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D-Day: The Battle for Normandy
D-Day: The Battle for Normandy
by Antony Beevor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, fast paced and action-packed, 17 Nov. 2010
As much as it feels like a cliche, D-Day is all of these things. It may not 'add' to the history, but it takes you, the reader, right there. This is narrative at its finest. It is "The Longest Day" in 3-D. Beevor is able to recreate a world which we thought was familiar, or known to us all, and make it even more alive in our imagination. He gives life to the players on the stage, describes the scenes in all their horrific detail, describes the drama of leadership and fear of the individuals. It is an entertaining, lively, great book - something you want to read, not to learn necessarily, but to be transported, from the safety of your armchair, to a world both alien and familiar, frightening and uplifting. Riveting.


The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn
The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn
by Louisa Gilder
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining history of complex concepts, 17 Nov. 2010
Clearly this is not a book for the faint-hearted. The concepts which Louisa Gilder so effortlessly navigates are extremely perplexing to many of us. And yet she makes us feel clever for following the plot. I had never really understood the idea of a "thought experiment" until I read this, and yet now it makes perfect sense. Having seen and loved plays like Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, or Michael Frayn's Copenhagen, this story fitted right in with my gradual comprehension of this seemingly arcane corner of science - the domain of rocket scientists or simply science fiction. It is gripping, amusing and surprising. Many of the stories of the geniuses described are very endearing in their humanity - Einstein and Bohr missing the bus stop - not once but twice - is illuminating yet funny. This is exactly the sort of book that the interested but not technical person should read. If you have every really wondered what a quantum leap was, this will really get you there.


Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle (Baroque Cycle 1)
Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle (Baroque Cycle 1)
by Neal Stephenson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking work of genius, 17 Nov. 2010
This book, and the whole Baroque Cycle, absolutely exemplifies why it takes someone who understands narrative, context, stunning visual depictions of strange worlds and unfamiliar times to create stunning history. Neal Stephenson carried me through all his science fiction tales with a completely realised idea of the entire stage of his creations. In Quicksilver, and the rest of the trilogy, he has effortlessly recreated a shocking, exciting, brutal and enchanting world of limitless imagination. The combination of fascinating science, derring-do, political intrigue and great warriors pulls you into to truly three-dimensional world. The characters are all fully formed, both the imaginary and the imagined real, that the history feels like it is pure fiction, and the fiction like pure history. It is an outstanding achievement and for anyone who enjoys either the strong narratives found in great history, or great biography, this is very much of that ilk - and yet for the science fiction reader, this world of Waterhouse et al is as unreal as that of the Diamond Age. What Stephenson has also done, with considerable success, is created a book which effortlessly intermingles writing styles - that of letters (the journal style), a play, first person etc. It is a literary feast as well as a buzzing entertainment centre. Wonderful.


The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
by Richard Holmes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genesis of Modern Science, 17 Nov. 2010
For those interested in how we know what we know, this is a fascinating book. The extraordinary fact that until the first manned balloons took off, no one had ever seen the world from above, and that was relatively recently. The speed with which discoveries occurred is remarkable. The certainty that the protagonists had that they would make new discoveries is also surprising. Although the stories are certainly interesting, the style is sometimes a little repetitive - phrases are reused and I sometimes found myself thinking I had already read a passage when in fact it was simply restating something said a few lines, paragraphs or pages before. All the same, very readable and a strong narrative - something I always look for in history.


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