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L. F. Dutton
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The Daughters of Mars
The Daughters of Mars
Price: 4.31

5.0 out of 5 stars T K at his best, 29 Mar 2014
What a wonderful book.

It's speads from countryside Austrlalia, to Egypy, Gallipoli and then the Western Front. His wrting and prose are a simply magic and the depth of his characters profound.

The battles are hardly mentioned by name but we are taken to them in the results of those battles and their horrific impact on the hospital ships and the rear and field hospitals. Medical treatment and its detail is incredible.

Beautifuly researched and written.

In this the year of the 100th Anniversary of the start of the War to End All Wars this is one book not to miss.


The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Price: 3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply very good read, 3 Mar 2014
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For me the combination of Japan, the Dutch East India Co and English scullduggery were three things I could not resist as I have been fascinated by Japan for many years and lived there for two.

Historically an interesring period which would eventually lead to Perry's Black Ships cracking open Japan to a wider group of traders and of course Japan sending out its own people to study technology overseas. Something the Chinese failed to do.

In this time Japan still kept foreigners at bay and it was still the period of the Shoguns, the clash of cultures was immense and Mitchell reveals this in his prose.

Read from cover to cover in a few days!


Astronomy with Small Telescopes: Up to 5-inch, 125mm: Up to 5-inch, 125 Mm (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)
Astronomy with Small Telescopes: Up to 5-inch, 125mm: Up to 5-inch, 125 Mm (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)
Price: 29.17

2.0 out of 5 stars Out of date and expensive even as a Kindle edition., 3 Mar 2014
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I bought this on impulse as was looking at buying a 102 or120mm short tube refractor.

When I was looking at some more upmarket lenses I bought the Springer book on telescope lenses and it proved very valuable. I have Tonkin’s book on Binoculars and Binocular Astronomy which is excellent.

I am sorry to say in this case this buy was an expensive poor impulse. The Kindle edition costs 26 and is just not worth it, further it was written in 1997 and updated in 2001. So well out of date with the developments of the last 13 years in telescope and camera technology.

There are a few good nuggets of information on focal lengths and what EP’s work best with them but with regards astrophotography it still refers to actual film rather than digital. One would have thought for the price tag they might have updated the book.

The images used are grainy and of poor quality as is the text.

So my advice, if you want to buy look for a second hand edition at a knock down price in a second hand bookshop.
Rating 4/10


Poseidon: China's Secret Salvage of Britain's Lost Submarine
Poseidon: China's Secret Salvage of Britain's Lost Submarine
by Steven Schwankert
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 27.50

2.0 out of 5 stars OK but not riveting, 24 Jan 2014
Poseidon: China's Secret Salvage of Britian's Lost Submarine by Steven R Schwankert.

Picked this up on a business trip from Shanghai to Singapore. I was intriuged about the title. As an ex-submariner I am always interested in new titles and histories.

Not a bad book but not a great book. There is a lot about the loss of the Poseidon when she was struck by a merchant ship of Weihaiwei in Shangdong province in 1931. The author also claims to have found a cemetary at Weihaiweibut never been inside.

It is a bit like one of those Discovery/History channel doco's, lots of build up but little substance. Hardly on a level with the US recovery of the Whisky class boat using Glomar Explorer...

The actual salvage only has detail from an old magazine article and nothing else. Even today the Chinese authorities would rather bury the Cultural Revolution. They only salvaged the boat for the scrap metal in 1972...

So a bit of a disapointing book about what could have been a more interesting story, it will fill a small space in my library of submarine related books.


Hunter Killers: The Dramatic Untold Story of the Cold War Beneath the Waves
Hunter Killers: The Dramatic Untold Story of the Cold War Beneath the Waves
by Iain Ballantyne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.40

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read on modern submarine ops, 18 Dec 2013
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A well written and researched book with few errors. Some great interviews and like others who have reviewed the book and like me were on cold war op's on hunter killers the background makes more sense of the foreground we were involved in.

Cold war patrols were never fun but the professionalism of the crews on RN Submarines was second to none, the captains the best in the world. They got us in and out in one piece. This books tells those stories beautifully. It also goes to explain why submariners will always be submariners even 30 years after leaving the mob.


Choosing and Using a Dobsonian Telescope (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)
Choosing and Using a Dobsonian Telescope (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)

4.0 out of 5 stars If you are buying a Dob consider buying this..., 10 Nov 2013
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Choosing and Using a Dobsonian Telescope
Neil English. Published by Springer (Kindle edition)

The reason for buying this book are that I am considering buying a Dob’ sometime in the next 12 months and wanted to prepare for this and understand more about these types of telescopes.

