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Book reviews for "Lardner-Burke,_Desmond_William" sorted by average review score:

Complete Idiot's Guide to the Life of Christ
Published in Paperback by Alpha Books (20 October, 2000)
Authors: William R. Grimbol and Desmond Mpilo Tutu
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A Small Treasure
Unlike other books of this sort, "Life of Christ" actually manages to teach you something! Not only does it focus on the existence of Jesus, the greatest teacher and thinker of all time, but it also includes details about the patriarchs, the prophets, the related history -- all the information you need to fully appreciate the tragically inspirational story of Jesus Christ. The author is truly gifted and talented; his own attitude and writing style are something to marvel at! This is a definite must read for all who are curious about the world's most passionate teacher and savior!

Nice overview of Christ
I found this book to be quite excellent.It is written simply, like most Idiot's guides. The information to my knowledge is quite accurate. I was actually surprised at the quality of this book. From the culture surrounding Jesus, to his birth, life, and death, this book covers it all. The book is packed with interesting facts. It is not overly complex, and won't try to "convert" anyone. It simply gives an overview of Christ. But even non-Christians will admire Jesus Christ after reading about his truly awesome life on this earth.

Can Anything Good Come out of a "Complete Idiot" Book?
Yes, something good can come from Nazareth, and here we have something good about the same thing, coming out of Complete Idiot-land. It's a little hard to get used to, since it's not really a Sunday school paper, but not quite a copy of the New Testament, either.

Includes sections on how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, and a section analyzing the Book of Revelation. Doing this explores the context of Christ's life, and this format ends up producing a refreshing new look.

The radical nature of Christ's message comes out clearly, as the author here boils it down: don't worry about anything; disregard hypocrites; love your neighbor.

The anaylsis of the four gospel books is pretty standard. For a guy who, according to the back cover, is on a teaching gig at St. John the Divine cathedral in NYC (home of ultra-liberals like William Sloane Coffin), the author is remarkably Orthodox in his approach. Althouth he's a Presbyterian, he's in touch with urban ministries and younger people, all of which comes out here.

The anti-scholastic tone achieved by the cover and packaging may also be more authentically Christ-like than most people would think. The author leaves room in his writing for doubts about who Jesus was, or is, which is also appropriate for this medium.

A Cast of Killers
Published in Paperback by Select Penguin (1987)
Author: Sidney D. Kirkpatrick
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A Classic Hollywood Mystery
In 1922, director William Desmond Taylor was found shot to death in his home, and two celebrated stars fell under suspicion. The case was never solved, and lingering questions about the crime spelled finish for the careers of the brilliant comic actress Mable Normand and the popular ingenue Mary Miles Minter. But in Hollywood, old sins cast long shadows: the case continued to be investigated off and on over subsequent decades, providing considerable fodder for the tabolid press. In time, it became a legend, and in the the late 1960s director King Vidor--who had been acquainted with most of the individuals involved--began his own investigation in hopes of developing the story into a film.

Vidor eventually set his findings aside, and after his death biographer Sidney D. Kirkpatrick uncovered his extensive notes on the Taylor case. The result is A CAST OF KILLERS, a book which purports to solve the case for once and for all. Although he writes with a somewhat superficial tone, Kirkpatrick spins out his story with considerable conviction. What emerges is an extremely distasteful portrait of greed. According to Kirkpatrick, the studios decided to protect themselves even to the extent of implicating innocent parties while the Los Angeles Police Department preferred to extort money from the killer instead of bringing the case to court. But more disturbing than this is the portrait Kirkpatrick paints a profoundly dysfunctional family, the head of which was dominated by a need for money, fame, and absolute control.

Ultimately there is no hard proof for Kirkpatrick's conclusions, but--and in spite of several errors that have crept into the work--he makes an extremely convincing case for their validity. While A CAST OF KILLERS is far too popular in content to satisfy students of the crime (described as Taylorologists), it is largely in line with current theory re this famous murder, and it makes for a fascinating read. Recommended.

