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John Alexander

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All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be underplayed, 28 April 2016
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I have said often that this book should be compulsory reading in all schools in every country in the world. The change in Paul from 'new boy' to hardened veteran was, in itself, a warning to us all. One by one he saw his 'pals' killed or incurably wounded. He realises that he and his contemporaries will have great difficulty in integrating into the new Germany when the war is over. This feeling is only intensified when he returns home on leave. The people back home have no concept of what is happening on the front line. They have strategic plans for how it ought to be fought, but they have not sat in the trenches, in the mud, watching the rats getting fatter every day. A German viewpoint but a worldwide concern.


Broken Vows: Tony Blair The Tragedy of Power
Broken Vows: Tony Blair The Tragedy of Power
Price: £8.07

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little misjudged, 28 Mar. 2016
I am not a fan of Tony's, but I felt that the author was simply out to discredit him and forget about the good things that he did. He was excellent during the challenge to the monarchy after the death of Princess Diana. He arguably saved the Monarchy as an institution. He succeeded with Northern Ireland -- although the book is not quite closed on that. The questions surrounding David Kelly were unanswered. The Iraq war was validly portrayed as an error, his appearing to be tied on to George Bush's coattails was true, I felt. He was weak in handling Gordon Brown (After all -- He (Tony) was in charge!) Since his departure from the halls of power, his speaking engagements are legend and profitable. However -- and here is the political bit -- "Scratch a good Socialist and, under the surface, you'll find an even better Tory.


Darien: A Journey in Search of Empire
Darien: A Journey in Search of Empire
Price: £7.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy in Panama., 19 Mar. 2016
Scottish people are a wee bit biased about this part of our history. We always feel that we were let down, particularly by the English. This book sets out to strike a balance between the ill-founded hopes of the settlers and the downright incompetence of the leaders of the expedition. Bibles and wigs etc would appear to be not the things to take to Panama. The Spaniards didn't help either. They were too busy, fighting their own particular corner. Unquestionably a tragedy, but an avoidable one.


Too Big to Fail: Inside the Battle to Save Wall Street
Too Big to Fail: Inside the Battle to Save Wall Street
Price: £9.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe they didn't like Dick Fuld -- but I DID, 13 Jan. 2016
I read this book as a paperback a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, i 'lent' it to my son-in-law -- end of story. I was intrigued by the way the US Treasury allowed Lehmann's to fail, while propping up the Freddie Macs and Fannie Mays. Maybe they didn't like Dick Fuld -- but I DID. In the book, I was intrigued by the number of 'Last Chance Saloons'-type meetings which took place after Lehmann's departure from the scene -- every day another meeting. Maybe storing your money under the bed is not such a bad idea after all.


Gallipoli
Gallipoli
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Mess of Gallipoli, 29 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Gallipoli (Kindle Edition)
I have always found the Gallipoli campaign fascinating. There could scarcely have been a greater shambles in our military history. A weak commander, Hamilton, who could not stand up to HIS commander, Kitchener. A pure adventurer, Churchill, who (mis-)conceived the whole thing. A petty Admiral, Fisher who 'took his ball and ran off in a sulk'. The evacuation was the one thing that worked (and the above three had nothing to do with it).


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who's next for extinction?, 6 Sept. 2015
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It is strange to write this review immediately after reading 'The Life and Death of St Kilda'. It is close to being a parallel situation separated by a short time and three thousand miles of distance. I was tempted to read this after viewing the film 'Dances with Wolves' again. A destruction of a civilisation because of so-called 'Progress'. (Strictly speaking greed also, and dare I say it, 'Lebensraum' -- NOT 'Manifest Destiny' as it is often portrayed. A former review of this book summarised it as 'How the West was won' by the people who lost it.


The Life and Death of St. Kilda: The moving story of a vanished island community
The Life and Death of St. Kilda: The moving story of a vanished island community
Price: £5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Something valuable lost., 6 Sept. 2015
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I found this book so moving in the way in which it shifted subtly from an apparently self-sufficient community to a forced departure from their homes. I liked the concept of their 'Parliament', wherein everyone had a say in the running of the island. As a good chauvinist, I liked the concept that the 'girls' did the fetching and carrying and the 'guys' spent time thinking about it. Early next month our Arts Guild has a music and film show covering the histories od Eriskay, Skye and St Kilda. Having just read this, I'm looking forward to the presentation.


Whatever it Takes: The Real Story of Gordon Brown and New Labour
Whatever it Takes: The Real Story of Gordon Brown and New Labour
Price: £4.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Understandable Frustration, 4 Aug. 2015
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Like many people, I did not have a lot of time for Gordon Brown. In reading it, I still found him a bully, but some of the 'bullyishness' was born of frustration arising from Mr Blair's desire to hold on to power long after his 'sell-by' date. He must have felt cheated in this. Unfortunately, when he DID take command everything went wrong. Competent? ..as a Chancellor nearly....as a Prime Minister.. out of his depth.


House of Fun: 20 Glorious Years in Parliament
House of Fun: 20 Glorious Years in Parliament
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars 'MADNESS', 4 Aug. 2015
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There is more than a touch of 'MADNESS' in this book. If BBC ever plan to produce another series of 'Yes, Minister', Simon should be asked to write the script. On a more serious note -- are these guys governing us??


The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy
The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy
Price: £7.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking the soup, 27 July 2015
Terrific book! I discovered so much about the Famine that I had never previously known. The phrase 'taking the soup' was something I had heard from my childhood in the suburbs of Glasgow but had never realised its meaning.


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