Profile for Michael H. Smith > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Michael H. Smith
Top Reviewer Ranking: 74,701
Helpful Votes: 46

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Michael H. Smith "MHS" (UK)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
The Brethren (Fortunes of France)
The Brethren (Fortunes of France)
by Robert Merle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.74

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Alexandre Dumas, 28 Sep 2014
This is the first book in a thirteen part series by Robert Merle. It is set in France during the sixteenth century, when the wars of religion raged between the Catholics and Protestant Huguenots. To some extent this first novel is setting the scene while the central figure, Pierre de Siorac, grows from a baby to a fifteen year old, which at that time was the age of adulthood in France. Much of the storey therefore revolves not around Pierre but the bretheren. These are his father and his father's adopted brother, who establish a Huguenot stronghold in the Perigord region of France.

Some of the reviews talk of 'Swashbuckling historical fiction', and liken Merle to Alexandre Dumas. However, in my view this book lacks the narrative drive and pace of a Dumas novel, and at times it reads more like a history book than a novel. However, bye and large it held my attention and I enjoyed it, and I certainly came away knowing vastly more about that period of French history that I had before.


Covenant with Death
Covenant with Death
by John Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In Places Slow Paced, 8 Sep 2014
This review is from: Covenant with Death (Paperback)
Having read all the very favourable reviews of this book I was really looking forward to reading it, and it does provide a very realistic account of how one of Kitchener's volunteer battalions was raised, trained and then destroyed in the battle of the Somme. However, I was a little disappointed by the book. In places it is very slow paced and towards the end I was just wishing that we could get to the denouement.


Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
by Joshua Greene
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth reading, 21 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you enjoy books such as Thinking Fast And Slow and The Righteous Mind you should definitely read Moral Tribes. Its author, Joshua Green, is a moral psychologist who directs the Harvard University Moral Cognition Lab. The book covers a lot of recent research into how we make 'moral' decisions, but its main focus is on how to resolve inter tribal disputes where each tribe has different ideas about what is right, just and fair. For example disputes between a collectivist based society and one organized on neoliberal principles.

Green's main point is that the (often subconscious) mechanisms that we have evolved to handle local (inter tribal) conflicts do not work at the intra tribal level, and that for these we need to adopt a cognitive based meta-morality. This he suggests should be based on utilitarianism, because maximising happiness is something that most of us can agree on as a common goal.

I did not find his arguments in favour of utilitarianism totally convincing, but to be fair to Green he is aware of the criticisms that can be made of it. He puts utilitarianism forward not as the universal solution to all moral questions, but as the most pragmatic tool available for resolving conflicting between tribes as what is the most moral outcome.

For another (more detailed) review I suggest that your see the one on the Amazon.com website with the title: An Interesting Work of Synthesis that Falls a Bit Short.


Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance series Book 2)
Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance series Book 2)
Price: £2.85

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended with a reservation, 26 Oct 2013
I would recommend Sycamore Row to anyone who has enjoyed John Grisham's other books or who likes courtroom dramas. However, I do have a reservation about how the plot is resolved, really by a lucky chance rather than by the work of the hero.


Logitech H530 USB Headset
Logitech H530 USB Headset
Offered by neatsales
Price: £70.73

1.0 out of 5 stars Microphone Hum, 30 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When recording I get a microphone hum. It appears that this can happen with certain laptops, mine is a Lenovo Thinkpad. I have tried all sorts of solutions and researched the problem on the web but with no success. I shall be returning this item.


A Game of Sorrows
A Game of Sorrows
by S. G. MacLean
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as The Redemption of Alexander Seaton, 16 July 2013
This review is from: A Game of Sorrows (Paperback)
While quite readable, and full of interesting detail about Ulster at the start of the 17th century, I do not feel that this book is as good as The Redemption of Alexander Seaton. I think that this is because rather than the whole plot revolving around him, Alexander Seaton is too much the outside observer.

One small niggle - boats coming alongside a wharf to moor do not drop their anchors. The anchor is used when there is nothing to tie up to!


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Torch, 19 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a great little torch - small, powerful and with a long battery life. I lost my first one and replaced it straight away.


Rights Talk: Impoverishment of Political Discourse
Rights Talk: Impoverishment of Political Discourse
by Mary Ann Glendon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.58

4.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting but focused on the USA, 15 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For anyone interested in human rights this is a very thought provoking book. The author is by no means hostile to the idea that there are fundamental rights which need to be protected and promoted, but she is concerned that an over emphasis on our rights, and a lack of concern with duties and social obligations, is leading to an ever more self-centered and fragmented society. UK readers need to be aware that this is a very American focused book.


Dr. Meter® LCD Display Digital Wood MD-812 Moisture Meter - To Measure the Percentage of Water in Given Substance
Dr. Meter® LCD Display Digital Wood MD-812 Moisture Meter - To Measure the Percentage of Water in Given Substance
Offered by Elecsmart
Price: £18.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Works OK but has a design fault., 15 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As a moisture meter this is fine. However, do not use the soft pouch that comes with it. The slightest pressure on the power button switches it on, and it does not then switch off. The results is a flat battery. Keep it in its box.


Panasonic KX-TG6721EM DECT Cordless Phone
Panasonic KX-TG6721EM DECT Cordless Phone
Offered by DST (UK) LTD Established 1999
Price: £24.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very poor answering machine, 15 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This product works OK as an ordinary phone, but the quality of the answer phone recordings is so poor it can be very difficult to make out the message. Do not buy it if your hearing is anything less than perfect or if you will be listening to it in a noisy environment.


Page: 1 | 2