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4.0 out of 5 stars have found a couple of types of soap I like and bought this razor, December 22, 2014
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I bought this razor in early October and have been using it for about 10 weeks now. I bought it on the advice of my barber, trying to cut down on razor irritation to my throat. He suggested switching to a shaving brush and soap and using a single bladed razor. Taking his advice, I bought a shaving mug, an inexpensive brush, have found a couple of types of soap I like and bought this razor.

It worked. I no longer have the bumps and irritation under my chin and on my throat. I've nicked myself about once a week - usually just a tiny un-noticeable pin prick of a cut - and usually when I am trying to get one last shave out of a blade that should be replaced.

The only downside is that I am not getting as close a shave as I would like. I lather up and go over my entire face with the razor twice, but at a couple spots there always seems to be a bit of stubble that is more noticeable than anything my 5 blade cartridge ever left behind. I don't want to go back to the razor burn of the cartridge, so maybe in the future I might try to find a more "aggressive" safety razor that will cut a little closer to the skin. (once I am sure I am practiced enough to handle it)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2015 12:28 PM PST


Diplomacy (Touchstone Book)
Diplomacy (Touchstone Book)
by Henry Kissinger
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.59
218 used & new from $2.27

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Diplomatic History of the Cold War, July 25, 2013
Kissinger is of course a great expert on the practice of diplomacy and international relations. He uses his personal experiences to illustrate the practices and theories that have historically been brought to the negotiating tables around the world. The focus of the book is on Cold War diplomacy - especially the era of the Cold War in which he was a major actor. The book contains several introductory chapters which illustrate the evolution of the international diplomatic paradigms, but these chapters are meant only to be a brief synopsis of how diplomacy developed in the years leading up to 1945. It is not a thorough study of diplomatic history since the beginning of the Westphalian system.

I would have loved for there to have been a lot more detail and information relating to the history of diplomacy throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. As it is, he sketches the innovations in practice that the great masters developed - Richelieau, Talleyrand, Metternich and Bismarck especially. The bulk of the book is about how these practices and theories were put to the test in the Cold War, and how the different approaches and theories stand up under an analysis of their effectiveness in the period 1945-1989 (with the heaviest emphasis on the 1960's and 70's).

A very good study.


Resistance!: Occupied Europe and Its Defiance of Hitler
Resistance!: Occupied Europe and Its Defiance of Hitler
by D. A. Lande
Edition: Paperback
42 used & new from $1.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction, June 4, 2013
This book provides a good thumbnail sketch of the major players involved in the resistance operations against German occupation of European countries.

As the other reviewer mentioned, it does not cover the Russian partisans. It also does not address the Italian partisans and other resistance groups in Italy. I think this is because the scope of the book is only about allied nations that surrendered to the Germans and therefore were fully occupied and a civil government was set up under German control. Although the Soviets had much of their territory occupied, the Soviet Union never surrendered, therefore partisans operating in German occupied areas of the USSR would, under international law, were not so much resisting a government set up by a victorious army, but carrying on a war behind enemy lines. After Italy switched side and declared war on Germany, the Italian partisans would have been in the same category. Splitting hairs, possibly, but there is a subtle enough difference I suppose. Also not covered were any underground anti-Nazi groups in Germany or Austria itself, nor any anti-government operators in the other Axis nations of Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Finland (and pre-September, 1943 Italy).


The Mighty Eighth: The Air War in Europe as Told by the Men Who Fought It
The Mighty Eighth: The Air War in Europe as Told by the Men Who Fought It
by Gerald Astor
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
66 used & new from $0.01

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A story that needs to be told better, May 17, 2013
I have read upwards of 150 books about World War II, and am familiar with the writing style of many of the best authors in the business, such as William Breuer, Martin Caidin, S.L.A. Marshall, Cornelius Ryan. I've also enjoyed personal memoirs of individual soldiers such as the classics Company Commander by Charles B MacDonald, To Hell and Back by Audie Murphy, Helmet for My Pillow by E.B. Sledge and many others. I have read some very good accounts of individual battles and campaigns, and I have read spell-binding unit histories of rifle companies, infantry divisions, bomber squadrons and individual ships. I've read studies of particular types of weapons, specialized units, or fighting vehicles, like Breuer's Devil Boats, an account of PT boats throughout the war. I've also read books about overall strategy written by historians and by the generals who led the campaigns.

Perhaps I was spoiled by the works of Marshall, Ryan and the others, and should not compare Astor to them.

