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Mark Fordham (Virginia)

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Skeletons on the Zahara
Skeletons on the Zahara
by Dean King
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.84

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Not exactly an "adventure". . ., April 13 2004
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This is a harsh but incredible book about a shipwrecked crew's fight for survival in the African desert. Forced to be slaves and often living off of virtually only camel's milk and water (and even those in limited quantities) the crew's story is made vivid and powerful by a skillful author.
FULL REVIEW
The word "adventure" doesn't really fit this well-crafted story. "Adventure" tends to imply that either someone went looking for an exciting experience, enjoyed the experience, or was glad in the end that they had gone through the experience. Neither of those applies to this story. The crew of the wrecked ship were simply merchants, and the events that take place after their ship wrecks were not in any possible way enjoyable to any of the crew. The only people that find enjoyment (if you can call it that) from the events are us, the readers, who get to stand back at a great distance and awe at the incredible hardships and suffering that the men of that crew were able to endure. Once immersed in the telling of this tale, you actually start to wonder how anyone knows about this story because you can't believe that anyone survived to tell the tale. The reader is left amazed by humans in two ways: one-that the human body is able to survive under such conditions, and two-that one large culture of humans are willing to treat another set of humans in such appalling ways. The reader also ends up being amazed by how much research the author did to bring us this story, and how all that research didn't result in a dry or dull telling. On the contrary, the writing is well done and the telling of it keeps you turning the pages. And so as to be completely truthful and fair on my evaluation of this book, I should go ahead and mention, reluctantly, that the beginning is a tad slow at first-but once the story unfolds it never fails to keep your interest. Highly recommended.

Double Helix
Double Helix
by James Watson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
54 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting scientific journey, Sept. 3 2002
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This book is a semi-interesting, semi-enjoyable story of the research and path of discovery of the scientists who figured out the structure of DNA.
FULL REVIEW
For the reader to really enjoy this book, he/she needs to already know some things about DNA prior to reading it. So in that sense, that is one of the book's weaknesses. However, someone who does not know anything about DNA probably wouldn't be interested in it in the first place. So the problem kind of takes care of itself. The book, though, can still easily go over the reader's head in parts. The author does not try to walk the reader through the understanding of the research that went on, and thus the reader can get lost in the specifics and the jargon. However, that is not what the author is interested in doing anyway. He wants us to see the personalities and the human side of the story rather than the scientific details. In this he succeeds. The story could have been dry, but it keeps your attention by making you interested in the people involved and the dynamics of those people behind the discovery. It is a good book that may or may not engross some people, but the reader can't help but get caught up in the excitement when they close in on the final discovery, knowing that they will receive the Nobel Prize and what it means to the biological world. It is a good book but not a great book, and will probably be enjoyed by any reader who is interested in the topic.

Walking on Eggs: The Astonishing Discovery of Thousands of Dinosaur Eggs in the Badlands of Patagonia
Walking on Eggs: The Astonishing Discovery of Thousands of Dinosaur Eggs in the Badlands of Patagonia
by Luis Chiappe
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.28

4.0 étoiles sur 5 An interesting walk through fossil discovery, March 4 2002
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This is a fairly good book about the discovery of dinosaur eggs (and a few other fossils) in Argentina and what scientists learned from studying them. An interesting book.
FULL REVIEW
This book is written about a couple of things. Mainly it is the story of what a group of paleontologists discovered at a site in Argentina. They found a number of incredible fossils (some of which had never been seen before) and were able to piece together a picture of what Sauropod dinosaur embryos looked like and what happened to them. They mostly unearthed eggs but they also stumbled across two other skeletons. Overall it was amazing what they found. But the book is also about other things. Within the overall story we are given a history of other dinosaur fossil discoveries as well as lessons on different types of dinosaurs and their classification. We are given a timeline of when dinosaurs lived and some background on how paleontologists collect fossils. All of these things make up the book, so it is not just a simple telling of the story of the discovery. The book isn't fantastic but it is pretty good and generally keeps the attention of the reader. This is the kind of book where if you think you'll be interested in it, there's a good possibility you will but if you aren't interested in it and don't think you'll enjoy it you almost certainly will not. For readers who think they'll be interested, the authors do a good job of taking you through the story by the excitement of discovery. You follow along with them as they come across one great find after another. Sometimes they get a little too technical for the average reader but at other times they don't give as much technical information as the reader may want. And the authors rely a little too much on evolution to try to explain things that aren't full understood. Instead of just saying scientists don't know how something happened or that they can't figure out the whole story, they try to squeeze things into the box of general evolution just because they don't have any other answer at the moment. There are also some slow parts while they go off on a tangent now and then, but it basically flows pretty well and if the readers feel somewhat interested they probably will enjoy this book.

