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Miles Gone By: A Literary Biography
Miles Gone By: A Literary Biography
by William F. Buckley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.92
49 used & new from CDN$ 4.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Appropriate, July 19 2004
I always thought of Buckley has having four careers. He was of course that TV fellow that talked funny and look down his nose at his guests and viewers on a show that was very successful - Firing Line; he was that business man, writer, and publisher that started the National Review; he wrote fiction spy novels, and he wrote his sailing stories.
Most people would be happy and content to achieve just one of those undertakings. One might imagine that running the National Review for all those years and keeping it fresh was an enormous challenge. I never agreed with all the stories in the NR and conservatives are now much more complicated people but if you think it is easy to start something like the NR, try starting your own national magazine.
In any case I read many of his books and very much appreciated his sailing books. His book on crossing the Pacific "Racing Through Paradise: A Pacific Passage" was one of the best sailing books ever written. Hence the quote by John Kenneth Galbraith, who "consistently writes pleasant tributes to my own books, inevitably advising the reader that my political opinions should be ignored, my fiction or accounts of life at sea appreciated". Maybe you have to be a sailor to understand his books but it is unlikely.
In terms of a biography it would be very difficult for Buckley to achieve the same level of literary excellence in a biography that he might write today as compared to some of his many past writings. So in the end his collection of selected writings speak for themselves and are most appropriate. He does not need a conventional autobiography - his writing for those of us that have read his books are perfect. We understand that was always his strength.
How can one really criticize this book? The CD for myself was not needed. Incidentally and it is not really the same but George Plimpton came out with a similar series of stories which he called - a readers collection - in the book "George Plimpton on Sports" also available at Amazon.com, published in 2003. I read that book also and thought it was excellent and often very funny but less autobiographical. It is the same idea but for some reason it was never a best seller as the present book appears to be.
Jack in Toronto

Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror
Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror
by Michael Scheuer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.16
74 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Not 5 Stars - Much Hype and Book Saturation?, July 18 2004
People tend to rate this book one star or five. Clearly it is not 1 star. Anyone assigning one or two stars to this book is an idiot. But similarly anyone thinking this is dramatic and new material has their head in the sand. There have already been a zillion books and opinions.
We have been on an overdose of these books. I recently many books including House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger (excellent book) - the biggest tell all blockbuster (my opinion), The Choice by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Disarming Iraq, by Hans Blix, Noam Chomsky's Hegemony of Survival, Thirty Days (about Tony Blair) by Peter Stothard, and Price of Loyalty, Paul O'Neill (excellent book), Why America Slept by Gerald Posner, Against All Eneamies by Richard Clarke, and more. I put together a "listmania" list of the 25 best books - the best books - mainly non political, no strong bias conservative or liberal - a spectrum of opinion when you take them all together
So is there really much new in this book that we did not already read, know, or could surmise or figure out on our own? The short answer is no. I think we are reaching the point of book saturaion on Iraq and Bin Laden, plus there is an unhealthy mixture of patriotic propaganda all mixed into the debate.
This book sadly has had more pre-printing hype than new information and I do not think it is "a buy", so I cannot recommend. There are many better books especially by Craig Unger, Richard A. Clarke, Brzezinski and others. This is just one more coming late to the table. Also the author's theme here is really not much different from what Chomsky has been saying for decades.
3 or 4 stars and do not run out and buy.
Jack in Toronto

