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Reviews Written by
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC)
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The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945
The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: CDN$ 19.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside a Troubled Nation's Wartime Psyche, Dec 25 2015
I have nothing but praise for this monumental study of life inside the Third Reich during the war years. What this historian reveals about everyday existence in Germany during this war torn period is helpful in exploding a few myths about Hitler's Thousand Year dynasty. Using primary sources such as personal letters, interviews, and diaries, Stargardt pieces together a complex and fascinating account of a nation that struggled, at the best of times, to unite behind the Nazi cause of total war and world domination. There to meet any public dissent - and there was plenty of that - was a sophisticated and unflagging propaganda machine led by Goebbels and a ruthless police state headed up by Himmler and the SS. So what did Nazi Germany look like from the inside out? To begin with, a nation not totally behind war. The Germans were naturally ecstatic when the Wehrmacht overran Poland and the Lowlands but the mood of jubilation quickly turned to apprehension when news surfaced that success was not to be. The Nazi patriotic call to war had other negative impacts on the civilian population resulting from shortage of manufactured goods, Allied bombing, rationing of foodstuffs, administering the death camps, oppressive laws, awkward policies such as resettlement, and a chronic lack of war materiel. The big picture with all its supporting detail, is a nation that is less than united behind its Fuhrer. The author takes great pains to look at why the German people, despite their underlying fears and growing opposition, r emained on the whole loyal to Hitler. His findings show a society that could quite quickly adjust from fighting a war of conquest to one of defending the homeland against eternal enemies like Bolshevism and International Jewry. Those last years of the regime were spent with the German people becoming more determined to see this terrible chapter in their history to its wretched conclusion. What the reader should find at the end is weary nation resisting right to the end because it finally became aware what was truly at stake: national survival. This attitude, alone, gives credence to the possibility that many Germans of that time knew more about Nazi racial practices than they let on. They stayed with the Nazis because they offered a solution, albeit a desperate and evil one, that in their benighted minds could still snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Magictodoor Small Vintage Canvas Messenger Bag Ipad Shoulder Bag Travel Portfolio Bag AG9088kafei.ca
Magictodoor Small Vintage Canvas Messenger Bag Ipad Shoulder Bag Travel Portfolio Bag AG9088kafei.ca
Offered by MagicToDoor
Price: CDN$ 40.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for carrying mobile devices., Dec 24 2015
This bag seems to be well-constructed. Its fabric is a very durable canvas material that is both washable and water resistant. Good roomy pockets to take my tablet and notebook when I visit the local library or go on holidays. An easily adjustable shoulder strap allows me to carry small electronic devices safely and conveniently. Stitching for the most part is well done.The outside flap is well secured with button clasps, creating a better chance of nothing falling out or being exposed to weather. The asking price seems comparable to other lines available on this website.

Mozambique Mysteries
Mozambique Mysteries
by Lisa St.Aubin De Teran
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.99
27 used & new from CDN$ 5.69

4.0 out of 5 stars What Really Matters in Life, Dec 22 2015
This review is from: Mozambique Mysteries (Paperback)
I will never likely ever visit Mozambique and the southeast African coast, but in the space of three hundred pages or so, Lisa St.Aubin de Teran has taken me there for an extensive sojourn in a land full of native beauty supernatural, mystery and primitive instincts. De Teran arrived at a mid-point in her life where she wanted to stop her continuing fight for political justice throughout South America as a way of making the world a better place, and, instead, begin putting her efforts into helping truly needy people to build their own dreams. Mozambique became this unlikely land that drew her out of her previous comfort zone as an ideological revolutionary by making her a facilitator of other people's aspirations. No better place to fight for justice and liberation than to start where none exists in the most and backward part of subcontinent Africa: the impoverished, disease-ridden southeastern coastline. Things are so bad here that the average person in small fishing communities have never been to school, never heard of a wage, or visited a doctor, and it is 2005. Any commerce transacted in the bigger towns is done without modern technology or a grasp of efficiency. So what does the author have to offer that might change this bleak uncertainty? She, with some Dutch backers, want to help the locals build a cooking school that will produce fully-trained chefs to bolster the country's tourist trade. This account of the first year of this most trying and instructive of projects is full of moments when the reader gets to see cultures clash, ideas catch on, and friendships made all because people are seriously trying to understand each other. It won't be easy because of a harsh colonial history that has kept this particular tribe in ignorance but, as the school gets built, wonderful things start to
happen: classes start to fill up, electricity eventually comes to the campus, trust replaces fear, relationships blossom, and hope for a better life spreads to other locales. This account of one person's uncertain vision to change the world for the better gradually morphs into a template for serious sustainable development of a region the big international money interests don't know exist. Along the way, Lisa spends considerable time getting to know the people and experiencing its profound naturalness such as the coastal mangrove swamps.

