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Collecting Gadgets and Games from the 1950s-90s
Collecting Gadgets and Games from the 1950s-90s
by Daniel Blythe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take a nostalgic trip back to childhood, 26 July 2013
Take a nostalgic trip back to childhood with this guide to children's toys, games and gadgets from the 1950s to the 1990s.

Discover that the Hula Hoop was manufactured by the splendidly named Wham-O Company; which outdoor toy was originally named the Pluto Platter; which tiny, pneumatically-proportioned style icon has the surname Roberts; and that Professor Erno Rubik studied the prototype of his eponymous Cube for a month before finding a solution -- before that, he wasn't even sure that there was one.

The book is also a guide to the value of childhood icons and the likely collectables of the future, even such incredible-but-true items as the 'Allo 'Allo game (yes, the classic comedy series was turned into a themed board game "For two to sax pliers aged noon to ninty") which can change hands nowadays for £20.


The Industrial Revolution (Shire Living Histories)
The Industrial Revolution (Shire Living Histories)
by Jonathan Downs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-illustrated account of this epoch-making period, 26 July 2013
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the fabric of the countryside changed profoundly. As the Enclosure Acts swallowed up communal land and smallholdings were bought up by land-hungry squires, farm labourers were forced to seek elsewhere. And so began the migration of the rural poor from the country to become the new working class of the burgeoning urban centres, to dig the coal, stoke the furnaces and operate the looms that powered Britain to the forefront of the new industrial age. An epoch-making period in British history is succintly surveyed in this well-illustrated account.


Extreme Sleeps: Adventures of a Wild Camper
Extreme Sleeps: Adventures of a Wild Camper
Price: £5.58

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read, 26 July 2013
Challenged by a cocky Australian in Woolloomooloo, veteran globetrotter Phobe Smith sets out to prove that `extreme camping' (pitching your tent in hair-raising locations) in the UK can rival anything found elsewhere in the world. On the way she spends the night next to the sheer drops of Lizard Point and inside the wreckage of a wartime bomber, on what she calls "my greatest adventure, enjoyed right here on the island I proudly call home".


Men from the Ministry: How Britain Saved Its Heritage
Men from the Ministry: How Britain Saved Its Heritage
by Simon Thurley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wide-ranging and well-researched account, 26 July 2013
A wide-ranging and well-researched (if occasionally over-detailed) account of how and why the British state has, since 1900, acquired a huge collection of more than 800 historic buildings, monuments and historic sites. The governments of the time were intent on protecting the nation's built heritage ("Heritage is the rock out of which the nation's children will be hewn", said the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin), and its activities were mirrored by the establishment of dozens of voluntary bodies such as the Council for the Protection of Rural England, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and the National Trust (which eventually became the official body for the continued collection of the nation's heritage). "The system in place now is not perfect [and] may not be sustainable," concludes the author Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, "but up until now, at least, it has done a stunning job."


National Service: From Aldershot to Aden: tales from the conscripts, 1946-62
National Service: From Aldershot to Aden: tales from the conscripts, 1946-62
by Colin Shindler
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars how National Service shaped the outlook of an entire generation -- for better or for worse, 20 Aug. 2012
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the end of National Service, social historian Colin Schindler interviewed ex-conscripts from all social backgrounds and across all ranks, who tell in their own words how National Service shaped the outlook of an entire generation of young British men -- for better or for worse.

"It turned me from a boy to a man," recalls Geoff Rock, "if they could do that today there would be no kids hanging around on street corners"; the lasting legacy for Joe Trotter is that "it taught you how to look after yourself. And everyone still comments on how clean my shoes are"; but Joseph Strode is perhaps one of many who felt it was all just a waste of time when he concludes that "I can't say I enjoyed being in the army, but it stopped me being an idiot".


The Historical Atlas of the British Isles
The Historical Atlas of the British Isles
by Ian Barnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect example of the maxim 'A picture tells a thousand words', 20 Aug. 2012
A constantly fascinating and occasionally surprising insight into our islands' unique history, utilising over 150 specially drawn maps and plans to illustrate the progression from post-glacial occupation and pre-Roman Britain, through the Norman Conquest, the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War, the rise of the British Empire, to the Ulster Troubles and modern-day ethnic population changes.

A perfect example of the maxim 'A picture tells a thousand words'.


Fishing for Spring
Fishing for Spring
by Mary Sheepshanks
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, thought-provoking and sensous poems from one of the country's most under-rated writers, 20 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Fishing for Spring (Paperback)
A fifth collection of verse from 'Countryman' magazine regular, Mary Sheepshanks, inspired by the countryside she loves, and by her keen eye for the joys and foibles of human nature.

In 'Halcyon Memories' the glimpse of a kingfisher invokes powerful recollections of when
"Once their bodkin-sharp beaks
threaded with jewel-coloured silks
were the needles that stitched
together the days of my childhood"

And 'Requiem for Fee' is a moving and inspiring eulogy which celebrates how a person's spirit can live on in the landscape, when
"You'll find her still where the curlews call
...She'll come to you
where waterfalls spill elegies down tumbled stones".

These are witty, thought-provoking and sensous poems from one of the country's most under-rated writers.


Evensong Poems
Evensong Poems
by Kenneth Steven
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He has the gift of poetic alchemy, 20 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Evensong Poems (Paperback)
Acclaimed poet and 'Countryman' magazine regular contributor, Kenneth Steven's latest collection of verse is inspired by the wildscape of the Scottish Highlands, alongside the the role of faith in the turmoil of the modern world.

In 'A Poem' he muses about writing poetry that

"Sometimes it is no more extraordinary
Than going for water from a well"

but immediately belies that observation with the dreamlike beauty of the poem's next couplet:

"Or a bird coming coming soft as a cloth out of winter sky
To alight on the palm of your hand".

Kenneth Steven has the rare gift of being able to transmute the mundane into the mesmerising, in a kind of poetic alchemy.


Country Cook's Kitchen: Traditional culinary skills, from breadmaking and dairy to preserving and curing
Country Cook's Kitchen: Traditional culinary skills, from breadmaking and dairy to preserving and curing
by Alison Walker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to make "simple, hearty, thrifty, honest food that is a pleasure to create and a joy to eat", 24 April 2012
When you think of traditional country cooking, what comes to mind? For former chef and food writer Alison Walker, "it's simple, hearty, thrifty, honest food that is a pleasure to create and a joy to eat".

Here she covers all aspects of the country kitchen - baking bread and cakes, making butters, soft cheeses and yoghurts, preserving (jams, marmalades and chutneys), making sausages and patés, and curing and potting meat and fish.

Recipes which have stood the test of time are clearly explained by step-by-step instructions accompanied by mouthwatering photographs, making the skills and techniques of the country kitchen accessible to beginners as well as appealing to the more experienced home cook.


A History of Food in 100 Recipes
A History of Food in 100 Recipes
by William Sitwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an essential addition to any food-lover's bookshelf, 24 April 2012
It was the serependipitous purchase of some antiquarian cook­ery books that prompted culinary expert William Sitwell ("the one person I would trust to tell the ultimate story of the history of food" according to Raymond Blanc) on this personal odyssey to discover the story of food from prehistory to the present day through a hundred landmark recipes "that help to tell its story". Sitwell admits that his choices are "partisan" and are sometimes surprising, but all are argued for and explained in his charmingly erudite and occasionally tongue-in-cheek descriptions of "the biggest characters, the occasional culinary villain and some of the most delicious food in history".

All in all, an essential addition to any food-lover's bookshelf.


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