Profile for Alan Holman > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Alan Holman
Top Reviewer Ranking: 135,923
Helpful Votes: 61

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Alan Holman (Sydney Australia)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians
Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians
Price: £4.68

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well documented work by two excellent authors, 24 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another well documented work by two excellent authors of great intellect. These types of books should be in all our libraries and schools to ensure that more people get better acquainted with the realities of the Middle East. The abuse of the Palestinian people has gone on for decades and the average westerner seems to know little more than the a few ‘well-worn’ sound bites the media spoon feeds them. This is especially true of the American media. The duplicity of values in reporting conflicts in the Middle East is staggering. To say or believe that an ethnically cleansed and brutally occupied people are not allowed to defend themselves against an apartheid regime is ridiculous.

Unfortunately for the Palestinians, the United Nations is a gutless organisation that fails to defend them against Israel’s contempt of the Geneva Conventions and breaches of UN resolutions. The UN just makes a few idle threats about holding Israel responsible for war crimes. These invariably diminish with time or get blocked by the American veto.

We owe a special thanks to the authors of this book for their courage in reporting the truth.


A Brilliant Little Operation: The Cockleshell Heroes and the Most Courageous Raid of World War 2
A Brilliant Little Operation: The Cockleshell Heroes and the Most Courageous Raid of World War 2
by Paddy Ashdown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, well researched and hard to put down, 5 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very brave team from ‘Britain’s finest’ that truly deserves a place in British military history.
When I read the objective of the mission and the conditions under which they were to operate, I couldn’t help thinking that the odds of success were minimal and this was another ‘Bridge too far’ type of operation.

To be launched from a submarine, off a heavily guarded coast in freezing weather, with the most basic of survival equipment, was really pushing their luck. They had to penetrate deep into enemy territory with their overloaded flimsy canoes in the middle of winter. Furthermore they had to sleep eat and live in their canoes whilst remaining soaking wet throughout the mission. Back up or support was out of the question.

The success of the mission can be largely attributed to the leadership skills of Hasler combined with the courage, stamina and discipline of his men. Hasler had the unique advantage of small boat experience and sleeping under the stars from an early age. I almost believe he relished the opportunity to conduct this type of mission.

Having kayaked thousands of miles myself through some of the remotest places on earth I would not change places with these guys. Most of my kayaking has been is tropical areas where being wet and sleeping on river banks is more tolerable. With an abundance of sunshine, drying clothes was seldom a problem. I’ve slept in swamps and very uncomfortable places but this in no way compares with what Hasler’s team had to put up with. The occasional death threats to me were usually in the form of wild animals or violent river conditions. However, apart from the harsh living conditions Hasler’s team lived under, the constant threat of a bullet in the back of the neck must have been there. And of course the threats didn’t end with the canoeing mission. They had to get all the way to Spain, living on a shoe string, with the firing squads hunting them down. It’s not altogether surprising that only 2 of the team finally got through to safety.

It was good to read about the post war follow up trips to France to thank all those involved. Some of the resistance fighters and their families paid the ultimate price for providing food and accommodation to the team. We must carve their names with pride.


Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End
Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End
by Norman G. Finkelstein
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Another well researched book from Norman Finkelstein, 27 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It’s not just the American Jewish community that’s turning its back on Israel. The entire world has tired of this apartheid regime and its endless excuses for committing atrocities against the Palestinians and adjacent countries. Even Israelis, ‘including those who served in the military’ are disillusioned by what they’ve been led to believe, ‘and in some cases’ what they’ve been involved in.

The world now asks ‘how was it possible for the Israelis to get away with the myth of ‘a land without people and a people without land’? The history of Palestine is well known and dates back thousands of years. It was part of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years, the Crusaders and Napoleonic armies were there, and finally it was put under the British Mandate from 1923-1948. The demographics of the area were well known.

