The book I read to research this post was Black Indians Of The Appalachia by Rufus Jimerson which is an excellent book that I read on kindle unlimited. This book is very expensive so I would suggest reading it on kindle unlimited which works out much cheaper. This book is around 170 pages so is a reasonable length. Prior to reading this book I knew next to nothing about this topic and it was very interesting. Black Indians refers to the children and ancestors of mixed marriages between black slaves and native americans. Many tribes depleted by the numbers dying from disease and war broke slaves out of captivity to replenish their numbers. This was a win win situation because an escaped slave on his own risked being hunted down and severely punished. Currently the biggest black indian tribe east of the Mississippi is the lumbaloo. They have now got there own reservation and that has been hard fought for because gold was discovered there and the prospectors and mining companies weren’t interested in looking after their rights. In 1723 the government forbade marriages between black africans and native americans because they were concerned they would unite against the white americans. Despite that there may currently be as many as 18 million black indians in America. At one stage the Spaniards in Florida decided if any slaves escaped there they would be declared free men. The British who were then still in charge decided to pay one of the nearby tribes to hunt down these slaves and even enter Florida and hunt them down. Using this tribe effectively cut off the slaves passage to Florida. The Spaniards were almost helpless in stopping the raids which were also done by British soldiers. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.

The book I read to research this post was Worcester 1651 by Malcolm Atkin which is a very good book that I bought from Amazon. This is a book about the Battle of Worcester which effectively ended the Civil War although the loser Charles the 2nd did eventually become king by peaceful. Oliver Cromwell was very charismatic although he had strong ideas about religion and politics including not having a king. His son who took over the Lord Protector role from him lacked this charisma and proved unpopular. This part of the war is often called the 3rd Civil War and the 2nd Civil War ended with Charles the 1st being beheaded. At the time of this battle the son was still very young and inexperienced in battle but had to take over to unite his quarreling generals. He first landed in Scotland and proclaimed king of Scotland. This was mostly a war between Scotland and England. In the previous Civil Wars his father gained a lot of support from the Midlands. Oliver’s men were called roundheads and sometimes puritans and the opposing army cavaliers. To survive the 2 armies plundered nearby houses so local support was lacking. Richard Baxter in nearby Kidderminster refused to ask his congregation to pray for either side because many men had been conscripted and forced to fight. He also said after the battle that if God sided with Charles why were so many men slaughtered often in cold blood after the battle. Charles claimed it was God’s will he was king. At least an outcome of the Civil War in general was England did get full time soldiers. Soldiers were just drafted prior to battle previously. Charles the 2nd did escape from the battle and there is a famous story of him hiding up a tree almost under the roundhead’s nose. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

The book I read to research this post was The Aldeburgh Branch by Peter Paye which is an excellent book that I bought from a local bookstore. The Aldeburgh branch refers to a railway line from Saxmundham to Aldeburgh via Leiston and is in Suffolk in England. With the building of the railways Aldeburgh became a minor seaside resort although the main reason behind building it was the agricultural machinery blades factory at Leiston which sent their goods by rail. Later the railway serviced the nuclear power stations Sizewell A + B and the soon to be built Sizewell C. The blade factory at Leiston started out as a blacksmiths with the owner expanding into something else when he noticed a niche market. On most railways in Suffolk the main goods is farmer’s produce so the goods this railway transports mainly are quite unusual. There also used to be a weekly excursion train from London, Liverpool Street with one train going both ways giving visitors a few hours in Aldeburgh. For a while this service was called the East Coast Pulman. There was also trains from Ipswich & ¬†Colchester. This line also serviced a USAF airbase which was closed after World War 2. Passenger traffic has ceased on this line but it is still used for goods. At one stage there was a scare when one of the containers being sent to Sellafield of nuclear waste being sent from Sizewell for re-processing appeared to be leaking but it turned out to be rain water. Aldeburgh which never gained the popularity of resorts like Clacton had a shingle beach which also made it difficult to keep the harbor deep enough for boats to get in and out. I really enjoyed this book which is a decent length at around 300 pages and would definitely recommend it.

The book I read to research this post was BR in the Eighties by Patrick Whitehouse et al which is a very good book that I bought at a local secondhand bookstore. At the beginning of the eighties Britain was heavily in debt and many thought the railways which they subsequently privatized and split off in separate companies like Virgin Trains and Arriva was going to be cut back much further in terms of railways closed. Actually very few railways were closed and for example they became quite profitable and even the viaduct at Barmouth which collapsed was rebuilt. By the end of the 80’s Britain had the only freight train service in Europe that was actually profitable. A reduction in the type of goods they delivered had to done though. The old British Rail made huge losses and with freight it could take a long time to deliver something. This was remedied by imposing penalties if something wasn’t delivered in a certain period. There was also a problem with trains in general running late which now is much better than it used to be. Also there are campaigns to get people to use train and bus and certain unprofitable routes are still subsidized. A lot of the rail stock in this decade was upgraded and many of the private railways were able to buy coaches which they could use for as little as ¬£1,000 each. On the freight routes many of the locomotives were 30 years old or more and they did buy class 59 trains from General Motors which were better on fuel and faster. A little later they also purchased a lot of class 60 locomotives. By the end of the 80’s more people were using the train than in the Pre-Beeching era and don’t forget this was over less routes. Express trains often called Pullmans which only stop at limited stops became very popular. Stations that were more junctions than anything like Crewe were downgraded and many trains now don’t stop there. I really enjoyed this book and although it is probably well out of print would recommend. It is probably available as a book on Amazon.

