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Douglas May

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Stalin's Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess
Stalin's Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess
by Andrew Lownie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ... own country and did not seem to have much enjoyment living in his adopted county, 7 Dec. 2015
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A fascinating biography of a somewhat screwed up man who did a lot of damage to his own country and did not seem to have much enjoyment living in his adopted county. An enjoyable but unsatisfying read probably due to a lack of empathy on my part for the subject.


Call Me Dave: The Unauthorised Biography of David Cameron
Call Me Dave: The Unauthorised Biography of David Cameron
by Michael Ashcroft
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very readable account of the life of the Prime ..., 7 Dec. 2015
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A very readable account of the life of the Prime Minister, which portrays him as a very well balanced man.
It was not the hatchet job that the pre publication hype suggested, though the chapters on his Premiership did seem a bit superficial.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 12, 2016 11:40 AM GMT


The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt and the Golden Age of Journalism
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt and the Golden Age of Journalism
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.59

5.0 out of 5 stars A double biography which is a delight to read, 21 April 2014
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Without doubt one of the most absorbing political biographies of recent years. This is perhaps due to the fact that it is a dual biography, on the one hand the driven charismatic Theodore Roosevelt and his genial well balanced successor William Taft.
Taft would have preferred to have remained a judge but his wife's ambition for him to become President overruled his own inclination. Being sniped at by Roosevelt who wanted his old job back and who stood as a third party candidate, having failed to get the Republican nomination, ensured that Taft lost and was a one term President.
However his good grace and the high regard he was held in by others meant that he got the job he really wanted as chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Roosevelt demonstrated the supreme political skill of getting a reluctant congress to pass his anti trust laws and thereby prevented powerful corporations from throttling competition.
The tangled weave of early 20th Century American politics, with all its chicanery, corruption and double dealing is thrillingly told. The personalities are larger than life and vividly portrayed. There are some fascinating side issues such as the USA taking on the role of colonial masters in the Philippines. Taft proved to be an assured and enlightened Governor. It was an episode of American history of which I knew nothing.
The book also contains so many personal details, which meant an enjoyable and gossipy read in a serious and well researched book.
I was amused that Roosevelt objected to Taft's enthusiasm for golf as he perceived it as a rich man's game and that politician's who played it were sending out the wrong message. Meantime Roosevelt himself went big game hunting which only seriously rich men can do.


Gregory Crewdson
Gregory Crewdson
by Gregory Crewdson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £61.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sinister view of New England, 23 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Gregory Crewdson (Hardcover)
This is a door stopper of a book containing a retrospective of the work of the photographer. Much of it contains the elaborately staged photographs of empty post industrial towns of western New England, often photographed at night. There is a sinister uneasy feel with unexplained house fires and the inhabitants seemingly engrossed in what appears to be their mundane but disturbing world. The photographs, which I knew before I bought the book, coloured my own view of that part of the USA when I travelled through it. The work is fiction like a Hitchcock but it does not stop one being drawn into and being absorbed by the narrative. The book is handsomely produced and the illustrations of a sufficient size to enable them to be enjoyed properly.


Young Titan: The Making Of Winston Churchill
Young Titan: The Making Of Winston Churchill
by Michael Shelden
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young Titan, 14 Mar. 2014
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This is one of the most interesting books on Churchill I have read.
His work as First Lord demonstrated a capacity to think ahead. Changing the Royal Navy ships from coal to oil and ensuring the supplies of oil from the the middle east shows a perspicacity which explains a lot about his foresight later in his career.
To break the heart of the boss's daughter and still keep his job shows a high degree of skill. The hunt for Violet Asquith on the cliffs of Kincardinshire after he told her he was going to marry Clementine was a good example of the author's ability to tell a rattling good story.


The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev: The Story of Lina and Serge Prokofiev
The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev: The Story of Lina and Serge Prokofiev
by Simon Morrison
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The dreadful consequences of being naive, 8 May 2013
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The problem with this book is that it followed on from the third volume of the Prokofiev Diaries, which covered a lot of the ground covered by its first half The diaries are so well written that the first half of the book somewhat paled by comparison. It did however confirm the suspicion that Prokofiev was a reluctant bridegroom and hopelessly naive about the Soviets with dreadful consequences for him and his wife on their return to Russia. The second part of the book I found much more fascinating. The composers infidelity, the domestic struggles Lina had in bringing up the children, her incautious contacts with foreigners and her inability to play the system to ensure her safety offer good insights into the oppression in Stalinist Russia. Her incarceration and ill treatment gave her an extraordinary courage and determination to survive. That part of the story is tellingly told and well worth narrating. The composer meantime comes out quite badly for he seems very self centred,though quite terrified. A good read.


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