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quinny "quinny" (Bournemouth, Dorset United Kingdom)

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I Am Spock
I Am Spock
by Leonard Nimoy
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight into the Star Trek industry and the life of a truly accomplished actor, 9 Sept. 2006
This review is from: I Am Spock (Hardcover)
If I mention the name Leonard Nimoy the first thing to probably pass through your mind is the inimitable Mr Spock, the archetypal Vulcan, science officer and close friend of Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. After reading this book, you realise that Nimoy is more than the eponymous Spock, but a highly trained and experienced actor with a unique insight into the background workings of the Star Trek franchise.

This book is an apology to his previous work "I am not Spock", which was a reaction to the automatic association he had with the Vulcan. Twenty years later, a little wiser and more compassionate to his Star Trek fans, Nimoy has come to embrace his alter-ego as a construction of his own internal landscape and Star Trek's scriptwriters.

His book describes the relationships he had with his co-stars, Gene Roddenberry, the movie directors, the Star Trek community and throws light on the mechanics and negotiations that precede the making of a Star Trek movie. Surprisingly, there's also a lot about his stage appearances and his pre-StarTrek movie career.

More than a book about Spock, his incarnation and personality, it's a book about an actor's craft and dedication and the twists and turns of a successful movie career. Nimoy describes his shift in gear from being in front of the camera to being behind one, as director, with all the difficulties and management it entails.

I Am Spock has given me a new appreciation for an internationally recognised actor, but also a family-man, and a person of depth, wisdom and compassion.

Legion of the Lost: The True Experience of an American in the French Foreign Legion
Legion of the Lost: The True Experience of an American in the French Foreign Legion
by Jaime Salazar
Edition: Hardcover

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A portrayal of a brutal training regime, 9 Sept. 2006
Legion of the Lost differs from most other books about the FFL in that it doesn't have any content about actual combat. Jaime Salazar's experience is one of the legion during training, and captures well the aimlessness with which so many of the world's modern armies (Israel excluded) now seethe. In a world that was once gripped by wars and localised conflicts, the "new world order" is one that breeds aimless soldiers.

Salazar gives a potrayal of a bestial, brutal regime that strips the romance surrounding the FFL. Surprisingly though, Salazar's book is a loving homage to the legion that he loved and wanted to honour. His observations could be mistaken as complaints, however Salazar is clear about his commitment to the Legion; and equally clear about the Legion's lack of commitment to its own men: the hard beatings, Spartan brutality used to anneal the men into the kind of killers that France needs to do its international dirty-work, his descent from civilised human being into a hard-drinking, hard-sexing beast that's always skirting the edges of trouble. Salazar describes the neglect which underpins so much of the FFL, despite their promises of adventure and camaraderie: equipment is old hand-me-downs from the conventional army and legionairre recruits are forced to undergo training with sub-standard kit, facing hard-beatings and cruelty if they don't perform to standard. The high-standard kit is for sale - by the corrupt NCO's who charge a high premium. The FFL may be an admired fighting force, but it will never match the effectiveness in terms of unit-cohesion and tactical teamwork and survival rates, because at least modern armies (while undergoing hard training regimes) know how to build their recruits up and steer their recruits through encouragement as well as harsh discipline. Salazar describes the FFL's NCO's as being, in the main, psychopaths who know how to tear down, but not build up.

Salazar's book is a brutally honest look at a fighting force surrounded by myth and mystery - a book that strips away the romance only to reveal the myth and mystery truly does exist, but in a more severe and embittered incarnation.

Salazar describes his own blazing determination to earn his Kepi Blanc, the hardship he endured, the unnecessary brutality and bizarre camaraderie, the fragmentation of ethnic groups within the FFL; but also the pride and love he took in being a legionnaire and his own confused descent into identity-crisis as the FFL finally breaks him.

His work describes the Legion as an abusive parent - one that administers unrelenting discipline and refuses to give love.

The pain and loss Salazar feels when rejected by the Legion he so longed to be a part of oozes like tears from the pages of the book.

You get a clear sense that if you were to meet this man in person, you'd find someone forever changed by the Legion, caught in a limbo of love-hate, unable to decide which way to go. Sadly, I think his condition is probably representative of many who've been in the Legion.

To End All Wars [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
To End All Wars [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by M and N Media US
Price: £32.65

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and challenging, 1 Mar. 2005
An excellent movie that depicts man's capacity for inhumanity and the Christian morals practiced by the POW's that both bewildered and shamed their Japanese captors. In spite of the film's ethical slant, it ranks alongside the best war films.

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