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Reviews Written by
Gordon Ritchie "Woodpusher" (Ottawa, Canada)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad
The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars illuminating, Aug. 18 2014
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In large measure, the charm of this work resides in the idiosyncratic, highly didactic style Hazelton adopts to tell the extraordinary account of the life of one of the most influential figures in world history. An illuminating introduction to a highly relevant subject.

Science, Kasparov, and Fischer
Science, Kasparov, and Fischer
Price: CDN$ 1.39

1.0 out of 5 stars drivel, March 25 2014
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This bizarre effort is pure, unadulterated drivel. The title is highly misleading. This is absolutely not recommended at any price.

Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6" High Resolution Display with Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi [Previous Generation]
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, 6" High Resolution Display with Built-in Light, Free 3G + Wi-Fi [Previous Generation]

5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary, March 8 2014
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What remains to be said about this product or should I say system since it is inextricably intertwined with the Amazon bookstore. It is a near flawless implementation of the ebook revolution. Highly recommended and much appreciated.

Building the Orange Wave: The Inside Story Behind the Historic Rise of Jack Layton and the NDP
Building the Orange Wave: The Inside Story Behind the Historic Rise of Jack Layton and the NDP
by Brad Lavigne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.91
19 used & new from CDN$ 21.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading, March 8 2014
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In one of the most remarkable political achievements in any modern country, Jack Layton led the NDP from a position of perennial also ran in Canada, but especially in Quebec, to an electoral sweep of that province that vaulted the party to the official opposition. Tragically, Layton, whose personal charisma had played a huge role in this success, succumbed to cancer before he could enjoy the fruits of his labours.
This account is by one of the key organizers in this extraordinary campaign. It is workmanlike and explanatory without giving away the party secrets. It is required reading for anyone interested in Canadian politics.

Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy
Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 17.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Overtaken by Events, March 8 2014
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Pollack is an excellent writer and insightful observer of international affairs. Regrettably, this book has been badly overtaken by events. I cannot recommend it.

Spanish Wine Guide (Wines of Spain)
Spanish Wine Guide (Wines of Spain)
Price: CDN$ 5.24

2.0 out of 5 stars Superficial, March 8 2014
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I cannot recommend this product. It is extremely superficial and generally unhelpful. There are much better resources freely available on the Web.

The Best Laid Plans
The Best Laid Plans
by Terry Fallis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.43
56 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, March 8 2014
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This review is from: The Best Laid Plans (Paperback)
With very few exceptions (notably House of Cards in its original British and current American versions), attempts at political fiction fall flat. They are either strictly by and for insiders and are poorly written; or they are written by authors who have no real appreciation for the intricacies of modern politics and settle instead for cardboard cutout characters.
This is a remarkable exception, doubly exceptional in that it is Canadian. I can think of no other Canadian political fiction that achieves the same quality. It is very well written and, in places, absolutely belly-laughing hilarious. Yet is does bear a recognizable resemblance to actual goings on in Canada's capital.
I first came across this in the form of a very well done CBC miniseries of the same title which I very much enjoyed. That led me to the book on which the television production was, at least in part, based. The book was, in its own way, excellent and the quality was continued in the highly entertaining sequel, High Road. I cannot remember when I have laughed so hard at any account of the tragi-comic world of Canadian political shenanigans.
I highly recommend both these excellent books to Canadian readers.
(I am afraid much of the humour will be missed by those "from away".)

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars So that's how he did it!, March 8 2014
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As a heavy user of Amazon, I found this to be a fascinating account of how Bezos and his gang managed to change the world. The central premise is that the needs and wishes of the customer drive everything. This simple principle, elevated to an obsession, explains many of the strategies and tactics that led to the Everything Store's remarkable success, at least in book distribution. The account is well written and authoritative. It is mercifully free of the sort of idolatry that is all too common in business histories. Nor is it an unwarranted attack piece. Highly recommended to anyone using this site.

A Short Guide to a Long Life
A Short Guide to a Long Life
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 11.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and Quick, March 8 2014
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At a minimal cost (in kindle format) this is a useful recapitulation of the current received wisdom on how to become and stay healthy. It is not revolutionary but is useful.

The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country
The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Guaranteed to produce Nausea, March 8 2014
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This is a skilful hatchet job on one of the most unappealing power players in America today. Ailes has personally done more to lower the tone of public debate in the United States than any other single person, including his financial backer, Rupert Murdoch. For those interested in how he has managed this sickening feat, this is a useful read.
For those who believe that Fox actually produces news, however, this is not recommended.

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