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Ken MacRae has commented on (19) products.

Ken MacRae, November 24, 2010

Dick Francis fans will be sorry to hear that this is his final book (although since 2006 he has written in collaboration with his son), as he passed away this year. While older readers such as myself enjoyed the sense of mid-twentieth century nostalgia in his earlier books, a younger generation of fans will appreciate the more current context of his more recent mysteries. In Crossfire his main character is a British infantry officer invalided home from Afghanistan. Though now handicapped he has the training to carry through a more personal mission at home to assist his family. Another fast-paced ending to tie up all the loose ends, with the inevitable collateral damage, and mission accomplished.
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Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd
Ordinary Thunderstorms

Ken MacRae, June 24, 2010

William Boyd - one of my favourite authors, London's Chelsea - one of my favourite locations, and a very interesting plot: what's not to like. Well, you might find yourself feeling distinctly uncomfortable - as I was - by imagining yourself unaccountably broke and homeless and wanted by the police, which was the situation Adam found himself in through no fault of his own. I don't actually like Chelsea enough to want to be homeless there, but Adam pulled it off. One detail I liked: the Church of John Christ was a bit of a twist on Monty Python's concept in the 'Life of Brian'. I'm sure that there is at least one movie in this book.
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All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo by Bryan Mealer
All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo

Ken MacRae, June 15, 2010

I have never had any desire to visit the Congo (I discovered my limits of endurance in the Sudan), it hasn't been a tourist destination since independence 50 years ago, and I find it amazing that anyone from the First World would actually volunteer to go there, but I have developed an interest in others' difficult and dangerous travels into the dark heart of Africa, beginning with Stanley and Livingstone's incredible journeys. Bryan Mealer is a journalist who has reported on and travelled to many areas of the country in recent years and in this book has attempted to put his experiences into the larger context of a very complex situation. Despite the descriptions of the horrors and difficulties (that seems much too mild a word) of existence in such a shambolic country, an Epilogue and Afterword update the situation into 2009 and offer some hope that the situation could improve in the future (well it boggles the mind to think that it could get any worse).
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To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism by Chuck Thompson
To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism

Ken MacRae, May 27, 2010

In reviewing the reviews of this book, I have little to add except to give it Powell's 5-star rating. Thompson's well-written adventures are Chuck-full of wit and humour and he deserves recognition as a first-rate travel author. Honest and interesting accounts of his visits to the Congo (good grief!), India, Mexico and Walt Disney World - the last perhaps a surprising choice, but germaine to the book's premise. I read a library copy but I will buy my own as the book invites re-reading.
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Designed for Pleasure: The World of EDO Japan in Prints and Paintings, 1680-1860
Designed for Pleasure: The World of EDO Japan in Prints and Paintings, 1680-1860

Ken MacRae, March 17, 2010

'Designed for Pleasure' is certainly an exhibit catalogue designed for the pleasure of the reader. Nicely laid out and illustrated with 141 high-quality prints and paintings, my only regret was that I was not able to attend what must have been a beautiful exhibit. The eight essays on different aspects of the cultural context discuss the publishers and private commissions, as well as personal information about the artists and subjects, promoting a heightened appreciation for Japanese art and artists. Highly recocommended.
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