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John Baird

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Night Train: A Biography of Sonny Liston
Night Train: A Biography of Sonny Liston
by Nick Tosches
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful rubbish, 20 July 2012
This is an utterly awful book. The author writes like an immature teenager trying to impress by talking tough and throwing in the odd expletive for effect. One reviewer refers to this as 'grit-lit'. I don't know what grit-lit is - perhaps it is a euphemism for dire journalism enlivened only by swear words. It fails both as a book about sport and as a biography. It does not do justice to Liston, or to anyone else. After a while, one ceases to care what the author thinks.

If you want to read about the Patterson-Liston-Ali rivalry, try David Remnick's 'King of the World', which is everything that this book is not.


York Notes Advanced on "Dr.Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe
York Notes Advanced on "Dr.Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe
by Christopher Marlowe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

2.0 out of 5 stars Printing errors, 8 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The content is ok, but my confidence in it is somewhat undermined by the glaring printing errors. Random sections of the book are printed upside down and appear in reverse order - a failure of quality control by the printers.


How to be a Bad Birdwatcher
How to be a Bad Birdwatcher
by Simon Barnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable enough, 25 Jun. 2012
Simon Barnes is a talented sports journalist who I have been reading for many years. This book does a nice job of describing the enjoyment of becoming a bird watcher, and is interesting and engaging, to a point. It is pretty light fare. Some interesting stories and observations, but no laugh-out-loud moments, and nothing hugely memorable. Not for the first time, I find myself puzzled at the number of 5 star reviews that a book has received.


Some Old Bullshit
Some Old Bullshit
Offered by hifi-media-store
Price: £5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A punk rock gem from the pre-hip hop Beastie Boys, 11 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Some Old Bullshit (Audio CD)
Other reviewers are mistaken in thinking this to be a collection of B-sides. This album represents a compilation of the Beastie Boys' punk rock recordings, such as they were, in the early 1980s, before they became a hip hop band. Their output was as slight as their punk career was shortlived. This is punk in the 'hardcore' style prevalent at the time in the US: short, repetitive, intense songs which lasted not much more than a minute each track.

What shines through is the humour, vitality and wit of the Beastie Boys, which would later find a much more lasting expression as they became a major hip hop act. So much hardcore was unlistenable, instantly forgettable garbage produced by bands arriving long after the party had ended, but this collection from the Beastie Boys is about as good as hardcore ever got. 'Egg raid on Mojo' and 'Holy Snappers' are catchy and funny. They never took themselves seriously - judge this one by the cover.


Working with the Mental Capacity Act 2005
Working with the Mental Capacity Act 2005
by Steven Richards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent practical guidance, 10 Jun. 2012
As with their other book that I have read, the authors do well to make a pretty complicated law quite easy to understand and navigate.


Working with the Mental Health Act
Working with the Mental Health Act
by Steven Richards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.75

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars User friendly, 10 Jun. 2012
This is an insightful, down-to-earth, practical guide to the Mental Health Act. It is thoughtfully arranged and presented. Very easy to use and follow.


Chess For Dummies
Chess For Dummies
by James Eade
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Good starter book, 15 April 2012
This review is from: Chess For Dummies (Paperback)
My 12 year old son has read this book cover to cover and it has helped him to improve his game. There are some good basic strategies and clear explanations of the rules as you go along. There may well be better books out there, but I would recommend this as a starter book, especially for children.


Killing Time: An 18-Year Odyssey from Death Row to Freedom
Killing Time: An 18-Year Odyssey from Death Row to Freedom
by John Hollway
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.12

4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling and compelling, 9 April 2012
The true life story of an appalling miscarriage of justice is chillingly and compellingly told.

The achievement of the authors should not be understated. Although the reader knows how the story ends, the story is fascinating throughout, partly because of the vivid way in which the characters are portrayed, not least the unflinching presentation of John Thompson himself, and partly through the sensible use of verbatim courtroom transcripts from the two trials and the re-trial.

This book will be enjoyed by those interested in miscarriages of justice, or the John Grisham genre of storytelling. This case was no accident: Thompson, then a young petty criminal, was framed for murder and armed robbery, principally by the New Orleans District Attorney's office, whose callous dishonesty was facilitated by a criminal justice system all too eager to convict (and, here, to execute) a black man accused of serious crimes, regardless of the accuser.

Bravo for the authors, and also for the indefatigable Philadelphia lawyers who fought Thompson's corner, and eventually secured his freedom.


Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations
Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations
by Raymond Fisman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Skims the surface, 7 April 2012
I am reluctant to say anything too critical of this book. It is well intentioned, and engagingly written, and its authors appear to be distinguished academics, rather than sensationalists.

But I am disappointed because I think its analysis does not go far enough, and its central thesis is rather lightweight - economics can explain corruption, violence and poverty in developing nations. Well, yes and no. The book comprises a series of loosely connected vignettes, some of which are rather gimmicky, which may add to its appeal to the readership of the Freakonomics books (although the current price will not).

I liked the chapters on measuring corruption by looking at political connections in Indonesia, and by looking at unpaid diplomatic parking violations in New York. If only this standard had been maintained throughout. But the book loses its way somewhat when looking for meaningful explanations for corruption and violence in the poorest countries in Africa. Simple greed, immorality and ignorance, rather than economic gangsterism, can sometimes be enough.

A book that does not quite live up to its ambitious title.


Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
by Amy Chua
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and engaging, 30 Mar. 2012
Ths is not so much a book about parenting, it is more the autobiography of an unusually single minded and determined parent. It is written in a humorous, self-deprecating style, and is actually quite a page-turner, with plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way. I read it over the course of a weekend. Most parents may not wish to copy Amy Chua's methods exactly, but any parent could learn something from her.


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