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Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC)
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Crossing the Bay of Bengal
Crossing the Bay of Bengal
Price: CDN$ 18.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Historical Analysis of a Very Complex Subject, Aug. 13 2014
The power of any good historical analysis is found in the historian's ability first to accurately recreate the past and, second, to subject it to rigorous but reasonable evaluation. On both counts, Amrith has succeeded in showing that the history of prominent regions like the Bay of Bengal is not only just a convenient cultural express that contains a host of different ethnic and geopolitical interests living in proximity to each other. Instead, the Bay of Bengal is more a diverse historical concept consisting of interacting forces that continue to this day to redefine it in ways never imagined back in the eighteenth century. Back then, this massive body of saltwater defining the shoreline of much of western south-east Asia, briefly became the imperial battleground for control of the lucrative trade that had sprung up with the arrival of the Dutch, English, Portuguese and French. As the English-backed East India Company gradually took over and the Industrial Revolution spread throughout the western world, something significant happened in this region. Its British territories became an area of intermigratory transformation. With the switch to rubber, coffee and tea cultivation in Ceylon, Malaysia (Penang), to meet increasing western demand, the Tamil populations of southern India started to move across the bay in search of work on the many new plantations. Amrith's well-written book takes a detailed look at how millions of these 'lower-caste' people moved back and forth across this region, propelled by the lure of economic fortunes, and a new-found freedom. Often what they got was a mixed bag of fortune and adversity but, nevertheless, an all-important chance to live an indelible imprint on the landscape. What I admire most about this study is the incredible amount of evidence Amrith brings to his argument that human geography plays in improving our understanding of history. For one, people like the Tamils moving across the land leave behind an enormously rich reminder of their culture in the form of artifacts, customs, language, and edifices which find their way into this book. Then there was the profound physical and personal impact of change that came with the arrival of new economies, followed by international wars and ethnic uprisings that seriously threatened to destabilize and disrupt everyday existence. Any attempt to see the Bay of Bengal as a megaregion has long been dispelled by the rise of various nationalistic movements - many Tamil inspired - that invariably break down along national boundaries. However, there is an interesting segue to this whole story: world powers like the US still see the area as being defined by this large body of water that still tends to lend its name to the future of all the countries bordering it.

Algerian Chronicles by Camus, Albert, Goldhammer, Arthur, Kaplan, Alice (2013) Hardcover
Algerian Chronicles by Camus, Albert, Goldhammer, Arthur, Kaplan, Alice (2013) Hardcover
by Albert, Goldhammer, Arthur, Kaplan, Alice Camus
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A Writer with a Profound Conscience, Aug. 11 2014
I have always enjoyed Camus’ ability to capture, in his writings, the human condition of individual despair that comes from not belonging. We are vagabonds, he would argue, who are, like young Comery in "The First Man", forever looking for an illusory place to call home. Since it doesn’t exist except in our minds, our lot is one of continually striving existentially for a perfect world that should not compromise our sense of justice and compassion. Such was the heroic calling of Camus, a famous French writer, who brought a great sense of humanity to his novels and essays. As a journalist for both French and Algerian papers, Camus reported on a number of key issues that affected his homeland and the Fourth French Republic. Focussing on what appears to be the underlying causes of growing dissension within both countries, leading to civil war, Camus pulls no punches. A xenophobia had crept into a society where French, ex-pats (pied-noir), and indigenous people were literally at each others throats in a fight to the death for political control. At the heart of the matter was the horrible plight of the Kabyles - a large group of Algerian Bedouins - caused by the harsh policies of a ruling French colonial administration bent on using terror, starvation and duplicity to subdue them. Many of the articles in this collection address, first-hand, the daily life of the Kabyles as they struggle to survive and the solutions needed to improve their lot. This is a people with no health care, schooling or a reliable food supply, all issues that the French government played a large role in perpetuating. It is this lack of social conscience that is symptomatic of a larger state: the moral and political declension of the nation as it desperately clung to the vestiges of its colonial past. Living in harmony, the desired state of all humanity, would only happen if the French government of the day started to make some serious compromises that exuded compassion and true Republican egalitarianism.

