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review 2018-03-28 04:43
Forcefully revises misconceptions about Britain in World War II
Britain's War Machine: Weapons, Resources, and Experts in the Second World War - David Edgerton

When it comes to the Second World War, the British historical imagination is defined by the image of 1940: a plucky little island, standing alone against the Nazi juggernaut that had just rolled over western Europe.  The underdog status suggested by this image magnified both the heroism of the Battle of Britain and the subsequent victory scored over Germany five years later. Yet such a view, as David Edgerton stresses, is wildly inaccurate. Contrary to the popular myth, Britain stood at the head of an empire of nearly half a billion people, with the resources to wage war quite easily. Moreover, it was a war waged with an advanced and heavily mechanized military effort, one even more so than that possessed by their enemy.  Edgerton details all of this in his revisionist analysis of the war, one that takes a bulldozer to many longstanding misconceptions to give readers a better understanding of how the British waged, and won, the war.


Edgerton begins by describing the considerable economic resources Britain possessed during the war. Theirs was an imperial economy capable of tapping a range of resources from foodstuffs to oil, as well as the manufactures and skills provided by the colonies. This was connected to the home country by a merchant fleet which also gave Britain access to the economic might of the United States and which actually grew over the course of the conflict.  Edgerton describes the good use to which these goods were put, noting the improvements in diet for millions and arguing, again contrary to the popular myth, that the war materiel produced was of equal or even superior quality to that of their enemies and often of their allies as well.  All of this was managed by a state that gave considerable support to its scientists and technicians, many of whom developed the advanced weaponry which Britain used to win the war.


Forcefully argued and backed by a wealth of statistics, Edgerton’s book provides a powerful corrective to many misconceptions about Britain’s war effort.  Yet in some respects Edgerton deploys his arguments too broadly, often glossing over or ignoring the flaws that served as the basis of contemporary criticisms about the quality of British weapons (such as in naval air, which is mentioned only once and in passing). Moreover, his analysis raises an interesting question that is left unaddressed: if the British war machine outclassed that of the Germans in both quality and quantity, then why did the war last as long as it did?  Edgerton suggest Japan’s entry (which deprived Britain of the resources of her east Asian colonies) as a key factor, but this is only a partial example and begs further analysis.  Such an examination would have added greatly to the value of this already important book, which should be read by anyone with an interest in British history or the Second World War.

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review 2018-02-02 00:00
Let's Do A Thing! (Victor Shmud, Total Expert #1)
Let's Do A Thing! (Victor Shmud, Total E... Let's Do A Thing! (Victor Shmud, Total Expert #1) - Jim Benton I feel like I'm old enough that I shouldn't get quite the enjoyment out of kids books that I do, but I loved Let's Do A thing!  I laughed my way through it and so did my child. Jim Benton is undeniably talented at creating endearingly ridiculous stories with heroes or heroines that you cannot help that like. My child absolutely loves his Franny K. Stein series, and I think Victor Shmud might possibly edge Franny out of top spot.

Victor is an optimist and a dreamer and totally committed to being an expert at something everyday. He changes his mind on a whim, and he's not nearly as good as he thinks he's going to be, but he has fun every day. He's friendly, cheerful, and has a pet duck that he obviously thinks is a chicken that just hasn't recognized it is a chicken yet.

As an accidental hero Victor is unbelievably talented in getting help just in the nick of time. As a character in a book aimed at 7 to 9 year olds he's perfect. However should I actually meet this child in real life he would drive me nuts.

The illustrations in Let's Do A Thing! are very appropriate for the subject matter. The duck is a perfect companion for Victor. And Mrs Nozzleburp was a pleasure to read. Most of the time it seems like teachers are displayed as having zero patience and being rather evil semicolon however Invicta schmudde she's understanding constantly redirecting kids appropriately and never quite losing her temper. Basically she's the perfect type of teacher for Victor. And Victor genuinely seems to love her. So, there's that.

Overall, Let's Do A Thing! is a great introduction to Victor Shmud, and I think his Total Expert series is going to be a delight to read.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publicist for review consideration.
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review 2017-12-07 06:11
Book Construction Blueprint - an essential reference book for self-published authors

Whenever I search the internet trying to find some information to resolve a self-publishing issue invariably an article written by Joel Friedlander comes up.


I've read a number of them and found them professional, helpful and, most importantly, understandable.


When I was offered all this knowledge free in his book Book Construction Blueprint by Joel Friedlander - Expert Advice for Creating Industry-Standard Print Books it was a no-brainer.


Book Construction Blueprint is a comprehensive guide and includes preparing your manuscript, interior book design, cover design, printing and working with professionals.


A good deal of it wasn't relevant for my needs but some was invaluable including the section Cleaning Up Your Word Files. Pretty much all the problems you're confronted with when you upload your original manuscript to a self-publishing platform can be attributed to formatting glitches in your Word file. Friedlander has some nifty tips, accompanied by screen shots, that saved me countless hours of hair-pulling frustration. They're now incorporated into my pre-upload check-list.


Ever wonder about the order of your book's front matter? What goes on the Copyright Page and does the Dedication Page come before Acknowledgements? It's all spelled out in Friedlander's book.


He also has some great suggestions on what components make an eye-catching cover, designing running heads and font choices.


I try to review a lot of new indie authors and it's very distracting and unprofessional to read poorly or incorrectly formatted books. I know what a challenge it is and mine still aren't perfect, but they'll be a lot better now that I have Book Construction Blueprint by Joel Friedlander - Expert Advice for Creating Industry-Standard Print Books to refer to.


I downloaded this book free from the BookBaby Blog



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