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    $13.26 $11.90 list($18.95)
    1. Buffett : The Making of an American
    $16.47 $13.24 list($24.95)
    2. The Warren Buffett Way, Second
    $10.40 $3.63 list($13.00)
    3. Buddha
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    4. Complete Book of U.S. Presidents
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    5. A Matter Of Character: Inside
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    6. Taking Heat : The President, the
    7. Beethoven: Biography of a Genius
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    8. The Diamond Cutter : The Buddha
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    9. A Man Of Faith : The Spiritual
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    10. Warren Buffett Speaks : Wit and
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    11. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned
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    12. Is Our Children Learning? : The
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    13. A Charge to Keep
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    20. The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte

    1. Buffett : The Making of an American Capitalist
    list price: $18.95
    our price: $13.26
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385484917
    Catlog: Book (1996-08-18)
    Publisher: Main Street Books
    Sales Rank: 3760
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    An intimate portrait of Warren Buffet, the world's richest man. With unprecedented access, Roger Lowenstein provides the definitive, inside account of the "Oracle of Omaha, " a true American original. 2 cassettes. ... Read more

    Reviews (60)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing American capitalist with principles.
    The amazing securities investment analyst Warren Buffett is the focus of this near hagiographic biography that is filled with details about the life of an American capitalist that rivals the likes of Carnegie, Ford, or Morgan. Lowenstein has done a remarkable job in telling the financial story of Buffett's rise to securities fame, although not as much about his actual strategy (that's another story). The early years depict a precocious child adept at numbers in a household rich with a domineering mother and business-minded father. Buffett's early investments, his famous relationship with Katherine Graham of The Washington Post, his role in the Capital Cities purchase of ABC, his rescue of the Solomon Brothers, and his unique personal relationship with his wife all make for a highly interesting, fascinating tale, sure to be a hit in schools of business. Buffett's securities firm stock value has ranged from a meager $7, to an estimated 1994 value of over $20,000 per share, evidence enough of the sagacious leadership of this preeminent securities specialist. During the reckless '80s, Buffett's principle-centered approach to building value never wavered, thus solidifying his fame. James Lurie's powerful reading is dead on, evoking the power of this man's singular character. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Proof that a book about investing can also be interesting
    I picked up Roger Lowenstein's book because I had enjoyed his column in the Wall Street Journal. In a nutshell, he and Mr. Buffett explain the differences between investing and speculation. Purchasing a stock based on a cold-blooded assessment of its VALUE is investment; buying a stock based on guesses about the general market, the economy, the mood of the public or other factors that are inherently unknowable is speculation. Unfortunately, that distinction has largely been lost on the frenzied day-traders, the purchasers of Internet stocks and the legion of "expert" market prognosticators who ought to know better. If you are interested in investing successfully for the long term, you should read this book. Apart from all that, Lowenstein also gives us a highly readable story of Warren Buffett the person, and I came away with a strong sense of Mr. Buffett's personal integrity and intellectual discipline. (In a curious way, though, the laser-like focus and icy rationality that have made Buffett so successful as an investor have apparently made him less successful as a father and husband. Read the book and you'll see what I mean.) The book is worth reading simply for what it has to say about this remarkable man.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Buffett Book Ever
    I've read a lot of books about Warren Buffett and this is by far my favorite. If you have to read only one, read this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading
    I found that I knew so little about Warren Buffett, and this gave me a wealth of knowledge. Unfortunately, the book was written before the tech boom and subsequent collapse. Therefore, you do not get a sense of what he did during that time of hysteria, but prior to that it gives an insight that most authors aren't capable of relaying.

    5-0 out of 5 stars How Buffett Thinks
    This book helps you understand how one of the greatest business thinkers of all time got that way. (How would Buffett approach a paper route as a boy, for example?) If you are interested in getting inside his head, this book is a good way to start. ... Read more

    2. The Warren Buffett Way, Second Edition
    by Robert G.Hagstrom
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471648116
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-08)
    Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
    Sales Rank: 10133
    Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description


    "Nobody has described what Buffett practices better than Hagstrom."

    "Simply the most important new stock book . . . If you think you know all about Warren Buffett, you have a lot to learn from this book."

    "It’s first rate. Buffett gets a lot of attention for what he preaches, but nobody has described what he practices better than Hagstrom.Here is the lowdown on every major stock he ever bought and why he bought it.Fascinating."

    "Almost anybody curious about the relationship between the behavior of economics, the performance of firms, and the ups and downs of the stock market will find something of interest here."
    –The Economist

    "The Warren Buffett Way is accessible to average readers because Mr. Hagstrom reduces the billionaire’s techniques to some easily understandable tenets . . . the book demonstrates the rewards that can come down the road."
    –The Dallas Morning News ... Read more

    Reviews (45)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Belongs on the list of all time investment classics.
    Other reviewers have written that this book is undervalued and they are right. Right from the start Hagstrom gives us advice on the nature of the market. He then gives management tenants, how to value a business and all kinds of investment tenants. These tenents are so fundamental that its very difficult to see how investing can be done without them in one form or the other. This makes the book timeless. Numerous examples are given from real world cases of how these tenants are used. There is also an excellent appendix that gives examples of how a business is valued. This is very helpful. Some reviewers have criticized Hagstrom, saying that if the book is true, why isnt he rich? But this is not how information is to be judged. There are many books that contain solid gold advice, but there are few who master them. Buffett is among them. If one wants additional information on Buffets methods, I suggest reading "How to pick stocks like Warren Buffett" by Tim Vick. But The Warren Buffett Way is a classic and at the top of the heap.

    5-0 out of 5 stars one of the most popular investment reads
    This book is for anyone whether you are trying to understand investing for the first time or an experienced investor refreshing yourself with the principles of fundamental analysis. Hagstrom answers all the questions of what makes Buffett one of the most successful investors of our time. He talks about Buffett's childhood as a boy ambitious to turn a profit in selling Coca Cola as well as his philosophy behind which he makes his decisions on buying a particular stock. The refreshing part about investing like Buffett is whether you buy millions of dollars worth of stock or just a few shares of stock, you can still use the same principles that Buffett uses in making a decision. The methods are straight-forward and bring common sense approach to picking stocks. In it you buy stocks as if you were buying groceries and not as if you were buying perfume. It is not even necessary to know any complicated formulae about how to determine the value of a stock although some elementary math is required. If you only had to pick one book to read about investing and burn all the other books I would recommend this book. It is more informative that many other textbooks out there read by college students filled with unnecessary math and financial theory.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Worth the read
    Forget B-school, read this book. Seriously, a great introduction to value investing and the Buffett mentality of risk.

