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James McGovern (UK)

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The Master Key System
The Master Key System
by Charles F. Haanel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.56

11 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pseudoscientific wishful thinking!, 16 Feb 2008
This review is from: The Master Key System (Paperback)
If you're looking for a book to help you achieve anything in life, don't get this. Despite a couple of good points (such as not to be selfish in life - do you really need a book to tell you this??), the basic idea of this work, set forth in twenty-four "lessons", is to simply think good thoughts and imagine all the things you want most in life. Apparently, the author assures us, these thoughts will "objectify" and bring us those dreams in the real world via the "Law of Attraction", which the author alleges has been scientifically proved. He also claims, rather arrogantly, that even bodily diseases and ailments can be healed by "correct" thinking. Needless to say, this is all utter nonsense. Of course we should all be optimistic, but that alone will not make your dreams come true!

Instead of what is in this book, here is some basic but actually much more useful advice for everyone: if you're feeling lonely, find a wondrous person to love. If you're looking for success in a career, work hard to achieve it. If you're ill, see a doctor and live as healthily as you can. If you want to be wealthy, you should start by saving your money and not buying this book!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2010 4:18 PM BST


The French Connection [DVD]
The French Connection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gene Hackman
Price: 8.01

4 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely overrated!, 15 Feb 2008
This review is from: The French Connection [DVD] (DVD)
I'm sorry to have to criticise a famous "classic" film, but this really is not the action packed thriller it should be. Like a lot of well known films, it receives praise for no real reason other than the fact that it is already famous and therefore simply must be good - in the minds of the gullible anyway. With the exception of the one excellent scene in which Hackman is attempting to follow a train by driving recklessly in a car, the ENTIRE rest of the film has no action whatsoever, and no interesting twists or subplots. It might be better than a lot of mainstream trash but it is still unacceptably poor and immensely boring for such a renowned film. Avoid boring yourself with this, unless you are an obsessive fan of the genre.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2012 9:57 PM GMT


Zombie Flesh Eaters 2  (a.k.a. Zombi 3) [DVD] (1988)
Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (a.k.a. Zombi 3) [DVD] (1988)
Dvd ~ Deran Serafian
Offered by Sent2u
Price: 12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be shocked and terrified... at how poor this is!, 23 Sep 2007
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The title of this film (the original title of which is "Zombi 3") ought to speak for itself really. Nonetheless, there are times when we see a bad film for one reason or another. You know when a film is so bad that it's actually almost brilliant? Well, this film is so bad that it really isn't funny, at least on first viewing - but if you thought it was supposed to be a comedy, then you probably would be laughing more than you've ever laughed in your life! Both the acting and dubbing are absolutely hilarious, and the special effects are shockingly embarrassing. They cannot be described, however, one has to see them to believe how poor they are, even for a fairly low budget film of 1988, when this film was made. It also successfully manages to steal elements from far superior films and ruin them completely, unfortunately. We'll never be able to watch "Dawn of the Dead" again without thinking of this abomination.

As other reviewers pointed out, Lucio Fulci did not in fact have any involvement with the making of much of this film due to health reasons, and so cannot take the blame for it. Whoever must take the blame though doesn't really matter; what matters is that this film exists. However, I do recommend people go see it, because if you expect it to be poor you may actually find it hilarious (though you'll still be shocked at how woeful it is!). So although I give it a very low rating, it is in some ways almost good - as a comedy. Unfortunately, this film is taking itself seriously, and that's where it fails miserably. Ah, well - at least it's good for its unintentional humour, unlike most appalling films!


2008: God's Final Witness
2008: God's Final Witness
by Ronald Weinland
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.77

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Typical "end is nigh" hysteria!, 12 May 2007
Unfortunately, there is nothing new whatsoever to be found in this book, for this is all just a slight re-shaping of earlier ideas of how Bible prophecies might relate to the modern world. The book begins with a discussion of the differences between various Bible-based religions, and appears to be promoting a Seventh-Day Adventist perspective. It then goes on to explain, very unconvincingly, - in fact, with no evidence to support it at all - why western civilisation is going to collapse in late 2008 or early 2009, and why all religions and almost all Christian sects are wrong. The author also claims - seriously - to be God's prophet of the end-times. Unsurprisingly for someone obviously inspired by the writings of Miss Ellen G. White, he deems the Pope and Catholicism as evil and part of a grand plot of Satan to deceive and rule the world. Really! Do we honestly need to be subjected to such embarrassing anti-Catholic nonsense over and over again?

