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For One More Day
For One More Day
by Mitch Albom
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 16 Jan 2008
This review is from: For One More Day (Hardcover)
Like all of Mr Albom's other books this is a great book. It's quick and easy to read and very thought provoking.

The book ends with a bit of a twist and it is also a realistic book in that the situation doesn't change completely for the better by the end.

I definitely recommend it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2008 9:20 AM GMT


The Last Fighting Tommy:  The Life of Harry Patch, the Only Surviving Veteran of the Trenches
The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, the Only Surviving Veteran of the Trenches
by Harry Patch
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.49

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long life reviewed!, 14 Jan 2008
This book is an enlightening account of this centenarian's very interesting and varied life. Despite sufferiung much adversity, Harry Patch seesm to have taken it all in his stride. He makes a good role model for all the moaning minnies of today who have, in comparison to Harry Patch, nothing to moan about at all!

I also liked how the book covered his whole life and was not solely focused on WWI.


The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present and Future of the United Nations
The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present and Future of the United Nations
by Paul Kennedy
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.49

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A review of the UN's performance, 2 Jan 2008
This book is about the UN and is really a fairly detailed assessment of its successes and failings over the course of the last 60 years. The successes etc are illustrated by reverence to examples and so the book is not a history of the UN but focuses on specific incidents.

Overall it is quite interesting but I do think it assumes a certain amount of background knowledge regarding the incidents refers to as there is often only a brief description of those incidents. I liked the author's use of different chapters to explain different themes. i.e there was a chapter on human rights, another on the North/South economic divide and how the UN approaches problems stemming from that etc.

The book is good but I think Mr Kennedy's other books are better .....the Rise and Fall of the Great Powers for example.


Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics
Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics
by Joseph S., Jr. Nye
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, 21 Dec 2007
I like this book and certainly rate it but I am a harsh scorer, hence the 3 which might seem low to others.

I think the ideas contained in the book are very good ones and should certainly be heeded by western governments if they are to avoid finding the political environment of the mid twenty-first century much less well disposed towards them than the current one (and the current environment is not brilliant).

Mr Nye is clearly a clever man who has considered the issue of soft power (getting other countries to do what you want them to (or at least not hinder you doing things) because they are attracted to your culture and values) in depth and has come up with very interesting points to consider. He makes the point that governments can often give out messages that are contradictory and quickly lose the goodwill they have earnt with foreigners over a long period by ill-thought out actions. This point is well worth considering in light of the current problematic policies being adopted in the Middle East by western governments. The issue will become even more problematic given western governments' propensity to grow.

The two criticisms I have are (1) there is a large reliance placed in opinion polls and as we know statictics can be found that will support most arguments, and (2) some of the early part of the book is quite theroetical (but admittedly this improves later and the book becomes more practical and interesting).

Definitely worth reading, especially as it is only about 150 pages long.


Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5
Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5
by Stella Rimington
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow start but very worthwhile, 21 Dec 2007
Despite the headline I have given, this book is interesting throughout. The reason I have said it starts slowly is that the first part of the book does not deal with Ms Rimmington's time working for MI5.

Nevertheless the book as a whole is a fascinating autobiography. Her career is so different to mainstream careers that it is worth reading for a small insight into the world of the intelligence services. As one of the other reviewers comments, some of the incidents described in the book are rather "everyday" but, unlike that reviewer, I think such incidents make Ms Rimmington sound more down-to-earth and consequently credible than would otherwise be the case.

I also do not think the book is harmful, but instead, to the extent it deals with Ms Rimmington's time at MI5 it sets out in a clear and concise way the political and societal contexts in which MI5 operates have changed dramatically since the 1960s. In fact it is this which makes the book so interesting since, as anyone should have been able to guess before reading it, the book was extremely unlikely to reveal any operational information or anything but the most general details about operations.

My one criticism is that Ms Rimmington's time in charge of MI5 is only briefly described, although perhaps this is unavoidable on security grounds.

Definitely one of the top books I've read this year.


