The Surgeon of Crowthorne A Tale of Murder Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary



➝ The Surgeon of Crowthorne A Tale of Murder Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary free download ➢ Author Simon Winchester – E17streets4all.co.uk The Professor and the Madman masterfully researched and elouently written is an extraordinary tale of madness genius and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the O The Professor and the Madman masterfully researched and of Crowthorne Kindle Ï elouently written is an extraordinary tale of madness genius and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary and literary history The compilation of the OED begun in was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken As The Surgeon PDF/EPUB ² definitions were collected the overseeing committee led by Professor James Murray discovered that one man Dr W C Minor had submitted than ten thousand When the committee insisted on honoring him a shocking truth came to light Dr Minor an American Civil War veteran was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.The Surgeon of Crowthorne A Tale of Murder Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary

Simon Winchester OBE is a British writer journalist of Crowthorne Kindle Ï and broadcaster who resides in the United States Through his career at The Guardian Winchester covered numerous significant events including Bloody Sunday and the Watergate Scandal As an author Simon Winchester has written or contributed to over a dozen nonfiction books and authored one novel and his articles The Surgeon PDF/EPUB ² appear in several travel publ.

The Surgeon of Crowthorne A Tale of Murder Madness and the
  • Paperback
  • 242 pages
  • The Surgeon of Crowthorne A Tale of Murder Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary
  • Simon Winchester
  • English
  • 26 April 2014
  • 9780060839789

10 thoughts on “The Surgeon of Crowthorne A Tale of Murder Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary

  1. says:

