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A Hundred Years on: The Great War and Other Events on Cannock Chase
A Hundred Years on: The Great War and Other Events on Cannock Chase
by John Christopher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of irrelevant information and inaccuracies, poor grasp of the facts and bad syntax, 1 Dec. 2013
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This self published book needed desperately to be edited AND proof read to avoid the catalogue of bloopers that happen on each page. Starting with the title - apparently the Great War took place on Cannock Chase! There are inaccuracies by the bucket load - Kitchener poster "I want you" apparently being published DURING the war, Haig being promoted to Field Marshal a year before it occurred, etc etc. Then there is the drivel about the Staffordshire Hoard and the Civil War (why is that in there?). And the Battle of Messines Ridge scale model - the General Commanding the attack was not Hubert Gough.... And the assumption that New Zealand soldiers instructed British soldiers at the camps - like that ever happened. The information about the Messines model is mostly wrong too (as is the information about the New Zealand Rifle Brigade). The author mentioned the book "A Town For Four Winters" and who wrote it - their surname is Whitehouse not Whitehead (clue - check the front cover, their name is on it). The syntax and grammar also are poor (split infinitives, dangling participles, numbers as figures, not words).

Obviously the author has spent a lot of time collecting random pieces of information and chucking them into the pot and hoping somehow the result would be coherent. Why nobody thought to suggest it would need to be proof read and edited for names, spelling, historical facts and poor turn of phrase seems a pity. The publishers offer this service (at a fee) yet this was not taken up - a pity. Then someone else should have asked "why have you included that fact?"

Perhaps for the centenary of the start of the Great War next year the author will seek advice, guidance and a proof reader

Oh and it is Cannock Chase or The Chase
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 3, 2014 9:29 AM BST


Fighting for the Bucks: The History of the Royal Bucks Hussars 1914-18
Fighting for the Bucks: The History of the Royal Bucks Hussars 1914-18
Price: £10.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent coverage of an obscure subject, 2 Nov. 2013
This is a superbly written book, that was a pleasure to read. Although it does cover the life of the author's grandfather as a cavalryman, the author has cleverly provided overviews of campaigns and actions. One aspect I found fascinating was that the Bucks Hussars were involved in the last major cavalry charge of the British Army.

Cavalry actions are relatively few and far between in the Great War and this book goes some way to redressing the belief that cavalry were an anachronism; they adapted and provided a fast moving mobile infantry solution whether in attack or defence.

Highly recommended


Snakecharmer
Snakecharmer
Price: £12.76

5.0 out of 5 stars What a great balanced mix of talent, 11 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Snakecharmer (Audio CD)
I speculatively ordered this CD based on the single (2nd track) being played on Planet Rock. I was not disappointed. Very pleasant to listen to, melodic and a great band too! This is what Whitesnake should sound like now, although some of the band members might be sniffing at this comment!

Open your mind and make a purchase, you will be in for a serendipitous surprise.


Cockneys Vs Zombies [DVD]
Cockneys Vs Zombies [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michelle Ryan
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.42

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and did what it said on the cover, 11 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Cockneys Vs Zombies [DVD] (DVD)
Possibly Richard Brieres Comic Moment to stand with Two Ronnies Four Candles is contained in this film.

Funny and predicatable, the clash of zombie football fans was hilarious too

Honor Blackman armed with a machine gun too!


Pillars of Fire: The Battle Of Messines Ridge June 1917
Pillars of Fire: The Battle Of Messines Ridge June 1917
by Ian Passingham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably the best book on the Battle of Messines Ridge, 10 Feb. 2013
Having read the original version of this book I decided to update myself with the revised version. Fortunately, Passingham has not simply rehashed the old, but added depth to his initial publication. This is the most readable version of the battle, easier to follow than Turner's book on the same subject and more in depth. However, the depth of research (especially photographs) does not detract from the understanding of how the battle progressed. Passingham has also approached the subject matter with a focus on the meticulous build up - tunneling,supplies, use of terrain models, training, that ensured General Plumer (probably the best British General on the Western Front) was achieved the first notable success in this theatre of war, where attacking casualties were far lower than those of the defending Germans. Messines Ridge is a battle often overlooked in favour of the battle to follow shortly afterwards - Passchendaele. This book will enable the reader to understand how and why this battle was successfully fought - a blue print for ultimate victory and described as "A black day for the German Army"


