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Falklands Commando
Falklands Commando
by Hugh McManners
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account, shame about the typos!, 9 Mar 2010
This review is from: Falklands Commando (Paperback)
This is a very enjoyable book about a unit that has had nothing else written about it, apart from one account in 'Above All, Courage: The Eyewitness History of the Falklands War (Cassell Military Paperbacks)'. I finished it in a couple of days.

The unit has a specialised role in controlling the fire of ships and land-based artillery. The author's team worked in this role with the Special Boat Squadron during the Falklands War.

He writes engagingly about the journey down, and the routine that emerges during such a long voyage - and the confusion that surrounds such a sudden and unexpected deployment.

His team was in action virtually for the whole campaign, culminating in coordinating the gunfire that supported the two-day 'big push' on the nights of 11/12 to 13/14 June.

Reading the entire story of McManners' war, rather than 'edited highlights', is more interesting - life as a whole. One fact he doesn't mention, but which emerges in other books on the conflict, is that his battery was within three months of disbandment; the book seems like a manifesto for the Battery's continued existence. It is good to know that the proposed disbandment was rescinded.

The second edition contains some additions, e.g. the tale told by an SAS soldier about the accidental shooting of an SBS soldier, and also a new introduction and final chapter - an interesting perspective after 25 years, five of them as the Sunday Times military correspondent. It is sad to read about the fate of one of his team members, a victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I certainly recommend the book - however, it's lost one star for the appalling typos - no proofreading evident at all!


Spearhead Assault: Blood, Guts and Glory on the Falklands Frontlines
Spearhead Assault: Blood, Guts and Glory on the Falklands Frontlines
by John Geddes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant soldier's eye view, 5 May 2008
It is fitting that I finished this book on the anniversary of the day the battle started. It is a soldier's story, by a member of 2 Para's patrols platoon.

This book concentrates solely on Geddes' experience of 2 Para's battle at Goose Green in 1982. He commanded a patrols section.

The book concentrates on their actions - the voyage down, to their battle.

It is good to read of the bravery and compassion of 2 Para's soldiers, to rescue their wounded comrades and take out the Argentine bunkers. In particular Geddes feels that a corporal, Dave Abols, turned the action in 2 Para's favour by working round to the machine-gun position which killed Colonel H, standing up in a hail of fire and firing an anti-tank rocket into it.

I was interested to hear his opinions of the actions of his CO, Colonel H Jones. Although apparently the best CO he ever had, Geddes feels that was doing the wrong job at Goose Green: instead of 'command and control', organising air strikes and bunker-busting fire support, Jones seems to have let things get too personal, turning down sensible ideas from his company commanders, and lost his life by letting rage at the death of his best friend, the adjutant Captain Wood induce him to make a foolish charge at machine-gun post.

Geddes also points out how all the soldiers were let down by the lack of logistical support - e.g. the infamously non-waterproof boots, and also the leaving behind not only of the bandsmen stretcher-bearers, but also their stretchers! Many men waited many hours on the battlefield for evacuation to the field hospital; one man waited for 20 hours for treatment!

I enjoyed this book, reading it in not much more than a single sitting - highly recommended.


Priest: Portraits of Ten Good Men Serving the Church Today and Striving to Serve Him Faithfully
Priest: Portraits of Ten Good Men Serving the Church Today and Striving to Serve Him Faithfully
by Michael S. Rose
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 portraits of what all good Priests should be like, 30 Mar 2008
This is a very uplifting book, and I read it in only a couple of days.

It contains ten chapters, each of which describes the lives of '10 good men serving the Church today'. It's a very readable book, and one for the bedside table - you can dip into it very easily.

It's quite an adventure book - the different ways in which good priests can bring the healing power of Christ to their flock. One underwent a charismatic-type conversion and had a healing ministry; another is involved in evangelising the Russian Far East and started a new Order of Priests.

There are difficulties to overcome - e.g. one of these men was charged with building a new Parish church, school and presbytery in what was then a new Catholic parish. To make things even more difficult, his predecessor had been discovered embezzling church funds on a grand scale, and had been dismissed from the diocese.

