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On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller
On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller
by Richard Norton Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £29.14

4.0 out of 5 stars The Original (and Arguably Last) of the Rockefeller Republicans, 2 April 2017
On His Own Terms by Richard Norton Smith is a very good book examining the life and legacy of Nelson Rockefeller. Born into privilege, Rockefeller devoted much of his life to public service, securing a broadly positive - but nevertheless controversial - legacy as Governor of New York. Ultimately, however, he was denied the chance to run for President by the distrust - and in some cases outright hatred - of members of his own party.

It is detailed, informative and well-written, although in my opinion there are structural issues with the earlier chapters dealing with his early life and career.

All in all a very good book.


Mandela: A Biography
Mandela: A Biography
by Martin Meredith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest African Statesman?, 2 April 2017
This review is from: Mandela: A Biography (Paperback)
Mandela by Martin Meredith is an excellent biography of arguably the most revered statesman of the last half of the twentieth century. A global icon of the resistance towards the apartheid regime, Mandela was able to a large extent hold together the Rainbow Nation after the transition to democracy.

It is a well-written, detailed and informative book which puts Nelson Mandela's life in the wider context of the history of South Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. While it must be noted that the author is broadly sympathetic towards Mandela (why wouldn't he be?), he is not afraid to be critical of some of his policies, actions or behaviours.

Overall, a very good book.


The Schweinfurt-Regensburg Mission: American Raids on 17th August 1943 (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
The Schweinfurt-Regensburg Mission: American Raids on 17th August 1943 (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
by Martin Middlebrook
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Examination of the Worst Day of WWII for the American Bomber Force over Germany, 19 Feb. 2017
The Schweinfurt-Regensberg Mission by Martin Middlebrook is an excellent book detailing the ill-fated U.S. air raids of 17th August 1943. It is well-written, detailed and informative.

The author clearly narrates the story of the raids, highlighting both their successes and their failures and expertly interweaves the personal stories of a number of the individuals involved.

All in all a very good book.


Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar
Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar
by Tom Holland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Book Examining the Lives of the First Five Caesars, 19 Feb. 2017
Dynasty is a very good book examining the lives of Rome's first imperial family. From the founder Augustus - who created a state in his own image - to the reclusive Tiberius, the dissolute Caligula, the under-estimated Claudius and the infamous Nero, this is a well-written and opinionated examination of the early Roman Empire. It is not, however, for the easily shocked or offended.

Overall, a very good book.


Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee: Winner of the Orwell Prize
Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee: Winner of the Orwell Prize
by John Bew
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Book of the Greatest Labour Prime Minister, 19 Feb. 2017
Citizen Clem by John Bew is a very good book detailing the life and career of arguably post-war Premier. It is well-written, detailed and informative.

Clement Attlee was never meant to be Labour leader, let alone Prime Minister, but through hard-work, dedication and firm beliefs presided over the creation of the NHS and the modern Welfare State. While he may not have been the most gifted of orators or the most natural of politicians, Attlee rebuilt and revived the Labour Party and unquestionably achieved more than any other socialist politician in British history.

Overall, a very good book.


Margaret Thatcher, Vol. 2 The Iron Lady
Margaret Thatcher, Vol. 2 The Iron Lady
by John Campbell
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Concluding Volume of an Excellent Biography of the Woman who Arguably Made Modern Britain, 19 Feb. 2017
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The Iron Lady by John Campbell is an excellent concluding volume of his two-part biography of Margaret Thatcher. This book specifically primarily focuses upon the Prime Ministerial career of arguably Britain's most divisive Premier and is well-written, detailed and informative. It is also - in my opinion - remarkably balanced in its treatment of a politician whose reputation, legacy and policies still arouse controversy.

The picture of Margaret Thatcher which emerges from this book is a person of fixed views who was determined to change Britain, but who - as the decade wore on - began to lose her previously very good political instincts and this ultimately, brought about her downfall.

All in all a very good book.


Margaret Thatcher Volume One: The Grocer's Daughter
Margaret Thatcher Volume One: The Grocer's Daughter
by John Campbell
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Biography Chronicling the Ascent to the Premiership of the most Influential British Politician of the last 50 years, 19 Feb. 2017
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The Grocer's Daughter by John Campbell is a very good book detailing the life of Margaret thatcher up to 1979. It is well-written, informative, detailed and opinionated. Further, it separates the facts from the myths that have arisen - from all sides - about her rise from provincial Lincolnshire to the top of British politics.

It also explains the development of Mrs Thatcher's opinions and views on the future direction of Britain and how her political instincts - combined with a generous measure of good fortune - allowed her to be in a position to benefit from the fraying of the post-war consensus.

Overall, an excellent biography.


Bridge of Spies [DVD] [2015]
Bridge of Spies [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Tom Hanks
Price: £5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Film, 4 Jan. 2017
This review is from: Bridge of Spies [DVD] [2015] (DVD)
Bridge of Spies is a very good film starring Tom Hanks as real-life lawyer - and sometime international negotiator - James Donovan. Although some dramatic licence has been used, the film is inspired by true events. It is entertaining, with an excellent cast headed by Hanks but also including the superb Mark Rylance.

The DVD itself has one additional extra, namely a short featurette putting the film in its historical context.

Overall, a highly enjoyable Cold War thriller.


Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
by H. W. Brands
Edition: Hardcover

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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Biography of an Extraordinary President, 4 Jan. 2017
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Traitor to his Class by H.W. Brands is a very good biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who without question was one of America's greatest Presidents. It is well-written, informative, opinionated and detailed.

The author comprehensively chronicles not just the political but also the personal story of FDR, the man who reshaped American society, reinvigorated her economy and affirmed the United States position as the leader of the free world.

Overall, this is a first class biography of arguably the most influential President of the twentieth century.


Richard Cobden: A Victorian Outsider
Richard Cobden: A Victorian Outsider
by Wendy Hinde
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Examination of One of the Forgotten Figures of Victorian Politics., 4 Jan. 2017
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Richard Cobben by Wendy Hinde is very good book detailing the life and career of arguably the most influential British politician never to hold ministerial office. It is well-written, informative and detailed.

Cobben - although not very well-known nowadays - was a major figure in early to mid-Victorian politics. He was the businessman turned politician, who in the space of little more than a decade led the successful campaign to repeal the Corn Laws, which was in many ways the symbolic moment where the UK embraced the principle of free trade. While the author shows Cobben had an interesting and varied political career after this landmark achievement, this was the high point of his popularity, influence and fame.

Overall, a very good book.


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