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Showing posts with the label British history

Dr. Johnson's London - A Review

Dr. Johnson's London is a book by Liza Picard that explores the city of London during the 1700s. The book provides a detailed account of the city's history, culture, and daily life during this period. It covers topics such as the city's architecture, transportation, food, entertainment, and politics.  I recommend this book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the history of London or the 18th century in general. In addition, Picard divides the chapters into "bite-sized" units making it easy to grad a read when you only have a few minutes between appointments or activities.     Picard, L. (2001). Dr. Johnson's London : Life in London 1740-1770. St. Martin's Press. Available on Amazon Geoffrey W. Sutton, PhD  is Emeritus Professor of Psychology. He retired from a clinical practice and was credentialed in clinical neuropsychology and psychopharmacology. His website is   See Geoffrey Sutton’s books on    AMAZON          or

The Miracle of Dunkirk - A Review

  The Miracle of Dunkirk is a gripping tale of the well-known rescue of British and French troops from the French town of Dunkirk who were pushed to the beaches by the powerful advance of Hitler’s blitzkrieg in May 1940. Unable to retreat any farther, the Allied soldiers set up defense positions and prayed for deliverance. Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered an evacuation on May 26, expecting to save no more than a handful of his men. But Britain did not let its soldiers down. Hundreds of fishing boats, pleasure yachts, and commercial vessels streamed into the Channel to back up the Royal Navy. Between May 26 and June 4, 1940, a stunned and joyful nation welcomed about 198,000 British and 140,000 French and Belgian troops. The film was impressive but this highly readable narrative by Walter Lord offers a glimpse into the minds of the ordinary young men and the odds they faced as they hoped to survive long enough to traverse dangerous waters. I recommend The Miracle of Dunki

Shadows of the Workhouse- Book Recommendation

  Shadows of the Workhouse By    By    Jennifer Worth Reviewed by   Geoffrey W. Sutton Yesterday I finished reading the vivid tale, Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth. Jennifer tells the heart wrenching stories of the denizens inhabiting the pest-infected slums of the Isle of Dogs. It’s these colourful East Enders who spent early years in London’s workhouses who tell their tales as they live out their lives in the shadows of the workhouse. Although it seemed the workhouses were originally meant to provide basic sustenance for the poor and unemployed, the harsh discipline and separation of family members meant that these poor Londoners were stripped of the nurturance that comes from human warmth found in a mother’s arms or the familiar voice of a brother or sister. One boy found employment, set up his own business, and rescued his younger sister from their workhouse, but learned his mother, who was shunted off to another location, had died. One old soldier joined the army h

Call The Midwife- by Jennifer Worth

Call The Midwife   A True Story of the East End    in the 1950s By    Jennifer Worth Reviewed by   Geoffrey Sutton / I read Call the Midwife because I liked the TV show, and my wife recommended the book. I’m a child of 1950s London and grew up with stories from the old days.  Both of my parents are from large London families who survived both World Wars in the city. They lived in small 19 th century dwellings and other relatives lived in multi-storey tenements built in the 1800s.  So, for me, reading this tragic tale is a sort of time travel. I’m from Islington and though I’ve walked the streets of Poplar, experienced the blinding London smog, and wandered about the docklands on the Isle of Dogs, I did not realise the extent of the poverty in the 1950s.   I also appreciated the snapshot of history—the time it took to repair bombed out London. What a difference birth control has made! How many opportunities are now open to women—I’m thinking of my granddaughters—comp

The Spy and The Traitor

The Traitor 2023 by Geoffrey Sutton & Bing AI The Spy 2023 by Geoffrey Sutton & Bing AI   The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War By    Ben Macintyre Reviewed by   Geoffrey W. Sutton Macintyre makes this true spy story read like a fast-paced novel. The besieged hero struggles against inner demons whilst battling valiantly against a powerful empire. The Spy and the Traitor reveals Russia's Oleg Gordievesky's deconversion from the "religion" of the USSR and conversion to the fresh air of Democracy, which he found in the welcoming arms of Britain's MI6. Gordievsky was born 10 October 1938. As he rose in the KGB hierarchy, his brilliant intelligence and courage provided Britain and her allies with a cornucopia of news and information about the soviet regime's inner workings, fears, and plans between 1974 and 1985. Ironically, some of Gordievesky's revelations may have served both sides well by averting catastrophic and des

