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B. Hurst (England)

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White Maxi Poster Frame - 61cm x 91.5cm
White Maxi Poster Frame - 61cm x 91.5cm
Price: 19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good service, 30 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Decent picture frame which met expectations. The first one arrived damaged in transit with a large crack in the frame - the very nice person we phoned had it replaced straight away. Excellent service.

All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945
All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945
by Max Hastings
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 22.77

88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent overview with some new accounts, 3 Nov 2011
It is hard to find a narrative theme through a world war lasting for almost six years.

Weighing in at a huge 768 pages All Hell Let Loose certainly isn't a whistle stop tour through the conflict, and it doesn't dwell overlong on any particular areas.

The author himself in the forward says that he has deliberately steered clear of delving too deeply into the subjects of his previous books, so the fall of Berlin, the Overlord landings and the final days of Japan are barely commented on.

His researchers have dug up some interesting accounts, particularly from the Eastern front, and even long serving students of the second world war will find much new in the first person testimonies. This battlefield is firmly at the centre of the book - after all 90 per cent of the German fatalities occurred there and it is in Russia where the war was won and lost.

In a book of this scope one isn't really searching for a single revelation or argument. The conclusions - that the Russians would have won on their own, the Axis war effort was very incompetently run and by far and away the biggest allied contribution to victory was through America's industrial might - have been discussed in much greater depth elsewhere.

I felt that the biggest success of the book was how Hastings managed to convey the brutal indifference which characterised the Russian approach to victory - happily accepting enormous piles of their own dead with unimaginative tactics to eventually wear down the Wehrmacht.

The British don't come out overly well - our `finest hour' was having the courage, bolstered by the rhetoric and bulldog spirit of Winston Churchill, to stay in the war alone in 1940. Otherwise our performance in the Western Desert, the Far East and Italy was dull and plodding and characterised by poor commanders. The RAF and Royal Navy are hailed as by far the most successful services. Perhaps controversially he equates the allowing of millions of deaths in the Indian sub continent from starvation during the war to the treatment by the Germans of their conquered countries. The Germans allowed some to starve so their people would have food. The British did the same, and it is hard to argue with the logic.

Overall, I found All Hell Let loose to be an enjoyable read, and I was pleased, as a Hastings fan, that he didn't go over areas his pervious works covered in too much detail. A very solid history of the Second World War, and I raced through it in pretty quick time.

Ultimates 3: Who Killed The Scarlet Witch? TPB: Sex, Lies and DVD v. 1 (Graphic Novel Pb)
Ultimates 3: Who Killed The Scarlet Witch? TPB: Sex, Lies and DVD v. 1 (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Joe Madureira
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars As the others...massively disappointing, 30 Mar 2011
Sorry to echo the previous comments but blimey, just felt I had to add my thoughts. Just read it after thoroughly enjoying volumes one and two. Great storylines and brilliant characterisation were the key reasons for the success of the Mark Millar penned originals.
This third volume sums up everything I find annoying about the endlessly churned out superhero graphic novels. Endless appearances by stars of other 'franchises' which are greeted as truly monumental, zero characterisation, and storylines which contain no logic, innovation and conceal their lack of ideas by being deliberately misleading.
The poor excuse for a 'mystery' is laughable here. The treatment of Captain America and Iron Man is absolutely ludicrous - one dimensional doesn't remotely explain how their 'characters' are portrayed here.
For me the artwork isn't as good as the previous volumes.
Overall - one of the best series ever laid low. Mark Millar created the Ultimates and is the Ultimates. Without him, it's completely gone off the rails.

To War with Wellington: From the Peninsula to Waterloo
To War with Wellington: From the Peninsula to Waterloo
by Peter Snow
Edition: Hardcover

