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Mike Thompson

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Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914-1958
Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914-1958
by D. K. Fieldhouse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £35.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for Thought., 10 Dec. 2015
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Before anyone forms an opinion on the current state of the Middle east, they should first read this excellent narrative.

Starting with a summary of the decline of the Turkish Ottoman Empire and the policies leading to treaties of WW1, it shows the self interest of Western powers and their colonising ambitions and the Zionist influences that were an added complication for British Politicians who ripped apart an 600 year old Ottoman system that had evolved with the consent of the Arab population.

DK Fieldhouse pills no punches when describing the self centered interests of the West in subjugating the will of the Arab people, particularly the Palestinians. British actions there are described as "The most shameful example of British Colonialisation history".

But the French and the USA get a bit of a kicking as well!

Reading this concise account, with numerous references, gives a clear insight on why such fanatical organisations such as Islamic State have emerged.

Essential reading for those with an interest in M.E. affairs, it`s an eye opener, buy it!


Emperor of the West: Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire
Emperor of the West: Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire
by Hywel Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly easy to read history of a fundamental change in pagan ..., 24 Aug. 2014
A surprisingly easy to read history of a fundamental change in pagan Europe, ad interesting description of the secular and spiritual alliances that combined to unify most of West and Central Europe in the years after Imperial Rome moved it`s capital to Constantinople.

Hywell Williams explores the influences of Islamic expansion and the evolution of the Byzantine Empire in the context of Charlamagne`s conquests, he leaves no stones unturned and manages to hold the readers interest without effort.

If I could pick a fault it would be the total lack of information on the effect these changes had on the peasants, mention of the odd rebellions would suggest the peasants had the odd grumble or two!

But a superb read, it should be made obligatory!


The Republic of Thieves: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence, Book Three
The Republic of Thieves: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence, Book Three
by Scott Lynch
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 7 May 2014
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I enjoyed The Republic of Thieves more than Red Seas under Red Skies, but not quite as much as The Lies of lock Lamara.

Ive re-read TLoLL twice now and I`ll no doubt read The Republic of Thieves again, so far I`ve not been tempted to re-read Red Skies, but I`m really, really, looking forward to the next book, so Scott Lynch does it for me.

And the last author that hooked me in such a way was Stephen Donaldson, now that`s a while ago!


Red Seas Under Red Skies: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence, Book Two
Red Seas Under Red Skies: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence, Book Two
by Scott Lynch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Pirates of the Caribbean?, 20 Oct. 2013
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I was very impressed with TLoLL.

A new author with a refreshingly new approach and an excellent use of chronological displacement with meticulous character detailing that effective left no loose ends, it was like a breath of fresh air. And setting the story in another world effectively suspended any readers queries regarding the possible.

Red Seas, was pretty much in the same vein, but for me it was`nt quite so convincing,

I`m still confused at the chapter where Locke and Jean`s lives are threatened by a thief who attempts to send them to their deaths by cutting the ropes they are hanging from over a cliff, it seems to have no purpose in the story other than to provide words to read. It`s a loose end that`s left me with a slight feeling of frustration.

And the total destruction of Salon Corbeau, where Locke instructs the protection of the property of the furniture maker who was kind to a gentled kitten, was also confusing, in so much that the furniture makers life would have been totally ruined in any case, by destroying his customer base, no customers and you starve to death!

In the first book Locke would have not created that situation, he would have ensured the shopkeeper profited in every way, as it was It`s a loose end that has me wondering of the situation of the furniture maker, his daughter and the gentled kitten who`s lives had been altered, for the worst!

In both books the final conclusions are very neat and tidy, with the ending of Red Seas conflicts bordering slightly on unconvincing, the final chapter was simply a trailer for the next book.

That said it was a gripping read, holding me deep into several nights, leaving me all the more determined to read the follow up.


World Without End
World Without End
by Ken Follett
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars World Without End, 27 Sept. 2013
This review is from: World Without End (Paperback)
This is a much better book than the prequel "The Pillars of the Earth".

Worlds Without End is a better constructed novel, with better grammar and none (that I can recall)of the mistakes of using modern words and expression found in Pillars of The Earth.

