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DeathfromAFar "deathfromafar" (North Canterbury New Zealand)

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Bowling for Columbine (DVD, 2003)
Bowling for Columbine (DVD, 2003)
Offered by PaperbackshopCA
Price: CDN$ 10.94
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The point missed, Feb. 9 2003
Its ironic the number of reviewers who see this as an anti-gun statement. With as much respect as I can muster they have missed the point, as indeed has Mr Moore.
Mr Moore was making an intelligent and insightful essay into the roots of ALL violence in America, but I suspect he got a bit lost when events caught up with him.
The irony is, gentle reader, that Mr Moore supplies plenty of ammunition for pro-gun people. For example, he shows clearly that Canadian gun ownership is very high, yet has nowhere the level of gun crime as the United States. Pro- rata New Zealand has as high a gun ownership rate as the US, but has less than 100 gun fatalities a year- and that includes suicides and accidents. So if guns cause crime, surely Canada would have as high a rate as the USA? One fellow interviewed points out that gun ownership as increased, yet the rate of crime has gone down. Again, if the guns were the problem wouldnt you see the increase? One women points out that when your house is attacked why do you call the police? Well, she says it is because they are the ones with the guns.
The point is, the film was heading towards making the point that violence is not a single faceted problem, and many factors contribute- maybe music, maybe violent video games, who knows? However, about two thirds through the film, he started to investigate the tragic shooting of a young girl at a school by a six year old boy. Without a doubt, this was a tragic accident, but is it not- and again Mr Moore misses the point- anything more than an accident. Indeed the NRA's own gun safety programmes deal with exactly that situation and isnt it a shame that the boy concerned hadn't seen it.
Previous reviewers have focused on the guns, and not looked at the other points the film have made, such as the dig at US foreign policy. Indeed Mr Moore makes that point, showing that on the day of the columbine shooting there were heavy US airstrikes. Dealing with that suddenley seemed too hard, and he pulled the film back to a superficail argument- ban the guns and suddenley everything is hunky dorey.
Be warned that much of this film is not for the squimish. You will see numerous shootings, and some terrible footage from columbine itself. It is not to be taken lightly.
All in all an interesting view of the USA. It is such a shame that Mr Moore didn't control his emotions, and present a more balanced view.

Death in the Dark Continent
Death in the Dark Continent
by Peter H Capstick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.28
31 used & new from CDN$ 7.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Capsticks as good as ever., Dec 25 2002
If you havent read Capstick, you are missing out on a treat. Not only are his stories, graphic, exciting and compelling, his style of writing is nothing short of superb. Genuinly exciting, and often laugh out loud funny, all of his books are fantastic. When talking about the turn of the century past-time of "galloping lions" (described as "dangerous as typhoid") he writes:" THe elements recquired for the monotony breaking past time were a fast horse, a good rifle, a few lions and not much concern about the future".
Not for the faint of heart, there is a number of gory stories about the fatal encouters that people have, and some well placed warnings about taking any dangerous animal lightly.
A lot like his first book, "death in the long grass" Capstick writes about individual animals- with a chapter on the "big five", Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Leopard ( the best chapter in the book- beatifully written) and Lion. As before he relates his own experinces, plus encouters as described by his friends.
I would recommend Death in the LOng Grass as a first Capstick book, but this is still most highly recommended.

Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns (Full Screen) [5 Discs]
Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns (Full Screen) [5 Discs]
DVD ~ David McCullough
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 355.45
4 used & new from CDN$ 61.05

5.0 out of 5 stars Elegent, Dec 25 2002
It is difficult to use an adjective that has not been used already to describe this magnificent documentary series, but the one that springs to mind the most is elegent. Anyone, with an interest in military history, sociology, the history of the United states, or the making of the United States could not help but be captured by this great series.
The series comes in three discs, with 3 episodes on each. The series essentually tells the histiry in a chronological order ( unlike, say the seminal "world at war" series which would deal with say, the bomber offensie from 1942-45), but each episode is broken into discrete chapters which cover an event of importance. Put another way, the terribly involved and complex war is broken into readilly digestable chunks, with a very smooth narrative flow. I am no expert on the Civil War ( although I do have some passing acquantence with 19th century warfare), but the scholership and research is sound.
Noted historians, and particully Shelby Foote, explain in understandable terms- often illustrated by individual quotes and quips- matters of importance, and other events are narrated by beautiful- and I use that term deliberatly and dignified readings from speeches, diaries and letters from the period. MOrgan Freeman and Sam Waterstein are outstanding.
Finally,, the graphics - colour film of the battlefield, old black and white film from the 1930's of a civil war vets reunion, and photographs from the period are superb. Finally the elegiac and moving musical score makes this a feast for the ears, eyes, and mind. An absolute gem, and most highly recommended.
Grade: A+

Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes
Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Killes
by Charles Henderson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
96 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, Dec 16 2002
This is an excellent (albeit reasonably brief at 280 pages) read.
As no doubt you know by now gentle reader this is the history of an extraordinary soldier and sniper in the Vietnam war. Hathcock was a talented shot, who with uncanny skill in the battlefield reached such a stage of notoriety that the NVA put a bounty of three years salary on his head.
His exploits are legenadary and show that Hathcock was as brave as a lion. At one stage him and his spotter took on a company of NVA regulars in a five day running battle. Perhaps even more telling, there is some attention paid to Hathcocks sheer tenacity in recovering, and returning to duty after suffering severe wounds. This is actually pretty inspirational stuff, and shows the sheer force of will that Hathcock had.
Readers with an interest in rifle craft, the Vietnam war, and general military history will enjoy this book. I think that even a casual reader of military history will enjoy this as well.
One gripe mind you- the photos in the edition I have are of very poor quality indeed and show very little being printed on newsprint as oppossed to glossy paper. Most disappointing.
Grade: A-

China Attacks
China Attacks
by DeVore Chuck
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.99
14 used & new from CDN$ 1.59

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing (plus lots of brackets), Dec 16 2002
This review is from: China Attacks (Paperback)
This starts very well. A well developed plot, realistic story line, and pretty vivid combat scenes/ I was hoping, and looking forward to a read equivalent to such WW3 classics as "arc light", "protect and defend" and "red storm rising"> The book just, well peters out towards the end. Story lines are abruptly closed, and plot points just fizz. The ending, is, well just flat, and frankly a little dull. You will finish the book, and probably enjoy the first 2/3's, but I doubt you will go back to it.
The other problem is the clunky writing. The authors use brackets to explian everything. (and I mean everything). Instead of inserting the meaning of a military phrase or concept into the text, or have a character explain it, the authors merely use barcakets (about every paragraph in places). This shows very poor editing, (and is mightilly irritating after a a while). I do appreciate that some military concepts maybe baffling to the reader without a military background (which is a few of the readers I guess) (and you can see how annoying this gets), it should be better explained.
Grade: C-

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
by H. P. Lovecraft
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.00
39 used & new from CDN$ 4.85

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Academic treatment of Lovecraft, Dec 10 2002
Its interesting reading those who critise HP for being a bit dull. In my most humble opinion, HP LOvecraft is a true horror writer. Horror is not, adopting HP's view of the world, a Freddy Kruger slashing to bits teenagers, or a world over run with zombies- the REAL horror is a wholly uncaring universe, with human efforts and endevours meaning absolutly nothing. The Cthulu mythos , as it is called, all flows from that basic concept- the universe, and the "great old ones" that populate parts of it, do not care for human endevour and that is enough to drive one mad. This philosophy is well reflected in the chilling opening lines of the "The call of cthulhu"- " "the most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents".
With that in mind this is an excellent introduction to HP. It contains a mix of his more serious and well known works " The Call of Cthuthlu" and " The rats in the walls", to some of the more obscure and self parodying works. This is not the full stretch by any imagination, but serves as an excellent intorsuction to a writer whose influence cannot be understated. There are some very short stories, plus the a selection of the longer ones in the canon.
Joshis intorduction, and footnotes while from time to time are distracting are scolerly and informative. All in all this is THE best introduction to HP.
Bear in mind that the Cthulhu mythos is not for all readers. If you are expecting more direct and blunt horror such as King, you will be disappointed. If you want thought provoking writing, that will get you thinking and linger with you after you turn off the lights you will not be disappointed at all.
Grade: A++