    Hagstrom's analysis is very easy to read and understand... a book everyone should read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What if Mr. Market goes really crazy?
    If you are reading this book just to be better informed, I think you will get your money's worth. I feel I got a five-star education. But if you are going to read it to make a decision to buy or not to buy Berkshire Hathaway, you should keep these two points in mind: First, almost everyone considers Warren Buffet to be the world's greatest investor. This special attribute of Mr. Buffet might be reflected in the price of Berkshire Hathaway stock. If Warren Buffet were no longer around, what would that do to Berkshire Hathaway? Hasn't Mr. Buffet's greatness built in a premium in Berkshire Hathaway stock?

    Second, this book proves that Mr. Buffet beat Mr. Market most of the time under normal circumstances. In abnormal circumstances, Mr. Market could beat Mr. Buffet. Abnormal circumstances would exist if Mr. Market went into a long, deep depression (like he did in the 1930's and dropped in value by 90%). And could a second terrorist attack similar to 9/11 cause Mr. Market to panic and create abnormal circumstances in the economy?

    No matter how good the company, Mr. Market can and will hurt the value of its stock. If there is another terrorist attack like 9/11, Mr. Market will panic and Coca Cola, Washington Post, GEICO, etc., would all suffer terribly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Once Again, Take It With A Grain of Salt
    I am not Warren Edward Buffett. Unlike Mr. Buffett, who has the delightful headache of trying to figure out where to put his steadily growing billions, I am a non-investor, sitting on the sidelines, wondering what all the fuss is about. Like most readers of this book, I have been told incessantly to invest for retirement, and not knowing exactly how I should do so, I figured it might be a good idea to glean a few secrets from a proven successful investor. Hence, I read The Warren Buffett Way from cover to cover, hoping to learn a few things.

    And what did I learn? I learned that I am not Warren Edward Buffett. Unlike Mr. Buffett, whose circle of associates includes all of the Beautiful People of Corporate America, I am surrounded by ordinary people, more than a few of whom are looking for a way to get rich quick. Whereas Mr. Buffett is patient and thoughtful with his investments, most of the people I encounter are thoughtless and reckless with their gambles. These two things, which I increasingly began to ponder as I read this book, distinguish me from the Oracle of Omaha, and quite possibly from most readers of this book.

    The book consists of nine chapters, and is mostly historical in nature. It details many of Buffett's past exploits in the stock market, mostly the good moves but also some bad ones, and offers some of the principles guiding Mr. Buffett's stock investing strategy, grouped into three classes called Management, Financial and Market Tenets. The first four chapters of the book delve into the early history of Berkshire Hathaway, the key influences on Mr. Buffett which helped to shape his investment philosophy, Mr. Buffett's perspective on the financial markets, and the principles by which he goes about purchasing a business. The last five chapters of the book give example after example of some of Mr. Buffett's past stock moves, and tries to show his Tenets in action.

    The style of the book is mostly active until the fifth chapter, whereupon it becomes plodding. The book is extremely repetitive at points, and as other reviewers have pointed out, key concepts are not fully explained up front, suggesting that the possible target audience for this book are those having a strong background in the general principles of economics and business.

    In all honesty, I have previously encountered most of the content of this book in coursework or self-study. I previously read Mr. Hagstrom's The Warren Buffett Portfolio, and found the two books to be similar in some respects. That said, I still found this book to be very interesting and useful, primarily because it exposed me to an investment approach which utilizes these concepts in ways I had not previously considered. I also found it highly interesting on an anecdotal level, given that Mr. Buffett's investment career spans The Go-Go Years, The Nifty Fifty Stocks and the 80s and 90s Tech Stock Boom, and yet he never once participated in these tech-stock manias but handily outperformed tech stock investors nonetheless.

    Like I said, I am not Warren Edward Buffett and I can not expect or even hope to do what he does, but that does not mean that I can not think like him. Even Mr. Buffett cautions the small investor in this regard, as there are things that he can do that none of little guys can do. Yet, he also has said that there are things the little guy can do that he can not do. That said, the book deserves to be read by any one lacking the ability to reason through the process of investing. However, readers at all levels should not stop with this book. Others have pointed out that one could get even more information straight from the horse's mouth- the Berkshire Hathaway website.

    On the other hand, as this information details past moves for which the conditions surrounding them are most unlikely to come around again, I believe that the more astute reader looking to learn more should consult The Money Game by Adam Smith for a brief historical look at financial foolishness (albeit the late sixties but the resemblance to Right Now is striking), The Theory of Investment Value by John Burr Williams for Buffett's original basis for valuation, and The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham for a more detailed explanation of the concepts of margin of safety, intrinsic value, and the benefits associated with ignoring the market noise. These three books will help one learn how to reason through the investment problem, as this is the most important step, aside from finding smart people (as Mr. Smith admonishes forcefully in The Money Game and Buffett has consistently done) and thinking more but acting less (as Buffett has said- do a few things right and screw everything else). ... Read more

    3. Buddha
    by KarenArmstrong
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $10.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0143034367
    Catlog: Book (2004-09-28)
    Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
    Sales Rank: 26597
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan's Best of 2001

    Books on Buddhism may overflow the shelves, but the life story of the Buddha himself has remained obscure despite over 2,500 years of influence on millions of people around the world. In an attempt to rectify this, and to make the Buddha and Buddhism accessible to Westerners, the beloved scholar and author of such sweeping religious studies as A History of God has written a readable, sophisticated, and somewhat unconventional biography of one of the most influential people of all time. Buddha himself fought against the cult of personality, and the Buddhist scriptures were faithful, giving few details of his life and personality. Karen Armstrong mines these early scriptures, as well as later biographies, then fleshes the story out with an explanation of the cultural landscape of the 6th century B.C., creating a deft blend of biography, history, philosophy, and mythology.

    At the age of 29, Siddhartha Gautama walked away from the insulated pleasure palace that had been his home and joined a growing force of wandering monks searching for spiritual enlightenment during an age of upheaval. Armstrong traces Gautama's journey through yoga and asceticism and grounds it in the varied religious teachings of the time. In many parts of the world during this so-called axial age, new religions were developing as a response to growing urbanization and market forces. Yet each shared a common impulse--they placed faith increasingly on the individual who was to seek inner depth rather than magical control. Taoism and Confucianism, Hinduism, monotheism in the Middle East and Iran, and Greek rationalism were all emerging as Gautama made his determined way towards enlightenment under the boddhi tree and during the next 45 years that he spent teaching along the banks of the Ganges. Armstrong, in her intelligent and clarifying style, is quick to point out the Buddha's relevance to our own time of transition, struggle, and spiritual void in both his approach--which was based on skepticism and empiricism--and his teachings.

