Profile for Ian Gordon Malcomson > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Ian Gordon Mal...
Top Reviewer Ranking: 13
Helpful Votes: 2384

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 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism
American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism
by Matthew Avery Sutton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.66
27 used & new from CDN$ 26.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Effective Scholarship on a Touchy Subject, Aug. 1 2015
For quite awhile now I have been looking for a decent historical study of religious fundamentalism in the United States, and I think I may have found it in this book. Sutton delves into the early background of this prominent Christian movement that bases its understanding of the Bible on premillennial teaching as it applies to endtime prophecies. As someone who grew up in this environment, I was well aware of the straight-laced, dogmatic views of preachers and expositors like Darby, Larkin, Lindsey, Graham, Scofield, Falwell, Fuller, and Billy Sunday. These men preached the imminent return of Christ as proclaimed throughout the New Testament. What I wasn't clear on till now was how much of their platform was politically based in relation to the Republican Party and right-wing lobby griups. The fundamentalist or literal interpreters of Scriptures have carved out a significant part of the American political landscape both in what it has to say about national morals or the lack thereof and fresh manifestations of Christ's second coming. This influential coservative movement, as exemplified by previous organizations like the Moral Majority in theceighties, has a view or position on almost everything central to American culture: sex, evolution, abortion, immigration, wealth, government, and parental authority as they line up with biblical teachings. Many of the great premillennialists of the 20th century knew how to promote their fundamentakist beliefs using the mass media to their best advantage with technology like radio, televsion, and magazines to get out the word in the fight against liberalism and modernism. This book is both well-written and thoroughly researched in its efforts to define the political and social agendas of a very important but often misunderstood phenomenon in American history. In reading it I never felt at anytime my Chridtian faith being attacked; just better informed as to the bigger picture that exists today.

Bike Light - Front and Rear Aluminum LED Bike Light Set - 2 Valve Wheels Lights - 2 Waterproof High Intensity Multi-Purpose Rear Bike Light for Bicycle
Bike Light - Front and Rear Aluminum LED Bike Light Set - 2 Valve Wheels Lights - 2 Waterproof High Intensity Multi-Purpose Rear Bike Light for Bicycle
Offered by AbcoDirect
Price: CDN$ 15.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 15.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great devices for better illumination at night, July 31 2015
I am always a safety-minded person when it comes to riding my bike in the city, especially at night. These valve cap lights serve to make my bike more visible from the traffic side of a bike lane coming up to an intersection. Mine tend to flash rather give off the strobe effect which is due in large part probably to the speed that I am traveling. Neat little piece of technology that for the price affords better visibility. After every use you might want to slip the paper disk in to prevent the batteries from draining.The small attachable front and back lights complete the deal. There is need for clearer instructions as to basic operations. A small diagram on the back of the packaging might help.

The Imitation Game [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
The Imitation Game [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
DVD ~ Benedict Cumberbatch
Price: CDN$ 19.99
11 used & new from CDN$ 12.23

4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Secret is One You Never Have to Tell, July 30 2015
After reading Hodges' monumental biography of the life of Alan Turing, I still had questions as to how this brilliant man was able to break the top secret German military code called Enigma. Yes, we know that it took the creation of an algorithmic generating computer to start the process, but as Turing and his cohorts readily admitted later it would have still taken months of perseverance if the Bletchley people had not caught on to something ordinary about German communiques: there was a common phraseology to most of them which, when understood, solved it overnight. Great acting by Cumberbatch and knightly in showing what is was like to live in world of grave uncertainty on all fronts, especially when it came to concealing one's private life from public scrutiny. The irony of carrying on a double life on the one hand while scientifically cracking the most deadly of military codes will always be the centerpiece of this tragically sad story.The same could be said for a nation that chose to persecute a man for being a homosexual in spite of his successfully gallant efforts to save it from the Nazi scourge. Go figure. The imitation game here became the sum total of trying to discover the truth by plugging into Ultra the standard twenty questions one might ask a child to discover their deepest secret. In other words, a fishing trip that becomes deadly when Turing allows the police to use the same tactic on him to determine his sexual activities. Like his machine, Turing can't lie.

GardenHOME Compact Electric Blower and Vacuum
GardenHOME Compact Electric Blower and Vacuum
Offered by Deals Republic
Price: CDN$ 39.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 39.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice for little jobs around the house, July 30 2015
We use this handy mobile device for picking up dust iin hard-to-get-to corners in the condo and for vacuuming the car. Easy to operate once you get the hang of it.

