Auto boutiques-francophones Simple and secure cloud storage Personal Care Furniture All-New Kindle Paperwhite Music Deals Store NFL Tools
Profile for Ian Gordon Malcomson > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Ian Gordon Mal...
Top Reviewer Ranking: 14
Helpful Votes: 2415

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC)
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30
pixel
The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke : 1552-1634
The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke : 1552-1634
by Catherine Drinker Bowen
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 15.11

5.0 out of 5 stars A Complex Man on a National Mission, Feb. 19 2015
Given that this the eight hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, I can think of no better book on the subject than Bowen's very colorful history of one of its staunchest champions. Besides laying out the life of Sir Edward Coke in all its fascinating detail, as he became the seminal defender of common-law tradition in Tudor and Stuart times, this study attempts to look at how the Greater Charter came to reassert itself in English politics. As Bowen so capably shows, Coke (pronounced Cook by some) was not only the legal architect that helped frame the stable state during Elizabethan times but was also the force that assured its very survival during the tumultuous times of James I and his son Charles. As judge, MP, barrister, and attorney-general, Coke had in his hand the crafting the law, executing it, and ultimately defending it. To that end, he experienced much approbation and censure. Though he was considerably influential in rallying public support for the rights of the common man against tyrannical kings, he was not above benefiting from rank and title. Overarching his lengthy career in public service is the term 'political astuteness' which allowed him to avoid being found on the wrong side of numerous royal scandals. The two chapters that caught my attention dealt with his separate roles that he played in the prosecuting of the Gunpowder Plot and the drawing up of the Petition of Rights. Both occasions show that Coke was a jurist and politician who understood the importance of respect for the law by all and sundry as being the cornerstone on which society survives. Remove that and civil disorder and chaos ensues.

Honeywell HUL535BC Ultrasonic 1-Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier
Honeywell HUL535BC Ultrasonic 1-Gallon Cool Mist Humidifier
Price: CDN$ 49.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy-to-handle device, Feb. 15 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Definitely makes our sleep more comfortable. Eliminates the stuffiness in the room. Easy to move around. Noise level very tolerable, and instructions for operation and maintenance easy to follow. Will upgrade this rating in the next week or so if the performance remains unchanged.

Smart Weigh Contemporary Series Digital Vanity / Bathroom Scale with an Extra Large 4.3" Backlighted LCD Screen (White)
Smart Weigh Contemporary Series Digital Vanity / Bathroom Scale with an Extra Large 4.3" Backlighted LCD Screen (White)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the bathroom, Feb. 15 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For people who are very weight conscious, we are absolutely delighted with the accuracy, appearance, price and simplicity of this scale. Instructions are easy to follow. No special calibrating steps required; just step on and get a quick and visible reading to one decimal place. The tracking and delivery of this product were amazing.

Magna Carta
Magna Carta
by Ralph Turner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 76.84
16 used & new from CDN$ 30.14

5.0 out of 5 stars A very Thorough and Objective Assessment of a Misunderstood Document, Feb. 13 2015
This review is from: Magna Carta (Hardcover)
We are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the historically significant Magna Carta at Runnymede in June 1215. This study, by one of America's leading authorities on Medieval history, challenges its readers to view the creation of this eponymous document as something more than what took place between 'Bad' King John and the hard-pressed barons of the realm. The real essence of the Great Charter can be found in the various stories that have emerged from its inception and passed down to us as validation of our present existence. Yes, there is enough substance in this document and its subsequent forms to justify natural rights, the rule of law, habeas corpus, the balance of power, the right to rebel, the right to be consulted, and freedom from tyranny. Turner takes us through the years following 1215 to show how the Magna Carta helped shape the political conscience of nations through the passing of statutory law, the issuing of petitions, and the declaration of independence. In the end, it is not what this charter of political demands originally stood for that matters, but what it became to those who wanted to press their claim for greater liberty and democratic inclusion. This point is well made by the fact that very little of this charter remains as actual law today except for veiled references to the rule of law and the judicial rights of the individual. In England, parliament and the monarchy are essentially one in their defense of the realm, its people, and its unwritten constitution as bound up in Common Law. Go to Runnymede today, on your way out to Windsor Castle, and you will find three American monuments as mute testimonies to how grateful some Americans feel about what the Charter has done for them in building a new nation.

