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Amazon Customer "J. P. Ryder" (London)

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Hot Licks - The Legendary Guitar Of James Burton [DVD]
Hot Licks - The Legendary Guitar Of James Burton [DVD]
Price: 11.07

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At the feet of the master, 27 Aug 2010
Now available on DVD, this wonderful 'Hot Licks' tutorial features the amazing guitar style of James Burton.

The disk kicks-off as James demonstrates some of his early, trade-mark riffs that graced the recordings and stage appearances of Dale Hawkins, Ricky Nelson and Elvis himself.

Throughout this presentation, Burton shows rhythms and leads as he composed and played them for a whole host of famous performers. The viewer gets the closest insight possible to this great man's amazing technique.

This is especially so thanks to the slow-motion option that is available. The visible performance can be slowed down whilst the pitch of the playing remains unaltered - very clever. (Warning: even slowed-down, Burton's picking and fingering techniques seem awesome.)

The accompanying booklet provides both tab and notation.

There is also the option to 'loop' the licks so that difficult passages - that's virtually all of them - can be viewed over and over without the need to re-set the player each time.

If you're looking to step up a level (or ten) with your country guitar playing, then this is the guy to aspire to. He's probably the best ever.


Jack Ruby
Jack Ruby
by Garry Wills
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet the real Jack Ruby., 18 Aug 2010
This review is from: Jack Ruby (Paperback)
This outstanding 1968 book by Demaris and Wills brings Jack Ruby to life as no other books have every really managed to do.

The authors were able to interview those who knew Ruby well and were best placed to offer accurate insights into his life and times. (Conspicuously absent from the huge cast of characters are Beverly Oliver and Judyth Vary Baker. Most readers will know why; both women are mad fantasists and their interactions with Ruby were entirely imaginary.)

If you are looking to find and understand the man who gunned-down Lee Oswald, then you really need look no further than this.

Demaris and Wills re-trace Ruby's steps throughout that fateful weekend by assembling the recollections of the many who encountered him. These close-up snapshots of this complex man provide a narrative that is trustworthy and compelling.

The authors also take time to treat the reader to a revealing insight into the Dallas of '63. (There's some excellent material concerning the local Citizen's Council which comprised of the City's elite).

Ruby's trial, its key personalities and incredible twists and turns features prominently; it really is a great read from start to finish.

Your assassination bookshelf is incomplete without this indispensable examination of Jack Ruby; unless, of course, you are a conspiracy buff, in which case, you won't want it.

Barry


I'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness Upbringing
I'm Perfect, You're Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah's Witness Upbringing
by Kyria Abrahams
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book! Gentle & funny., 11 Aug 2010
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I enjoyed this book immensely - though it wasn't quite what I expected or hoped for.

Instead of chronicling her 'crises of confidence' and 'watershed moments' regarding her faith, the author narrates her youth and teenage years in a much more biographical 'rights of passage' style.

At times, the fact that she was a child of JW parents, seems almost incidental to her tale of growing-up.

I was hoping to read through her 'intellectual conflicts' as she began to question her faith and to share her profound agonising as she grows into maturity and comes to realise what a dreadful sham it's all been.

What I found, was a young, rather feisty young soul who very gradually moved out of the imposed confines of JW socialising and began to, slowly but surely, see that the world around her wasn't really Satan's den of iniquity that she had been told it was.

Kyria writes with great humour and humanity. Unlike many other books written by folks who've 'escaped' from religions and cults, she doesn't exhibit any anger or bitterness toward those who had lied to her and deprived her of her years of innocence, wonder and exploration; she seems very forgiving, understanding and not at all judgemental - which is in direct contrast to the legions of JWs who knock on my door at the weekends!

Barry


JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
by James W. Douglass
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.99

8 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Indescribable pap!, 26 July 2010
As James Douglass has chosen to revise his 2010 hardback edition of this book, I've decided to revise my original review of it.

To be fair to the author his revision is welcome and to be commended. He concedes that his original analysis of the `Altgens 6' photograph was wrong and the image does not show Oswald in the doorway of the TSBD. He's correct; it doesn't and his willingness to acknowledge a mistake is to his credit. (His acknowledgement only appears as a note at the end of the main text, however).

Unfortunately - for this reviewer - that's as good as it gets. Douglass continues to present all manner of hoaxers and hucksters as he attempts to peddle his sugar-sweet emotionalism. The author makes frequent use of the words `evil', `darkness' and `unspeakable'. There are passages that read as though they had been penned by Dennis Wheatley.
Douglass grants acres of space to unsupported and fraudulent `witnesses' at the expense of individuals who were present at the murders and whose testimony is a matter of record.

