Profile for Michael OConnor > Reviews


Michael OConnor's Profile

Customer Reviews: 2149
Top Reviewer Ranking: 119
Helpful Votes: 7681

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Michael OConnor "Wordsmith" RSS Feed (Wausau, WI USA)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
Tumult in the Clouds: The Aviation Art of Russell Smith
Tumult in the Clouds: The Aviation Art of Russell Smith
by Jim Wilberg
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from $49.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful World War I Aviation Artbook!, August 21, 2014
Though Jim Wilberg's book TUMULT IN THE CLOUDS is subtitled THE AVIATION ART OF RUSSELL SMITH, Wilberg's book is much more than a showcase of Smith's awesome World War I aviation artwork. Along with spotlighting over 40 of Smith's full-color paintings, the book features over two dozen informative articles that describe WW I pilots and aircraft. A fascinating words-and-artwork guide to WW I combat aviation, TUMULT IN THE CLOUDS will delight air combat enthusiasts.

The artwork featured in TUMULT IN THE CLOUDS include compelling, atmospheric scenes with Taubes, Fokker Triplanes, Brisfits, Camels, Spads, Nieuports, Fokker D.VIIs, D.H.2s, Albatros D.Vs, R.E.8s, etc. Interwoven with the artwork are chapters by noted aviation writers such as Jon Guttman and Greg VanWyngarden on WW I aces such as William Thaw, Frank Luke, the Red Baron and Ernst Udet along with aircraft bios on the D.H.2, F.E.2b, Fokker Tripe and Pfalz D.III. Along with the 44 artworks mentioned above, Wilberg's book includes 20 b&w sketches that trace the evolution of some of Smith's paintings coupled with a chapter written by the artist that reveals how he creates his masterpieces, Smith's artwork is complimented by dozens of vintage and contemporary b&w and color photographs of all those gorgeous warbirds and the men who flew them.

In short, TUMULT IN THE CLOUDS is military aviation history at its best. Breathtaking artwork is matched with authoritative text to produce an immensely appealing history of Great War aviation showcasing the work of an acclaimed artist.This 2011 Aeronaut Books release is a must-have. Highly recommended.

D-Day: Minute by Minute
D-Day: Minute by Minute
by Jonathan Mayo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.63
52 used & new from $0.74

4.0 out of 5 stars D-Day Snap-shots!, August 20, 2014
Jonathan Mayo's D-DAY MINUTE BY MINUTE is yet another 6 June 1944 book but with a twist. Mayo's book, a 2014 Mable Arch Press release, offers a timeline history of D-Day, interweaving vignettes from various soldiers, sailors, airmen, civilians, etc. The result is a fascinating mosaic of D-Day experiences; visual snap-shots, if you will, of that most momentous event.

Mayo's cast of characters ranges from Prime Ministers to privates, Supreme Commanders to G.I.s, Admirals to airmen. Mayo's net is widely cast, including Americans, Brits, Canadians including STAR TREK'S Jimmy Doohan, Germans, Frenchmen, etc, Some are well-known to history: Eisenhower, Churchill, Montgomery. Others were "just ordinary joes" caught up in the world's greatest invasion.

I wish Mayo had included photographs of at least some of the commentators but that's just me.

In any case, D-DAY MINUTE BY MINUTE offers up an original and entertaining history of 6 June. Recommended.

Cinema Retro: Kelly's Heroes Movie Classic Special Edition
Cinema Retro: Kelly's Heroes Movie Classic Special Edition
by Howard Hughes
Edition: Single Issue Magazine

5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Tribute to a Classic War Movie!, August 16, 2014
CINEMA RETRO's one-off tribute to KELLY'S HEROES is a marvelous, thorough and wonderfully entertaining tribute to the making of that classic war movie.

The KELLY'S HEROES special edition tops off at 80 pages. It offers insightful articles on the movie's stars/co-stars (Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Carroll O'Connor, Don Rickles, et al), the script and how it evolved including deleted scenes, the film's score/composer, location shooting, interviews with many of the principals like Eastwood, Sutherland and director Brian Hutton, details on individual scenes, movie posters and artwork, critical and popular reception, the subsequent novelization, etc.

The book is brimming with hundreds(!) b&w and color production stills and candids of the cast, crew, props, location filming, etc. Visually the book is a delight.

Anyone who enjoyed the film will want to add this absolutely first-class tribute to their shelves. It's simply a must-have! Highly recommended.

365 Reasons to be Proud to be Irish: Magical Moments in Ireland's History
365 Reasons to be Proud to be Irish: Magical Moments in Ireland's History
by Richard Happer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.56
37 used & new from $6.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing Irish Trivia!, August 14, 2014
Richard Happer's 365 REASONS TO BE PROUD TO BE IRISH is a day-by-day celebration of MAGICAL MOMENTS IN IRISH HISTORY. Happer's book offers up an appealing helping of famous, infamous, extraordinary and occasionally silly events, people and places that make Ireland so special.

