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Mr. Robert Barlow "eatmywords" (Kingston upon Hull)
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Fallout 4 (PC)
Fallout 4 (PC)
Price: £20.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly wonderful, and a great comeback after the harrowing ESO, 9 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Fallout 4 (PC) (Video Game)
I'm now on my second playthrough after playing 350 hours. There's still things in this game I finding out for the first time. Truly wonderful, and a great comeback after the harrowing ESO.


HyperX FURY Series 8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz CL10 DIMM Memory Module - Black
HyperX FURY Series 8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz CL10 DIMM Memory Module - Black
Price: £25.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Feb. 2016
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It does the job and at a great price.


ASUS AMD Radeon R7 240 2 GB DDR3 Graphics Card (PCI Express 3.0, HDMI, DVI-D, 128-Bit, Dust-Proof Fan, GPU Tweak Utility)
ASUS AMD Radeon R7 240 2 GB DDR3 Graphics Card (PCI Express 3.0, HDMI, DVI-D, 128-Bit, Dust-Proof Fan, GPU Tweak Utility)
Price: £47.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding, 9 Feb. 2016
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I was a bit hesitant buying a new card, as my attempt to switch to an Nvidia last year ended in catastrophe. But this card is truly amazing. I can only offer the reason why I bought this card. Fallout 4 was constantly crashing my graphics card to the point the game was unplayable. Okay, I was running an old ATI card, the 5450, but nonetheless, with my 16GB i5 PC, it more than met the minimum requirements. Only it didn't.

So I installed the card, went through hell figuring out I did not need to uninstall Catalyst Control Centre, but once I updated to the new Crimson control centre, I was blown away with the improvement in graphics. FPS dramactically improved, resolution improved, and a whole host of options previously unavailable were now available. It was like playing the game for the first time, and in many ways it was better, because it was awful at times with the lag, dropping to less that 10fps, and squinting because I was playing it at 800x450 on a 1366x750 widescreen monitor. Now it's full screen, and it runs at a steady 40fps no matter what the situation. This is truly a wonderful card, and I picked it up at an amazing price. Thnaks to ASUS and AMD Radeon for transforming my gaming life.


Speedlink STRIKE PC Gamepad - Black
Speedlink STRIKE PC Gamepad - Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Gamepad, 27 Mar. 2012
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This is a great gamepad. Very hardy and very reasonably priced in relation to Microsoft's PC gamepad. There can be an issue with mapping the buttons to some games, but if you are looking at the gamepad rather than playing the game, there's really something wrong with your gameplay.

Highly recommend.


The Postmodern History Reader
The Postmodern History Reader
by Keith Jenkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.12

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Postmodernism: a biased argument, 16 Mar. 2012
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Keith Jenkins brings together a collection of texts that examine the issue of postmodernism upon the disciple of History, how this affects traditional history, and the consequences this has upon historiography in general. Although there is an attempt to bring comprehensibility and consensus to the debate, the decentred nature of postmodernism does not fall easily into the disciplined and controlled field of History. In some ways the relationship of the historian towards postmodernism is one of lust rather than love. It can beautify a relatively old and humourless field, and create daring and racy productions that significantly change and challenge widely accepted beliefs. It does sound tempting to be able to change the past to suit one's own purpose, or to reveal the instability of an event that would, in effect, revolutionise the entire industry. But the very nature of History is dependent upon stability for approximating truth. If there are no rules and no boundaries then it would become very difficult to find any truth from a collection of texts based primarily upon the same subject. If the basic components of seeking truth in the past are being constantly called into question, such as the issue of truth, History becomes a weak vessel containing the past and consensus will impossible to attain.

David Irving is one historian who seeks structures rather than chronologies. One of Irving's tools in the production of his stories was left lying around after World War II. Irving creates highly stylised characters in his works, even to the point they come alive within his narrative. This tool was successfully used to secure the convictions of Nazi Party members during the Nuremburg war-trials. "The caricaturing process became respectable at the Nuremburg war-crime trials. History has been plagued since then by the prosecution teams' methods of selecting exhibits and by the subsequent publication of them in neatly printed and indexed volumes and the incineration of any document that might have hindered the prosecution effort." David Irving: Hitler's War vii. We know more about Hitler from the people who never met him, than we do from the people who did. The recent Oliver Hirschbiegel film, Downfall, seeks to address this by portraying Hitler through the eyes of his private secretary: Traudl Junge. The image painted directly conflicts with many established histories on Adolf Hitler, but should we accept Junge's version just because of her distance to the object while giving little credence to her bias?. This revisionism could also be applied to anyone who went against the will of a social or political ideal, whether they were alive or not, and regardless of any existing truth. One of the few British people to have met Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, went to extraordinary lengths to appease his expansionist designs on Europe, and in consequence historians have attributed the blame for England's part in the to him alone. Using that tool Chamberlain now fits in the same mould as Hitler.

