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JOE FREEMAN (Yorkshire)

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The Forgotten Soldier (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
The Forgotten Soldier (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
by Guy Sajer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.47

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Hole!, 23 Sep 2013
There is some controversy over the authenticity of this book but whether it is a genuine autobiography, a fictionalised memoir or an out-and-out novel it's still one of the best books I've ever read. Full stop.

The author was born in Alsace of a German mother and French father and was drafted into the German armed forces. Unfortunately the exact hows and whys of this aren't explained.

Originally he hoped to fly JU87 dive-bombers but after failing to make the grade was sent to a supply battalion on the Eastern Front and quickly volunteered for front-line service in the Gross Deutschland Division. Sadly this was around the time that things were going wrong.

This is no "Boy's Own" account of daring do but a sorry tale of starving, exhausted men constantly retreating and fighting desperate rear-guard actions.

Guy Sajer has himself said that he never intended to write an accurate military history; just relate his experiences as he recalled them. The mistakes actually incline me to believe in its authenticity as a fraudster would have taken more care with his research.

Unreservedly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 7, 2014 2:54 PM BST


The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad
The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad
by Harrison E. Salisbury
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.03

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 15 Sep 2013
This is one of those rare books which really is hard to put down once started. The writing is excellent being detailed but never tedious.

I haven't given it the full five stars for a couple of reasons though.

For all that it covers the lead up to and early days of the siege, to about February 1943, very thoroughly the latter stages and ultimate liberation seem to be skimmed over quite quickly.

Besides that it needs to be borne in mind that it was written in 1968 since when more information has become available following the fall of Communism.

Those reservations apart, highly recommended.


John Logie Baird: Television Pioneer (IEE History of Technology): Television Pioneer (IEE History of Technology)PBHT0280
John Logie Baird: Television Pioneer (IEE History of Technology): Television Pioneer (IEE History of Technology)PBHT0280
by R.W. Burns
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 72.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Neither Fish nor Fowl., 19 Aug 2013
This book starts out as a good biography of Baird but by the time it gets to the late 1920s becomes more the corporate history of the companies with which he was involved and the latter half of his actual life is very badly covered.

There is some technical details of his systems but these would be meaningless to anybody with no prior knowledge.

Overall I found it a most unsatisfactory tome which seems to try to be a biography, business and technical history and fails to be any good at any of these.

I wouldn't recommend buying it at ANY price; OK if you can borrow a copy.


Bomber Offensive (Pen & Sword Military Classics)
Bomber Offensive (Pen & Sword Military Classics)
by Sir Arthur Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.02

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic., 11 Aug 2013
I've known about this book for years but never felt any desire to read it expecting that it would be a dry thing full of statistics. Also being written in 1947 a lot of information would still have been classified. How wrong I was.

Arthur Harris proves to not only have been a great commander but a first class writer. He certainly doesn't pull his punches but never falls into the trap of moaning. He is also keen to give credit to others where it is due.

Well worth reading.


A Surfeit of Lampreys
A Surfeit of Lampreys
by Ngaio Marsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Dire., 15 July 2013
This review is from: A Surfeit of Lampreys (Paperback)
This must be one of, if not the worst, Ngaio Marsh book that I have read; and I have now read all but one of them.

I found it tedious in the extreme and most of the characters so obnoxious that I was wishing the murderer would return and bump the lot of them off.

It would be a shame for anybody unfamiliar with this author to read this first and be put off from reading her other, far better, books.


Titanic - The Most Complete Story Ever Told
Titanic - The Most Complete Story Ever Told
Price: 3.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, 13 July 2013
I have read several books about the sinking of RMS Titanic and this is the best.

A lot of books concentrate on the fate of the passengers forgetting that if the ship hadn't sunk they wouldn't have been in peril whereas this book also covers the engineering aspects.

Obviously covering the full story means that no area can be gone into in great depth but it covers things very well none the less. It also gives a comprehensive list of web-sites where more details may be found.

Some interesting questions are raised. For instance it is well known that the ship had too few life-boats but the author raises the point that there was insufficient time to correctly load and launch the ones that were available so would a higher number have lowered the death toll?

I read an electronic version and the only thing to complain about was that the typography left a lot to be desired: the chapter and section headings seemed to be messy and there were some very long paragraphs as though several shorter ones had been run together. Still, it's content that matters, not style.


Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century
Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century
Price: 0.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Drivel., 10 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this 'book' as a free Kindle download and still think I was over-charged.

It is very short, taking just over an hour to read, and seems as much concerned with the author's theories on psychology than the life of Tesla.

I certainly feel I know no more about Tesla now than before reading it. You may just as well read an entry on him in an encyclopaedia, paper or virtual.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2013 8:07 PM BST


Shot Down in Flames
Shot Down in Flames
by Geoffrey Page
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad., 16 Feb 2013
This review is from: Shot Down in Flames (Paperback)
The author of this book doesn't concentrate any more or less on the time he spent in the Royal Victoria Hospital than other periods of his career.

I found the last few pages covering his post-war career no more or less interesting than the rest.

Overall it's better than some Service memoirs but nothing special.


The Reconstruction of Warriors: Archibald McIndoe, the Royal Air Force and the Guinea Pig Club
The Reconstruction of Warriors: Archibald McIndoe, the Royal Air Force and the Guinea Pig Club
by E.R. Mayhew
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.92

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor., 30 Jan 2013
The chief problem with this book is that it tries to cover too much in too short a volume; the main text is less than 200 pages when the illustrations are allowed for. Given its scope it needed to be three or four times longer.

Anybody wishing to learn about the history and techniques of plastic surgery and/or Archibald Mcindoe could find as much information as is in this tome by looking on the internet for an hour.

It isn't entirely without interest but feels more like an hor d'oeuvre than a meal. I agree with other reviews about it being easy to read; it would be easy to think it was aimed at children.


BELKIN Wireless Univ. Range Ext. Acc.
BELKIN Wireless Univ. Range Ext. Acc.

4.0 out of 5 stars Works Very Well - Pig to Set-up., 23 Sep 2012
I've recently bought one of these and had terrible problems setting it up. The instructions are voluminous but un-clear and, I strongly suspect, plain wrong in a couple of crucial places.

I eventually managed it following advise given in a review on Amazon.com.

With these instructions I got it going in about ten minutes and it works far better than I dared to hope.


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