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Scott Jeffe "scott j" RSS Feed (NY, NY)

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The Final Curtsey: The Autobiography of Margaret Rhodes, First Cousin of the Queen and Niece of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
The Final Curtsey: The Autobiography of Margaret Rhodes, First Cousin of the Queen and Niece of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
by Margaret Rhodes
Edition: Hardcover
64 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars some points, June 12, 2012
Margaret Rhodes starts this book by saying that while people had encouraged her to write a memoir for many years she didn't think she had anything to say that anyone would be interested in. This is not true, but not entirely false either mrs. Rhodes tells some fascinating tales of her interaction with her royal cousins and I wish ahead felt Comfortable telling us more. Her tales of ner time in MI6 was also interesting, but there was much more that could be told. Where she goes a little off the rails is in the two or three chapters where she talks about her travels wither husband. this may be interesting to her family, but. Livery interesting to anyone else. I suppose some people would find the association with Shirley McClain but I am not one of them. Having the Queen, Queen Mother share a stage with an American actress is underwhelming. Overall a nice quick read - especially when you skip the travel chapters.

By Nightfall: A Novel
By Nightfall: A Novel
by Michael Cunningham
Edition: Hardcover
54 used & new from $0.49

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WAs this really Cunningham???, March 30, 2012
This review is from: By Nightfall: A Novel (Hardcover)
Michael Cunningham has written some great books. This is not among them. I kept reading only because I was sure it was going to get better...didn't it have to? I mean, this is. Ichael Cunningham. Surely he isn't trying to tell us that a unhappily married man is going to not oly suddenly gay it up, but do it with his brother in law. I think Cunningham has been in New York too long.

A Week in December
A Week in December
by Sebastian Faulks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.18
39 used & new from $0.76

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the least enjoyable book...ever, March 30, 2012
This review is from: A Week in December (Hardcover)
I kept reading only because Faulks has written such good books in the past. What a collection of completely unlikeable stereotyped characters, and so much vapid, completely unnecessary , narrative about drivel. Ironically, R Tranter (the stereotype bitter book reviewer) would have eviscerated this effort.

The List: A Novel
The List: A Novel
by Martin Fletcher
Edition: Hardcover
86 used & new from $0.01

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly personal story, November 5, 2011
This review is from: The List: A Novel (Hardcover)
Martin Fletcher tells the story of Georg and Edith, Austrian Jewish refugees in postwar London. An incredibly personal tale based on the lives of his parents, with whom I and many other American college students lived during semester in London programs in the late 80's-90's. Seemingly set in the very house that we all lived in with them, this book felt like I was getting to know these two remarkable characters all over again. London had given them a home when they had no where else to go (albeit with some good old British resentment) and later they gave American college students a home-from-home (with no resentment at all!). All the tea I drank with her and how she listened to my tales, never once telling me anything of the amazing, tragic but ultimately (I hope) satisfying life they led. Martin tells the story with all the sensitivity, care, and respect that you might from a son painting a written portrait of the struggle and success of first-class parents.

National Geographic: The Last Royals
National Geographic: The Last Royals
DVD ~ Andrew Young
Price: $9.59
53 used & new from $0.01

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the worst royal documentary...ever, October 7, 2010
This documentary features one of my smug countrymen who sneers his way through the segments about Queen Elizabeth II, continually asking snide rhetorical questions like "why on earth would a nation still have a royal family" and similar comments. National Geographic chose to contrast the British monarchy with a set of third world monarchies (Uganda, Nepal and Tonga I think) in what seems to be a deliberate attempt to further belittle Queen Elizabeth, the British people who like the monarchy, and building up an idea that republicanism is rampant in the UK when in fact it hovers in the 20% range for years. Its too bad and doesn't reflect well on National Geographic.