America on Trial
America on Trial
by Alan M Dershowitz
Edition: Hardcover
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - Recommend Buying, July 17 2004
This review is from: America on Trial (Hardcover)
I had a expected a bit better book but this book is still excellent. If someone else had written the book I might be less ambivalent but it is written by Alan Dershowitz, long time Harvard Law Professor, well known appeals lawyer, media commentator, author of 20 previous books, at least one of which I know was made into a movie, and perhaps one of the most talented living lawyers - so I expected a better book. To give some perspective I recently read the book on Stalin by Montefiore and he must have really toiled to write that book. This book in comparison seems like somewhat less of an effort - see below. Still it ranks 4 or 5 stars and is a great buy.
When I discovered the book at my book store I was ecstatic and bought it immediately. I started to read it as soon as I got home. The first chapter is beautiful. He explains how the early trials of Socrates, and Jesus, and Galileo, and Thomas More, and Mary Queen of Scots, the trial of Louis XVI all have contributed to our legal thinking and how these helped form what became of the current legal system. He quotes from the bible: Adam and Eve, Susanna, Jacob, etc. He references the Federalist Papers, Greek trials, the Romans, etc.
After that chapter I thought this was going to be a legal "tour de force" but it is not. After page 25 and "The Foundations of American Law" we find a compilation of cases - a series of short stories on famous trials - each a few pages long starting with the Salem Witchcraft Trials in 1692 (8 pages long) going through approximately 60 trials in total. We learn the names, the trial date, location, defendants, charge, verdict, and the sentence of each trial. These are grouped into sections with an introduction for each section. Each section has its own notes and the book is almost 600 pages long. The author adds many comments on each case and explains how the trials support basic freedoms and rights, and commenting on how the laws have evolved ( I suppose that is what another reviewer refers to as political bias) and quotes from people such as Justice Brandeis etc.
All the information is interesting and informative and clearly indicates how are laws have evolved; there is a difference between the laws and justice; sometimes laws evolve through the action of juries and bright lawyers and against the wishes of conservative judges and meddling politicians. He does a nice job with Susan B. Anthony and Andrew Johnson's impeachment, and Alger Hiss, and Roe vs Wade and many more. The conspiracy charges against Dr. Spock were chilling to say the least and are almost unimaginable. He goes from Salem to Guantanamo and it all seems well balanced except for the O.J. case where he is not objective, but that was not an important legal trial from a viewpoint of forming or changing laws. It is mostly a wonderful summary of trials and their results but it is not perhaps Dershowitz's "tour de force" culmination of 20 books. Still the trial comments and the end results are good.
I did spot one small error. Hinckley fired at Reagan after he gave his speech to the AFL-CIO and as Reagan went from the Hilton to his limousine, not as the book states that he was entering to give a speech where the author was also speaking (see for example page 428 of "Dutch" by Edmund Morris).
A bit disappointing in some ways but still a good buy, and one of his better books. Clearly an innovative book and a compelling read.
Jack in Toronto

Michelin the Red Guide Suisse/Schweiz/Svizzera 2004
Michelin the Red Guide Suisse/Schweiz/Svizzera 2004
by Michelin Travel Publications
Edition: Hardcover
8 used & new from CDN$ 9.13

3.0 out of 5 stars We Review Six Guides to Switzerland, July 17 2004
I have been to Switzerland at least six times. Recently I sat down with my daughter who has worked at a hotel at Interlaken in Switzerland during her years in Business Administration at McGill - up to last summer - and we went over the Switzerland guides to see how they ranked, and what was currently the best guide in our humble opinions. We are not experts but have certain requirements and preferences. It helps if one can get a feel for the area in advance of a trip, and generally that is helped by good maps and color photos. So those guides do better in our review. We like to make reservations by internet and telephone and just use the Guide as a "guide".
Generally it costs more to publish a book with color photos so when all else is reasonably equal, one feels that they get better value with a guide with photos. Also we wanted to see if the ambiance at certain hotels and resorts was accurately portrayed in the text based on our knowledge. So those aspects of the guides determine our ranking. Incidentally all the books are excellent. When we did our review the new DK Eyewitness guide was not yet available, but in any case it will be short, under 400 pages.
For the Swiss guides we separated the guides into three groups, 5, 4, and 3 stars.
5 Stars (this group has nice color photos plus maps and text).
A. Green Guide to Switzerland published February 2001 by Michelin, 395 pages, $14., ranked 24,380 on Amazon.com, 0.64" x 9.4" x 4.7", lots of photos, maps, text, accurate portrayal of areas. Gives a nice idea of what you will find. Goes right down to small villages in detail even though it is just 395 pages. First choice.
B. Lonely Planet Switzerland published July 2003, 335 pages, $ 14., ranked 29,913 on Amazon.com, .69" x 6.42" x 6.5". Solid effort, lots of good photos and descriptions.
4 Stars (this group mainly text and maps).
C. Rough Guide to Switzerland published June 2003, 704 pages, $13.27, ranked 30,209 on Amazon.com, 1.08" x 7.8" x 6.38". Solid effort lots of things to see and do and best "text and maps only" books.
D. Frommer's Switzerland published February 2003, 512 pages, $15.39, ranked 47,638 on Amazon.com, 1.1" x 8.5" x 5.08". Similar to Rough Guide but shorter.
E. Fodor's Guide to Switzerland 42 edition, published December 2002, 448 pages, $14.7, ranked highest in group on Amazon.com at 3,172, 1.2" x 8.98" x 5.01". The smallest in the group, do not know why it is so popular?.
3 Stars
F. Michelin Red Guide published in 2004, 563 pages but in four languages: Italian, French, German and English so English sections are just a fraction of the book.