But the trouble with The Mighty Eighth, as with all of Astor's books, is -- it does not fit into any of the above categories of books. It tries to be an overall history of the 8th Air Force in the war, but it also tries to be an account of individual experiences "by the men who fought". The author tries to tell so many individual stories, that he can not do a good job with any of them, nor can he maintain a coherent narrative of the 8th's unit history. It's choppy. It bounces around from one individual to another, sometimes as many as three times in one page. Over and over again, it tries to tell what would be a very interesting experience (if told in detail) in just a paragraph or two.

In the final analysis, I read this book through, without really learning anything new about the overall command, strategy and structure of the 8th Air Force, nor a coherent operative history of the unit. At the same time, I only got snippets of information about what it was like for the individual air crewman who served in the 8th.

I still am hoping to find a good narrative history of the American strategic bombing campaign in WWII. This one was disappointing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2015 3:39 PM PST


From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role
From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role
by Fareed Zakaria
Edition: Paperback
Price: $33.37
66 used & new from $6.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of the rise of American power, May 3, 2013
This book provides a very good study on the years just before the US burst upon the world stage as a major player in global affairs. It outlines the tentative steps America made toward assuming great power status in the three decades following the Civil War.

Although author Zakaria does not actually pose the question in these words, what he is looking at is not so much the question "When did America become a Great Power?" or even "How did America become a Great Power?" although he certainly loks at these two issues. The real question he seems to be asking is, "Why did it take so long for America to become a Great Power?" Of course the US went from being a few colonial settlements on the seaboard of the North American continent to being one of the five or six most powerful nations in the world in a space of only 125 years, and that was an incredibly rapid advancement. But what the author points out is, American actually possessed the ability to be a Great Power some 20-30 before it actually assumed that role.

For example, in mid-1865 the United States of America possessed the largest army and the largest navy in the world - and had built both of these gigantic war machines in the space of only four years. And, this huge military machine in 1865 did not count the manpower of the 11 Confederate states. The size of the navy is somewhat misleading because although it possessed more vessels than even the British navy at that time, most of the ships of the US Navy were either riverine gunboats and coastal monitors, or were obsolescent wooden sailing ships which were on the way to being replaced by screw-propelled iron and later, steel hulled ships.

But nevertheless, the Civil war demonstrated that the USA could quickly build and arm an immense military while at the same time maintaining a growing industrial base. Had the US focused on international affairs immediately after the Civil War, it is conceivable that the US could have reached the status of a first rank player on the global scene within a decade after the war.

Likewise, the industrial capacity of the US had surpassed the United Kingdom in total output before 1880 - especially in the all-important product of the late nineteenth century, steel. By this time, the rift between the North and South had begun to heal. Again, in the early 1880's, the US could have combined its economic and industrial might with its huge manpower reservoir and become a great power and played a major role on the global stage in a very short period of time, but it did not do so.

In 1893, most of the major powers of Europe upgraded their ministers to the US to the rank of Ambassador - which at that time was a rank reserved only for interactions between the Great Powers themselves. This was an official recognition on the part of the international community that the latent power of the United States deserved Great Power status. But even still, the US waited five more years before involving itself as a major player on the world scene.

In this book, Zakaria examines the internal politics and the governmental structures that caused America to forego this assumption of power for three decades.

I won't spoil the book by telling you what he eventually identifies as the decisive factors, but his arguments in support of his theory is persuasive. A very interesting read.


A Very Merry Christmas
A Very Merry Christmas
25 used & new from $1.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic artists sing classic carols, November 19, 2012
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This review is from: A Very Merry Christmas (Vinyl)
Like one of the others who wrote a review of this album, my introduction to it goes back to my chidlhood, because it was one of about 5 Christmas anthology albums my parents owned since I was a baby, and I cannot remember a Christmas without listening to this one. I share this as a caveat, because perhaps this makes me more than a little prejudiced in favor of this particular collection. However, after 40 years of listening to it, I am convinced that it does contain some of the best renditions of the the carols and songs on it.

And it contains a couple of songs I have never heard elsewhere, such as Theodore Bikel's lovely Jewish holiday song, May Sweetest Dreams Be Thine. And Mike Douglas' "Touch Hands on Christmas Morning" is a wonderful, cheerful celebration of the family aspects of Christmas which I have never heard anywhere else but on this vinyl collection. Also, Patti Page and her Santo Natale is a rare gem. So is the Simon and Garfunkel "Star Carol", a children's song, but sung with a gentle beauty by the duo.

A couple of real classics, Johnny Mathis singins O Holy Night and Jimmy Rodgers version of We Three Kings are extremely lovely, and Bobby Vinton sings the best cover of "Do You Hear What I Hear" that I have ever found.

Since my parents old hi fi stereo, which was as much a major piece of furniture as it was a piece of electronic equipment, no longer functions, I really wish this album would be made into a cd - but I guess they aren't making cd's anymore and I should just download the songs and make one of my own. But I still listen to the vinyl version on my own little Crosley turntable....

