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Field Marshall Haig (London, UK)

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Annus Horribilis
Annus Horribilis
by Mark Walker
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique book, 8 Jan 2008
This review is from: Annus Horribilis (Hardcover)
This book provides a unique approach to Latin for those who do not wish to study the classics, but do wish to be able to understand the Latin that is still encountered, as the title of the book implies, in 'everyday life'. My own particular interest lies in family history, but other books on Latin for family history concentrate on the relatively simple medieval and legal Latin found in historical documents, whereas many tombstone inscriptions from the seventeenth century onwards are in Classical Latin and more difficult to interpret. The final chapter of this book on Latin Epitaphs is exactly what I have been looking for, providing examples of Latin monumental inscriptions with explanations and translations. The other chapters are also very interesting. This is not a book that will enable you to learn to read Latin fluently, which requires a detailed knowledge of grammar, although there is a very brief summary of grammar as an appendix. For those who wish to understand the Latin words and phrases they encounter in everyday life, but do not wish to learn to read Latin more generally, it provides a useful reference source. For those who already know some Latin, or wish to learn to read it, this book complements the Classical era Latin of conventional courses and grammars. An excellent book that fills a significant gap in the market.

Amo, Amas, Amat... and All That: How to Become a Latin Lover
Amo, Amas, Amat... and All That: How to Become a Latin Lover
by Harry Mount
Edition: Hardcover

30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and pointless, 17 Aug 2007
Other reviewers have asked the question 'Who is this book for?' and that was the question going through my mind as I read it. The juxtaposition of trivia and detailed grammatical explanations is bizarre. The book attempts to be humorous but does not really succeed. This is not a book for someone who wishes to learn Latin as the grammatical explanations given are totally inadequate. Neither is it a book for someone who wishes to obtain a theoretical overview of how Latin works without actually learning the language. A reader who does not wish to learn Latin itself but wishes to learn the meaning of a few common Latin words and phrases would be advised to look elsewhere, such as James Morwood's Dictionary of Latin Words and Phrases, which despite its title, can be read from cover to cover, in small chunks, quite comfortably. Neither would I recommend this book as a refresher for the person who has already learned Latin (which is the reason I read it) as it is too lightweight.

I recognise that certain parts of this book may appeal to individuals who possess a particular type of 'schoolboy' humour, but such individuals (of which the author, presumably, is one) are not likely to be numerous. My general feeling at the end of the book was that I was very disappointed and that I had wasted my time, though fortunately not my money as I had borrowed it from my local public library.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2014 2:01 PM BST

The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy
The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy
by Andrew Keen
Edition: Paperback

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 9 Aug 2007
The author's key theme is that Web 2 technologies allow anyone to 'publish' anything on the internet, in many cases anonymously. Much of what is published is trite and banal, and the status of quality information written by experts and vetted by editors is therefore diminished. These changes have led to the situation where many internet users accord articles in Wikipedia (written by amateurs, and in some cases edited by malicious wreckers) the same status as those in Encyclopedia Brittannica (written by professionals).

There is certainly much truth in this, but the author writes seven chapters describing the problems and one chapter offering solutions. I looked in vain for any mention in the book of 'Information Literacy' as a potential solution. There are many information professionals (myself included) who accept that the 'democratisation' of the internet is inevitable, but that the solution is to educate individuals (starting in primary school) to distinguish 'quality' information from the poor quality and deliberately misleading information that the author is concerned about.

My general feeling after reading this book was one of disappointment. What the author has to say could have been condensed into a few pages and he seems totally unaware of the concept of Information Literacy as a partial solution to the issues he highlights.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2007 8:24 PM GMT

Joyeux Noel [DVD] [2006]
Joyeux Noel [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Diane Kruger
Price: 5.00

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful film, but lacking in historical accuracy, 26 Dec 2006
This review is from: Joyeux Noel [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This film depicts an event which had a profound effect on those who took part, such as the author Henry Williamson, who described the truce in one of his autobiographical novels.

The film seeks to depict this powerful event, but in doing so makes historical simplifications which, for those who are aware of them, detract from the credibility of the film. I will highlight two such simplifications.

Firstly, at the beginning of the film, we see two Scottish lads at the outbreak of war, who decide to join up. We then see them in the trenches at Christmas 1914. This would not have happened, unless they happened to be members of the Territorial Army, but this is not mentioned. Without a system of conscription, the British soldiers in the trenches in Christmas 1914 were regulars and territorials. Those who had joined up at the beginning of the war in response to Kitchener's appeal would have still been in training, and not seen action until well into 1915 or even 1916.

Secondly, we see the soldiers of all the three nations participating in a Midnight Mass and singing 'O Come All Ye Faithful' in Latin - 'Adeste Fidelis'. Although most of the French soldiers would have been Catholics, and most of the Germans could have been if they were from the south of Germany, around 90% of Scots were Protestant, and often quite antigonistic to Catholicism, Scotland being then (and to some extent still now) a rather sectarian country. Furthermore, they would have been unlikely to know the Latin words, yet we see them all enthusiastically singing, which stretches the imagination to breaking point!

In summary, this is a powerful film, based on events that actually took place. However, the story itself is fictitious and historical detail is not to be relied on.

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