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Profile for Michael T. Isaac > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Michael T. Isaac "Mike" (London UK)
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An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of World War I
An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of World War I
by Jonathan North
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.94

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity, 2 Feb. 2012
I suspect the link material and maps must come from Jeremy Black, who earns the stars. I'd give the illustrations 1 or 1 1/2 stars. The colours are drab, the rank badges are given for British and French forces only, so far as I can see, and the descriptions of ranks other than General Staff are sparse. The German section is the least weak of the book, giving useful information on the various kingdoms (Bavaria, etc) in the Reich. Overall, not worth buying at full price. OK if at a big discount. Disappointing and a missed opportunity.


Arvo Part - Spiegel im Spiegel
Arvo Part - Spiegel im Spiegel
Price: £5.99

131 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart rending Baltic minimalism, 21 Aug. 2011
The very simplest forces and a deceptively simple melodic thread with an unmistakable style. Anyone wanting the Spiegel im Spiegel title track has three rewards, the piece for violin & piano, viola & piano and cello & piano. Part explores the essential character of the instruments in the most poignant and moving way. For me, the Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinushka (piano solo) was the reason I bought the disk - again, the deceptive, simple, melodic line. Fur Alina (piano solo) is a small gem, composed earlier in Part's career, with the three part Mozart-Adagio for violin, cello and piano completing the disc. The playing is exemplary and too heart-rending for me listen to the disc all the way through on the first hearing. Unequivocally recommended!


Law and Peace: The BabyBarista Files (Baby Barista Files 2)
Law and Peace: The BabyBarista Files (Baby Barista Files 2)
by Tim Kevan
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner!, 10 May 2011
Having greatly enjoyed the first part of BabyBarista's adventures in Law & Disorder, I was very pleased when this second instalment arrived. It achieves what many sequels don't - more entertaining than the first. This is one to read at one sitting, with characters that are often monstrous but with a basis in recognisable types - a kind of Theophrastus of the Bar. Once or twice the anecdotes have little to do with the plot, usually the digressions into provincial courts, but they're too good to leave out. I'm not sure how plausible the trained dog is - so implausible, perhaps, that you couldn't make it up! But good stuff with a good, resolving ending, leaving the door open for more - which I eagerly await.


Douglas Haig and the First World War (Cambridge Military Histories)
Douglas Haig and the First World War (Cambridge Military Histories)
by J. P. Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £31.49

19 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to over-praise, 20 Jan. 2009
This stands out among the numerous Haig biographies, from the early uncritical ones, through the 'Butcher' and 'Donkey' period, the Terraine revisionists and the more academic modern versions. The author is an experienced lecturer at it shows, almost entirley in a good way. Didacticism is worn lightly and there is some repetitious language. But the flow of the narrative is superb. The use of sub-headings is common in text books, much less so in biographies. In this case, sometimes couched in question form, they make the text come alive. The assessments are well-balanced. If a biography can ever be said to be definitive, this one is, especially for this generation. The only Haig biography you will need, unless you're an enthusiast. Maps excellent generally. Photos so-so. But a masterpiece.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2009 11:48 PM BST


Shots from the Front: The British Soldier 1914-18
Shots from the Front: The British Soldier 1914-18
by Richard Holmes
Edition: Hardcover

85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Latest and best of his WW1 series, 10 Nov. 2008
Richard Holmes is well known as a military historian who can not only make the details of military campaigns intelligible, but can recognise the human stories beneath. There is little in terms of campaign detail. There is not that much that is especially original, either. But these are trivial matters compared with the book's place as in my opinion one of the best annotated photo albums about WW1. Enormous knowledge is worn lightly; the choice of photos is without exception excellent, with most them having appeared rarely if at all before. The greatest strength is that Holmes teaches us (without seeming to do so) how to read photos of WW1 and probably all conflicts, drawing us into the detail of the picture with warmth and humanity. Highly recommended even at full price.


THE MANDE VARIATIONS
THE MANDE VARIATIONS
Price: £15.31

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect virtuosity, 4 Mar. 2008
This review is from: THE MANDE VARIATIONS (Audio CD)
I have come late to this kind of West African instrumental music. The Mande Variations is a masterpiece and highly accessible. Helped by a beautiful recording, this is an ideal entry to Diabate's music and I suspect that once sampled the listener will be compelled to seek more. I know I have!


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