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review 2020-07-26 23:58
Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 (The Last Lion #1)
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 - William Raymond Manchester

Before he became the face of the dogged determination in World War II and the voice of inspiration for the British people, Winston Churchill was a scion of a noble family looking to make his mark and coming close on many occasions.  The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 is the first volume of William Manchester’s biographical trilogy which deals with Churchill’s early life and his adventurous political career until he was shunned by power and entered the political wilderness.


A scion of the ducal Marlborough family, Winston Spencer-Churchill was the eldest son of a second son and his American wife.  Before even getting to Winston’s birth and life, Manchester paints the social, cultural, and political landscape he would be born into, be indoctrinated to believe in, and defend his entire life.  Throughout his life, Winston would use the connections of his parent’s friends and acquaintances to advance himself early in his career while a boon to his military and early political careers it hardly made up for the fact that both his parents were aloof to his existence even for the times of the British upper class.  Manchester relates Winston’s school misadventures and horrible academic record for the classical education expected off one of his station, but while he failed to understand Greek or Latin his “remedial” studies of English year after year would serve him the rest of his life as a journalist, author, and speaking in Parliament.  While he served in wars in the frontier of the Empire, first in India then in Sudan, and afterwards in South Africa he initially went there as a “journalist” but used his military rank to join battles or was recruited by the commander on the spot to lead men.  Upon the completion of the Boer War, during which he was taken prisoner and escaped, Winston entered politics in his eyes to take up his late father’s torch.  Once on the floor of the House, Winston’s speeches were events to be listened to and to be written about in the papers.  His familial connections got him in touch with the high circles of the Conservative party, but the issue of Free Trade and his own “radical” views on issues made him become a Liberal and soon found him apart of the new government the party form and would be until after the events connected with Gallipoli during the First World War resulted in him taking to the trenches on the Western Front.  After a return to a position in the Government, Winston soon found him edging away from the Liberal Party that was dying in the face for the rise of the Labour Party and soon returned the Conservatives to be among their new Government.  Yet the same tensions that made Winston leave the Party in the first place were still there but with more animosity but it was the issue of India sent Winston still a Conservative into the political wilderness that many of his political adversaries believed him to be finished, especially at his age.


In nearly 900 pages of text, Manchester not only details the first 58 years of Winston’s life but also the times he lived in while slowly setting things up for the final volume for the events in which he is most well-known to the public today.  There seems to be a bias by Manchester towards Winston that does make it through to the page instead of a little more balanced writing in places, however Manchester does not shy away that Winston’s views and words around the India issue essentially were racist even though at the time it was common thought by many in Britain.  Manchester gives balanced view of Winston’s relations with the working class while at the same time revealing why Labour and the press said he was against them.  The account of the Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaign that is always blamed on Winston is given fully fleshed out including what actions Winston were accountable for and those he was not and why it was he that the failure was attached to.


Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 reveals the times and environment in which Winston Churchill was brought up and how they shaped him as he entered politics and attempted to rise to power.  William Manchester gives a full picture of a young then middle-aged politician whose life was a roller coaster that influenced the British Empire its domestic and foreign affairs, but never held ultimate power and seemed never to.  If one wants to know Churchill this book is a great place to start.

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review 2016-09-12 00:00
Wat ons niet zal doden
Wat ons niet zal doden - David Lagercran... Wat ons niet zal doden - David Lagercrantz,Geri de Boer I loved [b:The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo|2429135|The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)|Stieg Larsson|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1327868566s/2429135.jpg|1708725] and [b:The Girl Who Played with Fire|5060378|The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2)|Stieg Larsson|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1351778881s/5060378.jpg|6976108], and - though not as much as the previous two - i enjoyed [b:The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest|6892870|The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)|Stieg Larsson|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1327708260s/6892870.jpg|12883496].
Unfortunately Stieg Larrson has passed away, but his father and brother asked David Lagercrantz (writer of [b:I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic|18832749|I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic|Zlatan Ibrahimović|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1384815669s/18832749.jpg|18201568],which was great!) to keep his legacy alive, and continue with this series.

This isn't [a:Stieg Larsson|706255|Stieg Larsson|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/authors/1246466225p2/706255.jpg], but it's not bad.
Like the previous books, the beginning is very complex. There were a lot of characters being introduced at once, that it was a bit hard to follow.
The plot wasn't my thing: Quantum mechanic (?), hacking, internet security... I can't even describe it properly.

I did like the pace of this story. In the beginning it's a bit slow, but then things get exciting and the pace really speeds up.
Though the story didn't have as much Lisbeth in it as i wished it had, there were still great moments with her. I loved her interaction with August, and how protective she was of him.
I also enjoyed to get to know more about her history with her evil twin and that is also what makes me want to continue with this serie (i heard that there were going to be 10 books?!), because i really want to know what will happen with that.

Overall it was an okay book, but not as great as the first three books.
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review 2016-08-20 09:39
Agent en Boef en de Boefagent - Tjibbe Veldkamp,Kees de Boer

Eindelijk de kans om boek 3 te lezen, en nog steeds hoop ik dat de bibliotheek het eerste boek een keer heeft.

