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George R Dekle "Bob Dekle" (Lake City, FL United States)

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Myths We Live by: From the Life And Times of Jesus And Paul
Myths We Live by: From the Life And Times of Jesus And Paul
von Andrew C. Delos

1.0 von 5 Sternen Shoddy Scholarship, 7. Juni 2007
Professor Delos' book is not a scholarly work. On the contrary, the book is poorly researched, highly derivative, and inadequately referenced. Delos makes highly controversial claims (Jesus was a Pharisee, Luke's was the first Gospel written, Jesus was only pricked by the spear, the Sanhedrin had the power to inflict capital punishment, etc., etc.) without even so much as an attempt to substantiate his claims. A true scholar making such claims would support them with argument and references. Delos doesn't even support them with a footnote. The work of a scholar should show scholarly work. This book does not. A Few examples:

1. Professors are scrupulously careful about their grammar and punctuation-this book is shot through with typographical errors. E.g., spaces between quotation marks and the text they enclose; leading quotes at the end of text.

2. Professors are meticulous with their endnoting and citation style-this book has no citation style and the endnoting is horrific. E.g., spaces between endnote numbers and text; endnote numbers at the beginning of lines of text; endnotes to noncontroversial statements; no endnotes to controversial statements.

3. Indexing of scholarly works is important if you're going to track down references. The index is woefully inadequate, as can be shown from one example: Remember my mentioning Delos' controversial assertions about the priority of Luke? He placed a stumbling block in the way of verification of those assertions by omitting any reference to Luke from his index.

I could go on, but I'll stop here. Open the book to almost any random page and you'll find an error similar to one of those described above. The most pervasive errors, which permeate the entire work, are the face-value acceptance of data which fits the author's preconceptions and the offhand rejection, without justification, of data which doesn't.

Highly intelligent refutations of the conventional Christian view of Jesus' career have been written, but this is not one of them. One highly intelligent refutation of the conventional Christian view of Jesus' career is "Did Jesus Exist?" by Gary A. Wells. A highly intelligent defense of the conventional Christian view of Jesus' career is "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses," by Richard Baukham. Either of these books is a much better investment than "Myths We Live By."

Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder
Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder
von Vincent Bugliosi

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Five Fathers of Defeat, 24. Juli 2000
The old proverb says that "victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan." This adage, of course, speaks to the numbers of people who would claim credit for the victory or take the blame for the defeat. In reality, defeat often has more fathers than victory. The First Lady says it takes a village to raise a child; in most cases a botched criminal prosecution also comes about as the result of multiple mistakes by multiple parties. Bugliosi explores five of the fathers of defeat in the Simpson case, and does a commendable job of making a fair assessment of the case. Other factors, of course, played their part, but Bugliosi's five loomed large in the fiasco.
In the arena of criminal prosecution, there is always at least one identifiable whipping boy upon whom you can lay the blame: the prosecution team. Of course, the prosecutors made mistakes, but Bugliosi goes a bit too far in laying blame at their feet. The prosecutors did enough to win on a level playing field.
Bugliosi also wanders into error by suggesting that he could have obtained a conviction in that courtroom before that judge and jury. It just wasn't going to happen. We can, however, forgive him for this miscalculation. Trial lawyers can never look at the work of another trial lawyer without thinking that, given the chance, they could do better.
Despite these two false steps, Bugliosi has written a concise, insightful critique. In addition to his stated purpose of analyzing the "fathers of defeat" in the Simpson case, Bugliosi incidentally provides numerous insights into the mechanics of investigating, building, and trying a criminal case.

The Insider's Tell-All Handbook on Weight-Training Technique
The Insider's Tell-All Handbook on Weight-Training Technique
von Stuart McRobert

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Unfortunate Title -- Unequalled Teaching, 16. Juli 2000
Don't let the lurid title put you off. This book is not a tabloid-style mishmash of misinformation. It is a sound, sane instructional manual that will teach you how to lift weights safely.
Most of the advice you get in the gym is worth exactly what you pay for it--nothing! Even when you pay for it, you oftentimes get garbage. I once had a personal trainer in a gym show me the "correct" way to benchpress. The result? Severe rotator cuff tendonitis. When I read this book, it explained exactly what was wrong with the personal trainer's advice and why I wound up injured.
Some folks think you make "progress" by toughing it out and working through injuries. The way to make progress is to do the exercises properly and not get injured in the first place. If you want to make maximum progress, read this book and apply its principles. You can't go wrong.