A Journey: My Political Life
A Journey: My Political Life
by Tony Blair
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $30.17
304 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read...if a little disconcerting at times...., September 27, 2010
Did you ever think that you would hear a former British Prime Minister describe someone as having "steel balls", or "brass balls" or "balls of steel"? Well, you will hear all of this in Tony Blair's new memior. Blair seems to have been told that the way to sell more books is to write in a manner that you wouldn't expect in this type of memoir. For the most part it makes the book quite enjoyable to read, but there are uncomfortable moments, such as those above, and others where you get the idea that no one has ever perfected the backhanded compliment better than Blair. He also settles some scores...some subtly, and some (Gordon Brown and "the media" among others) not so much. His observations on the incivility of today's media is spot on, although one wonders if at some points it sounds like he is bitter...(ya think???)...All this aside, it is well worth the time to read!

Crimes Against Liberty: An Indictment of President Barack Obama
Crimes Against Liberty: An Indictment of President Barack Obama
by David Limbaugh
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.57
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93 of 406 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Is there are better word for "insane", September 4, 2010
David Limbaugh's biggest claim to fame is that he has the same last name as an even bigger lunatic (but at least that one privately admits that he is an entertainer). He writes to for masses that don't read, don't know their history, don't know recent and current events, and who have the unique ability to see evil (yes I mean "evil" and not "error") in Democrats and only virtue (and yes, I mean "virtue" not "correctness") in Republicans. The following areas of inquiry are printed in the book jacket and are covered extensively, although that is not to say accurately in the book:

"Socialized healthcare?" The single biggest beneficiary of the new healthcare law are our own privately owned health insurance companies which because the bill requires everyone to have insurance will now have millions of new customers. In Socialism is based on state ownership and control of products and services. There isn't even a "public OPTION", let alone a "public REQUIREMENT" in this legislation. I think that ignorant conservatives who confuse socialism with authoritarianism because the leading socialist (but now dead) system in the world (the USSR) was both socialistic and authoritarian. One can only guess that the thing that really irks these ignorant conservatives is that thier children will now be covered by thier policy while they fluff thier ways through 6-7 years of college, or more seriously that everyone will be "required" to buy insurance or face a tax penalty (a fine collected through the tax structure). IF this is authoritarian to the ignorant opponents what of George Bush's prescription drug benefit that raised the debt burden for all of us (of course not our taxes though, because to a Republican it is better to pass the burden of payinng for things onto our grandchildren -- now THAT is family values!). Well, I've already gone on longer than your typical tea partier's attention span....

"A foreign policy of abasement to our enemies--and hostility to our friends??" I can only interprit this as saying "hold on" (not "no" just "hold on") to Isreal... Which is less than I would do if I were president. This nation consumes more of our tax dollars per person than WE do, and thinks that we should have no say in how they deal with the rest of the world. THIS IS WRONG. I will stop there.

Bailouts upon bailouts? Again, this would take reading a newspaper or watching something other than Fox news (so I have lost the right wing), but more than 75 percent of the auto AND bank bailout money (which was a LOAN FROM THE BEGINNING) has been paid back, and much of the rest of it is on its way. When the people who objected to these "loans" and thinking of them as a "hand out" I wonder if its because they don't pay back THIER creditors, or are they just not able to process complex thoughts after George Bush's 8 years in office????

""Stimulus spending" that's really pork-barrel spending on steroids?" Pork Barrel spending specifically refers to money that congressmen lard onto bills for projects in thier home state. Obama's home state is Illinois. Did IT get an unusually high percentage of the stimulus bill? No... Is Obama in congress? No... So how did "he" benefit from this pork barrel. Additionally, only ONE REPUBLICAN governor refused stimulus money... and then he took it anyway. So then... who is really responsible here? One additional note here (and I know I have again passed the total attention span of the typical tea party reader of the book). the stimulus package was supposed to slow the loss of jobs and it did. Now that the stimulus money is running out, unemployment is going up again... Hmmmm sounds like it worked, but not permanently. Economists from our best universities etc have indicated that this recession will be different than those of the past and it is not cyclical so much as structural. With the loss of any sense of common good brought on by 40 years of Republican rule, our industries will not hire when their businesses are turning around (because profits are coming in and they are paying fewer people) they will just keep adding to thier bonuses and salaries... This is a sad state of affairs but its not Obama's doing.

