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Hank Norville Carter "Juno" (Yorkshire, UK)

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Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime (2015) [DVD]
Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime (2015) [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Walliams
Price: £14.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly Dreadful. David Walliams is NOT an actor!!, 9 Oct. 2015
This series was too silly for adults but not silly enough for children.
Even by the standards of Agatha Christie these adaptations were far fetched.

Meyer Lansky: The Shadowy Exploits of New York's Master Manipulator (Amazing Stories (Altitude Publishing))
Meyer Lansky: The Shadowy Exploits of New York's Master Manipulator (Amazing Stories (Altitude Publishing))
by Art Montague
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably Basic and Unresearched, 7 April 2015
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From start to finish this book does nothing but repeat the disproved information from much earlier books.
Considering that only the most basic knowledge is touched upon, surely the author could have done the barest fact checking?
Dreadful, like all the other titles in the series.
I bought them all because I know how these really bad Mob books often become valuable collectors items
like the David Hanna series.....
Rubbish to read but a good investment.

The one essential essential Meyer Lansky biography is
"Little Man: The Gangster Life of Meyer Lansky" by Robert Lacey.
This book is often criticized due to the fact that the author, Robert Lacey, usually writes about royals or personalities from history. Personally I don't see why this would make the title any less valuable.
Instead of simply repeating the same old mistakes (originally fabricated by some tabloid hack in the 1950's)
Lacey actually researches the information. Interviews with old friends, business partners, family members.

Books like this Art Montague reworking of other peoples incorrect writings like to perpetuate the same old nonsense about Lansky having $300 million stashed away.....
By the 70's and 80's he was an old mobster with very little money and no power.
His step-son was murdered by Florida drug dealers and there was nothing he could do about it.
BUT people like to read how Lansky, Costello, Luciano maintained places of extreme influence and hidden fortunes, to the day they died.
It's nothing but fantasy.

But thanks for releasing these limited number edition mob books.
There's nothing that increases in value faster than a mob title with a very short print run.
Specially if they belong to part of a series.
By the way.... The Altitude Publishing "Castellamarese War" title was even worse than this Lansky one.

Have your writers absolutely no professional standards?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2015 6:04 PM BST

Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
by Tom Holland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Introduction to the Epic of Roman History, Imaginable (or Possible?), 7 April 2015
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My interest is Late Medieval and Early Modern English history. Sometimes I step out of my comfort zone in order to educate myself on areas I am unfamiliar with. That's why I bought RUBICON.
It absolutely fascinated and engrossed me.
Being far from an expert I expected to discover things that I had previously not known of, what I didn't expect was the sheer amount of new information - or how radical it seemed to someone with little understanding of the ancients. When they said that 'the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there', they certainly weren't exaggerating.
Just the contrast with how cultured and devoted to learning the Romans were, compared to how casually they accepted torture and murder, as a form of entertainment. In many ways one can still relate to Roman attitudes, their humanism and open mindedness concerning religion can feel much like ourselves but, in many other ways, they're a completely alien species. Tom Holland does a brilliant job of showing the similarities and the differences.
In one of the two one star reviews the reviewer complains about the authors emphasis of the negative. I disagree.
Tom Holland has emphasized the benefits that Rome brought to the world but he also told how people were buried alive, to placate an angry God
or new born babies could be legally 'exposed'. Left out to die. In fact the male head of a family had the power of life and death over everyone else within the family - but a wife was always more controlled by her father than by her husband, and divorces often occurred because political alignments changed (as with Tiberius and Vipsania).

After reading Rubicon I immediately ordered Persian Fire, also by Holland, as well as six more Ancient Rome titles.
The Adrian Goldworthy biography of Caesar was excellent but the others were dull compared to Holland's RUBICON.
As much as Ancient Rome interests me, I do now acknowledge that Tom Hollands writing was as much to do with my enjoyment
as the actual subject I was studying.
I'm still very much an English Royal history fan but I do make a point of buying and reading any releases by Tom Holland.
His last two, Millenium and In the Shadow of the Sword, covered subjects which I wouldn't normally read
but they were enjoyable due to the authors easy going style.
Holland's next title 'DYNASTY', available from summer '15, is a welcome return to Rome as he deals with one of histories most epic sagas
The Julio-Claudian Dynasty.
I can hardly wait.....

The Penguin History of Britain: The Struggle for Mastery (Allen Lane History)
The Penguin History of Britain: The Struggle for Mastery (Allen Lane History)
by David Carpenter
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Essential Single Volume for the High Medieval Period., 20 Mar. 2015
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This book cannot be too highly recommended.
As a pleasurable experience, it lacks the 'reads like a novel' quality of books by Marc Morris, Tom Holland, Alison Weir or Ian Mortimer
but, then again, it's not written by one of the popularisers of history, it's the mass of accumulated knowledge catalogued and written down by a giant of the academic study of the High Medieval period, Professor David Carpenter (Peace Be Upon Him). So to even expect such a volume by such an author to be as 'easy' as an Alison Weir title would be to enter into it with false expectations.
Having said that, there is no book on the High Medieval that will not be enhanced by the information within this wonderful book.
If you have the mental stamina and aptitude to read it from start to finish, fantastic. If not, simply cherry pick the chapters that interest you the most or even just use it as a reference book, to help add an extra layer of understanding to the Morris or Mortimer book you're enjoying.

