Author Archive

The book I read to research this post was The Sport Of Queens by Dick Francis which is a very good book that I bought from a car boot sale. This is an autobiography of Dick who was a champion jockey and later successful author who wrote horse riding related thrillers. He won the champion jockey award given to the jockey who wins the most races in Britain. He is most famous for almost winning the Grand National. His horse collapsed whilst well out in front of the others rather inexplicable. According to him it was probable the horse got cramp. He never did succeed in winning the National. In World War 2 he trained as a pilot and flew Wellington’s but it was near the end of the conflict so saw little action. At the end of the war when the German Naval ships were surrendering he had to fly overhead in a crisscross over the area to make sure they were indeed surrendering and coming into port. It was a nice little job. At the end of the war he really wanted to be a jockey and was lucky in that Lord Bicester one of the premier racehorse owners in the country offered him a job racing his horses. Later he worked for the Queen and Queen Mother. He was lucky in getting an early lucky break as a jockey. He grew up in Pembrokeshire and his parents had a farm which didn’t make much money but they hoped he would take over eventually. This book is around 200 pages so is a reasonable length. I enjoyed reading it and do recommend it. This book was originally published in 1957 but updated and published in 1974.


The book I read to research this post was Red Love: The Story Of An East German Family by Maxim Leo which is a very good book that I bought from kindle. This is the story of a family growing up in the wake of World War 2 in what was to become East Germany and covers the period up until 1989 when the Berlin Wall was demolished. The family wasn’t particularly anti-communist with the author’s father working in the diplomatic service hence abroad but could see the shortcomings. The author got a job working for a newspaper and everyone used to drink to cover up the facts they had to keep lying and be patriotic no matter what. You could be branded anti-communist for things like wearing slip on shoes or wearing jeans. The author almost got arrested for photoshoping a picture of a communist figure and painting on rims for his glasses where there were none. They thought he was making fun of the person. When he was growing up in Switzerland he had to be home taught and later join the Russian Embassy school for fear local school might taint his beliefs. In many of the so called businesses in East Germany there was no incentive to work hard or improve things. Before the Berlin Wall came down the author started campaigning for things like Germany to be unified and democracy. This book is around 250 pages so is a decent length, I did enjoy it and do recommend it.


The book I read to research this post was Geopolitics A Very Short Introduction by Klaus Dodds which is a very good book that I bought from kindle. This book is part of a series where a short book is written by an expert about a particular subject. It is around 220 pages so is a reasonable length. This book is about geopolitics which isn’t different to politics except they look at the influence of a region where a country is situated affects that countries politics. In many countries there are often mountain ranges where you often find fiercely independent people. This has caused trouble in Yemen where mountain people are being restricted in where they can go. In countries like Argentina you might find losing part of their territory ie The Falklands becomes a matter affecting national pride. This is coupled with the Argentine government missing out on revenue from oil and gas exploration being carried out. This may also make the islands more wealthy and hence independent. There is a tendency for nations in a given area to group together forming organisations like the EC or european community and we could eventually see this taken further and super states formed. There is also the interplay between different regions some of it hostile like that between Russia and America in the Cold War. There is also the proliferation of nuclear weapons which can only get worse as this technology gradually gets more accessible. We are in general seeing countries giving self government to countries they used to govern but often we are seeing trade agreements and countries agreeing to be governed by organisations which is a bit of a back door empire building. I did very much enjoy this book and do recommend it.

The book I read to research this post was A Century Of Cycling by William Fotheringham which is a very good book that I bought at a car boot sale. This book has a foreword by Sean Kelly who was a past winner at the Tour de France. It is around 160 pages so is fairly long. This book was published in 2003 so some of the stuff is a bit dated. It mainly looks at the 3 main cycling events the Tour de France, the Tour of Italy and the Tour of Spain. There is also information on the World Championships and the various 1 day events. This book came out before the Lance Armstrong was discovered to be taking performance enhancing drugs. Apparently one of the great cyclists won the Tour de France 3 times around the years of World War 1 and would have won it more times had it not been suspended during the war years. Probably the greatest cyclists was Eddie Merck who won more than 250 races in his career. For most cyclists 20 is considered pretty good. He entered lots and lots of races and it is unlikely modern riders would enter anything like the amount he did. There have been some very colorful characters in these races over the years. For example in the case of Eddie Merck he rarely used to smile. There is another rider who had a 30 minute time penalty for not showing a broken cycle to a marshall but incredibly still won the stage despite that. In France, Spain and Italy when they run the races people are almost as passionate about the cycling as they are about soccer. It has been said a visiting dignitary wouldn’t attract the same crowds. The Tour de France started in 1903 and there are certain things repeated each year like it starts in Paris and there are stages in both the Pyrenees and the Alps. I did very much enjoy this book and do recommend it.


