Profile for amateur historian > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by amateur historian
Top Reviewer Ranking: 389,632
Helpful Votes: 196

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
amateur historian

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
by S. C. Gwynne
Edition: Hardcover

81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist History of the Commanche, 9 Aug 2010
This is a truly excellent book that is well researched, easy to read, and that pulls no punches about the expansion of the Commanche empire and its inevitable collision with the expending United States in the mid 19th century.

If you believe that the Native Americans/Indians/Human Beings/The People were the lentil eating 'hippies' that they have been protrayed as for the past forty years you won't be comfortable with this book. The Commanches murdered, gang raped and stole from Anglos, Hispanics and their fellow Native Amercicans without fear or favour for approximately 200 years. In the process they created a massive empire across what is now Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas displacing thousands of their fellow Native Americans to less hospitable lands in the process. S C Gywnne documents this about as thoroughly as we now can. He then moves on to their relations with the Spanish, Mexicans and Americans. This era is better documented and Gynne relates a war that was red in tooth and claw on both sides, culminating in a series of treaties which neither side seems to have had any intention of adhering to.

Interwoven with this narrative are the stories of Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker. Cynthia Ann was abducted by the Commanches at the age of nine and became fully assimilated into their culture. So much so that one she was 'rescued' with her daughter 23 years later she wasunable to re-enter white society and both mother and daughter died within a few years. The fact that they were both treated as a 19th centuruy freak show seems to have accelerated this procress. Son Quanah on the other hand was far more successful. Born a Commanche he wasa successful war chief and after the collapse of their culture became asuccessful businessman, philanthropist and politicician.

An excellent book. Buy it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 19, 2012 9:05 PM BST


The Forgotten Battle of 1066: Fulford
The Forgotten Battle of 1066: Fulford
by Charles Jones
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.37

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An alternative view of 1066, 22 July 2010
This is an excellent book that is well worth the money. It concentrates, as you would expect, on the Viking element of 1066. In this book William the Bastard is a bit player. Jones concentrates instead on the Godwinsons, Harald Hardrada and Tostig. The first four chapters tell you how the protagonists found themselves at Fulford. The next two provide the best description of the battle I have ever read. The last chapter is a postscript telling you what happened to the survivors of Fulford.

Jones has used the major sources of the period, a detailed geographical analysis of the ground snd the experience of renactors, to reconstruct the battle. I have read many books on the events of 1066 - including most of those in Jones' bibliography - and for the first time Fulford makes senses to me. This battle was not a case of Edwin and Morcar giving battle too soon because they were too arrogant to wait for their brother-in-law Harold II. This was a case of two able commanders being outmanouvered both stratgeically and tactically by (possibly) the greatest general of the 11th century -Harald Hardrada. Jones also raises the point that if it were not for the shady machinations of Tostig, 1066 might have had a very different outcome.

If you are at all interested in 11th century English history, or the Norman Conquest buy this book!


Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy
Cromwell: An Honourable Enemy
by Tom Reilly
Edition: Paperback

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long, long overdue, 18 Feb 2010
It is true that this book is in some respects slightly flawed. Reilly's style is a bit quirky, some may even describe it as amateurish. BUT he has had the courage to open a debate that the "professional" historians - both English and Irish - have shied away from for 350 years. Sadly when you rock the boat you are vilified for it. Which is why "professional" academics seldom do it. They have too much too lose.

I do not intend to dissect the book - too many reviewers have already done that above. Some should be ashamed of the comments they have made. They say more about the reviewers' bigotry than Reilly's scholarship. Instead I urge you, if you have an interest in: the English Civil; Cromwell; or Irish history; to read this book with an open mind. I found Reilly's scholarship
compelling and a breath of fresh air in a debate that has been stifled for far too long.


Hannibal's Army
Hannibal's Army
by Ian Stephenson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hannibal's army, 9 Feb 2009
This review is from: Hannibal's Army (Paperback)
This was a bit dry and academic. I also own the Osprey title on the Cathaginian Wars and unless you are a dedicated historian that is probably the better buy. There is a very intereesting chapter on the recruitment of Hannibal's army but most of the other material has been covered elsewhere. In my opinion the artwork and photographs were of poor quality and nowhere near the standard set by Osprey.