Get a grip.
Comment Comments (28) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2010 5:25 PM PDT

In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God
In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God
by V. Gene Robinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.72
132 used & new from $0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars now THIS is a CHRISTIAN!, September 26, 2009
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Gene Robinson is many things to many people...To a thinking person, not seeking to use the bible as a weapon, he is a god sent messenger reminding us to think, reflect, care, and act as we would like others to think, reflect, care and act towards us. While some may think that this book was a "lost opportunity" for Robinson to tell his tale, and carry forward his role as [...] activist and standard bearer by telling how he has been maligned and abused by people of faith, he rather talks of his faith, his deeply held theology, how he interprets scripture to make it work for him and others in the 21st century. I would love to see another volume some day, where he tells us what it was like be in the "eye of the storm", but for now, this volume was actually (if you think about it a little) a far more effective "weapon" in his arsenal of intelligent respect for others -- even his enemies -- than any flogging of those who have misused his Christian nature.

I had a Minister in my 20s who spent his Sunday's trying to make the Bible relevant in the ever changing world we live in. He engaged us as intelligent thinkers, able to take something that may seem irrelevant or illogical today(Jesus making water into wine) , and make it a teachable moment. This great man was eventually driven out of our church by the most pious of our "christians" because he wasn't supposed to interpret, but rather just tell us things we needed drilled into us. He walks with Gene Robinson in my estimation, and I am confident in the estimation of Jesus.

The Duchess of Windsor: The Secret Life
The Duchess of Windsor: The Secret Life
by Charles Higham
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.25
69 used & new from $2.98

24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A salacious nasty read...fantastic, September 26, 2009
Sometimes a person just deserves to have a [...] gossipy book written about them... and Wallis Simpson is one of those people! Charles Higham spent his time dredging up all the best bits about this horrid woman and poured them into one great read. We hear about everything here: the rumors of her serial adultery and fooling around (even on the man who gave up a kingdom for her -- "stupid is as stupid does"), the possible lesbianic interludes, the possibility that she was a man (if my memory serves me correctly)... Its all here. Nothing is more hilarious than the description of how much Wally hated thier posting to the Bahamas (where Govt House was filled with sand) - the on time that Wally had the oppportunity to semi-officially play queen. How the Queen Mother must have checkled thinking about it. This is a hatchet job of the highest order, not only on her but on that dining room table of a third husband she married. One thing we can all be thankful to Wallis Simpson is that she got David out of England - where he might have really done some damage.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2013 9:39 AM PDT

True Compass: A Memoir
True Compass: A Memoir
by Edward M. Kennedy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.33
844 used & new from $0.01

5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now THIS is family values..., September 26, 2009
This review is from: True Compass: A Memoir (Hardcover)
Ted Kennedy had a lot of flaws and failings, and anyone who thought he should use this book to flog himself for them is living in a right-wing induced fantasy world! Rather, this book is his telling of the events and happenings in his life, with candor and a sense of purpose. One can't read a book like this if they are a "Kennedy hater", because they simply won't get anything out of it. There was a time that I thought that he was a "disgrace" - but after reading Adam Clymers fair assessment of TK more then a decade ago, and many things since, I started to change my mind. This man had the character to never "change his stripes" to advance his career -- he was an unapologetic liberal all his life. Say what you will about his personal life before about 1995, he championed the cause of the poor, the forgotten, the destitute, those in need: be they women, unemployed, gays & lesbians, the sick (a real list for the right wing to demonize!!!!) This book in large part tells the story of that service, while throwing in a heartwarming primer on how to hang together as a family in good times, in bad times... in perhaps the worst times imaginable. How to be a father-figure to kids in need, even as you battle your own demons. How to be a leader as you battle fears for your own life. How to care for others while you are demonized for doing so. Juxtapose this to any number of persons on the other side of the aisle, and you see why this man will be remembered by millions as someone we were lucky to have walking among us.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2009 6:55 PM PST

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