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North and South (Penguin Classics)
North and South (Penguin Classics)
by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.55

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Change In Class, 9 May 2010
Twice, while reading Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South" I was asked if it was about the American Civil War, which was somewhat surprising as I am currently in Australia. Of course, the immediate response was that no, it is not about the American Civil War, but it did get me to notice that there are certainly some similarities in terms of the societal differences between the North and South in the U.S. and that in Gaskell's England of the 1850's. In both you have an industrial North and an agrarian South, and in both you have the creation of a new class structure in the North which isn't recognized by the older structure in the South. The comparison stops quickly though once one brings in larger issues like the institution of slavery and the more generalized issue of state's rights.

"North and South" was originally published as a serial between September of 1854 and January of 1855 in the magazine "Household Words" which was edited by Charles Dickens. As Patricia Ingham's introduction in the Penguin Classics edition informs us, Elizabeth Gaskell had originally titled the story "Margaret Hale" after the main character, but Charles Dickens convinced her to use a title that captured the larger story, though who came up with the final title "North and South" is unknown. Margaret Hale is the daughter of a minister, who decides that he needs to leave the Church of England because of a difference in views between himself and the Church. As a result, he needs to move his family (consisting of himself, his frail wife, and Margaret, along with their faithful servant Dixon) to the industrial northern community of Milton (a fictional town based on Manchester).

The Hale's represent the South, and the old class system, and when they move north they interact with John Thorton's family, (John Thorton - the owner of a Mill, his mother, and his sister Fanny) who are the wealthy merchants, and they also interact with Nicholas Higgins' family (Nicholas Higgins - a mill worker, and his daughter Bessy who is sick from an illness from working in the mills). It is here where we run into the differences in ideas of class between the North and the South. The story is mostly told from the perspective of Margaret, but it does on occasion switch to another character. It is interesting to follow Margaret's social journey as she learns about her new home, and in how it changes her perspective on the home she used to know.

It is a rich story as well, filled with subplots and stories, such as the story of Elizabeth's brother Frederick who is wanted for Mutiny, and her cousin Edith who is getting married at the start of the book. There is also the illness and death of several characters during the course of the book. One also sees growth in many of the characters. John Thorton and Nicholas Higgins both grow from their interaction with Margaret. As a result, this isn't so much a clash of the cultures of North and South as much as it is a merging and understanding between the two. The Penguin Classics edition is up to their usual standards, thanks to a very good introduction and thorough text notes by Patricia Ingham.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 1, 2010 1:53 AM BST

Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network
Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network
by Gordon Corera
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Losing Focus, 8 May 2010
Gordon Corera's book "Shopping For Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A. Q. Khan Network" is an interesting read and offers a good history of what has gone wrong in the attempt to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. What is apparent from reading this book is that while A. Q. Khan is the face of what went wrong; if it hadn't been him then it would have been someone else. The book is divided into two fairly simple sections, "Rise" and "Fall". The "Rise" section covers the development of the bomb in Pakistan, as well as the development of Khan's network to sell the information. The "Fall" section details the discovery of the network, and the actions, often painfully slow, to deal with the issue by the U.S. and other western countries.

A. Q. Khan is an interesting person. Clearly he is very intelligent, but at times a bit careless and foolhardy. He used his circumstances and the political situation in the world skillfully to get the technology and money and other resources from numerous sources. He allowed the development in Pakistan to be looked at as the creation of an "Islamic Bomb" to other Muslim countries, but had no issue with dealing with North Korea as well, and so in his way he was simply a capitalist, dealing in a product which was not approved of in the west. He also used capitalism in the west to purchase what he needed. Companies would sell it to him, because otherwise someone else would, and if something was completely prohibited, then he would buy the components.

From a perspective of stopping Pakistan and Khan, attempts were made, and even successful for periods of time, but what happened again and again was that more immediate concerns would trump non-proliferation goals. Whether it was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or the perceived terror threat after September 11th, time and time again the U.S. Government, and the Europeans would have their attentions focused elsewhere and Pakistan and Khan were not their biggest problem, and that Pakistan was too useful in dealing with other issues to crack down on them.

