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R. A. Lloyd-Jones (England, UK)
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Mound People: Danish Bronze Age Man Preserved: Danish Bronze-age Man Preserved
Mound People: Danish Bronze Age Man Preserved: Danish Bronze-age Man Preserved
by P.V. Glob
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars What's in the Danish Mounds?, 14 July 2014
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This is the companion volume to the intriguingly-named Danish scholar's more famous classic 'The Bog People'. It is about the Bronze Age (peaked circa 1500 BCE) inhabitants of Denmark who preceeded those Iron Age (1st Century BCE/AD) bog dwellers.

These Mound People, who buried their nobility in oak trunk coffins in barrows, are more attractive and do not seem to have practiced ritual murder, at least not on quite such a grand scale, as their descendants. One interesting aspect of the book is the initial investigation and relatively-scientific excavation of the mounds, mostly in the 19th Century. Some had already been robbed, but many still contained the preserved hair and clothes of the dead, though strangely most human remains, including even bones and teeth, had been destroyed - an effect of tannin. There are plenty of good monochrome photographs of most of the finds. Finally there is a fascinating, too brief, chapter at the end suggesting that the Great Mother Goddess of the Earth eventually triumphed over the earlier Sun God; there was certainly a major shift in pagan religion which may account for the rise of human sacrifice...

Though a very good, concise account for its time (1974) it can only get four stars by modern standards since we badly need a new, updated edition with colour photographs and more recent interpretations of this enchanting, slightly sinister prehistoric culture.


Khartoum [DVD]
Khartoum [DVD]
Dvd ~ Charlton Heston
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 3.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charlton of Khartoum, 15 April 2014
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This review is from: Khartoum [DVD] (DVD)
This classic epic definitely caused a great revival in interest in, and admiration for, General Gordon who had been badly dissed by Lytton Strachey's 1919 'Eminent Victorians'. The issues of the 1880s, notably Gladstone's political problems, are sketched in reasonably well, though the British presence in Egypt is not really explained. There's a wonderful (if inaccurate) opening scene with the massacre of Hicks's army, both sides, Egyptians and Mahdists, reasonably well-represented. Charlton Heston's great admiration for Gordon shines through, though his idiosyncratic Christianity is only hinted at. Gordon, who famously only carried a cane in the midst of terrible battles, might not have approved Mr Heston's American love of guns, but he is portrayed here as the (relatively) modest hero that he was (and probably would have liked the film!). Olivier's performance as the Mahdi is on one level extremely embarrassing, but if you can overcome its excruciatingness, there remains, deep down, some understanding of the great charismatic Sudanese leader. Of course Gordon and the Mahdi never really met, though it is nice that Larry and Charlton did. The lack of women in Gordon's real life is reflected in the film, though there's a fine belly-dancing scene - slightly based on a real incident - when he's entertained by the silent, utterly corrupt-looking Khedive of Egypt! What better way to pass a Sunday afternoon with a DVD?


Silverline 703514 Flexible Magnetic Tape 25mm x 3m
Silverline 703514 Flexible Magnetic Tape 25mm x 3m
Price: 2.77

4.0 out of 5 stars Best under the circumstances, 15 April 2014
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Although they tell you the width and length of this magnetic tape, I was interested in its depth (about 3cm) as it was to go under the bases of wargame figures/model soldiers to stop them from sliding about while being carried in in metal boxes. Good idea, eh? I had hoped that it would be thinner, but that depth is just OK for the job. It has now been applied to several models and works quite well, certainly better than not having anything to hold them down. It is, of course, HEAVY, so if you fixed a whole army or two into a metal tool-box, you might then have problems lifting the box; but they won't fall about and get damaged quite so much when you do finally manage to hoik it off the ground! The magnestism seems to vary a little, but is generally good, so this stuff gets my four stars. Two and a half metres goes a long way and it can be easily cut using tough kitchen scissors. The sticky side is very sticky once you've pulled the backing off; it will definitely stay on those bases forever, a well-made product at a good price.


God's Chinese Son: Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan
God's Chinese Son: Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan
by Jonathan Spence
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Millions died. Who cares?, 15 April 2014
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Very few people in the West know anything at all about the Taiping Rebellion which roughly coincided with the American Civil War of the early 1860s. An estimated 20 million+ people died as a result of a misunderstanding about Christianity... Those of us who are interested in it usually approach the Rebellion through reading about mercenaries like Ward and Gordon defending Shanghai and the foreign settlements. This book puts the Taipings into their proper Chinese context and shows that foreign interventions were extremely periferal to the enormous conflict which stretched over 2000 miles from Canton almost to the Imperial capital Peking. Ward, Gordon and their 'Ever Victorious Army' are barely more than a footnote to the real fighting in which many Chinese on both sides showed enormous bravery and tenacity in fighting for their beliefs, however strange.

There can be no doubt but that Jonathan Spence is the greatest living Western scholar of Chinese history and this is an important book. It is a shame that the publishers have saved themselves a lot of trouble by not using any Chinese characters in the print, not even in the bibliography (I'm no expert, but it would have been useful, particularly with so 'literary' a movement as the Taipings). The illustrations are also rather disappointing, a nice selection but badly reproduced. Prof Spence's writing style can also jar, especially his use of the present tense to describe things that happened in the, er, past - which does have a useful tense of its own. Despite those reservations, fairly readable, and you ask yourself: When exactly does a humble persecuted minority turn into a raging, almost unstoppable torrent of angry humanity?