As an example here, when discussing the shooting in the Plaza, the author omits any mention of Charles Givens, James Jarman, Harold Norman and Bonnie Ray Williams, Any objective examination of the shooting requires the sworn testimony of these men to be included; but Douglass has nothing to say about them.

The man who saw Oswald shoot JFK - Howard Brennan - is given scant and rather derisory attention by the author; actually Douglass relies on the words of Mark Lane to do the work for him. He cites Lane's pedantic, 1966 analysis of Brennan's mistaken belief that the rifleman was standing at the window. Brennan's impression of Oswald `standing' was wrong for entirely understandable reasons. Lane's pedantry bordered on the childish regarding this matter and Douglass' need to use this ancient sophistry reeks of desperation.

Brennan wasn't the only witness to see a rifle at the window, of course. Amos Euins, Bob Jackson, Mal Couch and James Crawford all saw it, but, here again, the author chooses not to mention them. He does introduce James Worrell as a witness to the firearm but, rather disingenuously, he tells the reader that `It [the rifle] seemed to be firing..' (p. 277). 'It seemed to be firing'? That's not what Worrell said. He was far more certain than Douglass would have his readers believe. Worrell's WC testimony includes this exchange about the rifle:

Senator COOPER: How did you know it was fired when you were looking at it?
Mr WORRELL: Well, I saw what you might call a little flame and smoke.
Senator COOPER: You saw something that came out of the barrel?
Mr WORRELL: Yes, sir.
Senator COOPER. Were you looking at it when you heard the third report?
Mr WORRELL: Yes, sir, looking at it, turning around and started to run.

The only one of Oswald's arresting officers who makes it through the author's tight sieve of selectivity is Nick McDonald. But, we hear no mention of Oswald's assault on him or anything about the words that Oswald was heard to have said when tackled. Officers Bentley, Walker, Carroll and Hill are conspicuously absent from Douglass' sanitised rendition.

The book continues in this vein of selectivity and reaches its nadir when the author has to contend with the murder of J. D. Tippit.

Astonishingly, the reader will find no mention of Helen Markham - the woman who saw Oswald shoot Tippit to death. Not one word! The author's head-in-the-sand means that we hear nothing about William Scoggins, the two Davis sisters, Domingo Benavides, Sam Guinyard or Ted Callaway. Basically anyone who saw Oswald at the murder scene with a revolver in his hand is ineligible for inclusion in Douglass' zany book.

James Douglass is clearly in denial.

With so much left out of the book, what can be said about what's actually in it? Well, it can be said that the author has a very low threshold for lunatics and fakers. Critical thinking seems to be something that the peace-activist doesn't `do'.
The fantastical (and ever changing) tales of Ed Hoffman are embraced and accepted as reliable eyewitness testimony. Ed's ever-expanding tale has become the stuff of legend and myth among the `conspiracy faithful'; that's because it is a myth. Douglass doesn't think so, though, so Ed gets column-inches whilst Helen Markham goes unheard.

Douglass seems to like the wacky fable that Gordon Arnold spun, so the reader will find that here. Gordon's brutal roughing up on the knoll by two `policemen' - one of whom was crying and shaking, apparently - gets a good airing. This incredible sight in the immediate aftermath of the assassination was neither witnessed, filmed or photographed by anybody at all, of course, but the author is buying it. This reviewer isn't.

Roger Craig features prominently in the book. Craig had two, different versions of everything that he ever said. His WC testimony and later, self-published writings are mutually exclusive. His variant descriptions of the rifle discovery cannot be reconciled. His diverse descriptions of the shell positions at the window defy explanation. His confrontation with Oswald in Fritz's office is denied by all and supported by none. That being so, James Douglass opts for the unsworn, unsupported baloney that the late Sherriff made up after his appearance before the WC.

This kind of bilge continues throughout this tedious regurgitation of conspiracy lore and includes such buffoons as Jean Hill, Wayne January (aka Hank Gordon), Robert Vinson, Ralph Yates and Richard Nagell.

Potential readers might wish to know that Douglass also includes heaps of stuff about his spiritual guru - Thomas Merton. In fact, he devotes more ink to Merton than almost any other person in the entire narrative! His writing on the combined subjects of Fritz, Wade and Day is dwarfed by his drooling over Merton. Quick, there's been a murder! Somebody call a Trappist monk!