In The Heart Of The Sea
In The Heart Of The Sea
by Nathaniel Philbrick
Edition: Hardcover
92 used & new from CDN$ 0.28

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good story, Jan. 18 2002
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Nantucket, whaling, and survival at sea. This is what comprises this book, and you read them in that order. Some history of Nantucket and whaling can be slow ï¿ but interesting, but the story of survival is incredible, and on itï¿s own makes the book worth reading.
FULL REVIEW
The amazing story of survival at sea is what brings readers to this book but it takes a little while to get to that story. The author sets up the picture of Nantucket at that time, and gives us a lot of information that actually is interesting but keeps us from getting to the story. You get the feeling that the author has done a lot of research (which he has) and wants to tell us everything he has learned. Thereï¿s nothing wrong with this, but it may be more than readers want to know. The story of the whale hitting and sinking the ship and the beginning of their long journey doesnï¿t come until chapter five. Before then we get Nantucket history, the preparation and sailing of their ship and itï¿s experiences with storms and whales and a few islands. Some of this is very intriguing but once we get to chapter five the readerï¿s attention is grabbed and is not let go until near the end of the book. The crew faces extreme dehydration and starvation to the point of death and the reader gets caught up in the desperate struggle for survival of these men. They are faced with, and make, very tough decisions which ultimately involves living and dying. You will be amazed at what the human body can endure and at the strength and determination of the spirit of those men. After this incredible story comes to a close the author tells us what went on after it was all over and the effect this story had. He then gives us more information on related elements which end up veering off into other stories. Readers may find it all very interesting or may see it as a prolonged ending. Over all this is a good, well-researched book that is worth reading.

The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
by Slavomir Rawicz
Edition: Paperback
61 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 almost perfect, Dec 9 2001
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This is a story of a man and his fellow prisoners who struggle to make their way to freedom. It is an incredible account of endurance and the will to survive. An all around great story that is definitely worth reading.
FULL REVIEW
This is truly an astounding story. This book will amaze its readers and will grab their attention from the very beginning, and on through the rest of the book. You will hear of the terrible mistreatment of prisoners, but also their lasting endurance. The harshness of their travels and the weather, but also their unyielding determination. This story is about the struggle to survive intense experiences, and the drive to fight all odds for freedom. There is so much that is great about this book and if I were pressed to come up with something not good about it - there would be only two things that I could come up with. The first would be toward the end of the book when their travels take them to little village after little village. This is the only time in the whole book where it gets semi-slow, as not much is happening. The second thing is the believability of some of the facts. Just a couple of times he says what was happening or how something happened, and you wonder if that is totally possible, considering a human's level of endurance. I do not doubt that the author remembers it like he tells it, but it's possible that he was in such traumatic situations that things seemed more extreme than they might have been. It is possible that the facts are all correct, but maybe the reader should give the author a little bit of leeway to tell it exactly as he remembers it, and maybe not exactly as it was. This happens in only a couple of select parts and it does not ruin the story at all. So other than those two things it is an incredible book. It is very easy to read and to keep up with what is going on, as you feel like you are traveling with them. It is an astonishing story and definitely worth reading.

Honorable Estate
Honorable Estate
by Louis Decimus, Jr. Rubin
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 37.75
10 used & new from CDN$ 2.89

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Not as good as I thought it would be, Dec 6 2001
This review is from: Honorable Estate (Hardcover)
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A simple story about the early years of the newspaper business and a young man's experience within it. Not engrossing, or particularly well written, but a short simple account that is somewhat enjoyable.
FULL REVIEW
This book may sound intriguing, and it is in a sense, but it is not intriguing throughout and ends up being only marginally enjoyable. It is neat to read an account of a young man's experience in the early years of newspapers, and nice to learn and see the differences between then and now. The problem with this book, however, is it is written as much for the author as it is for the reader, in trying to find meaning in why the author was drawn toward journalism and writing. The author simply tells of his experiences, hoping to find meaning by the end of the book. He does find some answers, but we aren't left with a full picture of the newspaper business back then or of his life. We are left with vignettes of his journalism career, which are nice, but they aren't written as well as you'd think they would be considering his profession was writing. The writing style is loose and simple, but there are many obnoxiously long sentences and he constantly digresses. Constantly. And then, every now and then, he starts throwing in a bunch of newspaper jargon which tends to confuse. Overall it is not that bad of a book, but it has its problems and those problems keep it from being a really good book.

