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Reviews Written by
Wayne Cooper "Canoneer" (North Canada)

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by Charles Bronson
Edition: Hardcover
5 used & new from CDN$ 71.14

2.0 out of 5 stars Not much more than a bad-boy list., Aug. 22 2013
This review is from: Legends (Hardcover)
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 324 pages and lots of B/W mini photos.
Kudos to the publisher for the excellent quality of the book.
Heavy, hard white top quality paper and binding.
Inside, however, needs the touch of a skilled writer.
Although apparently ghosted by Stephen Richards, I suspect that Mr Richards was the ghost and Bronson was the writer.
The book consists of little more than a gang's all here tribute to some of his friends....all bad boys naturally and the anecdotes are first.
Sadly the cockney rhyming slang gets VERY wearisome and the same flavour permeates every story.
Everyone done him wrong....most legit people are either stupid, corrupt or lazy and most cons are crazy, dangerous and afraid of no-one...not even him.
A little more depth and lots less fluff and pointless entries would have been WAY more entertaining.
Page after tiresome page of the same old bums, wannabees, crazies and crackpots and after less than 25 pages I was hoping the book would self-ignite and have done with it.
It's not like he COULDN'T have some interesting stories to tell but for God's sake....pick the best 20 and tell them and forget the hundreds of little snippets of junk that may or may not be the truth as he remembers it.
All in all I was very tired when I reached the end of the book and it is DEFINITELY not what one would call a page turner...more a page burner.
If you're a fan of his then I guess it's entertaining but for my entertainment I need more meat and less bun.

Convoy That Nearly Died: The Story of ONS 154
Convoy That Nearly Died: The Story of ONS 154
by Henry Revely
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from CDN$ 17.11

5.0 out of 5 stars True story of Canadian convoy escorts vs German U-boats., Aug. 22 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 222 pages and 8 photo pages.
This is the story of convoy ONS 154, outward bound from GB.
Escorted by an all Canadian escort group...C 1.
Unfortunately, as often happened in wartime, plans went awry and several of the most necessary escort ships were missing, either delayed or still being repaired with little more than the HOPE that they might eventually catch up to the convoy which HAD to depart...come what may.
Already severely under-gunned and often lacking a full compliment of trained gunnery officers the escorts of the convoy were prepared to do their best and sacrifice their lives if necessary.
The convoy was fairly large at a total of 45 ships and as was the custom in convoy, everyone traveled at the speed of the slowest.
Damaged, disabled and lost ships had to do their best because the convoy rolled on regardless.
Escorts might return and stay and protect a lagging ship for a time but the important job was the bulk of the convoy so ultimately they had to leave.
Often miles apart, ships in convoy had no knowledge of attacks upon other ships and as Donitz and his wolf-pack subs gathered and planned the convoy had only to push on and hope.
By this time the German code had been partially cracked so some intel was available to convoy commanders but getting everyone to move in the same direction at the same time without radio communication was just one of the logistical problems of command.
The author, a 3 rd officer aboard Zarain was himself torpedoed and sunk.
This book accurately and very emotionally tells us of the devastation wrought on the Allied ships of this convoy, the days and often weeks spent out of touch with other ships and waiting to be rescued.....if they could find you.
15 of the 45 ships were sunk and although several of the U boats themselves suffered the ultimate penalty, there were many ships and lives lost despite much brave efforts.
Highly recommended.
P.S. Convoy designations were as follows....ONS 154= O...outward bound......N..........northbound...S....slow convoy and the numbers were simply the next number available.

Wingless Victory
Wingless Victory
by Anthony Richardson
Edition: Hardcover
2 used & new from CDN$ 20.97

5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST HAVE in the annuls of wartime escape stories., Aug. 22 2013
This review is from: Wingless Victory (Hardcover)
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 8 1/2 X 5 1/2 having 256 pages and 8 separate photo pages.
This is an absolutely marvelous and exciting account of the author's escape and evasion from the German ground forces in WW2.
Shot down over France during a bombing raid the author manages to evade capture for some time.
Eventually captured by the Germans in occupied France he manages to escape while being transported to a prison camp.
Escaping with a friend he escapes but somehow misses locating his friend and eventually has to make his way across France alone.
With the help of willing farm people and at great risk to their own lives he suffers one disappointment after another and a persistent wound is so debilitating he eventually has to perform an operation on himself to remove a piece of his own aircraft blown inside his leg.
Unfortunately, being an officer in the air, he was completely out of touch with ground forces and their particular variety of 'personal' war and constantly complains about the brutal Hun.
Not particularly popular in today's world it is nonetheless understandable given the tenure of the times.
All in all a very exciting personal account of this brave man's escape and evasion across occupied France.
Highly recommended.

