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Mastering the "Art of War" (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
Mastering the "Art of War" (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
by Liu Ji
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chinese classic, 5 Jan 2006
Not only is this volume a great companion for those who have read the Art of War (Sun Tzu) but also for any one intrested in Chinese war over a wider period.
The volume has good introduction setting the work in context with the art of war and other books such as the I Ching. The introduction also gives a history of its two writers and their careers.
The actual books are packed with examples of the sucsesfull aplication of the art of war and were failiures have occured that were needless.
All in all a must read for any one who has read the art of war or is intrested in Chinese history.


Papillon
Papillon
by Henri Charrière
Edition: Paperback

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the film, 7 Feb 2004
This review is from: Papillon (Paperback)
Papillon is the fascinating true story about Henri Charriere who was sent to the infamous prison colony in French Guinea for a murder he didn’t commit. The book reads extremely well and covers Henri’s trial in France, the trip to the prison colony and his time in the colony. During his time at the prison colony Henri serves two stretches in solitary confinement and is eventually put onto Devils Island the supposable inescapable island were he eventually makes his successful escape for freedom. During his time he also makes several escape attempts with varying degrees of success and failure, one in which he is returned to the colony after escaping for a considerable length of time.
Papillon is a very exciting and readable book and has much more detail than the film, which omitted many parts of the story. This is the book for you if you like adventure/ prison stories with a happy ending it is also worth mentioning that Henri Charriere also wrote Banco which is his further adventures after escaping for good though to thoroughly understand this later book reading Papillon is really essential.


A Short History Of Nearly Everything
A Short History Of Nearly Everything
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Universe and physics Bryson style, 31 Aug 2003
A short history of nearly everything is Bills book about everything from the universe to dinosaurs. This is not one of Bryson's laugh a minute books and a interest in science and space is a must (though you don't need to be a scientist or a boffin a general interest is enough) though Bill still makes this book very entertaining and never missies a good story. Weather it be the painstaking and repeated bad look of some of the scientists he discusses (which there are a lot of) or the history of some long running feuds between different scientific fields.
Bryson goes through I great many subjects in this book from the creation of the universe and how old is earth? Too the discovery of parts of particles and earthquakes. The book is made simple enough for the average person and really brings science back to the masses but at the same time is not dumb and patronising a must for all with an interest in science or the universe.


Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
by Dee Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of the west, 27 Aug 2003
This is the second Dee Brown book I have read and is probably the author’s best known work I was spurred on to find this book after stumbling upon Dee Brown’s Hear that lonesome whistle blow. Bury my heart at wounded knee is the story of the wild west from the point of view of the American Indians, in fact Dee points out that America is so often a story looking west but in this book we are asked to look from an American Indian point of view and look at America eastwards.
The book starts off with a brief history of the white men arriving in the New World with the likes of Columbus and Cortes and then soon moves on to the main part of the book which is about the American expansion westwards and the fait of the American Indians. Dee Browns style is a usual very good making good use of facts but not digressing into a boring monologue of dates and narrative, Bury my heart at wounded knee is on the contrary very readable and emotionally involving and makes good use of maps and photographs to add to the readability of the book. Another feature also court my eye and that is that at the start of each chapter is a dated list of events that are going on in the US and in Europe through out the time period that the next chapter will be taking place this is very useful to those of us that are from Europe and helps fit the book into the time period by showing events we are more familiar with from our own histories.
Great read, popular history at its best.


Made In America
Made In America
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.79

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History of American language, 20 Jun 2003
This review is from: Made In America (Paperback)
Made in America was the first of Bills non-travel books that I read. In this book Bryson traces the history of the American language and how modern U.S English has evolved from the British English that the original settlers and immigrants would have spoken. Bill deals with many linguistic theories and looks at many words that come from other languages and are now part of modern U.S English. Bill also looks at other things like why there are so few ascents in America and yet every region in Britain and in fact in most parts of Europe has a distinct ascent.
Along the way Bill also looks at a lot of American history in his usual funny and informative style. Looking at American cinema the history of roads and even the story of Dr Kellogg the inventor of Corn Flakes and it turns out Dr Kellogg was the only crunchy nut. These historic parts of Made in America as well as being very good to read are also essential to the purpose of the book looking how Americans had to come up with new words for there new inventions and contraptions.
All in all a good read historic, funny and informative.


