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Christianity and Law: An Introduction (Cambridge Companions to Religion)
Christianity and Law: An Introduction (Cambridge Companions to Religion)
by John Witte Jr.
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 56.58

4.0 out of 5 stars The Nuts and Bolts of the Judeo Christian Religious Jurisprudence Running Through the Law., 19 April 2014
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I liked this. I particularly liked the parts on Evidence Procedure and Punishment. I will use this in my summing up to the bench which is what I bought it for. A useful text all round.


The Conservatives - A History
The Conservatives - A History
by Robin Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.00

3.0 out of 5 stars A Narrative Sweep, 19 April 2014
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A bulk standard political narrative sweep across 150 years or so of political history as it involved the Tory Party. Much of it has been covered elsewhere but nevertheless worth a read so as to have that sweep in the first place. Target in later in my opinion.

So worth the read and a standard not particularly profound bt not too superficial read.

All round a useful text.


The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I
The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I
by Stephen Alford
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligence and Intrigue in the Court of Elizabeth, 18 Jan 2014
I bought this book whilst travelling in Scotland last summer. I was intrigued by the Anthony Burgess Book, 'A Dead Man In Deptford'.

If those sort of books (who did it how did it get done) is interesting to you plus a good measure of smoke filled rooms you can almost smell and images of sinister covered men landing at and leaving English ports in the dead of night and landing on the continent, then I would guess this is the sort of book for you.

I think it is an easy book to read which is good, and it portrays the characters really well and as I said the passages on Marlowe are interesting (I have been always so interested in the theory he was an English spy). I also particularly liked the underlying theme of the Cecil Family and their skullduggery and influence at Court and the way the subtle theme of the Catholic Conspiracy is played out throughout the book:

" ... The nightmare was real: at the end of 1593 Londoners could see on stage the horrors of Catholic conspiracy ... Christopher Marlowe's play ... Massacre in Paris .." (at the Rose Theatre, Southwark).

As the author says: "...We have to be impressed by the Elizabethan roll call of brilliance: Sir Francis Drake, Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter Ralegh, Edmund Spenser, Sir John Hawkins, Ben Johnson, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Gabriel Harvey, Francis Bacon, William Camden. ..."

I couldn't agree more.

Read this book. It's highly recommended on here and rightly so.


The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
by Ian Mortimer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sterling Look At The Medieval Age, Dogs Muck and All, 8 Jan 2014
I liked this text. Although I am sure that I heard it reviewed on Radio 4, My friend suggested I borrow it by I got it anyway. The picture Ian Mortimer conjures up remains throughout from entering a Township or City (and observing very rudimentary 'justice' displayed on the gibbet or gallows outside to the way in which one got there, via hostelries (to put it mildly slightly flea bitten and prone to disease and robbery) or preferably a known network of relatives (if one couldn't stay in comfort at the Abbott's place of course).

Read this in preference to many sterile books about Medieval England.

The rotten food and local brook or river over-flowing with carcasses and midden is very aptly conjured up. He does this better than Peter Ackroyd does when he describes the Fleet in the later 1700's.

I knew what to expect as I had heard about this from Radio 4 and a friend of mine. Be persuaded by the reviews on here. You won't be disappointed.


You Talkin' To Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama
You Talkin' To Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama
by Sam Leith
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.81

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 8 Jan 2014
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Why was this book disappointing?

The reason was that I was expecting so much more when I ordered it from here. There is a short and potted history of Rhetoric (well that can be obtained from any book on modern usage of Rhetoric / Modern Public Speaking). I mean did we really need to know that "Ad Herennium" ; A Roman Text of Rhetoric, was used through to the Renaissance and that Shakespeare was taught from it? Or, indeed that in the Renaissance the art of Rhetoric overlapped substantially with the arts of drama and poetry? I mean, no you don't mean to say, you don't say?

Though I suppose compartmentalisation of 'themes' or concurrent aspects of Rhetoric is always of some use.

I can only visualise when I re-read this, the Blair Cheerleader / Speechwriter trying to drum up confidence in an apprehensive speaker or audience. Welllll yaaaaa knooooow Awwwwriiiight as Neil Kinnock said at the Sheffield Rally in 1992.

Mmmmmm .... not convinced at all by this book though I would suggest one makes their own mind up.