    Despite the lack of typical historical documentation, Armstrong has written a rich and revealing description of both a unique time in history and an unusual man. Buddha is a terrific primer for those interested in the origins and fundamentals of Buddhism. --Lesley Reed ... Read more

    Reviews (53)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Illusion and Reality of the Buddha
    Karen Armstrong's "Buddha" is not only a bestseller, but has been praised as "invaluable." Armstrong is well known as a popular writer on religious history and this book is one of many she has written for a lay audience. All of her books are well written and enjoyable to read but not always historically reliable. This is, unfortunately, the case with her book on the Buddha. I am afraid that people going away after a reading of this admittedly enjoyable book will have no real understanding of either the Buddha or his religion.
    The question is-- what were the social and economic conditions prevailing in Buddha's time that allowed his religion to survive and prosper? The answer to this question is to be found in the works of the great Bengali Marxist philosopher Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya ("Indian Philosophy: A Popular Introduction"; "Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism"). The short answer is that in Buddha's time the old democratic tribal associations were being replaced by newly emergent military states. The tribes had been governed by councils who appointed their leaders by democratic methods. Buddha came from such a tribe, the Sakyas. He witnessed the destruction of these tribal organizations by the new states and the consequent enslavement and murder of tribal peoples. The source of the suffering world.
    In his Order he recreated the primitive democracy and interpersonal solidarity of the tribal ethos and thus presented, on a spiritual level, the illusion of freedom and meaning to life that had actually been lost in the real world. This is the real story behind the rise and development of Buddhism, but you won't find it in Armstrong's book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars very interesting book
    I think the somewhat mixed reviews of this book are off mark. It is true that I was also expecting biographical insight into the historical person, Siddharta Gautama, but as Armstrong carefully qualifies there is scant historical data on which an educated biography could be based. I don't think educated speculation would serve much purpose. By providing some of the historical context (e.g., axial age and the concerns of new city dwellers in northern India) surrounding the time when Siddharta was active, the reader gets a meaningful feel for the times (even this is, to some extent, conjectural) that may have influenced Siddharta Gautama's motivations and thinking. I am also most impressed by the acuity and knowledge she has about Buddhism and her confidence to paraphrase others' works (as she freely admits) to fit the flow and development of the book. I have found no theoretical flaws in her reasoning, and she is ultra-careful and respectful by not conveying simplistic accounts of Buddihsm's deep ideas which so many books are prone to do. I would say the book is as blunder-free and void of nonsense as well-known books by the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh are. This is no simple feat.

    The only two issues I would remark are: (a) she uses "western" a few times to contrast the difficulty that "westerners" might have understanding Buddhism vis-a-vis asians, which is an outdated cliche that too many "Zen writers" still make; Buddhism is as difficult to understand for asians as africans, south americans, or europeans (except possibly Tibetans which is a special case); I think it's time to dispense with the "western" adjective (Dalai Lama included); (b) a little more serious, it would help clarify to the lay/novice reader if Armstrong maintained a clear separation of "suffering" and "pain" which she mixes up now and then. From the context, one understands that she is not in the dark about their essential differences, but that may not be evident to the beginning student. Otherwise, buy this book if you're interested in Buddhism, beginner or advanced practioner/theoretician alike. There are few books as good as this.

    2-0 out of 5 stars look elsewhere
    This book is written from the perspective of a skeptic who primarily writes about Western religions, so if you are looking for an introduction to the subject, there are better books available.It makes me wonder why Penguin books didn't get an author who specializes in Eastern religion to write this book.

    For a biography, I would recommend "The Living Buddha - An Interpretive Biography" by Daisaku Ikeda (1976) instead of Karen Armstrong's book.

    For an introduction to Buddhism,Wapola Rahula's (1959) "What The Buddha Taught".

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautifut Dispassionate account
    One of the reviews for this book states that it is "Destined to become the classic source for anyone delving . . . into the life and teachings of the religious icon." - Christian Science Monitor.

    I believe that they are right.It is the most interesting interpretation of his life and teaching that I have read.She draws from both the Pali texts and fragments of the early "lost" Indian material which can be found in translations of the scriptures into Chinese and Tibetan scriptures, which give some of the earliest collection of Sanskrit texts.She spends a good amount of time on the "did Buddha believe in God" issue.Her conclusion is that the use of "phenomena" to dazzle and amaze simple people and from that secure a belief of God was what Buddha objected to.She also talks about the axial age.I had not heard about that before and aparently the veracity of it is debated by some historians.

    She brings her excellent command of history and research to the subject.In the January issue of Shambhalla Sun magazine she contributed an article that was also excellent.

    I recently read that Buddha was considered by some to be one of the incarnations of Vishnu, the preserver and protector of creation and the embodiment of mercy and goodness.His incarnation as Buddha was to remove suffering from the world.Much of her interpretation would lend credence to this.

    This book is well worth the time spent to read it.I have read it several times.It is an excellent source for those just beginning to learn about Buddhism and also for seasoned Buddhists.

    3-0 out of 5 stars "Everything in moderation...
    ...including moderation," are among my favorite words of the Buddha, and for me, neatly sum up an ideology that some people refer to as complicated or esoteric. I have considered myself a Buddhist for several years now...didn't plan it that way...just started meditating to help me alleviate anxiety, eight years ago last month, and after about a year-and-a-half of insights that just arose naturally from my mindfulness practice, I finally read a book about Buddhism and had the realization that my perception had shifted to the point that my personal ideals are closer to Buddhism than any other "major world religion."

    I prefer not to think of Buddhism as a "religion." I think of it as being more of a spiritual ideology, that's just as much about psychology as it is spirituality--and, by the way, too many western psychotherapists and clergymen don't seem to get the fact that psyche and spirit are inextricably linked--one of the realizations that most practitioners of meditation/mindfulness eventually have for themselves is that all things are connected, and that borders and boundaries are merely man-made illusions: if we would all realize that, there would be a lot less conflict and environmental problems in the world.

    Buddhism is mostly about creating a proper "MENTAL CULTURE" that helps us to overcome our egocentric hatred, prejudices, jealousy, obsessions, and petty resentments, that all fall under the category of "ignorance;" and to recognize that "god"--or whatever one wants to call the creative force that continues to create in a continuous cycle of arising and subsiding--exists equally in all beings. This is why the Buddha wanted to be remembered not for his life, but for his message. As human beings, it is a projection of our egocentric tendencies that we tend to focus too much on the actual events of peoples lives than the real value of their legacies. It's not forgetting the events of history that condemns us to repeat them, but failing to learn the lessons of history...that's why many of us make the same mistakes over and over again; and, like Phil in the movie, Groundhog Day, we don't get to move on to a new day until we get it right.

    Now on to this book. I agree with other reviewers that the book is more informative for non-Buddhists, because it does provide some good information about the Buddha's teachings, although I agree with others that I'm not sure that a biographical account of a life, the details of which are purposely sketchy so as not to emphasize his life over his message, was the best way to communicate this message. The thing I find most problematic about this book is that it does treat his teachings as an ancient, esoteric practice, rather than one that is just as pertinent today as it was 2,500 years fact, maybe it's even more pertinent today, in a human world that is currently embroiled in degenerative political and ideolical conflicts that have arisen from the ego, that uniquely human reality filter that prevents us from seeing things as they really are, and gives us the false impression that we are separate from our neighbors.

