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Wayne Cooper "Canoneer" (North Canada)
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Para: Inside the Parachute Regiment
Para: Inside the Parachute Regiment
by Claire Gillman
Edition: Hardcover
8 used & new from CDN$ 23.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More like a sales brochure than a book......YUCHK!, May 19 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 10 X 7 3/4 having 192 pages mostly filled with glossy photos.
ALMOST Every aspect of this book is impressive from it's dimensions to the high quality glossy paper it is made of, except the written contents.
The advertising blurb says the authors had unprecedented access to the Para Regiment over an 18 month period and had photos of an exciting and candid nature.
They might well have taken 1 1/2 years to produce this book but it certainly doesn't show.
There is absolutely NOTHING candid about any of the photos...in fact they look as if the regiment themselves took and edited them.
Nothing out of place and in most pictures looking almost as if they were posed.
As for the information contained within the pages of the book.....one word would be appropriate.....INDUSTRIAL.
There is NOTHING personal about the book or the soldiers or the events discussed.
Everything is dealt with in a very cold and clinical way, more like a corporate advertising brochure than a retail book.
Imaging buying a movie entitled "Slaughter In the Jungle" and finding instead one called "Barbie playhouse assembly instructions".
That's how disappointed I was.
If you are thinking of joining the Para Regiment perhaps this MIGHT be useful to you but if you want a good read ABOUT the Paras.....FORGET IT!
Not recommended except as a how-not-to book.
BORING!!!

Secret Letters from the Railway: The Remarkable Record of a Japanese POW
Secret Letters from the Railway: The Remarkable Record of a Japanese POW
by Charles R. Bond
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 43.90
14 used & new from CDN$ 2.53

5.0 out of 5 stars A revealing and incredibly touching account of 3 years in a Japanese POW camp in Burma., May 19 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 184 pages and 16 photo pages.
This is a completely charming and interesting account of the author's 3 year imprisonment near the now infamous River Kwai building yet another bridge across the river.
Through some 180 letters he wrote to his wife ( but was unable to send at the time ) the author guides us through the daily life of a prisoner of war in the hands of the Japanese.
Usually sick with one or more of the many tropical diseases, thousands of prisoners died either of disease or overwork.
The food was scant and of poor quality and although they were made available by the Red Cross, parcels from Great Britain hardly ever were issued to the prisoners.
These letters, although almost embarrassing to read in their poignant expressions of love, are nonetheless a vivid account of life as a working prisoner of war in Burma.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough and although I usually don't enjoy accounts written in their original diary form, in this case it is completely appropriate and reveals the love of his wife that in many cases kept him going through the life in a POW camp.
VERY highly recommended.

GODFATHER OF NIGHT: MY LIFE IN AMERICA'S HIDDEN GREEK MAFIA
GODFATHER OF NIGHT: MY LIFE IN AMERICA'S HIDDEN GREEK MAFIA
8 used & new from CDN$ 0.18

1.0 out of 5 stars Ever heard of a Greek named Cunningham??, May 19 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 256 pages and 8 photo pages.
8 pages of pictures of him....think we may have an ego issue?
The word "Mafia" on the front cover is no accident....it's called a 'hook'...there to grab your interest and make you believe it's a book about the Mafia....it ISN'T!
Introducing Kevin CUNNINGHAM...yeah...CUNNINGHAM...who 'transforms' himself into Kevin Pappas...the well ( unknown ) Greek Mafia character.
OK...so on his deathbed your dad tells you he's NOT REALLY your father at all.....SURE....sounds like something I'd say to my son on my deathbed.
And the BS continues on throughout the book.
He's the smartest, first one to do this, youngest one to have this...BLAH BLAH BLAH!!
The few issues I checked on the internet such as some names he dropped as friends DON'T EXIST....or at least not on the net.
I'm sure there's a large Greek Mafia somewhere...maybe even Florida, but I'm equally sure Kevin Cunningham isn't a part of it.
This whole book is just a wannabee story by yet another minor poseur.
Save your money and go buy a real book about real mobsters and leave Kevin to his dreams.
Let's face it....if your claim to fame is having your picture taken with Tony Soprano..a FAKE Hollywood Gangster as opposed to a genuine one.....THAT SAYS IT ALL.
NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL.

