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Chris Warne (Harrow, UK)

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Young Adolf
Young Adolf
by Beryl Bainbridge
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather Good!, 27 July 2010
This review is from: Young Adolf (Paperback)
I am shocked by the negative reviews of this book. People tend to be taking it a little too seriously. It is a work of fiction and should be viewed as such. Hitler and his brother are the only 'real' characters in the novel but if Hitler ever had visited Liverpool when he was younger (which he did not), then this is probably how he would have been. The paranoid, lazy, stubborn, waif who never seemed to fit in anywhere. The story has a strong comedy feel to it, always at Hitler's expense, and at times you feel sorry for the future dictator. My advce would be give it a try!


China and the West: A Short History of Their Contact from Ancient Times to the Fall of the Manchu Dynasty
China and the West: A Short History of Their Contact from Ancient Times to the Fall of the Manchu Dynasty
by William Edward Soothill
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but still a superb read!, 10 May 2010
First things first: this is a very good book. It is informative,easy to read, and well written. It is a comprehensive history of Chinese political interaction with the West. The early missionaries and explorers are here, as are the more recent conflicts and regimes which formed China up until the 1930's. The only trouble with this book is that it is so old-originally published in 1925. Almost a century has passed since then, and as a result the book can seem dated and dry in a few places.

Still, a very good book overall.


Napoleon (LIVES)
Napoleon (LIVES)
by Paul Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.87

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem!, 18 Mar 2010
This review is from: Napoleon (LIVES) (Paperback)
I am surprised by the negative reviews of other readers. True this book is short and not a Napoleonic chronicle but it makes no pretence at being anything other than a brief overview of Bonaparte's life.

There are too many great tomes out there on Bonaparte that bog the reader down with overwhelming and ubiquitous detail. The book provides the basics, explains the Emperor's rise and fall, while giving enough insight into his personal life.

Enjoy!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2010 8:20 PM GMT


Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power
Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power
by Christopher Clark
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.99

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, very good., 10 Dec 2009
This is not a new book; it is a reissue of the 'Profiles in Power' book published a decade ago. Like most books in PIP series, this is NOT a biography. Rather, it is a chronological study of the Kaiser's political career and the ways in which he exercised political power. The book thus becomes quite dry in places and by the end of it you are still left feeling that the 'personal' Kaiser is an enigma. But the 'political' Kaiser is completely revealed, and thus the author fulfills his objective. An interesting read.


A History Of Scotland
A History Of Scotland
by Neil Oliver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 18.83

24 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potentially very good but........., 2 Dec 2009
This review is from: A History Of Scotland (Hardcover)
This has all the makings of a good book, its very well written, the author's passion shines out on every page, and presents an interesting overview of Scottish history. Unfortunately, this is marred by the author's relative lack of objectivity. In some places the book resembles a particular Hollywood movie, lots of rants against the conniving, evil English, and how they terrorize the innocent Scots. On the other hand the various Scottish military blunders on the battlefield (Flodden, Edinburgh, Culloden) are glossed over or barely mentioned at all. The book has clearly been written by an individual who views Scottish history through rose tinted glasses which is a pity because a responsible historian should be able to put fact before fiction and place personal opinions to one side in favour of objective research. Some of Oliver's views concerning the Union of the crowns by James VI/I are particularly unscholarly. Presenting this event as a virtual Scottish annexation of England and a triumph from the grave for Mary Stuart is simply wrong. King James was an infant when he last saw his mother, he was a Protestant (she a Catholic), and he turned a rather blind eye to her execution knowing that he would then be Elizabeth's obvious heir.

Still, these points aside, a good read.


The Three Musketeers (Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions)
The Three Musketeers (Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions)
by Alexandre Dumas
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.33

4.0 out of 5 stars A true classic!, 11 Nov 2009
This book has become the stuff of legend, and rightly so. A timeless story of heroes, villains, romance and adventure. It really is 2 stories in 1. The first half of the book tells the tale of the musketeers helping the queen, when the cardinal tries to publicly humiliate her re a set of pearls. The second story sees the heroes pitted against the evil but brilliant Milady.
The only reason I have not given this book 5 stars is because there are a handful of truly boring chapters which have no impact on the overall story. This is particularly true in the second half of the book at he time of the siege of La Rochelle.

This aside a great book.


Picture of Dorian Gray (Modern Library)
Picture of Dorian Gray (Modern Library)
by Oscar Wilde
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.80

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever written!, 26 Oct 2009
I have read this book twice now and will probably end up reading it again. An interesting tale of morality and vanity. Although written over a century ago, this book is as applicable now in the modern material world of the 21st century, as it was back then. The way Lord Henry influences Dorian is fascinating, as is the way Dorian beguiles amd intrigues all those who meet him.

The ending is truly poetic....but I wont spoil the surprise for you.

Read it!


Franco (Profiles In Power)
Franco (Profiles In Power)
by Sheelagh M. Ellwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: 28.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A superb overview of the man and the dictatorship., 8 Oct 2009
I really enjoyed this book. Like the other 'Profiles in Power' books, the focus is on the political, social and military events that shaped Franco's reign, without too much personal/biographical detail. If you are looking for a comprehensive biography of the Caudillo, this book is NOT for you. Pick up Preston's 'Franco' instead. If however you are looking for a narrative on the political and military career of Franco, then this book is perfect. Clear and concise, the author never allows her personal opinion to cloud her professional judgement, and in the end the reader is left to make his/her own mind up as to whether Franco was a stabilising 'controller' in a Spain rife with political upheaval or just another right wing dictator obsessed with his own power. The book shows that Franco certainly was obsessed with his own power but Spain was not ruled through fear as Stalin's Russia or Pol Pot's Cambodia was. A great book!


Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant as usual..., 10 Sep 2009
After reading 'Norwegian Wood' I became an avid Murakami fan. This book is lots of fun. Various short stories that all tell a complete tale in their own right. The characters are typical Murakami, and the stories told with his usual flair. An imperative for any fan.


A Brief History Of The Wars Of The Roses
A Brief History Of The Wars Of The Roses
by Desmond Seward
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read, 23 Aug 2009
The problem with the subject of the Wars of the Roses is that it is so complex. A period of 30 tumultuous years, various battles, revolts, changes of monarch can leave the reader feeling bored and completely unsure as to exactly what is going on. Fortunately, this book is a gem. The author gives us a fast pace and entertaining piece of narrative. The big players are all there (Henry VI, Edward IV, Warwick the Kingmaker, Richard III etc)but as there are so many big players, the author effectively presents the facts by following the lives of five eye-witnesses and pulling all the threads of the WOTR together. There are so many Edward's, John's, and Elizabeth's in this book that one could easily become confused but the author solves this problem by providing a quick and easy 'whos who?' section at the beginning of the book-it is therefore easy to clarify any ambiguity. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to others.


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