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Paddling Oregon (Regional Paddling Series)
Paddling Oregon (Regional Paddling Series)
by Robb Keller
Edition: Paperback
56 used & new from $3.32

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oddly Organized by Location, October 18, 2004
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I found that this book lacked organization by geographical region of Oregon. It has a good sized map of Oregon in the front with the various trips represented as a dot with a number in it. There are no city or county indications on the map. If you wanted to look for trips in Bend, you'd be guessing what trips are there. There are regional maps in the back, but I don't think there is an index into them. You just have to hunt around. I was thinking of kayaking in Bend on the stretch of the Deschutes from Wiki Up reservoir to Bend, the first easy section, which stops at the falls about 8 miles downstream. It shows the stretch on one map as easy but no mention is made of how to get there or what to expect.

It has a rather large index to its credit.

Jim Bridger: Mountain Man
Jim Bridger: Mountain Man
by Stanley Vestal
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.67
157 used & new from $2.72

39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good History, September 11, 2004
I'd like to give the book another star, but just don't think I can. I found it an interesting and well researched description of Bridger's life. It has both an excellent index and references. The author gave a fair and balanced assessment of Bridger. It appears that some previous books on him might have been unfair or too praiseworthy about his life. Somehow the descriptions lacked a little spark, although there are a number of vivid passages. Perhaps this has to do with the fact the book was written 100 years after Bridger's death. In fact, this book is now 30 years old, and I believe the author wrote his first book on similar topics back in the 30s. Nevertheless, it's a good and complete description of Bridger's life.

One of the sadder aspects of the story is near the ending when the author reveals that during the last 10-15 years of Bridger's life no writer took the opportunity to interview Bridger. He was in his sixties and seventies, I believe, but was a rather ignored individual, except by his family. He had an exceptionally good memory. Someone missed the opportunity to get more of his rather amazing life straight from the source. The 2-3 page description of his last years, and his desire to keep moving summarize his deep need for adventure and discovery.

He was apparently quite a wit and teller of tall tales. Only four of five of his short tales are found in the book. Interestingly, he told many of his stories in sign languages to the indians.

The book contains on chapter of the famous Hugh Glass incident. It's worth reading if you have not heard it. The story was incorporated into a movie, A Man Called Horse , starring Richard Harris, in a slightly different form. I also found the long passage on "medicine wolves" quite intriguing.

I think this book might disspell a notion that the indian's scalping and body mutiliations of their enemies was derived from copying Europeans might be false. I read such an explanation in another book written at about the same time as this one. However, here we find repeated references to such carnage. In fact, it seems this savagery also been deeply engrained into the mountain men and other early frontiersmen. I suspect such carnages placed on one's enemies has deep roots in all of human history.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2015 7:06 PM PDT

Human Instinct
Human Instinct
by Robert M. L. Winston
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The British Influence Shows Through, June 25, 2004
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This review is from: Human Instinct (Hardcover)
Hmmm. This book turned out to be something of a puzzler for me. I saw the one hour TV program derived from the book, or maybe it was the other way around, and really enjoyed it. Somehow the spontaneity and liveliness of the program did not carry into the book. I did enjoy the book, but it seemed more like a jumble of facts than a story, or maybe it lacked a central focus. Human instinct was certainly the topic, but that seemed a bit too loosely the focus.
The British style of writing had an impact on me. I recently became interested in a book by another British author that won't be released in the U.S. until later this year. I know it's available in Britain. I asked someone about this and asked the reason why. They replied that it has to be edited for the American market. I thought to myself that doesn't seem to a big hurdle. Well, perhaps not, but I can see now why that may be important. My version of Human Instinct certainly was not edited for the American market. There are quite a few references that would leave an American reader wondering what the author is referring to. A simple example is a discussion he has about the Wason selection test. What's a Skoda and who is Bryan Adams? I think a Skoda is a car and Bryan Adams might be a singer. I found such references a little distracting. I've read quite a bit of British authors like Fortey and Dawkins, but the British style of writing was not quite as obvious as here.
Some of his explanations just came up short in terms of completeness. For example, he talks about why the human population tends towards 50% males and females. He dismisses the monogamous case as obvious. Not to me it wasn't. I asked my wife about his offered description. Not to her either. I think he could have spent a little more time explaining the answer to the Wason test. Google saved the day there. There were several places where I was asking myself, "What was that all about?"
I see another reviewer remarked, "Robert Winston is one of the many scientists today who reject God and yet place all their faith in the "infalibilty" of Evolution ..." Did he actually read the final pages of the book? Winston is quite clear that there's a place for God in evolution. In fact, he spends quite a bit of time at the end of the book on the subject of God and importance of the concept of God to evolution. However, I found it rather a weak ending. It was like he wanted to say something important, but missed. It just seemed like he couldn't bring himself to saying something concrete or really important.
Regarding a rating. 4-5 stars for the TV program, but 3 for the book.

