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Johnny Essex "jon" (Essex,UK)

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Mao: The Unknown Story
Mao: The Unknown Story
by Jon Halliday
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Would that this was merely schoolboy history writ bad., 7 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Mao: The Unknown Story (Paperback)
In a sense Mao has got the biography he deserved. One of the features he took from the great Marxist Joseph Stalin was denunciation and that is precisely what this book is;Stalinist hubris.
You'd think this revisionist 'history' had been written by a former Red Guard.

The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution
The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution
by Henry Friedlander
Edition: Paperback
Price: £36.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'lebensunwerten Lebens'-'life unworthy of Life', 3 Nov. 2010
In spite of the large volume of studies of what is now called the Holocaust , little attention had been paid the Aktion T4 program one of the harbingers of the Final Solution.
Andre Pichot in his book ' The Pure Society from Darwin to Hitler ' notes that Raoul Hilberg (author of 'The Destruction Of The European Jews') seems to have little to say about the Aktion T4 killings nor for that matter the existing racial legislation of many countries in that time. Henry Friedlander had filled this gap by showing that the so called euthanasia program of Nazi Germany was organised by the Chancellery of the Führer(KdF),the Reich Ministry of Interior and the organisation T4.

The German medical profession and scientists in biological disciplines such as geneticists and anthropologists held eugenic ideas and views as did the International scientific community notably geneticists of all political tendencies.These eugenic ideas fused with the Nazis' anti-Semitic and racist ideology.One of the outcomes of this was 'Aktion T4' program.

Friedlander does not write about a policy of mercy killing or euthanasia. Euthanasia was a euphemism used by the Nazis to carry out the murder of handicapped Jews,Gypsies and Germans.The Aktion T4 program had nothing to do with terminating the life of persons with painful terminal disease. Aktion T4 was the elimination of 'life unworthy of Life'.
These murders of disabled and mentally ill Germans were the prelude to the systematic extermination of Jews,Gypsies,Slavs and other 'degenerate ' groups such as homosexuals and communists.Once a decision had been made to kill the handicapped then the rest was mere pragmatism.

Friedlander takes us through the shadowy administrative apparatus of T4 ,its personnel,their recruitment and Hitler's role in the T4 killings.He sifts through the evidence which precludes that the T4 killings were simply mercy killings for example he notes that the the forms used to document the T4 victims had insufficient space for the recording their medical details.The judiciary and the medical profession willingly collaborated with Hitler and the Nazis, their involvement was no aberration.

He debunks the view of Robert J Lifton ( author of'The Nazi Doctors').Lifton characterized those who participated in the Nazi organized killing programs as "healers turned killers and mass murder as 'medicalized killing'". Friedlander rejects Lifton's interpretations which describe some of the perpetrators as "decent Nazis" as opposed to a second group who had "psychopathic and sadistic tendencies".In other words whilst some of the perpetrators were sadists others simply had "misguided motives".He notes that some participants did what they did for motives other than ideological commitment. Friedlander views Lifton's interpretation as a mystification of the role of physicians in the Nazis killings and one dovetailing with a tendency in post war Germany to dilute their crimes and attribute to them motives which were at most misguided.Friedlander's view is clear-mass murder is not preventive medicine.

He notes that the SS were involved at the earliest stages of the killings.In Germany the Kdf directed the killings but in the Reich borders and occupied territories subterfuge was not required to alleviate public opinion so the SS organised the killings .The handicapped in Pomeranian state hospitals were killed by execution ,initially these were Germans but were soon followed by Jews and Gypsies.

Many of the early victims were children but he shows that in spite of limited resistance to the Hitler's T4 program, to the Nazis and to their helpers,there was no stop order.Contrary to received opinion the killings of children continued .

Friedlander feels that the ideological setting for Nazi genocide is the belief in the inequality of man. In this he perhaps gives too much weight to ideological imperatives and too little to economic imperatives.He does not explore the impact of Imperialism practised in Germany's African colonies e.g. attempted genocide of the Herero and Nama peoples of present day Namibia.He does not explore whether there was a connection with the scientists and doctors in the colonies and Nazi Germany.
In places the book is a tedious read but this is because he is careful to describe the bureaucratic structures set in place by the Nazis and their helpers.That kind of material is tough going but all too necessary.

Green Manor Vol.1: Assassins and Gentlemen: Assassins and Gentlemen v. 1
Green Manor Vol.1: Assassins and Gentlemen: Assassins and Gentlemen v. 1
by Fabien Vehlmann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely written,nicely illustrated., 15 Mar. 2010
These are five well told atmospherically illustrated crime stories as related by members of a certain gentleman's club.
If you dislike or are fed up with pretentious or slick modern graphic stories then this is right up your street.
You will be gripped.

