ARmy Rumour SErvice

Review: 17 Carnations by Andrew Morton

‘Hark the Herald Angels sing,
Mrs Simpson’s pinched our King’
Christmas carol 1936

An experienced biographer, Mr Morton has now graduated to a serious subject and here focuses on the life of the Duke of Windsor and his unwise flirtations with the German Nazi leadership. He has had access to primary records and papers in Germany and post-Soviet Russia and also presents a ‘Select’ but actually extraordinarily comprehensive bibliography. He has also sourced some very interesting photographs which have not been in the public gaze before.

My take on Edward has three strands, all reinforced by Morton:

1. Edward was dim.

2. He never experienced loving parenting.

3. In spite of his professed sympathy for Welsh miners, he had little sympathy for the British people, possibly due to the bullying he had experienced in his schooling and as a naval cadet.

An example (not in the book): A parent of a contemporary of Edward’s, visiting Dartmouth, recalled a rather sad boy standing alone with fifteen pairs of rugger boots tied by their laces and hung round his neck. The explanation was that his confrères felt the need to take him down a peg. Read more ›


British Military Operations in Aden and Radfan: 100 Years of British Colonial Rule by Nick van der Bijl

This book covers the period of time from 1839 to 1967, the times when Britain was the colonial power in the area, the times when a presence ‘East of Suez ‘ was a common enough phrase.  It is a book that could well surprise a number of people, especially those who have little knowledge of the conflicts there.

Aden became an important port during the first world war and that importance increased greatly in the second round between 1939 and 1945 but I suppose that it is the post war periods that have become more of a focus.

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Review: So You Want To Be A Celebrity by Steve Allen

The author has been a presenter on LBC Radio since 1979 so has had to deal with more than his fair share of vapid celebs. So You Want to Be a Celebrity is another of the LBC polemics on modern life. Apparently 80% of newspaper and magazine coverage is of celebrities rather than the current affairs. This short book investigates their world, how it works and how they get paid. It’s well written, easy to read and compelling. It paints a profoundly depressing picture of contemporary Britain.

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Review: The Dumbing Down of Britain by Duncan Barkes

This is another of the series of polemics by LBC Radio presenters, of which Duncan Barkes is one. This short book does what is says on the cover. It is well written; the prose flows and the general tone is one of reasonableness, with justifiable flashes of exasperation. It skilfully avoids being an angry rant and therefore poses some awkward questions. It is a comforting and enjoyable read, at least for middle aged curmudgeons.

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Book Review: Its Politics… But Not As We Know It by Nick Ferrari

Nick Ferrari hosts the breakfast show on LBC Radio, spending much of that time interviewing politicians. This short book, which is another of the LBC polemics, addresses what he sees as the disconnection between Westminster and the rest of the country. Read more ›


Book Review: Loathe Thy Neighbour by James O’Brien

James O’Brien is a journalist presenter on LBC Radio. This short polemic (their choice) is written as part of a series on contentious current affairs subjects being produced by LBC.

This book is about immigration. We get off to a brisk start with the politics of fear and then canter onto identity and the human fear of the other. The author’s contention is that there is only one humanity and that expressing concern about immigration is in fact racism. He advances his case fluently and engagingly but the lack of facts and supporting data means his argument is attractive rather than compelling.

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Book Review: The NHS: Things That Need To Be Said by Iain Dale

The author presents the drive time show on LBC Radio, the UK’s only national news talk radio station. This short book is one of a series of polemics being published by LBC on contemporary topics. Sensible debate on the NHS is long overdue and this is a welcome start. The prose flows lightly and well and points are tellingly made. Unsurprisingly the tone is chatty rather than learned, but that does not detract. It is a pleasure to read. Read more ›


Equipment Review: Pilgrim HL GTX MTP Forest Boot

Firstly I would like to thank Paul, the MD of Trekitt, (http://www.trekitt.co.uk/) for his help as well as generosity.

So, I have had these boots just over a week and have just this afternoon returned from an eleven mile walk confronted/accompanied by a good sea breeze, rain and a bit more rain. I am not going into the technical side as that has been covered already in the two previous reviews, I will just say as I find. Read more ›


Review: Dead Souls by Elsebeth Egholm

I must admit to not having been caught up in the current craze for Scandinavian crime that it around whether it be in written or televisual form, so this book was a first for me.  Slightly unfortunately this book is not the first in this particular series containing the same 3 main characters.

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Review: War at the Edge of the World by Ian Ross

This fictional novel is set in the Northern part of Britain in late Roman times, with the antagonist crossing Hadrian’s Wall into the land of the Picts to face undue horrors although there it’s too early in history for deep fried Mars Bars.

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