This Month’s Books (June 2014)

The Count of Monte Cristo

Morrissey – Autobiography (2013)Morrissey

Autobiography covers Morrissey’s life from his birth until the present day.

Steven Patrick Morrissey was born in Manchester on May 22nd 1959. Singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Smiths (1982-1987), Morrissey has been a solo artist for twenty-six years, during which time he has had three number 1 albums in England in three different decades.

Achieving eleven Top 10 albums (plus nine with the Smiths), his songs have been recorded by David Bowie, Nancy Sinatra, Marianne Faithfull, Chrissie Hynde, Thelma Houston, My Chemical Romance, and Christy Moore, amongst others.

An animal protectionist, in 2006 Morrissey was voted the second greatest living British icon by viewers of the BBC, losing out to Sir David Attenborough. In 2007 Morrissey was voted the greatest northern male, past or present, in a nationwide newspaper poll. In 2012, Morrissey was awarded the Keys to the City of Tel-Aviv.

It has been said ‘Most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status that Morrissey has reached in his lifetime.’

Verdict: 4/5

KatherineAnya Seton – Katherine (1954)

This classic romance novel tells the true story of the love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family. Set in the vibrant 14th century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine. Their well-documented affair and love persist through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption. This epic novel of conflict, cruelty, and 

Verdict: 4/5

Rupert Colley – The Cold War in an Hour (2010)The Cold War

This is history for busy people! In an hour this is how the Cold War happened. From the end of the World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the world lived within the shadow of the Cold War. For almost half a century the East and the West eyed each other with suspicion and often with hostility. And all the time the threat of a Third World War remained a distinct possibility.

Verdict: 3/5

The Count of Monte CristoAlexandre Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)

‘On what slender threads do life and fortune hang’

Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialised in the 1840s.

Verdict: 4/5

Tony Judt – Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (2006)PostWar

Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world’s most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers all of Europe, both east and west, drawing on research in six languages to sweep readers through thirty-four nations and sixty years of political and cultural change-all in one integrated, enthralling narrative. Both intellectually ambitious and compelling to read, thrilling in its scope and delightful in its small details, Postwar is a rare joy.

Verdict: 4/5

The Korean WarAndrew Mulholland – The Korean War: History in an Hour (2013)

Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour.

Bringing together the military mights of the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United Nations States, the Korean War raged for three years from 1950 to 1953. Not only the result of a carving of Korean territories following the Pacific conflicts of the Second World War, it was also a battle of ideologies as General MacArthur’s American military forces occupied the southern half and Stalin’s Soviet forced supported the northern half.

Initiated by infantry movements and air raids, the region gradually became mired in a static trench war by July 1951, and would continue to cost both sides in both morale and human lives. The Korean War: History in an Hour is the concise story to one of the most bitter and enduring conflicts of the post-war era.

Verdict: 3/5

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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