What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Terrorist Threat
What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Terrorist Threat
by Louise Richardson
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opener, 11 Dec 2007
When I initial began reading this book I had no idea what to expect. The author has direct knowledge of living in an area affected by terrorism and so is well suited to comment on the phenomenon.

I found her style of writing easy to read and informative. The best part of the book is the thrid section where she sets out why a "war on terror" is as unwinnable as a "war on evil". In fact when you think about it in those terms the concept of a "war on terror" seems absurd. And I am a big fan of the US but I can't help but thinking both the strategy and tactics need considerable rethinking if the US is to have a chance of combatting terrorism.

Overall a very interesting book and one to be recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2009 5:58 PM BST


Golden Handcuffs: The Lowly Life of a High Flyer
Golden Handcuffs: The Lowly Life of a High Flyer
by Polly Courtney
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Money is certainly not everything, 11 Dec 2007
This book is very easy to read and entertaining. Not only is it extremely humorous in parts but it also conveys a real sense of the damage done to the well being of two individuals' wellbeing when they work in an environment where everything comes second place to the false god of money that modern society holds up as being so important. Everyone has to work if they want to have a half decent life but this book shows what happens when the balance part of the "work/life balance" concept is forgotten.


Muhammad: Biography of the Prophet: A Biography of the Prophet
Muhammad: Biography of the Prophet: A Biography of the Prophet
by Karen Armstrong
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction, 29 Nov 2007
This books is a good introduction to a person and subject that I knew little about beforehand. With Islam being in the news on an almost daily basis it is important to be able to go behind the headlines and learn something more about the subject than merely what is set out in newspapers. It is also worth noting that the entire book is not devoted to Muhammad but rather describes the context in which he came to pass on the revelations and so anyone not wishing to read a pure biography should probably look elsewhere.

Interestingly, with the exception of the beginning introductory chapter, the book was written pre-9/11 and so does not interpret the subject in the light of that event.

The book is written by an ex-nun and so some might question the neutrality of the book's contents due to this fact. However, Ms Armstrong does not interpret the story in a partisan way but is fairly good at sticking to facts rather than her opinions which makes the book better in my opinion.

I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.


Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima
Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima
by Diana Preston
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good interweaving of many stories, 18 Nov 2007
This book is an interesting read. It deals with all those individuals who collectively built the world's first atomic bomb. The book starts in the late 19th century and runs through to the dropping of the bombs on Hirsohima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The author, Ms Preston, is not a scientist by background and I thought this was a good thing as it would make the book easier to read than if it had been written by someone with training in, for example, nuclear physics. My only real criticism of the book is that there is a quite a lot of science in the first half of the book. However it is overall an excellent read and I particularly liked the discussion of the moral dimlemmas the various scientists went through once they realised an atomic bomb was a possibility. Also very interesting was the discussion of when and in what circumstances to use the bomb. These factors made the seocnd half of the book very good.

One other minor criticism is that, as is often the cases with books where many different people are referred to, a "Who's who" at the back of the book would be very helpful to the reader.


Flight Of The Titans: The Inside Story of the Airbus A380's Incredible Battle to Beat Boeing
Flight Of The Titans: The Inside Story of the Airbus A380's Incredible Battle to Beat Boeing
by Kenny Kemp
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More for those interested in business, 7 Nov 2007
I have read the other review of this book and agree with that reviewer that there is little information on the planes themselves. However I liked the book overall despite this shortcoming. It is interesting because it discusses the concepts behind the 787 and A380 with the 787 essentially being a long-range point-to-point smaller aircraft with the A380 being a larger long-range hub-to-hub aircraft.

I think that the differing business philosophies represented by the approaches of these two major commercial aircraft manufacturers and the discussion of those business models in this book certainly makes it a more interesting book than one purely about the technical attributes of these two aircraft. In any event, ultimately the success or failure of the aircraft depends upon their meeting the requirements of modern airlines and so the business side of things is certainly central to the story. However, a little more about the development of the aircraft would have given the book a more rounded feel and improved it slightly. Well worth reading.


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