Jasper Jones
Jasper Jones
by Craig Silvey
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.87
41 used & new from CDN$ 5.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best in Teen Literature, Dec 18 2015
This review is from: Jasper Jones (Paperback)
Without hesitation, "Jasper Jones" wins my approval as the best in teen literature anywhere. Sure, it comes with rough language and a few ghoulish scenes but offsetting those issues is a rivetting story made possible by the actions and words of some very highly intelligent and motivated teens. Silvey has done for the modern reader what Twain did for his generation and beyond with "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer": turning on its head the time-old line that children are really only an extension of their parents' values. To begin with, the three main characters are little rebels in a small Western Australian town hidebound by prejudices, shackled by terrible secrets, and wallowing in ignorance. Who would want to live in Corrigan any longer than it takes to escape, especially with all those nasty adults ruling the roost. Then there is that defining moment when secrets start coming to light and Charlie loses his innocence forever: Jasper, the neglected, foot-loose urchin takes him into the woods to view an awful sight, one that will forever test his childlike sense of security. From that moment on, that haunting image of a body of a young girl swinging from a tree will goad Charlie to learn more about the world around him, in spite of the many adult attempts to stop him. Aiding him in his rebellious course will be a foot-loose urchin, a super intelligent geek, and a young girl, the younger sister of the dead girl. Throughout the story they will form a very powerful in-group that draws off each other's desire to seek a better world by testing the boundaries of the old. What they'll ultimately find is that Corrigan, in all its evil ways, is not strong enough to hold them. The adult prejudice, guilt and neglect of the past are finally left behind as its young victims learn to live beyond the confines of small-town thinking. Yes, kids can grow up very quickly, but it is often only because we self-absorbed adults fail to respect their needs to be seen and heard as children. This novel succeeds in blowing a huge hole in that myth that children are nothing without adults in their lives.

The Slap
The Slap
by Christos Tsiolkas
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.09
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars An Interminable Quagmire of Familial Conflict, Dec 14 2015
This review is from: The Slap (Paperback)
What could be more enjoyable than a good old-fashioned BBQ with extended family members in the backyard of some modern Australian suburb? Well, this author has news for you. Such effusively warm and friendly family gatherings often come with one fatal flaw: the incapacity of those in attendance to truly empathize with each other. On the surface they might pretend to like or even tolerate each other, but deep down they distrust each other's personal feelings on the important things in life. Conversations may initially appear polite and genial, but scratch the surface and you will discover a morass of ill-feelings, belonging to wounded souls who don't relate well to problems outside their own narrow existence. So much for family loyalty and trust. All it will take for this personalized hurt and alienation to become a firestorm of fear and loathing will be one untimely slap of a naughty child by an overreactive adult. What was supposedly a pleasant get-together turns into a deep-seated family feud that reveals how vulnerable the family institution is to irresolvable differences. Tsiolkas takes us through the painful unravelling process which invariably becomes the antithesis of everything an extended family ought to be: dysfunctionality at its worse. The eight different perspectives on this one triggering incident all reflect lives that have experienced the indignity of being 'slapped' themselves by an unloving or inconsiderate family member. "Slap" is a novel that doesn't hold back on what is truly the darker side of humanity: hatred, distrust, infidelity, promiscuity and abuse. Each personal story emerging from one small moment in time pulsates with a raw passion that speaks to what is most important to the individual: seeking vindication for being wronged. Unfortunately, not much of a chance of reconciliation here because where do you start?

Triomph Digital Bathroom Weight  Scale, 330lb capacity, Automatic Step-on, LCD Backlight Display, 6mm Tempered Glass
Triomph Digital Bathroom Weight  Scale, 330lb capacity, Automatic Step-on, LCD Backlight Display, 6mm Tempered Glass
Offered by ECHELLO Wholesale
Price: CDN$ 49.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 26.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like these scales, Dec 10 2015
There are a number of features that make this bathroom scale a good purchase. One, it is easy to set for pounds, stones or kilos; two, it offers one main feature only; three, it comes with batteries; four, sports a nice floral design on its platform; five, it is fairly light and easy to maneuver; six, weighs a person up to three hundred and thirty pounds; and, seven, it comes with a very durable surface. Each one of these features has been tested by yours truly. If anything changes in the next while for the worse, I will alter this review.