    for each word there should be sentences that show the twists and turns of meanings—the way almost every word slips in its silvery fishlike way weaving this way and that adding subtleties of nuance to itself and then perhaps shedding them as public mood dictates” Herbert Coleridge whose brilliant life was too shortI was driving into work the other day thinking about Herbert Coleridge and realized that I might possibly be the only person on the planet driving to work thinking about Herbie Of course there are such a vast number of people on this planet that chances are someone was thinking about him Perhaps some Coleridge scholar working on a dissertation on Herbert’s famous grandfather Samuel Taylor Coleridge or maybe someone thinking about the beginnings of the Oxford English Dictionary Herbert Coleridge was technically the first editor of the OED and would have done a fine job I’m sure if he hadn’t caught a chill and died tragically young at thirty years of age The reason I was thinking about him is because Simon Winchester mentioned him and my uick research before leaving for work had been unsatisfactory in discovering how exactly he was descended from Samuel He was not the son of one of Samuel’s sons so that only left the daughter Sara Of course my first thought was that she must have had him out of wedlock I must formally apologize to Mrs Sara Coleridge for thinking such scandalous thoughts As it turns out she married her first cousin Henry Nelson Coleridge Herbert was very much a legitimate child Though the idea of creating a complete dictionary of the English language was proposed in 1857 It was not until 1884 that parts of it were ready for publication It floundered for decades under the weight of its own expectations It wasn’t until the 1870s when James Murray was asked to helm the project that the possibility of achieving such a feat became a real possibility Murray was a precocious talent a true scholar who was for the most part self educated ”James continued to amass and knowledge if only as he would admit for the sake of knowledge itself and often in the most eccentric of ways” We are living in an age of specialized knowledge and too many people only read books or magazine articles that contribute to their specialized knowledge Knowing something for the sake of knowing it has become such an outdated concept as to be considered odd behavior James Murray in the scriptorium built to house all the slips of paper coming in from his readers to compile the OEDMurray knew that this project was too large for the academic community to shoulder alone He placed advertisements asking for help from the whole country He needed readers who would notate words and the sentence they were used in The system Murray developed to handle this influx of information is ingenious and like most clever systems simple by design One of the people who answered his call for help was an American surgeon named Doctor William Chester Minor He became one of the largest most consistent contributors to the OED He had a lot of time on his hands given the fact that he was”detained in safe custody until Her Majesty's Pleasure be known” Doesn’t that sound lovely I could almost believe that Minor is sipping tea and eating cucumber sandwiches while seated at a garden table at Windsor waiting for the ueen to have a chance to see him Unfortunately it is just a pretty way of saying he is incarcerated in an asylum for the criminally insane As you learn the details of his life he was most assuredly dangerously insane with roots for this insanity going back to the time he served in the Union army during the Civil War The roots went deeper in fact back into his genetic history His family was delicate mentally They were bright and brilliant but like many hyper intelligent people wound too tight They felt things too intently Two of his brothers committed suicide Minor was beset by twisted shattered dreams involving Irish people trying to kill He was a self reproaching masturbator who also has vivid nightmares which fueled his already prodigious self abuse ”Men would then break into his rooms place him in a flying machine and take him to brothels in Constantinople where he would be forced to perform acts of terrible lewdness with cheap women and small girls” His delusions wrapped in fear bled dreams into reality causing him to misinterpret events around him This all culminated in one final act which made it readily apparent that his incarceration was the only option left for society It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the Madman and the Professor without the added distractions of Ingrid Bergman or Paul HenreidThough Minor was held in Broadmoor for the criminally insane he had money and therefore could enjoy luxury than the normal inmate In fact he rented a second cell and that became his sitting room and library He paid another inmate to build him beautiful teak bookshelves His wealth enabled him to also buy expensive antiue books from bookstores not only in England but from America as well Considering the circumstances he was beyond just comfortable and if one can ignore the bars on the windows you might even say he was pampered Working on the OED helped him focus his mind and probably kept him from spiralling deeper into his own misconceptions Dr William Chester MinorThe OED did not reach completion until 1928 Neither Murray nor Minor lived long enough to see the job done but without their Herculean efforts the whole idea may have been relegated to another generation or maybe never completed at all As Murray became and famous he became and uncomfortable with the attention ”I’m a nobody” he would write toward the end of the century when fame had begun to creep up on him “Treat me as a solar myth or an echo or an irrational uantity or ignore me altogether”If we are fortunate we find a worthwhile task to do while on this planet Murray and Minor both found that task in compiling the English language Winchester does a wonderful job of conveying the absurdity and the wonderfulness of these two men finding so much in common despite one existing in the hallowed halls of academia and the other existing in the bedlam of an asylum I once dated a young lady who owned a two volume boxed copy of the OED which also included a small drawer on top for the much needed magnifying glass It was an affordable way to own the twenty volume OED I can remember spending many afternoons randomly turning pages and reading definitions of words I’ll probably never read in a novel or ever use in a sentence I was accused by a friend of dating this girl for the primary purpose of having access to her OED I was appalled and offended by such a dastardly assertion I was if anything dating her for her F Scott Fitzgerald first edition collection I could eventually afford an OED but getting my hands on first edition Fitzgerald’s was looking and improbable Alas as it turns out the woman was batshit crazy so a merging of libraries never occurred I do think back to those halcyon days when she had left for work and it was just me the OED and the Fitzgeralds SighIf you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. says:

