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Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada)

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Kellys Heroes (Bilingual)
Kellys Heroes (Bilingual)
Price: CDN$ 9.93
8 used & new from CDN$ 6.66

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They used to be another American army platoon but now they're "just a private enterprise operation", Oct. 27 2012
This review is from: Kellys Heroes (Bilingual) (DVD)

"Up yours baby"

These are the words on a cartoon sign (featuring Kilroy) that appears at the end of this offbeat comedy/war movie about a group of WWII soldiers who go AWOL to rob a bank. Its main stars are Clint Eastwood (who plays Kelly), Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland. Others in this movie include Don Rickles, Carroll O'connor, and Gavin McLeod.

I mentioned the bank that`s to be robbed. Specifically, it's a bank that contains 14,000 gold bars (total value 16 million dollars). Oh, I forgot to mention that this bank is located thirty-miles behind enemy lines and is protected by three German Tiger tanks. (Tiger tanks were feared because of their might and impressive design.)

This is one movie where all actors do good jobs in their roles. But I have to give special kudos to Telly Savalas as the crusty but caring U.S. sergeant. And then there's Donald Sutherland who plays a U.S. tank commander. His character is, well, just--odd.

(Also, look for Telly's real-life brother, George and "Uncle Leo" of the sit-com "Seinfeld," Len Lesser.)

All of the action scenes are quite realistic and the background music adds to each scene. (The main theme music is entitled "Burning Bridges.")

This movie was filmed in Yugoslavia.

There is a nod to Eastwood's "spaghetti westerns" in the scene where there's a stand-off with a Tiger tank--a tongue-in-cheek remake of the ending of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" (1966) right down to a very similar musical score.

This movie was directed by the same person who directed the excellent WWII adventure film "Where Eagles Dare" (1968) which starred Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.

Finally, the only real extra on this DVD (released in 2010) is a theatrical trailer. (This is too bad because many who acted in this movie are still alive and I'd bet there are many "behind-the-scenes" stories.)

In conclusion, this movie has it all: a good story, good music, good acting, good action, it's funny, and it's dramatic. It's just a good movie or as Donald Sutherland's character would say,

"Woof, Woof."

(1970; 2 hrs, 25 min; wide screen; 37 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto
The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto
by Tavis Smiley
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.80
46 used & new from CDN$ 1.93

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It's called the 'American Dream' because you have to be asleep to believe it", Oct. 20 2012

"Dear Mr. President:

I'm sick and tired of a country that only works for the 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans while millions of Americans face unemployment, underemployment, and poverty. I urge you to stand up for the struggling 99 percent and call for a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty that will lead to long-term solutions and living-wage jobs for all Americans.

Our country is in a state of emergency and in need of bold decisive leadership. Americans need jobs and immediate solutions to support the unprecedented number of citizens who are now trapped in poverty.

I believe this country has the resources and expertise necessary to end poverty, but this effort must become a national priority mandated by the highest office in the land.

In order to set legislative priorities that will end poverty once and for all...I'm asking that your first official act of President of the United States be the convening of a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty in America."

The above is a letter to the next U.S. President (who takes office in late Jan. 2013). It is found in this incredibly informative but slim book (dedicated to the "poor people in America") by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. This book was written as a result of Smiley and West's "Poverty Tour" which took place in early Aug. 2011 (beginning in Hayward, Wisconsin and ending in Memphis, Tennessee).

Smiley is a broadcaster, author, advocate, and philanthropist He is perhaps best known for his late-night T.V. talk show, "Tavis Smiley," on PBS. West is an educator, philosopher, and author as well as a Professor at Princeton University. He holds more than twenty honorary degrees.

As can be deduced from above, this book tackles the "P" word--poverty, with excellent suggestions for its elimination. Peppered throughout it are graphs and tables to back up all of its claims. What I especially found appealing was the quotations smattered throughout. (The quotation that entitles this review is by the late comedian George Carlin.) I also appreciated that everything that was said was put in an historical context.

Finally, the only problem I had with this book is that it has no index. Each page is packed with information but with no easy access to it. Thus an index would have been very beneficial.

In conclusion, this book tells you everything about poverty in America especially the poverty that has resulted since the "Great Recession" that began in 2008. I leave you with these words from the authors:

"This manifesto is founded on the fundamental conviction that there must be a renaissance of compassion in America: there can be no genuine compassion without a resurrection of an explosively radical movement of righteous indignation directed at eradicating poverty."

