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A Dance With Dragons: Part 1 Dreams and Dust (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
A Dance With Dragons: Part 1 Dreams and Dust (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.86

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst book ever!, 27 May 2012
OK not literally - I have read many worse books but never a worse book by a writer who used to be able to do so much better - and for this reason and that its score here is being artificially inflated by fanbots it does deserve a one star (in other circumstances it might have scraped a two).

Where to begin? - to be honest you are now better off not to.

The first three volumes of this series are true classics of fantasy literature but at some point after finishing A Storm of Swords George seems to have completely lost interest in the whole project.

So he spent five long years writing A Feast For Crows which failed to advance the plot line in any serious way and six more to bring out a Dance for Dragons which does absolutely nothing as well other than to verify that yes he has indeed lost his mojo and presents us with a bunch of clumsily contrived cliffhangers that it is actually quite hard to care about any more.

And I really do believe that it was only the pressure from his agent and publisher to get something out to coincide with the TV show that forced him to complete it at all.

So at his present rate of productivity (he has recently boasted of writing 200 pages of the next volume over the last two years - although it appears that at least half of these are chapters he 'd already written for a ADWD but was forced to cut at the last minute as despite spending six years on it he was unable to deliver a manuscript of the size contracted for) we shouldn't be disappointed by the next volume until at least 2025 and the last one by 2040 - by which time a lot of us will be dead.

Sure GRRM doesn't owe us anything but after a certain point you can't help but question how a writer and publisher can expect us to invest so much time and money in a series that will almost certainly never be finished.


Monty Python's Flying Circus - The Complete Boxset [DVD] [1969] [2008]
Monty Python's Flying Circus - The Complete Boxset [DVD] [1969] [2008]
Dvd ~ Graham Chapman
Offered by Top of the Charts
Price: 15.99

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for content 1 star for packaging, 10 Jan 2012
If you are an old fan then the contents will need no review

Howvever the packaging is the worst I have ever seen for a boxset: looks nice but the discs cannot be removed from the slipcase without breaking it - and you may well snap or damage a disc in the process.

Really does appear to have been designed by someone who has never actually seen an actual DVD box.

Also no paper list of episodes and extras whatsoever.

Complete fail on presentation.


Shure SE115 Sound Isolating Earphones - Headphones (in-ear ear-bud) - Black
Shure SE115 Sound Isolating Earphones - Headphones (in-ear ear-bud) - Black

3.0 out of 5 stars Superb sound - but too fragile for everyday use., 13 Nov 2011
I've owned two sets of these and found them to be by far the best headphones I've ever owned (and I must have owned several dozen over the last 30-odd years) in terms of audio quality per pound spent.

But unless you are the sort of person who carefully unplugs their headphones and returns them to a padded case every time you finish listening (or money is no object) they are probably not for you.

If like me you leave them hanging around your neck while you go walking and absent mindedly stuff them and your ipod into a coat pocket or bag, you may find them to be ridiculously fragile - and while I can accept replacing a 9.99 or 14.99 pair of earphones every few months with equanimity, at 60+ a go these are too expensive.

Having said this it may be worth looking at the vendor replacement terms - if I could find a pair from someone who replaces with no questions asked within a year (as amazon have done with other broken gear) I'd certainly consider buying a third pair.


Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich (Oxford Paperbacks)
Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich (Oxford Paperbacks)
by Omer Bartov
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable, 17 Jun 2005
Up until the 1970's the view of the Wehrmacht as by and large honourable soldiers was rarely challenged in the west.
Only in the last couple of decades have scholars like Bartov chipped away at this myth by analysing the great mass of photographs, letters and diaries that show ordinary Wehrmacht soldiers enthusiastically participating in atrocities, while documentary evidence from higher up the command chain has illustrated the degree to which the army was intimately involved at every level in genocide.
Of particular value in this respect is the Federal Republic's official history Germany in the Second World which is still being published (although the extortionate price of these volumes means you'll never see them outside of a university library).
Bartov's distinctive contribution is to not just document the degree to which the Wehrmacht was indoctrinated and behaved as Hitler's Army but to ask how this impacted on its miltary effectiveness.
While modern military historians tend to see the maintenance of small unit cohesion as central to combat effectiveness (i.e. soldiers do what they do not primarily out of patriotism or hatred of the enemy but 'for their mates'), any analysis of German casualty rates in the eastern front indicates that personnel turnover was far too fast for small unit cohesion to be maintained.
However as the fighting qualities of the Wehrmacht remained extrordinarily high right up to the end some other explanation is required.
For Bartov the key is Nazi ideology - most Germans of military age in 1943 had spent a decade undergoing intensive indoctrination and had in many if not all cases thoroughly internalised the values of the Third Reich and behaved accordingly.
To back up the ideology a savage military discipline stepped in with thousands of German soldiers being shot for disciplinary offences that in the US or British armies would earn only a few days in the stockade.
However German soldiers while they could be executed for dozing off on guard or overstaying a leave were almost never punished for crimes against civilians in the occupied east and effectively encouraged to murder and plunder to their heart's content (rape though not unknown, was frowned upon for racial reasons).
This led even the best amongst them into a state of uneasy complicity with the worst - fully aware of their criminality and expecting to be treated similarly by the enemy, German soldiers had little choice but to fight to the bitter end.
The sort of people who collect books glorifying 'SS panzer aces' clearly find such evidence disquieting and would rather it was swept back under the carpet.


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