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Mr. A. Pomeroy (Wiltshire, England)
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Moon
Moon
von Tony Fletcher
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen Moon the human being, 1. August 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Moon (Gebundene Ausgabe)
It takes a lot for the drummer of a rock band to become as famous as the lead guitarist, especially when the lead guitarist is Pete Thownshend, and the group is the Who. Both a biography of Keith Moon, and a decent history of the group, this chunky, excellent book details one of the most extreme, surreal lives in rock. From the non-stop constant hotel wrecking (which starts off amusingly enough, but eventually becomes worrying when Keith doesn't stop, ever), to the bizarre tale of his girlfriend calling the actor Larry Hagman to help Keith get through an overdose, it's a portrait of a man whose average weekend packed in more drink, drugs and destruction than most people manage in a year. And all the time Moon remains mostly likeable, although he isn't very nice towards his first wife, or old people. Early on he admits that the only thing he could possibly do was play drums - and as he lost interest in the drums, his life seemed to spiral out of control. His eventual death (announced by Pete Thownshend to Roger Daltrey with the telephone conversation 'He's gone and done it', 'What?', 'Moon') becomes increasingly inevitable, but no less sad for it. Moon's tragedy was that, apart from being a hyperactive child, his generation had no template to follow, and thus pushed themselves further and harder than any rock stars since.


Stalingrad
Stalingrad
von Antony Beevor
  Gebundene Ausgabe

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4.0 von 5 Sternen No happy ending, 28. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Stalingrad (Gebundene Ausgabe)
This is an excellent account of the events leading up to the German army's biggest and most bitter defeat - the avoidable abandonment and slow death of an entire division at Stalingrad, a kind of Nazi Vietnam, although the well-chosen photographs could be of Kosovo, or any armoured conflict anywhere. Not so much an account of history as a vivid portrait of a nightmare hell, 'Stalingrad' conveys the madness of a campaign in which Russian deserters fought for the Germans, German deserters fought for the Russians - a campaign in which those fighting had the choice of dying by enemy fire, or by a bullet in the head from a morale officer - a campaign in which the German army repeatedly smashed the hopelessly-led Russian forces, and still lost. The sorry tale is run through with a horrible sense of inevitability - anybody with a little WW2 knowledge knows how it all turned out, and the way that the pieces fall into place make you want to warn the people involved, somehow. By the time the German army is surrounded in the broken ruins of a frozen city, with the nearest help being increasingly fought all the way back to Germany, and supplies running low, whilst at home Hitler orders them to stand, fight and die, you will have learned a lot about human nature.
The lengthy battle itself was brutal and drawn-out, and the aftermath was not at all pretty - captured German wounded were simply executed, with the remaining soldiers being marched to death. Those who survived often faced a future in a communist East Germany that didn't really want them, or imprisonment - the thought of the German officers languishing in prison until well into the era of rock-and-roll seems jarring and odd.
Also of note is a decent film on the subject, 'Stalingrad', produced by many of the same team responsible for 'Das Boot'.


BFI Modern Classics
BFI Modern Classics
von Tom Charity
  Taschenbuch

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Buck Rogers, 27. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: BFI Modern Classics (Taschenbuch)
A decent, small handbook on an unjustly overlooked film, this follows the 'Terminator' mould of the BFI books, in that it avoids undue analysis in favour of a few thousand words of well-penned facts and conjecture on the making and impact of, and background to, the epic film. Coming out at the turn of the 80's, it was unfortunately seen as being inappropriately jingoistic, and thirty years out of date (the title itself giving the unthinkable impression that there must also be a 'wrong stuff', too). That said, if it had been released a few years later, we would all associate it with the worst excesses of Rambo-ear Reagamerica. As with the other books, you'll probably finish it in half an hour, although once you have done so it's fun to flick through all the various footnotes and references - Tom Charity has obviously done his research.


The "Terminator" (BFI Modern Classics)
The "Terminator" (BFI Modern Classics)
von Sean French
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,97

4.0 von 5 Sternen Swift, 27. Juni 2000
Whereas many of the BFI film guides descend into realms of film-school arsiness (literally so in the case of Michael Rogin's semi-classic 'Independence Day'), this is a refreshingly straightforward collection of trivia and informed commentary on 'The Terminator', and probably the best that is likely to appear. Given that 'The Terminator' was produced quickly on a low budget, and that not much was expected of it, no records were kept of the filming, and there really isn't much to write about the making of the film itself. Rather, the author takes us through the film, pointing out the clever bits, and writing about them. It's almost as spartan and efficient as the film itself - you'll probably finish it in half an hour, and wish that it was longer.


The Bond Files: The Definitive Unofficial Guide to Ian Fleming's James Bond: The Unofficial Guide to Ian Fleming's James Bond
The Bond Files: The Definitive Unofficial Guide to Ian Fleming's James Bond: The Unofficial Guide to Ian Fleming's James Bond
von Andy Lane
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen I musht be dreaming, 27. Juni 2000
Although it's a purely text-only paperback, an totally unauthorised, this fantastic reference work scores highly on account of the fact that it doesn't just cover the films - it has everything from the novels (and not just the Ian Fleming ones) to the comic strips that were published in the Daily Express, to the 'James Bond Junior' cartoon series, to 'Casino Royale', both television play and film. It even has a small chapter on the cultural impact of Bond, and the various Bondalikes, from light spoof such as 'The Man from UNCLE' to more serious works from Len Deighton and John Le Carre. It's a shame that this wasn't made bigger, really - although it could easily have become unworkably huge, there isn't much to explain exactly why Bond has appealed to us for almost half a century, and how he has changed to fit the times.
As far as the book goes (and that's pretty far), it's perfect - wisely, the authors don't try to 'rate' any of the Bondibles, although they do go so far as to suggest that some of the later John Gardner novels are less impressive than his earlier ones. The attempt to keep up with the constantly-shifting Bond biography is amusing, too - Fleming's Bond was born between the World Wars, and would now be enjoying retirement, something which seems unlikely to happen to 'our' Bond any time soon.


Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source
Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source
von Onion Staff
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 16,95

5.0 von 5 Sternen Man walks on moon, 7. Juni 2000
A fantastic collection of satire from a country that hitherto seemed unable to create such a thing (see also: irony, understatement), this is worth it entirely for the headlines, most of which are side-splittingly funny. The references to ultra-obscure Americana such as pet rocks, Jimmy Carter (apparently an athlete) and the Christian Right might seem puzzling in the UK, but it's possible to get the gist from the context. It's here where the book shows its only real weakness - after the headlines, the stories are often over-literal, and overlong.
Still, it's a masterpiece - the changing design of the newspaper over a century is nicely done, there are lots of little gags in the corner of the page (the one legacy of 'Mad' magazine), the running gag about the 'evil' Spanish is a very clever parody of William Randolph Hearst, and it even has some proper history.
Best headlines of the lot would have to be the giant 'WA' for World War 2, and the whole article on the Apollo landings, in which Neil Armstrongs famous first words are revealed to be somewhat more... emotional that those generally reported as fact.


Team Yankee
Team Yankee
von Harold Coyle
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen Hesh, 5. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Team Yankee (Taschenbuch)
A classic early 'techno-thriller' that spawned a fondly-remembered computer game, 'Team Yankee' is the tale of an M1 tank platoon fighting its way through eastern Europe in the opening fortnight of WWIII. That's it - they drive and fight and drive and fight, for fourteen days.
The approach is both honest (we learn nothing about the outside world) and slightly unsatisfying - the book lacks the political depth of a Tom Clancy novel, and the resolutely realistic tone lacks the pulpy thrills of Larry Bond. In fact it's not so much a 'thriller', as a 'mockumentary'.
Two further points that will strike you as you read the book:- 1. The Russians. They're hopeless. 2. Birmingham. Ulp.


The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan
The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan
von Robert Shea
  Taschenbuch

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2.0 von 5 Sternen Elsewhere, 31. Mai 2000
A great example of how size and complexity do not equal depth or worth, this large, culty trilogy is more or less a white-noise barrage of meaningless events splattered over a thousand or so pages. As a proper novel it's a big shaggy-dog story, and as a reading experience it's just not interesting enough. By the end I was reading it as a grudge, just to prove that I could do it.
It's dated, too - the female character(s) are/is there for the men to have sex with - and the time- and space-hopping narrative isn't nearly as clever as it seems to think. It has some memorably smug characters, too, and the air of something dreamed up and written down one night whilst bored.


Red Phoenix
Red Phoenix
von Larry Bond
  Taschenbuch

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Boom, 30. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Red Phoenix (Taschenbuch)
A thundering, unsubtle, and hugely entertaining novel of a new Korean war, concentrating on a set of characters (a soldier, an F16 pilot, and the general in charge of the US armed forces) caught up in the turmoil. It isn't high art, but it's excellent at what it does - after a slow, ominous build-up (which takes up the first half of the novel) it's pretty much constant action from then on, on land, on sea, and in the air. The book's only real downside is the abrupt ending - after building the enemy up for 650 pages, they seem to collapse very quickly.
This was Larry Bond's debut novel, and it has some rough edges - Bond is more concerned with the ebb and flow of brigades than individual people, and personal crises (of the 'I'm scared', 'Pull yourself together', 'Okay - I'll try' level) are resolved in a few paragraphs. There's a stab at romance, too, something his subsequent novels steer clear of. Nonetheless, Bond's talent is fully-formed, and this is the best novel to start with (both 'Cauldron' and 'Vortex' are less immediate - South Africa seems less gripping, somehow, and 'Vortex' is set in a near future world which seems increasingly abstract).
As a footnote, it makes a fascinating companion-piece to the PC/Mac 'Falcon 4.0', a simulation of flying an F-16 over just such a conflict, with the same locations and technology.
Is it an unwritten rule that novels of this ilk always start off with an isolated commando raid?


Apples & Chalkdust: Inspirational Stories and Encouragement for Teachers
Apples & Chalkdust: Inspirational Stories and Encouragement for Teachers
von Vicki Caruana
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen Oranges, 19. Mai 2000
I've been eating a lot of apples recently. And I'm sick of them. Sick of apples. I don't know how horses survive from day to day on a diet of apples, and I feel sorry for them. Apples are one of the most basic foodstuffs around, and I'm sick of them. I'm worried that I'll become sick of other things, too - I'm like that. Apparently most of the world's population lives on a mixture of bread, rice and potatoes, and they survive from day to day without getting sick of those things. I would get sick of them very quickly, and then I would have to move to other basic foodstuffs, such as fish and fruit, although not apples as I am sick of them. Already I have become sick of cheese and onion flavoured crisps, the little strips of chicken that you get in Marks and Spencers and can put in Sandwiches, and Campbell's condensed soup.
Next, I suspect, is 'Sunny Delight'. I have been drinking a lot of it recently. I don't know what I will do without it. I'll have to go back to drinking orange squash. I didn't get sick of orange squash, or at least not as sick as I am of apples. With apples it was a sharp break - one moment I liked them, the next moment I couldn't stand to eat them. Orange squash just ground me down over time. I used to drink a lot of lemonade. I don't think I got sick of that. It just seemed to fade from my daily intake.
I would eat other fruit, but they only have apples and oranges here, and it's not possible to eat an orange without creating a mess. They have bananas sometimes, but very few, and the stocks are depleted quickly as everybody wants them. They're clean. Not like oranges.
Poor horses.


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