John Wayne Box Set [DVD]
John Wayne Box Set [DVD]
Dvd ~ Montgomery Clift

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Wayne package, 9 Feb 2009
This review is from: John Wayne Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent value if you want to build up your JW collection ior replace old videos. Excellent service from Amazon


Civil War Firearms: Their Historical Background and Tactical Use
Civil War Firearms: Their Historical Background and Tactical Use
by Joseph G. Bilby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Civil war firearmd, 17 Jan 2009
A very good book which covers the use of all the major firearms used in the ACW and their effects on tactics and the major engagements. It debunks the myths about the enhanced lethality of the rifled musket and also gives a lot of very useful background on the firearms developments made by the French and British armies between 1815 and 1861. It will help,however, if you have some knowledge of the working of the various fireams in use in the ACW. There are some very good sections on the modern replicas available to black powder shooters and re-enactors which I think they will find useful. I have one minor concern. Some of the information in the book is covered in Bilby's other work Weapons at Gettysburg. My own, totally subjective feeling, is that if you are on a limited budget, shooters/re-enactors should buy this book, academics should buy the work on the Gettysburg. If money is no problem buy both.


Small Arms at Gettysburg: Infantry and Cavalry Weapons in America's Greatest Battle
Small Arms at Gettysburg: Infantry and Cavalry Weapons in America's Greatest Battle
by Joseph G. Bilby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars weapons at Gettysburg, 17 Jan 2009
An excellent book which covers the use of all the small arms and edged weapons at Gettysburg. It corrects several myths about the enhanced killing power of the rifled musket and gives due credit to the effectiveness of smoothbores - still in significant use at Gettyburg - and breechloading carbines. It also gives a great deal of detail about the musketry developments carried out by the British and French between 18125 and 1861. It would be helpful if the reader has a basic knowledge of the workings of the various firearms, both muzzle and breechloading. covered by the book. Due to this it is probably not a book for the complete novice but if you know a little bit about the firearms of the period buy this. It will greatly increase your knowledge of the weapons used and their impact both on tactics of the period and the major engagements of the war.


The Battle: A New History of the Battle of Waterloo
The Battle: A New History of the Battle of Waterloo
by Alessandro Barbero
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waterloo - the battlr, 17 July 2008
Excellent. Well researched. Very comprehensive. Totally unbiased. For the first time I have been made aware of the contribution and extreme gallantry of the other European contingents in Wellington's army. The book also highlights the Prussian contribution to the victory. WAterloo was "a near run thing" and this book shos why in a way that no other work on this subject (that I have read) has done. If you are remotely interested in the battle of Waterloo buy this book.


The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation
The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation
by Ian Mortimer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edward III:The Perfect King?, 3 Mar 2008
Being brought up firmly in the school of Edward II -Berkeley Castle - red hot poker in places that made teenage scholars snigger, I approached this book with a great deal of caution. I have to say that Mortimer has made acompelling case for the survival of Edward II, which I personally can go along with. Even if you don't agree with this thesis you should still buy this book if you are interested in: the Fourteenth Century, Edward III, the Hundred Years War. Mortimer takes Edward from vulnerable youth, through warrior king, to manipulated old man, In my opinion this will be the definitive work on Edward III for many years to come. Well written, copiously researched, brilliant, so buy it!


Zulu
Zulu
by Saul David
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Zulu - Too much revision?, 29 Feb 2008
This review is from: Zulu (Paperback)
I am sorry but I cannot agree that this work provides the "definitive" account of the Zulu War. It is a useful revisionist "take" on the conflict but in seeking to expose the cowardice and venality of a few Dr David has ignored the courage and self-sacrifice of the many - both black and white. The work reads as a very hurried piece and many of David's statements do not "square" (in my opinion) with those of other researchers. If you are a keen student of the Zulu War you will probably want to buy this book. You should read it in conjunction with the rest of your Zulu War library and make a balanced comparision/judgement as you read.

If you want to buy a single volume, well researched and totally fair assessent of this sad conflict, buy "The Washing of the Spears" by Donald R Morris. This remains - for me at least - the definitive one volume study of this war.


Page: 1