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chris haydon

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The UK Trailwalker's Handbook
The UK Trailwalker's Handbook
Price: £13.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars but in my region there are a few that are not included which was an added disappointment., 27 Nov. 2014
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I succumbed to the lure of the cheaper pricing of the kindle version of this book and, in retrospect, would have preferred a paper version. The reason is that this is a reference book and although the table of contents has hyperlinks to each chapter, it would have been preferable to have an index by which you could navigate to individual walks, since there are quite a few in each regional chapter. Navigating to a particular walk is therefore awkward, and considering the advantage of hyperlinking available in an electronic book this represents a missed opportunity. Having said that the information contained is enough to outline each long-distance trail although you cannot really undertake a trail without a further detailed guide.
It should be seen therefore as a reference listing all possible trails, but in my region there are a few that are not included which was an added disappointment.


Wake up to Your Life
Wake up to Your Life
by Ken McLeod
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good handbook to a modernised vajrayana practice., 11 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Wake up to Your Life (Paperback)
I agree with other reviewers on the excellence of this work. It is not insignificant, the paperback version comprises over 450 pages, and clearly the author has a great deal of knowledge to dispense, gathered over a lifetime of practice. He offers a westernised view of vajrayana practise that is completely accessible and practicable within a modern context, but which nevertheless does not shrink from the more challenging aspects of awakening. It is a tour de force.
I am being somewhat hard in denying it a fifth star. This is not because it lacks anything in content, but writers like Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche seem able to impart a little extra poetic magic that goes beyond the intellect and cuts to the core.
KenMcLeod is a highly respected teacher and this book shows why, if I could I would give in a score of 4.5.


Another View On Whether Tibetan Buddhism Is Working In The West
Another View On Whether Tibetan Buddhism Is Working In The West
Price: £2.23

3.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile question, the answer seems to be no., 11 Feb. 2014
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This author speaks out against the often medieval mindset that accompanies much of vajrayana in the West. As a practitioner of many years standing she is certainly qualified to make these accusations and she does so in a generally restrained manner that only occasionally becomes a rant. She is not alone in holding these views and indeed I would not disagree with much of what she says. However this essay could be a bit more balanced. I find myself unwilling to totally disregard practices that involve myth and magic, which may still have a place, but perhaps require a more nuanced view than traditional blind acceptance. The essay's conclusion is that a form of Buddhism bereft of asian cultural trappings is the answer. I still feel there is an unresolved question as to where to draw the line. I sense she sides with teachers like Stephen Batchelor in wanting a fairly radical trimming. There are some teachers present and past like Chogyam Trungpa and others who have presented the principles of these teachings in a format that is more accessible to western students without discarding their tantric underpinnings. (For anyone interested in this topic David Chapman has an extensive blog on wordpress that also considers this issue, and which I recommend.) It was necessary to air this topic as a warning to anyone throwing themselves wholeheartedly into a foreign cult/ure without the necessary degree of scepticism, but I would have welcomed further evaluation of ways to take this forward.


The Wavewatcher's Companion
The Wavewatcher's Companion
by Gavin Pretor-Pinney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not at all bad.., 11 Feb. 2014
...but I have to score it average, although would give in an extra half star if that was possible. This is one of those books full of little factules that provide an interesting read that you can dip in and out of at leisure. Perhaps my problem is that due to my work and leisure interests a lot of the content was already known to me and so there were only a few surprises. Rather than a treatise on waves in the sea or even periodic waves in general, anything that has the word wave in it is considered. Thus we have tide waves, shock waves and mexican waves as well as traffic waves. It was good enough to hold my interest in at least half the book and for its price therefore I would not quibble.


Among the Multihulls: Volume Two
Among the Multihulls: Volume Two
Price: £2.21

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent., 16 Jan. 2014
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Outstandingly good read, I was unable to put it down. In this volume the author describes cruising in the northeastern seaboard, settling in Chesapeake , sailing a proa with his son Russell, revisiting Cuba, and the development of the wind rider range of small tris. However, for me, the jewels are the tales of travels in Africa, Indonesia, Central America and isolated pacific atolls in projects to help communities blighted by exhaustion of traditional boatbuilding materials and impossibly high fuel costs to replace their fishing craft and inter-island transports with affordable solutions. Not always successful, for various reasons, the author's humanity and ability to make lasting friendships shines through. More than a travelogue and autobiography there are lessons about the impact of world economics on small traditional communities that are both painful and, at the human level described in the book, heartening. Very well written, I bought I this book for the sailing content (which does not disappoint) but was surprised and moved by this other dimension. Final point, the Kindle price makes it an absolute steal.