The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk
The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk
by Jennifer Niven
Edition: Hardcover
35 used & new from CDN$ 1.03

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Classic Arctic tale, Dec 1 2001
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This is a strong and well written account of the tragedy of the Karluk and it's men. We see and feel the struggle to cope and survive in the harsh environment of the Arctic. It is a good book, and makes a nice addition to Arctic adventure literature.
FULL REVIEW
This is a wonderfully composed telling of the story of the Karluk. It is well written and nicely put together. The author draws from many different sources to give a full account of the story, including diaries and journals of the men, articles, books, newspaper clippings and interviews. The character development is superb - allowing us to really picture each person and their individual personalities. This is so important. The book centers around who these people were so that we can understand their actions and why tragedy befell them. Readers will be amazed at the strength and endurance of some men while being angered by the selfishness and ineptitude of others. The story is made richer by this, but the story is great on it's own. A ship-full of men surviving in terrible arctic conditions in desperate situations. Men struggling to travel to safety over torn-up ice and seemingly impassable ice walls and open leads of water between large ice floes. On top of this - the fight against starvation and disease. The beginning part of the book can seem semi-slow or boring if the reader is looking for adventure right away, but much of it sets up the story and develops characters so we get the full picture if the entire tragedy. Overall, though, it is a great book and will be enjoyed by anyone interested in Arctic adventure (sad though it may sometimes be).

Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis
Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis
by Dan Kurzman
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 16.26
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.03

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing story, Nov. 19 2001
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This book gives a good and very thorough telling of the tragic sinking of a Navy ship, during WWII, and the events surrounding it. Worth reading.
FULL REVIEW
Among the many books that cover this incident, this is a very good one. The entire story is laid out nicely, from beginning to end. The author doesn't go into any part of the story extremely deeply, yet covers every aspect nicely. Readers may find themselves thirsting for more information in parts, if there is one particular part of the story they are most interested in. So the details of all that happens is not exhaustive (not as in depth as it possibly could be) but you get the whole story in exchange. Other books on this tragedy tend to dwell heavier on some aspects of the story than others, and therefore sacrifice telling all angles of the story. Readers, however, get the complete picture with this book. What they also get is an accurate, truthful account of the horror these men faced trying to get off a sinking ship, survive for days in the Pacific ocean and the struggle of life after such an terrifying event. The author does not make up dialogue or pretend to get inside the heads of the non-surviving men. He gives us direct quotes and true testimony. What the readers get is a fascinating true-life story of amazing survival under terrible circumstances. There are some slow parts but there is also riveting action and shocking incidents. This is an amazing story worth reading.

Ordeal by Sea: The Tragedy of the U.S.S. Indianapolis
Ordeal by Sea: The Tragedy of the U.S.S. Indianapolis
by Thomas Helm
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 An amazing tragedy, Nov. 1 2001
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A compact yet good account of the sinking of a navy ship and the incredible struggle for survival of the remaining crew, left floating in the Pacific ocean for days.
FULL REVIEW
This is one of many books written about the tragic sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis. It is a good version. It is well told and fairly well written. There are parts, however, where you feel the author could have told you more of the story, and other parts where he maybe should have said less. It flows well, though, and fully tells the story while also keeping the reader's attention. This ordeal gives us a great story set in WWII of what it's like to be on a ship that gets hit by multiple torpedoes and then the struggle to get off before it goes down. It shows the many facets of what men will experience and become if left simply floating out in the ocean without food or water for an extended period of time. It is an amazing story that leaves the reader with a true sense of what these men went through, and is well worth reading.

Test of Courage: The Michel Thomas Story
Test of Courage: The Michel Thomas Story
by Christopher Robbins
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 5.42

5.0 étoiles sur 5 An amazing story, Sept. 23 2001
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Test of Courage is an amazing book about an incredible man. It is about a man living around the time of World War II, and his experiences of escaping from the grasp of the Germans and trying to bring them to justice, and about his life after the war's outcome. It is definitely worth reading.
FULL REVIEW
This story, about a Jew named Michel Thomas, is a story of amazement, with events including prejudice, imprisonment, escapes, impersonations, lies, scandals, love and overall brilliance. It is at times surprising, shocking, upsetting and most of all intriguing. It tells of a life based and shaped within racism and war. Michel Thomas grows up in this life and is forced to adapt and find his own way. Born in Poland, as a very intelligent boy, he was on the move from a young age to escape the betrayal and danger that came with people's racial hatred of the Jews. The first half of the book is about what went on in his life from before World War II through to the end of the war. This includes the incredible stories of being captured and escaping, of worming his way out of difficult circumstances, and of underground forces fighting against German domination. The second half of the book is about life after the war, in which he hunts down German criminals of war, and traps and breaks up underground Nazi resistance still trying to exist after the war. This book will amaze readers and will leave them in awe of Michel Thomas and his experiences.

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