**** 1/2

(first published 2012; introduction; 7 chapters; main narrative 205 pages; appendix; notes; acknowledgements; about the authors)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>


The Happiness of Pursuit: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life
The Happiness of Pursuit: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life
by Shimon Edelman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.27
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that attempts to understand what it means to be human and how humans are shaped by their journey through this world, Oct. 13 2012

"The fundamental insight that serves as a starting point for [this book] is that the mind is inherently...a bundle of ongoing computations, the brain being one of many possible substrates that can support them.

I make the case for these claims by constructing...a conceptual toolbox that affords the reader a glimpse of the computations underlying the mind's faculties: perception, motivation and emotions, action, memory, thinking, social cognition, and language. This conceptual build-up culminates in an explanation that states...the nature of the phenomenal self and of consciousness."

The above comes from this slim but interesting book by Shimon Edelman. Edelman is now Professor of Psychology at Cornell University. He has also written many scholarly publications in theoretical neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and artificial intelligence. Edelman is also an author.

Beware that this book does not give a comprehensive methodology of how to achieve happiness. Edelman says this more eloquently:

"I shall not pretend that the understanding at which we have arrived [at in this book] spells out a comprehensive algorithm for leading a happy life (although it does suggest some well-motivated actionable ideas, which could easily fill another book)."

Rather this book explains (in a scientific but unconventional way) why happiness can be increased and how this happens. This is done within a neuroscience and cultural framework.

What I found especially appealing about this book is that it has end-of-chapter synopses or summaries (except the first and last chapters). What I did when I read this book was to read the synopsis first for a particular chapter, then I read the chapter proper, and finally I re-read the chapter synopsis. I felt I obtained maximum value from this book by reading it this way.

This book, despite being slim, is not an easy read. It gives you a good vocabulary workout. As well, it would help to have a basic anatomical understanding of the nervous system.

What may frustrating to some readers is that Edelman does not talk about happiness until the end of the book. Especially, for the beginning chapters, I found myself asking, "What has this got to do with happiness?" However, in my case, I found the neuroscience intermingled with psychological insight interesting so I stuck with it. I was rewarded by the end of the book.

I think the author may have been aware that readers may become frustrated so he laid out "happiness teasers" along the way. For example, at the end of chapter one he states, "when fishing for happiness, catch and release." In the synopsis of chapter three, he says in the last sentence that:

"The computational nature of the understanding of the nature of perception, motivation, and action offers some intriguing insights into the meaning of, and the prospects for, the pursuit of happiness."

Finally, this book has an appendix (even though it's not labelled as such). This appendix is a review of this book written by the author. In other words, the author reviews his own book!! I don't think I've ever seen this before. I agree with the author's analysis of his book.

In conclusion, I found this to be quite an interesting book providing valuable insight into happiness. I leave you with this poem (written by C. Logue) which the author claims is this book's central message:

"You ask me:
What is the greatest happiness on earth?
Two things:
changing my mind
as I change a penny for a shilling;
listening to the sound
of a young girl
singing down the road
after she has asked me the way."

(first published in 2012; author's note; 7 chapters; main narrative 175 pages; appendix or book review; acknowledgements; notes; further reading; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


Twelfth Night [Import]
Twelfth Night [Import]
DVD ~ Helena Bonham Carter
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 227.94
5 used & new from CDN$ 77.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HE'S really a SHE: a movie that proves that sometimes clothes REALLY do make the man!!, Oct. 5 2012
This review is from: Twelfth Night [Import] (DVD)

"A while ago the world began,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day."

The above are the last words spoken (actually sung) in this well-acted movie based on William Shakespeare's (1564 to 1616) last romantic comedic play of the same name (written circa 1600).

With a lavish estate, plenty of amorous encounters, upper class--lower class plotting, and two cases of mistaken identity, this movie is like a house party where no one goes home. However, there is something sweetly sad, unsettling, and even bitter about this movie.

Both this movie and the play are festive but they also dabble in madness, despair, sexual ambiguity, and even cruelty.

The play is about love and grief, their pains and their pleasures, and how the two emotions are often difficult to distinguish. This movie captures all this quite well.

This movie features an all-star cast with perhaps Helena Bonham Carter (as the as the rich countess Olivia "of beauty truly blent") and Ben Kingsley (as her clownish sometimes singing "allowed fool" named "Feste") being the most identifiable. All the actors do good jobs in their roles but both Imogen Stubbs (as the very female Viola turned male "page" Cesario) and Nigel Hawthorne (as Olivia's self-loving attendant Malvolio) do, in my opinion, outstanding jobs in their roles.

