Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's
Profile for JAW > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by JAW
Top Reviewer Ranking: 66,944
Helpful Votes: 216

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
JAW "JAW" (Surrey, England.)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
pixel
The Siege Of The Alcazar Of Toledo
The Siege Of The Alcazar Of Toledo
by Salustanquidio Orox
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.25

4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome addition to Spanish Civil War literature in English, 8 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I confess my hopes were not high when I first held this slim volume, especially having noted a few quaint touches of 'Spanglish' in the translation. However, upon reading, the narrative readily held my attention (shame on it if it could not, given the gripping subject matter) and introduced snippets of detail I've not seen elsewhere in the Alcazar Siege literature - admittedly a sparsely stocked library in English. Particularly welcome were the numerous extracts from the daily news-sheet produced by the besieged (running to 63 editions in all!) with their mixture of diverting trivia and morale-boosting exhortation. I've not seen that elsewhere, even in Eby's thorough book in the 1960s. Orox also includes some pages of plans of the Alcazar, which are useful in following the course of the struggle. In short, a recommended addition to the few existing accounts in English and worth the not inconsiderable price, although I'd counsel reading Eby or McNeil first, to get the broader picture.


1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East
1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East
by Tom Segev
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware! Not technically a swiz – but still a swiz…, 4 Jun. 2016
This wasn’t the book I wanted and might reasonably think I was buying. And what I wanted was a detailed treatment of the course of the 1967 Six Day War, plus appropriate context and aftermath. I suppose that technically the title saves the publisher from the Trades Description Act – it does say ‘the Year’ – and we do get the year, the whole year, in equal measure, without focus on a certain important Six Days within. Therefore Segev doesn’t get on to describing (insofar as he ever does…) the events of the Six Day War until page 338! And by page 416 it’s all over!
Worse still, the predominant balance is just sour and grumpy concentration on Israeli – and strictly only Israeli – minutiae, as if written by a man in a filthy temper with a headache. In which if an Israeli so much as returns a library book late (what with being called-up and fighting a war and so on…) the atrocity is examined with forensic zeal. Whereas the Arab nations, as living, breathing, thinking polities, receive the same coverage in this War story as would the opposition in a ‘Space Invaders’ computer game. They arrive, they’re zapped, they disappear. Why, how, and to what possible end, who knows? You’d be none the wiser after wading through the tetchy tedium of this book.
For myself, after dragging myself through this literary mire, and emerging still unenlightened, I wanted my time and money back. Neither are possible so instead I resolved to warn others.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2016 8:35 AM BST


California Dreamin'
California Dreamin'
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £6.90

1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy!, 9 May 2016
This review is from: California Dreamin' (Audio CD)
Thin, 'tinny' sound. Of such poor quality it should not have been released. An insult to the group.


The House of Susan Lulham (Merrily Watkins Series)
The House of Susan Lulham (Merrily Watkins Series)
by Phil Rickman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unreservedly recommended - yet again., 11 Nov. 2015
As a devotee of Rickman's writing and the Rev. Merrily Watkins series in particular (seeing it as Literary greatness likely to survive our own time, scrolling out before our fortunate eyes...), I often wonder what Ms Watkins gets up to in-between books. '... Susan Lulham' supplies a slice of Merrily 'down-time' to answer that. Although I hasten to add that the episode described herein is far from mundane. On the contrary, it's rich with the action, unease, character-trauma and implications-to-ponder-on-later we've come to (unreasonably) expect from Rickman. I liked the original short story in 'Oxcrimes' that begat this novella, but the development here more than proportionally expands the worth in reading.
In short, another unreserved Rickman recommendation. Check out the ITV TV series as well - and please canvas ITV to commission another series.


Midwinter Of The Spirit - Series 1 [DVD] [2015]
Midwinter Of The Spirit - Series 1 [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Anna Maxwell Martin
Price: £11.70

21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great TV born out of great books!, 17 Oct. 2015
I unreservedly recommend both the original book and the TV adaptation from which this DVD derives. Phil Rickman’s twelve book ‘Merrily Watkins the exorcist/Deliverance Minster’ series is a major literary achievement containing fantastic characterisation, compulsive page-turning stories and serious consideration of matters spiritual. And now Stephen Volk, their adaptor for TV, has pulled off the lottery-win-unlikely accomplishment of putting all that on screen, losing nothing vital but also adding something of his own. Added to which both writers were blessed with the arrival of the perfect (and I don’t use that word lightly) actress to play the central character and make the role her own. I previously had my own image of Merrily but henceforth it will always be Anna Maxwell Martin who appears in my mind’s eye. Those new to the series have a double treat in store: first this excellent, beautifully ‘shot’ and acted program, and then, should they so wish, the book(s) to double and deepen the pleasure. Awaiting them are moments and scenes within to provoke deep thought and also seconds of sheer scariness (without ever descending to lazy gore). Treat yourself to both DVD and book and be prepared for persistent thoughts of ‘I think I’ll just go and double-check I locked the back door…’


The Complete Uncle
The Complete Uncle
by J. P. Martin
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, a long overdue labour of love. But don't try to take the price sticker off!, 8 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Complete Uncle (Hardcover)
Ideally, I would have liked to split this review into two - one for the book itself, a 5 stars rave review; and a 'hate it!' one star write-off for the genius who decided that the price sticker on the rear cover should be affixed with superglue or some similar civilisation outlasting adhesive.

