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review 2016-11-24 06:00
Fw 200 Condor Units of World War 2 (Combat Aircraft) - Chris Goss,Chris Davey,Mark Postlethwaite

The Focke Wulf FW 200 Condor, a four-engined aircraft, initially served as a civil airliner in the late 1930s. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, the Condor was pressed into service with the Luftwaffe as a maritime reconnaissance and anti-shipping aircraft.


With the subsequent acquisition of bases in Norway and France, the range of the Condor to venture deep into the heart of the Allied convoys in the Atlantic and the Far North was extended considerably. During 1940-41, Condors enjoyed considerable success in sinking Allied shipping and guiding U-boats to convoys in both the Atlantic and in the waters around Northern Russia. But as Allied countermeasures to counter the Condors grew in effectiveness, their successes against the convoys declined significantly. Nevertheless, FW 200s soldiered on to the end of the war in the anti-shipping role on other fronts (e.g. the Mediterranean), as transports (e.g. in the attempts to keep the German 6th Army supplied in the Stalingrad pocket), in maritime reconnaissance, and as airliners.


This is a well-written, well-researched book about a largely unsung aircraft that, despite its own shortcomings and the challenges it faced through 6 years of war, performed creditably the roles allotted to it. There are also lots of fantastic photos and illustrations of the FW 200, which will thrill any aviation enthusiast and scale modeler.

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review 2016-10-12 22:05
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar - Simon Sebag Montefiore

Montefiore's history of Jerusalem happened to be the first book I reviewed on Booklikes and I was happy to revisit the author with another one of his works. It seems that every time I pick up a history book in a book shop it is endorsed by Montefiore, he's clearly very passionate in his pursuit of historical knowledge. 


This book centres around Stalin and his changing inner circle. It's an odd blend of details of dinner functions, Stalin's character in calm times and the chronicles of the terror and his political brutality. It's a fascinating glimpse into the sycophantic fervour he fostered amongst his magnates and the cunning, horrific nature of his paranoid mind. I've given it five stars, because probably fittingly, after Kershaw's Hitler this is simply the best biography of a historical leader that I have read. 


Anyone who harbours any romanticism or flirts with the hard left I advise to read this and recognise the dangers of unswerving idealism, the dangers of being an illiberal bent on realising a utopia for humanity in the future at any cost to the people of this life. I had always thought that Stalin wasn't overly ideologically motivated, yet this book seeks to dispel that notion comparing the avidity of Stalin's belief in Marxism to that displayed in radical Islamists. 


Something touched upon in the book and spoken about in debates by Christopher Hitchens is the idea that the Tsar in Romanov times was the voice of God himself, understand that and you may be able to understand the cult of personality that Stalin was able to engineer and take advantage of. The idea of a strong, powerful leader was ingrained into Russian society and it is an interesting feature of the revolution, that despite its attempts to turn society on its head with the ultimate goal of Communism, the aura of leadership remained steadfast. 


It fascinated me that the sons and daughters of some of those murdered and tortured beyond repair on Stalin's orders still regarded him as a great leader. It is unfathomable to me that it is possible to inspire such unswerving loyalty amongst people. This is ultimately what draws me to these immensely flawed and yet ridiculously charismatic characters. There seems to be men and women who pop up from time to time under varying banners of ideology, be it religious/political who manage to cultivate vast followings and impact the course of human history through their actions.


And so I came to the end of the book having lived within the court of the red tsar through the eyes of his vicious inner circle and I was struck again by the surreal nature of it all. How terrifying is it? If you place enough power into the hands of the wrong person you can end up with a society in which an innocuous comment could result in years of torture and imprisonment or a painful death. How is it that a man so well read and intelligent as Stalin, uses that intelligence to create a cut throat, savage society in which even those closest to him are not safe from assassination? 


I guess my curiosity will never be sated.

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review 2016-10-01 11:41
The Girl With No Name - My Review
The Girl With No Name - Diney Costeloe

What a beautiful ending to a wonderful book. Thank goodness Harry seem to have disappeared from the picture - I wonder what happened to him?