What I take from this book is that established History has had its own fun with distortion, manipulation and revision, and in some quarters it would be happy to do so for many more years. The position of the West's hegemony on history has brought a collective turn by the postmodernist. Would feminists be in the position they are in today without revisionism? During the early years of feminism as a social and political movement they had no compunction about unpicking the fabric of history to realise their own agenda; primarily through literature and sociologies. Today however it is a different voice that speaks, as the original fabricators are extremely critical of any other race, creed or culture from doing the same: "Trained to be "scientific" in our methods, we have challenged the inherited, traditional interpretations of both American and European history. We have even, perhaps ungratefully, questioned science's claims for disinterested truth and impartial objectivity. Influenced by twentieth-century philosophers, we have brought new theories to bear on older philosophical assumptions - both liberal and Marxist - about the way history works, and we have found the traditional interpretations to be wanting. If confessions are in order, we have used skepticism and relativism as tools (some would say weapons) in fashioning new understandings of the past." Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, Margaret Jacob: Telling the Truth about History, 214. It seems the trails opened up by these women are now being forcibly closed due to a nervousness it creates when considering how these methods could be used in the future; such as reverting women's rights through the adoption of Sharia Law. Postmodernists who seek to change the impression of a white, racist, elitist and sexist past are more concerned with establishing an equality in history rather than appropriating truth from what exists, and this in itself generates interest on why feminist historians are so resistant to this humanist cause?

Proportionately this is the mood of the book, and the short philosophical essays by postmodernists like Sartre, Foucault, and Saussure are soon swallowed by the long, drawn out explanations on traditional methods and practices. Personally I don't think these authors need to fight so hard to still be attractive to an open-minded audience. Foucault mixes philosophy, sociology and history to create a holistic discourse that is more than convincing and engaging in areas of sexuality, crime & punishment and ethics. Such resilience in the face of so much oppression is starting to be accepted among the newer breed of historian: Patrick Joyce, David Irving, Simon Sharma. Whether this will lead us into a more peaceful and egalitarian existence or into another World of war is a question only the History can answer.


Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth:Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984: Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984 v. 1 (Essential Works of Foucault 1)
Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth:Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984: Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984 v. 1 (Essential Works of Foucault 1)
by Michel Foucault
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars He would be embarrassed, 21 Nov. 2011
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Somewhere, and I may have overlooked this prior to buying this work, there may have been a line stating this was published posthumously in the Amazon blurb. But as the vultures of capitalist professionalism testify, a man's testament is not as valuable as his existing works. And so, much like Kafka, Foucault must look on with a blithe spirit. All we have in this first volume is a collection of lecuture notes, interviews and preliminary sketches or outlines for his greater works, and this poorly collected work was enough to deter me from buying the further volumes. It is indeed a mess of irrelevance which will do nothing to further the understanding of one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th Century.

Shame on those responsible!


Adobe Photoshop 7.0 Classroom in a Book
Adobe Photoshop 7.0 Classroom in a Book
by Adobe Creative Team
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Simple Learning Curve, 24 Aug. 2011
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I thought this was a fantastically levelled book. Being a raging perfectionist previous attempts at using Photoshop was starting to get me a bad name at RSPCA. Adobe have created 18 very balanced chapters that will teach you all of the necessary skills needed to use a very high level programme. Although layers are a very simple premise, it has continually evaded me conceptually, but Adobe have provided a number of simple tutorials that explain and implement layers in some wonderful ways. I can only thank Adobe for teaching me some necessary skills to compliment my web design skills. If only they could give me an artistic temperament I'd be a millionaire. But if you are having trouble with Photoshop and cannot get beyond using it as a scratch-pad, then this book is a necessity.


Dead Rising 2 (PC DVD)
Dead Rising 2 (PC DVD)
Offered by PNA247
Price: £8.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let's Play Sucker-Punch, 26 July 2011
This review is from: Dead Rising 2 (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I convinced myself this was a great game due to the let's plays that are poliferating Youtube. It looked so much fun when somebody else played this game. When I got into the game it soon transpired it really wasn't all that fun, and the only thing holding it all together was my love of zombies. Ploughing through hoardes of grasping and starving zombies was fun for a while. But then it dawned on me it really wasn't all that fun at all, as it soon became repetitive and inanely boring running all over that over-sized map.

Perhaps the biggest complaint was there is no time to take in the sights and sounds unless you give in to a large number of quests. There is no real compunction to do any of the quests, and perhaps this is a strong point of the game. However, if you have a conscience then you will find yourself running about looking for quest items or doing your best to annihilate the psychopaths, and then trying to clear your name of a crime you didn't commit; all within the required timeframe.