Fodor's Switzerland, 42nd edition: The Guide for All Budgets, Where to Stay, Eat, and Explore On and Off the Beaten Path
Fodor's Switzerland, 42nd edition: The Guide for All Budgets, Where to Stay, Eat, and Explore On and Off the Beaten Path
by Fodor's
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 25.60
19 used & new from CDN$ 8.13

4.0 out of 5 stars We Review Six Guides to Switzerland, July 17 2004
I have been to Switzerland at least six times. Recently I sat down with my daughter who has worked at a hotel at Interlaken in Switzerland during her years in Business Administration at McGill - up to last summer - and we went over the Switzerland guides to see how they ranked, and what was currently the best guide in our humble opinions. We are not experts but have certain requirements and preferences. It helps if one can get a feel for the area in advance of a trip, and generally that is helped by good maps and color photos. So those guides do better in our review. We like to make reservations by internet and telephone and just use the Guide as a "guide".
Generally it costs more to publish a book with color photos so when all else is reasonably equal, one feels that they get better value with a guide with photos. Also we wanted to see if the ambiance at certain hotels and resorts was accurately portrayed in the text based on our knowledge. So those aspects of the guides determine our ranking. Incidentally all the books are excellent. When we did our review the new DK Eyewitness guide was not yet available, but in any case it will be short, under 400 pages.
For the Swiss guides we separated the guides into three groups, 5, 4, and 3 stars.
5 Stars (this group has nice color photos plus maps and text).
A. Green Guide to Switzerland published February 2001 by Michelin, 395 pages, $14., ranked 24,380 on Amazon.com, 0.64" x 9.4" x 4.7", lots of photos, maps, text, accurate portrayal of areas. Gives a nice idea of what you will find. Goes right down to small villages in detail even though it is just 395 pages. First choice.
B. Lonely Planet Switzerland published July 2003, 335 pages, $ 14., ranked 29,913 on Amazon.com, .69" x 6.42" x 6.5". Solid effort, lots of good photos and descriptions.
4 Stars (this group mainly text and maps).
C. Rough Guide to Switzerland published June 2003, 704 pages, $13.27, ranked 30,209 on Amazon.com, 1.08" x 7.8" x 6.38". Solid effort lots of things to see and do and best "text and maps only" books.
D. Frommer's Switzerland published February 2003, 512 pages, $15.39, ranked 47,638 on Amazon.com, 1.1" x 8.5" x 5.08". Similar to Rough Guide but shorter.
E. Fodor's Guide to Switzerland 42 edition, published December 2002, 448 pages, $14.7, ranked highest in group on Amazon.com at 3,172, 1.2" x 8.98" x 5.01". The smallest in the group, do not know why it is so popular?.
3 Stars
F. Michelin Red Guide published in 2004, 563 pages but in four languages: Italian, French, German and English so English sections are just a fraction of the book.

