Customer Reviews


14 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Shooting Leave
North West Frontier, 19th Century, Espionage and Intrigue. A very well researched book about the British Army officers
who carried out clandestine reconnaisance on the frontiers of India, Afghanistan, Russia and related areas. Full of
stiff upper lip adventures and amazing tales of endurance and enterprise, all in the name of Empire. Super book.
Published on 11 Aug 2010 by Mr. Colin Smith

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Game travellers
If you haven't read the books by Peter Hopkirk on the same period and topic, then by all means read this one which you will enjoy as it is well written. The courage and tenacity of the individuals this book is about is amazing. The journeys they made into the unknown (literally) were astounding. Economic development, even in some of these fairly outlying areas of Asia,...
Published on 19 Jan 2010 by Gary B


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Game travellers, 19 Jan 2010
If you haven't read the books by Peter Hopkirk on the same period and topic, then by all means read this one which you will enjoy as it is well written. The courage and tenacity of the individuals this book is about is amazing. The journeys they made into the unknown (literally) were astounding. Economic development, even in some of these fairly outlying areas of Asia, means that their journeys can never be repeated. If you want to know what is was like to play the Great Game you have to read about it in books such as this or those by Hopkirk.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heroes of the Great Game, 2 May 2010
I was hoping for something more. Ure writes of the exploits of a number of those gallant young men who went off into the unknown facing untold dangers for Queen (or Tsar) and country. For me though, although well-written and easy to read, the tales lack detail and, after the first two or three, follow a pattern so similar as to become almost boring.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bunch of appendices, 19 Feb 2011
This review is from: Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game (Paperback)
Odd book. It reads like a bunch of appendices to Peter Hopkirk's `The Great Game'. Ure summarises the (usually first-hand) accounts written by 16 travellers and spies who didn't feature prominently in Hopkirk's work, but makes no effort to stitch them together into some sort of historical narrative. So, although the tales may be exciting enough in themselves, it all gets a bit repetitive and tedious after a while.

If you want a rip-roaring popular account of the Great Game and some of its players, read Hopkirk. If you want a serious history of the competition between the British and Russian empires in Central Asia in the nineteenth century, read some serious history. Either way, I can't think of any good reason to bother with this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shooting leave, and how not to write, 19 Jun 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game (Paperback)
What a lost opportunity for an exciting and informative read. The author has obviously done his research, but his pedestrian style is inappropriate for the subject matter. However, if you like books written by earnest historians who lack the ability to bring their subject to life, then you will not be disappointed. This book will not be added to my small library, but will be given away.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read, 4 Nov 2011
This review is from: Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game (Paperback)
This is a collection of short stories about the adventure of mainly British officers and a few Russian officers during the great game, it gave you an insight of the nature of the characters who set out on these adventures and there encounters with Afghans,Persians & Turkomen etc.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars A solid collection of ripping yarns, 22 Mar 2011
By 
J. Duducu (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game (Paperback)
A long time ago I read (and reviewed) a book called Britain's forgotten wars. "Shooting Leave" is in many ways its spiritual brother. What we have here is a well written and lively account of the various spies who helped fill in the blanks the British Empire had between its borders of India and Central Asia in the 19th century.

Each chapter covers the travels and adventures of one daring British agent who in general used the euphemistic excuse of "shooting leave" to explain away why they weren't doing their regular job. The stories are all exciting and interesting but because you only ever spend 30 pages or so with each person you either want to learn more about that individual or if it is going to be an amalgamation of stories there's no overview of how helpful these trips were to British Imperial interests. Was the effort worth the reward? This question is never tackled.

Every journey is interesting (although some are more epic than others) but you are left wanting more. As I said about the other book apart from this being a collection of "ripping yarns" I'm not quite sure what the value of the book is but as a light an easy read about forgotten imperial adventurers there are some great stories here.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Shooting Leave, 11 Aug 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game (Paperback)
North West Frontier, 19th Century, Espionage and Intrigue. A very well researched book about the British Army officers
who carried out clandestine reconnaisance on the frontiers of India, Afghanistan, Russia and related areas. Full of
stiff upper lip adventures and amazing tales of endurance and enterprise, all in the name of Empire. Super book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 7 Aug 2010
This review is from: Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game (Paperback)
"Shooting Leave" tells the story of the spying missions of a number of English and Russian adventurers into little known Central Asia as part of the Great Game, the 19th century Cold War between the British and Russian Empires for control of the area.

The cover suggests the excitement of the Flashman series, but do not be fooled. This book is singularly shallow, containing a collection of unconnected chapters, without even making an attempt to explain the bigger picture. In addition, the descriptions of the journeys and the men are so patchy, that they raise more questions than that they give answers. Finally, there is only one very poor map of the area and there are no (portrait) pictures of the main characters. The result is an incomplete book that I struggled to finish. Based on the footnotes, a book about the author's personal journeys in the region would have been much more interesting.

All in all, John Ure's "Shooting Leave" is very disappointing and I would not recommend this book to anybody looking for an introduction into the Great Game, or for exciting Flashman-style adventures. Readers who know a bit more about the topic will not find many new facts or a more in-depth understanding. The only positive thing that has come out of reading the book is that I decided to read Hopkirk's "The Great Game" and Jules Verne's "Michael Strogoff" again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Extra time for the Great Game, 28 July 2010
By 
G. M. Sinstadt - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game (Paperback)
For virtually the whole of the 19th Century, the territory north and north west of India - Afghanistan and several other -stans - was largely terra incognita. India, which initially meant the semi-autonomous East India Company, thought that might provide an invasion route for Russia's imperialistic ambitions. Russia thought so, too. Both nations felt the need to know more about the huge, largely-unmapped terrain, much of it ruled by independent, often hostile Khans. Even more of it was at the mercy of lawless bandits. The quest for that knowledge was led by adventurous young men, primarily officers serving in the armies of Russia and India. Sometimes they travelled in uniform, more often in disguise - in effect, as spies. They became participants in what has come to be known as the Great Game.

The hazards of extreme conditions and the ever-present possibility of imprisonment or death have been widely recorded, never more grippingly than in the books of Peter Hopkirk. A more recent author is Sir John Ure, a former British senior diplomat with extensive experience in the region. His book, Shooting Leave, deals with the convenient fiction of absence from military duty in pursuit of sport as a cover for clandestine observation; his chapters are devoted, one by one, to a dozen-and-a-half intrepid players of the Great Game. Most, though not all, survived their ordeals to be rewarded in later life with promotion to the highest echelons of military service with knighthoods beyond.

Shooting Leave has numerous example of how survival required great personal courage, endurance, intelligence and sometimes sheer luck. Lieutenants Sykes and Coningham once, when travelling in disguise, fell into the grip of the Tsarist police. They were suspected on the one hand of being bearers of cholera, and on the other of being "Russian anarchists with terrorist intentions. The irony of their position was that they gained their release by persuading the police that far from being Russiann terorists disguised as Englishmen, they were in fact eccentric Englishmen travelling as Russians."

For more substantial accounts of the Great Game the reader might well turn to Peter Hopkirk, but Sir John's pen portraits of some of the leading players will make enjoyable complementary material.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shooting leave, 4 Jan 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An interesting book, especially in light of recent activities in the region, well worth reading, gives a good background into Afghanistan and surrounding areas.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game
Shooting Leave: Spying Out Central Asia in the Great Game by John Ure (Paperback - 27 May 2010)
8.09
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews