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Dewdrop "Dewdrop" (England)

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The Restoration: England in the 1660s
The Restoration: England in the 1660s
Price: £36.09

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not good enough to be an authoritative text, 13 July 2015
A disappointing account of the period in many ways. Much of the research seems to be based on some very dated secondary sources which the author seems to have accepted without qualification. The section on gender roles is particularly lopsided. I take particular issue with the short section on the Royal Society: for some reason the author considers this to be the development in the intellectual life of the 1660s worth considering. Also, there is some poor scholarship: the author names Gabriel Harvey as being a figure in the field of anatomy and physiology. This should have been WILLIAM Harvey, the man who discovered how the human circulatory system works. With bread and butter mistakes like this, and the reliance on elderly secondary sources, I would not recommend this text as a reliable account of the period.


The Invention of the Crusades
The Invention of the Crusades
by Christopher Tyerman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.79

3.0 out of 5 stars A Marmite book, 24 Aug. 2011
Tyerman has long been a kind of bad boy of Crusades scholarship, and this book reflects this. Unlike Jonathan Riley-Smith - the sort of grand ole man of Crusades literature - Tyerman seems to keen to produce texts which thrive on challenge. Fine in its way, but in this text Tyerman goes beyond challenge to the point of irascibility which left me feeling that he suffered from being just a grumpy old man!
This is not to say that his arguments are not worth a hearing. The book's main premise that the Crusades as an institution was 'invented' by later generations of clerics and historians is certainly an interesting one. He is absolutely right in saying that the (mostly) Franks who carried out the expeditions to the East did not call them crusades. Among other things they were often called pilgrimages. However, his arguement is just not convincing enough. Tyerman asserts that those who went on these expeditions had been on such journeys before so the idea was nothing new. However Riley-Smith and others have show clearly that what took place during the 11th and 12th centuries was actually unique.
I think by biggest issue with Tyerman is that some much of the work is devoted to attacking the work of other historians, and implying that they were effectively incompetent. The bibliographic essay at the end of the book is good, but snipes at people like Riley-Smith and Norman Housley seem uncalled for. Tyerman seems to feel that the Crusades - almost more than any other event in human history - have been hijacked by those who want to re-interpret them to suit their own particular ideology (including Saddam Hussein). Nonsense of course, but part of what seems very narrow in Tyerman's approach.
The book is also of little practical use to a student new to the period as it assumes a far wider knowledge of European history of the period, and well as the events of the Crusades themselves than can be expected.
A good book to get you talking!


Bishop Pots Doughnut Cutter
Bishop Pots Doughnut Cutter

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 24 Aug. 2011
Brilliant product. Nothing fancy but does the job beautifully. The cutting blade is sharp enough to cut the dough without much effort. Neat and simple.


Democracy and Diplomacy: The Impact of Domestic Politics in U.S. Foreign Policy, 1789-1994: Impact of Domestic Politics on U.S.Foreign Policy, 1798-1994 (The American Moment)
Democracy and Diplomacy: The Impact of Domestic Politics in U.S. Foreign Policy, 1789-1994: Impact of Domestic Politics on U.S.Foreign Policy, 1798-1994 (The American Moment)
by Prof Melvin Small
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting argument - as far as it goes, 24 Aug. 2011
Small's argument is based on the premise that US foreign policy has been predominantly influenced by domestic politics. He highlights in particular the effect of the US's unique system of government - the separate legislative and executive branches of government, both of which can make foreign policy - that is, its own brand of democracy, as well as, for example, a free press and the pressure of public opinion, all of which can hamstring a president trying to make sensible foreign policy decisions.
The difficulty I find with the book is first, that he seems to think that public opinion and a free press are somehow unique to the US. From a UK perspective this seems rather naive. The Daily Telegraph's disclosures about MP's expenses and the public fallout from that is a good example of this in the UK. While I do accept that the US's system of government makes a president's position difficult, it is just another form of the kinds of curbs democracies around the world have in place to prevent abuses.
Another issue with the book is a technical one. In the acknowledgements Small states that the book began as an essay and there are clear signs that the material is somewhat thin, and seemingly padded out to make the requisite number of words to qualify as a book. There is a lot of repetition and details of political wrangling which have virtually nothing to do with the text's main argument. Also, depsite the chapters of the book ostensibly being arranged to cover specific time periods, Small has an irritating habit of leaping forward to draw parallels with future events, rather than focusing on the period under discussion. The effect is such that one feels that the period the chapter is devoted to is less interesting than the one to come!
In all the text is useful in that it opens up for the reader the particular way in which US domestic politics has had - and still does have - an impact on US foreign policy. It is probably better regarded as a starting point for a discussion on US foreign policy, rather than an exhaustive work.


