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"talba"

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Homer`s Secret Iliad: The Epic of the Night Skies Decoded
Homer`s Secret Iliad: The Epic of the Night Skies Decoded
by F & K Wood
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing theory, 27 Aug. 2003
This book contains a valuable addition to the way ancient texts such as the Iliad are viewed.
It is noteworthy to remember that until some decades ago the Iliad was regarded as pure fantasy - a work of literature about ficitional events. It was only when the ruins of Troy were uncovered that the work was taken seriously in a historical context.
Now we see, in this book, that the work may also have had serious astronomical roots. Although ruins have been found that are believed to be those of Troy, the theory presented here raises the question again of the historical accuracy of the Iliad.
The writing plods through in certain places and it takes some
determination to read on, but it is eventually worth it.


The House on the Borderland
The House on the Borderland
by Hodgson, William Hope
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eerie, 9 April 2003
This is the text that purports to be one of the earliest of its genre - the gothic horror/suspense story.
Many of the tools that would later be classic implements of the trade are introduced and refined. The story is a great read and is told in a bizzare and eerie voice that deliberately plays with the mind of the reader. Given it was written almost 100 years ago, the author packed in as much as was known at the time about astronomy as well. And that is impressive.
A fine feat of the imagination.


The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia (Kodansha Globe)
The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia (Kodansha Globe)
by Peter Hopkirk
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting rendition of a bygone age, 9 April 2003
Meticulously researched and brilliantly rendered account of Imperial rivalry between Russia and Britain in the 19th century over control of Asia and the northern passages to India.
Nor does the author neglect to highlight the human cost paid by those who were subjects and victims of this struggle.
A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the conflicts today in central asia. I certainly hope the author will issue an updated edition in the near future now that sealed Russian archives have become (I assume) more accessible.


Fast Food Nation: What The All-American Meal is Doing to the World
Fast Food Nation: What The All-American Meal is Doing to the World
by Eric Schlosser
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Could Never Have Imagined ..., 12 Oct. 2002
I finished reading this book weeks ago but I still go into shock every time I remember it!
That fast food is "bad" for you and has earned the epithet of "junk" is not news. But what Schlosser does here is expose just how deep the damage goes. It is not the health of the consumer that is under assault, but the social and economic system we live in. On hindsight it is obvious that a few large companies moving vast amounts of food would come to have a major influence in the markets for beef, potatoes and poultry. What is not so obvious - and is so shocking, is how they have manipulated that influence to do so much harm and damage to work forces and the environment in order to increase their profit.
As Schlosser concludes, the heads of these corporate behemoths are not evil people - they just give us what we have shown a tendency to buy, but they will cut every corner (as well some people's limbs!) to maximise their profit.
He says in the end that we have a choice - just don't eat at these places anymore. I certainly have stopped. I urge everyone to read this book and make their own decision.


Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift)
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift)
by Edwin A. Abbott
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Yarn!, 12 Oct. 2002
That better understanding comes from simplicity is well known. But this axiom is taken to new heights here!
On the one level this is a cool and very amusing exposee of dimensionality. But on another far more fascinating level, it is a brilliant critique of humanity - of society and its norms and rules. How ridiculous our behaviour must look to beings eyeing us from a 4th dimension!
This book is not just intelligent, it is also funny!


The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization, Corporate Cons, and High Finance Fraudsters
by Greg Palast
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and Brilliant, 12 Oct. 2002
Greg Palast is a hero fighting at the front line. He is fighting to uncover the sordid truth behind the corporate world and the very unhealthy relationships between politicians and "big business".
His work is documented and his evidence irrefutable.
He conclusively shows how corporate greed, under leadership and cover of the IMF and World Bank, is tearing apart South America and developing economies. If that is not bad enough, he shows how the same tactics are being deployed in advanced nations too!
He shows that the struggle between the "haves" and "have-nots" is not between countries but between a small group of fabulously wealthy individuals and the rest of humanity.
The disturbing thing about this book is that it shows that the world is so open and vulnerable to such exploitation and plundering, thanks to the complicity of politicians. Every time a politician talks about "market forces", be afraid - be very afraid!
What can we do to resist?! A good start would be to read this book. At least we will be better informed.