The book I read to research this post was World History For Dummies by Peter Haugen which is an excellent book that I bought from kindle. This book is around 370 pages and gives a very general overview of world history. Each chapter has a timeline for the events discussed in it. There is the right balance between the histories of the different nations. A lot of it obviously is wars.¬† Early man was a hunter gatherer collecting fruit and seeds and killing animals for food. In the Eastern mediterranean is the region that first turned to agriculture. At first they probably realised if they planted seeds crops would grow and then they gradually started clearing space for crops. That then gave way to caring for and watering crops and the higher yields that resulted in. This allowed people to start to specialize in trades like tool makers, farmers etc. Early tools were made of copper and were quite fragile but later on bronze was made by combining this with tin and then later still iron was used. Homo Erectus a very early form of man existed from 1.7 million years ago and was displaced by modern man or Homo Sapien 250,000 years ago. Both of these forms of man used simple tools. They started out being made from wood and bone and went on from there. Until language and writing were developed there was no conscious history as such. People just led a hand to mouth existence. Language is essential to forming memories and writing let a culture build on each other’s work. At one time holy books had to be learned by rote to pass on to the next generation. I thoroughly enjoy this book and would definitely recommend it. I think it is one of the best history based For Dummies books.

The book I am reviewing in this blog is Trafficked by Sophie Hayes which is an excellent memoir that I bought from kindle. This is an autobiography of how Sophie who had an abusive stepfather and found it difficult to accept people when they had good intentions as a result. She went out with a good Albanian and was due to get married but got admitted into hospital shortly before. Another Albanian who was a pimp and a drug dealer and owed someone $100,000 for a drug smuggling operation that went wrong. He had to dump a load of cocaine to avoid getting arrested. He then tricked her into coming to Italy on holiday but put her on the game and said if she didn’t go along with it he would get revenge on her family. He had friends in high places so even when arrested she had to stick to a cover story and was too afraid to tell the truth. They did move to France where she got admitted to hospital and phoned her mum out of desperation. This book is probably not for the easily shocked but is well written and almost 300 pages so a decent length. She did have to go in hiding to avoid reprisals and had to hope her pimp would feel it wasn’t worth the effort of finding her. If he really wanted to he probably could. It is a very shocking story and an interesting read that I would recommend.


The book I read to research this post was Mercenaries: Soldiers Of Fortune by Tim Ripley which is an excellent book that I bought from a car boot sale. This book is about what defines a mercenary and they are not always motivated by money. Some aren’t even ex soldiers and many are political sympathizers to a certain cause and get little more than pocket money. A lot are ex soldiers who are battle hardened and can’t adjust to normal life. Armies like the Foreign Legion & the Ghurkas are technically mercenaries. In the case of the Foreign Legion they are not allowed to surrender their arms under any circumstances and they have fought many great battles with very few if any survivors. This book was published in 1997 so doesn’t cover the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq and Syria. It mostly covers the wars in the former Yugoslavia and the independence of countries like Croatia and the war in the Congo. In the case of the Congo in the 60’s and 70’s there was a region called Katanga which was a wealthy mining region that Belgian companies wanted to become independent from Congo to safeguard their mining interests. They employed mercenaries to defend their interests and many of these committed atrocities and were subsequently tried and either executed or imprisoned. It brought mercenaries into much disrepute. Often entities like wealthy companies hire mercenaries to destabilize countries and further their interests especially in poor or low population ones. An example of the latter is the island state the Maldives where there have been several attempted coups and the Indian Army has had to help out before now. In the case of Croatia a lot of people who were ex pats joined the fighting and many ex national groups raised money which was subsequently spent on weapons. In Croatia it was relatively easy to join the fighting. You could catch a train from elsewhere to Zagreb and they readily inducted foreigners into their army units. Many people were so horrified by conditions in that war they immediately turned back. Many psychopaths went their to fight because they could kill and maim with impunity. Being a mercenary is anything but glamorous and often they are blamed for spying often with out any reason other than they are foreign and they are the last to receive arms. Sometimes they are classed as a security risk and shot. I thoroughly enjoyed this book which also looks at the weapons and equipment often connected to mercenaries. Some mercenaries especially like those serving in countries like Saudi Arabia & Oman make a lot of money especially if they are highly skilled like Tornado pilots and often if a friendly foreign country purchases technological equipment and weapons from a particular nation especially like aircraft the company has to supply trained people who can use it.