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Target Tokyo - Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor
Target Tokyo - Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor
by James M. Scott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £21.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, thoughtfully written, 24 Oct. 2015
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I was delighted to find this book as I am fascinated by the Doolittle raid both the mission and the man itself, James Doolittle. He was an extraordinary aviator who before the war did stunts, raced planes, became the 1st man to fly on instruments alone and helped develop fuel especially for aviation before leading this mission - make a film of his life and many may not believe it. It's no wonder he called his autobiography 'I could never be so lucky again'. The book is thoughtfully written and explores the raid in detail starting with Pearl Harbor (as it's about America I've gone for their spelling) and leading up to the planning and preparation right through to the raid itself and the aftermath. At times you feel that you get really close to some of the aircrew involved. It is moving but also harrowing - the reprisals met out by the Japanese after the raid on the Chinese are truly horrific as is the treatment to those crews captured. It was a heroic raid which did more for morale than actual damage and it has a similar feel to the Dambusters raid - if you are interested in that then this is a must read as well.


The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island
The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best but well worth exploring, 24 Oct. 2015
Reading the other reviews people are moaning that Bryson is bitchy and negative but that was no different to Notes from a Small island - in reality he has actually probably mellowed and the underlining factor is that he still loves this country and still enjoys living here. I actually believe that a lot of the time what he says in the book is probably what a lot of us think but don't say anything!
I wouldn't say it is his best book but it is still a good read with wit and warmth. I'm delighted that he has returned to travel writing which I still think is his best genre (even though I adore the Thunderbolt Kid). Well worth a read.


Steam in the Welsh Landscape
Steam in the Welsh Landscape
by Michael Welch
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.95

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb as always, 27 Oct. 2014
As one of the other reviewers states I too have yet to be disappointed by one of Michael Welch's books. I enjoyed this one very much as firstly I am not too familiar with the railways of Wales, only the north coast line and secondly the collection of pictures is fantastic, all very crisp and clear and with a wide range of pictures. I only wish that they were all in colour as they used to be but this is a very small point. What I really like about these books is the fact that it is not just pictures of locos there is also good pictures of stations and with very good text to accompany these pictures. A lot of his books have concentrated on the southern and south west of England which is probably another reason why this was so different from the others. I would love him to do some books looking at the Midlands, the north east and east Anglia.


In the Tracks of the Cornish Riviera Express: A Journey of Rationalisation and Change
In the Tracks of the Cornish Riviera Express: A Journey of Rationalisation and Change
by Amyas Crump
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.35

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a mess, 6 Sept. 2014
This is a really poor offering from Noodle books and doesn't touch the previous volume on the Atlantic Coast express. On a positive note there are some interesting snippets of information and the section from Tiverton to Penzance (when it sticks to the main line) has some good pictures. The biggest problem and it possibly isn't the author's fault is that it is so badly laid out with far too much going on, pictures are often cropped to a tiny size, others have other pictures laid over the edges of them - it just feels a messy book. Sadly a lot of the photos are not good enough for publication and some are just irrelevant - there is a double page spread of the view off the hills around Whiteball tunnel and is the view that the great SOE agent Odette Hallows would have enjoyed when she lived there - very nice but doesn't really have a great deal to do with the Cornish Riviera route - it is not a view from the line side or from the train - it is just page filling. Another shows what the author believes is G.J Churchward's grave at Stoke Gabriel, which is where the family plot is but the great man is buried in Swindon. This also leads to another criticism - if the book is called 'In the tracks of the Cornish Riviera Express' then why are there locations such as Weymouth, Minehead and Barnstaple (as well as others) included - they have nothing to do with the route of the express. If the idea was to have a loose trail from Paddington to the west country then fair enough but be warned if you expect to be following the route of the great express it is somewhat misleading.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2014 7:57 PM BST


Dawn to Dusk: A Colour-Rail Journey in the 1950s and 1960s
Dawn to Dusk: A Colour-Rail Journey in the 1950s and 1960s
by Paul Chancellor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better, 23 Jan. 2014
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As time goes by it gets harder and harder to find good quality pictures of steam that haven't been published before, particularly in colour. With all the photos in the Colour Rail collection I'm pretty sure a better selection could have been achieved though. A lot of the photos just aren't good enough for publication with a lot either very grainy or slightly out of focus and there are a lot of long distance shots where the subject matter is just too far away to enjoy. Probably the best photo of the book is the front cover - possibly deliberate to entice us to buy it. There are some photos of interest but just not enough. I have to say the text is not overwhelming either, more detail would have been nice. Generally it has the feel of a book that has not had the time spent on it and has been thrown together in a bit of a rush. If you can pick it up for around £10 on Amazon, which I did then it's ok but at £20 for full price - sorry it is a rip off.


