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Lion's Grave: Dispatches From Afghanistan
Lion's Grave: Dispatches From Afghanistan
by Jon Lee Anderson
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 5.25

3.0 out of 5 stars Average Reporters Journal, Jan. 20 2003
In this book, John Lee Anderson provides a fairly insightful and educational narrative of his experiences inside Afghanistan after the 9-11 attacks. In it, you read of his encounters with various people inside Afghanistan, some colorful and tragic, others brutal and dangerous. The book serves as a nice backdrop of Afghanistan during the US war there, and the immediate consequences of it. However, it suffers from a few flaws that kept this from being a really good book.
The book is titled the Lions Grave as a reference to the grave of one of the most tragic figures in Afghanistan, Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Lion of the Panjshir. Several of the articles reference him, and his presence is felt almost constantly throughout the book, as it is in Afghanistan. Massoud was the charismatic leader of the Northern Alliance, the hodgepodge group of fighters opposing the Taliban. Just two days before the 9-11 attacks, two men sent by Osama Bin Laden managed to kill Massoud by dressing like reporters. This was in order to fracture the delicate alliance, to hamper any assault on the Taliban. Anderson points out how the man has become an almost religious figure, worshipped by millions of Afghanis. Anderson gives us a cursory look at the politics of the alliance, highlighting their disagreements and past atrocities. All throughout the book, you get a sense of the total devastation of the country, which has really fallen into the dark ages. I was surprised at how dangerous it was for the reporters sent to Afghanistan, as the countryside and the roads were patrolled regularly by all sorts of heavily armed brigands. One other interesting theme of the book was the educated class of Afghanistan that we usually do not hear about. It may come as a surprise to many readers, but Afghanistan was once a pretty civilized country. The remnants of this era survive in little hamlets of professional and academic men and women, desperate for a way out of the constant turmoil. I found that the most tragic part of the book.
There are a few reasons I did not really love this book. First, it is way too short and barely scratches the surface of the situation. Now I know this was not meant to be an in depth look at Afghanistan, this is just Anderson's story. Still, I felt like a lot more commentary was needed at certain parts, where themes are broached but never examined. Also, the book is full of interludes of real emails Anderson was sending back to his editors. At first, this is a clever and exciting way to track his movements on a day by day basis, but eventually it becomes tedious.
An average reporters book.

God: A Biography
God: A Biography
by Jack Miles
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.72
81 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars One of The Most Interesting Books I Have Ever Read, Jan. 17 2003
This review is from: God: A Biography (Paperback)
There's nothing quite as good as reading a work by an author who really breaks new ground. Not only does Miles explore an often ignored angle of Bible literature, but he does it extremely well. The amount of research that went into this fine work is evident on every page, and just by reading a few pages you feel like your whole brains is working overtime to take in all the new information. This is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read, with an extremely gifted author taking on the most fascinating book and character in human history. This book definitely deserved the Pulitzer Prize, and should be read by anyone, especially those interested in religion.
I thought the most effective way that Miles explained his technique was by using the example of Hamlet. There has always been a controversy among scholars of Shakespeare concerning interpretation of his characters, such as Hamlet. Should we be allowed to right a pseudo biography of Hamlet, even if he is a fictional character? Or, should we ignore our interpretations of his words and actions and concentrate totally on what is written on the page. Just as it has triumphed for the scholars of the bard, the idea of strict adherence to the words of the Bible have left little room for people that want to use a little imagination. The title of this book might strike many as strange, but, I think we know more about God than we know about people like Alexander the Great, and there are a million biographies written on him. So, Miles decided to create a life for God, so to speak, using the stories of the Old Testament. What follows is the most fascinating literary critique and examination I have ever read.
