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T. Schmitt (Issaquah, WA USA)
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Bounty
Bounty
by Caroline Alexander
Edition: Hardcover
42 used & new from CDN$ 1.55

4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book, but not great., Jan. 6 2004
This review is from: Bounty (Hardcover)
I'm in the minority by thinking this is only a four star book, not worthy of the generous five star praise of other reviewers. Overall, it is still a very good book that compells you.
What I liked: As with her other books, this is both a compelling read with first-rate research. The book will keep you occupied and turning pages. She also restores Captain Bligh's reputation, not as the tyrant of a taskmaster, but someone who did a good job, albiet with some shortcomings. The writing is crisp and the story telling engaging.
Why I take off one star: There are three reasons. First, the book skimps on the story of Mr. Bligh's open boat voyage and the events of Pitcairn's Island. As Mr. Bligh's voyage is one of the greatest nautical feats ever, and will all of the mutiners but a couple dying by violent means after settling on the island, there is a very juicy story here, but it's not developed. Instead, the author spends a great portion of the later half of the book developing Peter Heywood's trail. While well written, the material itself isn't as interesting. Second, the author doesn't provide insight or speculation into Mr. Heywoods actions on the night of the mutiny, thereby leaving his guilt or innocence an open question. We know what the court decided, but what conclusion did all of her research point her to? Third, there is insufficient analysis of Christian Fletcher, the instigator of the mutiny. The author develops some paragraphs of guesses, but where she places into the mind of so many historic characters into their inside thinking, the author fails to provide insight into Mr. Fletcher's thinking, and how he came about to his fateful decision.
So, buy this book, it's a good read, although I don't think it's the author's best work.

NEW American Gigolo (DVD)
NEW American Gigolo (DVD)
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 39.26
8 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Last gasp of Disco, Aug. 24 2003
This review is from: NEW American Gigolo (DVD) (DVD)
The significance of American Gigalo is capturing the mood of the disco movement in its waning days, and not of a compelling story line that draws you in.
The story line itself is weak, as other reviewers have already panned it. A gigolo is framed for murder, set up by him pimp. Living the cream of life in its riches on his good looks, a murder accusation send his good life down a spiral. Along the decent, he picks up the love of a prominent politician's wife, who becomes his savior and true love, perhaps for the first time in his life.
What makes American Gigalo fun is capturing the last breadth of the disco movement, of the lifestyle of when casual sex was safe, drugs were no big deal, and the music was still dance-able. This was the film that made Richard Gere the movie icon that he is today.
Watch this movie for a trip down memory lane, but don't expect a great story out of it.

Pro-Sumer Power!: How to Create Wealth by Buying Smarter, Not Cheaper!
Pro-Sumer Power!: How to Create Wealth by Buying Smarter, Not Cheaper!
by Bill Quain
Edition: Paperback
64 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars A recruiting tool for Amway / Quixtar, April 21 2003
When reading this, it's important to keep in mind this is not a book or study - it's a recruiting tool handed out to new recruits into the Amway / Quixtar line. It's not about a revelation of retailing - it's a story that tries to justify the Quixtar model of business. As such, its about 80% anecdotes and fluff, with very little meat or factual foundation.
Of course, passions about MLM marketing, and Amway in particular, run high on both sides of the debate. I won't get into this debate here (although I notice a lot of the five star reviews for this book mimic the mindless "Ambot" mantras they use to prevent skeptical thinking towards Amway.)
For anyone seriously considering the merits of this book, I'd just say do a google search on "Quixtar" and see what you come up with. Read some of the positive and negative sites, and then make up your own mind.

Dot.Bomb: My Days And Nights At An Internet Goliath
Dot.Bomb: My Days And Nights At An Internet Goliath
by J.David Kuo
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.05

4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story, Dec 31 2002
As someone who went through a dot bomb, it's amazing to read a story with so many simularities: the wanton spending of cash, the arrogence and egos, and the stunning miss reading of the markets. It all adds up for a facinating story, and the author tells it well.
I take off one star because I think the author only told half the story: up the the departure of the founder. From this point, the company was onto its decline. However, there's still another facinating story remaining in the long months left as what remained of the company surely struggled against its foregone fate.

Farallon
Farallon
by Steve K. Lloyd
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 39.55

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A dry historical account, Dec 25 2002
This review is from: Farallon (Hardcover)
I guess I'm in the minority by only thinking this book deserves only fair praise. I take off two stars for two reasons:
First, the writing style in not engaging. It is a dry historical account. The author certainly did all of his homework to form a complete story with all background. However, the story is just a retelling of facts and happenings, instead of a narative that draws the readers in and has them feeling the chill of winter in Alaska.
Second, the actual subject matter is only semi-intering. This book can basically be sumed up as: ship strikes reef, everyone abandons the vessel and camps on-shore for a month, and then are rescued by a passing ship looking for them. There really are no gripping, dramatic momments.
Compare this story to better ones, like "Batavia's Graveyard", a story of mutiny, shipwreck, and murder combined with a lively writing style. "Farallon" is a good story, but I don't think it certainly rises up to the five star praise that others are heaping onto it.

