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Silence: A Christian History
Silence: A Christian History
by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History with a modern moral challenge, 30 Nov 2014
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This is a wide-ranging and thought-provoking book, especially in its final chapters. MacCullogh takes us through the long history of silence in Christainity in four stages. First the silences of the Bible, of the God of the Old Testament who calls us to be still and to listen to His words. Followed by the Jesus of the New Testament who ends the centuries-long silence as The Word (Logos) of God. In his second section MacCullogh explores monastic silence, the silence of martyrdom and of confession. Thirdly he explores silence through three reformations. And finally the silence of more recent things chosen not to be remembered and not spoken about. In this last section of the book there are profound and challenging questions about the things the church has failed to speak against and reveal: persecution, exploitation and the abuse that sometimes arose as a consequence of the silence of the confessional, or the protection provided by the church itself. Thankfully some of these silences are being broken in our time and the truth spoken and heard, but the questions remain and must not be forgotten. Altogether an interesting and challenging read, and well worth buying.


First Steps in Old English: An Easy to Follow Language Course for the Beginner
First Steps in Old English: An Easy to Follow Language Course for the Beginner
by Stephen Pollington
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A helpful way into a beautiful language, 30 Nov 2014
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I came to this book not from a need to complete an academic syllabus but for my own enrichment. Undoubtedly it would be easier to use a textbook like this with a human teacher to explain, enlarge, answer questions and model the exact accent. However it gave me all I needed. Of course I shall never be speaking the language to anyone but it has made early English writing more accessible and helped me to enjoy more the sound of the words themselves - no small issue with a literature that is often alliterative. It was fascinating too to see where so many of our modern English words come from and how little many of them have changed. When the sentences are heard aloud and followed in the text there is almost no difficulty in understanding. For the record, I also bought the audio CD that goes with this book and it helped greatly with pronunciation. If you buy this book I suggest you consider doing the same.


The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words (1000 BCE - 1492)
The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words (1000 BCE - 1492)
by Simon Schama CBE
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Demanding, but a masterpiece, 29 Nov 2014
Simon Schama must be without doubt one of the finest historians and communicators in the world. A truly renaissance man, he has a profound and articulate knowledge of art and history. It is impossible not to be engaged by the worlds he describes. Here he writes the story of the Jewish people (his own people) from the beginning up to the mid 15th century. His knowledge and research are stunning and, I have to say, at times almost exhausting. It takes concentration and stamina to read every word, but it is worth it if you care about the unfolding of this story. While obviously committed to his cause and subject, he is not without objectivity or humour. He naturally understands the Jewish mind-set and attitude through the centuries, indeed the millennia. His empathy and insight shine from the pages and you realize, as perhaps never before, how complex and multi-layered the story of the Jews actually is. If, like me, you watched the original TV series of the same name, you will already recognise the territory. The book is greatly more detailed but the journey is worth it. Demanding, but recommended.


The Story of the Jews [DVD]
The Story of the Jews [DVD]
Dvd ~ Simon Schama
Price: £6.80

5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story matchlessly told, 29 Nov 2014
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This review is from: The Story of the Jews [DVD] (DVD)
These programmes are masterly. From the opening question, "What is a Jew?" you are not only drawn into the story of the 'chosen people' of the Old Testament but, more engagingly, what it meant and still means to be Jewish. Here is the 3,500 year journey from Abraham to modern times, uncovering and exploring the endless layers of artistry, belief, persecution and genius that are tied up in it. Schama is a perceptive historian and narrator, and it is clear from the outset that this story is also his story. He is a man profoundly aware of his roots, able to bring emotional involvement and historical objectivity at the same time. The final programme is almost unbearable as he returns to visit the stetl of his own family in Eastern Europe and the anti-Jewish pogroms that drove them out. Without any hand-wringing Schama communicates the vulnerability and persecution of his people. Whatever your views on modern Israeli issues, here is a set of DVDs that will both inform and deeply move. I watched the original TV series and I have watched this DVD set. I shall undoubtedly watch them again. Highly recommended.


Collected Ghost Stories (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural)
Collected Ghost Stories (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Supernaturally good, 29 Nov 2014
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I first encountered these short stories in a TV programme about a year ago, so I went hunting for them and down-loaded them to my Kindle. Very much of their period, these are among the earliest of the 'new' genre of dark horror stories of the Victorian era. They are of similar style and are being narrated aloud by a man to his students in the dark evenings, gathered before the fire, by candle-light with a glass or two of brandy. They are not mysteries to solve; in fact they do not have endings or resolutions at all in the accepted sense. They are episodes to scare and to mystify. It is all about the thrill of being frightened. Every child will understand that feeling. They contain all kinds of supernatural creatures and spirits of the dark - James was genuinely an authority on such things - and are drawn from the written and oral cultures of the world. I loved them. They are also great for Kindle reading. Being very short, they are ideal for a train journey or when you have to pick up and put down the stories often. Good value and scary fun. Recommended.


