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Hugh Thomas (Bristol, UK)
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Hero and Villain
Hero and Villain
by Paul Merson
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Son of Rock Bottom, 13 May 2003
This review is from: Hero and Villain (Paperback)
Merson's second volume of autobiography is in diary form but none the less readable for it. We find him still wrestling with the same problems, shuttle running from Alcoholics Anonymous to Naroctics Anonymous to Gamblers Anonymous between suffering a marriage breakup and fitting in the occasional bit of football with the Villa. No wonder he's the player most likely to burst into tears at a press conference; well, second to Gazza maybe. There's insight to be found here into the latter's problems, although team mate Stan Collymore seems to have left Merson rather cold by comparison. Football moves so fast that Merson and boss Gregory are both now long gone from Villa Park, but one hears in the papers that Paul is still suffering the occasional relapse into bad habits. One fears for what will become of him on retirement from Portsmouth. He wants a managerial or coaching position, which would potentially give him the goal he needs to channel his obsessive personality into, but what club is going to take a risk like that with his track record?


The Mechanical Turk: The True Story of the Chess-playing Machine That Fooled the World
The Mechanical Turk: The True Story of the Chess-playing Machine That Fooled the World
by Tom Standage
Edition: Paperback

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating true scientific detective story, 13 May 2003
Non-scientists should not be put off that this might be filed under science. It's an accessible, easy read that carries you along by the scruff of the neck as Standage unveils the truth behind the 18th century chess playing automaton. Was it an early version of IBM's Deep Thought computer or merely a parlour magic trick . . . or something of both and neither? Read to the end and find out the truth, touching along the way on encounters with the likes of Napoleon, Edgar Allan Poe and Benjamin Franklin. If only history had been this gripping at school.


You Got Nothing Coming
You Got Nothing Coming
by Jimmy Lerner
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly un-put-down-able, 11 May 2003
This review is from: You Got Nothing Coming (Paperback)
I became so involved in this compelling US prison memoir I was almost starting to suffer panic attacks myself by the end. Not only because of the you-don't-wanna-drop-the-soap-in-the-shower-here prison life description . Along the way there's further riveting stuff about office life in a corporate setting (Dilbert's author was a colleague) and the real gen on Alcoholics Anonymous, plus food for thought on choosing friends wisely both inside and outside those 50 foot razorwire-encrusted walls.


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