Note that this movie trims down Shakespeare's original play. This had to be done or this movie would have been way too long. This movie also updates the play costume-wise to the late nineteenth century.

The background music & cinematography are beautiful and add to each scene.

Finally, the DVD released in 2005 has no subtitles or closed-captioning. However, it does have a few extras. I also noticed that on the DVD case, the movie has the title "Twelfth Night." However, the opening credits tell us that its real title is "Twelfth Night or What You Will."


This movie is a worthy addition to William Shakespeare's cinematic canon.

(1996; 2 hr, 10 min; wide screen; 22 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas and the Weather of the Future
Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas and the Weather of the Future
by Climate Central
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.89
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deniers and delayers BEWARE!! Separating fact (or truth) from fiction (or lies) with respect to climate change, Sept. 28 2012

"This book is an lay out the state of the current knowledge about climate change, with explanations of the underlying science given in clear and simple language. It's not exhaustive, but it covers the essentials...

We acknowledge that some aspects of the problem can't yet be addressed with certainty. We also make clear what climate scientists do know with a high degree of confidence.

To ensure technical accuracy, each chapter has been carefully reviewed internally by Climate Central scientists and revised in response to their comments. The chapters have been reviewed again by eminent outside scientists who have particular expertise in the relevant subject areas--and then, if necessary, revised again."

The above extract comes from the introduction of this informative, well-written, and slim book produced by the non-profit, non-partisan, science and journalism organization founded in 2008 called "Climate Central." This book was actually written by two journalists, Emily Elert & Michael Lemonick and reviewed by five Ph.D. scientists on staff at Climate Central.

In addition (as briefly mentioned in the above extract), every chapter has been reviewed by at least one non-staff referee, chosen for his or her expertise and professional reputation in a relevant area of climate or climate-related science. The names of these outside referee-scientists and who they are (mainly professors at distinguished universities) are listed at the back of the book. I counted over twenty names.

Note that this book isn't entitled "Global Warming" but rather "Global Weirdness" since warming is only part of the problem.

This book itself is divided into numerous "bite-size" sections that form chapters. Below I will give the title of a chapter (in upper-case) and give examples of section titles for that particular chapter:

(I) WHAT THE SCIENCE SAYS (25 sections). Example section titles:

(1) "Global warming" or "climate change?" Doesn`t matter. It`s all the same
(2) Carbon dioxide is only part of the problem
(3) A quarter of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from fossil fuels, and its on the way up
(4) Carbon dioxide could stay in the air for hundreds or thousands of years, trapping heat the whole time
(5) Cutting down forests means more carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere
(6) Stop all greenhouse emissions and the temperature will keep going up
(7) Melting ice makes the oceans rise--but it's not the only factor
(8) The poles are warming up faster than other places. That's just what climate scientists predicted


(1) Sea level is eight inches higher than it was in 1900
(2) Earth's temperature is about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit higher than it was in 1900
(3) Glaciers and ice caps have been shrinking since about 1850
(4) Polar bears will suffer as the sea ice continues to melt
(5) Droughts, torrential rains, and other extreme weather are happening more often than they used too


(1) Since we don't know whether and how much people might cut greenhouse emissions, it's hard to know exactly how high the temperature will go by 2100
(2) An imperfect but still pretty good prediction: sea level will rise two to six feet by 2100. But that could change
(3) Climate change is likely to destabilize the food supply
(4) Freshwater will become scarcer


(1) Who says a two degree temperature rise won't bring really bad consequences? Not scientists
(2) Wind energy can't solve our emissions problems by itself. Neither can other renewables
(3) Nuclear energy is essentially carbon-free. That doesn't mean it's without issues.

Finally, the only problem I had with this book is that it is not easy to access information. This could have been easily remedied if:

(1) there was an index
(2) having in the table of contents a listing of all this book's sections
(3) having both (1) and (2).

This book does not choose any of these three options! For a topic of such importance, I felt that easy access to important information was imperative.

In conclusion, this is an excellent book that explains climate change or global warming in easy and accessible language!!

