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Alastair Black (Germany)
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An Officer and a Spy
An Officer and a Spy
by Robert Harris
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Chapeau", M. Harris, 30 Dec 2013
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This review is from: An Officer and a Spy (Hardcover)
I have read and re-read every Robert Harris book apart from "The Fear Index".
Within the first five pages of every book I start off by thinking "Why the hell did I buy this, what is so interesting about(for example)Cicero or aqueducts in Naples?"
But then , but then, after ten pages you are hooked into the story and you really can't put the book down until the end.
A tribute to the skills of the writer, I think.


Eric and Ernie  [DVD]
Eric and Ernie [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bryan Dick
Price: 6.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, and you can't even see the join!, 21 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Eric and Ernie [DVD] (DVD)
This film is just so superb that I can't do justice to it with a mere 5 stars. I remember and admire Morecambe and Wise from the early Seventies ("Hello Mr Preview" and so on) but their back story was never so vividly clear to me before this film. All praise to all the actors. As a previous reviewer said, Daniel Rigby is perfect as Eric Morecambe, but Bryan Dick brings so much to the part of Ernie Wise that really fleshes out his role as so much more than just the "straight man".
I am not a great Victoria Wood or Vic Reeves fan, but they are also pretty damnned good in this as well.


A History of Scotland [DVD]
A History of Scotland [DVD]
Dvd ~ Neil Oliver
Price: 10.20

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much bias, 31 Dec 2012
This review is from: A History of Scotland [DVD] (DVD)
I generally like Neil Oliver's programmes, but having just watched Part 7 of "A History of Scotland" ("Let's Pretend")I feel that this particular programme is much too one sided in its anti English and anti William of Orange slant.
Yes, the English wanted "Union",for pretty good reasons. Like most things it had its advantages & disadvantages, but however one sees it "Union" was only accomplished mainly due to the sheer venality of the Scottish "nobility" and not because of some dastardly English plot. Based on what I have seen and heard of so called Scottish "nobility" over the last few years, things haven't really improved much since 1707 either.
As for portraying William of Orange as someone who only took the thrones of England & Scotland because he wanted to attack poor, sweet Louis XIV of France, surely Neil Oliver as a a professional historian should simply be aware that Louis XIV of France was by far the greatest warmonger of his age. Sure, William of Orange had an agenda and often cynically used both England & Scotland to fulfil it, but it was all in a good cause saving Europe from the clutches of the so called "Roi Soleil".


Dominion
Dominion
by C. J. Sansom
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 7.60

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite enjoyable, but what were "Golden Peasants" (sic)?, 10 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Dominion (Hardcover)
I have bought, read and enjoyed all of the "Shardlake" series and also "Winter in Madrid", which I think could well do with some sort of sequel.
"Dominion" is a good concept but I found the main characters rather two dimensional at times: also would a geologist, rather than a physicist, really be able to fully grasp the then top secret principles of uraniam isotopes as spontaneously as Frank does in the book, based on a very brief conversation with his drunken brother?
As a so-called "Anglo Scot", just like the author, I do feel that the attacks on the modern day Scottish National Party at the end of the book are gratuitous, although one can also respect the fact that the author clearly has strong and sincerely held feelings in this area.
Finally, to bring me back to the headline, veteran Nazi bosses were known as "Golden Pheasants", not "Golden Peasants": see page 94 and also a subsequent page. There is a slight difference!


Over But Not Out: My Life So Far
Over But Not Out: My Life So Far
by Richie Benaud
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight & Superficial, 30 July 2011
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I bought this book thinking it would be a comprehensive view of cricket from Richie's unsurpassed experience. Instead I find 45 "chapters", which seem to last about 4 pages each, and six appendices over 390 pages: compare and contrast with Steve Waugh's "Out of my Comfort Zone" which at almost 800 pages is basically the same length as "Waugh & Peace" (pun intended), which gives much, much greater insight into the world of international cricket for total laymen such as myself.