Adventures of Herge
Adventures of Herge
by Jose-Louis Bocquet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Homage to Herge, 14 April 2014
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This review is from: Adventures of Herge (Hardcover)
A glorious tribute, full of little visual puns and references which Tintin fans will notice and enjoy every time they re-read the book. As with all biographies of Georges Remi it somewhat skates round painful facts about Belgian Catholic antisemetism and collaboration with the Nazis, though it does show how his postwar arrest (and nearly being executed) influenced the Tintin stories. If you love Tintin you must get this book, perhaps the next best thing to Herge coming back to life and producing another one.


The Jacobite Rebellions 1689-1745 (Men-at-Arms)
The Jacobite Rebellions 1689-1745 (Men-at-Arms)
by Michael Barthorp
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Osprey Jacobite book, 14 April 2014
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I got this when it first came out, but couldn't recently find it and bought a secondhand replacement. Very glad to have done so as it's an excellent concise summary of Jacobite military actions as well as being very well-illustrated. Although the cover picture looks extremely tartan, note that the author/artist is just as good on Government forces, including the late 17th Century English army and Argyle's contemporary Scots troops. As far as Highlanders are concerned, it includes a very good line drawing of exactly how the true 18th Century plaid was worn. Extremely useful if you are painting model soldiers, putting out a TV documentary or Hollywood epic. Highly recommended.


The Scottish Jacobite Army 1745-46 (Elite)
The Scottish Jacobite Army 1745-46 (Elite)
by Stuart Reid
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Scots Wa'hae, 14 April 2014
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This book clearly compliments another Osprey book 'Cumberland's Culloden Army'. It is useful for the description/illustrations of 18th Century Highland dress (+ Lowlanders, the Manchester Regt and Franco-Irish troops) and a certain amount about Jacobite army organisation in the '45. I would also recommend the old Osprey 'Armies of the Jacobite Rebellions 1689 - 1745' which illustrates troops from both sides throughout those years, has a very good summary of political and military events, including a first rate analysis of what the British army went through between the reigns of James II and George III. An excellent map of Scotland, covering 1689 - 1745, from the 1982 book has been reproduced in the more recent ones though they are only about the '45.


Autoglym Super Resin Polish - 1L - Latest Model
Autoglym Super Resin Polish - 1L - Latest Model
Price: 10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The finest polish money can buy, 13 Aug 2013
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Good stuff, worth every penny. All you need is added 'Elbow Grease', available to add free by default if you love your dear old car enough...


The Property
The Property
by Rutu Modan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.89

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important and entertaining graphic novel, 13 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Property (Hardcover)
Rutu Modan is quite critical of her own Israeli nation while being complimentary towards gentile Poles who sympathise with the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. This is obviously by contrast with Art Spiegelman's famous 'Maus' graphic novels, which notoriously portrayed all non-Jewish Poles as 'pigs'. Rutu Modan has a beautiful, simple clear line & colour style reminiscent of Herge's 'Tintin' books. She has the clever idea of showing the three languages spoken (Hebrew, Polish and English) in different typefaces - just squiggles when one character can't understand the language being spoken by two others. There is also a sketchbook within the story, rather like having a 'play within a play', where she's drawn much more realistically than in her comicky graphic style, a brilliant effect. Won't spoil the plot, but should also mention that the publishers have made a very well-produced hardback to compliment the author's moving story.


Weep, Grey Bird, Weep: The Paraguayan War 1864-1870
Weep, Grey Bird, Weep: The Paraguayan War 1864-1870
by Roger Kohn
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable, 29 Jun 2013
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This wonderful book shows exactly what's wrong with British publishing today. The story of what happened in Paraguay between 1865 and 1870 is shocking and inspiring in equal measure, yet hardly heard of outside the Hispanic world. Any publisher or literary agent with half a brain would immediately bring out this readable, beautifully-written account and provide the proper maps, index, table of contents, etc. that the self-published version lacks. But despite those shortcomings the text alone is terrific.

The history of the War of the Triple Alliance has everything: a terrifying evil genius of a South American dictator (Francisco Solano Lopez) whose brave people (the Paraguayans) follow him to the bitter end. His beautiful, faithful, callous Irish adventuress of a mistress (Elisa Lynch). The British engineers and doctors who valiantly assisted Paraguay in her hour of need. On the other side, a liberal-minded Emperor of Brazil who would like to abolish slavery, but can't (Pedro II). An Argentinian President who craves great military glory, but cannot defeat little Paraguay (General Mitre). A pathetic U.S. consul who makes a terrible political situation worse, even betraying his erstwhile friends to torture and execution (Washburn)... Above all, though, it is the story of the Paraguayan people and their Guarani Indian heritage which has made them magnificently brave and stoical both in this 19th Century conflict and in that equally-unknown epic, the Gran Chaco War of the 1930s.

Because the author is not, himself, South American he gives a balanced, well-reasoned account of what happened. An ex-journalist, he knows the region and has used Spanish and Portuguese language accounts, as well as the memoirs of British, American and French people who were caught up in the surreal conflict. Although the book only has poor illustrations and maps and contains several typographical errors, it is nevertheless well-bound, printed on good quality acid-free paper and as soon as you get into the text a fascinating, unforgettable read. Highly recommended.


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