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Walter O. Koenig "Amoxtli" (San Diego, California, USA)
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American Clipper Ships, 1833-1858: Volume I
American Clipper Ships, 1833-1858: Volume I
by Octavius T. Howe
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 2.90

5.0 out of 5 stars The only reference Guide to American Clipper Ships available, Aug. 21 2001
This excellent reference guide originally published by the Marine Research Society in Salem, Mass. in 1926-27, actually consists of two Volumes:
Vol 1: Adelaide-Lotus: ISBN: 0486251152
Vol 2: Malay-Young Mechanic: ISBN: 0486251160
Volume 1 covers all American Clipper Ships built from 1833-1858 whose names begin with the letters A through L, and Volume 2 covers from M through Y. I don't know why they are offered separately, as Volume 1 also contains the introduction and Volume 2 the Index, so it makes no sense to purchase these separately. Also the pagination is consecutive. The brief introduction explains the criteria used to define a Clipper Ship, which is a ship "...of peculiar construction, designed for great speed rather than for capacity." (p.v) The authors Octavius T. Howe and Frederick C. Matthews consider the "Ann McKim" launched at Baltimore in 1833 to be the first Clipper, and the era of the Clipper to be over by 1858 with the launching of "The Star of Peace" at Newburyport. The books are basically listings of all 352 known Clipper Ships arranged alphabetically. Some entries are brief; others however are quite lengthy and include excerpts of contemporary descriptions in the Press and in Correspondence. It seems that the Sailing Records of Ships were of great interest to the authors, so the records of the fastest voyages on several routes can be found in these books. The Index includes not only the names of Ships, but also of Captains, Owners and Builders. Also included are reproductions of about 100 paintings and some drawings. These have not fared so well in the reprint edition, and their quality is sometimes not so good, but many are still helpful. This almost 800 page long book can be used as a reference book, or as a book just to page around. Original editions are quite hard to come by and expensive, so this reprint edition is very reasonably priced and a welcome addition to any Bookshelf of Maritime History.
Review by Walter O. Koenig

Loteria Cards and Fortune Poems: A Book of Lives
Loteria Cards and Fortune Poems: A Book of Lives
by Artemio Rodriguez
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.73

5.0 out of 5 stars "A book about innovation and tradition", June 7 2001
"A book about innovation and tradition" is how Rupert Garcia describes this book in the useful introduction. I recommend that this is read first, because it helps one to understand the history of Loteria Cards in Mexico and the traditional iconography associated with them. They are actually the fusion of two games, Patolli a game of chance the Aztecs played, and Loteria a European Version of Bingo. In the game the name of the Loteria card is called out rather than the number. It may be a type person, an element or feature of nature, or something elses, and it is often accompanied by a phrase or poem by the caller to further identify the picture on the card. This is origin of the cards, a fusion like so many things in Mexico, has been put into a contemporary setting in this book.
Artemio Rodriguez uses a mixture of traditional iconography and modern images to produce beautiful Linocuts for the images of the Loteria Cards. They look both traditional Mexican and old (they remind me of woodcuts by Dürer), yet contemporary and modern at the same time. Each is distinct and unique.
The poems by Juan Felipe Herrera go very well with the Linocuts, and they too are a mixture of traditional Mexican, Chicano and modern subject-matter. They show that beliefs, feelings, and emotions carry over in time, space, language and culture. Some remain the same, while others change. The mix they create is in a constant state of metamorphosis, becoming undefinable, yet staying distinct.
The presentation of the book is beautiful, the cover, binding, paper, and printing are al well-done. Each page has a Loteria Cards and a poem that accompanies it. I really recommend this book. It is a thoughtful and beautiful present to give to someone who appreciates the combination of tradition, modernism, art, poetry...

THE STORY OF TIME.
THE STORY OF TIME.
by Kristen, Umberto Eco. et al. Lippincott
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

