F Henwood

"The bookworm that turned"
Kilve beach ... meet the ancestors.
Top Reviewer Ranking: 483
Helpful votes received on reviews: 90% (849 of 944)
Location: London
In My Own Words:
My name is Franco Henwood. I spend too much time reading, time that I could spend doing DIY or household chores or some otherwise productive activity. But I don't really care. I do not like to be pigeonholed. I am both the same and also totally different to everyone else. I am the patron saint of lost causes.

Science, history and current affairs. Breathing and staring into empty space.


Top Reviewer Ranking: 483 - Total Helpful Votes: 849 of 944
1491: The Americas before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
We cringe at the depiction of ‘Red Indians’ from 1950s westerns. Radicals in the 1960s put the adjective ‘noble’ back before the noun ‘savage’. Contemporary fashions now see the inhabitants of the Americas as the caretakers of some sort of eco-paradise. One well-known British environmental activist flatters himself by calling himself ‘Sitting Bull.’ It’s obvious what the ideological assumptions of this moniker are. It makes certain assumptions about the nature of the past. But what was the truth about the nature of the peoples that inhabited the Americas before Columbus’ arrival in 1492?

This book hazards some answers. It manages to avoid (mostly) bringing overt contemporary… Read more
What do most people think about genetically modified food? Even if they have no strong opinion on the matter, they are likely to share with the technology's most strident critics that the technology is unnatural. Not for nothing has the term `Frankenfoods' stuck (coined by a Boston College Professor of English in 1992). The natural/unnatural dichotomy means that the case for genetic engineering is often chased out of the court before it can even be heard, because its opponents have succeeded in stigmatising the technology as unnatural and therefore bad.

What this book does is to challenge this distinction. First, it shows that conventional plant breeding (i.e. that does not use… Read more
Red Love: The Story of an East German Family by Maxim Leo
4.0 out of 5 stars Love's labours lost, 3 Sep 2014
As the author of this book reached adulthood, the country in which he grew up, East Germany, vanished from the pages of history. Now, moving into middle-age, he reflects on his family’s history, particularly the biographies of his parents and his grandfathers, and what their stories can tell us about the nature of the relationship between the defunct East German state and its former subjects. It neither seeks to exorcise or denounce the past nor wallow in nostalgia for the supposed comforts the former welfare-police-state brought. It corrects the casual impression we get that East Germany’s inhabitants fell into two camps: the dissenting minority and the apathetic, conformist majority… Read more

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