Frommer's Switzerland: With the Best Hiking & Ski Resorts, 11th Edition
Frommer's Switzerland: With the Best Hiking & Ski Resorts, 11th Edition
by Frommers
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Review Six Guides to Switzerland, July 17 2004
I have been to Switzerland at least six times. Recently I sat down with my daughter who has worked at a hotel at Interlaken in Switzerland during her years in Business Administration at McGill - up to last summer - and we went over the Switzerland guides to see how they ranked, and what was currently the best guide in our humble opinions. We are not experts but have certain requirements and preferences. It helps if one can get a feel for the area in advance of a trip, and generally that is helped by good maps and color photos. So those guides do better in our review. We like to make reservations by internet and telephone and just use the Guide as a "guide".
Generally it costs more to publish a book with color photos so when all else is reasonably equal, one feels that they get better value with a guide with photos. Also we wanted to see if the ambiance at certain hotels and resorts was accurately portrayed in the text based on our knowledge. So those aspects of the guides determine our ranking. Incidentally all the books are excellent. When we did our review the new DK Eyewitness guide was not yet available, but in any case it will be short, under 400 pages.
For the Swiss guides we separated the guides into three groups, 5, 4, and 3 stars.
5 Stars (this group has nice color photos plus maps and text).
A. Green Guide to Switzerland published February 2001 by Michelin, 395 pages, $14., ranked 24,380 on Amazon.com, 0.64" x 9.4" x 4.7", lots of photos, maps, text, accurate portrayal of areas. Gives a nice idea of what you will find. Goes right down to small villages in detail even though it is just 395 pages. First choice.
B. Lonely Planet Switzerland published July 2003, 335 pages, $ 14., ranked 29,913 on Amazon.com, .69" x 6.42" x 6.5". Solid effort, lots of good photos and descriptions.
4 Stars (this group mainly text and maps).
C. Rough Guide to Switzerland published June 2003, 704 pages, $13.27, ranked 30,209 on Amazon.com, 1.08" x 7.8" x 6.38". Solid effort lots of things to see and do and best "text and maps only" books.
D. Frommer's Switzerland published February 2003, 512 pages, $15.39, ranked 47,638 on Amazon.com, 1.1" x 8.5" x 5.08". Similar to Rough Guide but shorter.
E. Fodor's Guide to Switzerland 42 edition, published December 2002, 448 pages, $14.7, ranked highest in group on Amazon.com at 3,172, 1.2" x 8.98" x 5.01". The smallest in the group, do not know why it is so popular?.
3 Stars
F. Michelin Red Guide published in 2004, 563 pages but in four languages: Italian, French, German and English so English sections are just a fraction of the book.

Rough Guide Switzerland 2e
Rough Guide Switzerland 2e
by Rough Guide
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.35

