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Reviews Written by
James Miller (Durham)
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The Praetorian Guard: A History of Rome's Elite Special Forces
The Praetorian Guard: A History of Rome's Elite Special Forces
Price: £16.15

4.0 out of 5 stars Jolly good, but there are some claims that seem to go beyond or omit evidence, 6 Dec 2014
Very good on facts: inscriptions, cohort creation etc.; less strong - I felt - on interpretation where there is a tendency to assume that the later uses of the guard can be projected fairly uncritically backwards (there is for example no discussion of whether Dio's account of the formation of the Guard might be influenced by his knowledge of figures such as Sejanus and Plautianus, who had not yet emerged at the time of the, presumably imagined, conversation).

I also thought the discussion of Sejanus's fall and how Sejanus was separated from his soldiers in the Senate missed some facts: Augustus wore mail and was surrounded by burly senators on those occasions he feared a violent response from the senators (Suet.Aug.35), and Tiberius requested a Guard of senators too, so that the miles in forum, miles in curiam comitabatur anaphora, on which her discussion of how Sejanus was separated from the soldiers implicitly relies, is probably a literary flourish with in curiam best translated as to the very doors of the senate house, and the event becomes less problematic than suggested. Dio says that Claudius held trials in the senate with prefects present (no soldiers are mentioned) (LX.16).

I missed a discussion of the guard beyond the 1st century: Caracalla, Geta, and Plautianus etc., and I had hoped for something on how the Guard Prefectures eventually became divorced from the actual Guard.


SanDisk Ultra SDSDQUA-032G Micro-SDXC 32 GB UHS-I Class 10 Memory Card 48 MB/s + SD Adapter
SanDisk Ultra SDSDQUA-032G Micro-SDXC 32 GB UHS-I Class 10 Memory Card 48 MB/s + SD Adapter
Price: £17.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent storage., 4 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Very fast transfer speeds
Very secure storage
I use these Sandisk microsd cards in all my devices - camera, phones, surface tab, and they have never yet failed me at all.


Fabri-Tac  113 ml Medium Bottle, Clear
Fabri-Tac 113 ml Medium Bottle, Clear
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars certainly good enough to repair a turn up quickly without worrying, 4 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In using this glue we identified some positives:

It does not stain through fabric
It forms a jolly strong bond: certainly good enough to repair a turn up quickly without worrying, perhaps even to hold a zip.
It dries quite flexible
It dries quite quickly

we also identified some weaknesses:
The tube requires excessive pressure to get the glue out
It would not stick sequins etc. to fabric effectively
it was hard to be precise with a tricky tube


Braun NTF3000 No Touch Plus Forehead Digital Thermometer
Braun NTF3000 No Touch Plus Forehead Digital Thermometer
Price: £35.34

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impeccable device and ideal with small children who wriggle fornormal thermometers., 30 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As luck (?) would have it our three-year-old fell ill two days after this arrived. In the past we had to persuade her to hold a thermometer in her mouth/armpit for some time and as this was associated with the ill feeling she was 'reluctant'. This brilliant gadget has allowed us to check her temperature whilst she is asleep; to make measuring non-invasive and quick.

The choice of silent mode and Celsius or Fahrenheit is good; the guidance as to when you are the correct instance from the ideal measuring spot is jolly good: I have not found anything to fault it.


Ultrasport Men's Stan Soft Shell Jacket - Brown, Large
Ultrasport Men's Stan Soft Shell Jacket - Brown, Large
Price: £26.99

5.0 out of 5 stars looks good; feels warm; copes with wind; shrugs off rain. Excellent., 30 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This jacket has been a great hit. It looks good on the outside, feels warm without being clammy when worn even with short-sleeves on and has coped very well with the very blustery tail end of a hurricane and some rather wet days. It has a good range of pockets and all the parts feel well-made (zip tabs etc.).


Jam Touch Bluetooth Wireless Speaker - Black
Jam Touch Bluetooth Wireless Speaker - Black
Price: £24.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really very good indeed; friends who have used it have bought their own., 30 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Jam touch is a great little device. The sound is crisp and, for its size, can be surprisingly loud without distortion.The Bluetooth range is larger than I had expected meaning I can leave my phone (or other Bluetooth enabled device) in my pocket and wander around my home or office without the Bluetooth connection failing. The device is ridiculously easy to set up, it essentially talks you through it itself. As a telephony hands free kit it works well, although that is not its primary function, and it should not be bought to be used as a hands free kit as a stand alone purpose.