Don't get me wrong, there are some nice touches to the game, and I can see how hard the designers worked to make this entertaining, but it just felt childish and really didn't capture the horror and enthralling nature of Dawn of the Dead, which I'm sure was at the forefront of the designers minds.


The Idiot (Penguin Classics)
The Idiot (Penguin Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sublime Idiot, 28 Dec. 2010
Dowden is entirely correct stating The Idiot is not an introductory platform into the mind of Dostoevsky. Due to the complexity of the text a large measure of concentration is necessary, and with the multifarious characters it is very easy to become disorientated and lost if the intricacies and subtleties of the writing are not grasped and challenged. Based upon a number of complaints about the unnecessary complexity, a summary examination of these techniques and why they have been employed should assist in revealing the masterpiece The Idiot truly is.

We should appreciate Dostoevsky is writing a fabliau in the classic sense, where foolishness, trickery and sexual bawdiness is mixed with scurrilous characters who profit at the expense of the hero. The prince's role is to be a catalyst for change that seeks to repair the damaging effects this relatively stable and controlled environment creates. It would be attractive to consider the prince a fool, but his contrariness upon meeting the general is not convincing, and it would be hard to consider a man a fool and a genius at the same time, no matter how narrow the line dividing them. Other than the declared regular bouts of mental fits he has only one in the whole text, and despite him considering himself an idiot he is well read and is considered an accomplished calligraphist. What should be apparent is that we should not accept the word of the individual at face value.

Rather than explain every form of the character and explain every conscious thought Dostoevsky instead develops ambivalent characterisations, leaving a large measure of understanding for the reader. This does not mean Dostoevsky ignores the novel's characters, only he relies upon the characters of The Idiot to reveal their own subtleties of character, or to lie and deceive to obtain their objectives, even at times going beyond the rational to reveal the extent of physical and mental weakness. Dostoevsky was so advanced in his thinking and writing, he was breaking down barriers in the novel by shifting widely accepted principles and parameters: "The fundamental category in Dostoevsky's mode of artistic visualizing was not evolution, but coexistence and interaction. He saw and conceived his world primarily in terms of space not time." (The Bakhtin Reader, 90). Unlike a Dickens or a Hardy, who construct the form and context of their principal characters upon their entrance in the text, Dostoevsky is more aware existence is not so simple; people are not so easily read and complex characters need a relative distance to be deciphered: "The author speaks not about a character, but with him" (The Bakhtin Reader, 94).

Therefore the reader is encouraged to immerse themselves within the society as much as the prince, and not just align themselves with a particular character or class. Obviously our main focus in the novel is upon the prince, but we are being encouraged to be as astute and alert as the prince to the many intrigues and the many intriguing characters, and to consider what is said is what is meant: "Two ideas occurred to you at one and the same time. This happens very often. It always happens to me.... You might have been telling me about myself just now. Sometimes, indeed, I couldn't help thinking," the prince went on very earnestly, truly and deeply interested, "that everyone is like that, so that I even began patting myself on the back, for it is terribly difficult to fight against these double thoughts" (299).

These encounters can often be deeply rewarding when the true nature of the person's objective is revealed, or when the prince is forced to intervene in the dialogue to reveal the person's true intentions. Due the duality of the dialogue and never knowing the true nature of a person's intentions even the prince comes under scrutiny due to his own double thinking: "`You're an awful sceptic, Prince!'.... `You're beginning to disbelieve everything and imagine all sorts of things'" (302).


A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century
A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century
by John Burrow
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Stealing of Histories, 18 Dec. 2010
If you never read historical introductions and conclusions, then you should pay particular attention to John Burrow's introduction to A History of Histories. Burrow advocates his choice of historical method, which is indeed a surprising choice as the narrative form is considered obsolete and anachronistic in the writing of professional history. Burrow maintains however the work is "not exclusively devoted to narrative, but narrative has long been at the core of it" (xvi), and the reader should also abstractedly consider the "potentially illuminating questions" he cut from the final publication.

