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Original Quad pack Canon BCI-6 BCI6 Cyan Magenta Black Yellow ink cartridge tank (Pixma Pixus Bubblejet Photo & MFP printer) Bci6M bci6Y bci6K bci6C (Bci-6M bci-6Y bci-6K bci-6C) - in foil packaging
Original Quad pack Canon BCI-6 BCI6 Cyan Magenta Black Yellow ink cartridge tank (Pixma Pixus Bubblejet Photo & MFP printer) Bci6M bci6Y bci6K bci6C (Bci-6M bci-6Y bci-6K bci-6C) - in foil packaging
Offered by Expert Ink Shop
Price: £21.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOTE: Whilst it is a few weeks since I ..., 7 July 2014
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NOTE: Whilst it is a few weeks since I ordered these, I have only just started using them in my Canon PIXMA iP5000 printer. These are NOT genuine Canon inks, but third party copies! They do not provide the correct colour tone or balance. Avoid at all costs.

My advice is avoid using the supplier I used (UK Trade Surplus - Cartridge Trading Limited - Unit 1,
Chapel Lane, Fishponds, BS5 7EY) as they must be aware that they are selling third party inks, making customers believe they are selling genuine Canon products.

Since writing the above I have received an email from UK Trade Surplus. Rather than admit that they are selling third party copies of genuine Canon inks, they claim, without any knowledge or experience of my printer, that my printer is at fault, not their inks!

Another Great Day At Sea: On Board the USS George Bush (Writers in Residence)
Another Great Day At Sea: On Board the USS George Bush (Writers in Residence)
by Geoff Dyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.84

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great day..., 9 Jun. 2014
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This is an interesting insight into the psyche of the American military mind. It's the American psyche as seen through the perceptive eyes of a notable and internationally acclaimed writer who has exceptional literary skills and a wonderful grasp of the English language in a contemporary context.

Coverage includes public health administration, substance abuse, law enforcement, sexual equality, gay rights, personal ambition (in a very American context), religion (there's a great chapter about a gospel service that is so southern black America - the author was almost seduced by it)!), differences between American and British-English social attitudes (damning about the English class distinctions and divisions, particularly in the RN, where it is worse by persisting so un-necessarily in the twenty-first century!), American life and attitudes (including dialogue, accents and language), and the American work ethic, amongst numerous other topics, all intertwined with relevant references to literature and films, etc.There's at least one section that brought a lump to my throat, and as for the succinct comparison between Bush snr and Bush jnr, it's brilliant!

Another good aspect about this book is that the author maintains his impartiality and objectivity (and a great sense of humour - irony at its best), which together suggests or leads the reader to believe that in the USN at least, social equality is highly developed albeit within the constraints of a military organisation (i.e. an American nuclear powered aircraft carrier with over 5,000 people on board. In other words, small town America without the bigotry or insular narrow-mindedness). Comparisons in social hierarchy between the USN and the RN are fascinating - which is why I could never have joined the British military - and the RN in particular. But if I had been born in the USA... It would seem that in the USN you respect the individual first and what he or she can do (the track record of their skills and abilities), rather than the way it is in the RN, where you respect rank first, even if the holder is an idiot (as I've experienced when working as a civilian alongside the RN).

Whilst Dyer would not have been allowed in the engine or reactor spaces, it's a surprise that he never interviewed any crew members from the marine engineering department. Furthmore, given that the ship he was on was an aircraft carrier, there are only two real mentions of aircrew; one an inconclusive interview with a female F-18 pilot and the other a superficial reference to the aircrew of one of the SAR helicopters. Whilst these are major omissions, they do not detract from the book (indeed their omission may be because of a lack of space).

One important point, the subject and topics covered are not expected to be read as definitive or authoritative accounts. Nor are they claimed to be conclusive or comprehensive, but are based entirely on the author's observations, perceptions (rightly or wrongly) and interpretations. It's important to understand the context and concept of what this book is about and the series that will follow it (this is number one).

The book is illustrated with a number of photographs by award winning photographer Chris Steele-Perkins, who accompanied the author during his two weeks on board.

