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R. C. Morris "rmorris149" (Cardiff Wales)
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The English Civil War: A People's History
The English Civil War: A People's History
by Diane Purkiss
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the english civil war, 6 Mar 2007
I really enjoyed this book as it not only details the causes and effects of the war but it has numerous witness descriptions of what happened from War injuries and atrocities to descriptions of life in general in those far off days.


Conversations with Stalin
Conversations with Stalin
by Milovan Djilas
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars conversations with Stalin, 7 Dec 2006
The author of this book went to see Stalin 2 or 3 times as Yugoslavia's representative at the height of commununism and it's mainly about conversations Djilas had with Stalin and his henchmen over gargantuan meals and drinking evenings at Stalin's dacha outside Moscow. The conversations ranged from deadly serious to Stalin's comic side like tapping Krushchev's head with his pipe and announcing 'see it's empty'

He was also advised that the word Benelux countries was a mix of Belgium/Netherlands and Luxemburg to which he said it wasn't - well no-one had the nerve to contradict him - most of them were too scared. Stalin had a way of getting everyone drunk so he could observe their inner thoughts whilst he just sipped Vodka and red wine. If he had the slightest suspicion of any of them he would slowly build a case against them. Krushchev and Molotov were next on the list if he hadn't died in 1953 which most people attribute to Beria poisoning him.

A fascinating insight into the dictators private life - just a pity it wasn't a bigger book.


An Uncommon Woman: The Life of Princess Vicky: The Empress Frederick (WOMEN IN HISTORY)
An Uncommon Woman: The Life of Princess Vicky: The Empress Frederick (WOMEN IN HISTORY)
by Hannah Pakula
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an uncommon woman - Hanna Pakula, 7 Dec 2006
This is not only a brilliant biography but it also gives one a real insight into the birth of Germany. The craftiness of Bismark and the endless emphasis on military build up. Wilhelm I the grandfather of Kaiser Wilhelm II even had the boy dressed up and playing soldiers at 10.

Much of Bismark's tricks look transparent to us these days but at the time he duped many a foreign leader by his honest broker policy. He like Hitler would use any excuse to demonise his targeted prey - be it France, Austria or socialism. A bear of a man at 6ft 3ins who could eat and drink endlessly. There is a lot on the future Kaiser II and how from an early age his mother noted his hard and uncompromising views on life (not surprising when your mother refers to you as 'the little cripple'). He had to overcome a withered arm and was kept in a contraption for long hours to correct a spinal curvature. One realises from this that the first world war was inevitable since the tripartite agreements of mobilisation that Bismark set up were still largely in place - also no-one had yet experienced a modern industrial war. After the war the Kaiser was exiled to the Netherlands where he found a new hobby - chopping down every tree on his estate and producing vast piles of firewood - he lived until 1941.

A great read that I found hard to put down.


Twenty Letters to a Friend  [20]
Twenty Letters to a Friend [20]
by Svetlana Iosifovna Allilueva
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 LETTERS TO A FRIEND, 23 Aug 2006
A superb little book written by Stalin's daughter. A real insight into the mind and habits of the great dictator. Svetlana's mother shot herself and Stalin himself never did understand why. The book is written as it says like someone you know relating the latest news and history about her father. Stalin had no use of anything material and seemed to exist in a near peasant state apart from feasting and drinking that is. You do get the impression that to a large extent he was so totally isolated and that he probably was unaware that most of his victims were totally innocent but as far as potting off opponents/friends and family then he is the monster we all know.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2012 10:50 PM GMT


George III: A Personal History
George III: A Personal History
by Christopher Hibbert
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George III, 26 July 2006
Before I read this book I had the opinion that most people have that George III was

a) mad

b) lost our American Colonies and was generally another Royal waste of space.

He emerges in this book as a fine and sensitive person who did his very best for his country. He tried endlessly to stamp out corruption and waste both within and outside his family. The suffering he endured due to his inherited 'madness' is difficult to imagine but he recovered from it and became a much loved and appreciated King unlike his wife who died bitter and unloved. His breakdowns were precipitated by big events such as losing the American Colonies and the threat of war with Napoleon.


The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide
The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide
by Susan Nathan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.51

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE OTHER SIDE OF ISRAEL, 26 July 2006
I have read many books on the Middle East but no-one (except Robert Fisk that is)gives quite such a snapshot of the appalling way Palestinians and Arabs generally are viewed and treated by Israel. So Israel can say that they made the desert bloom and have a very good army but not without massive US aid - who knows what Arab Palestine would look like where they to get this sort of aid. Where it not because the Arab countries have 3 or 4 times tried to invade and exterminate Israel then they would have no defence against their mindless apartheid policies towards their fellow neighbour. Unfortunately as in South Africa their neighbours will always be there so nothing will ever change if the power in the region doesn't start to redress the balance. We read in this book of brilliant Arab students denied an Education. We read of Arabs denied building permits when Israelis get it automotically. Worst of all though are the atrocities both in Shatilla and the smaller incidents that have been swept under the carpet with just token enquiries - Where he not in a coma the main war criminal would still be running the show.


Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War
Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War
by Robert Fisk
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.39

3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PITY THE NATION, 21 Jun 2006
This is a great blow by blow horrific account of the conflict - I was a little disappointed that there was not more on what all the chaos was about. I found 'from Beirut to Jerusalem' better for information on that side.


The Fever Trail - The Hunt for The Cure for Malaria
The Fever Trail - The Hunt for The Cure for Malaria
by Mark Honigsbaum
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars the fever trail, 14 Feb 2006
An detailed excellent book if you are really interested in how people managed to treat/cure Malaria back in the 18th and 19th century and before - and want to know how hard it was in the late 19th century to get the seeds/plants out of the Andes and over to the UK (and Java where it was possible to grow it easily) in order that the British Empire in India could have the bark to treat Malaria without being held to ransom by the governments of South America. The local Indians knew well what the bark could do and zealously guarded their treasure. The actual chemical analysis of the bark to find what it was that killed the parasite and cured Malaria (Quinine) took a lot longer - it was also realised quite early on that there were many types of Cinchona tree which yielded quinine of different strengths. All this was realised by the explorers who underwent extreme conditions often to see their seedlings die on the voyage back. Quinine was taken/added to tonic water to give some immunity and gin was put with it to kill the bitter taste ! - Ironically - the forests created in India and Java were used to recolonise the Andes which were eventually deforested of Cinchona. The benefits of Quinine where of course of huge significance in the 1st and 2nd War and others no doubt.


Peter the Great
Peter the Great
by Robert K. Massie
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter the great by Robert Massie, 13 Dec 2005
A gripping very readable book. Peter the Great is portrayed not as someone from the very distant past but as a living breathing superman who put Russia firmly on the map. An immense person who built Russia's shipbuilding capacity almost single handedly by the example of working in the shipyards and socialising with the men. His great achievement of taking the land St Petersburg was eventually built on from Sweden - giving access to the Baltic sea much of the year.


The Hollow Man (CRIME MASTERWORKS)
The Hollow Man (CRIME MASTERWORKS)
by John Dickson Carr
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the hollow man - Dickson Carr, 12 Dec 2005
A great mystery story from a master. I like old fashioned mystery stories so this might not suite everyone since we seem to think that all old stuff is to be thrown out which is a very sad conclusion to make. I had to really concentrate on the book in parts to understand what it was all about so don't read this if you are on a crowded train or bus but if you peservere with Dickson Carr he is well worth reading.


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