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Moddey Dhoo (Isle of Man)

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Jewels in the Crown: How Tata of India Transformed Britain's Jaguar and Land Rover
Jewels in the Crown: How Tata of India Transformed Britain's Jaguar and Land Rover
by Ray Hutton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

5.0 out of 5 stars A new era, 25 May 2014
This book was given to me by a fellow Jaguar enthusiast and made for very interesting reading. With an extensive background in automotive journalism, and a former Editor-in-Chief of ‘Autocar’ magazine, Hutton is well placed to tell the story of the turbulence that beset Jaguar and Land Rover since the British Leyland days and set their current and future positions in the light of the international market and against much larger and more well-established competitors in the ‘premium’ sector, such as BMW and Mercedes.

I don’t normally read business-centred books on automotive subjects but this was easy to read, not remotely ‘dry’, and it delivered valuable insight into the realities that a modern vehicle manufacturer must face if it is to stay alive in an increasingly competitive, global and environmentally aware market. I was particularly interested by developments in expanding manufacture of the Jaguar/Land Rover (JLR) group’s vehicles in various locations around the world such as China, India and Brazil, whilst the group continues to strengthen its presence in the UK and of how vital this is. Hutton writes with authority on JLR’s engines their origins and applications and, again interestingly, the view of hybrid power being the future for luxury vehicles. I had also not fully appreciated, until reading this book, how much JLR’s recent renaissance was due to the vision and enthusiasm of Ratan Tata, the Chairman of his family’s company at the time of the takeover, and the wisdom of those in the Tata organisation to appoint and support the right people and let them get on with things.

A very good read for those who have an interest in these two iconic marques or in the modern British motor industry.


1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid, 24 Jun 2012
This review is from: KODAK ESP3250 (Electronics)
The first one I bought would not work from the outset and it took a week for the dealer to conclude I needed another. This should have been my warning. Though the replacement did deign to work it has proved to be unreliable with variable quality of printing and all too ready to mis-feed good quality and correctly loaded paper. Though the the cartridges are about 25-30% cheaper in my local stockists, they only last about a third of the time those in my old HP printer lasted. The dealer told me cartridge life would be prolonged if I left the printer on standby rather than switching it off but that has simply meant I've wasted electricity as well as money on the thing. Needless to say leaving it on made no difference to cartridge consumption.

This machine has put me off Kodak products for life.

Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas
Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas
by Graham McCann
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Those Magnificent Men, 13 Mar 2010
From most of the films that he is known for, Terry-Thomas must surely be Britain's most lovable cad, albeit at the risk of having become something of a sterotype. The prologue in Graham McCann's biography quotes Vic Reeves declaring his hope that T-T really was a bounder and most of his fans probably share that view. This book, however, succeeds in bringing us the man behind the screen rogue and reminding those who have forgotten, or telling those who never knew, of his other achievements over and above the comic baddie.

Much is made of the great man's decline due to Parkinson's Disease and the resultant collapse in his fortunes. The full story is related here, as well as a hopeful indication that, before he died, he knew how much he was loved and appreciated around the world. On a much more positive note earlier on, however, McCann delights with the story of the transformation of the young Tom Stevens, via minor public school, dandified Smithfield Market clerk, travelling salesman and professional ballroom dancer, into Terry-Thomas. The story of his pioneering work in British television comedy is thoroughly recounted and is truly fascinating - making one feel sorry that, most TV being live in the late 40s/early 50s, no recordings survive as testament to T-T's massive contribution. The film career will be familar to most who read the book, but is related in clear form interspersed with the course of his private life - perhaps not so caddish and not, in fact, the stereotype as many might have come to expect.

This is an excellent, highly entertaining and infomative biography of a performer who deserves nothing less.

Mk2 Jaguar Restoration   ( Practical Classics & Car Restoration)
Mk2 Jaguar Restoration ( Practical Classics & Car Restoration)
by Practical Classics & Car Restorer
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful on occasion, 3 Feb 2010
Like the previous reviewer, I purchased my copy at the start of restoring my car. It was useful on occasion but, being based on a series of magazine articles of several years ago (so long ago, in fact, that the same magazine is now restoring another Mk 2), photograph reproduction is not up to modern standards and instructions are not as clear as they might be.

