Posts Tagged ‘book’

Brad, Joe and Ian unbox, discuss, test and review the latest Fast Forces for Heroclix, the Marvel Knights set. Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones are joined by Elektra and The Punisher!

Plus, full, uncut gameplay!

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The Vietnam War Experience is a dramatic guide to the suffering, sacrifice and heroism of the Vietnam War. It sees the highs and lows of the world’s first television war through the eyes of those who fought in it – both the generals commanding the war and the ordinary soldiers on the ground and in the air.

Setting it apart from other current books about The Vietnam War, it is made unique through the inclusion of facsimiles of paraphernalia such as posters, official documents and Airborne Death Cards.

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The Vietnam War Experience is not only a very attractive and substantial coffee table book, it is also an excellent introduction to the war for those who are newcomers to either gaming or studying the period.  In fact, as an overview and/or introduction, it’s simply superb.  The photos are excellent, covering all different theaters and aspects of the conflict, and while some detail is obviously sacrificed for the sake of space, what is included is very sufficiently explained.

What is also a nice touch is that – especially considering its status as a “coffee table book”, it is very well paced indeed, developing more of an action-packed tone as the war builds in intensity.  A slow burning introduction covers the setting of the era, The Battle of Dien Bien Phu and the gradual buildup towards US involvement.  When Rolling Thunder or Linebacker are underway, it feels almost adrenalised.  This really helps with the immersive experience that the book endeavours to produce.

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The pull out and paraphernalia sections are excellent facsimiles of documents, cards and posters, which add to the immersion and experience of the book.  The reference cards and posters provided are especially eye-catching and interesting.

All in all, this is an excellent art book for those who are already aficionados of the war, but also provides an excellent “jumping on point” for that who are interested, but don’t rightly know where to start.

“Wolf’s Head” by Steven A. McKay

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After viciously assaulting a corrupt but powerful clergyman, the young Robin Hood flees the only home he has ever known in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Becoming a member of a notorious band of outlaws, Hood and his new companions – including John Little and Will Scaflock – hide out in the great forests of Barnsdale, fighting for their very existence as the law hunts them down like animals. When they are betrayed, and their harsh lives become even more unbearable, the band of friends seeks bloody vengeance. Meanwhile, the country is in turmoil, as many of the powerful lords strive to undermine King Edward II’s rule until, inevitably, rebellion becomes a reality and the increasingly deadly yeoman outlaw from Wakefield finds his fate bound up with that of a Hospitaller Knight.

“Wolf’s Head” – the first in the “The Forest Lord” series opens up feeling like a fun, Errol Flynn-type Sunday afternoon swashbuckling adventure, but before long, one realises that this is not the story we thought we knew.  Several aspects of the tale are much darker and more violent than we have previously seen them. 

The phrase “gritty reboot” has become something of a joke these days, but it seems to apply here.  In fact, the violence sometimes seems to border on the extreme – this is certainly an 18+ novel!  It is, if you will, a story for kids who have grown up. 

The characters are all engaging and interesting, with old favourites such as Will Scarlet and Little John, meeting up with new and lesser know names and faces.

The plot is very well presented.  Whenever you think you’ve got a handle on where it’s going or what is going to happen next, it throws you a surprise, and heads off in a totally unexpected, though always credible direction.  The ending feels conclusive, but still leaves you keen to get onto the sequel.

A fun historical fiction adventure that’s well worth checking out.

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The Great War Explained

Philip Stevens

Pen and Sword Books

Available Now

Trying to write a book that explains everything about the First World War – all of its theatres, its background and the effects it had – is a large enough task in and of itself. Trying to do it at a beginner’s level – so that it will take the reader from absolute novice to well-clued-up expert is even harder – some would say even near impossible. The Great War Explained tries to accomplish this, and it makes a very good go of it.

The book is a decent sized one, and is presented in a fun, conversational style – loaded with some interesting pieces of trivia scattered throughout in box-outs. The upbeat writing style is one of the book’s strongest assets, as it gives the impression of being on a battlefield tour with a particularly knowledgeable and affable guide. The pacing is excellent, never lingering too long, never skimming over an area too quickly.

As the book progresses a large portion is dedicated to aerial and naval combat, which is very welcome; far too many “newbie” books linger on the mud and blood of the trenches without ever passing an eye across other theatres. The Great War Explained however, is wide and encompassing.

If I had any criticisms, it would be that some parts or aspects of the conflict are not quite explained in as much detail as they really need to be. A few extra paragraphs here or there when covering some of the basics would have been most welcome. A few more maps and/or photos showing how the battles and fronts tied together in the greater scheme of things would have gone a long way towards making some parts easier to follow, too.

All in all, The Great War Explained is a great reference or starter book…but not quite the “complete beginner’s guide” they were hoping for – those expecting to have their hand held every step of the way may come away a little disappointed. It is – however – a great beginner’s book – and a fun reference for those who are a little more knowledgeable.