Code name: Lise - A True Spy Story

  Code Name: Lise:  The True Story of the Spy Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Woman By Larry Loftis Reviewed by Geoffrey W. Sutton Lise was the code name for Odette Samson. She's living in Somerset England with her children at the outset of World War II. Her husband is off at war. Because she was raised in France, her language and experience make her a potential candidate to help the resistance organised by Britain's War Office referred to as SOE (Special Operations Executive). The story moves quickly from training to deployment. Relying on a trove of records that include interviews and official communications, Loftis creates a vivid thriller of a determined young woman focused on carrying out her risky responsibilities as a courier under threat of the Nazi boot. As the story progresses, she falls in love with her commanding officer, Peter Churchill. Despite many thrilling escapes, she and Peter are eventually captured by Hugo, Germany's master spy catcher. Disg

Citizens of London- A Book Review

  Citizens of London The Americans Who Stood With Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour   By Lynne Olson   Reviewed by Geoffrey W. Sutton   Lynne Olson tells the exciting story of three Americans in Britain's wore torn capitol whose passionate embrace of the British solitary stand against the Nazis served as a catalyst that would eventually link America and Britain in an incredibly close fighting force against the enemy. Olson’s masterful presentation reveals how three different men— George Winant, Edward Murrow, and Averell Harriman—interacted with Churchill, Roosevelt, and a cast of other Anglo-American leaders on the world stage between 1939 and 1945. As she describes these relationships following the course of the war, we learn the crucial role of close connections and trust in the arduous melding of an international allied force to defeat the axis powers. The three men are different. Winant is a respected diplomat with an amazing ability to empathize with, an

A Woman of No Importance Review by Sutton

A Woman of No     Importance By     Sonia Purnell Reviewed by     Geoffrey W. Sutton A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II A woman of no importance is more than just another spy story. Virginia Hall was a true hero who battled men’s prejudice against female warriors  as she simultaneously took on the Nazi occupiers of France by organizing resistance fighters and sending vital intelligence to British and Amer ican intelligence planners in London during World a War II. Her contributions were  recognized much later than were her male peers as cultures in the UK and USA gradually changed to appreciate women.  Fortunately the book not only gives Virginia a voice but it educates us about the horrors of war and the importance of small hidden  acts of courage that support the more visible efforts of armed forces.   Virginia Hall's contribution to America does not end with World War II. She joined t

1917 The Movie

I liked the movie 1917 because the focus is on what look like ordinary young English lads tasked with an extraordinary mission at a crucial time in the history of the Great War. Lance Corporals Schofield and Blake must cross several miles of dangerous terrain to warn others not to attack a faux German retreat. If successful, they could save over 1,000 soldiers, including Blake's older brother. 1917 is a Homeric odyssey for our time. And the historical context is rich with meaning. The story begins on 6 April 1917--the day when the United States enters the war. Of course it will take some time before Americans arrive. Meanwhile, the Germans feign retreat, but it's a trap to draw British troops into the open. The plot is simple and familiar. But the movie engages us in a realism that could only be enhanced by giving us uncomfortable cold wet muddy seats and a whiff of the overwhelming stench confronting the two messengers. As with any such terror plot, there is a race a

They Shall Not Grow Old A Review by Sutton

They Shall Not Grow Old is a profoundly moving tribute to the soldiers of World War I. Peter Jackson (Director; coproducer with Clare Olssen) and his team combine enhanced archival films, photos, audio recordings, and artwork to bring us face to face with the adolescents and young men living and dying along the Western Front . On the brief skeleton of the sequence of the war years, this documentary tells an extraordinary tale of ordinairy men from the farms, factories, and shops of Great Britain to the muddy graves of the ragged pattern of muddy trenches along the Western Front. Humour and games offer parenthetical relief from the abysmal struggle. The colourisation and 3D conversion along with other technological modifications help us glimpse the soldier's world of 100 years ago. Many of us have read about the war and seen the old black and white clips bounce by at unnatural speeds. The marvel of technology helps us get closer to real people living and dying on orders fr