Of far more value were the factory workshop manual, the factory parts catalogue and, for the details, Original Jaguar Mk I / Mk II: The Restorer's Guide to MkI, MkII, 240/340 and Daimler V8 (Original).

Not bad for the price, though.

The Man Who Saved Britain
The Man Who Saved Britain
by Simon Winder
Edition: Paperback

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A dismal read, 3 Feb 2010
This book lulled me into a false sense of security early on with an account of the young Winder watching `Live And Let Die' whilst consuming the sickly `Old Jamaica' chocolate bar - a memory that can be appreciated by many a child of the '70s. This looked promising, but sadly things went sharply downhill from there.

Winder uses the framework of the novels and movies as something on which he can hang a rather sanctimonious outrage that Britain was once an imperial power, that it was once a confident nation, that it wasn't perfect and, in particular, that someone chose to write a series of fantasies about a hero who worked for the British establishment.

The book turned into a largely humourless, long, bitter sneer about - well - everything British of the last 200 years and by halfway through I realised I couldn't finish it too soon.

For a much more witty, informative and affectionate analysis of the Bond myth, which doesn't ignore the faults, better try to get a copy of `Bloomsbury Movie Guide No. 2: Adrian Turner on Goldfinger'.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2011 9:56 AM GMT

Riley: The Legendary RMs
Riley: The Legendary RMs
by John Price Williams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.94

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough history of a fine car, 3 Feb 2010
15 years separate this book from James Taylor's `Riley RM Series' and, given both are histories of a range first produced in the late 1940s, there shouldn't be too much new that has been discovered between 1990 and 2005. I noticed that Taylor had more on the special-bodied RMs, in particular the `woodie' estate cars, and this book has more on other styles, as well as a bit more on the Pathfinder (indeed, the more sympathetic tone towards the design of this traditionally rather maligned latter model prompted me to buy its designer's short but interesting autobiography, Auto - Architect: The Autobiography of Gerald Palmer (1911-1999)).

John Price Williams, like Taylor, has an easy prose style which makes this a book one can read from cover to cover as well as dipping in and out for reference. The book is well illustrated with, unlike the earlier book, a section of colour plates.

As someone who does not own but has always admired these beautiful sporting saloons, the finer technical points of difference between the two books perhaps mean less to me than they might to the dedicated owner-enthusiast, but I am nonetheless happy that both books sit alongside each other on my shelf. (As an aside, if you can get hold of a copy, I would also recommend Price Williams' `Alvis: The Postwar Cars'.)

Jaguar Mark 1 & 2 (Haynes Great Cars S.)
Jaguar Mark 1 & 2 (Haynes Great Cars S.)
by Nigel Thorley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute to the greatest saloon, 2 Feb 2010
If you own a Mk 2 you will have to have this book. If you don't own a Mk 2, buy the book and you'll understand why you have to own a Mk 2!

Accurately described as a "celebration of Jaguar's classic sporting saloons", this was the first in the `Haynes Great Cars' series that I bought. So good is it that I bought three others in the series, Jaguar E-type (Haynes Great Cars Series), Haynes Great Cars: Austin-Healey and Mini: A Celebration of Britain's Best-loved Small Car (Haynes Great Cars Series). Even at full publisher's price, these books are tremendous value for money.

Its longer production life, and the fact that there was a Daimler variant, means that the Mk 2 gets a larger share of the book, but the Mk 1 fan won't be disappointed. Nigel Thorley is well known to most Jaguar enthusiasts and conveys all the relevant details in a highly readable manner. This text is complemented by a great quantity and variety of illustrations, some displaying details that give a feel of Thorley's previous restorers' reference work Original Jaguar Mk I / Mk II: The Restorer's Guide to MkI, MkII, 240/340 and Daimler V8 (Original), others showing examples in their everyday environments or being put through their paces, still others lightening the mood (a slightly ridiculous studio shot of polo players and their horses posing round a Mk 1 from the 1957 US brochure, for example) and photos, specially commissioned for the books, of stunning examples of preserved/restored cars.

