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The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna
The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna
by John Suchet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $30.06
36 used & new from $12.58

5.0 out of 5 stars SPLENDID !, June 24, 2016
This volume is one of the best books I have ever read on music especially on the Strauss dynasty. It has everything in it; the history of a troubled and ,in a way, dysfunctional family, the history of Vienna at its heyday, the intrigues, the happy and unhappy things that happened to the Strauss family, the tragedies of Franz Josef, his wife and Rudolf, their son, as well as the whole history of the music and its composers in Vienna during the 19th century.
In addition, it is superbly illustrated and extremely well- researched. One wants to read and reread the whole volume many times. This is what I intend to do soon.Bravo, Mr Suchet!

Operation Whisper: The Capture of Soviet Spies Morris and Lona Cohen
Operation Whisper: The Capture of Soviet Spies Morris and Lona Cohen
by Barnes Carr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.27
51 used & new from $13.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The couple who spied for the Reds, May 26, 2016
This is the first book to reconstruct , document and tell the story of the famous Cohens during the Cold War. It is well written, and reads like a real thriller. It also shows to what extent the Russians penetrated the most sensitive security spots in the USA . Mr Carr knows his stuff very well and describes in great detail the modus operandi of the Cohens, who have never shown any remorse or regrets.
This is another excellent addition to the literature of the history of Cold War Intelligence, showing how and to what extent this slice of history is so central to understanding the Cold War era. The Cohens were just one drop in this immense sea of the war of shadows. The damage they caused to the USA and the West was enormous, even after they had turned up in England after escaping from the clutches of the USA spycatchers.
An enjoyable and a very good read!

Heyday: The 1850s and the Dawn of the Global Age
Heyday: The 1850s and the Dawn of the Global Age
by Ben Wilson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.19
54 used & new from $12.96

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten years that changed the world (and Britain), May 12, 2016
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The subject is original and it is also highly entertaining. The book reads like a super fast-paced thriller and is well-researched. For those of you who would like to know about a fascinating decade of Britain and the world during the middle of the 19th century, this is your best choice so far. It shows how technology, trade, mass migration (especially to Australia) and war shaped the long century and the world. Communications and railways changed the world. The book has many chapters on the famous gold rushes in the USA and Australia, and various stories about famous pirates in the Far East. Those were the times of boom and bust and the 1850s marked the advent of techological inventions . A must for anyone who wants to combine a good read with history at its best. All this in 15 chapters and one epilogue.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 15, 2016 2:11 PM PDT

The First Nazi: Erich Ludendorff, The Man Who Made Hitler Possible
The First Nazi: Erich Ludendorff, The Man Who Made Hitler Possible
by Will Brownell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.41
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible and full of mistakes, April 16, 2016
When two authors write a book about one of the most interesting figures of the 20th century and make so many mistakes, one wonders about their ability to write accurate history. Unfortunately this is not the case here. The book is not only riddled with mistakes. it seems that the authors have written a book for teenages who do not have the faintest idea about Ludendorff. The style of writing is extremely poor and I doubt it very much if this book-more of a long essay- would have been received by any respectable scholar or high school teacher anywhere.
Save your hard-earned money for another opportunity to learn about Ludendorff. This one is a waste of time, a waste of money, a waste of everything.

The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War
The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War
by Jonathan Dimbleby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.43
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Battle From Hell, April 2, 2016
I must admit that military history is not one of my favourite subjects. Far from it. But from time to time I read a book which may be interesting. The reason for not reading military history is mainly because these kinds of books usually contain military jargon and a lot of data which is definitely meant for specialists.
In the case of Mr Dimbleby's book, I confess I was stunned to see how one writer has the ability to make military matters simple, riveting and intriguing. The thesis of it is very simple: the Battle of the Atlantic was the most important battle in WW2 .Had the Allies lost it, the results would have been totally other than they were at the edn of this horrible and enormous human tragedy.
What makes the book so fascinating is the ability of the author to take his readers to every corner of this conflict and make them see and experience every aspect of it. He describes in great detail what it was like serving on Nazi ships, how the soldiers and civilians felt on other ships, what the leaders of all sides said, how they acted, what the English housewife did and felt during those horrible events and so on.
On can also say that the book is divided into two parts :before the USA joined the bettle and after it. The U-boats are in the center of the book and the rivalry between Raeder and Donitz stands out . Churchill , Roosevelt and the aid they offered Stalin during 1941-1944 is another topic described in detail.
Most of those who perished at sea lost their lives in the grimmest circumstances. The fortunate ones died swiftly, blown up by torpedoes or by depth charges or machine gun fire.Others were trapped in sinking hulls or asphyxiated by toxic fumes.
Survivors of this battle have left accounts of their ordeal that were never explored so far and Mr Dimbleby has been the first to do so.The book contains some shocking pictures and detailed maps as well. This first class history reads like a very fast thriller and it is more than highly recommended.

