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Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin
Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin
by Timothy Snyder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A proper history book, 30 Sep 2013
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Clearly the product of many years spent in the archives, this book has a fantastic Notes and Bibliography section that refers you to the source material that supports the text, it must have taken and awful long time to prepare it in that level of detail. I'm not really fit to judge but I'd say this book sets the bar for history books and how they should be written. I've read another book by Timothy Snyder: The Red Prince that's equally good.


The Wolf's Lair: Inside Hitler's Germany
The Wolf's Lair: Inside Hitler's Germany

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice little vignettes, 30 Sep 2013
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Nice little book for reading in chunks on the commute. Interesting little vignettes about the planning of a rebuilt megacity of Berlin and a macabre series of serial killings. Maybe lets the people of Berlin get off a little light with what they knew or didn't know about the holocaust and the industrial scale murder perpetrated in the east. Did you ever bump into one of your teachers or university professors, family doctor, dentist in the street? Now imagine that happened again, only he is half is former weight and sporting a cough that would keep you in bed for a week, add to that he is being forced to shovel snow, add to that you went to a house clearance and managed to buy his Bang and Olufsen stereo for the price of a Bush transistor and you get the real picture about what people might have known. Victor Klemperer diaries are a fascinating insight into that world.


Practical Vim: Edit Text at the Speed of Thought (Pragmatic Programmers)
Practical Vim: Edit Text at the Speed of Thought (Pragmatic Programmers)
by Drew Neil
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Developers who want serious vim chops should buy this book, 7 Dec 2012
I've been getting to grips with vi and vim for something over 20 years now and Drew Neil's excellent Vimcast series of free podcasts made me want to buy the book. Drew's enthusiasm and expertise are clear in the podcasts and it's made the transfer to the book too. This book works well as a reference and if you are only going to buy one book on vim then this is a good one to have and will serve you very well, the tips work well as things to learn when you have a few minutes to spare and if you have more time to spend it's a great reference that explains the how and why of vim also.


The Python Standard Library by Example (Developer's Library)
The Python Standard Library by Example (Developer's Library)
by Doug Hellmann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £38.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended. Buy it now!, 15 April 2012
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For the generalist this is the one python book you should own. Where Perl has the CPAN, python has its standard library. Get familiar with this book and you'll save yourself a lot of time. Lot's of things you'll need to do on a regular basis are a part of the standard library for exactly that reason. Mr Hellman has done an awesome job of writing a succinct little example for just about every corner of it's standard library.

This book reminds me of other "Magnum Opus" type works like PC Intern, Programming Perl and the Stevens TCP/IP books and like those books it's a reference book that will stand good for many years.


The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The History of the Wartime Codebreaking Centre by the Men and Women Who Were There
The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The History of the Wartime Codebreaking Centre by the Men and Women Who Were There
by Sinclair McKay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

9 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars trash!, 29 Jan 2012
I struggled through this book all the way to page 192 of 322 where Fasson and Grazier were "posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross" for recovering the enigma machine from U-559. At this point I took the book outside and set fire to it. I did not find Fasson and Grazier on any list of V.C. recipients (the reason for that is that they were awarded the George Cross) and that indicates a level of basic fact checking that has not been applied to this book. That's unfair of me I know, this book is a general history aimed at the general reader so quite why Mr Sinclair writes on page 39 about how excited the academic world was about Mr. Knox's discovery and how it was "as if Aristotle's Second Book of Poetics had been found." Well as a general reader I didn't know that Aristotle had written a second book of poetics even less that the careless fool had lost it. Titillation/speculation about Mr. Knox selecting nubile society fillies to work in his stable got boring in the first chapter but it's mentioned again at the end of chapter 6 then that's contrasted with "the possibility that Knox had somehow found that women had greater aptitude ....". Somehow? Somehow? Perhaps it's escaped Mr Sinclair that there was a war taking place and that by and large the men were off fighting it?

Unfortunately, I had to give this book one star as you can't review it with 0 stars. 1 star would indicate it has some merit. It has none.

If you want the technical story of Bletchley Park you might enjoy: Colossus: The secrets of Bletchley Park's code-breaking computers or if you want to read about the incredible strategic influence the work of those at Bletchley then F.W. Winterbotham's The Ultra Secret: The Inside Story of Operation Ultra, Bletchley Park and Enigma
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2012 12:58 PM BST


Fireborn (Flaxfield Quartet)
Fireborn (Flaxfield Quartet)
by Toby Forward
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first and the first was really good, 17 Jan 2012
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My 8 year old boy loved Dragonborn: The Flaxfield Quartet. Volume I, so we quickly ordered ordered this book Fireborn and thought it even better than the first. Highly recommended. Better than Harry Potter in my opinion!


First Blitz
First Blitz
by Neil Hanson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Blitz: My opinion, 3 Aug 2011
This review is from: First Blitz (Paperback)
I was always under the impression that the German bombing strategy of the first world war consisted of not much more than monocled Prussian aristocrasts hefting anvils out of zeppelins. This book shows the extent of my ignorance. Hanson's work is a thoroughly researched piece about the german plan to kill London with fire, detailed explanations of what went wrong and right both with the German plan and the British reponse, great personal courage, incompetent government, buffoons pretending to be generals, demands for vicious reprisals from the vulgar press. There are lots of human stories which I thought brought the book to life.
I highly recommended this book.


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