Murderous Tyneside: The Executed of the Twentieth Century
Murderous Tyneside: The Executed of the Twentieth Century
by John J. Eddleston
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from CDN$ 3.65

4.0 out of 5 stars 26 sad & pointless murders nicely reviewed.., Aug. 18 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 256 pages and 8 B/W period photo pages.
Covering some 26 nearly completely unknown cases within the confines of Tyneside this collection initially promised very little....what with little more than basic 'nothing but the facts' and with 26 cases pressed into 250 odd do the math...9 pages average.
Despite this and the fact that the author does none of the contemporary re-viewing of cases and speculating what injustices might have been way or the other, this book is SURPRISINGLY entertaining.
Mostly, as one would expect back in the dirty days when life was a little cheaper and alcohol was as well, many murders were alcohol-fueled and often were about that oldest of motives.....a woman.
These cases are almost exclusively about the tawdry underbelly of it's most thinly disguised state.
Alcohol and jealousy probably constitute 75 % of the cases in this book and yet, as I said already....the book is very entertaining..I'm not sure why but I suspect it's a case of 'There but for the grace of God...go I".
Highly recommended for a quick no-depth true crime read.

From the Somme to the Armistice: The Memoirs of Captain Stormont Gibbs, M.C.
From the Somme to the Armistice: The Memoirs of Captain Stormont Gibbs, M.C.
by Charles Cobden Stormont Gibbs
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 72.38

5.0 out of 5 stars A touching first hand account of WW1's greatest battles....Somme and the third Battle of Ypres, Aug. 15 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 206 pages and lots of period photos scattered throughout the book.
This is both a delightfully charming and naive book and a scathing rebuke of the upper echelon commanders.
Stormont Gibbs, the author,....a second lieutenant when his service began in 1916 was fresh from public school...and all the young man's shenanigans that go with that.
Thrown into battle at one of Britain's toughest and mismanaged battles..the Somme.
His assessment, in the form of direct diary entries are both incredibly insightful for such a young and unbloodied soldier, and aided and updated by Richard Devonald-Lewis' analysis of the greater situation provide us with an astoundingly 'living' testimony to life on the front in WW2.
Trenches......the bane of the soldier, were so impossible to maintain in Belgium that mostly the lived in old shell holes and survived as best they could....cold, wet and miserable with the shells constantly bursting overhead and death around every corner.
The author goes on sorties with the intention of having his squad renew, dig or extend existing trenches and gets lost in a treeless forest of mud and dead bodies.
The horror of it is well known and many books have been written but often written by poseurs who spent time in the rear....and Captain Gibbs has absolutely no use for them.
Similarly he seems to understand,....somewhat rare for the times, the plight of the battle-weary and shell-shocked and rather than shoot them as cowards he understands their situation....albeit without the power to change anything.
Incredibly touching and real this is a must-read if one is to begin to understand the machinations of an often mismanages and poorly led war.
The author is also however, capable of understanding the plight of his superiors and the constraints they were under and thanks to some impartial analysis by Mr Devonald-Levis we see how blinkered thinking and planning more often than not cost Britain thousands of young lives.
Very highly recommended.

Everest: Summit of Achievement
Everest: Summit of Achievement
by The Royal Geographic Society
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 21.41

5.0 out of 5 stars The FINEST book I've ever seen on none!, Aug. 15 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 113/4 X 12 having 252 pages and absolutely JAM PACKED with the most gorgeous photos of Everest I have yet seen.
I am a fan and have been a fan for many years of climbers and climbing books.
Years ago I had the opportunity to get a personally signed photo of Edmond Hillary and it is among my most treasured possessions.
This book is, as far as I am concerned, the ULTIMATE source of information on Everest and the many climbs and attempts since early days.
Covering all the climbers who have or had attempted Everest culminating in Hillary and Tenzing's ultimate success.
I have many books on Everest but sadly most of them are really not much more than glorified picture books.
I purchased this one sight unseen and frankly I had expected much the same except for the Royal Geographical name.
As the main sponsor, for many years of all things exploration I had a belief that if anyone was going to provide a true, complete and unbiased account of ALL the climbs of Everest it was going to be the RGS.
They came spades.
What a book!
Big, heavy, quality paper and the overall look and feel of a book produced by a company that really cares...and it shows.
If you only ever buy 1 book on Everest.....treat yourself and buy this one.
You will not be disappointed.....not even possible.