5.0 out of 5 stars An illustrated Encyclopedia of Time, May 29 2001
This review is from: THE STORY OF TIME. (Hardcover)
This beautifully designed and printed book was actually the catalogue of the exhibition "The Story of Time" which was hosted by the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. Already from the introductions of the directors of these institutions, as well as a Preface Essay entitled "Times" by Umberto Eco, the reader will be aware of the high standard of this publication. It is an attempt to depict the human experience with time in all its forms.
The catalogue is divided into five main sections: 1.) "The Creation of Time": A brief survey of early concepts of time in different cultures, for example, Biblical, Hindu, Native American, and Maori. 2.) "The Measurement of Time": The different modes of measuring time beginning with early calendars in different cultures, progressing to early european mechanical clocks, and culminating with chronometers and radio controlled clocks. 3.) "The Depiction of Time": In Painting, Sculpture, Calligraphy and Allegory. From Breughel to Chinese Sculpture this chapter shows the obsession of depicting time in art and in symbolizing it. 4.) "The Experience of Time": Here other ways of experiencing time are discussed, in music, historical time, human time and time in culture. 5.) "The End of Time": A brief chapter in which different conceptions are shown how it would be possible for time to end (and when) and different historical and contemporary depictions are shown.
Sections 2.) and 3.) are by far the largest, which is obvious from their subject matter, and the fact that this is an exhibition catalogue. Interspersed in all five sections are interesting essays on different aspects of time and its influence and pre-occupation on human beings, by well known scholars such as E.H. Gombrich. These range from "Inuit Time" to "Time in the History of Medecine". Most fascinating are the hundreds of excellent illustrations, mostly of time keeping devices and time in art representing many cultures and time periods. The book is handsomely bound, well printed and presented and the illustrations are clear. This book is encyclopedic in its scope and is fascinating to read. It is reasonably priced and highly recommended.

A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel
A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel
by Steven Weisenburger
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.41
13 used & new from CDN$ 5.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Handbook with an eclectic Bibliography, May 18 2001
I agree with the previous review that this book is not as comprehensive as Gifford and Seidman "Ulysses Annotated" (see my review), but it is better than Douglas Fowler's "A Reader's Guide to Gravity's Rainbow", the only other usable sourcebook to "Gravity's Rainbow" I am aware of.
This book has a most helpful introduction in which the scope and instructions for use are discussed. The section "For Further Study" contains some insightful information regarding the patterns of Pynchon's borrowings, the chronology of the novel and its structure as a "Bildungsroman", which is according to Weisenburger as follows: "(1) the disclosure of the hero's miraculous gifts (2) his education (3) his testing during a course of travels, and (4) the confirmation of his powers, a revelation." (p.7) I wish this subject would have been developed further. It certainly offers another avenue for reading the novel and analyzing its structure.
The "Companion" Section itself gives helpful intoductions to each episode and somewhat brief descriptions of the many allusions and references. The vast majority seem to be included, though further information about them, will in many cases require the reader to do some work.
At the time I read this novel, I was conducting research at the Library of Congress, so I decided to check around fifty of the references listed in the Bibliography. I checked verything from the "History of South-West Aftrica" to "Ballistics of the Future", and Stendhal's "Life of Rossini" to Pavlov's "Conditioned Reflexes", and found that both Pynchon and Wiesenburger did the their work well. If you really want to understand the allusons in this novel, you may want to check some of these out.
The Book ends with a helpful, but not comprehensive Index. I think this book is a most usable and reliable guide to the Novel. The Novel can be read without it, as has been pointed out, but half the fun is, at least to me, checking on the allusions, and coming across their often hidden and surprising meanings. Interested readers should buy this book. It is not only well-done as a Guide, but the Bibliography contains a mixture of references that can be found nowhere else.

Kant: A Biography
Kant: A Biography
by Manfred Kuehn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 111.16
27 used & new from CDN$ 42.15

