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Tim62 "history buff" (London, UK)
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The Falsification of History: Our Distorted Reality
The Falsification of History: Our Distorted Reality
Price: £3.79

1.0 out of 5 stars Barking mad nonsense, 16 Dec 2014
Barking mad nonsense - but funny - though I doubt that was the author's intention. Illuminati etc etc David Icke etc. Sorry it is impossible to take this kind of self-published rubbish seriously.


The Blood Crows: Cato & Macro: Book 12
The Blood Crows: Cato & Macro: Book 12
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good - but could have been even better, 3 Dec 2014
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It is a book that starts well, Scarrow has always been good at atmospheric settings and the opening scene of this book is one of his best. I really liked the Blood Crows - bloodthirsty torturers though they were. Scarrow himself has said he was inspired by Apocalypse Now, and the leader of this unit is his nod to Colonel Kurtz - but sadly only up to a point.

Scarrow fatally undercuts his character here by revealing towards the end that the Blood Crows original leader's brutality is riven by an underlying terror.

It simply doesn't work, and it is sad because with a little more understanding of the likely psychological make-up of his own villain here, the book could have been better in its second-half.

That said the action scenes are well done - and I really like the fact that this series has come back to Britannia. For me that was always the fascination with the books in the first place. I think Scarrow has brilliantly conjured up how the first few years of Roman Britain might have been.

However, you know that Scarrow is writing modern Boys' Own stories - so commanding officers are cardboard caricatures who sneer or scoff at our two heroes, Macro and Cato, and it does get a bit wearing.

I do have an issue with the swearing at times in the book. Yes I know we all do it, and they did too. But excessive use of the C-word is simply dull. It betrays a lack of imagination on the writers' part. If you read the text without the word, you can see that it doesn't really add or intensify any of the action - that needs to come from the writing. You can't improve it by merely adding in ****.

So overall three stars. It is good and I am really glad the duo are back in Britain, but it could have been better, and he still needs to work on making his minor characters more consistent.

Ave atque vale, Tim


The Synagogue Of Satan - Updated, Expanded, And Uncensored
The Synagogue Of Satan - Updated, Expanded, And Uncensored
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, 2 Dec 2014
Badly written anti-Semitic rubbish, unless you want to waste your money, don't bother with this tawdry tissue of lies, half-truths and fabrications.


Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!: A World without World War I
Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!: A World without World War I
by Richard Ned Lebow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like counter-factual history, I really recommend it., 27 Nov 2014
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An excellent counter-factual consideration of what might have happened if assasin Gavrilo Princip had failed to shoot Archduke Franz Ferdinand dead that day in Sarajevo in June 1914.

What stands out for me in Lebow's work, is that he really tries to answer the question of whether or not the 20th Century could have been better - or worse - if the Archduke had lived.

He does fictionalise the subsequent alternate timelines, but this is not really a work of alternative historical fiction. Instead this book stands alongside Niall Ferguson's collection of counter-factual essays of a few of years ago - Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals

He resets the clock at 1914 and runs forward twice - once with a set of worst-case assumptions and again with a case of best-case assumptions.Naturally the years immediately after the point of departure are the easiest to argue over - by the time we get to the 1960s you have to accept that you can really only discuss things in terms of a broad outline one way or the other.

His conclusion is that given the range of best or worst 20th Centuries that Europe could have faced in that early summer of 1914 - the actual historical outcome was pretty near the worst.

Obviously this is impossible to prove either way - but he shows quite plausibly, the range of possibilities that could have opened up (for good or ill) had things happened otherwise.

If you like counter-factual history, I heartily recommend it.


Pharmavits 600mg Extreme Raspberry Ketones Vitamin Supplements - Pack of 60 Capsules
Pharmavits 600mg Extreme Raspberry Ketones Vitamin Supplements - Pack of 60 Capsules
Offered by PremiumBrands-4-Less
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars They were okay, but I won't be buying any ..., 27 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
They were okay, but I won't be buying any more, as I am not convinced they were making much difference


The Deaths of Berlin
The Deaths of Berlin
Price: £1.53

4.0 out of 5 stars Good - and worth reading, 26 Nov 2014
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I like Otto Fischer and his crew of damage Luftwaffe types. having read The Peenemunde Deceptions I was looking forward to this. Without giving away the plot, I don't feel this is as good. It has less of a focus on Fischer himself and we follow the action from more of the other characters' viewpoints.
For me this didn't work as I felt it lost focus. Hence the loss of one star.

But it is well written and the Nazi politicking as their world crashes about their ears - or rather the Red Army crashes in from the East, is convincingly portrayed.
I felt it needed a stronger and more important female character in the book, even though Fischer's landlady and her squabbling sister are brilliantly done, they don't fill the gap that I felt was there.Yes I know a femme fatale is a terrible noir cliche, but what the heck...