While it is true that our world is a mess, this hardly justifies or proves any of this amateur eschatological genre of literature. People are continually publishing new prophecies and predictions, and all that have so far been published have also failed to come true. At any rate, it doesn't require much prudence to be able to confidently dismiss this particular example.


Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith
Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith
by Graham Hancock
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting at times, but fanciful!, 26 April 2007
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Contrary to what another reviewer has stated, I should make it clear that nowhere in this book is there any mention whatsoever of the infamous work of fiction, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion". This other reviewer clearly has not read "Talisman", and it would appear that they gained their erroneous opinion from a misunderstanding of another previous review. The authors of this book do mention at one point that certain Islamic extremists believe, for some reason, that the Freemasons are helping the Zionist (i.e., pro-Israel) cause in the Middle Eastern region. Other than this largely irrelevant point, there is nothing even remotely connected with the Protocols in this work.

As for the real content of the book, it gives a brief overview of history in which the authors attempt to illustrate the connections between certain esoteric sects. The Gnostics and Hermetics of the Roman period are portrayed as having received some of their inspiration and ideas from Ancient Egypt, and the later Cathars and Bogomils of medieval Europe are theorised to have both been the inheritors of this Gnostic and Hermetic knowledge. A moderate case is set forth to support this basic thesis, including a comparative look at early Hermetic writings and the Egyptian "Book of the Dead", but it seems the authors did not spend enough time on their ideas to give them real justice, I feel.

There are a few minor errors in this book that I noticed, which implies there may be more. On page 377 it is stated that on "27 December 1789 Pope Clement XII signed the order for Cagliostro's arrest." This can hardly be correct, considering Pope Clement XII died in 1740! It is also stated on page 473 that Julius Caesar founded the world's first republic; yet the Roman Republic had effectively ended before Caesar even came to power. He introduced the Julian calendar in 46 BC, too, not 48 BC as stated in the book.

This is a fairly interesting book at times, but you will probably not find everything in here convincing. Particularly feeble is the idea that certain famous cities have been aligned intentionally in certain manners of esoteric significance; for instance, so that the sun and Sirius both align with Pennsylvania Avenue on 12 August - obviously just a coincidence, in my opinion. Certain buildings or their layouts are said to have been secretly copied from ancient ones; maybe the authors have keener eyes than I, but I fail to see any correspondence whatsoever between the layout of the Louvre Palace and the Luxor temple at Thebes.

Ultimately, though, this is worth reading, but do not expect it to astonish you with its arguments and evidences set forth.


Book of Truth: Or, the Voice of Osiris
Book of Truth: Or, the Voice of Osiris
by Hugh C.Randall- Stevens
Edition: Paperback

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The book of utter nonsense!, 12 April 2007
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This alleged book of truth is, I'm afraid to say, a shameful collection of rather embarrassing pseudo-occult nonsense. No, it doesn't even garner the title of occult proper. The author claims to be writing inspired by Osiris, and the latter deity here illustrates an unconvincing history of mankind, and later gives a collection of hackneyed and uninteresting lectures on morality and lifestyle (in the version I read, which had "The Teachings of Osiris" included).

The author (or Osiris, as he insists) writes in a form of unfortunately erroneous archaic English, and I feel certain that any real deity would know better. The names he gives to certain other entities are very unoriginal, such as the evil "Satanaku." None of this proves that the book is a fake "inspiration," of course; but I think it does cast serious doubt on it, to say the least. Personally, though, this is the first book I have read by Randall Stevens and it will be the last!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2009 5:43 PM BST


On the Threshold of Eternity
On the Threshold of Eternity
Price: 11.71

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of progressive rock!, 11 April 2007
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This is one of those rare and wonderful examples of a little-known but extremely talented group of songwriters. Despite having guest appearances on this album from Neal Morse (formerly of the bands Spock's Beard and Transatlantic, now a solo artist) and the legendary Rick Wakeman, this album will probably never gain the recognition it deserves. At any rate, this album is written by a group of three Christian musicians, and although I am not a Christian, I still am filled with the sense of emotional freedom and happiness which the band are attempting to impart to their listeners, be they religious or not. The songs themselves are all, perhaps with the exception of "Psalm 61" and "Forever I Am", true classics, and are all extremely happy and optimistic even when dealing with a subject of sorrow. There is an extra track at the end of the album, "You and Me," which is a cover version of a song written by Justin Hayward and Greame Edge (of The Moody Blues). Although the song is good, I think it spoils the astonishing climax to the previous track, "On the Threshold of Eternity", which should definitely be left as the last song, I feel. The fact that this is the only real flaw in the album, though, just goes to prove how excellent it is!