London Dungeon: Book of: Crime and Punishment
London Dungeon: Book of: Crime and Punishment
by Richard Byrne
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Be aware this is Junior high school level style., Aug. 15 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 10 X 73/4 having 245 pages and lots of B/W photos scattered throughout the book.
This is a general-coverage book on crime in Britain from the early days to fairly modern times.
Not very many cases are dealt with in much detail and this book suffers from dealing with much the same crimw types and styles as well as specific criminals in each of the 5 sections....Capitol crimes, crimes high and low,catching criminals,trial and sentencing and finally punishment.
The problem lies in the fact that many of the crimes are repeated as we hear details of the crime and in a later chapter how they were caught and then how they were tried and so on.
I feel this book is, despite it's size and weight, really about junior high school level in it's overall presentation.
Heavy stock paper and a good size make it a worthwhile book for libraries but as there are very few specifics dealing with most 20th century crime and criminals it is little more than a primer.
Great for the interested child.

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
by Robert Kurson
Edition: Hardcover
72 used & new from CDN$ 0.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best nonfiction adventures I have ever read., Aug. 14 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 375 pages and 16 contemporary photo pages and 8 period photo pages.
Initially I was somewhat disappointed with this book as the author's style in the beginning was a little too 'flowery'.
Happily he abandoned that and settled down to what he does best....tell a darn good story.
Shifting point of view from past to future, from person to person, he nonetheless keeps a consistent and riveting storyline pulsing in the background.
From the nearly accidental discovery of 'something' on the bottom that snagged nets and attracted the odd fishing charter boat ONE obsessive diver & boat combination wanted.....needed to find out what was down there.
Secretly meeting the only charter boat captain who was aware of the PRECISE location he trades numbers....GPS co-ordinates and starts his adventure.
Unable to do a 200 foot+ dive on his own he recruits the only other diver with sufficient deep-dive experience AND a similar obsessive nature about the personal purpose they feel towards 'wreckploration' and combining their talents and drive, make an incredible discovery...a WW2 German the coast of New Jersey, where no U-boat is known to have been.
What follows is the almost unbelievable quest to find out what they have found and to correctly identify it which will take them many years of diving and research in America and in Germany.
Just finding and speaking to experts in the field of U-boats is difficult enough and many of them won't believe what they found and won't help and ultimately it costs the lives of 3 divers before the answers are found.
This is one of the most exciting books I have read in years and truly what would be termed a page-turner.
Even at nearly 400 pages it took me less than 2 days as I burned my way through it.
Very highly recommended to the nonfiction adventure me!

Beware Raiders: German Surface Raiders in the Second World War
Beware Raiders: German Surface Raiders in the Second World War
by Bernard Edwards
Edition: Hardcover
8 used & new from CDN$ 4.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch action with German raiders in WW 2, Aug. 10 2013
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 214 pages and 8 photo pages.
Having just recently read another book on a wartime raider ( albeit the First World War ), I was absolutely delighted with this one....more than the other one ( see my reviews ).
Obviously written by a naval man and complete with all the correct terminology author Bernard Edwards tells us of the wartime careers of 2 distinctly different raiders, the Admiral Hipper, whose armament and size should have made her a spectacular force and the much smaller Pinguin, manned largely by reserve troops.
Contrary to German military expectations the effectiveness of these 2 raiders was markedly different.
The author uses a very effective writing style by letting us see the action from both the attacker and the victim's perspective.
Although the amount of book-time is not equally spent on each ship and it's operations it is however appropriate to the value of those operations.
I found this book VERY interesting and very much what is commonly called a 'page-turner' with action and reaction filling the pages.
I find Mr Bernard's style of writing very effective and will search for other books by him.
Highly recommended.

Landmarks in 20th Century Murder
Landmarks in 20th Century Murder
by Robin Odell
Edition: Hardcover

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.

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