Restless
Restless
by William Boyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.16
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding Peace at the End of the Journey, Aug. 6 2014
This review is from: Restless (Paperback)
British author William Boyd is a master at writing novels that are extensive, intensive, complex and, overall, very satisfying in their conclusion. He does all this by focussing on making a life for the main character while developing a couple of sideshows meant to enrich the main plot over time. This formula plays out once again in this novel in the life of a British wartime spy named Eva who leads a footloose and adventurous existence in an attempt to outwit the enemy in a cat-and-mouse game of dire consequences. It is 1939 and, as an emigre hanging around a doomed Paris, Eva, suddenly becomes an unwitting member of a covert intelligence operated putatively committed to bringing the US into war on the British side. Eva is a single woman vulnerable to many emotions, not least the need to be loved. It will be Lucas Romer, her handler, who will become her lover as they move to America to pursue this mission. As the reader will learn, Romer is a traitor who has his own sinister plan for keeping America out of the war and is prepared to do anything, including throwing Eva under a bus. To reinforce this intriguing tale, Boyd introduces a subsequent narrative that takes place a generation or so later involving her daughter, Ruth, born out of the chaotic and fearful life she led with Romer. The similarities are so uncannily similar as to make the point that we are not alone when we travel through life. What Ruth discovers about her mother, through reading parts of her harrowing story of escape from danger, is that they share a tortuous life of travelling the world in search of love in the shadows of ever-present danger. This revelation allows her to better understand her mother’s similar need for peace. In the end, Eva, Ruth, and her son Jochem, get the satisfaction that justice, though cruel and whimsical, can offer a well-earned sense of vindication to those who patiently pursue the truth.

Empire Of Secrets
Empire Of Secrets
by Calder Walton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.31
36 used & new from CDN$ 1.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Penetrating the Historical Veil of Secrecy, Aug. 3 2014
This review is from: Empire Of Secrets (Hardcover)
This book offers the reader a very detailed and informative look at how those in secret intelligence and counter-terrorist agencies helped to manage the decline of the British Empire in the context of the first part of the 20th century. As the sun finally began to set on this massive colonial expression, government operations like MI5 and SIS come under significant scrutiny as to the role they played in this painfully, long-drawn-out dismantling process. There are many stages and many secrets in this story that still remain classified to this day. The author makes a very good case that the British Empire was always about fostering a culture of secrecy when it came to maintaining law and order and curtailing insurgency. Everything from the use of questionable interrogation tactics to surveillance to gathering intelligence to cooperating with other countries and local groups is covered here. The main focus is on the history of this devolution as it relates to the last of the colonies to gain their independence: Cyprus, Malaysia, various African territories, the Caribbean islands and the southern Arabian peninsula. Walton's research shows that this transition was, at times, messy, awkward, sinister, and inept. Historically, Britain did not go into that goodnight easily. Lots of fighting back and resisting the winds of change that were made increasingly painful by the facts that the country no longer had the firepower, the manpower, or international respect to prevail as a imperial power. While MI5's track record as a spy organization was badly tarnished because of some major Cold War security leaks, it still had a well-earned reputation for sharing intelligence with the new independent states and emerging world powers. The problem, however, was that Britain, by holding on to these colonies for longer than necessary, may have created a veil of secrecy as to many of the atrocities it committed to desperately keep the legend alive. Walton, as any savvy historian interested in establishing the truth, does a fine job in attempting to renew interest in uncovering those deep-dark moments in the last century that many Brits of that era would rather forget about as a time of national humiliation best forgotten.

eForCity Universal Bluetooth Transmitter with 3.5 mm Audio Cable , Black
eForCity Universal Bluetooth Transmitter with 3.5 mm Audio Cable , Black
Offered by Urban Inspirations
Price: CDN$ 35.20
3 used & new from CDN$ 35.20

4.0 out of 5 stars When we received it we found the set-up instructions easy to follow, July 30 2014
This package arrived within a week of ordering. When we received it we found the set-up instructions easy to follow; the only problem, however, was that we didn't have a compatible blue-tooth receiver. Problem solved: our son has the right device so we're turning it over to him. My evaluation is based on the fact that this little device appears to be an easy and cheap way to set up wireless capacity in your house.

Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading
Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading
by Eugene H. Peterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.71
33 used & new from CDN$ 7.54

5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible Coming Alive in Our Lives, July 29 2014
This is a very special book meant for those who want to go beyond just reading the Bible as an act of piety or a good spiritual discipline. I listened to the Regent College CD format so I got the extra blessing of hearing that marvellous teaching voice of Peterson come through in the presentation. It is his conviction that we need to adopt a number of different attitudes when it comes to studying scripture. Since the Bible is so interrelated in its content, we need to become exegetes or examiners of what lies beneath its immediate surface. We also need to be aware of the larger narrative in which the Bible is contained: redemption, the covenant, and gospel stories are just a couple of a number of megastories that speak to the heart of what is Christianity in action in the church. The numerous references to God's faithfulness in action compell us to read and apply the Bible to our lives in community as well as individually. Can we do this on our own by simple meditation and reflection? Peterson seems to think not. The Bible teaches us the importance of building each other up in a holy faith by delving into the Word of God to find out, like the Bereans of old, what it truly means to belong to God's church in relation to the world at large. This ancient book is one filled with profound truths that are as relevant today as they were back in the times it was written because it focuses on our relationship with our Creator. The first part of the book presents ways in which we can learn what God has to say about that special link He has with his creatures and creation but has become broken through sin. The second part, mainly found in the New Testament, looks at how the Bible deals with how God wants us to return to a right relationship in Christ. Lastly, the book winds up with a summation of how the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, can become our Guide to greater understanding of Scriptures as we allow it to fill our lives with revealed truth as to how to make it work in our lives as Christians. In the end, reading the Bible should become an all-consuming experience of learning the mind of God that makes us not just hearers and readers of the Word but doers also.

TaoTronics® TT-SH02 Universal Windshield & Dashboard Car Mount Cradle Holder for iPhone 6 5S 5C 5 4S 4 3GS, Samsung Galaxy Note II S4 S3 S2, HTC OneX EVO 4G Rhyme DROID RAZR, Google Nexus, LG Optimus, Nokia Lumia, Compact GPS 1.97"-3.94" -Black
TaoTronics® TT-SH02 Universal Windshield & Dashboard Car Mount Cradle Holder for iPhone 6 5S 5C 5 4S 4 3GS, Samsung Galaxy Note II S4 S3 S2, HTC OneX EVO 4G Rhyme DROID RAZR, Google Nexus, LG Optimus, Nokia Lumia, Compact GPS 1.97"-3.94" -Black
Offered by Sunvalleytek Canada
Price: CDN$ 12.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Handy Little Device ..., July 29 2014
We found this holder to be all it claimed to be. There are many things in life that seem to work because they are simplistic in their design, and this is one of them. It is as simple as attaching its suction pad to the top of the dash with the flick of a lever. For this price one gets both convenience and affordability. My only concern might be the fact that the lever is made out of hardened plastic that might snap with too much pressure.

The Lost Art of Finding Our Way
The Lost Art of Finding Our Way
by John Edward Huth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.16
35 used & new from CDN$ 17.15

5.0 out of 5 stars The Method and Myth of Learning Behind Our Whereabouts, July 23 2014
I have nothing but praise for this historical study as to how we have, as a civilization, attempted to find our way around our natural habitat called the earth. Before modern satellite technology such as GPS, humankind depended on techniques or methods like dead-reckoning, triangulation, tidal measuring, map-making, crude instrument reading, and intense sky watching. As a respected Harvard geographer, Huth weaves a complex story of how individuals and groups have attempted, over millennia, with varying degree of success, to navigate large and small waterways, cross wide open territories, and scale tall mountains in an effort to move from Point A to Point B and beyond. Huth goes into elaborate detail over how our world has became easier to get around because our forefathers were both curious and practical in their desire to explore the world around them without getting lost. No earth-related concepts - scientific or mythical - are left untouched here: latitude/longitude, ocean currents, cloud formation, tides, ancient legends, urban myths, celestial composition, air pressure, wildlife movement, and depth soundings. The author does a very good job at conveying the big story of how all this information gradually came to light because early explorers, scientists and ordinary people were inquisitive, patient and intelligent enough to find their way around their complex and sometimes very threatening and dangerous environment. This book comes equipped with easy-to-understand diagrams, a very helpful glossary of terms, great anecdotes and, most importantly, useful explanations that help the reader understand much of the natural phenomena that impact our daily lives. A fuller knowledge here makes for a world that is not so intimidating and overwhelming.

