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Mr. Robert J. Evans "Rob Evans" (Surrey, UK)
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Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare
Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare
by Philip Short
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.74

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A DEFINITIVE HISTORY, 27 Feb 2007
Philip Short has set out to provide a pretty much definitive account of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge's rise to power and eventual fall. He has achieved great success in doing so.

`Pol Pot...' charts the rise of the Cambodian left (and Pol Pot's rise within it) from the time of the French Empire until the aftermath of Khmer Rouge tyranny and Pol Pot's eventual death in the late 1990's.

Short goes to great lengths to provide a detailed history of the decades between the crumbling of French Indo-China and the beginnings of the Khmer Rouge. He also gives a detailed account of the early lives, not only of Pol Pot (real name Saloth Sar), but also the other main players in the Khmer Rouge regime, thus giving very personal dimensions to the regime they helped create. This is set in context of the wider issues and history of the region, with particular reference to Cambodia's long-term domination, particularly by Vietnam, but also Thailand. All of this he does with finesse. Regardless of the level of detail, Short manages to engage the reader. This is not his greatest achievement though.

The real strength of his writing is in that he manages to do the seemingly impossible and present the Khmer Rouge with a human face. This he achieves through examining the peculiarities of Khmer collective psychology, the origins of the people who made up the rank and file of the Khmer Rouge, the cold logic governing their particular extremist brand of communism, and how these things drove their behaviour during their brief tenure.

Even within the communist pantheon of the 1970's, Democratic Kampuchea (as Cambodia had been renamed) remained rather an oddity and not simply because of its ideological extremism. Short discusses the influences of the French (and not Russian) revolutions, Buddhism and Pol Pot's desire at once to reclaim the `golden-age' of the Khmer civilisation (identified as the era of the Khmer empire, ruled from Angkhor Wat), usurp the Vietnamese Communists' dominance of the Cambodian revolution and cleanse the Khmer people through purgation. These factors he deftly combines to provide an overall view of Khmer Rouge ideology and how it came about. He also sheds important light on the reasoning behind the genocide committed in the killing fields and why the regime failed so quickly.

Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare, will provide the academic and lay-reader alike, with a detailed analysis of one of the twentieth Century's worst human catastrophes. Highly Recommended.


Jesus Vivio en la India / Jesus Lived in India
Jesus Vivio en la India / Jesus Lived in India
by Holger Kersten
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars INFLAMATORY, BUT COMPELLING READING, 3 Nov 2004
If this is even partially true then it will be possibly the greatest upheaval in world religion of the last 2000 years. Holger Kersten subscribes to the theory that Jesus not only spent much of his life in India, but also survived the crucifixion and returned there where he eventually died.
In short, the first part of this theory purports to explain the large gap between gospel account of his childhood and his sudden 'reappearance' some 22 years later, just prior to the crucifixion. Kersten provides considerable evidence from the Indian writings of the time, that Jesus was in fact present in India, learned and taught there and gathered something of a following. He supports this evidence by drawing strong parallels between the teachings ascribed to Jesus and the Buddhist teachings of the time and providing in depth name-by-name comparisons between Biblical place names and place names in Kashmir. He also goes on to look at Biblical descriptions of the areas involved and their uncanny resemblance to the Kashmir region.
This evidence is actually remarkably plausible and appears to have been thoroughly researched.
This second part of the theory, and no doubt the more far-fetched to most readers, is also supported by a wealth of convincing evidence. This is drawn from discrepancies in the time that Jesus is supposed to have been on the cross (very little relatively speaking), Jewish interment/burial procedures and the existence in Srinagar (Kashmir) today, of the tomb of an evidently great man (fitting Jesus' profile) who's footprints (cast into the floor in traditional style) contain two holes as if he had been crucified. Crucifixion had never been a method of execution in the Indian sub-continent.
'Jesus Lived in India' raises fascinating possibilities for non-partisan readers, but rather frightening ones for most Christians, I would imagine, bearing in mind that it is nothing short of blasphemous. This is not only because Kersten denies the authenticity of the crucifixion itself, but also because he claims that Jesus' teachings have a significant rooting in the teachings of Buddha.
If it has faults, I would say that there are times at which I thought some conclusions were drawn a little too readily from the evidence presented. I would also say that the attempt at the end to go some way to settling the nerves or Christian readers was rather futile considering that he had spent the rest of the book demolishing the fundamental basis of the Christian faith! Over all though, 'Jesus lived...' is highly readable, fascinating, and ultimately convincing - however controversial.


Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike
Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike
by Tom Mes
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE DEFINITIVE LOOK AT TAKASHI MIIKE'S FILMS, 3 Nov 2004
Tom Mes has provided an essential and comprehensive insight into one of the most exciting, innovate and prolific directors working in Japan today. 'Agitator' provides in depth reviews of all Takashi Miike's films to date written with genuine passion, but unflinching frankness. Mes does not shy away from examining the director's perplexing habit of accepting journeyman roles, working with substandard material, the results of which have not unsurprisingly been less spectacular than his more famous works such as Ichi the Killer and Audition.
The book is balanced well, providing a good overview of his origins and style, before launching into the reviews, which again are balanced well, his more influential films getting greater attention.
For anyone interested in Takashi Miike's work, 'Agitator' is THE book, bar none.


Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender
Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender
by A. Nicholas Groth
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.85

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DIFFICULT BUT FASCINATING READING, 3 Nov 2004
'Men Who Rape - the psychology of the offender' is an authoritative and in-depth look at one of the most horrifying and yet hugely misunderstood forms of criminal deviance. The text itself draws on much major research on the subject providing and accurate account of what motivates offenders and how they are subsequently grouped (anger rapists, power rapists & sadistic rapists). More importantly though, it dispels some of the most pervasive and ultimately damaging myths that surround the subject. The most prominent example being that rape does not predominantly serve a sexual need. Many rapists maintain healthy sexual relationships in a non-abusive context; yet have trouble 'performing' sexually, during a rape itself.
'Men...' looks not only at the rape of women by men, but also male rape and the female rape of men. This does not quite fit in with the title of course, but provides an interesting counterbalance to the perception that only men make sex offenders.
This is an honest appraisal of a difficult subject and consequently contains unabashed and explicit accounts from forensic files, victims and offenders alike. This means of course that it much of it is uncomfortable and ultimately disgusting reading, yet never exploitative, being as it is, an academic text.
I would recommend this book to any professional in the field, casual reader interested in what makes these people behave in the way they do (like myself), feminist (although the more radically minded might not always like what they read) and perhaps even victims of sexual violence, although I would advise caution here.


DVD Delirium Volume 2: The International Guide to Weird and Wonderful Films on DVD: v. 2
DVD Delirium Volume 2: The International Guide to Weird and Wonderful Films on DVD: v. 2
by Nathaniel Thompson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A HANDY GUIDE TO THE DISCERINING DVD BUYER, 3 Nov 2004
DVD Delirium 2 picks up were the first volume left off, providing valuable information on the lesser known genre/cult films of the world (as well as some more mainstream entries). While there still remain significant gaps (room for a 3rd volume?), DVD Delirium 2 remains undeniably important for fans of such films and a useful guide to some of the different editions of each film available.
On the whole, the reviews are informed and well written, providing thorough critical assessment. As far as I can tell, the editors have enlisted the help of numerous high calibre critics. The technical specification provided is useful, although a wider spread of disc for disc comparisons would have been desirable in some cases. I guess there are only so many DVDs anyone can watch.
With a few reservations, I think that anyone looking for good value buying DVDs would do well to invest in both volumes. I have certainly found them useful when making purchases and look forward to any further volumes in the series.


