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Dr Neil MacNeill "Dr Neil MacNeill" (Ellenbrook, Western Australia, Australia)

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Kidnap in Crete: The True Story of the Abduction of a Nazi General
Kidnap in Crete: The True Story of the Abduction of a Nazi General
by Rick Stroud
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.59

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great challenges for authors recreating historical events is the development ..., 5 Oct 2014
One of the great challenges for authors recreating historical events is the development of an engaging story from the artefacts of quixotic events that occurred some seventy years ago. Rick Stroud is to be congratulated on his retelling of this gripping story.

The Allied intervention into Greece was disasterous once the Germans entered the fray, and Crete became a small toehold in the Eastern Meditteranean. The key Allied players on Crete existed because of Cretan support and good luck. In this day of instant communications it was interesting to read of the heavy reliance on runners to carry messages, echoing the great marathons of previous times.


Pigeon Pie Oh My!
Pigeon Pie Oh My!
by Debbie Singleton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars What a brilliant book for kids, 11 July 2014
This review is from: Pigeon Pie Oh My! (Paperback)
What a brilliant book for kids. Nice alliteration. Good narrative structure. Great original story. Excellent illustrations.

The inferential stuff made this a great story for 8 and 9 year olds. And, the humour did not go astray.

My title for this story is: "Food for thought!"


Progressively worse: The Burden of Bad Ideas in British Schools
Progressively worse: The Burden of Bad Ideas in British Schools
by Robert Peal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.79

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Progressively worser!, 9 July 2014
Robert Peal's book "Progressively worse", brilliantly recounts an ideological era in education that still influences our classrooms today.

There is often a temptation in such recounts to give dates, players and a summary of what happened. Peal has the ability and depth of knowledge to add the personal dimension that allows the reader greater insights into what happened beyond the historical enumeration.

The story of education in England at this time is a sad indictment of those who drove the educational revolution, and short-changed the working-class and disadvantaged. In a social justice sense, very little changed.


Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn
Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn
by John Hattie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Hattie yet!, 22 Jun 2014
Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn (2014), John Hattie and Gregory Yates (Corwin)

John Hattie holds the high ground in influencing teaching in many countries. Originally his meta-analyses smashed long held beliefs about effective teaching. Visible Learning became a best seller and it was quoted in ferocious debates about what worked best in students’ learning.
This latest book, written with Gregory Yates and now published by Corwin, provides even more direction to embattled teachers.

For me, Chapter 27, “Neuroscience of the Smile”, is the starting point for all good teaching because of the importance of establishing relationships between teacher and student. There is so much common sense packed into this chapter, it should be compulsory reading for all teachers.

And, I love that word “automaticity”.
This well written book is an easy read and it avoids the repellent genre of academic writing. Definitely a 6 out of 5 stars!


SOE The Special Operations Executive: Outline History of the Special Operations Executive, 1940-46
SOE The Special Operations Executive: Outline History of the Special Operations Executive, 1940-46
by M. R. D. Foot
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Success, failure and inspiring bravery, 21 Jun 2014
This excellent little book gives modern readers a brief insight into world politics in the inter-war period, and then the period of conflict (1940-1946). Looking back it is sad to see how the cards fell, despite tales of absolute heroism.

The late Michael Foot confirms that Norway was one region that fully repaid support while SOE incursions into the low countries were dismal failures (and that story has yet to be told). France was the major battlefield for SOE and it was interesting the de Gaulle ordered all SOE agents out of France in 48 hours as he toured newly liberated areas in 1944.

An interesting anecdote of a Scottish Soviet sympathiser in SOE (Ormond Uren) remarked when sentenced to gaol that "... if he had been at Cambridge instead of Edinburgh University he might have had much more to tell the Russian." (p. 145)

At the conclusion of WW2 the West was badly battered and the stage was set for the Cold War with Russia.

We lived in interesting times!


