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Electric Cooker 50 x 60 White
Electric Cooker 50 x 60 White

1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid false economies!, 4 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Electric Cooker 50 x 60 White
I bought this in June 2010 and it seemed fine - a very cheap, basic cooker.

A little over two years later the oven and grill has ceased working and the domestic appliance engineer who diagnosed the problem as being a failed main selector switch has been unable to locate any spare parts for it anywhere!

I am therefore stuck with having to replace the entire cooker after 28 months.

Clearly not all of these cookers will have the same problem in just over two years, but it's vital to be aware that if something does go wrong then the lack of spare parts will become a major issue.

Rehearsing My Choir
Rehearsing My Choir
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: 3.00

3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious nonsense, 8 Jun 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Rehearsing My Choir (Audio CD)
I may well have stumbled on the most annoying pile of pretentious garbage I have yet had the misfortune of purchasing. Not one "song" on the entire album. By the end I was fast-forwarding through tracks to see if there ever came a time when they stopped messing about.

Imagine turning up to see a band perform only for them to spend the entire set tuning their instruments before wandering off without playing a single tune and that's pretty much how I felt after listening to this.

by Kenneth Harris
Edition: Paperback

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 'forgotten' Prime Minister, 18 Aug 2002
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This review is from: Attlee (Paperback)
Clement Attlee was leader of the Labour Party for 20 years. During that time he was Deputy Prime Minister for most of World War II and was subsequently Prime Minister for 6 years.
During his time as PM he oversaw the introduction of the National Health Service, The Independence of India, the attempted settlement of the Palestine question, the early stages of Britain's Atomic programme, the ending of the Marshall Aid plan and subsequent devaluing of the pound, not to mention countless internal power struggles within the Labour Party. Yet despite all this he remains a rather unknown figure among 20th Century Prime Ministers. This fact is emphasised by the absence of any photographs in the book.
A mere cursory glance at the number of books available on other such PM's: Churchill, Lloyd George & Thatcher being the most notable; compared to the few on Attlee demonstrates how little information on the man and his career is in the public domain.
On reading this well-written biography it becomes apparent that one of the main reasons for this is the man himself, in that he never sought the limelight at any stage. He seemed to regard himself as being in the position of having to be leader of the Labour Party in order to ensure that others didn't do damage to the Party and the causes he held dear, rather than any overwhelming desire to be the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Ultimately this natural modesty comes across in Harris's book. The impression of a hard-working, decent, family-loving man is also portrayed very strongly. Clearly Harris is a fan, and is writing from the perspective of an acquaintance of Attlee's, but nevertheless you are left with the impression that the subject is one who had nothing but the soundest of motives and the strongest of values at heart. His clear dislike of some of Churchill's policies and statements, yet his total admiration for Churchill as a man and politician shows a respect and dignity which not many subsequently successful politicians have come close to matching.
If you want to learn more about a man who helped to shape the way Britain was governed (and to some degree still is) in the post-war period then this book will go a long way to help.

Mikhail Gorbachev: Memoirs
Mikhail Gorbachev: Memoirs
by Mikhail Gorbachev
Edition: Paperback