(first published 2012; introduction; 4 chapters; epilogue; main narrative 200 pages; references; list of outside referees)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


Everything Under the Sun: Toward a Brighter Future on a Small Blue Planet
Everything Under the Sun: Toward a Brighter Future on a Small Blue Planet
by Ian Hanington
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.64
36 used & new from CDN$ 8.56

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "An invitation to join the most important conversation of our time", Sept. 21 2012

"With pollution and climate change ["global warming"], species extinction and destruction of ocean and land ecosystems, we are nearing catastrophe. Some people will deny this, some will say there's nothing we can do about it, and still others will say it's all part of God's plan. But it's happening, and we can and must do something about it.

No matter what religious or spiritual beliefs you hold, it's impossible to deny that we have been blessed with a beautiful planet that has everything we need to survive and be healthy. It is up to all of us to care for it and to keep it liveable for ourselves and all the living things that share it with us...

This book doesn't have all the answers...This book attempts to identify some of the solutions."

The above comes from the preface of this amazing book by David Suzuki with Ian Hanington. Suzuki is a scientist, environmentalist, author, and broadcaster. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada and the recipient of UNESCO's prize for the Popularization of Science. He has many honorary degrees and has many awards. Hanington is a communications and editorial specialist for the David Suzuki Foundation.

This book consists of recent newspaper columns written by David Suzuki. Columns with a common theme form the chapters of this book.

Each chapter begins with a brief but excellent introduction. Here is the introduction to the sixth chapter:

"Climate change is a reality. We'd all love it if it weren't, if the deniers and industry PR folks were right. But mountains of scientific evidence and direct observation show that by burning fossil fuels, humans have added too much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which has contributed significantly to global warming...

But just as they did with evidence about the harms of smoking tobacco and the dangers of putting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere, industry leaders and their paid PR people deny that there is a problem or that we could do anything about it if there is a problem or that we could do anything about it if there were...

Here we look at the science of climate change, the possible solutions, and the attempts by industry to delay or prevent action by sowing confusion."

All the columns in this book are exceptionally written in a clear and interesting style. Personally, I've made a vow to myself never to read the same author twice but with Dr. Suzuki I have made an exception. This is because I know that what he writes is based on the best science available.

Finally, my two favourite chapters in this book have the following titles:

(1) Science holds a mirror to existence
(2) Is the economy...stupid?

In conclusion, this is yet another exceptional science-based book by the great David Suzuki. I agree 100% with the endorsement on this book's back cover:

"There's really no one on Earth quite like David Suzuki."

(first published 2012; preface; 10 chapters; main narrative 270 chapters; acknowledgements; index; other titles from the David Suzuki Foundation; the David Suzuki Foundation)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


Nuclear Aftershocks  (FRONTLINE)
Nuclear Aftershocks (FRONTLINE)
Price: CDN$ 16.99
19 used & new from CDN$ 15.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "An unprecedented multiple meltdown disaster", Sept. 15 2012

"The world watched helplessly [on March 11, 2011] as a tsunami [a giant tidal wave caused by an earthquake] took down the Fukushima nuclear power plant. What went wrong? And will it cripple Japan's nuclear program? The aftershocks of the meltdown [overheating] are reverberating around the world. [In this program, we also investigate] if America is ready for a nuclear disaster."

The above is what the narrator says in the introduction to this eye-opening documentary.

This documentary was an edition of the popular in-depth television documentary show "Frontline" that was televised on Jan. 17, 2012.

This program effectively answers the question:

"How could this happen in Japan, a country so well-known for its technological and engineering brilliance?"

We get to see rare film footage shortly after the disaster--massive damage caused by explosions and the tsunami itself. The person taking this film footage describes what he was seeing as "scenery beyond my imagination."

It seems that the Fukushima disaster changed everything with regard to nuclear energy. As this program explains, Germany is now taking an energy gamble. It is set to shut down all of its 17 nuclear power plants as it transitions to renewables (such as wind and solar).

This program ends by investigating how safe U.S. nuclear energy is with its 104 nuclear reactors. A controversial, emerging battleground is the re-licensing of the Indian Point nuclear plant, located only about forty miles from the densely populated borough of Manhattan in New York City.

Finally, as for Japan, of its 54 nuclear reactors, only six remain operational. This is, understandably, because of public opposition to nuclear energy.

In conclusion, this is a fascinating but frightening documentary. Can we trust nuclear energy again?

(2012; 55 min; 7 scenes; wide screen; televised on PBS)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


What Money Can't Buy
What Money Can't Buy
by Michael Sandel
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 1.38

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Economic transactions VERSUS the morality of those transactions, Sept. 8 2012
This review is from: What Money Can't Buy (Hardcover)

"We live at a time when almost everything can be bought and sold. Over the past three decades, markets--and market values--have come to govern our lives as never before. We did not arrive at this condition through any deliberate choice. It is almost as if it came upon us...

