Sabah-taged is a further day-by-day account of an expedition made by Brian (of Brahmaputra fame), together with his wife Sandra – this time to the Sabah province of Borneo. It inevitably has similarities to the preceding books in the series (A Syria Situation and Brian on the Brahmaputra) in that it details not only the factual aspects of their excursion, but also Brian’s irreverent thoughts on all he observes. However, because Sabah has a unique mix of tropical flora and fauna, a unique situation in terms of its ‘development’ and a unique mix of peoples, it is actually a very different book indeed. The book describes Sabah’s wonderful natural environments and how these are under threat – or how they have already disappeared thanks to the ‘palm-oil’ rush. It paints a picture of its new holiday destinations, both on the mainland and on its offshore islands. It also provides a provocative insight into its local culture and its local cast of characters – whether of the endemic variety or otherwise. Sabah-taged therefore encapsulates such diverse topics as the joys of montane forests, the behaviour of orang-utans, the etiquette of sunbathing, the limited fashion potential of leech socks and the Darwinistic view of the development of Muslims and non-Muslims in a faith-focused world. It is the third book in David’s seven-part series that details Brian and Sandra’s travels to Assam, Syria, Borneo, Cape Verde, Namibia/Botswana and Morocco – and in due course, Zambia.
Strip Pan Wrinkle (in Namibia and Botswana) is an account of a five-week expedition made by Brian (of Brahmaputra fame) and his wife, Sandra, as they drive their Land Cruiser in an extended loop through Namibia, Botswana and a little bit of Zambia. As with all of the other books in David Fletcher’s ‘Brian’s World’ series, the account is rather more than a day-by-day diary of their trip. It is also an insight into each of the countries visited, an exploration of what wildlife one might encounter in these countries and, above all else, an exercise in humour. It isn’t, therefore, a standard travelogue. Instead, with Brian’s experiences – and his contemplations – chronicled in a manner which is more wry than comprehensive, it is very much an amusing travelogue. It contains a consideration of how much our own Royal Mail is subsiding the Botswanan Post Office, an evaluation of the ugliness of the human form when compared to that of a leopard and a reflection on the efficacy of protecting rhinos by poisoning their horns with arsenic. Furthermore, there is a review of the failings of democracies and a suggestion that wild-dog dynamics might constitute a better model for the conduct of human affairs, and even an examination of the outcome of a reverse takeover of Disneyland by the Church of England. So not really a standard travelogue at all... Strip Pan Wrinkle (in Namibia and Botswana) is the fifth book in David’s seven-part series that details Brian and Sandra’s travels to Assam, Syria, Borneo, Cape Verde, Namibia/Botswana and Morocco – and in due course, Zambia.
Cape Earth is yet another day-by-day account of an expedition made by Brian (of Brahmaputra fame), together with his wife, Sandra, this time to the ten-island archipelago of Cape Verde. It follows the same format as the preceding books in the series in that it weaves together an informative, factual account of this mid-Atlantic nation with Brian’s irreverent provocative commentary on its culture, its history and its place in the world. However, Cape Verde is like no other country on the planet, and this book consequently is like no other in the series. The book describes the couple’s travels to the main island of the archipelago, Santiago, their visit to the ‘desert island’ of Boa Vista, and then their visit to the ‘holiday island’ of Sal. It therefore provides an insight into the pressures posed by the population and ‘development’ in three very different situations, to say nothing of further insights into such matters as the impact of an incessant wind, the behaviour of husbands when their ambitious driving plans lead them and their wives into perilous situations, and the difficulties endured by these husbands when they are unable to synchronise the arrival of hotel food with a bottle of wine. It is the fouth book in David’s seven-part series that details Brian and Sandra’s travels to Assam, Syria, Borneo, Cape Verde, Namibia/Botswana and Morocco – and in due course, Zambia.
Crystal Balls and Moroccan Walls is another irreverent and provocative account of an expedition made by Brian and his wife, this time to that part of Morocco that lies to the south of the Atlas Mountains. However, it is also a prognostication... Southern Morocco doesn’t live up to Brian’s expectations. So, to brighten the dismal prospect of a dismal trip through the desert, Brian refers to a series of ‘crystal balls’, balls from which he is able to forecast the state of Britain in just forty years’ time. This means that there is still a consideration of the merits of tajines, a description of ‘fat sand rats’, and a thorough assessment of all those Moroccan walls, but there is also so much more. For example, there is an explanation of how Scotland, by mid-century, has changed its name to Trumpland and how its southern neighbour, by this same time, has begun to sell itself to potential visitors from the Far East as ‘Ye Olde Solde-Offe England’. There is even a review of some of the latest film offerings by this date, such as No Great Expectations... This unusual work is the penultimate book in David’s seven-part series that details Brian and Sandra’s travels to Assam, Syria, Borneo, Cape Verde, Namibia/Botswana, Morocco and Zambia. It is book number one in David’s ‘shameless subversion’ of the travel-book genre.
