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Reviews Written by
Andrew Howell "andyhowell3" (Birmingham, UK)
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John le Carré: The Biography
John le Carré: The Biography
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars If you have enjoyed his book then you will very much appreciate this, 15 Nov. 2016
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A fascinating book and though not official it benefits from a fair amount of cooperation from the man himself. It is a fascinating story this as Le Carré struggles through a strange youth which combined desperation and a fair amount of privilege (through education and so on). You really do get the impression of a man constantly coming to terms with the changing nature of the world in which diplomats and spies work.

If you have enjoyed his book then you will very much appreciate this.


The Naked Shore: Of the North Sea
The Naked Shore: Of the North Sea
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this, one of the most entertaining 'travel' book ..., 15 Nov. 2016
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I really enjoyed this, one of the most entertaining 'travel' book that I have read for a while. I wonder no-one else has thought of this project before? However, what we have here is a collection of stories and pen pictures of some fascinating communities both large and small.

Well worth reading!


Beyond the Beat: Musicians Building Community in Nashville
Beyond the Beat: Musicians Building Community in Nashville
Price: £25.22

4.0 out of 5 stars This is a fascinating book. I guess this was ..., 15 Nov. 2016
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This is a fascinating book. I guess this was originally some kind post graduate dissertation but it is well written and does carefully observe a number of interesting business models and differing roles in this new independent world.

While focussed on Nashville I suspect this means a lot of not only music but creative industries in many other cities. Nashville being Nashville will be ahead of the game and creating its own bespoke support networks. But there is lots for others to think about and to learn from.


Behind the Shades: The 20th Anniversary Edition
Behind the Shades: The 20th Anniversary Edition
Price: £8.96

5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent, wide ranging account of Dylan's career to date, 15 Nov. 2016
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This is an excellent, wide ranging account of Dylan's career to date. Heylin clearly think his is by far the best biography as he often knocks his rivals but that being said this seems pretty comprehensive.

A good read, very balanced and not overtly hero worshipping which is welcome.


Mauviel copper 24cm Saute Pan 3L
Mauviel copper 24cm Saute Pan 3L

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great pan which I use for almost everything, 4 Oct. 2015
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This is a great pan which I use for almost everything. This is made using the thicker copper layer which makes a difference for a saute pan. The cast iron handle works well and for most uses is easily handlable!


Blair Inc.: The Man Behind the Mask
Blair Inc.: The Man Behind the Mask
by Francis Beckett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think this is a very interesting — although pretty depressing — book, 9 Jun. 2015
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I think this is a very interesting — although pretty depressing — book.

I appreciate that the secrecy around Blair makes it very difficult to flesh out detail but don't let that put you off. There is more than enough detail here for the book to be an interesting and informative read. It was fascinating to see just what it is the Blair is flogging to different governments. There is a tendency for a lot of people to think that Blair is becoming history but this book suggests that he model of out sourcing political intelligence might make him even more eventual in the future.

The blurring of lines between all of thee activities, the engagement with wealthy dictators or authoritarian regimes is all here.

Finally, it is a depressing read. I worry that this kind of activity may become for the model for future PMs who find themselves retired at an early age and who want to make some money.


Guitar Makers: The Endurance of Artisanal Values in North America
Guitar Makers: The Endurance of Artisanal Values in North America
Price: £14.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating and Comprensive Look at the Modern World of Artisan Guitar Production in North America, 5 Jan. 2015
This new book will be a must for many of you. I'd not heard of this before but it arrived as a Christmas Present from a relative who saw it in a store and and thought it looked interesting. It certainly was.

This is the story of the development of the new artisan and boutique acoustic guitar world in North America, starting with early pioneers such as Cumpiano and Gurian and moving on to cover today's world. Many of those you would want to see interviewed in a book like this are — here you will find Linda Manzer, Richard Hoover, Jeff Traugott, Grit Laskin, Jean Larrivee, Michael Millard and many more. There are also lengthy pieces with Martin and Gibson which explore have these companies have set out to engage with the new producers.

The story is a fascinating one and Dudley presents a very detailed description of the way in which this new guitar building ecology has developed, from the days when nobody really knew much about what they were doing to today which, she argues, really is a new and golden age of the luthier's art.

This is more though than a straight account of the development of the modern-day artisan guitar world. Dudley is an anthropologist and as such she is interested in what motivated the early pioneers and what continues to drive builders on. She looks at the various guilds and shows that have developed to support the makers and has a look at the different values that underpin these initiatives.

I won't say too much as I want you folks to be as fascinated as I was by it. Because Dudley is an academic the book occasionally has the tone of a PHD that has been built on but to be fair for most of the time this is an easy book to read and digest. On the plus side, the level of analysis and thinking that has gone into this is somewhat greater that we are used to see in, for example, magazines.

Here we learn about what drove these makers into being luthiers. We learn about the different business factors that have developed along the way. For example, we see the world developing as those luthiers who got a lot of attention found that their order books were stretching into years; as a result the second hand market in their products raced ahead and these, genuinely non profit orientated artisans, were forced to revise their pricing to cope with second hand demand — hence the current pricing for some of the world's most prominent makers.

While acknowledging the existence of this new golden age Dudley is not complacent in automatically assuming it will continue. Towards the end of the book she looks at some of the real challenges facing the industry and reflects the concerns of some that the field is built on baby boomers building and selling to other rich baby boomers — some people buy Harley Davidson's when they reach a certain age and others buy guitars! Will there be a next generation.

A fascinating book and well worth recommending. It is not a cheap hardback but it is available on Kindle. This is a purely text book and as such there are a few graphs in it but no real colour photos; this will work fine on a kindle.


The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Thoughtful., 15 July 2014
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A marvellous book. At the end of the 19th century there was a very common view that we would never see a major war again. MacMillan asks not why war broke out but why peace failed and this approach, I think, is a nice way of looking at the events that shaped the war. The book is constructed around a series of in-depth essays that look at events in each of the nations who played a role in the war.

This is not a book that deals with the conflict itself. But it is one that strikes me as being very important when considering contemporary issues, such as the Ukraine/Russia disputes and tensions.


City as Interface: How New Media Are Changing the City (Reflect Book 10)
City as Interface: How New Media Are Changing the City (Reflect Book 10)
Price: £14.33

4.0 out of 5 stars The Dilemmas surrounding virtual places and virtual spaces are not that new or not that different ..., 15 July 2014
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This is a very thoughtful book. What de Waal has done is put the 'digital' spaces of cities into a proper context and considers the development of digital and new media identities alongside much conventional thinking about planning and city development.

I'd certainly not thought of this before but space is space and de Waal shows that many of the issues faced by us ion considering digital space are simply not new. The dilemmas of public space and the values that shape it remain in the digital sphere.

Recommended reading for anyone who thinks about space and place.


No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State
Price: £5.49

4.0 out of 5 stars ... is no way that I would call this a perfect book but it is very enlightening, 15 July 2014
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There is no way that I would call this a perfect book but it is very enlightening. Even if you have followed the Snowden case closely it is very useful to have the account laid out like this. Sometimes the author's style can grate a little — he refers to a past book on the subject not just as as book but as a "bestseller" — he is not a man to undersell!

It does sometimes feel like a screenplay waiting to be produced but aside from the style (possibly the ego) of the writer this is well worth reading.

The implications of such mass surveillance are worth thinking about properly and this book lays bare the scope of US ambition. It also is quite frightening in the way it documents how the US administration has lied about surveillance when specifically asked by those authorities to whom it is supposed to be accountable!


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