En ook hoop ik dan dat boek 1 wat duidelijkheid geeft over de relatie van Agent en Boef. Want dat blijf ik gewoon vreemd vinden. Te vreemd.
Het is ook een beetje herhalend. Boef doet iets, Agent doet iets, Boef ontsnapt, Agent gaat er achter aan, faalt, en dan magisch gebeuren er dingen en Boef komt terug in de cel. Ik zou wel eens weer wat anders willen zien in het verhaal.

Dit keer verbaasde ik me nog meer over Agent, hoe kan hij nou niet zien dat het Boef was al die keren? Is Agent eigenlijk 3/4 jaar oud en ziet hij totaal niet dat het Boef is in verkleedkleren? Ja, ik heb kinderen hetzelfde zien doen, die hebben totaal niet door dat het de juf/meester is, of een ouder. Echt briljant om dat te zien, maar ja, het werkt nou niet echt als een karakter volwassen is.

De illustraties maken echt een boel goed, want wat zijn die echt superleuk om te zien, en je bleef maar dingen zien die je eerst niet zag. Denk je alles te hebben gezien, dan vind je weer iets ergens anders. Leuk!

Het einde was ook weer vreemd. Waarom zit Boef echt in die cel, waarom brengen ze hem niet eens naar een goede cel, met een goede agent. Ach ja.

Ik wil zeker nog wel de andere boeken lezen, voornamelijk omdat ik echt wil weten hoe dingen nou werken in de relatie van Boef en Agent.

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com

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review 2016-08-20 09:36
Agent en Boef en de tekenstreken - Tjibbe Veldkamp,Kees de Boer

Ik ben bijna door de Agent en Boef serie heen, en aan de ene kant zal ik het missen, maar anderzijds?

Tja, niet echt. Het is wel heel veel van hetzelfde, ik snap nog steeds niet hoe de relatie tussen Boef en Agent werkt, want blijkbaar is het een dagelijks ritueel van ze om dit te doen. En ik vraag ook echt af hoe veel intelligentie Agent heeft. Sorry, maar hoe val je voor die grapjes van Boef? Hoe kun je nou niet zien dat het een tekening is? Kom op zeg, ik weet dat dit een kinderboek is, maar dit is gewoon te vreemd. Je hebt een groot wit vel, en je gaat er gewoon op staan? En als je valt en je ziet een groot wit vel met een bed erop denk je echt dat het een bed is? Wauw.

Boef’s grapjes waren wel redelijk, maar tja, crimineel? Sure, hij steelt af en toe wat, dat is slecht, maar is dat nou echt de reden om hem zo close quarters te houden met een agent? Verder zijn de grapjes die hij doet niet kwalijk, en ik zie voornamelijk blije mensen. Ach ja.

De illustraties waren weer het beste van het hele boek. Ik vond Kees de Boers tekenstijl al leuk, maar ik denk dat ik hem maar naar mijn favorietenlijstje gooi, waar hij in goed gezelschap van Annet Schaap, Georgien Overwater, en nog wat anderen mag zijn.

Ja, een kort reviewtje, maar ik heb niet veel meer te vertellen. Nog een boek te gaan, en dat is het eerste boek. Het zal moeten wachten tot ik van de vakantie terug kom, dan zal ik hem reserveren bij bibliotheek #2.

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/

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review 2016-07-30 15:24
Gripping account of Churchill's prison escape, but even more fascinating insights into history
Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill - Candice Millard

As she’s already proved in The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic, Candice Millard really knows how to tell a gripping story, and this account of young Winston Churchill’s incredible prison escape during the Boer War made me postpone all other activities as I stayed glued to its pages, but--as with her other titles--the event that inspired the book isn’t the only thing that makes Millard’s telling so interesting. For me it’s maybe not even the primary thing, though it’s true that episodes like Churchill desperately leaping onto a moving train and hiding out for days in a pitch-black, rat-infested coal mine were the parts that kept my heart racing.


But the insights into the history and cultural norms of the peoples involved in the story were even more fascinating for me than Churchill’s harrowing escapades. Millard gives concise but detailed backstories of the too complacent British and their empire in the waning days of Victoria’s rule, the fiercely independent and resourceful Boers who after a hundred years felt bound and entitled to the lands they’d settled in southern Africa, and the native African tribes of the area, including the Zulu and the Xhosa, some of whom had inhabited the space for thousands and thousands of years.


The book also gave me a deeper understanding of Churchill’s character, in all its admirable and infuriating glory. The roles of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela (who lived years after the Boer War) and a number of officers in the  British and Boer military are also well described, and the influences or thoughts of Catherine the Great, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Theodore Roosevelt, and the American President William McKinley are noted. All three of Millard’s books cover the late nineteenth century and/or early twentieth century, an era that to the benefit of her readers she seems to know well and is certainly able to bring to life.


I read an advanced review copy of this book supplied to me at no cost or obligation by the publisher. Review opinions are mine. 

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