Since the first nearly three hundred-plus pages deal with the German blitzkreig and the evacuation of the BEF from France, the title is a bit misleadi...moreSince the first nearly three hundred-plus pages deal with the German blitzkreig and the evacuation of the BEF from France, the title is a bit misleading but probably represents how Holland views the critical importance of not sending precious fighter squadrons to France where they would have certainly been largely destroyed.
His balanced, largely non-judgemental and occasionally humourous approach makes sense given that he is recounting events largely through the eyes of ordinary soldiers, pilots and a handful of civilians on both sides.
When he includes the actions and deliberations of the great and mighty he also makes them appear very human. Churchill, Beaverbrook and Dowding come off best, while Goering and the Luftwaffe high command (except for Milch) as pompous sycophants who seemed to ignore or were uninterested in what was actually happening on the ground and in the air.
The strengths of the book are Holland's clear and lively prose, his tieing of personal anecdotes to the main time-line, his detailed grasp of both sides planes and fighter tactics and the inclusion of a number of very informative maps. Given the lengthy bibliography and Holland's mastery of his sources, an annotated bibliography would have been very useful.(less)
Solid, general history of the naval war of WWII. Would have liked for the maps to be included in the chapters instead of all grouped at the end. Also,...moreSolid, general history of the naval war of WWII. Would have liked for the maps to be included in the chapters instead of all grouped at the end. Also, Miller focuses heavily on air power and omits the contributions of the U.S. Submarine force in the pacific theater. The book is slightly to narrative for my tastes and only vaguely touches on the production of naval equipment or the rapid changes in technology and subsequent strategic and tactical changes.(less)
Cornwell takes every opportunity to infer Pacelli's policy and personal faults (more often than not by conjecture), as he rose to power in the Vatican...moreCornwell takes every opportunity to infer Pacelli's policy and personal faults (more often than not by conjecture), as he rose to power in the Vatican . The author also allocates any (rare) favourable decision by the Church to Pius XI (Pacelli's predecessor) and anything negative to Pacelli, Pius XI's right hand man. As for Pacelli's approach to the rising Hitler juggernaut in the 1930's, and his attitude as Pope during WWII, the question that needed to be asked and answered is what would have been the result for German Catholics if they had opposed Hitler as Cornwell seems to have wanted. Once the Jews had been gotten rid of, would the Catholics have been next? There is certainly a solid case that Pacelli's approach of keeping the Church out of politics was the right one, yet Cornwell rarely considers this at all. As we look at the world today this appears to be the norm. Maybe he was ahead of his time in some regards.
I also thought it would have been interesting to hear what the Protestant majority, and its Church leaders thought about the treatment of Jews and the rise of the Nazi Party etc. Cornwell is so intent on denigrating Pacelli that this is not discussed at all.
Having said all that Pacelli certainly doesn't come across as overly likeable. He appears totally inflexible, and determined to put his stamp on the Catholic Church no matter what anybody else thought. But an overall portrait is difficult to determine from such a biased outlook.(less)
Jeffrey Archer's latest epic novel is ONLY TIME WILL TELL, which is about Harry Clifton. Clifton is a smart kid from the docks of Bristol who's been l...moreJeffrey Archer's latest epic novel is ONLY TIME WILL TELL, which is about Harry Clifton. Clifton is a smart kid from the docks of Bristol who's been led to believe that his father was dockworker Arthur Clifton, killed tragically in an on-the-job accident. However, his flamboyant mother, Maisie, had an affair with an upper-class man prior to marrying Arthur Clifton, so it's possible that this other man may be Harry's father -- no one's sure
The book tells the story from several different viewpoints from the various characters. This results in overlap, but the results are very interesting and held my attention. I listened to the audiobook edition, and the narration is very well done.
The end of the book is somewhat of a cliffhanger, so I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. This is the first Jeffrey Archer book that I have read, but it definitely will not be the last. He is a wonderful storyteller. (less)
Let's get this out of the way, Starship Troopers is not an out and out action novel, and cannot be compared to the film version.
If you're looking for...moreLet's get this out of the way, Starship Troopers is not an out and out action novel, and cannot be compared to the film version.
If you're looking for an interesting examination of military training, doctrine, and an overall critical lens on society - this may be for you.