GardenHOME 7-Piece Stainless Steel Garden Tools with Canvas Tote
GardenHOME 7-Piece Stainless Steel Garden Tools with Canvas Tote
Offered by Deals Republic
Price: CDN$ 51.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 31.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Handy for small gardening, July 30 2015
Ideally suited for small outdoor garden plots. Used all the implements and found they are strong enough to dig small holes, lift small amounts of earth, and extract small roots and weeds. The stainless steel look is positive because of how easily garden tools can rust. The carrying case tends to be a little on the awkward side; maybe an apron for carrying it around the waist would be handier for carrying.

Leviathan Bilingual
Leviathan Bilingual
DVD ~ Roman Madyanov
Price: CDN$ 22.99
4 used & new from CDN$ 16.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bleak Truth About a Corrupt Society, July 29 2015
Ce commentaire est de: Leviathan Bilingual (DVD)
There is everything about this movie that will lead one to believe that modern Russia is, as always, a deeply, dangerously and hopelessly corrupt society. Watch this film and you should clearly see how stacked the deck is in favor of the oligarchs, plutocrats, and judiciars. No one is safe in this society if government, at any level, wants to put them out of business in order to take over. Prison, public disgrace, death and financial ruin await those brave ones who push back in search of justice. One of the highlights of this well appointed production include a scene on the local beach where our hero, Kolya's young son, sits next to the beached skeleton of a large whale. Roma has just learned that his father is taking up again with his two-time cheating stepmother. The only thing secure in this ugly world where everything is compromised and vulnerable is the spectre of the dead leviathan lying there on the beach for all to see and smell. While our hero will valiantly fight back with all the resources against the illegal expropriation of his property, the gig is up only because there is no effective recourse to appeal. Great filming of local culture. Yes, this town is definitely so Russian in terms of its many faces: cars, roads, buildings, people, and landscape. The stark beauty of the northern Russian coastline is offset by a closing scene that shows a harbor full of boats from a scuttled fishing fleet that probably belonged to Kolya in better times.

Moon Bermuda
Moon Bermuda
by Rosemary Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.58
27 used & new from CDN$ 12.72

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Helpful Read, July 27 2015
Ce commentaire est de: Moon Bermuda (Paperback)
As one who is seriously planning a trip early 2016 to this lovely tropical isle, I found this guide to be very helpful on a number of fronts: hard facts, practical tips, and a good grasp of he culture. Any traveler to this part of the Caribbean should be well served in knowing how to dress for the climate/weather, where to eat and stay depending on one's budget, what to see with respect to natural beauty, and the means of transportation for getting around. What I like especially is the way the guide is laid out: the island is divided by parishes and examined by a series of recurring themes that cover critical information for making an effective vacation on a number of levels. The photos, maps, and charts here are great additions that allow the reader a chance to be better informed and prepared. It doesn't hurt that Jones knows how to write and lives in Bermuda.

Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence
Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence
by Karen Armstrong
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.26
6 used & new from CDN$ 14.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Analytical History Speaks for Itself, July 26 2015
Armstrong has always been an objective thinker and writer on the most difficult of subjects: Christianity and world religions. This book, once again, captures that big picture view of the varied roles of religion in history. If we accept that religion is really humans, throughout time attempting systematically to relate to their concept of a supreme being, then we should have no problem understanding how extensive its place is in modern society. What has come to us from the past in the form of religious practices are still a dominant force in shaping our cultural values, whatever the belief system is. That being said, it would be inaccurate to blame religions such as Christianity and Islam as the the root cause of all the wars that have transpired over the centuries, just because certain fundamental subgroups espouse a theology of intolerance and vengeance. Her extensive review of history, where the religionists have had a chance to assert their influence on society in a violent way, the record shows a limited part played in war. In epic events like the Crusades, it was actually the medieval state, with the support of the papacy and local churches, that resulted in the tragic killing of hundreds of thousands of Saracens in an effort to reclaim Jerusalem. A small fanatical element carried the day on that one. More accurately, the real struggle for ultimate supremacy has taken place within empires, states and principalities between the forces of a ruling military-based aristocracy and the religious orders dedicated to mitigating the impact of medieval law and taxes on the underclasses. Armstrong talks at length about how the Catholic church, under the influence of the Gregorian reforms of the 9th and 10th centuries, helped to make life easier for the poor. People like St. Francis Assisi, Confucius, Gandhi, Gregory, St. Patrick, and Cyrus played a dominant part in promoting peace instead of war as the only means to grater equality and prosperity. The real culprit, for the author, in promoting war as the ultimate means of empowerment and control is the rise of the modern state and industrialization. Conflicts such as the European religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries were mainly political in the sense that armies crisscrossed Europe, ransacking and looting as their sole means of support, or looking to acquire new territories. If the continent was hopelessly divided at this time, so was its church which was beset by internal corruption and dissent from without. As states modernized, so did their means to conduct bloody conflicts that inevitably led to killing fields throughout the world in which religion, as an arm of the state, was seen as playing a larger-than-life role in the prosecution of wars. In short, religion was quite likely complicit in what it did and did not do to dampen the passion for war, like in the Spanish conquest of Latin America in the 16th century. But if Armstrong is to be believed, one cannot overlook the overall good it did to help promote greater balance of views in societies across the globe. This book is a reminder, once again, that we should not judge history by the repeated bloody actions of a few if it means that we wrongly lay the blame for such atrocities at the wrong feet, because it justifies our prejudices.

Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, the Battle
Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, the Battle
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Compelling Rendition of an Epic Battle Anywhere, July 19 2015
This is some of the best popular history I have read on the subject of war. Too often the telling gets so bogged down in technical language or jargon that the story gets lost. Not so here. The reader should come away with how this definitive battle came together and was eventually won by the English. Barker's secret is that she combines just the right amount of detail with useful analysis to create a narrative that allows the reader a chance to feel themselves as part of the unfolding drama. What was more captivating than the battle itself was the months it took to assemble this army: all the requisitioning of supplies, the writing up of special indentures between king and knights, and the diplomatic efforts to forego this conflict. I came away convinced that Barker has given a most accurate and comprehensive account that underscores the need to separate the cold reality of war from the fond pageantry of knighthood. Make no mistake about it: Agincourt was a bloody engagement in which the future of both countries lay in the balance. Henry V comes across as the ideal king and medieval knight to lead this massive campaign because of his unwavering focus on winning and his ability to organize and delegate to that end. Having said that, Barker will include a few unexpected moments to keep the reader guessing as to the outcome of the battle. The English went into the battle the decisive underdogs because of their general state of exhaustion and illness resulting from the arduous march there. Something changed those misfortunes overnight and snatched victory from the jaws of inevitable defeat. Could it be a case of luck or an ability on the part of Henry and his commanders to adapt to changing conditions? Barker will answer that question and others in clear fashion.

For The Thrill Of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago
For The Thrill Of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago
by Simon Baatz
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.72
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Bizarre Case that Turned on a Long Shot and a Brilliant Legal Mind, July 18 2015
This is one very disturbing story of a true-life crime that comes with so many different perspectives. Calling this a senseless and brutal and cold-blooded murder of an innocent young Chicago boy in 1924 the crime of the century hardly does justice to its many peculiarities and long-term implications.Yes, we know who did it but its extraordinary MO continues to baffle great legal minds right up to now. Baat the author,an eminent criminologist himself, takes us through an labyrinth of criminal and judicial activities associated with this case in an attempt to make sense of everything that seems to defy logic. First, we have the murderous actions of two young well-heeled students named Leopold and Loeb who were the narcissistic offspring of wealthy Jewish-American families. One day, after considerable planning, these two lovers, kidnapped Bobby Franks, the latter's cousin and killed him. No motive that anyone could really understand; just a lark born out of the boredom that comes with wanting to experience the feeling of killing a defenseless child. Then, there was the thorough investigation by Chicago police that led to their arrest and eventual celebrated trial in which their lives literally hung in the balance. That part of the narrative is well-known, but it is the behind-the-scene details that give it a special bite all of its own. We see Darrow, the crack attorney, facing off against a very confident, determined prosecutor, Robert Crowe, as they strive to win a favorable verdict. To get there, we are treated to hours and days of legal and medical jockeying to find that evidence that will nail the case shut: hanging or life in prison. This story contains so many sideshows that the reader can't help but understand how the times - the roaring twenties - played a significant role in making this case a cause celebre. Many social issues find their way into this legal battle: the definition and plea of insanity and what constitutes mental illness, what is justice, to name a few. Chicago's high murder rate and family wealth all have a special bearing on how this tragedy played out. Of special interest to me was the planning and execution that went into Darrow's strategy to save his clients from the gallows. Absolutely brilliant considering that it was a long-shot at best. By rights, these two 'monsters' should have died for their crimes but having a smart lawyer knowing how to maneuver through an ambiguous legal system kind of gave them a fighting chance which makes for the real story-line here. Without Darrow, there would be nothing to this truly sordid crime.The epilogue here serves to remind us that nobody, especially the two killers, ultimately benefited from anything that transpired in that Cook County courtroom in 1924.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20