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Gordon Neufeld (Schenectady, New York)
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Running Toward Home
Running Toward Home
by Betty Hegerat
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.75
17 used & new from CDN$ 3.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foster Child Seeks Home, Jan. 3 2009
This review is from: Running Toward Home (Paperback)
This book has a modest premise - a boy hides out at the Calgary Zoo and ends up spending most of the night there - but the drama of how he comes to be "lost" (at least in the eyes of both his foster mom and his real mom) plays out with a good deal of tension. The book is also an eye-opening look at how children end up in the care of the Alberta government and how they are handled by various social workers who usually mean well but are often unable to see beyond the rules. Corey, the 12-year-old boy who is the focus of this book, has been bounced around between various foster parents for years because his real mother is unable to care for him due to her dangerous and violent boyfriend. Corey finally winds up in a loving home, but feels discarded by his real mom who takes him to the zoo for a day, then bolts to see her boyfriend. It takes the combined efforts of both the foster mother and the real mother, and the timely arrival of the foster father, to bring this boy home at last. A good book for pre-teen boys and caring mothers to read.

A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted
A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted
by Will Bowen
Edition: Audio CD
11 used & new from CDN$ 50.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can't Complain, Dec 20 2008
This book serves as a good reminder of how much complaining people are inclined to do without realizing it, and how generally unhelpful it is to complain. I found the inclusion of a purple wrist band a clever idea though I ended up not using it as religiously as some.

Prophet's Daughter: My Life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet Inside the Church Universal and Triumphant
Prophet's Daughter: My Life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet Inside the Church Universal and Triumphant
by Erin Prophet
Edition: Hardcover
29 used & new from CDN$ 1.08

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, Well-Written and Eye-Opening, Dec 20 2008
This is the ultimate insider's account of the rise and decline of the Church Universal and Triumphant from the viewpoint of one of the daughters of the cult's founder, Erin Prophet (and yes, that is her real last name). Prophet describes how her mother, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, became so caught up in the unquestioned power she wielded as the alleged spokesman for the "Ascended Masters" that she began ruling on even trivial matters with the authority, within the group, of a Pope speaking "ex cathedra". The book opens with Erin Prophet and her family sequestering themselves into a bunker in the hills of Montana awaiting a nuclear war predicted by Elizabeth Clare Prophet but which never occurs. The story of how this group came to the point of investing vast sums of money and effort to build these hidden bunkers is fascinating, but so, too, is the story of how Prophet's mother gradually changed from someone who seemed to be merely giving sensible guidance to people into someone commanding enormous authority over them. The story is a familiar one to anyone who studies the lives of gurus who usually start out doing some good, only to let their power corrupt them. The cult, fortunately, ends not with a bang but a whimper, as Elizabeth Clare Prophet herself gradually succumbs to Alzheimer's disease. This is a thoughtful account, not a mere hatchet job or expose. Rather, this book honestly examines the story of CUT and Erin Prophet's own part in promoting it and helping build it up, as well as her ultimate disaffection from it.

Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!
Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!
by Tim Rickard
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.51
29 used & new from CDN$ 1.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!, Nov. 18 2008
The handsome space captain with the brain and attention span of a 3-year-old is the subject of this hilarious comic strip. An eager space cadet named "Winky" is somehow always the victim of every mishap that occurs on Brewster's space voyages. Winky's famous line: "Aaah! My spleen!"

Tar Sands: Dirty Oil And The Future Of A Continent
Tar Sands: Dirty Oil And The Future Of A Continent
by Andrew Nikiforuk
Edition: Paperback
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

15 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Sweeping Expose of an Environmental Disaster in the Making, Nov. 18 2008
Nikiforuk, most famous for his book on Wiebo Ludwig, "Saboteurs", now returns with a book that looks at the massive oil sands development in Northern Alberta and shows how the reckless out-of-control exploitation of this resource is having a terrible effect on the environment and the health of the local population. Nikiforuk also shows how the Alberta government has for years under-collected revenues from oil sands exploitation, and has made no provision for keeping the funds out of general revenue and therefore has used these funds to get itself re-elected, thereby diminishing civic involvement in politics and democracy in Alberta. Bitumen--the raw oily dirt which must be processed by burning enormous amounts of energy and wasting vast quantities of water in order for it to be converted to usable oil--is here exposed as Alberta's dirty "secret" and the largest single petroleum project in the world. A must-read for Albertans, though at times a little dry in its writing style.

The Gargoyle
The Gargoyle
by Andrew Davidson
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from CDN$ 1.71

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Marvellous Writing, Some Terrible Writing, Nov. 3 2008
This review is from: The Gargoyle (Hardcover)
The historical romance at the heart of this novel is absolutely enthralling and brilliantly executed. But at the same time, this story is interwoven with what might be called a "frame narration" set in modern times that works far less well. The extreme tension and excitement of the historical narrative, set in medieval times, is not matched by the events that happen in modern times, and in the modern sections, the writing lags and is even trite or sloppy in places. For this novel to be completely successful, the modern day characters should be caught up in an external conflict as compelling as the one in the historical romance. But instead, the modern story line is a little slow, and there are repeated references to the narrator being stalked by what he calls a "bitch snake" in his spine, something like the proverbial monkey on an addict's back, which he quells by a morphine addiction. This is the least convincing aspect of the whole book; the conflict simply does not persuade and the writing in these sections seems trite, even ridiculous. Only when Davidson turns to his medieval story lines and enters the genre of fantasy and historical romance does his writing really become exceptional. The poor sections are worth enduring for the sake of the brilliant vision at the heart of this highly original story.

