Saturday, 2 October 2021

Book Review: An Alternative View Of The World Of Cricket by Stuart Latham

Having just finished binge-reading all of Lynda La Plante’s Anna Travis detective novels in the correct order (and been a bit annoyed at some unnecessary continuity inconsistencies in the last one when it referred back to an earlier case…)  I thought I’d have a change of subject and read about the slightly less corpse-ridden world of cricket for a while.

And the right thing came along at exactly the right time as Stuart Latham has just published the most delightful book about that fascinating sport called:

“An Alternative View Of The World Of Cricket”

Now, I ought to flag up here that I may be a little biased as I am friends with Stuart and we share a lot of sporting interest and we have collaborated on a few projects together in the past - but this book has really grabbed my attention and I am very much enjoying reading it.

It is written from a personal point of view – by which I don’t mean it’s all “me, me, me...!”  all the way through – but the subject matter IS based around Stuart’s own involvement in cricket at various levels and he writes about the clubs that he has been associated with, some of the famous players he has met and others who he has admired over the years - including Jack Russell, Bob Willis, Farokh Engineer, Chris Broad and Hansie Cronje, among others.

A good example of this is the somewhat humorous “Ian Botham sanitary bin” story which, in fact, reminded me that I once saw Botham playing league football for Scunthorpe United – which is a story which will have to wait until I produce my own, admittedly shorter, cricketing memoir at some time in the future...

Stuart also has some interesting family connections within cricket and is directly related - via a migrating ancestor - to the former New Zealand test and ODI player Rod Latham and his son Tom, who is the current international wicket keeper for the “Black Caps”.

There is also an interesting section on the Hearne family from Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, from whom Stuart is descended and who produced a number of fine County and “All England” players in the Victorian era and beyond.

Stuart has written numerous books on many different and fascinating subjects, including ice hockey, rugby, motor racing and military history and you can find a complete list with order links on his sales website at: https://www.sandtsales.co.uk/online-shop 

Friday, 6 November 2020

New Book Available To Order: Nadja - The Complete Poems

2020 marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of the Marchesa Nadja Malacrida – or Louisa Green as she was born – and, while she probably wouldn’t still have been around today, her life would certainly have continued to be fascinating and enjoyable for many more years had she not been killed in a tragic car accident in 1934.

What better time, therefore, to gather all her published poems together in one single volume for the first time ever? These four original collections were all written over a century ago and have been practically unobtainable for many years without laying out a small fortune to a rare book dealer.

We have put them together here with a brief biography of the author, and a few photos and other bits and pieces, that we hope you will find of interest – and that Nadja herself would also approve of.

Annotated and illustrated with new a introduction & preface, author biography, appendices and 12 new photographs.

 

Mail order sales link:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1909643424

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Book Review "An Unladylike Profession: American Women War Correspondents in World War 1" by Chris Dubbs (Potomac Books, Nebraska, 2020)

Book Review "An Unladylike Profession: American Women War Correspondents in World War 1" by Chris Dubbs (Potomac Books, Nebraska, 2020)

If, like me – in spite of having commemorated the First World War for years – you thought that the role of women during that conflict was to stay at home, knit and “keep the home fires burning”, then - oh boy - is this book definitely for you!   Many of the exploits of the American women (and 1 British) journalists who braved the dangerous, U-boat infested waters of the Atlantic to travel to Europe during WW1 are, to say the least, hair-raising.  

I found so much of interest in Chris’s magnificent book that I could write a very long review – but that isn’t the point as reviews need to be fairly brief.  The front cover – a photograph of photojournalist Helen Johns Kirtland inspecting an exploded naval mine on the Belgian coast - sets the scene, heralding Chris’s research into the remarkable exploits of 39 women writers.  Due to my research during the centenary years for a series of commemorative exhibitions about the role of women in WW1, I already knew about Nelly Bly, Inez Milholland Boissevain and Louise Bryant but I had never heard of the others.

In order to get round the restrictions involving travel in the war zones and the reluctance to allow women anywhere near the front lines, many of those journalists volunteered with the many American agencies, such as the YMCA, who sent personnel, equipment and money to the countries fighting for their freedom.  Some of them nursed too.  And they did not just cover the Western Front but, as you will discover, they travelled to many of the other countries involved in the conflict. Once there, they reported on conditions for civilians and troops alike while at the same time recording their own experiences and feelings.  I found the exploits of Peggy Hull, who was the first woman to be officially accredited by the U.S. Army (p. 243), and Eleanor Franklin Egan in Russia 1918 - 1919 of particular interest because my Grandfather was there with the British Army at that time.  Egan survived a tragic incident involving a Greek passenger ship and an Austrian U-boat near the Island of Crete (p. 189)

As well as quoting from the reports sent back to the various newspapers and magazines in America, Chris also tells us a good deal about the women themselves and includes photographs of the journalists, some of whom were not young women when they set out on their incredible journeys.