I highly recommend this collection.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2013 4:03 PM PST


The Films of the Thirties
The Films of the Thirties
by Jerry Vermilye
Edition: Paperback
41 used & new from $0.40

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice intro to Classic Hollywood, October 12, 2012
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This book, part of a rather lengthy series of books on specific actors and actresses as well as key films from specific decades, is exactly what I called it in my review title, a really good introductory piece to someone who is newly interested in classic American cinema of the "Golden Age". For a more serious student of cinema, the major wortth of the book is its collection of black and white photos from the movies contained in the collection - nice promotional pictures and a few screen grabs of some of films most beuatiful women and handsme men.

Any "film buff" worthy of the name could name a few movies that could have been included but were not. For example, I was very surprised that "It Happened One Night" was not in the book. But at the same time, even a seasoned veteran of Classic Hollywood cinema will be pleasantly surprised, prehaps even pleasantly amused, to see some of the movies that are included, for example one of John Wayne's early B-movies, "Huanted Gold".

Again, this is a great way for newer film fans to learn about some of the 1930's best flicks, and a nice addition to a film fans personal collection.


The Complete Story: World War I
The Complete Story: World War I
DVD ~ Robert Ryan
Offered by ClassicFlix
Price: $14.99
13 used & new from $10.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still has not been topped, October 3, 2012
After almost 50 years, this 1964 documentary series is still the best available American documentary on World War 1. I recall watching it on PBS in the mid 1970's and had been trying to find it for years. There have been several documentaries on the war in the past 15 years or so, but none that I have seen were so comprehensive. Newer documentaries use a lot of re-enactments, but this one uses orginal footage throughout. I had not known that so much film existed from World War One.

I think for me, the mood of the series is what makes it so special, Robert Ryan's narration always seems to contain a hint of melancholy and the footage used really brings home the truth about what a disaster this war was for the entire world, but especially for European society - an entire culture was destroyed and replaced, and you really get the sense from this documentary about how apocolyptic the war was for its participants.

My only complaint is that each epiose cuts out the opening and ending credits - usually I wouldn't be upset over this, but I recall how powerful the credits were, as they were superimposed on a film clip of a soldier rising up out of a trench and aiming his rifle at the enemy, then freeze framed. I wish they had left that in.


The House on the Borderland
The House on the Borderland
by William Hope Hodgson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $5.95
15 used & new from $1.96

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting beginning, but slow, slow, slow after that, August 7, 2012
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I had been looking forward to reading this book for several years when I finally bought a copy of it on Amazon a week or so ago. I read it over the weekend and was quite disappointed. The book started out very well, with a sufficiently creepy locale and a good pace for the opening third of the way through. But toward the middle, the novel changes from a supernatual story to a kind of time travel story - one not near as good as HG Wells did it, and the pace becomes very very slow. And wordy. Even compared to other Victorian authors, he is very very verbose.

The biggest problem is that I had settled in for a story about the supernatural, and half way through it turns into a sort of religious sci fi allegory. You never really do find out what the "Swine-things" are supposed to be or why there is an apprently bottomless pit under the house. There are some vague hints that the narrator visits some form of both Heaven and Hell, but too much is left unexplained at the end and far too much of the novel is taken up in describing the suns path through the sky when time is speeded up. I ended up not enjoying the book very much at all.


Haunted Heartland (Dorset Reprints Series)
Haunted Heartland (Dorset Reprints Series)
by Michael Norman
Edition: Hardcover
134 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the genre, August 3, 2012
I absolutely love this book. I have always enjoyed ghost stories, they are my favorite form of literature, and they are even more enjoyable if they are "true" stories. The narratives in this book use actual names of people involved, so the "truthiness" (to borrow a word from Colbert) of these stories adds to their impact.

Norman and Scott wrote a series of books like this one, subsequent titles were "Haunted America", "Historic Haunted America", "Haunted Heritage" and "Haunted Homeland". The later books took in the entire USA and even some Canadian locales, and they are all very good, but this one is my favorite. It's focus on small towns and farmsteads of the Mid-west is a change of pace from a genre that usually focuses on more famous locations - there are many books with titles like Ghosts of New York City, or Ghostly Washington DC, etc. I really like the eerie feeling when a Ghost story takes place in a more run of the mill sort of a location, and that's what you find in this book.

Additionally, many of these stories took place in the late 1800's or early 1900's, or else the ghost is itself a figure from that era, so each of the stories contains a nice little history story about small mid-west or Great Plains communities.

Some of these stories really raised goosebumps on me, and I bet they will for you too.


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