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Anatomy of a Catastrophe - Europe Goes to War 1914 (Max Hastings)

Advantages: Broad scope, engaging narrative, fascinating military history
Disadvantages: Diplomatic history not so assured, bias in focus towards Western front

As the year 2014 begins we find ourselves approaching the centenary one of the most dramatic and terrible years in world history. The UK government has put aside funding for commemoration of the First World War (1914-18) and has insisted that this will be ...

MikeOCarroll 14.01.2014 · Read full review
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Review of Catastrophe Europe Goes to War 1914 - Max Hastings

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Everybody needs good neighbours - and sometimes you're lucky

Advantages: Interesting facet of our social history
Disadvantages: None, really

As Emily Cockayne emphasises at the beginning of the first chapter of this book, almost everyone has a neighbour; if you have a neighbour, you are one yourself; and neighbours can either enrich or ruin our lives. The book In this engaging and thor ...

JOHNV 20.05.2013 · Read full review
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Review of Cheek by Jowl A History of Neighbours - Emily Cockayne

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She became an MP - even with that hair, Lady Astor

Advantages: Well-written, extremely interesting, and the author comes across as genuinely likeable
Disadvantages: None

Who could resist a title like that? And is this a former librarian or someone like that? The answer is no. The book So why the title? Shirley Catlin, as she was born in 1930, tells us in the early pages of this memoir that during her childhood her ...

JOHNV 25.11.2009 · Read full review
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Review of Climbing the Bookshelves: The Autobiography of Shirley Williams - Shirley Williams

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A woman who likes a challenge

Advantages: Brilliant title, a very interesting memoir of a life in politics
Disadvantages: She's a Liberal Democrat!; there are places I would have liked to know more

Now in her 80s, a British politician looks back over her long political career. Shirley Williams is perhaps most famous for being one of the Gang of Four, a group of MPs who broke away from the Labour Party in 1981 to found the Social Democratic Party ...

elkiedee 24.06.2010 · Read full review
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Review of Climbing the Bookshelves: The Autobiography of Shirley Williams - Shirley Williams

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How history repeats

Advantages: Very readable account of the episodes it covers
Disadvantages: No illustrations, timeline or index, etc. - so limited as work of reference

Worst years You’ve all heard of the horrible histories. As a variation on the theme, here is a history, and quite a serious one at that, of some of the horrible years. The book As Wilson rightly points out, history is generally written by ...

JOHNV 03.04.2012 · Read full review
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Review of Calamities and Catastrophes: the Ten Absolutely Worst Years in History - Derek Wilson

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