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Gates Of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
Gates Of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
by Steven Pressfield
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood, honour and 'the opposite of fear', 23 July 2001
In as much as it can be possible for a 21st century person to understand the minds of people of such a profoundly different and ancient culture I am willing to accept Pressfield's masterful evocation as a fair depiction, and the effect is stunning. A riveting portrait of dangerous, brutal men and the milieu in which they moved, an environment that redeems their brutality and confers honour and dignity upon their doomed lives. The writing is beautiful and humane even in the grip of the most desperate combat, and the characters, not just the warriors but their equally courageous womenfolk, are wonderfully drawn with great economy of words. A tremendous and tremendously moving work that I can foresee returning to again and again - Dianekes's discovery of the 'opposite of fear' still brings tears.


Slow Lightning
Slow Lightning
by Jack McDevitt
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Slow Book, 9 April 2001
This review is from: Slow Lightning (Paperback)
Within this genre just about anything goes, so its hard to explain why I found this so unsatisfactory. As near as I can say, I reckon that there are too few characters and that the Author makes space travel too easy, too cartoony - the protagonists get into all manner of scrapes but its all a bit Nancy Drew and at the end of it all I thought 'well, that wouldn't happen would it'. Humanity is supposed to have reached a state of development so advanced that work is optional, prosperity universal - as you might expect, this utopia is just not very intereszzztin. . . . sorry, dropped off there....


Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War v. 1
Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War v. 1
by Robert K. Massie
Edition: Paperback

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, informative and completely absorbing., 21 Mar. 2001
I am not usually quick to dive into huge volumes of political discussion, and came at this from the direction of naval history. Daunted initially by the book's size, I was quickly absorbed into one of the most fascinating accounts of World affairs I have yet encountered. It is studded with luminous pen-portraits of the personalities involved, and carries the reader briskly along with clear, rational exposition of momentous events and of smaller, often highly illuminating anecdotes. The book is not a great source with regard to naval architecture and engineering, but the student of those aspects must surely read this book in order properly to understand the context in which such huge technical advances were made in a mere 50 or 60 years. I cannot think how this account can be bettered, and cannot recommend it highly enough.


Yeager
Yeager
by Chuck Yeager
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars No punches pulled, 24 Jan. 2001
This review is from: Yeager (Paperback)
General Yeager quite clearly never pulled any punches during his flying career, and neither does he here. In a brisk, readable style the events of his remarkable life are proudly displayed without gloss or conceit. Its almost a shame that he is known today for one achievement, which as he explains was really one of his lesser accomplishments. The book is leavened by the reminiscences of Mrs Yeager and of many of his friends and associates, adding colour and perspective to an already compelling account. Makes you want to shake his hand.


The Martian Race
The Martian Race
by Gregory Benford
Edition: Paperback

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just for a moment . . ., 30 Oct. 2000
This review is from: The Martian Race (Paperback)
. . .I thought something exiting was going to happen but it was just a blob of stuff wiggling around. Okay, so finding life on Mars (oops, but then you thought that would be in the plot anyway right?) would be exiting, but this novel singularly fails to convey any such drama. In fact Robert Zubrin's book oulining the technical basis for how this type of exploration might be feasible (The Case for Mars) is way more interesting and is not cluttered up with clunky stereotypes crunching about in the red dust bothering us with their mundane introspections. And I don't believe astronauts are this dull either, or that a Russian with the level of training and technical expertise portrayed here couldn't get his head around English grammer. And the cartoony mogul pulling the strings on earth is Bond-film implausible. There is a 'dashed off' feel to the whole thing, which is a shame because the science is good enough to support a really compelling drama. Maybe I should write it . . .
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2014 5:59 PM BST


The Case for Mars
The Case for Mars
by Robert Zubrin
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but you can go first . . . ., 30 Oct. 2000
This review is from: The Case for Mars (Paperback)
Zubrin clearly outlines how a martian exploration may be possible using existing technology. He wigs out a bit when he tries to carry this thesis forward to a discussion of terraforming but if you have any interest in space exploration this is a must read, with some penetrating insight in to why NASA is probably not going to fulfill our aspirations in this direction anytime soon. So, if you can find anybody nuts enough to actually fly the thing . . . .


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