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Customer Reviews: 5
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Dudley Turtle "dlublin" RSS Feed (Chevy Chase, MD United States)

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The Portuguese
The Portuguese
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read. Comparable to Hooper's "New Spaniards", May 11, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Portuguese (Kindle Edition)
Excellent review of Portugal and the Portuguese. Comparable to John Hooper's "The New Spaniards" which also outlines the history, culture, and divisions within the country. Even more than Hooper, Hatton gives you great insight into the people and country. He is British but married to a Portuguese woman, speaks Portuguese, and has children who grew up in Portugal, so Hatton has the perfect outsider-insider perspective on the country. Most impressively, the book is not a hagiography of the Portuguese--it is often critical yet also very supportive. For what it's worth, it also exists in Portuguese and is widely available in Portuguese bookstores. I suppose one might want to hear a bit more about the Azores or Madeira but that is just nit picking as this is an essentially national overview. If you want to get a feel for why Portugal and its people are so wonderful and welcoming (and they are), yet still recovering from the Salazar dictatorship and could perform better economically, this one is for you.


The Ides of April: A Flavia Albia Mystery (Flavia Albia Mystery Series Book 1)
The Ides of April: A Flavia Albia Mystery (Flavia Albia Mystery Series Book 1)
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $9.99

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Disappointing, July 3, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Once I got hooked on the Falco series, I welcomed the publication of each new book in the series like a special treasure or gift. In my mind, the key to that series was not so much the fun mysteries as the lively cast of characters intermixed with the feel of ancient Rome. It made Lindsey Davis' novels my favorite of mysteries set in that time and place.

Unfortunately, the next generation lacks the same verve. Flavia Albia just is hard to love. She was always a relatively thin character in previous novels. Here she has a lively inner life but one that appears mainly acerbic, negative, and is tiresomely repetitive. Falco was acerbic but in more a self-deprecating way that helped make his devastating judgements far more endearing. Helena Justina was a smart, perceptive, active woman who seemed to enjoy life and I always enjoyed reading about her. Strangely, the rest of the Didii clan has been all but shorn from the novel, though there is some nice development of the deaf son of one relative. Tiberius and Andronicus, the two other major protagonists are of only limited interest.

Beyond the main character being hard to like, the novel take a very long time to begin to get interesting. The endless discussion of the mistreatment of foxes during the festival rapidly becomes very tedious and feels inserted as a rather overdone lesson related to Britain's own debates about fox hunting. On the level of Roman cruelty, it also seems low on the scale, as Ms. Davis demonstrates well in "Silver Pigs" and other novels. Maybe it is also hurt by that the endless respect for animals seems coupled with a low opinion of people by Flavia Albia.

Dull book without compelling characters. A surprising disappointment from an author I admire. Let's hope this dud is a one off and the next in the new series is better.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2014 6:37 PM PST


House of Stairs
House of Stairs
by William Sleator
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.99
118 used & new from $0.01

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Adult Book for Kids, July 13, 2001
Easily the finest of Sleator's works, this book is about five 16-year olds who are then subjected to Pavlovian conditioning in order to . . . well I don't want to spoil the book completely. It is set against a background of a futuristic world gone bad though virtually all of the action takes place in the creepy house of stairs with only the five teenagers present. An excellent morality tale that will make people of any age think. I've read it loads of times over the years and still like it. It might not be appropriate for younger kids of high reading ability (or should at least be discussed with them afterward). On the other hand, it is a work to be recommended precisely because it doesn't shy away from tough issues that many adult works grapple with.


Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry
Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry
by Anatol Lieven
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.95
39 used & new from $8.56

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Short Survey, July 12, 2001
This book gives a great overview of Ukraine's history and Ukrainian-Russian relations. It's central argument is that relations are likely to remain peaceful between these two great Slavic states unless Ukraine's economy does much worse than Russia's or Ukrainian nationalism (concentrated among a decided minority of Ukrainians in Galicia in western Ukraine) grows markedly. Lieven argues that the West should not encourage the nationalists as stronger old-style Ukrainian nationalism would be one of the few things to harm the otherwise extremely close and good relations between Ukrainians and Russians throughout much of the rest of Ukraine. Well-written and a lot packed into this thoughtful good work that remains relavant in 2001.


Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.26
356 used & new from $0.01

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars He Shoulda Stayed Home, January 22, 1998
I loved Bryson's book about Britain but this and his book about America just fall flat. The US book confirmed that following American interstates is dull as dirt, but hey, I already knew that. The Europe book skates around the Continent combining a lack of depth and humor in a deadly fashion. It's not bad; it's just that I suspect that Bill Bryson is really funny for one book and then he wears thin. Perhaps, however, the Britain book is great because he knows the foibles of his subject well, but sashaying around Europe gives him just enough time to do a few snap judgements.


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