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ivan connolly

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A Man In Love: My Struggle Book 2
A Man In Love: My Struggle Book 2
Price: £5.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Voice of the Northlands, 17 Dec. 2014
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Probably the best contemporary writer. His ability to focus on minute detail and create something that is significantly poignant reminds me of Chekhov at his best. He has an extraordinary ability to talk about those moments from daily life that we all take for granted.


Batavia's Graveyard: The True Story Of The Mad Heretic Who Led History's Bloodiest Mutiny
Batavia's Graveyard: The True Story Of The Mad Heretic Who Led History's Bloodiest Mutiny
by Mike Dash
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Batavia "Dashed" on the rocks, 17 Aug. 2013
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I had high hopes of this book and i was not entirely disappointed. However, I thought it could have been a lot better. There is a very long lead in to the story that explains the religious and political background of the main protagonists Jeronimus and Pelsaert as well as the VOP (Dutch East India company) and provides some context for what was to follow. However, once the author starts to engage with the central theme of the shipwrecking and marooning of its crew and the events that follow it somehow loses its way. It begins to seem as if the author, Dash, true to his name, feels the need to get to the finishing line quickly. While I can understand that there may not have been enough material available to flesh out the account of what happened on those islands it would have been interesting if he had, perhaps offered some psychological insights or perhaps looked at some parallel stories and compared them with the Batavia. Unfortunately, the book, ultimately,n empty feeling especially when tit ends at page 394 with a further 131 pages of notes. There was a lot that was good about this book but overall it failed to live up to expectations.


Empire of the Moghul: Brothers at War
Empire of the Moghul: Brothers at War
by Alex Rutherford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Son of the father, 17 Aug. 2013
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Having just read the first book about the exploits of Babar, his father, I found it slightly difficult to engage with this book, at first. However, as it went on, it was clear that the story of Humayun had as many similarities with his father's story as it had differences. Both suffered early setbacks and betrayals and both lost kingdoms and went close to oblivion, only to rise in triumph which was still tinged by its fair share of tragedy. Rutherford writes well and has a great eel for this particular era and the Moghul dynasty that emerged dominant from it. But like most great dynasties the internal family feuds with siblings and their kin creates as much, if not more, tension that eventually determines who will emerge triumphant. For many of us who grew up in the best the Moghuls were distant and exotic and not particularly influential on our immediate history. Rutherford places them in a context that we can understand and appreciate the scale of their achievement as well as wetting our appetite for more.


Over the Edge of the World
Over the Edge of the World
by Laurence Bergreen
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Magellan and don't forget his amazing crew!, 17 Aug. 2013
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This is a great read for anyone who likes that heady mix of adventure and history combined. Magellan and his crew's exploits were quite remarkable considering the scale of the task they embarked on. His crew were superstitious and often mutinous but somehow they managed to achieve something that had seemed almost impossible. The story is well researched and well told. I found that the author, Bergren, engaged his audience from an early stage and kept the suspense going with lots of interesting insights about these men and their times. He also managed to convey the enormity of the task that they had undertaken and how it compared, for instance, with the moon landings. I recently gave a copy of this book to a friend who is writing a novel about Cook's voyages as I believe it is a must read for anyone reading or writing about great sea journeys.


The Crooked Scythe: An Anthology of Oral History
The Crooked Scythe: An Anthology of Oral History
by George Ewart Evans
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of hardship and humour, 25 Nov. 2012
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Interesting read which recalls many forgotten facts about country life and the difficult times that people experienced in the late Victorian and early twentieth century. I enjoyed the anecdote about the young woman who got a job in service and had to travel "out foreign" to Essex or the head ploughman who "tested" the readiness of the soil for ploughing by dropping his pants and sitting in it . Also the stories about the sheer poverty of the those living off the land who faced near starvation at certain times of the year. This is a simply written book and has no pretensions of being a classic in the literary sense of the word but it is so important, essential, that someone has recorded the traditions and customs of these country folk and their ways. While there is plenty humour in the book the authour is always at pains to remind us of the hardship that the people endured, perhaps best illustrated, by the farm worker who described the four years he spent in the trenches in WW1 as the best years of his life . A very worthwhile read.


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