Among the Multihulls: Volume One
Among the Multihulls: Volume One
Price: £2.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Good storyteller with an interesting story., 16 Jan. 2014
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Jim Brown should need no introduction to trimaran aficionados. This book tells of his early years and his exploits among the emerging multihull counter culture of the 60s in Southern California. He describes his early sailing background, his development as a builder and designer, and then his first extended cruise with his young family in their home-built trimaran down the Pacific coast of California and Central America, through the Panama Canal, and into the Caribbean Sea. This latter tale was truly enthralling and catalogs a carefree existence and humane interaction with the local people he met that probably now belongs to an irretrievable era. This book from an acknowledged pioneer will certainly appeal to those hooked on multihulls and the latter part provides a good yarn for a more general readership. His style is easy and relaxed with forays into quite expressive description at times. I look forward to more Jim Brown tales in volume 2! As an extra, each chapter ending in the Kindle product links to additional material on his website.


Imaging and Imagining the Fetus: The Development of Obstetric Ultrasound
Imaging and Imagining the Fetus: The Development of Obstetric Ultrasound
Price: £24.70

4.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive and authoritative, 11 Jan. 2014
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which has to be the definitive account of the birth of fetal imaging with ultrasound. I should confess that I have spent most of my career as a sonographer and was pleased to see the way the authors have not restricted themselves to the biography of Donald,Brown and others, nor to the commercial, scientific, and technical details (although these are very comprehensively covered), but have included discussions on the social impacts of the technology, and the way it not only revolutionised the practice of obstetrics, but attitudes to the status of the unborn child. There must be increasingly few people alive today who were not either scanned as a fetus, or mother to be, or participated as a partner and hence are unaffected by this discovery.

The work predominantly focuses on the activities of the Glasgow team that are considered the pioneers of ultrasound as a viable clinical modality. There were other pioneers of course and these are also covered in enough detail to provide context and due recognition. The unique strength of this book is the access the authors have had to first hand witness accounts. Indeed John Fleming was himself involved, if not in the initial invention of the technology, certainly in its development into a viable product. He was therefore directly acquainted with most of the characters. The book is liberally sprinkled with anecdotes and reflections directly from the key players in this historical episode in medical technical and clinical innovation. These give valuable insight into the processes behind the developments.

Ultrasound has proved to be another example of British technical development that has impacted greatly on modern life. It's birth at a time of changing medical and social attitudes may even have driven some of those changes as the authors suggest. Fortunately both authors have managed to capture the history and impact of these events from first hand knowledge, a privilege that sadly will soon be denied as time moves on. This work serves therefore not only as of interest for today's generation, but a valuable resource for future historians.


In the Forbidden Land An account of a journey in Tibet, capture by the Tibetan authorities, imprisonment, torture and ultimate release
In the Forbidden Land An account of a journey in Tibet, capture by the Tibetan authorities, imprisonment, torture and ultimate release
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting snapshot of a past era., 30 Jan. 2013
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Can't criticise a free book on value for money! This is a book from a different world, when British rule ran in the himalayan foothills and Sahibs had manservants and porters and judged "natives' " intelligence by the shape of their heads. Nevertheless it is fascinating for the anachronistic but still somewhat charming style and the stiff upper lip approach when facing dangers and obstacles. Also it offers a glimpse of India, Nepal and Tibet as they were before 'civilisation' encroached. Provided one is not offended by the author's attitude ( or even in one is) it makes a reasonably entertaining read.


Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late L=ama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering
Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, According to the Late L=ama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering
Price: £13.30

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting an old friend, 13 Jan. 2013
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I first owned this book as a paperback in about 1970 , and it formed part of my introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. At the time it had a great impact but eventually I chose a different path, and passed this and the other books in the series on. Now I am revisiting Buddhism and came across this and the other Evans Wentz titles as e-books and out of curiosity bought this and the Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation. In 1970 it was not clear to me what context the various texts translated in this volume had, EW and others added a lot of commentary, which was useful at the time but which now looks rather dated. Fortunately the books now have a second preface which adds a lot more context. I was surprised to realise just how much the precepts outlined in this book have guided my subsequent life, (in a positive manner). Nowadays there is a much wider range of translated material available and numerous other sources of information on Buddadharma through many traditions and lineages that have propagated to the West and therefore I would not necessarily recommend this as an introductory work. All of the tantric yogas outlined need elaboration and proper foundation practices and initiation if they are to be attempted, but as background information they make interesting reading. I hold this book in kind esteem and pay tribute to the editor and translator who were the first to make these teachings available in the English language. For me its appeal is its historical value and as a personal souvenir.


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