4.0 out of 5 stars We Review Six Guides to Switzerland, July 17 2004
I have been to Switzerland at least six times. Recently I sat down with my daughter who has worked at a hotel at Interlaken in Switzerland during her years in Business Administration at McGill - up to last summer - and we went over the Switzerland guides to see how they ranked, and what was currently the best guide in our humble opinions. We are not experts but have certain requirements and preferences. It helps if one can get a feel for the area in advance of a trip, and generally that is helped by good maps and color photos. So those guides do better in our review. We like to make reservations by internet and telephone and just use the Guide as a "guide".
Generally it costs more to publish a book with color photos so when all else is reasonably equal, one feels that they get better value with a guide with photos. Also we wanted to see if the ambiance at certain hotels and resorts was accurately portrayed in the text based on our knowledge. So those aspects of the guides determine our ranking. Incidentally all the books are excellent. When we did our review the new DK Eyewitness guide was not yet available, but in any case it will be short, under 400 pages.
For the Swiss guides we separated the guides into three groups, 5, 4, and 3 stars.
5 Stars (this group has nice color photos plus maps and text).
A. Green Guide to Switzerland published February 2001 by Michelin, 395 pages, $14., ranked 24,380 on Amazon.com, 0.64" x 9.4" x 4.7", lots of photos, maps, text, accurate portrayal of areas. Gives a nice idea of what you will find. Goes right down to small villages in detail even though it is just 395 pages. First choice.
B. Lonely Planet Switzerland published July 2003, 335 pages, $ 14., ranked 29,913 on Amazon.com, .69" x 6.42" x 6.5". Solid effort, lots of good photos and descriptions.
4 Stars (this group mainly text and maps).
C. Rough Guide to Switzerland published June 2003, 704 pages, $13.27, ranked 30,209 on Amazon.com, 1.08" x 7.8" x 6.38". Solid effort lots of things to see and do and best "text and maps only" books.
D. Frommer's Switzerland published February 2003, 512 pages, $15.39, ranked 47,638 on Amazon.com, 1.1" x 8.5" x 5.08". Similar to Rough Guide but shorter.
E. Fodor's Guide to Switzerland 42 edition, published December 2002, 448 pages, $14.7, ranked highest in group on Amazon.com at 3,172, 1.2" x 8.98" x 5.01". The smallest in the group, do not know why it is so popular?.
3 Stars
F. Michelin Red Guide published in 2004, 563 pages but in four languages: Italian, French, German and English so English sections are just a fraction of the book.

Switzerland
Switzerland
by D/Johstone, S/Jackson, L Simonis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.16
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Review Six Guides to Switzerland, July 17 2004
This review is from: Switzerland (Paperback)
I have been to Switzerland at least six times. Recently I sat down with my daughter who has worked at a hotel at Interlaken in Switzerland during her years in Business Administration at McGill - up to last summer - and we went over the Switzerland guides to see how they ranked, and what was currently the best guide in our humble opinions. We are not experts but have certain requirements and preferences. It helps if one can get a feel for the area in advance of a trip, and generally that is helped by good maps and color photos. So those guides do better in our review. We like to make reservations by internet and telephone and just use the Guide as a "guide".
Generally it costs more to publish a book with color photos so when all else is reasonably equal, one feels that they get better value with a guide with photos. Also we wanted to see if the ambiance at certain hotels and resorts was accurately portrayed in the text based on our knowledge. So those aspects of the guides determine our ranking. Incidentally all the books are excellent. When we did our review the new DK Eyewitness guide was not yet available, but in any case it will be short, under 400 pages.
For the Swiss guides we separated the guides into three groups, 5, 4, and 3 stars.
5 Stars (this group has nice color photos plus maps and text).
A. Green Guide to Switzerland published February 2001 by Michelin, 395 pages, $14., ranked 24,380 on Amazon.com, 0.64" x 9.4" x 4.7", lots of photos, maps, text, accurate portrayal of areas. Gives a nice idea of what you will find. Goes right down to small villages in detail even though it is just 395 pages. First choice.
B. Lonely Planet Switzerland published July 2003, 335 pages, $ 14., ranked 29,913 on Amazon.com, .69" x 6.42" x 6.5". Solid effort, lots of good photos and descriptions.
4 Stars (this group mainly text and maps).
C. Rough Guide to Switzerland published June 2003, 704 pages, $13.27, ranked 30,209 on Amazon.com, 1.08" x 7.8" x 6.38". Solid effort lots of things to see and do and best "text and maps only" books.
D. Frommer's Switzerland published February 2003, 512 pages, $15.39, ranked 47,638 on Amazon.com, 1.1" x 8.5" x 5.08". Similar to Rough Guide but shorter.
E. Fodor's Guide to Switzerland 42 edition, published December 2002, 448 pages, $14.7, ranked highest in group on Amazon.com at 3,172, 1.2" x 8.98" x 5.01". The smallest in the group, do not know why it is so popular?.
3 Stars
F. Michelin Red Guide published in 2004, 563 pages but in four languages: Italian, French, German and English so English sections are just a fraction of the book.