I've been a fan of the Uncle book from the 1960s and painstakingly (expensively) acquired all six books in the series. Imagine my pleasure therefore on learning that this beautifully produced and competitively priced compendium should at last appear (in the face of decades long 'politically correct' publisher hostility) to delight new generations. High praise to those dedicated J P Martin aficionados behind the project.

But speaking of price, brings me to the 'I will never surrender' welded-on price sticker. In removing it my prized book now bears a perpetually sticky stain that looks set to live as long as the volume itself. I'm sure its glue formula must have some industrial application (holding up suspension bridges, for instance?) that could make the designer millions! It's just a pity you saw fit to use it on a book. Thanks a lot.

But don't let that deter anyone from buying this wonderful book. If you haven't encountered Uncle before, I envy you the revelatory treat in store. (Almost) unreservedly recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 27, 2016 4:06 PM BST


Father
Father
by Carol-Ann Grace
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended - in equal parts inspiring and searing, 5 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Father (Paperback)
I should immediately preface my review by saying I highly recommend this book. It is well-written and (perhaps not unconnected) unmistakably composed ‘straight from the heart’ without caution or holding back. Moreover, I never for a minute doubted the word of the author’s preface that it was not ‘just another ‘misery memoir’ written to unburden myself, settle few scores and make money on the side’. It is far too honest for that. Nevertheless, this spiritual autobiography describes a blighted childhood in a harrowing, albeit in matter-of-fact, manner. Abuse, drug use and exploitation of an innocent, are all there. That she has ‘come through’ such cruelty from both Fate and people intact is something to both surprise and inspire (as well as supply cheer). The ending (for the moment, until the promised – and promising - two further instalments are published) transformed the ‘message’ of the earlier part of the book into something hopeful. I applaud Carol-Ann’s genuine courage in setting this all down so that her pain should not be just meaningless misfortune.

That I chance to live in the part of the world she describes was just a bonus, although it’s disquieting to think of some of the things that were going on beneath the Town’s benign surface, unsuspected.

Volume 2 and 3 seem overdue – I respectfully urge Mrs Grace on.


What W. H. Auden Can Do for You (Writers on Writers)
What W. H. Auden Can Do for You (Writers on Writers)
by Alexander McCall Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.75

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Watery stuff., 31 Oct. 2014
The literary equivalent of a very very very very very very (you get my drift...) milky cup of Earl Grey tea.

Fey Scottish (and therefore apparently intrinsically better) Earl Grey tea.

If this is representative of Auden I don't think I'll bother...

Postscript - despite the omens I did check out Auden - and I think Orwell got him about right - `a gutless Kipling.'
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 27, 2015 10:01 AM BST


The Magus of Hay (Merrily Watkins Series)
The Magus of Hay (Merrily Watkins Series)
by Phil Rickman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Magnificent Merrily. Still More please., 11 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've already pretty much ransacked the thesaurus for superlatives concerning earlier works in this series, but the same level and particulars of praise remain for this, the twelfth volume. In a nutshell, a sense of place, a subtle conveying of unease from realms maybe beyond our understanding, and, above all, believable characterisation delivered by a master pen.

Therefore, at the risk of repetition, I venture that the Merrily series constitutes significant literary greatness unscrolling before our fortunate-to-be-around-now eyes.

Those fortunate enough to be encountering it and her for the first time need not be daunted by the 'backstory', for these books constitute a seamless recounting of a life and marvellously depicted 'world', adding up to... well, it's not over yet, but certainly a whole greater even than the great individual parts. Therefore, whilst the start and 'Book 1' might well be a good place to enter, otherwise dive in where you will.

In other words, I respectfully suggest that you buy it.


Literary Surrey
Literary Surrey
by Jacqueline P. Banerjee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book, 9 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Literary Surrey (Paperback)
This slim volume is a little gem of a book; beautifully written and wide ranging in its choice of writers who have resided in and/or have been influenced by the County. Instead of the swift trawl through the usual suspects that I half expected (usually Bloomsbury types who flitted through and usually despised the 'too, too ghastly' hobbit-natives) there is instead an eclectic (but themed) selection of writers both famous and not-so-famous who lived in and loved Surrey, finding inspiration there from its deep history and small-town and country mix, surviving in the shadow of (but never completely over-shadowed by) Babylondon to the north.

Better yet, there's an elegant and thoughtful essay on each writer, plus a succinct what to do/see/further reading recommendations section.

I found myself both educated and entertained at the same time - and you can hardly ask for more than that. In short: competitively priced and unreservedly recommended.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6