Like many Western people during 1960’s & 70’s, I travelled a lot to see how other people lived. I visited communist countries and other dictatorships and took great pride in the fact that I lived in a democracy. I erroneously believed that I knew the truth about the world both past and present. If Israel was ever discussed the majority opinion was always in their favour. The standard response was invariably ‘there was nothing there, they made the desert bloom’. How could we get it so wrong for so long? How was it possible to get away with the myth of ‘a land without people and a people without land’?

It was of course a question of who controlled the mass media and consequently the propaganda machine of the time. The mass media of the day were predominantly controlled by the Western powers and somehow they erroneously believed that knowledge about certain events ‘like the ethnic cleansing of Palestine’ were little known and would fade with time.

However, we have now entered the age of mass communications where even the smallest child can record events on their mobile phone camera. The mass media now has a lot of embarrassing questions to answer. Long suppressed voices and unrecorded events have surfaced much to their embarrassment and to that of the belligerents involved.

We also owe a great debt to authors like Ilan Pappe, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Jonathan cook, Shlomo Sand and John Mearsheimer for their courage in exposing the truth.

The Palestinians will eventually get their land back but the decades of Israeli atrocities will not be forgiven. American foreign policy will also pay a price for decades of unconditional support of a brutal apartheid regime. Respect for the neocons will be about as low as that for the Klu Klux Klan.

Many Israelis are now embarrassed by what their country has done and are thinking about their next move. They often mention the special relationships and historic family connections they have with other countries. They don’t seem to understand that the system has been milked to the limit and times have changed. As Norman Finkelstein points out ‘the world knows too much’. It has also seen too much to have any respect for apartheid regimes. There will be no more open arms welcomes like there was in the 1940’s.


A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE
A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE
by Sarah Helm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of good research but things get a bit drawn out and repetitive in places, 22 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A lot of good research done, but things get a bit drawn out and repetitive in places.

It was nice to know that Vera Atkins made a determined effort to trace the fate of the brave agents she sent into occupied Europe. However there’s a strong sense that her efforts were used to cover her own ‘and the Baker Street Teams’ ass for their incompetence.

MI6 never trusted this organisation from the outset and considered them to be imposing on their territory. One would initially put this down to jealousy of a rival organisation. However after dropping agents into occupied territory, and then reminding them via radio communication that they had forgotten to include the security check in their messages was unthinkable. Agents had been trained to omit the security check from their messages if they had been captured and/or were being ‘controlled’.

The Gestapo had a field day thereafter with whole networks compromised and under their control. Apart from the drawn out suffering and ultimate deaths of the brave agents, the cost of resources and risks of dropping equipment to this ‘controlled outfit’ must have been astronomical.

The remarkable revelations in this book have raised many questions. Was Vera Atkins knowingly sending these agents to their deaths as part of a greater master plan? Can we think the unthinkable that the Baker Street organisation was providing the agents with misinformation knowing that they would reveal it under interrogation? Could a normal person intentionally send patriotic heroes to a horrific death?

Looking at the total picture it’s possible that some of the Baker Street Team received medals from the wrong side, I think we still have much to learn.


A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West Is Wrong About Nuclear Iran (Kindle Single)
A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West Is Wrong About Nuclear Iran (Kindle Single)
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate and to the point, 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The book size is nice for travelling and it’s refreshing to hear something truthful about Iran for a change. It should be compulsory reading for all western politicians before they drag us into another illegal war.


The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy
The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy
by John J Mearsheimer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and well written. Books like this are rare and the public needs more of them., 10 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If the average American taxpayer knew the full story of where their taxes were going, they'd put a lot more pressure on their government.

America has its priorities wrong when hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans are sleeping on the streets and their government is giving aid to an apartheid state for developing weapons and building illegal settlements. Furthermore, that same apartheid state is dragging America into illegal Wars that have nothing to do with American security.

The neocons and Israeli lobbies are running American foreign policy and that puts America on a very dangerous path.

I was pleased to read that most ordinary Jews in America did not support the Iraq war. However I'd like to know why they were not more vocal about it? Why the deafening silence? I don't recall any street marches.

Why were they not flooding the neocons and Lobbies with letters, emails and telephone calls as they do to everything else they don't agree with?

