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Charles Vasey (London, England)
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The Spartans: An Epic History
The Spartans: An Epic History
by Paul Cartledge
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Here, obedient to Spartan law, they lie, 22 July 2014
This is a robust plain spoken, one might say laconic, account of the history of Sparta through the lives of prominent Spartans. For so undramatic a people the lives of their kings read like an ancient country & western song (illegitimacy, exile, self-mutilation, rogue oracles). There is a bit of academic sniffery: can any of us tell at this remove whether Spartan religious sensibilities were, shall be say, situation specific? Recommended.


Rust and Bone [DVD]
Rust and Bone [DVD]
Dvd ~ Marion Cotillard
Price: 10.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hank Williams You Wrote My Life, 19 July 2014
This review is from: Rust and Bone [DVD] (DVD)
It may be grim oop north, but absent the heat it seems to be that way down south too. A boxer (Matthias Schoenaerts playing the unlikely named Ali) turns up at his sisters in Antibes with his young son and tries to get started again, in the story that follows there is more bad luck than one could shake a stick at as he meets Marion Cotillard's character, gets involved in bare knuckle fighting, and the secret world of industrial spying. The ending may be a little sentimental for a British audience but the story pulls no punches until then.


The Alamo [DVD]
The Alamo [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dennis Quaid
Price: 7.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adelante mio muchachos, 6 July 2014
This review is from: The Alamo [DVD] (DVD)
Americans love to dwell on their martial episodes and this is a fine example of the modern genre. Everyone looks satisfyingly dirty, there is a fearful deal of prosing, and a lot of bloody action. Given the number of famous historical names that even I could spot I am guessing the average American filmgoer must have been in histo-heaven; even Juan Sequin gets his day in the sun. The technical side of the attack is carefully considered (the zapadores are a fine sight) and little is left to chance - I am reminded of The Last Of The Mohicans here. The cast give their all with Davy Crockett (Billy Bob T) being satisfyingly nuanced; the evil Darth Santa Anna - on the other hand - is a dreadful rotter. An epic tale told at length.

The rip-snorting fiddle tune at the Ball is "Listen to The Mockingbird" composed some years later but just as welcome.


The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters
The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters
by Adam Nicolson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.00

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave Attempt, Great Vision, 1 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The author is a great enthusiast for the works of Homer; though I suspect more of an Odyssey man than an Iliadista (I belong to the latter school). This book represents an attempt to explain that enthusiasm, to put it in a historical context and to reflect on its power. If writing or reading poetry has its difficulties, how much more difficult to communicate one's own love of a piece to others; a task requiring Proustian skills. I never felt I fully grasped what Adam Nicolson saw in the works (as against what I see), though his extended section on Odysseus in the grip of Poseidon probably took me as near to that madeleine as I will reach without going to sea.

Fortunately the book succeeded very well in so many other areas. The use of language to place the original events in realms of a steppe-people (red meat and raiding) was very persuasive, moving back the events behind the poem to 1800 BC rather than 1250 BC. The discussion of bardic tradition (is it constantly changing - the Kriepiad, or astonishingly regular - Scottish Islesmen) and the comparison with contemporary tales (The Story of Sinuhe)are all very valuable. If Nicolson never quite got his love of the Odyssey into my fat head he succeeded with his description of place - the gates of Hades in Spain, and the megaron of Emporio in Chios could almost be sniffed. All in all he continues in the tradition of singing this most ancient of songs: many-voiced lord of windy Carnock.


Outlaw [DVD]
Outlaw [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Bean
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Fought The Law And The Law Won, 28 Jun 2014
This review is from: Outlaw [DVD] (DVD)
This is a film that swings from a Michael Winner Death Wish parody into something more realistic and then off into a bit of Red Riding. With lots of unfinished plot lines, and lots of coincidences and plots within plots it really needs a script shake-up, it still manages to avoid the worst excesses of revenge films where the hero (facing the League of Rotten Evil Marksmen) cuts his way through to triumph. Some very good actors (Sean Harris being especially good) are slightly adrift in all this but they really need the script to decide where it is going and what is its message; at times it feels like two script teams are in action.


Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad
Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad
by Rosemary Sutcliff
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Illustrations, Clear Text, 26 Jun 2014
The Iliad and the other poems on the Trojan War tell one of the most famous stories in myth (and possibly a good dollop of history). This book is aimed at children so it lightens up on the constant repetition of slaughter (but only relatively) . Sutcliff manages a deliberately semi-archaic hommage to Homeric speech and does pretty well. The illustrations are first rate.


Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad by Sutcliff, Rosemary published by Frances Lincoln Childrens Books (2000) Paperback
Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad by Sutcliff, Rosemary published by Frances Lincoln Childrens Books (2000) Paperback
by Rosemary Sutcliff
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Illustrations Clear Text, 26 Jun 2014
The Iliad and the other poems on the Trojan War tell one of the most famous stories in myth (and possibly a good dollop of history). This book is aimed at children so it lightens up on the constant repetition of slaughter (but only relatively) . Sutcliff manages a deliberately semi-archaic hommage to Homeric speech and does pretty well. The illustrations are first rate.


Forgotten Men [DVD]
Forgotten Men [DVD]
Price: 13.45

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Film About A Remarkable War, 21 Jun 2014
This review is from: Forgotten Men [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a surprising documentary made about 14 years after the Great War ended about the men who did the fighting. A war that has suffered from too much "history" but in which both my grandfathers fought. Sir John Hammerton (in Reithian mode) introduces both some excellent footage and some brief conversations with those who had fought. The assembled audience includes not only a shed load of VCs one of which was Piper Laidlaw (of Loos KOSB fame - actually playing the same piece), but also a couple of Germans, an Italian, a Belgian and a lady from the Graves Registration Service. In short a choice remarkably free from the Usual Suspects (no poets....). The whole tenor is of respect for both sides, and a hope that it will not be repeated (the dire predictions of Major Cohen being pretty much on the money). Compared to the fevered vapourings of some later documentaries the tone is restrained, but the analysis good. They note, for example, that the true effect of the tank was not so much material as psychological (tanks being anything but invulnerable). If you need to see the quality of documentaries back then this is a wonderful place to start. Excellent commentary in an extra from Max Arthur.

All history deals with two eras; that of the subject and the era of the historian. This tells a magnificent story in both cases.


By Jordan Belfort - The Wolf of Wall Street
By Jordan Belfort - The Wolf of Wall Street
by Jordan Belfort
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Rake's Progress, 18 Jun 2014
This is the lengthy tale of the first career of Jordan Belfort, creator of one of the most successful penny share boiler rooms and an inveterate consumer of pharmaceuticals. He recounts his excessive spending, copulation and drug-consumption and the impact on himself and his family of this (and his illegal share dealing) ranging through divorce, jail and a lot of hospital time (Belfort has the constitution of Rasputin). It may sound like a mixture of Fear and Loathing and Liars Poker but the author is stuck between being maudlin, half-proud and half-shocked by what he did. In this he is probably correct.


The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street
by Jordan Belfort
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Rake's Progress, 18 Jun 2014
This is the lengthy tale of the first career of Jordan Belfort, creator of one of the most successful penny share boiler rooms and an inveterate consumer of pharmaceuticals. He recounts his excessive spending, copulation and drug-consumption and the impact on himself and his family of this (and his illegal share dealing) ranging through divorce, jail and a lot of hospital time (Belfort has the constitution of Rasputin). It may sound like a mixture of Fear and Loathing and Liars Poker but the author is stuck between being maudlin, half-proud and half-shocked by what he did. In this he is probably correct.


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