Solo: A James Bond Novel
Solo: A James Bond Novel
by William Boyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Such a disappointment, 29 Nov 2014
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Oh what a disappointment! Ian Fleming was a great story-teller with one of the most enjoyable fictional spies ever imagined. Having read his books years ago I looked forward to this 'sequel' by William Boyd. But sadly Boyd is not Fleming. What we have is a poor pastiche of the style and, of course, the main character, but nothing more. Whereas Fleming had you gripped and turning the pages, this left me unengaged and frankly indifferent, both to the man and to what happens next. I appreciate that only Fleming will write like Fleming, but there are masters of plotting and narrative out there (Anthony Horowitz for one) who can write this kind of 'sequel' and have done it brilliantly for other authors. Sorry. I wanted to enjoy it, but I didn't.


Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell in and Out of Love With Vladimir Putin
Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell in and Out of Love With Vladimir Putin
by Ben Judah
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive and fair, 29 Nov 2014
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This is a detailed and well researched account of Vladimir Putin's rise to power and consequent career as president. Ben Judah has no illusions of the man with whom he is dealing, but at the same time this is not an attempt at character assassination or vindictiveness. Putin is not presented as some kind of antichrist figure, but he is shown to be man with deep personal insecurities and control issues. A leader who, by putting his closest friends and aides in power has re-created a different kind of autocracy, not so different in effect from the Tsarist one. The question Judah asks through the book is whether, after the initial euphoria of Putin's arrival and stabilization of affairs following the disastrous Yeltsin decade, and his good fortune with rising oil values that injected huge amounts of money into the Russian economy, the bubble has burst. Is Putin having to go to more and more extreme lengths to hold onto power, and to what lengths might he go? We have a portrait of a leader who is calculating and ruthless - very much in the Eastern totalitarian mode - uncluttered by conscience; a man who believes passionately that Russia should be a great nation on the world stage and that individual rights and liberties are of lesser importance. To begin with, it would seem, his people supported him . The issue is for how long that will continue. If you want to better understand Russia and get behind the simplistic media cliches surrounding Vladimir Putin, this is a book to be recommended.


Quilled Creations Beginner Quilling Kit Q400
Quilled Creations Beginner Quilling Kit Q400
Offered by Cute'n'Crafty
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great starter kit, 29 Nov 2014
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This was bought as a gift at that person's request. It seems to make an excellent little starter pack of quilling bits and pieces. The recipient was certainly delighted and is going on to buy more quilling paper and tools. Surely the best recommendation of all! Recommended for someone who is curious and would like to start this particular craft.


MOFRED® Blue Luxury Multi Function Standby Case with Built-in Magnet for Sleep / Wake feature for the Google Nexus 7 Tablet 8GB,16GB,32GB or 32GB 3G HSPA+ - Second Updated Version w/Sleep Sensor + Screen Protector + Stylus Pen (Available in Mutiple Colors)
MOFRED® Blue Luxury Multi Function Standby Case with Built-in Magnet for Sleep / Wake feature for the Google Nexus 7 Tablet 8GB,16GB,32GB or 32GB 3G HSPA+ - Second Updated Version w/Sleep Sensor + Screen Protector + Stylus Pen (Available in Mutiple Colors)
Offered by MOFRED PRODUCTS
Price: £34.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, 29 Nov 2014
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This was bought as a present for a friend but I know that she liked it very much. Her tablet fitted well and the closure worked easily, providing the required shut-down and restart. She liked the colour and the feel of the case itself. from my point of view it was good value. Altogether, a successful gift. I can happily recommend it.


Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations
Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations
by Craig Nelson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary life, 28 Nov 2014
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There can be few human lives that have had as much positive impact on humanity as that of Thomas Paine. Craig Nelson's excellently readable and well researched book tells the story of the Enlightenment man who, because of his deeply republican convictions, caused a real stir here in Georgian England before leaving for the colony of America. There his writing was to profoundly advance the course and achievement of American independence. His book, 'Common Sense' greatly shaped political thinking and it is no exaggeration to say that he was one of the true creators of the United States of America. Indeed it was Paine himself who first coined that name for the country. Along with Washington and Franklin he was even one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence, and its famous opening words are drawn from his own language and conviction. His later work, 'Rights of Man' had a similar effect as Paine moved to France to play a leading role in the progress of the French Revolution. After turbulent times there he ended his days back in America where, almost inexplicably, he was largely ignored and unrecognised by the nation he had helped to create. This is an excellent account of a single life that changed history, and I highly recommend it.


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