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Rezensionen verfasst von
David Blake (Basingstoke, Hampshire, United Kingdom)
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Just the Facts, Ma'Am: The Authorized Biography of Jack Webb
Just the Facts, Ma'Am: The Authorized Biography of Jack Webb
von Daniel Moyer
  Taschenbuch

3.0 von 5 Sternen The authorised biography, 10. Februar 2000
There are several ways to write the biography of a show biz personality.
One is to concentrate on the subject's sexual misdemeanours and attention-seeking behaviour. Webb was married four times, so does this book expose tasty pieces of gossip? No, his marriages failed because everything in his life took second place to his work.
Another approach is to focus on the "art". You know the sort of thing - "Hitchcock as auteur". In some ways Webb was like Hitchcock - everything planned out precisely before the cameras roll - actors merely speak the scripted words - no place for improvisation. So, is this an "art book"? Far from it.
This is an authorised biography - one Webb would have enjoyed sitting down to read. Evidence of his generosity and the respect in which he was held by, say, the LAPD are played up as much as possible. On the other hand, any hint of selfishness or pigheadedness is immediately explained away as being understandable in the circumstances.
The bulk of the text comes from personal anacdotes told by friends and colleagues from Webb's past. As a result, much of the stuff is fairly mundane. (Remember as a youth when Jack greased the trolley car tracks so the trolley spun its wheels? Ha-ha.)
Jack Webb achieved so much in the golden ages of radio and television. Frankly, he deserves better than this book. But I'm not sure he's going to get it. This book was initiated by Webb's own daughter. Without her input I'm not sure ANY book on Webb would have been written.
So my advice is, if you want to read some anecdotes about the "Dragnet" man, buy this book. It's all there is.


A Brief History of Time
A Brief History of Time
von Stephen Hawking
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 12,95

2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen No master of the written word, 6. Dezember 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: A Brief History of Time (Taschenbuch)
Hawking is no master of the written word. Early on, he warns us not to consult his earlier books for more detail - because they are "quite unreadable". He also admits that, during the production of this book, his editor bombarded him with comments and questions. The impact of this editorial input is plain. The book wallows from unnecessarily long complex sentences written in the passive sense to snappy anecdotes from Hawking's life.
I found the early chapters very useful as overviews of the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. The middle chapters - on black holes and the origin of the Universe - were clearly written with enthusiasm.
However, that enthusiasm seemed to fade towards the end of the book. The chapter on the arrows of time seems to have been lifted from an old speech. Here's what I'm about to tell you: this is what I'm saying: this is what I've just told you.
Also, the explanation of the cosmological arrow of time left a lot of questions hanging. Question: What will happen when the Universe starts to contract - will people start to experience time running backwards? Answer: Intelligent life could not exist because, by then, all the stars will have burned out. Well, OK - but does that answer whether time is in reverse or not?
Chapter 10 introduces string theory. Clearly this is an incredibly complicated subject and not capable of being explained in a book entitled "Brief History". However, the way the subject is introduced and then dropped is tantalising. Apparently, string theories are only consistent if space-time has either ten or twenty-six dimensions. All these extra dimensions are curled up into space of a very small size. I, for one, would have liked more explanation of what that means.
In summary, a useful but frustrating book that varies in tone as the pages turn. I feel a better populist book would have resulted if Hawking had used a ghost writer to interpret his ideas, rather than simply submitting his own words to the scrutiny of an editor.


Complete Little Orphan Annie, 1933
Complete Little Orphan Annie, 1933
von Gary Groth
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,00

4.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent example of a master graphic artist at work, 25. Oktober 1998
"Little Orphan Annie (1933)" is a highly enjoyable book. The Annie strips originally appeared on the basis of one per day (with a four-strip "special" on Sundays. The storyline in this book links tightly with the calendar - with Page 1 having Annie on January 1 1933 looking back over 1932. During the course of the year she gets involved in four adventures in which she consistently demonstates her approach to life (work hard, fight your own battles, help others down on their luck to get back up). The stories are overtly political - apparently decent pillars of society turn out to be crooks, con men turn out to have more natural decency. When a farmer cheats Annie out of her wages, a lightning bolt burns down his barn. Two women intent on putting Annie into an orphanage are described as busy bodies. In the end Daddy Warbucks returns to the US on Christmas Eve - just in time to save Annie from her latest troubles. They both wish the readers a Merry Christmas. On New Years' Eve they review the year ending, and wish everyone a happy 1934.
The graphical work is excellent. The adventures are more complex than you'd expect from a daily strip. Seeing the daily strips laid out alongside each other, one can see how cleverly the author keeps restating major story items so that anyone who missed a day's paper doesn't lose the plot.


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