"Shopping for Bombs" covers a very interesting subject and the events within it will continue to shape our world for a long time to come. If non-proliferation is important, what can we do to keep focus on that issue, or is the genie out of the bottle now and we simply have to live with the fact that any country and perhaps any organization, can procure nuclear weapons if they have the funds and the will? It is not an easy question to answer, and the answers may not be easy to live with. The writing in this book was a bit repetitive for my tastes, but definitely readable. It probably could have been significantly shorter without the repetition of events, and perhaps it was put in to pad the book to about 250 pages. It does have a good set of notes though, and I would give it three and a half stars if I could, but they don't allow that so I am rounding down to three.

Sibling Rivalry: Best of
Sibling Rivalry: Best of

4.0 out of 5 stars Take It!, 6 May 2010
- The Folk Singer Credo from the Folk Singers Guide Book: "All folk singers are obligated to `Take It!'" -

I've always had a soft place in my heart for the Smothers Brothers. Few can play the fool as well as Tom, and Dick is the perfect partner to play against Tom's antics. Add to the mix that they could probably actually be a successful folk group if they didn't simply use their musical gifts for their unique folk-satire brand of comedy. One also should not forget the way they pushed the envelope on TV, more than once. "Sibling Revelry: The Best of The Smothers Brothers" is a collection of 18 routines taken from 9 different live albums.

There is a mix of quick hitters, like "Daniel Boone", "Hangman", and "The Military Lovers" which would make a great comment on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in today's political environment, and then some very long routines like "The Saga of John Henry", and "Cabbage". All in all there are over 75 minutes of humor and their special brand of folk-music which is unlike any other. Sometimes they put a twist on a classic, other times they create their own delightful and bizarre songs, and on rare occasion they even make it to the end of the piece. The album does have a bit of a disjointed feel, as it picks tracks from different albums which causes it to lose the flow that existed on the original albums, but the routines are still very funny.

The Final RIOT!
The Final RIOT!
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Paramore Live, 4 May 2010
This review is from: The Final RIOT! (Audio CD)
I really enjoy Paramore's three studio albums, so I listened to "The Final Riot!" to get a feel for the type of live group they are. It was a bonus to get the DVD to see the live performances as well as to hear the band discuss the tour and themselves. "The Final Riot!" was released on November 24th, 2008 and was the group's second live album, the first being the limited release of "Live in the UK" which was released at the start of 2008.

It is a difficult choice, but I would have to pick "Riot!" as the best of the first three albums from Paramore. "All We Know" is a strong debut, but it has some weaker points, and "Brand New Eyes" has several of what I feel are their best songs, but it doesn't maintain such a high-level of quality on all of its tracks. This is a very impressive album, all the more so when one considers that it is only their second. It was released on June 12, 2007.

There are 15 tracks on the album, opening with "Born for This" and "That's What You Get" from their "Riot!" album. Next up is "Here We Go Again" from the album "All We Know Is Falling" before returning to their second album for live versions of "Fences", "Crushcrushcrush", "Let The Flames Begin", and "When It Rains". They then return to their first album for a nice version of "My Heart". Next up is a new piece called "Decoy" which fits in well with their other pieces. This is followed by "Pressure" from their first album, "For A Pessimist I'm Pretty Optimistic" and "We are Broken" from their second album. Finally they finish with "Emergency" from their first album followed by "Hallellujah" and "Misery Business" from "Riot!".

Overall, the group sounds good live, and their performance is very high-energy. On the other hand, putting out a live album based on two albums is a bit ambitious, even with the addition of a new piece ("Decoy") and the use of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as a lead-in for their own song by that title. Still, Paramore does a decent job of pulling it off. My biggest problem with the album is that there are too many sing-a-long sections. Most groups have the audience sing-a-long on one or maybe two pieces during a concert, but it happens on the majority of tracks on this album, though for very short periods. While this undoubtedly works in concert and isn't much of an issue when watching the DVD, it is distracting when listening to the audio CD.

