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C. J. Boorman "Clive" (Reading, UK)
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Finding George Orwell in Burma
Finding George Orwell in Burma
by Emma Larkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an eye opener, 23 Jun 2014
Having decided to travel to Burma (Myanmar); and armed with an interest in George Orwell, this book fell into my lap as a book by an unknown author (to me) that might be worth reading. As a travellogue alone it is a fascinating journey into a land closed off to western travellers for a number of years. My little knowledge of Burma gleaned from war history and travel guides was out of date and patchy at best. Travel guides are full of pro Burma propaganda (a Paradise road from Rangoon to Mandalay type of rubbish.. or a Buddhist heaven on earth with lovely smiley happy people where everything is fine) and says nothing about life in Burma. I knew nothing about the ethnic cleansing, systematic rape of its non-burmese burmese citizens (like the Rhohinga) by the army and police force... Its suppression of peaceful protests.. its imprisonment of thousands of Buddhist monks who protested against the brutality of the government by refusing to bless weddings in 1988 (and the like) of pro government individuals. I'm glad I did because this book may not tell the whole truth, which is far worse than these scattered anecdotes, but it is an in road into the world that George Orwell found himself in as Eric Blair and how the brutality of his role in the British Empire broke his mental jingoistic bubble and fed into his dystopian novels. It was an eye opener filling in the gap between the end of Burma's brutal imperialistic past and the modern equivalent which forces individuals into slavery (forced labour) to build roads and infrastructures or carry equipment for the army (like they had to do for the British). Men are beaten regularly and women are raped regularly. Little of this is in the book.. but hearing the voices of the scared tea shop passersby, from someone who can speak the language, is an eyeopener to a side of Myanmar the tourist would have little access to on their guided tours. The fact that history and education is being erased along with place-names and whole ethnic groups, with the backing of a government controlled buddhist order, is a totally different slant than the regular tour guides. Visiting Cambodia with no reference to Pol Pot.. or Vietnam with no reference to Ho Chi Mhin.. is to be blinkered and ignorant of the darker side to Buddhism and the reaction of indochinese/eurasians to western interference in their cultural heritage. This book keeps to the scared voices of individuals who would flee Burma but would prefer a better homeland future.. more integrated to the rest of the world. Recent events show the country has a long way to go and an unwilling government concerning change. It's 3 years out of date but little has improved and whole areas are closed off from UN or Amnesty observers so we are limited to the stories from refugee camps filled with families fleeing persecution in Thailand and the border with Bangladesh. There are better Orwell biographies, no doubt.. (Hitchens book might be a good place for addressing that issue).. and more useful political critiques (Aung San Suu Kyi.. maybe) but as a journey book through what's left of Orwell's Burma it is invaluable. Orwell's Burma no longer exists.. thankfully.. but what has replaced it is no bed of roses either.. and this was a good place to start shattering my illusions. The tourist rarely sees the truth that living in a country brings and has to rely on the voices of those who have. Looking forward to 'Everything is broken'.


Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists
Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists
Price: £6.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for me.. the final nail in gods coffin, 27 Jun 2013
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I don't know if this is everyones perception.. but for me this was groundbreaking. I have read the God Delusion.. the works of Bart Ehrman.. Nieztsche and Michael Shermer (the believing brain) ..but this book transformed my life. Autobiographical in scope this book is a journey from deeply held evangelical 'spiritual' faith to atheism. It was the the affirmation of the thought processes.. inspired by other authors.. and the last nail in the coffin of my faith (in the idea of god or a spiritual realm). Having heard the voice of god and spoken in tongues.. these 'feelings' and 'spiritual gifts' were the last remnants of an intellectually dead faith. This book led me from doubt about reconciliation (or being weird and alone) to the realisation that my delusion was shared by many. To hear his decription of the realisation that his conversations with god were all in his mind and that the spiritual remnants remained even in the absence of belief.. enable me to admit to myself that I was already an atheist and to ignore the remnant echoes of a delusional relationship with my own mind (labelled god in my imaginary world view). It is a shared personal experience for me (though I wasn't an evangelical preacher as this guy was). I highly recommend it to those of an evangelical or charismatic christian background.. especially those who just can't accept the so called proofs, reasons and evidences anymore. Other readers will probably not relate to the theology or the emotions or the depth of commitment. ..but for me it will be as precious as 'finding Darwins God' was. His reasoning is clear and well presented even if you can't agree with his stand. I for one will look upon him as my non-spiritual mentor that led me to peace of mind.. took me where the God delusion never could.


