Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,968
Helpful votes received on reviews: 91% (596 of 653)
Location: Ancient Gaul

Bashing Romans, Wild Boar.


Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,968 - Total Helpful Votes: 596 of 653
Hella Nation: In search of the lost tribes of Amer&hellip by Evan Wright
One of the best reads I've had in quite some time. There are other living US journalists worthy of an intelligent reader's attention - John McPhee, Eric Schlosser, David Remnick - but none as funny or as ferociously engaging as Evan Wright.

His work has picked up some lazy comparisons to that of Hunter S. Thompson - not always due to the Rolling Stone connection - but the comparison misleads. However wacky, deluded or bizarre his subjects (porn starlets, eco-terrorists, neo-Nazi's), the tale remains in the foreground, not the teller. Wright has a gift for the telling detail, whether comic or bittersweet, and the piercing phrase. Some favourites:

'A man next to me… Read more
Updike by Adam Begley
Updike by Adam Begley
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Borges once said of James Joyce that he was less a man of letters than an entire literature. If you wanted a sentence that sums up the career of John Updike - who published over fifty books over a long writing career and twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction - you'd struggle to dream up a better one than that.

Admittedly, 'struggle' isn't the first word you associate with Updike's career, but after reading Adam Begley's assured, informative biography, you might well modify that judgement. Updike was the only child of poor, Depression-era parents. The creator of juvenile basketball ace Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom doesn't sound like the type of kid you'd pick for the school team… Read more
The Faber Book of Utopias by John Carey
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Building Better Worlds, 5 April 2014
Despite the title, this is a surprisingly grim work. The problem with utopias, as Carey points out, is they aim for perfection. That sounds noble, even benevolent - at first. But human beings are far from perfect, and so are the societies they build around them. A utopia cannot tolerate imperfections: they delay our progress to a better world, and bear down on the people who will achieve it. By necessity, that means wiping out an awful lot of people today for the benefit of people tomorrow.

Carey picks excerpts from a variety of works, many picking up on this paradox knowingly, some otherwise. The range is impressive: Homer, Tacitus, Sir Thomas More (of course), Andrew Marvell,… Read more

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