Devlin Mitchell

Helpful votes received on reviews: 88% (127 of 145)
Location: London, England


Top Reviewer Ranking: 72,793 - Total Helpful Votes: 127 of 145
The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began by Stephen Greenblatt
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Last month this book won the Pulizter prize (in general non-fiction), which is how I found out about it. It tells the story of how Lucretius's poem, a 'secular bible', came to be discovered in the 1400s and some of its impact on Western thought since.

What I enjoyed:
- The style and structure brings a bit of 'Dan Brown' intrigue to what could otherwise be a fairly thin book
- Brings to life the social, political and religious context in which the manuscript was discovered
- Engaging style, the author's passion for his topic shines through
- Very clear and written for the non-specialist

What I didn't enjoy:
- The narrative feels quite padded,… Read more
The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory a&hellip by Christopher Hitchens
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
To consider Agnes Bojaxhiu ('Mother Teresa') in an ethical humanist light is to put focus on three questions in particular:
- to what extent did she actually extend the life of those in her care?
- to what extent did she actually improve the quality of life for those in her care?
- to what extent did she improve life more broadly in the world (where factors include the solace she gave to believers, her political interventions against divorce, contraception and abortion, and her complicity with sectarianism in Albania to name a few)?

In this brave book, now re-issued, Christopher Hitchens opened up these topics and hopefully laid groundwork for further sober… Read more
Poor Economics: Barefoot Hedge-fund Managers, DIY &hellip by Abhijit Banerjee
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Why is there still so much confusion and debate about how best to reduce poverty and improve the life chances of the global poor? This book takes a very bright spotlight to that large, mushy question.

The authors refuse to provide sweeping answers but take on issues one by one -- food, disease, education, work, saving, entrepreneurship -- revealing what works and what doesn't and explaining why.

It is a compelling read because the authors combine years of academic rigour with on-the-ground observation and a dogged use of controlled trials to create transparency about what works. They are also talented writers in their own right and have put together a fascinating and… Read more