Book Review Micro Book Reviews

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by von Poop, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    We get so much book chatter, in threads like What are you reading at the moment? & My book-buying "problem" , among a multitude of other conversations, that I wondered if it might be worthwhile having a dedicated thread for very quick reviews, to concentrate actual title-by-title opinions, in one place, on something you've read.
    Feeling bored? Hate or love a book?, or worst of all: 'meh'... Tell the world.

    So... purely a trial.
    Let's see how it goes.
    Copy & paste the below.
    Keep it short.
    Rate out of 5
    (Can edit in any missing headings if needed. Starting on the line below a heading should be in plain non-bold text.)


    Title:


    Author:


    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :


    Quick review:


    Rating out of 5:
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    eg.

    Title
    :
    Kubelwagen on all frontlines.
    The Leichter Personenkraftwagen K1 VW Typ 82 Wartime Service & Production Batches

    Author:
    Jochen Vollert

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :Tankograd, 2013, 3936519285

    Quick review:
    Rather good pictures of Kubelwagens in all areas. Glossy, profusely illustrated with fine & varied images. Would be surprised if anyone's seen 'em all before.
    Not an exhaustive study of the history, but plenty of solid nuggets in the introductory chapter.

    Rating out of 5:
    5/5
     
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Title:
    The Battle for the Falklands

    Authors:
    Max Hastings & Simon Jenkins

    Publisher/Year Michael Joseph, 1983

    Quick review:
    Max Hastings gets a lot of stick today, but for me this book (like his earlier Bomber Command) is evidence of how he built the reputation that he later came to lose among some readers. The dual authorship provides alternating sections that successively chart the war on the home-political-international and the South Atlantic fronts. That could be awkward, but it works; the changes of scene come along precisely when required. Equally strong on Naval as Army matters, but more on 3 CDO Bde than 5 BDE. Julian Thompson (commanding 3 CDO Bde) subsequently said Hastings was probably the journalist who knew best when to be where and when to be asleep owing to his own (admittedly abysmal) time as a para in Cyprus. First book to read on the subject, then go deeper. I'm now on Julian Thompson's own No Picnic.

    Rating out of 5:
    4.5/5
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
    BFBSM and von Poop like this.
  4. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Title:
    No Room For Mistakes: British and Allied Submarine Warfare 1939-1940

    Author:
    Geirr H. Haarr

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :
    Seaforth / 2015 / 9781848322066

    Quick review:
    Fantastic book that covers the prewar development and actions of the British submarine arm, also including the actions of the Allied submarines (Polish, Dutch etc), in the early days of WW-2. A large part of the book concentrates on the Norwegian campaign in 1940 but there is still plenty of details of operations before and after that period. Very well researched and excellently written.

    Rating out of 5:
    5/5
     
    CL1 and von Poop like this.
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Title: Convoy! Drama in Arctic Waters

    Author: Paul Kemp

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional): Castle/2004/9780785816034

    Quick review: This is a well-written, in-depth account of the convoys which carried war materiel to Russia via the Arctic Ocean, and the battles between the convoys (and their defending forces) and the submarines, aircraft, and surface ships sent out against them. The book also describes the sometimes testy relationship between the British and Russians as pertained to the convoys, and conditions both at sea and in the northern Russian ports.

    If I have a quibble with the book is that the main text lists every ship in each convoy in the main text, which I found a small overload of detail. That could alternatively have been presented in appendices.

    Rating out of 5: 5/5
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
    kopite and von Poop like this.
  6. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Title: Steel Wall At Arnhem: The Destruction of 4 Parachute Brigade 19 September 1944

    Author: David Truesdale


    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :
    Helion, 2016, 9781911096054


    Quick review:
    Nice cover, shame about the content.


    Rating out of 5:
    1/5
     
    Chris C and von Poop like this.
  7. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Title: With the Jocks: A Soldier's Struggle for Europe, 1944-45

    Author: Peter White

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional): Sutton Publishing Ltd 2001

    Quick review: This is the remarkably detailed memoir of one of the PBI. Peter White was an English lieutenant in the King's Own Scottish Borderers who somehow managed to keep secret a copious diary which he wrote up into a manuscript after the war, which then went unpublished for 50 years. It's 450 pages long, covering only Nov 44 until VE Day. The writing is very good and brings you right down in the snow, mud, and dust with the infantry. I don't know whether the author used artistic license to flesh out his diary into the book but it's so good, I don't want that to be true. Here's a somewhat random paragraph (I didn't look too far):

    "A long trudge in the snow under the cold glow of artificial moonlight and the pink flicking light of the 40mm directional tracer low overhead brought us to the wrecked village of Aphoven. The racket of shells passing and explosions was terrific now. The front was anywhere from here onwards. As though to confirm this for all who passed, a furiously burning Churchill Crocodile flamethrower and trailer lit the surrounding snow, houses and passing Jocks with a searing orange glare and smeared the sky with black, oily smoke. It had been hit alongside a house on the road. Neither the house nor the trailer was properly alight yet, so it must have just been hit. Small-arms ammunition cracked off inside as we passed the fierce radiation of its heat. If the crew had not got out within seconds, they must have been trapped."

