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Socialising the Child in Late Medieval England, c. 1400-1600
Socialising the Child in Late Medieval England, c. 1400-1600
by Merridee L. Bailey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £50.02

5.0 out of 5 stars A new angle, 2 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Interesting and well written cross-discipline work bringing a refreshing new perspective to the historiography of medieval and early modern childhood.


A Real Good War (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
A Real Good War (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
by Sam Halpert
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly honest account, 21 May 2004
I actually came across this book by accident - picked it up from my father's bookshelf as an emergency read on a long train journey. In spite of that begining, I had finished it in a couple of days.
While not the best constructed novel and sporting a few glaring inconsistencies, Sam Halpert's rough, down to earth style evokes an earthy realism not often found in personal accounts of the war. Through honestly foul language and frank descriptions of the "laddish" behaviour of a bunch of young men living, flying and dying together he commutes the sense of absolute, deep-rooted, all pervading fear that few others have managed to convey.
Flying missions over Germany wasn't like Hollywood and television has depicted it. After reading Sam Halpert's account, I wonder how any flyer could ever form the stereotypical 'casual yank' relationships with war-weary locals so frequently depicted on film. Flying or waiting for the next mission: just a different kind of Hell - a time bomb constantly ticking.
Yet Halpert gets the lighter side over too. The laughs during training; the crew's antics in London; his own encounter with the intriguing dutch girl, Martha.
This twenty year old navigator goes to Hell and back in a couple of months. It is evident from his authorship that Halpert survives but this doesn't stop the reader from breathing one helluva sigh of relief when that B-17 touches down on English soil for the very last time.
The book ends with a bizarre sense of anti-climax. Exactly how every survivor must have felt. Good stuff.


Emma's Secret
Emma's Secret
by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No other word for it. Terrible., 21 May 2004
This review is from: Emma's Secret (Paperback)
I read A Woman Of Substance when I was 14 years old and loved every page of it. True, it is the only Barbara Taylor Bradford book I ever enjoyed as - even by the publication of Hold the Dream - she had sadly turned from the realistic depictions of well-rounded characters in early twentieth century Yorkshire to 1980's American drama-inspired fantasy tales of exceptionally wealthy, perfect but two -dimensional people.
However - Emma's Secret promised more. A return to the middle years of Emma Harte. A return to the days when even the lives of the wealthy were inhibited by wartime shortages and emotional hell.
But no.
This novel seems to have been dashed off in a matter of days. Its plot is weak and predictable; its characters are dull and so far beyond reality that the fantasy element becomes irritating. Even the continuity is appalling as BTB describes Kit Lowther as dark haired on one page and sandy haired half a chapter later. The copy editor/proof reader should have been shot!
Even the potential saving grace of the middle 1940's element of the book fails to deliver. This is not the same three-dimensional character depicted in A Woman Of Substance. Emma Harte was depicted there as a down-to-earth pragmatic workaholic, more likely to have spent the war buried under a mound of paperwork in factory, store or office than living the life of a 1980's Joan Collins in expensive restaurants and the not-what-you-are-but-who-you-know circle at the House of Commons.
Sorry, but this attempt to link back to the past has only served to further highlight a good writer who sold out to the American Dallas/Dynasty audience and wasted a credible talent. I only gave it one star because you can't assign zero. Not recommended in the least.


The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it or hate it - it leaves a mark., 21 May 2004
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Paperback)
A most unusual novel.
To take two subjects so potentially dark and complex - violent murder and the afterlife - and turn them into a narrative of such richness and emotional depth without sinking once into the macabre or depressive is an achievement of some magnitude.
The novel works because it is ultimately based on a deep understanding of human behaviour. It captures well the range of feelings suffered by those bereaved and reflects them in Susie's lingering relationship with her family. With an empathy that never strays into the saccharine, Sebold's narrative captures that one reaction we are all guilty of at the loss of a loved one - the burning desire to keep them with us.
This is an innovative, evidently deeply autobiographical novel which has the ability to touch us all through that common rite of passage we so often ignore.


A Family At War - Series 1 [DVD]
A Family At War - Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Colin Douglas
Offered by Entertainment_Central
Price: £49.99

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate, articulate and atmospheric, 21 May 2004
TV Drama, by its very moniker, has an implied expectation and today's programme-makers do deliver the literal. Any modern dramatization of the war years tends to revolve around sensational acts of bravery, mishaps, controversey, revelations or - God forbid - murders.
A Family At War dates back to a time when dramatists were not afraid of subtelties. This series deals with the impact of war on the everyday lives of an ordinary family and does more to evoke an understanding of what it must have been like to live through those years than any recent attempts. Here we see people reacting to change as humans do - slowly and not particularly well. We see the tetchiness born of a broken night's sleep; the dawning realisation that the war was not going to be over in a matter of months; the slow and painful agony of not knowing the fate of a loved one; how uncertainty and confusion can bring out feelings and thoughts buried throughout years of normal living. Moreover all this is built up with a subtely more akin to reality. It is realised through ordinary conversations, as much in what is not said as what is: the viewer finds an empathy with the characters and begins to understand them as he/she gets to know them. None of the high impact, short, sharp dumbed-down bursts of intense drama designed to ensure that even the greatest fool gets the point of any particular scene.
While it's accuracy is still a little off the mark in the finer details, it is still far more authentic than most recent wartime recreations - no doubt to draw the greater percentage of an audience who - in 1970 - would have lived through the times. Occasionally, the acting seems a little more stilted than we are used to but let us not forget that this series was made 34 years ago and we have not always been the expressive, free-speaking people we are today. To me this simply lends more authenticity to an excellent, evocative dramatisation (in the non-sensational, theatrical sense of the word!)
This is compulsive viewing for those who are interested in people rather than events. As a reflective piece of social history, I cannot recommend it enough.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2010 11:51 PM GMT


Bad Heir Day
Bad Heir Day
by Wendy Holden
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.00

3.0 out of 5 stars A Hugh Grant movie waiting to happen, 5 Feb. 2000
This review is from: Bad Heir Day (Hardcover)
The sub-characters are wonderful: their antics are cleverly written so as to be wild but believable and the acidic social commentry is ceasless, biting and hilarious. But, like any Hugh Grant movie, the lead character is wimpish and uninspiring. I consistently felt like yelling at Anna to get a life! Skim through the bits with her but allow time to absorb the excellent sub-plot and you'll love this book.


Bad Heir Day
Bad Heir Day
by Wendy Holden
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.00

3.0 out of 5 stars A Hugh Grant movie waiting to happen, 5 Feb. 2000
This review is from: Bad Heir Day (Hardcover)
The sub-characters are wonderful: their antics are cleverly written so as to be wild but believable and the acidic social commentry is ceasless, biting and hilarious. But, like any Hugh Grant movie, the lead character is wimpish and uninspiring. I consistently felt like yelling at Anna to get a life! Skim through the bits with her but allow time to absorb the excellent sub-plot and you'll love this book.


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