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Reviews Written by
R. L. Marris "Prof Robin Marris" (London UK)

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The Illumination of Merton Browne
The Illumination of Merton Browne
by JM Shaw
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great New Writer, 24 Aug 2007
Like the other reviewers and also people to whom I have lent this book, I could not put it down. Started 10 pm finished 6 am. This book also has in my own and others opinion the strongest first seven lines in contemporary English.

The story is a highly original venture in social realism, with some elements of Martin Amis but in fundamental difference from most of this literature, it has the feature that as you read along you don't know whether it is going to have a happy ending, although you see that it may.

The story is accurately described by both the preceding reviewers. It is the story of a boy from a typically deprived and messed up home going through the state secondary education system in a manner that has two key features. First the description of rough life and terrible language is deeply authentic (how do I know? - because I do) Along the line he gets involved with gangs, guns and the courts, yet he ends up as a student at Cambridge.
Second the way the hero gets out of his basic situation is original and exciting. By accident he finds a hidden basement containing a complete old-fashioned school library, which has been put aside in favour of a new library. "Our library in the main block was full of CD Roms and videos. The real library - the old one, all the stuff nobody read any more- had been dumped down here." He finds ways to spend hours in the place, both for study and protection. On this find, in various ways, he builds his future.
Finally, this book is a sure success because both dialogue and soliloqy text are outstanding. A natural born writer.

The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
by Karen Armstrong
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.99

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to understand fundamentalism, 10 July 2002
I am reading this book with as much interest and excitement as any I have for some time. It is an absolute must for broad-minded and especially non-religious people who want to understand tha nature and history of modern Fundamentalism. What is quite remarakable is the way the author integrates religious history with both past and contemporary political, social and economic history.
After a remarkable introduction she concentrates on four 'case studies', namely Iran, Egypt, Judaism and the USA. Althouugh she has obviously a special interest in Shii Islam, each of her studies is dramatic in the things one learns from it.
The book is also a remarkable work of research and scholarship.
Each day, I open the newspaper, and there is something there that is more easily understood from this book.
In fact, I believe, one of most important History books of modern times.

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