    I also wanted to echo the sentiments of another reviewer that pointed out that human "desire" is not what creates problems for us (the Buddha's second noble truth, as stated in the book is that human "suffering" is caused by "desire," which is not the best translation of the Buddha's words). "Desire" is a creative vehicle of nature: what gets us in trouble is when desire becomes excessive and turns into uncontrollable cravings, obsessions, and compulsions.

    Whatever spiritual path you choose, please make sure you choose it mindfully, that it really works for you--that is, that it really answers your questions about existence satisfactorily, rather than just raising more questions--and that you don't just do it because this is the "religion" that your family has always practiced. Explore multiple ideologies, and make a conscious decision about what path you choose. Beliefs can be used to wound or heal, and humanity can't really afford to have too much more "worshipping on auto pilot." ... Read more

    4. Complete Book of U.S. Presidents : From George Washington to George W. Bush
    list price: $11.99
    our price: $11.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0517183536
    Catlog: Book (1997-04-06)
    Publisher: Gramercy
    Sales Rank: 5686
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    This is the consummate guide to the political and personal lives of every U. S. president through Bill Clinton. Arranged chronologically, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents elaborates not only on the major accomplishments and events of their terms, but also on less well-known details such as personalities, careers before the presidency, Supreme Court appointments, hobbies, ethnic backgrounds, and even extramarital affairs. Well-organized and packed with details, the book also includes a bibliography on each executive, including books written by and about them, along with useful and entertaining appendixes on the political composition of every Congress, presidential curiosities (such as the uncanny similarities between the lives and deaths of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy), and a ranking of presidents. Whether you want to know the opponent of James Monroe in the election of 1816 or read some of Harry S. Truman's more memorable quotes, this is a most complete and thorough reference to each commander in chief. ... Read more

    Reviews (23)

    For people around the world interested in history and the workings of the U.S. Presidential sistem, this is the ultimate reference guide about U.S. Presidents. It provides a wealth of information about Presidents that are not well known, as well as little known facts about more famous Presidents. It is organized in 43 chapters, one for each President (with the exeption of Grover Cleveland which is treated in two chapters) and every President is covered according to headings such as: Physical description, personality, siblings, childhood, education, religion, marriage (in some cases extramarital or postmarital affairs),carrier before the Presidency, campaign and issues, inaugural address, Administration Cabinet, Supreme Court appointments, books written, etc.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Reference on U.S. Presidential Administrations
    This is a solid reference book. If you are looking for thumbnail sketches of U.S. Presidents and their administrations, this book will satisfy. The personal history of the president is here, family information, political career highlights, administration personnel, major issues faced, election results, quotes and opinions for and against. It is the kind of book I remember as a youngster that gives you enough information to fire one's thirst for historic knowledge -- great for browsing. Only complaint, the paper on which the work is printed is of a very inferior quality that is not the best one could ask for for reading -- also not particularly durable. These are production criticisms, the work is very good for its purpose.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book, disappointing revision
    I am writing based on the 2001 hardcover edition.

    This is an fascinating, very readable book. The research is excellent. The biographical facts about each president are fleshed out with narratives about their early lives, marriages, children, religious beliefs, careers, retirements, and more.

    The political matters likewise get excellent treatment, with narratives about each president's nomination, campaign, election, and achivements. Each Cabinet member and most Supreme Court nominees get at least a short paragraph. There are also quotes by and about each president, including both praise and criticism. Far more than a dry series of lists and facts, the human touch makes this book very worthwhile for anyone fascinated by American history in general and the presidents in particular.

    The book, originally published in 1983, is revised at least every four years. This edition covers events up to early 2001, so it includes the 2000 election, the Clinton pardons, and Bush Jr's initial appointments, but not September 11. The Clinton chapter from the previous edition has been completely rewritten and discusses that turbulent presidency at length.

    Unfortunately, DeGregorio did not revise the pre-Clinton chapters, leaving them embarrassingly dated. The Bush Sr. chapter mentions nothing about his son becoming President, not even referring us to the Bush Jr. chapter especially added for this edition. Jackie Kennedy and Richard Nixon both died in 1994. Neither relevant chapter mentions these most basic facts, even though the book was revised in both 1997 and 2001.

    This book is so detailed - where else can you find descriptions of John Tyler's (14!) children, James Garfield's extramarital affair, Andrew Johnson's religious views, and Calvin Coolidge's academic record - that I am amazed at this neglect.

    The 1993 edition (which I recently replaced) gets five stars. The 2001 edition retains and adds to the excellent work from the previous editions - but the major omissions limit it to four stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not Just a Reference on U.S. Presidents, but on U.S. History
    I was a history major in college and did some student teaching at the high school level. Whether I was working on an essay or preparing a lecture, this book was one of my favorite references. Not only does it offer well organized information on the Presidents (birth, childhood, family, education, etc.), it offers tons of information on the people, legislation, and events of their administrations. It describes cabinet members, laws that were passed, foreign relations, domestic issues, you name it. It saved me a lot of time in my research. The sections on the physical descriptions, personality traits and, in some cases, pre and extramarital affairs on each of the presidents was very interesting and offered info you normally do not find in other books. I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great guide to the former presidents
    If you are anything like myself you may enjoy reading about the love lives of former presidents or maybe what was George Washington like when he was younger. Or perhaps what profession did James Madison pursue before becoming president. If you do enjoy reading or learning about things such as these about the former presidents then you will love this book.

    This book has facts from the president's religion to their accomplishments in office then to their marriage lives and former lovers. It has criticisms and praises on their terms in office as well as whom they appointed to their staff. It has the ranked every president with the exception of Bill Clinton since he was still in office at the time the book was written and George W. Bush since he had yet to be elected.

    In simpler terms this book basically has every detail you may want to know about the former Presidents. This should be a definite pick up if you enjoy reading about the history and personal lives of the former presidents. ... Read more

    5. A Matter Of Character: Inside The White House Of George W. Bush
    by Ronald Kessler
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1595230009
    Catlog: Book (2004-08-05)
    Publisher: Sentinel
    Sales Rank: 2262
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    George W. Bush is a direct and decisive man who is much nicer to his Secret Service agents than Bill Clinton was, according to author Ronald Kessler, and smarter than his critics believe him to be. A Matter of Character, Kessler's examination of the 43rd U.S. President, treads lightly on policy issues as the author instead focuses on Bush's positive personality traits and relates how those traits are positive indicators of his ability as a policymaker and leader of the world's lone superpower. Kessler spoke to several Bush cabinet members, long time friends of Bush, and other associates who speak, perhaps not surprisingly, in glowing terms of what a great guy he is. As for the criticisms of Bush, such as handling of pre-9/11 intelligence, the war in Iraq, and the economy, Kessler dismisses them as the product of jealous former employees, and a pervasive, biased liberal media (particularly Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank). By attacking the accusers instead of thoroughly dissecting the accusations, Kessler misses out on an opportunity to defend the president in a more substantive way. The portrait that ultimately emerges of Bush is not a particularly complicated one. He appears to be a man without flaw, and the book presents a similarly simple view of the greater political landscape: Bush and his allies as honest, shrewd, and virtuous, all others as jerks, fools, and ditherers. A Matter of Character lacks the complexity of Plan of Attack, the book Bob Woodward wrote after gaining similarly close access to Bush and his cabinet. It's more like a forceful piece of campaign material, passionate in its advocacy of the candidate and complete with a heroic black-and-white photograph on the cover, which will give Bush supporters plenty to cheer about. --John Moe ... Read more

