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Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland)
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The Dinosaur Hunters: A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World
The Dinosaur Hunters: A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World
by Deborah Cadbury
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survival of the fittest fossil hunter, 23 Feb. 2015
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At University i studied History and Philosophy of Science as a minor subject and fascinating it was, particularly evolution. So i knew many of the famous names in this - Cuvier, Lamarck, Darwin and others but amazingly the 3 stars of this marvellous book i'd never heard of - Anning, Mantell and Owens. I wish i'd read the book then because it peoples the story of the search for evidence and puts real flesh on the bones of the topic like no text book can. Thus it becomes a rivetting read on many levels - scientific, moral, political and, not least, personal. The lives and struggles of these people were incredible and the competitive nature of the hunt for the best fossil quite thrilling, not just for the insights into the geology and dinosaurs but the religious beliefs being undermined by science. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this book. It has made me want to delve further into all of the related topics again - darwin etc. First class writing, research and characterisation by the author. Easy 5 stars.


Alibi
Alibi
by Joseph Kanon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Gondola With The Wind, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Alibi (Paperback)
Take Macbeth directed by Hiitchcock, add a touch of Talented Mr Ripley, a dash of The Third Man and add a shot of Casablanca with Bogart as Marlowe and you get an idea of this complex thriller set in post WWII Venice. There is a Shakespearean type tragedy with a cynical modern twist to this tense psychological murder story populated by nazi collaborators, partisans, communists, allied peace keepers and war criminal hunters mixing with Venice's high society. Almost all of the characters have darker sides but are the more realistic for it. US ex-soldier Adam is drawn into a obsessive investigation when his jewish girlfriend is implicated in the murder of a family friend while visiting his widowed ex-pat mother in Venice. Layers of moral dilemma are peeled back as the hunt reveals the true actions and motives of the key italian families and revive still-raw vendettas between them and uncovers a few family skeletons. The lavish backdrop plays an important role (perhaps a bit James Bond at times) and the plot gets a little too complicated and over-wrought for its own good. However still a gripping and compelling page turner where the reader's sympathies are constantly challenged. Another strong book by Kanon.


W1A - Series 1-2 [DVD]
W1A - Series 1-2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hugh Bonneville
Price: £14.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumph Bonneville, 7 Jan. 2015
This review is from: W1A - Series 1-2 [DVD] (DVD)
Well done BBC. I'm convinced there is more than a little accuracy in the depictions of political correctness, PR, HR, career building, jealousy, mind numbing bureaucracy, and creative and cultural confusion that goes on within the Corporation. That it can still laugh at itself is a refreshing relief. Bonneville is absolutely brilliant, even better that the TwentyTwelve series which was hilarious but often excessively ridiculous. We share his frustration at the absurdities or corporate culture with its trendy buzzwords and incompetent colleagues with ridiculous meaningless job titles and the pointlessly unproductive meetings. I'm glad the series was short as i think it would strain itself to extend to many more shows but it will be a long time until i forget the sight of Alan Yentob and Salman Rushdie arm wrestling. Top rate so that's all good then !
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2015 9:09 PM GMT


The Children's Crusade
The Children's Crusade
by Elliott Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but confused, 12 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Children's Crusade (Paperback)
This tries to be too clever but never really decides what it wants to be - post apocalypitic vision, futuristic global political analysis, gulf war buddy aadventure, jason bourne revenge thriller, mystical lord of the flies and a number of other genre cliches. As a unifying hero Strange is just too good and too tough to be true, believeable or even sympathetic. His confused ethical crusade is riddled by contradiction and his relationships, particularly with the mythical Edith (if i remember her name) are just macho cameos. As a post 9/11 warning about the direction of east/west, middle east, christian/islam conflicts it is muddled and incoherent. Maybe i made the mistake of not starting at book 1 of the trilogy but i'm not really tempted to go back based on what i've read. Blaed Runner's themes (film and book) resonated profoundly and as a character Strange can't keep company with Marlowe and Spade unless he signs up with a better author. It's OK but over-sold.


Who Wrote Shakespeare's Plays?
Who Wrote Shakespeare's Plays?
by William D. Rubinstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.02

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Brief, unnecessary and slightly dishonest authorship analysis., 22 Oct. 2014
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Rubinstein is a Neville-ian - he states this openly at the start so it was always going to be difficult for him to be as objective as he claims. Thereafter the book fails in its analysis because it is rather obviously biased against some of the other candidates(particularly Oxford - taking a pro-Nelson stance in making fun of de Vere) by not being up to date or comprehensive enough in describing their position. Disappointing given that he supports the case of Neville which is really quite weak. For this reason, he is a bit too happy to accept the orthodox chronology of the plays, dismisses plays that look suspiciously like early versions of the final Folio works, He also overstates the case for the Strachey Letter (his supposed trump card) being the basis for The Tempest. The best analysis is on why Shakspere is one of the most unlikely candidates for authorship but there are numerous better, fuller books on this - Diana Price's recommended. Rubinstein may well be a solid historian but i think he is weak on literary textual analysis or psychological insight that can be useful in a search for the likely author (whoever he might have been). His prose style is also particularly awkward at times.


Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth
Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom: The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth
by Charles Beauclerk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Tantalising possibilities and the play themes illuminated, 20 Oct. 2014
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While Beauclerk provides many thought provoking insights into the playwright's obsessions and illuminates the plays and sonnets in a revolutionary way, he does tend to over egg the pudding with some flights of fancy that rather spoil the effect at times. It does rather put to shame anyone who believes the plays aren't autobiographical and the themes of lost identity, illegitimacy and incest show the author, whoever he was, to have been a deeply troubled and complex character. Beauclerk also explains convincingly the degree to which Oxford was a patron of literature and the Arts from the 1570s and could well have played a significant, if not leading, role in the English renaissance. He alsoshows that Stratfordians like Nelson, should look at the contemporary regard in which Oxford was held and his high reputation as a writer and let go of Ur-Hamlets. There is really very little doubt that Oxford produced, perhaps jointly, an impressive body of early work, some of it suspiciously like early versions of later Shake-speare works. I get uncomfortable about the double whammy conjecture of Oxford as Elizabeth's son and later lover and possible Wriothesley offspring. It is tantalising and perhaps just feasible but does stretch belief even if there are some fascinating clues in the text. Wouldn't it just be wonderful !


Edward de Vere and the Shakespeare Printers
Edward de Vere and the Shakespeare Printers
by Robert Sean Brazil
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.96

3.0 out of 5 stars A whiff of cordite but no smoking gun, 25 Sept. 2014
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Sadly the author died before he could tidy up this book, or so it seems to me. It's a new and worthwhile angle in linking Oxford the the works of the Bard but the author's claim that he found the "smoking gun" is quite far from the mark. His analysis of the printers' marks and title page text on the published Quartos of the period are interesting but inconclusive. What we do learn is that
1. Oxford was a great patron of the arts, particularly literature
2. There are some interesting common designs used in the publishing of works to which he may have a connection
3. There are lots of early works that sound suspiciously like early versions of Shakespeare and/or may have been written by Oxford
4. After 1598 the name William Shakespeare was credited on the play cover pages
5. Oxford was linked to the printing of some works that were "sources" for Shakespeare plays
Where Brazil is weaker is in suggesting ciphers and hidden codes or picture patterns and themes in the printers' graphic plates that stretch credibilty to breaking limits and rather smack of desperation at times. There are a few interesting combinations that may be coincidental but most don't do the Oxfordian cause any good.
More work needs to be done in this area. An interesting read nevertheless.


Monstrous Adversary: The Life of Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (Liverpool English Texts and Studies)
Monstrous Adversary: The Life of Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (Liverpool English Texts and Studies)
by Alan H. Nelson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poison pen portrait, 17 Sept. 2014
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Nelson's view of De Vere is so narrow that it rather strangles any enjoyment in reading some of the otherwise interesting snippets about De Vere's life and affairs. While De Vere was no saint and lived a privileged life it is hard to ignore how much better a fit he is to the man we might imagine wrote the works of Shakespeare, than the current incumbent. Nelson gives him no credit and that rather flies in the face of other contemporary references and, frankly, common sense, not to mentions notions of fair play. I'm afraid the book to me was rather a wasted opportunity with too much pre-judgment and too much supposedly corroborative detail supplied out of any supporting context. Poor writing and rather snide in tone.


Great Oxford: Essays on the Life and Work of Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, 1550-1604
Great Oxford: Essays on the Life and Work of Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, 1550-1604
by Richard Malim
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No smoking gun but more solid evidence, 16 Sept. 2014
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This weighty and serious tome is full of solid research and interesting facts that fill in the picture of De vere's life, travels, character and personality. He was undoubtedly a troubled and complex character and very possibly the brilliant (genius) writer of the works of Shake-speare as his life fits with the themes and outlook and knowledge displayed in the actual works themselves. None of the orthodox biographies i've read have ever really convinced me that the Stratford man could have learned and absorbed the subject matter and points of view evidenced in the plays.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2014 4:56 PM BST


Shakespeare, Who Was He?: The Oxford Challenge to the Bard of Avon
Shakespeare, Who Was He?: The Oxford Challenge to the Bard of Avon
by Paul H. Nitze
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £28.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Short and to the point - De Vere Dunnit, 15 Sept. 2014
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This is a short and pithy, but reasonably full, outline of the major points in the authorship case from the Earl of Oxford camp and sets the reader up nicely to explore the detailed books of which there are many worthy examples. De Vere is the favourite "alternative Shakespeare" and this book is rather less partisan than Ogburn's, if less meaty or entertaining. I'd thoroughly recommend Mark Anderson's book on De Vere and Diana Price's Unorthodox Biog of the Stratford Man. Also recommended are books by Bertram Fields, William Farina and John Michell which are all more recent than this 1994 publication.


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