Most people today picture God as the great bearded one in the sky, with absolute power to fulfill his whims in any way. The Sistine Chapel representation is pretty much the embodiment of this modern outlook, of a far away figure creating life with the wave of his finger. As we quickly learn in the pages of this book, that simplistic look at the Creator is far from complete. Amazingly enough, as Miles shows time and time again, God is much more like us then we realize. He gets lonely, gets angry, feels remorse and love. He deals with humans, sometimes feels responsibility and loyalty to them, even when they spurn him. After all, as the Bible says, we are in his image. This book is just bursting with amazing and intriguing interpretations of age-old stories. I was just shaking my head when I read Miles alternate look at the story of Abraham. I never realized that when Abraham was praising his God for fertility purposes, he could have easily been sarcastic! This might seem to be a slight overreaction, but to think the cherished figure of Abraham could have almost mocked God is very surprising to me. This kind of new revelation comes fast and furious in this unparalleled work of Biblical interpretation. In this book, God becomes one of the most complex psychological creatures ever written, before such a thing was in vogue. No longer is he some distant invisible force, God seems to be a totally believable almost human being, a creature of his monotheist designation who is struggling with his role in the world.
Of course, every interpretation has its detractors, especially in the world of Biblical studies, where every opinion forwarded is quickly followed by dissents. No where in this book does Miles doubt God's existence or try to prove it. In my eyes, the goal of this book is simple. By using the stories of the Bible, Miles paints his picture of a God who goes through many different moods and phases. Take it for what it is. I am very impressed with this book, I think that anyone who really wants to read an interesting story and learn about the most influential literary work in the Western World should grab this book.

Conspiracy (Widescreen)
Conspiracy (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Stanley Tucci
Price: CDN$ 6.88
19 used & new from CDN$ 6.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, Jan. 15 2003
This review is from: Conspiracy (Widescreen) (DVD)
This is a movie that makes your skin crawl. True, it does not have any shootings, or mass killings in it. On the surface of it, it's just a movie about a meeting of Nazi's that took place in 1942. However, pay attention, soak the movie in. Conspiracy is a truly disturbing look at Nazi Germany, and the psychopaths that ran it.
Conspiracy is based on a real meeting of high and mid level Nazi officials that look place in 1942, in a mansion at Wannsee, outside Berlin. The meeting was organized by SS General Reinhard Heydrich, who, historically, might be the scariest man ever born. Heydrich ran the SS police state that spanned all of Europe, which murdered thousands of "undesirables" and kept a stranglehold on the Axis world. Heydrich and other SS officials had somewhat covertly been constructing the infrastructure for the "Final Solution" to the Jewish question. Heydrich has also authorized the formation of the nefarious Einsetzgruppens, that roamed the Eastern lands of the Reich, carrying out mass slaughters of Jews and communists. General Heydrich called this meeting in order to inform the organs of the Reich that his plan was going to go forward, with the tacit support of the Fuhrer. His plan would set up a system of death camps, in which Jews would be gassed to death. Millions would die. At Heydrich's side was his aide, the ruthlessly effective Colonel Eichmann. Eichmann was one of the main architects of the final solution, taking a hands on approach on building the Holocaust infrastructure.
This movie does a masterful job of portraying this discussion as it happened. People talk of mass murder like it's an afterthought. The Jews are subhuman, their deaths mean nothing. Interestingly, there was a lot of insider politics going on at the meaning, as the Nazi party heads sought to ensure that their own influence and power would not be co-opted by Heydrich's growing SS apparatus. The discussions are horrifyingly fascinating, as the eventual outcome becomes clear. They all hesitate to say the "kill" word, but there is a general sense of wink wink. It's probably the best representation of Nazi politics I have seen on screen. Some might find a discussion driven movie a little boring, but it had my attention all the way through. The cast of actors did a very good job portraying their real life counterparts. I thought Stanley Tucci did the best job, as the strangely meek but mechanically evil Adolf Eichmann. Kenneth Branagh is excellent as Heydrich, who was amazingly charming while he plans the death of 6 million people. The overall theme of this movie is that educated, civilized men, can often perpetrate the worst evil imaginable. As a somber side note, the end of the movie points out how many of the men who sat at that table managed to escape the responsibility for their crimes, a tragic condemnation of post-war policy.