One Simple Idea, Revised and Expanded Edition: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work
One Simple Idea, Revised and Expanded Edition: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work
Price: CDN$ 14.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the Big Idea to Fruition, Dec 10 2015
This self-help book is packed with some very helpful advice on how to take your intellectual designs and creations to the next level: outright production. To get there, you, the inventor and creator should take every step possible to make sure that the big idea is not lost, stolen, or compromised. Based on his many years as a technological innovator, Keys knows the importance of leaving the heavy lifting to those with deep pockets. Licensing of a product is best left to those with the resources in place to manufacture and market, but to get there one must know how to promote the essence of its originality.To bring backers to the table means filing patents, researching prior art, maintaining complete records of all developments and surveying the market to determine demand. On the first count, a much cheaper provisional patent is sufficient to protect the idea until it attracts some venture capital. Filing for patents can be frustrating at the best of times, especially when the big idea appears to mirror too closely somebody else's work. To avoid that, thorough record-keeping should insure that you are there to cash in on the royalties that reward effort, patience and ingenuity. Once one knows where to go on the Internet and in industry to find examples of what works and what doesn't, networking with others to build that critical protoyype becomes the next logical step along the way. I recommebd this book to anyone not sure of a possible roadmap necessary for birthing and developing a great iidea.

The Mercy of the Sky: The Story of a Tornado
The Mercy of the Sky: The Story of a Tornado
by Holly Bailey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.68
28 used & new from CDN$ 4.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Literally in the Eye of the Storm, Dec 5 2015
In this era of climate change and extreme weather, here's a story to top them all: the survival of a Midwestern town from a Category 5 tornado in 2013. If you like suspense and excitement in your reading, Bailey's detailed account of how one of the most powerful natural phenomena known to humankind rolled through town one Spring day and left an incredible swath of destruction in property and life. What it didn't destroy was the resilience of hundreds of Oklahomans from the little farming community of Moore. What is so remarkable about Bailey's version of events in that space of two very terrifying hours when the tornado mercilessly descended on helpless Moore is the way she captured what life must have been like for many facing the onslaught. There is the mayor who has seen it all before but continues to do all in his power to mitigate loss of life; then there was a highly motivated meteorologist who has made it his calling to equip the local radio station with the best Doppler technology available for early detection; a group of daredevil storm chasers looking for the big one; and not to be outdone, an elementary school principal and her staff were instrumental in saving many young lives at Tower Plaza as the tornado literally tore through the building. Between following the moment-by-moment movement of the storm and checking in with the locals as to their reaction to the approaching fury, Bailey's expert description of how the natural and human world meet on this fateful afternoon is so well done that I had no problem feeling like I was actually there. This book definitely achieves an effective balance between triumph and tragedy, fear and courage, and determination and despair.

Otto
Otto
by Lisa St.Aubin De Teran
Edition: Hardcover
11 used & new from CDN$ 3.53

4.0 out of 5 stars A Whirlwind Tour of the World of International Communism in the 20th century, Dec 4 2015
This review is from: Otto (Hardcover)
There are many things about this story that the reader should find very attractive about this big theme historical novel. The main character, Oswaldo, is everything one would want in a modern romantic adventurer intent on leaving his mark on the greater world. Like the troubadours of old, Oswaldo, a young Venezuelan peasant boy from an obscure village in the hinterland, knows his destiny. He is a rogue, derring-do, knave, rascal and libertine back in his hometown but that all pales once he gets his opportunity to break out as a young restless fortune seeker in a very fluid postwar society. He is about to discover the modern Marxist doctrine of political liberation in a post-colonial era, and his new home of Paris will be his launching pad. The author is to be credited with making this fictional journey through time a very conceivable one with plenty of historical detail to deepen the plot. Oswaldo, aka Otto, is not only a militant communist with a mercenary passion for war but, also, a lover, a philosopher and a strategist. He will find his wily way into the hearts and minds of Castro, Ben Bella, and Che as they wage their separate wars of liberation against world capitalism. These are both exciting and troubling times because nobody can be absolutely sure of success.That magic moment of jubilation never really happens here. As Teran points out, it is the struggle to make sense of the journey that becomes the essence of who this complex man really is. He may be consumed by a desire to conquer all that stands in the way of his sense of justice, by turning adversity into victory, but he still retains a very compelling humanity when connecting with the little guy in the field. He has no time for tyrants and dictators who use the cause to exploit the common man. In the end, like the prodigal of old, he will come to a very chastened and existential view of what it all means once the glamour and excitement have been removed.

Magictodoor Deluxe Travel Kit Organizer Hook Bathroom Storage Hanging Cosmetic and Grooming Bag Toiletry Bag Travel Organizer Yf8800cami
Magictodoor Deluxe Travel Kit Organizer Hook Bathroom Storage Hanging Cosmetic and Grooming Bag Toiletry Bag Travel Organizer Yf8800cami
Offered by MagicToDoor
Price: CDN$ 21.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Average Dobby Kit, Nov. 30 2015
We tested out this product on a number of features and found it to be reasonable: zippers are strong; material very durable and moisture resistant; its capacity to open up and hang on a hook is very convenient; and its ample size and handle make this a quality purchase.

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