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Hamstead (UK)
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King John: England, Magna Carta and the Making of a Tyrant
King John: England, Magna Carta and the Making of a Tyrant
by Stephen Church
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good addition to the Ouevre, 20 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
King John has been somewhat neglected by historians. There are a few biographies lurking about, most of them older and W.L. Warren's is still the gold standard. Stephen Church has written about King John before in his excellent work on this king's household knights. Now, however, with the year of Magna Carta lurking on the horizon, the reader is spoiled for choice.
This new biography is an excellent addition to the subject. Stephen Church is even handed in his treatment of John and although the title sensationalises slightly by using the word 'Tyrant' King John in this case is not entirely villified. There are mitigating circumstances and the press of his day get some of the blame. Then again, Church doesn't make him out to be a saint or even a thoroughly decent but misunderstood bloke. He was bad, make no mistake, but bad with nuances, and grey areas.
There's a great bibliography and although there aren't any footnotes, the end notes are well noted and adequate.
My main caveat on reading this largely excellent work was the occasional needless historical error. William Marshal is cited as being in Messina and returning with Walter of Coutances when in fact he never left England's shores during the 3rd crusade. Henry II's burial at Fontevraud is portrayed as something Henry wanted for himself, but we know he actually wanted to be buried at Grandmont. There are one or two other moments that don't hold water either in my view, especially his assessment of the murder of Arthur. John just wasn;t the kind of man to take consultation on such a matter. But of course that's a matter of opinion and an interesting argument. The Messina and Fontevraud moments are matters of solid fact though.
I'd recommend it to anyone wanting an up to date assessment of King John, although personally I am very much looking forward to what Marc Morris has to to say in his new biography of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine's most troubled son.


Nursing Diagnoses - Definitions and Classification 2015-17 (Nanda International)
Nursing Diagnoses - Definitions and Classification 2015-17 (Nanda International)
by NANDA International
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.64

1.0 out of 5 stars Not recommended, 17 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The title 'Nursing Diagnoses Definitions and Classification' leads the reader to believe that it is a book for nurses on how to diagnose conditions. But it is basically a taxonomy, which is not, in my opinion, of much use at all. It is an American book and comes from an American ideology . There is another well known American Publication called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Or DSM for short. It is a list of various mental disorders that get updated and changed decennially. It has been criticised for medicalisation of things that aren't mental disorders and are in fact just human behaviour. What Britain would see as a harmless eccentric who lives a quiet solitary life and hoards things would be diagnosed in the States as having 'antisocial obsessive compulsive social phobic agoraphobia with paranoid schizotypal hoarding tendencies' and ordered to get counselling at $200 an hour for their terrible problem.
This book does the exact same thing, one diagnosis it offers is; 'death anxiety'- “a fear of developing terminal illness, fear of premature death and fear of pain related to dying”. Well who doesn't have that?! Or how to diagnose “ineffective sexuality pattern” (rubbish sex life) I'm not sure how useful it's going to be for an NHS nurse to diagnose the above 'disorders' The book states that its goal is to create a universal language for these conditions so we're all singing off the same hymn sheet, I think that this is unnecessary in the UK as the NHS is one organisation that uses one language. We use the same medical terms whether we're in Kings Trauma centre or in a GP surgery on the Orkney islands. Maybe there is a use for this book in America where every hospital has it's own agenda, policies, procedures and language but for UK based nurses, in my opinion, it is a superfluous publication turning everyday minor issues into serious all consuming and life changing problems.


Sennheiser URBANITE XL Wireless Headphone
Sennheiser URBANITE XL Wireless Headphone
Price: £249.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent piece of kit, 13 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are in constant use in our house. The sound quality is brilliant. I use them for listening to music while doing jobs round the house and the other half nicks them in the evening for his PC gaming. They are comfortable to wear and easy to use. It took me a while to get used to the idea of the volume control on the headphone itself, but once I got the hang of it I was fine. It connected in to my Jawbone speakers and my Nexus tablet without a problem. Not the cheapest on the market but well worth the buy in my (our) opinion.


Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings (Harvard Paperbacks)
Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings (Harvard Paperbacks)
by A Kelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.18

3.0 out of 5 stars Some questionable detail., 4 Jan. 2015
This is a vividly written biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine, a reall page turner. In fact it reads like a novel and that wouldn't be far from the truth in some areas. Historian Ralph Turner (a biographer of Eleanor of Aquitaine himself) has described Kelly as a 'biographer with a colourful imagination' and he's not wrong. Her qualification as a literature scholar rather than a historian have led her to promote the false tales of the courts of love which have now been shown not to have existed. She bases her arguments on assumptions, not proofs. As Michael Evans says in his work 'Inventing Eleanor' 'Amy Kelly is largely responsible for the longevity of the myths of the Courts of Love - which had been challenged as early as 1842' and that the activities of Eleanor and her daughter at the court of Poitiers are 'in a large measure a product of the fertile imagination of Amy Kelly.'
So, read this by all means, but have the salt handy in large pinches and read Inventing Eleanor by Michael Evans for a reality check.


