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Chancellor Valorum

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1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four (Penguin Modern Classics)
1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four (Penguin Modern Classics)
by George Orwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Compulsive, 1 Mar 2007
A truly remarkable piece of work which is as relevant today as when it was first published in the 1940s. Nineteen Eighty-Four tells the story of a terrifying future under a totalitarian regime where every movement is watched by the authorities and the masses are kept in line by the constant threat of destruction from an invisible enemy. I read the novel for the first time recently and was amazed at the poignancy of Orwell's story. One can see direct parallels with early 21st Century Britain - including our ever-growing surveillance society and the War on Terror. Not only is this one of the most important works of fiction ever but it is one of the most gripping novels you will ever read.


DC Confidential
DC Confidential
by Christopher Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as interesting as it should have been., 20 Feb 2007
This review is from: DC Confidential (Paperback)
Meyer spends so much time burbling on about his wife's battles to get access to her children (which is obviously very sad but not particularly relevant to a book about UK/US relations) fans of political memoirs might find their interest waning during some of the books chapters. The book is reasonable enough - Meyer has held a few interesting jobs in his time, including being press secretary to former Prime Minister John Major and then of course, US Ambassador. Both of these periods throw up a few amusing anecdotes, but one can't help feeling, especially during the 9/11 and Iraq War chapters, that Meyer wasn't half as important to the US/UK relationship as he seems to think he was. His political bias is apparent throughout - he is a Conservative - and this of course is fair enough. However his (often unfavourable) depiction of Tony Blair, Jack Straw and others doesn't carry as much weight when you realise he has a political axe to grind.


Spin Doctor's Diary
Spin Doctor's Diary
by Lance Price
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recent history told first hand, 9 Aug 2006
This review is from: Spin Doctor's Diary (Paperback)
Lance Price's account of Tony Blair's first term is a fascinating insight into how government - and more specifically a New Labour government - operates. Price was a spin doctor from 1998 until the landslide re-election of Blair's government in 2001. His diaries give an intimate account of how those in power seek to manipulate the media. He is often attempting to "manage" a crisis by putting the best possible spin on a situation - John Prescott punching a member of the public is a notable example. Events are concisely and compellingly told and don't suffer from the lack of narrative some published diaries are afflicted with. The relationship between Gordon Brown and Blair (and their opposing supporters) is also illustrated vividly. A must for anyone interested in British politics, Price's book is both an important account of history and a gripping read.


Incendiary
Incendiary
by Chris Cleave
Edition: Paperback

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and a little confused, 7 July 2006
This review is from: Incendiary (Paperback)
Incendiary for me was a bit of a mixed bag. I read it thinking it was going to be a gripping thriller based around a fictional terror attack on London (bizarrely originally due for release on 7th July 2005). It turned out to be part thriller, part Kitchen Sink Drama and part Chick-Lit. The novel's main premise is a pretty bold concept - a woman whose son and husband are killed by an al-Qaeda bomb writes a letter to Osama Bin Laden to tell him what the effect of his actions has been. It feels like if it had been written by a more experienced writer it could have worked, but it doesn't quite in this instance. Seeing as this is Cleave's first novel it may be that his future work is sharper. The novel has good elements - a dark sense of humour and vivid descriptions of a London torn apart and paranoid following an atrocity. Unfortunately the good elements are let down by the soap-opera characters and a pervading feeling that Incendiary can't quite make up its mind what it is.
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