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Mike "Mike" (UK)

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The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought
The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought
by Susan Jacoby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 15 Jun 2013
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When I heard a couple of weeks ago there was a new book on Ingersoll out by Susan Jacoby, I ordered a copy and it was a very good read. I don't think I learnt much new about Ingersoll, but it was different from other biographies I have read in that it is written thematically rather than chronologically, and its strength was the way it attempts to explain the significance of Ingersoll in the context of his own times and American society today. One of the key things it identifies is he was not a scientist or a philosopher, but was able to interpret and promote the new ideas of free-thought to the average person. His appeal was widespread, not just among freethinkers. Jacoby emphasises how modern his views were on topics from feminism to animal welfare, and that unlike some of the 'new atheists' was not devoid at the same time of the poetic \ emotional and romantic side of life. Interesting points as well about the prevalence of social Darwinism at the time and how Ingersoll separated himself from such ideas. He saw Darwin not as setting down survival of the fittest, and he showed that far from being shocked at the idea of being descended from apes, showed how these ideas supported the ideas of social progress. A good read, as is Jacoby's 'Freethinkers'.


Roberts Sound38 CD/DAB/FM Stereo Clock Radio with CD Bookmark
Roberts Sound38 CD/DAB/FM Stereo Clock Radio with CD Bookmark
Price: £89.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly perfect bedside radio \ alarm \ CD, 8 May 2013
I've had this a few month sand it's certainly the best of the small DAB radio alarms I have owned.

People have commented about the controls being complex, but that is true of any DAB radio
alarm because there are more functions to fit into the buttons than older radios.

It is a little strange not getting a time display available when on, but I have found I have
got used to this quirk.

Neither has it failed to go off on the alarm so far, unlike another Roberts model we have [which
seems to be confused by updates or something].

Unlike other units we have had there is no hum that disturbs my wife, and the display can be dimmed effectively.

What makes the alarm not quite perfect for me is you can set alarms on a daily basis or for all weekdays
or weekends, but you can't set an alarm for say Tuesday and Thursday mornings, so not so good if you want
to be woken up at different times on different weekdays [which I do!] This leaves me setting up alarms
on my android phone which isn't ideal.


London's Strangest Tales
London's Strangest Tales
by Tom Quinn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Curious facts in a storytelling style, 1 Dec 2012
This is a interesting read that you can pick up at bedtime and read a few of its short tales. It has a few repetitive themes, such as how the planners in the 60s destroyed more of London's history than the blitz, which was a little repetitive in places. Also, it would benefit from a few sources, for those interested in reading more into stories - one I tried to look up on the net, I found very hard to verify. But for easy to read interesting tales from history it seems very good.


Yule B Swingin Too
Yule B Swingin Too
Price: £9.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Great sound, 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Yule B Swingin Too (Audio CD)
Lovely disc of Christmas songs jazz style. Sometimes recordings of this age disapoint, but I was pleased by the sound quality on all but one track which seemed rather mono flat. Includes some great original tracks you won't find on every other xmas collection.


All in the Mind: A Farewell to God
All in the Mind: A Farewell to God
by Ludovic Kennedy
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mix of personal journey and the history of Christianity and non belief, 21 Nov 2012
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Ludovic Kennedy gives his reasoning as to why he thinks religious belief is all in the mind. Along the way he details not scientific or deep philosophical arguments, but bases his ideas on a fairly common sense rational review of the Bible and subsequent history of both Christianity and non belief right up to the late 20th century. I was less interested in the Bible accounts he retells, but his subsequent history was an interesting sweep of religious thinking over the centuries and certainly introduced one or two freethinkers as well as theologians I didn't know about or hadn't come across recently. The medieval history of the church is especially gruesome. He is obviously someone very acquainted with the UK mainline churches and European church history. He challenges the view that there is any evidence of non believers being less moral, and sets out the case for religious experience being replaced in our enjoyment in sport, poetry or arts. All in all a great read for those who want to think about non belief and Christianity in history, that is readable and not technical \ metaphysical.


Music of Ketèlbey - Luigini: Ballet Egyptien Op. 12 - Suite
Music of Ketèlbey - Luigini: Ballet Egyptien Op. 12 - Suite
Offered by musica
Price: £12.70

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Supurb, 10 Jun 2012
I have long been a fan of Keteleby, but I only got this classic recording of some of his best known works, together with the fairly rare Ballet Egyptien Ballet Suite. I love it. I would say it is a fairly romantic version - In a Monastry Garden for example played as a straight melody, without a lot of birdsong effects which are usually included in the piece. A great work for anyone interested in English classical music.


Freethoughts: Atheism, Secularism, Humanism - Selected Egotistically from "The Freethinker"
Freethoughts: Atheism, Secularism, Humanism - Selected Egotistically from "The Freethinker"
by Barbara Smoker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Secularist History, 4 Jun 2012
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If you want a flavour of secularist writing from the 70's to the 90's this is an interesting selection of articles and letters written in the Freethinker by the longstanding president of the National Secular Society. There is quite an emphasis on subjects such as the catholic church, and events of the time such as the carbon dating of the Turin Shroud, ethical debates over contraception, embryo research and abortion, and various aspects of new age religion. While in some respects issues may have changed in others secularists still face exactly the same battles today, and it is interesting to see a perspective from the last generation.


Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
by Susan Jacoby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, 15 May 2012
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This was an enjoyable read, as a freethinker who has read about individual freethinkers in the past. This was helpful for getthing an overall sweep of the history of freethinking in the United States. It was interesting especially to see how various parties try to rewrite the history, e.g. of the founding fathers, or the question of whether Abraham Lincoln was a christian. Also enjoyed the prominent place given in this work to my hero, Robert Ingersoll. Maybe on occasions the book could do with a little more background for non americans. I wish there was such a history in general circulation of freethought here in the UK.


Essential Music of England
Essential Music of England
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £4.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decca re-release, 14 April 2012
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Nice collection of english classics, with a few other nationalistic additions such as White Cliffs of Dover and a hymn in addition to several pieces of film music such as the Dam busters. All well known pieces, in fact probably my only criticism is there is nothing not found on other collections. Not all of the recordings are DDD, dating between 1955 and 1992, but all well known performers, and good renditions. At first I was surprised because I was sent a version in older packaging to that shown on the page when I ordered a second hand copy, but it's the same release.


Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness (Oberon Masters)
Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness (Oberon Masters)
by A. C. Grayling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grayling, 27 Aug 2009
The fact that there are lots of reviews here ridiculing this book is a good sign that it is worth reading if you want to balance up in your mind other points of view to theology.

Much of Grayling's books are material gathered from his newspaper articles for the guardian - which somewhat accounts for the brief style. Not everyone wants to read through the long scientific basis for humanism. Graylings books are accessible - which is more than can be said for much philosophy. I have read some of the chapters at a humanist group to start off debate, which is another way to use these meditations.

I don't understand the put down that Grayling is merely on the Dawkins bandwagon. Grayling is a philosopher and Dawkins is a scientist. Presumably then the same applies to any Christian writer who writes a book on a similar topic to one that has already been covered? And even if he were 'jumping on the bandwagon' as many have said it is very different in style and therefore different readers will find it helpful.

There is plenty of argument and reason in this book contrary to what some have said. If it leaves you at times wishing he went further into a topic I agree - but it does cause you to reflect on what he has said and think for yourself which is what humanists aim to do.

If there is one thing that is slightly disapointing in Graylings books is that some of his essays do appear in more than one of his books - perhaps slightly expanded, and you sometimes buy one to find some of the content is stuff you have already read.


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