The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser)
The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser)
by Robert B. Parker
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read., 30 Dec. 2009
On the one hand a stereotypical rich leftist student, a dodgy stereotypical religious cult which serves no particular purpose in the plot.
On the other hand no Susan Silverman,no Hawk and the rest of the chums,no gray ( US spelling) man and no bloody dog.

In spite of the contrived plot the dialogue is great and its Spenser doing his stuff without the 'mates' and that bloody dog,Hallelujah.

The Long Arm [DVD]
The Long Arm [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Hawkins
Price: £9.95

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sound quality?, 12 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Long Arm [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very watchable British crime movie.It's a nice clean print but the sound quality has given rise to mixed reviews.

I had no issues with the sound but I put this through my Yamaha AV receiver with a digital cable.I had to turn up the volume but there was no distortion.

I briefly tried the sound on my Samsung LCDTV and again the volume needed to be set very high.

I have other DVD's particularily older films where the sound is also very

I suggest that if you have a decent Home theater system or external amp then the sound will be fine.On the other hand if you have a poor quality amp or TV sound then you may encounter distortions.This is a British crime film not to be missed so if you suffer from poor sound get it upgraded!

Hitler's Gauls: The History of the 33rd Waffen Division Charlemagne: v. 1 (Hitler's Legions)
Hitler's Gauls: The History of the 33rd Waffen Division Charlemagne: v. 1 (Hitler's Legions)
by Jonathan Trigg
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunities and alternative perspectives., 30 Jun. 2009
Hitler's Gaul's by Jonathan Trigg is squarely pitched at military history buffs and therein lays the limitations of this type of book. The good points of his book are that it gives some political background about Hitler's Gauls. Unfortunately the book has some missed opportunities because of the author's military perspective. I beg to differ with the authors' perspectives on the war in the East.

Missed Opportunities

1. The Recruits.

Discussing the recruitment for the formation of the SS-Sturmbrigade Frankreich the author gives figures for the origins of the French recruits in 1943. Some 62% were from French collaborator organisations but 38% had no such affiliation. Why did these latter men join?
He also tells us that the LVF (Legion des Volontaires Françoise contre le bolchevisme ) had accepted North African black troops but that this wasn't the case with the Waffen-SS. He tells us that one black legionnaire did attempt to transfer but was sent to a labour camp ? What was his story?

2. European army

In his brief discussion of French right wing intellectuals the author mentions that they believed Europe needed a revival and one that would not be French centred ` but European'. This intellectual thread isn't really linked to any of the right wing parties he discusses or to the volunteers themselves. Were the French recruits actually motivated by a new Europe?

The author appears to accept the view that the foreign Waffen-SS was a European army because he writes later in the book' The idea of a volunteer European army, as the Waffen-SS became...' , and this after he himself points out that there was conscription into the foreign Waffen-SS.

Post war apologists for the Waffen-SS like to promote the foreign Waffen-SS as the forerunner of a European army. George H. Stein notes that General Felix Steiner admits that most of the West European volunteers acquired their anti communism and pan Europeanism after combat on the Eastern front. In other words these claims are at best romantic self delusions or self serving justifications in order to avoid punishments by some post war governments.

3. International Military Tribunal

Inexplicably, the author never refers to the Nuremburg International Military Tribunal (IMT).
One relevant IMT finding about the SS was;

* `In dealing with the SS the Tribunal includes all persons who had been officially accepted as members of the SS including the members of the Allgemeine SS, members of the Waffen SS...'

Hitler's Gauls cannot be said to have been conscripted but they did volunteer for service and were incorporated into the Waffen-SS. Yet there is evidence of resistance to this incorporation by some legionnaires who refused to transfer, what were their stories?


1. War as Ideology

In a section entitled War as Ideology, he accuses General Erich Von Manstein of taking no account of the ideological basis of the conflict. The author may well reflect on why this facet has been omitted from Manstein's account .Jonathan Trigg is explaining why ideology can be important to conflict but he states that the war was not fought for the possession of territory and calls it a return to the European religious wars of the reformation. Hitler disagreed.

Hitler's key strategic aim and central concern was Lebensraum, he was imperialistic and colonialist. The Nazi agenda for the East unfolded with the GeneralOst plan, the `Hunger plan' and the twin pillars of the Final solution and Hitler's commissar order. These latter two are encapsulated in the Nazi security policy of Bandenbekaempfung (Bandit struggle) which integrated exterminating Jews with eradicating insurgency.
It was a war of imperialism, racism, colonialism, expulsions, forced and slave labour, starvation, terror and physical annihilation.