It charges via USB so no battery costs although the cable is stupidly short meaning it has to be in very close proximity to a plug when being charged (or a cheap long USB cable can be bought). But the battery life is fairly good so that is but a small issue.
Overall the jam is aesthetically pleasing, works well, is very reasonably priced and draws admiration from your friends and work colleagues. Cosmic stuff.

Indeed having this in use in the police station where I work has led to others, who have experienced it in use over a prolonged period, buying the same device.


Caesar's Calendar: Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History (Sather Classical Lectures)
Caesar's Calendar: Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History (Sather Classical Lectures)
by Denis Feeney
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Not really about Caesar's Calendar, but all about Ancient Time, 29 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Feeney makes a point of thanking his editor at UC press for the title, but in truth the title is the worst feature of the book. You would be forgiven for guessing that "Caesar's Calendar" would be primarily about the Julian calendar reforms and you might well be disappointed to find that that topic occupies a very slight proportion of the book - indeed more is said about Augustus's development of it than about Caesar's work.

The book more than redeemed itself from its fault of misdirection though. The detailed discussion of how Greek calendars worked; how the ancients conceptualised time; how little importance was placed on the calendar and the solar cycle being in sync even when this was entirely possible; the political ramifications of which calendar was used; the names of the months; what starting a year in January was not self-evident... the list goes on. I very much enjoyed the exposition of passages in Cicero, Virgil, and above all, in Ovid and discussion of how Tacitus used dates in the ablative absolute to indicate a shift from the nominative consuls of Republican Livy was brilliant.

If you want a book on Caesar's Calendar, this is a poor choice; if you want a book on ancient conceptions of time and the political uses to which that can be put, it is excellent.


Watermark [Blu-ray + DVD Double Play]
Watermark [Blu-ray + DVD Double Play]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Baichwal
Price: £18.54

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An exciting premise proved to be a tedious experience., 21 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This had the potential to be a really interesting documentary: water usage and privation can be exciting. What we get is very long shots of what may be a dessicated desert which eventually (and I do mean eventually) pan out to prove to be a small area of dry mud in the middle of a large area: perhaps we are supposed to marvel at the fractal nature of dry mud where a 1mx1m stretch resembles a 1kmx1km stretch, but it was just not exciting.

There were shots of a dam being built, but no comment on where or why or with what repercussions: 45mins in I hadn't really learned anything (except the solitary facts that the Colorado runs dry and that the aquifer under the souther states is being used pretty dam (sorry) quickly). Some interesting material on the tanning process in India, but the skipping from India, to China, to the US without an obvious structure made it seem like a series of anecdotes rather than a comprehensive or cohesive film.

Perhaps others will appreciate this more, but having been brought up on David Attenborough and enjoyed documentaries on Geology (Earth with Iain Stewart) and many others I am generally very keen on this sort of film and really enjoy learning things, but I was on the tablet very quickly.


Bose ® SoundDock XT Speaker - White/Dark Grey
Bose ® SoundDock XT Speaker - White/Dark Grey

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound, but perhaps could use Bluetooth, 17 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These give a stunning sound and look amazing as you'd expect from Bose. I was disappointed that they didn't have the option our old dock had of swapping the connector style, but that is really an Apple issue. I have mine at the work-station doubling as pc speakers on the audio in cable and have been very pleased. I would have liked a power switch and remote control, but I guess they are pretty-well dormant when no input is happening. At the price point Bluetooth connectivity would also have been good - few people have only Apple stuff and you don't want two sets.


Wind in the Wires
Wind in the Wires
by Duncan Grinnell-Milne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

4.0 out of 5 stars An ideal way to see the air war as All Quiet on the Western Front is to see the land (not as good as that though)., 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: Wind in the Wires (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Good fun and an insight into the minds of the young men who flew in the early planes. Some funny bits such as freezing his spotter or altering the lists through judicious spillages; some courageous bits such as attacking ground machine gun emplacements; some regretful such as post factum musings on the civilian casualties of his bombing raids.

I enjoyed this very much, but the dangers he faced are perhaps glossed a tad (only in passing does he mention how far he outlived the 6 weeks average) and it is in the details - the officer who would have impeded his plans dying next day, the turn over of personnel in his squadron in a very short period, etc. - that the futility and awfulness of the early air war is shown.

There is a wonderful moment when he records waving to a German during a dog-fight and getting a cheery return as they shot at each other and it is hard to know whether to laugh or cry.


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