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Tim62 "history buff" (London, UK)
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Hour Zero
Hour Zero
Price: £1.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Neo-Nazis coming to an island near you, 22 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Hour Zero (Kindle Edition)
Dull, dull, dull and cliched tale of north American neo-Nazis on an island - against a feisty woman and her boyfriend. This felt like a self-published work, so while I applaud the author for this, it didn't work for me.
On the plus side the plotting was fine, but the characters seemed far too two-dimensional and cartoon-like. Sorry.
But full marks to the book's designer. When in doubt stick a swastika on a red cover - never fails.....;)


In the Line of Fire (A Donald Cameron Naval Thriller)
In the Line of Fire (A Donald Cameron Naval Thriller)
Price: £2.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 22 Oct 2014
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********* Spoiler alert ************
This was disappointing. I had high hopes of this as I'd been looking forward to reading it for a while. But the central chracter never really come alive - he's very much a cipher. Indeed sometimes this reads like a Ministry of Propaganda flag waver circa 1942. The details of life aboard a destroyer are momentarily interesting, but the writer loses me by piling Pelion upon Ossa with his list of disasters to hit the ship, with ultimately Cameron winning through. As the casualties mounted, I started keeping a mental tally and laughing at points where I am certain I wasn't meant to be.

I'd hoped for something akin to Douglas Reeman, but sadly this doesn't match up. Sorry.

You don't know enough to really care one way or the other about Cameron or his Wren - in fact many of the other secondary characters are better drawn. Sorry


Rome Unbound: Whispers of Rebellion
Rome Unbound: Whispers of Rebellion
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for passing the time, 22 Oct 2014
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It was okay, but I can't say it left me wanting more. It was also a lot shorter novel than I was expecting. It is not the worst Roman action adventure out there - but it's not particularly memorable. Sorry.


The Regiment
The Regiment
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars By the numbers, but still entertaining, 20 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Regiment (Kindle Edition)
This the first of a trilogy about a family in a fictional British cavalry regiment, the Royal Western Dragoon Guards. Written in the late 80s and republished by Endeavour. I missed it when it came out, but am going to read all three now.

It is a by the numbers account, but it is still entertaining enough covering of some of the minutiae of regimental life and politics away from Imperial soldiering (this is set in the period before WW1).

There are the usual cliches:
Every woman who ever meets our hero finds him sexually attractive.
The central character, Murdoch Mackinder bears a charmed life (even though he picks up his fair share of wounds) brother officers fall by the way over the years, but not him.

But away from these familiar tropes the writing is efficient and entertaining enough. It is an enjoyable look back at a vanished military world.


Operation Neptune
Operation Neptune
Price: £0.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but worthwhile, 7 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Operation Neptune (Kindle Edition)
A workmanlike review of naval operations off the beaches of Normandy by a senior naval officer. This is an important addition to anybody's bookshelf if you are serious on the Normandy campaign - because it reminds you what was going on off-shore as the campaign unfolded - but it is probably best thought of as a work of reference, rather than a narrative in its own right.


Fighting Times IV: Military Matters Past and Present
Fighting Times IV: Military Matters Past and Present
Price: £0.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Curate's egg, 7 Oct 2014
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I am glad that the team is perservering with this, but at the moment I feel that it is a bit of a curate's egg of a magazine. In this issue, the article on Allenby and Gaza was very interesting, but the rest did not grab me so much, I felt I was familiar with it, or that it was a series of too-short articles and book reviews. Maybe other editions have been better-received. I will still try this again, as I love military history


In Search of England
In Search of England
by H. V. Morton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, unpleasant author, 19 Sep 2014
This review is from: In Search of England (Paperback)
Morton may have been a lyrical writer, but he made up much of what he wrote (not in itself a crime with travel writers). But unlike the lone genial traveller he portrays himself to be, his own private papers and diaries show him to be a womanizer and fascist sympathizer - see his recent biography In Search of H. V. Morton by Michael Bartholomew http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3616573/A-very-English-hypocrite.html

The book is well-written, but it describes an England that never was.


The Veiled Assassin, A Novel of the Late Roman Empire (Embers of Empire Book 1)
The Veiled Assassin, A Novel of the Late Roman Empire (Embers of Empire Book 1)
Price: £0.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I admire the writer for choosing a period that's not ..., 3 Sep 2014
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I admire the writer for choosing a period that's not often covered in fiction, but I couldn't take the modern language in which it was written - I doubt the Romans ever 'duded up'. It may not be a deciding factor for other readers, but it was for me. Sorry.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2014 12:30 PM BST


Waterloo [DVD] [1970]
Waterloo [DVD] [1970]
Dvd ~ Rod Steiger
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £24.96

5.0 out of 5 stars A great, if flawed, film, 6 Feb 2014
This review is from: Waterloo [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
A great if flawed film with too many jump cuts, but sadly the myths about a much longer version are just that - myths. I reproducxe here what IMDB has on the differing versions,

"According to an article written by the film's editor and associate producer Richard C. Meyer, the longest version is the 132 minute version. This has been confirmed by Vladimir Dorsal, the film's First Assistant and later the head of Mosfilm in Moscow. He says that they only have the 132m version in their vaults and no longer 4 hours version ever existed.

"The myth may derive from an earlier part of Meyer's article when he states that the rough cut was 4 hours long - not unusual for a film of this scope and scale. But after much discussion the present length was agreed on. He also says he stupidly didn't make a dupe of this rough cut, a usual process in post production. So this 'cut' will never see the light of day. It is clear from the cast list that many characters were cut. The film was planned as a Road Show release but by 1970 the practice had lost favour with the studios."

In other words, what we've got is all there is. Which is a great shame. Bondarchuk also directed War and Peace - which WAS 6.5 hours long and often mis-remember this as being a longer version of Waterloo.

I saw it when it came out and it wasn't any longer/shorter than it is now. I would love to be proved wrong on this, as I'd buy a longer version quicker than you can say 'la Garde recule'.


Chieftains
Chieftains
Price: £3.30

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice read - and very much of its time, 20 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Chieftains (Kindle Edition)
Written in 1982 as a speculation on a future war in central Europe as Soviet forces push across the Inner German Border to grapple with Nato troops, this now reads as alternative history - a history which very thankfully never happened.
It si delibersterly written from the tankers' point of view - centred mainly around a BAOR armoured regiment - and reads mainly as a grimmer supplement to General Sir John Hackett's The Third World War, which had come out a few years' earlier.

If you are interested in how many Brits, in the late-70s/early 80s, viewed the chanced of a Soviet invasion in the near-future, then this is one you should probably read.

The late 70s/early 80s was a sign of increased military tension in Europe, with the USSR deploying new classes of mobile intermediate range ballistic missies into the western military departments of the USSR and other Warsaw Pact territories - we had the impending development of ht eneutron bomb, and the planned US/Nato response of cruise missiesl being forward deployed in UK bases (Greenham Common et al).

Lots of books like this (such as The Final Decade - Will we survive the 1980s? by the then-BBC's defence correspondent Christopher Lee) or TV and radio programmes (like LBC's superb six-parter The Next War by Gwynne Dyer) tried to examine what actually would happen if Europe's Cold War turned hot. The optimists hoped it could all happen without recourse to nuclear weapons - the pessimists were gloomier....

The characters are what you would expect in a novel lke this - they don't break any new literary ground, but the grim reality of tank warfare in the 1980s comes through. Worth a look, I feel.


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