Medieval People: Vivid Lives in a Distant Landscape - From Charlemagne to Piero della Francesca
Medieval People: Vivid Lives in a Distant Landscape - From Charlemagne to Piero della Francesca
by Michael Prestwich
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful overview., 30 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a user friendly all purpose reference book to have on the bookshelf. It covers 69 interesting and varied medieval lives. Each person has around 3 pages dedicated to their story, including illustrations. Characters include Joan of Arc, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Marco Polo, Saladin, Thomas Becket, Margaret of Anjou, Pope Innocent III (the jacket personality). The personalities are wide ranging, although there are only 10 women to 59 men, so the gender balance could have been slightly better. The biographies are skimpy and in broad brush stroke and some of the illustrations are questionable. There's one of Eleanor of Aquitaine from a mural at Chinon, There's no proof it's Eleanor at all and it shouldn't be there stating that it is. If you're an academic it's not going to be much of a meal, but for generally piquing the interest of the wider market it's decent. Rather like Wikipedia, use it as a friendly starting off point and then go deeper if you have need.


Inventing Eleanor: The Medieval and Post-Medieval Image of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Inventing Eleanor: The Medieval and Post-Medieval Image of Eleanor of Aquitaine
by Michael R. Evans
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £59.07

5.0 out of 5 stars It Ain't Necessarily So, 20 Dec. 2014
If you are interested in Eleanor of Aquitaine and have read any of her biographies,(Agnes Strickland, Amy Kelly, Alison Weir, Marion Meade et al) then you should read this one too for a reality check. It may be a tad expensive but it's an absolute must for anyone who thinks they know their Eleanor. What they will find in reading this book is how much detritus has been piled on down the years and that in the words of Porgy and Bess 'It ain't Necessarily So.' Good stuff.


AEG DB6120-U Precision 4 Safety Steam Iron, 0.35 Litre, 2200 Watt
AEG DB6120-U Precision 4 Safety Steam Iron, 0.35 Litre, 2200 Watt
Price: £59.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Good but a couple of design let-downs for the price., 20 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The positive points for this iron is that it has a good feel in handling; it's light, easy to use and it does a lovely job of a batch of ironing.
The main gripe is that for the price of the iron the manufacturer's have been rather too stingy with the flex - 6ft. Our other iron is a Tefal, which is not only almost £20 cheaper, but the flex on that is nearly 3ft longer than this one and they are very similar in performance. With the AEG you have to have your ironing board pretty close to a wall socket in order to reach, and that means it can cramp your style when ironing. The filler cup doesn't fill the reservoir. My husband, the ironer in our house, filled the iron from the tap.
Bottom line - it's a lovely iron in itself in performance, but it will depend on your style of ironing whether you're happy with a short flex. There are irons equally good in this price bracket (or under) that will give you more versatility. I'd have given it a higher rating if it had had that option for the price.


BURBERRY Body Tender for Women Eau de Toilette 35 ml
BURBERRY Body Tender for Women Eau de Toilette 35 ml
Price: £39.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! Interesting and classy, 19 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What an interesting perfume this is.
The initial first notes are floral, feminine and fresh - quite green and refreshing with an almost mandarin undernote. This soon mellows into a rose perfume, but not that Turkish delight sort of rose. This is far more subtle and classy. It reminds me a bit of Eternity but not as loud in the rose department and with more nuance. There's a lemony scent that comes through too and develops more on the skin throughout the day. I put it on about 5 hours ago and the scent now reminds me of the very citrusy Tommy Girl - but again it's a lot more subtle than that. It's the sort of perfume that will take you from day to evening. It's not heavy, but it certainly still makes a statement, and it is grown up.
The bottle has a good weight in the hand and a classy look - almost like one of those shaped tall pieces of rock crystal with angled sides. There's a delicate pink shade to the perfume which suggests femininity but it's not at all a 'girly' perfume. It's confident and classic. Yes, I'd add it to my perfume shelf. In fact I'd probably set aside the Eternity in favour of this one.


Beaphar Spray Away Plus, 400ml
Beaphar Spray Away Plus, 400ml
Price: £5.15

4.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, 12 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's not really a lot to say about this. It does a decent job of removing stains but it's no different to any other carpet stain remover. As it says on the bottle you need to use elbow grease and scrub with the cloth and you can get pretty much the same effect from any quality carpet stain remover. It works well which I guess is the bottom line, but it's not some miracle product that works better than anything else and if the stains are older, then forget it. You'll not be wasting your money on this, but neither will you be doing the ecstatic happy dance.


A Hard Day [DVD]
A Hard Day [DVD]
Dvd ~ Seon-gyun Lee
Price: £15.75

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars social comment and some terrific inovative action scenes, 8 Dec. 2014
This review is from: A Hard Day [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was an unsuspected gem of a cop movie. Filled with black comedy, social comment and some terrific inovative action scenes. The latter are low budget and not glossy but that doesn't matter and goes to prove that you don't need the Hollywood polish to pull off a darned good action sequence. From a UK point of view it's also interesting to see Korean morals and mores in action.I'd recommend this to anyone looking for an entertaining thriller with an edge of dark humour. It is subtitled so you'll need to be able to chew gum and walk if watching it - so to speak.


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