Shakespeare in Love (Collector's Series) (Bilingual)
Shakespeare in Love (Collector's Series) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Gwyneth Paltrow
Offered by WonderBook-USA
Price: CDN$ 4.63
27 used & new from CDN$ 1.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Love, Comedy, Shakespeare, Jan. 13 2003
That Shakespeare. It is not enough that Hollywood takes all of his plays and sonnets and turns them into usually sub par movies. Now, they have to take his life, add in a lot of fictional elements, and make an award-winning movie out of it. Hardly sounds fitting, considering the subject is the greatest credit to the English language, but this movie is one that hits the mark. Although, it takes some very liberal leaps in interpretation, Shakespeare in Love is a great love story and a great comedy, thrown into a very fascinating and well-portrayed historical era.
Will Shakespeare is a playwright comparable to many of his modern day counterparts. Even though he is extremely talented, he is faced with a dismal financial situation and the dreaded plague of all writers, writers block. Shakespeare's bosses face an even tougher problem, as the competition between the major theater groups heats up. Angry creditors, fed up with waiting for profits, take a more active role in "pushing" the plays along. Shakespeare is stuck on an awkward play involving Romeo and a bunch of pirates. At least it's a comedy, a play most can understand. In the middle of his writing conflict, he falls in love with Gwyneth Paltrow, an upper class theater lover who has been promised in marriage to a brutal and uncouth noble. She reciprocates, as the two become intertwined in their love for each other and the stage. At the same time, Shakespeare is inspired to put together a love story for the ages, namely, his Romeo and Juliet.
The story takes a lot of twists and turns, and is rife with hilarious interludes and allusions. Geoffrey Rush delivers a great performance as the beleaguered theater owner, who knows success is his only way out of debt. Joseph Fiennes is a great force in this movie, as the energetic and enraptured young bard, still developing his voice as a writer. The real star of the movie is Paltrow, who is anything but the repressed English lady. I found her role as refreshingly powerful, in a mold role that usually brings about a damsel in distress syndrome. Ben Affleck and Judi Dench are effective in their small roles. The whole cast is very good. The atmosphere of merry old England is very effective as well, with beautiful costume designs and architectural splendor, or the lack of it on the London streets.
I had a few problems with the movie though. One, it takes a few historical leaps. Now, obviously, this is not some documentary about Shakespeare's life, as the reality of the whole situation is very controversial. However, a few leaps went a little too far. One real life character portrayed is Christopher Marlowe, who was a great young writer of the day who very much influenced Shakespeare. Some even say he wrote most of Shakespeare's plays. Anyway, his influence in this movie is only hinted at, and is much too hidden to make any sense or impact. I felt that side story should have been given a little more sunlight. The other problem I had was the Queen Elizabeth character. Elizabeth would have never stepped foot in a theater like that, and she would have been a little more aloof than the Queen of the People portrayed in the movie. Overall, I feel the movie is very good, with a few slow spots. I do not feel it was better than Saving Private Ryan, but they are very hard films to compare. That said, Shakespeare in Love is a beautiful representation of true love and the beauty of well-written theater.
So pay your pence and watch like a good groundling.

The Lost King of France: A True Story of Revolution, Revenge, and DNA
The Lost King of France: A True Story of Revolution, Revenge, and DNA
by Deborah Cadbury
Edition: Hardcover
11 used & new from CDN$ 3.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Hybrid, Jan. 11 2003
Popular history is often derided as meaningless fluff that caters to those readers that want a simple summarization and rehash of a subject. Sometimes, this is true, but authors like Ms. Cadbury buck that [image]when they produce a work like this. Ms. Cadbury manages to give the reader a brief but very informative description of the life of the royal family, and the revolution that finally destroyed it. Following this historical narrative, she includes a fascinating detective story, with a lot of surprises and historical truths.