I became aware of this book by just only many bibliographies in turned up in.
When a particularly interesting statement caught my attention, and I checked out the source notes, often I was referred to this one book.
It was almost as if all, or most, source notes led to The Struggle for Mastery.

Another excellent reason for reading this is the absence of works concerning Henry III (since Maurice Powicke's day, anyway).
With the exception of a few titles concerning Simon DeMontfort, Eleanor DeMontfort and Eleanor of Provence (Henry III's Brother-in-Law, Sister and Wife) and the excess of ones about King John and King Edward (his father and son) there is precious little about the actual King who ruled for 56 years - the longest reign of any medieval monarch of England. This book is one of the few that goes into Henry III's reign in more detail than just as it applied to the above mentioned characters, 56 years needed more than the beginning (King John or William Marshall),the latter years (King Edward I) and a side view of the reign during the Baron's Revolt (DeMontford).

There are a great many more reasons why this book is an absolute necessity for the shelves of any student, or fan, of the High Medieval
It's also the one David Carpenter book that doesn't have an expensive price tag. I found mine for a derisory £2.50 (and that was the hardback).
For the price of a Happy Meal, or less, this book will be a lifelong companion for every Norman or early Plantagenet era book you ever read.
It is an absolute must.

The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII: The Women's Stories
The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII: The Women's Stories
by Amy Licence
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

16 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY, At Long Last, The Wives of Henry VIII are Examined., 11 Feb. 2015
FINALLY!!! A Book Which Deals With the Wives of Henry VIII.
There's only two or three dozen and, seeing as Amy Licence releases so many titles that they could give one away free with each edition of the BBC History Magazine, we don't have to worry about using our minds to digest new information.
I don't think Amy ever actually uses contemporary sources. Why would she need to?
When you simply wait for popular trends, quickly knock up a relevant title and jump onto the bandwagon (with absolutely no shame) there's no need for pesky contemporary sources.
Some of the earlier volumes devoted to the wives were wonderful. Antonia Fraser and Alison Weir spring to mind.
Luckily neither were published by Amberley (as Amy is) so they were far more substance than style - but still quite stylish.
Amberley have even managed to reduce truly great historians, like Prof David Loades, to mediocrity - They like to provide titles which fill gaps but often are more filling than actual information. 16th Century women often left too small a historic footprint to provide enough facts to justify a full book, so these books (one devoted to Catherine Howard, say) ends up being far more to do with her class of women and her aristocratic relatives.
Amy writes about all six wives and, to provide that unique selling point, she throws in a few of his mistresses, also. She probably learnt about these from her previous book 'In Bed With The Tudors' (Considering Elizabeth and Edward died virgins, Mary had one known love and Henry VII was devoutly faithful to his wife....In Bed With Henry VIII would probably have been a more honest title).

So, one star for the cover. I look forward to the rephrased versions of other peoples research which Amy releases.
There will probably be about three more before the end of this year.
She quicker than Stephen King.

The Yorkist Kings & The Wars of The Roses Part One: Edward Iv
The Yorkist Kings & The Wars of The Roses Part One: Edward Iv
by David Bret
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.95

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Low Brow and Littered with Basic Mistakes., 23 Jan. 2015
"Immediately after the Parliament of 1447 the Kings uncle, Humphrey of Gloucester, died suddenly....."
Not yet two pages`into the first chapter and such a serious mistake is found, Humphrey of Lancaster, Duke of Gloucester was his name and title
(as anyone with the slightest knowledge of the period would know).
There are similar, elemental mistakes all over the first 20 pages (at which point I stopped bothering to read it).

In a market crowded with so many titles about this period, few will trouble to read one that isn't accurate and interesting. Sadly this fails miserably. The author is a 'celebrity biographer' who whitewashes the misdeeds of Richard III and claims Edward IV had 'at least one male lover'.
This is strictly for committed Ricardians with a taste for the red top tabloids.

