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Mr. S. Mcmanus "Steve McManus" (Yorkshire, England)

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The Carton Chronicles: "the curious tale of Flashman's true father"
The Carton Chronicles: "the curious tale of Flashman's true father"
by Keith Laidler
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.79

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GMcDF he ain't, 13 Jun 2011
A worthy effort, similarities - chronicles found in an old house, hero used and abused by historical figures to better their own ends, sleeps with famous heroines of the age, speaks fluent languages etc etc.
GMcDF has left more than a void, he has left a gaping chasm in the art of learning all about the military and social history of the Victorian age - and it being fun!
Laidler makes a worthy and creditable attempt at resurrecting Frasers' anti-hero but the wit, humour and the dialogue are not up to scratch.
Let Laidler take comfort in the knowledge that his efforts are far more credible than those of Saul David and his hero George Hart in Hart of Empire and Zulu Hart - David is another writer worthy at what he does best - but that does not include historical fiction.
Sorry Mr. Laidler - close - but no cigar!

Sahib: The British Soldier in India 1750-1914
Sahib: The British Soldier in India 1750-1914
by Richard Holmes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.39

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sahib, 17 Dec 2010
An extremmely well written and interesting book, structured in such a way that it gives a real insight into the lives of the early expeditionary forces sent to Imperial India to guard and protect British Interests.
One can almost smell the camp-fires and the latrines and the powder-smoke of the British lines, such is the realism and candour of the narrative.
Prior to reading this book I could not have imagined the amount of effort and money that was involved just in being a British officer in India, the number of servants that one had to have (as well as their upkeep!), horses, camels, even elephants.
How their tents were made and what they had to take on campaigns and what pleased or digruntled the British soldier - it's all in here.
A truly absorbing read; I've read it 3 times and learned new things every time I read it. Essential reading for those interested in the history of the British in India.

The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia
The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia
by Peter Hopkirk
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.69

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When will we ever learn, 17 Dec 2010
A very absorbing and informative read; well researched and relatively well choreographed in terms of the sequence of events. This book reflects the history and, to some degree, the futility of Britains presence in Afghanistan - fighting wars we were never going to win. Whilst it lauds and applauds the Great Game and illustrates the greed and duplicity if 19th century super-powers in their quests for territorial gain and pecuniary advantage, it also illustrates the insurmountable differences in cultures, values and religions. Born out of Englands' fears that they would lose their prize and Russias covetousness to gain it!
In many ways this book is a collection of true "boy's own" stories and reflects the daring, the courage and the bravery of some of our 19th century heroes,with more than a hint of Kiplings' genius as a story teller as a backdrop; at the same time showing the crass aristocratic attitudes of the appointed military and civil heirarchy with their arrogant and unfaltering sense of superiority due mainly to inbreeding and elitist education. They made a lot of mistakes and cost a lot of people their lives in the name of imperialism, but at least they were protecting something of value and benefit to their country.
My biggest criticism is that the maps were too small and too detailed for their size and would have been put to better use included within the chapters to which they referred.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2012 4:44 PM BST

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) [DVD]
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gene Wilder
Price: 4.75

4.0 out of 5 stars willy wonka & the chocolate factory, 17 Dec 2010
Far superior to the more recent remake with unforgettable songs,well acted in a corny sort of way and with cautionary tales and salutory lessons to be learned by the target audience. Probably the best, if not the most accurate, version of a Roald Dhal tale, now being enjoyed by the 3rd generation of my family. Worth the money on a cold rainy afternoon!

Harry Brown [DVD] [2009]
Harry Brown [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine
Price: 2.82

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Michael Caine does iy again, 7 Jun 2010
This review is from: Harry Brown [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Whether you are a fan of Michael Caine or not the credulity of the characters he portrays is always convincing - Harry Brown is certainly no exception. From a shocking, if not jolting, introduction; the pace, to begin with, is slow and tedious to the point where one wonders when the story will come to life, but when it does, it does so with a gritty realism and truly shocking and violent climax. Made very believable in the times in which we live, I thought about this film for days - a reflection of how moving the story, acting and direction were. Then I had to watch it again!
More realistically violent than Get Carter, an accurate and brutal synopsis of life for the underclasses where housing estate living is dominated by ferral conscienceless youths - Harry Brown sums up the pathetic state of a once proud nation which originally built these social cess pits as "homes for heroes" after the 2nd world war.
An accurate social commentary on the way many people are forced to live today - and a cracking good movie!

The Reavers
The Reavers
by George MacDonald Fraser
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Reavers, 9 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Reavers (Paperback)
As a long time devotee to the works of GMF I was disappointed with this book. Whilst I appreciate GMF's humour and skill as a storyteller, I found this book frivolous and without much point. I expect high standards from GMF and always look forward to learning and laughing along with him, indeed "Quartered safe out here" would be my first choice reading on a desert island and I have read and re-read all of the Flashman books several times; but I found The Reavers to be self indulgent writing for writings' sake. Another Flashman adventure would have been far more appreciated and a better use of his precious time.
Rest in peace George as one of the few writers who have had a profound affect on my life, for which I thank you, but The Reavers won't be on my re-reading list for a long time.

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