Helpful votes received on reviews: 84% (139 of 165)
Location: London, UK
In My Own Words:
Literature and History book enthusiast


Top Reviewer Ranking: 170,051 - Total Helpful Votes: 139 of 165
Across the Pond: An Englishman's View of America by Terry Eagleton
2.0 out of 5 stars Mildly entertaining, 12 Sep 2013
Mildly entertaining in places, but not Eagleton at his best - and at times the book drifts into unsophisticated condescension, obtuse put downs and dreary cliche. Several themes in the book were in need of much fuller development - the relationship between Puritan Christianity and the American mind is mentioned repeatedly but never interestingly explored, generalisations about Americans were frequently (to this reader) unjustified. The book does little really to explain the seductions of the consumer culture America (and the rest of the world increasingly) adores. The author, rather, looks askance in baffled unease at the world advanced (US style) capitalism is making and has made. There is… Read more
Pierre et Jean (Oxford World's Classics) by Guy de Maupassant
This was my first Maupassant novel and it inspired me to buy and begin another. As the other reviewers mention, the story is really well crafted and perfectly told. The author is a master of the polished phrase and his language conveys the scenery as well as the personalities of the Normandy he takes as his canvas. There's a dreamy quality to the author's perspective - he floats between subtle psychological portraits and details in the storyline and tangential observations about the wider reality and perspectives he aims to develop. This for me is the greatest strength of Pierre et Jean - and, so far, also of My Life, the novel I've just started. It's a straightforward read and won't take… Read more
The Condition of the Working Class in England by Friedrich Engels
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Marx is often a heavy read; this by the young Engels isn't. The book combines its historical portrait of a time not far distant with incisive philosophical commentary. It is a foreigner's book, written from the perspective of an outsider, but one already moved by the predicament of those he sees, burning to engage them. Descriptions of the attitudes of the bourgeoisie are stunningly vivid, precise and damning. The disunity and squalor of the masses are unromantically put across, their habits of life bluntly summarised.

The book is not a manifesto for change but the urgent need to move in just that direction is palpable not far from the surface of the text. McLellan's introduction… Read more

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