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Anthony Cunningham

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Parliament: The Biography (Volume I - Ancestral Voices)
Parliament: The Biography (Volume I - Ancestral Voices)
Price: 8.28

18 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disturbingly unpleasant, 20 April 2014
First things first. As basic histories of the institution of the British parliament go, this is a reasonable effort. It gives sufficient factual detail, and puts the events of the early period of what was then the English parliament (British came later) in context reasonably well.

However.

You may well find yourself rather coloured against the book, or more accurately, the author, but a shockingly self hating first section.

Ostensibly the first section is a reasonable attempt to debunk the whiggish assumption that Parliament represents something `unique` is the British character and the British development from monarchist absolutism, to restricted power and the primacy of the people in parliament. It rightly mentions the fact that the British weren't the first to have a parliament, and were far from the first to even give all of the population a vote for its members.

However the author takes excessive glee in mocking (the sense of self loathing and mockery at any attempt to suggest a unique path for English parliamentary development is pungent throughout the book) any notion of the phrase `Mother of Parliaments` as anything other than nationalist bluster. He rightly references the fact that the phrase was often used as a negative, but he totally ignores the fact that quite often in modern times, the concept of `mother of parliaments`, is not to say Britain was the first to have one, or the British one is the best, but to reference the fact that partly as a result of British involvement around the world, and partly just by example that it DOES work, the `Westminster system` is emulated in places as far flung as India, Canada, Australia and much of Africa.

As I say, the basics of the book are fine (although he wont be winning any prizes I suspect), but the stand out factor is down right mean-spriritedness (incidentally, often uncalled for mean-spritedness) soaking through the general tone of the book.

He might as well titled the book "I hate Britain, yet I still want your votes". And that's what so insulting. If there Is any wonder why parliament is held in such contempt by the British people, read the first introductory sections.

The authors lack of regard for the institution he is PRIVILLAGED to belong to, speaks volumes about the lack of ambition of the average MP, or the total absence of a sense of place or history amongst the members of the imperfect but irreplaceable institution.

All this sticks out to me, someone who loathes the jingoism and `aren't we special` sentiment you see in some British history. God knows what it looks like to other people-never mind people not from the UK, thinking "wow, people like this want to be the government of Britain?"
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2014 11:15 PM BST


A Fatal Likeness
A Fatal Likeness
by Lynn Shepherd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.57

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A perfect example of how not to write a book, 9 April 2014
This review is from: A Fatal Likeness (Hardcover)
It was dull and derivative when I first read it, and now that I hear the author doesn't believe we should even read books before passing judgement; specifically on the works of authors who have single handedly kept he publishing industry alive for many years, out of pure spite and jealousy, im not inclined to go back to this assemblage of words (I hesitate to call it a book) or any of her other works, ever again


Tom-All-Alone's (Charles Maddox 2)
Tom-All-Alone's (Charles Maddox 2)
by Lynn Shepherd
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading...unlike the works of JK Rowling, 9 April 2014
I wont dignify this hack with the courtesy of commenting heavily on her book save to say its nothing special. At least ive read the books. Which is more than can be said of this author vis a vis other authors.

Basically, dont waste your time
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2014 4:33 PM BST


The Solitary House
The Solitary House
by Lynn Shepherd
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.49

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An average book by a literary ignoramus, 9 April 2014
This review is from: The Solitary House (Paperback)
The very notion that this book is in anyway comparable to the works of Austen from which it allegedly draws inspiration, is laughable. Dull trite and mind numbing stuff.
I read it when it recently, then scanned through it coincidentally a day or two before reading her terribly bitter amd ungracious comments toward JK Rowling (a woman who has done more to open up literature to people of all generations than anyone since Dickens).
I can only recommend she take her own advice and stop writing
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2014 3:43 PM BST


A Treacherous Likeness (Charles Maddox 3)
A Treacherous Likeness (Charles Maddox 3)
by Lynn Shepherd
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars drivel, 9 April 2014
Talk about drivel. As I read this book, my abiding memory is rolling my eyes so much that I nearly went blind.

Still, at least I read it. Got around to Harry Potter yet?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2014 8:48 PM BST


The Collected Stories (Everyman's Library classics)
The Collected Stories (Everyman's Library classics)
by Alexander Pushkin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beautifully crafted. ..but with w, 27 Sep 2013
The occasional dud story (to be expected in any author) aside, this collection of work is rich in the imagery of life amongst the upper classes of early 19th century Russia and gives an evocative sense of the opulence if the aristocratic life juxtaposed to the frequent indignities those same Aristocrats heaped upon their Serfs during the sometime fanciful or downright odd drama's into which Pushkin places the characters in his stories.
particularly recommended is the story of Dubrovski, and 'The Blackamore of Peter The Great'.
N.B. one weaknesses of Pushkins stories, seems to be his inability to actually end a story. A story can frequently be clipping along at a great pace, only for the story to end in the most sudden a d unsatisfactory manner - almost as if the author became boars if lost his train of thought


United States of Europe
United States of Europe
Price: 1.53

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blizzare, nonsensical rubbish., 6 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Possibly the most ridiculous poorly written story I've ever read. Indeed, I only read the story through in the naive hope it got better toward the end.

Alas, it did not.....


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