The Disappointment Dragon: Helping Children Including Those with Asperger Syndrome to Cope with Disappointment (Aspergers Help Book) (K.I. Al-Ghani Children's Colour Story Books)
The Disappointment Dragon: Helping Children Including Those with Asperger Syndrome to Cope with Disappointment (Aspergers Help Book) (K.I. Al-Ghani Children's Colour Story Books)
by K.I. Al-Ghani
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory kit for every primary classroom, 2 Jan 2014
What a brilliant book! The contents and illustrations are outstanding.

Perhaps it is a sign of the times but childhood optimism needs to be taught, encouraged and facilitated. If primary schools don't get this right, teenage suicides become increasingly problematic in our communities.

The strategies are well suited to every primary class, and a whole-school approach could be put into place using this resource. And, for the students with autism (ASD)/Asperger's this is a Godsend.

Definitely 6 stars for this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2014 6:15 PM GMT


Energizing Brain Breaks
Energizing Brain Breaks
by David U. Sladkey
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The real measure of a great lesson: Enhancing the segues, 24 July 2013
The act of teaching is similar to acting on stage and the breaks between acts cause major continuity problems for actors, audiences and playwrights. David Sladkey's brilliant little book, "Energizing Brain Breaks," facilitates an educational and controlled segue between teaching acts.

This morning I did two small activities with my combined staff of teachers and educational assistants- I saw enthusiasm, engagement, learning, and practice-effect.

Comments from my staff indicate that while teachers learn how to present the formal lessons, the change-overs are always a potential point of weakness.
This book is a really practical purchase for teachers and PD presenters, pre-service lecturers in education, and school leaders.

The book is great value for money and it can be used every day in our classes.


The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: Save the Earth, Punish Human Beings
The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: Save the Earth, Punish Human Beings
by Pascal Bruckner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.45

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 stars for uncommonly good sense in the great ecology debate, 12 May 2013
Pascal Bruckner "The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse"

Pascal Bruckner is the public face of French philosophical thought and in a world of confused complexity he stands as a beacon guiding his readers through issues and nuances they may not have considered.

The major issue facing every nation at this time is the future of the earth as we know it, in the face of a pernicious ecological degradation. While those who believe in the ecological Apocalypse wring their hands and cry, "Woe, woe, and thrice woe", Bruckner reasserts a rational, democratic solution. The earth simply needs to get to the position where rational thought outweighs self-interest, at the personal and national levels.

Steven Rendall's translation from the original French version is excellent. Not only does he render the text into English but he has put together a book that has large tracts of brilliant language.

Now, for a second read!


Swords and Hilt Weapons
Swords and Hilt Weapons
by Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Psychological Medicine Michael Sharpe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.15

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sharp, historical view of blades, 16 Mar 2013
Swords and Hilt Weapons

Michael Sharpe's striking book is worthy of a place on coffee tables, or in the libraries of aficionados. The presentation of the book is brilliant, and the contents impressive.

What I liked about Sharpe's book were the history of bladed weapons and the outstanding photographs. It is interesting that in this age of atomic and drone warfare that bladed weapons still have a place in soldiers' kits.

In my national service in the 1960s, as recruits, we were still taught the bayonet drills that were probably hundreds of years old: "In, out, en guard". And, the drill instructor made the point of teaching how to recover a bayonet that was stuck in the bony sections of the victim's body.

The language is clear and heuristic. This is a beautiful book and it has a presence that will be valued.


Harvey, the Boy Who Couldn't Fart
Harvey, the Boy Who Couldn't Fart
by Matthew Johnstone
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a fizzer!, 18 May 2012
Harvey has a severe problem- he and flatulence do not have a great symbiotic existence.

This story starts off well and it is genuinely funny, but the story is not fully developed. The author has taken refuge in a literary strategy- deus ex machina (a flatulence simulator) instead of reaching some sort of denouement.

The illustrations were great.

If I were to put this book in the library the Fart-o-matic would be stolen and the book ignored. In the next edition the author needs to redevelop the story line and enhance the humour so that it will be engaging in its own right. He also needs to align the story better with one genre- literature, or science, or health.


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