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Faithfull SAMES Samurai Edging Shear Telescopic
Faithfull SAMES Samurai Edging Shear Telescopic
Offered by ITF UK
Price: £27.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 July 2014
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Excellent value for a reasonable cost. Works exactly as I need it to.


GLASEA® 50cm Garden Power Pruner Pruning Cutter Shear Lop Lopper Soft Grip
GLASEA® 50cm Garden Power Pruner Pruning Cutter Shear Lop Lopper Soft Grip
Offered by IPCameraWorld
Price: £5.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 July 2014
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Great value for the cost.


The New Emperors: Power and the Princelings in China
The New Emperors: Power and the Princelings in China
by Kerry Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good analysis, 20 July 2014
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Kerry Brown is one of the best analysts we have who write about current events in China. The title of this book (Princelings) seems to carry a derogatory tone but in fact it does not. Its a realistic look at how networking and family connections work within a very complex society in which the biggest business company in the world - the CCP - has a monopoly on national political power. In some ways, the way things work in China seem very similar to the systems in the West that produce Kennedys and Bushs in succeeding generations or, in the UK, the conveyor belt of old Etonians (perennially privileged private schoolboys) into government. In other ways they definitely do not and it is here that Brown's analysis is truly valuable.


Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe (Kingfisher field guides)
Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe (Kingfisher field guides)
by D.A. Sutton
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and miss guide, 20 July 2014
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If you know the family to which the plant you are trying to identify belongs, the classification system employed in the book will be useful. If you do not know, because you are a layman and have never seen the plant before, you will find it useless. Classification by colour of petals or some other prominent feature would have been more help. Sitting in front of me now are five wild flower / weeds that I collected this morning, I have looked on every page of this book and have failed to find a match for any of them.On the plus side, I have been able to identify about 20 wild flowers using this guide so it is not completely useless.


In My Brother's Shadow: A Life and Death in the SS
In My Brother's Shadow: A Life and Death in the SS
by Uwe Timm
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and moving autobiographical story, 29 Jan 2014
This is about Uwe Timm, the death of his older brother in Russia during WW2, and the effect of that loss on his family, and in particular on his father. It quotes sparingly from the little information the family had of his brother's last days on the Eastern Front because the book really is about what Germans of that generation knew, or claimed not to know, and claimed not to see going on around them. Timm himself is of the first post-war generation to acknowledge what Germany did in Russia and elsewhere during the reign of Hitler and the SS. He dispenses with excuses, rationalizations and the myth of victimhood in which so many of his father's generation hid. This is not an 'adventure' story so don't buy it thinking that it is.


Driving Test Success Practical Simulator (PC)
Driving Test Success Practical Simulator (PC)

1.0 out of 5 stars Despicable rip-off, 27 Mar 2013
You might think that by buying this piece of software that you will be buying 3D driver training lessons, as is implied on the packaging. You won't. What you've purchased is an opportunity to go to their web site and spend more money signing up for what you thought you were going to get on the CD. What a clever trick.


Contemporary China (Contemporary States and Societies Series)
Contemporary China (Contemporary States and Societies Series)
by Kerry Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.59

5.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction to modern Chna available, 2 Mar 2013
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In 1949 China was the archetypical third world country - ruined by twenty years of civil war and foreign military aggression, politically and economically isolated from most of the rest of the world, and with just an average life-span of 35 years per citizen. Sixty years later everything has changed in possibly the greatest reversal of fortune ever experienced by one country in such a short period. This book explains how and why.

Kerry Brown is one of the West's leading interpreters of modern China and his latest book should be required reading for students and others with a non-professional interest in the second largest economy in the world. His writing style is easy to read though the amount of background information that he lines up behind his points sometimes creates unusually long sentences. He does not beat the reader over the head with graphs, charts and statistics but there are just enough of these in the book to illustrate the narrative properly. He manages to maintain a neutral though realistic tone while dealing with some of the unpleasant events that have happened there since the CCP became the government.