5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Kant Biography, April 27 2001
This review is from: Kant: A Biography (Hardcover)
To most persons Kant's philosophical writings are unreadable and are to be avoided, Paul-Heinz Koesters, author of "Deutschland deine Denker" called "The Critique of Pure Reason" the most complicated book of World Literature. Kant the man has been caricatured as an anti-social celibate pedant who lived his life with mechanical accuracy. This much needed full length Biography of Immanuel Kant is well-researched, well-documented and well-written, and goes a long way to removing these erroneous assumptions.
Kuehn, Professor of Philosophy at Marburg, Germany, begins by outlining a history of Kant Biographies, starting with the three biographers who knew Kant personally, Borowski, Jachmann and Wasianski. He concludes with Stuckenberg (1882) and Vorländer (1924), the last true biographers of Kant, making an excellent case that a full length Biography was much needed. He is correct in the assessment that Kant's correspondence is one of the best, yet underutilized sources. His thesis is to prove how Kant's intellectual path is more closely connected with biographical details of his life as has been previously assumed, and how Kant's life was much more diverse and more full of human contact. In this Kuehn succeeds well.
In nine remarkably even Chapters, both in paginal and chronological length, Kant's Life and work are discussed together. This is very difficult to do, and requires someone who is knowledgable in Philosophy and whi is also a good writer, which Kuehn obviously is. He makes a series of excellent observations, documenting them amply with the 1,656 Footnotes. I will only mention a few here because of space limitations: Kuehn writes correctly that though Kant was much influenced by the values of his parents, his Philosophy was not influenced by Pietism. Also correct is the contention that Königsberg was by no means the out of the way provincial town it has been portrayed to be. On the contrary, Kant had much contact with persons of many cultural backgrounds and social standing, and the University of Königsberg was more advanced than other German Universities of the time. Of great interest are the descriptions of University life, of Kant's lecturing style, and his relationships with students. It seems that Kant was also gregarious and sought after in society. He was witty, well mannered and by all accounts an excellent conversationalist. He was not a recluse at all. Not having a house of his own until the age of fifty-nine, he ate in pubs for over thirty years. Of great interest is also the variety of friendships he had, with students, with the English Merchants Green and Motherby, and with the Novelist von Hippel, to name a few. Especially Kant's early life was far from methodical.
Interspresed with all of this biographical information are carefully written discussions of all of Kant's writings, and his philosophical development. By putting these into the context with Kant the man, they are much easier to understand. The discussion of the writing of the "Critique of Pure Reason" and the desciption of the book itself, its Philosophy, is the most readable and easiest to understand account I have ever read. Truly well done, as this can also serve as a useful introduction to Kant's Philosophy. The thesis here is that Kant's Critical Philosophy was not the result of a sudden inspiration, as has been pointed out elsewhere, but the result of many years of methodical work. Kuehn also correctly identifies some of Kant's misguided work, for example, "Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime".
The criticisms I have of this book are errors in quotations, for example of Kant's correspondence and citations from the Critique of Pure Reason and of the misuse of apostrophies in German. These seem to be proofreading errors. In addition, there are many excellent illustrations of Kant, his contemporaries and of Königsberg available (see Uwe Schultz "Immanuel Kant in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten"), thus the choice of the eleven mostly second rate illustrations by Cambridge University Press seems unfortunate. It would also have been most helpful to see fascimiles of Kant's handwriting which are fascinating to see. Finally, the Bibliography is one only of "Works Cited". It could have been more complete.
These criticisms aside, the Biography is very well done. It is surely accessible to persons not having a background in Philosophy. I believe that most readers will be pleasantly surprised that the life of Kant was not boring at all, especially in the way it is presented by Manfred Kuehn. I recommend this book very highly. Anyone wanting further biographical information on Kant is welcome to contact me.

Melville: A Biography
Melville: A Biography
by Laurie Robertson-Lorant
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 21.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading about Melville and his works, April 8 2001
This review is from: Melville: A Biography (Paperback)
This is the best Melville Biography currently available. It is not only well researched and presented, but also and this is very important especially in literary biographies, quite readable and accessible, especially when compared to the ponderous effort by Hershel Parker. The biography is also well-balanced presenting informative chapters from throughout Melville's life. This must have been quite difficult to do, especially for Melville's later years, as there are few primary sources available. The information about Meville's often eccentric and tragic family and family life is also most interesting adding breadth. While other Melville biographers have concentrated too much on the interpretation of "Moby-Dick", often offering nothing new, Robertson-Lorant gives the reader relevant information on all of Melvile's work, including his for many readers little known poetry. When interpretations are given, for "Moby-Dick" for example, they are on the mark. Here she makes an intertesting comparison between the three mates (Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask) and the three harpooners (Queequeg, Tashtego, and Daggoo) in which the three "savages" become more "noble" than their white ships' officers. The biography concludes with an interesting analysis of Melville's sexuality. On the down side, there are some errors. For example, on the Civil War the contentions that Lee was surrounded at Gettysburg, or that one third of the participants on both sides were killed, (p.453) are just plain wrong. Luckily other errors are not so common as to detract the reader. In conclusion, I recommend this biography highly. It is accessible to both leisurly readers and persons knowledgable about Melville and his works. It is also reasonably priced.

The Last of the Cape Horners: Firsthand Accounts From the Final Days of the Commercial Tall Ships
The Last of the Cape Horners: Firsthand Accounts From the Final Days of the Commercial Tall Ships
by Spencer Apollonio
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 7.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, Detailed. Truly excellent Reading, March 18 2001
I had been looking for a good book describing what it was really like to sail on fully rigged Ships for a long time, and this may be the best book I have found so far. I have read everything from "Two Years before Mast" to the recently published "Flying Cloud", but this is really what I was looking for. It seems that most accounts of sailing the large Ships commercially were not written in the Age of the Clipper, but in the Age of the Windjammer, i.e. from the 1890's until the 1940's. The Book is exactly what the title says it is: First hand accounts by professional sailors, officers, passengers, apprentices and others, in the final days of Sail. These have been put together very well into the form of a Journey beginning at a Port in the U.S. or the U.K. and going first to Australia, then South America, and finally rounding Cape Horn for the return journey. The editing has been done by a Veteran Sailor who clearly knows his sources, and has done an excellent job in selecting them. There are also 21 good photographs, a glossary, and a Bibliography of the sources of the narratives and a list for further reading for those who need more.
If you like to read about this sort of thing, like I do, It's absolutely gripping reading, not only because of the subject-matter, but because it's all true. The hardships endured by the sailors, through storms, tough work, loneliness, bad pay, terrible food, etc. is incredible to read about, especially when you take into account their tone in which they write about their experiences. They do not whine, lament and complain. Instead, the tone is matter of fact, nostalgic, respectful, and often humorous. You really get a feel for what it was really like, and I suppose that most readers after reading this will be happy to do their sailing from an armchair, in front of the fire, book in hand.

