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F DEL POZO BERENGUER (El Puerto de Santa Marķa)

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Swordbearers (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
Swordbearers (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
by Correlli Barnett
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very fine book about four WWI commanders, 15 Sep 2013
If you are interested in WWI and you think you know about it, then this book is for you. It is a book that makes you think. The analysis Barnett makes of each of the four characters that he mainly deals with (Moltke, Jellicoe, Petain and Ludendorff) is very insightful. I didn't know much about Petain, but the other three are scrutinised and they come across as more complex characters than I thought they were; not unidimensional, as they are sometimes portrayed. The part on Jellicoe, in particular, was the most interesting one. (I may be biased, being a naval officer). After having read the book "Castles of Steel" (Massie), which I thought superb, I now have a different view on Jellicoe. Massie's description of him is unidimensional: the prudent, competent, naval savant who knew everything and was more than prepared for his duties as C-in-C of the British dreadnought fleet. Well. Barnett goes much deeper than that, and everything makes sense, insofar as he is analysed as a naval officer of his time, with his flaws as well as his virtues.
But this is not just a book about personalities. Far from that. The battles that took place in which these characters played an important role are likewise analysed. The battle of Jutland makes a great read. Sadly, it is the only naval battle dealt with in the book.
I give it four stars and not five just because the part on Petain lacks the interest of the other three, but it is still worth reading.


Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive
by Jared Diamond
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive arguments over and over, 6 April 2013
Much as I had liked "Guns, germs and steel", by the same author, this book gets you fed up. It is an endless repetition of arguments. The same things all the time. I am quite sure the author is a savant, but he must think that his readers are completely stupid (not so, Mr. Diamond, even if we are not at your level of knowledge), and need to be told the same lines of reasoning continuously, like if we needed to learn his theories by heart. I have undoubtedly learned from this book, but the process has been long and painful.


The Korean War (Pan Military Classics)
The Korean War (Pan Military Classics)
by Max Hastings
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, 25 Feb 2013
I was looking forward to reading something about the war in Korea, and what better than picking up a book by an author I had read before and very much liked? I had much enjoyed Hastings'and Jenkings' book on the Falklands War. It is very well written and covers all aspects of the conflict, I believe. In fact, it is the best book I have read about the Falklands, out of four. Well. I was in for a surprise with this book. I have been unable to finish it. I missed maps, of which there are some in the e-book version, but so small that they are worthless. I rarely put down a book about military history, but this one was too boring to keep going.


World Without End
World Without End
by Ken Follett
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 14 April 2011
This review is from: World Without End (Paperback)
Having very much enjoyed the Pillars of the Earth a few years ago, I thought Ken Follet was a guarantee. I had also read two other books by him which I really liked, the best being The Eye of the Needle. So far I have read 400 pages or so, and I can say this book is not half as good as the Pillars. I intend to finish it, but I do not highly encourage reading it for whoever has not started already. Unlike with Pillars, I do not long to pick it up in my spare time. In fact, I just want to get it over with. My impression is that Follet tried to replicate his succes with Pillars by writing something vey similar. Indeed this book is quite alike the former, with similar characters, in the Middle Ages and the same setting (Kingsbridge), but it's a copy, a watered down version of the masterpiece. Too bad, Ken. Not a very good job in copying yourself. Better luck next time.


The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts of Mutiny, Shipwreck, and Discovery
The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts of Mutiny, Shipwreck, and Discovery
by Martin Dugard
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reality surpasses fiction, 28 Mar 2011
I knew, as any Spanish schoolchild does, that Columbus had travelled four times to the Indies. Seeing a book dedicated to one of the specific voyages, I thought that there must be something special about it, something that made it worthwhile for a contemporary writer to write a book about. And after reading it I must say that I understand why this particular voyage definitely deserves a book. The adventures that the crew underwent surpass anything that Hollywood might have conceived. In fact, such a movie, if it were not based on historical facts, would be dismissed by the public as much too naive, like a Treasure Island film. And yet, it's not fiction we're talking about. When I say "adventures" it might sound somewhat romantic, but that's not the sense I refer to. Adventure, in this case, means enduring undescribable suffering, undergoing a Hurricane, unceasing gales, fights with Central American Indians, being grounded, the 16th century equivalent of paddling accross the Atlantic, and what not. I heartingly recommend this book. Why, then, do I not give it five stars? I guess it is because it takes some time for the author to deal with the main theme. But then, the reader has to be put on the historical setting in order to understand the whys of the fourth voyage of Columbus. I do not mean to say that the first part is dull. Other expeditions to the Indies are recounted, and so we get an overall view of who was doing what, among the Spanish navigators and pioneer settlers in the New World, and why. This is important in order to understand Colon's motives. The book is quite even handed, in my view, and the Admiral of the Ocean Sea is portrayed as the superb navigator and leader at sea which he undoubtfully was, but a rather mediocre administrator.


