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catholic reader "catholic reader" (Hong Kong)

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China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival
China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival
by Rana Mitter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overdue, and a very good overview and introduction, 9 July 2014
One would agree with this authour, and his easily digestable writing style, that this, especially in the West is a very much ignored area, the longest partof WW2 between Japan and a never-unitary China. Think on the number of books on the (British, Empire - and Chinese campagins in Burma) and compare it to the far greater scope of the war in China - and the very few books available. This is, as the title states about China - and its war with Japan. it is not a balanced history of that war, and the Japanese, and others exist in this book only as far as they relate to China. There is still a requirement for a good overview of the whole war. Like one reviewer, I too studied this aspect of history in my far off youth, and this book taught me a great deal, and put other matters in a different, possibly clearer context . A good introduction and overview - not a definative history of 'the struggle,between', but a good view of he overall circumstances of one side of the struggle. It also has a very interesting further reading section.


Bring Up the Bodies
Bring Up the Bodies
by Hilary Mantel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars spellbinding continues, 5 Jun 2014
This review is from: Bring Up the Bodies (Paperback)
Probably easier to read than Wolf Hall, perhaps because one has adapted to the style, it is still not a light read, still a literary experience, the authoress weaves her story so well that one can believe that the story could easily carry a different ending to those which we know as 'history' in the third part. Excellent writing. Cannot recommend this and its predecessor highly enough.


Mockingjay (part III of The Hunger Games Trilogy): 3/3
Mockingjay (part III of The Hunger Games Trilogy): 3/3
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.50

3.0 out of 5 stars had to read, 23 May 2014
Had to erad this third part of thtrilogy, having been pushed into reading the fisrtin theseries, despite regading it as almost a child's book. Well written, although the style itself sometimes grates. A bit less 'compelling' that the 2nd book in the trilogy, but still a good read. I doubt this could stand alone, and can only be understood as the final part of the trilogy


Uncle Bill: The Authorised Biography of Field Marshal Viscount Slim
Uncle Bill: The Authorised Biography of Field Marshal Viscount Slim
by Russell Miller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Man, clearly described, 23 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Slim's standing as a military commander, leaders and all round 'good bloke' seems to grow and grow. A few acquaintences who had served in the 14th Army, and who were far from naive or easily impressionable, and by the time I knew them had been afforded plenty time to ponder on their youthful experiences did seem to hold Slim in the respect and affection that this book makes out was widespread. As an Authorised biography it does appear lacking in criticism, and what criticism of Slim's actions that appear in the book almost always seem to come from Slim himslef - and as anyone who has read Deafeat into Victory will be aware, Slim was quite hard on himself when reviewing his past actions. This book is easy to read, it perhaps over simplifies some of the battles fought, but in understanding the man himself it may not be necessary to go into great detail - and as an overview it reads all the better for this simplicity. Clearly written, a few annoyng errors (e.g. the Japanese using "stukas' - one assumes a mistaken general term for 'dive bombers' -although the British use 'dive bombers'). few books make me ignore pressing paperwork on my desk to 'sneak' a read at the next few pages (inevitably becoming the next chapter or so) - thisone did, as a reflection of the subject matter and the clarity of the writing. A very good read indeed


Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014: The Facts, the People, the News, the Stories
Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014: The Facts, the People, the News, the Stories
by Ingvar Ronde
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.77

4.0 out of 5 stars better than many others, 25 April 2014
I have avoided the Yearbooks, beleiving that they were just another whisky book. Wrongly so. The reviews of the distilleries and the limited tasting notes are no better, and no worse than many available elsewhere, but where this book scores is its wider coverage, including the seemingly constant changes of ownership within the industry, and covering independant bottlers, blends and a much wider and more informative view of the whisky world in general. I think the yearbook could become my annual purchase in respect of whisky books


Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy) by Collins, Suzanne on 01/12/2011 1st (first) edition
Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy) by Collins, Suzanne on 01/12/2011 1st (first) edition
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 25 April 2014
Still not sure about the writing style, but having read Hunger Games, I think to pick this up, you wll have to finish it. A good escapist novel, and an entertaining read.


