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Reviews Written by
Rodge (Ontario, Canada)
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

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Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History
Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History
by Thomas Barfield
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 37.95
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent readable guide to Afghan history, Aug. 31 2015
This survey of Afghanistan's history is so impressive not because it provides shocking insights but because it simply pays unrelenting attention to Afghan history, filtering out the noise of Western bias and prejudice. In the end we have a better understanding of why Afghanistan is as broken as it is, as well as grounds to be cautiously optimistic about the future. There is a long way to go, but Afghanistan is not necessarily a land of lawless bloody chaos. Afghanistan's diversity is a weakness but also a strength, since it is not possible for nationalistic dreams to be realized, and each group has the incentive to protect itself against neighbours such as Iran and Pakistan

The Fixer
The Fixer
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 17.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A firmly average thriller, Aug. 27 2015
This review is from: The Fixer (Kindle Edition)
This book is firmly average as a thriller. There are a few great moments and too many times where you're way out in front of the writer. In addition, there are many sections that I jumped over because they were just unconvincing filler that didn't advance the plot. I don't think you'll have any trouble reading this and being gripped by it, but for fans of thriller fiction or Finder in particular, this book is definitely average, but no better than that.

Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me
Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, succint and engaging, Aug. 17 2015
This is a superb, succinct and engaging defense of what we might call a conservative orthodox position to trusting the Bible. It comes from the younger voice of Kevin DeYoung, who succeeds in defending old positions with a tone and a deft touch for the hang-ups of the modern age. If you want a readable and short account of why the Bible should be trusted and why taking Scripture seriously means taking it as it is, this is the best book out there. The appendix helpfully points the way to fuller treatments of the various subjects he touched on here.

Future Crimes: How Our Radical Dependence on Technology Threatens Us All
Future Crimes: How Our Radical Dependence on Technology Threatens Us All
by Marc Goodman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.49
3 used & new from CDN$ 16.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally paranoid but very valuable overview of future security threats, Aug. 11 2015
Marc Goodman's occasionally paranoid take on internet security is much needed and highly valuable. Fortunately he is not short on ideas for how we can address the threats that face us either. In the first part of the book, Marc Goodman spells out the threats, at length and in spellbinding style. If you don't come away afraid after reading the first and second parts of this book your nerves must already be shot. A little paranoia is probably a good thing when we're talking about online security. Unfortunately Goodman doesn't distinguish much between the most likely and less likely threats, leaving you wondering which threats are most relevant to you. The appendix of this book is quite valuable as it gives excellent tips for being more secure online. Perhaps after reading this book we'll be motivated to follow Goodman's advice. Certainly you'll think twice about hooking up anything and everything to the internet.

The Tragedy of Liberation
The Tragedy of Liberation
by Frank Dikötter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.63
25 used & new from CDN$ 10.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb account of the consequences of rise of Red China, Aug. 10 2015
This is a superb account of the consequences of "Liberation" for China after WWII. In the pattern of other totalitarian regimes before and after, the gap between rhetoric and reality was stark. Systematic violence and the attempt to brainwash or eliminate dissidents continued almost unabated through this period, while the increasing collectivization led to disasters portending the greater disasters to come. If you want to know the truth about China's history, both in the voice of the people and from the perspective of their leaders, this is a great book. Dikotter has sifted through the archives to generate the real data and come up with an accurate account of what really happened.

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy
An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy
by Rick Atkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.61
57 used & new from CDN$ 4.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and gripping account of the North African campaign, Aug. 5 2015
This account of the Second World War is unromantic and unglamourized, as the American troops see their first combat against the Nazis of WW2. Atkinson doesn't shy away from pointing out commanders' flaws, and there's plenty of flaws on display here. Nonetheless, this is a gripping and fascinating account of the Americans and their commanders coming of age, and their increased partnering with the British. I will definitely be reading the rest of this trilogy.

A History Of Iran: Empire Of the Mind
A History Of Iran: Empire Of the Mind
by Michael Axworthy
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 38.92

4.0 out of 5 stars A good historical account, from ancient times to the present, July 27 2015
This book covers a lot of history in 300 pages, so it didn't go quite as in depth as I might of liked. However it did help me understand how Iran got to where it is today and where the media/American account of Iran might go astray. Iran is a complicated place with a lot of history. Axworthy doesn't celebrate the ugliness of the past but he does point out some bright spots which might be worth noticing - and could very well be snuffed out if the west continues to be tone-deaf about what's happening in the place.

The Reformation: A History
The Reformation: A History
by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 23.77

4.0 out of 5 stars Good and balanced historical account, July 27 2015
This is a pretty broad and well written account of the Reformation. Mostly fair and ranges far enough afield that you'll likely be exposed to some new info by reading this book unless you're a historical expert on the field. The last section on social effects is more speculative and less interesting, but overall this book is still well worth reading if you want a satisfying and heavy weight account of the Reformation to read.

From Every Tribe and Nation
From Every Tribe and Nation
by Mark A. Noll
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.73
30 used & new from CDN$ 10.42

3.0 out of 5 stars Valuable as a pointer to other resources, July 20 2015
Mark Noll's autobiographical account is interesting as far as it goes. It mostly consists of Mark Noll pointing to other valuable sources for understanding global Christianity and that is this book's greatest value. The rest of the book's interest is perhaps only too close to the satire that Mark Noll mentions at the start - Monty Python's "novel writing with Thomas Hardy". The story of Noll's life merely points to other more interesting lives that surround his.

The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union
The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union
by Serhii Plokhy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.75
31 used & new from CDN$ 12.32

5.0 out of 5 stars A fine brisk account of the last days of the Soviet Union, July 17 2015
This fine account of the last months of the Soviet Union takes us away from a Western, USA perspective and lets us see things happening a little closer up. Plokhy shows how the disintegration of the Soviet Union was mostly self-inflicted. The US was mostly a bemused bystander trying to get the most it could from a Soviet Union that was fast disintegrating. Plokhy's writing is engaging and moves us right along from the attempted coup on Gorbachev to the fast-moving events that made Gorbachev irrelevant and brought Yeltsin and the individual republics to the fore. He also hints at unfinished business that remains on the agenda in current events

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