The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 (Chronicles of Amber)
The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 (Chronicles of Amber)
von Roger Zelazny
Preis: EUR 16,99

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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Ultimate in Sword and Sorcery Fiction, 16. Juli 2000
An amnesia victim awakens in a private hospital. He soon discovers that his keepers do not have his best interest at heart. He engineers an escape and begins to search for his identity. He discovers that he is Corwin, Prince of Amber, and claimant to the vacant throne. Corwin's quest of self discovery becomes in turns a quest for self aggrandizement, for revenge, to right terrible wrongs he has done, and finally to save the very fabric of the universe. This quest consumes the first five books of the "Complete Chronicles of Amber," and a rousing tale it is. Corwin has supernatural powers, but he is not the cardboard, two dimensional hero so often encountered in "Sword & Sorcery" fiction. Corwin is a complex, conflicted hero capable of great good and horrible evil, who experiences a spiritual transformation as the story progresses.
In the next five books, Merlin, son of Corwin, describes his search for his missing father. Whereas Corwin was a man of action who solved problems with his sword or his fists, Merlin is more cerebral. He is also a magician. Merlin has adventures every bit as fantastical as those of his father, and the story ends with Merlin in the most paradoxical situation imaginable.
Zelazny published the first Amber book in 1970, and the final volume came out in 1991. He obviously intended to continue the series because the chronicle abounds with unfinished business. Corwin's new Pattern never got explored. The nascent threat of Ghostwheel was never resolved. Frakir was left tied to a bedpost. It is unfortunate that these loose ends will never be tied up.
Roger Zelazny writes of unforgettable larger-than-life protagonists engaged in epic struggles, and his powers of description are nothing short of poetic.

Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of Baskervilles: BBC (BBC Radio Presents)
Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of Baskervilles: BBC (BBC Radio Presents)
von Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Sleuth of Secrecy and Sensationalism, 15. Juli 2000
"The Hound of the Baskervilles" ranks as the most famous and also the best of the four Sherlock Holmes novels. It is the first Holmes novel I read as a child, and the combination of ancient curse, foreboding moor, and modern danger kept me turning the pages.
The BBC has once again done a masterful job of adapting the novel to the format of radio drama. When I first stumbled on to the BBC Holmes series, I thought Clive Merrison to be a scandalous over-actor, but going back and rereading some of the Holmes stories for the first time in decades shows that Merrison, of all the portrayers of Holmes, just might have gotten the oddball genius most nearly right. Holmes had a histrionic streak which caused him to keep his deductions secret until he could reveal them in the most sensational fashion possible, and Merrison captures this quirk of Holmes' character perfectly.
"The Hound" is unique among the Holmes novels because for a large part of the mystery, Holmes' character is offstage, appearing only at the last moment to bring events to a hair-raising denouement. Holmes' joint penchants for secrecy and sensation almost bring his client to grief, but all's well that ends well. This radio play begins, continues, and ends very well.

God: The Evidence: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World
God: The Evidence: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World
von Patrick Glynn
Preis: EUR 13,99

4.0 von 5 Sternen Depth of Learning, 15. Juli 2000
Francis Bacon once wrote that "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion." It seems from Mr. Glynn's book that depth of learning has begun to incline a growing number of scientists toward God. If they are not ready to wholeheartedly endorse the concept of a God, at least they seem no longer willing to dismiss it out of hand.
We moderns have long thought ourselves too smart, too well educated to believe in a Divine Being. Doesn't science disprove God's existence at every turn? Glynn undertakes to demonstrate that it does not, and that the deeper our scientific knowledge becomes, the more it supports the concept of a God.
He first discusses the "anthropic principle," which seems to state that life is the result of such a string of highly improbable accidents, that its emergence must have been the work of some guiding hand. Secondly he discusses the salubrious effects of religious belief and religious practice on physical and mental health, and suggests that man may be genetically coded to believe in God. Finally, he discusses near death experiences, and he ends with a chapter on "Reason and Spirit."
The book does not deal with any matter in depth, but it does give a good overview of the subject. It seems that in Pascal's Wager (which Glynn discusses in the book) the smart money is on God.

Utmost Savagery
Utmost Savagery
von Col. Joseph Alexander

5.0 von 5 Sternen Issue in Doubt, 11. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Utmost Savagery (Taschenbuch)
Just before the fall of Wake, the Marines defending that island radioed the message, "Issue in doubt." Just after the first waves of Marines hit the beaches at Tarawa and waded into the most hellish opposition imaginable, the landing party sent out the message "Issue in doubt." No Marine could mistake the import of that doleful sentence. On the brink of being thrown back into the sea, they held on, and then they advanced.
Rear Admiral Keiji Shibasaki, the defender of Tarawa, had told his troops that it would take a million men a thousand years to capture the island. It took the Marines three days, but victory came at a terrible cost. The carnage was so horrific that when news of the cost of victory got back to the United States, enlistments in the Marine Corps plummeted.
As Col. Alexander takes the reader through those three hellish days, you cannot help but be awed by the suffering the Marines endured, and by the courage they displayed. It makes one wonder how the men could perform at all, much less perform as well as they did.
A gripping story of epic heroism in the face of near insurmountable odds--and it's true.

