Review: Everest 1953, Mick Conefrey

Rating: 4 out of 5

The story of the ascent of Everest gripped my interest in several ways – firstly, the narrative here begins more than two year before the event and comes in slowly, describing what had to be done before the ’53 expedition could happen; secondly, and more importantly, the book highlighted the importance of teamwork in challenging environments. I was also unaware of the ascent’s Coronation Day significance, but when it was revealed I was speechless. That moment, whether in London or anywhere in the Commonwealth, must have been spectacular… Continue reading “Review: Everest 1953, Mick Conefrey”

Review: The Christmas Hirelings, Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Rating: 2 out of 5

*Spoilers…*

I really did not enjoy this work. Not only was it predictable from about page 10, but it also seems to encourage a creepy theme whereby children are hired out for money (which admittedly was not done but the reader only learns about this in the very end of the book). Admittedly, this was written a good six score years ago, but I would have been more careful selecting the book meant to be representing the Christmas theme for 2018 (for Audible). Continue reading “Review: The Christmas Hirelings, Mary Elizabeth Braddon”

Review: Strategy, Lawrence Freedman

Rating: 3 out of 5

This is so broad… The author talks about military, political, and economic strategy, with the one guiding principle across all of these being that as soon as someone thinks they’ve come up with the next “last” strategy, it is clear they’ve managed to think up something applicable only in one very specific general setting. The repetition of this scheme across all the people the author mentions gets tedious. Towards the end, however, this is broken up more and more frequently by actually interesting examples (but the book itself starts veering towards what Kahneman has already written). Continue reading “Review: Strategy, Lawrence Freedman”

Review: Genghis Khan, Jack Weatherford

Rating: 5 out of 5

I really enjoyed this, mostly due to Mr Weatherford’s perspective in putting himself in the shoes of the people he is describing. Too many historians never give credence to the actual difficulties which would have been in the minds of the people they are describing due to their distance from what they are describing. The author’s description of why the visit to the Khan’s original homeland was helpful is, in that way, an eye-opener and one which should be emulated. Continue reading “Review: Genghis Khan, Jack Weatherford”

Review: Offa and the Mercian Wars, Chris Peers

Rating: 2 out of 5

This is in general an alright book, but entirely misleading in its title or content.¬†Offa features in the introduction and then skips back in for about ten-twenty pages in the middle of the book, after which the author goes back to describing a general history of Mercia — more on this below. The book also comes across not knowing where it wants to lie on the scholarly spectrum with plenty of references to academic work and minimal evaluation of these.

Continue reading “Review: Offa and the Mercian Wars, Chris Peers”

Review: Common Sense, Thomas Paine

Rating: 4 out of 5

This work presents a compelling case for independence as opposed to other methods of government and treats this in the local American context of the 1770’s. In some ways a thorough summation of this treatise is “we should because we can” which, though less elegant, essentially captures the spirit of the author while his economic claims often sound silly (though one must keep in mind that economic theories in the 18th century were considerably more primitive than now). Continue reading “Review: Common Sense, Thomas Paine”

Review: Sekigahara (2017)

It was with pleasure I noted during the opening scenes of this film that it is based on a book by Ryotaro Shiba, a true favourite of mine amongst writers. It was even better, therefore, that the movie jumped to a scene where the author narrated a story about the meeting of Ishida Mitsunari and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. These original scenes piqued my interest and turned this into a thrilling story which continued in a similar way. Continue reading “Review: Sekigahara (2017)”

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