Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Profile for Stephen Cowley > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Stephen Cowley
Top Reviewer Ranking: 23,511
Helpful Votes: 261

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Stephen Cowley (Edinburgh)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
pixel
Sexual Utopia in Power: The Feminist Revolt Against Civilization
Sexual Utopia in Power: The Feminist Revolt Against Civilization
Price: £2.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for Thermidor, 10 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This consists of a main essay and several shorter reviews. The basic idea is to refute the egalitarian basis of "feminism" through a broadly naturalistic account of sexuality and the role of the sexes. The bargaining strength of the parties to a marriage contract is based on their fertility and the scarcity of the resources at their disposal. Devlin compares feminism to the French revolution, with its three phases of egalitarian idealism, reign of terror (political correctness) and reassertion of the natural order (Thermidor). He is concerned about the decline of marriage and takes issue from an alternative right standpoint both with feminism and conservative responses. There is much sound observation and I think he errs through incompleteness rather than ideological bias. There is a philosophical background to some of his arguments in natural law theory. On the whole though, he may be too reductive in his account of marriage as a contract. There are several critiques of feminism by women that say much the same thing in a gentler way, e.g. Helen Smith's Men on Strike. Devlin's is more a book of political theory than of practical advice. It is highly readable and lightened by wry humour.


Hegel's Philosophy of Drives (New Studies in Idealism)
Hegel's Philosophy of Drives (New Studies in Idealism)
by James Muldoon
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Driving it home, 5 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This short book adds to recent Hegel interpretations an original idea of "drives" (Triebe) as a universal of mental life by which to interpret the key concepts of Hegel's philosophy. In brief, a drive is an intentional state of mind that thus may contradict other drives, be an essence at work amidst appearances or an absolute and unconditional demand. Muldoon develops this by an elementary analysis of several of Hegel's key works, including the Phenomenology of Spirit, Science of Logic and Philosophy of Right. Unfortunately, he does not cover the later editions of the Encyclopaedia, in which Hegel's mental philosophy ("subjective spirit") is most developed. The author's central idea would be well worth elaborating further, either in the context of Hegel criticism, or on its own account in social or economic analysis.


A Nazi in the Family: The hidden story of an SS family in wartime Germany
A Nazi in the Family: The hidden story of an SS family in wartime Germany
Price: £6.47

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Opa ich vermisse dich, 30 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a fascinating and passionate family history written by a Scottish descendent of a German family. It gives a detailed insight into the efforts of many Germans to come to terms with their past in light of the role of the Nazi past in popular culture since the 1970s.

Unaccountably, the author states that no documents survive about Auschwitz. In fact, over 88,000 pages of documents survive in the Auschwitz museum and in Moscow, including the Central Building Administration records, which have been examined by scholars Jean Claude Pressac and Carlo Mattogno; whilst the Kommandanturbefehle were published in 2000 by Norbert Frei. He also claims that Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz "freely confessed" to mass gassings there. In fact, Hoess initially confessed after torture, as confirmed by both his captors and Hoess himself. The author provides plausible evidence that two SS officers (to one of whom he is related) knew nothing during the war of currently alleged atrocities, despite their close involvement with carpentry production in concentration camps at a senior level through the SS economic administration office (WVHA). He describes the Oswald Pohl trial relating to the WVHA, but does not substantiate his own lurid speculations about what his relative "must have" known. Instead, he seems to defer to the opinions of a "vehement" German historian. The book includes a bibliography and many photographs.

The author gives a restrained description of the allied bombing campaign against German cities and his family's post war experiences in Scotland. He comes across to me as a typical left leaning Scot of his generation, sympathetic to his family but overly reluctant to contest allegations against Germany. That however, would require a broader knowledge of the subject.
[This is a review of the 2015 Kindle edition.]


The WASP Question
The WASP Question
Price: £7.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars St George to the rescue, 19 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The WASP Question (Kindle Edition)
This is an excellent book on English history and destiny, written with both deep passion and a lifetime's knowledge. Fully about a third of it would not look out of place in a dictionary of quotations, so pointed is the prose. There is a wealth of history and its call to arms will warm the heart of any Anglo-celtic patriot.