Koran Curious - a guide for infidels and believers
Koran Curious - a guide for infidels and believers
Price: £1.49

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars from the man who wrote 'God(Allah) hates you, hate him back', 27 Jun 2013
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What a disappointment this book was.. It was poor in every department. A soft soap liberal 'Islam is a religion of Peace' apology. Considering how brutal his critique of God was in his other book.. this was patheic and cowardly in the extreme. If you want a review of Islam or the Koran there are too many which surpass this both in support and in critique. This book is not a critique at all.. it is an apology. It defends Mohammed and the Koran as misunderstood by those of the Islamic faith and those outside it. The misunderstandings are always someone elses fault.. not Mohammed... It was his followers or interpreters who are blamed. In his 'God hates you..' book - which is anti-christian and anti-Judaism - he attacks the vision of God portrayed in the pages... book by book. Here he comes across as a liberal Muslim who wants to portray Mohammed, god and the Koran in a good light. His Sura by Sura review is generally childish note taking. The only good bit was the review of Mohammeds life. 'Lifting the Veil' (I.Q. Al Rassooli ) and 'why I am not a muslim' (Ibn Warraq) are far better critiques. There are many better reviews/introductions to Islam and there are easily much better Koran reviews than his short handed, one phrase, summaries of verses of the Suras. To say I am disappointed is the understatement of my life. I was a christian when I read his 'god hates you'.. with an indepth understanding of the bible from cover to cover and its historical and lingistic background.. and I felt his review though harsh was funny and occassionally enlightening (this book doesn't even have these redeeming factors). I have read the Koran. Compared to the Old Testament it fails to engage the reader except with the constant threats of hell for unbelievers. It totally misunderstands both Judaism and Christianity (based no doubt on Mohammeds experiences of the sects of those religions he bumped into) and it has some dubious sources for its stories in the Suras (for the same reason). It needed a thorough review from someone with a good understanding.. going into the background and the sources of the Suras. It failed to do even this relatively simple thing.. which an adequate Muslim scholar could do. I have read much better introductions. His excuse for not criticising Islam in 'God hates you..' was that he was afraid of the reaction of muslims who might kill him. He has nothing to fear after this book. If I hadn't read his other book I would have assumed he was a liberal muslim with Sunni leanings rather than an apostate and an atheist which he implies in 'God hates you'. His hatred of the god of Judaism and christianity looks pointed when reviewed alongside this apology for the God of Islam. A 'submit to Allah he's not all bad' type book with a hint of Mohammed the misunderstood messenger.. who preached peace and equality but was badly portrayed outside the faithful. I get his point but the book is pathetic and not worth reading. It's not funny and it's not clever.


God Hates You, Hate Him Back: Making Sense of The Bible
God Hates You, Hate Him Back: Making Sense of The Bible
Price: £1.83

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant critique of christianity and its source book., 27 Jun 2013
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Harsh to brutal attack/critique of the Bible. The author gets away with his juvenile interpretations because of the humour. Points out the many flaws in the Bible and how it has been misused over the last two thousand years. Attacks god at the source and portrays him as an evil tyrrant dreamed up in the hearts of twisted humans. I enjoyed reading it with my daughter.. the running body count was a good touch and the relevant quotes were enlightening. Thoroughly enjoyed it after reading Ehrman it was a plesant change.


