Profile for J. Goddard > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by J. Goddard
Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,265
Helpful Votes: 621

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
J. Goddard "Jim Goddard" (Shipley)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
pixel
Big Bang Theory Season 8
Big Bang Theory Season 8
Dvd

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 21 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Addictive, unfortunately. I've managed to quit almost all television but I keep coming back to TBBT.


Two Days in Yorkshire - The Official Commemorative Book of the Yorkshire Grand Départ
Two Days in Yorkshire - The Official Commemorative Book of the Yorkshire Grand Départ
by Peter Cossins
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get, pricey, but a lovely commemorative photobook, 14 Dec. 2014
This book is as rare as hen's teeth; bizarre, given that it is such an obvious Christmas present in my part of the world (West Yorkshire). I finally managed to find a copy in Waterstone's in Bradford. It's a fine book but I knocked off one star because at £35 the price is a bit ridiculous and arguably exploitative. A cheaper paperback edition would have flown off the shelves. I like hard copy books but not everyone has that sort of money to shell out on a commemorative present such as this for their parent, child, sibling etc. Apart from that, it's a lovely reminder that accurately captures the atmosphere of two very special days. The photographs are mostly good and of high quality and the text adds useful background.


Smile For The Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith
Smile For The Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith
by Simon Danczuk
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.14

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Important Story, Poorly Written, 5 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is important to say, first-off, that the authors have performed a major service in investigating and publishing the activities of Cyril Smith. It is a story that needed to be told. As someone who lived in children's homes in the 1960s and 1970s, I always welcome exposure of the exploitation and abuse that often went on in such environments.

That said, like another reviewer, I was disappointed by the poor quality of the book itself. The account of Smith's doings rings true, partly because of the weight and credibility of the various sources used, and I think the independent evidence is convincing, However, the writing is often slipshod, the narrative repetitive and the methodology careless. A major piece of investigative journalism requires more rigour than this. Even the frequent use of artistic licence (to take just one example, no one remembers verbatim conversations decades later) is never justified or explained. One gets the impression of this being written in a rush.

These qualifications are important. However, I don't want to detract from warmly welcoming the book. I'm grateful for it and will be encouraging others to read it. I still want to commend the authors for that they have done.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2014 1:19 AM BST


Omen 2-Damien: Omen II
Omen 2-Damien: Omen II
by Joseph Howard
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good of its Kind, 5 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Omen 2-Damien: Omen II (Paperback)
A little like the film, this is an unjustly neglected sequel. it is at last as good as the first book and provides a successful transfer of the film to the written page. However, books written on the basis of film scripts - i.e. after the film - usually have severe limitations. They tend to stick too rigidly to the film and thus don't make much effort to use the imaginative resources that fiction makes available to the author. That applies here. As a result, I found myself rewriting this book in my head as I went along, adding more depth to the characters, themes, dialogue and theological background. No doubt my attempts were execrable, but the fact that I kept doing this is the point. I'd have much preferred the author to make that effort.

That said, this book does its job. It puts the film on the printed page and adds a few extra touches that you couldn't get into a film in the time available. It also successfully retains the sinister power of the film and in that sense constitutes a successful thriller. It's a pity, though - and this applies to all three books in the series - that the author didn't adequately exploit the extraordinary power of the plot (does it get any better than the concept of the Antichrist being born on earth and exploring his powers as he develops through his childhood, while agents of good - and God - seek to stop him in his tracks?).

In short, I have mixed feelings; being pleased with what we have got but disappointed with what it might have been. Still, it skips along and provides the required chills and thrills. If you fancy some demonic diversion then this will fit the bill.


Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One: Not For Turning (Vol 1)
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One: Not For Turning (Vol 1)
by Charles Moore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.00

85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Biography, 30 April 2013
It's probably helpful to say at the start that my political views are very different from those of Margaret Thatcher and, from what I know of his journalism, Charles Moore. However, I take my hat off to Mr. Moore for a first-class biography (well, Volume One, anyway) that is worthy of the importance of its subject.

