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Edward Rogers (London, UK)

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The Mandelbaum Gate
The Mandelbaum Gate
by Muriel Spark
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and an interesting history lesson in the Israel/Palestine situation ..., 1 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Mandelbaum Gate (Paperback)
Very funny and an interesting history lesson in the Israel/Palestine situation in the early 60s. Weighty ideas presented as comedy, an sometimes farce. "The Arab mind works in symbols" will stay with me.


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Price: £4.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 1 Dec. 2014
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Interesting ideas, and, given Fowler's age, a convincing voice both as the narrator in her early twenties, and as the remembered child.


The Boat Who Wouldn't Float
The Boat Who Wouldn't Float
by Farley Mowat
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £4.51

4.0 out of 5 stars A funny book, stretching the truth in no doubt, 1 Dec. 2014
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A funny book, stretching the truth in no doubt. As a non-Canadian, I'd never heard of Mowat, and it only becomes slowly clear that, rather than being the humble obsessive incompetent on a very tight budget, Mowat is (or was) a fairly significant celebrity humourist who would very likely been recognised by some of the characters he charms or annoys. He mocks himself amusingly (especially when he makes fun of his own writing style), but it's only to increase the love he believes we all have for him.


AMOS 4 in 1 Nano SIM Card Adapter Converter to Micro & Standard SIM Card for iPhone 6 5 4 4S 3G 3GS iPad 1,2,3 Tablet Smartphones + Free iPhone Tray Open Eject Pin Tool
AMOS 4 in 1 Nano SIM Card Adapter Converter to Micro & Standard SIM Card for iPhone 6 5 4 4S 3G 3GS iPad 1,2,3 Tablet Smartphones + Free iPhone Tray Open Eject Pin Tool
Offered by AMOS UK
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 1 Dec. 2014
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Saved my bacon when I needed to move back to an old phone. Thanks


The Boys of Summer (Harperperennial Modern Classics)
The Boys of Summer (Harperperennial Modern Classics)
by Roger Kahn
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A different ball game, 20 Jun. 2011
As a baseball ignoramus, a lot of this book whistled over my head like a hundred-mile an hour hard ball. I guess a fan would be amused by the put-downs of the players or excited by the statistics, but I found myself skimming a fair proportion. However, where Kahn was talking about his early life (especially his truly remarkable father and the characters in the 1950s news office) I was gripped, and when, in the second part, he is talking about the later lives of the players, I was charmed and even, with the story of Jackie Robinson, moved. I'm not much more knowledgeable about the game, and no more interested, but I enjoyed the book for Kahn's pleasure in it and for the social commentary and the particular light it shines on the progress of racial integration from the late forties.


Brooklyn
Brooklyn
by Colm Tóibín
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delicate portrait of a believable character, 23 May 2011
This review is from: Brooklyn (Paperback)
After my initial disappointment that the priest who arranged the Irish heroine, Eilis's, passage to the US wasn't a white slaver, I got the measure of the book and enjoyed it. There's lots of convincing and evocative detail, about the narrowness of life in a 50s Irish boarding house, about third-class travel on a transatlantic liner, the folk-power of the Dodgers, the impact of colored people moving into Brooklyn and the power (and goodness) of the church. The beauty of the book though is in the portrait of sweet innocence of Eilis, who, despite her basic good sense and virtue, is so easily led and complaisant that she gets into a considerable pickle without ever really making a decision. One aspect stretched my credulity - why were her Irish friends so incurious about her time in New York - which is why it's only 4 stars, not 5. But an engaging book and one where I care enough to want to know what happened next!


Keysonic ACK-540RF Wireless Mini Keyboard with Built in Touchpad
Keysonic ACK-540RF Wireless Mini Keyboard with Built in Touchpad

4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but...the CTRL key is in the wrong place!, 13 May 2011
Great little keyboard. Easily hidden when not needed, light, good range, easy to set up, perfect - except I still can't teach my fingers that the CTRL key is not in the usual position (for a UK user anyway)- it's the second from the left, whereas on all the other keyboards, it is the first.


Five Days in London, May 1940 (Yale Nota Bene)
Five Days in London, May 1940 (Yale Nota Bene)
by John Lukacs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History and beyond, 12 May 2011
This is a very thorough book by an academic, written primarily for a knowledgeable audience. That said, as someone who hasn't read very much about world war II, I was gripped. I didn't really need the depth or the number of footnotes, and perhaps I needed more background to some of the players, but Lukacs does a good job at conveying the gravity of the situation and how Churchill's single minded determination and instinctive distrust of Hitler really did save our necks. Churchill was in a delicate position. The slightest weakness on his part and civilisation as we know it would have been lost. I am grateful to have had that set out so powerfully.


A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
by Josh Neufeld
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit wet, 12 May 2011
My first graphic novel. Very easy to read and, as you'd hope, well drawn, this is the true (I think) story of five characters who lived through Katrina. Sadly, I didn't identify strongly with the characters and their stories weren't that dramatic. I'm not sure if this was a problem with the graphic format which doesn't give much scope to get to know the characters, or with the choice of five people who were relatively unscathed, or perhaps with the author's decision not to embellish the truth.

I think a more impactful story would have featured the underfunding of the flood defences, the cronyism at FEMA, the complacency of Bush - basically a lot more analysis than the format could sustain.

That said, Neufeld does give a tantalising taste of a story that might have worked better as a graphic novel - one character ends up at a holding camp in the New Orleans convention centre (or the Superdome, I forget which) where public order collapses and the authorities seem to have no idea what they should be doing. Here, he hints, the feral gangs of underclass thugs that were portrayed at the time as imposing gun law, were actually looting food and provision to make sure that the weakest were protected, fed and watered in the chaos. Nice thought, and one that might make an interesting book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 16, 2012 2:10 PM BST


Teach Us to Sit Still: A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing
Teach Us to Sit Still: A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing
by Tim Parks
Edition: Paperback

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pain to shine a light on being human, 24 Mar. 2011
A wonderful book, as others have said, but not for the faint-hearted. If the honest account of an embarrassing condition doesn't make you wince, then some of the (poorly reproduced) illustrations surely will. What makes it a 5-star book for me though is what the pain (and the meditation therapies) shows Parks about his own character and about the extraordinary, un-pindownable nature of human consciousness. His final realisation that the words that babble endlessly in all our heads are just "fizz" that can be stilled by meditation to gain a deeper relationship with ourselves, is powerful and profound.


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