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Product Reviews

Top 100 Books Reviewer
39 (92% helpful)

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  1.  A must read! Timely and well researched!


    Having lived through all the scares that are in this book I was intrigued about what this book had to say about each.

    From the moment I picked it up I was gripped. Each scare is well researched - the authors having been personally involved in all the food scares in the book - and written.

    The book really does reveal that each of the scares in the book, which at the time really were scares, were over-reactions triggered by the need for a good scare story to sell papers combined with a complete lack of rigour and objectivity by scientists and stupidity and panic by politicians.

    It also deals with the biggest scare of them all - climate change. It deals with this current scare in a logical, objective way and is a necessary read for anyone who is concerned about the headlines about climate change in newspapers.

    A fantastic read. The only gripe I have is the speed camera 'scare'. It's not really a scare and it just comes across as if the author was annoyed about recently being caught speeding by a camera. Ignoring this though, it is one of the best books I have read in a while. A real eye-opener! Highly recommended!

  2.  Gets better the further in you read


    I bought this book because I was interested in finding out a bit more about the country that I live in. All-in-all it did what I asked, but as the title suggests, the more recent events (from the 1970s onwards) are covered in far greater detail than those that go before it.

    Overall, a good read. Though be warned, reviews elsewhere have poured scorn on this book for being essentially a modern political histoty of the UK. Of course it is! What do you expect from the man who was the BBCs chief political correspondant for years and now has the Sunday AM show to present.

  3.  Is he being proved right?


    Having read Empire I thought this book would be of the same quality. I was not disappointed. It is well researched and bearing in mind that it was written in 2003 as Iraq was being invaded his prognosis for the future of an American 'Empire', drawing upon previous forays aboard, are revealing.

    Overall, an interesting read, but doesn't quite match up with previous books, such as Empire.

  4.  An interesting, thought-provoking read


    This book is all about something called the J-Curve, which is basically a line graph that uses openness as the x-axis and stability as the y-axis. It suggests that each country will be somewhere along the line, from authoritarian states on the left of the curve, who are stable but closed societies, to democratic societies, who are both open and stable.

    The book draws upon several in-depth case studies to illustrate how the J-Curve works and is very readable.

    It also suggests, rather poignantly as a critique of American foreign policy, that instead of being trigger-happy and invading countries, e.g. Iraq to move them to the right side of the J-Curve, we should let the free-market, if one exists, and the mass media sow the seeds of change.

    A recomended read. Whether you agree with the authors theory or not, I will leave that up to you.

  5.  An intelligent, gripping book


    I am generally not a fan of this genre but took a gamble and ordered this book. I am extremely glad to say that I was not left to regret that decision.

    Written in the reportage style, this book draws upon the experiences of those who fought and won in the Zombie Wars - a 10 year battle against something that was originally censored and thought if as a criminal uprising to something much worse.

    Max Brooks is clearly a very clever man. Writing a novel like this creates so many instances where you could argue that a certain scenario would never happen as it does. However, not once was I ever in doubt that what is discussed in every interview and scenario could not actually happen.

    I could not put this book down. It was also refreshing to read a book that takes a truly international approach to the problem by suggesting that it took all of humanities intelligence, guile and stubbornness to the war.

    Having read that the movie rights to this book have been snapped up I just hope that the originality and international flavour isn't rewritten by Hollywood so that America saves the day.

  6.  A fascinating read that is highly recommended


    This book offers a fascinating and true to life insight of the work of a psychologist in some of the most notorious murders to grip the UK in the 1980s and 1990s.

    The book begins by giving you an insight into the authors life growing up, going through school in a time when the type school you went to and the career you eventually entered depended more upon your class than ability, through to his eventual qualification as a clinical psychologist.

    The book then quickly turns to a series of vicious murders that the author was drafted in by the police to work on during the 1980s and 1990s, some of which benefited from more media coverage than others.

    The authors role was, as outlined in the book, to aid the police inquiry by giving them a psychological profile of the killer based upon what was evident at a crime scene in order that they be caught before they strike again. This was at the time, like DNA, a relatively new tool in police investigations, so was under an intensely critical spotlight, not only be the media, but also from those who were schooled in traditional British policing.

    Interestingly, in the final chapter the author also makes a note about how in the next 10-20 years that psychological profiling would become a routine part of serious crime investigations and that it would become 'sexy' enough to be serialised on TV.

    This really is a book that is gripping, easy to read and very difficult to put down. A recommended read!