The first part of the book deals with the House of Bourbon, the ruling family of France. Still basking in the glow of Louis XIV, the so-called "Sun King", the line of Louis' was secure in their position. They were immensely wealthy and their country was the most powerful in Europe. A population of 25 million people made sure their estates were always tended to and also provided a great pool from which taxes and levies could be fulfilled. All seemed right with the world, as the shy and awkward Louis XVI took the throne of France. However, as Cadbury tells us, the Empire was rotting from the inside. The constant wars and imperial finery that the French royals financed were taking a horrible toll on national finances. For most of Louis XVI's reign, the family itself was horribly in debt. Adding to this, the peasants were restless. Members of the third estate, the lowest on the totem pole, were taxed almost exclusively. In addition, much of the third estate was reliant on the annual crop, which had been unsatisfactory for a number of years. Soon, this unhappiness gave the revolution all the soldiers it could ever need.
Thrown into this political powder keg was the ill-fated Austrian princess, Marie Antoinette. At a time when the French people chaffed at the separation of wealth among the classes, she became the focus of the masses ire. She was derided in every newspaper as a sexual deviant, who spent so recklessly that she drove the country single handedly into debt. As Cadbury tells us, this is absolutely unfair. Although Antoinette did spend a lot, it was no more extravagant than previous queens. Indeed, most of the stories that survive to this day concerning her are products of outrageous scandal rags, such as the "let them eat cake" quote. She is seen throughout the book as a gentle woman, shy, but a very good mother to her children, especially the young dauphin, Louis Charles.
So the revolution broke out, and the people threatened the monarchy directly. Louis' response to this challenge was characteristically weak and unorganized, leading to his eventual overthrow and imprisonment. Cadbury does a good job of describing the establishment and the eventual degeneration into barbarism of the French Republic. This fall from moderation directly affected the royal family, as they were moved from fortress to fortress, each worse than the last. The masses became enflamed by the Repulic's leaders, such as the evil Maximillian Robespierre. This outrage led to several massacres of clergy, and brutal killings of the royal family's associates. Finally, Louis XVI was executed, as was his wife. The worst part of the book is reading about the horrible abuse visited upon poor little Louis Charles. He was beaten, forced to drink, and even worse, tricked into admitting an incestual relationship with his own mother. Tragically, he lived out the rest of his life in a filthy jail cell, where, medically neglected, he finally gave in to a multitude of diseases. The only remaining direct descendent to Louis XVI was his daughter.
The second part of the book deals with the numerous claims made by those who believed that the dauphin had escaped. Others even claimed themselves or family members to be the dauphin. Many of these theories were treated with some consideration, until a series of DNA tests were done on a heart thought to have been that of Louis XVII. The results showed that it has been a direct descendent to the Louis-Hapsburg line, proving pretty much in everyone's mind that the dauphin had died inside the temple prison. The conspiracy theories are many, but the second half of the book goes down the list of them, categorically challenging their assertions. The DNA test seems to be the final nail in the coffin for poor Louis XVII.
An interesting look at a historical mystery and the era surrounding it.

Ruled Britannia
Ruled Britannia
by Harry Turtledove
Edition: Hardcover
Offered by Proven Box
Price: CDN$ 19.99
28 used & new from CDN$ 4.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Really, Really Good, Jan. 10 2003
This review is from: Ruled Britannia (Hardcover)
Harry Turtledove is considered the "dean" of modern alternative history. However, after reading his latest work, I think he should be freed of such a narrow literary interpretation. Mr. Turtledove is an extremely gifted writer overall, not just in his noted field. As an author, he is amazingly dynamic, as he has written on a wide number of historical events, and somehow manages to always tinge his work with expertise. His imagination and sense of humor are always evident, as he colors his new timelines with a custom sense of reality and connection. With his latest work, Turtledove has proved to me at least that he is really one of the best fiction writers out there today.
