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Rf And Tm Walters "rtwalters" (London)
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When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies
When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies
by Andy Beckett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seventies as it was, 27 Feb. 2013
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This is a good readable account of the seventies in Britain. I lived through the decade and the account rings true. This is a journalistic journey to recover the seventies through the memories of participants. It is well written without some of the mistakes that often marr these books. It reminded my slightly of Citizen Kane where a journalist meets one or other players to try and find the essence of Kane. For Kane substitute the eponymous decade. It is a good engaging account and my interest only flagged with the Grunwick dispute which went on a bit. Otherwise most bases are covered including strikes, Ireland,the economy, the IMF, inflation, unions and more especially the politics. It brought back memories of such people as David Ennals. I remember groaning very time he came on the media. I think the author is too kind about Jack Jones, Harris perhaps because he interviewed them. He gets Thatcher dead right: she was yet to become the all conquering heroine of the right. Generally very good.

Inevitably there are some omissions. Nothing about football and spectator violence which was reflected in the strikers' violence. Nor very much about the media or punk. I would have also expected something on decimilisation.


The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland
The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland
by R. F. Foster
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A sceptical view, 25 Feb. 2013
This is a collection of articles that Foster has written about the Irish and their literature. It looks at various views of Ireland with an unprejudiced eye. It is a good corrective to some of the more received opinion on various writers. It is good to have Foster's views on Elizabeth Bowen , Frank Mc court etc. it is a pity that the UK does not have such a writer/ historian such as this.

One drawback is that ,as ever with books of this sort, there are pieces which do not resonate but generally a thought provoking book on Ireland and its writers.


Playing Along
Playing Along
by Rory Samantha Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Transatlantic games, 5 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Playing Along (Paperback)
I bought this book by accident but tried it anyway.

It is the story of the budding romance between a middle class English rock star and a Californioan lovely. A mixture of Sleepless in Seattle and Pride and Prejudice. It could have been a film script.
There are some nice asides at Californian life. The English episodes were slightly stiff and the heroine was more interesting than the sensitive rock star (an oxymoron there perhaps). I was not clear what the heroine saw in him as the music sounds dire.

I must say that it was easy to read and that I enjoyed it though the working out took slightly longer than I expected.Recommended for a light read.


Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe
Cycles of Time: An Extraordinary New View of the Universe
by Roger Penrose
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

3.0 out of 5 stars A view of the universe, 3 Feb. 2013
This book is best regarded as an appendix to the author's Road to Reality. This means that it does not spare you some difficult maths. Even with my A level maths I found some of this to be difficult. Some of this is perhaps not explained well enough for this layman. However, one does get an idea of the issues that have troubled this distinguished mathematician especially the second law of thermodynamics.

He views quantum theory as a provisional theory and is not impressed by string theory. He is troubled by the predicted end of the universe. I am not sure about his proposed solution but it is good to have such an intelligent appraisal of the evidence. I only wish it had been easier to follow.

One stylistic note too many sentences end with an ! which is irritating as this is neither a chess match nor a girl's magazine. There are some spelling mistake such as council when counsel is meant.


True Grit
True Grit
by Charles Portis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.34

5.0 out of 5 stars A great novel, 22 Jan. 2013
This review is from: True Grit (Paperback)
This is a great western in tradition of Huckleberry Finn with some humour but also some horror along the way. It packs much into its 200 or so pages.


The Potter's Field: The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries - Book 13
The Potter's Field: The Inspector Montalbano Mysteries - Book 13
Price: £4.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Montalbano strikes again, 20 Jan. 2013
I thought that this episode in the Montalbano was one of the best. All my favourite elements were there including the food, the nightmares, Livia and the other women, Caterella, the Mafia and the humour. The story was well plotted. Perfect reading for a miserable Winter's day. These books almost make up for the fact that we will not have any more Inspector Zen novels. Recommended.


Britain's War Machine: Weapons, Resources and Experts in the Second World War
Britain's War Machine: Weapons, Resources and Experts in the Second World War
by David Edgerton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revelatory Analysis of Britain's War, 19 Jan. 2013
Although this book is 300 pages long with 100 pages of notes ,it could have been longer and have explained its thesis at greater length with greater coherence. That said, this is an important book which tackles three disparate issues. This is that essentially that Britain was still a great power and could win the second world war by using its economic power. Three points stand out.

Firstly, there is the question of grand strategy. Britain had great economic strength and after the debacle that resulted in the retreat from Dunkirk, it fell back on this traditional way of war. It called in its international credits and favours and prepared for what was looking like a long war. It is no surprise that Chuchill referred to Napoleon in his Dunkirk speech, that was the war Britain could wage and win. The author points out that Britain was strong enough and confident enough to wage such a war even after (or especially after) some 250,000 of its troops had been rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk. It was however necessary to have some belligerence and this was where the campaigns in the desert came from. The real blow to this strategy was events in the Far East which removed some of resources from the Empire. It was not necessary for the USA to become a fellow belligerent though this was planned for and helped to shorten the war but Britain would have won at some point nonetheless.

Secondly, there is an account of Britain's scientific and economic war which looks at some of the
issues in some detail. So we look at the Dambusters, bombing, mulberry harbours etc as well as the factory building programme.

Thirdly, there is a look at the historiography of the war which has some surprises. As with Beevor's DDay it is interesting to note how strong Britain in fact was at most times during the war.

These three elements are condensed into what can be fairly tough reading. Undoubtedly, this is one of the books on the Second World War which will be cited and argued about for some time to come. You should get the paperback edition as several minor errors have been corrected.


The Last Coal Trip to Tenby
The Last Coal Trip to Tenby
Price: £4.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Thirties in the valleys, 10 Jan. 2013
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I enjoyed this memoir of life in the Rhondda in the Thirties. It shows a community reacting together to poverty and difficulties in the Thirties. A hard life but there was warmth and ,despite outward signs, a tolerance of diversity. Nonetheless the underlying background shows the reason for the institution of the welfare state after the war.
Humphries writes well and the book is easy to read. The title is slightly misleading as there is comparatively little about Tenby.


Winterreise
Winterreise
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £16.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different take on a masterpiece, 10 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Winterreise (Audio CD)
Fassbaender, a mezzo takes on Schubert's wonderful song cycle. I am not an expert on this area but this cd captivated me in a way that other versions did not. Although it does not replace Fischer- Diskeau this is very helpful and enjoyable supplement which I would recommend whole heartedly.


In the Wee Small Hours (Bonus Track Version)
In the Wee Small Hours (Bonus Track Version)
Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Sinatra, 3 Jan. 2013
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This is Sinatra at the top of his form for Capitol Records. As the title track suggests the mood in the main songs here is subdued but on acquaintance this is ,in my view , his best album. I do not think he sings any better than this.


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