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A book review

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Old 07-22-2010, 02:42 PM
Daniel J (Offline)
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Default A book review


I'd be really quite grateful if someone could read through this and see what they think. It's a genre I've never tried. I know this forum isn't visited very much though! Equally, it was pretty difficult to do a review of a non-fiction book.

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“Londonistan: How Britain’s creating a terror state within” review.

Londonistan, written by Melanie Phillips (unsurprisingly, a Daily Mail columnist) and published in 2006, is a dubious and subjective record of how the British public and government has ignored the problem of Islamist terror to such an extent it has developed into a global problem, with its headquarters in the capital London.

At first, it struck me as a well written book with accurately cited and backed-up arguments. The majority of her citations are from newspapers, which without much thought encourages a cautious approach. Furthermore, she often breaks them up and edits them with her own slants (although, rightly so, these edits are pointed out) which are clearly well-placed to encourage the reader around to her view on the particular quotation, even though that interpretation may be far from the original and intended context.

However, as the book develops the author seems to lose her way and her goal somewhat, and instead of the well-reasoned argument it encouraged at first, she appears to fall into the dangerous trap of her prose becoming a rant; more than that, an endless diatribe sweeping from the peaks of Islamist terror to the ignorance of the normal British public. Thus, the text actually loses all credit it had built up in the previous pages and, with the apparent personal slant she has developed, begins to lose the reader as she often repeats herself whilst making long, sweeping platitudes which she fails to substantiate – sometimes leaving them as complete generalisations. In a book of a factual analysis of British society, generalisations don’t fit in well.

Having said that, some of the points she brings up (such as the birth of a “victim” culture amongst ethnic minorities) will ring true with many readers and are well-developed observations... but they’re far from being insightful.

Furthermore, anyone looking for a debate should carefully put this book in the ‘never to read’ pile. Indeed, Phillips presents quite the opposite, with an entirely one-sided viewpoint – a viewpoint which is by default naturally aggressive to the subject at hand. A little research into her life and works will find that she is a member of the Jewish faith and has always been a journalist for social policies, mostly investigating asylum seekers and other such immigration policies. She can also boast the prestigious award of "Most Islamophobic Media Personality of the Year", which she seems to champion.
Possibly as a result, much of the latter parts of the book are devoted to defending the Jewish faith and Israel, and I personally struggle to identify why the Israeli-Palestine question is essential to the point she intends to make; it reinforces the view that the publication is more of a long-standing weight she has needed to get well and truly off her chest and into print.

What worries me is the thought of someone buying this book and dotingly nodding along with everything she says. It’s worrying to think that Phillips ever meant for this to be agreed entirely with – to me it should be for reference, and loose reference at that. The best use for this book is to balance out an argument and get another, rather extreme view, of the great question which faces British society in the 21st century.

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Old 07-24-2010, 03:19 AM
! Andy
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“Londonistan: How Britain’s creating a terror state within” review.
Review of 'Londonistan: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within'
Londonistan, written by Melanie Phillip
Melanie Phillip's Londonistan...
At first, it struck me as a well written book with accurately cited and backed-up arguments.
Omit underlined, chronology is impled & "However..." suffices later.
"back-up" sounds very juvenile. Replace with "Well supported," "justified," "reasoned."
Also, it seems odd to mention that the book is accurately cited. This is a given, and should only be mentioned if the book does not cite accurately.
The majority of her citations are from newspapers, which without much thought encourages a cautious approach. Furthermore, she often breaks them up and edits them with her own slants
This is cumbersome.
"Newpapers provide the majority of her..., which are often conveniently segmented."
Concision is paramount.
clearlywell-placed to encourage the reader around to her view on the particular quotation
Omit underlined. Never tell your reader to think something. It is up to the reader to decide if things are "clearly" well-placed.
"...to encourage the reader around to her view on a particular quotation." = "to persuade the readers."

The second paragraph says little, besides where the majority of her sources are from. Given your conclusion, it should say more.

Thus, the text actually
Omit underlined. Such vocab. weaken arguments and distract for valid points.

Phillips presents quite the opposite, with an entirely one-sided viewpoint
This should be mentioned earlier.

A little research into her life and works will find that she is a member of the Jewish faith...
Careful. Given the context & from what this follows, you're insinuating negative bias because of her religion. Very dangerous ground.
What worries me is the thought of someone buying this book and dotingly nodding along with everything she says. It’s worrying to think that Phillips ever meant for this to be agreed entirely with – to me it should be for reference, and loose reference at that. The best use for this book is to balance out an argument and get another, rather extreme view, of the great question which faces British society in the 21st century.
Find your points and present them concisely and assertively.
The text in question is biased. It cannot be used as an exclusive source to reach a conclusion. It is flawed. Those are you closing points, you need to delivery them fluidly & with concision.

The fact I've read the text in question is irrelevant. Your opinions were interesting, but you must work on concision and structure in order for it to work.

Hope I helped,

- Andy
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  #3  
Old 07-25-2010, 03:57 AM
Daniel J (Offline)
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Thanks. As I've said, it was my first go, so I expect a lot of work to have to be done.

On the religion thing: dangerous, possibly. True, definitely. The two religions have always been in conflict and I think she lets this get in the way.

I'd be interested to know what you thought of it?
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