England, 1597. Disaster has befallen the storied island kingdom of Alfred and Henry VIII. Ten years hence, the massive Spanish Armada and its allied troops smashed the Royal Navy and landed on the shores of merry old England. The professional armies of the Duke of Parma smashed the levies of Elizabeth, and England was brought back into the Papal fold. Queen Elizabeth remains imprisoned in the Tower of London, at the mercy of Isabella and her Austrian husband, Albert. The populace is cowed by the fearsome English inquisition, which burns anyone who longs for the old ways. Spanish and Irish troops patrol the streets, enforcing strict curfews. It is not a good time to be an Englishman.
Unless one is a fan of the theater. At the Globe Theater in London, a new playwright is wowing English society. His name is William Shakespeare, and his dramas and comedies are entertaining all strata of Catholic England. Shakespeare himself is happy with his modest success, continuing to write away under candlelight at the local pub. He always tries to keep out of politics, letting other associates, such as the mysterious playwright, Chistopher Marlowe, dabble in that field. That is, until Marlowe brings him into the underworld of English liberation. A group of conspirators, many quite rich, are planning a revolution. They just need a spark, something that will light the English people a fire. To this end, they choose the Bard himself, to pen a stirring treatise on English liberation. Shakespeare, with little choice, decides to take up the challenge. He knows this will probably be the last play he writes, and the last one he sees performed, but deep down, he is an Englishman, sick of Spanish and Papist excess on his island. Trouble approaches him in many forms, but no more formidable than that of Spanish lieutenant Lope Felix De Vega Carpo.
The English conspirators are not the only ones who want a play. The Spanish king, Phillip, is dying of cancer. The Spanish authorities decide that there would be no better way to extol the glories of God's Sovereign on Earth to Britain's than through a play. A play written by the best English playwright, William Shakespeare. Lope, a fan of Shakespeare and his acquaintance, is assigned to supervise the enterprise. Shakespeare finds himself in quite a bind, as he is forced to write and direct two different plays, with wildly different motives. Of course, if the secret is leaked, he will be mercilessly killed. His benefactors, on both sides, are determined to see their wills imposed, and will kill anyone they see as getting in Shakespeare's way.
The story is beautifully written, mimicking the speech patterns of the day amazingly well. Turtledove's powers of description are on full display here, as he paints an accurate portrait of an alternative England. The most impressive thing about the book is how Turtledove portrays Shakespeare, with a loving but balanced description of his writing style and the inner workings of the Globe Theater. You are almost reading a study on his contributions to the English language. Turtledove manages to keep the intensity up and the intrigue is spellbinding. The conclusion is absolutely riveting. Although it may be a little to long for its own good, Ruled Britannia is definitely worth the effort.
Death to the Dons!

The Shield: The Complete First Season [Import]
The Shield: The Complete First Season [Import]
DVD ~ Michael Chiklis
Offered by SwordkillersCanada
Price: CDN$ 46.01
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.67

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cop Drama Above All Others, Jan. 6 2003
Being a cop seems pretty attractive on TV. Some of the hit shows today show cops who are really clever, tough, and sexy. Their jobs are great, only interrupted by a serial killer or two. They always catch the bad guys though, and everything turns out all right. It makes a good television fantasy, but as NYPD Blue proved, a serious, hardcore police drama can work with the viewing public. The Shield builds on the success of NYPD Blue, taking an edgy style to the limit and sporting an unbelievably talented star and supporting cast. If you want a grown up drama that does not gloss over street life in LA's worst neighborhoods, the Shield's 1st season is the first place you should turn.