In a nut-shell, this is a `conspiracy book' just like any other. Its `angle' is the author's religious standpoint. Douglass' Catholicism permeates the whole thing from start to finish. The religious language that he uses throughout is tiresome, preachy and, for an atheist such as I, stupid.

He seeks to divert the reader from the details which show Oswald to be the killer of two men by offering a guided tour of his `bigger-picture'. Because James Douglass chooses to omit crucial details, his `bigger picture' ends up looking like a minimalist Jackson Pollock. Douglass has a nave belief that JFK and Khrushchev were close to being buddies and the world was on the brink of `peace' until the `unspeakable evil' (that's the CIA) went and ruined everything by killing the President - a Catholic president.
The premise is infantile and no amount of selective quotes about Berlin or Vietnam come close to supporting the author's wishful thinking.

He fails to extricate Oswald from two murder scenes and he fails to remove two murder weapons from his grasp.

Unspeakable? I can think of a word.

barry
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 14, 2013 7:44 PM BST


THE DEATH OF A PRESIDENT NOVEMBER 1963 :
THE DEATH OF A PRESIDENT NOVEMBER 1963 :
by William Manchester
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, historical document, 18 July 2010
William Manchester's early history of the Kennedy assassination and its aftermath still ranks as one of the most insightful and accurate accounts of the weekend of mayhem in Dallas that changed the world.

The author's access to virtually all of the key personalities gives this book an unassailable authority which few others have ever matched. His list of interviews reads like a Warren Commission index in itself.

For a serious grounding in the assassination and much of the untold story behind it, this 1967 offering is about as good as it gets.

It is true, of course, that Jackie Kennedy was not happy with the book when it was completed. Originally she had offered Manchester her cooperation and patronage, but on reading the final draft she felt that his treatment of LBJ was harsh and unfair. (Manchester was a JFK loyalist and biographer, of course.)

Nonetheless, this is a wonderful, historic document and it will forever remain a window into one of the world's most shattering events.

Barry


The Day Kennedy Was Shot
The Day Kennedy Was Shot
by Jim Bishop
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars a mixed-bag with a curate's egg in it, 18 July 2010
Jim Bishop's 1968 chronicle of the JFK assassination was largely written to 'counter' some of the perceived 'biases' that were included in William Manchester's 'Death Of A President'.

The Manchester v Bishop contest was predicated on how the former had portrayed LBJ and his actions in the immediate aftermath of the assassination. The rivalry between the two authors and their books actually made for a great story in itself - see 'The Manchester Affair' by John Corry.

Still, that aside, how does Bishop's work match up to Manchester's?

In this reviewer's opinion it doesn't fare very well. It contains far too many irritating factual errors to be regarded as 'authoritative'. In themselves these errors aren't huge but the cumulative effect is.

Written in the 'ticking-clock' style that Bugliosi so skilfully employed in his superb 'Reclaiming History', Bishop attempts to chronicle the first twenty-four hours of that fateful weekend.

His treatment of the Tippit and Oswald killings is pretty scant and superficial.

Some of the narrative is quite good - but by 1968, Bishop had had plenty of time to assemble his story from a vast array of already published sources. Actually, that's what makes the aforementioned 'errors' especially irritating - they need not have been made at all given the availability of reliable material.

In short, this isn't the best 'assassination book' ever written. For scope and detail, 'Death Of A President' and 'Reclaiming History' are unbeatable.

Barry


Jfk: Assassination Files [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Jfk: Assassination Files [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Robert J. Groden
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 81.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Great - with the sound off!, 4 July 2010
This excellent compilation of footage would be an indispensible addition to anyone's 'assassination' library.

It is - without doubt - the best and most useful thing that Robert 'Mr Conspiracy' Groden has ever done.

The digital 'clean-up' of much of this material is excellent and will allow the viewer to experience those harrowing and fleeting images in crisp detail.

The close-up and stabilisation - which Robert Groden continually refers to as 'Groden-Scoping' (?) - of the Zapruder film is outstanding.

The only down-side to this otherwise excellent DVD is Groden's commentary and analysis of the images. He sees 'mystery' and 'conspiracy' just about everywhere. I lost count of how many shots he describes as hitting the occupants of the presidential car.

Groden is a 'self-acclaimed' photographic expert, of course. In truth, he has no qualifications what-so-ever for the analysis of film or photographic mediums. He actually can boast no qualifications (professional or otherwise) in any field at all. Should the viewer doubt this, he should check out Groden's testimony at the O. J. Simpson trial when he was cross-examined. He took a bit of a pounding on the matter of his 'ability' and 'qualifications' there.