Escape From Baghdad: First Time was for the Money, This Time It's Personal
Escape From Baghdad: First Time was for the Money, This Time It's Personal
by James Ashcroft
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 30.34
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a page-turner., May 19 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 301 pages and 16 photo pages.
I was somewhat amused by the 16 pages of photos, mostly of fellow soldiers and without ANY exceptions, ALL their faces are blurred out....EVEN THE AUTHOR'S!
This is typical, BUT at least near the top of the heap of the newer group of SAS.Commando/ Special forces or other 'personal' accounts of war in the Middle East.
Like most of them it is not about a single theatre of war or a specific battle but rather the personal and professional account of a single event in this soldier's career.
In this respect it is decidedly exciting.
Written in a down-the-barrel style guaranteed to get your heart pumping, this account of the author's rescue of an old comrade and his family from the war-ravaged city of Baghdad is chock full of blazing guns and running battles with almost everyone you can imagine.
Including the witnessing of a female suicide bomber this book certainly fills the bill if military action is what you crave.
Although the acronyms and weapon names become a little tired from use the book nonetheless has a feel of real events as told by a real soldier.
There's even a little bit of sex ( which doesn't quite happen ) and one wonders how much is macho-wish and how much is real. In any case it would be interesting to find out how long his marriage lasts.
I usually prefer the personal military stories that encompass a whole career, or a single campaign and find these single event books tend to be TOO detailed and too sparse overall....this one I must confess, is near the top of that type of book.
Well written and engrossing despite it's relatively short time span I was glued to the book to the very end.
Highly recommended to military action buffs.

Submarine "Torbay"
Submarine "Torbay"
by Paul Chapman
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 20.86

3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting story somewhat ruined by the author's bland style., May 19 2013
This review is from: Submarine "Torbay" (Hardcover)
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 8 3/4 X 5 3/4 having 187 pages and 8 photo pages.
The dust jacket of this book promises to clear up the controversy regarding the shooting of unarmed German sailors in the water after the British submarine Torbay had sunk their ship.
In this respect at least, the author has fallen short and ultimately says little more than 'he was probably justified' or 'that's the way things happen during wartime'.
Aside from that issue the book covers the wartime patrols of Torbay quite well,,,and so he should, the author was second in command for those war patrols.
All the wartime patrols are covered and could make for very exciting reading and although the events recorded are certainly exciting unfortunately the author's writing style is less so.
Independent reading on my part has revealed a side of the commander's personality only alluded to by Mr. Chapman and while personality quirks and strong-willed commanders will always be around it becomes a little obvious that the author tends to gloss over his commander's shortcomings and focus' completely on his submarine achievements.
All in all this is a short and exciting account of the wartime patrols of Torbay and it's controversial commander which, unfortunately COULD have been better with the help of a professional writer.
Even so I still recommend it highly to all submarine enthusiasts.

Selkirk's Island
Selkirk's Island
by Diana Souhami
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars The REAL Robinson Crusoe's story., May 19 2013
This review is from: Selkirk's Island (Hardcover)
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 8 3/4 X 5 3/4 having 246 pages and a few modern photos of the island.
I found this book very informative about the events that led up to Selkirk's 4 1/2 year stay on the island.
Enough of his childhood and upbringing are discussed to give us an idea of what drove him to the sea and ultimately to find himself the original 'Robinson Crusoe'.
His time on the island and the truth about many situations he encountered there are accurately evaluated including the differences between what happened to him and Defoe's later fictionalized account of it as Robinson Crusoe.
Private devils tortured him after his return and attempts to reconcile with his family and once again rejoin them in Scotland proved fruitless, his dysfunctional personality and drinking habits resulting in endless conflicts.
Even after his death there was controversy as his 'wives' fought legal battles over his estate.
All in all the author's story seems to be an accurate, albeit an unflattering look at the life and escapades of what could have been just an ordinary man.
Recommended to all who search for the truth behind Robinson Crusoe.

Subsmash: The Mysterious Disappearance of Hm Submarine Affray
Subsmash: The Mysterious Disappearance of Hm Submarine Affray
by Alan Gallop
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 42.77
17 used & new from CDN$ 21.81

2.0 out of 5 stars 56 years later and the author doesn't even TRY to speculate on the cause., May 9 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 206 pages and 16 photo pages.
The author presents the facts in an elegant and understandable way....and then , more or less, leaves us high and dry!
The subtitle of this book should be "The FANTASTIC story that could have been".
Although at the end of the book he solicits the opinions of several ex submariners even THEY seem to be reluctant to offer anything more than what DIDN'T happen, rather than speculating on what DID happen.
I had hoped that some 56 years after the fact ( at the time of writing ) the author would have had access to documents released by the government and would be able to enlighten us as to the real cause of the sinking of Affray but in this area he seems to be lacking ANY ambition at all.
All in all I was disappointed with this book.
60 years after the fact IF someone were going to invest the time and effort to rekindle the Affray sinking one would hope that it would be done ONLY if FRESH and NEW information was to be presented that would at least ATTEMPT to clear up what was the cause.
I personally think I know what the CORRECT sequence of events were that led to the sinking and if I am able to access the necessary documents I might write of it some day.
This book could have been so much more...given a little more effort and imagination by the author but sadly it's nothing more than a rehash of the same information available in 1951 and even sadder the author doesn't seem tot have the gumption or the imagination to come up with a REALISTIC possible sequence of events that led to the tragic death of 75 submariners.
LIGHTLY recommended ONLY AS A STARTING POINT.

