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Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
by Ross King
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.06
83 used & new from $2.47

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete failure: A sociologist confused by Engineering., May 18, 2014
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Ross King fails at the core of his mission - to explain how Brunelleschi reinvented architecture. At the end of this book I felt like I've lived in Florence in the 1400's but I still have no idea what Brunelleschi really did that reinvented architecture. I dont even know how he built the dome!

I know about the machines he invented (mainly because of two good diagrams), but not what is keeping the dome up. I also know he didnt use wooden supports in the construction process but I still have no idea what he really did instead.

The explanations of the technical achievements are just so utterly poorly written. Where was the editor in this book? Page 105 is Kings attempt to explain how the dome was built and it's just plain awful writing. He also has a habit of using jargon without explanation. What's a Nave? You are meant to know (i looked it up). Apart from two, most of the illustrations in the book are embarrassing. This book could really do with some decent illustrations.

My guess - it feels like this is what happens when a sociologist writes about engineering.

EDIT: I now feel the book is even worse!

I just found a truly brilliant Nova / Nat Geo doco called "Great Cathedral Mystery" on youtube. It does what the Ross King completely failed to do. How could this book fail to mention the rope system?? It's now a true shame this book is the most famous "Dome" book. Poor Brunelleschi would be horrified his dome is preseneted to the world in the hands of someone who fails to understand its engineering so entirely.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2014 2:38 PM PST


Domke F-5XB Shoulder and Belt Ruggedwear Bag
Domke F-5XB Shoulder and Belt Ruggedwear Bag
Price: $64.79
12 used & new from $64.79

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Looks good, but small and not fully padded, December 21, 2012
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Loved the look - but straight out of the box I was surprised at how small it was.

It looks bigger in the pics. Maybe they have used smaller body cameras than mine. I have a Canon 60D and 2 lens. But it even looks bigger on the pic with a girl carrying over her shoulder. Must have been a tiny model.

I can just fit my camera body and 2 lens' in - but only by having no lens on the camera body. So its impossible to grab the camera from the bag and start shooting. Gotta fit lens every time.

With he 70-200mm standard lens attached to the body, i can jam it to one end have enough space to almost, but not quite, store the second lens. So with the 70-200mm fitted, thats all that the bag can take.

Even if it did squeeze in - im not keen to have anything tight up against the two ends of the bag - because they skipped the padding here. Just thin canvas. Why?? (ok you can detach the velcro internal dividers and move them to the ends (i have) - but now I have no internal dividers...

For me, no padding at the ends makes it unfit to be called a camera bag. And the size -for a camera and 2 lens' - not practical.

Make it 20% bigger and pad all 6 sides - then it would be great.

It looked good in the pics though.


Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.67
513 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bite-size snacks served together, April 15, 2012
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Just a joy to read. Fast flowing and funny writing with A-ha moments along the way.

Reviews complain that most of it has been in print before. I don't care that it has been published in VF before. It was all new to me.

Reviews also complain that each chapter is "just" a magazine article - but that's what I loved about this book. Each chapter is a complete work on one country and their experience of the financial crisis.

Read one chapter and you have a complete work, read the book and you can see the intersecting themes across each chapter. I like my reading bite-size sometimes.

And god its funny - especially the Iceland chapter.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2012 3:47 PM PDT


Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (Great Discoveries)
Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (Great Discoveries)
by William T. Vollmann
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.36
55 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbled ramblings..., April 15, 2012
Like at least one other reviewer... I also just gave up.

Vollman seems determined to garble both the ideas he wants to communicate and the english language. At first I suspected the book was a translation, or maybe english was not his first language... It reads that badly.

I'm surprised to discover he is a professional author based in California, with 8 books to his name.

If you are unsure, just read the convoluted pedantry in the introductory Note. It tries but fails, to explain his usage of the terms; Earth "earth", World and "world". What a way to start a book! It doesn't get any better, at least not during chapter one. I never got passed that.

PS: Shoot his editor.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2013 8:24 PM PDT


Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942
Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942
by Ian W. Toll
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.55
153 used & new from $0.69

55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's done it, again., November 15, 2011
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OK - I'm only up to chapter 5 but for all the fans of Ian Toll's "Six Frigates" who want an early review; he's done it again.

To be honest I'm not a history buff nor fanatically interested in WWII or the Pacific Theatre (although as an Australian, I probably should be). But once again, Ian Toll's gripping writing has me keen to finish work today and get home to find out what happened to the overwhelmed lads on Wake Atoll, surrounded by Japanese and abandoned by a shell shocked naval leadership in Hawaii.