Lila
Lila
by Marilynne Robinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.49
3 used & new from CDN$ 13.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He Maketh Wise the Simple, Feb. 12 2015
This review is from: Lila (Hardcover)
Truly a wonderful novel to read that carries on in the great literary tradition established in her other writings. Her secret, as a great novelist, is her profound ability to take the simple things in life and plumb them for all their significant spiritual wealth. In this work, Robinson takes the person of Lila, a much maligned and hapless young changeling, and turns her into a mighty woman of character that rivals Ruth of the Old Testament, mighty in deed and virtue. What brings about this amazing transformation of grace and fortune is a recognition on Lila's part that her life, as she finds herself in Gilead, a mid-western, old world Christian colony, is truly beyond her control. She has no roots; nobody to call a friend, and no future. In fact, her life is so blighted that one wonders what it will take to redeem this young girl. True to form, Robinson creates a a compelling story that take Lila from a time of great anguish and self-doubt to one of wonderful freedom to serve the needs of others. This deliverance from her evil past will not come easy. She will have to deal with the demons of her past: neglect, abuse, fear, distrust and poverty. In this little community, struggling with its own uncertainties, Lila's arrival will become that beautiful opportunity for God to make His Presence felt in special ways through the unique changes wrought in this woman's extraordinary life. Where hatred and strife once existed, love will now flourish, and Lila, with her simple faith in God and trust in others, becomes its timely instrument. As usual, Robinson is a very crafted writer who shows incredible conviction and passion in characters and plot when it comes to capturing the moment. I wouldn't be surprised if she will eventually win a Nobel for her efforts.

The Wolf of Wall Street (Bilingual)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Price: CDN$ 8.88
6 used & new from CDN$ 7.95

4.0 out of 5 stars An Audacious Overstatement About Wall Street, Feb. 10 2015
For those who enjoy a sordid, raunchy, fast-paced portrayal of modern America gone crazy over money, this is the movie for you. Get past the never-ending stream of f-bombs and bedroom sex, and you might discover an important statement being made about what can happen when people become obsessed with their power to make money with no regard for ethos or feelings. Scorsese does a masterful job in portraying that predatorial and depraved instinct that drives young Jordan Belfort, played by DiCaprio, to such wretched excesses in his pursuit of filthy lucre. It is this uninterrupted and outrageous behaviour that makes the film such a compelling watch. Full of explicit scenes of drugs, sex and crime, as captured in the meteoric fortunes and misfortunes of a young charismatic stock manipulator, this movie is, at best, a cautionary tale of what happens when decency gets shoved out and greed takes over. Comparatively speaking, I'll take DiCaprio's performance as the tragically failing tycoon in "The Great Gatsby" anytime over this greatly over-the-top performance of a juvenile Jordan Belfort.

The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History
The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History
34 used & new from CDN$ 18.54

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Human Side to the Heroic, Feb. 6 2015
Boris Johnson, the current mayor of London and the public face of modern conservatism in Britain,
has written a very objective critique of the life of Winston Churchill, to many the finest political leader of the twentieth century. To discourage his readers from thinking that this witty and informal study is simply another attempt at lionizing this already giant of a public figure, Johnson loads up on both the good, bad and questionable. You see, Churchill, while cast by many of his generation as singularly heroic. was quite often anything but. Offsetting his moments of greatest triumph against fascism were times when he could be found to be churlish, stubborn, impetuous, and somewhat perplexing. The author provides numerous examples of moments when the reader can't help but admire his steel-trap mind for detail, his tenacity to stand his ground against incredible odds, and his passion for work especially in the area of journalism. Then there were times when he promoted causes that baffled even the closest of his friends. In the end, what common people saw in Churchill was his courage to serve his country during the most critical times in history: wartime. His ability to labor on even when he blundered makes him one of those rare characters who ran the race not to look good but to win. There are some very compelling features of this book that are worth noting: a comparison with his father, Randolph, and the positive influence that his wife, Clementine, brought to bear on his career. Both these people played enormous roles in shaping Churchill into the person he was to become: one, as a reminder of what pitfalls to avoid; the other as an example of virtue and kindness, qualities Churchill did not always have in abundance. Johnson also sets the record straight on the origin of many of Churchill's famous sayings. I recommend this wonderful warm and well-written work to anyone who wants to take a more informed look at the making of a great man without fear of becoming disillusioned.