The book I read to research this post was The Great Depression and The New Deal A Very Short Introduction by Eric Rauchway which is a very good book that I bought from kindle. The great depression was something that happened on a worldwide scale although associate it with America. It’s roots begin with the Stockmarket Crash of 1929. There was also the widespread unemployment of the 30’s. President Hoover presided over much of it and was famous for doing just what was necessary. He had shown hiimself to be quite competent at dealing with the floods in Illinois before that. He also set up a national flood agency to co-ordinate efforts. President Roosevelt succeeded him as president. He established a social security program and because they were doing it after other countries had they learned a lot from their mistakes. Black people were largely excluded from the program. They also started large building projects to help curb unemployment. Many people who were working were asked to go part time and share their jobs with others. Most people didn’t mind this. Also a lot of organisations like religious organisations and town councils set up welfare programs for those in need. Many people also received help from their families but this was often limited because everyone seemed to be in a similar situation. There was also a portion of social welfare set aside for those too old or ill to work. Those in temporary jobs didn’t have to contribute towards the social security fund. Another thing that came out of this the government through the central bank lending money to other countries and governments. This helped stave off future recessions. I very much enjoyed this book which is around 200 pages so is fairly long and I do recommend it.

The book I read to research this post was Memoirs Of A Czech Girl by Jarmila Seccombe which is an excellent book that I downloaded for free from kindle. Jarmila was born in 1944 and this is an autobiography that also what happened in Czechoslovakia since then. Just before World War 2 Hitler invaded as in those days there was a sizable German speaking population. He devalued the Czech currency against the German one on purpose so germans could buy things cheap resulting in many shortages. When the Russians invaded at the end of World war 2 it is said the Americans could have liberated Prague 5 days earlier but chose not to. Her dad ran his own brick making company which was subsequently nationalized and he was deemed a bourgeous. They also assumed he had an affair with a lady he was seen with which was regarded as anti-communist in those days. Later when Jarmila applied to go to university it was touch and go whether she could because of her dad’s previous occupation. Many people in skilled jobs were forced to do manual work which was seen as educating them in communism. Luckily for Jarmila she did get to go to university and subsequently became a teacher. Eventually in 1968 in the aftermath of the soviet invasion having taken a job in Britain in a scheme by Butlins Holiday Camp, she decided to become a British citizen. Her family back home were persecuted by the authorities. This book is around 250 pages so is fairly long. I very much enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Jarmila did eventuially become a teacher in Britain.

The book I read to research this post was Organize Your Genealogy In Evernote In 10 Easy Steps by Lorine McGinnis Schulze which is a fairly good book that I bought from kindle. This book is around 15 pages so is very short and if it was free it would be alright but it is a bit of a cheek charging for it. Nonetheless it is an interesting subject and the topic probably only warrants a book of this length. The book is about storing your genealogy and family history information in Evernote which is a cloud site where the free option is adequate for most people. The first thing you must do is have a folder that will link to the other folders and you name this folder in speach marks so it is listed first. You can arrange the other folders in various ways. Often people co-ordinate it according to the surnames or different branches of the family. On the free option you can have up to 100 tags per item and 100,000 for the entire account. At least one of the tags should be a descriptive filetype like photo or jpeg etc. You want to use enough tags to search things easily. If you are labelling photos you will normally use surname, christian name then a description. I did quite enjoy reading this book but I’d suggest wait and see if they offer it as a free e-book rather than buying it.