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Nurnberg's Panzer Factory: A Photographic Study
Nurnberg's Panzer Factory: A Photographic Study
by Roddy MacDougall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £32.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 22 Dec. 2014
This high-quality production is a real treat for anyone fascinated by the history of military technology. The collection of photographs here represents a well-researched and excellently compiled study. Largely image-based, the book orders the material intelligently and with authority, allowing a narrative of the Panzer production industry to unfold in pictures that tell a thousand stories. Very much recommended.


About Time: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who, 2005-2006; Series 1 & 2
About Time: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who, 2005-2006; Series 1 & 2
by Tat Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.88

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Who' with attitude, 16 Jun. 2014
The About Time series is possibly the most comprehensive and insightful guide to Doctor Who ever written. No stone is left unturned to reveal what lies at the heart of each story, with its context, content and production looked at from every angle, always intelligently - and with attitude. Bland, the authors are not. It is also true that the books are infuriatingly opinionated and wear their biases towards or against certain aspects of Who firmly on their sleeves, utilising superior tones which can be wearing at times.

About Time 7 is no exception to this mix, although it is perhaps an improvement this time around, with slightly more care taken with the proof reading, and side articles that feel more directly relevant to the content than some of the long-winded academic indulgences on popular culture seen in previous editions.

The ‘classic’ series having been dealt with in books 1-6, this time the reader sets out with trepidation to see what the range will make of the ‘new’ revived series, with just the single Christopher Eccleston and first David Tennant seasons covered here. Contrary to comments in some magazine reviews, there isn’t in fact an undue negativity towards the remodelled series (although dismissive references to Matt Smith’s tenure and snide remarks about Steven Moffat suggest that irritation levels may rise in later volumes). Indeed, some traditionally looked down-on episodes which might have expected a good kicking are in fact treated surprisingly fairly, although - be warned - better-liked ones are occasionally assailed. Conversely, some stories, which are initially taken apart for their illogicality and ill-conceived plotting, can unexpectedly be given positive reviews in the final ‘critique’ sections, judged as good pieces of TV drama nonetheless. For the most part, the book is fair and balanced, if you can bite your lip here and there.

One disappointing trend is the unnecessary elongation of the ‘things that don’t make sense’ sections. Where once just a few paragraphs on key plot issues would do, we now have to wade through pages of pompous nitpicking on minor continuity details about geographical anomalies in location filming, or about whether a 50s TV shop could really ever go on to be a major conglomerate in the far future, etc. These don’t treat the reader with respect: we know that this is only fiction, and that certain things are there just as winks to the audience or in-jokes. We accept that all this clearly doesn’t take place in our universe anyway, so the endless carping about inconsistencies in Doctor Who with details in our own world comes across as petty and, after a while, boring. Shorter next time, please.

That all said – and this is the crux of these books – in general About Time 7 is an intense page-turner and I found myself disappointed to get to the end and am already craving the next edition. If you’re looking to indulge that part of you that needs the escapism of exploring every aspect of a fictional universe (with extensive production coverage), you won’t do much better than this, if you can stomach the range’s occasionally less digestible and subjective opinions along the way.


Storystore
Storystore
Price: £3.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A stimulating collection, 5 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Storystore (Kindle Edition)
This is a stimulating and well-presented collection of short stories that probes many layers of human experience in often moving and always compelling ways. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys well-written, original fiction.


Conspiracies - The Facts. The Theories. The Evidence.
Conspiracies - The Facts. The Theories. The Evidence.
by Andy Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Available on Conspiracy Theories, 21 Aug. 2013
Have long had Thomas's 'Truth Agenda' book (recently updated) and was interested to see what new angles he could put on the conspiracy stuff in this new book - the answer is; a lot. I'm impressed with the depth on knowledge on display here about conspiracies that many people may have heard about, but probably don't know the detail of. This tome will definitely help fill people in on some pretty important areas. Don't believe the official inquests on Princess Di, David Kelly and 9/11 without being aware of this information first.

Something about Thomas manages to capture the essence of an argument in a very clear, readable way, without ever over-simplifiying things. He never exaggerates for effect either, leaving the reader's intelligence respected; with the arguments laid out so plainly, people will make up their own minds without any forcing.

The opening discussion of the pros and cons of the conspiracy mindset is also valuable; defending it whilst also being realistic about why it gets attacked. Thomas's arguments as to why theorists should be taken far more seriously, whilst not having to subscribe to every single one of their beliefs, hits the spot perfectly. Anyone who doubts the existence of the 'New World Order', for instance, will realize just from the background detail shared here that it is in fact a verifiable and genuine entity of some kind at least, even if some of the very worst fears may be born from paranoia, which we can only hope they are. Admirably, Thomas never dismisses anyone's point of view and always allows proper consideration.

This is probably the best book currently available on hardcore conspiracy theories, covering virtually every major area in one way or another in a balanced and well-reasoned way, and giving it all historical context too, which I found very helpful.


The Truth Agenda: Making Sense of Unexplained Mysteries, Global Cover-ups & Visions for a New Era
The Truth Agenda: Making Sense of Unexplained Mysteries, Global Cover-ups & Visions for a New Era
by Andy Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Recommended Book Which Genuinely 'Makes Sense', 21 Aug. 2013
This is an extraordinary book on many levels. It focuses so many things that matter today in a coherent and very readable way. Whether it's the conspiracy angle, the paranormal stuff or the evidence for the genuine power of focused thought and proactive participation, it really does all seem to 'make sense' in these pages, as the subtitle suggests. The prophecies for this current era are also put into a very relevant context, now that we're past all the end-of-the-world hoo-hah of the whole 2012 thing. This new version of Truth Agenda manages to show that we all still need to be very aware of big changes that the years ahead could bring.

