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F Gibb

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England is not the United Kingdom.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-19

A good whistle-stop tour of WW2 spoilt by some sloppy editing / writing. In particular, his repeated use of the world England to mean the United Kingdom (also, Holland instead of the Netherlands). For a historian to make that error is, in my view, unforgivable.

Brilliant!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-02-19

Brilliant, thought provoking, and easy to follow.
Just right!
very well narrated too.
I would highly recommend.

Opinion Piece masquerading as Textbook

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-12-18

This is a well presented, but completely one sided economic viewpoint. It works hard to dismiss all government interventions and, instead advocates a somewhat cold hearted conservative economic policy as the only way to proceed.

That would be fine if the book was presented as an argument for hands-off economics. But it's not. It is presented as a textbook introduction to the field. As such it should present a balanced viewpoint- which sadly it fails to do.

12 people found this helpful

Even the Dogs cover art

Hopeless Poetry

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-08-18

This is the poetry of those without hope. Bleak, stark, expecting nothing other than to manage the pain of life for a little longer, and looking no further forward than the next bit of now.
It has captured the hopelessness of addiction with such a quiet brutality that I have used it as my 'drugs talk' for my 15yr old son. We listened to it together during our car time.
I loved 'When People Speak of...,' and I loved this.

Wonderful narration too.


A whimsical look at America

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-07-18

The only problem with this book was that I was expecting a focus on Donald Trump, and how he has altered America. All that was there, but it felt like a secondary story. Most of the passages were about America and American politics as a whole, with at least as much emphasis on the Barack Obama presidency as on DT. Having said that, it was a well written and presented tale that does show the enormous divide between American attitudes and values, and ours in the UK.
I'd recommend it, but with a slightly different initial expectation.

Grand Unification Story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

This is an excellent book. It doesn't shy away from the hardest concepts of the quantum world, and it pulls everything together to present the coming together of all the strands of small particle physics into a group of theories that make sense to those in the field.

It is a book that should come with a warning, however...
"Warning: Unfathomable to mortals"

Personally, it lost me at the first mention of Gauge Symmetry. Which was at about page six!! (so I looked up Wickipedia for a bit of an explanation. This is how the Wickipedia page starts... "In physics, a gauge theory is a type of field theory in which the Lagrangian is invariant under certain Lie groups of local transformations..."!!!!)
Having said that, although I didn't understand it all. I did get many of the broad concepts, and it has cracked open some of these concepts to allow me to have another shot at them the next time I come across the ideas.
As well as that, it is a fascinating story of the people behind the ideas, and for that it is worth reading too.
It is well read by a person who clearly knows and loves his subject.

In summary, I would recommend it, despite its Lagrangian being invariant under certain Lie groups of local transformations!

The Casual Arrogance of an Englishman Abroad

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-01-17

It's not quite xenophobia, bigotry or racism, but there is a definite air of superiority that permeates this book.I had expected an exploration and celebration of the bizarre and hard-to-explain places that Dom Joly chose to visit, but instead we were given a list of complaints that were borderline snobbery, and didn't allow us to savour the experience.
I love the books of Jon Ronson. They embrace the weird and challenging situations that he discovers, and they absolutely revel in them. This book didn't do that at all. I always felt like I was a tourist, and always detached from the place.
I gave it two rather than one star because the tales are mildly interesting (although, I must say I was also a little underwhelmed by the choice of destinations).

Sorry Dom.

More Manifesto than History

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-16

I gave it four stars because I quite liked the things that he was saying, and I agreed with his view of the way the Sapiens species has inflicted itself on the world. But if you are expecting a 'proper' history book- devoid of opinion, and trying to tell things as they happened, but without bias, then this is definitely not for you.
It's an editorial rather than a report.

68 people found this helpful

Honk if You're Horny!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-05-16

Those stickers you see on the back of cars. "Honk if You're Horny"; "My Other Car's a Porsche"; "0-60, Eventually". They're funny the first time you see them, by the fourth time they're merely amusing. By the 20th time they're really, really annoying!
And so it was with this book. When I first came across the premise of this novel I thought it was astounding. I was really intrigued- totally infatuated with the idea. But the idea got played over and over again. By the end of the book I was frustrated and not a little angry with it.

The narrator didn't help. He pushed the idea into our faces by delivering everything to do with it with a different level of gravitas to the rest of the story. It was a little like that uncle, who only knows one or two funny stories, and keeps trying over and again to make us laugh at them.

This would have made an excellent short story. Introduce the idea; explore it a bit, then get out. As a novel it is stretched too far.

1 person found this helpful

The Handmaid's Tale cover art

Expertly written dystopian fantasy... Or is it?

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-06-15

It IS expertly written. Beautifully crafted, as if each word has been considered carefully, then checked for size, sound, cadence, and context, before being painstakingly positioned onto the page. Yet it has a lightness and freshness that such elegantly written pieces often lack. It has passages as lush and luxuriant as a bath full of feathers; and others that cut into you like a dagger.It truly is a masterpiece.
And it IS dystopian. My God it's dystopian! It is hard to digest some of the images that the book conjures, such is the disgust, revulsion, empathy, pathos, helplessness and complete hopelessness that it instills. The amazing storytelling of Margaret Atwood, make you feel that you are there. This book will be alive in my consciousness for as long as I live. I have been rocked to the core by it.

So why the "Or is it?"?

Well, without giving the game away, I felt as if I was being transported to a caricature of the 'now' world of ISIS/IS, or the extremes of Taliban Afghanistan. This did feel like dystopian fantasy, but with the caveat that it is a dystopia that is not far off what is happening to some people in our world now. That it captures our world of the 21st century, when it was written in 1985 shows the genius that Margaret Atwood is.

Brilliantly read too!

29 people found this helpful