What I could have usefully done with is more of a modern look at what the subject is and how it can be used by looking at the modern political speech, but perhaps that has been covered elsewhere by other books?


Pitt the Elder: Man of War
Pitt the Elder: Man of War
by Edward Pearce
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

3.0 out of 5 stars A Necessary Step To Understand "The Whig Supremacy", 8 Jan 2014
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I did find this hard going as a book. I also found Edward Pearce's Walpole book hard to read. That being said, they are interesting and they are informative and they are what I would consider (perhaps a bit masochistically), necessary to understand the period in the Oxford English History (Blue Book) Range, Title "The Whig Supremacy".

I think that for Edward Pearce to improve this, and he could easily do so, then he would have to add a proper introduction to this book and in that introduction have synopsis of each chapter and the main protagonists within it, and then a further section showing the various conflicts of the period and maps to show basic troop movement or 'thrust' so to speak. That would at best take perhaps 50 pages and they wold be indispensable to a book like this.

What I wanted to know before I purchased this book was a description of the man. What I got was an understanding that he was perhaps vain and hubristic. What I did not get was a proper description of the various 'wars' on the Continent and America which could have been done at least in part.

That said it maybe that I will understand better about this book when I investigate a book following Walpole like one on Pelham and one if I can find one on Compton (following Pitt The Elder). Alternatively I may now read the Oxford Book, then revisit parts of these books and this book in particular, I didn't understand.

It is still a good attempt at a comprehensive text covering this period and I admire Edward Pearce for trying to do it. I would not give it less than 3 Stars because it is good and it is worth the read. I just might suggest one firstly visits the era in more comprehensive fashion first, perhaps with a narrative sweep through the Oxford Series Title for that era (1716-1760).


A Short History of Western Legal Theory
A Short History of Western Legal Theory
by J. M. Kelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: 39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I Don't Believe There Is Another Text Like This Or On This Topic, 7 Jan 2014
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We have Lloyds on Jurisprudence. This is excellent though I would NOT recommend reading it (if one could of course), cover to cover. This is good, but when I did Jurisprudence our lecturer for all his M.Jur qualification, poor at explaining how to think like a Philosopher. He could have started by a proper skeleton of the subject and recommending this text to read (as it can be read very easily, possibly in summer holidays - and Jurisprudence is usually a Third Year Degree Subject after all). Perhaps I would have understood then, Utilitarianism and on the back of this, The Hart / Devlin Debate and Hart's Concept of Law.

The great thing is the topics lead into one another naturally and stretch forward as far as fairly modern 20th Century Jurisprudence.

I have to say a must for me and anyone really wanting to understand 'Law'.


Opera: Composers, Works, Performers (Ullmann)
Opera: Composers, Works, Performers (Ullmann)
by Andras (ed) Batta
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 38.88

3.0 out of 5 stars Useful If Cumbersome Reference Book, 7 Jan 2014
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Please be sure that this does not cover very opera one of the reviewers on here thought it should do. If it did it would be even bigger and even more difficult to store!

What it does do very well in my opinion is take most of the world's major operas and give a proper history of the performance of that opera, the artists historically associated with that opera and some analysis of the major arias (together with an extract of the score).

For this alone (and the pictures) it is worth the purchase.

I don't believe this can be 'improved', but it isn't a 5 Star text. Why can't it be improved? I suspect because if one goes down the short introduction road then one gets to a position where one does a bailing out exercise. Then one has a wholly different text, much akin to Michael Steen's (25) Great Operas. This is good in its own right and a different type of text. If one goes purely down the historical route then one has a text like 'The Gilded Stage' which is a subject (history) in its own right.

This ambitious book is a project that tries to mix all the aspects people enjoy about opera and therefore whilst I would only give it 3 Stars, I admire the attempt to do this (i.e. provide an encyclopaedia of the main operas).


Disraeli: or, The Two Lives
Disraeli: or, The Two Lives
by Douglas Hurd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

4.0 out of 5 stars An Underrated Legacy For The Jewish Culture, 7 Jan 2014
Other than the fact that this is a political book written by Douglas Hurd and I liked his Peel and Choose Your Weapons Books, the thing that motivated me to buy this book was the fact that Disraeli's Primrose League at the height and of course posthumously, some 2 million members in 1910. This is some feat in view of the fact that the UK Population was 39,700,000 in 1907!

