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Fifty Things You Need To Know About British History
Fifty Things You Need To Know About British History
by Hugh Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb summary, despite the almost inevitable normative bias, 24 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well, as someone recently finishing a postgraduate degree in my early 40's I was stimulated to explore British history further, following a recent trip around England and the feeling of having reached an intellectual hiatus. In truth, it was a book about 'wicked women' through the ages e.g. 'Bloody Mary', written in narrative style, that lead to me seek a text that might remedy the yawning gap left by an early education heavily biased toward the sciences. That desire lead me to discover this book.

My key question was does it provide an easily digestible account of a subject too frequently rendered as an opaque and incomphrehsible series of dates and seemingly unrelated events? The answer is, with only very mild qualification, yes it does. The author manages to conjure a voice that tells the story of British history through the ages, weaving together a grand meta-narrative that reconciles the dark ages, medieval era and the imperial past with the present day cosmopolitan outlook of a more progressive age.

People are invariablly enthused about and motivated much more towards the research of their own history and this often reveals itself through a rose tinted hue or moral ambivalence in the text. This book is no different. While the sound of 'Rule Brittainia' is not deafeningly audible through the different chapters it is none the less there in parts - literally in one instance when describing the pompous theatre of nationalistic pretention that is the 'last night of the proms' spectacle. But there are few accounts of British history that escape this criticism and indeed it is an attitude that still lingers in some quarters - the quotation from Simon Heffer on the front cover is a telling clue to the potential the text has for taking the occasionally disdainful and overbearingly pompous tone.

But this can (just about) be forgiven. This island is a small one and our psychological regression from the height of the empire is fittingly captured in this book, despite it seems, the occasional hint of nostalgia and sadness. The conquest of other nations and peoples is obviously seen from the victors eye and this a victors telling of history. Whether that makes it 'factual' is difficult to say and whether history can ever be factual without being reduced to a few incontestable dates and events is a consideration that slightly mitigates whatever slant is taken. One thinks of Emmeline Pankhurst and her bold and brave advocacy of women's suffrage yet readers might take a less elevated view of her achievements were they to know she took to handing out white feathers to conscientious objectors (taunting them as cowards) and was a considerable advocate of imperialism which in the context of her mission to seek equality sits rather ill at ease with it. It has been said she had attitudes typical for people for her class and position and this is probably no less true for the country as a whole when its story is retold by historians. Attempts to make history digestible are therefore too few and almost never told by dispassionate third parties and this book is absolutely superb at engaging the reader.

As others have commented, the publisher has done a fairly light job in providing editorial support to the author, as is common in the publishing industry these days - their input has likely been in providing crude copy editing and printing. A few sections sit unnaturally adjacent to each other but this leads to stark incongruity rather than bafflement or confusion (e.g. the suicide of 'Clive of India' and 'Food through the ages' sidebars mentioned by others).

One challenge for anyone trying to make sense of history are the inter-relationships between successive monarchs and here the book is as successful as is possible whilst being mindful that it deliberately does not attempt to provide a continuous account and is restricted to 50 key events. The are a few times that the book misses the opportunity to reinforce a description, label or account given earlier, for example, references to Bonnie Prince Charlie are sometimes by name and sometimes indirectly by the relationship to his father James III as in '...Louis XIV was now harboring his son', thus forcing some head scratching, and this will doubtless be revised in future editions.

One also expects that events such as the installment of Charles II will be attached with their labels i.e. the Restoration, and other terms such as Reformation, will be introduced and clearly applied to their context. Other similar examples such as Renaissance and Enlightenment would benefit from similar care and consideration. While such occurrences sent me searching elsewhere the work incurred in such research was, on the whole, rewarding and reinforcing. These mild criticisms should be regarded against the frequent revealing insights the author throws up such as the who the last King of England was who died leading his won troops (Richard III), or the last time when Britain was invaded (the Norman conquest), the peak of the Empire (around the time of Wellingtons success against Napoleon) and its subsequent decline (beginning around WW I). For these seeking to understand the key themes in history these are invaluable and this is where the book succeeds.

Overall, this is a tremendous account of Britain and this book has benefited me greatly despite the occasionally and perhaps unavoidable nationalistic voice with which it speaks. I would recommend it as a refreshingly penetrable treatment of a subject that is almost invariably stifled and mis-communicated in its treatment.


Corporate Governance
Corporate Governance
by Robert A. G. Monks
Edition: Paperback
Price: 23.55

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great depth of feeling for the subject - that works, 16 Jun 2012
This review is from: Corporate Governance (Paperback)
Some subjects lend themselves to a rigid and highly structured approach. Corporate finance is a case in point. Other subjects like corporate governance require a much more qualitative approach to the subject. Thats how this book approaches and its filled with lots of case history from over the years to the present day that illustrate the problems in managing the agency conflict that lies at the heart of this field.


Silva Ex-Ped Go Ii Wrist Worn Pedometer
Silva Ex-Ped Go Ii Wrist Worn Pedometer

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute gem of a purchase!, 22 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was looking for a pedometer that would me keep track of distance and colories with both my walking and running. Most of them are designed to hand on via clips to the waistband i.e. you have to put them on for a specific purposse and then they dangle around somewhere where you are concious of them.

A pedometer watch was much more attractive. So how good is this? In a word - fantastic. Its basically like a regular watch - given that watches are oversized these days its doesnt really stand out.

It has all the really useful watch functions (time, alarm, chrono, and dual alarm times for home and abroad - i travel a lot with work and this is invaluable).

The pedometer functions measure distance, calories, steps and speed. The orange button gets you into this mode. I HATE instruciton manuals and overcomplicated setting up procedures but this was actually quite easy to get to grips with.

I now use as this my regular watch.

Watches are one of those of products where the functionality of a 10 watch is the same as that of 10,000 watch - in fact the 10 watch can be 'better' because quartz watches keep more accurate time than the perpetual movement watches used in Rolexes. So, I am rally pleased that this 40 watch with all its rally useful functions provides more practical utility than my friends Rolex, which does a different job (status) but seems pointless in comparison.

Well done Silva. Great product, great design, the market should reward you.


Essentials of Marketing
Essentials of Marketing
by Prof Jim Blythe
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Structured, concise and comphrehensive., 28 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I took an MBA at Cambridge and was horrfied by the 600 page Kotler reference book they sent as course material. There was no way anyone could learn from that text book in a way that would get them on top of the subject and have a grasp fo the key concepts at their fingertops. Therefore I sold it.

Instead I trawled through Amazon and found this listing and took a chance on it.

What an excellent book!

Why? For a start it covers everything you need in a level of detail that you can familiarise yourself with reproduce.

But whats really great about this is the structure and clarity. It takes you through the principles of marketing, step by step, laying out the key principles that you will need in practice. For example, advertising follows the principles of awareness, likeability, interest and emotion. Blyth tells you which elements relate to loyalty and which relate to likelhood of sales. So he avoids waffle and tells you what works and when to use it.

For anyone looking for a grasp of effective marketing principles and techniuques, this is the book.

The best markeitng book out. And as you've probably guessed, people who sell marketing books are pretty good at marketing them so there is in fact a lot of post purchase dissonance with many of the marketing products out their.

Lets just say this is one book i wont be divesting myself of!!!


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