It's dreadful.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2015 8:35 AM GMT

Anne Neville: Richard III's Tragic Queen
Anne Neville: Richard III's Tragic Queen
by Amy Licence
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not going to be remembered for generation because it is quite mediocre but it's not as bad as I expected, 27 Aug. 2014
Is AMY LICENCE an actual name?
Or a type of permit for ghost writers to publish under - An 'AMY licence'?
You see, Amy Licence has released so many books in the last few years, that I genuinely wonder if they're the work of one person.
Marc Morris or Robert Hutchinson take two to four years to complete a book.
Amy Licence has written about six books, in a similar amount of time.
Either she is five times faster than these other authors
or she simply rewrites other peoples books, without bothering to do any of her own research.
I gave this 3 stars.
It's not going to be remembered for generation because it is quite mediocre
but it's not as bad as I expected.
Of course, I cannot speak for all the other titles she has written over such a short time
but I imagine that something must give.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2016 8:16 PM BST

The Godwins: The Rise and Fall of a Noble Dynasty (The Medieval World)
The Godwins: The Rise and Fall of a Noble Dynasty (The Medieval World)
by Frank Barlow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Dry and Uninspiring - Despite (Occasionally) Relying on Works of Fiction as Sources., 20 May 2014
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Although this book, after the index, appendices, bibliography, two prefaces and genealogies are subtracted - has a little over 100 pages, even though the source notes are at the end of their individual chapters, accounting for 10 to 15 pages of the 100.
So it is a very short book by any standards but felt like a long one to me.
I disliked the writing style, which never gripped me or made me take an interest in any of the characters. Frank Barlow often uses obscure vocabulary (where more common English usage would serve equally well) and he occasionally includes terms or phrases of French or Latin without giving the English translation.
For these reasons this books fails as a history book aimed at popular consumption such as the books of Marc Morris, Tom Holland or Ian Mortimer. In fact Marc Morris' The Norman Conquest covered a great deal of the same pre-conquest political material in a way that was far more entertaining.
Often it feels as though the author has squeezed every last bit out of the relevant sources but still has more pages he must somehow create. He does this by devoting pages to the fictional accounts of the Godwin's (usually Harold) from Alfred Lord Tennyson, in the 19th Century, to the historical fiction of Julian Rathbone in the 1990's.
I would have been more forgiving about this book on the grounds of there being so few sources, but Marc Morris made a point of explaining how few 11th Century sources were available to the historian (compared to how much material he had when researching Edward I, who lived two centuries later) before going on to write an account of the years preceding the conquest that was highly enlightening without ever being dull or relying on the fictional accounts of writers who lived at least 800 years later.

If, like myself, you are hoping to be educated and entertained by this book, you may be disappointed. Although packaged and marketed to appeal to the amateur historians who enjoy David Starkey, Robert Hutchinson or Adrian Goldworthy, it never comes close to having the entertainment value of these authors. Frank Barlow states the facts with little effort at writing a work that is accessible and enjoyable. In fact he sometimes seems to make an effort to be inaccessible.
Before reading this I had never come across the word 'encomiast' (basically a Eulogist). By the end it had appeared at least 30 times.
'Faute de mieux'. which translates as 'for lack of anything better' was used without translation. Why no translation was given or no English idiom - such as 'Scraping the barrel' or 'Any port in a storm' wasn't used is unknown to me but I do feel an author should always try to inform his readers with the use of plain English where ever possible. To use such inaccessible language does little more than confuse the reader and, in my opinion, is a sign of elitist, intellectual snobbery.

The Demon's Brood
The Demon's Brood
by Desmond Seward
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Please Read PRODUCT REVIEW (above) by Philippa Gregory, 14 May 2014
This review is from: The Demon's Brood (Hardcover)
Despite the product review written for The Demon's Brood being only one, fairly short paragraph, Philippa Gregory used the word 'vivid' three times.
It is a wonderful example of how terrible a writer she really is.
As for the accuracy of her history....

Desmond Seward writes straight forward accounts that explain situations clearly.
He is an excellent introduction to medieval history.

It is a shame that the publisher had to belittle this book by including the input of a mediocre (but very lucky) novelist, such as Gregory.

Cannabis Grow Bible, The: Definitive Guide to Growing Marijuana for Recreational and Medical Use
Cannabis Grow Bible, The: Definitive Guide to Growing Marijuana for Recreational and Medical Use
by Greg Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.94

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss, 3 Jan. 2014
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This book has a strange way of spending far too long going into certain aspects of marijuana growing with excruciating detail, then summing up large areas of growing with a few, highly inadequate, paragraphs.
Green delves deep into the physics of light. The colour spectrums, nanometre wavelengths, CCT, CRI, Kelvins, Inverse Square Law....but, after I knew what type bulb best replicated Spring, Summer and Autumn and how many watts per square foot was appropriate, all the rest was unnecessary. And I imagine the vast majority of people with an interest in growing marijuana are, like myself, not wanting to read a physics paper on electromagnetic energy (light). That's something that was massively over written about.
Now for the opposite.
At no point, in this book, could I find the appropriate EC levels for plants of any age or size. And this is basic and important information.
A very bad omission.

And, finally, towards the end of the book there are pages devoted to 'How to roll a joint' or 'How to make a pipe out of an apple'.
This felt like pure filler.
If someone has bought a marijuana grow bible I think we can safely assume they know how to 'roll a joint'. And, even if they don't, then having diagrams of how to stick together cigarette papers was just plain stupid!

Years ago I had a similarly titled book by Ed Rosenthal. I recall it being a far superior book.

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