    6. Taking Heat : The President, the Press, and My Years in the White House
    by Ari Fleischer
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060747625
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
    Publisher: William Morrow
    Sales Rank: 31538
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The early years of the twenty-first century were a tumultuous time in America. The country faced a hotly contested presidential election, the largest terrorist attack in the nation's history, and the early stages of war. Through it all, President George W. Bush surrounded himself with a handful of close advisers. During this time the man beside the President was Ari Fleischer, his press secretary and one of his most trusted confidants. In this role, Fleisher was present for every decision and became an eyewitness to history.

    In this riveting account, Fleischer goes behind the scenes as he recalls his experiences in the West Wing. Through the ups and downs of this time, he took the heat, fielded the questions, and brought the President's message into living rooms around the world.

    In Taking Heat, Fleischer, for the first time, gives his perspective on:

    • The 2000 election, from the recounts to the transition to power
    • September 11, 2001, its aftermath, and the anthrax scare
    • The pressure-filled buildup to the war in Iraq and the President's thoughts as the war began
    • Life in the White House, from learning to adjust to the pace of the West Wing and his early briefings to his relationship with the press
    • The White House press corps, who they are, and how they report the news
    • The factors that led to his decision to leave Washington behind.

    This is the story of the men and women of the White House press corps and the cornerstones of democracy: freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. Fleischer presents an in-depth, insider's view on the Washington political arena from a perspective few have seen.

    Fleischer writes of his belief that the press has a bias in Washington. It's not a question of partisanship or press-driven ideology. Instead, it's a focus on conflict, particularly if it's a conflict they can attach to the President. It's the nature of the White House press corps, regardless of who's in power. The members of the White House press corps are masters at being devil's advocate, able to take with passion the opposite side of whatever issue the President supports. Fleischer's job was to calmly field their questions, no matter how pointed.

    Taking Heat is an introspective exploration of the top political events in the first half of the Bush administration, as well as the candid observations of a professional who stood in the bright lights of the world stage.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (21)

    1-0 out of 5 stars You Can Take the Spinner out of the WH, But He Still Spins
    The book was a huge disappointment. I'd suggest that it was ghost written by Karl Rove, but Rove would surely be craftier about his unadulterated Bush-envy. Rather than insight and introspection, the book's main purpose seems to be to dismiss criticism of Bushand then explain it away with syrupy words of praise for the author's former boss.

    The chapter about the day of September 11th, should have been the most insightful and telling about what happened at the epicenter of power...instead it was spiced with explanations of why President Bush sat reading My Pet Goat, while America was under attack..."Under inconceivable pressure, Bush maintained his composure and sent an image of calm to the nation." (page 140). - I'm not making this stuff up. That was a direct quote from the book explaining Bush's deer-in-the-headlights look that we've all seen as he was reading to the kids in Florida.

    I was looking forward to reading this book and again, it was just a disappointment. Maybe Fleischer is hoping to run for office or needs to ingratiate himself even more in certain circles.Or maybe he really believes what he wrote, but to me the book is just nonsense. Sorry. Two thumbs (or maybe 'goat paws') way down.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent insights on the pressures of the media
    Ari Fleischer was the White House Press Secretary for 2 1/2 years (January 2001 to July 2003) and now writes to tell about his experiences. Ari does a great job giving us a sense what the daily pressures were like, facing the media day after day. The point Ari makes time and again is that the media try to trick him into saying things he doesn't mean or aren't accurate, trying to stir up conflict, because "without conflict, there is no news".

    One of the other points Ari focuses on is how slanted the 'mainstream' media are towards the Democratic viewpoint, and I couldn't agree more. I mean, how believable is CBS, NBC, ABC, the Washington Post and the New York Times (just to name those as an example) when you realize that 90 percent or so (as found when surveyed) of those journalists vote Democratic...

    Ari tells great inside stories such as what it really was to be with the President when 9/11 happened. Missing, though, is more insight into Ari's background growing up (he describes his Democratic upbringing until he became a Republican shortly after finishing college in a mere couple of pages). Hilarious are his tellings about Helen Thomas, the notorious "dean" of the White House press and self-admitted anti-Bush all the way. Turns out that Ari actually has a lot of respect for her and a great personal relationship outside of the media spotlight.

    I had the pleasure of hearing Ari give a presentation last Fall here in Cincinnati, and was really impressed with the man. That was before this book came out, and having read his book, I am even more impressed with him. This is a terrific book, and I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well written account of the media covering important events
    The job of being Press Secretary for the President of the United States is complex and it essential for both the Presidency and the Public that the person holding that position perform the duties of that office well.Ari Fleischer did a great job during very difficult times.He was there in the 2000 campaign and recount, when the new Bush administration took office, during the intense national sorrow and anger surrounding 9/11, the launch of the War on Terror in Afghanistan, and its continuance in Iraq.No wonder he felt burned out and wanted to leave before the 2004 campaign began in earnest.After all, he had a new wife and they wanted to begin a family.I think he did a great job and made a good choice to leave when he did.

    What is particularly interesting about this book is that the events it describes are still fresh in our memory.Nearly all of us experience these events through the media of television, newspapers, weekly magazines, opinion journals, and so on.Here, Mr. Fleischer provides his perspective on these events from the inside versus how the media reported the events.The contrast is illuminating.He does debunk some of the popular myths about these events and makes clear what was really said by President Bush and the administration.He is also very clear that the Administration's certainty over the Weapons of Mass Destruction was held by everyone around the world, but was wrong.

    He also has several amusing anecdotes about interactions with this or that reporter over various events.Sometimes he gets off the witty line and other times he is the butt of the joke.He was serious about doing his job well, but under such serious circumstances humor was required to keep things approximately sane.

    While some who hate the Bush administration have taken after this book, largely without reading it, I can tell you that I have read it.This book is written engagingly and provides a fresh perspective on recent events that are now becoming a part of history.It is important to get a deeper understanding of our time than the varying and often contradictory news reports.Historians, especially those covering politics and media, will consult various sources for these events to write their books, and I am sure one of them will be "Taking Heat" by Ari Fleischer.

    Good job.

    5-0 out of 5 stars There is much to learn from this book.
    Notice the trend in how people who gave this book 1 star use a whole mess of generalities in their reviews or bash Fleischer's writing skills. He only claims to be a man with a story to tell here, people, never does he claim to be any more of an author than you or me. You can take comfort in the fact that those reviewers are wrong about that also, as Fleischer stays clear and cogent throughout.