  7.  a brilliant review of a much maligned subject


    Having attempted to read the tripe that is 'No Logo' and blessed the day when I finished 'Stuffed and Starved' I was starting to wonder if anyone was capable of being objective when looking at globalisation.

    This book fits the bill of being objective, clearly written, readable and has no evidence of the rants that soured 'No Logo'.

    The author manages to look at both the positives of globalisation, such as Singpore's rapid rise from an LEDC 30 years ago to an NIC today, and the negatives, such as the dangerous sweatshops that we all hear about on a weekly basis.

    If you are wanting to read an objective book that stears clear of rants about the ills of globalisation then this is your book.

  8.  Thought provoking, but lacking in places


    I can't remember where I heard about this book, but as soon as I did I pre-ordered it and eagerly awaited its arrival.

    On arrival I immediately got down to reading it and was impressed by the vast majority of the chapters. I was amazed at just how quickly structures that seem as if they would last for an eternity, such as New York City, would succumb to such things as water and temperature. I was also amazed to read just how much our continuing existence on this planet is about our constant battle to subdue nature and that after we have gone nature will quickly take back what it has lost with little sign of our existence in as little as a few hundred years.

    On reading this book I was not only amazed at our constant battle with nature, but also at how much humankind is affecting the environment. I like all others who read am aware of such things as global warming, CFCs, Carbon Sequestration etc, all of which are mentioned in this book. But, I was until reading this book sitting blissfully unaware of plastics and little things like exfoliates, being such as issue. It had never occurred to me that long after we are gone there will be a layer of plastics and exfoliates sitting in between layers on sandstone in the rock - a weird quirk in the principle of superposition.

    There was however, a few chapters that did not interest me in the slightest. These chapters talked about ecology in a detached, academic sense. Whilst ecology interests me and I was intrigued to know how quickly some species would re-establish themselves in environments that they have been hunted out of when the authors uses paleontological and paloeclimatic references then it looses me because it becomes too academic and dry for a popular science book.

    Overall, this book is very good and amazed me more than it bored me. The only disappointment is when it became a bit too academic and dry when talking about all things ecological.

  9.  Briefly skims the surface


    I was recommended this book having bought and read several on the Congo - from King Leopold's Ghost to in the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz.

    The book starts of promisingly by covering the initial discovery of the Congo by a band of Portuguese explorers in the time before HM Stanley and King Leopold. However, after this everyting changes. It also ends well with a brief summary of the current situation in the Congo and why there has been a unique lack of progress internationally in trying to resuscitate the Congo. However, the rest of the book is a disappointment.

    A good travel book should not only talk of the journey, which this book does, but also talk of the events behind every stop-over or every incident, which this book does not.

    You really do get the sense that he doesn't really care that much for the country or situation around him, but is only there to try and emulate HM Stanley and travel down the Congo. The author only becomes interested in the situation in the Congo when his life is threatened or his journey is interrupted in some way. Therefore describing this as 'the story of the Congo, told expertly and vividly', as it does on the cover page, is far from the truth.

    Every single stop over that he has talks of the dangers of being in built up areas and brieflt mentions the Mai Mai, Interahamwe etc, but he never really looks into anything about why these crazed militias exist. This lack of detail, investigation and insight is repeated throughout this book and ultimately you are left with more questions than answers.

    It is a pity and a real shame. The book had so much potential, but is ultimately ruined by its short length and the authors lack of interest.

  10.  What happens after the long walk?


    One of the first pieces of news on the television that I remember vividly was the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa after a long imprisonment for organising resistance against one of the most overtly oppressive regimes in the world - Apartheid South Africa and the National Party.

    A Long Walk to Freedom charts Nelson Mandela's life in South Africa. The beginning of the book is devoid of Nelson Mandela's involvement in politics as he had tried to avoid it on the advice of collegues. However, being an African in South Africa meant that he could not steer clear of politics all of his life and he eventually joined the ANC and worked his way up the chain of command, founding the armed resistance wing of the ANC along the way.

    The remainder of the book deals with his imprisonment on Robben Insland and his eventual release when it became apparent that the leadership of the ANC could not be held prisoner if South Africa was to avoid a civil war.

    This book is a fantastic glimpse of the man that Nelson Mandela is and why he is hearalded as the father of post-apartheid South Africa. However, it only gets 4 stars as I feel the book is rushed towards the end. I realise that the book is about the 'long walk to freedom' and there was a lot going on in Mandela's life at the time so I understand why it seems unfinished, but I wish it had a bit more on what happened in the first few years of the Rainbow Nation and Mandela as President.