I was hopeful of a good biography, but was conscious that Mr. Moore hadn't written a book before. It is to the credit of Margaret Thatcher and those around her that Charles Moore was chosen for this task and given such freedom (to a degree that is highly unusual in an authorised biography). Yes, he's clearly an admirer of Mrs. Thatcher. However, he brings his trademark independence of mind to the role. Once one accepts the glaring and inevitable Conservative political bias (with a big gulp, in my case), one finds his judgements invariably both thoughtful and thought-provoking. We get a wealth of detail that both humanises and deepens his subject, but he doesn't shy away from less positive aspects of Margaret Thatcher's character and actions. There is also an admirable humility in his tendency to leave the reader to make up their own mind about so much of what he reveals. This occasionally applies even when those revelations are jaw-dropping.

The diligence in research is impressive. There are some elements of luck, such as the treasure-trove of letters from Margaret Thatcher to her older sister. However, often one makes one's luck through persistence and hard work. The writing is rarely as good as Mr. Moore's journalism, but that's understandable given that he's writing in a (for him) new and more tightly-constrained format. The occasional infelicity, repetition and typo doesn't detract from a fluid and engaging narrative. I even enjoyed the occasional sly flashes of humour. I've read other biographies of Margaret Thatcher (along with many other political biographies and related accounts from this period) and yet here I learned much that was new and encountered fresh perspectives on key events. I came away feeling well rewarded for my time. Volume One is as good as I could have expected. I'm looking forward to Volume Two.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2014 1:13 PM BST


Education and the Working Class (Pelican)
Education and the Working Class (Pelican)
by Brian Jackson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest social science books ever written, 26 Feb. 2013
It is hard to praise this book enough. Because of its fame at a certain point in the history of secondary education in the UK, it is often judged in partisan political terms. That does it a disservice. While the authors question the social mobility credentials of the post-war grammar school system, they are much more concerned to explore such social mobility as a lived experience. To that end, much of the book is based on interviews with parents and their former children who have come from working-class backgrounds and been through the grammar schools of a northern English town.

The authors admit that they are, in a sense, part of the sample. Two working-class grammar-school graduates themselves, they trace the experiences of their fellow pupils with sensitivity and insight. It is beautifully-written and at times very moving. They use a combination of case studies, interview evidence, statistics, history and their own analysis to produce a rounded discussion of the topic. They acknowledge the good as well as the bad. Their judgements are invariably restrained and balanced, but often all the more telling for that.

Anyone who has experienced working-class upward mobility, as I have, will find much to treasure in here. However, anyone with an open mind can also learn much. It might seem dated in some respects, a slice of life at a particular time in British social history, but the underlying issues are timeless.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Draws you in..., 19 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I originally thought this was a bit pricey for what it is. I still do. However, I wouldn't be without it. The size is smaller than I'd like but the picture quality is excellent. Even up close you can see a rich level of detail. Every time I stop to look at these images I am entranced, especially by the lower horse's head. It is beautifully constructed and full of character. Knowing that these images were painted 30,000 years ago can be a paradigm-shifting experience. Time evaporates and you realise that the people who made these pictures were the same as us. All they lacked was our technology and knowledge. Of all the prehistoric pictures I've viewed, the Chauvet ones are my favourites. There is another set of horses heads from Chauvet that are even better than these, but this picture will do nicely for now.


Will the Revolution be Televised?
Will the Revolution be Televised?
by John Molyneux
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Informative But Superficial, 20 Dec. 2012
When I saw this booklet, I picked it up with enthusiasm. Having a longstanding interest in the mass media, I have read a lot on the subject. I was looking forward to reading a Marxist analysis. I was disappointed.

First the positives. Molyneux writes well. His style is clear and easy to follow. Secondly, he is informative. There is a wealth of data about the modern mass media and its activities. He also has a reasonably sophisticated view of the nature of mass media power in large capitalist societies. There are some minor errors, but overall it's reasonably reliable. For anyone coming to the subject fresh, there is much to learn from an overview that, despite its radical political objectives, strives to be thoughtful as well as polemical. He loses it a bit near the end, where he gets carried away by his radical political vision, but at least he's honest about where he is coming from.

