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W. JAMES (Manningtree, Essex)
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American Heartbeat
American Heartbeat

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Compliation for AOR enthusiasts, 20 April 2008
This review is from: American Heartbeat (Audio CD)
Great songs - the original was relatively compact (believe it was only 16 songs) as it was from the ye olde vinyl /cassette days where you only had an hour tops. The CD additions generally make sense (Bill Idol aside) but I recall that the original also contained "I Got You" by Split Enz (which was a big US hit in the early 80s, and is also another great song). Obviously Split Enz are not American (they are from New Zealand ; the Finn brothers went on to form Crowded House), which makes the absence of this song and the presence of "Rebel Yell" even more strange.

Oh...and "Carry On Wayward Son" is awesome !
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 30, 2015 9:58 PM BST


Hollywood on Trial: McCarthyism in Hollywood
Hollywood on Trial: McCarthyism in Hollywood
by Michael Freedland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Dreadful - Should be Blacklisted, 28 Jan. 2008
A potentially promising subject has been turned into possibly the worst book I have ever read. Lacking in any narrative structure or logic, providing no insight or perspective into the events or personalities and leaving the reader annoyed at the reams of superfluous rubbish trotted out by the mindless hack who wrote this utter garbage, it is an insult to the many exceptional writers and artists deeply impacted by this dark time in American history.

I cannot recall reading a book as bad as this in twenty years....if you don't believe me, here are two of many exceptions of lazy journalism in this book - the following are, well, exceptional ....

Exhibit A : (Page 209, regarding the studio moguls)..."If anyone's word was law it was theirs. Except when they got scared. Which is why, until America entered World War Two, there were virtually no anti-Nazi movies. Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' was an honourable exception ...."

And then a mere seven pages later, on Page 216 ..... "If anyone's word was law at this time, it was that of the moguls. Except when they got scared. Until America entered World War Two, there were virtually no anti-Nazi movies. Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' was an honourable exception"

Exhibit B : (Page 231, regarding Robert Rossen, blacklisted director)..." 'Some say' Maintains his daughter 'that he died of shame. My father never got over the shame of giving names'"

and then on Page 260 : " 'Some say he died of his shame, the mythology of the Left. My father never got over the shame of giving names' "

Avoid this book like the HUAC pink slips....!


A Maze of Death (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
A Maze of Death (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Philip K. Dick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Dick - with religious and hallucinogenic overtones, 29 Dec. 2005
This book has just be reissued as part of the SF Masterworks series, and is not among his most well-known works (such as "Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep", "A Scanner Darkly","The Man in the High Castle" and "Ubik"). It was written in 1970 when Dick was undergoing a sort of religious conversion and much of the ideas expresed in the book are as a result of his relationship and discussions with Bishop James Pike.
The book contains the usual Dickisms such as paranoia, hallucination, distintegration of society/environment, heroes in low-grade maintance roles and the recurring one-dimensional portraits of female characters as either selfish, controlling or oversexed.
The book is far from perfect, but, as anyone who loves this author knows, that isn't the point. The point is to enjoy the warped ideas, lunacy and sheer strangeness.
The plot starts off as a murder mystery (one of the lead characters is suprising offed early on) and reads a bit like a SF version of "And Then There Were None" on drugs. It does move into more usual Dick narrative territory as the story proceeds. Not wishing to give away the ending, lets just say that it has overtones of a recent SF blockbuster film. (Even films not based on his books owe a large debt to him)
Enjoy another great addition to the SF Masterworks collection...!


The Keys of Egypt: The Race to Read the Hieroglyphs
The Keys of Egypt: The Race to Read the Hieroglyphs
by Roy Adkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, 1 Nov. 2005
This book conveys almost no excitement whatsoever over what should in principle be a most enthralling subject. The story of Champollion's life is dull and the actual mechanics of his solving the riddle of the hieroglyphics is effectively skipped over. This is particularly annoying given the preceding chapters of dull background. I read this book on the back of Simon Singh's book on cryptography - The Code Book - which is what I was expecting this to be like. Whereas Singh's book was a joy to read, full of good explanations of the concepts, amusing anecdotes and good (and brief) character descriptions (the proper way to write these sorts of histories, I think), this one wasn't. Take my advice, ditch this book - and check out The Code Book.


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