Big Wars and Small Wars: The British Army and the Lessons of War in the 20th Century (Routledge Series: Military History and Policy)
Big Wars and Small Wars: The British Army and the Lessons of War in the 20th Century (Routledge Series: Military History and Policy)
by Hew Strachan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £27.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but perhaps only for thsoe 'interested', 25 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I found this book, of a wide ranging introduction and seven essays on how the figting of various 'small wars' - colonial police actions; The Boer war; Northern Ireland;The Falklands; The Malayan emergency; the initial stages of the Cold War and a commitment to Europe; and its one other 'big war' - Gulf 1, had affected the armies developmentt, or lack of development of doctrine - as opposed to an all encompassing 'flexibility'. And how the need to deal with each crisis and war affected its perfromance in the next conflcit, including possibly restricting its initial abilities in World War I and World War II. The book does presuppose a considerable degree of familiarity with British 20th Centuary military history - but could also be seen as a generic 'managing' or failing to mange 'change' type of book on a wider level too. The essays are well written and thought provoking, questioning perceived wisdoms - some of which were taken for granted for a considerable part of my lifetime. Perhaps a bit too much for only 'military history anoracks', but from that point of view, quite stimulating


Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947
Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947
by D.M. Giangreco
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling,, 8 April 2014
I think the premise that the saving of many, many allied lives justified the atomic bombs is neither new, nor unpopular. There is plenty of revisionist views that say different, but it generally holds it own, but read this book and the case becomes overwhellming. Even the planned invasion would have used multiple nuclear weapons in a obvioulsy misunderstood 'tactical' role. The Japanese had husbanded resources, and mass Kamikazie attacks would have had a serious effect on the invasions. It is sobering stuff. Tthe book is repetative in parts - possibly as a collection of academic papers - makes one do the occasional double take, but it is fascinating, well presented stuff. The inhumanity is not in tTruman giving the go ahead for the bombing of cities, a matter of concern to all, but of the complete disregard for the lives of those they were suppsoed to protect, on the part of Japanese diehard military fanatics. Well worth a read for those who like to believe that it was all over before the bombs.The book does seem to discount any further role for the Red Army,sweeping through Manchuria, but in the end the allied lives saved, and the loss of any chance for some sort of 'unclear' victory because of unsustainable casualties inflicted on the Americans and their allies shines clearly from this book, based on detailed study rather than assumed political positions. Enlightening, and sobering.


Vietnam: The Complete Story of the Australian War
Vietnam: The Complete Story of the Australian War
by Bruce Davies
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.68

4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting overview, 2 Mar 2014
This is an over view in considerable detail, and having read some Australian accounts about various aspects of their involvement in the Vietnam War this fills in a lot of gaps. The writing style is a bit 'clumsy' to start with - but either it improves as the book progresses, or I got used to it. It contains a lot of information and as a broad overview should goes from the large picture to sometimes quite trivial detail and everything in between. It has - obviously with hindsight - from two men who served in the war, a very well balanced view of the difficulties,and of the nature of the war, and certainly seems more balanced in its review than many American books, even more recent ones. It puts into perspective what were seen as 'victories' without ever depreciating the courage and contribution of those who were involved. A good, balanced over view of a difficult matter, from both an Australian and a wider perspective. Well worth a read, even to those who have read extensively on the subject


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
by John Le Carré
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Retread after watching the movie, 2 Mar 2014
Re-read after more than 30 years after my interest had been sparked again by the excellent movie with Gary Oldman as Smiley, anyone that can hold his own against Alec business's earlier portrayal
, must get credit. The book is still a great read, but maybe less 'exciting' than the movie . Well worth a read again, The author remains amongst the best thriller/ espionage writers about, past or current


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