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Beauty and the Beast: The Story of Nastassja and Klaus Kinski
Beauty and the Beast: The Story of Nastassja and Klaus Kinski
by W. A. Harbinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart, 14 Mar. 2013
This review is going to be much more vague than my other reviews, due to the nature of the subject: Aguirre in books and on film. But as the review centers in the Americas during the great conquests, allow me first to mention two absolutely fabulous must-read books on the subject, both by the same author, Buddy Levy, CONQUISTADOR, the story of Cortés and Montezuma, and RIVER OF DARKNESS, about Pizarro, Orellana and the Amazon.
I've recently read AGUIRRE by Stephen Minta and THE WRATH OF GOD: LOPE DE AGUIRRE by Evan Balkan. Both are slight volumes, both excellent, both detail the adventures of this sadistic psychopath who in no way possessed the vision and intelligence of a Cortés or a Pizarro, although both, like Aguirre, were surely sociopaths. (I have a slight preference for Balkan.) Herzog's film with Klaus Kinski, AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, faithfully reconstructs the major incidents as found in both Minta and Balkan's books, with a hideous Kinski who physically represents, to a staggering degree, the real-life, equally hideous Aguirre (whose portrait has survived). For those interested in the `'real-life'' Kinski, I've read W.A. Harbinson's (2011) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, the biography of Kinski and his equally famous daughter. He went from rags to riches, eventually living in mansions, eating off gold plates and owning dozens of Rolls Royces, Ferraris, et al, sexually assaulting literally anything with an orifice, one of his daughters even accusing him of abusing her from the age of 5. In truth, throughout the whole book, one can't find a single reason to justify the existence of this miserable human scum. Yet, compared to the inhumanity and sheer butchery of a Cortés or, especially, a Pizarro, he comes off as merely a miscreant. The film and all of these books are not for the faint of heart. As for my own books (also not destined for the faint of heart), they can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


The Wrath of God: Lope De Aguirre, Revolutionary of the Americas
The Wrath of God: Lope De Aguirre, Revolutionary of the Americas
by Evan L. Balkan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £32.30

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart, 14 Mar. 2013
This review is going to be much more vague than my other reviews, due to the nature of the subject: Aguirre in books and on film. But as the review centers in the Americas during the great conquests, allow me first to mention two absolutely fabulous must-read books on the subject, both by the same author, Buddy Levy, CONQUISTADOR, the story of Cortés and Montezuma, and RIVER OF DARKNESS, about Pizarro, Orellana and the Amazon.
I've recently read AGUIRRE by Stephen Minta and THE WRATH OF GOD: LOPE DE AGUIRRE by Evan Balkan. Both are slight volumes, both excellent, both detail the adventures of this sadistic psychopath who in no way possessed the vision and intelligence of a Cortés or a Pizarro, although both, like Aguirre, were surely sociopaths. (I have a slight preference for Balkan.) Herzog's film with Klaus Kinski, AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, faithfully reconstructs the major incidents as found in both Minta and Balkan's books, with a hideous Kinski who physically represents, to a staggering degree, the real-life, equally hideous Aguirre (whose portrait has survived). For those interested in the `'real-life'' Kinski, I've read W.A. Harbinson's (2011) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, the biography of Kinski and his equally famous daughter. He went from rags to riches, eventually living in mansions, eating off gold plates and owning dozens of Rolls Royces, Ferraris, et al, sexually assaulting literally anything with an orifice, one of his daughters even accusing him of abusing her from the age of 5. In truth, throughout the whole book, one can't find a single reason to justify the existence of this miserable human scum. Yet, compared to the inhumanity and sheer butchery of a Cortés or, especially, a Pizarro, he comes off as merely a miscreant. The film and all of these books are not for the faint of heart. As for my own books (also not destined for the faint of heart), they can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


