleading, as the Silver Spitfire of the title is rather a non-event; he never flies it in action but uses it as a personal and personalised transport. In fact for most of the book the author flies an American Mustang. All-in-all, I felt the book was rather a success for the advertising dept. of the publisher - people do judge books by their covers and this one seems to promise something that wasn't actually present. As for Tom Neil being 'a legendary' fighter pilot - I'm really not sure about that. I think that description only belongs to Douglas Bader.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2013 1:31 AM GMT


Tokyo Godfathers [DVD] [2004]
Tokyo Godfathers [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Satoshi Kon
Price: 4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem, 20 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fed up with Manga-Mad Fantasies?! - then come down-to-earth with this bunch of Tokyo's homeless misfits on a possible 'wild goose chase'. Delightful characterisations and artwork.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3