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Wayne Cooper "Canoneer" (North Canada)

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Landmarks in 20th Century Murder
Landmarks in 20th Century Murder
by Robin Odell
Edition: Hardcover
2 used & new from CDN$ 5.90

4.0 out of 5 stars A good general coverage of British murders in the 20th century, Aug. 9 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 314 pages and 16 photo pages in 2 sections.
I have given it 4 stars when it really rates 3 1/2 in my opinion.
This is exactly what it is sold as....a chronicling of the landmark cases of the 20th century with one caveat....they are all from Britain.
Since many of the most interesting cases of the 20th century, particularly the first half, WERE in fact from GB and both well documented and written about I had absolutely no problem with the British-exclusive case selection.
The book is divided into 10 sections with each one devoted to each of the 10 decades.
In this way the author shows us the progressive advancement of forensic and police techniques as the years advance.
Naturally in a book of this size covering so much territory the cases are the usual ones one would expect but that is to be expected.
One thing I was a little disappointed with was the lack of ANY bibliography.
As Me Odell quotes from many of the more famous British true crime writers it was doubly annoying as he must surely both possess their work and be able to list them.
No matter....the book is nonetheless a decent compendium of the major crimes of the 20th century and the police and medical efforts to catch them.
Recommended as a good primer for the up and coming true crime buff.

Raider Wolf: Voyage of Captain Nerger, 1916-18
Raider Wolf: Voyage of Captain Nerger, 1916-18
by Edwin P. Hoyt
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from CDN$ 50.35

3.0 out of 5 stars An INCREDIBLE story....poorly told by author Hoyt, Aug. 2 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 8 3/4 X 5 1/2 having 150 pages and no photos at all.
All in all I feel this is not up to the author's later work in several ways.
Firstly the lack of photos make this a 'lazy' book.
Pictures are easy to find and their non-inclusion seems to be nothing more than publisher's economy.

Also the length of the book gives it that feel that it was 'hurried'.It would not have taken much effort to 'flesh' out the story a little as there was more than enough great action.
The story is so exciting in itself that I cannot see any valid reason the author stinted in this area.
Finally, and most annoying of all is the translation of the original documents from German to English. This was particularly poorly done and ONLY the incredible nature of the story itself made it even nominally readable.
Shame on you Mr made the money from the sale but I can't think it's publication IN THIS STATE has enhanced your reputation as a writer.
Published as it was in 1974 I will excuse the writer somewhat as this must have been one of his earlier works....before he had FULLY honed his skill as a writer but buy it with that caveat.
I will recommend this book FOR THE QUALITY OF THE STORY and the exploits of Captain Nerger rather than the writing talents of Mr Hoyt.

Railway of Hell: A Japanese POW's Account of War, Capture & Forced Labour
Railway of Hell: A Japanese POW's Account of War, Capture & Forced Labour
by Reginald Burton
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from CDN$ 30.20

3.0 out of 5 stars Not from the ranks and it shows, Aug. 2 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 173 pages and 12 photo pages.
These accounts of life as a prisoner of war are my favorite reading and although those from the far East lack the excitement of the escape and evasion of those in Europe they bring another, more personal account of forced labour, poor food and abuse by their captors.
The theme of the River Kwai and the construction of bridges across it by forced labour using British forces captured after the fall of Singapore is not new and there are several well known accounts covering it.
This particular book suffers from being written by a long time ( and after a little research ) retired Lieutenant-Colonel.
Sadly the 'officer' mindset comes through most abundantly in the book with many references to how helpful his batman was.
The idea of an officer having a 'batman' during imprisonment in a camp seems absurd in the extreme.
It's not just that however.
At one point he tells us that the men are complaining that THEY ( the 'other ranks' ) are doing ALL the work while the officers ( who only supervise ) get the extra rations so he gives the men a little speech about how they are better off having British officers administer them than the Japanese and while this may be true he completely fails to understand the MAIN thrust of the men's complaint......THEY do the work and OFFICERS get the extra's not about who gives the order.
He closes by saying...I felt I had the men with me and closed on a lighter note ( he tells a completely lame joke ).
This 'gap'...this class separation between officer and 'other ranks' pervaded the British army at the time and many times I have read of how the Brit offices reacted very poorly to the 'colonials' and how the 'other ranks' tended to speak their mind.
This referred to Canadians, Aussies and Americans.
Sadly there is so much condescension in the author's writing as to make it unpleasant to read at times.
For a MUCH MORE enjoyable and touching account of almost exactly the same thing I recommend
by Charles R. Bond which I have reviewed as well.
This book is recommended ONLY as a period piece.