The book is divided in to eight chapters each of which looks at one aspect of modern China from its history, to its politics, to its economy and to its people. There are insights in each chapter that will surprise even experienced students of China - this student, for example, had not realized how the rise of China's modern economy can be traced directly to the implementation of the Household Responsibility System, with which Deng Xiaoping replaced the grossly inefficient communes of the Maoist era.

The author's fluency in Mandarin and intense familiarity with the culture is evident in his description of the differences between the language used by the 'common' people and when used to make important statements by high-ranking officials of the CCP: "eloquent (but) devoid of day-to-day meaning". His analysis of the Party and how it governs China, in chapters 3 and 4, is concise and informative.

My only criticism is that there is no mention of the present or potential role of religion (Taoist,Buddhist or Christian) in the chapters on Society and Culture (chapters 6 and 7). As the author points out, the ruling ideology is based on materialism and scientific knowledge thus presumably at least 80 million party members subscribe to that same view. We know though that Christianity, for example, is apparently growing quickly in China perhaps in revolt against the fundamental materialism of the governing classes and the sterile consumerist life-style it has created. Possibly this is a separate topic.

The Conclusion points to an interesting and possibly hazardous time ahead. Will the country's adaptation to developing internal and external forces be a gradual one, crisis-led, or "Big Bang"? No matter where we live in the world, our lives will be affected by the choices China makes.


Life in the World Unseen: A Detailed Description of the Afterlife
Life in the World Unseen: A Detailed Description of the Afterlife
by Anthony Borgia
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars A little too anodyne, 21 Oct 2012
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The reviewer who gave this account one star makes some interesting points that coincide with my own thoughts after reading this book. This version of heaven does seem to reflect the self-satisfied and uninsightful world view of the Edwardian bourgeoisie. Overall, the account of 'heaven' is consistent with modern interpretation if somewhat boring. On the other hand, a world with 'insects' - or one that reflected conditions as we experience them here and now - would more closely resemble hell than heaven. The weakest point in the account is the one that has to do with a deceased celebrity who appears to be one of the early 20th century British kings. Apparently he is having a nice afterlife, surrounded with faithful retainers, just like at 'home'. This individual lived at approximately the same time that Jack London wrote his 'People of the Abyss' (about this man's 'subjects') and it is difficult to imagine how anyone who had enjoyed a life of unadulterated privilege and influence while his fellow citizens lived in such miserable conditions, and who had left the world largely as he found it, would not be held to some sort of account for his lack of interest in improving his society. Certainly the former captain of industry, who now occupies a grim hovel, has been judged (by his own actions) and found wanting, as Jesus Christ predicted. In this version of heaven though the key to judgment seems to be the active rather than the passive exploitation of conditions as you found them. That contradicts the 'perfect justice' one might expect in a 'perfect world'. Its an entertaining read but one that raises more questions than it answers.
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War in Human Civilization
War in Human Civilization
by Azar Gat
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 6 Oct 2012
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Azar Gut has written the definitive account of the origins of war in human society. Its in the genes or, rather, the propensity toward and choice of violence to attain one's goals is in the genes but we also have 'negotiation genes' and 'peaceful coexistence genes' (my description not the author's). We can, if we choose to, control our choices but controlling the choices of others is a different matter. Possibly we all evolve together or not at all.

This work represents a combination of history, prehistory, anthropology, psychology and political science. A truly amazing book.


Letters from Hankow: The Chinese Revolution of 1911: The Eye-Witness Account of Laura Beckingsale
Letters from Hankow: The Chinese Revolution of 1911: The Eye-Witness Account of Laura Beckingsale
by Laura Beckingsale
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly Interesting, 6 Oct 2012
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Tony Beckingsale has compiled an interesting and historically valuable book from the papers of his relative. Laura Beckingsale provides an eye-witness account,from the perspective of a Western bystander, of life in China in the final days of the last dynasty and of the 1911 Revolution. That Revolution set in motion the chain of events that has culminated in the People's Republic but it is probably the incident that Westerners know least about. This book should be read by anyone with an academic or serious interest in China. It will repay the reading.


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