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Port Mortuary (Scarpetta 18)
Port Mortuary (Scarpetta 18)
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly researched, 1 April 2011
In agreement with a lot of other reviewers, I have to say that this book is very weak. The descriptions of healthcare in apartheid South Africa, which had/has some of the best healthcare in the world in its private sector, and Cape Town in particular (where the world's first heart transplant was carried out) are laughable. The book seems to have been written by an American who doesn't possess a passport and the plot is terribly hackneyed.


The Writing On The Wall: China And The West In The 21St Century
The Writing On The Wall: China And The West In The 21St Century
by Will Hutton
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Muddled, rambling book only tangentially related to the title, 1 Sept. 2007
If you buy this book hoping to gain insight into the relationship between China and the West in the 21st Century (a perfectly reasonable aim in view of the title) you will be sorely disappointed. It deals only very tangentially with the interaction between the two, includes undisguised, inappropriate and unsupported political commentary and credulously draws conclusions based on isolated research studies. The text is peppered with excessive footnotes and rambles around, as other reviewers have commented, covering trade matters, unemployment, education, US politics, etc, which is of passing interest, but one keeps waiting for the link back to the title. Apart from some very superficially addressed Chinese history of Confucianism and the Revolution (disappointingly shallow), the book is a let down. Charitably, it could be described as "sweeping", but it's really a rambling, off-topic book that is reminiscent of an A-level history student shoe-horning an irrelevant prepared essay into an answer and hoping that erudition and sophisticated vocabulary will carry it off. This doesn't work and the editor/ publisher should have sent Hutton back to the drawing board.


Groom's Guide: Everything the Man Needs to Know for a Perfect Wedding
Groom's Guide: Everything the Man Needs to Know for a Perfect Wedding
by James Love
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very lightweight book, unlikely to teach many people anything, 23 Jun. 2007
A very disappointing, lightweight book that does little other than tell you the obvious. It is also very dumbed-down in both style and tone. I doubt it will appeal to you unless you would find the recommendation of Alton Towers and Disneyland Paris as ideal proposal venues helpful (incredibly, this is one of the pieces of advice dispensed!) Don't waste your time or money on this one...


Affluenza
Affluenza
by Oliver James
Edition: Hardcover

101 of 109 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising idea, let down in the execution, 16 May 2007
This review is from: Affluenza (Hardcover)
"Affluenza" is certainly a catchy title for the book and the definition of the problem certainly piques interest. James' work begins with a promising premise - seeking to explain (broadly through anecdotal ethnographic study - though by no means rigorous research) the rise in the reported incidence of mental illness and psychological distress in the developed world. Unfortunately, though, it appears that James reached his conclusions before he conducted the research - i.e. the modern world is "bad" and makes people unhappy and a lot of his judgements and pronouncmenets are clouded by this. The book also strays habitually into the territories of the unsubstantiated generalisation, fallacious argument and the error of confusing causation with correlation. In this way, James tends to seize upon explanations and theories without exploring alternatives and controlling for other potential explanatory factors. Apart from this, the author is also inappropriately self-satisfied regarding the affluence of his own upbringing, repeated discussion of which seems jarringly out of place in a book of this type, and also inappropriately takes it as read that childhood experiences inevitably govern the run of everyone's adult life. Apart from these criticisms, the book is well worth reading for the introspection it invites into one's values and life choices. Read Affluenza, but so do with a healthy degree of scepticism and with one eyebrow raised. This was probably not James' intention as he clearly regards himself as an arch intellectual, but this book really cannot be treated as a seminal sociological work!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2013 6:02 PM GMT


Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War and an African Farm
Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War and an African Farm
by Lauren St John
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Imitative, "When we were in Zimbabwe" tell-all...., 15 May 2007
Rainbow's End is an addition to the expanding genre of wistful, `When we were in Zimbabwe', autobiographical tell-alls in the line of Alexandra Fuller and Peter Godwin, except that it lacks their style or impact and seems in many ways derivative (even imitative) of these works. Whilst perhaps being of passing novelty value interest to people with no intimate knowledge of Africa (or nostalgia value to Rhodesians), the book is really a long series of anecdotes in the style of "and then I did this, and then we did that, and then my dad did this...".One finds oneself waiting for the writer to get to the point, which never really happens. This is a subject matter that is a little tired now and St John's work really does not move the subject on in any meaningful way. She, like thousands of others, was a white girl growing up in an era that straddled the change from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe; her family was not perfect; she felt the ennui and restlessness for travel common to most adolescents. So what?


Depressive illness-curse of the strong
Depressive illness-curse of the strong
by Dr. Tim Cantopher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, practical book - best-in-class, 12 Mar. 2007
This book (by a psychiatrist who specialises in the treatment of depression caused by stress) is excellent both from the point of view of helping those suffering from this illness and from the point of view of those trying to support them through it. The book emphasises the physical characteristics of the illness, examines its causes and treatment options and provides a positive prognosis. More than this, it forces the reader to examine the types of behaviour and personality traits (such as perfectionism, or trying to work at 100% or more all of the time) that may have contributed to the illness. If you or somebody you know suffers from depression, you could not do better than to buy this book. It is manageable in volume, readable in its style, insightful in its analysis and, perhaps most importantly, hopeful - yet realistic - in its outlook. The author clearly has intimate knowledge of his subject and demonstrates profound empathy for the millions of people with an illness that he convincingly argues is no more a sign of frailty or failure than, for example, an injured knee.


When A Crocodile Eats the Sun
When A Crocodile Eats the Sun
by Peter Godwin
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark tale about the tragedy that is post-colonial Zimbabwe, 12 Mar. 2007
"When a Crocodile Eats the Sun" is a fascinating and terrifying chronicle of the tragedy that is post-colonial Zimbabwe. It is a depressing story of the country's descent into ruin told by somebody who clearly has a profound affinity for Africa and is all the more poignant for it. It is a worthy sequel to "Mukiwa", even if the lengthy digressions into the history of the holocaust (presumably intended as an analogy with the present situation in Zimbabwe) are somewhat incongruous. The book is beautifully written and intelligently structured with a good mix of general, macro-level commentary that set the scene and personal anecdotes that make the abject pain and misery of the situation palpable. The anecdotes could have done with the editorial pen, however, since the exhausted Southern African urban legend of, "It's like a chicken, but she swims," has made it into print, most unfortunately, for slips like this risk casting doubt on the credibility of the rest of the book

If you live in Africa, you will probably despair and may well shed a tear but this is no excuse for not reading this book.


My Best Friend's Girl
My Best Friend's Girl
by Dorothy Koomson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So depressing...., 14 Dec. 2006
This review is from: My Best Friend's Girl (Paperback)
...that so many people are extolling the virtues of this truly appalling book. It is badly written with dumbed-down vocabulary that would be insulting to the pre-teen subject of the story, banal in content and utterly pedestrian in plot. Life is too short to read such drivel.


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