Tank!: 40 Hours of Battle, August 1944
Tank!: 40 Hours of Battle, August 1944
by Ken Tout
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 64.59

5.0 out of 5 stars I believe this is the FINEST first hand account of war I have ever read., Aug. 2 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 208 pages and no photos at all.
Normally ( for me ) I would automatically deduct 1 star for ANY contemporary non fiction book without photos but as the saying goes about the exception proving the rule....this one does.
It doesn't need photos....perhaps in fact it is MORE powerful without photos to 'demonstrate' what 'things' looked like....the word-pictures the author presents are sufficiently VIVID in themselves.
Normandy....1944, a day usually described as a major British and Canadian defeat.
Ken Tout disagrees and writes here of his experiences on that now famous battlefield.
First hand war accounts are not new and published, as it was more than 40 years after the fact, I was expecting nothing more than the usual 'I was there' account.
THIS is nothing like any others I have read.
It is STARTLINGLY real and vivid. The zip of shrapnel whizzing past your head is enough to make you duck.
I had previously said that Paul Richey's account of his wartime experiences as a pilot were as close as real as writing could come but I have to confess that THIS is EVEN BETTER.
Covering less than a 2 day period in his battle life the author completely captures the feelings of terror, anger, despair and utter and compelling fatigue in his words.
I have read and enjoyed several other of his books but beyond a doubt this one is the finest.

Egypt: How a Lost Civilisation Was Rediscovered
Egypt: How a Lost Civilisation Was Rediscovered
by Joyce Tyldesley
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.77

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 star book spoiled by LAZY publisher., Aug. 2 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 256 pages and 24 photo pages.
This is an absolutely splendid book covering, in general. the discovery, exploitation and archaeology of Egypt.
before I comment on the contents themselves I MUST comment on the ANNOYING and intrusive 'foot-note' called endnotes.
Like most people I WILL read footnotes IF THEY ARE ACCESSIBLE but flipping back and forth to the last few pages is NOT ON!
6 pages of end-notes equals about 200 lines of info....EASILY added to the bottom of the appropriate page in a book of 256 pages so WHY LUMP them together at the end?....LAZY PUBLISHING PRACTICES!!
Obviously in a book this size, and considering it is a movie tie-in one would not expect great depth in the information but Ms Tyldesley is both a well known archaeologist AND a skilled writer and the presentation is spot-on.
While avoiding too much techno-speak and after briefly explaining the dating system she gets down to the task at hand....namely a chronological examination of each 'style' of dealing with the Egyptian historical scene.
From the earliest smash-&-grab plunder by most probably the very workers hired to bury their rulers to the bumbling but perhaps well-meaning collectors like Belzoni....a one-time international strongman, we hear about them all.
This is the first book I have read by Ms Tyldesely but it will not be the last as I find her writing style a delightful blend of professional knowledge with an engaging writing style.
As well it does not seem to suffer from what other tie-in books often do....behind the scene gossipology.
She writes about what she knows....and her skill and knowledge come shining through.

Stabbing of George Harry Storrs
Stabbing of George Harry Storrs
by Jonathan Goodman
Edition: Hardcover
7 used & new from CDN$ 33.68

4.0 out of 5 stars As expected from Mr Goodman, an interesting case., Aug. 2 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 8 3/4 X 5 1/2 having 236 pages and a few scattered photos printed on the regular book pages.
Seemingly an ordinary and nondescript case Me Goodman, as always, manages to raise this simple little stabbing to an interesting case.
What makes it most intriguing is not the murder itself but rather the convoluted path taken in an effort to root out the guilty party.
I won't spoil the plot by giving anything away but I guarantee you that every true-crime buff will find this plain-Jane case most interesting.

Sabotage & Subversion: Stories from the Files of the Soe and Oss
Sabotage & Subversion: Stories from the Files of the Soe and Oss
by Ian Dear
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 6.44

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent starting piont for SOE/OSS wartime operations., July 27 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 224 pages and 16 photo pages.
Largely written from the British point of view this book provides a nice general overview of SOE/OSS operations throughout the many theatres of war.
Starting with the formation and general training of agents we see how skills were honed as problems arose.
Quite a few of the major campaigns are dealt with, many very well known, such as the Harling mission and the Jedburgs in France.
Although understandably not the complete story this book however is very skillfully written and provides enough information for the casual reader of the many operations of the SOE in Europe,Southeast Asia and Australia.
Mr. Dear has provided just enough information to whet your appetite for more and has kindly included a worthwhile bibliography of source material.
All in all a good introduction to the wartime efforts of the SOE and their American counterpart, the OSS.
P.S. A more 'graphic' dust jacket would have gone a long way in increasing sales without compromising the work by Mr Dear.