What Could He Be Thinking?: How a Man's Mind Really Works
What Could He Be Thinking?: How a Man's Mind Really Works
by Michael Gurian
Edition: Hardcover
118 used & new from $0.01

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and Informative, January 26, 2004
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I heard the author speak on a radio talk show a few months ago, and his book sounded good. I found it quite informative. Maybe I've missed something in my long marriage, but some of his revelations were new to me. I suspected many of the differences were true but didn't have the supported facts until now.
I particularly enjoyed such topics as intimate separateness, "earn this", the heart vs life journey, "wouldn't have war" remark (pg. 61), the current decades long dominance of the woman's view, and stages of marriage, among many others. One could quibble with the stages, but it is nevertheless food for thought and gives some good insight into most marriages. Don't miss chapter 7 on the male at home.
... Martin Gardner, a science writer of some considerable note and talent, put together something of a quack detection list of 10 or so items. I don't think the term quack has any place here. Gurian does at least give very specific material that one can go to for additional information on sex difference research. This or Gurian's interpretation of it doesn't look like quack information to me. If one can question something about the sex difference argument, it is some educators' views (I think female organiaztion driven) that girl's are equivalent of boys and should be treated as such. There seems to a view that nearly two million years of evolution has not produced brain and other differences between the sexes. That view comes a lot closer to quackery than anything else on this subject.
My biggest beef about the books is about some of the organization. Some of the last few chapters seem out of place, but still useful. I did find myself skimming a few sections of the book, since they really do not apply to me. Rearing children, for example. For some reason, he did not include any index. There are plenty of times when I wanted to refer back to info and an index would have been valuable--also for future reference. One saving point on this is that thankfully Amazon has a facility to search the entire book. There's also an abundance of brain terminology that would be served well in an appendix. I finally resorted to taking notes and found a good web site to get additional info ...
I'd suggest this book be required reading for men and women.

The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples
The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples
by Tim Flannery
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.90
84 used & new from $4.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About That Index, January 10, 2004
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I think other reviewers have pretty well covered the book. It's certainly a very interesting read.
I'm kind of an index nut. Some non-fiction authors provide very weak ones. This one is good, but surprisingly misses some important key phrases and words like "founders effect", his interesting Paleogene description on page 101 (paper back) and his references to dawn redwood early on. I certainly appreciated the color photos in the middle of the book, but, whenever I see such material in a paperbook, wonder if there was even more in the hardback version. Four leafs, 8 pages, were provided in the paperback. Anyone know if that's the same as the hardback? I've come across paperbacks that obviously had photos and figures that were excluded from the book. In some cases, that makes a big difference. I think I found two figures in the book. Maybe one. A few more would have been very helpful, partitcularly on extinctions and a few to summarize points.

Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension (Dover Books on Mathematics)
Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension (Dover Books on Mathematics)
by Rudolf V. B. Rucker
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.95
85 used & new from $0.01

3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but Missing a Few Things, November 28, 2003
I haven't completely read this book, but I've read several like it. I want to point out some things that other reviewers haven't touched on. There is no index to the Dover edition. Maybe the original one had an index. That automatically knocks off one star in any book rating I give. It has some pretty sturdy exercises at the end of each chapter. There are no answers in the book. That's OK though. One can get some additional sense of the subject by looking at the questions. There is a very good annotated bibliography at the end of the book. It is not tied into page numbers, but I get the feeling the order of the list and their reference in the book are in the same order. There's good and bad news about the list. He makes many of these books sound very appealing, but many are long out of print. Rucker's book was produced around 1975.
There are times when I wish the author would have pressed a little harder one some seemingly simple points. Maybe by giving an alternative view. For example, early on in the book he talks about a flatlander being inside a balloon as he expands the balloon from the inside. Suddenly the flatlander is on the outside. Maybe it's me, but how that happens is not clear. I've found other such passages. However, a studious reader will find the topics interesting. The price is certainly right.

The New World of Mr Tompkins: George Gamow's Classic Mr Tompkins
The New World of Mr Tompkins: George Gamow's Classic Mr Tompkins
by Russell Stannard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $116.40
62 used & new from $0.80

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book but Needs an Index & Bibliography, November 15, 2003
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This was an enjoyable book, but it would profit by an index and bibliography. I keep wanting to refer to material read earlier, and foundd it difficult to find. I finally used the glosary as the basis of an index. When I thought there was a term in the book that might also be in the glossary, I wrote the page number down in the glossary. It'll be useful when I return to the book, which I'm sure I will. I can understand why they didn't provide a bibliography, but even a one pager would help. It only needed to be topic driven and not historically driven. Don't need a chronicle of events. I'm sure they didn't want to add to the expense or turn the book into something of an academic book.
Much of the material in the first few chapters is available in books like Epstein's Relativity Visualized, which I highly recommend. I really like the last three chapters, which were added to the book. The chapters on how particle accelerators work and on elementary particles were very good. The later was a very insightful treatment on how the particles got their properties. Very well done. Also liked the chapter on space curvature. A reference might be good here on non-euclidean geometry, or naybe a reference to Abbott's Flatland or Ian Stewart's Flatterland, although they aren't on non-euclidean geometry.
The introduction of fictional characters in the Tompkins book is quite useful and helpful. It somehow makes the facts more appealing. That alone perhaps encouraged me to read it from cover to cover. It softened the material at appropriate times rather than keep it on a hard track.
The book had some trouble with the Andromeda Galaxy. In two places it had the distance wrong and in disagreement with one another. 800K ly (circa 1950s value) and 1M ly (not sure where that came from). I believe the accepted value is 2M ly. In one place it called the galaxy The Great Andromeda Nebula. It's not a nebula.

No Title Available

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard To Believe, July 5, 2003
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
It's hard to believe this will teach or even be modestly helpful in teaching some astronomy. The game is the same as the standard monopoly with the property names changed to astronomical objects. There are no astronomy concepts taught. A list of object names and pictures for properties is not of much help. The price is also way out of line for what it represents....You are kidding. I believe the game has been discontinued. If you want to introduce a youngster to astronomy, then buy one of H. A. Rey's books, The Stars: A New Way to See Them, or Find the Constellations.

The Big Country
The Big Country
DVD ~ Gregory Peck
Price: $6.59
60 used & new from $1.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Location, Location, Location, June 17, 2003
This review is from: The Big Country (DVD)
A teriffic movie and it's gotten plenty of kudos in other reviews. It looks like the producers of the DVD could improve things a bit--behind the scenes, book adaptation, stars, locations, etc. No one mentions the beautiful shooting location. Where is Blanco Canyon?

The Secret House: The Extraordinary Science of an Ordinary Day
The Secret House: The Extraordinary Science of an Ordinary Day
by David Bodanis
Edition: Paperback
68 used & new from $0.01

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but No Index and Missing Photos, May 17, 2003
This is a republication of the book which was written in 1985. It's a very interesting read, but some of the material has probably surfaced elsewhere in the intervening period. It could use an index for future reference, and is missing the some 80 photographs found in the hardback. There are obvious typos in some places, probably because of editing to get the book into paperback form. I'd really suggest buying a used copy of the original, which I would give a 5 star rating to. The photos help a great deal to add to the text.

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