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Keith Appleyard "kapple999" (Brighton, UK)
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Big Bang: The Most Important Scientific Discovery of All Time and Why You Need to Know About It
Big Bang: The Most Important Scientific Discovery of All Time and Why You Need to Know About It
by Simon Singh
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Daunting Proposition - but well worth the read, 3 Jan 2005
I've read other works by Simon Singh, but the sheer size of this book (500+ pages) had initially put me off reading it. However, I couldn't resist the challenge - and I wasn't disappointed.
I consider myself familiar with the story via previous readings but Singh manages to tell a great tale. Lots of detail, excellent 'snippets' of people's life & times, and a very good selection of photographs, most of which were new to me.
So whilst we get the usual stories of the likes of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Rutherford, Einstein, Eddington, Gamow, we get to hear more about people like Herschel, Hale & Hubble, Hoyle; and the relative unknowns or unsung heroes/heroines like Henrietta Leavitt, Mr & Mrs Huggins, Ralph Alpher, Karl Jansky, Arno Penzias, Robert Wilson.
I didn't learn anything fundamentally 'new' as such, but I learned a lot more than I knew before.


The Xmas Files. The Philosophy of Christmas
The Xmas Files. The Philosophy of Christmas
by Stephen Law
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.33

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not flippant but interesting, 3 Jan 2005
This isn't quite your usual light-hearted stocking-filler. At first I wondered if I'd made a mistake in buying it, but the initial 'heaviness' wears off and you can get quite interested.
For example :
* by considering what to do about an unwanted gift, you get to consider the views of Kant & Mill.
* whether there is a God, and whether God is Good or Evil, takes us through the thoughts of Hume.
* Peace on Earth and whether War is Just brings us to St Thomas Aquinas.
The role of Tradition and Religious Faiths bring us to a close with a very thoughtful discussion on whether we've lost our sense of Community, and whether Christmas should be used by all, non-Christian as well as Christian, as one of the few remaining common Traditions to bring us back together.


Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
by Tom Holland
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.56

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched & very entertaining, 29 Dec 2004
This book is well-researched, and very entertaining. So often such a history book is just a dry sequence of events, but Tom Holland really brings Rome to life.
Somehow or other in my education I must have been asleep when we were taught about Sulla, because I discovered a whole new character I'd never heard of, which made it all the more interesting as one recalled old facts & learned new ones.
And the Illustrations - excellent range of photos, many in colour, all too rare in a paperback these days.
I look forward to Tom Holland's next book.


Autism and Asperger Syndrome: Preparing for Adulthood
Autism and Asperger Syndrome: Preparing for Adulthood
by Ros Blackburn
Edition: Paperback
Price: 26.16

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great material for Adults as well as Adolescents, 28 Dec 2004
If you nothing about Aspergers, I recommend that you first read Tony Attwood.
Thereafter, I think this is the best book I've read on the subject. Dr Howlin chooses not to differentiate between High Functioning Autistic & Aspergers, using the two terms interchangeably.
In much more detail than other books (but just as readable), Dr Howlin covers problems from Childhood, through to Adulthood (ie not just 'preparation', as the sub-title suggests). She covers Communication, Social Functioning, Secondary Education, Further Education, Employment & Adult Relationships.
The Case studies are many & varied, drawn primarily from the UK, but some from the USA.
I had only one quibble : she makes frequent reference to a US program called TEACCH - but never explains what it means - so I had to go elsewhere to find out - 'Treatment and Education of Autistic & related Communication handicapped Children'.


Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals
Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals
by Tony Attwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.24

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Parents Guide ever � read this one first, 28 Dec 2004
If there is one book on Aspergers you should read before all others, then this is that book.
In very plain language it takes a Parent (or Teacher) through all aspects of Aspergers, such as Social Behaviour, Language, Interests, Routine & Motor Clumsiness.
I lent my copy to a colleague whose son was having behaviour problems at School. Having read the book, she better understood what he was going through. Moreover, when the family were being interviewed by Health Professionals brought in by the School, she was better able to pre-empt their premature evaluation of her son because she understood where they were coming from. In one instance, she even recognised which checklist they were mechanically following, because she'd already been there and used it. This book gave her the confidence to know when the things being recommended for her son were & weren't the best thing for him.


American Dream, Global Nightmare
American Dream, Global Nightmare
by Ziauddin Sardar
Edition: Perfect Paperback
Price: 6.77

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be Afraid, be Very Afraid, 28 Dec 2004
Whereas their previous book used TV's "West Wing" as their central premise, this time the Authors use Hollywood in general.
Sometimes it grates slightly, if you're not into Movies, but it does build to the climax that Americans believe the lies and half-truths that Hollywood feeds them.
I liked the 10 Laws of American Mythology - I can readily relate to them, such as "Be Afraid, be very Afraid"; "Ignorance is Bliss"; "American Democracy has the right to be Imperial" and "War is a Necessity"
Americans indeed are cocooned - so eloquently put by Ambrose Bierce 100 years ago "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography" - still oh so true.


Why Do People Hate America?
Why Do People Hate America?
by Ziauddin Sardar
Edition: Paperback

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well researched - presents its argument well, 28 Dec 2004
The Authors often use the metaphor of the scripts of 'The West Wing' to show the paradigm between how America sees itself & how the world sees America.
They quote many other authors, to support their salient points, for example :
In 1982 the US was alone in voting against a UN Declaration that "education, work, healthcare, proper nourishment ... etc are human rights" - the US affirmed that it does not recognise a "right to food"
In 1986 the US was itself condemned by the World Court for "unlawful use of force" = international terrorism.
The US has still not ratified the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (because this would mean they cannot execute under 18's)
Foretelling the future, they point out that America defines for itself what it means by democracy, justice & freedom.
Not an outrageous book, nor just a collection of quotes, this is a nicely laid out book that presents its argument well.


Sarum
Sarum
by Edward Rutherfurd
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long & inconsistent quality, 29 July 2004
This review is from: Sarum (Hardcover)
The book is too long - over 1300 pages.
I found some of the chapters very interesting, such as the Romano-Britons, the Black Death & the Civil War, but many others just went by as a blur, seeking the next interesting bit.


Conquistadors
Conquistadors
by Michael Wood
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just about Cortes & Pizarro, 29 July 2004
This review is from: Conquistadors (Paperback)
As you read this book, you can imagine it being Michael Wood's speaking script for his TV program.
As well as the stories you would expect about Cortes & Pizarro, I was pleasantly surprised to read of 2 explorers I'd never heard of - Orellana & de Vaca - which made this different to many other books of the same theme.


Re-imagine!: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age
Re-imagine!: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age
by Tom Peters
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 18.06

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but hard on the arm muscles, 13 July 2004
This is a wild collection of Tom Peters thoughts culled from his portfolio of Powerpoint slides.
I particularly liked the Chapter on Education - both the current workforce & the future workforce.
For all the boasting he made about his new partnership with Dorling Kindersley, I found the book too heavy, and the key "Contrast" Summary tables at the end of each Chapter were printed White feint on a bright Red background - very hard to read - DK should know better.


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