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M M MacNair (London)

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Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century
Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century
by Geoffrey Parker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 25.49

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly readable masterpiece of great breadth and power, 21 Jun 2013
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This work has received outstanding reviews, but reviewers have noted its length, and the unrelentingly depressing story it tells of global crisis, famine, plague, war, revolution and social breakdown. There are harrowing sections on infanticide, rape, abortion and war. Nevertheless it is a delight to read: constantly moving focus, always illuminated by testimony from unfamiliar sources, ranging widely in geography and subject matter. For many UK readers this may be their first in-depth encounter with Chinese and Japanese history, and the book is worth the effort for that alone.


Sounds That Can't Be Made
Sounds That Can't Be Made
Price: 6.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great place to start, 10 Feb 2013
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This is my first taste of Marillion - a fabulous album, deeply modern, and emotionally authentic. I played it to my wife - without revealing who it was - and she loved it. "Is it the new David Bowie?" But Bowie can't offer match the emotional literacy of the lyrics, or the musical development each song offers.

Music of immense restraint and power, and great beauty, by skilled songwriters.


Britain Begins
Britain Begins
by Barry Cunliffe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 30.00

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strong on archaeology, DNA and linguistics, 22 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Britain Begins (Hardcover)
Excellent and beautifully presented overview with strong handling of Celtic languages and DNA evidence. Some annoying factual slips. Strongly recommended with good coverage of Ireland. Perhaps reflecting Prof. Cunliffe's interests or publisher pressure, the post Roman section feels weaker and more conventional, and focuses predictably on Wessex at the expense of the Scots, the other successful Viking resisters. I would also have liked to see the author's thinking on what constituted the lingua franca of the iron age southern north sea.


From the City, From the Plough
From the City, From the Plough
by Alexander Baron
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best novel of British combat experience in WWII, 13 Oct 2012
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This novel is short, effortlessly written, endlessly subtle, but packs intense emotional impact. Having read widely on this period, and lost family in the battle described, I suspect Baron's novel, based closely on first-hand experience and the experiences in particular of 5th Wiltshires, is the most accurate description of the British Army in Normandy, their preparation, culture, and leadership, and the grinding attrition they endured. Having been a private soldier, and writing at length about combat, Baron adds two new dimensions to the officerly and staff based background to Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh's war trilogies.


Christmas The Original Story
Christmas The Original Story
by Margaret Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 24 Jun 2012
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Margaret Barker continues to set out a coherent interpretation of Temple thinking and Temple traditions and demonstrates how the Christmas narrative reflects these threads. Outstanding.


The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
by Orlando Figes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.34

2 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WIDELY ACCUSED OF ERRORS AND MISQUOTATION, 25 May 2012
See attached for a more in-depth analysis of this book's errors; there is also widespread published controvery around Figes' legal actions against senior critics.

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Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2014 4:49 PM BST


The Churchills: A Family at the Heart of History - from the Duke of Marlborough to Winston Churchill
The Churchills: A Family at the Heart of History - from the Duke of Marlborough to Winston Churchill
by Mary S. Lovell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 21.18

7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars TLS review 16.ix.2011 says this book is lamentable, 16 Sep 2011
TLS review 16.ix.2011 says this book is lamentable. Also has very little to say about the most of the period claimed, and doesn't appear to know of Richard Holmes's wonderful study. Badly sourced, weak judgement, anachronistic, and lacking historical insight. Why bother?
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2013 5:07 PM BST


The Royal Navy And The Battle Of Britain
The Royal Navy And The Battle Of Britain
by Anthony J. Cumming
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 24.95

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-ambitious and dogmatic but interesting - spoils a good case, 28 Feb 2011
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This short monograph convincingly argues that the key barrier to a German invasion of Great Britain in 1940 was the Royal Navy and that the power of the Royal Navy may have meant that the risk of invasion was never as great as sometimes claimed. The author convincingly argues from the Crete experience that the RN could have held its own in the Channel to a satisfactory degree and would have wreaked havoc on German invasion forces and their supply chain. The author then sets out to downgrade the RAF's role in the Battle of Britain, less insightfully, and ends up pushing this case much too far - it isn't anyway necessary for the RN to be good that the RAF, Dowding and all, be useless. On broader non-technical issues the author can be wayward, without taking on either the importance of Air Marshall Freeman, the immense limitations of Beaverbrook, or the value of David edgerton's analysis in "Warfare State"; and he can be strangely clumsy with names and ranks.


British Battleships 1939-45 (1): Queen Elizabeth and Royal Sovereign Classes (New Vanguard)
British Battleships 1939-45 (1): Queen Elizabeth and Royal Sovereign Classes (New Vanguard)
by Angus Konstam
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A pamphlet not a book, 30 Jan 2010
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This is a very small book, and many of the pictures are familiar from the standard works, to which it adds disappointingly little. There are intriguing photos which don't make it, especially of these ships at the end of their lives, instead of the well-known images used. The author also has a limited grasp of the historic context. The Royal Sovereign class were of even less value in 1939 than he admits, and Churchill would happily have disposed of them. The Queen Elizabeth class, having served well, were moved to 2nd and 3rd line sectors as soon as the KGV class could take on the Home Fleet and other primary roles. Finally for warships "commissioned" means something different to "ordered".
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 8, 2010 7:09 PM BST


Did God Have a Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel
Did God Have a Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel
by William G. Dever
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong archaeological and religious study, 1 Nov 2009
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Excellent book - starts with an over-long and rumbustious taking-to-task of virtually everyone else who has written on this topic. Followed by very solid and sensible take on Israelite folk-religion as juxtaposed with the religion of the Temple elite, reinstating Asherah as the female component of the Old Testament Godhead.

One primary qualm is that Professor Devers does not address the theological work of Margaret Barker, and therefore his closing session on Temple theology is lightweight: if Josiah found a statue of Asherah, etc, in the Temple then the faith of the kings and priests was probably pretty closely aligned to that of the villagers and the Deuteronomists were a distinct and third point of view at odds with both - which is what they said they were.


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