Motley Crue: The Dirt - Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band
Motley Crue: The Dirt - Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band
by Tommy Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.32
61 used & new from CDN$ 1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, Dec 10 2002
This is actually a far far better read, and more appealling to general readers than you might think. I bought this for my Sister and when it arrived just had to have a little peak inside. Two days later, I am looking for another copy to get her.
I normally dont read this kind of thing, but once I started into it I could not put it down.
As a story of rock and roll excess, and the metal scene of the '80's and 90's this is interesting enough. From the background of the band at school and home, to the rise to sell out arenas, that makes a pretty interesting read. The Human drama, and raw honesty o fthe book is incredible and makes it very hard to put down. There is an inevitable amount of ego stroking, but the underlying human stories here are quite incredible. The part where Tommy Lee describes going to jail, where Vince Neil lost his young daughter to cancer are compelling.
Even if you are not a dedicated fan of Motley Crue, and just have a passing interest in there music, I think you will find this a most rewarding read.
Highly recommended.
Grade: A+

Death in the Silent Places
Death in the Silent Places
by Peter Hathaway Capstick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.28
33 used & new from CDN$ 5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Tangling with the maneaters, Nov. 21 2002
Capsticks books are always a delight and this is no exception. Instead of his usual "first person" yarns, this is a look at some of the most famous and gripping hunts of all times- hunting man eaters. The book covers a number of famous hunts, and the standout really is the famous Man eaters of Tsavo (imortalised in "the Ghost and the Darkness" film).
The stories by themselves would be gripping enough, but with Capsticks absolutly delightful style- he would make a Motorcycle repair manual amusing- the book is a gem. I read it in two days, and have read it twice since.
Most highly recommended.
Grade: A+

The Long Shot
The Long Shot
by Stephen Leather
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.99
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best thrillers, Nov. 8 2002
This review is from: The Long Shot (Paperback)
I was surprised that this is to be the first of the reviews of this book. This is a really good thriller gentle reader, and very hard to put down.
The plot is basically this- the FBI stumble across what appears to be a training area for three snipers in the Arizona Desert. At the same time, a retired SAS Seargent is sent to the USA to track down a major IRA leader that he has a personal score to settle with. Needless to say the two plots rapidly intertwine.
For a thriller the characters are remarkably well sketched and lifelike. There is not the needless romance with the feisty partner/ lab technician/ victim that has become a cliche, and in fact the central character is happilly married, and has a fight with his wife. Both central characters have alcohol problems, but not in cliched way either- both are thoughtfully sketched out. Leathers style of writing is excellent. Although he jumps from character to character at no time does the plot lag. His writting is crisp, and reflects the pace in which the reader will enjoy the book.
The plot is nail biting, and realistic. Twists and turns abound, and frequently quite unexpected twists occur. The final few chapters are gripping, and almost impossible to put down.
Interestingly, with some knowledge of firearms, this is a technically correct book. A .50 Cal rifle can do a 2000 yard shot, with a good rifle and a great shooter,
Like I said, I am surprised that this has not been reviewed before, this is an excellent novel and most higly reccomended.
Grade: A+

Cartridges of the World
Cartridges of the World
by Frank C. Barnes
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 19.32

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will need this one lads.., Nov. 4 2002
Pretty much THE standard firearms reference text. For the beginner the task of choosing and recognising a cartridge can be a tad confusing at best ( A simple example will suffice- this round is a .22 rimfire. Is it a .22 short? a .22 Long? A .22 Long rifle? a .22 shot cartridge? a 5mm rem. Magnum? a .22 Win. Mag?- you get the idea. Lets not even start on .30 Cal. Magnums!)
This is the authortive guidelines on every cartridge ever produced, with short history, ballistics and so on. Handloaders, and collectors must have this- hunters might manage to live without.
There are some opinions scattered throughout the book, but nothing in those is particully worrying- there is certainly no opinion that I would consider dangerous or worrying. And even if there are opinions which you might disagree with, gentle reader, this is still the only book that I am aware of that goes into such depth on such a range of cartridges. Recommended.
Grade: A

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