    As a completely fledged bibliopsychotic and an ever striving to be cunning linguist I was all auiver with anticipation to bury my face in this purported history of the Oxford English Dictionary OED Alas despite being well written and thoroughly researched I’m having to fake it a bit to give this a full 3 stars My primary joy dampening problem with the book’s arrangement was the dearth of page time given to what I see as the most fascinating aspect of the storythe actual nuts and bolts of putting together the OED and the history of etymological word cataloging Unfortunately this element only makes up about 20% to 25% of the book with the majority devoted to the life stories of Professor James Murray head of the OED project and Dr WC Minor a criminally insane murderer This was a disappointing use of subject matter allocation Most of the biographical portion is devoted to Dr Minor who admittedly was a fascinating character with a colorful history The author traces the madman’s early career as an Army surgeon during the Civil War an experience that appears to have been the genesis of his growing dementia We are given insight into Minor’s abby normal sexual appetites and his irrational all consuming fear of Irishmen This potent combination leads eventually to “the crime” that earned him a permanent residency at Broadmoor Hospital aka lunatic asylum As interesting as this material was I would have much preferred a cliff notey segment on Minor to make room for a expansive discussion of the “highlights” below Granted when Dr Minor coolly and methodically lops off his own penis as a self help remedy to combat the “demons” causing his bizarre sexual urgesI was glued like Elmer’s to the page I was also wincing and reading with one hand while the other one was guarding my goodies BTWthe man never even screamed while he removed his appendage I screamed reading about it The guy was a whole bowl of grape nuts As for Professor Murray I found the portions dealing with him to be tedious and dry I could have done without them completely so his appearance has been edited from this review Still there is some real gold in the book Even with the relatively scant attention paid to the actual production of the OED there were a handful of highlights that make this book well worth perusing HIGHLIGHTS The history of word collection origins and philological research into first usage was nothing short of “warm butter on hot bread” awesome and I gobbled up every second of it Please give me a full book on this somedaysueeeeee These discussions about the research methods and the comprehensive aspect of the undertaken begun in 1857 on the OED was mind boggling I also particularly enjoyed the distinctions drawn between the heterogeneous linguistic “melting pot” that is the English language and the relatively homogenous strictly pure bred French language There was one genuine “light bulb” moment of illumination discussed by the author that really left me floored with mouth agape While giving a run down on the origin of the first dictionary Winchester discusses the fact that Shakespeare with his amazingly diverse vocabulary was able to write such works with no centralized catalog of words allowing him to confirm their proper usage Thiswasstaggeringtome and was easily the most valuable insight I took away from this read I live inside my dictionary both Urban and Oxford and my thesaurus and can't imagine the mastery of language that necessary to create works like Shakespeare’s catalog without a linguistic safety net That revelation alone was worth the price of the book for me and further elevated my profound respect for the masterful word smiths of antiuity The discussion of the cooperative process of compiling the OED and the monumental undertaking that such creating the OED was fascinating Tens of thousands of amateur philologists researching and sending Murray’s team slips with words and brief histories of their origin which were then compiled and processed by the Oxford committee This was terrific stuff I would have loved much on the 3 items above Still the story is well written and I think the author’s regard for the subject matter comes through in the prose Thus despite my tarnished expectations I am going to give the doubt’s benefit to the book and award it 3 stars because it's one I would recommend so long as you go into it knowing that you will get heavy doses of Murray and Minor and only a light serving of etymology 30 stars Recommended with caveats

  3. says:

    Professor James Murray was one of the primary editors of the Oxford English Dictionary OED Dr Chester Minor was one of the primary contributors to the massive project But Murray did not know that Minor was an inmate in an insane asylum Simon Winchester image from Andersons Bookshop The book tells their separate stories how Murray rose to the prominence necessary to land this major position how Minor emerged from a troubled if well to do youth to commit a heinous and addled murder in London and then to be institutionalized for the rest of his life The book gives a vivid picture of the times mid to late 19th century Winchester has a gift for bringing history to life and surprising usPublished September 28 1008Review April 28 2017EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal Twitter and FB pagesA few other books by Simon Winchester Krakatoa Atlantic Pacific The Map That Changed the WorldThere are plenty Winchester books out there I have listed only the ones I have read

  4. says:

    People tend to juxtapose the idea of reading the dictionary with other activities as a means of underscoring how incredibly uninteresting and undesirable those other activities are For example “I have to interact with Sean todayUGH I’d much rather read the dictionary”This is an effective comparison for good reason Look I love words as much as the next guy but even I find reading the dictionary only slightly fun than reading the phone book “What’s a phone book?” ask all the millennials simultaneously scratching their virtual heads Conseuently it may come as a shock to hear that reading ABOUT a dictionary is uite delightful Winchester’s chronicle of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary—or at least the bizarre story of Dr William Chester Minor’s contribution to it—is a fascinating story of perseverance mental illness and logophilia which is not I assure you a strange proclivity for fornicating with corporate logos Say what you will about the OED primary critiues might focus on its overwhelmingly white maleness it’s an epic achievement in the history of language and the fact that a not insignificant portion of its content was contributed by a mentally unstable American murderer who thought that mysterious beings snuck into his room at night to violate him and “turn him into a pimp” is one of the delightful intriguing footnotes you’ll come across In short when Professor James Murray the man tasked with being the architect of the OED sent out a call for volunteers to assist the editors in compiling examples of how words were used to help contextualize definitions it was Minor already an inmate at an asylum after it was determined he was not mentally fit to be jailed for his crime who stood first or at least among the first rank among euals when it came to contributing A brilliant man with nothing but time and blood one might argue on his hands Minor diligently scoured pages and pages of texts from the 16th 17th and 18th centuries to find the supporting references that are the OED’s hallmark That he produced such a prodigious and precise body of work while battling his own inner demons is a testament to his impressive mental facultiesTo illustrate just how powerful those demons were consider for a moment—an exceedingly painful moment—that at one point in a desperate attempt to reconcile a burgeoning religiosity with past sexual indiscretions and ongoing sex fueled delusions Minor a doctor by trade used a penknife to CUT OFF HIS OWN PENIS Now look—we all have days those of us with penises penii? I mean where we’re frustrated with the little guy I for example get agitated when I accidentally mix mine up with the garden hose when doing yard work which happens freuently than you’d think on account of similarities in length girth and greenness But still—the idea of it being severed let alone severing it myself sans anesthesia and using a turn of the century penknifewell let’s just say that I’d rather read the dictionaryThis is by turns fascinating grotesue tragic and informative—recommended for those who like their historical monographs esoteric and bizarre