This is the definitive study of British light tanks of the Second World War. The author draws upon a vast and comprehensive body of archival information and research to explore their technical characteristics and combat performance. The title focuses largely on the very widely used Mark VI, but also covers all the variants that preceded it. The type was truly ubiquitous, equipping the British Army in France, the Western Desert regions, Norway, Sumatra, Persia and India. This book chronicles various experiments and improvisations carried out on the design of these tanks. It ends with coverage of the final model, the Mark VIC, and details of the experimental Lloyd airborne light tank of 1942, which has a number of features in common with the better-known Vickers-Armstrongs designs. Augmented by original photographs and technical drawings, this title is essential for anybody interested in the development of British armoured vehicles.
Renton set outs on a new life as a detective in Lollipop. His first role takes him onboard SS Lollipop, a gigantic spaceship offering every form of sexual gratification which is operated by a mysterious band of asexual humans called Lagooners. His quest is to locate a particular woman, but it’s more difficult than anticipated. Renton is gradually drawn into some sinister goings-on, and he and his colleagues are obliged to engage with a new adversary and solve the Lagooner puzzle. Its resolution constitutes the culmination of this trilogy – in a non-sexual climax!
Although, to the casual eye, all British tanks of World War I look much the same, the Mark V is quite outstanding and has a strong claim to be the tank that won the Great War. In this title, renowned tank expert David Fletcher examines the technological developments that made this tank excel where others had failed, and the reasons why it gave the British the upper hand over the Germans on the battlefield and why it was adopted by the US Tank Corps. Accompanied by detailed artwork showing the design changes that allowed the Mark V to breach the widest German trenches, this title is an excellent resource for the study of the armour of World War I.
The formidable Mark IV tank was pitted against the German Army from 1917 until the end of World War I. This book reveals the important role the tank played in the historic battle of Cambrai in 1917 as well as the first ever tank-versus-tank actions against German A7Vs. In awe of British technology, the Germans actively captured, salvaged and repaired Mark IVs for deployment against the Allies. Using rare photographs and detailed artwork, David Fletcher explores the Mark IV's design and development, its variants and accessories, and brings to life its exciting deployment on the battlefields of World War I.
This title looks at the Medium Mark A Whippet, one of the most successful British tanks of World War I and, when placed alongside existing titles covering the Mark I, Mark IV and Mark V, completes the New Vanguard series' coverage of the major British tanks of the war. The evolution of the Whippet is examined in detail, from design and development to mechanical details and crew duties, and information on the operational use of the vehicle is drawn from war diaries and battalion records. The Whippet was involved in several well-known incidents that will be presented in this volume, including the clash at Cachy on April 24, 1918, the actions of the 6th Battalion tank known as "Musical Box” on August 8, 1918, and Sewell's Victoria Cross-winning exploits with the 3rd Battalion on August 29, 1918. Mention will also be made of the Whippet's involvement with the Tank Corps' expedition to Russia. In addition to this examination of the Mark A Whippet is a study of the other Medium tanks up to the end of the war: the Medium B, Medium C, Medium D and the experimental American Studebaker tank.
In Ticklers, Renton Tenting relives the excitement of his unplanned mission by joining a band of professional adventurers who make their living by providing security services throughout the universe, but he discovers that all is not well within this elite force and there is something very wrong at its top. Joined by his friends, he launches on a quest to identify the problem and encounters a whole slew of strange and humorous situations. The adventure grows to a more demanding level as a new and potentially devastating threat is unveiled...
The Sherman DD (Duplex Drive) tank was a brilliant innovation; the design and development of a tank that could float and even 'swim' in water was controversial. Each tank was enveloped in a waterproofed canvas screen, launched at sea from landing craft and then 'swam' to shore, where the screens were deflated, allowing the tanks to operate as fighting vehicles. This book discusses the Sherman DD's many variants, including the prototype Valentine DD tank and examines the successes and tragic failures on the beaches of Normandy and further into North-West Europe, including the challenge of crossing the River Rhine.