I will still read the next book if there is one!


Seize and Ravage
Seize and Ravage
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dear oh dear oh dear, 26 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Seize and Ravage (Kindle Edition)
Reads like a by-the-numbers Commando book for boys - just without the pictures. I was hoping that this would be as engaging as his RAF WW2 fiction, but I was disappointed. It is a rather plodding account of a commando raid on an Italian fort in the desert in 1942.

Everybody is a cliche - without exception - moustaches bristle, officers glower, other ranks sturdily give it their best - unless they are forcing themselves on women left, right and centre.

Then we come to 'Johnny Foreigner', in which case the cliches and stereotyping get worse - far worse.
Basically, Germans are arrogant and overbearing, Italians are largely cologne-wearing cowards and Arabs (although that is NOT the word often used....) are shifty.

You know he was knocking this off in rush and the result shows.

Generally, a book to be avoided - it is just not very good. Douglas Reeman wrote this kind of stuff far better. Bickers himself has written far better books.


Night Action
Night Action
Price: £2.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best, 26 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Night Action (Kindle Edition)
Not one of his best. It's full of rather obvious WW2 cliches and could have come from a propaganda hack circa 1943.

I was disappointed as I had really enjoyed his WW1 naval fiction. Here the characters just weren't engaging, and the basis story always struck me as contrived. However, I will continue to read his other works as they get transferred onto Kindle.

If you like this naval WW2 Boys' Own stuff, then Douglas Reeman does the job a slot better. A shame as I was hoping for more.


The Peenemunde Deceptions
The Peenemunde Deceptions
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good wartime gumshoe novel, 18 Nov 2014
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Thoroughly enjoyable period piece. If you like your gumshoes Chandleresque and world-weary - then step forward (or should that be limp forward) Otto Fischer. A hero of Nazi Germany, complete with the Knight's Cross, hideously burnt in combat on the eastern front, this cyncial ex-Fallschirmjager and former Berlin cop is called in to investigate a muder in the heart of Germany's rocket programme - based at Peenemunde on the Baltic.

I am sucker for gumshoe stories, and having read all of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series (which inhabits the same dark Nazi German world) I was keen to give this a go. However, as it was being sold at a knock-down Kindle price of 99p, I was prepared for some ho-hum writing - of a writer with the enthusiasm but not necessarily the skill to be a good crime author.

I need not have worried, McDermott is a great find. His writing is clean, clear and crisp - and the novel is shot through with flashes of dark humour.

It is historically well-done.Who murdered a top German rocket scientist at the height of the 18 August 1943 RAF raid on Peenemunde, and why? For much of the story we are as in the dark as Fischer - which works, although I did find the final confrontation and plot exposition slightly too-clever and tortuous for its own good.

However, the author's historical afterword showed me why it stood on strong historical grounds. And it certainly didn't stop me awarding this five stars.

Add in several similiarly damaged ex-Luftwaffe types to the brew, complete with a running joke about 'Douglas von Bader', a beautiful Polish blonde (and a woman with whom Fischer once had a one-night stand) a trombone-playing forced labourer - never mind the historical characters of Wernher von Braun and Walter Dornberger - and you have a great recipe for a war-time crime novel.


Waterloo: The French Perspective
Waterloo: The French Perspective
by Andrew Field
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars L'Armee du Nord's view of Waterloo, 28 Oct 2014
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Andrew Field has done all of those who are interested in Waterloo a great service by bringing together French contemporary accounts of this battle, many of them accounts that have for too long previously been missing from English language versions of this climatic battle.
If you want to know why Napoleon lost at Waterloo, then you really can't do it from any better place than here. The author sets out to examine the conduct of battle through Napoleon's orders and the actions of his subordinate corps and divisional commanders, highlighted and illuminated by soldiers who wrote accounts of the battle in the days and years afterwards.
If you've every puzzled as to why Ney launched those mass cavalry attacks when he did, why d'Erlon's infantry divisions adopted their very broad columnar formations to assault the allied line, and the impact of the Prussians on French deployments as the day wore on, what went wrong for the French at Hougoumont - then you should read this book.
The plentiful chapters are clear and often short - the sequence of events of this complex battle are broken down into comprehensible chunks.
At the end of the book, there is the added bonus of a tactical review - which runs through some of the tactical issues not easily covered in the narrative of the battle itself. Some of those are the questions I've mentioned above, and the last two take in French generalship and whether Napoleon could actually have won.
Clear, concise, easily readable. Highly recommended.


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