Among the 'ould sod' trivia found in Happer's book are details on the first Irish immigrant through Ellis Island, Dublin-born architect Alexander Mitchell's lighthouse innovation, info on the talented Yeats family, the Irish inventor who invented the first tank, a bio of STAR TREK character Miles O'Brien, Belfast's claim to having the world's largest dry dock, the Irish doctor who established the world's oldest maternity hospital, the first metropolis in the world to be lit by electricity, actor Barry Fitzgerald's Oscar accomplishments, how Belfast became the world's largest linen-producing locale, the Irish ex-soldier who organized London's Metropolitan Police force, a bio of Dublin-born Bram Stoker, the Irish hotel that claims to be the "most bombed hotel in Europe," the County Cork town that produces Viagra, details on the first person to die from the guillotine, 'Fungie' the Dingle harbor dolphin, a bio of 16th-Century clan leader/pirate Grace O'Malley and on and on.

365 REASONS TO BE PROUD TO BE IRISH is one of those entertaining books you can read from start to finish or just pick a page at random and jump in. It's a fun read...and educational too. Recommended.

Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond
Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond
by Scott Allen Nollen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $47.45
37 used & new from $40.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tale of Three (Good) Bad Men!, August 14, 2014
Scott Allen Nollen offers up an impressive triple biography of John Ford, John Wayne and Ward Bond in THREE BAD MEN. A 2013 McFarland release, Nollen's book relates the compelling tale of the interwoven lives and careers of these three film giants.

While there have been a blizzard on books on the Duke and a lesser number on Ford, there's been precious little on the third member of the triumvirate, Ward Bond. Yet, as extensively documented in Nollen's book, the destinies of the third were forever interlinked once budding actors Bond and Wayne met Ford, the brilliant if tyrannical director. In some 390-odd pages, Nollen charts the careers and personal developments in each man's lives and their shared experiences on and off-screen. None of the three were saints by any stretch of the imagination, Ford especially. Yet, while THREE BAD MEN definitely presents a 'warts-and-all' portrait of all three, the resulting portrait is entertaining and affectionate yet fairminded.

While THREE BAD MEN is a lengthy piece, I found it an all-together fascinating read. It presents revealing, previously little-known insights into the lives and times of three screen legends. Recommended.

Panzerwrecks 16: Bulge
Panzerwrecks 16: Bulge
by Lee Archer and Willam Auerbach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.56

5.0 out of 5 stars German Armor in the Battle of the Bulge!, August 14, 2014
This review is from: Panzerwrecks 16: Bulge (Paperback)
Lee Archer and William Auerbach's PANZERWRECKS 16; BULGE, with its evocative cover photographs of two G.I.s standing in front of a wrecked, snow-covered Tiger tank, is a mother photographic lode of pix of German 'heavy metal' involved in the Battle of the Bulge. Featuring over 150 ultra-rare photos of German AFVs, it's a fascinating 'look back' at that legendary battle.

As borne out by Archer and Auerbach's book, a lot more German 'heavy metal' than just Tigers were involved in the Bulge fighting. Among the AFVs found in BULGE are Panthers, Krankenpanzerwagens, Panzer IV/70(V)s, Pz.Kpfw.Ivs, Sturmgeschutz III and IVs, Panzerspahwagens, captured M-2s/M-3s/M-4s/M-8s used by the Germans and various other vehicles such as RSO/01, Maultiers and m.S.Pws. Photo reproduction is generally quite good. Captioning, as always, is top-notch.

Armor buffs will enjoy this latest addition to the PANZERWRECKS series. recommended.


Panzerwrecks 7: Ostfront
Panzerwrecks 7: Ostfront
by Lee Archer and William Auerbach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.90
9 used & new from $17.75

5.0 out of 5 stars German Eastern Front AFV Photo-Guide!, August 14, 2014
Fans of Eastern Front 'heavy metal' will enjoy Lee Archer and William Auerbach's PANZERWRECKS 7; OSTFRONT with its wide-ranging mix of German AFVs 'hors de combat.' Featuring over 120 rare pix taken from a variety of sources including Russian and Eastern European archives, Archer and Auerbach's book offers a facinating look back at Eastern Front warfare.

Along with the usual Panthers, Tigers and Pz.Kpfw.IV's, PANZERWRECKS 7 also feature Hummels, Jagdpanzers, Bergepanthers, Munitionspanzers, Panzer IV/70(A)s, Mobelwagens and various trucks along with eight pages of late-war Hungarian armor. Photo quality varies; most of the snaps are good to excellent. Each image is authoritatively captioned.

