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The Life and Death of St. Kilda
The Life and Death of St. Kilda
by Tom Steel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Extremes, 19 Dec. 2012
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This is a biography of extremes - extreme setting, extreme weather, extreme hardship and an extreme people who were eventually defeated by it all. The St. Kildans, inhabiting the most westerly part of the UK, 100 miles from their nearest neighbours in the middle of the Atlantic, lived on oily, semi-raw sea birds which required scaling extreme peaks to catch, dodging up to 140 mph winds and waves which swept over the tops of the nearby stacs where the birds nested.
The often half starved, bare foot island children who survived shared living space in the tiny dwellings with their animals in winter while the parents wove shawls and blankets for the feudal Lord who was the owner of the island. They spoke their own Gaelic dialect, making communication difficult until the Christian missionaries started a school.
The late Tom Steel writes a lively, often heartbreaking account, which does not end when the last of the islanders were split up and evacuated (at their own expence!) to the mainland. This version was updated recently to follow events on the island since the inhabitants left. It is enthralling, up-put-downable and left this reader just a little obsessed with St. Kilda!


Edith Cavell: Nurse, Martyr, Heroine
Edith Cavell: Nurse, Martyr, Heroine
by Diana Souhami
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.24

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edith Cavell, Nurse, Martyr, Heroine, 15 May 2012
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Edith Cavell - Nurse, martyr, heroine - and incredibly obstinate! This is a powerful read. Although the end is known from the beginning, nonetheless the tension mounts and is maintained throughout. The tight writing presents an amazing, difficult, dedicated woman of deep faith and commitment. She is in Brussels merely doing her job, as she saw it, improving patient care and nursing skills and setting up a new hospital in the desperate, suffering heart of the first World War.

Her sacrifice changed the course of this war and helped to shorten it. Dinah Souhami rightly lionizes Cavell although it never becomes a hagiography - Cavell, warts and all! This is a great though never an easy read, thoroughly recommended.


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