Recently I bought the Springer edition book on eye pieces for the same reason and it certainly helped when I bought some more up market EP’s.

Even the Kindle editions of these books are not particularly cheap but as I live overseas I get them more or less instantly and do not pay postage which would add another 15-20 to China.

I have not seen the hard copy edition of this book.

The book is well presented and each chapter covers a different aspect from the history of the Dob’s to what accessories that might or should be considered along with the purchase of the Dob’ itself.

There is an excellent technical section on the design and manufacture of the mirrors, Strehl numbers, F ratios and how they can work for or against you and the magnifications you intend to use.

A large part of the book is dedicated to the products from various Dob’ manufacturers and works up from the small apertures to the 10 – 12’’ and beyond, plus a section on the custom design and massive OTA’s. The author has also taken time to include user reviews by people who have bought and used the various designs. This was useful.

All in all a very good book and one I will re-read over the next months. The Kindle edition is semi searchable (I am reading it on a Samsung Galaxy 10.1) and all the images are present, however some of the photos, images of Dob’s in the dark in a garden do not really work. More care could have been taken.

Another annoyance for me was that each chapter begins with and abstract which then immediately repeats itself, so more care could have been taken in editing.

Value for money: 8/10
Relevance: 9/10


Choosing and Using Astronomical Eyepieces (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)
Choosing and Using Astronomical Eyepieces (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)
Price: 27.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth buying...essential reading if you think you know eye pieces., 3 Nov 2013
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I bought the Kindle edition, I was initially a little concerned as not all Kindle books read well. This version is great, all images are present and is semi searchable.

I bought the book as I was about to spend some serious money on some eye pieces, this was money well spent and I bought knowingly.

It is a technical book and there is some maths to absorb as well as a bit of physics and optics. But the effort is well worth it.

The historical development of the lens types is well dealt with and a good read on its own. The considerations raised about lens types are also very good. The author speaks well about the pluses and minuses of lens designs, so well that I might even consider using a Kellner in the right situation.

The final section on the makers and types of lenses both current and no longer produced makes this book even more useful, especially if you happen to be looking at second hand lenses that are no longer in production.


Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas
Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas
Price: 6.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor kindle edition lets this good book down, 17 Sep 2013
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Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas

I am only giving this 2 stars.

If I had the hardback it would be 5 stars.

Why o why do the kindle editions come out so poorly?

The star charts are hard to read and you cannot expand (at least not on my Samsung tablet) to read them.

So do not download the kindle edition until they make some changes to make it readable.


Celestron Astromaster 90EQ Telescope
Celestron Astromaster 90EQ Telescope
Price: 138.31

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good value package...with limitations, 7 May 2013
I have this 'scope and a Celestron 6 SE.

This scope is good for the brighter planets and lunar observing. It is also OK for the brighter DSO's. The OTA optics are of very good quality.

The EQ mount is rigid enough but care needs to be taken when focusing as you do get some wobbles with the long tube.

It is quick to set up and no alignment is needed apart from setting the mount to point correctly to the celestial pole.

I rated it 3/5 because

1. The finder scope is rubbish, hard to set up so it is in-line with the OTA and harder to use. Even the red dot finder on the 6SE is better and I do not really like that either.

2. The star diagonal provided is of very low quality, better to upgrade this as star diagonals are reasonably cheap

As others have said, it is not a toy scope, it is a useful one with a good apeture allowing someone to get started into astronomy.


Digital SLR Astrophotography (Practical Amateur Astronomy)
Digital SLR Astrophotography (Practical Amateur Astronomy)
by Michael A. Covington
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading..., 1 Feb 2013
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I have just come back to astronomy after many years and things have certainly moved on. 40 years ago astrophotography was limited to those with access to the big 'scopes and decent developing systems. The digital camera has changed it all.

I am still working my way through this book, but I have tried some of the ideas Covington discusses....and they work.

The book is well written for both beginner and advanced. The explanations are clear and precise and they review different approaches. They also review why some of the cameras have developed their various formats and technologies.

The book is written around the use of a Cannon EOS and the Nikon, but do not let that put you off. For me it is great as I use an older Cannon 400D but the ideas can be applied to any camera.

The software section is also very good. How to handle digital images to get the best out of them, again with clear explanations.

If you are interested in trying astrophotography then buy this book.


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