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Alan Urdaibay
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent review of the history of Christian abuse, 4 July 2008
Far from being the benign spread of a peace-loving sect Christianity conquered by means of violence and oppression muddied by viscious infighting among Christian groups competing for power. This clear and concise guide to the growth of Christianity tells it as it was and reveals many absurdities of current superstition.


Introducing Evolution
Introducing Evolution
by Dylan Evans
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read - excellent introduction, 23 April 2008
This review is from: Introducing Evolution (Paperback)
My Year 8 daughter gobbled this book up - ideal for literate kids with a scientific bent, especially considering evolution is not considered an essential part of the UK core syllabus - don't allow your children to be ignorant - buy the book now!


Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships
Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships
by Eric Berne
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A practical guide to self and others, 27 Dec 2007
Watch out! You'll see your relatives in this book - or perhaps it's just mine. I'll leave myself out of it. It's a bit like 'The Dog Whisperer' except for people - we see behaviour in a new light. It's not science, exactly, but an intelligent and coherent interpretation of human motivations.

This is a guide to human behaviour which is accessible to the non-specialist and can be used to improve oneself and one's understanding of others. The games we play (Dawkins would classify these as a type of meme, I think) are potentially destructive of human relationships and happiness. Seeing the games in others, and hopefully in oneself, it should be possible to avoid at least some of the pitfalls of human relationships. I'd introduce it as a subject at secondary school and in parenting classes.

Later writers following in Berne's footsteps have gone on to dicuss the idea of 'life scripts' which emerges from Berne's approach.


Learning The World: A novel of first contact
Learning The World: A novel of first contact
by Ken MacLeod
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Good read - for Sci-fi nubies and old hacks alike, 27 Dec 2007
MacLeod foregoes the Eureka moment of the short story and does not trouble with the creation of a grand theme. Instead he contents himself with reworking a few classic Sci-fi ideas, popping in the odd one of his own, and thereby creating an amusing novel. Shakespeare didn't invent his own stories and it is not a criticism of MacLeod that he is not very inventive. It's how you tell 'em that counts and MacLeod has done a good job of mixing and matching existing themes. It's a modern piece of writing, without the 60's (and earlier) feel of so many of Sci-fi's classic texts, and this will help bring Sci-fi to a new audience, I hope. Those new to Sci-fi will enjoy the book and not know the ideas have been around a while while the old hacks can enjoy a satisfactory revisit.

The lack of any real ending adds rather than subtracts, in my view, since it adds a kind of realism often absent in stories which lead somewhere. Past history doesn't really lead anywhere conclusive that we can discover at any point and arguably future history should read the same way.


Animals in Translation: The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow
Animals in Translation: The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow
by Temple Grandin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and compelling on autism and animal behaviour, 26 Dec 2007
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I initially borrowed this book from someone who had only read the fist 50 pages or so and another reviewer has completely misunderstood the book by describing it as merely a manual for abattoir owners. This is specifically addressed towards the end of the book, which is about a great deal more. Arguably, however, in this regard the writer has not put her best foot forward when it comes to the organisation of content. Make sure you read deeper into the book.

Notwithstanding this, the book has a light touch and is very easy to follow and digest. There are times when the flow of ideas seems a trifle simplistic or even repetitive but the virtues of this approach are apparent as the reader progresses. Temple gives it to you straight and does not beat about the bush. The reader grows in respect as the text progresses and appreciates the workmanlike compassion the author has for animals and autistic people in general.

I spent 3 months teaching an autistic man for the greater part of each day and found this to be of the greatest assistance in understanding both his savant qualities and limitations. I recommended the book to him and hope he reads it. It is clear to me that the talents of autistic people are being wasted and held in little regard. There should be a special employment agency (there is in the US) to help develop their usefulness to society and the sense of self-worth that flows from that.

Those familiar with the excellent TV program `The Dog Whisperer' will already be acquainted with the general tone of Temple's attitude towards dog handling although there are differences these are from the same stable. Temple extends our understanding to horses, cows, and pigs. As a cat lover I am sorry she didn't say much about cats specifically but her general points covered all sentient animals, I think.


Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
by Ingri D'Aulaire
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.74

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best Greek Myths for children, 15 Dec 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I first bought a copy of this book while on holiday in Los Angeles 20 years ago. My children found the stories and the presentation fascinating and read and reread it until it fell to pieces. I was so disappointed when I looked years ago and found it was out of print - my children were disappointed also. Now that it is back in print I have bought three - one for each child (I'll reread one of theirs). I've had ample time to compare it with other books of Greek mythology for children and none compare, though many are very good. It is a book to cherish and a true children's classic. Take a look at their other books.


The Source
The Source
by James A. Michener
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.68

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly absorbing, 30 Dec 2006
This review is from: The Source (Paperback)
Really a series of stories using artefacts found on an archaeological dig as a theme and progressing to recent times. They are sentimental without being sloppy and possess an epic quality not found in more recent historical fiction. Though I found the earlier stories more interesting than the later ones I am pleased to have revisited the book in 2006, having first read it in the late 1960's. Michener's depiction of Stone Age life would probably be different if he were writing today - but this is hardly surprising.


A Canticle For Leibowitz: Book One: The Saint Leibowtiz Series
A Canticle For Leibowitz: Book One: The Saint Leibowtiz Series
by Walter M. Miller Jr
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great classic, 26 Dec 2006
I read this book in the early 1960's and knew then I was reading an SF classic. It operates on many levels, as other reviewers state. In my case it was the first time I encountered a cyclical view of history which I now know to be the predominant viewpoint in the ancient world. Some of the earlier chapters are still imprinted on my mind and I am delighted to see it is still being published.


Introducing Psychology (Icon Books)
Introducing Psychology (Icon Books)
by Nigel Benson
Edition: Paperback

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb overview, 26 Dec 2006
A historical approach allows a sense of what psychology is to emerge in a similar manner to the emergence of philosophical ideas in Introducing Philosophy by the same publisher. Both books allow the reader to see that each protagonist in the developing story has achieved a truth of some sort, but one which is flawed and partly superseded by those who follow. Some more direct criticism of key theories would have been helpful (I think Piaget's ideas - or perhaps misinterpretation of them - have possibly done more harm than good, acting as a brake on education. That his ideas have been criticised is mentioned, but some detail would have been nice [OK this is a pet hate of mine!]). I was disappointed to find that Eric Berne's Transactional Analysis was ignored, considering its importance in the business world - especially elsewhere in Europe. All in all, however, it's difficult to see how a better job could have been done in the space allowed. May more books on individual psychologists and perspectives be published by Icon Books.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2009 2:19 PM BST


The Face Of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme
The Face Of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme
by John Keegan
Edition: Paperback

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be compulsory reading for A level, 22 Dec 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At one level full of fascinating detail e.g., on the benefits of riding your good horse at Waterloo and not your old nag in case it is shot from under you - at another level it provides a deep insight into the male human condition. Should be read by women as well as men.


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