The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army
The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army
by G. D. Sheffield
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating life brought to life, 31 Mar. 2012
Having read a couple of Gary Sheffield's books I was given "The Chief" for Christmas. Despite the lack of any maps (I understand the cartographer was given three days to do them!) the book is well-balanced and researched, portraying Haig as arguably the only man up to the job of leading an army from small beginnings in 1914 to one that was ultimately victorious in 1918, able to withstand the German Spring Offensive of that year. What sets Gary Sheffield's book apart from other books on Haig, is the way he has dealt with the criticisms of Haig (tanks, gas, cavalry, casualty figures) that have become entrenched over the years. This book should be read by any historian that blithely warbles on about the 'Blackadderesque' perception of the Great War. Haig had a difficult job to do and was probably the ONLY General who seized the moment in 1918 - effectively by not telling the politicians until he had won the war. His post war involvement in the poppy appeal showed how much he understood the sacrifices made by the troops, and the fact he refused to write his memoirs while Lloyd George attempted to vilify Haig only adds to the stature of the former and detracts from that of the latter.

Like Churchill in WW2, Haig was the man of the moment. As Gary Sheffield accepts, he made mistakes but as with the Army, Haig learnt from these mistakes. The book has been written in a way that whether new to the subject or not, the reader will come away from it with an incite to a very private man that has not previously been available. Thoroughly recommended


Rifleman - A Front Line Life
Rifleman - A Front Line Life
by Victor Gregg
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great start, surprising disappointment of post war life, 13 Nov. 2011
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Having read reviews months ago I took this with me to read on a cottage holiday in Normandy (there to visit the D Day landings). I read it in one go on the first morning. The book starts promisingly enough about life in the Army before the war began, and continues with Victor's war experiences - especially as a prisoner and the Dresden bombings.

With the gripping BBC radio coverage of the book, I remembered I had read it during the summer and wondered if it was the same book - certainly the stories were the same. My biggest disappointment is the post war stories about the KGB, motorcycle trips behind the Iron Curtain, they just seem to be filling pages. So if you want to read a good book of reminiscences of a time when ordinary (no disrespect intended) people were caught up in extra-ordinary events then the book is a cracking read: just read the post war stuff with a good helping of salt, or stop reading at the day the war ended!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 1, 2012 11:17 AM GMT


Messines 1917: The zenith of siege warfare (Campaign)
Messines 1917: The zenith of siege warfare (Campaign)
by Alexander Turner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new about a relatively unkown battle, 30 May 2011
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The battle of Messines is often overlooked by historians, possibly because it was such a resounding victory, excellently planned and executed and overshadowed by the more well known next stage - Passchendaele - which began a few weeks later. While the pros style of this book is easy enough to follow, the author has not really provided information that has not been covered before. In fact certain parts seem repetitious - for example this is the fourth time the Messines model at Scherpenberg has been described in print as being "the size of two tennis courts", yet there is no mention of the 40 yards by 40 yard concrete model built AFTER the battle by New Zealand troops at their camp in the U.K. More coverage on individual stories from the battle would have added depth to the book. The excellent graphics and maps help to explain a confusing battle.

Ultimately this is a more than competent introduction to the battle, and although there are more in depth books on the subject, this book is a good place to start.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 5, 2013 4:08 PM BST


Beneath Flanders Fields: The Tunnellers' War, 1914-1918
Beneath Flanders Fields: The Tunnellers' War, 1914-1918
by Peter Barton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual topic expertly covered, 30 May 2011
Having waited nearly two years for this book to come back into print I hoped the wait was worth it. I was not disappointed. Initially puzzled at the way the book starts by covering early seige warfare of castles etc I was tempted to skip on to the 'meat' of the subject. However, I would thoroughly recommend reading this book fully from the beginning in order to provide a greater/ better understanding of the whole concept of tunneling . The graphics are execellent and as to be expected from Mr Barton and colleagues, the subject is thoroughly researched.

Most impressive is the fact that such a dry subject with arguably limited appeal has been made into an extremely initeresting subject. The coverage of Messines tunneling should be especially mentioned. Ulimately the triumph of the Allies over their counterparts is proof that quirkiness and ingenuity would win over Prussian intransigence. An excellent read.


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