Today, the logic of buying and selling no longer applies to material goods alone but increasingly governs the whole of life. It is time to ask whether we want to live this way...

We [also] need to ask whether there are some things money should not buy. [In other words, what are the moral limits of markets?]"

The above comes from the introduction of this very interesting book by Michael J. Sandel. He is a Professor of Government at Harvard University. Sandel is also an author. His writings have been translated into 18 languages, and his lectures on Justice have been viewed, online and on T.V., throughout the world.

In an economic or business transaction of any kind, both seller and buyer, it is claimed, get what they want. But are there moral implications to some of these transactions?

In this book, Sandel does a good job in providing us with certain market transactions, analysing them, and then detailing the moral implications of said transactions.

This book is divided into parts. Below I will give the name of the part and an example of sections in that part that typifies a particular market transaction:

(1) Jumping the Queue. Sections in this part include (i) hired line standers (ii) ticket scalpers

(2) Incentives. Example sections: (i) paying kids for good grades (ii) paying to kill an endangered species (iii) cash for (female) sterilization.

(3) How Markets Crowd Out Morals. Example sections: (i) hiring friends (ii) auctioning college admissions

(4) Markets in Life and Death. Examples include (i) betting on death (ii) death bonds (iii) Internet death pools

(5) Naming Rights. Examples: (i) ads in books (ii) commercials in classrooms (iii) bathroom advertising

Within each of these parts is at least one section on some aspect of economics. Examples of these sections include:

(1) Markets versus Queues
(2) The economic approach to life
(3) Coercion and corruption
(4) Ethics and economics

The best thing about this book, in my opinion, is that it makes you think. Some seemingly innocent business transactions are not so innocent at all when you think about them.

When it comes to moral matters such as the moral limits of markets, we have to remember that we have heads to use, and we need to use them, for our own good and others'. Nobody else can do our thinking for us and those who presume to do so should be viewed with suspicion. Morality should provide the conditions on which we may all live the best lives we can.

Finally, there are two problems I had with this book:

First, I said above that each part has "at least one section on some aspect of economics" I would've liked to have had all these particular sections in a separate part of their own. By putting these sections throughout the book, it made the book seem scattered.

Second, the subtitle of this book is "the moral limits of markets." Yet, there is no definition of the word "moral" in this book.!! As well, I think a small, general discussion of morality (which is, I admit, a huge topic) at perhaps the beginning would have been beneficial.

In conclusion, this book provides a good analysis of the morality behind some economic transactions. I leave you with this book's final paragraph:

"And so, in the end, the question of markets is really a question about how we want to live together, Do we want a society where everything is up for sale? Or are there certain moral and civic goods that markets do not honour and money cannot buy?"

(first published 2012; introduction; 5 chapters; main narrative 205 pages; notes; acknowledgements; index; a note about the author)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


To The Arctic
To The Arctic
by Florian Schultz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.86
26 used & new from CDN$ 8.24

5.0 out of 5 stars How to have the Arctic at your fingertips (minus the ice, snow, and cold)!!, Sept. 1 2012
This review is from: To The Arctic (Hardcover)

"The body of work in this book is the result of many expeditions that I undertook over the course of 6 years, logging a total of 15 months in the Arctic. I have:

[1] journeyed more than 2500 miles on snow machines across the Arctic
[2] traveled in traditional ways with Inuit [Arctic indigenous people] guides and their sled dogs for hundreds of miles
[3] visited Inuit communities from...Alaska, to...Greenland
[4] dove and snorkelled in the Arctic Ocean
[5] spent over 100 hours photographing from airplanes
[6] rafted down Arctic rivers
[7] camped among tens of thousands of migrating caribou
[8] and accompanied the [IMAX] film team on an ice-going vessel in the middle of drifting pack ice.

As the photographs in this book guide you through the arc of a year [winter, spring, summer, autumn], I sincerely hope that you'll marvel at the incredible diversity, richness, and value of this part of the planet...You may [even] fall in love with [the Arctic], as I did."

The above extract comes from the introduction of this book by Florian Schulz. He is a professional nature photographer. His photographs have appeared in international publications and he has won numerous awards for his work.

This is the companion book to the IMAX film, also entitled "To the Arctic."