The Rorschach Assessment of Aggressive and Psychopathic Personalities (Personality & Clinical Psychology)
The Rorschach Assessment of Aggressive and Psychopathic Personalities (Personality & Clinical Psychology)
by Carl B. Gacono
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 72.12

5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling insight into Society's most terrifying people., 27 April 2004
'Rorschach, assessment...' is an in-depth study of society's most dangerousindividuals as analysed through the famous inkblot test. The subjectsinclude psychopaths (as the title suggests), people with Anti-SocialPersonality Disorder, various perpetrators of sexual homicides and morebesides.
This is an indispensable book for understanding how these subject'spersonalities are constructed and to see how they view themselves (albeitunconsciously). Authors Gacono & Meloy provide a broad psychodynamicperspective on how the various facets of each subject's character traitsfit together and valuable insight into the origins of their behaviour.Their arguments are presented methodically and supported by abundantdata.
From a layman's perspective, 'Rorschach, assessment...' is a valuable andwell researched text that would be of great benefit to anyone working withdangerous offenders as well as a fascinating read for those how simplyhave an interest in what makes these people 'tick'.


The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide (Personality & Clinical Psychology)
The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide (Personality & Clinical Psychology)
by Carl B. Gacono
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 64.23

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great all-rounder, 11 Feb 2004
‘The Clinical and Forensic Assessment…’ provides a very valuable collection of papers charting the many different issues surrounding Psychopathy (and related conditions).
Included are works that look at both adult psychopaths and developing juvenile psychopaths, covering not only the behavioural issues involved but also, the ethical dilemmas of labelling a child a psychopath. There are a wide range of discussions on psychopaths themselves which cover both central topics (emotional experiences of psychopaths) and peripheral topics (insufficient startle responses). There are also discussions on more peripheral issues such as practical advice for practitioners operating in the field, legal issues, and methods for dealing with hostage negotiations.
From a non-professional’s point of view, all the papers discussed appear to be of very high standard, both clearly argued and referenced. They make for fascinating reading and provide a well-rounded picture of the current understanding of psychopaths and how they are best dealt with in a clinical situation.
I would imagine that for a professional specialising in this field, that this would provide essential reading and sound reference material.


Pornography: Men Possessing Women
Pornography: Men Possessing Women
by Andrea Dworkin
Edition: Paperback

