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Dash Manchette (Along the Chesapeake Bay)

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The Prone Gunman
The Prone Gunman
by Jean-Patrick Manchette
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.64
34 used & new from CDN$ 4.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Noir, July 17 2004
This review is from: The Prone Gunman (Paperback)
I had previously read Manchette's other translated book, Three to Kill, and gave it a four star review. As The Prone Gunman is even better still, it warrants the full five stars. This is what noir is all about - a lean plot and lots of action. Indeed, I started reading the book one night, lost track of the body count, was amazed at the thrills and was shocked to discover I was only on page 48.
The plot revolves around a hired killer who is looking to retire and hook back up with the girl he had left behind some years before. Of course, nothing goes as planned. The family of a prior hit is after him, his bosses do not want him to retire and our "hero" himself is simply emotionally unprepared for a normal existence. Added to this is that the characters with whom he interacts are all morally vacuous. A reader will not find any sentimentality in this book. He will, however, find a lot of excitement.

Kodokan Judo: The Essential Guide to Judo by Its Founder Jigoro Kano
Kodokan Judo: The Essential Guide to Judo by Its Founder Jigoro Kano
by Jigoro Kano
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 6.31

5.0 out of 5 stars The Building Block for Understanding Judo, June 23 2004
I could write a lengthy thesis about why this book remains a classic, but I won't. Instead, I will leave it at this - when I am a bit unsure as to how to do a particular technique and my sensei is not available, this is ALWAYS the first book to which I turn. Other books may provide further analysis, but it is this book which is the cornerstone of understanding judo. What more can I say?

Anti Americanism
Anti Americanism
by Jean Francois Revel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.39
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Breath of Fresh Air, June 22 2004
This review is from: Anti Americanism (Hardcover)
Revel has written a fairly tight treatise on the phenomenon of anti-Americanism in Europe generally and in France specifically. I have long noticed the European tendency to take any fact pattern involving the U.S., even those diametrically opposed, and reach the pre-ordained conclusion that it is America's fault. (This pattern is also seen in American Leftists who consistently point to Europe as blazing the path for America to follow and who often feel no need to justify such a position - the fact that Europeans take a certain position different from Americans is, in and of itself, sufficient in their minds to follow Europe's more "sophisticated" lead.)
Revel provides enough examples of such European flip-flopping regarding its stance towards U.S. policy that one must reasonably conclude that they are not merely isolated incidents, but manifestations of larger problems within European governments that are being sidestepped with critiques of America. Revel does indeed make such a position explicit and usefully explains and analyzes how anti-Americanism is often used as a way for Europeans to avoid taking a hard look at themselves. As Revel himself acknowledges, it is in Europe, not America, that totalitarian ideologies arise and often take hold.
The book is not without imperfections. The author's style is often just a touch hard to follow, which may be due to the book being a translation. Further, more attention might have been paid to the actual consequences of consistently taking an anti-American stance. Revel does recognize that Americans may simply ignore Europeans after being bombarded with anti-Americanism and that this may deprive Europeans the opportunity to make legitimate points. However, he might also have included the personal antipathy that many Americans are already feeling towards Europeans and provided concrete examples of how this might affect policy, especially that which relates directly to Europe. Overall however, a good book that is worth reading.

Bushido: The Soul of Japan
Bushido: The Soul of Japan
by Inazo Nitobe
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 23.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Primer on the Subject, Dec 2 2003
Nitobe has written a good and useful primer on the subject of bushido, presenting both a history and explanations into easily digestible small chapters. Although I was already familiar with some aspects of bushido of which he wrote, it is nonetheless useful to have a handy guide in which things are laid out systematically. I might suggest that this is a good guide for martial artists to help understand the culture behind their arts.

Three To Kill
Three To Kill
by Jean-Patrick Manchette
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.05
18 used & new from CDN$ 6.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Good New Discovery, Dec 1 2003
This review is from: Three To Kill (Paperback)
Only two Manchette books have been translated into English and this is the first one I read. The book is tightly written and exciting, which, of course, is why one would read a crime noir book in the first place. The lean plot provides enough to explain the episodic spurts of violence contained within, but is not so detailed as to turn the book into a traditional mystery. My complaints, which prevent a five star rating, are that the main character takes a hiatus away from the action which I found a bit unrealistic (I don't want to provide more details and spoil anything) and the ending was a bit more loose and unresolved than the rest of the book. Nonetheless, I look forward to reading Manchette's other translated book, The Prone Gunman, and hope other translations will follow.

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