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John Gray (England)
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Fighting Men of London
Fighting Men of London
Price: 7.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story of a great boxing era, 17 Jun 2014
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Well worth a read. I love boxing and also the history of London and the East End, so this was a particularly interesting set of stories. Some well known names, notably Sammy McCarthy, Albert Carroll, and Sid Nathan, plus several others that I hadn't been familiar with, but all with a story to tell. The stories give a great insight into a bygone era, tougher times, different attitudes. I could hardly put the book down, and finished it all too quickly.


The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street
Price: 3.49

1.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could rate it Minus 5, 15 Mar 2014
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I accept - given that there are quite a few positive reviews - that some people liked this book. Me? I thought it was one of the most poorly written books I've ever read. The story, such as it is, is simple....'I took loads of drugs. Then I took more drugs. I ran a financial firm that engaged in dubious practice. I took even more drugs. I fought with my wife/made up with my wife. I took still more drugs. I paid hookers. I took loads more drugs. Eventually it all caught up with me and I got arrested.' That's about it - once you've been through that sequence for the tenth time in the book, you just keep reading in the hope that something dramatic might occur. Let me save you some time....it doesn't. The dialogue is stiff, unreal, and amateurish. Maybe the movie is better? Indeed I wondered at one stage if the book came after the movie.


The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring
The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring
Price: 5.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative, 5 Jan 2014
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Gave me a good view on the outlook for the Middle East, at least as seen by the author. While I had done a certain amount of reading about the region, I learned quite a bit from this book. If I had to fault it slightly, I found the author repeated himself a bit, making the same point several times. However, that aside, I liked the book, enjoyed reading it, and was surprised (and enlightened) by much of the content, realising that there are many more complexities to the societies in the region than in the picture portrayed in the media. Well worth a read, and good value given how informative it is.


Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang
Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang
Price: 5.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Most entertaining book on racing I've ever read, 30 Nov 2013
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I spotted this book on a short list for the 'Sports Book of the Year 2013' prize, and having had a lifelong interest in racing, and true crime, decided to give it a chance. I did have some recollection of the events, though they took place about five years before I got into racing, so I was short on the detail.

A day or so after I started reading I noticed the book had in fact won the prize - and I was not at all surprised. From the start it gripped me, and I found it hard to put it down. It's well written, entertaining, and has all the elements of a Dick Francis novel except it's based on real life happenings. There are one or two minor errors, but so good was the overall book that they were forgiven! (If the author is reading this, he refers to one of the gang dying in his 1950s, when he means 50s, plus he might want to double check that John Sutcliffe's father was a bookmaker - I think he was a trainer)

I rarely recommend books to friends, but have urged my racing friends not to miss this one. Loved it.


Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps
Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps
Price: 6.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, 25 July 2013
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A very valuable insight into the workings of the Soviet Union. Well worth the price and the time taken to read it.


The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future
The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future
Price: 6.11

4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for Western politicians, 25 July 2013
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I found this book a very valuable read. It is heavy on detail, at times the detail becomes a little onerous, but you just need to stick with it, as by the time you get to the end you will have a far greater understanding of the dynamics of the region than you could imagine. Every Western politician should be made read this book before uttering one word on the Middle East.


Anglo Republic: Inside the bank that broke Ireland
Anglo Republic: Inside the bank that broke Ireland
by Simon Carswell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy and interesting read, 25 July 2013
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I bought this book over a year ago, read it, and archived it. I didn't bother to write a review at the time, though had I done so, it would have been very positive. In the last few weeks (july 2013) after the publication of the Anglo Tapes, I re-read the book, found I had forgotten large tracts of it, and really enjoyed the read. It was tense, hilarious at times, shocking at others, but overall an essential bit of study for anyone who wants to understand what went on at Anglo, and in Ireland in general during the boom years. Well written, full of good detail, and hard to put it down once you get into it. Highly recommended.


Cocaine Wars: Fat Freddie Thompson and the Crumlin/Drimnagh Feud
Cocaine Wars: Fat Freddie Thompson and the Crumlin/Drimnagh Feud

4.0 out of 5 stars Good summary of the gang war, 16 April 2013
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I enjoyed this book, probably because I know the areas quite well from my younger days in Dublin. There's a huge amount of detail, and it gave me a good grasp of what had developed since the first incident in the feud. If you live in Dublin and have followed the various killings and attacks via news reports you may find you know most of this story already. But if you haven't been following the feud in any detail this is a great 'catch up'.


Greed
Greed
Price: 2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but ultimately a bit disappointing, 16 April 2013
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This review is from: Greed (Kindle Edition)
The good part about this book is the action - fast paced and exciting. The story is quite good, but it's too predictable. There are three obvious errors which rather detract from the enjoyment of the book. Half way through, I felt I couldn't wait to read another book by the author, but by the finish I wasn't quite so sure. Chris Ryan has some great stories to tell, and I feel if he'd taken a bit of extra time finalising this one it would have been that bit better. Eighty percent of the book was really good, but overall it just fell a bit short for me.


Gangs of Glasgow: True Crime From the Streets
Gangs of Glasgow: True Crime From the Streets
Price: 2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I expected, but an interesting read, 3 April 2013
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This is an interesting and quite well written book. If I had bought it in the expectation of reading a 'social study' type of book about Glasgow gang culture then I would probably have been very satisfied. Instead, and largely because I didn't 'read the label' thoroughly enough, I expected an in-depth history of some of the major individuals in Glasgow gang history, but was disappointed to find relatively little of this. Still, I don't regret buying the book, it's a good enough read...it's simply that there appear to be other books by the same author that are more akin to what I was looking for. Next time I'll download the sample!

J


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