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Profile for J. Baerselman > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
J. Baerselman "Jim Baerselman" (Southampton, Hants United Kingdom)

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Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years
Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years
by Jared M. Diamond
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History, a helicopter view, 19 Nov. 2006
If you've developed a recent interest in history, but you're finding some difficulty fitting together all the pieces you're discovering, this book is for you. Jared Diamond quite simply, and with easily remembered logic, explains how the world was populated. This, of course, is the background to history.

This 'big picture' is something sadly missing in much teaching. Going straight into the detail of some era or event seems to me a bit like studying the pixels on a jigsaw piece in the wild hope you'll, in time, discover the picture. Read Jared Diamond instead. Once you've seen the big picture, the jigsaw puzzle of history is much easier to understand.

Within the book he does repeat himself. His editors should have picked that up, but for me, that loses the book one star. But my study of history has been given an enormous boost of confidence.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 10, 2009 2:17 AM BST

Book Of Silk
Book Of Silk
Offered by usnap
Price: £28.73

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Country? Jazz? Certainly eclectic! And fun., 28 Oct. 2006
This review is from: Book Of Silk (Audio CD)
An extraordinary range of tracks touching so many genres you can't classify them. I suppose jazzy at heart, but without percussion (except on track 3) since the rythms are strong. Maybe country as well, since Dobro, accordion, marxaphone all feature from time to time. The musical lines are clear, often with unusual harmonies and key changes. Great variety and some superb musicianship together provide an enlightening experience, showing that approachable and interesting sounds can be created from lively imaginations which aren't constrained by cleaving to one or another style of music.

There's humour here too. I mean, who else would have thought of leading a strong rythm track with a tuba?

For me, this was a great education into the possible . . .

The Rhythm Section
The Rhythm Section
by Mark Burnell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A handbook for 9/11? Before the event?, 3 Feb. 2006
This review is from: The Rhythm Section (Paperback)
This thriller is astonishing. Published in 1999, the book describes (as background) a terrorist organisation and a sequence of events that are so so close to 9/11 that they could almost be described as Osama bin Laden's handbook. We're only just catching up with what this author foretold before the event. His analysis of terrorist training and motivation could have been written yesterday. It's a good thriller too, with characters much better drawn than usual in the genre, and a fine display of the differences between love and lust. I look forward to reading the rest of Mark Burnell's four books. If they're all researched like this one, I have a lot to learn.

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