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Every Day Is a Holiday
Every Day Is a Holiday
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a guy!, 18 Nov 2014
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Every bit as delightful, charming and engaging as his first book, Free Country. George Mahood is a refreshing reminder that the eccentric, intrepid Englishman of yore is, in fact, still around and getting up to unique, quirky and astonishing japes. George is so obviously a lovely chap - and this comes out sentence and sentence (even if, on occasions, one may not completely agree with him).


Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain
Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain
Price: £1.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You're not gay, George - we get the message!, 4 Nov 2014
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What a pity this engaging, kindliness-affirming book carries a whiff of homophobia about it. I've no doubt George would say that `some of my best friends are gay' and, during their trip, he and Ben are cool about finding themselves in a gay bar. Yet there are one-too-many little markers - doubtless subconsciously posited and individually unimportant - where George is anxious to let his readers know that neither he nor Ben are gay.

Their challenge requires measures out-of-the-ordinary, yet within the first pages we learn that the boys prefer to share a double bed wearing their recently acquired manky shorts, than sleep naked. How weird when keeping up personal - and clothing - cleanliness are to be key issues. Surely the opportunity to wash the twenty-third hand clothing (along with the over-used boxers) should not be missed? As they are wholly straight (George, indeed, being married) how come sleeping naked is an issue? Yet at other locations where a proper bed is available, we are told one of them will sleep on the floor, rather than they share that bed. As I say, contextualize all this within the out-of-the-ordinary challenge George and Ben set themselves.

At Glastonbury, the sight of Miachel Eavis in tight shorts and T shirt prompts George to comment that in a different situation "you should scream and run away as quickly as possible." Further on, it is noted "I would rather be standing out here in the rain, than having a bath with you." Again - and once more gratuitously - George writes "we both had a quick Shower - not at the same time." Society has a long way to go if an evidently decent guy like George feels he must make it oh-so-clear (like: very, very clear) that neither he nor his mate are gay. To borrow a well-know phrase: "calm down, dear."


Napoleon the Great
Napoleon the Great
Price: £10.04

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Academic paper or more general read?, 28 Oct 2014
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Although excellent, I sense the author isn't completely sure which side of the dividing line he wants his book to fall. Is it an academic study for military historians and/or those in a higher-education process, or a 'dip in, dip out' tome for the informed, but general, reader? I suspect the latter, in which case the weight of detail given to the military campaigns is too generous. Yes, yes, Napoleon was one of the greatest military geniuses of all time and so his campaigns must be scrutinised - but the forensic attention given weighs the narrative down and comes at the expense of, say, a stronger light on the Code Napoleon and its lasting legacy.

The Chapters on the Italian and Egyptian campaigns, as examples, are intriguing in their detail for the military historian, no doubt, but could have been pruned and encapsulated without damage to the flow of the book or its premiss - for which the author makes an excellent case - that Napoleon deserves the appellation "The Great."


The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors
The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors
Price: £8.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Henry VI - wrong man, wrong time, wrong place, 21 Sep 2014
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As with his 'Plantagenets' Dan Jones tells a corking good story at a rollicking pace. Fascinating, that medieval England could survive the long minority of Henry VI in peace and tranquility, but the King's adult failings were the root cause of The Wars of the Roses and all the associated bloodshed (including, ultimately, his own). Poor Henry - personally blameless - but the villain of the piece, nonetheless. I thought Richard III was brushed over a tad too quickly, the author only briefly addressing the monarch's undoubted culpability in the disappearance of the child Edward V and his brother. Equally, I was unsure whether Dan Jones was going against new evidence, from Richard's skeleton, that suggests well-cut tailoring would have rendered his curved spine nigh invisible - or perhaps Dan had the bad luck of his book going to print, just before this transpired. Not quite as magnificent a read as 'The Plantagenets', but highly recommended all the same.


Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain (Extremism and Democracy)
Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain (Extremism and Democracy)
by Robert Ford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.79

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Folly of Dave, 25 July 2014
UKIP appeals mostly to those aged over fifty who feel changes to society over the past fifty years have rollercoastered - that in terms of British cultural values and mores, the baby is rapidly going out with the bathwater. Whilst change is often for the better, UKIP draws its strength from conservatives, whether Conservative or Labour voting of yore, who sense things are getting out of hand (with uncontrolled immigration, the hubris of the EU and 'anything goes' social polices high on their list). At the core of UKIP - though as the authors demonstrate this is not an exclusive thing - are, of course, former supporters of the Conservative party. Those who, if subscribing members, are ashamed of themselves for failing to vote for David Davis against Cameron; those who fail to understand why Cameron wants to destroy all the values of conservatism; those who shiver as they recall the "Heir to Blair" claim. In short, the rise of UKIP owes a lot, though not all, to David Cameron's arrogant dismantling of his party.

Revolt On The Right - an often dry, academic study - makes the claim that most Ukippers are of low educational achievement, but I'd guess they'll have the intelligence to administer a thrashing to the stale two and a bit party system, come the 2015 General Election


Selfish Whining Monkeys: How we Ended Up Greedy, Narcissistic and Unhappy
Selfish Whining Monkeys: How we Ended Up Greedy, Narcissistic and Unhappy
Price: £5.86

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is all change for the better?, 13 July 2014
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In terms of British cultural values and mores, societal changes of the past fifty years have seen the baby go out with the bathwater. Liddle focuses on the world of the blue-collar worker, narrowing a thesis that could have been more widely cast. Just as the hereditary authority of the Shop Steward was broken (nearly) by Margaret Thatcher, so (certainly) the `right' of the Sloane Ranger to glide into top jobs has gone, simply because Daddy was at school with the Chairman. That is a change for the better; yet beneath the Sloane's wah-wah voice and robust patrician conservatism was a "we" person, not the "me" person so prevalent today. Yes, the Sloane could patronise - feeling it his duty to guide, guard and, if necessary, order those behind him in the pecking order. But the Sloane was up before dawn to deliver Meals-on-Wheels and burnt the midnight oil baking cakes in aid of the church spire appeal - community-cohesive virtues overpaid footballers in their gated Surrey homes have yet to embrace. Incidentally, the Sloane didn't blub in public or race to the Mall with teddy bears when Diana died; he never spat the phrase "I think it's disgusting!" He had personal dignity, the stiff upper-lip - a joke commodity today.

I liked the maverick, volatile Liddle ever more as his book progressed - he's got a good auto-critical sense (and his love for his late parents is charmingly evident). One caveat, it is unnecessary for a person of his brainpower, wide vocabulary and articulation to use the `F' word quite so lavishly; given his premiss, there was no need to ram contemporary street cred down the reader's throat.


The English: A Field Guide
The English: A Field Guide
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good (very good) in parts, 20 April 2014
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Whilst appreciating that a book like this has to be somewhat idiosyncratic, The English was a wee bit too random to fully engage me. That said, there are some truly wonderful laugh-out-loud cameos within it (such as the joys, or not, of staying in Blackpool and the elderly couple out for an evening of "dogging"). The author holds one's attention and his mildly deprecatory style has considerable charm. Certainly worth buying, if not your read-of-the-year.


White Van Diary
White Van Diary
Price: £1.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Having fun with the bloke next to at the pub, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: White Van Diary (Kindle Edition)
Great read (as is the author's other Kindle book: A Scally Tale) if you are into blokey-style sex with the lad next door/down the pub/on the bus/in the supermarket. Meaty, robust and surprisingly wholesome - a welcome British alternative to ridiculously unbelievable American High School porn tales.

In the same vein, check-out Paul Randalls two ebooks - A BUSY SUMMER and WOODLETHORPE


Down To The Sea In Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men
Down To The Sea In Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men
Price: £6.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy weather, 27 Jan 2014
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This was a good read, but without the romantic swell I had hoped for. Perhaps this wasn't the author's fault - the days of the Banana boat and of Humphrey Bogart have, of course, long gone. It all seems so clinical these days! Still, well done to Maersk Line for giving the author free rein (though I bet they were cheesed-off at the idle mistake of referring to portraits of the King and Queen of Denmark, when this should have been the reigning Queen and the Prince Consort).

An enjoyable, but not gripping, read.


The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes & Imperial Pretenders
The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes & Imperial Pretenders
Price: £5.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Shed-loads of detail!, 31 Dec 2013
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My goodness - what detail! With so much information the narrative almost grinds to a halt at times - but thank goodness the author has an easy writing style, contemporary and humorous. If he did not, I think I'd be screaming for mercy now as the avalanche of facts started to suffocate me.


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