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Martynrb (Nottingham, England)

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Three Years Among the Comanches:  The Narrative of Nelson Lee, the Texas Ranger, Containing a Detailed Account of His Captivity Among the Indians, His Singular Escape ...(1859)
Three Years Among the Comanches: The Narrative of Nelson Lee, the Texas Ranger, Containing a Detailed Account of His Captivity Among the Indians, His Singular Escape ...(1859)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Story, 9 April 2016
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This is a riveting read. The true story of a young man who became a Texas Ranger, then, after various exploits, was kidnapped by the Comanche. He was the lucky one. His companions were killed slowly and painfully during a grotesque ritual execution. The editor openly admits that Lee wasn't an educated man so the story has been 'tided up' grammatically at least. That worried me at first, but actually there is a very natural style to the voice of the narrative, and I soon felt that I was listening to Lee himself telling the tale.

One reviewer thought there must have been some exaggeration, but I didn't find anything implausible. I've read quite a few accounts like this and it all rang true to me.

One thing that struck me was the way an outsider's view the Indians of this period seems to have entered a third phase. When I was young the Indians were definitely the bad guys, always attacking the innocent white folk for no good reason. Then came an awareness of the terrible injustices and suffering perpetrated on the Indians, and a kind of cosy view of a wise and noble people who we could learn from. But there's such easy access to so many first-hand accounts of what really went on, it seems that things are moving back the other way somewhat. Yes, white people stole their lands, lied, cheated and killed. But the Comanche and probably numerous other Plains tribes were capable of unspeakably evil acts against their helpless captives, including babies, and in fact delighted in such things. And they were almost certainly like this before they ever saw a white man.

This is yet another book that brings this to light. It's just a pity it's rather short. If it had been longer while maintaining the interest I'd have given it 5 stars.


The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812
The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812
by Andrew Lambert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Demolishing America's Hollywood Version of History, 22 Mar. 2016
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It's nice to have an authoritative counterbalance to America's warped, ridiculously heroic view of its own history which echoes some of the self-deluded propaganda we are more used to seeing from countries like China and Russia. I was already aware that the American naval victories early in the war were the result of larger and more powerful ships against British frigates rather than the 'combat between equals' myth that persist to this day. But some of the other information was new to me, such as the way America bankrupted itself fighting a war it need never have started and which it never could have won at that early period in its development. I had also swallowed the canard that it was a war over British ships boarding American ones in search of British deserters. The book unequivocally demonstrates that it was really part of America's own version of empire-building, ie snatching as much land on the continent as it possibly could in order to create a super-state.

I do agree with others, though, that the story could have been told more concisely.


Like Real People Do
Like Real People Do
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, 7 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Like Real People Do (MP3 Download)
Great song!


Mystery in White (British Library Crime Classics)
Mystery in White (British Library Crime Classics)
Price: £2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Odd but readable, 2 Mar. 2016
This is a strange book that doesn't seem to really know whether it wants to be a crime or supernatural story. There is no detective, but the 'detective' role is played by an irritatingly pompous but clever man who always talks like a barrister in a court case. The author throws numerous characters together in a mysterious, deserted house after they have to leave a snowed-in train, but then doesn't really know what to do with most of them and they feel like loose ends. The snobbery of the characters, especially their attitude towards a 'common' man, is also very irritating, but probably only a reflection of the times.

I've been seduced by the covers of more than one of these 30s crime reprints only to give up before the end, because by today's standards the writing is generally pretty poor. Yet there was something about this one that kept me going to the end (even though it is a pretty ridiculous ending). It's quite atmospheric, and there is always an element of mystery and something about to be discovered that just gives it enough of a page-turning quality.


Why is Q Always Followed by U?: Word-Perfect Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Language
Why is Q Always Followed by U?: Word-Perfect Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Language
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Nobody Knows..., 25 Feb. 2016
The answers might be word-perfect (as the subtitle claims) in as much as there aren't any grammatical mistakes, but not in the sense of there being definitive answers - which to me makes the title misleading. If you are interested in conjecture about the meaning of words and sayings, you might like this book, but don't expect many clear-cut explanations. By far the commonest theme is 'Nobody really knows but...'

To be fair I've mildly enjoyed dipping into it - but I'm glad it was given to me by a friend rather than my forking out good money for it.


Willie of Winsbury (Child 100)
Willie of Winsbury (Child 100)
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 24 Feb. 2016
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I've heard different versions of this song (in some he's called John Barbury) but this is the best.


Orion
Orion
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Buy, 24 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Orion (MP3 Download)
Apparently based on a real life person, and brutal yet beautiful song that really gets to you. Maybe it depends on your own life experiences, but for me this is one of the most powerful and best songs I've ever heard. It's nothing less than a hymn/prayer/memorial for a young drummer we've never heard of - but in a way now we have thanks to Anais.


Ghosts
Ghosts
Price: £0.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 24 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Ghosts (MP3 Download)
A powerful, haunting song - the sort that stays with you after you've listened to it.


Navigator
Navigator
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific, 24 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Navigator (MP3 Download)
A powerful hymn to the navvies without being over-sentimental. Plus, just a great song!


Two Mothers
Two Mothers
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable, 24 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Two Mothers (MP3 Download)
Very powerful, emotional and beautiful


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