An Introduction to the complete Dead Sea Scrolls by Geza Vermes

When these scrolls were first found in 1947 in 11 caves at Qumran, the word ‘revolutionary’ was used to describe their significance. Nowadays, such an emotive word has been replaced by a more mature assessment. The opinion at present is that the scrolls have mainly provided an insight into the history and beliefs of theContinue reading “An Introduction to the complete Dead Sea Scrolls by Geza Vermes”

Living Pictures by Polina Barskova

Polina Barskova was born and brought up in Leningrad over 30 years after the end of the siege of that city by the Germans during WWII. The siege lasted from September 1941 to January 1944. The siege cast a long shadow which still affected the lives of the children in the 1970s and early 1980s.Continue reading “Living Pictures by Polina Barskova”

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

The first James Bond book that Ian Fleming wrote and I recognised some of the details from the 2006 film of the same name. Le Chiffre is a nearly bankrupt member of the secretive SMERSH organisation (SMERSH is a conjunction of two Russian words: ‘Smyert Shpionam’ meaning roughly ‘Death to Spies’. Le Chiffre and BondContinue reading “Casino Royale by Ian Fleming”

Strange Loyalties by William McIlvanney

This is the third novel in the original Laidlaw trilogy. The death of his brother Scott in an apparent accident – Scott was drunk and hit by a car driven by a newsagent – has upset and angered Jack Laidlaw. His intuition says it was no accident and so he determines to find out whoContinue reading “Strange Loyalties by William McIlvanney”

Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man by Christopher Hitchens

Thomas Paine was one of the greatest advocates of freedom in history and his Declaration of the Rights of Man, first published in 1791, is the cornerstone of his reputation. Christopher Hitchens demonstrates how Thomas Paine’s book forms the philosophical framework for the United States of America. Hitchens covers Paine’s life from his early daysContinue reading “Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man by Christopher Hitchens”

A Smile in the Mind’s Eye – Review

Lawrence Durrell had a lifelong interest in and sympathy for the philosophy of Taoism. Since he read the Tao Te Ching which contains a description of the great motor of the universe and its works, he felt that it was what he believed in. The first half of this short book covers the visit ofContinue reading “A Smile in the Mind’s Eye – Review”

The Freud Wars: A Graphic Guide

Sigmund Freud is recognised as a pivotal figure in modern culture, yet he and his body of work attract controversy to this day. This book addresses the chief accusations against him, some more serious than others. Freud was born in the town of Freiberg, Northern Moravia then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From an earlyContinue reading “The Freud Wars: A Graphic Guide”

Not in any Atlas

These places will NOT be found on any map or in any atlas. This book describes a large number of little-known tourist sights from around the world. A book for the discerning traveller who has been everywhere else. Read about the earwax museum called Monsieur Tussauds in London and the unhappy beaches of The Maldives.Continue reading “Not in any Atlas”

Time Traveller’s Diary

The Greeks were going to use a real horse at Troy until… This is the diary of a time-travelling health and safety executive who tries to stop accidents through history before they happen. If Dr Who can travel in time then why can’t a Health and Safety Exec do the same? The Exec influences theContinue reading “Time Traveller’s Diary”

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

This was the first time I’d read a book by Neil Gaiman. This is more of a fairy tale than say Terry Pratchett’s books. In Stardust we have the story of Tristan Thorn who lives in the earthly village of Wall, which is well named as it’s right by an ancient barrier that separates itContinue reading “Stardust by Neil Gaiman”