I owe some ... here goes
I am Ozzy
Ozzy's autobiography - well sounds like he rambled into a tape recorder and some other guy tried to make sense of it all! Actually it was a captivating read - he is a pretty humble guy in many ways to who life seems to happen with some stunning results! He tells it how he remembers it, but he admits that he has probably arsed up his brain cells over the years and that others are at liberty to contest his version of events. Black Sabbath's rise is interesting, like other stars who I've read about there is this bit where... "we were in the van driving here and there, doing loads of gigs, any gig, we had no gear/money/anywhere to live etc. We got this manager and he was hawking us about, we made the album, this went well, that less so, we went back on the road - then the manager called and said The album is no 1, 10 whatever"... It is amazing that the move from nobody to star is a) so quick b) seems to not be noticed directly by the star other than the van becomes a limo, the hotel gets nicer and the women, drugs and alcohol more plentiful.
The bit about Randy Rhodes death was painful to read - it is clear Ozzy still has never got over that tragedy and still can't accept what happened that day. Some of the animosity towards the others in the band comes out, esp the Dio version of Sabbath straight after his departure (however one of my favourite line up of all time) but he does say in one sentence the truth of it for him... "I just wished they'd not called it Black Sabbath". Interesting that now that group/line up is of course immortalised as Heaven and Hell and sadly was cut short by Dio's death - who'd have thought he'd buy it before Ozzy?
Good read if you like Ozzy but possibly not if you aren't a fan of some sort - there is no hidden message anywhere.
Holy Warrior - Angus Donald
Blood thirsty retelling of Richard the Lionhearts crusade. However neat twist in that this one has Robin Hood there as the Earl of Locksley and is written as the narrative from an old man who was there viewpoint - that man is Alan of Dale. Little John, Will Scarlet etc. all turn up. Interesting twist on the Hood legend and not a bad telling of a sorry part of UK/European/Christian history frankly. The sacking of Messina is chillingly told, as is the massacre of the Jews in at Clifords Tower in York in 1190. So very blood thirsty, lots of people put to the sword throughout but an interesting twist on the tail. I want to read the prequel to this now - Outlaw.
The Fort - Bernard Cornwell
I love Bernards books. Well researched and brilliantly written. This is no different. It tells an interesting tale from the American war of independence - namely the Penobscot Expedition. In 1779 the British landed a force to fortify a stronghold in what is now Maine on the USA east coast. This was to be a new land called New Ireland and was hoped to be a springboard to repel the rebellion elsewhere in New England. However it was a disaster - at that point the area was part of Massachusetts and the state set up a force to repel the English at its own expense with it's melitia but they were untrained and not really up for the fight. Despite a large navel fleet including some Continental ships i.e. belonging to the fledgling federal govt they failed to subdue the British and the expedition ended in failure.
Cornwell tells the story from both sides with a large dose of writers licence but with much of the facts relayed. Paul Revere plays an interesting part and that was an education for me - he wasn't the great hero I thought he might be. John Moore one of the greatest soldiers the British army saw in the 18th and 19th centuries and possibly the man we should thank for defeating the Napoleonic forces appears as a young man - and this was truly the first battle he ever fought. Now I didn't know that! I know he created the light infantry - built all the Martello towers I have spent my life looking at near where I live etc.
So not just interesting military history but also interesting interplay between the characters which Cornwell has supposed from his research. He also feels that the Commodore of the fleet was badly treated afterwards simply as the state needed get the £3,000,000 it spent back from the other states in the new federation. Interesting views indeed. Fabulous read.