Diesels on the Western
Diesels on the Western
by Michael Welch
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good and well worth exploring, 14 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Diesels on the Western (Hardcover)
The Michael Welch books published by capital Publishing are always well worth a look and this one is another very good addition to his previous titles. The book has over 120 photos, most of which haven't been published before - I think I counted 16 that I had seen and most of those were by the excellent Michael Mensing (always surprised there isn't a best of book of his work) and most probably in railway magazines not books. Some of the best photos are actually of the DMU/Railcars, particularly the GWR railcars in some very different locations. The only criticism I have, also mentioned by another reviewer, is that there is on this occasion just too much technical info about the locos - various re-numberings, allocations, livery changes etc, which is fine for some of the captions but it is just a bit repetitive and at times there isn't enough on the locations. A prime example of this is a picture of a Peak passing the site of Laverton Halt on the now preserved Gloucs Warwicks railway - but no mention of this. I'm not saying this isn't common knowledge but I think it lacks a little in this kind of info. Nevertheless a very good book and well worth investing in.


Woodhead Countdown to Closure: A Colour Pictorial Tribute
Woodhead Countdown to Closure: A Colour Pictorial Tribute
by Graham R. Jelly
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb with excellent photography, 30 Nov. 2013
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This is an excellent book with 180 superb sharp photos of the line it's last few years, none of which I have ever seen before. The Woodhead route had gone a few years before I got into railways but I remember as a child my father driving past the deserted Torside signal box many times. The majority of the photos are of the Class 76's (about two-thirds) but there are also pictures of Class 20, 40, 45, 47, 56, 101, 110, 123, 124 & 506's. But what I really like is the fact that it is not just of locos there are lots of pictures of the infrastructure with several signal boxes, signal box panels, stations, viaducts and tunnels featured. I recommend this book particularly if you have an interest in the route.


617 Dambuster Squadron at War (Images of War)
617 Dambuster Squadron at War (Images of War)
by Chris Ward
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing and misleading, 22 Nov. 2013
The positive to this book is that there are some very interesting pictures many of which I have never seen before, however the sub title of 'Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives' is a bit misleading - there are about 110 pictures of which well over a third have been published before - a lot many times and some of them are just filling in space - such as the classic Bomber Harris picture at his desk or on the next page Sir Ralph Cochrane. I can cope with that but the really irritating thing about the book is there is absolutely no chronological order to the pictures - it starts with some of Gibson, then Gibson with the King and Queen after the mission, then photos of new crews following the raid, then pictures of the damaged Dams, other later missions then back to Dams - it is all over the place. For £12.99 it is decent value but for a bit more money I would recommend Mark Postlethwaite's 'Dambusters in Focus'


While Flocks Last
While Flocks Last
by Charlie Elder
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 19 Nov. 2013
This review is from: While Flocks Last (Hardcover)
A witty and very informative book on birding. Charlie Elder sets out to try and see all the birds on the endanged red list in the UK. He has a very informal and welcoming style with lots of wit. His journeys don't always go to plan - birds fail to appear or are just plain difficult to see - any birdwatcher certainly knows how true this is and this is particularly so when he pursues the elusive Wryneck. If I had one small criticism on several occasions he plans a big build up to the bird and when he sees it it's all over in a few lines but this is a small point - cracking book which is easy on the mind and very funny.


Somerset and Dorset Sunset
Somerset and Dorset Sunset
by Michael Welch
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Nostalga, 19 Nov. 2013
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I adore this series of books by Michael Welch mainly because the pictures have mostly never been published before but also the quality is very good and the pictures are mostly a good size on each page so you can really see what is around. The pictures are not just of locos there are often good pictures of the stations or other railway infrastructure or of unusual rolling stock all with good informative captions. This volume is as good as the others on a much missed line.


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