34 of 64 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ACADEMIC INTEREST ONLY, 26 Dec 2003
‘Pornography – Men Possessing Women’ is one of the most famous works of anti-pornography feminism. In it the author attempts to demonstrate that not only is the manufacture of pornography a form of violence against women, but also that pornography itself, as a concept is an act of violence against women.
‘Pornography…’ is at best misguided and at worst hysterical. The central argument of pornography equalling violence is derived from its being the graphic representation of male sexual dominance of women, created solely for the entertainment of men. This works only if we consider the author’s assumptions about sexuality as truth, and heir in lies the first problem.
Dworkin takes a long time to run through her stock-in-trade theory on male sexual dominance, but as in her other works, she fails to convince. The style of writing is highly emotional and full of rhetoric, what it lacks though is credibility. Pornography is described as ‘Dachau brought into the bedroom and celebrated’ and pornographers as equivalent to the Nazis. I found this not only grossly offensive to the memories of Holocaust victims, who have their suffering cheapened, but ludicrous in the extreme. Rape, and violence in general, are also similarly cheapened, rendering them meaningless.
The ‘one size fits all’ mentality (some men are bad therefore all men are bad) is simplistic and self-evidently untenable regardless of the high technical quality of the writing. I would also argue that it is contrived. During the book there are moments when women are seen to be sexually powerful. However, the author is very quick to neutralise this apparent power and return the woman in question to a position of victim hood. Women are simply not allowed to have power. On a different note, there are obvious allusions to serial child killer Ian Brady although he is never mentioned by name. At no point does she ever mention his female accomplice Myra Hindley. The reference made is to a killer (singular). It would not suit to have a woman involved in child killing. It just would not fit the theory.
The second problem is that there is little to actually back up the argument about the nature of pornography itself. The author relies on very selective evidence to back up her claims. The examples of pornography studied in depth are of the variety that obviously puts women in a position of subservience. Pornography, were women are put on an even footing with their male counterparts is conspicuous by its absence. Female dominance is certainly ignored, with the brief exception of a reference to male masochism, where male submission is turned into male dominance by proxy. This does not come as a surprise. Curiously though, she seems to revel in the most graphic descriptions of the sex on display.
Hard evidence of actual physical abuse in the porn industry is to all intents and purposes non-existent. This is strange. I would have expected that the allegations made by Linda Lovelace and the handful of other women who have publicly claimed abuse would have been central. Instead, the arguments remain theoretical and the perceived abuse intangible. I strongly suspect in the first instance that the sheer lack of mass accusation would have thrown her argument out of the window. Some women may well have suffered abuse in the porn industry, but many evidently did not and moved on into production in their later years. In the second instance the theoretical argument of pornography equalling violence was the obvious option because it could be argued against but not actually dismissed with hard evidence.
Looking back from 2003, ‘Pornography…’ is dated. This is to be expected of course, but when the modern porn industry is looked at in the context of this book, its argument finally collapses like a house of cards. We live in an age, where women are fast becoming the prime movers in the porn industry and increasingly able to control their own product. We also live in an age where young hopefuls are practically battering down the doors of the porn manufacturers in California – at their own free will. Pornographers are increasingly aware that the gender demographics of their industry have changed and that a large chunk of their market is now female. The co-proprietor of a major fetish website in the US recently went on national television in the UK and stated that getting on for half of his, and his wife’s subscribers were women. Ironically, this is probably a result of changing sexual identities brought on by decades of feminism. According to Dworkin though, fetishism is a male preserve.
There have been and no doubt still are women abused by pornographers around the world. This does not make pornography itself an act of violence though. Neither does it mean that the production of pornography is inherently abusive. It simply highlights the need to regulation, as is found for example, in the USA. It is all in how it is made.
There is a very telling entry in an extract of the article ‘On the writing of Pornography: Men Possessing Women’, (appearing at the end of the book) which sums up the author’s approach perfectly. In this she tells in emotive terms of how of her friends’ nerves could not even stand the glimpses they got of the pornographic source material she was researching for the book. On reading this I could only conclude that this was at best, a matter of emotional hypersensitivity, and at worst, a cynical attempt at making this material out to be far worse than it actually was. Either way, it did her argument no favours.
‘Pornography…’ is primarily redundant and should be read for academic interest only.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2010 2:43 AM GMT


Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
by Robert D. Hare
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.11

102 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and indispensible insight, 2 Oct 2003
Robert Hare has delivered a fascinating insight into the terrifying world of the psychopath. Without Conscience is aimed at the layperson, as opposed to the academic, and is pitched perfectly. It is detailed enough to properly explain and simple enough to be intelligible to the average reader.
A concise background to the condition sets the scene before the main traits of the psychopath are revealed and explained along with pertinent anecdotes to demonstrate how these traits operate in practice. Hare also explores psychopathy in children and young adults, charting their development to adulthood as well as the pernicious influence of non-criminal psychopaths in the workplace.
This book is of particular importance because it brings the danger of psychopaths to the everyday reader who may well suffer at their hands in future, if they have not already. It appears that the public are largely ignorant to the extent of the threat posed by psychopaths because of ignorance to what a psychopath is, how many of them are out there and their incredible ability to appear to be what they are not.
Hare provides some strategies to combat the effect of psychopaths at close hand. While less than cast-iron (due to the nature of the disorder, not Hare’s writing) they might provide some assistance to people trying to cope with, or escape from one.
Hare goes on to mention how research is developing strategies to limit the negative behaviour of psychopaths. I look forward to reading the results in years to come.
A highly recommended read for anyone looking for a beginners insight to psychopathy or has been victimised by a psychopath.


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