A far superior read, unfortunately it is almost exactly the same story as Pillars of the Earth, only the names and century have been changed, and that`s a shame!


A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
by George R.R. Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a timeless classic., 20 Dec. 2011
I was caught hook line and sinker with A Game of Thrones, the immensely detailed description of each character was more than compensation for the slow moving story line, a fresh aspect to story telling I felt. A Clash of Kings continued to enthrall as did the two A Storm of Swords, albeit with a slight reservation at the still very slow story line.

A Feast of Crows and A Dance With Dragons, has finished me off I`m afraid, the detailed chapters that were initially refreshing have become, for me, a burdensome chore and I`m sorry to say a bit boring. A series that started with such huge promise has failed to develop, The writing is probably just as good as it was in the first book and I`ve probably had too much of a good thing, but the increasingly inconsequential story line has persuaded me to call it a day.

When reading A Feast of Crows, I was reminded of the TV series, Heroes, the first series I found gripping, not so the second, hey ho it`s the way things are I suppose.


The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land
The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land
by Thomas Asbridge
Edition: Paperback

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opinions on history., 17 Oct. 2011
Thomas Asbridge has provided a compelling, easy to read,chronicle of almost 200 years of Crusades.

His attempts to portray both sides is not completely successful, due to his assumption that this episode in history was a battle between two religions, rather than the reality of fanatical Christians armies being resisted by the intrinsic population, simply because they were invaders.

The current Christian percentage of Lebanon is 40%, Jordan, in the 1950`s had similar numbers of Christians. It is certain that the percentage of Christian, and Jews, was much higher during the Crusades, after all Islam was only 500 years old during the first Crusade.

Mr Asbridge documents the reluctance of Saladin to use religion to strengthen his army, yer refers to Saladin as "having an army of Islamic fanatics", despite ample evidence of Arab armies containing many, sometimes a majority, of Christians.

The final chapter "The Legacy of the Crusades" is a superfluous nonsense, to suggest the Crusades have no relevance to the modern world, is not a belief acceptable to modern Middle East opinion, The existence of State of Israel proves that.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2011 6:58 PM BST


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Outstanding Novel, 22 Jun. 2011
Warriors of the Dragon Gold is more than worthy of the epithet "An Epic", it is a huge story comparable to Gone with the Wind or The Lord of the Rings.

Ray Bryant has taken 55 years of English History, right up to the Battle of Hastings,and woven his story around the successions of English Kings from the time of Ethelred (the Unread), and woven his story in three parts. The first and third parts feature Aelgifa (Gifta)daughter of King Ethelread, and Ray Bryant`s fascinating interpretation of her enigmatic portrayal in the Bayeux Tapestry.

The historical successions are accurately portrayed, but it is the portrayal of the background events where Ray Bryant excels; treachery, murder, betrayal, battles, Royal marriages of convenience and family disputes are all there. In the second part of the book there is a clever introduction of a fictitious character, Cedric, who grows from a ungainly 15 year old to friend and confidant of King Harold the Second.

A beautifully written story that is never less than gripping, in short a magnificent tale and one that still rewards me after several readings, something I can`t say about The Lord of the Rings or Gone With The Wind.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2015 10:09 AM BST


The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Making Classic Breads with the Cutting-edge Techniques of a Bread Master
The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Making Classic Breads with the Cutting-edge Techniques of a Bread Master
by Peter Reinhart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £34.00

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bread Makers Apprentice, 24 Feb. 2011
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Very quickly after buying this book, I found the self important Peter Reinhart getting right up my nose. Published for the USA market, this book is of dubious value to UK residents, pretentious and long winded the bulk of it`s content contains egotistical self praise, with an afterthought of self deprecation.

The recipes are over complicated with amounts shown only in USA measurements (Cups, half cups, threequarter cups)and old imperial ounces. Bread making is and always has been, unbelievebly simple, this book tries it`s best to make breadmaking a mysterious art.

At nearly £[], it`s quite the worst value of any breadmaking book I have purchased, if perhaps it`s meant to be left on coffee tables, to impress visitors! then I suppose it`s perfect.


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