Alvarodo Street and Murder
King Vidor was a legendary film director largely forgotten by Hollywood at the time of his death. Sydney Kirkpatrick came to Vidor's home after his death to research a well deserved biography but instead discovered a buried box full of notes for a project planned but put aside by Vidor due to the explosive nature of his findings. This book is based on what Kirkpatrick found in that box. It is full of mystery and murder, love and lust, and in the end, sadness at the solving of one of the most famous and sensational scandels in the history of tinsletown. It is a mesmerizing journey into the early days of Hollywood and the lengths it would go to to cover up its secrets.

In 1922 the murder of director William Desmond Taylor was so filled with scandel it ruined careers and nearly destroyed Hollywood. If the absolute truth had been known, it might have. King Vidor had been a part of this Hollywood in its formative years and planned to make his comeback film by telling the story of it. Kirkpatrick could have turned this into a pulp type expose but instead, and to his credit, takes a respectful and nostalgic tone, both for Vidor and a time gone by. He uses Vidor's notes and findings to let this murder mystery unfold just as it did for Vidor.

For every film buff with a fascination for old Hollywood this is a book you can't put down. It is juicy but never tawdry, Vidor sifting through the misinformation of Hollywood and the corruption of the police to slowly get a picture of the truth he himsef couldn't yet tell because some of the players were still alive. The homicide and the aftermath is filled with names like Mabel Normand, Alan Dwan, James Kirkwood, Gloria Swanson, Claire Windsor, and Charlette Shelby and her waif like daughter Mary Miles Minter, an early rival of Mary Pickford.

Vidor's reputation and the fact he had been a part of this Hollywood way back when gave him weight and would prompt many to open up and talk to Vidor in a way in which they would not have someone else. He would even get to look at police files that would contradict most of what was reported at the time, raising even more questions. As Vidor plays detective in order to write the screenplay that he hoped would put him back on top Kirkpatrick lets us see a man who was once a vital part of the film industry fighting to be remembered. During his investigation he would come into contact with old flame Coleen Moore, a lovely silent star with a fine career of her own. It was a happy coincidence and would force Vidor to make decisions affecting the rest of his life.

A Cast of Killers is a fun, fast read tinged with sadness, as Vidor somehow knew it would be. Before beginning, Vidor himself likened it to an old bottle of wine. If you love a good mystery, and or Hollywood, this is one you have to read.

'I realized it was vintage stuff-the rarest vintage of all: a murder that has never been solved. One opens such a bottle at his own peril.....'
King Vidor, 1967

Spellbinding Mystery
"A Cast of Killers" was the first book I read some years ago about the murder of Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor. I've read other books on the same subject over more recent times but this one is still the most entertaining by far. I agree with another reviewer who said that the description of King Vidor's meeting with Mary Miles Minter who had become a sad recluse by the 1960s was a great piece of writing.I felt that I was actually sitting in that gloomy "Norma Desmond Style" house with King Vidor as he gazed around at all the photos Mary had of herself. The author paints a fascinating portrait of a once great silent movie star whose life spun out of control.By the end of that part of the book you can't help but to feel extremely sorry for Minter who became a victim of fame . A spellbinding true life mystery.

A Deed of Death: The Story Behind the Unsolved Murder of Hollywood Director William Desmond Taylor
Published in Hardcover by Knopf (1990)
Author: Robert Giroux
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Logical and Interesting
"A Deed of Death" is well worth reading . It provides some interesting information and the author discusses the possible suspects in considerable detail. His final "Summing Up" as to the likely guilt( or otherwise) of certain people is logically set out and the arguments he presents appear to be well supported by acceptable evidence. Perhaps a bit too much space was devoted to seemingly unrelated career details of Mable Normand such as her problems with Samuel Goldwyn which didn't seem to have anything to do with the Taylor case. Also, the author chose not to expand on the fact that Taylor was due to appear in court on the day of his murder as a defence witness for his butler who had been arrested in WestLake Park not long before on a morals charge. Kirkpatrick in "A Cast of Killers" obviously considered this fact to be more significant than Mr Giroux. But, overall this book is very entertaining and the author has managed to dig out some new facts about the central character which are enlightening . Bill Taylor comes across as being a thoroughly decent man who has been wrongly maligned over the years.