The DVD is definitely a nice add-on, and gives a good feeling for watching the group in concert. I also enjoyed the documentary scenes, though I don't expect that I will watch that part of it much. The tracks are taken from the group's concert in Chicago on August 12, 2008. The band on this album is Haley Williams (lead vocals, keyboards), Josh Farro (lead guitar, backing vocals, bass guitar on "We Are Broken", Zac Farro (drums and percussion), Taylor York (rhythm guitar, glockenspiel on "We Are Broken"), and Jeremy Davis (bass guitar, percussion on "We Are Broken"). I'm rounding this one down to three stars, but it deserves three and a half.

I Robot
I Robot

4.0 out of 5 stars I Parsons, 2 May 2010
This review is from: I Robot (Audio CD)
Before Styx's "Kilroy Was Here", there was "I Robot", the second album from The Alan Parsons Project. It was originally released in June of 1977, after the Project had received a bit of notice with their debut album, "Tales of Mystery and Imagination". While the album is often linked with Asimov's book "I, Robot", due to rights issues the link is limited to the general theme and the similar name.

The album opens with the instrumental title piece "I Robot", and is the longest track on the album. The piece builds well and is a good and strong lead into the album. "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" is another strong number which worked as a single. "Some Other Time" is another very strong piece, though sandwiched between two pieces which receive much more play on the radio I think it is often forgotten. "Breakdown" is an outstanding number which for me is the highlight of the album. "Don't Let It Show" slows things down and is another single release from the album. It was also covered by Pat Benatar on "In the Heat of the Night".

The second half of the album opens with "The Voice", an interesting piece which is perhaps just a cut below those in the first half of the album, but still interesting and it fits well, and has a wonderful instrumental bridge section. "Nucleus" is the first of three instrumentals on the second half of the album, and while it is an enjoyable diverting piece, it is not a highlight for me. "Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)" is the last of the singles from the album. Another nice piece, but not strong enough to hold up the second half of the album when compared with the first. "Total Eclipse" is the one piece on the album not written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson. It is an instrumental piece with voices being used as an instrument, written by Andrew Powell it is one of the more interesting and attention grabbing moments on the album. "Total Eclipse" leads well into "Genesis CH.1, V.32", the beautiful instrumental piece which closes the album.

"I Robot" remains one of my favorite albums from The Alan Parsons Project". The group is led by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, though there are several others who appear on numerous albums from the group, such as David Paton (bass), Ian Bairnson (guitars). They are also known for using numerous vocalists, and this album is no exception. Lenny Zakatek handles the vocals on "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You", Peter Straker and Jaki Whitren are the vocalists on "Some Other Time", Allan Clarke is the vocalist on "Breakdown", Dave Townsend is the lead on "Don't Let It Show", Steve Harley is the lead vocal on "The Voice", and Jack Harris is the vocalists on "Day After Day". There is also a remastered version of the album which includes five bonus tracks. I have not heard that version so I cannot comment on it.

by Olaf Stapledon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book For Any Time, 29 April 2010
"Star Maker", by Olaf Stapledon, is an incredible novel by an author whose contributions to science fiction are unique and serve as inspiration to many of the greatest works in the field. It was Stapledon's fourth novel and was first published in 1937. Narrated by the same voice as narrated "Last and First Men" the novel is a sequel of sorts, but at the same time it has a much larger scope and thus there is no noticeable overlap between the two novels. As with "Last and First Men", "Star Maker" is not a conventional novel, so if that is what you are looking for, you should look elsewhere. It is a philosophical journey rather than a conventional story with a traditional plot and characters.

The narrator takes the reader on a journey through the universe and through time, starting on a hill near his home, and ultimately finding the creator of the universe, i.e. the Star Maker. He witnesses the entire life of the universe, and joins with many other minds from other civilizations throughout the galaxy. It is tempting to use phrases like "for its time" when describing this book, but it is a remarkable work for any time. I am sure that some of descriptions of civilizations and their scientific achievements would change if it were written today. However, the statement that the book makes would likely remain the same.