The Shield centers around Detective Vic Mackey, played possessively by a transformed Michael Chiklis. Mackey runs an elite Special Police Force, that specializes in high risk investigations and arrests. Based partly on the infamous LAPD Ramparts division, Mackey's unit is brutal in its efficiency and gives little heed to regulations. Mackey justifies his extreme brutality by pointing out the drop of crime in the area, once thought hopelessly crime ridden. His secret is that, through collusion with the local drugs gangs, Mackey overseas a peaceful narcotic distribution and crime operation that shies away from shootings and other violence. Mackey is good, but many are after his hide. His main foil is Captain Aceveda, a politically motivated official who considers bringing Mackey down essential to his professional future. The dynamic between the two is intense, as is Vic's discovery of skeletons in Aceveda's closet. At every turn, Aceveda stands ready to take down Vic's regime.
I am sure many think that the whole show is based on Vic. He is the most engaging character of the show, but the supporting cast is a great compliment. Standouts include "Dutch", a police detective who has a lot of inner conflicts, including a lack of confidence. His development during the season is really exciting. Shane Vendrell, Mackey's right hand man, is a treat to watch, as he begins to degenerate into reckless criminality that threatens Vic directly. The other great performances are too numerous to mention, suffice to say this is, besides the Sopranos, the best cast on TV today.
The writing of this show is top notch. There are only one or two sub par episodes, while most installments are just mind blowing. The first episode and the last 3 are the highlights, but good episodes abound. We meet a colorful group of criminal leaders, psychopaths, police relatives, [prostitutes], and corrupt cops that even surpass Vic. Visible throughout the whole inner city milieu is Vic, who almost never deviates from his one-man crusade to keep the neighborhood safe. I am so glad Chiklis won the Emmy, as he delivered a performance just as good as Kiefer Sutherland, on a much smaller stage.
Just a great show.

The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency
The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency
by Philip H. Melanson
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 2.21

4.0 out of 5 stars The Guards, Jan. 1 2003
The United States Secret Service is the most visible but least understood agency of the federal government. They often garner as much attention as their charges, as Americans have always been fascinated with the men in black suits and dark sunglasses. These men are an instantly recognizable facet of American politics, and are often viewed as a mysterious praetorian guard, serving the President directly. However, as this excellent work shows, the agency known as the Secret Service is much more complex than the clean cut men in designer suits and Ray Bans would suggest.
The book begins with a fairly entertaining and enlightening look at Secret Service. The Secret Service has always been an agency within the Treasury Department, tasked with hunting down counterfeiters and ensuring the stability of the nations money supply. This was a very important task, as the money supply in the Civil War era was full of false notes. The Service was extremely aggressive, and really helped to bring down several nationwide counterfeiter rings. At the same time, the security of the President was a remarkable joke. There are some really humorous stories in this book, including the time President Tyler was pelted with stones by a drunk mason on the White House grounds, and the time where a man strolled into the White House and punched President Jackson in the face. However, these often funny stories run parallel with assassinations that were carried out with an alarming amount of ease. Great men were brought low by often mentally disturbed killers. Finally, the Congress realized the necessity of Presidential security, and allowed Secret Service protection of the President. Interestingly, this protection was not official until 1951, while before it had been "unofficial".
Almost every attempted assassination of Presidents and presidential candidates is examined in an exhaustive style within these pages. Full backgrounds are provided concerning the assassins and their motivations. The actions of the Secret Service in each event are studied. Many negative aspersions are provided, especially concerning the Kennedy assassination. In what is probably the best chapter of the book, the two authors meticulously criticize the Secret Service for their failures on that day in Dallas. We are told little consideration was given to possible sniper positions, or the various paramilitary groups in the area that were trying to kill Kennedy. Even worse, after the assassination, several agents made false statements to the Warren Commission. Agents had stayed up late the night before and drank way too much. The reaction of the agency drivers were totally unprofessional, a reality for which the Service blamed the "reckless" decisions of President Kennedy, a claim totally unsubstantiated.