Still, with that said, the answer is simple: buy this DVD and always watch it with the sound turned off; the clips were all filmed without sound originally, of course. Make up your own mind what you are seeing.

Barry


From Love Field: Our Final Hours with John F. Kennedy
From Love Field: Our Final Hours with John F. Kennedy
by Mickey Herskowitz
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars From Love Field - into the pages of history., 29 Jun 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This nice little book is Nellie Connally's personal memoir of the JFK assassination and beyond.

She and her husband were at the eye of the hurricane on that fateful day, of course, so this book can be said to be authoritative and reliable.

The author describes her own feelings and experiences of an event that has - in her own words - "..passed from the realm of law and politics into the world of mythology, so conspiracy theorists will still have their say".

Mrs. Connally tells of the love and support of her own family - especially her three children - which helped her and her stricken husband rebuild their lives after their harrowing close encounter with death.

She writes with great warmth of the Kennedy's and Johnson's and the shared experience that changed their lives forever.

Personally, I would have liked to have learned more about her appearance before the Warren Commission; I felt that Mrs. Connally could have written more about that. Her account is quite short, though she makes plain her version of the shooting sequence which remains at odds with the Commissions final conclusion, of course.

Other than that, there is very little discussion of any of the 'technical detail' surrounding this momentous event.

At the end of the book the reader will find the complete texts of the two speeches that JFK was due to make later that day as well as copies of the author's original hand-written notes that comprise the core of this memoir.

Written by a gracious, sincere and honest lady, this book will give assassination readers another valuable and colourful piece to the historic mosaic that has been slowly covered over time by the layers of mud and grime deposited by so many other writers who seek to re-write our past.

As Mrs. Connally wrote, "But as far as I'm concerned - as the last living member of the two happy couples who rode in that deadly car - the case is closed, though it cannot be, and never should be, forgotten".

Barry


Who was Jack Ruby?
Who was Jack Ruby?
by Seth Kantor
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars will the real 'Sparky' please stand up, 27 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Who was Jack Ruby? (Hardcover)
This 1978 book by journalist Seth Kantor poses the question, 'Who Was Jack Ruby?'

In truth, this volume soon descends into little more than a 'conspiracy book'. (Indeed, later editions were re-titled, 'The Ruby Conspiracy').

Although the author writes well and authoritatively on Dallas, its police force and underworld, I feel that the amount of supposition and inference that is required by Kantor to elevate Jack Ruby to the dizzy heights of mob hit-man is excessive.

Ruby's links, connections and associations do exist, but are they strong? I didn't feel that they were. Some of the 'relationships' that the author attributes to Ruby pre-date the assassination by as much as fifteen years.

Despite Kantor's undoubted familiarity with so many of the key players, I remain unconvinced that Ruby was asked, threatened or encouraged by anyone to kill Oswald.

However, this book is still a great insight into many of the Dallas and Washington personalities who make up the rich cast of those closest to the three murders of that fateful weekend.

The author's Washington angle provides some very interesting insights into the Warren Commission and it's inner strife as it wrestled with the case.
It's fascinating stuff.

For a far better examination of the man-who-killed-the-man-who-killed President Kennedy, check out, 'Jack Ruby' (which was penned by Ovid Demaris and Gary Wills in 1968.) and you'll have a pretty good handle on 'Sparky' Rubenstein.

Barry


Counterplot
Counterplot
by Edward Epstein
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epstein at his very best - Garrison at his worst!, 25 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Counterplot (Hardcover)
In my opinion this is Epstein's best book on the JFK assassination.

'Counterplot' began life as an article for 'The New Yorker' sometime in 1968. It grew into this 1969 publication as the author began to examine the ongoing investigation of Clay Shaw by the New Orleans District Attorney, Jim Garrison.

This book was 'on the shelves' - as they say - before Shaw had even been for trial. 'Plot Or Politics' by James and Wardlaw was published in much the same time-frame.

In a nutshell, Epstein casts his scholarly eye over the methods, public pronouncements, threats and promises (read: bribes) that Garrison employed as he cobbled his vindictive 'case' together.

Despite all of the case's convoluted and illogical twists and turns, the author brilliantly condenses the whole fiasco into this easily readable volume. As an overview of Garrison and his power-crazed rampage, this is a great - and highly revealing - read.

`Counterplot' ranks along with the aforementioned 'Plot Or Politics'. 'False Witness' by Patricia Lambert, `American Grotesque' by James Kirkwood and 'The Garrison Case' by Milton Brener.

For those who were convinced by Oliver Stone that Garrison was a courageous truth seeker, this book would be a very uncomfortable read.

Barry


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