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Nosy Wombat (London, UK)

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Blank Playing Cards
Blank Playing Cards
by U S Games Systems
Edition: Cards
Price: £9.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blank Playing Cards (Cards)
Great for game prototyping!


Spain: A History
Spain: A History
by Raymond Carr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Academic, Disjointed history, 2 April 2009
This review is from: Spain: A History (Paperback)
I bought this book as I was looking for a good overview of Spanish history. I was hoping for a light, easy to read account. This book seemed to be poular, so I bought it.

In general, the book met this requirement. It's easy to ready and does cover the entire scope of Spanish history. I had a few problems with it, however.

Each time period is covered by a different author, which means the style from one chapter to the next is very different. Some chapters are written in a very staid academic manner, which makes them rather dull. They seem to be out to prove a point, rather than cover the history. These chapters are in a minority, luckily. Most are easy to read summaries of their period with a few juicy tales thrown in.

My only other cricitism is that the book assumes the reader has a working knowledge of modern Spanish history. The civil war is covered in a very guarded way as if the reader knows the horrors involved.

Overall, it's a good, brief introduction to the topic, aimed at a more academic reader, rather than a ripping tale of Spanish history.


Hill Figures: White Horses and Other Figures of the Hills, Their History, Location and Care.
Hill Figures: White Horses and Other Figures of the Hills, Their History, Location and Care.
by Kate Bergamar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.01

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference book for hill watchers, 8 Aug 2003
As someone who has often spied hill carvings whilst driving through the countryside, this guide comes as a great reference. Not only does it detail the location of the hill carvings, it also sets out the best location to view them from. In addition, there is a wealth of information about the origin and history of the figures. Great book!


The Calendar: The 5000 Year Struggle To Align The Clock and the Heavens, and What Happened To The Missing Ten Days
The Calendar: The 5000 Year Struggle To Align The Clock and the Heavens, and What Happened To The Missing Ten Days
by David Ewing Duncan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turning account of western scientific history..., 6 Mar 2001
This book is another in the long list of well written, highly enjoyable accounts of the lives, successes and frustrations of scientists over time. I'd put it in the same category as the books by Simon Singh (Fermat's Last Theorem and The Code Book), as well as Dava Sobel (Longitude) and Giles Milton (Nathaniel's Nutmeg).
While the title gives the overall structure to the book, it is more than just a story about a calendar. In telling the story, the author gives a good overview of the development of western thought and science from the Egyptians to the present day. To me, this was of more interest than the actual details of the calendar itself.
The details about the calendar revealed are very interesting. From the origin of ancient calendars, to the designation of months, everything you could ever want to know is detailed in this book.
The book also compares well to other books on the subject. Compared to the atrocious "Time" by Alexander Waugh, this book really shines.
This book is a gem and well worth reading.


The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean
The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean
by Paul Theroux
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.59

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging tale of Mediterranean Journey, 19 Feb 2001
I started reading this book with trepidation. The last Theroux book I read was "Kingdom by the Sea", a book that primarily sought to inform the reader about how smart the author was and how he didn't much like anywhere in England at all. It was with great surprise that I actually thoroughly enjoyed the book from cover to cover.

Theroux is from an academic background and this often shows in his writing. His text is can be ponderous and abstract - examining what it is to be alive and to be in a foreign place. Unlike "Kingdom", however, which was 90% in this style, "Pillars" is a lot more fresh and accessible.

It should also be noted that Theroux's approach to travel is very individualistic - he takes the most pleasure from the most obscure places. He covers Barcelona in one page, Greece in 2, but spends a chapter on a remote village in Tunisia. This is perhaps the essence of his work. He concentrates squarely on the people in the places he visits, rather than the places himself. This stands sharply in contrast with the writings of the other popular travel writer, Bill Bryson, who seeks out the well known places on his travel and gives his forthright opinion of them. Theroux is more the dark shady traveller who mills around the edges of the sites and observes those who are there to see the sites.

Overall, I found the book to be highly enjoyable. It gives great insight into the people and culture of the Mediterranean, but don't expect to use it as a planning book for your next holiday - it is definitely the tale of one man's journey.


Nathaniel's Nutmeg: How One Man's Courage Changed the Course of History
Nathaniel's Nutmeg: How One Man's Courage Changed the Course of History
by Giles Milton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining book with a few problems, 17 Jan 2001
"Nathaniel's Nutmeg" is an excellent account of the days of daring do on the high seas. It tells the tale of how the East Indies (Indonesia) came to be settled, conquered and exploited by European powers. Good stuff.
Overall, the writing manages to fill the requirements of this type of book. It is factual enough to construct a good world view of the time, but without reading like a text book. It focuses on the people to give it a human edge.
Where the book falls down a little is in the storytelling. Often, the author seems very excited about the story ahead and gives glimpses which spoil the narrative twists. For example, it starts the life story of a person by first telling you that he dies horribly in the end. This tends to dampen the suspense somewhat.
the other minor gripe is the many references to the swap England and Holland did for territory - in effect, swapping a small spice island for Manhattan. The author seems so amazed by this event, that he repeatedly refers to how amazing it was. A little tiresome after the tenth reference...
The other annoyance was the positioning of pictures in the book. While pretty to look at, they were generally unrelated to the text on the nearby page. They were either many pages before or many pages after the event described. Oh well.
Overall, a very enjoyable read giving a good insight into the period. Highly recommended.


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