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Paul Burton (Oxfordshire, UK)

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Hordes of the Things (BBC Audio)
Hordes of the Things (BBC Audio)
by Andrew Marshall
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.25

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old favourite with something missing, 9 April 2010
I have been making do with a very old 6th or 7th generation copy of the original broadcast since 1986. As such I was delighted to finally get my hands on a clean, pristine recording.

The first time I listened to the new version I thought something sounded slightly wrong. It was only a later listening (and it does warrant revisiting of a regular basis) when I realised that the opening narration (between the theme tune and Simon Callow trying to inspire the (absent) troops) is missing. There was no jump in the track. Amazon looked into it and found no batch faults and have replaced the discs - the opening narration is still not there.

The problem appears to be with the master recording used. More research indicated that later broadcasts of the series were also missing this section. I have contacted BBC Worldwide to try and get to the bottom of the missing minute (actually 1 minute 20 seconds by comparison with my copy of the original) but have not heard back from them at the time of writing.

Otherwise this is a great piece of vintage BBC Radio comedy. Perfectly pitched perfomances by Frank Middlemass (The Archers), Paul Eddington (Yes Minister, The Good Life), Jonathon Lynn (Co-writer - Yes Minister) and (in a variety of villainous roles) Aubrey Woods (Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy - 'B' Ark Captain). Plenty of Fantasy and Mythological gags. A much neglected classic from producer (mighty cleaver of the recording tape) Geoffrey Perkins (Hitchhiker - Head of Comedy at the BBC)

I still heartily recommend this but really want to see the lost scene reinstated as it does much to set the scene for the whole story. A fully restored version would warrant a 5 star rating as I have loved this series for 25 years.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2013 2:06 AM BST

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, 19 Mar 2010
This webcam is cheap, very easy to use (no cumbersome software to deal with - even my parents were able to have it running in no time).

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Still a great bargain though as I know people with very expensive webcams which do not perform as well as this one

In Search Of The Trojan War
In Search Of The Trojan War
by Michael Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wood continues to strike home, 17 May 2009
This is the book of the TV series that first brought Michael Wood to public attention. His style is eminently readable and he provides a very succint guide to the history of Trojan studies, from classical scholarship through the groundbreakling work of Schliemann and his successors through to the latest work from Hisarlik and other sites; In the process he outlines the development of Trojan War theory as it evolved over a century and a half. By bringing in details about the related work at Mycenae and other sites he provides a solid base from which to speculate aout the possible courses of any 'historical' Trojan war. He makes it clear where he is being speculative and provides supporting evidence to his arguments.
My only criticism of the paperback edition is that the illustrations referred to are not included. The centre block of photographs has been excluded from this edition, while references in the text remain. However this is a minor irritation and the important maps are present.
The written style is very approachable, as one would expect from one of TVs most prominent populariser of history, and this book is an ecellent starting point from which to begin your studies of the Trojan War (and how it relates to the major near east powers of Egypt and the Hittites.).

The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus (Classics)
The Roman History: The Reign of Augustus (Classics)
by Cassius Dio
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Intact Source for the period, 3 May 2009
Given the larege amount of lost material in Tacitus and Suetonius The Annals of Imperial Rome (Classics)The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics) this is the closest we have to a complete narrative account of the reign of Rome's first Emperor. Though not a contemporary (he was writing in the early 3rd Century) he will have had access to many sources which are now lost, including official documents as he was high ranking member of the military and political class and served the Severan emperors in various capacities during his career.
This is invaluable material for studying the beginning of Imperial Government.

Tiberius (Blackwell Ancient Lives)
Tiberius (Blackwell Ancient Lives)
by Robin Seager
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Biography - More favourable to subject than most, 3 May 2009
This is a good study of the life history and career of Tiberius. The author acknowledges the paucity of source material and their perceived biases. He then synthesises these into an eminently readable narrative with attempts to find the 'real' man behind the history.
Where multiple interpretations of actions are possible he tends to pick the most favourable to his subject - picturing the second princeps as a reluctant despot, really wanting a return to the old ways of the Republic but stymied by a Senate no longer able to take decisions. Much in the same way Oliver Cromwell is often portrayed.
He makes a good case for his man, but does not seek to hide evidence against him. I can certainly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the development of the governent of the Roman Empire.

Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History
Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History
by Christopher S. Mackay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.38

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview. Lacks Depth, 3 May 2009
This covers the military and political history of Rome from the foundation of the Republic (507 ish BCE) to the final collapse of the Western Empire. It concentrates on high level politics and military campaigns; covering them well, albeit briefly. There is little room for comparison of divergent sources and the author states in the preface that he would stick to a single version of any incident. Though this makes for a good read it can lead to the perpetuation of some tales that other scholars dispute. For example the fate of Regulus after the Battle of Bagradas, this is disputed by Goldsworthy(The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC (Cassell Military Paperbacks) and is not mentioned by Polybius The Rise of the Roman Empire (Penguin Classics).
Though some of the writing is a little clumsy (words are occasionally used more than once in a sentence where synonyms might be more common) this is a useful introduction to the subject. However the attempt to compress a millenium of history into around 400 pages mean that this is something of a whirlwind tour. If you already have books on Roman history then this will not be of much interest to you. For a newcomer to the subject it will be of greater use.

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