The album is 69 minutes long, the epic title track being 16 minutes long in itself; yet this time passes very quickly listening to such amazing songwriters. I definitely recommend that anyone who is intrigued to hear some proper modern music give this album a listen. Excellent.


History of Witchcraft and Demonology (1925)
History of Witchcraft and Demonology (1925)
by Montague Summers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 19.26

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent study from a Catholic perspective, 7 Feb 2007
Actually first published in 1926, this is an excellent general overview of witchcraft in its historical context. Summers was a Catholic priest and, as a result, he adhered to the point of view that magic, occultism and witchcraft are all dangerous and efficacious in producing evil. Whether we believe in the effects of magic or not is irrelevant to appreciate this study, for rather than waste space with scepticism it instead looks at the subject on its own merit. Whilst little evidence is actually offered in support of magic, many alleged incidents are related briefly which anyone with access to a large library could research further. Summers points out that whilst most magic can be explained away by illusion or deceit, there are still many cases which seem to have no explanation except a supernatural one (according to him).

There are seven chapters, which go into fair detail, including areas as diverse as exorcism (in which a full example text of which words to speak to cast out demons is included), to how the witch has been portrayed in plays and opera.

A very small portion of the text is in Latin and French, which is only sometimes translated into English. An excellent bibliography is included, which lists many books and early pamphlets in English, French, German and Latin. Overall, this is an excellent study which manages to be both diverse and detailed, and is also very interesting to read for an historical work. Definitely worth reading.


A Brief History of Ancient Times
A Brief History of Ancient Times
by James Henry Breasted
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre popular overview, 6 Feb 2007
This is an abridged, edited and popularised version of the first edition of James Breasted's much longer "Ancient Times: A History of the Early World", published in 1916. As a result, some of the contents are much out-of-date. The time frame covered very briefly here is from the early prehistory of man down to the fall of the Western Empire of Rome. Despite being fairly well-written and entertaining, this abridged form is more directed towards younger readers as a mere taster of ancient history, or as a basic coverage for the general reader whom has little direct concern with the subject.

The book has a particular emphasis on the history of Rome, both in its earlier days as the Republic, and in its later modified form as the Empire. Prehistory is only covered very tersely, and as is expected, many significant events in ancient history barely garner a mention. The book does manage to give a mention to some of the cultural changes and innovations of ancient times, as well as some significant inventions. This book is not a bad read, by any means, but it does seem rather pointless spending money on an average, out-of-date, popular read. Instead, try reading a more modern general overview first, and then proceed onto the Oxford or Cambridge releases of more specific histories, if that is the direction you are intending to aim towards.


The Wizard Knight (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
The Wizard Knight (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Gene Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.96

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but heavily flawed, 6 Feb 2007
What could have been a fairly good, albeit somewhat mundane two-novel series (which has been collected as one in this printing, the two novels being known separately as "The Knight" and "The Wizard"), is ruined by ridiculous length. There is very little action here, only a few minor jokes, very little inclusion of magic, and few characters that are passably interesting. Occassional swearing and sexual references are presumably intended to be amusing, but the jokes never really seem to work. The main plot to the novel is that a young knight, in fact a teenage boy from America (who is somehow transported to this fantasy world - the means of which is nowhere explained), falls in love with the "Aelf Queen" Disiri, but must go on a series of quests before he can eventually remain with his love.

This fairly unoriginal plot could have still been implemented so much better, especially by someone with as much literary experience as Gene Wolfe, but has merely been extended beyond its limits into a book of monumentally boring proportions. Without revealing anything, the ending to the novel is very predicatable, and is a straightforward happy ending. Alas, even this is made worse by the fact that the main character suddenly decides to use his magical powers to achieve this - powers which have remained completely unused throughout the majority of the book - just when the novel needs an otherwise impossible ending to "satisfy" everyone. This is very poor writing skill.

Another missed opportunity with this book is that of its many subtle implications; it occassionally hints at some deeper meaning to certain events within the novel, but never explains anything clearly enough to decipher any point that might be being made. It makes one wonder if even the author knows what he is trying to say. It is possible, however, that the fundamental "point" of the novel is very similar to that of "The Never-Ending Story"; in other words, it causes one to question the boundary between reality and imagination. If this is the main point being made in "The Wizard Knight", however, it certainly is stated poorly.

Ultimately, I would say this is worth reading once, if you can hire a copy from a library and have nothing better to read; otherwise, I would give it a miss.


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