    Rating out of 5: 5/5
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Title:
    The Forgotten Soldier

    Author:
    Guy Sajer

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :
    Various editions.

    Quick review:
    Is it, or isn't it...

    Rating out of 5:
    Literary: 5/5
    History: God knows.
     
    Gage and hucks216 like this.
  9. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Title:
    With The Old Breed

    Author:
    Eugene Sledge

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :
    Numerous Reprints / Current ISBN: 978-0091937522 (also available on Kindle for £1.99 as of today)

    Quick review:
    By far the best memoir I have read. Tells the story of the author in his wish and struggles to join the US Marines and going on to fight at Peleliu & Okinawa in the Pacific. Doesn't shy away from the acts carried out by both sides, the brutal close combat and how he felt, from tired to terrified. Finishes with his attempts to get employment after he returns home after the war. The HBO mini-series The Pacific was comprised of the story told in this book and Robert Leckie's Helmet For My Pillow.

    Rating out of 5:
    5/5
     
    Chris C likes this.
  10. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Title:
    The Noise Of Battle: The British Army and the last breakthrough battle west of the Rhine, February-March 1945

    Author:
    Tony Colvin

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :
    Helion / 2016 / 978-1910777114

    Quick review:
    A book (824 pages) of two halves. The first half covers the fighting of 3 battles between 27th Feb & 2nd March 1945 south of Goch and includes first hand accounts. This is a great half of the book. The second half is the author covering the individual units, commanders and explaining how inefficient the British doctrine and generalship (including Montgomery) was during the campaign in NW Europe from the lack of a dive bomber instead of the Typhoons to how the armour was organised and used. I felt that this second half spoiled the first half of the book a little. The points covered were interesting to read but some areas were repeatedly brought up. I felt the second part of the book could of been a bit shorter.
    However it was interesting to read about the controversial circumstances surrounding the award of the MC to future Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie.
    Also the book narrative constantly refers the reader to a map of the battlefield with grid codes but the said map is not included. To obtain the map it states that you need to go to Ebay to get it or to contact the author direct (email given in the book) but there is no sign of it on Ebay and the author's email address was a dead link.

    Rating out of 5
    :
    3.5/5 - first half of the book is a solid 4/5 but unfortunately it loses marks for the second half and lack of chart.
     
    CoenNL and Chris C like this.
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Can I ask

    We have this thread, we have another 'Book Review' section that reviews individual books and then we have What are you reading at the moment? how many book review threads do we need ??

    TD
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    'What are you reading' is chat. The proper book reviews are more substantial/formal things.
    Testing this as more of a searchable list; 'What I actually thought of X book' rather than 'I'm reading'.
    We get offered books from publishers, but it's an odd business & getting people actually composing a substantial review can lead to awkwardness, to the extent we get a bit shy of the hassle of sending. So maybe also a bit of a training ground or lift for the general reviewing culture on-site.
    And, as per post 1: "Feeling bored?" Maybe more likely to see comments on books read long ago that made an impression, positive or otherwise.
     
    Tolbooth, Incredibledisc and dbf like this.
  13. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    I think this is a good format and with time can be of great benefit.

    Title:
    If This Is A Woman

    Author:
    Sarah Helm

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :
    Abacus / 2016 / 978-0349120034

    Quick review:
    This book covers the history and details of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. The narrative is very readable and there are plenty of first person accounts so you see the life in the camp from the prisoner's view and providing a wealth of information including the arrival of female SOE agents, the medical experiments, setting up of the Siemens Camp, and the Uckermark Youth Camp becoming a death camp. Also sheds light on Himmler's frequent visits to the area. One of the best KZ related books you will read - and as an aside the camp itself is one of the best to visit as the exhibitions are very well done.

    The author has also written a book about Vera Atkins & the lost agents of SOE.

