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M. Hamann "Markus" (Finland)
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The History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals
The History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals
by Spiro Kostof
Edition: Paperback
Price: £90.88

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all..., 26 Oct. 2011
The structure and overall outline of this book are generally good, insofar as it depicts and explains characteristic periods and ideas in architecture. However, as the title hints, ("Settings and rituals") the writing style is annoyingly self-aggrandising. Architecture is presented as mankind's response to life's most important questions. The architect's own feelings towards certain periods was also distracting, (e.g., p. 721, "The triumph of the modernists was both well earned and providential. On the side of providence, we should count the discrediting of the official neoclassicism of the 1930s as part of the defeat of Germany and her allies." Providence is opposed to neoclassicism?
Kostof continues, "This sudden popularity of historicism shored up one of the basic tenets of the modernists: that the International Style cannot in any way be beholden to tradition but must stand solely on its own inflexible logic". Such mystical-sounding claims really made the book difficult for me to read.

Throughout the book I found myself questioning what the author was trying to say; I could only occasionally guess.


Paris Mansions and Apartments 1893: Facades, Floor Plans and Architectural Details (Dover Architecture)
Paris Mansions and Apartments 1893: Facades, Floor Plans and Architectural Details (Dover Architecture)
by Pierre Gelis-Didot
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I wanted., 26 Oct. 2011
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This is a really great historical/source book for Beaux-Arts architecture. There were floor plans (though rather small...often about 1/4-1/3 of an A4-sized page) and attractive line drawings of Parisian façades. Many of the buildings are multi-storey apartments, making it interesting to see layouts in comparison to today's apartments.


The Proud Bastards: One Marine's Journey from Parris Island Through the Hell of Vietnam
The Proud Bastards: One Marine's Journey from Parris Island Through the Hell of Vietnam
by E. Michael Helms
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 26 Oct. 2011
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This is--in my opinion--among the best Vietnam War accounts available. What I most enjoyed was the style in which it was written: Helms writes in paragraphs, sentences and sometimes utterances exactly what he felt. His emotions were related very well, and I was able to empathise because of this. Furthermore, Helms didn't put on some machismo facade...when he was afraid, he writes as much. It doesn't read like some other Vietnam accounts that are full of blind patriotism and "special forces super-men"; Helms is simply human.

I highly recommend this book.


The Tunnels of Cu Chi: A Remarkable Story of War
The Tunnels of Cu Chi: A Remarkable Story of War
by Tom Mangold
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and thorough, 26 Oct. 2011
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I had heard of underground tunnels being used during the Vietnam War, though I was not aware of the extent to which they were used. More importantly, the I was made aware of the importance of the tunnels to the Vietnamese and their ability to repel the American forces. The tunnels were--until now--a footnote in my understanding of the Vietnam War. After reading this book, it is clear that the tunnels were of extreme importance and played a very significant role in the war. This book covered all areas relevant to tunnels and tunnel warfare. Most impressively, the book strayed from post-war propaganda; instead, the authors interviewed people engaged in tunnel warfare on opposing sides.

The book is divided into (22) chapters: War Underground, Chu Chi District, Operation Crimp, The Guerillas of the Viet Cong, The Tunnels, Survival Underground, Born in a Tunnel, The Tunnel Rats, Not Worth a Rat's Ass, Stop the Americans!, Animals, Cu Chi Base Camp, Pham Sand-The Story of an Entertainer, Operation Cedar Falls, Dr. Vo Hoang Le-Tunnel Surgeon, Psychological Operations, Fighting Science, Rat Six and Batman, Vo Thi Mo-The Girl Guerrilla, Tunnel Rat Squad, Winners and Losers, Hindsight.


Moral Literacy: Or How to Do the Right Thing
Moral Literacy: Or How to Do the Right Thing
by Colin McGinn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

1.0 out of 5 stars How to do the "Colin McGinn thing"., 24 May 2011
I was required to read this book years ago for an introductory ethics course. Colin McGinn does not--in my estimation--tell us "how to do the right thing". Rather, we learn what Colin McGinn does (or believes) and that we ought to do likewise. In an ethics textbook I expect there to be an examination of competing views. McGinn's book is propaganda for animal rights as well as other morally liberal ("progressive") viewpoints. Although I have had exposure to less than 10 ethics books for various coursework, this book stands out as the least objective examination of "how to do the right thing".


Practice of Presence of God
Practice of Presence of God
by Lawrence Brother
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my "Top Ten" books, 13 May 2011
This is a book I have re-read several times; I expect to read it many more. It is very simple, yet very profound. It would be certainly be listed among my favourites. The message is essentially to acknowledge God as present in everyday life, in all situations. Call Him to mind, and speak to Him as a child would a father. It is a very good habit, but difficult to develop. The book tells of Brother Lawrence and his development of this way of prayer.

If you would like to look at the book, an uncopywrited version is online at archive.org.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2011 4:12 PM BST


Complete Modern Persian Book/CD Pack (Teach Yourself Languages)
Complete Modern Persian Book/CD Pack (Teach Yourself Languages)
by Narguess Farzad
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent beginner's course, 13 May 2011
I don't see the same flaws about which others have complained. The pronunciation key is provided early on, and it is a very easy to follow book. I actually prefer the Teach Yourself layout, as compared to the Colloquial Persian equivalent. The CD, like all Teach Yourself CDs, is easier to follow without the book--a clear advantage over the Colloquial series. However, the Teach Yourself series has the tendency to use borderline obsolete language, at least in other language guides in the series. All things considered, this might be my first choice in a Persian language book and audio package. For a book alone, I might choose How to Speak, Read and Write Persian.

Again, I would not concern myself with any serious layout problems: this is a very clear and easy to follow course.


HOW TO SPEAK,READ & WRITE PERS: Complete Course with 3 Cassettes
HOW TO SPEAK,READ & WRITE PERS: Complete Course with 3 Cassettes
by Hooshang Amuzegar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £49.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Persian language book, 13 May 2011
I think this is the best Persian language book, considering the Teach Yourself and Colloquial Persian books. The font is thin and clear and the layout is better. I cannot comment on the audio, as I do not have the cassettes. Considering only books, this would be the one to buy.


Colloquial Persian: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series)
Colloquial Persian: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series)
by Abdi Rafiee
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 13 May 2011
This is a very good product, though the CD is unusable without the book. I don't know enough Farsi to comment on the pronunciation and usage, but contrary to what another reviewer has said the Colloquial series is usually less academic than the Teach Yourself series. In the Teach Yourself series, there is more polite sometimes unusable language. In defense of the Teach Yourself series, the CDs can be used more easily without the book, as there is an English-speaking guide (which is lacking on the Colloquial CD). The Teach Yourself and Colloquial Persian series are quite comparable--both good. The best layout, however, belongs to How to Speak, Read and Write Persian (for which I do not have the CD).

I don't think it would be a mistake to buy any one of the above-mentioned. However, if I were to buy only a book, it would be the last book I mentioned, as the Farsi font is thinner and easier to read, plus the book is bigger (L x W).


Mini Houses
Mini Houses
by Endeavour
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small modern homes, 13 May 2011
This review is from: Mini Houses (Paperback)
This is a very thick book. It is very useful for those who wish to design their own home (from 7 m^2 to about 100 m^2), based on ideas and floorplans from existing structures. However, with the exception of a handful of homes, most of the houses are very modern designs. If modern homes interest you, definitely consider purchasing this. If you are anything like me and are tired of homes shaped like boxes with white walls, avoid this book.

Note: the floor plans are useful conceptually only, as there are no dimensions.


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