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Shakespeare's Kings
Shakespeare's Kings
by John Julius Norwich
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flawed account, 10 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Shakespeare's Kings (Paperback)
The premise of this book is that Shakespeare didn't always stick to the facts of history and John Julius Norwich sets out to show exactly where he parts company from 'The Truth'. The account of the historical period covered by Shakespeare is entertaining, engaging and fascinating; the problem for me is that the author should have stopped there - if he had, Shakespeare's Kings could have become a standard source for anyone reading or writing about the history plays. Unfortunately there are long passages in which Norwich attempts to pick his way through the plays with a history book in his other hand. Many people think that Shakespeare is historically accurate and there is much merit in the task of proving them wrong but it is the manner of the proving to which I take exception. There is a smugness about the way in which Norwich 'corrects' Shakespeare, as if Henry V or Richard III would have been much better if he had been at Shakespeare's side with helpful comments about the veracity of his battle scenes. This is perhaps unfair - the author does make a point, especially at the end of admitting that the resulting drama is worth the departure from fact but, for me this is too little and too late - he can't hide his enjoyment at proving Shakespeare wrong and no-one likes a smart Alec.


The Music of St  Paul's
The Music of St Paul's
Price: £6.50

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect spiritual relaxation, 10 Mar. 2003
This review is from: The Music of St Paul's (Audio CD)
This recording is the perfect introduction to a wide range of sacred choral pieces. The performances are great; especially the ethereal rendition of 'The Lord is my Shepherd', the glorious 'I Was Glad' and the mesmerising Evening Service in C by Stanford - the Nunc Dimittis is outstanding. This CD is a wonderful accompaniment to a relaxed Sunday afternoon - pour yourself a cup of coffee (or better still a large glass of red wine), surround yourself with the Sunday papers, sit back, put on this CD and enjoy!


On the Road
On the Road
by Scott Donaldson
Edition: Paperback

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Self-indulgent ramblings, 5 Mar. 2003
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
It's fashionable to say that On the Road is a life-changing book with its experential take on popular culture. I read this book because I was going through a phase of reading stuff I 'should have read' - I was not impressed; I found On the Road really dry, and repetitive. Don't get me wrong - at times passages of Kerouac's prose read more like poetry and are truly evocative but in general this was one or two ideas drawn out over far too many words and pages. On the road? On yer bike.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2010 1:20 PM GMT


The Music of St  Paul's
The Music of St Paul's
Price: £6.50

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peace and tranquility, 5 Mar. 2003
This review is from: The Music of St Paul's (Audio CD)
This is a perfect introduction to a range of sacred choral works. The performances are inspiring; particularly the ethereal setting of 'The Lord Is My Shepherd' and the glorious Stanford Evening Service in C: the Nunc Dimittis is sublime. This CD is perfect for relaxing to on a Sunday afternoon with a large glass of red wine in your hand and the Sunday papers spread around you.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2010 8:01 PM BST


Wind And Wuthering
Wind And Wuthering

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, 3 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Wind And Wuthering (Audio CD)
This is, put simply, the best rock album I have ever heard. Most people discuss the orchestral sweep, the mastery of One for the Vine etc etc; I want to put in a case for Blood on the Rooftops as one of the most surprisingly moving rock songs ever written. The unlikely writing partnership of Phil Collins and Steve Hackett pays off with an unusual and devastating result: this song and this album should be played in schools to teach the youth of today what music is!


Shakespeare's Kings
Shakespeare's Kings
by John Julius Norwich
Edition: Paperback

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed account, 3 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Shakespeare's Kings (Paperback)
There is no doubt that John Julius Norwich knows his history. The problem with this book is that he seems intent on continual, slightly smug references to the fact that he knows his history even better than Shakespeare. The historical account of one of the most intriguing and bloody passages in English history is lucid, fascinating and extremely readable; the problem lies with the parts where the author attempts to view Shakespeare's plays in the light of historical truth. Any student of Shakespeare and his source material will know that he relied on few historical texts and bent and shaped them to his own purposes with relish and skill. The trouble is that Norwich always seems to be taking a small amount of pleasure in cleverly pointing out where the Bard got it wrong: if only Shakespeare had had John Julius Norwich over his shoulder when writing Henry V, just imagine how much better the play could have been! This is probably overly harsh on a book which I enjoyed reading in the main. If the account had stuck to the straightforward historical backround to the plays, it could have proved to be a standard for all students and lovers of Shakespeare; as it is, the attempts at literary analysis let it down.


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