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Medea (Bryn Mawr Commentaries, Greek)
Medea (Bryn Mawr Commentaries, Greek)
by Euripides
Edition: Plastic Comb
Price: $16.10
19 used & new from $12.10

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It does the job, November 6, 2009
Kwintner's edition, being part of the Bryn Mawr series, will get you through the Greek if you're approaching the text early in your career. Don't expect extensive information about the Medea myth or Attic tragedy or copious literary or cultural notes, since Kwintner focuses on morphology, vocabulary (she does seem fond, however, of pointing out the odd instance of chiasmus). Be aware that there are errors in the text: on at least two occasions there was a superfluous omega with iota-subscript instead of a space between two words. There were also parts in the commentary that my professor disputed, but make of that what you will. In terms of the book's physical construction, the spiral-binding is beyond irritating: I found it impossible to open and close with ease. The paper is also cheap, even by comparison to other entries in the BMC series: in terms of durability, it's somewhere between a newspaper and a photo-copy.

Considering the low price and target audience, these are forgivable faults, but skip this volume and proceed directly to Mastronarde's Cambridge edition if you don't need the linguistic hand-holding.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 12, 2013 9:49 AM PST


Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
by Donald Keene
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $81.00
42 used & new from $5.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, but..., October 30, 2006
This review is from: Emperor of Japan (Hardcover)
As other reviewers note, this is a wonderful biography of Emperor Meiji. It is well written, seemingly deeply sourced, and a great source to learn about Japanese history at one of its true turning points. Other reviewers have pointed out its strengths (comprehensiveness, scholarship, clarity), and Keene himself confesses its greatest weakness: the nearly impenetrable mysteries surrounding Meiji, his personality, and sentiments.

That said, this book is simply not user-friendly. The sixty-three chapters are untitled, which would be pardonable if they were grouped into parts, but they are not. Thus, for a book of 725 odd pages of dense type, the table of contents is utterly worthless. Moreover, the 135 pages of end-notes are a bear to navigate. (Jansen's "Making of Modern Japan" is an exemplar of how to handle end-notes.) Other editorial oddities include a few non-sequitur index entries and a few typos (notably in the reproduction of the Charter Oath on p. 139: "deliberate assemblies" instead of "deliberative assemblies").

This is a magisterial work, and a must-read for those interested in Meiji Japan, or Japan in general, but I wish it were easier to use for research.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2011 6:24 PM PDT


Seven Samurai (Criterion Collection Spine #2)
Seven Samurai (Criterion Collection Spine #2)
96 used & new from $2.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime film, decent transfer, October 4, 2004
Plenty has been written on the quality of Kurosawa's filmmaking, in general and for this film in particular. I will content to say that "Seven Samurai" unfolds slowly and beautifully to its superb climax and bittersweet conclusion. Kurosawa alone gets five stars, and more if it were possible.

As for the quality of Criterion's digital transfer: it's fine for most of the film, but the picture becomes very scratchy and faded for several minutes towards the end, particularly in one of the more quiet and reflective moments. That aside, though, this is a great buy and well worth your time to watch.


Microsoft Outlook 2003 [OLD VERSION]
Microsoft Outlook 2003 [OLD VERSION]
Offered by Cross Road
Price: $103.99
13 used & new from $11.39

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for people on dial-up, September 12, 2004
I think that this version of Outlook would be perfect if I weren't on dial-up: Outlook seems to be incapable of doing anything relating to your HTTP or IMAP email folders without checking the server, to the point that you can't even access them offline. The fact that Outlook has to check the server almost evrey time you do anything to your email can really be grating on dial-up. Maybe there's a way to stop the constant reference to the server, but I haven't found it.

It also has an annoying habit of locally replacing one of my two Hotmail accounts with the other, necessitating that I remove and recreate the "corrupt" account.

Seeing as how I don't use many of Outlook's other bells and whistles, I can't comment on the broader program, but apart from that signficant headache, it works fairly well.