How the Laser Happened: Adventures of a Scientist
How the Laser Happened: Adventures of a Scientist
by Charles H. Townes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit Dull, 11 Oct. 2002
I was slightly dissapointed with this text. It is said that scientists are not the best of writers, and perhaps this is another example. The story is, basically, rather dull. Though having worked on the laser myself, I can vouch that the science is anything but.
This is a slim, neat and tidy but uninspiring tome. Townes does not really weave together an entertaining or even very informing text. He keeps it short and simple. But maybe he always meant to and the grandiose title is misleading. This is more of an autobiographical sketch than a history of science and technology.
The fight over the patents for the laser is well told, from his point of view. And Townes tells us a bit about himself and his philosophy. He goes some way to defend his record of cosy relations with the military. He portrays himself as a patriot who did the right thing, as far as he is concerned and asserts, repeatedly, that the military funding he received in no way affected his choice of work.
He is less convincing when addressing the larger issue of wether a scientist's "patriotism" should be a larger picture - if the scientist should owe alleigance to humanity and not to one nation state or another. Although the laser was never developed with weaponry in mind, Townes did go on later to advise and work on specifically military projects. He is obviously happy to have developed a system that helped US forces escape total defeat at Khe-San in Vietnam. Then again, it is tempting to think that by developing such systems in the first place, scientists do encourage politicians and military commanders to indulge in adventures during which lots of people (if even only on the "other side") are slaughtered.
All in all, a readable text written by an intelligent man who made a significant contribution to human civilisation and will be remembered as such.


A Savage War of Peace
A Savage War of Peace
by Alistair Horne
Edition: Paperback

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War and no Peace, 11 Oct. 2002
This review is from: A Savage War of Peace (Paperback)
At the outset Alistair Horne bemoans the complexities and difficulties involved in writing recent history, where many of the main players are still alive and active. Ironically, it is he who falls into that trap - for the only faults to this otherwise excellent rendition are occaisonal of-the-cuff cryptic references by the author to some event that happened at the time and which he experienced. He obviously assumes that others share his memory. But these are few and tiny details. Over all this is an excellent text.
Horne admirably makes up for the lack of documentation on the Algerian side of the war and manages, somehow, despite that massive inbalance in printed references between France and Algeria, to present a text which presents both sides with scholarly depth.
It is sobering to think that in an established western democarcy like France, attempted military coups only happened a generation ago. On these pages can be found the ultimate bloody epitaph of colonialism.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2010 1:39 PM BST


The Ends of The Earth (Vintage Departures)
The Ends of The Earth (Vintage Departures)
by Kaplan
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbingly Good, 8 Oct. 2002
This is not a travel book and should not be judged as such. No superficial talk here of pretty buildings, uncomfortable hotels or quaint wildlife. Robert Kaplan does not attempt to merely travel in geographic space, but ventures to travel in time. And the image he brings of the future is chilling. I will not try to judge what he writes - that would neither be fair nor appropriate, but how he writes it. In that respect, he is very effective. He almost made me feel the sensation (dread!) of being in these lands and very successfully transmitted his message of the future he fears. Actually, it is perhaps that sense of dread that makes me withold that 5th star. This text is an introduction to much food for thought. I would strongly recommend it.


Nicholas & Alexandra
Nicholas & Alexandra
by Robert K Massie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Boy Behind the Throne, 8 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Nicholas & Alexandra (Paperback)
This is a sensitive narration of the life and death of Russia's last Tsar and his tragic familly. Massie writes clearly and eloquently and succeeds in bringing his characters to life and developing a genuine empathy with them.
Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra emerge as rather sad and pathetic characters, pathologicaly out of touch with reality and hopelessly unqualified for their inherited role. Massie's fascinating thesis is that the Russian revolution may have been brought about by a haemophilia gene passed along from queen Victoria. That is probably an extremely romanticised view of history that would exhonerate Nicholas too much. A more likely truth is that the tragic end of Tsarist Holy Russia was an accident waiting to happen. Here was a flawed system built on fragile people. That fragility more than anything else is what comes across from reading these pages.


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