This pastor's response was to tell his parish, at his second weekend in the diocese, that he would give a year's salary to help fund the project. At the end of the year, he said that he would give another $10,000 over the next five years. Now that's leadership! Who can fail to come forward to donate after that? If only all priests could show such generosity!


The Joy of Priesthood
The Joy of Priesthood
by ROSSETTI
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for clergy, religious and lay people, 16 Mar 2008
This review is from: The Joy of Priesthood (Paperback)
This is a great book, and I read it in only a couple of days.

It's about the challenges and rewards of the priesthood - specifically the Roman Catholic priesthood, of course, as he is a Roman Catholic priest himself - though I think that a minister, and indeed layperson, of any denomination can learn from it.

The book is the fruit of years of heading the St Luke Institute, a residential program in America which helps suffering clergy and women religious with inner and spiritual healing. (Fr Rossetti is also a licensed psychologist.)

Each chapter addresses different areas of difficulty that priests may have in living out their calling in the way God wants them to do - from celibacy to the importance of living in the world, but not being of it, and suggestions on how to 'survive' them, and thrive. I'm sure that these reflections come out of his work with healing.

It's strong on calling the priesthood to obedience - ultimately to God, of course, but also, under that, the Magisterium of the Church.

It brought home to me just how much we as lay Catholics expect of our clergy - we expect them to celebrate Mass, same time, same place, every week, celebrate the Sacrament of Confession, same time, same week - as well as looking after us from cradle to grave: baptising children to anointing us when near to death, whenever we need it.

A great book, much recommended.


LAST ENEMY, THE
LAST ENEMY, THE
by Richard Hillary
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £31.67

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courage in adversity, 16 Dec 2007
This review is from: LAST ENEMY, THE (Hardcover)
This is a beautifully written account of one pilot's participation in a crucial WW2 battle. The author spent only a relatively brief period in action; but his description of his privileged period at Oxford, and of fighter training at the beginning of World War 2, are worth reading in their own right.

However, the real subject of this book is the recovery (sadly incomplete) he made from the horrific burns suffered after being shot down on the first anniversary of the outbreak of War. Burns treatment was crude before the outbreak of WW2, and shot-down pilots were the guinea pigs who enabled huge advances in this field to be made. (Hillary's plastic surgeon was the great Sir Archibald McIndoe.) Hillary's courage in fighting his way to this recovery, and the candour with which he describes it, make this book the best memoir I have read of the War.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 27, 2010 2:04 AM BST


Take That Hill: Royal Marines in the Falklands War
Take That Hill: Royal Marines in the Falklands War
by N.F. Vaux
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commando's eye view of 42 Commando's Falklands campaign, 14 Jun 2007
Colonel Vaux is a natural writer, and I read his account of 42 Commando's role during the Falklands Campaign in one sitting. It is very interesting to see the view from the top - what he set out to do, and how he did it.

The Commando did a great deal in the Falklands - providing most of the troops which retook South Georgia before the landings on the Falklands; others, with the SAS, took and held vital ground on Mount Kent, so as to deny it to the enemy. Then there was the main battle to fight on Mount Harriet - the ingenious outflanking plan took the Argentines by surprise and must have saved many casualties.

It is also sobering to realise the Commando's casualty list - two dead and 24 wounded, some of them seriously enough to be medically discharged. They are listed at the back of the book, and should not be forgotten.

In short, very interesting and written in a very easy to read style - well worth a buy!


March to the South Atlantic: 42 Commando Royal Marines in the Falklands War (Echoes of War S.)
March to the South Atlantic: 42 Commando Royal Marines in the Falklands War (Echoes of War S.)
by Nick Vaux
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commando's view of the Falklands, 10 Jun 2007
Colonel Vaux is a natural writer, and I read his account of 42 Commando's role during the Falklands Campaign in one sitting. It is very interesting to see the view from the top - what he set out to do, and how he did it.

The Commando took part in much action on the islands - one company formed the main force which retook South Georgia well before the main landings on the Falklands themselves; another, with the SAS, took and held a forward position on Mount Kent, so as to deny it to the enemy. Then there was the main battle to fight on Mount Harriet. Much patrolling by the Marines and NCOs was necessary, before the outflanking plan could be arrived at. This took the Argentines by surprise and must have saved many casualties.