Excel Saga - The Imperfect Collection
Excel Saga - The Imperfect Collection
DVD ~ Takehito Koyasu
4 used & new from $33.56

16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The anime's superb, but..., July 20, 2004
Suffice to say that *Excel Saga* is one of the funniest anime series I've seen. Even though I don't get half of the obscure references, and I don't get any of Excel-kun's puns (I don't speak Japanese), this series is a laugh riot. The fact that you can get such a great spoof anime in an attractive boxed set makes this a steal even for what Amazon is currently asking.

However, it's ADV's presentation that's on trial here: It's okay. The subtitles are a bit stiff. If you like the English dub, the voice for Excel changes halfway through the series: the first voice is awful - like a yipping dog's. The second is better, but neither is quite up to the *real* voice of Excel. And don't get me started on the dubbed Ilpalazzo! If you want to get a deeper understanding of the references made throughout the series, use the ADV notes feature: they're quite good, but so numerous that they often take up the entire screen.

The single most annoying feature of the first three or four disks is the layout of the DVD menus: they're complicated, unorthodox unintuitive and at times damned annoying.

All in all, though, ADV did a decent job with this set. It's definitely worth the money.


From Subsistence to Exchange and Other Essays
From Subsistence to Exchange and Other Essays
by P. T. Bauer
Edition: Hardcover
31 used & new from $8.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, September 6, 2003
The other reviewers are generally spot on with their comments about this collection of Bauer's works: wonderful, even if a little repetitive. I myself found the repetition useful for most of the book, even if the feeling of déj‚ vu came over me once in a while. I'll thus say nothing more in general except that his writing style is erudite and fluid but gets a little arcane at a few points (especially in the first few essays).
As for the essays themselves: they're all great. My favorites were "Subsistance to Exchange," "Western Guilt," "Hong Kong," "Class on the Brain" and "Egalitariansim." These are penetrating in their analysis and effective in their prose. The last was truly inspirational as an attack on the foundations of egalitarianism.
"Eclessiatical Economics" was an interesting demonstration of the contradiction of the Vatican's position on development, but lacked some of the oomph of the others. "Liberal Death Wish" had the oomph and was interesting, but seemed a little of a diatribe, but can serve as an effective summary to most of the entire collection of essays. The title is a little misleading too, as Bauer doesn't discuss either classical-liberals or how left-"liberals" might have a death wish, except for western guilt. The others are almost too short to call essays, but still worthwhile.
While Bauer doesn't set out to expound the free-market or classical-liberal policies, per se, it's clear he feels that they are more likely to hold the keys to economic development than the vicious-cycle-of-poverty theory or western guilt.
Bastiat would be proud that classical-liberals can still write like this.


Politically Correct Old Testament Stories
Politically Correct Old Testament Stories
by Robert Martin Walker
Edition: Hardcover
55 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let there be delight..., September 6, 2003
This collection of stories was great to read: very enjoyable if you can enjoy parodies of Judeo-Christian stories (it was written by a member of the cloth, you know) and like to see how rediculous political correctness can be.
The book has two principal weaknesses, which are closely related: once you've read a few, you've kind of read them all, especially if you're familiar with the stories. Second, the writing style isn't varied enough, especially his choices of words. "Non-viable" was funny in the "Garden of Eden" story, and cute in "Cain and Able," but it got old quickly.
Still, it's a fun read, and great for kids.