So I thought something must be the reason for this and when the book was published I was on vacation in Scotland so I thought that I would read it.

I accept the view that it seems that the book, starts with a bang and the author's descriptions explode onto the pages in the first few chapters, and hence it may seem that it is U-Shaped. The first chapter being quite interesting about the relationship between Disraeli and Gladstone (apparently the latter detested him), in itself. To quote,

"...[Gladstone's] ... memories of past conflicts must have crowded in ... Gladstone now found himself leading a nation in mourning for a man he had detested."

Oh dear oh dear a Blair and Brown forerunner!

The Chapter I liked best though, and to my mind the one most worth reading and considering against other sources (Douglas Hurd usefully refers to further reading at the back by chapter), is that on Christian and Jew (Chapter 2) , in that Christian intolerance of Jewish faith and culture was apparently so trenchant that Disraeli was baptised into the Christian faith. His parents " ... Thus opened the door for Disraeli's entry into political life that would otherwise have been barred by the law .." Isaac Disraeli, his father thus according to Douglas Hurd was known for his warmth, geniality and anxiety to avoid conflict, notwithstanding that his faith and culture preceded this step for centuries he was willing to assimilate his son into the Christian tradition (and to threaten to leave the Synagogue in order to do so). It is also the more surprising in a way because again according to the book his grandfather bequeathed the family 35000 (many millions today) that put them into the very highest echelons of Jewish London life at the time. However it removed the main impediment at the time |(apparently) to Disraeli's 'progress'.

Nevertheless, this selfless move by Isaac Disraeli which appears to be rather than divisive, inclusive, must have been foremost in Benjamin Disraeli's mind when he voted against his party to support Lord John Russell's Jewish Emancipation Bill and used inclusive religious jurisprudence / arguments to do so:

"...Where is you Christianity if you do not believe in their Judaism..."

"... I cannot for one, give a vote which is not in deference to one what I believe to be the true principles of religion ..."

This public spirited and extremely tolerant stance, though (according to Douglas Hurd), possibly viewed as heretical at the time by fellow Tory MP's, resulted in the first Jewish MP, Lionel De Rothschild shaking him by the hand on eventual entry to the Commons in or around 1858. It must have been set in his constitution by his father and parental background and I am attracted by the references to those influences by Douglas Hurd (who to be fair could have overlooked them completely and still written a good book).

And hence probably Disraeli can be said to have done more for Jewish emancipation than any politician of that period (effectively bring the Tory Party on board it would appear).

And therefore although he is deemed to be famous for the words 'One Nation' which do not appear to have been uttered by him, it is easy to see where the concept came from even apparently after his death with an inclusive mind set that he had. It is also easy to see why this former Dandy, was one of Queen Victorias favourite Prime Ministers.

This book is well worth the read and I would say that careful reading will show that it can grab the attention throughout the chapters and not just at the beginning and end. I will however only give it 4 Stars because it could have been slightly better structured over all.


Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion
Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion
by Bernhard Roetzel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 24.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction To All You Never Knew About Classic Men's Fashion And Much That Mens Retailers No Longer Know, 6 Jan 2014
I actually picked up my copy at T M Lewin, but obviously one can pick one up here on line as well.

The book is very interesting. I did get persuaded to buy much in here that I needed and looked carefully at what makes a good buy and what makes the best type of product before I bought. I was interested to see the reference to the Cording's (Piccadilly) Covert Coat and have bought one. This is in the section on coats for example and it is quite informative. There is also a good section on Barbour as well. The sections on ties, Sweatshirts, Shaving, Saville Row, Lobbs (Shoe Makers of St James) and the Section on Blazers are all interesting, what makes it so much more is that it shows how to mix and match items (i.e. Club Blazer and Cavalry Twills for example).

I cannot give it any more than 3 Star though as I know little about the opposition. It does however fill the market niche for an all round gents advice manual admirably. One of my copies was left at my tailors who was also very interested and keeps his for reference and for discussion with his clients and I think he is impressed (well he must be otherwise he wouldn't have asked to borrow it on a (very) long terms basis, and so long term I got another copy (as he does a lot for me)).

A good addition to the advice section in your bookcase.


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