The Maritime Art of Kenneth D. Shoesmith (Maritime Heritage)
The Maritime Art of Kenneth D. Shoesmith (Maritime Heritage)
by Glyn L. Evans
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £30.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kenneth D Shoesmith, 12 April 2014
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Kenneth Shoesmith was a marine artist with exemplary draughting skills. Unfortunately little has been published on the work of this significant marine artist so this work is a necessary addition to the literature of the genre and the artist in particular. However, this work is NOT definitive and, in some respects, the author has not been well served by his publisher.

In the first instance this is probably the most comprehensive book published to date in terms of the number of images of Shoemiths work, but again it is not definitive - and I use the word 'comprehensive' loosely. The emphasis is on Shoesmith's liner paintings.

Considering Ulster Museum has probably the largest single collection of original Shoesmiths, it is surprising that the quality of reproduction is not up to the standards one would expect from an art book (some are out-of-focus). The less than perfect colour reproductions are not helped by the awful pale blue colour of the pages, which detract from the vibrancy of Shoesmith's work. Why the publisher decided to spoil the book in this way is beyond comprehension - to this reviewer it shows the book was 'designed' by someone with no understanding of how best to show-off to maximum advantage artwork, regardless of medium.

The less than perfect reproductions, particularly of works where the originals exist suggests that the photographer had little idea on photographing artwork! This is a great shame. Shoesmith deserves better!

The text demonstrates poor proof reading, if any! As an example, the opening sentence to the author's Introduction is an appalling piece of writing! Furthermore, the statement made by the author in this sentence is completely inaccurate and shows the limitations of the author's amatuer and less than thorough 'research'. There are far too many references to the vanity of the author's 'research' - which should have been confined to the introduction rather than tediously telling the reader of what he was or was not successful in - and not enough substance on the life and work of Shoesmith (the life of Shoesmith is summed-up in only five pages - and all have reproductions on!). The lengthy captions to the reproductions are more about the ships and shipping companies than about Shesmith's techniques. Indeed, this book contains absolutely nothing about the various techniques and mediums employed by Shoesmith, or the sizes of his originals. In this respect this is NOT a book about Shoesmith's work, but about the ships he painted!

Maybe it's time for Ulster Museum to correct the imbalance and produce a quality publication that does justice to the very real quality of Shoesmith's work. In the meantime, any serious reader and student of the history and development of marine painting and drawing then this book is a 'must have'.

The Naval Institute Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, 19th Edition
The Naval Institute Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, 19th Edition
by Norman Polmar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £110.00

4.0 out of 5 stars USN ships and aircraft - 19th edition, 12 Mar. 2014
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Outstanding! As always Norman Polmar has done an excellent job. There is nothing comparable on any other navy since the Naval Institute stopped publishing its guide to the former Soviet navy (we need an up-date on the Russian Federation Navy). Unfortunately after 40 years this is Polmar's last edition of this seminal work. It will be interesting to see who will step into his shoes...

My one major criticism is the quality of production: the paper is far too thin. It should be thicker and coated, which would result in the photographs being better reproduced. I hope the publisher's address this issue for the next edition, especially for such an expensive book.

Regardless of my criticism, I would recommend this book. And highly so!

British Battleships: The Super Dreadnoughts, 1914-18 (New Vanguard)
British Battleships: The Super Dreadnoughts, 1914-18 (New Vanguard)
by Angus Konstam
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Super Dreadnoughts, 12 Mar. 2014
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Disappointing! Nothing new to add on the subject! The full-colour illustrations are also disappointing as they clearly show that whilst the artist does have a flair for the dramatic, his appreciation and understanding of perspective and proportions is sadly lacking - or maybe he just doesn't understand the subject.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2014 10:21 AM BST

U-Boot, Tome 1 : Docteur Mengel
U-Boot, Tome 1 : Docteur Mengel
by Jean-Yves Delitte
Edition: Album

5.0 out of 5 stars U-Boot, 12 Mar. 2014
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Excellent draughtsmanship! So good to see an illustrator who understands perspective and knows how to apply it. Delitte obviously takes great pleasure in the process of drawing, from initial pencil designs through to finished artwork! A shame illustrated books such as this are not more popular in the UK.

