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Reviews Written by
Rodge (Ontario, Canada)
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Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928
Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928
by Stephen Kotkin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 36.23
27 used & new from CDN$ 28.04

5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive first volume of new Stalin bio, July 25 2016
This first volume in a biography of Stalin is also a broader account of the Russian Revolution - which leads to us observing Stalin from a distance for much of the book and not getting close and personal. For that, you might need to read Montefiore's Young Stalin, although that book is dismissed by Kotkin as reading "like a novel." Kotkin here is doing something quite different - he gives us a broad historical overview in which to understand Stalin's emergence. In this reading, Stalin's later personality is not read back into his early history but rather seems to be a more emergent phenomenon. Not as readable as a popular history, this book is still quite readable and understandable, comparing favourably with say, Ian Kershaw in a successful marriage of accessibility and academic rigour.


A Dream So Big: Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger
A Dream So Big: Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger
by Steve Peifer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.74
30 used & new from CDN$ 3.46

4.0 out of 5 stars Good read about, July 15 2016
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This is an inspirational book that is well worth the read. After the death of their infant son, the Peifers head to Kenya on what was to be short-term but doesn't remain that way. Peifer ends up spearheading a school food program and a program to put computer labs in Kenyan schools, all the while helping to oversee a boarding school in the Great Rift Valley. Peifer has a good sense of humour and doesn't take himself too seriously which helps make an otherwise longish book quite readable. Greg Mortenson this is not.

Too bad that stuff like this has to rely on the ingenuity of one man, and doesn't get picked up by a larger organization.


The Intolerance Of Tolerance
The Intolerance Of Tolerance
by D. A. Carson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.48
19 used & new from CDN$ 20.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Succinct and timely book, July 15 2016
DA Carson gives us a short and readable primer of the ways that "tolerance" in its modern sense is not so tolerant, indeed, a form of oppression. Carson covers a lot of material in a short book. Perhaps this book is most valuable in pointing to other resources in grappling with this question.


The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups
The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups
by Leonard Sax
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.44
40 used & new from CDN$ 14.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Common-sense and hard truths about parenting, June 20 2016
Leonard Sax's book is a wake-up call to rethink - or perhaps just start thinking - about how parenting is done in the modern American setting. Pointing to a culture of disrespect, Sax suggests that parents start cultivating humility in their children, stop over-medicating them and over-scheduling them, among other things. A usable common-sense book.


The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy
The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy
by Mervyn King
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 31.41
28 used & new from CDN$ 25.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Oddly readable book on banking, financial crisis, global economy, June 20 2016
Mervyn King's oddly readable book looks at the financial crisis from a somewhat different perspective. Rather than hunt for villains, King tries to dive deeper within the global economy to understand what underlying causes made things fragile enough to collapse as they did. He identifies banking reforms as critical, finding existing monetary or Keynesian proposals inadequate. A provocative and quite readable book


Gulag: A History
Gulag: A History
by Anne Applebaum
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 24.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential history of the Gulag, June 14 2016
This review is from: Gulag: A History (Hardcover)
This is a near indispensable history of the Gulag, incorporating archival material and Gulag memoirs to stitch together a very readable account that is essentially truth-telling and story-telling at its finest. I expected this read to be harrowing but nothing prepares you for the dehumanizing effects of the senseless prison regime that Stalin and his henchmen put into place. How the Gulag came to be and how it came to an end, how various people responded to their plight within the Gulag - everything is covered here including the wrenching personal stories, with occasional interludes of black humour. Pretty much a must-read, pulling together varying materials into one cohesive whole.


The Soul of Doubt: The Religious Roots of Unbelief from Luther to Marx
The Soul of Doubt: The Religious Roots of Unbelief from Luther to Marx
by Dominic Erdozain
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 38.50
20 used & new from CDN$ 36.37

5.0 out of 5 stars An alternate history of doubt, May 31 2016
This revisionist historical account posits the rise of doubt, atheism and agnosticism is caused by "conscience" rather than scientific discoveries. The case is put pretty convincingly although Erdozain may distort the record somewhat to achieve his effect. By focusing on figures such as Spinoza, Voltaire, Feuerbach and Marx, Erdozain shows the surprising ways skepticism has increased - sounding more like a version of an Old Testament prophet or Jesus himself rather than an outright pagan. This thesis has a lot to commend it and this book is definitely worth a look. Erdozain manages to make his intellectual history quite interesting and readable as well, as a bonus ~ far more readable than a Charles Taylor who promotes a similar thesis


The Art of Biblical Narrative
The Art of Biblical Narrative
by Robert Alter
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.81
38 used & new from CDN$ 9.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and for anyone with an interest in the Bible, May 24 2016
This book will be of value to anyone who has interest in the Bible - "believer" or otherwise. Alter convincingly outlines in very accessible fashion how the Bible's narrative can truly be read as literature, as worthy of close examination as Homer or Shakespeare. Alter also guides us in understanding the unique ways the Bible uses narrative in contrast to other well-known literary traditions so that we can truly appreciate it's well-deployed economy of means.


The Radical Reformation
The Radical Reformation
by George Huntston Williams
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 117.53

5.0 out of 5 stars There's nothing else like it, May 24 2016
Though much of his analysis may be open to debate, this book is simply essential and incomparable for getting a bird's eye view of the reformational ferment outside of the "magisterial" reformation. There was a lot of stuff going on. As a Mennonite, this book helped me gain more perspective on Anabaptist roots as well as the various responses to it. We get to hear the voices of groups that essentially no longer exist and therefore don't get much attention today, but were significant in the development of the time. This book covers the first 2 generations, approximately, of the Reformation period and takes us all over Europe to see the "Spiritualists", "Anabaptists" and "Rationalists" at work - as Williams categorizes them


The Gods of Newport
The Gods of Newport
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read, no more, May 10 2016
John Jakes is a master of historical fiction, in this novel the formula shows through. The story is engaging enough to keep your interest throughout, but most of the developments are perfectly obvious and the characters are cardboard. Good for an entertaining time-killer, no more


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