    1. If you actually read the book, you find that he does explain many of the controversial issues of GWB's term in great detail. He shows where there were misunderstandings, and usually lays out step by step how that came to be from the White House's perspective.

    2. To the person who posted the Helen Thomas review of the book: You might have remembered that Helen Thomas was a senior member of the press corps who showed her steadfast bias in the briefing room with evermore persistant and leading questions. That is, again, had you actually read the book.

    And if you want to see her ignorance in action:

    MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, the President has made it very clear that he has not dispute with the people of Iraq. That's why the American policy remains a policy of regime change. There is no question the people of Iraq --

    MS. THOMAS: That's a decision for them to make, isn't it? It's their country.

    MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, if you think that the people of Iraq are in a position to dictate who their dictator is, I don't think that has been what history has shown.

    MS. THOMAS: I think many countries don't have -- people don't have the decision -- INCLUDING US.

    Bias, in favor of conflict. That is what plagues our media. Fleischer saw it and confronted it on a daily basis. That is what this book is about.

    1-0 out of 5 stars A Lost Opportunity
    I read this book hoping to get some insight as to what happened in the first Bush Administration and the way the White House sold the war in Iraq. Instead Ari Fleischer, a man so close to these events, comes across as a Bush loyalist who supports and justifies Bush's policies.It was a waste of time and a lost opportunity to give us some insight and help give us some historical information and honest reflection.

    There is no discussion of how they used the press to manipulate the public and sell the war. For example, he claims the President was careful never to link Iraq with 9/11. But he never addresses why 70% of the American people in 2003 believed otherwise. How did that happen?

    After leaving the White House, he is still spinning the President's position and blaming the liberal media. Too Bad....

    ... Read more

    7. Beethoven: Biography of a Genius
    by George R. Marek
    list price: $20.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0815203314
    Catlog: Book (1972-06-01)
    Publisher: Apollo Editions
    Sales Rank: 362533
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Immersed in the Austria of Beethoven's time.
    The great advantage I find in Marek's book is his effort to give the reader a feel for the era in which Beethoven lived. In the foreward of the book Marek says he sees Beethoven not as an isolated phenomenon but "as a man who grew from the soil of his times and stood deep in the cultural, political, and social streams that swirled around him." Marek takes the time to explore these streams, as when for instance he devotes the first two chapters to review the shifts in philosophy, science, art in general and music in particular - in Europe overall, then focusing on Bonn, birthplace of the composer. He describes the streets of Bonn, the Electoral Palace and its household, the personalities of the various Electors who employed not only Beethoven but his father and grandfather before him. Later, a whole chapter is given to discuss the transition of the arts from the Classical to the Romantic period. And he paints verbal portraits of many figures acquainted with Beethoven, such as Goethe and Napoleon, Maazel and Count Rasoumovsky.

    As one example, we learn early on in a quote by Kapellmeister Ignaz von Seyfried that Beethoven "was as much at home in Rasoumovsky's palace as a hen in her coop." How sad then to learn that in 1816, Rasoumovsky - shortly after being elevated from Count to Prince - gave a gala event at which a fire broke out, destroying much of his palace including its library and tapestries, and causing the roof to collapse onto his collection of sculptures. After this, Marek relates, Rasoumovsky went into a decline in which he "existed rather than lived." Now, one does not need to know this in order to appreciate the set of quartets that Beethoven had dedicated to this patron, but I for one am glad to know of it nonetheless.

    All this background is in addition to, not in place of, the details of Beethoven's life, all presented in an extremely readable style without in any way "writing down" to the reader. Quoted are many of the composer's contemporaries and letters, as well as Thayer's classic "Life of Beethoven". As one example of the effort that went into this book, a team of researchers in Vienna searched - among many other things - the Vienna newspaper files dating between 1793 and 1827.

    Note well -- this book is not the place to look for extensive discussion of the music itself. Of this Marek gives fair warning in his statement: "I would like to emphasize that this book is about the man, not about the music." You will, however, find plenty of details on the performances, the successes and failures, of Beethoven's resulting delight or rage.

    So, if you like the idea of following Beethoven's life while being more or less immersed in the Austria of two centuries ago, this biography is a wonderful place to begin.

    In this handsome book (my copy is of the original Funk & Wagnalls' edition) there are extensive illustrations, all save one in black-and-white.

    A little on the author. George R. Marek was born in Vienna and often attended performances of the Vienna State Opera. At the age of 17, he came to the USA, where in the 1950's he headed RCA's Red Seal division, later becoming V.P. and General Manager of the Record Division. He worked with a number of top classical recording artists of the time, such as Toscanini and Artur Rubinstein. ... Read more

    8. The Diamond Cutter : The Buddha on Strategies for Managing Your Business and Your Life
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385497903
    Catlog: Book (2000-02)
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 100961
    Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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    Other Buddhist books offer you a path to happiness, Geshe Michael Roach offers a path to wealth. Roach, who while being a monk helped build a $100 million business, demonstrates how ancient notions in The Diamond Cutter sutra can help you succeed, and if you're in business that means to make money, a lot of it. Drawing on lessons he learned in the diamond business and years in Buddhist monasteries, Roach shows how taking care of others is the ultimate path to taking care of oneself, even--especially--in business. As he puts it, you have to engage in "mental gardening," which means doing certain practical things that will form new habits that will create an ideal reality for you. If this sounds a little outrageous, his very precise instructions are down to earth and address numerous specific issues common to the business/management world. Through this practice, you will become a considerate, generous, introspective, creative person of immense integrity, and that will be the key to your wealth. At first this book comes off like a gimmick and the writing isn't without rough patches, but page by page, as Roach introduces you to the practical details and real-life examples, his arguments become more convincing. A cross between the Dalai Lama's ethics and Stephen Covey's Seven Habits, The Diamond Cutter will have you gardening a path to the bank. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

    Reviews (21)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Read for Buddhists and Non-Buddhists.
    I had never heard of Michael Roach until I searched out Shoutcast (Internet Radio) and found the Tibetan Buddhist station. Being of that tradition, I was delighted to find the station.

    The program that was on at that time was Dharma talks by Michael on The Heart Sutra, a most important Buddhist teaching.

    I was so taken with his messages and the way he could get these deep ideas across so easily that I wanted to learn more about him. That's when I discovered that he had a new book out, The Diamond Cutter. So I bought a copy at Amazon.

    Michael spent many years in the New York Diamond industry. He explains that he was attracted to diamonds because they are the hardest form in the universe.

    This book is about business. It is about the problems that we all encounter in business daily. And it tells us how to handle the problem and why every problem has a cause, perhaps not in this lifetime but in some lifetime.