With superb illustrations, maps and biographies of the women journalists, plus a very detailed bibliography, this is a book you will return to again and again.

I could not put this book down, and I read it from cover to cover with great enjoyment. You must read it. With thanks to Chris Dubbs for a truly remarkable book and for mentioning me in the acknowledgements for Chris contacted me during the preparation of the book about some of the events included.

Lucy London, October 2020

FOR MAIL ORDER LINK:  CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Book Review: “The Adventures of Bluebell Bunny” by Becky Bishop


Becky’s latest book is a real treat as it tells the story of a delightful, fictitious rabbit in verse.  Inspired by a mischievous real life rabbit, Bluebell goes on a variety of adventures, finishing up with a flight in a plane.   Written in the wonderful verse that Becky writes and superbly illustrated throughout, this is a book that children of all ages and adults alike – especially those of us who love fairy tales and cuddly toys – will enjoy. 

I am also very pleased to report that one or two of Becky’s own illustrations are included and I am hoping this is just the start and that Becky will treat us to more of her own beautiful artwork.  I am looking forward very much to reading more of Becky’s books.

 

To find out more about “The Adventures of Bluebell Bunny” and to purchase a copy, please visit Becky’s website https://beckyspoemsandbooks.wordpress.com/

 

For an interview with Becky, please see http://femalewarpoets.blogspot.com/2020/09/introducing-becky-bishop-modern-poet.html

 

Lucy London, September 2020

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Book Review: Lest We Forget by Becky Bishop

I only recently discovered Becky’s beautiful poetry but I am so glad I did.  Becky writes from the heart and her haunting and moving poems will surely resonate with those of us who lost relatives due to wars.  "Lest We Forget" is Becky'’s second collection of war-themed poems and contains poems inspired by both of the world conflicts.  Here you will find poems relating to conscientious objectors, the holocaust, shot at dawn, special operations executive, the Battle of Britain and D-Day, to name but a few of the subjects Becky has felt drawn to write about.

I enjoyed reading all of the poems but I particularly like “No longer a forgotten casualty” (p.15), written in memory of Gunner William George Foxworth. I like this poem partly because I am the Granddaughter of a Gunner but also because Gunner Foxworth initially had a civilian grave but, with the help of a relative, he has now been declared an official WW1 casualty.

Another dedicated poem is “Conscientious Objector” on page 76, written to the memory of Stephen Hobhouse. Stephen was a cousin of one of my “heroines” – the charity worker and campaigner for peace Emily Hobhouse, who we included in an exhibtiion about some of the Inspirational Women of WW1 which we organised during the WW1 centenary years

Becky has illustrated the book throughout with photographs taken on her many visits to museums, memorials and exhibitions both in the UK and elsewhere.  

As with Becky’s first war-themed collection - “At The Going Down of the Sun” - to my mind, these poems should be read by all school children and by anyone planning on visiting the memorials and graves commemorating the dead of wars.

Lucy London, July 2020

You can buy your copy of the book via mail order  HERE

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Book Review: Brighton Tigers - A Story Of Sporting Passion

A lot of modern ice hockey fans probably won’t know that the Brighton Tigers were a big part of hockey history from the opening of their superb SS (Sports Stadium) in the 1930s right up until it was controversially closed in 1965 just when British ice hockey was slowly edging towards its next golden era.

However, I have been watching ice hockey just about long enough to remember the valiant Brighton BVH Royals team who kept the hockey flag flying for the South Coast in Division 3 of the British League where they had to play all of their games away for double points - so, as a keen reader of Stewart Roberts’ excellent Ice Hockey Annual over the years, I have always followed the various campaigns to get a new ice rink built in Brighton and, when Stewart announced that he was working on this history of the former Tigers team, I knew it would be something special.

While the main thrust of this book is, obviously, the Tigers teams of the 1930s to the 1960s there is a very interesting introduction that tells of earlier rinks in the Brighton area – namely the Victorian circular rink that operated from 1897-1901 and then a more modern facility at Hove (1929-1932).