It was horrifying to read about Mutti's condition at the end, to imagine anyone could survive such a thing let alone the hundreds of people who did is just.... insane. It really does seem like a work of fiction; heartbreaking and impossible to believe.


Lovely ending, poor girl after all her heartache she deserved such a joyful end.


All the characters were exceptionally well done, even the devious Harry who I'm fairly certain turned into a narcissistic psychopath fundamentally due to his horrible circumstances. Terrifying to imagine how many others out there who would have turned into similar beings.


Still the skill the author showed in this book, creating this story and these superb characters was incredible. The Girl With No Name also had a unique writing style, sort of third-person then scatterings of first-person POV, admittedly I was a little weirded out by it at the beginning but it really worked for the story, I don't believe it would have been told as well without it. I'll definitely be looking into more of her work.


4 Stars

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text 2016-05-07 16:25
April Wrap-Up




Not a very good month and a very random selection!


Hitler's Forgotten Children by Ingrid Van Oelhafen & Tim Tate

In this book we follow the life of Ingrid. She is searching for her identity and family in the late 20th century after the Nazis took it from her. I learned about programs I didn't know existed under the Nazi regime. It was interesting and heartbreaking at the same time to follow Ingrid's life.


The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

I loved the way this was written, but I didn't enjoy the story very much. This is a coming of age story about Quinn Roberts who is 16 years old. He writes movies that he makes with his sister, before she was killed in a car accident. His best friend decides its time for him to join the world again. I loved the humor that Quinn had however, the story wasn't really for me. 

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review 2015-07-06 16:21
Just Right! A Veteran's Life: A Snapshot of the Greatest Generation Through the Life of Master Sergeant Albert M. Fernandez U.S.A.F. by Bob Richardson


Kindle Publication Date: May 17, 2015
Published by: 7 Top Secrets Publishing

Paperback Publication Date: January 10, 2015
ISBN-10: 150619222X
ISBN-13: 978-1506192222
Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform



Albert M. Fernandez Master Sergeant U.S.A.F. served in World War II, landing on the beaches of Normandy on D Plus 6. This book is the story of one man's life that demonstrates how and why his generation became known as "The Greatest Generation.

With a short History of Tampa, Florida and World War II as well as the United States Air Force and the Air Force Reserves generations to come can discover the secret of living the American Dream.







**I received a free e-copy of this book from the author but this has not affected my review or rating in any way.**

This is the story of Master Sergeant Albert M. Fernandez U.S.A.F, his good life with his family in Tampa Florida until the depression hit, how he became one of the boys in the 40's who were forged by war into men, his journey in serving his country, his life after the war and why his generation is known as The Greatest Generation.

A 20 yr.old boy who did what he was called to for his love of his country.....He and the other boys who turned into a fighting machine in the war who had to leave their homes and family knowing that they might not make it back home alive. This is a great read that would make readers remember and appreciate more the service men in The Greatest Generation.

This is a short biography with short history of World War II, United States Air Force, and Air Force Reserves.

This read reminded me of my late grandpa whom I used to ask a lot about wars in his generation.

A recommended read.
Author, Pastor, Dynamic Motivational Speaker, International Entertainer:

Bob Richardson is the Senior Pastor at Interbay Community Open Bible Church in Tampa Florida. He is an Author, Inspirational Speaker and Entertainer. Bob has been an international entertainer for over 25 years traveling around the world doing stage, TV and radio appearances.

Bob Richardson attended The State University of New York at Oswego for Broadcasting and Graduated from Florida Beacon with a Bachelor of Biblical Theology. Bob was a specialist in the Military Intelligence Corps and Has Written hundreds of articles on living life to its fullest.

Bob Richardson is available for interviews and booking speaking engagements. You can contact him through his website at: pastorbobrichardson.com
Source: thebookishailurophile.weebly.com/book-reviews/just-right-a-veterans-life-a-snapshot-of-the-greatest-generation-through-the-life-of-master-sergeant-albert-m-fernandez-usaf-by-bob-richardson
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