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  • Review: Primates July 15, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Primates

    Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks, Primates This blog has a tradition of, from time to time, flagging up excellent children’s books on history and the supernatural. Primates, a 140-page comic, falls very much into the first of these two categories. It takes the lives of three biological anthropologists, only two of whom are still alive: […]

    Review: Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox and Murder in Perugia May 24, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox and Murder in Perugia

    Nina Burleigh, The Fatal Gift of Beauty In 2007 a young British student Meredith Kercher was murdered in her flat in Perugia, Italy: she had possibly been raped before her death. The crime was a horrible one, but the victim was all too often forgotten in the events that followed. The prosecutors in Perugia decided […]

    Review: The Lost Story of the William & Mary March 26, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: The Lost Story of the William & Mary

    There is a new series of history books, products of the internet age, that have amateur historians putting together works that are, often, better than those by professional historians. The reason for the success of these amateurs is simple. They concentrate on contemporary sources, sources that are now increasingly available online for those ready to […]

    Review: Death and the Dolce Vita March 22, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Death and the Dolce Vita

    Stephen Gundle is one of the best British writers on Italy. He has dealt with Italy film industry, the Italian ideal of beauty and the relationship between Botteghe Oscure (the nasty old Italian Communist Party) and Moscow. However, his most mainstream book is Death and the Dolce Vita: the Dark Side of Rome in the […]

    Review: Hitler’s Forgotten Children December 5, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Hitler's Forgotten Children

    Lebensborn is a Nazi word to place side by side with such Teutonic charmers as Einsatzgruppen, Lebensraum and Endlösung. The Lebensborn or Life’s Fount was a scheme to breed a hundred million blond supermen and their hand maidens. It had various reflexes: sex between consenting Aryans was encouraged, against conventional Christian morality; Aryan women siring children […]

    Review: Postwar November 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Postwar

    Tony Judt is often touted as one of the great historians of the later twentieth century. Yet really his writings are, with one exception, not the stuff that world reputations are made on The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century or Socialism in Provence 1871–1914: A Study in the Origins […]

    Night Soldiers: the World of Alan Furst November 20, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Night Soldiers: the World of Alan Furst

    Europe from 1933-1945, from Hitler’s arrival in office to the moment that the moustached one ends his life with a pistol in the bunker. What a truly remarkably, ear-splittingly screwed up continent! We travel from De Valera’s theocratic Ireland dancing  hopelessly at the crossroads, to men, women and children being taken downstairs to be shot […]

    Review: Erotic Book Plates October 8, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Review: Erotic Book Plates

    Erotic Book Plates, (ed) Drs Phyllis and Eberhard Kronhausen (New York 1970) A rather eccentric and intriguing book from what we will one day look back upon as the mid-twentieth-century sex revolution. Two radical Freudians, who would write half a dozen works on western sex habits, including an old favourite of this blog Walter, were able […]

    Review: The Graveyard of the Batavia August 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: The Graveyard of the Batavia

    Mike Dash, The Graveyard of the Batavia Beach took about two years to pluck up the courage to read this book. The problem was not the quality of the writing, which is excellent, but the painful subject matter. The story in brief. Over three hundred Dutch men, women and children sailing on the Batavia got […]

    Review: Spirits of an Industrial Age July 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Review: Spirits of an Industrial Age

    There are few pleasures greater in the second decade of the twenty-first century than picking up a self-published volume and finding that it is actually a good read. (For younger readers this simply did not happen thirty years ago). Enter from the left stage Spirits of an Industrial Age: Ghost Impersonation, Spring-heeled Jack and Victorian Society […]

    Review: The Bye Bye Man May 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: The Bye Bye Man

    Robert Damon Schneck, The Bye Bye Man and Other Strange-but-True-Tales (New York 2014) RDS has built a reputation, in the last decade, for ‘strange stories’ well told with a strong bias towards the supernatural. This ‘new’ collection – actually originally published by Anomalist Press in 2005 as The President’s Vampire – has the typical RDS […]

    Review: Lost Book of Moses May 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Review: Lost Book of Moses

    Chanan Tigay, The Lost Book of Moses (Harper-Collins, 2016) This blogger has a dilemma. There are three pages of a century-old book he wants about an obscure English county. The book is not present in any library in the world, but one copy exists in the hands of a bookseller who wants about two hundred […]

    Review: Physical Evidence, A Feeling for Magic May 2, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Review: Physical Evidence, A Feeling for Magic

    Ronald Hutton (ed), Physical Evidence for Ritual Acts, Sorcery and Witchcraft in Christian Britain: A Feeling for Magic (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) Academic essay collections fall into different categories including such old and tried favourites as: ‘new directions’; ‘pot pouri’; ‘the EU gave us some money so we had a conference’; and ‘x is wrong and […]

    Review: Nanny Says April 9, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Nanny Says

    Diana, Lady Avebury (ed) Nanny Says (London: Dobson, 1972) The Nanny was an institution of upper middle class and aristocratic families in Victorian, Edwardian and inter-war Britain. She was the efficient and often frightening family child carer. She stepped in at a couple of weeks after birth taking over from the harassed mother (who would be allowed […]

    Review Theory of Irony: How Jesus Led to Moon Golf March 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Review Theory of Irony: How Jesus Led to Moon Golf

    A subtitle like How Jesus Led to Moon Golf promises a swish historical read. Beach immediately, in fact, thought of some of Graeme Donald’s history writing and books like Mussolini’s Barber and other stories of the unknown players who made history happen. This proved naïve. Mussolini’s Barber offers some cute episodes from recent history and Graeme […]

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