The idea of a "patriot king", taken from the Jacobite Bolingbroke, I find questionable though. Bolingbroke also created the idea of a loyal opposition and hence developed the idea of representative democracy and this served Britain and British descended communities well for many years. Fraser objects that it has made England into a virtual hotel with the native English sidelined as gatekeepers or receptionists. Had he looked north he might have found more congenial patriotic writing in the Scottish republican tradition of George Buchanan and Andrew Fletcher. He also sees Christianity as a solution, but has problems reconciling its patriotic mission and universal moral commitments. He rejects recent instrumentalist and reductionist evolutionary views of religion, but I think he does not quite solve T.S. Eliot's dilemma:

"The last temptation is the greatest treason
To do the right thing for the wrong reason."

But please, do not be put off by my carping criticisms or the stuffed jacket on the cover. Replace the latter in your mind with an image of St George brandishing the flag of St George on St George's day in Middle England, telling some disgruntled lefties that he is no Egyptian deity but a descendant of King Alfred and reader of D.H Lawrence and that they should buck up their ideas and you will have some idea of what is in store. There are also abundant anecdotes about the English in Canada, the USA and Australia. This is an inspirational book: don't miss it!


After Hegel: German Philosophy, 1840–1900
After Hegel: German Philosophy, 1840–1900
by Frederick C. Beiser
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Schopenhauer as teacher, 19 Feb. 2015
This short book worked well for me. Beiser challenges both Hegel's view of German idealism as culminating in his own system and Karl Löwith's interpretion of the reaction against Hegel as leading to the Marxism and existentialism of the early 20th century. Instead, Beiser covers five "controversies" in several of which Schopenhauer plays a major role. Other figures covered are Trendelenburg and Lotze (on both of whom he has written elsewhere), Eduard von Hartmann, Friedrich Lange and Wilhelm Dilthey. The controversies concern the boundaries of philosophy (as an academic discipline); materialism; the limits of natural science; the nature of history; and the wide-ranging debate on Schopenhauer's pessimism.

Briefly, he thinks the decline of Hegel's absolute idealism led to a revival of a more naturalistic world view in which the concept of purpose (Aristotle's "final cause") still retained a role in interpreting the human mind and perhaps also the universe as a whole. The background in natural science was Helmholtz's "principle" of conservation of energy and Darwin's theory of natural selection. Beiser summarizes the reception of Schopenhauer's pessimism against this backdrop. In my view, faith in providence quietens the will more surely than aesthetic contemplation and Schopenhauer's pessimism was a literary pose. However, the debate gave rise to significant discussions on love, friendship and social reform.

The method of covering controversies works well in showing ideas in relation. Reading Schopenhauer's The World As Will And Idea first would give the reader preliminary knowledge of a central primary text. Beiser has little to say on political philosophy and does not address Rudolf Haym's biographical approach to philosophy (which led to Nietzsche's saying "Look at the philosopher"). Those with particular interests in Hegel, history, etc might look at Beiser's other books, as he is a diligent and productive scholar. This book gave me a livelier idea of some bulky tomes that never seem to make it to the top of my reading list.


Collected Poems (Scottish Library)
Collected Poems (Scottish Library)
by Sydney Goodsir Smith
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Braw licht frae a 20th century makar, 24 Jan. 2015
This is the collectit poems o mebbe the greatest poet of the 20th century frae my hame toun o Edinburgh. Goodsir Smith's ainly rivals for this title wad be Norman MacCaig or Robert Garioch, but tae my mind there is something reserved, stoical an owerly Latinate about MacCaig whilst Garioch's muse bides comical even whaur that doesny dae justice tae his aften serious subject matter. Sae, aye man, it's Goodsir Smith for me. The poetry is written, scriven as he wad say, in Scots, but that shouldny be tae much o a strauchle for maist fowk at hae a Scots tongue in their heids tae stert aff wi. This review should gie ye the jist o the Scots language Goodsir Smith yaises and braidens. The poems date frae the early 1940s til the 1970s and the highlicht is the sequence Under the Eildon Tree. Goodsir Smith kennt the Edinburgh o his day weel and his lyrics gie a real feel o the spirit o the days afore the restoration o the Scottish pairliament in 1999, includin the hamely, baccy stained pub culture it made its ain mony's a dreich nicht. He speaks frae the hert in a way MacCaig doesny quite achieve, for me at least, playin mair the passionate actor tae MacCaig's cool observer. He draws his approach tae womanheid frae Robert Graves' White Goddess. Mony Scottish poets syn Goodsir Smith hae abandoned Scots for English - aw-encompassin Southron - or for an informal Scots slang, makin Goodsir Smith's literary Scots aw the mair o a joy an a necessitie for the Scots speaker. Sair guid!


