The World Cup of Everything

Which country in the world is best at football? Argentina? Brazil? England? France? Germany? Every four years, the world’s finest footballing nations gather and we find out which country is the best at football. Other sports do the same. But what about finding the best of things outside of sport? Enter The World Cup of Everything!

Continue reading my review of The World Cup of Everything

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Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle

The outbreak of war in 1914 saw large early successes for the German army on the Western Front, before counter-attacks pushed them back. When the Western Front stabilised, Germany had still made significant gains, including holding territory in France. The French were determined to remove all German soldiers from French soil and as quickly as possible. Attacks were launched in 1915, with an attack in September and October including a reluctant British Expeditionary Force at Loos. <!–more Continue reading my review of Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle–>

Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle looks at before, during and after the battle. Before the battle focuses on why the British did not want the battle, whilst after looks at the impact it had on the British army. Corrigan writes in a clear style and sets out the facts, making it clear when he is offering his opinion. Prior to reading the book, I knew very little about the battle; I now have a greater knowledge of why, and how fiercely, the battle was fought.

Rating (out of 5): ****

The Jersey

Some teams are able to dominate a sport, but it’s only for a brief period of time. But not in Rugby Union. Rugby Union is dominated by the All Blacks, who have a winning record against every other nation. Few get close and they have transcended the sport. But what is their secret? That’s what The Jersey looks to find out.

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Peter Bills has gained access to past and present players and coaches as he looks to establish why New Zealand are the dominant force in Rugby Union. The All Blacks is the pinnacle in New Zealand, but they have have a strong school system that feeds into the franchises. They also look to establish continuity in the coaching staff and anticipate where the game is going as opposed to reacting to where it is.

But Bills’ study contains words of warnings, especially over whether people will watch if the result is a foregone conclusion. This isn’t just an excellent Rugby or sport book, it’s an excellent book.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Hello World

Algorithms. Not the most exciting of topics. What would be far better would be having an interesting chat over a coffee or a pint. But how about combining the two? An interesting chat about algorithms over a coffee or a pint. Surely not, I hear you cry. Enter Hello World by Dr. Hannah Fry.

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July Crisis

28th June 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is assassinated in Sarajevo by Gustavo Princip. One month later, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. Within days, Europe is at war. The bloodiest war to date, with an estimated nine million soldiers killed over the course of the four year conflict. But what happened in the month between the assassination and the outbreak of war? Read the rest of the review

Don’t lean out the window! A European misadventure

Don’t lean out the window follows the authors, who are in a band, on their tour of Europe via the inter-rail tickets they have bought. Whilst they can travel where they want in Europe, it’s not all plain sailing, leading to the second part of the title. For example, their plan to finance the trip through busking is not always universally popular. However, they do encounter some incredibly generous people.

It’s an easy to read, humorous book. The narration switches between the authors, so I did have to check who was writing at times, but this is a small gripe for an enjoyable book.

Rating (out of 5): ****