The Forsaken (A Quinn Colson Novel)
The Forsaken (A Quinn Colson Novel)
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Disturbing Yet Satsfying Read, Feb. 1 2015
Welcome back to that little tucked-away, off-the-highway little Mississippian berg called Jericho. This flea-bitten, crime-ridden town, since the last time we met, has really gone to the dogs now. While it continues to be the bastion and hide-out for corrupt county political bosses like Stubbs, Jericho has a bigger problem that it needs to deal with. Over twenty-years ago, a homeless black man wandered into town and ended up being lynched for allegedly raping and murdering one of its children. Atkins, once again, very artfully takes his readers through a tortuously complex plot to get this cold case solved. Cracking it won't be easy because, though some of the locals know the truth, nobody wants to talk per chance they'll be next. It will take one very determined sheriff who is committed to restoring the town's long-lost civic image and a couple of very brave women who, as former residents, have a memory that can't be shaken. I recommend this series because the characters are all wonderfully crafted to fit their respective roles: the heroes are truly heroic while the villains can't get any nastier. Added to which, the white-trash culture of the area is brilliantly exposed for all its low-life qualities such as whoring, carousing, cussing, and lechery. Like in his previous stories, Atkins is a literary genius when it comes to describing the bad in human nature. Having traveled in this country around the Natchez Trace, I really appreciated his colorful description of the hilly countryside and its many back roads known only to criminal gangs and fugitives. Justice will be well served in this tale of backwoods mayhem, where the sheriff, this time, is on the winning track to run the bad guys out of town forever.

A Man in Love: My Struggle: 2
A Man in Love: My Struggle: 2
by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.39
28 used & new from CDN$ 8.20

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Tour de Force Full of Angst, Passion, and Resolution, Jan. 30 2015
Talk about being torn between two irreconcilable positions in life: the compelling need to be true to what drives you to feel successful and the passion one feels when one is deeply in love with another person. Once again, Karl Ove is our man and he is in a stage of his life where he struggles to ascertain his individual identity in a world that doesn't understand. I like reading Knausgaard because he asks all the right questions as he takes us through another chapter in his strife-torn life, one being how can he combine the best of all worlds without losing his identity. It won't be easy. There will be moments of serious self-doubt as he attempts to adjust to the new demands of being a husband and father. As a promising Norwegian writer who is focussing on retelling biblical stories about tormented souls, Karl Ove faces the need to break out of his singular lifestyle and trust others. It will involve taking on emotional baggage that he is not immediately ready for. As he builds his little intellectual circle of friends - more in neighboring Sweden - he will latch on to the love of his life, Linda, another accomplished and self-centered artist looking for purpose and affirmation. Their relationship will wax and wane as they learn to handle the many crisis that emerge in their lives together. Everything here is a struggle of learning how to cope with the seemingly intolerable and then moving on to handle the next disruptive challenge, ever more confident that one is becoming a better person for going through the growing pains. Keep in mind, however, there are no guarantees of success. For those of us who like Dostoevsky for how he portrays his tormented characters in the larger context of society, "A Man in Love: My Struggle" offers us a similar look at how the modern Nordic man confronts his need to know who he really is in a complex world.

Boyhood Island
Boyhood Island
by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.12
26 used & new from CDN$ 7.63

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for Emotional Security in One's Blighted Past, Jan. 25 2015
This review is from: Boyhood Island (Paperback)
Knausgaard's individualistic style of writing does it for me. His intensive descriptions of life inside a typical Norwegian nuclear family mirrors mine here in Canada. As someone who grew up in the fifties and sixties with very little of a positive relationship with my parents, my siblings and I were often forced to seek our own adventure in the great outdoors. It is this ever-present dichotomy between the freedom to roam and discover and the compelling need of parents to control after the fact that gives this novel an extra special edge of insecurity. Karl Ove, the author as a young boy, is definitely excited about what life holds for him as his parents have moved into a new house in a rural Norwegian community. Lots of opportunity to make friends, explore new territory, and pursue new interests. But it won't be easy because his dad, a teacher, is an ogre set on running the young boy into the ground by emotionally and physically bullying him. Much of this brutal attitude is in reaction to Karl Ove's early effeminate tendencies. While his mother is often there to protect him against these paternal flareups, the record speaks for itself. The young lad must find a way to prevent himself from a tyrannical father set on destroying him. There is so much poignant and interesting detail offered up in this book that the reader should have no problem understanding the world of Karl Ove, a singularly-motivated, but troubled young lad looking for acceptance, love and excitement outside the adult world. The author does not moralize about his dilemma - trusting parental authority or relying on personal intuition. He just lets the facts speak for themselves. Another rewarding feature of the story is the fascinating insights it offers about Norwegian culture as it applies to home life, school, sports, culture and community life. Change in the works, even as Karl Ove's parents are part of an upwardly mobile trend to improve their standard of living. Soon, the young boy will be moving out into that new world of opportunity; the problem that will, however, haunt him will be that nagging sense of low self-esteem that arises from not being able to trust his dad. It is a metaphorical place of childhood that he returns to in his memories to find the security of the hidden places that protected him from the tyranny of adults.

Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30