One does not need to read "Last and First Men" (or "Last Men in London" for that matter) to read this novel. The few remarks made in the narration that reference "Last and First Men" will not cause the reader any difficulty. They pass by almost unnoticed, as the reader's focus is on the amazing scope and vision which are contained in this novel. Stapledon's works are not the easiest reads, but they are well worth the effort. The echos of Stapledon's ideas can be read in the works of numerous authors and in some of the greatest works of science fiction.

This book was tied for 13th on the Arkham Survey in 1949 as one of the `Basic SF Titles'. It also was tied for 30th on the 1975 Locus All-Time poll for Novels; and 32nd on the 1998 Locus All-Time Poll for Novels written prior to 1990. This particular edition includes a Foreword by Brian W. Aldiss, and also includes A Note on Magnitude, Time Lines, and a Glossary all created by Olaf Stapledon. This is the 21st of the SF Masterworks paperbacks released by Victor Gollancz Books. If this is an indication of the quality of work they have done throughout the series, then it is a very worthwhile series to own.

Aurora Rising
Aurora Rising
by Toni Seger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Machine Biology, 28 April 2010
This review is from: Aurora Rising (Paperback)
The second book of a trilogy is undoubtedly the most difficult one to deal with, and I was interested in seeing how Toni Seger would handle the sequel to "The Telefax Box", "Aurora Rising". I dislike it when an author introduces new technologies and races which would have appeared in the first book in an attempt to make the series fresh, and Toni completely avoids that, and if anything narrows her focus onto a specific area of her universe which was clearly evident in the first book. Instead, she makes the story fresh by focusing her satire on different aspects of our society than she did in the first book, at least for the most part.

In "The Telfax Box", I felt the focus was much more on social aspects of our society, such as disabilities and social status, e.g. aquatics forced to use uncomfortable troughs to interact with other species, but in this book my focus was drawn more to technology and the varying degrees which different cultures rely on it. At the same time, while the line between being and machine is a key in both books, the theme is much more front and center in this novel, as the universe is forced to deal with half-beings (i.e. half-machines, half-beings); the idea of which is abhorred by almost everyone, yet at the same time is actively pursued by their scientists.

This story focuses on beings which don't completely fit into any society. We have two key characters which have in the part of two very different societies. There is Yon, a half-Samerac, half-Zanton, who doesn't fit in either the technological universe dominated by the Zantons, nor with the anti-machine Samerac society. And there is Aurora, a half-machine, half-Samerac who is also balanced between two opposed forces. Aurora is actually three times an exile, she is part machine which excludes her from those who are beings, she is a Samerac who are exiles from the Federation, and she is with the Dodis, who are exiled from the rest of Samara for their near-worship of machines.

I found the story to be much more complex than that in "The Telefax Box". There are some wonderful moments, such as the treatment of a book as being an exotic item, and valued for being more convenient than a reading-spool. It relates well to the current technology war over e-Readers, i.e. Kindle, iPad, and Nook. Equally good is the satire of environmentalism, or lack thereof with Central Command on the verge of self-destruction through expansion and the dealings with the Dodis in a push to gain control of resources on Samera. Politics also plays a much bigger role in this book, which again adds to the overall complexity of the story.

This is a good second book to the series, but not quite as good as the first book. While the satire is still very good, I felt as if I read a complete story with "The Telefax Box", and it left me wanting to read what happened next. With "Aurora Rising" I feel as if I have only read part of a story. Thus this one is about 3½ stars for me, but I am rounding up because I like the satire and it is not the usual fare.

Please Please Me
Please Please Me
Price: £9.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It All Started Here, 24 April 2010
This review is from: Please Please Me (Audio CD)
The Beatles are a group like no other. They matured as a group from teen pop to progressive and they took a large part of a generation with them on the ride. Nor is their influence limited just to that generation, as the echoes of their greatness still resound today. "Please Please Me" is the album that took them from obscurity to a UK sensation, and paved the way for their global success. Originally released on March 22nd, 1963, in Mono (April 26, 1963 for the stereo version), the album featured 14 tracks, 10 of which were recorded on February 11th, and the remaining four were recorded at other times. The version I am reviewing is the digitally remastered version of the stereo release of the album