In short, OSTFRONT is another fine addition to the PANZERWRECKS series. Chock full of well-captioned, ultra-rare photographs, it's a must-have for AFV fans. Recommended.

Eagles Illustrated, Vol. 1: Fighters of WWII
Eagles Illustrated, Vol. 1: Fighters of WWII
by Thomas A. Tullis
Edition: Paperback
56 used & new from $3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Side-views of WW II Fighters!, August 11, 2014
Thomas Tullis is one of the very best aviation artists currently practicing their art. His compelling, exquisitely-detailed artwork has graced any number of books. With EAGLES ILLUSTRATED, FIGHTERS OF WORLD WAR II, Tullis takes pen and artbrush in hand to present an illustrated survey of some 30-odd fighters used by the Allies and Axis in the Second World War. A 2000 Eagle Edition release, EAGLES ILLUSTRATED should prove to be catnip for WW II fighter buffs.

EAGLES ILLUSTRATED offers up two side-profiles per page along with accompanying, concise captions on the a/c, unit/date, colors, special notes and references. So, the reader is treated to lovely views of Spits, FW 190s, Corsairs, P-51s, P-40s, Wildcats, Bf 109s, Me 163s and Me 262s. Curiously, there are no Japanese, Italian or Russian a/c illustrated but perhaps those were to be in Volume Two.

In any case, FIGHTERS OF WORLD WAR II makes for fun viewing. Tullis is a master craftsman and his versatility and talents are well-displayed in this book. Recommended.

7,650 Helpful Votes!


The Wizard of Oz FAQ, All That's Left To Know About Life According to Oz (FAQ Series)
The Wizard of Oz FAQ, All That's Left To Know About Life According to Oz (FAQ Series)
by David J. Hogan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.29
44 used & new from $13.13

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Now You Know the Rest of the (WIZARD OF OZ) Story!, August 6, 2014
THE WIZARD OF OZ is, arguably, the most magical movie ever made. Its heartwarming tale of Dorothy "in the merry old land of Oz" continues to captivate and entertain audiences 70 years after its release. David Hogan takes an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at this cinematic masterpiece in THE WIZARD OF OZ FAQ, ALL THAT'S LEFT TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE ACCORDING TO OZ. A 2014 Applause Theatre & Cinema Books release, Hogan's book should delight Oz fans of all ages.

Hogan's book tops off at 448 pages and casts a wide WIZARD OF OZ net. After opening chapters of L. Frank Baum - the "Real Wizard of Oz," early stage and film adaptations of Baum's book and a history of MGM, the studio that turned Baum's novel into cinematic magic, Hogan details how MGM acquired the rights, studio 'movers and shakers' who helped get THE WIZARD OF OZ off the ground, how the cast was assembled including those actors who, for one reason or another, failed to get the casting nod, the creation of the score, songs and screenplay, production design, special effects, the various directors who had a hand in creating the movie, WIZARD OF OZ myths and legends, etc. The book is just brimming with fascinating, little-known facts about the movie and the many, many talented people who helped create it.

The book is illustrated throughout with vintage photographs, movie posters and ads.

Movie buffs will enjoy this detailed yet endlessly entertaining guide to this enduring family favorite. Highly recommended.

German Infantryman vs Soviet Rifleman: Barbarossa 1941 (Combat)
German Infantryman vs Soviet Rifleman: Barbarossa 1941 (Combat)
by D. Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.82
55 used & new from $9.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Operation Barbarossa Infantry Combats!, August 5, 2014
David Campbell's GERMAN INFANTRYMAN VERSUS SOVIET RIFLEMAN, BARBAROSSA 1941 is one of the most enjoyable and informative title Osprey has published in their 'Combat' series. Well illustrated with photographs, maps and combat artwork, it provides an instructive 'mano a mano' comparison of German and Russian soldiers in the early stages of the 'Great Patriotic War.'

The fighting on the Russian Front was gigantic in scale. Campbell's book provides a grunt-level look at the fighting, specifically the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian and German troops. The Germans were skilled, experienced veterans boasting a series of breathtaking victories. Russian troops, by contrast, were poorly trained, poorly-led, under-strength and inadequately-equipped. Yet, as revealed in Campbell's book, despite appalling losses, the Soviet troops denied Hitler a typically quick Blitzkrieg victory in June 1941, trading blood for time. After summarizing the opposing forces, Campbell details three early-Barbarossa battles -: Zhlobin (6 July), Smolensk (15-23 July) and Vas'kovo-Voroshilovo (23-27 July) that illustrate the ultimate success of such bloody tactics.

In short, Campbell's book is an insightful overview of German and Russian infantrymen at war in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa and the lessons learned from those combats. Recommended..

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20