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Gary Selikow (Great Kush)

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The Conquest
The Conquest
by Elizabeth Chadwick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Historical romance, 23 Dec 2014
This review is from: The Conquest (Paperback)
Beginning in 1065 and ending in 1088 , this book covers the Norman Conquest and its devastating effect on a young Saxon wife Ailith who befriends a Norman wine merchant's wife, Felice at a time when hostility is growing towards Normans in England
Ailith's two bothers are killed in the Battle of Hastings, her infant son dies and her husband is killed at William the Conqueror's coronation.
She tries to commit suicide but is stopped by Rold de Brize, a Norman merchant, and is taken to be paramour of his holdings at Ulverton. Though he has a wife and child in Normandy
His daughter by Ailith Julitte and Felice's son Bendict who up together but when Rolf's amorous adventures drive Ailith away, tragedy ensues and the trial and tribulations of the next generation begin,
A well written book, quite compelling m which takes us from England of the Norman Conquest to Normandy and the Spain of El Cid
If you like historical fiction , with a lot of romance and are not averse to some remarkable coincidences in the story line, tis will be right up your alley


The Best of Don McLean
The Best of Don McLean
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Musical Poetry, 21 Dec 2014
This review is from: The Best of Don McLean (Audio CD)
Don McLean is the subject of Roberta Flack's heartfelt tribute in the 1973 hit 'Killing Me Softly With His Song'.
McLean is certainly one of the greatest balladeers, coming out with some really superior music, soothing, thoughtful and with poetic lyrics.
This album begins with McLean's most famous hit 'American Pie' (1971) which was inspired by the tragic death of one of McLean's earliest role models and musical influences, Buddy Holly, in 1959.
Later commentators have tried to put other significance to the song, such as claiming it was an anti- Vietnam War protest song, but there is no evidence for such claims, as McLean refuses to comment on such spurious analysis.
At any rate , American Pie is one of my less favourite McLean songs so I don't know why it is his most famous.
It is followed by the sad tribute to Vincent Van Gogh, Vincent (1971).
But these two well known songs where certainly far from the sum total of Don Mc Lean's talent. 'And I Love You So (1970) is McLean's beautiful version of this poignant love song, also done by various other artists.
He also does a great version of Crying (1978), originally the hit of Roy Orbison in 1961.
Castles In The Air (1970) is in my opinion, perhaps McLean's greatest piece, an exquisite song of longing for the beauty and simplicity of the country life away from the shallow 'cocktail generation': "Words cannot express the feel of sunlight in the morning , in the hills away from city strife.I need a country woman for my wife , I'm city born but I love the country life" . The words are poetic and set to fantastic music. I can relate to the song perfectly.
Dreidel (1972), another superb piece, refers to the spinning top played with by Jewish children at the festival of Chanukah, and he compares it's spinning to the spinning of life.
Then there is the musical poetry of Winter Wood (1971) and the feel good love song Everyday (1973).
Mountains o'Mourne (1973) is an Irish ballad of longing and love , and as always McLean does it perfectly
While all the songs on this album are exquisite there are other wonderful songs, which McLean sung, which are unfortunately left off this album such as The Birthday Song (1972) , Wonderful Baby (1974) , Fools Paradise ( 1973) and Respectable ( 1970) .
With only ten songs on this album, there should have been space for some more McLean gems.


The Road to Avalon
The Road to Avalon
by Mary Jo Putney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and intriguing read, 15 Dec 2014
This review is from: The Road to Avalon (Paperback)
I cannot resist most Arthurian novels my favourite being The Merlin series by Mary Stewart and the Queen of camelot by Nancy McKenzie
This novel focuses on the relationship between Morgan (here Merlins daughter) and Arthur. Morgan being Arthur's love of his life
But sympathetic portrayal of Gwenhwyfhar too and her relationship with Bedwyr (who is Lancelot )
Great read, good grasp of Britain at the time
The villain of the piece is usually a minor character in Arthurian literature , but it is well brought together
I found it compelling and a great addition to my Arthurian experience


Rogues and Players
Rogues and Players
by Pauline Bentley
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Elizabethan romantic thriller, 14 Dec 2014
This review is from: Rogues and Players (Paperback)
A dramatic historical romance set in Elizabethan times revolving around the theater and the London underworld
Gabriellen Angel is the daughter of Esmond Angel, a popular English playwright who directs Lord Barpham's group of traveling players.
she is brought up by her aunt and uncle
Beguiled and wood by the dashing casanova and privateer Jack Stoneham. when her aunt and uncle die of the plague her life is saved by the Welsh horsebreeder and agent for the Queen, Mark Rowan

When Jack refuses to marry her she joins her fathers troupe showing her talent for the theatre. to save her father from depth she marries the psychopathic and cruel Edmond Prew, and enters a nightmarish world of abuse and contact with the London underworld
Much drama and high adventure will unfold before the culmination of this historical thriller which encompasses events such as the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the Essex rebellion
Quite a good, read, I feared it would be a harlequin romance but later found it had more substance and while it entails a lot of reading is worth the time and effort