I think it's time they showed America where their allegiances lay. Is it with the country that welcomed them with open arms at the end of WW2? Or is it with the apartheid state that's spent the last 60 years ethnically cleansing Palestine?

The attacks on the education system are deplorable. It's inexcusable when highly respected intellectuals are labeled as anti-Semitic for doing nothing more than telling the truth. What has character assassination and career wrecking go to do with democracy?

The world has tired of the anti Semitic label being applied to everything that doesn't suit Israel. The Israeli Lobby represents an apartheid state that should not be given a platform in the United States. It's a sorry state of affairs when most of their speakers get more standing ovations than Stalin did.


Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East
Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East
by Jonathan Cook
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £49.23

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and well written, 18 Nov 2011
If this type of material was better available in the western education systems, the neocons and their allies would have a harder time using their sound bites like `axis of evil' and `weapons of mass destruction' to rally the troops.

All too often, well meaning, poorly educated and ill-informed patriots rally to the flag to fight wars in places they couldn't even find on a map just a few weeks before.

Only after countless thousands are killed or maimed, and millions displaced, do they ask themselves `what the hell am I doing here anyway'? All too late the neocon's intentions are exposed and the returning patriots receive less than a hero's welcome.

During the 1990's the neocons would have us believe that Iranian woman were getting their faces slashed by razors for wearing lipstick in public places. I was in Tehran during the 90's and noted the high percentage of woman wearing lipstick. In fact it was quiet pleasant to take an evening stroll around the city parks and watch the families chatting, having an Ice cream and generally enjoying themselves. Just a decade earlier America had backed `good old boy' Saddam Hussein to murder hundreds of thousands of Iranians in a proxy war that included the use of chemical weapons.

More recently during the Medicare debates, one neocon advised that `Americans didn't need a medical care system like Britain or North Korea'. Exactly who was the target audience here? Is it possible to find any Americans that would believe the upmarket `cradle to grave' medical systems available in Britain (and most Western countries) are even vaguely similar to those in North Korea? These neocons must be fishing for dummies


The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering
The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering
by Norman G. Finkelstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, 16 Feb 2010
Nobody is better qualified to write this book than Norman Finkelstein. Both his parents were `authentic' survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto and associated concentration camps. It is therefore no surprise that he is deeply angered by the unbridled and unjust greed of the holocaust industry.

What I found most remarkable was his mother's ability not to criticize or seek revenge, but to compare her suffering to that of the indigenous Americans, African Americans and the Palestinians. She concludes that `we are all holocaust victims'. This obviously had a strong influence on Norman Finkelstein's values.

There are few people in the world today that would deny the holocaust. However, legislating the holocaust as a fact of history provided the holocaust industry with a bandwagon to throw anything and everything on. And to question any part of it provided the holocaust Industry with an opportunity to put you in the `holocaust denier' category.

Books were written by phony holocaust survivors of their horrific experiences. The books were highly acclaimed in book reviews, awarded prizes and accepted as truth by publishing houses and universities. Massive claims against Swiss banks and European companies were made using blackmail rather than evidence. And sixty years after the war there are more holocaust survivors than there was at the end of the war

Norman Finkelstein was the child of real holocaust survivors and I'm not surprised by his anger. His excellent well researched book should be in all our libraries and universities.


The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
by Ilan Pappe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.59

34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, 7 May 2008
It took courage to write this book and puts Ilan Pappe in the same category as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn lived in a different time and place; however his exposure of an unjust system with a manipulated history had significant impact on changing it.

During the past century a number of milestones have been put in place including the formation of the League of Nations, the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions. These define the standards to which we are expected to adhere (or be judged by) in both peace and war. We cannot compare what was acceptable behaviour in biblical times, ancient empires or the middle ages with a 20th Century ethnic cleansing.

If Pappe's book contributes towards peace in the Middle East through truth and reconciliation, then may history remember him well. He will have achieved what the United Nations and the world's leading superpower failed to do.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2009 4:07 PM BST


Page: 1