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I swear by these guides-- but I have to complain a little about the latest edition. First, it has changed very little from the prior edition-- there are only a handful of new entries. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, in the interim, many of the properties listed have acquired e-mail accounts and developed websites. The internet era has made it much easier to check on room availability, current pricing, etc., but very few email addresses or URLs are listed. That complaint aside, this is a good, useful book, one I would use to plan our next trip to Tuscany-- if we couldn't get a room at "our place."
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Chapters cover several players, the manager, the early version of English hooligans, key games, a doting, almost sinister fan, and the club directors, in relatively brief, insightful and not-too-critical prose. The appendices include a study of the team's set plays and shows with statistics for the year how critical these 'dead ball' moves were to the success of the team. Brief surveys of player attitudes, life history, family, and hobbies offer a superficial profile of the club. We catch a glimpse of lives, from dads changing nappies to a manager's busy schedule, yet I felt more empty at the end than moved.
Tim Parks and Joe McGuinness have made more recent, intensive attempts to cover this same ground: a year with an Italian football team, up close and personal. A modern version of 'Glory game', featuring Man United (see, for instance, "Manchester Unlimited"), would offer stark contrasts, like Michael Lewis' recent book on American baseball.
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The book is a well rounded presentation of of the subject using text, graphics, equations, examples, and cases.
The most striking part of the book is in Aggregate Planning. For anyone who has worked in industry, we all know about strategic plans. How often though are other working plans created that are well linked to a strategy? Chapter 14 is the first time I have encountered a treatise on how to approach this. In addressing the types of plans, levels of plans, and their inter- relationships, the student is given the tools needed to actually implement a grand strategy, linked to workable sets of more detailed plans for each function.
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1) The old lord's mistress is living on his estate... not in the nearby town, but on the estate. Further, she won't marry the old guy when she has the chance.
2) The relationship between the two are supposedly a "secret." C'mon, an unmarried woman living on the estate without a male family member? And THAT's supposed to be a secret in such a small town? Get real!
3) The mistress agrees to let her unmarried neice live with her. All that will do is spread her own infamy to an innocent young woman.
4) The mistress & niece are strapped for money. As part of the estate, the dower house they live in would be regularly supplied with food and fuel from the estate.
5) The mistress is supposedly accepted in the local town's society, and the town matrons invite her to their homes. C'mon, never happen. (At this point in the book, I quit reading and skipped right to the end.)
6) The new lord shows up at his father's funeral, and then asks the niece (whom he only just met) about what he should be wearing. In reality, that subject would have been discussed by the extremely competent valet he inherited from his father, and the matter would have been solved before he ever left the house.
7) The American knows only one person in all of England, and this one person happens to turn up in the same small backwater town that the American is living in. Oh please.
Such a promising premise this book had... such mediocre execution. I was disappointed.
I enjoyed this book. It was not super great, but it was amusing. The premise of the book is that Fane Westby comes to England to search out the father he thought was dead. Turns out his mother had fled with him when he was a baby and just recently he learned he was the heir apparent to an estate. When he arrives in England, he meets the tenants at the dower house, Miss Marietta Hampton and her delightful aunt, who have both been banished from the rest of the family for being too free-thinking. Enter an evil villian and you have the plot.
The characters are very delightful and have some depth, especially the aunt and Fane. The writing is well done and clear. But the plot twists and some of the set-ups are so contrived that you know it could only happen in a novel (Fane only knows one other person in England who happens to be his deadly enemy and this enemy happens to be in the same obscure villiage? ). Also, the plot starts out very, very, very slowly, though it picks up nicely in the pages right before the publisher misprinted it...er, I mean, right in the middle of the book. The ending is, of course, happy and resolved.
This book is enjoyable. Just make sure your copy is whole and unblemished prepare to turn off your mind to any attempt at plot reality.
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