The Great War
The Great War
by Joe Sacco
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 July 1916, 2 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Great War (Hardcover)
This contribution to the 100th anniversary literature of the First World War is outstanding!

To convey the first day of the Battle of the Somme in one single illustration is or was an amazing feat of planning, forethought and patience. When this is combined with an ability to research thoroughly, get facts and details correct, with an undoubted skill as an illustrator is no mean feat. Joe Sacco has achieved all of these and more.

It is worth noting that whilst Sacco concentrates on the British side of this still questionable battle, the fact that his single line illustration has no words, no dialogue means impartiality and objectivity are assured. The reader makes of this vast, panoramic illustration what he or she will. However, to aid the reader Joe Sacco and Adam Hochschild have provided a commentary which comes as a separate booklet. This commentary is by way of an explanation of what is described in the illustration rather than a commentary in which judgement is made or passed. This latter point is particularly relevant because many argue that the Battle of the Somme was badly planned - donkeys leading lions - and pointless. It achieved little beyond satisfying the politicians needs to be seen to be doing something in the eyes of an increasingly sceptical public - who in their ignorant, middle class home comforts had no idea, no comprehension, no awareness of what 'their boys' were going through in north eastern France.

The first day of the Battle of the Somme was also the worst day in British Army history. They suffered more casualties on that single day than on any other occasion, before or since. It was a futile waste of so many young men's lives. There are many who believe statues of Haig should be removed because he was the principal donkey who lacked the skill and ability to lead a 'great' battle, safely protected by being so many miles from the front line and never getting his boots dirty...

In artistic terms, this illustration says more about draughting skills, an ability to observe human, animal, nature and inanimate objects far better than any of the so-called modern artists - including most of the Turner Prize winners - who can do nothing but pontificate at length about nothing because they lack the natural ability to draw. Joe Sacco's illustrative skills put these pretentious 'artists' to shame! Here is real art; real drawing with a very real understanding of perspective - attributes that Renaissance artists took in their stride and which the present incumbent holding the post of Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy would do well to study and learn from! It is so refreshing seeing quality drawing in a world dominated by digital media.

It would have been good to have had even a short piece about Joe Sacco's approach to his drawing, but then I understand that this would possibly detract from the primary purpose of this book. However, in the accompanying booklet he does introduce the concept.

This is extremely well-produced, on quality paper. It comes in a matching, rigid slip case (a rarity in itself these days!).

In summary, I would strongly recommend this book!

The Great Edwardian Naval Feud: Beresford's Vendetta Against 'Jackie' Fisher
The Great Edwardian Naval Feud: Beresford's Vendetta Against 'Jackie' Fisher
by Richard Freeman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beresford v Fisher, 21 Oct. 2013
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At first I thought this book wouldn't stand alone in that the reader would require some prior knowledge of the Royal Navy during the period in question. Whilst I do have some background knowledge (I have most of the recognised books on the period, including all of Marder's, for example), on completing this I can state that it can be read as a stand-alone book; i.e. you do not need to know about the period. This is to the author's credit as, overall, this is an excellent piece of history and a fascinating insight into the machinations of senior RN officers at the time.

Of particular interest is the fact that Beresford was allowed to be, year on year, grossly insubordinate and get away with it. As is made clear, the fact that Beresford was from an aristocratic family protected him from being disciplined if not court martialled. That this 'family connection' protected him might be anathema in today's world, what we must not forget is that the Royal Navy was, until as recently as the 1990s, the most snobbish and class-centred of the three armed services when it came to its officers, so many of whom 'hid' behind the gold stripes on their sleeves, probably using Queen's Regulations to cover their incompetence! Anyone who suggests otherwise is deluding themselves. So, the fact that in the decade prior to the First World War a very senior officer of 'feeble intellect', who could not even remember his own career history, was allowed free-reign to publically voice his unfounded and unsubstantiated criticisms, and to be openly insubordinate, should come as no surprise. But, strangely, it does... And the fact that even senior elected politicians, from the PM 'downwards', were unable to control nearly thirty years of Beresford's unprofessional behaviour is incredible.

Richard Freeman has done an excellent job in bringing out the detail and circumstances of this infamous feud, a feud that started in the head of an individual whose vanity and ego where matched only by the pressures of his wife in her attempts to bolster her husband's career and become the 'rightful' heir to the position of First Sea Lord.

