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Eric le rouge (London, UK)

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The Origin Of The Universe: Science Masters Series
The Origin Of The Universe: Science Masters Series
by John D Barrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction but rather old now, 26 Nov. 2013
This book can serve as a good introduction to the subject. If you have some knowledge already, pass perhaps.

It has the merit of being clear and concise.

I had bought for the title in all honnesty thinking it would really focus on the origins but I realized that the book is a little more than the origins of the universe and not a bit light overall


Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Earth Before Humans
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Earth Before Humans
by Carl Sagan
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A good Carl but not the best, 24 Nov. 2013
I love Carl Sagan like "a god" although being from a younger generation, I did not have the chance to benefit from his teachings live.

Having read few of his books (this one I understand written with his wife), I found this one was a bit different than usual. Admitedly, I was expecting something different from the title but not sure what exactly, perhaps something mystical. This book is relatively purely centered on our direct ancestors that started to walk upright few million years ago. It mainly deals with evolution, DNA and biology.
Carl provides us with tons of anecdots and stories from experiments with chimps. This really works well in this book. Carl's language in this book can actually in some places be quite strong but always serves the purpose.
I particularly liked the parts dealing with the purpose of DNA. A well known biologist said smth like our bodies are simple shells to protect the fragile DNA chain of proteins and make it meet its end. I believe that is true.

Some very simple and naked truths come out of this book. For example Carl explains the behaviour in a group of chimps, what leaders do, etc. Carl related every little habits we have in everyday life to these long forgotten times when we were dwelling in caves. For example the exitment to have a sexual intercourse with a total stranger away from the tribe territory or comfort zone.

The 2/3 pages story on the alpha male in the middle of the book is really speaking to the reader.
In 2/3 pages, this summarises quite well our every day life. We like to think ourselves completely departed from that time of our evolution but we are not. We are still animals that hardly control their pulsions. Sagan explains all this very well.

I take it as understanding where we come from is a necessary step to improve our every day life and relations with others.

More negatively, I found the book had a disjointed structure and the rythm is not to my liking. Carl starts, comes back, insert a biography of Darwin for pages, etc. I think a bit more editing and re-reading would have restructured the book at bit better.

Overall, a very good book to try to understand "really" and simply where we come from.


US Amphibious Tactics, Pacific 1942-45 (Elite)
US Amphibious Tactics, Pacific 1942-45 (Elite)
by Gordon L. Rottman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview, 24 Nov. 2013
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Good overview on the subject.
From design developments, to change in politics, to detailed presentation of all the various landing crafts and amphibious vehicles, etc. the author gives us a good brief portrait of US Amphibious warfare in the Pacific.

As usual,space is limited and this is therefore only a limited introduction to the subject. Readers will have to look elsewhere for a detailed account of amphibious operations. In all honnesty, the author manages to stay focus an does not divert which sometimes happens in other ospreys.

On the negative side, I struggled a bit sometimes with the heavey writing style of the author. I found that the text is quite often dry and disjointed with numbers, references, etc. Osprey books by their nature are not shining by the readability. In the other hand, the plates are relatively illustrative and informative.

What I find usually lack in these elite books is a bit more operational history and a bit less theory.


The Underground City: The Child of the Cavern or The Black Indies
The Underground City: The Child of the Cavern or The Black Indies
by Jules Verne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great tale, 23 Nov. 2013
Great tale by one of the father of SF.

The characters are sympathetic as usually the case in all Verne's book, the story is simple but efficient and the end always mysterious and surprising.

One of the strenght of these books is the illustration which are always great and have this touch of mystery.

The first part is actually amazing on the geology, industry, etc. It is relatively strange knowing that plate tectonics was to be revealed only 100yrs after this book was written. All what the scientists thougth at the time of writing has been completely changed. The explanations in the book on the nature of the coal, fossils, etc seems so naive to us now. How will our today science be looked at in 100yrs from now?


US Submarines 1941-45 (New Vanguard)
US Submarines 1941-45 (New Vanguard)
by Jim Christley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Decent but slighly dull, 23 Nov. 2013
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I have a couple of osprey on naval subjects and this one falls probably in the average.

The book has a right balance in explaining design developments, technical advances, operational history, etc. but the reading may be a bit dull if you are not fully into these technical osprey new vanguard. The book can be very detailed and technical in some places.

More positively, the author clearly knows his stuff and the plates are decent and very informative.


