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R Howard (London)

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War for Africa: 12 Months That Transformed a Continent
War for Africa: 12 Months That Transformed a Continent
by Fred Bridgland
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars First Class, 10 Jun 2011
This is a superb history of the 'War for Africa' 1987-89. The story is in itself very important, because it was instrumental in determining not just the future of Southern Africa - apartheid in particular- but in Cold War relations in general. Bridgland does it brilliantly, with a gripping text full of human character, vivid descriptions of places, situations and people. It is not a blow by blow account, although the author does interweave all the right amount of detail with the human element. Photos and illustrations add a lot to the text. All in all,a brilliant account of the conflict.


Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45
Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45
by Max Hastings
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 31 May 2008
This is Hastings at his best. He tells the story in typical gripping fashion, and his use of eyewitness accounts helps give the reader a true 'feel' for what it was like to be there. Even for someone who thinks they've read too much about WW2 (as I felt I did before I started this book), this book is recommended. Great stuff, and I really enjoyed reading it.


Sacred Causes: Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to Al Qaeda
Sacred Causes: Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to Al Qaeda
by Michael Burleigh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated??, 29 May 2008
Am I alone in thinking that this title is overrated by the critics? I found it very turgid and heavy going. The author seemed to be relying upon bombarding the reader with vast amounts of info at the expense of clear, incisive, interesting and original THOUGHT. Maybe it's just me who thinks this...


The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History
The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History
by Philip Bobbitt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.47

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Convoluted!, 24 May 2008
I bought this book on the strength of glowing reviews I'd read. Frankly I wish I hadn't wasted the money. Its thesis and writing style is highly convoluted- so much so that I suspect a lot of reviewers have failed to understand it and just given the author the benefit of the doubt as some sort of genius. If I get the central point, then he hugely exaggerates the demise of the nation state and the role of his "market state", whatever that is. "Terrorism" is not defined. Text full of historical errors. The book struck me as essentially an unconvincing ego trip by someone with vast knowledge. But if you want to take a look, get it out of the library first before spending money and don't let all those glowing reviews sway you. Really, please don't.


Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D. Levitt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Grossly Overrated, 28 Oct 2007
Like some of the other reviewers, I started this book with very high expectations. I was quickly disappointed. The authors' "theories" are really just 1) assertions of social phenomena 2) explanations and/or contexts of how they arose; 3) a connection between 1) and 2) is then asserted in as audacious and provocative a way as possible. Nothing in this book struck me as any more path-breaking than saying a) there's someone lying in the ditch over there in New York b) a bottle of wine was once produced in France and c) hey presto! there's a connection between a) and b) because the man in the ditch had drunk the bottle of wine!
This book says a lot about the importance of getting a lot of marketing with a catchy title that intrigues a would-be reader and authors who make the most of their academic reputations.


Don't Ever Tell: Kathy's Story: A True Tale of a Childhood Destroyed by Neglect and Fear
Don't Ever Tell: Kathy's Story: A True Tale of a Childhood Destroyed by Neglect and Fear
by Kathy O'Beirne
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 6.99

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How much of this is true?, 15 July 2007
If you do have to read this book, stand back and ask yourself how much is true...


Childhood Interrupted: Growing up under the cruel regime of the Sisters of Mercy
Childhood Interrupted: Growing up under the cruel regime of the Sisters of Mercy
by Kathleen O'Malley
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and Genuine, 21 Dec 2006
This is by any standards a touching and well-written story, one that is hard to put down. It is written without the sense of self-pity that characterises other similar stories. Anyone who read it would not doubt the author's absolute sincerity (which struck me as a complete contrast with one other work on the same issue). My only criticism of this book is that it lacks a certain moral flavour: it would be nice if at the end of the book the author speculated on (for example) how and why the Industrial School system lasted so long and what that longetivity says about the national characteristics of the Irish, or how and why some personality types submitted to the cruelty of the schools' regime. But certainly five stars!


The Feather Men
The Feather Men
by Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and Generally Convincing, 20 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Feather Men (Hardcover)
This is by any standards a gripping and very well written story. Before you start reading make sure you have time to spare because you won't easily put it down. The prose and pace is second to none, and the twist at the end astonishing.

On the whole the story is quite convincing, although there are a few details where I suspect the author has probably had to take too much on trust, or else had to fill in some gaps (an example is towards the very end, when we read about two phone calls being made to the same publicity agent about the same book; or the coincidence of David Mason leaving a target's home just as two "policemen" arrive- just can't quite believe it). But otherwise quite convincing. Very powerful stuff, and as another reviewer has said, it has an eery sensation for those who can remember some of the events. Gives a glimpse into the shadowy world of special forces and mercenaries etc.


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