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Reviews Written by
Gordon Ritchie "Woodpusher" (Ottawa, Canada)
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Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped
Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped
Price: CDN$ 13.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Political Polemic, Feb. 4 2016
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Garry Kasparov was, and still is, a great chessplayer. In fact, he may have been the strongest player of all time. As a politician, however, or political polemicist, not so great. His style is strident, replete with insults and aspersions, light on substantive facts. Disappointing as his target, Vladimir Putin and his regime, is easy pickings.

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics
The Tragedy of Great Power Politics
Price: CDN$ 12.60

5.0 out of 5 stars The Machine Behind The Curtain, Jan. 9 2016
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In this tour de force, one of the savviest commentators on current world affairs lays out his conceptual model for understanding how great powers interact in an anarchic world. Offensive realism postulates that great powers must seek to expand their power with the goal of regional hegemony. In modern times there has only been one true regional hegemon---the United States---although others have tried including Napoleon's France, the Germanies of the Kaiser and Hitler and the Soviet Union. China has the potential to achieve such a status and the author lays out, in a new and fascinating chapter, why the United States will attempt to thwart this ambition. Grim but insightful reading for anyone seeking to see behind the curtain.

The Wars of Napoleon
The Wars of Napoleon
by Thomas E. Griess
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 27.54
17 used & new from CDN$ 25.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Penetrating the Fog of Battle, Nov. 25 2015
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This review is from: The Wars of Napoleon (Paperback)
An excellent compendium of the battles fought by the great French general and emperor. It is a lot to ask to see through the fog of war, which was especially dense in Napoleon's time as huge armies fought over difficult terrain, obscured by cannon smoke and lacking anything resembling real time communications. This work does, however, go a long way to bringing out the key elements of individual battles and longer campaigns. Unfortunately, it was designed to be read with an accompanying Atlas which I found to be a shoddy product of little use. Even without this intended supporting material, however, The Wars of Napoleon is a valuable addition to the library of those interested in military history around the turn of the nineteenth century.

West Point Atlas for the Wars of Napoleon
West Point Atlas for the Wars of Napoleon
by Thomas E. Griess
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: CDN$ 30.71
14 used & new from CDN$ 30.70

2.0 out of 5 stars A Shoddy Production, Nov. 25 2015
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The first warning came as I took the book out of the package and read the spine: "West Point Atlas for the Wars of Napolean"---leading one to wonder about the quality of their proofreading. It is intended as a companion to The Wars of Napoleon which is a very thorough account of the military exploits and misadventures of the man many consider the greatest military strategist of all time. The maps could have been an invaluable aid to understanding the flow of these battles but are unfortunately marred by poor quality printing and unclear designs. A great pity to see such a shoddy product emerge under the brand of West Point.

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 15.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Dull Book on Fascinating Subject, Nov. 25 2015
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Tetlock has done some fascinating research for the U.S. national security services to find that some individuals tend to be significantly better at forecasting (the "superforecasters") than most others, including the so-called experts. The focus is on relatively precise, relatively short-term forecasts that can therefore be measured. The superforecasters tend to be "foxes" scanning their environment for bits of intelligence rather than "hedgehogs" who have and stick to one big idea. Unfortunately, the material tends to be repetitive, redundant and rather too interested in glorifying Tetlock's work. His nominal co-author is Dan Gardner, a fine writer whose earlier book, Risk, admittedly drawing on Tetlock's work, is actually a much better and in many ways more insightful read. I would recommend Gardner's book to anyone interested in analysing risk. Tetlock's not so much.

The Establishment: And how they get away with it
The Establishment: And how they get away with it
Price: CDN$ 9.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight Journalism, Nov. 10 2015
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This highly acclaimed critique of the abuse of political power in Great Britain by the entrenched establishment comes across to me as relatively lightweight journalism. In breathless prose it courageously exposes the obvious: the holders of power are inclined to use it for their own benefit. Only the uninformed and inexperienced will be surprised.

Story of O: A Novel
Story of O: A Novel
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Total Domination and Willing Submission, Nov. 10 2015
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Reage's masterpiece is still the best erotic fiction around for those who enjoy the vicarious experience of total domination and willing submission.

Borgen: Complete Series [Import]
Borgen: Complete Series [Import]
DVD ~ BORGEN: COMPLETE SERIES
Price: CDN$ 132.39
11 used & new from CDN$ 116.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Political Drama, Nov. 10 2015
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An extraordinary series portraying adults doing the serious business of politics and living. Not to be confused with the cardboard cut-outs in attempts by Hollywood or the television networks, including the Canadian, which amount to glorified soap operas with totally unrealistic plots (e.g. "Madam Secretary") and empty stereotypes. This Danish series portrays the rise and fall and resurrection of a woman leading a centre left political movement. It provides a highly authentic portrayal of the machinations of power politics without losing touch with the basic humanity of the players, from the Prime Minister/mother to the gay Justice Minister. All this is set in the context of a parliamentary system of proportional representation, unfamiliar but fascinating to North American political junkies, but its themes are universal. The series also captures the relationship between government and the media in a relatively small, democratic country. For sheer, gritty realism, this is simply the best series I have ever seen. Highly recommended for politically aware viewers.

Vena TACT ARMOR LEO Design [TACT Armor][CornerGuard | Shock Absorption] Case Cover for Apple iPhone 6s / 6 (4.7in) - Black
Vena TACT ARMOR LEO Design [TACT Armor][CornerGuard | Shock Absorption] Case Cover for Apple iPhone 6s / 6 (4.7in) - Black
Offered by theWireless Company
Price: CDN$ 11.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Does the basic job, Nov. 10 2015
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Attractive case for iPhone 6 does the basic job of providing shock protection for the device. Not to be confused with others (notably LifeProof) that provide heavy duty protection and waterproofing to boot.

Herbert Peppard: The Eternal Man
Herbert Peppard: The Eternal Man
by Janice Dickson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.98
8 used & new from CDN$ 15.59

3.0 out of 5 stars A Genuine Hero, Oct. 24 2015
Janice Dickson is a reporter with iPolitics who became fascinated with the story of Herbert Peppard, a much decorated WWII veteran who is still living at the age of 94 in his home town of Truro, Nova Scotia. For the most part, Dickson lets Peppard speak in his own voice, through extended interviews, diaries, papers and letters home. The story takes him from a lumberyard in Nova Scotia to the First Special Service Force fighting in Italy where he earned the silver cross for bravery and was badly wounded. On his return to Canada, he married his sweetheart with whom he raised a family, in health and sickness, including his young wife's prolonged battle with the dreaded polio. He became a bodybuilder and, on his wife's death, travelled widely in Canada and abroad. In Dickson's hands, the stories flow smoothly, covering a most interesting life of a genuine hero. Recommended.

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