Michelin The Green Guide Switzerland, 4e
Michelin The Green Guide Switzerland, 4e
by Michelin Travel Publications
Edition: Paperback
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Review Six Guides To Switzerland, July 17 2004
I have been to Switzerland at least six times. Recently I sat down with my daughter who has worked at a hotel at Interlaken in Switzerland during her years in Business Administration at McGill - up to last summer - and we went over the Switzerland guides to see how they ranked, and what was currently the best guide in our humble opinions. We are not experts but have certain requirements and preferences. It helps if one can get a feel for the area in advance of a trip, and generally that is helped by good maps and color photos. So those guides do better in our review. We like to make reservations by internet and telephone and just use the Guide as a "guide".
Generally it costs more to publish a book with color photos so when all else is reasonably equal, one feels that they get better value with a guide with photos. Also we wanted to see if the ambiance at certain hotels and resorts was accurately portrayed in the text based on our knowledge. So those aspects of the guides determine our ranking. Incidentally all the books are excellent. When we did our review the new DK Eyewitness guide was not yet available, but in any case it will be short, under 400 pages.
For the Swiss guides we separated the guides into three groups, 5, 4, and 3 stars.
5 Stars (this group has nice color photos plus maps and text).
A. Green Guide to Switzerland published February 2001 by Michelin, 395 pages, $14., ranked 24,380 on Amazon.com, 0.64" x 9.4" x 4.7", lots of photos, maps, text, accurate portrayal of areas. Gives a nice idea of what you will find. Goes right down to small villages in detail even though it is just 395 pages. First choice.
B. Lonely Planet Switzerland published July 2003, 335 pages, $ 14., ranked 29,913 on Amazon.com, .69" x 6.42" x 6.5". Solid effort, lots of good photos and descriptions.
4 Stars (this group mainly text and maps).
C. Rough Guide to Switzerland published June 2003, 704 pages, $13.27, ranked 30,209 on Amazon.com, 1.08" x 7.8" x 6.38". Solid effort lots of things to see and do and best "text and maps only" books.
D. Frommer's Switzerland published February 2003, 512 pages, $15.39, ranked 47,638 on Amazon.com, 1.1" x 8.5" x 5.08". Similar to Rough Guide but shorter.
E. Fodor's Guide to Switzerland 42 edition, published December 2002, 448 pages, $14.7, ranked highest in group on Amazon.com at 3,172, 1.2" x 8.98" x 5.01". The smallest in the group, do not know why it is so popular?.
3 Stars
F. Michelin Red Guide published in 2004, 563 pages but in four languages: Italian, French, German and English so English sections are just a fraction of the book.

The Vietnam War For Dummies
The Vietnam War For Dummies
by Ronald B. Frankum
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 22.31

3.0 out of 5 stars Not As Good as Idiot's Guide and Half the Story, July 17 2004
This book is very similar to the Idiot's guide to the Vietnam conflict. At my book store there are 150 books on Vietnam covering 6 shelves with 20 to 25 books per shelf. Most books are personal accounts or on the weapons and military methods. A few are more socio-political.
Every one of the above 150 books is essentially from the American perspective. For example the book covers the history of the conflict in terms of what Ho Chi Minh wants to accomplish and what is the US response covering decades in an essentially chronological order. It discusses the politicians, the cabinet members, the DOD people, the generals, the conflicts, the weapons, the geography etc. So overall one gets a reasonable picture of the conflict in a summary form.
There are black and white drawings, maps, photographs, quotations, historical notes, and special notes and inserts. If you were in the war and you wanted your son or daughter to get a quick idea of the conflict, start to finish this would be a reasonable summary book, or perhaps a gateway book to the subject. I would rate this book one star below the Idiot's guide, a similar book.
What is missing from this book and most others is the utter devastation caused to the stoic peoples of Vietnam by their own fighting and the US invasion. Millions were killed and large parts were destroyed by herbicides. These events are not listed nor are they seriously acknowledged. So in that way the book tells only half the story. We get to understand the US politicians and what they did, and the actions of the US armed forces in some detail, but we somehow forgot about the millions of victims.
Jack in Toronto

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