  5. says:

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel From Beginning to Bookend Elouent writing and the talented vocal work of narrator Simon Jones make this brief account of one of the greatest known editors of the OED and his longtime collaborator a man who conducted his research from the confines of an asylum a fascinating readlisten

  6. says:

    This is the fascinating incredible but true story of the 70 year project to compile “The New English Dictionary on Historical Principles” a biography of words that became “The Oxford English Dictionary” OED Not that you’d know that from the title I enjoyed the story than the novelistic telling of itImagine when there was no dictionary when “looking something up” was impossible That’s how it was for Shakespeare hence his coinages are the ones that stuck whether or not they were usual for the time Winchester thinks this might have been frustrating whereas I imagine the Bard having the lexical confidence of Humpty Dumpty “‘When I use a word’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone ‘it means just what I choose it to mean neither nor less’‘The uestion is’ said Alice ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things’‘The uestion is’ said Humpty Dumpty ‘which is to be master that’s all’”From Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll another Oxford connectionImage Humpty Dumpty by Mervyn Peake SourceThe GoodThis is a gripping story of triumph over multiple adversities with touches of Victorian gothic the promised murder and madness as well as passion for the project thwarted titillation and grim self harm Winchester describes the family background collaboration and relationship between the primary editor Sir James Murray and American ex army surgeon Dr William Minor incarcerated after he murdered a stranger while deluded including some surprising parallels in the outwardly very different men“ A relationship that would combine sublime scholarship fierce tragedy Victorian reserve deep gratitude mutual respect and a slowly growing amity that could even be termed friendship”The three main characters Murray Minor and the dictionary itself are vividly portrayed and the murder victim George Merrett is not forgotten indeed the book is dedicated to GMThe history of word lists thesauruses and dictionaries as well as the actual methods for compiling the behemoth OED are carefully explained Minor was by far the most prolific of the hundreds of volunteers an accurate methodical meticulous researcher submitting up to twenty slips a day fewer in summer for than twenty years His contribution is staggering even if he were not seriously mentally ill Except that as Winchester points out if modern psychoactive drugs had been available maybe Minor would have been less obsessive less productiveThe BadThe misleading titles annoy me “The Surgeon of Crowthorne” in the UK and “The Professor and the Madman” in the US The name of the village housing the asylum is not very relevant nor that Minor was previously a surgeon and the US title is horribly tabloid as well as inaccurate James Murray was never a professor nor any sort of university academic He was an autodidact school teacher who was employed by Oxford University Press and knighted in his 70s and awarded an honorary doctorate the year before he diedThis book has an awkward hybrid tone neither novel nor biographyhistory A particularly egregious example is where Winchester details an important series of incidents over several pages before explaining that was what people said at the time because it was dramatic Only then does he relate the probable version Much later he indulges in prurient speculation before confessing “no suggestion exists” that it’s trueThere is disproportionate dull detail about things not hugely relevant for the main story such as battles of the American Civil War but I was reading the US edition which is 35 pages longer and some of the processes and conditions of Broadmoor the asylum Several times Winchester refers to “Doctor Murray” even though the nearest he got to such a title was an honorary doctorate the year before he died aged 78 SloppySometimes Winchester is tripped up by the threads of his own embroidery Because it was annoying me I noticed he wrote that on 5 November “darkness had fallen on London soon after half past five” which is about an hour later than is actually the case Sloppy againWinchester rattles off a list of delightful obscure words on p85 and doesn’t define or contextualise a single one In a book about a dictionary In a later book The Meaning of Everything The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary some of these same words are described as “words that were nonsensical but people used them to give the impression that they were wise and clever” Others I managed to find definitions of abeuitate ride away sullevation rousing or exciting commotrix a female who helps makes things happen parentate perform funeral