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F. Caldwell (London)

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The Story of Holly and Ivy
The Story of Holly and Ivy
Price: 2.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Christmas story., 17 Dec 2013
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I'm all grown up & read this on the train to work: warmed my heart in the midst of TFL rat race.


The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England,1400-1580
The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England,1400-1580
by Eamon Duffy
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.96

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant to nowadays, 12 Oct 2009
Although this is a history book, it is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the meanings and developments of Catholic doctrine. It explains how many Catholic rituals are medieval inventions, some of which started for political reasons. I think all Catholics should read this book, and discover the origins of their faith.


A History of Florence 1200-1575
A History of Florence 1200-1575
by John M. Najemy
Edition: Paperback
Price: 23.88

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a university essential, 12 Oct 2009
This is a perfect guide for the student or historically minded traveller who needs to get their head round the complexities of Florentine history. It is scholarly, yet accessible.


Venice's Hidden Enemies: Italian Heretics in a Renaissance City (Studies on the History of Society & Culture)
Venice's Hidden Enemies: Italian Heretics in a Renaissance City (Studies on the History of Society & Culture)
by John Jeffries Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 45.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Catholic was 16th century Venice?, 6 Jun 2008
Not a bedtime page-turner, but a great research tool if you're studying Italian or church history. It contains loads of information about how Venice's attitude to heresy changed over the 16th century. It's suprising how close this catholic state came to being protestant, due to its obsession with new ideas and book-publishing. Martin describes a proud independent republic unwilling to bow to the whims of Roman popes. plenty of statistics (which he doesn't over burden us with)and anecdotes back up his thesis.


The Vicar of Wakefield (Oxford World's Classics)
The Vicar of Wakefield (Oxford World's Classics)
by Oliver Goldsmith
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satire or fairy-tale?, 6 Jun 2008
I enjoyed this book because it stands the test of time and is still easy to read after 250 years! It is a satire on provincial politics, following the adventures of a country parson called Mr primrose. Although he is conceited and exasperatingly optimistic through awful experiences, Goldsmith can't resist finishing it off like a fairy-tale. Amusing, simple-yet-stimulating, and some impressive vocabulary. Someone who knows about political and social history would recognise its nuances. But it's an amusing read even if you don't.


The Oxford Murders
The Oxford Murders
by Guillermo Martinez
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars over-rated, 5 Jun 2008
This review is from: The Oxford Murders (Paperback)
This is certainly a page-turner. It will take just a few hours to read. But it reads like a practice run for greater work. The characters are completely undeveloped and stereo-typed, and there are too many coincidences for the plot to be plausible. It also slightly grates when everywhere the narrator goes happens to be a historic landmark. Does'nt he ever bump into folk at Woolworths rather than the "Sheldonian", "Ashmolian" etc? The Maths bit is shoe-horned in - interrupting the plot - rather than being part of the plot. Also, a rushed predictable denuement. But the author has potential and I really think he will do better with time.


Grey Souls
Grey Souls
by Philippe Claudel
Edition: Paperback

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a whodunnit, 27 Mar 2007
This review is from: Grey Souls (Paperback)
Don't read this book if you are looking for a thriller. It certainly isn't that. It's something much more etherial. Its subject is death - shocking at times, but always wrapped in a dreamlike haze. It's morbidly depressing, but what made me keep turning the pages was the quality of the writing - almost like a long poem. The narrative takes priority over characterisation and plot. This makes it refreshingly different - ever so modern, yet weirdly old-fashioned at the same time.


The British Republic, 1649-1660 (British History in Perspective (Hardcover St. Martins))
The British Republic, 1649-1660 (British History in Perspective (Hardcover St. Martins))
by Ronald Hutton
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you want more than just a documentary......, 6 Mar 2005
A bit dry if you're expecting a bedtime narrative, but it's packed with loads of information if you want to get below the surface a bit. A balanced assessment of Cromwell (he's not demonised or let off the hook). It gets a bit confusing with all the changes that kept occuring within the government during such a short space of time. But that's not a criticism of the author. I learnt a lot about foreign policy and the conflict for power between the army and parliament.
He includes lots of case histories so you can see how policies affected ordinary people (not always common in history books). There are some punchy quotes for essays (especially the last section)and I'd recommend it to students. Perhaps the author could explain more of the terms he uses (such as 'Fifth Monarchists' and 'Ranters'). He assumes prior readership on the subject.
He has an interesting device of using alternative names for things he thinks have been named pejoratively, for instance the 'Rump' becomes 'Purged Parliament'.
The fact that it's short stops this book being intellectually threatening. A worthwhile read.


April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici
April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici
by Lauro Martines
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an adventure story, but great for history buffs, 26 Feb 2005
This is not an adventure story (though it has its fair share of grusomeness). The actual botched assasination takes up one chapter, but I would strongly recommend it as a way of digging deeper after reading a more general history (such as Strathern's "The Medici"). It gives an insight into papal machinations and paints an intriguing picture of rennaissance politics and finance in Italy.
Strathern writes slightly on the side of the Pazzis informing us that most accounts of the plot have been biased toward the Medici. He acknowledges Lorenzo's genius, but condemns him on moral grounds.
I enjoyed it (and you can always skim the bits that don't interst you without spoiling the whole thing).


The Secret History
The Secret History
by Donna Tartt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark and gothic tale, 15 Feb 2005
This review is from: The Secret History (Paperback)
Brilliant - like the last reviewer I read it during a period of not getting into books properly. It cured the malady. I loved the dark atmosphere and stifling suspense played out in some long forgotten corner of the university.
A tad drawn out in places, but that's a small quibble. The eccentric characters are expertly brought to life with the protagonist being our own representative in the novel. It's a shame there wasn't more storyline for the tutor who was the best character of the lot.
This is my favourite type of novel: a thumping storyline that makes you use your head too.


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