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Brendan T. Baker (Dublin, Ireland)
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Lake Wobegon Days
Lake Wobegon Days
by Garrison Keillor
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Fails to Delight, 10 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Lake Wobegon Days (Paperback)
I bought this most recent copy of Lake Wobegon Days as a gift for a friend who like me has read it some years ago but had forgotten just how funny, wise and insightful it is. I am a big fan of Garrison Keillor's work and find his stories of small town America with its idiosyncracies and foibles transfer equally well to small town Ireland or virtually anywhere in the world, because he writes with great insight and wisdom about human nature and community. He is also the master of gentle humour that recognises the absurdity of some of our notions and attitudes to daily living. lake Wobegon can be read and reread time and time again, it never fails to delight.


Double Down
Double Down
by John Heilemann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving Swiftly Along, 17 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Double Down (Hardcover)
I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced account of the US Presidential Election of 2012. The authors give a detailed description of the twists and turns of the electoral cycle and in fairness it reads like an adventure story. The characters are well drawn and the authors narration of events is authentic and supported by other sources. The contest for the Republican Party nomination and the travails of Mitt Romney the eventual nominee is especially entertaining. The picture of Romney that emerges is of a far more humane and complex man than the one portrayed by the mainstream media. According to this book it would appear that the problem for Romney was that his humanity and complexity held no appeal for the Republican base, especially its Tea Party wing. There is little new in the portrait of President Obama in this book. His strengths and weaknesses are as they were in 2008 and there is no real evidence of change or evolution in his thinking and attitudes to the political process.
My main criticism of the book is that it moves swiftly along through the controversies and calamities of the election with undue haste and without sufficient reflection on the underlying causes of the various events that made this election one of the most keenly fought and bitter contests in a very long time. The scale of President Obama's victory obscures the fact that both camps had genuine reasons to fear they would lose the election and that almost to the very end the outcome was in the balance. That sense of fear and suspense is well captured in this book and for that reason I rate it highly and would recommend it as an entertaining and enjoyable read.


Life Among the Lutherans
Life Among the Lutherans
by Garrison Keillor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.51

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Familiar Treat, 28 Jun. 2011
Fans of Garrison Keillor know what to expect from his work. Life Among the Lutherans is like a familar treat, comfortable, reassuring but none the less pleasurable for that. Keillor's wry observations and gentle sense of humour never fail to lighten my mood. His style is like a favourite piece of music, it bears repeating again and again. The book is really a series of short stories with essentially the same cast of characters, but Keillor does venture some pithy comments on the role and effect of organised religion and the pressure to conform in small town America. Regular readers will not be disappointed and new readers are in for a treat.


Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing read, 20 April 2009
I bought this book to read on a recent trip to Washington DC, the location of much of the narrative. I started to read it on the plane and couldn't put it down. From the start the author sets the scene by outlining the backgrounds of the team of rivals and presents the case for President Lincoln as a political genius. I found the story utterly absorbing, full of human interest as well as weighty historical detail. It is not hagiography and the character of Lincoln is revealed in all its complexity, as are the other key actors in this drama. And it reads like a drama, a real page-turner. If only all history was as entertaining and informative!


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