Edinburgh
Edinburgh
by David Daiches
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A learned local speaks out, 31 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Edinburgh (Hardcover)
I am from Edinburgh and would recommend this as one of the best books about Edinburgh's history. It goes from the origins of the town to the 20th century and covers the architecture, literature and personalities of the main eras, including the residence of the Scottish court, the Enlightenment, the era of Scott, Hogg and Cockburn and the twentieth century. The author grew up in Edinburgh and gives deeply considered summaries rather than showing off everything he knows - he also taught and wrote widely on Scottish and English literature - so the reader gets a lot of information and a good sense of things in a relatively short compass. There is also a good balance - it is not all politics, all literature and ideas, all economics or all social or Church history - but it shows how things came about in relation and that is a lesson in itself. The book was published in 1978 and the author died in 2005, but it is written in a pretty timeless style. Unfortunately the illustrations are in black and white. Daiches also wrote a similar book about Glasgow.
[This is a review of the paperback edition.]


Breaking the Spell: The Holocaust, Myth & Reality
Breaking the Spell: The Holocaust, Myth & Reality

31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars England plays revisionist catch-up, 7 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a significant - indeed, unrivalled - English contribution to revisionist literature on the holocaust. It would also work as an introduction to revisionism, but its particular strength is its engagement with primary sources in the UK, including British decrypts held as public records and library resources in London. It also discusses academic attitudes in British universities; the use of museums and publicly funded school programs to promote the view of the holocaust that revisionism questions; the state of British public opinion and the role of the press.

Kollerstrom's central original arguments are firstly that recently declassified British decrypts of reports from German concentration camps up to 1943 agree in substance with the death books for Auschwitz camp released in the 1990s in Moscow and with contemporaneous Red Cross reports about the camps, all suggesting a much lower death toll in Auschwitz in particular than presented at the Auschwitz museum. Secondly, his own collation of chemical analyses of wall scrapings from the supposed gas chambers there indicate that no homicidal gassings took place in the locations currently (2014) alleged by Auschwitz museum. In my view, these are reasonable arguments deserving of reply.

The author advises that revisionists should concentrate on such dry (alleged) facts. However, he does not heed his own advice and proceeds to discuss the social role of the holocaust in underpinning modern political and educational culture in the West by providing a vision of "absolute evil", which is then projected onto perceived challengers of Western hegemony. The argument about evil is similar to the work of (non-revisionist) American philosopher Berel Lang. Kollerstrom's arguments are interesting, though his background as a peace activist leads him to mix his speculations with his own distrust of the military-industrial complex. This will detract from his credibility in the eyes of many - mine included - though it is kept separate from the main content of the book.

It is a weakness that many of the footnotes cite secondary sources (e.g. websites), though this does not seriously affect the argument. He identifies and deals honestly with the main British academic to have engaged with revisionist arguments through the non-revisionist "holocaust controversies" website. He does not discuss the Einsatzgruppen actions on the Eastern front or the role of the BBC in forming public opinion.