What exactly is the Arctic? It is the region between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole. It includes the Polar Ice Cap, Arctic Ocean, and lands north of about 66 degrees North latitude. (The North Pole is the point at the very top of the Earth.)

What is the Arctic's landscape or icescape like? Can anything survive in this cold region? This book answers both questions!! Shultz has taken some magnificent photographs of this region. Most of the brief text is also by him. As Shultz explains in his text, some of these photos were not easy to obtain.

People mainly think of one animal in the Arctic: the polar bear (which Shultz calls "the king of the Arctic landscape"). And Shultz has taken some beautiful photos of the magnificent animal. But, and this amazed me, there is so much more, all captured in this book!!

The cover of this book (displayed above by Amazon) shows a large male polar bear returning to the carcass of a Fin Whale picked clean by other polar bears.

Finally, this is a heavy book. I weighed it at 5 pounds. It is also oversize. It's dimensions are about 15 inches wide by 10 inches long.

In conclusion, this is a beautiful book of a unique area: the Arctic. I agree with one of the endorsements on the back cover:

"These vivid images of the Arctic from Florian Schulz acquaint us with the remarkable life on both land and sea, and highlight the importance of preserving it now and for future generations."

(first published 2011; forward; preface; introduction; 4 chapters; afterward; main narrative 195 pages; 2 appendices; "To the Arctic" film acknowledgements; "To the Arctic" film contributors; acknowledgements)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King
Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King
by Joyce Tyldesley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.74
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A definitive account of the "ultimate ancient-world celebrity" or Who was that masked man?, Aug. 25 2012

"The discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamen [who reigned over Egypt circa 1336 to 1327 BC] was a defining moment in the cultural history of the early 20TH century. It surpassed the boundaries of archaeology and fired the imagination of people all over the world, profoundly influencing high, as well as popular, culture and made millions of people aware of ancient Egyptian civilization."

The above extract comes from the epilogue of this well-researched and well-written book by Joyce Tyldesley. She is an archaeologist, Egyptologist, lecturer, and author. (Note that in the above extract, the author does not say these words but she is quoting somebody else.)

This book is divided into two separate but complementary sections resulting in one complete story:

(1) The evidence for Tutankhamen's life and death. (Seven chapters.) Note that the spelling of Tutankhamen's name has many variations but the author uses the spelling indicated in the above extract. ("Tutankhamen" means "living image of the god Amen.")

(2) Considers the development of the post-discovery Tutankhamen. This section consists of two chapters entitled "Tutankhamen's Curse" and "Secrets and Lies" respectively.

One of the characteristics of this book is that it is exceptionally detailed. All the modern research included in it is, in my view, exceptional. I also enjoyed the writings of others that permeate this book. For example, here is what the excavator of Tutankhamen`s tomb (marked as "KV 62"), Howard Carter (1874 to 1939), wrote in November 1922 before entering the tomb located in Egypt's Valley of the Kings:

"It was a thrilling moment for an excavator. Alone, save for my native workmen, I found myself, after years of comparatively unproductive labour, on the threshold of what might prove to be a magnificent discovery. Anything, literally anything, might lie beyond that passage, and it needed all my self-control to keep from breaking down the doorway and investigating then and there."

The last chapter of the first section is especially interesting. In this chapter, the author gives us the possible true story (from her perspective) of Tutankhamen's life and death (based on the previous chapters). She admits that this is not a "full and accurate story" (which is not possible) but, in her opinion, agrees "best with the evidence--biological, historical, and archaeological--to date." I found this chapter fascinating and well-done.

At the beginning of the book are three maps and at the end are two appendices (not indicated as appendices but indicated in the table of contents in italics). I found these to be invaluable since I found myself constantly referring to these in order to get maximum satisfaction and understanding from reading this book.

There are over twenty black and white illustrations (photographs, diagrams etc.) found throughout. There are also over fifteen colour photographs or "plates" found near the center of the book. All of these are interesting and enhanced my appreciation of this book.

Finally, the picture found on this book's cover (displayed above by Amazon) is a close-up image of Tutankhamen's golden death mask that was found on his mummy.

In conclusion, don't be surprised if this book turns you into a "King Tut" fan. For myself, I found myself walking "like an Egyptian" after reading this well-researched and detailed book!!

(first published 2012; acknowledgements; 3 maps; 4 notes; introduction; 2 parts or 9 chapters; epilogue; main narrative 270 pages; 2 appendices; notes; list of illustrations; bibliography; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>


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