And pardon my complete ignorance, but Yamamoto went to Harvard and Nimitz spoke fluent german... It's a funny world. The portrait of Yamamoto is fascinating. He's more than a likable character.

Two books in, the author is fast creating a Toll trademark for combining enormous research and a gripping story telling ability.

I'll update this review when I've finished. I almost want to read it slowly and enjoy it for longer. You know he won't be back with his next book for few years. So five chapters in and I can't put it down. He's done it again.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 5, 2012 1:34 PM PDT


Virgin Anchorages
Virgin Anchorages
by Simon Scott
Edition: Spiral-bound
20 used & new from $13.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect companion book, June 9, 2008
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This review is from: Virgin Anchorages (Spiral-bound)
Just got back form our first week of sailing BVI. We had this and two BVI cruising guides on board.

Virgin Anchorages is predominantly aerial photos of BVI anchorages. It works really well two ways;
1. a quick orientation check before you get to an island or anchorage. This is really useful. The more detailed guide books tell you in writing much more detail about a spot - but this just shows you in glance. And sometimes you just dont have time to look up index and read slabs of text. One look at the big aerial photo and you know the lay of the land so to speak.

2. When you are back it makes a great coffee table book. The large format photos look great. The cruising guides will gather dust on the shelf and slowly get out of date. This is what we'll show our friends.

You still need a proper BVI cruising guide - but for us this was the perfect companion book.


Adriatic Pilot
Adriatic Pilot
by T. Thompson
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from $19.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so far so good, April 4, 2007
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This review is from: Adriatic Pilot (Hardcover)
My trip is not for another three weeks (May 07) - so i'll update this review after that. But flipping through it now -it looks good.

This is s recent edition - and i've been told the croatian coast is developing fast that older pilots arent as good.

It's in colour too - which is a lot nicer than another I bought that is all black and white. My girlfriend wishes it had restaurant reviews!! ha - a new area for pilots??!

I'll update this in april - but right now it looks great!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 23, 2007 7:16 AM PDT


How to Pick Stocks Like Warren Buffett: Profiting from the Bargain Hunting Strategies of the World's Greatest Value Investor
How to Pick Stocks Like Warren Buffett: Profiting from the Bargain Hunting Strategies of the World's Greatest Value Investor
by Timothy P. Vick
Edition: Hardcover
121 used & new from $0.01

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did Buffett write this?, October 15, 2006
I've read about 5 "Buffett" books and they ranged from utter garbage (the daughter-in-law books) to the mildly interesting. None really helped me invest better.

This book is different. I've read it probably 10 times now. Every chapter can change they way you think about investing.

The writing is clear and simple.

What follows is a totally groundless statement - i have zero evidence of this - but... the only other writer I know who writes so clearly on investment is Buffett himself, which leads me to suspect he may have been involved in the writing of this book ...or maybe Buffet is the real writer. (apologies to mr vick - take my comment as a compliment if you really did write this)

Even if Buffett isnt the real writer, my guess is that this is the book he would write.

It's my favourite book on investment. I have five or so copies at any one time and hand them out to friends who ask me for investment advise.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2007 6:43 PM PST


Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy
Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy
by Ian W. Toll
Edition: Hardcover
40 used & new from $3.75

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading this book at sea..., October 14, 2006
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I read "Six Frigates" sailing south down the coast of Australia from Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday group.

Keen to dodge a storm, we did a 48 hour dash down to the safety of Yepoon running a 3 hours on/3 hours off watch cycle. Problem was I didnt get any sleep. I was too deep inside Six Frigates. Back on deck, I'd update my watch on what I'd just read. They loved it. Sailing by instalments.

Ian Toll's a wonderful writer. The man is a time machine. He drops you right into the middle of the smoke-filled, blood splattered action. Patrick O'Brian fans: this is the book for you.

Toll is also a deft hand at dropping insights that get you thinking. Like the half-parargraph mention of Madison writing to Thomas Jefferson agreeing that a war with the arab states of north africa could easily be won, and in the process stop the attacks on US merchant ships -but advises Jefferson against this course as the real issue will be the cost of then keeping the peace... Perhaps George W should have a read a little more history at college.

You'll taste the sweat and blood and salt on every page. Best read I've had in ages. And my shipmates agree!

cheers
Andrew Maloney
Aboard Sonnet
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2006 4:54 PM PDT


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