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M. Asher "FRSL" (Kenya)
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The sun will be rising
The sun will be rising
by Akol Meyan Kuol
Edition: Unknown Binding

5.0 out of 5 stars A Voice From The Wilderness, 17 July 2015
This review is from: The sun will be rising
For many years, long before South Sudan became an independent nation, Akol Meyan Kuol has been a lone voice crying in the wilderness - one of the very few poets writing in English to emerge from the struggles in his country, which are not yet over. Akol's poetry is clear, accomplished, direct, and stirring. A man from the still disputed region of Abyei, he was taught to read and write by his elder brother, Mijak, who was himself killed in the battle for independence, as were many other members of his family. Akol is no distant observer: he writes from personal experience, and he writes from the heart: he writes about courage, determination, and resistance against overwhelming odds, about the will to carry on when to carry on seems impossible. Yet 'The Sun Will Be Rising' includes more than poems about war - Akol's emotional range is astonishing: he is equally at home expressing the tenderness of love, for women, for children, for family, for the deep bonds of brotherhood and friendship, the importance of wisdom and understanding. Akol's work is a call for peace and harmony, for an end to selfishness, greed, and egotism, for the equality of all men irrespective of race, religion or culture. Despite all he has seen and experienced, his poems encompass not only the haunting spectre of suffering, but also an inspiring vision of hope. Akol's voice may be a lone one, but it is distinct and authentic: beginning in darkness, with the rousing call to battle 'Departure' -
'They are going to fight.
Day and night;
To get their rights and freedom',
it concludes with a glimpse of the eternal, and a brilliant effulgence of light, in the poem that gave the book its title, 'The Sun Will Be Rising.'
'There is life,
And with it
There will be life.
Now there are clouds,
They will soon vanish,
And the sun will shine again.'
South Sudan may still currently be riddled with war and corruption, but long after the guns have fallen silent, long after the bombers have dissolved into rust, long after the names of warlords and politicians are forgotten, the voice of Akol Meyan Kuol will still be there: the sun will still be rising, and the words of this outstanding collection of poems will go on forever.


Shoot to Kill: From 2 Para to the SAS
Shoot to Kill: From 2 Para to the SAS
Price: £2.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Hide Behind Anonymity, 24 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I note that the reader who claims to have been in the Para Depot with me doesn't give his name, number, or details of service. If he really did serve in my training platoon, perhaps he could tell me which number it was? Or perhaps he recalls the real name of the lad who (really was) shot dead during a training exercise.Nothing in this book about Para training in the 1970s is made up or exaggerated, as anyone who really went through the Depot at that time will know: at that time,probably still today, the Parachute Regiment had as tough a training programme as any unit in the world - only 30 of the original 120 candidates passed out. Was he one of them? If you want to accuse an author of lying, then at least have the courage to give your name.


Imaginaerum
Imaginaerum
Price: £9.12

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nightwish RIP, 31 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
I wasn't sure about buying this CD after the rather forgettable DARK PASSION PLAY, now I wish I hadn't. It's terrible. The first track, while catchy, reminded me of Abba at their height. The rest is, for me, either unremarkable or trite: there's nothing to match anthems like Once, Ghost Love Score, or Ever Dream. The hard metal edge seems to have vanished: jazz tracks, child choirs and lullabies don't make up for it, neither does the fade out into some rather uninspiring poetry, which only serves to display the triviality of the 'concept' in a world that is currently on the verge of ecological collapse. For me, Nightwish have lost their mythological gravitas, and degenerated into a pop band: this isn't the band that sent an electric thrill down my spine the first time I heard Tarja sing. It wil be the last Nightwish CD I'll buy. Nightwish RIP.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2012 12:54 PM GMT


The Emperor Of Ocean Park
The Emperor Of Ocean Park
by Stephen L. Carter
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Did nothing for me, 13 May 2012
I agree with Fredd 88. I had two goes at reading the book, and never finished it. There is no hook, and the narrative falls flat. It's so obvious where the plot is going that it lacks any tension, and I found the middle-class obsessions smug - the paintings, the chess set, the house at Martha's Vinyard, the revelling in wealth. I'd have admired the hero a bit more if he'd shown some antagonism and demonstrated how he'd had to struggle against white domination, but apart from a small display at the beginning, he seems happy to be like them. And the reviewers who said the book is too long are also correct. I tried to like it but it did nothing for me.


The Night Watch
The Night Watch
by Sarah Waters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No Hook, 11 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Night Watch (Paperback)
I agree with the reader who said this book was dull. After reading Affinity and Fingersmith(which I thought one of the best plotted novelsI've ever read), Nightwatch was a let-down. The characters are well drawn, but there's no hook, nothing that really pulls you in. I may be biased but I always think that is the real secret of a good story.