The Fort at River's Bend (The Camulod Chronicles)
The Fort at River's Bend (The Camulod Chronicles)
by Jack Whyte
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Good continuation of this absorbing series, 30 Nov 2014
Due to an attempt on the young Arthur's life in Camulod Merlin flees with his charge to Cumbria in what is now northeastern England
Arthur is here shown to be a child prodigy as well as physically valiant-the combination of genius and physical prowess making for a perfect leader.
He is loyal to his friends and has both an analytic and imaginative mind.
Merlyn and friend later build a fort at Mediobogdum
No magic as in sorcery but lots of prophetic dreams and premonitions
Also there is a battle against Eirish marauders
Merlin renounces his vow of celibacy to take as a mistress the beautiful young Tressa Rich description of the of the compound at Ravenglass and beautifully erotic imagery of Merlin's admiration for Sheilagh and relations with Tressa.


Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism
Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism
by William J. Bennett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening statement of truth and moral clarity, 26 Nov 2014
A refreshing case for moral clarity and the justice of the war on terror and a well aimed expose of the leftwing elites who preach that America is at fault, and in the wake of 911 brought the attacks on herself. Bennett exposes these hypocrites for the immorality and superficial sophistry of the ideas this coterie of writers, journalists, intellectuals and academics are trying to push onto America and the West as a whole.
These malignant narcissists are guided not by pacifism or morality at all but simply an anti-American animus There advice to the West is not simply 'dont hit' which has merit but 'dont hit back' which is a totally immoral thing to preach.\

When left-wingers claim that 'Killing people wont solve anything' as one of their activists moaned íts just more of the same'' Bennet reminds us that its not more of the same at all. Its the opposite of the same.
As he says "Terrorists target innocent civilians ; they seek the destruction of innocent life. Military action seeks to combat terrorists seeks to avoid non-combatant casualties''
In fact, while there are innocent casualties resulting America's actions against terror, without action against terrorism many more innocent people would die.
This book was written during the war against terror by President George W Bush. We can see today, with Obama following a policy of appeasement, how terrorism has proliferated with the rise of ISIS and Boko Haram, the straightening of Hamas and Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran being on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons with almost the open blessing of Obama.
Furthermore the left and Islamists have introduced a concept called Íslamophobia' with which to accuse anyone who points to the danger of Islamic terror or abuses-which gives the Islamists free reign of terror, murder and rape.
As for those leftwing Americans and British who attack their own countries militaries Bennett quotes George Orwell who spoke of pacifists in World War II : ''Those who 'abjure' violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.
Art any rate they dont oppose violence at all. They opose military action against terror by the West and Israel, but continually praise acts of terror as 'resistance against oppression/occupation//imperialism'"
Feminists and gay and lesbian activists attack the male machismo of what they describe as american militarism but praise the machismo of Islamic jihad.

What passes for pacifism is not pacifism at all but anti-Americanism/anti-Westernism.
Bennett makes no apologies for rightly stating that the war against Islamic terror like world War II and the war against Soviet Communism is a war of good against evil.

He also reminds us far from the post modern lefts mantra that '"Óne mans terrorist is another man's freedom fighter'' there is in fact a crystal clear difference between terrorists and freedom fighters. A freedom fighter does not massacre innocents in pursuit of his goals

The Left have a transparent double standard on this anyway. They on the one hand state that there is no objective good and evil and the other hand rant about Western imperialism' and Israel being an absolute evil that must be violently destroyed - how pacifist is that? And how nonjudgemental from those who preach pacifism and nonjudementalism.

The book includes a valuable chapter on ''The Case of Israel"' The author makes it clear that the Arab-Israeli conflict is asymmetrical This is because one side (Israel) wishes to live in peace while the other side is bent not on living in a state next to Israel but in an Arab state replacing Israel.
The Israelis have revealed again and again their desperation for peace making far reaching concessions (Barak's offer at Camp David in 2000 and the Gaza withdrawal of 2005 are just two examples) while the so-called Palestinians are simply hellbent on violent destruction of the Jewish State and its people.
According to religious fatwa from Kuwait , that claim that the killing of Israeli women and children are justified as all 'Jewish women in the Zionist entity are by definition fighters''
conspiracy theories that blame Israel for 911
The author rightly proclaims that '"The burden is not on Israel to make peace. The burden is on the Palestinians to renoucnbe their terrorism and on both the Palestinians and the Arab States to renounce their murderous intention towards Israel. The day they make peace with the existence of a sovereign Jewish State in their midst will be the day the conflict ends.

Bennett does not deny that there are injustices and problems in America and the West but the free society these represent are indeed far superior to a culture that condones murder and rape jihad, genital mutilation and systematic oppression of women and girls

Bennett makes no apologies for his conviction that Western society is valuable, moral and worth fighting for. And this makes the book vital reading.


