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Book reviews for "Gordon,_Robert_Ellis" sorted by average review score:

The Funhouse Mirror: Reflections on Prison
Published in Paperback by Washington State Univ Pr (2000)
Author: Robert Ellis Gordon
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the Man in the Mirror
Robert Gordon's The Funhouse Mirror is a remarkable and hard to put down book. At first glance it seems to be about prisons, but it is much more, it is about--no, it is--the men who are the prisoners; and it is also about Gordon who has the courage to reveal himself as, in many ways, no better or no more of a human being than the inmates to whom he taught creative writing in Washington state's prisons in the late 1980's and early 1990's. The Funhouse Mirror contains essays written by Gordon and also creative writings by the men he taught. Gordon outines the prison system and his students. He doesn't excuse them for what they have done, nor is he a bleeding heart. In fact, what they have done is the background against which their humanity and pain stand out. We don't forget where they are; we don't forget that they are murderers and rapists, armed robbers and child molesters, but we see them. We feel them, their pain and their anger. We hear them. Then, if we are as honest as Gordon, and as willing to look at the society in which we live and which we participate in creating, we can see ourselves. And we see that our experiences are not much different at the bottom, than the men we lock up for ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years. This is a moving book with some brutally honest stories by some brutal men in a brutal situation. It will make you think.

The Funhouse Mirror
Robert Gordon delivers an authentic and disturbingly poignant collection of short stories and essays in his latest book, "The Funhouse Mirror: Reflections on Prison". As an ex-convict, and having read more than my share of the material written about our country's prison system, I can tell you this guy must have really gotten to know his subjects. Gordon, while working as a teacher of creative writing in prisons in the Northwest, peeled back some layers of an underbelly that up to this point only the hopelessly incarcerated knew existed. It's been a long time since I've read something so powerful and so reminiscent of days and nights I'd like to forget.

Love Made Visible
For nine years, Robert Gordon routinely ventured into and out of the prisons of Washington state, teaching intensive fiction writing workshops to inmates while the state's prison population doubled and daily prison life became ever harsher. Gordon elicited students' often harrowing stories, some of which he includes in The Funhouse Mirror. They are stories from within prison and from outside lives that were frequently violent, abusive, impoverished, troubled, despairing, drained of hope. Some are fanciful or exaggerated; many have the ring of truth. They are stories we don't usually hear, even when they are told.

This is a slim book, but also a riveting, searing, big-hearted book, full of the grim realities and refusal, sometimes, to give in that characterize our American gulag. The American public desperately needs to know those realities. We need them not to absolve people for their crimes, but to put a human face on an often breathtakingly inhuman prison culture, to shine a light on our collective heart of darkness. That heart is shared as much by the rest of us as by the prisoners, guards, and administrators in Gordon's book.

One of the many strengths of this volume is that Gordon wrestles repeatedly with the value-laden question of whether it is appropriate to be appalled when inmates who have themselves committed, at least once in their lives, some horrific crime, are in turn subjected to endless years of horrific taxpayer-mandated treatment at the hands of fellow inmates, sadistic guards and administrators, and a fickle but generally vengeful justice system. The fact that Gordon acknowledges these all-too-human conflicts lends that much greater a moral resonance to his book.

It helps both his pupils and his readers that Gordon is an exceptionally fine and evocative writer. Too often, in books with political themes, the writing is lousy, leavened only by the value of the information buried in dreadful prose. Not so in the Funhouse Mirror. Gordon uses the beauty of language to expose ugly, invisible truths. If this book were widely read, we'd be a better society for it.

Starship Troopers
Published in Paperback by Dark Horse Comics (01 July, 1998)
Authors: Warren Ellis, Paolo Parente, Jan Strnad, Tommy Lee Edwards, Bruce Jones, Mitch Byrd, Gordon Rennie, and Robert A. Starship Troopers Heinlein
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What a waste
At least they saved the title. Or should we say they stole a good title to market trivial trash. It copies the movie, and has all the flaws. The troopers in the movie had no guns. We're expected to believe that they flew starships and the best personal weapon they could find was an automatic rifle hardly better than 20th century. They had no guns. Even a battery of civil war field pieces would have been a major improvement. A Sherman tank would have been a miracle. Given the starship technology a viewer/reader would expect them to carry real guns that fire real destruction, not those puny ineffective popguns they died holding. The lack of credible weapons makes these troopers seem like ineffective jerks and destroys the credibility of the whole thing.

Heinlein's troopers wore armored suits and carried weapons sufficient to destroy everything alive within several hundred yards. They had to pay attention when they got within half a mile of each other so they wouldn't wipe each other out. Not these fools, they have to fire a hundred rounds to kill one unarmed bug. Pathetic and unbelievable.

The original Starship Troopers spends half the book discussion moral philosophy of government, command structure of troops, and the morals of space exploration. This has none of that. What a waste.

Maby I'm biased a little bit, but i found this book uninteresting and insulting to Robern Heinlein (may he rest in peace). I felt the book strayed too far from the original purpose of Heinlein's excellent book. This novel detailed the military aspect well, but completely missed the philosophical aspects of Heinleins book that made it a classic. The book is often thought of with the movie, even though they are nothing alike. It is unfortunate that this other seemed to have never even read the novel Starship Troopers, much less adhered to its purpose.

The only good bug is a dead bug!
I really liked this trade-paperback because my parents prohibited my viewing the 1997 sci-fi thriller. This comic sets the stage by showing the prequel (Insect Touch) in which man comes in contact with the vicious arachnids, the tie-in (Brute Creations) in wich Raczak tries to save the inhabitants of Port Joe Smith, and the actual adaptation of the film itself.

When Bobby Kennedy Was a Moving Man
Published in Hardcover by Black Heron Press (1994)
Author: Robert Ellis Gordon
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It's one of the most stupid book I ever read, it's boring and has no sense. The author had surely drunk some alcohol before he wrote it. DON'T BUY IT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO WAIST MONEY.

I loved this book. It is a great story, but impossible of course. In this account of the late Senator's life, his story becomes a fictionalized account of being allowed to return to earth as a moving man.

I love the way the fictionalized Senator/Moving Man fits in with the 9:00 - 5:00 crowd, perfectly at ease with politicos and blue collar workers as well as the folks he goes on runs for. He is the man for everyone; the regular guy who gives his job his fullest effort. One can imagine the Senator whom we remember seeing with shirt sleeves rolled up, hard at work on the campaign trail or poring over work in his office on a moving run, sleeves up, sweating and grunting while moving somebody's heavy sofa or living room set. Robert Kennedy was nobody's slacker and this fictionalized portrayal of him will certainly bring smiles to many faces.

Just think -- the next time one of your moving men gives his job his best effort without an occasional glance at the clock, you just might think of the late Senator.

From JFK conspiracy, reincarnation, to moving companies.
As a moving man myself, I appreciated the moving company atmosphere and Seattle setting in "When Bobby Kennedy Was a Moving Man." While delving into the moving industry a little bit, Gordon's book focuses more on Bobby Kennedy being reincarnated into Regular Joe mover and the conflicts going on in his mind. (Note: this Bobby Kennedy reincarnate, however, is NO regular joe mover when it comes to the moving job though...)

I was captivated by this book and I liked it so much, it took me only two evenings to finish. If you are into JFK conspiracy theories, blue collar workers, reincarnation, or the moving industry, I would highly recommend "When Bobby Kennedy Was a Moving Man" to you.

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