65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and accessible, 6 Sep 2010
Wellington is one of the most famous and written about figures in British history.
Snow's work (I only realised it was the telly man half way through the book) seeks to be an immediate and above all `human', account of the great man and the soldiers who fought with him.
Drawing from some of the famous accounts written by the participants, including Harry Smith and Edward Costello, To War With Wellington grabs your interest from the first page.
The characters amongst the senior officers, such as `Black Bob' Robert Crauford and Thomas Picton are well drawn, mostly through the accounts of their soldiers
This is in no way an exhaustive account of Wellington's career from the Peninsula War onwards - many battles and sieges are only referred to in passing, while others are passed by with only a few paragraphs.
What we do get is a very enjoyable romp through Wellington's career. We don't find an awful lot out about his life before Portugal, but we do get a real flavour of life at war in Napoleonic times.
Wellington himself is cold and aloof, but his attention to detail shows why he was such a successful general.
He may have called his soldiers the `scum of the earth' but he made sure they were fed and looked after, realising, as many commanders of that age did not, that their welfare was crucial to his success.
Attention to detail, courage under fire, amazing luck and tactical mastery were all attributes which led to Wellington's success, Snow says, and he develops a narrative which produces compelling arguments to back this up.

Spearhead Assault: Blood, Guts and Glory on the Falklands Frontlines
Spearhead Assault: Blood, Guts and Glory on the Falklands Frontlines
by John Geddes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great from the ranks account of Goose Green, 5 Aug 2010
Previously I had realised that the battle of Goose Green in the Falklands conflict was a pretty tough encounter - but I had never known what a close run thing it was.

In Spearhead Assault John Geddes, a patrols platoon corporal gives his 'from the ranks' account, liberally sprinkled with what can best be described as authentic 'trooper' language.

It makes for an immediate and honest reading experience and probably the best account of Goose Green I've read from any participant.

The 2nd Parachute Battalion was tasked, largely for political reasons, to get a quick victory in the wake of a number of sinkings of Royal Navy ships by the Argentine air force.

What was originally meant to be a 'raid' turned into a battalion attack to crush what was thought to be a reasonably small enemy (it turned out to be 1,500 strong and well dug in).

What followed was an incredible victory against all the odds. The paras assaulted well prepared positions with no artillery or air support, mostly in daylight. It's a miracle it wasn't a massacre.

One of the best aspects of the Geddes account is his truthful appraisal, from his point of view, of the shortcomings of the plans and the officers involved.

Most accounts from the upper ranks are tainted by what he would call the Rupert's code where officers won't criticise each other.

However Geddes is more than happy to give his opinion on the faults of those running the battle, including 'H' Jones who won a Victoria Cross.

Geddes describes this as award as 'controversial' and is scathing as to Jones' running of the battle, questioning why he would be with the lead company when he should have been directing the attack, how he refused to listen to any advice and how he lost control of what was going on. He also questions why 'H' decided to frontally attack a machine gun position, a decision that the most inexperienced private would have ruled out for good tactical reasons.

According to Geddes the 'Toms' (normal British soldiers) believe Corporal Dave 'Pig' Abols should have won the VC for an incredibly brave rescue of a comrade who had been hit, and also for turning the battle by taking out the key defensive bunker with a solo missile attack.

Possibly the definitive account of the Goose Green battle.

Sky Men: Always Expect the Unexpected - the Real Story of the Paras
Sky Men: Always Expect the Unexpected - the Real Story of the Paras
by Robert Kershaw
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good readable whistle stop tour through airborne operations, 31 July 2010
EX-PARACHUTE regiment officer Robert Kershaw is the author of this work, best described as a book in praise of paratroopers everywhere.
The world of those brave men prepared to jump out of aircraft, often over their well entrenched enemy and into the teeth of heavy anti-aircraft fire is clearly fascinating.
This can be seen from the huge numbers of books on the subject.
So does the author bring much new to the party?
Well, the book attempts to find out what makes such men tick: Apparently, it's intensive training, adventurous spirit and bonding brought on by the act of parachuting, which in all honesty doesn't really shed a dramatic light on this issue, other than state the reasonably obvious.
However, trying to put a `new' sheen on the subject aside, it is an interesting, well researched, if somewhat whistle stop tour through parachute assaults.
The author covers the usual biggies. Crete comes with some interesting Fallschirmjager accounts I hadn't read before, D-Day sees many of the testimonies from the Band of Brothers US 101st Airborne accounts reheated again, and of course Arnhem is recounted, albeit thankfully fairly quickly.
The most interesting for me were the accounts of the French operations in Indochina, the Israeli raid to rescue hijacked passengers at Entebbe Airport in Uganda and the frankly murderous raid by South African Defence Forces into Angola at Cassinga, and in all cases I was left wanting more information.
Possibly slightly less successful than Tank Men, Sky Men is still a really interesting read, and a good starting point to people wanting to find out about airborne operations.

