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Tim Gutteridge (Cadiz, Spain)
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Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats: The Ultimate Diet
Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats: The Ultimate Diet
by Kymythy Schultze
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very superficial, 23 May 2012
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This is a very disappointing book - once you have cut out the two introductions (!!) and the chapter of "testimony" at the end, you're not left with much.

The text is heavy on sweeping assertions about "building a prey animal" for your dog to eat, but very light on practical advice. The author stresses the carnivorous nature of the dog's digestive system, but ignores the fact that, beahviourally, dogs are omnivorous, opportunistic scavengers, and that this is the basis of their successful cohabitation with humans.

In practical terms, this means they can eat a wide range of foodstuffs (including raw meaty bones and even 'forbidden' raw chicken bones) but that they can also handle cereal-based foods too. The challenge is to avoid those items that disagree with the dog's digestive system or are bad for the dog's health in the long term, and to ensure that the combination of foods the dog eats provide a balanced diet both from day to day and over the longer period. Unfortunately, this book won't do much to help you achieve that aim.


Maths Curse
Maths Curse
by Jon Scieszka
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging maths, 22 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Maths Curse (Hardcover)
I home educate my kids. My son (8) found this book really appealing, and it works on lots of levels. The first time, he just picked it off our shelf and we talked our way through it, solving the problems as we went. (I did most of the actual calculation, but it was a great introduction to multiplication, division, fractions, etc.) Since then he's worked through it a couple of times on his own, using a variety of resources to solve the problems: his own maths knowledge, my knowledge, paper and pen, a calculator and the internet.

This is an excellent book for getting kids to engage with maths (as opposed to just working through pages of 'problems' that someone else has given to them). It also has great illustrations, and plenty of jokes to keep you going..


Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire (4-Disc Set) [DVD]
Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire (4-Disc Set) [DVD]

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars History for kids, 9 Mar. 2010
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The obvious challenge when making a TV programme about history is how to deal with the lack of video footage. The History Channel solution on this DVD set is to have lots of reenactments with voiceover, interspersed with a few talking heads. I don't have a problem with that in itself. In fact, it's a great way of making history accessible to kids. But I do object to the simple narrative approach which presents any given topic (e.g., the Slave Revolt) as just a series of events which can be uncontroversially pieced together from the contemporary evidence. The talking heads don't engage each other in a debate but simply fill in the spaces in the narrative.

The result is to strip history of the controversies which make it so fascinating, and to obscure the difficult task of historians in reconstructing what happened and then analysing it. Any difficult issues are either glossed over or treated as unproblematic. For example, of slaves in the Roman world, we are glibly told that the Romans "knew that they were human but regarded them as if they were just tools". A generalisation which doesn't shed much light on a society in which slaves filled a vast number of roles (agricultural labourers, domestic servants, tutors, advisors), in which freed slaves could rise to positions of wealth and power, and where the routes into slavery were extremely varied.

I would say this is fine for an inquisitive 8 year old, or for a slightly older child who isn't particularly interested in history and needs some eye candy to keep them going. But don't buy it if you are an adult with any kind of genuine interest in history.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2010 2:40 PM BST


Francesco's Italy: Top to Toe [DVD]
Francesco's Italy: Top to Toe [DVD]
Dvd ~ Francesco Da Mosto
Price: £7.00

21 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cliches galore, 19 Dec. 2009
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This was very disappointing. The commentary is little more than a string of cliches ("When you drive across Sicily, you are travelling back in time."), the camerawork is frankly mediocre and already looks as if it was filmed in the 1990s, Francesco's presentation style is smugly self-satisfied (full of irritating references to "we Italians"), while his inability to create any chemistry with his interviewees is at times toe-curlingly awkward.

Although this is a road trip through modern Italy, watching it would you give you no idea that this is a country experiencing a deep crisis, where the major political force across much of the north is the deeply racist Northern League, in alliance with Silvio Berlusconi (no comment needed) and held in check (yes, that is the right word!) by the former-fascist Gianfranco Fini. I don't expect political reportage from a series like this, but when the gap between the reality and the fantasy is this wide, then you do wonder what the point is.

If you are interested in the architectural and artistic wonders of Italian history, then Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour is far more informative.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2012 11:02 AM BST


Beastly Fury: The Strange Birth Of British Football
Beastly Fury: The Strange Birth Of British Football
by Richard Sanders
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A touch of class, 9 Aug. 2009
Beastly Fury tells the story of how British football gradually emerged over the course of the 19th century, the result of the coming together (and subsequent separation) of working, middle and upper class forms of football. In telling this story, Sanders also gives an account of the changing class relations of the industrialising Britain of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and in particular of the strength of extreme snobbery and social prejudice which characterised these relations. A small but telling example of this was the fact that any professionals who were reluctantly selected for early England teams were obliged to wear different shirts from their amateur teammates.