Government Failure: A Primer in Public Choice
Government Failure: A Primer in Public Choice
by Gordon Tullock
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from $8.49

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb treatment of rent-seeking and log-rolling, August 13, 2003
Since this is a book written by three authors separately, I shall discuss each part on its own, but first a few general remarks.
My biggest gripe is that the primary topic is not "public choice" per se, but rather "rent-seeking" with some discussion about externalities and so forth. While the discussion is illuminating and generally crisp and comprehensible, the over-use of the term "public choice analyis" proved annoying: Hardly a page went by without "public choice analyis," sometimes twice in the same sentence.
The general thrust of the text is that, however well-intentioned, no government can sustain a vibrant and diverse welfare-state over the long-term. Entrenched bureaucracies simply can't cope with the vagaries and varieties of human desires. Only the free market can hope to provide for the panoply of individuals' interests.
Part I: A concise, lucid, introduction to the theory of public choice. Professor Tullock has a definitely "small-government" mentality (which I share), but his discussion is still even-handed. The sole problem I have is that the few tables and graphs he employs are completely unitelligible to me. Fortunately, they're not essential, as his writing should be clear enough. The most important topics are rent-seeking and log-rolling, the former of which is the topic most treated by the co-authors. Also of interest is the discussion about bureaucracies.
Part II: A far ranging, perhaps wandering, discussion of the application of rent-seeking to American regulatory policy. Brady writes with a slightly more fervent tone than does Tullock, with a clear but tempered opinion of the roles lawyers, regulators, etc. Generally interesting, but the chapters somewhat lack coherence with each other beyond the theory.
Part III: Sheldon here presents the most entertaining and forcefully written section of the book. Full of vigor, he brings ip several issues that are of critical interest to proponents of small government: the Fabian fallacy, the growth of addiction to the welfare-state, and the welfare-state's role in the collapse of the family.
A great introduction for the interested student of politics or economics.


Russian and Soviet Economic Performance and Structure (7th Edition)
Russian and Soviet Economic Performance and Structure (7th Edition)
by Paul R. Gregory
Edition: Paperback
Price: $94.25
34 used & new from $21.74

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent analysis, but bad editing, April 25, 2003
To start off, the editors of this book must have been asleep when it crossed their desks: the numerous erros in spelling and grammar interrupt a generally lucid writing style, with numerous, critical errors even in charts and graphs. The worst editorial aspect of the book is that in several places, entire passages are repeated, sometimes immediately, other times in a different chapter. Being in the field, I know economists are not the most skilled writers, but I place all the blame at the doorstep of the publishing house.
That said, the book is fairly good at getting its point across. While the authors' stance on capitalism-vs-communism is clear, they generally present the facts in a clear manner, and they are evenhanded in their treatment of the opposing theories.
A servicable, if cursory, introduction to Soviet and transitional Russian policy. That said, though, I strongly suggest that you buy it used if at all possible. It's really not worth the $$$$ Amazon wants for it.


Economic Fallacies
Economic Fallacies
by Frederic Bastiat
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.90
27 used & new from $0.01

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bastiat triumphs...Deachman does okay, December 26, 2002
This review is from: Economic Fallacies (Paperback)
This work could well have been titled the "Capitalist Manifesto," such was influence it and its author had on contemporary Europe. Unlike their communist counterparts, sadly, Bastiat and his "Economic Fallacies" have faded from the public eye. Nevertheless, Bastiat stands among the great advocates for free-trade that the West has ever known. Even though the battle against tariffs is largely won in principle, the war against protectionism goes on. His arguments are clear, simple, usually water-tight, and entirely relevant in the twenty-first century. His wit is exceptional and memorable, especially his classic "Candlemaker's Petition," which could very well have inspired an episode of "The Simpsons." Bastiat gets a five-star rating, but it's the translation that's on trial here.
It's important to note that Deachman translated this work in Canada during the early Depression, so his English is occasionally a little odd to the eyes of this American. Where footnotes would suffice, Deachman takes some dubious liberties in excising portions of the original French that he deems irrelevant. His prose, while good on its own, is a little too clunky at points, whereas Bastiat's is usually very light and crisp. My biggest nit to pick is the inconsistency in his use of currency units: sometimes using francs, sometimes pounds, and other times dollars. But still, it's a good translation of a great work.
Buy it. Read it. Love it.


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