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S. Becker "sminismoni" (Australia)

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Johnson's Life of London: The People Who Made the City That Made the World
Johnson's Life of London: The People Who Made the City That Made the World
by Boris Johnson
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indulgent romp through London's history, 27 Jan. 2012
Thank goodness for a man who can say what he thinks (and put it into print), and not give a fig about what anyone else thinks. In Boris Johnson's account of the personalities that shaped London, we find a book which is unashamedly personal and indulgent. Endearingly, it reveals the hopes and values of the author. And yet any narcissism is disarmed by the highly entertaining, tongue-in-cheek conversational style it is written in. One can't help but laugh - frequently.

Johnson's Life of London is not an academic work. The factual information is limited to the bare basics required to set the scene. What Johnson is interested in sharing is the humanity and life force of his subjects. He makes it clear that any great city is a product of the personalities that inhabit it as much as the historical events that occur. He also argues strongly that great cities inspire competition amongst individuals, thereby leading to intellectual progress. Johnson dicusses how the 16th century theatres, bidding for audience share, promoted the emergence of Shakespeare; the 18th century feuds within the Royal Society gave us Newton and Robert Hooke; the 19th century competition in the Royal Academy produced Turner and Constable.

Johnson has chosen his subjects with this central thesis in mind. In addition, Johnson clearly identifies with and idealises many of them. The longest chapter in the book is devoted to John Wilkes - journalist turned Mayor of London. Second prize goes to Winston Churchill. He lauds unfailing principles (even when unpopular), the ability to influence others into action, and a healthy dose of eccentricity as admirable character traits. In the end, I couldn't help but think that Johnson himself would like to be added to his own book in the future. On the cover art, he is riding the bicycle. Turn to the back however, and there is an empty seat. Perhaps reserved for you.

Getting On: Series 1 [DVD] [2009]
Getting On: Series 1 [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Jo Brand
Offered by westworld-
Price: £6.98

5.0 out of 5 stars The best show I've seen in years, 20 Jun. 2011
I'm a doctor in Australia, and coming from a public health system modelled on the NHS, all I can say is THIS IS THE REAL THING. I've watched both series twice over and every time find something new to laugh about. I've met quite a few Pippa Moore consultants - neurotic, narcissistic yet totally useless. These also made me examine people's rectums and answer inane questions as a medical student. The nurses are hilarious, treading the line between trying to really care for people with no resources and support, and giving up and getting bitter. Jo Brand is brilliant. Dark humour for sure, but this is a work of genius.

Psychiatric Ethics (Oxford Medical Publications)
Psychiatric Ethics (Oxford Medical Publications)
by Sidney Bloch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £39.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating introduction to what could have been a dry topic, 15 Sept. 2009
I was forced to read this book for my psychiatry written exams (RANZCP). I was expecting a dry, self-righteous book much like the ethics texts I encountered in medical school. What I got was a fascinating read, that was almost worth it for it's own sake.

This book covers the spectrum of psychiatric ethics in a highly readable fashion. It give plenty of real-life, clinical and legal examples. It makes brief forays into philosophy but maintains a real-world relevance. I can't exaggerate how much this book impressed me. And it was relevant for the exam too.

From Cradle to Crown: British Nannies and Governesses at the World's Royal Courts
From Cradle to Crown: British Nannies and Governesses at the World's Royal Courts
by Charlotte Zeepvat
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing account of an interesting topic, 15 Sept. 2009
Describing the experiences of British women as nannies and governesses in royal households is an original topic. It promises much of interest, particularly glimpses into the normality or otherwise of 19th and early 20th century royal families. The author has certainly done extensive research into the biographies of these women, and mentions some fascinating detail. There is one great failing in this book and that is the structure of the chapters and illogical progression of the topic. The author will talk about one nanny (e.g. Kate Fox working for the Crown Princess of Greece) and then skip to another one in Russia, before adding one more paragraph on Kate Fox, and then starts about a new nanny entirely, all within the space of a single page. There are no royal family trees in the book, and the author tries to highlight relationships between the royal employers in a very convoluted way.

In short, it was a very confusing read. Too many names, too much jumping around in topic and no sense of a coherent thread.
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