Aguirre: Recreation of a Sixteenth-century Journey Across South America (PAPERBACK)
Aguirre: Recreation of a Sixteenth-century Journey Across South America (PAPERBACK)
by Stephen Minta
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart, 14 Mar. 2013
This review is going to be much more vague than my other reviews, due to the nature of the subject: Aguirre in books and on film. But as the review centers in the Americas during the great conquests, allow me first to mention two absolutely fabulous must-read books on the subject, both by the same author, Buddy Levy, CONQUISTADOR, the story of Cortés and Montezuma, and RIVER OF DARKNESS, about Pizarro, Orellana and the Amazon.
I've recently read AGUIRRE by Stephen Minta and THE WRATH OF GOD: LOPE DE AGUIRRE by Evan Balkan. Both are slight volumes, both excellent, both detail the adventures of this sadistic psychopath who in no way possessed the vision and intelligence of a Cortés or a Pizarro, although both, like Aguirre, were surely sociopaths. (I have a slight preference for Balkan.) Herzog's film with Klaus Kinski, AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, faithfully reconstructs the major incidents as found in both Minta and Balkan's books, with a hideous Kinski who physically represents, to a staggering degree, the real-life, equally hideous Aguirre (whose portrait has survived). For those interested in the `'real-life'' Kinski, I've read W.A. Harbinson's (2011) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, the biography of Kinski and his equally famous daughter. He went from rags to riches, eventually living in mansions, eating off gold plates and owning dozens of Rolls Royces, Ferraris, et al, sexually assaulting literally anything with an orifice, one of his daughters even accusing him of abusing her from the age of 5. In truth, throughout the whole book, one can't find a single reason to justify the existence of this miserable human scum. Yet, compared to the inhumanity and sheer butchery of a Cortés or, especially, a Pizarro, he comes off as merely a miscreant. The film and all of these books are not for the faint of heart. As for my own books (also not destined for the faint of heart), they can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


American Legend: The Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett
American Legend: The Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett
by Buddy Levy
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for Levy/3 for Crockett, 2 Mar. 2013
This review is of Buddy Levy's DAVID CROCKETT. But before I get to it, I'd like to say a few words about two other Levy books, RIVER OF DARKNESS and CONQUISTADOR, both of which are absolutely fabulous. The first tells of Pizarro and Orellana's trip down the Amazon, the second of Cortés invasion of Mexico. What strikes one in both books is the incredible suffering of the Spain invaders: Physical labor, dysentery, malaria, Indian attacks, drowning, continuous combat--they went through nearly every calamity the earth could offer at that time, including having their hair set afire by a volcano, only to return home (the very few that did) to find disrepute and additional wretchedness (Pizarro murdered after all he had gone through, Orellana and Cortés dying of exploration-related illnesses). In fact, they went through a Hell even unimagined by the imaginative Dante. These men were no angels. Pizarro had a group of friendly Indians tortured in order to learn about El Dorado, then he had them thrown to his dogs for food while still alive. The Indians weren't angels either. Entering a village, Cortés came upon the still-steaming bodies of 50 boys, their hearts piled on a platter, sacrificed in order that the sun arise the following day. Mathew White in his THE GREAT BIG BOOK OF HORRIBLE THINGS states that 1,200,000 boys were so murdered, this added to the sum of those martyred because of religion, superstition and other forms of ignorance since the beginning of time. Both books are MUST reading. Now for DAVIS CROCKETT: I just cannot fathom why he became famous. He killed plenty of bears, some Indians, he was elected to government posts, mostly because there was no other opposition on the frontier, he had his slaves harvest the cotton that made his fortune, he married one woman for love, a second to care for his two boys. Where's the Crockett of my youth that everyone sang about? À table he drank water from the finger bowl and accused the waiter of stealing his food when the waiter thought Crockett had finished. I couldn't care less about his table manners, but accusing the waiter of stealing is a bit much. Perhaps he's famous due to his death at the Alamo? My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs
Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs
by Buddy Levy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.22