The weaknesses come in the analysis. Molyneux is so certain of his position (a besetting sin of many Marxists, to be fair) that he clearly feels little need to engage with critical media theorists from outside the Marxist - or at least radical left - tradition. Thus it is that we get the crucial fact on page 71 that average TV viewing in the UK is 26 hours per week (I know it was 28 hours in 2010, from the same source that he uses). This fact is then ignored in the subsequent analysis, which spends far more time discussing newspapers. It would be hard to think of a better definition of 'out-of-date' than this. Mind you, Molyneux's problem here stems partly from a much more fundamental analytical error. He fails to recognise any substantive distinction between television, radio, newspapers and other media sources. This, again, arises from his very limited reading. If he had read even one of the good theoretical sources on television - specifically, Neil Postman's 'Amusing Ourselves to Death', but there are plenty of others - he simply could not have written the same book. There are fundamental distinctions between literary and audio-visual media that he barely touches on. If you went by this book alone you wouldn't know that the spread of television had had any significant impact on working-class culture in the past seventy years. That's how unreal it all gets. 26 hours a week sat on one's backside is the elephant in the room (and, yes, both the hours spent and the nature of the content watched are strongly differentiated by social class; though you wouldn't learn anything about that here).

Karl Marx may have many useful insights, but Molyneux's use of various quotes from Marx and Engels that are too general to be of genuine analytical benefit is no substitute for engaging with such relevant areas of study as human psychology. In short, this is a narrow-minded account of the topic. It has huge gaps. Even from within a Marxist framework, it could have been much more insightful and substantial.


Chauvet Cave: The Discovery of the World's Oldest Paintings
Chauvet Cave: The Discovery of the World's Oldest Paintings
by Jean-Marie Chauvet
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Worthy of the Subject, 8 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As a first-hand account of the discovery of these paintings and the caves in which they lie, this book cannot be bettered. The authors provide a breathless, exciting rendition of the entire process of the discovery, exploration and confirmation of these artworks. The later overview essay helps to put the finds in a wider context. Best of all, pride of place throughout the book is given to the artworks themselves. There are many large and detailed photographs of the paintings. Once you have seen these pictures and considered them in depth, you will not be able to view our ancient ancestors in the same way again. This book changed my understanding of humanity. Knowing that the pictures are about 30,000 years old is disconcerting at first. It somehow feels wrong, until you realise that it is your own preconceptions that are wrong. You can see in some of the paintings, particularly a couple of the horse paintings, an understanding of depth, shading and how to create three-dimensional effects that any modern artist would be proud of. You come to understand that the human beings living at this time were essentially just us, but without the trappings of civilisation. The most powerful and lasting effect of the book was completely unexpected; a sense of kinship with people who lived 20,000 years before the advent of farming.


Origins: Human Evolution Revealed
Origins: Human Evolution Revealed
by Dr Douglas Palmer
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Stimulating Introduction, 8 Dec. 2012
On the whole, I was very pleased by this book. Although it is written for a lay audience, it is clear that the author is familiar with some of the key theoretical debates. He is able to convey them well, striking a good balance between being too simple and too complex. It is the sort of book that makes you want to read more deeply into many of the topics raised. I particularly liked the way he weaved in details about some of the key scientists involved and the relationships between them. I knocked a star off my rating for some needless repetition and for far too many minor presentational mistakes, such as wrong dates and names. These may well be proof-reading errors, but there are too many of them. One expects higher presentational standards for a big introductory book such as this. On thing that particularly grated with me was that the 3D models of the various species were very impressive until we get to ourselves, Homo Sapiens, when the model was clearly done in a different style. The bizarre result is that Homo Heidelbergensis, Homo Floresiensis and Homo Neanderthalensis all look more recognisably human than the waxy, demonic-eyed Homo Sapiens.

However, that shouldn't detract from the many merits of the book. I was glad I had read it and will, I am sure, return to it profitably many times in the future. It is rich in detail and a very good learning resource.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7