It is also sobering to realise the Commando's casualty list - two dead and 24 wounded, some of them seriously enough to be medically discharged. They are listed at the back of the book, and should not be forgotten.

In short, very interesting and written in a very easy to read style - well worth a buy!


Spearhead Assault: Blood, Guts and Glory on the Falklands Frontlines
Spearhead Assault: Blood, Guts and Glory on the Falklands Frontlines
by John Geddes
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant soldier's eye view, 28 May 2007
It is fitting that I finished this book on the anniversary of the day the battle started. It is a soldier's story, by a member of 2 Para's patrols platoon.

This book concentrates solely on Geddes' experience of 2 Para's battle at Goose Green in 1982. He commanded a patrols section.

The book concentrates on their actions - the voyage down, to their battle.

It is good to read of the bravery and compassion of 2 Para's soldiers, to rescue their wounded comrades and take out the Argentine bunkers. In particular Geddes feels that a corporal, Dave Abols, turned the action in 2 Para's favour by working round to the machine-gun position which killed Colonel H, standing up in a hail of fire and firing an anti-tank rocket into it.

I was interested to hear his opinions of the actions of his CO, Colonel H Jones. Although apparently the best CO he ever had, Geddes feels that was doing the wrong job at Goose Green: instead of 'command and control', organising air strikes and bunker-busting fire support, Jones seems to have let things get too personal, turning down sensible ideas from his company commanders, and lost his life by letting rage at the death of his best friend, the adjutant Captain Wood induce him to make a foolish charge at machine-gun post.

Geddes also points out how all the soldiers were let down by the lack of logistical support - e.g. the infamously non-waterproof boots, and also the leaving behind not only of the bandsmen stretcher-bearers, but also their stretchers! Many men waited many hours on the battlefield for evacuation to the field hospital; one man waited for 20 hours for treatment!

I enjoyed this book, reading it in not much more than a single sitting - highly recommended.


Unbroken: The Story of a Submarine (Pen & Sword Military Classics)
Unbroken: The Story of a Submarine (Pen & Sword Military Classics)
by Alastair Mars
Edition: Paperback

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant account of a vital sea campaign, 14 April 2007
Alastair Mars commanded the British submarine Unbroken for the whole of 1942, during the Siege of Malta. During that time he and the ship's crew sank 30,000 tons of enemy shipping.

The submarine also engaged the enemy on land - landing and picking up secret agents on the coast of Occupied Europe, and shelling enemy rail traffic. On one occasion, Unbroken blew up a train carrying 14,000 tons of supplies for Rommel.

'Unbroken' takes you right through Mars' time in command of her, what it was like to operate in the Mediterranean at this point in WW2 - the stress, the foul air of the submarine - stewed cabbage was particularly bad in this respect ... (hiding from the enemy was more important than surfacing to change the air), chancing their luck going through minefields, or enduring depth charging. As well as the sub's successes, Mars mentions the errors made by the crew (which seems to have been relatively inexperienced) and reversals of fortune.

You get a real feeling for the vital contribution the Royal Navy's Submarine Service made to the war in the Mediterranean and on land in North Africa, by a real breed of heroes.


The British Museum Christ (Gift Books)
The British Museum Christ (Gift Books)
by Rowena Loverance
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyful celebration of Christ and Christianity, 9 April 2007
This book takes you through the life of Christ, and the birth and spread of Christianity, as depicted by the works of art held by the British Museum - text on the left and illustration on the right. It also gives a brief but dispassionate overview of the gospel to those unfamiliar with it. It is light and colourful enough to keep available to dip into in moments of relaxation - by the bedside, perhaps.

The collections of the British Museum represented here are so varied - there's a mosaic floor from a Roman villa in Dorset which depicts Christ, a jewelled enamel Cross, an illuminated page from the Lindisfarne Gospels, a golden private baptism font, a Gillray cartoon, and a French St Christopher medal with passengers in a 1930s open-top car - and much more.

This is a joyful celebration of Christ and Christianity over the past 2,000 years - well worth having!


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