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, challenging, frustrating, 25 April 2001
In this work Gorbachev seeks to explain the reasons for the situation the USSR found itself in prior to his arrival in power. From there he goes on to detail what he was trying to achieve with his policies of 'Perestroika' and 'Glasnost' and where he feels these were held back.
As with almost all political autobiographies, a certain proportion of the contents are devoted to justifying decisions, opinions and actions of the author. Nevertheless you emerge with the feeling that Gorbachev was that rarest of political species: a true visionary.
In fact you share with him his frustrations as time and again his attempts to move the monolithic Soviet state forward are slowed and even halted by people clinging to the power they had felt was theirs by right.
Later of course Boris Yeltsin (portrayed here very much as an opportunist with a desire for power) and his followers sought to undermine Gorbachev's reforms for the very different reason that they were not moving swiftly enough.
At the end you are left in no doubt of the sincerity with which Gorbachev loves his country and is pained to think of the troubles it has endured. You are also left with the impression that Gorbachev was a man who arrived at the right time and created the platform from which many people regained their freedom and found a place in the world.
For this history will, I believe, judge him to have been a shining light in an otherwise darkened room.
The problem I had with the book was very much one of comprehending what was happening and therefore sustaining interest. Yes the story of Mikhail Gorbachev and the USSR in the latter part of the 20th century is an interesting one, but what I found particularly hard going was the referrals to the various committees, plenums, soviets, and officials involved in running things. At the risk of over-simplifying the complexity of political systems, it seemed to me that one of the biggest difficulties the Soviet Union had in making any kind of progress lay in the incredible levels of bureaucracy with which it organised everything.
The number of times that a committee was formed, or a new department, function, or official role created is almost beyond belief. I found it very hard to work out who was who, what they were meant to be doing and how the whole structure fitted together.
Although this information may be valuable in understanding the USSR and Mikhail Gorbachev it also made the book rather heavy going and not able to sustain my interest for long periods of time.
At the end of the day there is a decision to make if you are thinking of buying this book. You need to weigh up whether the undoubted insight that is provided is worth wading through the rest for. In the end I finished the book, so I guess my own answer would be yes.

Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr
Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr
by Stephen B. Oates
Edition: Paperback

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book on a great man, 16 April 2001
It is often too easy to use the word 'great' when describing an individual. Martin Luther King is one of the few to whom this label is entirely appropriate.
This book gives a fascinating and compelling account of his life and the times in which he carried out his struggle for equality.
There are moments that bring you near to tears and many that make you wonder how supposedly intelligent people could be so blinkered.
The best compliment I can pay Stephen B. Oates is to say that his book does justice to its subject. Whoever you are I strongly recommend you read it and begin to understand why Dr King was so special.

The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism
The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism
by Robert Kee
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.89

91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Irish history, 4 Feb 2001
It has been said that all Englishmen should study the history of Ireland, and all Irishmen should ignore it. As an Englishman I have taken an interest in Irish history in an attempt to understand why things have ended up as they are.
It is only when you investigate the history of this troubled island that you begin to realise the complexity of the problem. This complexity can sometimes be matched by the content of the books written on this subject. In 'The Green Flag' however, Robert Kee has managed to condense hundreds of years of rebellion, repression, famine, political intrigue and a myriad of movements, both political and otherwise, into a very readable, informative book.
'The Green Flag' was originally written in three parts. 'The Most Distressful Country' begins with Brian Boru in 1014 A.D., but mainly focuses on the period from the Wolfe Tone rebellion of 1798, and the subsequent political union with the United Kingdom, to the Smith O'Brien rising of 50 years later. The period covered includes the career of Daniel O'Connell and the famine which, we learn, almost halved the population of Ireland over a period of 25 years, either directly through death, or by emigration.
The second book of the trilogy 'The Bold Fenian Men' covers the beginnings of the Fenian movement in the mid 19th century and travels through the career of Charles Stewart Parnell, who came agonisingly close to his dream of Home Rule for Ireland, before scandal stopped his career in its tracks. The original volume climaxes with the Easter Rising of 1916.
The final part of the original trilogy is 'Ourselves Alone' which is an approximate translation of the Gaelic 'Sinn Fein'. It begins with the aftermath of the Easter Rising and covers the Anglo-Irish war, treaty negotiations and subsequent Civil War. The central characters at this time were Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera and it is this part of the story that is covered in the film, entitled 'Michael Collins', which may make it more widely known than the earlier history covered by Kee.
What Kee achieves in this single volume is to present a clearly explained, impartial version of the major events that shaped Ireland in the period leading up to the de Valera years.
If you have often wondered why there has been so much conflict in Northern Ireland in recent times, then this book may answer your questions.
There are many other books which go into further detail on the events, or individuals, covered in Kee's work, but this is as good a starting point as I have found and comes highly recommended by this reader.

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