2. Cowboys and Indians

Reading the military exploits of Hitler's Gauls is like reading a cowboys and Indians novel. Descriptions of Red Army soldiers are `overwhelming numbers of Russians `(p.60) or similar variants on pages; 61,63,71,83,92,117,118.

In spite of the war of annihilation being inflicted by the Nazis and Hitler's French helpers you won't find them described in such a manner

3. Retribution

The author claims that after the war, 18 million ethnic Germans suffered expulsion from their ancestral homes. How does he know it was 18 million and not 11 million? He claims that some 3 million lost their lives in the forced expulsions. The official West German ( at the time) account of the expulsions says that 610,000 Germans were killed but that 2.2 million are unaccounted for and because of the chaos of the time cautions against counting all of these amongst the dead. He says that the ethnic Germans were now seen as `the enemy within' but this is too narrow a perspective.
Ethnic Germans suffered revenge attacks but this was the result of years of hardship, terror, deportation, starvation and death .

4. Atrocities

In his final statement, the author absolves the `Charlemagne' Waffen-SS unit of any atrocities. Atrocities are mentioned in the book but these consist of incidents like Malmedy and Oradour-sur-Glane in Western Europe and from the war of annihilation in the East, a single Russian atrocity where we are told by one Gilbert Gilles that during a retreat, in Pomerania, Charlemagne was charged with escorting a thousands strong column of German refugees . He reports coming across `mutilated and naked corpses...young girls, mothers and grandmothers...had been chain raped...their throats were cut and the bellies opened.'

Raul Hilberg has noted that French Legionnaires training in Radom near Krusyna had the `opportunity to kill Polish Jews. The German officer in charge of a group of Jews noted `with special ardour...the Frenchmen charged solely with guard duty participated in finishing off the Jewish wounded.'
In the final analysis these men were volunteers of a criminal organisation .They were men who took part in the invasion of Russia and men who assisted in the enslavement of Europe .
In spite of the author's military perspective and the sometimes unjustness of retribution Hitler's Gauls should be recognised for what they were - perpetrators and helpers.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2011 2:44 PM BST

Lenin Rediscovered: 'What is to be Done?' in Context
Lenin Rediscovered: 'What is to be Done?' in Context
by Lars T. Lih
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.00

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Lenin actually said., 29 Mar. 2009
In 2006, President Bush gave a speech before the Military Officers Association of America and diplomatic representatives of other countries that had suffered terrorist attacks .His speech was aimed at Bin Laden and al-Qaeda claiming that `Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them' and he said' the world had ignored the writings of Lenin and Hitler and paid a terrible price`.

Fortunately Lars Lih has not ignored the writings of Lenin more specifically the pamphlet ` What is to be done' (WITB) and produced an 867 page review of what Lenin did say including that apparently infamous document with a new translation.

WITB has been presented as the essence and founding document of Bolshevism
by `a strong consensus of informed experts' .These experts are people who have backed up their' reading with factual historical research `.He divides these into two groups the academics ( who are his primary targets) and the activists.

Amongst the first group he includes;

Leopold Haimson
Alfred G. Meyer
Adam Ulam
Leonard Shapiro
John Keep
Samuel Baron
Allan Wildman
Israel Getzler
Abraham Ascher
Richard Pipes
Jonathan Frankel
Barrington Moore
Herbert Marcuse

Amongst the activists he cites;

Tony Cliff
John Molyneux
Paul LeBlanc.

He calls this consensus the `textbook interpretation' of WITB .This interpretation expresses Lenin's `Worry about workers' , he distrusts them because socialist consciousness is only given to the few. This leads him to other theoretical and organisational innovations -the ultimate source of and responsibility for Stalinism.
Lih points out the textual basis for this portrait of Lenin is `not just one book, not just one chapter in this book ,not just two famous paragraphs from this chapter.....but three words found in these paragraphs :' spontaneity',' divert', and `from without'.

He regards the activists as presenting a strongly contrasting view of Lenin to the academics but one which overlaps .He sees this group as viewing in Lenin a tendency to `bending the stick too far' in a particular direction when he needed to emphasise a point.

The propositions common to the two groups according to Lih are;

Lenin's `Worry about workers' he was a pessimist who rejected Western Social Democracy. He was a revisionist who rejected Western Social Democracy who advocated a hyper centralised ,conspiratorial ,organisation made up of the intelligentsia and restricted to professional revolutionaries- a party of a new type.

How then could Lenin have been misread?

Kevin Murphy author of `Revolution and Class Struggle in a Moscow Metal factory' writes on the back cover of the book , `there is only one explanation for the ubiquitous hatchet job on Lenin -the academic experts a veritable who's who of heavyweights in the field , never even bothered to read Lenin systematically in their haste to demonise him'.