rites especially for a parent adminiculation attestation or corroboration plus a few compounds whose meaning you can guessThere is no index unforgivable in a book of non fiction or bibliography though there is “further reading”These aspects of Winchester’s style are presumably a popular feature I had similar issues with The Man Who Loved China see my review HEREThe Indifferent and OddImage Dr Minor among his books Illustration from this edition sourceThe occasional line drawings were a nice idea to give a period feel though I don’t think they’re especially good Each chapter starts with a lengthy definition of a word that is vaguely relevant to that chapter It would have been nice if they’d been rather unusual Reading about a dictionary I’d have liked to enlarge my vocabulary Winchester’s novelistic style makes it readable and immersive but for some reason his embellishments often involve anthropomorphised horses The horses did their best their hooves striking sparks from the cobbles as they rushed the victim to the emergency entrance The book made me snarky so the euines kept jumping off the page Dr Minor had “distinctively American handwriting” I wish I knew what that was Anyone?Non Trivial TriviaImage An elderly Murray in the Scriptorium SourceI was left in awe at the compilers of the first OED as anyone who reads this will beFor centuries there were atlases prayer books histories romances and books of science and art but no English dictionary as we think of one Shakespeare probably had Cooper’s thesaurus and word lists grouped by subject but not a dictionary Dr Johnson made huge strides in lexicography but the delight of his dictionary is its personal uirkiness rather than scientific rigour and objectivity A well known example “Oats a grain which in England is generally given to horses but in Scotland supports the people”The bold and uniue aim of the OED was to include every single word however trivial alphabetically with etymology patterns of use and examples of each meaning from published sources The OED still shows the meaning and the history of meaning Words are never removed; merely marked as archaic or obsoleteBecause it was such a huge undertaking relying on volunteers it was seen as “a democratic product” a practice that continues to this day though perhaps as “crowdsourcing”The first OED was 71 years in the making 1857 1928 though sections were published from 1884 aa to antMeanwhile the first edition of Fowler’s A Dictionary of Modern English Usage was published in 1926 Lexicographers find the letter C “unusually filled with ambiguities and complexities not least because of its freuent overlaps with the letters G K and S” and the letter T took five years to compileThe 1928 OED was 12 or 10 if Wikipedia is correct volumes listing 414825 headwords with 1827306 illustrative uotes The hand set letterpress type was 178 miles the distance from London to the outskirts of Manchester comprising 227779589 letters and numerals plus spaces and punctuation1988 saw the first electronic version of the dictionary This book was published a decade later in 1998 The OED has been available online since 2000 For see • OED home• Wikipedia on OED• Winchester’s 2003 book The Meaning of Everything The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary which is apparently a broader history of the OED Mel Gibson MovieImage Gibson as Murray and Penn as Minor SourceCompleting the dictionary took far longer than predicted and so with the film of this story More than 20 years after buying the rights Mel Gibson’s film is due for release later this year See imdb here I was frustrated by some of the fictional fluff in the book and probably will be with the film it was shot in Dublin rather than Oxford London and Berkshire cheaper 5 for the story 3 for the writing 4

  7. says:

    A man goes insane shoots another man to death and then helps write one of the first complete dictionaries What an odd way to enter the academic worldAnd believe it or not those aren't even spoilers Simon Winchester gives us all that right in the title of his surprisingly riveting read The Professor and the Madman A Tale of Murder Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English DictionaryThe idea of reading a book on the creation of a dictionary only sounded mildly interesting In the hands of the wrong writer that book might not have entertained me from start to finish the way Winchester did Granted the story has its intriguing oddities and the occasional shocking moment but it's Winchester's ability to dramatize this hundreds of years old story that makes it seem as vivid and catchy as the headlines of the morning newspaper He is a writer who brings legend to life As exciting as I find it this is a book about making a dictionary and that won't enthrall all readers It gets an extra nudge up in the star department from me because this is a book about words and I like words If you're still reading this I suspect you do too