The Grudge: Scotland vs. England, 1990
The Grudge: Scotland vs. England, 1990
by Tom English
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars It made me "think again", 26 July 2011
Like many (most?) people born "in civilisation", 17 March 1990 for me was a day of extreme joy. This of course includes Scotland beating a seemingly invincible England team who were well on their way to a supposedly inevitable Grand Slam, joy in the success of the supposed underdog, national pride and just simply the thrill of watching a spell binding piece of sporting theatre. As was the disbelief of my Welsh (fortunately soon to be ex) wife that Scotland could beat an England side that had just absolutely laid waste to her own national team, as well as to France & Ireland on the way.
And yet, this book does an excellent job in reminding us that men like Will Carling & Brian Moore were at the time amateur sportsmen doing their utmost for their country, and are men who went on to triumphs of their own in the decade to follow. The book reminds us that they and their England teammates deserve enormous credit for what they achieved in their careers, especially when you read in the book how moribund the English side was in the period between Beaumont & Carling.
I'm still very glad Scotland won, though.


Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right
Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right
by Dominic Sandbrook
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.44

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ordered in error (by me) but enjoyable & interesting, 6 July 2011
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Having read and enjoyed Dominic Sandbrook's books about post war Britain, I rather unthinkingly saw this title and imagined he was re-visiting 1970s Britain, despite the clearest of hints on the cover that American history was now the theme.
I then ordered the book, but imagine my dismay, Dear Reader, when it arrived and turned out to be about the USA in the period between Nixon & Reagan. It went on the pile of books to be read "later" but I relented and took it with me on an overnight journey and started it. I also finished it the next day.
As usual with Mr Sandbrook I feel that the book is extremely well written, with good historical/political context and fascinating anecdotes. I also find it interesting in Mr Sandbrook's work that he tends to identify a commonly perceived "anti hero" as a thematic figure and then gives us another more positive side of the coin. In this case President Gerald Ford is the one who comes out of the book as an unexpected and thoroughly honourable "good guy".
Recommended.


A Year in the Scheisse: Getting to Know the Germans
A Year in the Scheisse: Getting to Know the Germans
by Roger Boyes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stereotypical view of Germany circa 1973, 12 Mar 2011
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Sorry, but this book is just a catalogue of badly described sterotypes designed to pander to a certain segment of the English speaking audience (if I might paraphrase, "Germans are generally strange", "German women are scarily over-assertive", "in Germany you must get married to lower your tax bill, so let's get married").
I am British and have lived in Germany since 1997 and I simply don't recognise the culture in which I live from this book.
Also the main character is totally without any form of redeeming feature whatsoever.
Schade.


Calcutta Cup 2006 [DVD] [2006]
Calcutta Cup 2006 [DVD] [2006]
Offered by Super Duper
Price: 14.99

0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scotland triumph, but it leaves me cold, 21 Oct 2006
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I truly hate to say it as someone who has followed the ups and downs of Scottish rugby since about 1970 and who has been starved of TV coverage for the last 10 years due to living abroad, but I recently bought this DVD with high expectations and it just left me cold.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the DVD, although the minimalist commentary did make me yearn for Bill "they'll be dancing in the streets of Hawick tonight" McLaren. However, rugby union just seems to have become rugby league with lineouts, in other words dull beyond description as the ball goes through the 28th phase of possession and moves about six inches forwards.

I was very excited and proud of what Scotland achieved in this game when I listened to it live on the radio, but having seen the DVD I guess this was because I couldn't actually see the dull reality of what was happening.


Eye of the Storm (Signet)
Eye of the Storm (Signet)
by Jack Higgins
Edition: Paperback

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to write a Jack Higgins novel, 6 Feb 2001
Based on the evidence of this book, which I have just finished reading, the formula seems pretty simple: Take a maverick assassin with IRA connections, some East End organised crime figures one of whom must be gay, and a few token real-life figures (if John Major can be so described). Have the assassin go through a Judas gate a few times, mix well with Bushmills whiskey and a light aircraft. Add a visit to the Channel Islands and a naively adoring adolescent girl who develops an unrequited passion for the assassin. Simmer lightly for 200 pages and then, "Hey presto", another best-seller. Not totally unenjoyable, though.


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