Tank Men
Tank Men
by Robert Kershaw
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book about unenviable job, 31 July 2010
This review is from: Tank Men (Paperback)
LIFE as a 'tanker' doesn't seem that attractive, it must be said.
Although, compared to the infantry, they are well protected, the chances of a grisly death are pretty high.
Taken from the view point of the crews, Tank Men begins with a quick run through the first ever appearance of these vehicles on the First World War battlefields.
Tank warfare only really took off in the next big conflict, and it is surprising to learn that Nazi tanks were significantly inferior to the British and French variants at the start of the war.
That was to change though, with the super-heavy Tigers and Panthers. The author reveals how the vastly inferior Shermans, which were made in huge quantities, were called 'Tommy Cookers' by the Germans, and 'Ronsons' by the British after the lighter which, according to the adverts 'lights first time, every time', due to their unfortunate capacity to catch fire after the first hit.
Gallows humour was widespread. One story recounted in the book has a new recruit asking: "How do you destroy a Tiger in a Churchill?" (another useless British tank), to be told: "You get within 200 yards and put a shell down its periscope."
"Has anyone ever done it?" was met with the inevitable answer: "No."

England's Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy 1940-42
England's Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy 1940-42
by Colin Smith
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inauspicious conflict, an excellent book, 20 July 2010
It is fair to say that the French did not have the most auspicious Second World War.
After being unceremoniously crushed by Germany they managed to switch sides. Twice.
Their bitter conflict with the British cost thousands of lives, but for all that, is little known.
This excellent book takes an in-depth look, and tries to make some sense of what, to the detached observer, is the completely baffling attitude of the French.
The hatred of figures such as Darlan and Laval for the English is incredible, especially in view of the fact that the recent Blitzkrieg which had left 65,000 French soldiers dead and 1.5 million in POW camps.
The main thrust of the argument is that the events were so traumatic, and Germany seemingly so certain of victory, that the French took the view that it was time to move on and preserve as much autonomy and territory as possible. If that meant collaboration with the Germans so be it.
And if it meant causing problems for the English, then that was just an added bonus.
Written in a very engaging style, England's Last War Against France is an excellent work, and sheds some fascinating light on one of France's darkest hours.

Spoken From The Front
Spoken From The Front
by Andy McNab
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.43

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good starting point but no more, 26 Jun 2010
This review is from: Spoken From The Front (Hardcover)
Spoken from the Front is not, the author says in the introduction, an attempt to give an in depth look at the war in Afghanistan.
Rather it aims to give a 'snapshot' of the fighting and conditions faced by our soldiers over there.
It should be best viewed as a 'starting point' and perhaps, given McNab's high profile and successes as an author, it can help in giving a much wider audience an insight into the true scale of the fighting that the soldiers are engaged in.
Students of the Afghanistan conflict will recognise that some of the more famous incidents are covered here, such as the attempted rescue of a soldier, who sadly turned out to be dead, by very brave men who strapped themselves to the sides of Apache gunship helicopters.
The epic drive taking vital new parts to a hydroelectric plant at a dam is covered briefly, along with medal winning exploits of a number of soldiers and pilots.
Spoken from the front does what it sets out to do - and no more.
It is an excellent entry point to literature on the war, and I would recommend Ed Macy's Apache and Patrick Bishop's 3 Para as good follow ups, which cover some of the big incidents mentioned in McNab's book in much greater detail.

The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
by Andrew Roberts
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work, but necessary?, 28 April 2010
`Stunning', `Spellbinding', `Compelling' are the overheated comments pulled out on the front of `Storm of War', possibly leading me to believe that either this is a landmark insight into the conflict, or the author has a lot of chums in the national media.
The main thrust justifying this latest one volume look at WWII seems to be a focus on how Hitler's strategic and tactical misjudgements led to Germany losing the war.
Of course, this is nothing really new, as immediately after the war German generals were queuing up to put the blame on the leader mocked by Churchill as `Corporal Hitler'.
That said, it's a very well written account and the author makes some good arguments about how the Germans could have vanquished the British in North Africa quickly by deploying a fraction of the units on the Russian invasion, so securing vital oil reserves together with effectively knocking the UK out of the war.
An excellent history of the war - but in a very crowded field and only really worth reading if you're relatively new to this period of history.

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