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S Hewett "SRH"
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All in: The Education of General David Petraeus
All in: The Education of General David Petraeus
by Paula Broadwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.36

2.0 out of 5 stars Not really reflective of the hype, 10 Dec 2013
This is one of those occasions when someone tries to do two things at once and fails at both; a biography and an account of Petraeus' COIN strategy in Afghanistan.

The biographical elements are mildly interesting but lack any substantive depth into Petraeus' thought processes, and are largely narrative based. I do think that it pays a bizarrely frequent reference to his slightly unbelievable fitness regime. There are also considerable portions of the text that go into biographical detail of other people--not Petraeus, and I questioned the relevance of those sections in a biography of Petraeus.

Although the book is advertised as a biography, roughly half the book is an account of the implementation of Petraeus' COIN strategy in Afghanistan. This again is little more than a narrative account. There is barely any analysis of the strategy, some that is almost unforgivable considering the quantity of debate on the subject of counterinsurgency in the last decade.

I bought this book because I wanted to learn something of the judgement and decision-making of a man in his position. I was surprised to find so much of the book dedicated to the overall strategy, but this is no bad thing considering the link between the man and the strategy. However, neither aspect of the book was particularly satisfying. I got half way through the book before setting it aside.


Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism
Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism
by Michael Barnett
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars .., 10 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
One of the reviews describes it as the best single volume on the subject. This is an excellent introduction.

Highly recommended.


A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone
A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone
by Lansana Gberie
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Brief and incisive, 5 Aug 2011
I have found this text indispensable in my studies. Gberie has written an accessible account of the war that nicely balances brevity and depth, and in my opinion makes it one of the best single volumes on the war.

Although, since reading Krijn Peter's 'War and the Crisis of Youth in Sierra Leone' (2011), I have come to question the validity of some of Gberie's conclusions (specifically the nature of the RUF itself), this book is still a must-read for anyone wishing to understand the war. I also suspect considering the more affordable price of this text compared to Peters', Gberie's work will continue to be one of the most read perspectives on the conflict.


War and the Crisis of Youth in Sierra Leone (The International African Library)
War and the Crisis of Youth in Sierra Leone (The International African Library)
by Krijn Peters
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £61.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Ungratuitously essential book on Sierra Leone, 26 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There is very little insight that I can add to this book that the scholarly reviewers have not already provided.

I bought this book after seeing the comments from Keen and Reno. It was a bittersweet purchase - bitter due to the price, but sweet because Keen and Reno are correct. Speaking as a postgraduate student, this book has been an essential addition to my research on Sierra Leone. It is a considerably strong addition to the 'camp' who emphasise the role of grievances, arguing against the prevailing idea that the RUF was originally and primarily a bandit organisation of marginalised thugs.

I believe that this book will be consistently referenced for discussion of Sierra Leone (and beyond) to the same extent as Paul Richards, Ibrahim Abdullah and Keen.


Fighter Pilot (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
Fighter Pilot (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
by Paul Richey
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read, 19 April 2011
Where this book differs most obviously from the other memoirs that I have read of WW2 fighter pilots is the fact that it was first published in 1941. Under the Wire (William Ash) and First Light (Geoffrey Wellum) were published decades after the war, and as such benefited from passage of time to allow the memories to distil somewhat.

This book is shorter, and feels less polished. But that means that it somehow feels more 'authentic' (for want of a better way of putting this across). The way this book is written, in short occasionally sharp accounts of events that are obviously expanded from his notes, one feels that Richey has written frankly and honestly of his experienced, and it is as such largely unclouded by influences that might have affected him after the war.

This memoir should be an essential read for not only those interested in fighter pilots, but the war in general (and indeed military flying in general). Although each one is special in its own right, of all the memoirs I have read of those who participated in this war this text really stands out.


Emergency Sex (And Other Desperate Measures): True Stories from a War Zone
Emergency Sex (And Other Desperate Measures): True Stories from a War Zone
by Andrew Thomson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emergency Sex, 6 Oct 2010
There is a note to the reader at the start of the book. It says "The book does not, however, pretend to be about the nuances of international politics, and we are not claiming objective historical, journalistic, or academic accuracy."

Along with the title "Emergency Sex", sensible people should know what to expect.

I have no experiences of humanitarian aid work, but I am a student of the wars that this book covers, and at times I got shots of electricity down my spine as the authors explained events that I have read about in far drier academic analyses(such as the assassination of a human-rights investigator, in which the co-operation between Cambodian military officers and Khmer Rouge was glaring)

Read this book as it (to me, obviously) intends to be read - it's entertainment. I laughed, I didn't cry, but I was awed, a little shocked, and when I finished the book I had a profound sense of unease at my own feelings towards the events described in the book, and how I should think of these far-off wars. I am sure that this will be a book that sticks with me for many years to come.

I've no doubt there are far more objective and accurate texts dealing with this subject, but when taken in context I think this book is not a wasted read.


Far Cry 2 (PC)
Far Cry 2 (PC)

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DRM = fail, 24 Oct 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Far Cry 2 (PC) (Video Game)
Fallout 3 comes out next week. I was thinking about getting this instead of Fallout 3. But then Fallout 3 doesn't come with spyware, so now I am seriously reconsidering just waiting a week.


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