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Beiträge von David Graham
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Rezensionen verfasst von
David Graham (Shell, Ecuador)
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Guns, Germs, And Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Guns, Germs, And Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
von Jared Diamond
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 11,58

5.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating and Thought Provoking, 15. Mai 2000
In his preface to the paperback edition, Jared Diamond boldly states, "This book attempts to provide a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years." Following this startling statement, he writes, "The question motivating the book is: Why did history unfold differently on different continents?" Keeping these two aims in mind is quite helpful while reading through the book, and I found that while Diamond certainly can't answer all the questions (he doesn't even attempt this), he does suggest many plausible explanations for why history has unfolded like it has (such as advantages of geography, fertility, agriculture vs. hunter-gathering societies, east-west vs. north-south spread of technology and crops etc.) For a different approach that emphasizes culture and economic explanations, try reading David Landes' The Wealth and Poverty of Nations in conjunction with this book.
Among the many things I liked about this book were the following: it is extensively researched (as one might expect from a UCLA physiology professor), the style is easy to follow, it is full of photographs, tables, and maps (I'm a big believer that "a picture is worth a thousand words"), and his questions and search for answers are fair minded. Diamond himself would not insist that this book is the "definitive" explanation for our existence, but an attempt to help put pieces of the puzzle together in a coherent fashion (including the often ignored "prehistorical" period that really set the stage for how things turned out in the "historical" period.) This is a splendid book.


The Book of Guys: Stories
The Book of Guys: Stories
von Garrison Keillor
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 12,99

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Some stories are terrific, some are pointless, 15. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Book of Guys: Stories (Taschenbuch)
My first foray into the reading world of Garrison Keillor was The Book of Guys. It consists of 22 stories that reflect an impressive amount of learning and language skills combined with a curious imagination. My favorite of the set was the opening chapter address to the National Federation of Associations convention. Keillor's spoofs on the age old battle of the sexes takes on smashingly funny proportions in this piece, from the description of his attendance at the Sons of Bernie drunken orgy of song and self-pity around a campfire in the freezing cold of winter to comments about his high school poetic aspirations, including such numbers as 'Soliloquies for Stringless Guitars'.
The Mid-life Crisis of Dionysusm, Buddy the Leper, Marooned, Don Giovanni, Earl Grey, and Casey at the Bat (Road Game) were other stories I thought both humorous and inventive, not to mention insightful in their comments about human nature. On the other hand, many of the stories were crafty but without direction. I finished several thinking, "What was the point of that?" You might want to read through a few of these stories while browsing through the book before deciding whether or not you want to purchase it.


Merry Heart, The: Reflections on Books, Art, Writing, Morality and Magic
Merry Heart, The: Reflections on Books, Art, Writing, Morality and Magic
von Robertson Davies
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 24,43

4.0 von 5 Sternen Reflections on reading, writing, and the world of books, 15. Mai 2000
It is usually a pleasure to sit down to a Robertson Davies work whether it be a novel, a collection of speeches, ghost stories, essays, or newspaper articles. The Merry Heart is a felicitous adddition to the Davies canon, containing his usual eclectic selection of literary topics and sparkling ideas. Each chapter has a few introductory comments (often including excerpts from Davies' diary) by the book's editors that paint the background for each piece. Readers enjoy comparing notes about favorite books and biographical history, so for avid readers, The Merry Heart will be like reading a series of letters from a funny, witty, learned friend about some of those events and books that have shaped his life. This fine 385 page book of 24 chapters is easy to read in bits and pieces, either during a lunch break, before bed, or on a weekend next to the fire. (One note of caution: for those unfamiliar with Davies' worldview, do not be surprised to see elements of gnosticism popping up from time to time.) All in all, this book was a real pleasure to read.


Sudden Death, Myth of CPR PB
Sudden Death, Myth of CPR PB
von Stefan Timmermans
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 29,49

4.0 von 5 Sternen A Candid Appraisal of CPR in America, 4. Februar 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Sudden Death, Myth of CPR PB (Taschenbuch)
Of the roughly 400,000 "sudden deaths" in the United States each year, only about 1-3% of those undergoing CPR outside the hospital survive. This low figure of survival is accompanied by a high price tag, both economically and emotionally. Timmermans takes a candid look at CPR, exposing its myths and problematic areas, and I found his book historically well researched and balanced. I do have some reservations about some of the misleading statements he makes in chapter 5, especially his mistake of treating 'social inequality' as a synonym for 'unjust', accompanied by the false implication that social value affects survival during a hospital resuscitation effort. On the whole, however, he does a fine job and his extensive historical research and interviews with health care workers make this a fine book. It serves as an excellent antidote to the overly optimistic expectations generated by TV shows and CPR training courses.


