Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now
Profile for MediaMan > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by MediaMan
Top Reviewer Ranking: 267,119
Helpful Votes: 33

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
MediaMan

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3
pixel
The Head Game - A Spy's Guide to High-Stakes Risk Management and Decision Making
The Head Game - A Spy's Guide to High-Stakes Risk Management and Decision Making
by Philip Mudd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and useful, 31 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a cool book: got a big decision to make, so ask yourself, what would the CIA do? Using CIA failures as examples of how not to analyse a problem, ex-CIA analyst Mudd provides just about all one needs. Underpublicised (at least in the UK) this book is the real deal. It's actually useful, as well as full of insider insights on how intelligence agencies work. Would be five stars if it was written in better prose (but then it might in fact not be quite so helpful).


Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion - A Psychohistory
Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion - A Psychohistory
by Nick Duffell
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Very important, 31 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Over-written and far too long, this book is nonetheless essential. Duffell is (because of decades spent amassing hundreds of sad stories from ex-prep and public school boys, their wives and families) in a unique position to report on Britain's self-perpetuating damaged elite. Even those - or perhaps especially those - who say "it didn't do me any harm" are walking wounded, bullies with tongues of silver but a broken heart. Explicit child abuse is only the most publicised (and smallest in percentage terms) part of the problem. The impact of needless separation from family at the age of 7, 8, 9, 10 is a far greater problem, as it impacts on many more people. Those children will, Duffell convincingly demonstrates, never trust anyone again and the consequences, for them and for those who interact with them, are appalling.


Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia
by Peter Pomerantsev
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Good on Russian tv, 31 May 2016
This feels like a bunch of well-written magazine articles (which indeed it is in parts) and will slip down nicely if what you are looking for are snapshots of media life in Moscow and other underreported aspects of modern Russia. Highly entertaining and easy to read but as for the overall thesis better check the article about Pomerantsev by Mark Ames as well (you will have to google it, as every time I give the link Amazon deletes it, although another Amazon reviewer has been allowed to quote it).


Stalin's Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess
Stalin's Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess
by Andrew Lownie
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 30 May 2016
The last word (particularly this expanded paperback edition). If you only want one book on Burgess, it has to be this one. If you have read other books on the Cambridge ring, you will need this to complete the picture. A lifetime of work, true scholarship and astonishing sources make this book indispensible.


The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins
The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins
by Robert B Baer
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it should be, 20 Oct. 2015
I am a fan of Robert Baer's books (have read them all) but am not sure what went wrong with this one. Maybe he wrote a different book but couldn't get it past his former CIA bosses. Perhaps he has lost an editor who worked successfully on his previous books. Or Baer wrote it in a hurry.

In any case a careful read of the (currently mainly Amazon.com) reviews should tell you if this muddled assemblage is for you or not. For those with a real knowledge of the Middle East, with all the names and places at their fingertips, the book may well tell you important things you didn't already know. And for those chasing tidbits of assassination porn (poison smeared on a light bulb?) you will probably find some new pieces of information. But for a coherent and continuous narrative with a clear chronology and through line, capable of being read and enjoyed by those with a general interest in current affairs, well I give it three stars.


Spymaster: The Secret Life of Kendrick
Spymaster: The Secret Life of Kendrick
by Helen Fry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two books in one - needs an editor, 23 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this (self-published?) book because of a positive review in the The Guardian by Richard Norton-Taylor, who knows the spy world. It is perhaps unnecessarily long, even if considered as what it really is, which is two books in one.

The first is the fascinating tale of how some British officials worked to get Jews out of Vienna in 1938. This story has long been waiting to be told in detail and so the book is certainly a valuable achievement if only for this.

The second tells (again) the story of the bugging of German POWs in English country houses, of which the detailed account of the incarceration of Rudolf Hess was the most novel and compelling to me. Helen Fry's other work on the secret listeners is probably the better place to go if that is what you are interested in.

A professional editor would have slimmed the text down a little; removed amateur "family history" prose; and corrected egregious errors (someone may indeed have told the author that Philby was already working for SIS in Vienna in the 1930s but as this is nonsense one wonders why she includes it). I would have given that version 4 stars.


Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense
Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense
by Francis Spufford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 28 Oct. 2014
Just want to add a short comment to join the enthusiasts: what a wonderful book, lucid, learned (the learning v lightly worn) and deliriously well-written. One gets the feeling that Spufford probably took a First at a great university and is now letting his hair down in speaking about that which many educated people in Britain find awkward, their Christian faith. I held back from reading this when it first came out - too many famous people pushing it as book of the year - but finally gave in and now want to get my family and friends to read it too. There are points where one might disagree but so what, that is part of the fun: exhilarating, thought-provoking, fresh, faithful.


The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science
The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science
by Will Storr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 17 July 2014
This is a wonderful book. I have had professional dealings with some of the people featured (James Randi, David Irving, Jacques Benveniste) and can vouch for the quality of the journalistic research and insights. It is a most thought-provoking volume about some fascinating people and intellectual issues.

Having read through some of the less favourable reviews I feel moved to add a comment. Although comparisons have been made - not least by the publisher, trying to help a book by a little known writer - with Ben Goldacre (with whom I correspond), Richard Wiseman (who was once employed by me) and Jon Ronson, I think the best comparison might be with Janet Malcolm, specifically her classic "The Journalist and the Murderer". Superficially Storr's book is a collection of extended magazine profiles, expanded and linked (exceptionally well, not usually the case with such assemblies) into a full-length book. But its real value is as a study of - not that Storr seems to use the exact term - the narrative fallacy.

Self-aware and thoughtful, even about the very act of writing itself, this book has the rare ability to open minds. I have only withheld a final star for the perhaps flimsy reason that much of the book is a reworking of the author's previous publications.


Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse
Treating Survivors of Satanist Abuse
by Valerie Sinason
Edition: Paperback

5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nasty stupid book - would be hilariously stupid were it not for the damage it has caused, 13 July 2014
This book has the distinction of being voted in a peer review in the year 2000 the second worst psychiatric publication of the last hundred years. One nominee for the review (led by Simon Wesley, Professor of Psychiatry at King's College, and reported in The Independent newspaper on 19 March 2001) described it as "credulous, superstitious, iatrogenic (illness-inducing), self-righteous incendiary garbage". Another reviewer described the book as: "useful for anyone who needs a startling, clear demonstration of the amazing ability of 20th century human beings to persuade themselves firmly to believe in utter claptrap and nonsense".

One finishes this book knowing less than when one started, which is quite some achievement, a shaming one when one thinks it has had a certain influence over recent decades. Avoid, unless you want a wicked laugh at human stupidity.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2016 9:17 PM GMT


Justice For Carol - The True Story of Carol Felstead: The Creation of a Satanic Myth in the United Kingdom
Justice For Carol - The True Story of Carol Felstead: The Creation of a Satanic Myth in the United Kingdom
by Dr Kevin Felstead
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a particularly good book but a very important one, 12 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Reading through the (predominately 5star) reviews - and picking up on a grumpy comment left by someone under the (currently) only 4star review - it might be helpful if I added a little clarification. One can't help the feeling that most of the "reviews" here so far are partial, either because in one case the reviewer shares the slightly unusual surname of the authors (and has not reviewed any other books) or because they are steamed up about the case and/or the issues.

To be clear, this is not a very well written book, in fact it is hardly a book at all (I think it is self-published through Amazon, perhaps as print-on-demand - I can't tell as I don't usually see books that look like this, with no publisher or ISBN number). One of the authors has a PhD but that is no guarantee of fluent or well-crafted prose, or even decent organisation, let alone editing or production. So one needs to warn against this book if people are looking for a good general read or for a properly objective and comprehensive overview of the Satanic Abuse nonsense. I suppose if measured this way the book warrants only one or two stars.

What this text really consists of is a campaigning document on an appalling case history, still not resolved, with all the detail one needs to understand why this is a scandal and why the people responsible deserve to be brought to justice. I happen to think that the miserable life and death described in this book should be far more widely known and so waded through the uncomfortable and over-adjectival prose to get all the facts. I am left in no doubt that this book tells as much of the truth as is currently available, and this truth is truly frightening.

The authors make a good case for the claim that the entire Satanic Abuse scare, at least in the UK, began with this young woman and her relationship with her "friend", Dr Fleur Fisher. This makes the story not only a case of (as yet) an unprosecuted set of actions which rightly deserve to go to court, but also of far greater significance.

Therefore - as conscience does not let me give five stars for something, however sincere and well-researched, which is so clumsily written and put together - I will be kind and give four stars. And I wish the family all good luck with their campaign.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2014 11:54 AM BST


Page: 1 | 2 | 3