Losing the Way: A Memoir of Spiritual Longing, Manipulation, Abuse, and Escape
Losing the Way: A Memoir of Spiritual Longing, Manipulation, Abuse, and Escape
by Kristen Skedgell
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.83
8 used & new from CDN$ 10.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Surviving cult abuse and domestic violence: an inside story, July 11 2008
Kristen Skedgell has written a powerful account of what it is like to be so completely caught up in a cult that even domestic violence is considered acceptable or "only what I deserve". She was sexually exploited by the leader of the Way and by other men in the group, and Skedgell shows how her passivity in the face of this hypocrisy was in part a result of her upbringing in the household of an alcoholic father. But it was not only that; it was also the mental lockdown a cult creates in the mind of a follower, so that he or she thinks that to leave the cult would be worse than death, and suddenly death by suicide seems like it might be an acceptable choice rather than facing the overwhelming fear of leaving. As a former cult follower (of the Reverend Moon's Unification Church, or "Moonies"), I experienced many of the same emotions when it came time for me to leave. These emotions explain why it takes so long for a cult follower to leave, and why he or she continues to be affected for many years thereafter. This is a marvellous story of survival and renewal and the author should be commended for her honesty and fortitude.

The Lateral Truth: An Apostate's Bible Stories
The Lateral Truth: An Apostate's Bible Stories
by Rebecca Bradley
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.76
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative, Funny and Insightful, June 18 2008
Rebecca Bradley looks at some famous and some obscure passages from the Old and New Testament and gives the reader a rather tart reassessment of what it might have been like to actually live through those events, as compared with their conventional meaning. At times funny and at times disturbing, Bradley provides a credible alternative view to such Bible stories as Moses and the Exodus (think destructive cult leader), the construction of the Tower of Babel and the time that Jesus upbraided Martha for being too concerned about household chores. As a former follower of a cult leader, I recognized the potential truth in these irreverant takes on Bible stories which are normally glossed over or viewed with an uncritical eye.

The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need
The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need
by Chris Turner
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from CDN$ 1.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, an environmental book that doesn't make me despair, April 5 2008
The trouble with the majority of writing about climate change and other environmental worries is that they make people think, "Oh, hell. It's too late anyway. Why even try to do anything?" The Geography of Hope is an antidote to this kind of thinking. I am now 54 years old, and when I was 20 years old or so, I devoured ecological jeremiads such as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. The trouble is, back then I actually thought my civilization was doomed to fall apart before the end of the 20th century. This, fortunately, didn't happen and in the meantime I got sidelined by matters too complex to detail here. Now at last I am returning to my environmental roots, but I find I simply no longer have the patience and strength to wade through dour predictions of ecological gloom and doom. Chris Turner's The Geography of Hope is the first book on this topic that I have felt glad to pick up, because it shows that it is really possible to put the brakes to the looming climate train wreck before it occurs and that sustainability is already within our grasp using existing technology, if only we would commit to it. How inspiring!

Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right, and Built an American Kingdom
Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right, and Built an American Kingdom
by John Gorenfeld
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 2.88

5.0 out of 5 stars The Pied Piper of Pusan, April 1 2008
When looking to explain the ascendancy of the paleo-conservatives in U.S. politics, few commentators have remarked upon the sinister and seminal influence of the enigmatic and unfathomably wealthy Sun Myung Moon. Who else has the resources to unflinchingly lose billions on a newspaper, The Washington Times, merely to champion conservative causes, in the teeth of all evidence and in defiance of all flagrant hypocrisy? John Gorenfeld in Bad Moon Rising chronicles the rise of a pseudo-Messiah to the point of fooling a brace of senators and congressmen into crowning him "King of Peace" at the Senate Dirksen Building in 2004, in a wide-ranging account that moves back and forth from Moon's early years in Korea in the 1950s to his dotage claiming imaginary converts from among the ranks of dead U.S. presidents.

This is the story of a man who would not be deterred, even by his failure to live up to his own teachings, from aspiring to the title of "King of Kings" and leader of all the world. The fact that he must make this claim by subterfuge, by staging events that appear to mean one thing to the general public but another to his own disciples, means little to him. Appearances are all to this would-be Messiah.

If I was to fault this important book in any way, it would be for minor errors of fact. I was a member of Moon's Unification Church from 1976 to 1986, so I know what I'm talking about. In particular, Gorenfeld's claim on page 13, which he repeats on page 75, that the American branch of the Unification Church reached a "one-time peak of thirty thousand members" is simply untrue. The 30,000 figure was a goal that I often heard the members being urged to attain in the late 1970s, when achieving that level of membership was considered crucial to Moon's success in America. When this goal could not be reached, members took to claiming that it had anyway by including people who had merely attended a Moon-inspired lecture or shown mild interest in the ideas of the "True Father". In truth, even at its peak, the Moon movement likely never exceeded 5,000 full-time, committed members in America.

Another reviewer has complained of the confusing structure of this account, which moves associatively from personality to personaltiy, instead of providing a meticulously chronological record of Moon's rise, fall and (seeming) resurrection. This structure, which works well enough in a magazine article, is indeed confusing in the context of a book. On the other hand, there are 53 pages of notes, which more than answers the claim that the text is insufficiently annotated.

These are quibbles. This book deserves 5 stars because it exposes the heinous influence of a rarely acknowledged foreign influence upon American politics -- one which has provided bottomles cash contributions to conservative causes, and which has in consequence helped to puff up the hubris of the Bush presidency to the point where it may fairly be likened to the Roman imperium.

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