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Das Boot - The Mini Series (2 Disc Uncut Version) [DVD] [2004]
Das Boot - The Mini Series (2 Disc Uncut Version) [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Jürgen Prochnow
Price: £8.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all time greats., 14 Oct. 2014
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Can one find enough to say in praise of this extraordinary, tense, evocation of war at sea?

I recall watching the also very good abridged for TV version that was first broadcast on British television many years ago, before seeing this the full length German original. The full version is an absolute must as it makes the TV mini version look pale by comparison and evoking the period detail so well it does, it does not date. In my childhood U Boats were viewed as one of the villains of the World War II story, so this claustrophobic evocation of the long boredoms interspersed with sudden violent danger of life on submarine patrol tells the other side of the story. We are not invited to see their lives as heroic, but rather to just share in being with them in an environment where one can almost physically smell the sweat and the engine oil. No spoilers, but at times this is so powerful you will find yourself almost screaming for fresh air and daylight.

Truly great.


Francisco de Osuna (CWS): The Third Spiritual Alphabet (Classics of Western Spirituality Series)
Francisco de Osuna (CWS): The Third Spiritual Alphabet (Classics of Western Spirituality Series)
by Mary E. Giles
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem., 14 Oct. 2014
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As students of Teresa of Avila will know, the 'Third Spiritual Alphabet' was the book that she was given to read by her Uncle Pedro and which was to make such an impact on her life. This translation of the complete text will be too specialised for the casually interested, but for the student of the Western Mystical Tradition it is an absolute gem. This is made more so by the thrill of discovery, as it is not as well known as it should be. Taking the form of a series of reflections on a saying for each letter of the Spanish Alphabet, it is one of the main source texts for the 'recogimiento' tradition of Teresa's time. Written at a time when 'recogimiento' was being viewed with some suspicion by the 'letrados' of the establishment, Osuna adopts many of the strategies later made familiar by Teresa, in order to present an interior, non intellectually based approach to religious insight. This is activated within a system of silent prayer, which some have recognised as containing parallels with the practice of mindfulness more familiar to the West by Buddhism.

Osuna's system arguably belongs to a long running tradition sometimes referred to as the 'theologia mystica'. For anyone wanting to gain an orientation on the role that the 'theologia mystica' played, I recommend Peter Tyler's 'Return to the Mystical: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Teresa of Avila and the Christian Mystical Tradition', which sets the case out well. As part of his review of the tradition as far back as Dionysius he gives appropriate weight to Osuna's contribution to its transmission.

The 'Third Spiritual Alphabet' is published in the excellent Classics of Western Spirituality Series, and comes with a first class introduction by the translator Mary E Giles.

For those interested in Peter Tyler's book it can be found at:

The Return to the Mystical: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Teresa of Avila and the Christian Mystical Tradition


The Spanish Inquisition: An Historical Revision
The Spanish Inquisition: An Historical Revision
by Henry Kamen
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars New perspectives on an old villain, 14 Oct. 2014
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In my History A Level course of many years ago the 'Golden Age" of Spain did not enjoy a good press. From the perspective of the very angloc-centric view of history that was served to us, the Spanish along with 'Bloody Mary' threatened to plunge England back into medieval darkness and were of course the unrepentant villains of the Armada, from which we were rescued by 'Good Queen Bess'. Beyond Britain the arrival and efficient use of the printing press in the Protestant Northern Europe of this time, ensured that the 'Black Legend' was shared by all right thinking people. Within this received view it was hardly surprising that the dark deeds of the Spanish Inquisition only served to confirm all our worst fears, as was made iconically clear for a whole generation by the Monty Python team.

But History is surely interesting precisely because time moves on and we are eventually forced to take a longer view. Henry Kamen needs little introduction as one of the great scholars of Spanish history. The history of the Catholic Church in Spain is still painfully intertwined with recent history , so it is good that it is an outsider who approaches this difficult subject. This is revisionist history but is not an attempt at whitewash. It would be difficult to claim too positive a re-reading of the Inquisition, and he does not in my opinion try to seduce us with this. What Kamen does seek to do is to set his subject in the context of the excessive religiously inspired violence going on at this time throughout Europe in both Catholic and Protestant countries. Nowhere is this a pretty picture. The study does not just deal with punishment. It sets the Inquisition in the political picture of the time, the perceived risks of the Reformation, the impact it made on humanism and science in the Peninsular and its relation to ordinary people. It was of value to me to understand better the procedures of the Inquisition and to realise that death sentences were not the automatic outcome presented by popular prejudice.

Why then only four stars? This is no comment on the clarity of the research or its presentation but rather a warning that the average reader may find too much detail. For the specialist in this field I would however have no hesitation in recommending this excellent book.