Narrative soon reveals itself to be difficult to consume. It quickly becomes repetitive despite Burrow's own attraction towards the dynamic material of history. There is very little to be learned from such history as it is merely an aggregation of facts bound up with literary artifice. Despite Burrow adding pedantic euphemisms to aggrandise the text, it fails to broaden or enliven A History of Histories: "So far so simple.... But inquiry, systematic research, is not the only characteristic of historiography. Another is the rendering of the results of the inquiry into connected historical prose: narrative" (3). Whether Burrow considers he is qualified to challenge historians or their work is relatively unclear, and would explain his failure to bring forth fresh interpretation for classically held ideas. It is this distinct lack of questioning history which abstracts the text, turning it into something other than history. Whether this is by design is also unclear. Plutarch is considered "psychologically complex" and no further examination of Plutarch's historiographical intensity is approached, and he is brushed aside because "one does not go to him for historical vision or explanation." (119). To compensate for this avoidance of complex issues Burrow instead relies upon literary artifice to substantiate his "grand-narrative", and for the untrained it seems Shakespeare and other fiction writers are utilised to further historical explanation: "Shakespeare followed Plutarch so closely, sometimes quoting the translation almost verbatim, that even for new readers they have an air of familiarity... though the prose works are more detailed." (118). We are therefore left in a large measure of confusion whether Burrow is calling upon the less complex Shakespeare to substantiate the validity of Plutarch, or whether Plutarch was giving credence to Shakespeare? Perhaps the worst aspect of all this inference and substantiation is Plutarch was writing biography: "Of everything other than thought, there can be no history. Thus a biography, for example, however much history it contains, is constructed on principles that are not only non-historical but anti-historical" (Collingwood, The Idea of History, 304). This not only controverts Collingwood but so too Burrow when he states he must exclude biography from his work (xvi).

This may be why Burrow leans upon literature in many areas of A History of Histories, because there is so much emotion and spectacle in prose it can enliven a relatively dry and static discipline: "the stories are indeed gripping" (Burrow, 121). This is the crux of Burrow's failing as he is bound up within the dramatic material of history and largely disregards the subtleties and the intricacies of historical thought. It may be unfair to be so critical for a historian trying to enliven the past, but when this enlivening impedes upon the nature of historiography, intervention must occur. Christian history for Burrow "seems hardly a history at all" which is correct, but to consider there to be "virtually no events" inhabiting a period of 800 years is clearly incorrect. One therefore has to assume Burrow does not go looking with any positive regard, and prefers to hang around the annals of the past awaiting some dramatic episode. Does Burrow really consider a period of relative peace to be an event undeserving of analysis? Collingwood examines the nature of this supposed peaceful period, seeing history splitting itself between the past and the future, and will divide again and again based on the structural basis of a critical event; the birth of Christ, with the opposing tendency being the death of Christ. Again and again the history divides, "to distinguish other events, not so important... but important in their way, which make everything after them different in quality from what went before" (Collingwood, 50). Therefore this continual folding of history becomes "epoch-making" historiography, into a definite fabric of time, a cohesive narrative with the fixed all-encompassing structural event at the centre and moving between the past, the present and the future to come: The Holy Trinity.

This concentration on the material of history soon blinds Burrow, and while he focuses upon the sin and venality that brought down civilizations, he quickly ignores the structural processes of historiography that brought about sin and venality and consequentially Christianity. These themes drift into the medieval period through a relativistic crusade between the French and the English. Although Gregory of Tours does seek to explain the Christian ethics of the Franks in the 800s, Burrow never considers it raises itself from the macabre and the disturbing. In contrast, the English writers of history in this period are bright, vibrant, and in one case, unbelievable. If this were the case of the time, then England existed in a relative Golden Age. Along with subtle jingoism Burrow also commits perhaps the greatest crime a historian can commit; bias. Examining the work of Geoffrey of Monmouth we sense Burrow is overawed by the mythic nature of Geoffrey, in particular the questionable history of King Arthur: "Arthur's historical credentials, in fact, are thin almost to vanishing point, but his legend, like the stories of the Greek heroes and the Iliad, and Aeneas and Romulus in Rome, is a historical fact of a kind - and an important one, in the sense that it powerfully influenced or even dominated the picture many people in Britain, including the English, had of their past, particularly from the twelfth to the seventeenth century" (232). The conjecture of Arthur, or Geoffrey, in some way runs parallel with the Bible. Both are stories handed down to the historian, both are authorless, and credible references are fairly non-existent; "Arthur is not dead but will return" (235). In conclusion we are left to judge Geoffrey in our own terms, and he is either a Geoffrey Chaucer or a historical empiricist of note, and we imagine Burrow prefers the later, especially in contrast to Gregory of Tours: "Gregory himself is hardly a great historian: he is too episodic, too uninterested in generalization and context, and takes too much for granted" (212).

The crimes against Burrow are too numerous to detail, but personally the greatest is the lifting of RG Collingwood's scheme from The Idea of History. It would seem obvious why Burrow has done this, but failing to improve upon this seminal work is unforgivable. Perhaps this was a concerted attack upon Collingwood's examination of scientific history, but his final chapter is another lifting of another work; Peter Novick's The Objectivity Question. Compact and condensed, but still a virtual copy of Novick's work on the American Historical Profession. If you are interested in history then you would be far better off reading the actual historians examined in this work, or seek out a competent historian who examines history and provides an empiricist examination of their chosen history. This work will only lead you astray.


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