Bio Depiless Hair Retardation Complex Face Care Cream 50ml
Bio Depiless Hair Retardation Complex Face Care Cream 50ml

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A product that actually works!, 2 July 2011
I have been using this cream for about 6 weeks now and have noticed a really noticeable difference. I shave a lot less and the hair is much finer and softer and less noticeable. I know some of the reviews say it hasn't worked. What I did was use the cream daily, particulalry immediately after shaving. I worked on the basis that the pores are more open and receptive to the cream that way. Whatever it was though, this stuff actually works. And it is really good as a moisturiser too. It is great for my oily and sensitive skin. One of the best products I have ever tried. Good value too. After 6 weeks I'm only about halfway through the product. One of the few beauty products that have genuinely worked for me.


American Slavery: 1619-1877 (Penguin history)
American Slavery: 1619-1877 (Penguin history)
by Peter Kolchin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced and readable, 20 April 2011
This book tackles the subject of American slavery in a very balanced and unbiased way. It tries to portray the 'peculiar institution' in a way that neither demonises the slave owners nor portrays the conditions under which the slaves lived as being universally terrible (beyond the fact of enslavement). It also tries to show how American slavery was different and similar to slavery in the Caribbean and South America. This is still a very highly charged and emotive subject in the US and this book manages to present the material in an objective and scholarly way. At the same time the author manages to avoid the excessive jargon that spoils so many history books. By the end of the book you can feel that you have a good solid understanding of the basic of American slavery. The footnotes at the back of the book do not distract, and the bibliographical essay gives you a comprehensive cross-section of works in order to pursue the subject further. One of the best.


Hush Puppies Women's Eagle Black Grain Lea Cowboy Boot H25306002 9 UK
Hush Puppies Women's Eagle Black Grain Lea Cowboy Boot H25306002 9 UK

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful boots but ..., 2 Feb. 2011
I bought these because they looked to be very tall boots and came in size 9, which is a treat for someone who is nearly 6ft tall, and a real bargain at the price. When they came I was not disappointed except for the size. Like other reviewers I found them very tight in ordinary thin socks. I think the thicker than usual lining narrows them a lot. I compromised by wearing them with very thin 'tights' socks and they were extremely comfortable. Otherwise good quality well-made boots.


The Crusades: A Short History
The Crusades: A Short History
by Jonathan Riley-Smith
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good comprehensive work, 17 Sept. 2010
I was required to read this book for my degree module on the Crusades. It is extremely detailed and obviously meticulously researched. A good basic account of the crusades. Just a couple of niggles: there is very little about what the Muslms thought about the sudden incursion of the Christians. That would have made the book more comprehensive. Also, I would suggest that anyone interested in this period read Christopher Tyerman's The Crusades: A Very Short Introduction and his most recent work God's War. These books present a more up-to-date view of the period and the people, and dispel some of the myths which persist on both sides of the religious divide. So good as Riley-Smith's book is, Tyerman's work is much more challenging to past and present attitudes to and beliefs about, the period.


Templars: History and Myth: From Solomon's Temple to the Freemasons
Templars: History and Myth: From Solomon's Temple to the Freemasons
by Michael Haag
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

23 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a shoddy piece of 'research'!, 17 Sept. 2010
Oh my goodness, this is one of the worst history books I have read in a very long time, and that is saying a lot given history is my hobby and I am doing a part time degree in the subject. Don't get me wrong, this is a work of popular history, clearly designed for the non-academic reader. But a lack of academic jargon and minute attention given to relatively minor points (which afflicts some scholarly works) does NOT excuse the suspect research and emotive language shamelessly used in this author's work. For example, it is not entirely clear what works he has consulted for his 'facts' about the Templars; the 'Further Reading' section may or may not have been the works he consulted. Nonetheless at the top of his list on works about the history of the Crusades is the work by Sir Steven Runciman, whose blatant bias and romanticised images of the Crusaders are now very suspect. Similarly, Haag refers constantly to the Bible as his source for the history of the Temple Mount and of Jerusalem, while acknowledging that there is little corroborative empirical evidence. At the same time he asserts that the Koran is suspect in its accounts of Mohammed and the history of Islam for exactly that same reason and dismisses most of it out of hand! Even more worrying is the fact that he has not consulted any of the more recent works by 'proper' historians who specialise in the field, such as Thomas Ashbridge and Christopher Tyerman. I read history for enjoyment but I also like to know the facts as far as they are known, not a distortion of events in order to provide cheap thrills and to perpetuate myths and misconceptions. You may read and enjoy this book but be warned: you really cannot treat as truth the information contained within it.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2012 6:57 PM BST


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3.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for!, 4 Sept. 2010
I didn't expect years of wear but the sandal fell apart of just a couple of weeks. And they were a bit short for supposed size 9. Not good, even at that price!


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