Philip of Spain
Philip of Spain
by Henry Kamen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

5.0 out of 5 stars A timely new approach, 14 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Philip of Spain (Paperback)
In my History A Level course of many years ago Philip II of Spain did not enjoy a good press. From the perspective of the very angloc-centric view of history that was served to us, he was presented as the opportunistic husband of 'Bloody Mary' and the obvious the villain of the Armada, from whom we were rescued by 'Good Queen Bess'. Beyond Britain the arrival and efficient use of the printing press in the Protestant Northern Europe of his time, ensured that his reputation fared no better elsewhere, including ironically even in Spain itself. What makes history so interesting is that time moves on and with it comes an ability to take a longer view. Henry Kamen needs little introduction as on of the great scholars of Spanish History. Kamen along with some other anglophone historians are especially respected in Spain, particularly because the complexities the history of the Peninsular are still unravelling post Franco. This has lead some Spanish opinion to conclude that an objective view of that history is best made by outsiders.

Kamen's study is not a whitewash, taking careful time to present a rounded view of his subject. The rigid scheming Catholic villain recedes to allow a more human picture to emerge from painstaking research he has taken. What emerges is the picture of a man who by the standards of his age was deeply committed to performing his duties as king without compromising a deep devotion to the Catholic faith that underlay all he did.

Of course not everyone will want to agree with Kamen's 'revisionist' approach, but for me it was a real joy to see a rethink of this enigmatic monarch thoroughly researched and properly argued.


Quiero Salsa 2014 - Mega Hit Mix (Best Salsa Songs 2014)
Quiero Salsa 2014 - Mega Hit Mix (Best Salsa Songs 2014)
Price: £4.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for converts!, 14 Oct. 2014
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As one whose enjoyment of Spanish/Latin music has so far not gone much further than the fabulous choral music of the Golden Age I am a late convert to Salsa. For this reason I am probably not best qualified to comment on the content other than to say to fellow late converts, if you are looking for a lot of music to keep your feet moving for a bargain price this is it! A bonus for those who enjoy Spanish is that the words on many of the songs are clearer than some other collections I have heard.


The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture, 1600-1700 (National Gallery London)
The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture, 1600-1700 (National Gallery London)
by Xavier Bray
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £33.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating world, 4 Jun. 2014
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Coming late to Spanish art I am really sorry to have missed this exhibition when it was in London. The very characteristic and often brutally realistic religious art of the so called 'Golden Age' may not be for everyone, but many who did visit the exhibition found themselves unexpectedly drawn into its aura. A sense of this discovery can be obtained from the accompanying DVD (available separately) and having seen that I am pleased to have now bought the book which makes this unusual worldview available in greater depth.


The Art of Spain [DVD]
The Art of Spain [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andrew Graham-Dixon
Price: £6.70

5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected joy, 4 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Art of Spain [DVD] (DVD)
I missed this when first broadcast, but finding myself needing to take a bit of a crash course in Spanish Art, I must say there is really no better place to start than this. Of course like all TV series it is an overview, but the visual immediacy of film and the enthusiasm of the presenter sent me rushing off to find out more. You don't have to agree with everything Graham-Dixon says, but his own personal commitment certainly carries you along the journey. Heartfelt recommendation.


Teresa of Avila (Outstanding Christian Thinkers)
Teresa of Avila (Outstanding Christian Thinkers)
by Rowan Williams
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A first class introduction and a Classic, 2 May 2014
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So much has been written about Teresa that it is difficult to know where to start for the newcomer. This book has it all. Rowan Williams prefaces his study with Teresa's biography and social context before providing a summary of 'The Life', 'The Way of Perfection' and 'The Interior Castle', thereby covering three of her four surviving masterpieces. His final chapter sets Teresa within the context of our present-day debates about mysticism and considers her legacy. That in itself ought to be enough, but when leavened with the characteristic clarity of Williams thoughtful prose this is an unmissable text.


Teresa of Avila and the Politics of Sanctity
Teresa of Avila and the Politics of Sanctity
by Gillian T.W. Ahlgren
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 2 May 2014
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There seems to have been an absolute explosion of interest in Teresa in the last twenty years, so it is difficult to recall that this book was ground breaking in its time and yet still remains an essential text. How did Teresa as a woman achieve what she did in a society and a religious environment entirely governed by men? In a Europe ablaze with the Reformation, Spain was determined to resist any form of religious novelty so Ahlgren's study considers the strategies of Teresa's work that allowed her to survive whilst singlehandedly carrying out her reform of the Carmelite Order and leaving for posterity some of the most enduring classics of the mystical tradition.The chapter covering the period after Teresa's death when in a mere thirty years she was promoted from suspect heretic to being an iconic heroine of the Counter Reformation is especially interesting.


Heresy and Mysticism in Sixteenth-century Spain: The Alumbrados
Heresy and Mysticism in Sixteenth-century Spain: The Alumbrados
by Alastair Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable resource, 2 May 2014
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This is a very useful resource for students getting involved in research into the golden age of Spanish mysticism. This one book collects together all the basic vocabulary and material that elsewhere only appears spread throughout more detailed studies. The Alumbrados, false mystics and the role of the Inquisition are all well covered along with the fear of novelty that underpinned many of the controversies. The history of Sixteenth Century Spain is complex enough for the newcomer, especially in the history of its religion so I found this book a very useful and readable overview


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