Whose Word is it?: The Story Behind Who Changed The New Testament and Why
Whose Word is it?: The Story Behind Who Changed The New Testament and Why
by Bart D. Ehrman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.05

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will the real historical 'word' please stand up, 7 Aug 2010
What a brilliant little book.. Here is a seriously talented biblical scholar, of international repute, explaining how to read the biblical text using your brain. He explains the various forms of critical thinking about the extant texts and gives his opinions. You may not agree with everything, but unless you've read the original texts in their original languages your opinion carries little weight. It's a good introduction to the forms of biblical criticism from a neutral/agnostic historical point of view. 'Jesus interupted' is probably better but there is some overlap between these books.


Studying the Synoptic Gospels
Studying the Synoptic Gospels
by E. P. Sanders
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good 'how to study' textbook.., 7 Aug 2010
I found this book very useful for explaining the different forms of critical (or in depth and accurate) study of the synoptic gospels in parallel. It lays out the groundwork for critical thinking on this obviously emmotive subject. It is not designed to tell you about the characters or subject matter (there are many other books on that subject from various biased viewpoints). The book aims to give the reader the basic tools for assessing the details (and forming a viewpoint)for themselves. Its opinions are guarded and fair without pandering to any faith position in particular. The explanations for the various critical methods of assessing the texts in relation to one another is informative and enlightening. It is a study book for serious students of new testament theology. I would highly recommend it for those who wish to see beyond the rhetoric and dogmatic positions to the primary source texts. Preformed opinions are rarely affected by reason or critical thought processes so if you're against freedom of thought you probably wont like it. If I have a slight 'criticism' it would only be that it seemed too easy to read.. I was surprised that a textbook at this level would be so.


Tommy Cooper's Half Hours [DVD]
Tommy Cooper's Half Hours [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tommy Cooper
Offered by NetsavesUK
Price: £4.50

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars tommy coopers 5 mins, 13 Mar 2008
I didn't remember how poor itv was during the 70's til I saw this dvd. song and dance routines by amature acts interspersed with the odd moment of Genius from Tommy Cooper. 5 minutes of fun and 15 minutes of torture per episode... it's too much pain and not enough fun here. Not worth buying.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 14, 2008 8:27 AM GMT


The Problems of Evolution (OPUS)
The Problems of Evolution (OPUS)
by Mark Ridley
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars concise treatment of the theory of evolution, 4 Nov 2007
This book is an excellent short introduction to the problems of evolution theory. M. Ridley introduces each problem and then dismisses or resolves each one with clarity and simplicity. this is a much better approach to the problems of evolution than 'icons of evolution' or 'evolution a theory in crisis'. I'd recommend this to anyone studying biology at any level to help clarify the theory of evolution and its explanatory strengths by highlighting the perceived weaknesses.


Darwin's Black Box: Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
Darwin's Black Box: Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
by Michael J. Behe
Edition: Paperback

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Irreducible complexity?, 13 April 2007
Irreducible complexity is the central idea of the book. for a system to evolve it needs to be functional every step of the way. For an organism to survive it needs some fundamental parts. Behe argues that some biological systems can be reduced to a few basic components and no further. So how did they evolve? An interesting question scientists are trying to answer. A non-scientist will stop critical thinking here and say therefore God.. I enjoyed it but science doesn't stop where Behe did in this book.


Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life
Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life
by Alister E. McGrath
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.55

33 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better book than Dawkins' delusion, 13 April 2007
This critique of Dawkins' arguments are directed towards his reasoning and philosophical standpoint. This book is never critical of the science or the author in his field of excellence (evolutionary biology) just the extrapolations that Dawkins' makes from his assumptions. This is the book I would have wrote to explain why even as an evolutionary biologist I dislike Dawkins' approach to the subjects outside his field. We all have our opinions about things outside our field but we are not all experts in every field. Theology, Psychology, Philosophy and Sociology are not Dawkins' strong points and this book points out why. Dawkins often oversteps the mark in his criticisms because controversy sells. This is a fair critique of his work.


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