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Reviews Written by
Eric le rouge (London, UK)

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Empires of the Sea: The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580
Empires of the Sea: The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580
by Roger Crowley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.43

5.0 out of 5 stars The narrative is simply great and it makes reading history really enjoyable, 1 May 2016
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Its my third book from the author and I want more. The narrative is simply great and it makes reading history really enjoyable.
Its fast paced, well researched and more importantly left me at the end much more informed on these periods of history not so well known to me.
The selection of illustrations is really good especially the ones for the Malta siege.
I find it also well balanced in terms of point of views and relatively impartial.
What it lacks a bit is good maps.

Overall a great book perhaps even better as the Venise book from my point of view. I just wish Roger Crowley would write more.


Tobruk 1941: Rommel's opening move (Campaign)
Tobruk 1941: Rommel's opening move (Campaign)
by Jon Latimer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Average narrative, 1 May 2016
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The book is relatively average when compared to the rest of the osprey collection.
I found the narrative rather average when considering the military operations. It lacked a bit of life from my point of view.
I quite liked the little anecdots the author provides us with, the portraits of the combattants, the numerous photos showing the ingenuity from each side, etc.
The coloured plates are artistically good although they may be in some details historically inaccurate.
The various bird eyes views were pretty well drawn and presented.

Overall, an average book but still worth a read.


Viking Longship (New Vanguard)
Viking Longship (New Vanguard)
by Keith Durham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and Technical, 8 Nov. 2015
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Relatively good book packed with details and accurate information. Illustrations are decent and the author stays focus on its subject which is not always the case for Osprey books.
This is one of the best book I have read in the Osprey New Vanguard Series.
Perhaps a bit too technicals sometimes with a lot of naval construction jargon but its partly my fault as I noticed very late through the reading that a very good glossary is located at the end.


Saladin and the Saracens: Armies of the Middle East, 1100-1300 (Men-at-Arms)
Saladin and the Saracens: Armies of the Middle East, 1100-1300 (Men-at-Arms)
by Dr David Nicolle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to read, 31 Oct. 2015
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Although I respect Nicolle's knowledge on the medieval Arab world and the crusades, I found this book particularly hard to read. It just does not flow and unfortunately was not a pleasant read for me.
The author quite often throws some names, places, etc. without much background of a minimum of development then jumps on the next idea of fact.
Also worth to note that the title is inacurate. The present books does not really deal with Saladin but more broadly with middle eastern armies between 1100 to 1300.


Titan Unveiled: Saturn's Mysterious Moon Explored
Titan Unveiled: Saturn's Mysterious Moon Explored
by Ralph Lorenz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 20 Sept. 2015
There are good and bad things in this book.

Overall, I have a negative feeling about the book. The author is an enthusiast and I wished I could follow him but that was not the case. First, I could not really get on well with the Author's writing style. Despite other comments, I would certainly not say that the book is accessible to non-initiated readers. I am no specialist but have read quite a few books of this type and can surely say that it is one of the least accessible book I have ever read.

A good thing is that the book is relatively well supplied with images and diagrams which helps us to understand this strange world a bit better.

Regarding the so-called "Ralph's log" where the author exposes some of his private life and daily work in science, I have mixed feelings. In one hand, It is interesting to know how science really works behind the scenes, the interactions with politics, etc. but on the other hand, I thought there was just too much of it. Perhaps 30% of the book is made of those "Blogs". There are not always interesting and not always so well written.
One expects that by paying 10 or 15 pounds for such a book, there would be a bit more to it than blogs.
Another thing that irritated me is the constant negativism and sarcasms towards the public or taxpayer and the medias.

One last thing is that the books sits between two chairs. That is to say between the previous book "...lifting Titan's veil" and the end of the Cassini Mission. There are a lot of questions left hanging with the author saying: "until we have more data, we cant say much" or "we will find out more in a couple of years...". But that is not really what I expected when buying the book.


Jutland 1916 - Clash of Dreadnoughts (Osprey Military Campaign): The Last Great Clash of Fleets
Jutland 1916 - Clash of Dreadnoughts (Osprey Military Campaign): The Last Great Clash of Fleets
by Charles London
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Packed with details but a bit dry, 15 Mar. 2015
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A good book as an introduction to the battle.

The author follows the usual Osprey format for campaigns and delivers an honest book with great illustrations.
The maps are detailed and easy to follow. I find the 3D views always a waste of space but one might like.

Regarding the text content itself, the central part of the booked appeared a bit dry to me. Many ship names are thrown out, captains, etc. and it reads after a while a bit like a very dry diary. Some anecdotes are greatly told and I picked up a few things out of the ordinary for a basic reader but overall, it lacks of life.

The final analyse of the author is relatively clear and gave me some thoughts on the importance of the "chance" factor in a naval battle.


Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization
Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization
by Richard Miles
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

4.0 out of 5 stars ..or a history of Carthage's foreign policy, 2 May 2014
Wonderful book that I truly enjoyed reading. This is a fine book with very good reviews.
It’s fresh, light and relatively easy to read. However, be aware that the book does not really deal with the history of the city and its inhabitants, its architecture, etc. There are some elements but it is relatively light.
I particularly enjoyed the first 100 pages or so on the early history of the Carthaginian Empire. You also get a good understanding of how Carthage was ruled, managed and influenced.
The war with Rome is somehow tragic for Carthage. Carthage looses and I cannot resist feeling sympathy for Carthage.
The Barcid episode is well written as well as the mercenary rebellion.
On a more negative note, I struggle to keep with the author during some of digressions on Heracles and the propaganda battles.
Also, I did not really feel the author was emphasizing the achievements of Hanibal enough. The several battles he fought were quickly described. But in all honesty, the book is overall well balanced with a good coverage of Carthage’s history .


Algarve: Rother Walking Guide
Algarve: Rother Walking Guide
by Ulrich Enzel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars we got lost !, 28 April 2014
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Bought a couple of the Rother guides, they are great. small, accurate, etc.
Never got lost with them.

BUT this one really frustrated us.
The author is very vague, inaccurate and waste a lot of space in pointless remarks. Also not sure if it was the original text being poor or the translation at fault.
We "tried" to do 4 of these walks and got lost for 3 of them.
For instance ,we tried the one in Monchique but could not find the path after 30mn of walk. We tried to catch up with it later by walking on the road but again, could not find the entrance to the forrest path.
Also found out that the maps were not accurate (e.g. houses on the other side of the road or not existing, etc.)
We also did try the walk near Castro Marim but got stuck at one point not knowing there to go. The author was very vague and we were not sure if we could go through a private land.
For example, a the beginning of this walk, you pass by a junction which the author describe as the way back but this junction is in private land and clearly signed "Private do not enter". So from the start, we knew that there was no way back already.
Another example is that the author uses only 1 little paragraph to describe a 1.5km section of the path which seems to be very complex actually.

All in all, we wasted few days trying to do walks that we had to give up after few kilometers due to lack of directions.

A good quarter of the walks are along the beach hence I would not consider them as walks. you dont need this guide to walk on Tavira Island for example. Very lazy author I was thinking.

To the author's defence, the Algarve does not seem an easy country to walk in. Few paths are signed and a lot of land is private.

I would certainly not recommend this book.


Venus Revealed: A New Look Below the Clouds of Our Mysterious Twin Planet
Venus Revealed: A New Look Below the Clouds of Our Mysterious Twin Planet
by David Harry Grinspoon
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A talented author, 31 Mar. 2014
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One review only for this wonderful book ! !

A true vulgarisation book written by a very talented author that I did not know.
Dr Grinspoon has a certain talent to make complex and perhaps boring subject lively. His sense of humour also really does add to the story.
The book starts from the beginning with the Maya, their veneration for Venus/Kukulkan, then later presents an overall approach to the planet.
Later on, the exploration history is presented. This was my favourite part. The golden age of exploration with the Russian Venera, Pioneer, Magellan, etc.
Finally, the author discusses quite at lengths the similarities between earth and Venus. The atmosphere, tectonics, climate, etc. are discussed quite often in a very relax and informative writing style.
Another good series of addition was the author’s frequent remarks on the budget and financial issues of space exploration. Space exploration often gets the criticism that why spending money on space programs while we have so much problems on earth? I was aware that strategic bombers were costing formidable amount of money that could finance quantities of space programs but could not believe sending another probe to Venus would cost only 200millions. This is less than $1 per American citizen or the cost of the making of Waterworld movie.
Another great thing with the book is its lavish illustrations. Photos are superbs and the diagrams are excellent, simple and efficient.
A wonderful book that was for me impossible to put down.


France 1940: Blitzkrieg in the West (Campaign)
France 1940: Blitzkrieg in the West (Campaign)
by Alan Shepperd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3.0 out of 5 stars "It's ok", 30 Mar. 2014
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As amazon rating system suggests, It's ok.
I just read the review from the other reviewers and it is true that is a bit basic.
But I understand that this one of the earliest Osprey written (my old version at least).

The campaign in France was swift indeed. I think the author explain why that quite successfully.

Being French myself, I always feel some sort of discomfort reading about the blitzkrieg in France.
Having studied our national history in depths at school and talked to many WWII french veterans including my grandfather, I can assure you that very few people wanted to go to war at that time as the scars of WWI were still very present.

The coming of the blitzkrieg must have been such an awakening to all of us including the British soldiers.
As De Gaulle said, Stalin had hundreds of kilometers of steppes to retreat but the English, Dutch, Belgians or Frenchs did not.

One side of the story that is always underestimated I think is the flow of civilians congesting the roads and thus blocking the movement of the defending armies at the very worse time. The Germans were ruthless in the tactics to disrupt the rears with their aviation.

To come back to the book and give a couple of negative points, I thought the maps of my edition were pretty poor. Very basic and not really informative.
Also, the pictures were probably not really chosen with care. I thought that there was too many photos of the same thing.
On the other hand, the Meuse crossings were pretty well explained.
However, I feel the end of the book is a bit rushed. Between the breakthroughs and the halt at Dunkirk, there is not much detail.

Overall a decent but basic book.


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