Almost every fact of the agency is then examined. The relationships they have for their Presidents, and their families is intriguing. The challenges they face are even more maddening, as the Service is often forced to compromise on security measures in order to placate the administrations political operatives. Good chapters concerning agency organization, the challenges posed by international terrorists, and White House security are also included. Overall, we learn that most Secret Service men are extremely dedicated, educated, and insanely brave. They are faced with so many dynamic and often unseen threats that the reader will be amazed they handle the job so well.
A very readable look at the real men in black.

Father of the Man: A Novel
Father of the Man: A Novel
by Robert Mooney
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 35.00
12 used & new from CDN$ 8.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Dec 29 2002
The strength of this book is its characters. Mooney, a short story writer of some note, manages to create a cast that is as fascinating as it is complex. They seem almost 3 dimensional, as they share their thoughts with the reader in a clear narrative style. Writers often find it extremely hard to present subjects that readers can actually connect with, but Mooney succeeds much to his, and his books credit.
The story of the book centers around "Dutch", a decorated veteran of the WWII European Theater who works as a bus driver in upstate New York. It is the early 80's, and Dutch's son, Jonathan, has been MIA in Vietnam for the past twelve years. Dutch is a man torn apart by the love for his son and his own horrific experiences. His old Army buddies are slowly dying, some as homeless beggars. Dutch is under appreciated at work and ignored by his wife and family. He continues to believe that the government knows his son is alive but will not rescue him. His existence has become torturous and meaningless, in his eyes. Desperate, he makes a statement, by taking a bus full of passengers hostage, and demanding the government hand his son over.
The writing uses an episodic style, in which the plot is aided with flashbacks and side stories. This can be a risky tact, as authors with little skill can easily become bogged down in minutiae and misdirection. Mooney pulls it off well, giving the reader a clear overview of the past and present. The books themes include the relationships between stern men and rebellious youth, and the lasting consequences of combat trauma. The last one is a tough one to read about, as the reader quickly emphasizes with the scarred Dutch, even though they know his search is futile and tragic. Mooney gives the book a lot of tension, especially as Dutch is faced with impossible odds and looks for some way out of his situation.
Tough to read, but a rewarding experience.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Meaning and Violence, Forced Together, Dec 26 2002
Reservoir Dogs is violence, crime, death, mayhem, loyalty, all wrapped into one twisted package. This is not some round a bout look at crime or the mafia, this is to the wall here is the straight blood and guts. Criminals are bad people, there is no honor in it, there is but violence and money. The world they live in can be humorous, can be social, but it ends, as it usually does, in death or incarceration. That is why Reservoir Dogs is one of the best crime movies ever made.
The story is relatively simple. A cast of professional bank robbers are brought together by a leader of organized crime in order to lift a shipment of Israeli diamonds. They are an eccentric bunch, always entertaining if not loyal or effective. There is the staid Mr. White, played brilliantly by Harvey Keitel. White is a veteran, with a bit of decency running through his professional criminal veins. There is Mr. Blonde, portrayed by the horrifyingly effective Mike Madsen. There is Mr. Pink, embodied in the slight but fervent dialogue of Steve Buscemi. The cast is round out by Mr. Orange and Mr. Brown. Together, they put in motion a perfect plan. Of course, it goes to hell very quickly, and the group of criminals has to make some big decisions. This movie is not an action or thriller movie, it is a dialogue movie. The storyline is carried by the intense interactions between these intense men, who are desperate for a simple way out of their situation. These interactions become even more heated because of the back stabbing element introduced.
Reservoir Dogs is a great movie because of the acting, the story, and the writing. Tarantino is a serious director who does not just rip off other movies. In fact, a lot of people making movies at the present time are just trying to rip him off. Reservoir Dogs is a nice introduction to Tarantino, before experiencing his eclectic masterpiece, Pulp Fiction. Most people remember RD because of some horrifying scenes by the master Madsen. Well, I can't even describe them, you will have to see them yourselves.
You gonna bark all day, little doggy?

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