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Reviews Written by
julian.dawson@arup.com (London, UK)

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The Hammer of Eden
The Hammer of Eden
by Ken Follett
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Ground breaking thriller, 14 Jan. 2002
This review is from: The Hammer of Eden (Hardcover)
I initially had doubts about this thriller, probably to do with my general sceptism about this genre. After all, who really cares about the precise details of an automobile right down to its precise spec. However, Ken Follett soon makes you forget about such quibbles as he takes us on his roller coaster ride. Despite some pretty lurid details, both in its description of murder and sexual encounters, Follett writes with a sensitivity about his characters that makes you believe in them. Although not perhaps as gripping and enthralling as his Lie Down with Lions, it nevertheless keeps you hooked. And you will never look at a seismic vibrator in the same way again...


London
London
by Edward Rutherfurd
Edition: Paperback

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling history comes alive, 20 Dec. 2001
This review is from: London (Paperback)
Edward Rutherfurd's London is a constant source of knowledge. As you turn the pages, gripped by the twists and turns of the lives of the various characters, snippets of information are interleaved which constantly has you saying, 'Now, I didn't know that before'; or 'So, that's why....' Occasionlly the author's style can grate a little, and sometimes the story is too contrived in order to incorporate a key part of London's history. But nevertheless, the book is a constant joy throughout, and encourages you to take a fresh look at England's capital city. If nothing else, it will drum up custom for the Museuem of London, to which the author is clearly indebted.


Stalingrad
Stalingrad
by Antony Beevor
Edition: Paperback

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A history of the brutality of war, 6 Dec. 2001
This review is from: Stalingrad (Paperback)
Antony Beevor's exposition of the battle for Stalingrad reads very much like the broad sweep of a novel. This battle once and for all puts paid to the lie Dulce et Decorum est,which Wilfred Owen and his fellow poets tried to expound to an ignorant public earlier in the century. Beevor's work explains what happens when two totally autocratic societies based upon differing principles meet, and how their is next to no shred of humanity on either side in the treatment of the enemy. There is some horific and moving imagery in the work, particularly in how the children of Stalingrad had to survive. And it is a macabre fact that the battle became a study in the processes of starvation, as the German Sixth Army was slowly strangled.


Dark Sun (Sloan Technology Series)
Dark Sun (Sloan Technology Series)
by Richard Rhodes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.33

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cautionary tale of espionage and physics, 3 Dec. 2001
This book succeeds in being many things to many people. It is a spy novel, as we follow the espionage twists and turns during the Manhattan Project. It is horror story, as chilling as any Hammer movie; we are told just how close the world came close to oblivion, before the Cuban missile crisis brought men to their senses. And it is a scientific exposition, in relative layman's terms, of how the physicists discovered the secret of the thermonuclear. Richard Rhodes' narrative keeps even technophobes hooked. The descriptions of how H-bomb tests exceeded even the anticipated yields are particularly chilling.


To the Last Man: Spring, 1918
To the Last Man: Spring, 1918
by Lyn Macdonald
Edition: Paperback

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid portrayal of the experience of war, 30 Nov. 2001
With her painstaking review of written and oral evidence, Lyn Madcdonald has succeed in bringing home the experience of war in the early part of the 20th Century, and making it live for those fortunate enough never to have been tested by the call to arms.By seeing the western front through the eyes of the ordinary soldier, it puts into perspective the trials and tribulations of the 21st Century. As the last few Great War veterans finally pass away, such a record reminds us of the sacrifices of previous generations, and shows us that the soldiers of the Great War were not simply lambs led to the slaughter, but brave individuals who believed in the cause for which they were fighting. Might I suggest that Lyn Macdonald has honoured the British Tommy of 1914-1918 in much the same way as Stephen Ambrose has done with his painstaking interviews with the veterans of D-Day and its aftermath.


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