The first Rolls-Royce armoured car was a privately owned vehicle fitted with a machine-gun and a limited amount of armour plate, used by the Royal Naval Air Service in Flanders in 1914. By 1915, nearly 100 had been built and turned over to the Army. From then on, as Sir Albert Stern said 'They searched the world for war', operating as far apart as the northwest frontier of India, the Middle East and southern Africa. The cars were fast, quiet and reliable but above all powerful. 'A Rolls in the desert is above rubies,' said Lawrence of Arabia. After World War I, the War Office continued to produce the Rolls-Royce while tinkering with the design. These further cars served all across the Empire, including in Ireland and even later Shanghai, returning for a final brief appearance in the early stages of World War II.This book tells the complete story of the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car, following its design and development as it fought from theatre to theatre during World War I and the turbulent inter-war years.
This insightful narrative makes an effort to chronicle the celestial warfare foisted by a supreme enemy upon a hapless southern boy of remedial intelligence and insufficient means to respond in kind. An assembly of memoirs initially, it transcends historical recall and eventually matures into a regal tablet of wisdom. In doing so, it draws heavily from Biblical truths and in conclusion it hangs its hopes on vivid warnings to those souls unaware of the dangers of succumbing to Jezebel’s spell. From open-minded evangelicals to renaissance rednecks throughout the book-reading world, there is something between the covers to spur a giggle or a gag from the presence of this story on their bookshelves. Intellectuals in need of cerebral samples for academic study would most likely find “Chocolate and Biscuits for Jezebel” an absolute requirement in the halls of investigative psychoses. It will provide them with an endless source of amusement. Most of all, though, there will exist a written legacy of one life lived and the deductions wrought from it. Perhaps it may serve as an explanation as to why we’ve all come up short in the race of life. Hell, I’ve even laughed at some of it. Deemed by some as "courageously personal", it draws equal billing as "slightly entertaining". This book’s content seems to pluck a chord in each and every personality who has taken the time to browse the pages.
A mauling of mankind and a travel diary make rather odd bedfellows. However, in The Country-cides of Namibia and Botswana, these unlikely playmates not only share the same pages, but they also enfold each other in a somewhat intimate embrace. This remarkable union is all thanks to Brian. Because, as he embarks on a three-thousand-mile trip around Namibia and Botswana – which he records – he also embarks on an extended bout of ‘assassinations’. To illustrate to his wife how humankind is ill-suited to be the custodian of the world, he seeks to show her how inept it is at running its own affairs – at the level of the nation state. He does this by providing her with a series of critical commentaries on thirty of the world’s countries – commentaries that are so critical of these countries that they constitute nothing less than their murder. In short, he commits one act of country-cide after another and, in doing so, he assembles his indictment of mankind. So, for example, he explains why Canada can easily be regarded as the most John Major of countries in the New World and why Argentina is the South American national equivalent of Gordon Brown. He also explains how one of the great imponderables of North Korea is how it deals with the lavatory arrangements at all those gargantuan rallies in Pyongyang – and why ‘Saudi Arabia’ and ‘fun’ never appear in the same sentence , other than when there’s a negative in there as well. Then there’s the under-achievements of Russia... This work of ultimate irreverence and unremitting humour is inexplicably the eighth book in David’s seven-part ‘travel’ series and his first in the completely comprehensive subversion of the travel book genre. Previous books in the ‘Brian’s World’ series have been featured in Backpacker Trade News and the Sunday Post.
A fire-breathing monster on the battlefield, the Churchill Crocodile was one of the most awe-inspiring weapons of World War II. Tank expert David Fletcher chronicles the development of the flamethrower tank, examining the dramatic effect of these tanks in battle from use in France to the terrifying attack on the Senio River in Italy, as well as investigating the post-war use of Crocodiles to burn down and sterilise the site of Belsen concentration camp, and their mobilisation for the Korean War. Researched using the papers of Reginald Fraser the genius behind the flamethrowers and dramatically illustrated with detailed artwork and previously unpublished photographs, this book brings to life the true terror of these tanks.
Eggshell in scrambled eggs, bad wedding receptions, inserts in magazines and music snobs are amongst the many pet hates subjected to a considered review in this easy to read tome. With prose and poetry (of sorts) the author has sought to confront the worst of his pet hates (including macadamia nuts) and then overwhelm them with humour. For that is the nature of this book: the employment of what makes our blood boil to create something which instead makes us laugh – sometimes out loud...
Renton Tenting is the protagonist of Dumpiter and the ultimate unlikely hero – who, early into the story, is plucked from a carefully planned life and cast into a challenging and disturbing adventure, played out against a backdrop of space travel and distant worlds. In the future, mankind has populated much of the universe and is well on its way to screwing it all up. Renton is exposed to all manner of ridiculous oddities – the inside of a giant milking machine, a cult whose members live their lives on their hands and knees – and ultimately Dumpiter itself. This is where the real mess is, and where there are real problems for Renton...