The Road to McCarthy
The Road to McCarthy
by Pete Mccarthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McCarthy visits Europe, Afirica and America!!, 11 Jun 2003
This review is from: The Road to McCarthy (Paperback)
The Road to McCarthy is one of my favourite travel books. Pete manages to fit in Europe, Africa and North America in one book as well as Monserrat which adds interest to the book for those who like to see a bit of contrast in travel writing. This time the book is centred around Pete travelling the world in search of the McCarthy clan similar to in McCarthy’s bar but on a world scale thou don’t worry the book is not repetitive or a rehash of McCarthy’s bar. I think this book is very funny and informative in a cultural and historic way. There are a few jokes that you may be at an advantage to reading McCarthy’s bar first but not so many as to put the reader at a disadvantage if this is your first Pete McCarthy book. The book is well written and is full of action and adventure from roaming round the streets of Tangier being lead by a local guide (nail biting for the reader too!!) to flying into the remote town of McCarthy in Alaska this book never fails to be exciting.
Fun, Exciting, fans of McCarthy’s bar will not be disappointed.


Neither Here, Nor There: Travels in Europe
Neither Here, Nor There: Travels in Europe
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice choice of destinations, 10 Jun 2003
This book is all the usual things Bryson fans have come to expect informative, funny, sarcastic and full of those cross-cultural jokes we love in Britain. Bill starts off in Scandinavia and works his way eventually to Istanbul along the way he goes to many countries some of which I’d have never thought of visiting. Overall travelling in Europe gives Bill the chance to be varied in his style not just having one culture to look at like when he travels bigger countries like the USA and Australia. Travelling with Kats also adds another amusing addition to the book, as you might know if you have read Walk in the Woods and read the bickering and arguments between the two of them. For an amusing look at travelling in Europe this is definitely a good buy whether you’re a Bryson fan or a travel reader this is a nice book.
Funny, Informative and very Bryson


The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.79

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost continent but certainly not a lost writer., 13 April 2003
The Lost Continent is Bills first book but despite being one of his early works it certainly doesn’t lack Brysons classic formula of good taste humour along with a host of facts that you would have never found out but for Bill. The book tours most of the USA though obviously because Bill fitted this into one book and not several it does not include every detail about every sate but has enough detail to let you get into the journey. The book is called The lost Continent because this is the land of Bills birth but after many years of living in England (read Notes From A Small Island) he decides to tour through the places of his childhood this is also a bonus which adds readability to the book. Another interesting twist is that the book is more about small town America than the big destinations such as the Big Apple or LA this really adds depth to the book.
This book is a good book for all who have travelled in the U.S.A as you will be able to relate to the stories. However if you are a Bryson fan you must read this book even if it is the last of his books you have left to read (I cant stress this enough) whilst Brysons work has naturally evolved and matured over the years this book is still a great book and very recognisable as Bryson.
Funny, Informative, most defiantly essential Bryson.


The Prince (Penguin Classics)
The Prince (Penguin Classics)
by Niccolo Machiavelli
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Half historical, half relevant more than a prince of books., 12 April 2003
The prince is one of those books you must read if you have any interest in political motivation of any period. The book set in historic Italy gives Machiavelli's political thoughts on how a prince should conduct him self in political manors such as the military, alliances and the treatment of his citizens. Machiavelli also puts in a chapter on the age old question is it better to be lover of feared (I wont spoil the answer here) In one sense the book is much more relevant to the historian on such maters as the military and treatment of the peasants after all its not often we are confronted whether to hire mercenaries of use the state militia but these points are still very interesting in context. But the book also has lots of points that are relevant today such as Machiavelli's very realist or cynical (that's up to you) methods of gaining and maintaining power. This is a great book if you are interested in political motives and like to look at this in a historical context. The book is also fairly short and readable so if you are new to reading the books you were told "everyone must read" then this is a good starting place (It was for me anyway)
A lot of relevance to be gleamed from history, readable and perhaps will change a few views on life.


Down Under
Down Under
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.29

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bryson's work has matured to a new level, 11 April 2003
This review is from: Down Under (Mass Market Paperback)
Before reading Down Under I was a bit sceptical about reading a travel book on Australia its just one of those places I have never been into but as a Bill Bryson fan I had to read it and I wasn’t disappointed!! Down Under has the usual Bryson trademark humour mixed with good travel knowledge but I think Down Under goes a stage further. Bill manages to get a lot more of Australia’s history into the book and doesn’t make the book become a boring narrative he also addresses a fact that I have not though of and is probably the reason I have never had a passion to read books about Australia. This is that the outside world rarely hears about the country outside of cricket and rugby. Even though a county the size of Australia makes it impossible to get around to everywhere Bill visits enough to write an interesting book with a lot of veriaty in it.
Bryson also deals with many issues on his trail such as immigration the original explorers as well as his own travelling expedition. I would say if you are interested in travel in Australia you should read this book and if you are a Bryson fan then you should buy this book whether you have given thought to Australia before or not.
Great book, funny and informative, Bill Brysons work has matured into a book for everyone I feel.


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