Shogi Japan's Game of Strategy (P)
Shogi Japan's Game of Strategy (P)
von Trevor Leggett

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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Good Introduction to a Challenging Game, 11. Juli 2000
The Japanese play Chess as enthusiastically as we play golf, but Japanese Chess, or Shogi, is quite unlike Chess. At first glance, Shogi bears no resemblance whatsoever to Chess. The 9x9 board is uncheckered and is marked with dots similar to those on a Go board. The pieces look like little pentagonal arrowheads or wedges, and enemy pieces are distinguished, not by color, but by the direction in which they point. Probably the most intimidating aspect of Shogi is that the pieces' ranks are displayed in Japanese hieroglyphics. The pieces' ranks appear in black on one side, and their promoted value in red on the other side. The pieces are really quite easy to learn, and although Westernized sets abound, the game loses some of its charm when played with pieces marked with English initials and arrows indicating the movement of the pieces.
For almost twenty years, until the publication of John Fairbairn's "Shogi for Beginners," this book served as the only English language introduction to the game. Fairbairn's book is more thorough and gives deeper insight into the game, but Fairbairn's diagrams are in Japanese hieroglyphics. Legget's book uses Westernized symbols which are easier to decipher. Leggett's book also has this advantage over Fairbairn's: It comes with a cardboard punchout Shogi set.
Thus, Fairbairn's book gives better instruction, but Leggett's is more user-friendly.

Shogi for Beginners
Shogi for Beginners
von John Fairbairn

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent Introduction to a Challenging Game, 11. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Shogi for Beginners (Taschenbuch)
Shogi and Chess share a common ancestor and have as their objective the capture of the enemy king. They are alike in many other ways, but someone seeing both games for the first time might never suspect that they are so closely related.
Shogi is a challenging and satisfying game. It is visually a little off-putting to the Western tyro, but Westernized sets are available. I'd recommend switching to Japanese sets as soon as you can decipher the hieroglyphics. Play with authentic Japanese pieces enhances the pleasure of the game tremendously.
Fairbairn's book is the better of the two introductory books on Shogi that come from Western authors. (Trevor Leggett's "Shogi: Japan's Game of Strategy" is the other). The book is well organized. Fairbairn begins with six chapters on the basics of the game. Chapter 7 is a collection of mating problems, and then Chapter 8 introduces the reader to a complete game. Fairbairn then gives a chapter on castles. (In Chess there are two castles, in Shogi there are dozens). Then he gives chapters on the opening, the middle game, and the endgame. The endgame to Shogi is much more exciting than the endgame in Chess. In Shogi the board is just as cluttered with pieces as in the beginning, and frequently both kings simultaneously totter on the brink of checkmate. The penultimate chapter deals with certain of the finer points of Shogi, and the final chapter gives a collection of games. As the old TV commercial says, "Try it, you'll like it!"
After reading this book and playing a few games, if you'd like to learn the game in greater depth, try to find "Better Moves for Better Shogi," a bilingual book written by Aono Teriuchi, a Japanese Shogi champion, with an English translation by John Fairbairn.

Chessmen of Mars (Martian Tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs)
Chessmen of Mars (Martian Tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs)
von Edgar Rice Burroughs

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Burroughs' Best Martian Tale, 9. Juli 2000
Conventional wisdom has it that the first three books of Burroughs' Martian series, "A Princess of Mars," "The Gods of Mars," and "The Warlord of Mars" form an excellent trilogy and all the rest of the Martian tales are quite poorly done in comparison. I disagree.
I will cite two examples as to why "Chessmen" is Burroughs' best work in this series.
[1] You can hardly conceive of a more ghastly creature than a spider-being who lives as a parasite on headless human bodies, but that is a perfect description of Ghek the Kaldane, one of the central figures of the book. Burroughs takes this repulsive monstrosity and makes him such a loveable character that you cannot help but like him.
[2] Burroughs not only wrote a good yarn, he wrapped his tale around a striking boardgame that he had invented--jetan, or Martian chess.
It's no real trick to invent a chess variant. There are thousands of them, and most of them are rubbish. What is so singular about jetan is that it is a good chess variant. I read "Chessmen" as a child, and after reading it, the first thing I had to do was make a jetan set and play the game. I whiled away several enjoyable hours with the game. John Gollon, a noted authority on chess variants, had a similar experience when he was writing "Chess Variations." He thought he'd include a chapter on jetan for some comic relief, so he made a jetan set and played a few games. He found jetan "quite good--very playable and interesting." He then pronounced jetan "not a mere novelty, but ... a respectable game."
These two singular achievments (Ghek & jetan) are not the only details that make "Chessmen" so enjoyable. Gahan of Gathol (aka Turan the Panthan) makes for a satisfying hero, and Tara of Helium fills the bill quite nicely for a damsel in distress.
The heroes are noble, the villians are wicked, the cause is just, and the action is nonstop. Great escapist reading.

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