On a beautiful island in the middle of a vast blue ocean lives Salu. His experiences of growing up in this idyllic setting and the changes he witnesses as he makes his way to maturity act as a mirror. And in this mirror, however improbably, is reflected the experiences of many others who have grown up in Britain, and who now find themselves in a Britain not only emasculated by its membership of the European Union, but one which is also terminally enfeebled by the actions of a veritable plague of ‘crats’. It is by no means a cheery story.
Marmite, Bites and Noisy Nights (in Zambia) is another day-by-day account of an expedition made by Brian and his wife, Sandra, this time around the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi national parks in, unsurprisingly, Zambia. However, it is also an example of how the travel-book genre can be harnessed for the purpose of humour, and of how Brian tends to regard his travels as an opportunity not only to study the wonders of the natural world but also to vent his opinions, whether these are on what he observes around him or on anything else that comes to mind. This book describes the wildlife that Brian encounters, together with the people and the perils he encounters, but it also catalogues a number of his valuable ‘insights’. There are expositions on the de-evolution of mankind, the likely demise of mankind as a result of the resilience of pathogenic biological agents, the advantages of setting up a new, online religion, and the desirability of the rapid evolution of both universal knee joints and inflatable boobs. This is the final book in David’s seven-part series that details Brian and Sandra’s travels to Assam, Syria, Borneo, Cape Verde, Namibia/Botswana, Morocco and Zambia. But it is unlikely to be his last!
For most of World War II, British tank development remained faithful to the design philosophy inaugurated during World War I. Experiences in North Africa highlighted flaws in this basic design, however, and the General Staff identified the need for a new heavy cruiser that could combine speed and manoeuvrability with increased armour and armament. The Cromwell Cruiser tank was designed as a result and soon proved itself one of the fastest and most successful tanks deployed by the Allies during World War II. This book details the design and development of the Cromwell and its many variants, from its introduction at D-Day, through its many successes in the final year of World War II and beyond.
The most powerfully gunned tank fielded by the Allies during World War II was the Sherman Firefly. An ordinary American-built Sherman modified by the British, the Firefly had the firepower that could finally match the awesome German tanks that had dominated Europe. David Fletcher examines the controversy that dogged the Firefly and the psychological boost the tank provided to Allied forces. Exploring its successes and failures on the battlefield and providing a realistic assessment of the tank's worth, this is essential reading for anyone wanting to know the facts about a tank variant that quickly developed its own mythology.
The Sherman Crab Flail tank was the powerful culmination of a series of mine-clearing flail tanks developed during World War II. Here, David Fletcher recounts how the Sherman Crabs were among the first tanks ashore on D-Day and as the war progressed they were in constant demand both for formal attacks and more incidental operations. Following the development of the tank and its use in the war, he details the US Army's initial lack of interest in the flail, but how after cooperative actions with the British, they too decided to adopt the type themselves. In addition to its special mine-clearing role the Sherman Crab was also capable of fighting in tank duels, and this book includes dramatic accounts of its use by the famous 79th Armoured Division and the US Army. The author explores the beginnings of the design in the Matilda Scorpion and Baron flails, developed for the Valentine and M3 Grant tanks, through to the Sherman, and particularly the Crab version. This detailed account of one of the most interesting tanks in the Funnies series is a delight for any modeller or tank enthusiast.
A Syria Situation is another day-by-day account of a wildlife expedition presented in the same style as that of Brian on the Brahmaputra. It therefore features Brian and his wife, Sandra, again – and another set of middle-aged Brits, this time making their way around a country in the Middle East that probably houses more antiquities than it does visible wildlife. However, this expedition was made well before anybody suspected that Syria would start to tear itself apart. This means that a book that was written to be irreverent, provocative – and amusing – and has not been changed in any way since it was written – has now become something more. It has become a window onto what Syria once was – and what it could be in the future. It cannot be claimed to be a very clear window, as many of the perspectives in the book are, with the benefit of hindsight, more than a little distorted. But others are almost prescient. Some people will consider A Syria Situation to be a very badly timed book and a book that points to a deplorable degree of insensitivity on the part of its author. Nevertheless, this author maintains that all those perspectives on this unfortunate country, whether distorted or prescient, ultimately lead to the conclusion that the Syrian people are, above all else, extremely resilient. Anybody striving to bring an enlightened peace to Syria should therefore not be offended by this book, but only encouraged by it – as well as being ‘entertained’ by it. It is part of seven-part series that details Brian and Sandra’s travels to Assam, Syria, Borneo, Cape Verde, Namibia/Botswana and Morocco - and in due course, Zambia.