If you're contemplating buying a Mk 1, Mk 2 or Daimler V8 this book is likely to convince you to take the plunge, appealing to your heart rather than your head - but it is a "celebration", after all. For existing owners, I recommend you buy the book for cold winter evenings when you can't drive your car, settle back in front of the fire with a cup of tea and a slice of cake and lose yourself!

Alastair Sim
Alastair Sim
by Mark Simpson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A frank yet affectionate biography, 2 Feb 2010
This review is from: Alastair Sim (Paperback)
It is likely that most people today are familiar with Alastair Sim as the delightfully eccentric performer who brightens - indeed, dominates - many a classic British comedy of the 1950s, now to be enjoyed on television on the proverbial `wet Sunday afternoon'. This beautifully written book fleshes out an actor and director who achieved so much on the stage as well as on film, and gives as candid an insight as I would imagine possible into the background and domestic life of a very private man.

The ups and downs of Sim's career are clearly set out, his better and poorer films are identified (though this might be subject to one's opinion) and his human failings and virtues are honestly addressed. The question of his relationship with, and eventual marriage to, a girl whom he first met when he was 26 and she only 12 is discussed frankly but, as a fan of Sim's, I am pleased to say the reassurance offered by Simpson carries authority. Sim emerges from this literate, well-researched biography as an intelligent, principled, but occasionally distant person. I finished the book still believing that, when we see him in such wonderful movies as 'Green For Danger', 'School For Scoundrels' or 'The Green Man', we are seeing some part of the man himself behind the character he's playing.

All told, we are left with a well-rounded picture of Sim as a man and a theatrical professional.


Angela's Ashes
Angela's Ashes
by Frank McCourt
Edition: Paperback

2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Awful, 15 Jan 2010
This review is from: Angela's Ashes (Paperback)
Caution - plot spoiler:

"Ah, God, isn't it a terrible curse to be born Oirish? Sure, wouldn't it have been better if oi'd been drowned at birth? Still, oi can always go back to Americky - there's a grand country, though!"

Thank goodness I was given this book; at least none of my hard-earned went into the late Mr McCourt's coffers. In over 40 years of avid reading, this is the first book I've been unable to finish. After about a quarter of the way through I began to speed-read to see if this maudlin, depressing rubbish was going to develop positively in any way. It didn't. It left me with the dilemma of whether to leave it on a bus seat or a park bench - to at least ensure that one other human being would not waste any money on it - or to simply throw it in the bin and so remove it from circulation. I binned it and feel the better for it.

Trafalgar :
Trafalgar :
by Nicholas Best
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Popular History, 15 Jan 2010
This review is from: Trafalgar : (Paperback)
Whilst interested in British history, the Napoleonic era in general and naval warfare of that era in particular were not subjects for which I had a particular enthusiasm, so when a friend who is keen on the subject exhorted me to read his copy of this book I accepted it more out of politeness than anything and a few weeks went by before I picked it up and idly started to read.

In the first three pages I was gripped. The author begins with a vivid account of Napoleon reviewing his army at Boulogne and sets the tone for the rest of the book - a broad canvas telling the wider story punctuated by details that truly communicate what it must really have been like. Nicholas Best clearly understands his role as a storyteller and he's very good at it. The preparation for the eventual meeting of the fleets builds the tension and the protagonists, be they admirals, politicians, British subjects fearful of invasion or ordinary seamen, come to life with what seems a few well-chosen words. Once into the battle itself the detail that Best has employed seems to shift up a gear and one is left in no doubt of the courage shown and the horror experienced by men (and women) on the ships of all sides. The account of Nelson's death, and particularly the return of his body to England, conjures up all the grief that the British people felt and best ensures that the reader understands it, more than 200 years later.

I soon realised I would have to have my own copy as this is definitely a book to re-read. This is popular history which is informative yet reads as the very best novel. It cannot be recommended highly enough.

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