The album opens with "I Saw Her Standing There", one of eight McCartney-Lennon pieces on the album. Paul is the lead vocalist, and the song is from take 1 of the session on February 11th, while the count-in from take 9. George Martin wanted to capture a life feeling, and it sets the tone for the entire album. Next is "Misery" (McCartney-Lennon) with Paul and John sharing the vocals. This song was written for Helen Shapiro, but she turned it down, it was the first song to be covered by another artist as Kenny Lynch recorded it just days after The Beatles recorded it, and released it as a single before "Please Please Me" was released. This song is the first to have George Martin play on it as he added the piano. "Anna (Go To Him)" (Arthur Alexander) is next and features John on vocals, it is the first of the non McCartney-Lennon compositions on the album.

Up next is "Chains" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) is the first of two songs to feature George Harrison on vocals. "Boys" (Luther Dixon, Wes Farrell) is the only song to feature Ringo on lead vocals. It is an odd choice since the lyric is intended for a female to sing, but Ringo pulls it off. "Ask Me Why" is a return to the McCartney-Lennon compositions, with John on lead vocals. The song had been recorded as early as June 6th of 1962, but this take is from November 26th of the same year. It was the B-Side of their second single, "Please Please Me" which is the last song on the first half of this album and was recorded on the same day.

The second half of the album opens with two mono tracks, even on the stereo version of the album. "Love Me Do" starts it off, their first single. This version is the one with Andy White on drums and Ringo playing tambourine. John and Paul share the lead vocals on this one. The second track is the B-Side, "P.S. I Love You", which once again has Andy White on drums and Ringo on maracas this time. Paul has the lead vocals on this track. These two tracks were recorded on September 11th of 1962. "Baby It's You" with John on vocals is next. It is a cover of a song written by Burt Bacharach (music), and Barney Williams (a.k.a. Luther Dixon) and Hal David (lyrics). This is the second song that The Beatles included which was done previously by The Shirelles. George Martin plays Celesta on this track. Next up is "Do You Want to Know a Secret", the second song that George handles the vocals.

"A Taste of Honey" (Bobby Scott, Ric Marlow) was originally an instrumental piece, but had vocals added when Lenny Welch recorded it a few months before The Beatles did. Paul handles the lead vocals on the track. "There's A Place" is the final McCartney-Lennon piece on the album with John and Paul sharing the vocals. The album closes with "Twist and Shout" (Phil Medley, Bert Russell), a song on which John excels and pushes his vocals to the extreme. This CD also includes a short documentary about the making of the album. It is a nice add-on, but I would rather have had the stereo and mono tracks on a single CD.

There is no doubt that this album is historic, and important to the legacy of the group for all the firsts which are included on it. But when it comes to rating the album I think one has to look at it on its own. The songs are a bit dated, though not nearly as bad as other songs from the era, so I would say that the album has aged gracefully. Still, overall it is a fairly standard pop album. There is no experimentation in the studio on this one, and the songs are all less than three minutes in length. Nor is this even the best pop album from The Beatles, and if this album were the only one from the group, it would not have been remembered the way it has been. Taking everything into account, I would say that this is an above average pop album, but not enough above average to justify four stars, and when rating albums by The Beatles, this one is closer to the bottom than the top.

Price: £4.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Paramore, 11 April 2010
This review is from: Riot! (Audio CD)
It is a difficult choice, but I would have to pick "Riot!" as the best of the first three albums from Paramore. "All We Know" is a strong debut, but it has some weaker points, and "Brand New Eyes" has several of what I feel are their best songs, but it doesn't maintain such a high-level of quality on all of its tracks. This is a very impressive album, all the more so when one considers that it is only their second. It was released on June 12, 2007.

"For a Pessimist I'm Pretty Optimistic" opens the album with a strong number, but not one which would be released as a single. As with most of the songs on this album it is fairly basic, but has a good driving feel to it. "That's What You Get" is the next piece and is one of the four singles from the album. This is followed by another single "Hallelujah" which is similar in lyric content, though this time instead of heading towards a break-up this one is about seeing things through and staying together. "Misery Business" is another of the singles from the album, and another song about relationships, though this one is about fighting over a man. "When it Rains" is another break-up song, but at least this one has a significantly different feel then those which came before.