Under the Hog : A Novel of Richard III
Under the Hog : A Novel of Richard III
by Patrick Carleton
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Opens quite a window on the events , personalities and the period, 21 Nov 2014
Detailed intelligent dialogue and rich description Gruesome and realistic battle scenes and frightening scene where Elizabeth Woodville gets a doctor of witchcraft to evoke Satanic curses on Richard III and delightful detail to the foods that were eaten at royal banquets
Starts in France in 1471 when the Earl of Warwick and Duke of Clarence seek help from the French King for their rebellion against Edward IV and ends with Richard's death at Bosworth
Favorable to Richard with the Woodvilles being the chief villains, the books does suppose that Richard ordred the deaths of the princes in the tower for the sake of the stability and peace of England Richard is also presented as small in stature and slightly deformed m with the recent discovery of his remains this has been proven to be incorrect, but this book was written in 1937..Edward IV is a dissolute and decadent ruler
Anne Neville , Richard's queen plays a large part on the novel from her marriage to Henry VI and Queen Marguerite's short lived son and her hiding in disguise of a pastry maid in a widow's household to her death from the plague , she is the love of Richard's life.
Lots of political intrigues and twists and turns
Can be laborious reading but ultimately rewarding
Opens quite a window in the events , personalities and the period


THE BEANO BOOK: 1983.
THE BEANO BOOK: 1983.
by No Author.
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars such a retro treat, 16 Nov 2014
This review is from: THE BEANO BOOK: 1983. (Hardcover)
How wonderful to get hold of this delightful retro treat. When I was 8/9 years old, I always loved these albums - I made sure I had all the Beano annuals and also made sure I got hold of each of the Weekly Beano magazines.
Filled with real fun that any kid will love- from the super-mishchivous Dennis the Menace and his antics with his Wire-Haired-Abyssinian-Tripe-Hound, Gnasher, who both make life fun for kids and a misery for adults and softies, the equally mischievous Minnie the Mynx, the Bash Street Kids of Class IIB, the most badly behaved bunch of kids in Beanotown, who always make life a misery for their stuffy Teacher and their canine counterparts the Bash street dogs-pup parade And of course Lord Snooty and Biffo.
And who can forget Little Plum, the Native American boy.
These comics have entertained kids for 70 years.
They will, I hope continue to provide fun and laughter for their target markets of kids aged 6 to 12, and be fondly remembered by generations who grew up on them.


The Hidden Children: Secret Survivors of the Holocaust
The Hidden Children: Secret Survivors of the Holocaust
by Jane Marks
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The story of those who survived, 14 Nov 2014
In Nazi-occupied Europe the pre-war Jewish child population came to about 1.6 million. During the war an estimated 1.5 million Jewish children where killed , leaving only 6 to 7 percent of them alive at the end of the war.
Through 60 interviews with former child survivors, the author puts togehter a fascinating book that traces the story of a few of the Jewish children who survived the Holocaust , hiding in attics , convents , sewers and forests. In some cases they where helped by having fair hair and looking less 'obviously Jewish'.
It provides a compassionate and inspiring account , always reminding us of the humanity and childhood of the hidden children.
It also deals with the lives of hidden children , after the war , as it traces their adult lives , and the effects of having to hide their identity , living in fear , and often , seeing their loved ones murdered.

They where often faced with the imminent threat of discovery and saved by a series of miracles.

These accounts are important to preserve in an age where genocide continues in places like Darfur in the Sudan , and has taken place in Cambodia , Rwanda and Kurdistan.
Today influential voices are calling for an end to the State of Israel (which was in many cases built by holocaust survivors), which would certainly lead to a second holocaust aginst the Jews living there.
It is up to us to prevent a second holocaust from occuring, by fully supporting Israel in her struggle to survive and fighting anti-Israel prejudice.


Story of Modern Israel: For Young People
Story of Modern Israel: For Young People
by Dorothy F. Zeligs
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Israel before 1948,, 14 Nov 2014
This book, written mainly for children and younger readers during World War II, when Israel was a refuge for Jews escaping Hitler's infernos, traces the journey of two teenage brothers, Albert and Emil, refugees from Germany, and their 20-year old companion from Poland, Ben David.

It traces their journey through Israel, and describes places in Eretz Yisrael at the time such as Haifa, the Plain of Sharon, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Mikveh Israel, Rishon le Zion, Hebron, Jerusalem, and a host of others.

It tells about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the early Zionist pioneers, and about the lives of such people as the heroic Joseph Trumpeldor and the Hebrew poet Chaim Bialik.

There is a wonderful section on the Jewish festivals, and also on the history of Zionism and the Land of Israel. It gives a great picture of the Land of Israel in 1944. There is a section that discusses the hostility of the Arabs to the Jews of Israel and expresses the hope that due to the benefit Arabs could gain from the Jewish presence, they would learn to live together with their Jewish neighbors. It is tragic to see how 62 years later through decades of bloodshed, the Arabs, assisted by malevolent forces around the world, are still doing all they can to try to drive the Jews into the sea.

The volume has many beautiful photographs of numerous landmarks in Israel and also of the beautiful healthy children, being raised as free Jews in the Land of Israel.


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