CANOPY OF WAR.
CANOPY OF WAR.
by Bryan. Perrett
Edition: Hardcover
7 used & new from CDN$ 16.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Once again Brian Perrett does a splended job!, May 9 2013
This review is from: CANOPY OF WAR. (Hardcover)
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 10 X 7 1/2 having 208 pages and MANY photos scattered throughout this heavy, high quality book.
As always Mr. Perrett has done his homework and presents us here with a splendid volume of the history of jungle warfare ( albeit from the British viewpoint ).
Although starting in 9 BC Mr. Perrett chooses to deal MOSTLY with twentieth century British-involved jungle warfare which naturally is mostly centered in southeast Asia during the second world war.
As this is the main thrust of the book it is very well done and functionally it will most likely be the main interest of readers of Mr. Perrett.
He moves on eventually to the French/British/American involvement in Vietnam/Cambodia etc but one can see his essential lack of interest in that theatre of war.
If your interests lie in the second world war jungle fighting in Southeast Asia then this book will do you nicely as a general overall view of the war there.
Lots of EXCELLENT photos, ALL correctly identified I believe, add greatly to the book's information.
I expected nothing less from Mr. Perrett and I was not disappointed.
Highly recommended.

Victorian Railway Murders
Victorian Railway Murders
by Arthur Sellwood
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from CDN$ 19.50

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 cases adequetly but too 'briefly' covered., May 9 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 8 3/4 X 5 3/4 having 160 pages and about a dozen pictures nicely scattered throughout the book.
This book covers 4 different murders committed aboard trains during the Victorian period of British history.
They are all quite interesting although most of them were easily solved by the somewhat primitive police methods of the time.
One of them, the first one dealt with in the book is particularly interesting and has been dealt with in some depth in a book by Kate Colquhoun called Mr. Briggs' Hat.
It was the first MAJOR crime ( murder ) committed on a British railway system and makes for interesting reading.
The other 3 dealt with are less interesting and unfortunately the author's writing style is very matter-of-fact and leaves us with little more than the facts.
Had they been 'fleshed' out a bit and the book lengthened it would have made for a more interesting read I feel but still and all it is an interesting, if brief, account of 4 murders on trains in Victorian times.
Recommended as an addendum to a true crime buff's library mostly.

Shadows Over Wasteland
Shadows Over Wasteland
by Mike Stroud
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars The same story as that of Ranulph Fiennes.....only slightly better!, May 9 2013
This review is from: Shadows Over Wasteland (Hardcover)
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 182 pages ans 12 photo pages.
Having read Mr Fiennes' account of the journey first I was quite interested in reading Mr. Stroud's.
In the essential details they are much the same although personally I preferred Mr. Stroud's account, being more straightforward and less 'whiny'.
I admit, it is unkind of me to accuse mr. Fiennes of being 'whiny' but it became clear during my reading of his account of the journey that he spent a little too much time feeling sorry for himself on account of his age.
I sympathize with him completely BUT if you can't stand the heat ( any more ) get out of the kitchen.
I found this account more down to earth and far lass 'padded' with information which, although perhaps useful in a scientific sense, NOT interesting to the general reading public.
Mike Stroud, although susceptible to the self same ego convulsions as Ranulph deals with them is a more sympathetic and human way and perhaps his medical rather than 'adventurer' background gives him the bedside manner to more easily forgive and forget.
The pictures as well were more appropriate I felt and I'm sad to say that although being a huge fan of Mr Fiennes I felt that from a purely 'accurate' point of view Mr. Stroud's account was the leaner and truer of the two.
Having said that one must be aware of the immense stresses these men were under, both mental and physical and particularly Mr. Fiennes being most of his life the "Alpha" dog of the pack as well as being larger and older than Stroud he must have felt at times like an aging lead dog on a sled team, often pushed to his limit and always the new ones barking and snapping at his heels, ready to usurp his power.
Overall I think you would benefit from reading BOTH accounts as both men were there but in a pinch , if you had to choose just ONE....this would be my preference.
Highly recommended.

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