Of these Kremlinologists , Sovietologists and historians you might just as well ask what other hatchet jobs did they do to their subject matter(s) ?

Lenin did make his views clear says Lih, they were radically democratic ,he was an Erfurtian socialist an advocate of the adoption of the German SPD model to Russian conditions ,an admirer of Karl Kautsy....a so to speak `true blue Western Social Democrat'.

This book is a corrective to the Kremlinologists who had dominated Soviet history complete with vast showers of cash poured into their discipline to distort the history of the Russian Revolution ,the causes of its degeneration and the views and policies of its leaders.

George Dubya may well be right in his 2006 speech, if we now do ignore the writings of Lenin, perhaps the world will pay a terrible price .

Somebody Stole My Thunder
Somebody Stole My Thunder
Offered by WORLD WIDE MEDIA MARKET (12-24 Days for Delivery from California)
Price: £20.55

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Real' Georgie Fame, 21 Mar. 2008
I've been reluctant to fork out for a Georgie Fame cd because of those MOR recordings like the burlesque Bonney and Clyde.
This is streets away from that type of music.The 'real Mcoy'.

Intempo BTH-01 - Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headphones
Intempo BTH-01 - Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent replacement headphones for your PC, 16 Mar. 2008
I have;
Windows vista home premium;
MSI starkey bluetooth adapter with 10m transmission distance,
Widcomm (Broadcom )bluetooth stack with driver version 6.2.6000.1.

This review only applies to the audio tools of the headphones.

The headphones are lightweight and of reasonable construction but the on/off switch felt a bit clunky.Overall I'm satisfied with the audio quality bearing in mind these are meant to replace a pair of wired headphones.

These charge up in less than four hours as stated in the manual.Connection or pairing was straight-forward and I was able to listen to music immediately.The manual is short and not too complicated but I did feel the given button numbering was confusing especially when you look at the tables of functions giving the full operation details of the headphones.

I tried these headphones with;
Windows Media player
Winamp (free version)
Real player (free version)
Sonic Stage

I was impressed with sound quality on all but Realplayer (free version) which sounded distorted to me.

All,except Realplayer(free version) worked with the AVRCP profile ,that is to say you could use the heaphones to switch on/off and pause tracks or skip tracks backwards and forwards.You have to have imported tracks into the media library of the relevant player for AVRCP to work.Also Winamp (free version) needed Global hotkeys enabling for this to work.

When I decided to buy bluetooth headphones I did some research on the internet.One of the key gripes for users seemed to be the complaint of pauses and skips during playback.I think this is entirely a 'line of sight' issue.

My PC is in a corner of the room with a partial wall blocking other parts of the room from direct view.This didn't seem to cause a problem
with reception unless other barriers were also evident.I noticed a slight pause when I used these headphones to listen to BT Yahoo Launchcast.At the start of each new track was a discernible pause,skip or jerk if I laid on a sofa which meant the adapter and headphones were not too well aligned.The back of the sofa is also quite thick.This didn't happen whilst sat at the PC or walking about my living room.Reception was variable in other rooms in the house so don't expect to be able to wander at will but again this was due to how many walls there were between headphones and adapter.

Excellent headphones for wirefree operation,good sound.

I'm wondering if the Real player issues are due to the fact that I was listening to the BBC which uses Realplayer?
Although I had said sound was distorted I've listened to a Radio 2 play again program and it sounds fine!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2009 3:24 PM GMT

Between Stalin and Hitler: Class War and Race War on the Dvina, 1940-46 (BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies)
Between Stalin and Hitler: Class War and Race War on the Dvina, 1940-46 (BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies)
by Geoff Swain
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £105.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richly detailed, very readable..., 8 Oct. 2007
Geoffrey Swain has written a richly detailed and very readable account of the impact of Soviet and Nazi annexation of Daugavpils in Latvia.
Typical of the book :
He gives figures for deportations carried out by the Soviets and Nazis and relates the attitude of Latvian collaborators .The quantitative data is woven into the text so you are not burdened by interpreting numerous tables which tend to impair readability.The background to deportations is related and ethnic breakdowns are given.He notes that
in the Soviet case the number of Jews deported was proportionately higher than either Latvians or Russians.In spite of this some Latvians believed they alone were the target of the Soviets a view reinforced by deportations from ethnic Latvian locales often in the country and the skilful exploitation of the deportations by right wing Latvian nationalists and Nazis.

The author subscribes to the view that both Nazism and Communism are Totalitarian systems even though that is theory is undermined by the comparatively peaceful fall of communism ( not a prediction of totalitarian theory)! However you need not accept this interpretation to get the full value of the book.

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