As noted, the book also works as an introduction to revisionist theory, though here it has rivals in the less technical works of Carlo Mattogno and Jürgen Graf, particularly the latter's Giant with Feet of Clay (2001).
Comment Comments (48) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 10, 2015 9:29 AM BST


The War on Human Nature in Australia's Political Culture: Collected Essays
The War on Human Nature in Australia's Political Culture: Collected Essays
Price: £5.71

5.0 out of 5 stars You can show human nature out at the door, but she will find a way back in, 27 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a must read for political activists on the right. The author discusses the intellectual basis of public policy in the West in a blank slate view of the human mind increasingly at odds with progress in the biological sciences, by which the author means physical anthropology, evolutionary psychology and related disciplines. This leads to the imposition of unpopular or controversial policies in areas such as immigration and family policy. Salter considers the role of the media, business and the universities in public debate. He blames the humanities departments of universities for perpetuating egalitarian fantasies about human nature. He often focuses on Australia, but the book is a model of how to write from within one culture without losing the international reader's interest.

His basic views are that the multi-ethnic societies created by mass immigration suffer from stratification along ethnic lines and lack of public trust and hence are unstable and unpopular; and that gender roles are determined by biology to a significant degree. He concludes with a very interesting summary of the philosopher Hiram Caton's ideas on biopolitics that tries to generalize the argument.

My own feeling is that Salter's criticisms of the humanities are broadly correct. However, there is also a danger in allowing biological interpretations of social phenomena too much sway. Fundamentally the question of whether a belief is true or false is distinct from the question of whether it is biologically "functional" (and besides, current theories of functionality are fallible) and so needs to be treated separately. Salter does not go so far as to deny this, but some of his summary of Caton strays into this territory, particularly the "psychological" interpretation of positivism. The priority given to "domain general" rational considerations in the humanities is not a mistake, though it has been subverted by political agendas.

The take home point though, is that political policy made on the assumption that human behavior is infinitely malleable, rather than largely an expression of biological and genetic interests, is foolhardy and based on fashionable but implausible assumptions. This is particularly so in the case of displacement level immigration of potentially hostile populations into Western countries, as in some aspects of family policy.


Republican Party Animal : The """"Bad Boy of Holocaust History"""" Blows the Lid Off Hollywood's Secret Right-Wing Underground
Republican Party Animal : The """"Bad Boy of Holocaust History"""" Blows the Lid Off Hollywood's Secret Right-Wing Underground
by David Cole
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gap Years filled in, 30 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
David Stein recounts how he acquired the library of holocaust revisionist David McCalden in the 1980s and how private study took him to a scaled back functionalist view of the holocaust, which confined it to Aktion Reinhard (i.e. the Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Chelmo camps) and early Einsatzgruppen killings of Soviet Jews. He debated his ideas on TV with Michael Shermer, who claimed in Denying History (2000) that Stein's work did not affect the general "convergence of evidence" on the holocaust. However, Shermer was surprised that senior academics were unable to answer Stein's detailed questions. Stein expresses a dislike of "nutty" Professor Robert Faurisson, who rejects the received history outright. He points out that Faurisson's knowledge of the Einsatzgruppen issue was shown to be weak in a Canadian court case.

Stein next describes how intimidation led him to publicly recant his real views and change his name (he was formerly David Cole) in the late 1990s. He then developed a career in film editing and distribution in California based on his knowledge of World War 2 film history. He describes some irregular temporary relationships with women dazzled by the bright lights of Hollywood. His politics are broadly libertarian and neo-conservative. In the Obama years, he again developed a public profile in Republican political fundraising and networking events and through journalism. This led in April 2013 to his "outing" as David Cole the holocaust denier. He describes acutely how the story broke privately, then online, then through the Guardian Newspaper in the UK and the subsequent ostracism.

In the final section, he rises to some almost prophetic passages when he argues that American Jews are imposing a fossilised view of their history on themselves and others and that Israel's fate does not depend on rejection of his brand of holocaust revisionism. The intake of alcoholic spirits he admits to though, must be bad news for a man in his 40s. This preceded his current outcast status and is perhaps the result of a man divided against himself. The book thus ends on a cliffhanger: is it a manifesto or a suicide note? Stein perhaps underestimates the potential significance of his inadequately evaluated ideas for modern Jews.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6