The Man Who Died Twice
Published in Paperback by Academy Chicago Pub (1984)
Author: Samuel A. Peeples
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An interesting idea ruined
Started off OK but soon deteriorated into the realms of utter absurdity. The presence of William Desmond Taylor would have been much more effective if it had merely been implied . When the present day cop started to argue with Taylor's ghost - particularly so early in the book it all became a bit silly and I quickly lost interest. Would have been much better to have simply "Dropped Hints" to suggest the great man's presence and then brought him into the foreground action much further into the book. An interesting idea ruined by shortening the suspense.

Time Travel Murder Mystery based on a true story
This well-researched murder mystery reminds me of Jack Finney's wonderful pair of time travel fantasy-mysteries, From Time to Time, and Time and Again. Peeples' book does not have the romantic charm of Finney's books---the protagonist here is more into the physical aspect of love---but the time travel theme is similar. While Finney used an elaborate deliberate scheme to effect time travel, Peeples chooses to make the ultimate trip an accident.
In The Man Who Died Twice, a 1970's Los Angeles Police detective travels back to 1922 Los Angeles, and inhabits the body of William Desmond Taylor, a Hollywood producer who was murdered in real-life Hollywood in February 1922. The LA detective, Ernie Carter, has the advantage of knowing lots of details about the case, from having read the police files, and just living in the Hollywood/LA area all his life. Carter, with Taylor's personality serving as a kind of alter ego, tries to prevent Taylor (and himself!) from being murdered.
Along the way, Taylor/Carter encounters many legendary Hollywood figures, including D.W. Griffith, William Randolph Hearst, John Barrymore, Mabel Normand, and Rudolf Valentino. It is sobering to read about the sad and/or untimely end of many of these stars, and to contemplate how little Hollywood has changed since, to wit Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi, Tony Perkins, and many many others.
Peeples brings Hollywood in 1922 to vibrant life, transporting the reader to the silent era with great skill. He seemingly mentions all of the possible murderers, and keeps the reader guessing as to which one he will use as the actual shooter. In real life, the case was never solved, but Peeples' murderer is convincing.
An old science fiction story once had a time traveller in the age of dinosaurs walking along a special path, from which he could not stray. He could not pick flowers, kill any of the animals, or leave any evidence of his visit. If he did, all of the ensuing history of the world would change, subtly in the time of dinosaurs, massively in his own 20th century. I am reminded of that story when I read a book like this. I will leave it to you, if you read this book, to discover if Peeples adheres to the tenets of the SF story.

William Desmond Taylor
Published in Hardcover by Scarecrow Press (01 November, 1991)
Author: Bruce Long
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Anecdotes and History of Cranborne Chase
Published in Paperback by The Dovecote Press Ltd (1991)
Authors: William Chafin and Desmond Hawkins
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Art and the Absolute: A Study of Hegel's Aesthetics (Suny Series in Hegelian Studies)
Published in Hardcover by State Univ of New York Pr (1986)
Author: William Desmond
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Art, Origins, Otherness: Between Philosophy and Art
Published in Paperback by State Univ of New York Pr (2003)
Author: William Desmond
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Being and Dialectic: Metaphysics and Culture (Suny Series in Hegelian Studies)
Published in Hardcover by State Univ of New York Pr (2000)
Authors: William Desmond and Joseph Grange
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Being and the Between (Suny Series in Philosophy)
Published in Hardcover by State Univ of New York Pr (1995)
Author: William Desmond
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