The Last of the Cape Horners: Firsthand Accounts From the Final Days of the Commercial Tall Ships
The Last of the Cape Horners: Firsthand Accounts From the Final Days of the Commercial Tall Ships
by Spencer Apollonio
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 7.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, Detailed. Truly excellent Reading, March 18 2001
I had been looking for a good book describing what it was really like to sail on fully rigged Ships for a long time, and this may be the best book I have found so far. I have read everything from "Two Years before Mast" to the recently published "Flying Cloud", but this is really what I was looking for. It seems that most accounts of sailing the large Ships commercially were not written in the Age of the Clipper, but in the Age of the Windjammer, i.e. from the 1890's until the 1940's. The Book is exactly what the title says it is: First hand accounts by professional sailors, officers, passengers, apprentices and others, in the final days of Sail. These have been put together very well into the form of a Journey beginning at a Port in the U.S. or the U.K. and going first to Australia, then South America, and finally rounding Cape Horn for the return journey. The editing has been done by a Veteran Sailor who clearly knows his sources, and has done an excellent job in selecting them. There are also 21 good photographs, a glossary, and a Bibliography of the sources of the narratives and a list for further reading for those who need more.
If you like to read about this sort of thing, like I do, It's absolutely gripping reading, not only because of the subject-matter, but because it's all true. The hardships endured by the sailors, through storms, tough work, loneliness, bad pay, terrible food, etc. is incredible to read about, especially when you take into account their tone in which they write about their experiences. They do not whine, lament and complain. Instead, the tone is matter of fact, nostalgic, respectful, and often humorous. You really get a feel for what it was really like, and I suppose that most readers after reading this will be happy to do their sailing from an armchair, in front of the fire, book in hand.

Japanese Style
Japanese Style
by Suzanne Slesin
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 9.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, Beautiful Photography, Feb. 28 2001
This review is from: Japanese Style (Hardcover)
This has got to be one of the best "Style" Books ever published. Excellent examples of architecture, beautiful interior design, and superb photography. Just the right juxtaposition of traditional and modern. Each of the major sections has both Japanese and Western Styles. Normally this would not mix, had it been contrived, but all of the examples in the book are real houses where people live and work. No Architectural Digest type of Houses that look artificial and posed are to be found in this book. My favorites are the tranditional Japanese houses of which there really great examples. This book can give you hundreds of ideas for decorating your house tastefully. The photography really does justice to these houses and the subtle aesthetics of the Japanese Style.
I collect "Style Books", and this has long been one of my favorites. I have had this book for over ten years and still look at it from time to time.
I would like to point out that the other review for this book below refers to a Miniature version of this book, and is probably a misunderstanding of some sort.

32 Sonatas
32 Sonatas
Price: CDN$ 64.42
16 used & new from CDN$ 54.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best, Feb. 23 2001
This review is from: 32 Sonatas (Audio CD)
Recorded in 1964 and 1965, this is simply the best set of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas to get. In my opinion the playing and interpretation of Wilhelm Kempff is the best ever. Kempff had the versatility, the humor and the discipline when needed, and he was a master of the tempo. He was able to come "closer" to Beethoven in feeling than any other Pianist I have heard. I find Kempff's rendition of Nr. 17, the "Sturm-Sonate", the best rendition I have heard, and this goes also for most of the others as well. For the money how can you go wrong even if you are not as enthusiastic as I am?
As for the criticisms of tape hiss and noises of splicing, though they can be heard very slightly at high volume, I do not think they detract at all at normal listening volume. I first heard these Sonatas on LP's that my Grandfather had in the 60's and these CD's are much superior to the LP's, and also to the Cassettes Deutsche Grammophon released in the 70's, and which I still have. Now there the hiss can be heard. I think DG has done a fine job with this set, and I think the criticism is unwarranted.
Even if you don't think these are the best renditions of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas ever, buy this set, because they are classic recordings and should be in every good collection. And if you do believe it is the best, then enjoy this wonderful music, which I have found an excellent companion in my life for over thirty years.

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