    Michael clearly explains why some people who are greedy and unkind are successful. No, it's nothing they've done in this life but rather they did something of merit in another life that brought the wealth in this lifetime. But in another lifetime they will reap the Karma they're now sowing.

    He tells us that if we wish to be wealthy, we need to be generous with our money and our time.

    Michael uses his vast knowledge of the diamond industry to teach business ethics from a Buddhist perspective based on the all-important teaching of Lord Buddha in His Diamond Cutter (Vajrachchedika sutra).

    I highly recommend this wonderful book to anyone who cares about their business, their relationships, their finances and their life in general.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing
    I first have to say that I did not buy this so much for the business angle--I'm more just on the lookout for any new Buddhist material I can find. This is probably the freshest book in the realm of "American Buddhism" that I've read in the last year. I hadn't heard of Roach before, but I now feel that he truly is one of the most important Buddhist teachers in the U.S. today. (If you haven't already seen it you should look at the interview Amazon did with him.) The writing in Diamond Cutter isn't always so great, but Roach has a superior talent for explaining elements of Tibetan Buddhism in a way that is light years ahead of many other books out there in terms of accessibility. Perhaps that's because he is American born, so he really knows how to communicate with his contemporaries, but even beyond that he appears to have a great mind. This isn't great as a Buddhist primer, but if you are at all familiar with Buddhism you'll probably get some real insights out of this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book that changed my business
    I run a small business for more than 10 years now and have my share of ups and downs, from facing near bankruptcy to hitting big contracts. But whatever the outcome, I am always short of money and I am constantly struggling to make ends meet. That is, until I read this book. It has changed my business. I now find money flowing in without me chasing after it and I work less than before. To all of you out there who are struggling in business or in your personal life, buy this book and follow the principles. They work and they will make you a better person.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Buddhism for open-minded sceptics
    For all the "suits" out there: You've tried every business fad from empowerment to micromanagement; why not try something with a real track record?

    As a busy manager, the book suited me perfectly. Geshe Roach gives you the no mumbo jumbo, how to test Buddhism in the work place guide. Most people who have studied Buddhism as deeply as Roach can't explain it well and especially to a business person. No such problems here. The book demonstrates his knowledge of real-life business situations enough to make him convincing for sceptical business people and explains only the salient points of Buddhist practice.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Blood Diamonds
    Sort of Buddha for dummies who want money type of book. When one reads about the West African bloobaths commited over these stupid little stones it might be a better use of Roachs' skills to start a boycott of diamonds ... Read more

    9. A Man Of Faith : The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush
    by David Aikman, George W. Bush
    list price: $21.99
    our price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0849918111
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-14)
    Publisher: W Publishing Group
    Sales Rank: 3793
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    More than any other world leader in recent times, George W. Bush is a man of faith…a conservative Christian who has brought the power of prayer and the search for God’s will into the Oval Office. His faith has proven to be a bedrock of strength and resolve during two of the most tumultuous years in our nation’s history.According to Newsweek magazine, “this presidency is the most resolutely faith based in modern times. An enterprise founded, supported and guided by trust in the temporal and spiritual power of God.”David Aikman, skilled journalist and former senior correspondent for TIME magazine, pens this dramatic and gripping account of Bush’s journey to faith. Based on interviews and behind-the-scenes stories, you’ll learn how…

    · His life changed after a conversation with Billy Graham on the beach at Kennebunkport

    · He walked away from alcoholism toward a new destiny

    · The events following 9/11 caused many to view him as God’s chosen man for this critical time in history

    · His decision to go to war with Iraq became the ultimate test of his faith

    A Man of Faith…an intimate look at how Bush’s spiritual life has impacted his presidency, the nation, and the world.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Revealing Story of Our 43rd President
    Aikman has written an excellent book on George Bush's Christian faith - how he became a Christian, and how Christianity has positively impacted his life.

    Indeed, while the president is a very polarizing figure (much like Clinton), one would have a hard time arguing the sincerity of his faith. Unfortunately, some people like the reviewer from Philadelphia have taken it upon themselves to judge whether George W is going to heaven or hell. Why can't they just stop judging and admit they don't like the man? While I do not agree with everything he has said and done, I cannot doubt the sincerity of his faith and the transformation he has experienced over the years.

    Also to the reviewer from Philadelphia - please be very careful about quoting Scripture out of context:

    1. Many people in the Bible were finanically well off - Abraham, Job, Matthew, Isaiah, David, Solomon, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, etc. Yet God did not condemn them because of their riches.
    2. Jesus rejected the power the Jews offered Him because they offered power apart from God's will. Over thousands of years God has elevated people to positions of power. Power in and of itself is not bad, it's what we do with it that counts! God will raise and lower those whom He pleases.

    Among the areas of George W.'s life covered in the book are:

    1. Early childhood, teenage, and college years at Yale and why he was turned off by the liberalism displayed on college campuses.
    2. The strong marriage he has enjoyed with his wife Laura.
    3. Active involvement in church over the years and how he has ministered to the less fortunate.
    4. How he has cooperated with people of other denominations (although a Methodist, he has worked with Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcoplians, Pentacostals, and Catholics) and faiths (Jews, Muslims, etc.) over the years.
    5. Close relationships he has enjoyed with ministers of different ethnic and denominational backgrounds (and who says conservatives can't work with others?) despite having differences of opinion on particular issues.
    6. His involvement in politics (from working on his father's campaign to becoming governor and eventually president).
    7. The uniques challenges he has faced as president (911, numerous UN Resolutions, faith-based iniatives, tax rebates, etc.).

    I appreciated the author's sincerity in covering all aspects of George W.'s life - good and bad. Aikman does not gloss over Bush's struggles with the bottle, smoking, and foul language. Yet the author also quotes several sources close to the president who have seen great improvements in these areas over the years - yet another testimony to the power of the transforming grace of Jesus Christ working in and through a person's life!