This book is an absolute mine of information. Who knew, for example, that while most leisure facilities were closed for the duration of World War 2, the Brighton Sports Stadium had ice hockey matches on every week featuring a mixture of local players and visiting Canadian servicemen…?

There is a complete player directory of everybody who ever turned out for the Tigers teams - and that is quite an achievement in itself bearing in mind the scarcity of statistical information from the pre-war and immediate post war periods - as well as lots of great photos of many of the stars.

I may be slightly biased as this is the sort of book that I like to produce myself  - as well as to read - but it means that I can easily appreciate the huge amount of work that is involved in putting this sort of thing together  – seeking out all the facts and figures, getting permission for all the photos, checking and rechecking all the data…  It’s is a huge undertaking and even more so when a lot of the people are dead and there is nobody around to ask anything!

Whether you’re a modern hockey fan – or a bit of a nostalgia fan like me – or maybe know nothing about it and want to find out more, this book is definitely worth read.

And you don’t have to take my word for it – here are comments that a few other people have made:

“Book arrived yesterday, thank you. I've got to say how very impressed I am with it. You should be very proud. An everlasting history of the famous Brighton Tigers and an absolute must for Tigers (Bengals) fans everywhere and for sports fans generally in Brighton.” - Gordon Wade, Heineken League statistician.

“Received through the post yesterday a copy of your book on Brighton Tigers. It is excellent - superb lay-out and illustrations. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement that provides a comprehensive record of the sport in Brighton. And can be used as a powerful PR tool to 'sell' Brighton to any potential developers as the place in the UK to locate a new ice facility.” - David Gordon, ice hockey historian and member of Britain's Hall of Fame committee.

“Thanks for sending the book so quickly. I’m having fun dipping in and out of it from time to time and it’s really interesting to hear and see what went on before I was even born. I think it’s a fabulous book, very striking and smart-looking and very well put together.” - Vicki Gardner, Brighton resident.

“Really enjoying the book - Great work! And a real history lesson too, makes me wanna get the skates on!” - Gary O'Brien, son of Tigers' legend Mike O'Brien.

You can order your copy of the book via Amazon HERE

Friday, 10 July 2020

Book Review: “At The Going Down of the Sun” by Becky Bishop

“At The Going Down of the Sun” a collection of poems inspired by conflict and written by Becky Bishop

I have loved reading books of poems since I was a little girl and, like Becky, I also write poems, some of which have been inspired by the loss of family members during wars.  Becky, however, brings a wealth of tradition to her work, because she is related to WW1 soldier poet brothers the Hon. Julian Grenfell (1888 - 1915), and The Hon. Gerald William Grenfell (1890 – 1915), and to their sister, the Hon. Monica Grenfell who served as a Red Cross nurse during the First World War. And, among the 485 relatives Becky’s family lost due to conflicts, is also the WW1 soldier poet the Hon. Ivar Campbell (1890 - 1916).

Becky’s poems are written from the heart and I found them at the same time moving and inspiring. Becky has exactly captured the mood of those of us who have relatives who were lost due to conflict but have no known grave upon which to leave flowers.  Many of the poems are dedicated to a particular soldier, which I think is the most wonderful way of ensuring their memory lives on.

As my research into WW1 also includes the contribution of women, I was particularly interested in the poem entitled “A Girl from Meavy” about volunteer civilian worker Armorel Kitty Trevelyan (1898 – 1917) featured on pages 56 – 57.  Kitty joined the Army Service Corps (Canteens), died of measles and pneumonia at the age of 19 on 27th February 1917 and was buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.


Another poem that struck a chord with me was that on page 91 in memory of Wren Isabel Mary Milne-Home, who trained Wrens as telegraphists and may have trained my Aunt, who was a telegraphist with the Wrens during the Second World War.  Wren Isabel was drowned when the ship the S.S. “Aguila” was sunk by enemy action in the North Atlantic in 1941 en route for Gibraltar.

Beautifully illustrated throughout with Becky’s own photographs from her visit to the Battlefields of the Western Front, this book should, to my mind, be required reading for every school pupil in order to remind them why we wear poppies in November each year. I would also hope that all the WW1 museums wherever they are would have copies, so that Becky’s poems could be read at commemorative ceremonies.

Becky is a very prolific writer and I know she has a book of short stories due out soon – I can’t wait to read them. To find out more about Becky’s work please visit her website https://beckyspoemsandbooks.wordpress.com/ 

Lucy London, July 2020