ghost of miles

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War Against The Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race.  A very interesting, and very scary book.  

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Jonathan Tropper: Everything Changes

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Anyone else read this?  I thought it was great.  
Edited by medjuck

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TONO-BUNGAY - H.G. Wells

I rarely give up on a book, but I had to do so with Tono-Bungay. I made it to page 200, but could not face finishing the remaining 172 pages. I found the book surprsingly badly written and prolix. On page 190, Wells has the following sentence: "In the end of this particular crisis of which I tell so badly, I idealised Science." A previous library reader pencilled in after "badly, "and at such length," which I think sums up the defects of the book. Wells tells it badly (just look at that specimen sentence!) and at excruciating length. I surrender!

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Long ago I began to read Wells novels and even  read "Tono-Bungay." Got so disgusted with "The Research Magnificent" - the pompous soul of Wells revealed - that I avoided his writings ever since.

Just finished "The African Equation" by Yasmina Khadra and highly recommend it, along with the 3 previous Khadra books that came out in English. He may be best appreciated by reading those 4 in chronological order, beginning with :The Swallows of Kabul." Big heart and intelligence, wide sympathies. A European is captured by pirates in waters off east Africa, 9781908313706.jpgsees the pirate gang from the inside.

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The first Bainbridge I've read, and a good start!

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Anyone else read this?  I thought it was great.  

Yes, I've just finished it and found most of it very enjoyable. A couple of the interviews went over my head but the others provided a pretty good picture of what it must have been like to be a jazz musician in 1960s New York. Not sure it was worth the price I paid for it mind you.

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A very well written biography of the Labour Prime Miinister that never was. Shades of the current ructions surrounding the election of the next Labour leader...what a shambles!

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What's a Trot?

Follower of the teachings of Leon Trotsky.

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Edited by BillF

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What's a Trot?

Shorthand for someone with very left-wing views.....

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Well-crafted, erudite, often enigmatic, enjoyable stories. 

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Cotterill: Six And A Half Deadly Sins

Edited by jlhoots

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Finally finished:

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Not an easy read. Very dense and quite hard to keep your brain on the overview - Bickers gets caught into all manner of minutiae on the way (especially memorials built to commemorate fallen comrades and their propaganda intent). But gives a very clear impression of how the West (Britain as the focus here) bullied and manipulated its way into China using the cloak of free trade as a way of pursuing avarice.

Now onto a easier to read book with a much better sense of ongoing narrative:

  

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Back in '72 when I was studying the English Civil War for my 'A' Levels I was completely taken by a quote from a Colonel Rainborough at the Putney Debates (1647). "For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he; and therefore truly, sir, I think it’s clear that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not bound in a strict sense to that government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under…”.

This book tells the story of the family in the mid-17thC - merchants, fighters against Barbary pirates, settlers around Boston in the New World, soldiers and political and religious radicals. Fascinating stuff.

As it happens I stayed in a hotel on Putney Bridge over the weekend - just over the bridge was the church where the Putney Debates took place (with the quote above inscribed on the wall). Well worth a trip if you are in and around London - you now enter the church through an excellent coffee shop.

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Superb! In the previous novel of the series (no 13) pregnant Inspector Lynley's wife is gunned down and killed at her front door. You end the book utterly devastated and hating the perpetrators. What George does in this sequel is turn the whole situation on its head by tracing how one of the people involved in the murder, a 12 year old, came to that point. A harrowing tale of a life of chaos in poverty stricken North Kensington. The way the young boy is trapped into a sequence of events in his efforts to protect his younger brother is brilliantly traced. One of those books that haunts you long after you have finished. 

The main characters of the series only have the slightest of walk on parts. Interesting to read the reviews on Amazon where some readers really struggled with the absence of those characters.  

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The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinzer.  Interesting read, and a despicable history of crimes committed in the name of freedom.

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The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinzer.  Interesting read, and a despicable history of crimes committed in the name of freedom.

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Like the look of that. Always like reading books about the Cold War from particular angles. Came across some of this in Tim Werner's book on the CIA.

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I've read a fair few books on the Napoleonic era navy in recent years - this give a much broader context. 

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Keen depictions of working in a used bookshop (I have several years of such experience) and most scarifying accounts of being hard-up for money since Gissing. 

 

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Keen depictions of working in a used bookshop (I have several years of such experience) and most scarifying accounts of being hard-up for money since Gissing. 

 

Fine book!

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Keen depictions of working in a used bookshop (I have several years of such experience) and most scarifying accounts of being hard-up for money since Gissing. 

 

Fine book!

I read that as a 15 year old...had a big impact on me. 

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ORWELL: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY - Michael Shelden.

Overall, this seemed to me a "fair and balanced" approach to telling Orwell's life. 

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ORWELL: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY - Michael Shelden.

Overall, this seemed to me a "fair and balanced" approach to telling Orwell's life. 

Years ago I read Bernard Crick's biography of Orwell, which seemed OK.

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ORWELL: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY - Michael Shelden.

Overall, this seemed to me a "fair and balanced" approach to telling Orwell's life. 

Years ago I read Bernard Crick's biography of Orwell, which seemed OK.

I believe the Crick is pretty good. It was the previous "authorized" bio, until Sonia Orwell decided to take legal action against it (and failed). Shelden was able to interview a few more people, and find a few more documents, than Crick, and most of all, didn't have to deal with Sonia Orwell. Mostly, I went with Shelden because I had a copy of the book handy. 

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ORWELL: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY - Michael Shelden.

Overall, this seemed to me a "fair and balanced" approach to telling Orwell's life. 

Years ago I read Bernard Crick's biography of Orwell, which seemed OK.

I believe the Crick is pretty good. It was the previous "authorized" bio, until Sonia Orwell decided to take legal action against it (and failed). Shelden was able to interview a few more people, and find a few more documents, than Crick, and most of all, didn't have to deal with Sonia Orwell. Mostly, I went with Shelden because I had a copy of the book handy. 

Yes, Sonia Orwell's "gold digging" stayed in my memory, as well as the extraordinary late-in-life phase on the remote Scottish island of Jura where 1984 was written. Another reason why I find these final years (1945-50) so fascinating is that, athough I was only aged  from 5 to 10 at the time, I can remember the quality of life and day-to-day events in post-war Britain quite well. I found the last volume of Orwell's Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters really interesting for this reason.

Edited by BillF

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