First off, there isn't a lot of action in this novel. The battle scenes are highly glossed over, with an entire assault often condensed to a short paragraph, with pages upon pages of reflection on the events afterwards. The narrative follows Rico, a young soldier with the International Force who fights to become more than a mere bootstrap cadet. We witness his journey from lowly trainee private, into Mobile Infantry training, through into his training to become an officer. This is much more about his internal struggle to come to terms with what it means to be a solider - lessons that can easily be translated into today's society, taken from this future feudalistic world.
More interestingly, this text offers a critical view of today's policy-makers, and the possible repercussions of our failed attempts to control crime and war. There are some important case studies here - albeit, fictional - but then again, so was Plato's philosophical work, such as The Allegory of the Cave.
If you want an intellectually-tickling read, check this out.(less)
If you want a quick way to get up to speed on Stieg Larrson's addicting trilogy, this bundle is the way to read it. At first, it may start off slow, b...moreIf you want a quick way to get up to speed on Stieg Larrson's addicting trilogy, this bundle is the way to read it. At first, it may start off slow, but once you meet the amazingly intriguing girl, the story takes off.
It's a crime thriller that keeps you guessing throughout until the very end. Some parts are graphically violent and sexual so be forewarned, but they are used to show the characteristics of certain people. You can't have a crime mystery without criminals can you? Very addicting. These books kept me reading until the early morning.
It's unfortunate that Stieg Larsson didn't live to know what a genius he was in the mystery writing category. The Millennium series is one of the best I've ever read. Each ending made me want to read the next book. (less)
Though it starts off a bit slow, this book picked up speed about halfway through and got so that I couldn't put it down. I have to say this was defini...moreThough it starts off a bit slow, this book picked up speed about halfway through and got so that I couldn't put it down. I have to say this was definitely a multi-layered story with a lot going on and some serious undertones.
For example, Lisbeth Salander looks and acts like some kind of anti-social street punk but she's actually extremely intelligent, has a near photographic memory, and is simply a product of all the horrible events she's been through. She's pretty much had to raise herself and up until recently, nobody has really taken the time or interest to help her acclimate. There's also the whole issue about violence against women which comes up several times in the course of the story, and again, the way Lisbeth deals with it, I'd say she's anything but a victim.
Because this was translated from the original Swedish text, there were a couple things here and there that bugged me a little. The author's habit of referring to characters by their last name instead of their first was one. Perhaps it's a European thing but I just couldn't wrap my head around a woman called Berger, or a young girl called Salander.
It's not a novel for the faint of heart, the imagery graphic. Larsson does not hold anything back, and he's not afraid to go beyond the comfort zone of most. Lisbeth's past is horrific, and the truth behind Harriet's disappearance is both fascinating and grotesque. Despite the stomach-wrenching nature of many of the scenes, the novel is entirely worth a read. (less)
The prologue is so disturbing and haunting that you get locked into the book immediately (though I suppose you actually get locked into the book by re...moreThe prologue is so disturbing and haunting that you get locked into the book immediately (though I suppose you actually get locked into the book by reading and appreciating The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The prologue hints that the book may be as disturbing as Dragon; however, it doesn't end up being anywhere near that level.
What most readers will probably appreciate is that the book mostly deals with Lisbeth Salander. Larsson does a good job of following present day Salander and presenting views into her background with an ongoing murder mystery/investigation.
Though the book as a whole is entertaining, I found the first half to be mediocre, yet flowed quickly enough that it didn't feel like it dragged on and kept me curious about what was going to happen next, while I found the second half to flow very quickly and kept me glued to the pages.
I did not, however, find this book nearly as engaging, fascinating, disturbing or upsetting as I found the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It's certainly an entertaining, fast-paced read by itself.(less)
Deadly Games by Lindsay Buroker is the third chapter in The Emperor's Edge series. The whole gang is back once again, but this time to focus is more o...moreDeadly Games by Lindsay Buroker is the third chapter in The Emperor's Edge series. The whole gang is back once again, but this time to focus is more on Basilard. There is also some development in the relationship between Sicarius and Amaranthe.