As for who was right and who was wrong, the facts speak for themselves. Beresford was completely unable to justify or substantiate one single complaint against the Admiralty, or indeed Fisher. Fisher might have been at fault in terms of his attitude or 'management style' but these have nothing to do with the complaints made by Beresford. Fisher's attitude is irrelevant to the pursuing of the feud by Beresford through misrepresentations, false facts and an appalling inability to grasp and understand the wider naval situation as if affected the operational requirements of the RN at the time. For a commander-in-chief of a fleet his ignorance and blinkered narrow-mindedness is unbelievable. And for Beresford to expect to be recalled on the outbreak of the First World War beggars belief!

Another fascinating facet to this history is the role the press took in presenting the respective sides of the feud (though it could be argued that there was only one side: Beresford's, as Fisher was more intent on seeing through his reforms). Considering the present discussions about press freedom and their assumed right to publish inaccurate, misleading and downright lies, through sometimes illegal means, without redress from those they castigate, it is interesting to note that even in the so-called more civilised society of the Victorian and Edwardian periods, journalists were still behaving without due regard to impartiality or bias... Nothing changes when it comes to this most despicable of 'professions', particularly those within the print media!

Besides being extremely well researched (and referenced), this book is also very well written.

I note that the author is preparing a biography on Beresford. One can only hope that this project is still going to the light of day and will be published soon!

Coincidentally, today is Trafalgar Day!

Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
by Max Hastings
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £26.95

70 of 130 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cashing-in on history again..., 16 Sept. 2013
Max Hastings is an opportunist historian, as well as being a populist one too (with a strong right-wing bias that comes through much of his writings). There is nothing wrong with being populist - A J P Taylor was a populist historian, though the difference is that Taylor was credible, even if subsequent and more recent research shows some of his analysis to be flawed because he didn't have access to material that's more recently come to light. The difference is that Hastings often seems so keen on being a popular historian that his works often seem shallow and lacking in substance (but this does make for easy reading).

As for opportunism, I would suggest that this is evidenced by the fact that this is Hastings' first book on the First World War. Coincidence? I think not! Nothing wrong with this, but it makes one sceptical about the validity of a work. How authoritative is the work? As another reviewer has already pointed out, the list of references and sources do not include many notable authorities on this period.

Hastings likes his wars! Often, as here, he shows his lack of balance and objectivity; a 'good' story, almost akin to fiction, is preferable to historical scholarship (which probably explains why few of Hastings books are cited except in very general terms). Here, for example, he lays the 'blame' for the start of the First World War squarely on German shoulders, but in so doing he ignores many of the more subtle and seemingly insular events from about 1880 onwards by all major European powers that together contributed to the start of this appalling event that was the First World War.

Indeed, Hastings claims to demonstrate what led to the outbreak of war, but restricts himself primarily to events during 1914 alone. This narrow approach ignores many other factors that, as mentioned above, pre-date 1914. And what reason is there, other than as a filler (!?!), to include the first five months of the war? What relevance or connection is there between the origins and causes of the war and the first few months of actual fighting, following the declaration of war?

There will be many who will be 'cashing-in' on the fact that next year is the 100th anniversary. As inevitable as this is (and sadly so), I would advise discretion in judging what is of real value if a genuine understanding of this awful conflict is wanted. On this basis, I would not recommend Hastings' book, but would strongly recommend Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers - How Europe went to War in 1914. In this reviewer's opinion Clark's book is the finest and likely to be the definitive work on the years leading up to the First World War. It is also very readable.

As for an understanding - or an attempt at understanding the First World War itself - I would advise readers to consider Stephane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker's 1914-1918 - Understanding the Great War. In my considered opinion this is outstanding! It is one of the finest interpretations of the First World War. It is sympathetic and without prejudice or bias. This and Clark's book will be all you will need other than books about battles, campaigns or the war's aftermath.

Addendum (for context, see comments added to this review):

No reviews on Amazon are entirely objective as they do not conform to academic standards that are considered the norm in learned journals. Indeed, for a website like Amazon why should they be? So let's be clear about one thing: all reviews on Amazon are the personal opinion of the reviewer. Rightly or wrongly this is an indisputable fact.