The Meaning of Night
The Meaning of Night
by Michael Cox
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but not entirely credible, 30 Oct. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Meaning of Night (Paperback)
This book is well written, and I didn't find that it dragged at all. The author also manages a fairly good facsimile of Victorian writing - by chance I'd just finished reading Trollope's PHINEAS FOGG when I picked it up, written not long after MEANING OF NIGHT is meant to be set. There were a few anachronisms like 'shoes and bibles to the Africans' (Which Africans? In the early 1850s?)but those were excusable. My main criticism of the book is that the plot seemed contrived: is it credible that any mother in her right mind would dump her baby on another woman just to get revenge on the father? Given that assumption, though, how could Glyver ever dream he might convince his father of his true identity? He could never prove paternity, and the assumption would surely have been that his mother's action strongly suggested that he was illegitimate. The idea that his best friend at Eton should have become his rival for the inheritance was a little too much of a coincidence, and the idea of his killing an innocent man as a sort of 'dry run' for the real thing was preposterous, I thought, and was only put in to start the book with a bang: the action seemed quite inconsistent with Glyver's character. I enjoyed the book, but I thought it fell a bit flat at the end.


Civilization: The West and the Rest
Civilization: The West and the Rest
Price: £7.99

17 of 108 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Industrial Society Propaganda, 26 April 2011
If you want to know what is going on in the world, don't read this book: it is no more than propaganda for the industrial culture that is currently destroying the Earth. "Civilisation is a progressive force"? You are surely joking, Mr, Ferguson! Maybe you hadn't you noticed that the world is falling apart due to so called western civilisation. Industrial society is based on violence against humans and nonhumans: writers who condone that violence ought to examine their consciences.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2012 9:44 PM BST


Dracula: The Un-Dead
Dracula: The Un-Dead
by Dacre Stoker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Undead or Just Dead?, 7 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Dracula: The Un-Dead (Paperback)
I didn't expect much of this book: after all, how much could one hope for from an 'official sequel' over a century later, when the copyright has long ago expired anyway, by a co-author who has only the remotest connection with Bram Stoker, and who hasn't written a novel previously?

It was worse than I expected: in fact, the book isn't about Dracula at all: it concerns the Countess Bathory, a notorious 16th century murderer of young girls, whom the authors contrive to make completely unscary by giving her a deprived and abused young woman-hood - in other words, she's just like most of the rest of us in industrial society.

Bathory compounds her crashing ordinariness by declaring that the 'only human being she admires is Charles Darwin' because of his idea of 'the survival of the fittest'. As a good Edwardian, Bathory should have known that Darwin never mentioned 'survival of the fittest' - a phrase coined by Victorian philosopher Herbert Spencer. In any case, since Spencerian doctrine is 'official ideology' in our society, what's different about her anyway?

The real Count Dracula didn't need an abused childhood or some distorted Neo-Darwinist claptrap to explain him: he was pure evil. He represented the alien: something quite different from the market-place, business world, where 'survival of the fittest' is a trite commonplace. Dracula was a threat to that world, and therefore SCARY.

Another thing the authors got wrong was trying to bring Stoker himself and the fictional Dracula into the story. This muddied the waters. If it was an 'official sequel' they should have written it straight - that is, kept it within the world of Stoker's novel, as if that world were 'real'. As it is, by bringing in both fictional and non-fiction elements, they were trying to have their cake and eat it. It just doesn't come off.

Sorry - there's a lot more I could say that's badly done about this book: with a little insight, with a deeper study of Gothic literature, they might have brought it off, but they just didn't get it.


The Moors in Spain: With the collaboration of Arthur Gilman
The Moors in Spain: With the collaboration of Arthur Gilman
by Stanley Lane-Poole
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated, 15 Aug. 2010
Lane-Poole was a great historian in his day, perhaps: he was T.E. Lawrence's tutor at Oxford. This book might be of interest to collectors, but I found it very tedious and dated: this is an epic story that should be told with more panache.


Kenya, the Kikuyu and Mau Mau
Kenya, the Kikuyu and Mau Mau
by David Lovatt Smith
Edition: Paperback

3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unconscious Envy, 6 July 2010
This book is essentially a justification for the British colonization of Kenya, and the replacement of a sustainable indigenous culture, with an unsustainable industrial one, that managed to wreck Africa in a mere 150 years. If the author had stuck to recording his own experiences during Mau Mau, and left out the spurious self-justification, mostly irrelevent, it might have had some value. As it is, Lovatt Smith seems so determined to demonstrate how 'barbarous' and 'primitive' the Africans were before the British brought 'civilization', that one suspects a deep underlying sense of guilt. In the light of our looming ecological disaster, his hackneyed phrases about 'civilization versus barbarism' and 'order out of chaos' sound slightly ridiculous. He doesn't seem to think it significant that the Kikuyu, a people who lived here for millennia without wiping out animal species, or themselves, or overpopulating, or destroying the environment, might actually have had something to teach us. As Carl Jung, who visited Kenya Colony in 1925, commented, 'the white man's feeling of superiority when he listens to the 'superstitions' of these 'benighted savages' simply masks his unconscious envy and deep-down realization of his own spiritual poverty.' That's certainly the feeling I get from this book.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2016 9:00 PM GMT


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