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Rogthedodge (London)

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Home in Time for Breakfast: A First World War Diary
Home in Time for Breakfast: A First World War Diary
by Stuart Chapman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, 17 July 2009
Ok so it's a front-line account written by a man who was there but it is terribly boring.

The author has little, if any, literary ability and doesn't seem to have had an interesting war. His account is told without any insight and dosn't include any of the detail that would make it interesting.

To be fair to the author I doubt he ever envisaged publication and wrote his diary to remind himself of his time in the war - not to explain anything to others.

There are far more interesting and informative first-hand accounts (Richards, Manning etc).

Don't buy this, buy those instead

Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945
Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945
by Nicholas Rankin
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good story buried among everything the author has ever learned about anything, 17 July 2009
I'm currently struggling through this. it's torture.

There is an interesting story here - how the amateur enthusiasts of camouflage and deception rose to the challenge in WW1 and were then integrated into the war effort in WW2 in a more considered and structured way.

The issue with this book is the author's annoying habit of shoe-horning into the narrative every scrap of information he possibly can even when it distracts.

For example he seems obsessed with Churchill's time in the front-line in WW1 and interrupts the development of camouflage policies and tactics to tell us the terribly uninteresting tale of Churchill choosing to wear a French steel helmet, he then goes on to discuss the development of steel helmets on all sides before returning to the interrupted story he was telling us before he wandered off. (Bizarrely he fails to tell us the most interesting part of the story - how Churchill demanded a Divisional command and was given a Battalion, a snub).

The author also has an annoying habbit of padding out the story with numerous quotations, again interrupting the story.

He also seems to consider maps to be beneath his 'art' which is ridiculous - attempting to describe the various landings at Gallipoli.

In summary I wouldn't recommend this book as history, the structure and style are too intrusive.

Cheerful Sacrifice
Cheerful Sacrifice
by Jonathan Nicholls
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 31 May 2009
This review is from: Cheerful Sacrifice (Paperback)
This is worthy of Middlebrook himself (the author was a protege and MM writes the forward)

It's a similar style to MM's 'Somme'- unit by unit descriptions of the battle phases interspersed with quotes from the (then-surviving) veterans. It's a very effective mixture; strategic grasp and human interest.

It's fascinating and humbling to read the accounts of bayonetting people in the guts, chucking grenades down into crowded dug-outs etc and then realise they were given by the sweet old gents pictured making a last pilgrimage to the battlefields and their mates' graves.
All soldiers should read this book for this aspect alone - it's a commentary on the fragility of life and the inevitability of aging (if you're lucky).

I particularly like the use of 'Punch' cartoons throughout the book (an over-looked area of study). They help to convey that this was a supreme national effort and probably this country's (and the Empire's) finest hour and that humour (normally gallows') is an essential component of any military endeavour.

I have circa 150 books on WW1 and this is in my top 10, buy it - you won't regret it.

World in Conflict (PC DVD)
World in Conflict (PC DVD)
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: £4.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor effort, 23 May 2009
Quite what they were trying to do here I don't know but it's a poor gaming experience.

The graphics are quite good but the 'cinematic' interludes with their cod charactersspouting 'ye-ha' nonsense waste a lot of time and presumably programming effort. The game element is secondary to this dross and it's not that good - basically the AI does the fighting and you just try to control the annoying camera, 'buy' reinforcements and target air support.

The usual '12 year old's' view of combat is well to the fore - lots of stupid 'character' chatter on the comms and vehicle commanders spouting ridiculous commenst all the time - 'we're in combat' and 'fast tracks moving' etc etc - if it was possible I'd have cheerfully 'offed' them instead.

The idiots who created this nonsense have clearly never played 'Cossacks' or else they wouldn't have had the cheek to publish this.

Twin Town [DVD] [1997]
Twin Town [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Llyr Ifans
Price: £3.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the snotty reviews, 19 May 2009
This review is from: Twin Town [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
OK so it followed Trainspotting and it's also about drugs but Twin Town is a great film. Some of the reviews pan this film but they're just Metropolitan snobbery IMO.

I love this film, the acting is great, the script is witty ('A dog job that went wrong'!) and the film has a lovely 'Welsh' pace.

High recommended.

Four Classic War Movies [DVD]
Four Classic War Movies [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Berenger

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Classic?, 17 May 2009
4 of the worst war films ever made?

An astonishing collection and a very misleading title.

The Donkeys
The Donkeys
by Alan Clark
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

12 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Money-making from poor history, 2 Mar. 2009
This review is from: The Donkeys (Paperback)
Alan Clarke was not a historian. He just needed some money for his castle and his philandering. So hid did zero research and dashed of this tripe.

With its catchy title and telling people what they wanted to hear, plus a few generous revies from friends, it did very well.

Clarke repaired his castle and the graves and legacy of great men (5.8 million of them) were danced on merrily.

A dreadful book, completely beneath contempt.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2014 11:52 AM BST

The Schweinfurt-Regensburg Mission: American Raids on 17th August 1943 (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
The Schweinfurt-Regensburg Mission: American Raids on 17th August 1943 (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
by Martin Middlebrook
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 30 Jan. 2009
As ever Martin Middlebrook provides an engaging, fantastically detailed and novel insight into this important event. Debunking some of the oft-repeated myths that have grown up around this mission he tells the story logically and with great sympathy and compassion.

A worthwhile adjunct to his excellent work on RAF Bomber Command's war.

Dr. Strangelove (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [1964] [2002]
Dr. Strangelove (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [1964] [2002]
Dvd ~ Sterling Hayden
Price: £3.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and important film, 30 Jan. 2009
This film has to be viewed in context - it's over 45 years old!

On one level it's an engaging, funny, well acted & directed film. Strong in all aspects it's a fun and yet deep film that all are sure to enjoy. Worth buying for the superb acting and brilliant directing alone.

On another level it's a massively important film, released at the height of the cold war when the world was just hours from instant destruction, when the US took it upon itself to goad and harry the USSR, and we all stood to lose everything at any time. Dr Strangelove provided a wicked satire on the cold war and was fundamental in shaping attitudes to that conflict, it played an important part in ensuring that the war never went 'hot'.

Essential for any collection

Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945
Bomber Boys: Fighting Back 1940-1945
by Patrick Bishop
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK - certainly not a 5* book, 30 Jan. 2009
In its favour this book does provide some valuable insight into the personalities of the Bomber Command aircrew. This is to be expected given the title and it does it fairly well.

However as a telling of the story of Bomber Command it is severely lacking.

The structure is poor, one minute chronological, the next by theme. There are big gaps in the story and important episodes are tossed in unrecognised. There are also many technical errors - the author isn't an expert on Bomber Command on a par with Martin Middlebrook and it shows frequently.

If you really want to understand Bomber Command's 6 year war and the men who flew in our name then you'd be much better off reading a few of Mr Middlebrook's excellent books - you'll learn at least as much about the aircrew and far, far more about the techniques, tactics and organisational structure of Bomber Command
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 31, 2011 3:31 AM GMT

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