So much football writing merely recycles the same old anecdotes and received wisdom about the roots of the game. By contrast, this book is based on original research, and it shows. Just one of many gems is the story of a game, organised at a time when different clubs still played by different rules and when the rugby-football split was still embryonic. Some footballers from Sheffield (who played a version close to the modern form of the game) were invited to join a Yorkshire team to play against Lancashire in 1870. Infuriated by their opponents' habit of tackling them, one of the Sheffield-based players "grabbed the ball by the lace and hammered his opponent about the head with it". As Sanders drily comments, "Sheffield footballers were not invited again." This anecdote neatly encapsulates the fact that the modern division between rugby and football was one which took a long time to emerge and was in no way inevitable or natural.

The book takes the story through to the emergence of professional football in the late 19th century, and also includes a fascinating chapter on women's football in late-Victorian Britain.


Kolay USB SD Card Reader for SD/SDHC Card/MicroSD SDHC/SD Adapter Card
Kolay USB SD Card Reader for SD/SDHC Card/MicroSD SDHC/SD Adapter Card

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful accessory, 5 Aug. 2009
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A great, cheap way of transferring photos from your camera to your computer without having to connect the camera itself (and run down the battery).


GEM Camera Case for Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS85, DMC-TZ6, DMC-TZ7, DMC-ZS1, DMC-ZS3
GEM Camera Case for Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS85, DMC-TZ6, DMC-TZ7, DMC-ZS1, DMC-ZS3

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too big!!, 23 July 2009
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I don't understand why this is sold as being appropriate for the TZ7 (or for any other similar-sized camera). It is quite simply way too big - about 50% larger than it needs to be.


Can You Catch a Mermaid?
Can You Catch a Mermaid?
by Jane Ray
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect seaside reading, 16 Nov. 2008
My kids (a boy and a girl, now aged 6 and 5) love this book. The beautiful illustrations and magical text come together to create a really wonderful, atmospheric story. If you ever go on holiday to the West Coast of Scotland, take this book with you. And if you don't go, read the book and it will take you there anyway.


If a Pirate I Must Be...: The True Story of Bartholomew Roberts - King of the Caribbean
If a Pirate I Must Be...: The True Story of Bartholomew Roberts - King of the Caribbean
by Richard Sanders
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swashbucklingly good, 21 Mar. 2007
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This book is a great example of how narrative history can be used not just to tell stories about the past but also to illuminate the world in which these events unfolded.

The book recounts the story of Bartholomew Roberts, a pirate captain in the early 18th century, who operated in the Caribbean, up the Atlantic coast to Newfoundland and down to Brazil, and off the west coast of Africa. Sanders draws on a wide range of primary and secondary sources to reconstruct the details of Roberts' career and life on board the ships he captained, and to explore what motivated Roberts and his fellow pirates.

The retelling of Roberts' story also provides a narrative framework for the reconstruction of the world in which the pirates existed. Just a few of the topics that Sanders touches on are the slave trade, the appalling conditions in both the merchant navy and the Royal Navy, and the early British colonies in the Caribbean.

Another thing I really liked about this book was the way it set me thinking about its underlying themes. Perhaps the most important of these is freedom, or the lack of it. In addition to African slaves, there were also both merchant and Royal Navy seamen who had been pressed into service, tricked into signing lengthy contracts or who were simply suffering under a particularly authoritarian captain. And the pirate crews included not just those who had chosen to become pirates (usually in reaction to such abuses), but also included sailors who had been forced to join after their ships had been captured, as well as significant numbers of slaves. Indeed, Roberts himself was initially just such a 'forced man'.

A related theme is that of loyalty. When a pirate ship confronted a merchant ship, many of the merchant ship's crew might see the pirates as liberators (and many used the pirates' appearance as an opportunity to gain revenge on abusive officers). Similarly, when a pirate ship faced a Royal Navy vessel, there were usually a significant number of forced men in the pirate crew who viewed this as a chance to escape from piracy back into mainstream life.

In short, this is popular history at its very best. It is superbly written with a tight narrative structure, tells a fascinating story, and also tackles a whole range of topics without ever insulting the reader's intelligence by dumbing down.


Big Spanish Dictionary: Spanish-English - Ingles-Espanol
Big Spanish Dictionary: Spanish-English - Ingles-Espanol

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the bunch, 9 Feb. 2006
I work as a translator between Spanish and English and use this regularly, together with its competitors from Oxford and Collins. I am therefore constantly checking it both for whether items are given at all and, if so, whether the translations they give are accurate and work in context.

There is absolutely no question that, at least for serious language users, Harrap is considerably better than its competitors in all areas. Not because the Oxford and Collins dictionaries aren't good - they are both excellent - but neither is a patch on this one.

If you need a good single-volume Spanish-English dictionary then this is the one to go for.


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