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for Levy/3 for Crocket, 2 Mar. 2013
This review is of Buddy Levy's DAVID CROCKETT. But before I get to it, I'd like to say a few words about two other Levy books, RIVER OF DARKNESS and CONQUISTADOR, both of which are absolutely fabulous. The first tells of Pizarro and Orellana's trip down the Amazon, the second of Cortés invasion of Mexico. What strikes one in both books is the incredible suffering of the Spain invaders: Physical labor, dysentery, malaria, Indian attacks, drowning, continuous combat--they went through nearly every calamity the earth could offer at that time, including having their hair set afire by a volcano, only to return home (the very few that did) to find disrepute and additional wretchedness (Pizarro murdered after all he had gone through, Orellana and Cortés dying of exploration-related illnesses). In fact, they went through a Hell even unimagined by the imaginative Dante. These men were no angels. Pizarro had a group of friendly Indians tortured in order to learn about El Dorado, then he had them thrown to his dogs for food while still alive. The Indians weren't angels either. Entering a village, Cortés came upon the still-steaming bodies of 50 boys, their hearts piled on a platter, sacrificed in order that the sun arise the following day. Mathew White in his THE GREAT BIG BOOK OF HORRIBLE THINGS states that 1,200,000 boys were so murdered, this added to the sum of those martyred because of religion, superstition and other forms of ignorance since the beginning of time. Both books are MUST reading. Now for DAVIS CROCKETT: I just cannot fathom why he became famous. He killed plenty of bears, some Indians, he was elected to government posts, mostly because there was no other opposition on the frontier, he had his slaves harvest the cotton that made his fortune, he married one woman for love, a second to care for his two boys. Where's the Crockett of my youth that everyone sang about? À table he drank water from the finger bowl and accused the waiter of stealing his food when the waiter thought Crockett had finished. I couldn't care less about his table manners, but accusing the waiter of stealing is a bit much. Perhaps he's famous due to his death at the Alamo? My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon
River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon
by Buddy Levy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.31

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for Levy/3 for Crocket, 2 Mar. 2013
This review is of Buddy Levy's DAVID CROCKETT. But before I get to it, I'd like to say a few words about two other Levy books, RIVER OF DARKNESS and CONQUISTADOR, both of which are absolutely fabulous. The first tells of Pizarro and Orellana's trip down the Amazon, the second of Cortés invasion of Mexico. What strikes one in both books is the incredible suffering of the Spain invaders: Physical labor, dysentery, malaria, Indian attacks, drowning, continuous combat--they went through nearly every calamity the earth could offer at that time, including having their hair set afire by a volcano, only to return home (the very few that did) to find disrepute and additional wretchedness (Pizarro murdered after all he had gone through, Orellana and Cortés dying of exploration-related illnesses). In fact, they went through a Hell even unimagined by the imaginative Dante. These men were no angels. Pizarro had a group of friendly Indians tortured in order to learn about El Dorado, then he had them thrown to his dogs for food while still alive. The Indians weren't angels either. Entering a village, Cortés came upon the still-steaming bodies of 50 boys, their hearts piled on a platter, sacrificed in order that the sun arise the following day. Mathew White in his THE GREAT BIG BOOK OF HORRIBLE THINGS states that 1,200,000 boys were so murdered, this added to the sum of those martyred because of religion, superstition and other forms of ignorance since the beginning of time. Both books are MUST reading. Now for DAVIS CROCKETT: I just cannot fathom why he became famous. He killed plenty of bears, some Indians, he was elected to government posts, mostly because there was no other opposition on the frontier, he had his slaves harvest the cotton that made his fortune, he married one woman for love, a second to care for his two boys. Where's the Crockett of my youth that everyone sang about? À table he drank water from the finger bowl and accused the waiter of stealing his food when the waiter thought Crockett had finished. I couldn't care less about his table manners, but accusing the waiter of stealing is a bit much. Perhaps he's famous due to his death at the Alamo? My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


