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Solo Walker "SW" (UK)
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A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
by Marina Lewycka
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would make an excellent play, 24 Jun 2006
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Very enjoyable light read with good characters with some Ukrainian history thrown in the mix. Found myself laughing on a few occasions & could not wait to turn the page to see what happens next. The only let down is the end chapter, which is short but does not ring true or add anything to the overall story.

Also, best enjoyed by taking off your politically correct glasses and doing away with your preconceptions.


Paisley and the Provos: The Bug, the Bank Job and the Broken Deal
Paisley and the Provos: The Bug, the Bank Job and the Broken Deal
by Brian Rowan
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One wonders why he bothered, 3 April 2006
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A journalist travail through the recent history of the peace process revealing absolutely nothing we do not already know. It is shallow, boring and not particuarly well written. Very disappointing, best to hang onto your money.


A Lie About My Father
A Lie About My Father
by John Burnside
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.50

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Childhood through a glass darkly, 3 April 2006
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This review is from: A Lie About My Father (Hardcover)
For the most part this is an enjoyable read, boy can the author write? A true poet from humble and desolate origins who evokes his childhood so imaginatively. Read it and you find yourself comparing your own childhood and parental relationships. I felt the book was two chapters too long and did become a bit indulgent and tainted with self pity. This is a minor criticism though as self pity is as intoxicating as drug or alcohol addiction, which the author inevitably succumbs. There is no happy ending, but there is triumph. The power of the human spirit and this shines through from begining to end.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2012 4:43 PM GMT


Stuart: A Life Backwards
Stuart: A Life Backwards
by Alexander Masters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

25 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even the dull & ignorant have their own story, 25 Feb 2006
I read this book over a year ago, yet it still has me thinking about it. Walk down the main street or shopping centre in any town and you sometimes see them. The homeless, the down and outs those people we like to ignore and see them as someone else's problem.
Yet this is the story of one of them, his name was Stuart (RIP), it is shocking and deeply disturbing. A catalogue of the most appalling human disasters from birth. I defy any thinking person not to be moved or have their values questioned after reading this unusual parable of our times. But on the other hand it has humour, especially the interaction between the author and Stuart.
A short way through and I am questioning why the author bothered, what was his motive, it definitively wasn't money. Was the effort worthwhile?
Personally, I am deeply indebted to the author for persevering and bringing this human story to my attention.


Always a Marine: The Return to Civvy Street
Always a Marine: The Return to Civvy Street
by Steven Preece
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.68

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Truth or fiction? One upon a time there was a marine........, 25 Feb 2006
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Unputdownable, very easy to read Steve's story. The writing isn't great, every person he meets is described in a similiar formula ie "the sheik had dark skin, a round chubby face and a short beard". Each chapter has our ex-marine working out and maintaining a high level of physical fitness. He mentions this time and time again. Everywhere he works he comes across people trying to stitch him up or being uncooperative. Whenever he goes drinking he finds someone who wants a fight, funny that.
After a few chapters you get the drift and see a pattern emerging. Disappointingly he keeps his marriage under wraps, I can understand why, his Wife must be a martyr, seriously.
I was in two minds, is the guy a total nutter or just a bullshitter? However, as I couldn't put the book down I guess I'm the nutter.
If only half the book is true and I'm being generous here then the man has still given a good account of himself. Only wish it had more depth and I could believe it.


The Bloody Sunday Inquiry: The Families Speak Out
The Bloody Sunday Inquiry: The Families Speak Out
by Eamonn McCann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revealing insight into Derry's pain, 26 Jan 2006
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The people affected by Bloody Sunday get a chance to put forward their views on the inquiry in their own words. A single mother goes to London when the inquiry moved there to hear the soldiers evidence, she enjoyed her time mixing with the Irish community in London and socialising with the lawyers. Another lady felt London was a hostile place and that everyone was watching her. Both were sceptical of most of the soldiers evidence. Others tell of their pain going through the events of that day again. It was revealing also, in the fact that there were lots of arguments and splits as people sought their own legal counsel to represent them. Some were seen as having their own personal agendas. All this is probably inevitable with a campaign that has gone on for so long to get where it did ie Saville.
Without giving too much away, there are many poignant insights into the pain many have experienced and the highs and lows of their campaign, their hopes and fears for the inquiry, which reveal a surprising pragmatism and optimism. I urge anyone interested in Bloody Sunday and Irish affairs, go and get a copy.


Gazza:  My Story
Gazza: My Story
by Paul Gascoigne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From the sublime to the riduculous, 14 July 2005
This review is from: Gazza: My Story (Paperback)
From the first page to the last this book grabs you by the short & curlies. It is written in a conversational style, as you read it you can imagine Gazza in a pub, glass in hand reminisceing. But Gazza does'nt drink now and his story tells you why.
Much credit should be given to Hunter Davies for the way he captures the essence and vibrancy of Gasgoine along with the madness, stupidity and wonderful talent this man boy displayed for a short period of his life. What he does with the rest of his life now, will be another story.


Stone Cold: True Story of Michael Stone and the Milltown Massacre
Stone Cold: True Story of Michael Stone and the Milltown Massacre
by Martin Dillon
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dillon at his best, 19 Jun 2005
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Dillon traces Stone's background from birth,abandonment by his parents due to their divorce, to a misspent youth living with relatives. Where he progresses from self styled serial womaniser fathering numerous children to petty thief,thug and ultimately killer. The reason for this transition from child to murderer is never fully explained. Dillon is not to blame as information must have been hard to come by. However the book's strong point, as ever, is Dillon's experience of living in Belfast during this period and his extensive network of sources which he uses with supreme skill to create a very readable and intriguing book. New light is shone on the killing of two soldiers during a republican funeral and the details of Stone's lucky escape from the crowd in Milltown Cemetery due to some fairly heroic acts by the much maligned police.


Blanketmen: An Untold Story of the H-block Hunger Strike
Blanketmen: An Untold Story of the H-block Hunger Strike
by Richard O'Rawe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.59

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing insight into the 1981 Hunger Strike, 27 April 2005
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I urge you to suspend judgement & read this lucid and honest account of the events that took place inside the H-Blocks. The author tells his story with wry humour starting with how he ended up inside after a bodged up bank robbery for the IRA. He explains the events that led to the dirty protest - where prisoners smeared excrement over their cell walls - and on ultimately to the hunger strike.
He tells of the pressure he felt seeing his mates slowly starving themselves to death to uphold their principles and the fight for their right to political status. Fresh insights are given into the machinations of the republican leadership for which the author is refreshingly open and critical.
O'Rawes book shines with a masculine humanity and camaradarie, without a trace of self pity, that cannot be beaten even in the most desperate of circumstances.
By any standards this is a well written and important memoir.


Creggan, More Than a History
Creggan, More Than a History

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Stoney Ground, 14 Aug 2004
The word Creggan means the stoney ground - the Creggan is a housing estate in Derry perched on a hill overlooking the River Foyle and predominantly Catholic. The book tells the history by allowing it's people to describe their experiences of life on the estate - it also has a couple of chapters about it's pre-history.
For me, the chapters about the troubles and the impact it had the estate were particularly powerful - a downtrodden people fighting back when the Civil Rights Movement died along with 14 people killed on Bloody Sunday
This book is a testament to the spirit of the people past and present of the Creggan.


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