[New Arrival] HooToo® TripMate Elite Versatile Wireless N Travel Router with 6000mAh Battery Charger (Dual USB Wall Charger, USB Storage Wi-Fi Media Sharing, Access Point, Wi-Fi Mini Router & Bridge)
[New Arrival] HooToo® TripMate Elite Versatile Wireless N Travel Router with 6000mAh Battery Charger (Dual USB Wall Charger, USB Storage Wi-Fi Media Sharing, Access Point, Wi-Fi Mini Router & Bridge)

5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Device With All Kinds of Potential, July 21 2014
Great for charging up various electronic devices in a hurry. While we are not great game players or sharers of data online, we see the great potential with its capacity as a router connected to the cloud. For those interested in this function, you will be expected to download RARR. While you are expected to pay a small monthly fee, that can be avoided by clicking on the forty-five day renewal box. Overall, it looks like a winner that we will certainly expand our use of as we integrate it with the new Samsung tablet.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas Piketty
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.30
59 used & new from CDN$ 26.07

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Widening Gaps Between Them and Us, July 20 2014
Piketty, a French economist, in a major macroeconomic study of modern economies by the title of "Capital", believes that world economies are currently going through a serious rough patch that is the direct result of trends established over the past three centuries. Statistical evidence, taken from French tax records among other sources, points out that we have not arrived at our present perilous state simply by process of excessive spending and bad fiscal policies. He starts the discussion by dividing the economy into the public and private sectors, both of which have access to money through the generation and accumulation of wealth and the creation of assets resulting from an expanding economy. There is an illusion here that these two sectors work in harmony to provide the impetus for keeping world economies growing. There was a time back in the late nineteenth century when world powers like Britain, Germany, France and the United States were able to raise enough capital, through trade and inflation, to handle any debt. But that has all changed with two major world wars in the 20th century forcing big governments to become first-line borrowers in the creation of complex war machines, while the private sector reaped windfall profits with little risk. In the 1950s, an economic boom happened because governments were willing to continue borrowing liberally, through the sale of bonds to the private sector to build new infrastructure, provide social services, and attract new industrial development. Two world wars had effectively run public and private capital down to the point that it needed to be replenished. After underwriting the financing of the Cold War, the private sector or corporate agenda now controlled the future direction of the world economic order. National incomes for the middle-class began to decline in the nineties; debt levels increased exponentially in the public sector; and capital investment has seriously dropped off, while wealth, as measured by income, continues to grow only in the private sector. For Piketty, a careful examination of statistics tell a very interesting story: economic growth is waning worldwide because population growth is slowing down and the middle-class tax base is shrinking as incomes drop and governments cut back services. This scenario is hardly sustainable because governments can’t keep borrowing from the private sector to provide a standard of living that we can no longer afford. For the author, the answer, like the problem, is anything but simple: governments have to obviously find ways to tax the super-wealthy and corporations - the group they traditionally depend on to buy their short-term bonds - so that they pay their fair share of the tax burden in a time when the income gap is widening on so many different fronts. This present fiscal crisis has occurred before and some governments have been able to inflate their debt out of existence or have a major war intervene to wipe the slate clean, but these options in an increasingly integrated world seem less palatable this time with the growing potential nasty unintended consequences. I recommend this book to those who want to get a comprehensive picture of how we have arrived at these extraordinary times because of our incapacity to work together for the greater good of society.

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