"Let the Flames Begin" is the bridge song between the first and second half of the album. This one isn't a relationship song, but instead seems to be about finding oneself. "Miracle" moves back to the area of relationship pieces, and is probably the weakest song on the album, though that is not difficult given the quality of the rest of the tracks. "Crushcrushcrush" is the next piece and the remaining single from the album. This one rings in a different aspect to the other relationship songs on the album. "We Are Broken" is next, and while one could put this in the category of relationship songs, it seems to be more about faith. "Fences" also moves away from the relationship pieces as it is about dealing with living one's life in the public eye. "Born for this" is a bit less obvious, but seems to be about struggling to make it.

If one wants to look for negatives, one can pick on "Miracle", the number of relationship songs, and perhaps a lack of diversity in sound, but when a group finds a sound that works for them it is perhaps too much to ask for them to abandon it. This is only their second studio album, they still have time to stretch and grow as a group. The positives far outweigh the negatives as this album is full of energy and lyrics that you want to sing-along with. Paramore on this album was Hayley Williams (vocals), Josh Farro (guitars), Zac Farro (drums), Jeremy Davis (bass). Hayley Williams and Josh Farro are the main songwriters, with one piece co-written with Zac Farro, one with future member Taylor York, and two with producer David Bendeth.

The White Feather
The White Feather
by P. G. Wodehouse
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak Sequel, 13 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The White Feather (Hardcover)
I was pleasantly surprised by "The Gold Bat", but its sequel, "The White Feather", published on October 9th of 1907, falls short of its predecessor in many ways. While the return to Wrykyn offers some familiar surroundings for the reader, the major characters are new. There are some familiar characters as well, but they don't fit in with the main story, and some of them are clumsily used to insert plot points, making parts of the story seem very contrived. This is unfortunate, because it is a decent story, and the new characters are sufficient to drive the story forward. One can only wonder at how Wodehouse would have written the story when he was at his height.

The book opens with a collection of familiar characters as both Trevor and Clowes have returned to their former school and visit with Allardyce who has become Captain of the Football Team, and who is lamenting the sorry state of athletics at the school in the new year. As it turns out, none of these characters plays more than a bit role in the book. The main story starts in chapter two as Sheen is introduced to the reader, and this is essentially his story. The one character from "The Gold Bat" who plays a significant role in this story is Drummond, though his role is mainly that of influencing others, rather than of being central to the action.

Sheen is caught between a friendship with Stanning, a football player from Appleby's House, and Drummond a football player from his own house, Seymour's. For many reasons, Drummond is preferable to Stanning, and the two of them dislike each other intensely, so Sheen's attempts at being friends to both fails and Stanning is left out. When heading into town, Sheen and Drummond come across a fight between some Wrykyn students and some of the students from St. Jude. Drummond immediately acts to join in and encourages Sheen to do the same, but Sheen runs away. It is this act of cowardice which Sheen is forced to live with, and he becomes an outcast in Seymour's House and the school as a whole, and which leads to his decision to try to learn to box to return something to the house which he let down.

It is a fairly standard story of trying to right a wrong, but Sheen is a likeable character, as is Joe Bevan, the ex-lightweight champion boxer who takes on the training. Wodehouse throws some curves in the story, such as misunderstandings about who Sheen believes told others of his cowardice, and how ongoing fights between Wrykyn and St. Jude's results in the town being put out of bounds, and thus forcing Sheen to break the rules to get to his training. Most of these feel a bit clumsy with regards to story flow, but I did enjoy the boat sinking episode when Sheen ends up stranded.

This is not Wodehouse's worst attempt, but it does lack in several areas. It is a bit too serious as the humor in the situations is a bit too subtle for me. The infamous "White Feather" from the title, never makes an actual appearance, though there is one chapter that has the title. Many of the situations feel forced, with a couple of chapters focusing on almost a completely different set of characters in order to bring in some plot points. What is done best is the characters, and one shouldn't be too hard on it, after all this is only Wodehouse's eighth book, and it follows "Love Among the Chickens" which was one of his best to this point.

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