Batavia's Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History's Bloodiest Mutiny
Batavia's Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History's Bloodiest Mutiny
by Mike Dash
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 1.74

5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping account of murder and trechery., Dec 5 2002
I'm going to skip over rehashing the story, since other reviews already do that. Instead, I'll describe why I think this is a five star book.
Overall, the book is a grisly and gripping account. The tempo of the book moves at a good clip, the material is extremely interesting, and the writing style is lively and witting. The book is well balanced between history and story telling. The drama is crisp.
The work also appears to be very well researched. Despite limited accounts, Mr. Dash is able to draw a full story. Where history is lacking, he make educated inferences. He is able to connect some historical points that I don't think have been made before. When Mr. Dash describes the torture techniques, you can feel yourself wince in pain.
I found the background information compelling, whereas it's usually filler for a book. Mr. Dash goes into detail explaining many background elements, such as the history of exploration of Australia, the Dutch culture and the influence of religion, the rise of the spice trade, the hellish life aboard a ship, and off-shoot, psuedo-Christian religions that sprang emerged in the 1400's - 1600's which rejected the prevailing Protestantism. Normally, I find such extra material a distraction to the main story. In Batavia's Graveyard, this detail is an accessory, adding extra interest to the overall story.

The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night
The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night
by Anthony Haden-Guest
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.38

2.0 out of 5 stars A muddled work, Nov. 30 2002
Readers hoping to understand Studio 54, the rise and fall of the disco phenomena, and the evolution of the New York club scene will be disappointed. The book lacks clarity, continuity between the players and clubs, and depth of analysis and explanations.
First, readers who want a Studio 54 story will be disappointed. Only about one-third of the book covers Studio 54. (For a much better explanation, see VH1's "Behind the Music" which did a 90-minute show on Studio 54.) While the story of this nightclub is told in disjointed segments with some interesting anecdotes, coverage of the celebrities and their stories is sparse, the role of the founders is incompletely explained, and the rise and fall of the club's fortune with Disco lacks analysis. The story is interesting, but incomplete. You will not have all of your questions answered.
After the Studio 54 story, the book then goes into a story loop of: some semi-legitimate person opens a hip new club without all of the necessary paperwork, the club rocks for a while and attracts the latest NY scene, the club gets stale, and then goes out of business two years later. Repeat cycle. With the maze of players, it's easy to get confused with who's who and what they did.

Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain [ HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN: A BIOGRAPHY OF KURT COBAIN ] By Cross, Charles R ( Author )Aug-15-2001 Hardcover
Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain [ HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN: A BIOGRAPHY OF KURT COBAIN ] By Cross, Charles R ( Author )Aug-15-2001 Hardcover
45 used & new from CDN$ 1.63

4.0 out of 5 stars Complete work, but you still won't know Kurt, Nov. 6 2002
First of all, I certainly concur with other reviewer's comments about this biography being a complete and well research work of Kurt's short life. Mr. Cross certainly brings his journalist's talents to the work, presenting a well researched book rich in details.
The book is an entertaining and interesting story, both for the Nirvana fan and those who unfamilair with his work and the music genre that he helped launch. Cross covers the beginning of his life that initially fueled Kurt's music ability, his move away that continued his music and the formation of his character, and Kurt's rise into success and how it changed his life.
What is expecially useful is the author's ability to detect and call forth the duality, or condradictary, nature of Kurt's personality. For instance, Cross points out when Kurt's stories with interviewers were embellished. For Kurt, some of the stories he told came from his emotional truth, but the actual historic circumstances were different, and often less dramatic. Likewise, Kurt manufactured some of these contradictions himself, which the author points out. Kurt seemed to loath his own fame, yet this is what he dreamed of since his junior high years. These become the strongest points of the book, cutting a new path of understanding to the Kurt story.
I do think the book tends to be heavily handed at times against Kurt and his faults, not placing the same weight of analysis and finger pointing on Courtney, his bandmates, his business associates, or his those in his group of friends. I suppose this is to be, since the author was able to talk to everyone except Kurt.
After reading the book, I feel like I know about Kurt, but I still don't know Kurt. Perhaps that is too much to ask, since Kurt was a complex, and disturbed individual, his thought process difficult to comprehend. People still analyze his lyrics ad naseum to devine their meaning. I wanted to peer inside the mind of this individual. While I now understand the circumstances that formed Kurt, I still don't understand Kurt.

How to Become a Professional Con Artist
How to Become a Professional Con Artist
by Dennis Marlock
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.97
24 used & new from CDN$ 12.96

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The con is on the reader for buying this book, Nov. 5 2002
This book is a lightweight book on scams and cons. Of its 10 chaptures, only 2 of them cover cons in detail. And, of those cons, they're all of the old and well known, and well publisized, variety, with little original material. The rest of the 8 chaptures are fluff, and the entire book can be read in about two hours.
I was expecting form this book that, well, at least it would live up to its title. I wanted a book to describe how cons are created and executed. Anyone hoping to earn a second wage as a con by reading this book better not give up his day job!

Snobbery: The American Version
Snobbery: The American Version
by Joseph Epstein
Edition: Hardcover
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Just plain boring, Sept. 26 2002
This book just did not hold my interest. It is a literary examination about snobbery in all its forms and root causes. Therefore, the author develops these ponderous essays on different sub-topics that dawdle and go nowhere. I could have cut the length of this book in half and gotten the same knowledge. The author's examples from his own life start to become tiresome. Instead, I wish the author had developed other, juicy examples of snobbery of the elite classes worth dishing about. I actually got on learning about snobbery from Toby Young's book, "How to loose friends and Alienate people", which shows the shallowness of the New York literary scene in the late 90's.
I would recommend this book if you want to understand on a conceptual level what snobbery is about in its complete underbelly, but I would not recommend this book as an entertaining read.

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