I have no intention of defending my review, but I would ask some to read more carefully the opinions of others, not the least Max Hastings himself. He says on the Channel 4 interview mentioned in the comments secition that oral evidence is extremely unreliable, yet in many of his books he relies extensively on oral evidence (or 'interviews' as he often refers to them). Such hypocrisy is unbecoming of someone who wants to be taken seriously as an historian (even if so rarely cited by those with far greater academic credibility). Even Dr Clayton, who in his review gives Catastrophe a questionable five stars, has a list of omissions and criticisms, not the least his observation that Hastings relies on anecdotal evidence. Five stars for a book that has so many 'faults'??? Rhetorically, does this not demonstrate the obvious subjectivity of reviews on Amazon? Furthermore, the list of omissions identified by others actually supports my poor opinion of this book!

What I fail to understand is the purpose or aim of Hastings book. It leaves out so much in terms of events that led to war, because so much context is missing, yet deals significantly with the war itself up to the end of 1914. Once war was declared fighting was inevitable, so...??? But does this book inform or contribute to our understanding of why? I think not. So, what's it's aim, beyond, in my opinion, cashing in on the coming anniversary???

It is very sad - and unfortunate - that populist historians are able to influence those who are otherwise preoccupied to delve deeper in search of whatever truth may be accessible. This distorts opinion and understanding, and gives future generations nothing to learn from. 'Gung-oh!' might be a good read for a schoolboy, but it's not good for informed debate.

By the way, my questions are entirely rhetorical!
Comment Comments (27) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 9, 2014 3:41 PM GMT

Super - Detailing the Cutter Sherbourne: A Guide to Building the Caldercraft Kit
Super - Detailing the Cutter Sherbourne: A Guide to Building the Caldercraft Kit
by George Bandurek
Edition: Paperback

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Super-detailing the cutter Sherbourne, 23 July 2013
The concept for this book was very good. However, the end result disappoints.

First of all, this book has been published by the author (known as vanity publishing). This is never a good starting point as it suggests or implies the book was not considered of a good enough standard for a publisher to take on. Vanity publishing also often means that editorial support, which includes proof-reading, rests on the shoulders of the author who is the last person who should do editing and proof-reading! This book shows clear evidence of not having been carefully proof-read before going into production. It is also not very well written; the author labours points, is often verbose (painfully so at times); and is sometimes indecisive and inconclusive (not very helpful when offering advice to other modellers!).

There is nothing wrong with an author not being an expert on the subject being written about, but this does mean more thorough research into reference sources is necessary. Bandurek limited himself in sourcing references to 'super-detail' his model, but these are by no means comprehensive. They are certainly lacking, and this is evident in some of the interpretations he applies to his model. The author even has the audacity to question the accuracy of one of his sources - the author of whom is or was employed by HMS Victory - because of his knowledge of ships of this period!

A particularly weak part of this book are the photographs. They are too small and are, in most cases, far too soft (not sharp), with shallow depth-of-field, meaning some areas are inevitably out-of-focus. My guess is that the author does not understand how to process photographs for print compared to processing for the Internet (some of the photos in this book can be seen on the author's website).

Anyone following the advice in this book should proceed with caution. For example, the material the author recommends for the sails is not designed to be long-lasting. It is a short-term means to an end for use in the textile industry. At one point the author claims historical accuracy yet on another makes it up as he goes along: the compass rose for example (completely fictional and out-of-scale), or the 'guess-work' applied to arriving at more 'accurate' cannon than those supplied with the kit!

In conclusion this book cannot be recommended. I would strongly advise ship modellers to consult the well-written works by Keith Julier (who builds and reviews kits for Model Boat magazine). Whilst Keith Julier may not have built and reviewed the Sherbourne, his books do provide a wealth of useful hints and tips. Julier writes fluently and coherently. Model makers should also consult the annual Shipwright and the published works of W H Shoulder, Philip Reed, Donald McNarry, etc, etc, to gain more practical advice and guidance on techniques, all of which are supported by thorough research.

Unfortunately this is a missed opportunity and therefore this book cannot be recommended.

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