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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UNEXPECTEDLY BRILLIANT
I've read quite a few of this genre of book and so expect them to be fairly entertaining but nothing special. So I was delighted to discover that this one is more than a cut above the norm. Of the 101 entries, all are fascinating (definitely no padding here) and almost all of them were new to me. Some entries just provided more detail on stuff I knew previously, although...
Published 19 months ago by Clive

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Myths and misconceptions put to rights
As the title would suggest, this book is ideal for those interested in the myths and misconceptions which tend to plague world history. The book contains a series of intriguing, yet relatively short articles concerning military history from around the globe. The majority of the articles included tend to focus on the period dating from the American War of Independence,...
Published on 4 July 2010 by J. Cooper


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Myths and misconceptions put to rights, 4 July 2010
By 
J. Cooper (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As the title would suggest, this book is ideal for those interested in the myths and misconceptions which tend to plague world history. The book contains a series of intriguing, yet relatively short articles concerning military history from around the globe. The majority of the articles included tend to focus on the period dating from the American War of Independence, leading up to the Second World War; however, there are a couple of articles which fall either side of this period.

Whilst I found the content of each article to be extremely interesting, I would have benefited from a short introduction in order to `set the scene'. Each example described the commonly held myth or misconception and was followed by the actual, sometimes unsavoury, true version of events. Generally this format worked well, but when I came across a lesser known historical event, I realised that a short introduction or opening paragraph would have been enormously useful. If the reader is extremely knowledgeable in relation to military history, then this will not be a problem. Yet if this book is directed towards a wider market, i.e. for those with a general interest in history, I believe the book could have been supplemented with short introductions.

I would still recommend this book as there were a number of included examples which I had never heard of and I am likely to expand my knowledge in these areas with further reading, but it may be advantageous to read this book with an historical dictionary ready by your side.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UNEXPECTEDLY BRILLIANT, 24 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Loose Cannons (General Military) (Kindle Edition)
I've read quite a few of this genre of book and so expect them to be fairly entertaining but nothing special. So I was delighted to discover that this one is more than a cut above the norm. Of the 101 entries, all are fascinating (definitely no padding here) and almost all of them were new to me. Some entries just provided more detail on stuff I knew previously, although often my knowledge was very sketchy. For example, the sections on Jim Bowie and The Alamo in general were riveting. Other items, such as the bat bombs, were things that I already knew from other reading but, even then, they all had new snippets to add.

The pace and style of writing is excellent and makes very clear where evidence based fact fades into conjecture. The depth of research is very impressive indeed and all sources are properly cited. This book is a sort of 'QI' crossed with an adult version of 'Horrible Histories' and makes history fun and accessible to all. I enjoyed this book immensely, hence the five stars, and can recommend it without reservation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars On Mary Seacole, you got it wrong, 30 July 2014
The account of Mary Seacole is short, but very wrong on the facts, especially where it refers to Florence Nightingale. Have a look at Seacole’s own Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands for a completely different account of her efforts to get to the Crimean War, and her relationship with Nightingale (the references I give here are to the 1988 Oxford edition).
Your page 66: “Armed with countless references and recommendations,” but in her book Seacole mentioned only one letter (77), and she got one further one in Malta, en route to the Crimea, by an army doctor she knew (85).
66: “she was surprised to find herself shunned, all doors remained closed.” But Seacole did not apply in the required manner, and when she started her informal applications, dropping in to various government offices, she was late--Nightingale and her nurses had already left (see Seacole 71-74).
“even Nightingale refused to receive her for reasons that can only be conjectured.” But Nightingale was already at the Scutari Barrack Hospital nursing! Mrs Seacole in London was busy attending to her gold-mining investments when Nightingale was organizing her team to leave!
Seacole made her own way to the war zone “where once again Nightingale turned her down.” However, when the two met (and the only account we have of this is Seacole’s, pp 90-91) Seacole asked Nightingale for a bed for the night. By that time she had decided to go on a business venture, and her business partner was already at Balaclava and their supplies ordered!
You next invent a “New British Hotel,” which “opened to the sick and injured in March 1855.” However, this did not happen. Seacole announced, using printed cards, her intention to open the “British Hotel” (81) but made it instead into a store/restaurant/bar/takeaway and catering service--for officers. No one stayed in it, sick or injured. Relatively healthy walk-ins came for over-the-counter remedies.
“Seacole was as familiar a face in military hospitals as she was in the thick of battle tending the wounded where they lay.” But she missed the first three battles, because she was busy in London attending to her gold investments. On three occasions, according to her own book, she went onto the battlefield, post-battle, to assist, not quite the “thick of battle.”
You correctly refer to the Times correspondent reporting favourably on Seacole (although you give him his knighthood decades too soon). The praise you cite from Dr Sir John Hall, however, is probably fictional--the only account is Seacole’s, and efforts to find any mention of her in Hall’s own papers have been unsuccessful. See Robinson’s biography of Seacole.
You greatly exaggerate Seacole’s help on the final attack on Sebastopol--she mentioned a mere “several” Russians (166). You do not mention that she looted Russian bodies and accepted stolen goods from Sebastopol churches (174-76).
Why the snide reference to the “less-than-impressed Florence Nightingale”? Nightingale was running the nursing service, and working behind-the-scenes to improve the hospitals. Mrs Seacole was running a business for officers--perfectly legitimate--but why should that impress Nightingale? According to Seacole’s own memoir, their relations were cordial. And Nightingale had good words to say about her to their mutual friend, chef Alexis Soyer, which he reports in his memoir.
Mrs Seacole was a decent and generous person, and she did lead an adventurous life. Why misrepresent her, and why attack Nightingale? Do children have so many heroines that it is good to get rid of one?
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Myths repeated?, 24 Jun. 2010
I wonder about the accuracy of the mythbusting when Mr Donald repeats the myth that Rourkes Drift was the single action which saw the most VC's awarded (11), when as any fule kno that this was the Battle of Inkerman 1854 (19)...
How many more errors in there?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Military History, 22 April 2013
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This review is from: Loose Cannons (General Military) (Kindle Edition)
A sort of 'QI meets military history'. If you like both you should read it. One of the books for a while I had to read from cover to cover without stopping.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great table topper, 21 Jan. 2013
By 
Kobiangelus (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Loose Cannons (General Military) (Kindle Edition)
Funny and frivolous, full of the bombastic, the vain, the psychopathic and the downright insane.
A great read for those of the QI generation.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Gift, 20 Jan. 2010
This was purchased as a xmas gift for a 50somthing friend who has an envolvment in military history. He was very pleased with the book, and has found that even he with his back ground there are very interesting facts that he did not know.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interestin book, 9 Sept. 2012
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I brought this book for my husband. He loved it, he keeps picking it up. Interesting little stories. Good sevice and packaging.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars, 10 July 2014
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Mostly useless info
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 31 May 2015
By 
J. M. Albinson "jen81965" (England) - See all my reviews
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As described
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