  8. says:

    Another incredible story that one can put under the heading Truth is stranger than fiction How lucky we are that now as readers writers we can just look up a word find its meaning and pronunciation but such was not always the case Until I read this book I never really thought about this before a time when this valuable resource was not available What a huge undertaking this was the amount of work staggeringMurray and Minor two men crucial to the project but living in very different circumstances One free and the agent in charge of the whole project The other deemed insane and committed to an asylum Yet he was the most prolific reader and sent in the most additions to the dictionary Brilliant man but not able to live in society Fascinsting back story there but some of what he does is cringe worthyA entertaining and informative book that I am glad to have finally read It had been staring at me from my book shelf for uite awhile

  9. says:

    If you know me personally or almost personally then you should be aware that I am uite mad I have a heavy obsession with the alphabet with inventing bizarre systems that rule just about anything in my life and catalouging things It is uite obvious that a book about a lunatic and creating Oxford English Dictionary would be a winner with me And it wasHowever it wasn't perfect Winchester performed some weird narrative experiments For example he started off with a really exciting scene then er repeated that scene word by word in the middle of the book And then a chapter or so later he said it actually never happened This is a non fiction book Also Simon Winchester is obviously psychic because he can tell exactly what everyone was thinking and feeling ages ago The conviction which he states it all with is imperturbableIt's all forgiven though because any book that involves someone cutting their penis off ESPECIALLY non fiction can't get anything less than four stars

  10. says:

    I have been meaning to read this book for years – I couldn’t even tell you when I first saw it or heard about it and thought it would be a good idea to read Then I saw a copy in a bookshop that was going cheap and bought it on my way to my mother’s place I showed it to her and then lent it to her She told me she enjoyed it – so that made me keen to read it too That was a couple of years ago – as you see I was in no rush I think mum even lent it to my sister to read This was a remarkable book It might have been a book that didn’t uite seem to know how to end – but I even liked that about it perhaps because I was so delighted by it that I wasn’t sure I wanted it to end Winchester is a true story teller He does explain an awful lot of what might appear to be extraneous material but I found all of this utterly fascinating anyway so wasn’t put off in the least The book smashes together not just the story of a insane murderer – and so providing an interesting excuse to discuss 19th Century definitions of insanity murder and the laws pertaining to these – but a remarkable range of other ‘events’ from that century and the early years of the next Central to all this of course is also the story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary and the lives of two central figures in the making of the big dictionaryBut thrown into the pot for good measure are also bits of the American Civil War the part played by the Irish in that war a discussion of the nature of lunatic asylums and even an incredibly sexy description of the naked romping girls of Sri Lanka which I can only assume was paid for by the Sri Lankan Tourist Bureau “And there are the girls – young chocolate skinned giggling naked girls with sleek wet bodies and rosebud nipples and long hair and coltish legs and with scarlet and purple petals folded behind their ears who play in the white Indian Ocean surf and who run uite without shame along the cool wet sands on their way back home”The story of Minor the American who is one of the two protagonists is a terribly touching story There is an interesting discussion about whether there can be ‘two protagonists’ in any one story – which makes a lovely digression and segue into the preoccupation with words and their meanings both such important themes of this book Minor was a man tortured by demons and caught in a nightmare where only his work in finding uotations of words to be used in the OED offered him any measure of reliefThey say there are no atheists in fox holes – but I have found that the occurrence of the words ‘penis’ ‘penknife’ and ‘self inflicted wound’ in a single sentence also has me turning to God and even calling out his son’s name in fullThe tale of the Irishman branded on the face with a ‘D’ during the Civil War had much the same effect We tend to forget how much ‘humane’ we have become in such a short time – the American Civil War wasn’t all that long ago but behaviours like those described here performed against soldiers of your own side would never be tolerated today at least I hopeI’m uite pleased with my prescience in relation to this book – pleased to have recommended it before having any idea what it would be like or what it would be about other than the sketchiest of outlines But prescient or not I feel much better that I can recommend this wholeheartedly now in the certain knowledge it cannot really fail but to delight If you get a chance to listen to the talking book version – read by the author – I would highly recommend that too

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