Had an old version of this book, which was great, but this trumps its predecessor on all levels and I loved the new chapter at the back, which gives a very helpful reality check for alternative thinkers in a way which supports them but also identifies some of the flaws of letting high ideologies get in the way of common sense.

Love the new, brighter cover too, and there's lots of additional info and new photos inside which will keep these pages relevant for a long while to come. All round this comes highly recommended. I seem to feel good when I flick through it, and more positive about the human race, which is probably as much as anyone could hope for from a book; a must-read.


Pictures of Palestine: A Humanitarian Blogging from Bethlehem
Pictures of Palestine: A Humanitarian Blogging from Bethlehem
by Palden Jenkins
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Helpful Human Insight Into a Complex Situation, 15 Nov. 2012
Of all ongoing controversies, the plight of the Palestinian people provokes some of the most emotive and divisive discussions, and it can be hard from the outside to get a handle on what the truth of it all is, and how one should respond. Thankfully, Palden Jenkins' Pictures of Palestine offers a rare glimpse into the actualities of the situation by offering a vivid first-hand account of daily life in a forcibly isolated community, providing real insights into both its perils and sometimes unexpected joys. By focusing on the human experience at the centre of the maelstrom, a clear vision of the issues is gained without the text ever resorting to hand-wringing or polemics. Punctuated throughout by incisive and accessible slabs of Palestinian history which brilliantly reveal the background to today's situation, this collection of blogs documents the author's work with the fragile but heartwarming work of Bethlehem's 'Hope Flowers' school, set up to promote peace and reconciliation in the shadow of the Israeli protective wall. As the weeks go by, the often humorously recorded attempts of Jenkins to impose a westerner's view of 'order' on what at first appears to be a chaotic foreign system gradually give way to an acceptance that an underlying order of a different kind lies behind the Palestinian hubbub, and an understanding grows of the strengths and community bonds that have enabled the people to endure years of disempowerment and hardship without losing their innate sense of self. As Jenkins so succinctly puts it: 'In conflict, they do not win and yet they are not beaten.'

Although the book is primarily sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people, the author never loses sight of the human factors that have led Israel, the other side of the pendulum, to be the nation that it is today; he is unerringly fair in trying to understand its position even while decrying the abuses that he believes have resulted from over-zealous defensiveness and the desire to expand. Honest criticism of the Palestinian authorities is not evaded either, and this even-handed and humanitarian approach makes Jenkins one of the more insightful and welcome observers of this undeniably troublesome stand-off. Realistic in its assessment of where things could go from here, negatively or positively, the book does not attempt to smooth over the hard choices that may await all peoples of this region, even as it offers potential solutions of its own that might become available when the wider world starts to take proper responsibility for a situation that many nations have long played a part in perpetuating for reasons of self-interest.

Illustrated throughout with the author's own photos of the people and landscapes that populate the prose, Pictures of Palestine is a timely and valuable book for anyone trying to more easily comprehend some of the dilemmas that continue to haunt the Middle East, laying out the issues clearly and justly, whilst effortlessly humanising the world of those who live at the mercy of the 'facts on the ground' that the Western media so seldom confront. It deserves to be widely-read and the author should be applauded for his efforts in promoting peace and understanding while bringing much-needed clarity to a situation too often misunderstood outside of its own borders.


About Time 1970-1974 Seasons 7 to 11 (About Time; The Unauthorized Guide to Dr. Who (Mad Norwegian Press))
About Time 1970-1974 Seasons 7 to 11 (About Time; The Unauthorized Guide to Dr. Who (Mad Norwegian Press))
by Tat Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.45

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superior tones and errors spoil an otherwise recommended read, 4 Nov. 2010
Reading the updated edition of About Time Volume 3 is a frustrating experience. This range of books without doubt makes up the definitive guide to Doctor Who, and each edition is full of valuable insights and information. However, as the range has developed, so too has the sneering attitude, and this comes out in full flood here, blighting too many pages. The always slightly superior tone has slipped into open academic condescension, spoiling what was once an informative and entertaining balance. The waffling side articles often fail to make their point or go on far too long, while blanket debunking of areas the authors don't personally resonate with (especially anything they see as pseudo-science) makes some paragraphs feel like partisan rants rather than constructive observations.

These faults might be more forgivable if the book was itself an example of perfection, but instead it is littered (almost on every page) with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, often incomprehensible sentences and missing words that smack of an all-too quick editing process. Indeed, one has to wonder if it was ever proof-read at all. Calling attention to niggling continuity details in a TV series and heavily criticising series writers (especially Terry Nation) while being equally guilty of creative sloppiness does the authors no favours whatsoever, and the hypocritical feel only increases as each page is turned.

All this is a shame, because there is much to commend here, the text going to depths of analysis that leave other related tomes looking superficial by comparison. About Time 3 is still, therefore, a recommended read for all Who fans, but the authors should take note of the old pots and kettles adage for any future entries in this range and one can only hope they restore the keen and less cynical observations that made the earlier books so enjoyable.
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Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Ecstasy - A Complete Guide to End-of-time Predictions
Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Ecstasy - A Complete Guide to End-of-time Predictions
by Geoff Stray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.95

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Usefull & intriguing, 20 Oct. 2008
This is a brilliant book and I would recommend it for anybody who is intrested in the 2012 prophecies.
A great read.
He keeps an open mind the whole way through and manages to keep you hooked.
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