Berlin 1945: End of the Thousand Year Reich (Campaign)
Berlin 1945: End of the Thousand Year Reich (Campaign)
by Peter D Antill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleaseant read despite some inacuracies, 23 Nov. 2013
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Not that bad from my point of view. Other recent reviews point out several inacuracies or even perhaps "lies".

(+)
- Colour plates are relatively good and colourful although they are obviously a bit theateratical or a bit too much set up.
- The text is relatively clear and focuses to the contrary of some other osprey books. Given that the subject of the last two weeks of Berlin is very complex, it is I think a decent book.
- Some maps are very good from my poing of view especially the 3d inner Berlin ones. Some others are pretty useless and too complex. (e.g. Seelow Heights)
- Good photographs although the author does not seem to be always sure of what he is showing us as some of the captions are pretty approximative

(-)
- Some maps are useless
- Maps, text, photos, etc. are not always following the chronology so you may end up reading a bit of text regarding one event that will be shown on the maps 3 page before or 3 page after.
- Not sure if the last 7 pages are really relevant (e.g. cold war, etc.). The focus here is Berlin 1945, not the GDR, etc. Given that there is only 95 pages allocated, it would be better to stay focus on the subject. I always found Osprey editors give too much space for the background of each campaign. In this effect, 20/30 pages are always lost in the beginning of each of these books. There is in consequence a lot of overlap between each books which always frustrate heavy osprey readers.
- Again the chronology at the start extends for far too long. only a couple of dates for the post-war era would have been sufficient.
- The inacuracies picked up in other reviews (e.g. Warsaw uprising, decision by Ike to not take Berlin, etc.)
Actually a chance that the author did not mention Katyn

In summary a good book but containig some basic and surprising inacuracies. Some may make think you twice about the accuracy and veracity of the book.


T-34/76 Medium Tank, 1941-45 (Osprey New Vanguard)
T-34/76 Medium Tank, 1941-45 (Osprey New Vanguard)
by Steven J. Zaloga
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A legend explained, 18 Nov. 2013
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in this book, Mr Zaloga, renown Osprey writer, presents us the legendary T34 tank. Careful as this is only the /76 and not /85 which I understand is treated in another book.
the book is packed with info on the tank and its variations. From design history, to beautiful artwork, or to operational history, the author provides as much as practical in this small book of 48pages.


Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age
Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age
by Matthew Brzezinski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, eye-opening but slightly slow moving, 18 Nov. 2013
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A very good book from this author which I discovered recently.
In this book, Mr Brzezinski tells us the story of the launching of the first satelite that man put into space.
Nothing will ever change this fact but the man that reached space was Homo Sovieticus.
Starting from the capture of a large number of German rocket scientists by the americans, through the first ICBM R7 built by Korolev to the final launching of Sputnik (PS1) and quickly later of PS2, the author reveal this intense period of history.

one of the very few positive side of War is that it can sometimes push men to seek other means of imposing their supremacy than with weapons. Korolev worked himself to death to be the first man to launch a man made object into orbit.

A negative point I found out is that the author proceeds relatively slowly in his book. Quite often, he comes back to earlier sections, re-explain concepts, or for example portrait a character that was introduced much earlier in the book. It may become irritating afer a while and you wish the author get to it quicker.
Neverthless, a great book for anybody interested in the cold war, in the space conquest or simply history.


DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Seville & Andalusia
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Seville & Andalusia
by DK
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and reads like a book, 20 Oct. 2013
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Generally we are pretty happy with the DK as they provide a clear, neat, colorful and detailed information.
This one is even better than the average.

It reads like a book whereas some other guide may be a list of hotels or restaurant..which you can now find on your mobile anyway.

The only negative side is their lavishly prinnted glossy paper, etc. that makes the book quite heavy. So you may be deterred to ..not take it with you if you go for a stroll after dinner for example.
Not sure if they could try to prinnt some pages B&W on normal paper to make it lighter and perhaps more Environmentally friendly.


Snipers: The Story of the Sniping War During WWII, The War File [DVD]
Snipers: The Story of the Sniping War During WWII, The War File [DVD]
Offered by Not2day Media
Price: £8.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent but a bit short, 20 Oct. 2013
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Decent DVD with good footages and background info but perhaps a bit short.
Does not tell you much more than what you would find a more generalised DVD.
Was expecting to find more on the Stalingrade battle for example or the downfall of Berlin


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