    Rating out of 5:
    5/5
     
  14. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Title:
    The Tattooist of Auschwitz

    Author:
    Heather Morris

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :
    Zaffre / 2018 / 978-1785763649

    Quick review:
    A best seller but one I would say is aimed more at the more casual history or life story reader rather than a dedicated follower of military or WW-2 history, the sort of book you will see people reading on the train during their daily commute. The story is interesting enough and follows the mans life from pre-round up, service in Auschwitz as a collaborator to post war service with the Russians and the interaction between this prisoner and his SS supervisor is interesting to read but it was a story that failed to grip me. It is kind of more like a romance story (he met his future wife there) with the death camp day to day life providing the background.

    Rating out of 5:
    3/5
     
  15. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    [​IMG]

    This is the book to have if you're interested in the early days of German armour. It covers the philosophy and decisions behind the way the Germans designed and used their tanks, the struggle to even get tanks in the battle order and the flaws inherent in the design they chose to make. It looks at the A7V through in-depth technical details (how you can identify individual tanks in pictures by the rivet patterns used, the different types of gun mountings, the issues with the gearbox protruding under the tank and the methods used to alleviate this) but it also covers operational use including some actions not much covered in English language literature due to them occuring against French forces. As a bonus it provides details of the German usage of British tanks, the forerunner of their beute forces in WW2 and also looks at the small number of tanks used by the Freikorps.

    The downside is that this book is long out of print and copies are only available at ridiculous prices. However if you get the chance to snap up a copy at a decent price, do it.

    5/5
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  16. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Title: Cold War Fleet - Ships Of The Royal Navy 1966-91 *A Photographic Album*


    Author: Clive & Sue Taylor


    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) : Osprey / 2019 / 978-1472833716


    Quick review: Royal Navy porn. Book consists of photos of every type of RN vessel that served in the fleet between 1966 & 1991 with the exception of the bombers. And not just types of warships but also RFA's and harbour vessels that supported the fleet.This is not a history book heavy on words but is a large book and has page after page of photos.


    Rating out of 5: 5/5
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
    CL1 likes this.
  17. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Title: Dragons at War - 2/34 Infantry in the Mojave

    Author: Daniel P Bolger

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) : Presidio Press / 1986 / 0891412468 978-0891412465

    Quick review: An impulse buy from the old book club, this is an account of a US battalion 'task force' at the National Training Centre - the US Army's version of 'Top Gun'. Using laser simulators, the visitors take on the Soviet-styled home team. Everything is recorded for training purposes so what you get is war without the fog, at least in hindsight. The early 80s technology is arguably closer to 'the war' than what they have nowadays so it's a useful look at the mechanics of battle. The book is an easy read once you're familiar - or back upto speed - with the contemporary hardware. The only gripe is the ZX81-rendered mapping but, hey, we have GoogleEarth these days. At least one of the lessons learned is straight out of Duffer's Drift.

    Rating out of 5: 4 - a point's docked for the maps.
     
    von Poop and CL1 like this.
  18. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Title: The Battle for Arnhem 1944-1945: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives (Images of War)

    Author: Anthony Tucker-Jones

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) :
    Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (3 April 2019)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1526730014

    Quick review: The worst, most badly captioned, biggest load of tripe I've ever clapped eyes on with regards to a WW2 title. 'Rare' if you count publicly accessible IWM and Bundesarchiv photos as such. The kind of thing you give to someone you don't like as a present.

    Rating out of 5: On the basis you can't really give a minus score, 0.
     
  19. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    [​IMG]

    Title: First T-34 Birth of Legend


    Author: Christian Muslow


    Publisher/Year/ISBN : Tankograd 2019


    Quick review: Book is a comprehensive look at the first T34s and the development of the tank . It delves deep and I mean, deep into the minutiae of the earlier tanks, allowing the enthusiast to identify specific production runs by things like number of hinges, welding, vision devices etc etc. While these details may seem overwhelming, it also does an excellent job on exploring early Soviet tank development, design philosophy and tank operational theory. Operational use is considered, some early actions are explored in detail, analysis of the failure of Soviet tank units in the early days of Barbarossa is examined and logically explained and a look at both sides assessments of their own and their opponents armour capabilities is included. Excellent collection of photographs with captions that are not just short blurbs but add to your knowledge. If you're interested in the Eastern front or Soviet armour, adding this book to your library is essential.


    Rating out of 5: 5

    More indepth review here: Tankograd- The First T-34- Birth of a Legend: T-34 Model 1940
     
    von Poop and Chris C like this.
  20. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Title: Normandy '44: D-Day and The Battle for France

    Author: James Holland

    Publisher/Year/ISBN (optional) : Bantam Press (2019)

    Language: English

    Quick review: Don't believe the hype.

    Rating out of 5: 2.5
     

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