Paris in the Terror
Paris in the Terror
by Stanley Loomis
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important work, 28 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Paris in the Terror (Paperback)
The first half of Stanley Loomis' PARIS IN THE TERROR relates the life of Charlotte Corday and the reasons behind her quest to end the reign of the sickly mass murderer, the sociopath, Marat. This part of the book is extremely welcomed because I've found no other book that recounts, so completely, the life of Charlotte Corday. There are few books, too, that describe, so well, the miserable existence of Marat. Loomis goes on to recount the welcome end of both Danton and Robespierre. Although Loomis covers these last two men well, the definitive books on both are FATAL PURITY, ROBESPIERRE AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION by Ruth Scurr and DANTON by David Lawday, both essential works. Before the terror, in 1793, a Girondin stated before the National Convention, `I foresee civil war set afire in my country, spreading its ravages everywhere and tearing France apart. I see the monster Dictatorship advancing over piles of ruins and corpses.' The France that these three psychopaths destroyed was, says Loomis, a land `of pleasure. The theatres were cheap and many. They were also of the highest degree of excellence. There were many fairs or public festivals that one could attend free of charge. Nor were the working classes all starving. Their gastronomic standards appear, in fact, to be higher than today's. Cafés of every conceivable political or artistic complexion were plentiful, and in them a considerable part of most men's day was spent in idle and animated conversation.' Loomis' writing style is highly avuncular, one that enwraps the reader in a warm, extremely comfortable embrace. It also gives the personal histories of those who confronted the guillotine--totally heartrending accounts of misery and bravery, like the story of the mother--condemned to die--who faints when she sees that her 16-year-old-son is in another group of condemned. Thanks to her fainting she is given a stay of a couple of days, during which Robespierre is himself beheaded. She is thusly saved, although her boy faces death: 'Look' he says to the executioner, holding out his hand, 'I'm not even shaking!' My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.
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Courtesans & Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens
Courtesans & Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens
by James N. Davidson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully done, 22 Feb. 2013
James Davidson's COURTESANS AND FISHCAKES relates eating, drinking and lovemaking in the Athens of Pericles (or thereabouts). I'm the rare Frenchman who doesn't care all that much for food and drink, which leaves what we call un cinq à sept. Davidson plays down the role of boys, certain that the Greeks were far more portés sur le sexe faible. Even so, he does describe the act of love between men as - for the receiver - a kind of itching of incredible pleasure which just goes on and on until the strength of the giver abandons him. Although I personally fear even a thermometer, one has to wonder, when one hears the animal cries on the Web - begging for the giver to go faster and deeper - if one hasn't wasted a part of one's life. All this to say that Davidson is no prude, he clearly and engrossingly describes what may well have gone on, and that if you are ALSO interested in eating and drinking, this book is for you. My own books can be found on Amazon, in English and French, under Michael Hone.


Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens
Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens
by James Davidson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully done, 22 Feb. 2013
James Davidson's COURTESANS AND FISHCAKES relates eating, drinking and lovemaking in the Athens of Pericles (or thereabouts). I'm the rare Frenchman who doesn't care all that much for food and drink, which leaves what we call un cinq à sept. Davidson plays down the role of boys, certain that the Greeks were far more portés sur le sexe faible. Even so, he does describe the act of love between men as - for the receiver - a kind of itching of incredible pleasure which just goes on and on until the strength of the giver abandons him. Although I personally fear even a thermometer, one has to wonder, when one hears the animal cries on the Web - begging for the giver to go faster and deeper - if one hasn't wasted a part of one's life. All this to say that Davidson is no prude, he clearly and engrossingly describes what may well have gone on, and that if you are ALSO interested in eating and drinking, this book is for you. My own books can be found on Amazon, in English and French, under Michael Hone.


Paris in the Terror
Paris in the Terror
by Stanley Loomis
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important work, 22 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Paris in the Terror (Paperback)
The first half of Stanley Loomis' PARIS IN THE TERROR relates the life of Charlotte Corday and the reasons behind her quest to end the reign of the sickly mass murderer, the sociopath, Marat. Loomis goes on to recount the welcome end of both Danton and Robespierre. Although Loomis covers these last two men well, the definitive books on both are FATAL PURITY, ROBESPIERRE AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION by Ruth Scurr and DANTON by David Lawday, both essential works. Before the terror, in 1793, a Girondin stated before the National Convention, `I foresee civil war set afire in my country, spreading its ravages everywhere and tearing France apart. I see the monster Dictatorship advancing over piles of ruins and corpses.' The France that these three psychopaths destroyed was, says Loomis, a land `of pleasure. The theatres were cheap and many. They were also of the highest degree of excellence. There were many fairs or public festivals that one could attend free of charge. Nor were the working classes all starving. Their gastronomic standards appear, in fact, to be higher than today's. Cafés of every conceivable political or artistic complexion were plentiful, and in them a considerable part of most men's day was spent in idle and animated conversation.' Loomis' writing style is highly avuncular, one that enwraps the reader in a warm, extremely comfortable embrace. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


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