In Dark Currents we were shown some info about a job that Sicarius did in his past that greatly affected Basilard's people. Now that Basilard knows what Sicarius did he must decide if he is the one to avenge the grievous harm that was done to his people. Already an outcast due to his time as a pitfighting slave, he knows that he is the only one who can seek revenge. While Basilard is sorting through his conflict the team has their own difficulty to solve. The Imperial games are being held and some of the athletes are starting to disappear. In order to get an idea of what is going on Basilard enters the games. As a bonus, if he wins he will get to have dinner with the Emperor and bring attention to the plight of his people in slavery.
Lindsay continues to write fantastic stories. Her characters continue to come life as she gradually reveals more about them. The biggest downfall of the story is the end. There is a pretty big twist thrown in and now I am way too eager to read the next installment. (less)
This series is phenomenal. Our hero is almost an anti-hero but you still root for him and look for the good in him. Besides he's damn sexy ;) You root...moreThis series is phenomenal. Our hero is almost an anti-hero but you still root for him and look for the good in him. Besides he's damn sexy ;) You root for and love all the members of the Emperor's Edge. All of this is due to the main character. Amaranthe Lockdon is a girl that I would want to be best friends with and hell, I'd jump into her crazy schemes and still be laughing when I landed in jail. She is strong, independent, witty (LOVE the dialogue!), and human. She, the members of the Emperor's Edge and their shenanigans keep you coming back.
I really think it's the humor, camaraderie and the warmth between the group that makes this book more than just an action packed adventure steampunk/magic fantasy. You grow to care for these characters. And in my heart of hearts, that total book nerd that sill lives fist pumping away at books like these...I am a member of the Emperor's Edge. That's what these books do.
These books pull you into the adventure until you forget your surrounding and join the group. They make you laugh out loud, sigh, root for the characters, fall in love. Lindsay Buroker has that rare talent to make you feel as if you are a member of the team, living in the world she has created and running around with the gang. Sometimes, I look up from my Kindle and have to remember that I'm not in the Turgonian Empire running around with Books, Basilard, Maldynado, Akstyr, Sicarius and Amaranthe.(less)
As the final book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" packs an extremely satisfying punch, even if at times...moreAs the final book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" packs an extremely satisfying punch, even if at times it seems like there is too much going on. After leaving readers in a cliffhanger at the end of "The Girl Who Played With Fire" Larsson picks up the story right where he left off. As Lisbeth Salander recovers in a hospital doors down from the father she tried to kill, readers are left to wonder how justice could possibly be served or how such a complicated web of intrigue can be unravelled. Larsson does so in spectacular fashion.
Mikael Blomkvist has taken it upon himself to fight for Lisbeth Salander and to gather friends, like Armansky and Palmgren, who will fight for her to. His sister takes the job as her attorney, even though she has never tried a criminal case before, and Salander is sure to face a variety of charges, including attempted murder. While Blomkvist pours all his energy into uncovering the coverup about Salander's past, the Secret Police officers are making sure he doesn't uncover too much and take some drastic measure to cover up their actions. New characters abound, as a police team instigates an investigation of Sapo to see if the constitution has been broken, while the real murderer from the previous book remains on the loose. The book races along at breakneck speed - it is extremely hard to put down as the story races towards Lisbeth's trial and the defense that she must mount to prove her innocence and her betrayal by the Swedish government. It is a thrilling comeuppance and then some.
"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. At times, it seems as if Larsson was trying to do too much with the subplots; some fit better than others. Larsson was a gifted writer with an uncanny eye for detail and making scenes come to life. Some readers may be disappointed with what is left out of the story, like the jumps in time at the end of the novel. They will be especially saddened to have to leave behind one of the most unique and interesting characters in contemporary fiction - Lisbeth Salander. It might be enough to make them start the trilogy all over again. (less)
It's a quick read. Amaranthe and Sicarius are in the midst of another grueling training session when they come across evidence of wrongdoing against t...moreIt's a quick read. Amaranthe and Sicarius are in the midst of another grueling training session when they come across evidence of wrongdoing against the Empire. Amaranthe convinces Sicarius they need to investigate, and from there launches a Halloween-ish chapter in the daily lives of Buroker's biggest characters.
"The Assassin's Curse" reveals a bit more of Sicarius' back story, but mainly, it's just a fun read. If I had to quibble, I could wish for some indication of where in the series timeline the story takes place. After the first novel? Second? Third? Neither the dialogue nor the plot make it clear, and the answer would change the way readers interpret the scenes between Amaranthe and Sicarius.(less)