The Bible Jesus Read
The Bible Jesus Read
von Philip Yancey
  Gebundene Ausgabe

3.0 von 5 Sternen Faulty in spots, helpful in others, 2. Oktober 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bible Jesus Read (Gebundene Ausgabe)
I have enjoyed reading Philip Yancey's books over the years, but this is not one of his better ones. Like others, I feel the chapter on Deuteronomy is melodramatic and erroneous (not to mention boring.) Although the title is "The Bible Jesus Read", this is not a scholarly attempt to discuss the Hebrew or Greek scriptures available to Jesus during his lifetime, and only selected sections of the Old Testament are examined. On the other hand, the chapters on the Psalms, Ecclesiastes and the Prophets are sparkling with helpful literary allusions, exegesis, and insight. They achieve the author's goal of making the Old Testament a little easier to understand for the general reader. If you haven't read a Philip Yancey book before, try one of the others first, such as The Gift of Pain, Where is God When it Hurts, or Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. If you have wanted to do more reading of the scriptures (either for literary or spiritual purposes) and need some helpful guides, this book - along with the NIV Student Bible compiled by Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford - will be a good companion.


The Frontiersman
The Frontiersman
von Allan Eckert
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen History as easy to read as a novel, 13. Juni 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Frontiersman (Taschenbuch)
Perhaps Allan Eckert did give an innacurate rendering of some of the people or events in this book, but by and large, Eckert's work is historically correct. Moreover, he captures the flavor of what life was like - the danger, harsh conditions, and constant threat of death - in the Northwest Territory during the last half of the 18th century. The "birth of America" was far more complex than the simple "breaking away from the British" version I learned in school, and Eckert's evenhanded treatment of the Indians, white settlers, French, and English opened my eyes to the way our nation was created. Eckert's style is engaging, the chapters are short (which help make the book easy to read), the characters are vivid, and the stories are fascinating.


Judith's Pavilion: The Haunting Memories of a Neurosurgeon
Judith's Pavilion: The Haunting Memories of a Neurosurgeon
von Marc Flitter
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 16,49

2.0 von 5 Sternen Failed to interest me, 8. Juni 1999
As a surgeon who enjoys the writings of other physicians, I was disappointed with Judith's Pavilion. His metaphors and analogies are frequently a bit far fetched. The writing lacks coherence while his stream of consciousness makes the prose difficult to read. The author rarely points to anything profound or intriguing, though he does write with conviction. There are plenty of other reflective books about medicine that would be better to sample than Judith's Pavilion. If this genre interests you, try something by one of these physicians: Paul Brand (The Gift of Pain, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made), Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings), Lewis Thomas (The Lives of a Cell, The Youngest Science), Richard Selzer (Mortal Lessons, Letters to a Young Doctor), David Graham (Thoughts Along the Way), Harold Klawans (Toscanini's Fumble, Newton's Madness), or Sherwin Nuland (The Wisdom of the Body).


Letters to a Young Doctor (Harvest Book)
Letters to a Young Doctor (Harvest Book)
von Richard Selzer
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 12,99

3.0 von 5 Sternen Good but not great. Score: 7, 27. Mai 1999
Under the old Amazon.com ranking system, I would give this book a seven on a ten point scale. As a fellow surgeon who enjoys Selzer's writings, I thought this was a good, yet not great collection of ruminations. Some of the chapters were quite touching, some were funny, and some were quite plain. A few actually suffered from Selzer's exuberant imagination as he tried to stuff meaning and metaphor into patients' stories that didn't fit. Taking it all together, I'm glad I bought it, but I liked his book Mortal Lessons much better.


Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery (Harvest Book)
Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery (Harvest Book)
von Richard Selzer
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 12,99

5.0 von 5 Sternen Inspires both awe and laughter, 27. Mai 1999
As a fellow surgeon with a love for literature and the marvels of the human body, I found Dr. Selzer's book tickled both my fancy and my funnybone. He is enthusiastic for sharing his reverence at the amazing complexity and function of our bodies (as well as its grievous shortcomings), yet he is still able to regale the reader with mischievous humor and steady doses of comic relief. I found this one of the funniest books I had read in several years. Many of the chapters in the last half of the book are not, as the subtitle would suggest, 'notes on the art of surgery'. They deal with things as different as bird watching, abortion, smoking, car sickness, and childhood memories from the classroom. Although they do not supplement the first half of the book with further descriptions about the art of surgery, they do add spice to an already meaty book about ourselves.


C. S. Lewis: Memories and Reflections
C. S. Lewis: Memories and Reflections
von John Lawlor
  Gebundene Ausgabe

2.0 von 5 Sternen Didn't spark my interest, 24. Mai 1999
If you happen to have a copy of the out of print book LIGHT ON C.S. LEWIS, you have basically all the comments that Lawlor has to give about his memories of the man. As for the commentary Lawlor gives on Lewis's books, I found it uneven. Unlike the lucid Lewis, Lawlor's sentences are often murky and their meanings difficult to understand. His commentaries on Lewis's books didn't really enlighten anything. I have been an avid reader of Lewis for a long time, and this is the first time I bought a book about Lewis in which I returned to the bookstore for a refund when I was finished.


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