Spain's Road to Empire: The Making of a World Power, 1492-1763
Spain's Road to Empire: The Making of a World Power, 1492-1763
by Henry Kamen
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Puzzling but good read, 7 Jan 2011
Being a Spaniard fond of history (albeit no scholar) I read this book because I am fed up with Spanish writers. I must admit I learned a lot, but the main thing about this book is that it seems a little bit like the personal interpretation of history by the author. It's like his theory. The facts are what they are, but the explanations given by the author are intriguing. The main line goes something like this: Spain was a world power of certain status during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries (second to Great Britain and France in the late 17th and throughout the 18th century) because it was in the best interest of the other powers to keep her as such. It was convenient, (so Kamen says or implies) to keep a certain balance or status quo among the nations. I must say that his theories struck me as odd. I give it 3 stars because I enjoyed reading it, however puzzling his explanations seemed to me, and I learned history. But believe me, this is no ordinary history book. It's a personal defence of the theories of Kamen by himself. I would not give it 4 stars, because history books should be more objective, I think.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2013 1:21 PM BST


Hooked: A True Story of Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish
Hooked: A True Story of Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish
by G. Bruce Knecht
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner for anyone who likes maritime books, 6 Jan 2011
What is it about the toothfish that makes it such a valuable catch? Perhaps you have never heard of the name before. I know I hadn't until I read this book. But it might be likely that I have tried it, under a different name. My interest with fish lies in my being a consumer, like any good Spaniard. I also like to walk in the fish market in my seaside town on NW Spain to see the different kinds of fish. So what about this book? It is very good. It's a real story about fishermen who go wherever and do whatever it takes to get their catch: the toothfish. When a particular boat is poaching in Australian waters they get caught, and a long (I mean long) persecution ensues between Australian authorities and the fishing boat. This story took place in 2003, but the author goes step by step, explaining where and how the toothfish was "discovered", how it came to be such a valuable catch and why restaurants in the US buy it. It is interesting, you learn about what a big business fishing really is, and how big money contributes to soothe one's scruples about abiding by the law.


Empires of the Sea: The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580
Empires of the Sea: The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580
by Roger Crowley
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A historical must read, 6 Jan 2011
I enjoyed this book more than I can tell. The whole book is enjoyable, but the part on the siege of Malta is outstanding. It is hard to put down, and not knowing about the story beforehand, I was glued to the book, anxiously reading to find about the outcome. The powerful Suleyman, the prudent Phillip II, the gallant Don Juan de Austria, the tenacious knights of Malta, all appear in this book, which is definitely among the best history books I know of. This has nothing to do with a dull account: it's exciting and gripping history.


The Falklands War - The Full Story
The Falklands War - The Full Story
by The Sunday Times Insight Team
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 6 Jan 2011
It is surprising that a group of journalists were able to write this book. The details of the military campaign do not seem to be written by a mere journalist at all. I really enjoyed it. Perhaps you might find the part about the diplomatic efforts to avert war a little longer than desirable, if what you want is to read about the action right awsay, but I never found that part hard to go through, and I think the book is well balanced. It gives some details about the military aircraft of the Argentines when appropriate so you are more acquainted with airplanes to understand the battles. Very nice. I have recommended the book to some of my friends.


First World War
First World War
by Martin Gilbert
Edition: Paperback

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to swallow, 5 Jan 2011
This review is from: First World War (Paperback)
After considerable effort, I managed to go through the whole book. Perhaps the most annoying obstacle during the reading is the poems that Mr Hilbert stubbornly inserts everywhere. I was stubborn myself and read them, but got fed up with so much poetry. The poems were written by the soldiers and people who participated in the events described. I think it was Keegan's First World War book which I read before this one and found much more entertaining. Martin Gilbert is much better in his book "Israel: a history".


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