1916: A Global History
1916: A Global History
by Keith Jeffery
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.33
68 used & new from $13.78

4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh look at the Great War, March 9, 2016
This review is from: 1916: A Global History (Hardcover)
This is a very good and interesting book, which is full of anecdotes and many new insights about the Great War. My only criticism has to do with the fact that a book like this should have included a lot of maps. Unfortunately they are not to be found here and it has only some 2-3 maps right at the very beginning of it .That is why I award it only four stars.

Donovan's Devils: OSS Commandos Behind Enemy Lines—Europe, World War II
Donovan's Devils: OSS Commandos Behind Enemy Lines—Europe, World War II
by Albert Lulushi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.86
57 used & new from $12.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The unsung heroes of World War 2, March 4, 2016
Much has been written on the OSS, but almost nothing has benn written about one of the OGs, which became part of the OSS.
Enter Mr Albert Lulushi's new and captivating book on the neglected subject. The OGs-Operational Groups-were part of the OSS. they were
volunteeers for the most dangerous missions behing enemy lines during WW2. They risked their lives in many parts of Europe ,and performed acts of subversion, sabotage, resistance, saving the lives of POWs and sometimes suffering from acts of betrayal from their friends.
This is the story and ,one must add, the history, of first and second-generation immigrants who operated in various geographical areas, such as France, Italy, the Balkans and some other parts in Europe. the uniqueness of this book is by showing the reader in a zoomed -in
way how, why and what happened during those risky missions.
After a short prologue, the book commences with sixteen intriguing and extremely detailed chapters about the many missions thoese unsung
heroes executed for the OSS, the brainchild of the famous Will Bill Donovan. It was Donovan himself who was one of the strongest proponents of the idea that the USA needded to prepare for WW2 andprovide support to Britain in its fight aganst the Axix forces. How the OSS was established
is well -known. But not so when it comes to the history of the OGs.
The inspiration for the OGs , or for conducting irregular warfare, came from a number of sources. Mr Lulushi deliniates this in detail. The first one was from the special forces called the K-Truppen. They originated in the Abwehr, the German military agents and they operated independently from regular troops.
"Operation Torch "was another source and after the demise of the Axis forces in North Africa in 1942, the Allies began preparing for the next
campaigns, beginning with the invasion of Sicily and then the Italian mainland. it was General Donovan wgo understood the importance of
establishing guerrilla forces in hostile territories. the result in the birth of the OGs. They were a military unit within a civilian organization in itself- thing which caused discomfoirt in the War Department, which did not approve the existence of military forces outside the regular armed forces structures. Donovan convinced Eisenhower of the value of the OG's and at the beginning of 1943, Eisenhower requested several operational groups in his theater to be used as organizers, fomenters and operational nuclei in enemy-held areas
The many missions of the OGs are described in detail . The most interesting and captivating part of the book focuses on the ill-fated missi
on called "Ginny" whose puprpose was to blow up some tunnel entrances on the La-Spezia-Genoa line in February 1944. This episode was almost unknow and thanks to the author's revelation its contents came to light. I will not reveal why and how the mission failed, but after its failure, central Nazi commanders paid a price and were executed as a result of "Ginny", the result being in discussing many points relevant to the topic of war crimes and war crimes trials.
This book , which is based on newly-discovered documents from many sources, is an important contribution and a must-read book for any
one interested in the history of WW2, and especially those interested in the history of intelligence during this horrible global conflict. Like in his previous book on the CIA, Mr Lulushi performs superbly and his thorough research should be applauded.

Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler
Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler
by Stefan Ihrig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $25.41
60 used & new from $21.57

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Germany's role in the Genocide of the Armenians, February 13, 2016
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This brilliantly researched and written book is about the involvement of Germany in the Armenian Genocide from the times of Bismarck to Hitler.
Germany , meaning Bismarck, attached a great importance to the Ottoman Empire, because it was a basic necessity in the balance of power in Europe. The Armenians were thus the sacrificial lamb on the altar of German-Ottoman relations and Germany's imperial policies. It was already at this point when Germany started to see in the extermination of the Armenians by the Turks as a dress rehearsal for many other major events in the history of Germany, whose culmination point was to be the Jewish Holocaust.
The book has four parts, which show the tradition of German abti-Armenianism. The violence against the Armenians was excused and even justified for decades. This was to be seen in the debate in Germany during the 1920s and its progression from outrage to denial, to
acceptance and then to what the author calls "genocidal justificationalism".
Furthermore, the Armenians played a role in racial discourses and the definitions of"Aryans" and "Jews" -discourses that reaffirmed the Armenian parallel status as either "Jews of the Orient" to even -uber-Jews, meaning worse than Jews .The German debate ended in justifying the Armenian
genocide because the Armenians had to be destroyed. They were treacherous, parasites and their destruction was presented as a military,
state, national and even racial necessity. The final outcome of this was the in the Nazi discourses about the New Turkey, which was portrayed as a model for a new, volkisch state. Hitler admired Ataturk and his policies and there can be no doubt that the Nazis incorporated the Armenian Genocide into their own worldview and their view of the new racial order they were building. But Ihrig is careful and writes that the connection between Germany and the Armenian Genocide does not imply that this genocide was responsible or that it caused the
The book incorporates many new untapped sources, many of them taken from German newspapers and written testimonies with many Germans who were against the genocidal policies of Turkey. The analytical part of this book is to be found on almost every page of it. This book is written in a very lively style and should be mandatory reading for those who care about humanity. In short, if I could give it 7 stars, I would certainly do so!

Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance
Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance
by Robert Gildea
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.73
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The many faces of French Resistance, January 25, 2016
One of the most controversial issues in contemporary history is the subject of the French Resistance. One can find many books on this and I can only surmise that there will be many more to come, since the subject is far from being exhausted. There will always be new interpretations, depending on the point of view of the author.
What Robert Gildea has done here is to write a very comprehensive history ofthe French Resistance,destroying many myths surrounding it. In fact, Professor Gildea has examined from the start old testimonies, combining them with newly declassified materials taken from various archives and respective interviews. The result is fascinating and gripping. The Resistance in France was divided between those on the right and those on the left, fighting for various visions of the world.
The book has fifteen chapters and one can say that the book is divided into two main parts. The first half is about the period from 1940 to
the end o 1942. The first part explores why a minority of individuals opted for resistance under the impact of defeat and armistice in 1940.
The story of the Resistance is central to French identity. To deal with the trauma of defeat, occupation and civil war, the French developed a central myth of the resistance. It was this myth which allowed the French to reinvent themselves and hold their heads high in the post war period. As Gildea writes, "this myth was orchestrated very effectively right from the very moment of liberation" .The person responsible to a
great extent for this was General De Gaulle, who declared that France "was liberated by its own people with the help of the armies of
France, with the help of all France". De Gaulle's resistance myth was military, national and male.
This is where Gildea's book begs to differ. His point is well made: the French had liberated themselves but not without the help of foreign resisters, whose contribution had initially been glossed over. These were Jews who came to France mainly from Eastern Europe, anti-Fascist groups who took part in the Spanish Civil War, opposition groups who fought against the Vichy government and arrived in France from many other countries, Italians, anti-Nazis from Germany and definitely many women. The role of women is especially emphasized here. As Lucie
Aubrac, one of the most famous women who was in the Resistance wrote, women were the essential links in the Resistance. Professor Gildea desrcibes to what extent they played afull part in intelligence work, propagandaand epecially as SOE agents, in sabotage. Some roles, like that of liaison agaents, they fulfilled better than men, because they were less likely to be stopped and searched.
The second part of the book is about the period from the end of 1942 to the liberation of France. Churchill and Roosevelt in particular did not like De Gaulle at all. He was called by them "our mutual headache". The realtionship of the French with the Allies was difficult along the war. French forces came under the overall leadership of General Eisenhower, who was committed to a strategy that placed the defeat of Germany above the liberation of France. Afterr the war, Eisenhower conceded that the French Resistance saved the Allies both time and losses and enabled them to pursue their main strategy of driving east.
The last chapter of the book, entitled "Battle for the Soul of the Resistance" sums up how the resistance was and is still seen through the eyes of witnesses, historians and film producers.
By bringing hundreds of stories related to the Resistance and incorporating them into one cohesive narrative, showing theinterplay between memories and myths, Mr Gildea has written a masterpiece, not only because of the so many narratives it has, but also becasue of a very deep analysis of the events that happened during this painful part of French history.

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
by Mary Beard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.35
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ultra-Boring, January 21, 2016
You must have a real talent for writing such a boring history. The book is full of contradictions and you can never even guess why the author wrote this horrible book. There were -and will definitely be- other much more talented authors who will make Roman history alive, but not Mary Beard. Skip this book and SYM ( =Save Your Money).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2016 3:29 PM PST

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