Fighter Pilot
Fighter Pilot
by Paul Richey
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 24.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the most accurate and readable fighter pilor story of WW2, July 27 2013
This review is from: Fighter Pilot (Hardcover)
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 176 pages and 32 photo pages.
This is, in my opinion one of the best accounts of a fighter pilot during the second world war.
Within it are the personal touches of the atypical 'Hollywood' pilot with all the carousing and frivolity we are led to believe was part of their lives when not in the air.
The air-to-air combat descriptions are frighteningly real and the author had a gift of making words bring the action to life.
Alongside their French compatriots Richey and his fellow RAF pilots faces German planes and German pilots, often with superior machines and greater numbers but this is no Biggles...flying bravely into vast numbers of enemy fighters.
Richey, as well as many of his fellow pilots had learned a valuable lesson in the 'phoney' war prior to run away and lve to fight another day.
If you are a lover of fighter pilot stories...particularly British then this is a MUST-READ.
Highly recommended

Free to Fight Again: RAF Escapes and Evasions, 1940-45
Free to Fight Again: RAF Escapes and Evasions, 1940-45
by Alan W. Cooper
Edition: Hardcover
8 used & new from CDN$ 12.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Surely the FINEST collection of personal escape stories in print., July 16 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 399 pages and 32 photo pages.
Just the number of photos makes this an outstanding collection.
As usual the Amazon book description was written by someone who was not an escape story lover and most decidedly had not read the book.
This volume is CHOCK full of some of the most riveting escape I have ever read....and I have read nearly all of the better escape stories from WW's 1 and 2.
What is particularly exciting about this collection is that the vast majority of the stories are, to my knowledge, unpublished elsewhere, or at least in mainstream published works.
Each and every story is a genuine true adventure and many have some follow-up regarding the ultimate destiny of the participants and/or the medal(s) and awards they received.
For the lover of wartime escape stories these short adventures, many AS TOLD by the soldiers themselves are the cream of the cream and demonstrate the incredible courage and strength of character they showed in time of need.
VERY HIGHLY recommended.

Knightsbridge: The Robbery of the Century
Knightsbridge: The Robbery of the Century
by Valerio Viccei
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 7.43

2.0 out of 5 stars How dumb art thee....let me count the ways., June 15 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 237 pages and 16 photo pages...nearly ALL of the obviously vain Viccei.
If you're interested in the meticulous planning and execution of a major robbery and an insight into the psyche of the criminal gang involved this book will be of no use to you at all.
In summary 150 pages are the womanizing ramblings of this self-proclaimed Lothario and his criminal career so extensive that he himself says he spent so much time in prison before the age of 25 that he can't even remember them all.
A further 25 pages are devoted to his wretched and amateurish planning.....50 pages to the laughable execution of the plan and a scant 5 pages being caught.
Apparently 3 people in the world say he is a criminal genius....some unknown named Kim Sengupta of Today, Mr. Viccei himself and a Mr Bozo the Clown of Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus.
The 'Plan' , for lack of a more appropriate name was flawed from the start.
Here are just a few of the HUNDREDS of dumb things he did.
He didn't want to hire a pro thief to steal a correct armored car so he hired one that stole a White Renault truck. Unfortunately it wouldn't fit in the garage they had hired to drive it in so they could unload the they did it outside in full view of the whole world.
In perhaps a Hollywood move inspired by either Pelham, One..Two...Three or maybe Reservoir Dogs who called each other names like Mr Blond and Mr Green, Viccei decided to buy walkie talkies and call each other # 1....2...3 and so on. The problem was nobody trained with the number and he was the only one that remembered his number and answered the walkie.
However....the SUPREME clunker of all was hiring AMATEURS as his criminal assistants. Most likely done so he ( the criminal mastermind) could grab the biggest share of the loot.
Now if I wanted to fake myself as a 'master' chef and pull off a Super-Supper I would steer clear of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and perhaps opt for Gordon Ramsey....but maybe that's just me.
By the way....his 'INSIDE' man in the vault centre was a coke-head minor official whose girlfriend also slept with Viccei and the bank official and he spent so much time together that other bank staff could hardly have failed to notice his TOO-FREQUENT visits to the bank.
If you want to read a COMEDY about a wannabee robbery....this is definitely the one for you but serious crime buffs will only be amused by the arrogance of this really AMATEUR criminal who hits the spotlight in the same way Dustin Hoffman did in Dog Day Afternoon.Pretty sad.

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