by David Gore Book
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A fascinating collection of historical tales   (2009-11-16)
I enjoyed both the variety and the content of this well-written collection of biographical tales of the past. The historical context of each subject is not given in much depth, but the facets of each story intrigue, and the different characters, the saints, the scallywags and those in between, shine through clearly.
War or Christian strife of one kind or another is the background to many of the tales. Among the interesting characters who feature, I was especially taken with the Great War artist who refused to fight and, in contrast, with the heroic soldier of the Second World War who was unable to adapt to peace.
The lives of an early Virginian colonist and of a Victorian missionary in India are revealed showing the immense scale of the tasks that such dynamic men undertook, both with surprising success in view of the obstacles they faced. Two stories recall events when British/Indian soldiers were fighting in the Helmand province during the Afghan wars of the 19<sup>th</sup> century. The final one includes dramatic first hand accounts of a British defeat and explains the reasons for it.
The book is lavishly illustrated throughout and I liked the well-chosen quotations which precede each story. A fine historical miscellany, it gives a vivid picture of some remarkable individuals from our common past.
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