    Read, enjoy, and be encouraged by the faith of our 43rd president and do not concern yourself with those who wish to tear him down at all costs!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Who has actually read this book?
    There are some reviews here that appear to be written by those who plainly dislike Pres. Bush but did not read this book. I feel sorry for them, as this is a wonderful book going into the life and development of Bush as our President. The reviewer from New York, the non-Christian, appears to have little grasp on what Christianity is. The other from Crawford must assume that all church services are on Sundays. As many Baptist will say, church is not merely a place to worship. It is the culmination of worship and study. Aikman shows how Mr. Bush changed from a rambunctious young man into a respectable, admirable leader. He has his faults and makes no qualms against them. Aikman, an outsider to the family, took anecdotes and lessons from Mr. Bush's life through colleagues, friends and family. What you have here is the embodiment of those interviews. No, Mr. Bush has not been faultless in his Presidency, as no President ever has been faultless. (Clinton was a far-cry from faultless...the sworn liar.) But he has shown time and time again that he has a sincere heart to love and a God-driven will to serve the people for the betterment of the world. He earned more respect from me through this book, after reading of the years where he was not the most well-mannered or appropriately behaving person. However, he had a need to save himelf from his own destruction, and he chose God as the one to lead him out of his perils. He has followed God and Christ since those days and become an example of a renewed Christian. What could be a better testament to his life and his family than this book? Read it, whether you do not agree with his politics or not. I don't claim that it will change your political opinion of him, but I know it will give you more insight on why he does certain things or speak in certain ways. Just have an open mind when you begin this book. If anything, you will learn how he could easily have been one of your friends from your hometown, college or workplace. Give this book a try. Don't discount it automatically and ignorantly. David Aikman does a wonderful job in telling a story you may enjoy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful look into the faith of George W. Bush
    Former Time correspondent David Aikman explores the faith and spiritual journey of President George W. Bush, who presides over one of the most faith based administrations in American history. Aikman launches the book with the "political bombshell" of then Governor Bush answering a question during a debate, "What political philosopher do you most identify with and why?" with the response, "Christ, because he changed my heart." In the chapters that follow, we learn of Bush's roots, beginning with his great-great-great grandfather Obadiah Bush all the way down to his father George H.W. Bush. We learn of his childhood, adolescence, college days, military service, marriage to Laura -which began his switch to Methodism after years of attending a Presbyterian church-, and his years as a businessman and owner of the Rangers. Aikman reveals how Bush's faith gradually began to take on a greater role in his life as we are introduced to many of the mentors who guided the future president, including Billy Graham and James Robison. Perhaps I read this book from a different perspective than most; I am a religious Jew. For a community that has historically tended to vote Democrat, significant numbers of American Jews are increasingly voting for conservative candidates. This can be attributed to many factors, including, the long overdue realization that liberalism is intrinsically opposed to traditional authentic Jewish values which are more accurately reflected by conservatism, coupled with the moral confusion and moral-relativism characterizing so much of the Left and the Democratic Party. That many Jews are becoming staunch Bush supporters becomes all the more understandable after reading David Aikman's A Man of Faith, where the reader learns, in chapter seven, of Bush's deep affinity for the land of Israel and the Jewish people, not to mention his personal friendship with Ariel Sharon. When Bush told the American Jewish Committee only months into his presidency, "A top foreign policy priority of my administration is the safety and security of Israel," this wasn't mere rhetoric. As Aikman chronicles, Bush is perhaps the greatest friend Israel has ever had in a United States president. Aikman writes, "Jewish leaders have also come away from meetings with George W. almost enraptured by the sense of commitment to the defense of Israel and the protection of Jews worldwide that George W. has often conveyed." In this chapter we also read of a rabbi who told Bush, "Mr. President, I didn't vote for you, but if you had been president in 1938, I now think the Holocaust might not have happened." When I read that first time around, I literally had chills, for I am one Jew, and a grandson of Holocaust survivors, who fully shares these sentiments of deep gratitude to our commander-in-chief. As this book discusses in great length, it is Bush's unabashed faith as a devout Methodist which animates his moral compass, his determination to actively identify and confront evil, and his resolve to uphold the traditional Judeo-Christian values that make America great- and which are currently being jeopardized on many fronts. G-d bless America, the president, and our troops!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great overall biography!
    I have finished the first half of the book and am amazed at what I did not know about George and Laura and the Senior Bushes. It really is very encouraging to see how W's faith grew through the years.

    God has been pleased to grant our nation Christian leadership at this critical turning point in our history, and I can only say "Praise God from whom all blessings flow". I am in prayer for our nation every day!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A minister to the nations
    I have read several books about the Bushes -- and specifically about George W. Bush. The author is a good writer, writing fairly from both sides of the issue, and portrays a man who has had to deal with personal failure, like we all do. Our nation was established by Christian principles, and it is by Christian principles we are still a nation. As our society continues to slide into darkness, we will be held responsible for not living for God. GWB is committed to the principles for which this nation was begun, and I felt the writer beautifully scripted the tapestry of providential destiny for a man named, George W. Bush. ... Read more

    10. Warren Buffett Speaks : Wit and Wisdom from the World's Greatest Investor
    by JanetLowe
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 047116996X
    Catlog: Book (1997-03-14)
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 37597
    Average Customer Review: 3.64 out of 5 stars
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    Most people come to know of Warren Buffett through his ability to generate wealth. However, as Janet Lowe reveals in her book, Warren Buffett Speaks, Buffett is more than a money-making machine. Warren Buffett Speaks is a library of notes and quotes that have been collected over the years, aimed at revealing the many aspects of the World's Greatest Investor--his wit, personality, and wisdom. The first half of the book deals with Buffett's view of life, family, and friends, while the latter half focuses on Buffett's investment philosophy and observations about the market. This book is a must for every Buffettologist. ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you like Warren Buffett, you'll love this book!
    I'm a big fan of Warren Buffett already, but I have to say this is one of my favorite books of recent years. It's quite an easy read and very well written. Authored by someone who also appears to be a big fan of Warren Buffett. The book is well laid out, with sections on a number of topics. It imparts a variety of Mr. Buffett's business and investing wit & wisdom through quotes and interesting stories relating to both his personal and investing life. Not only may this book help you become a better investor, but it may also help you become a better person as well. Highly recommended, whether you invest in stocks or not.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A good effort in collecting Warren's quotes in his life.
    A good introductory into the life of Warren Buffett. Though it was too generalized for me. The price was a bit steep too. It's a relaxed, easy to read book. Overall, you could learn from some of the quotes in the book. Not bad.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Random thoughts┬┐
    This books should be called "The random thoughts of a rich old man." It appears to me someone followed Mr. Buffet around and wrote down what ever he said then thought "how do I present this is a book?, oh how about a random collection of dis-jointed thoughts! yea that's it!!"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent! A must read for any investor
    The ugly front page had deterred me from buying this book. Fortunately, I still bought it with the strong recommendation of a trader friend. Otherwise, I would have regretted for omitting such an excellent read.

    In short, this short book is a concise but wise collection of what Buffett spoke about life, work, running a business, investing blah blah blah. It easily convinces me why Buffetts is the most successful investor (he's the richest guy) in history. Things are always easier said than done, but Buffett proved that he had done what he spoke. I had read many books about Buffett and value investing. I think this is by far the best considering value/quality per page. I strongly recommend you to read some sample pages available right here in Amazon and I bet you would love to own the book at once.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Collection of Quotes
    This is the wit and wisdom of Warren Buffet, the "World's Greatest Investor." Not all of the quotes are from him but are from friends, family, and colleagues. As mentioned in the book, this is more along the lines of Will Rogers. It is not strictly aphorisms on investing.

    Just seeing Buffett's name sparked my enthusiasm in the book. Thinking this book would have a lot of investing tips, I was disappointed. The first part of the book consists of sayings on life in general. As the book progresses, then some investing thoughts are covered. When they are covered, they are not easily converted into a personal strategy to make a quick profit.

    This does not mean that it is without merit. The key idea I will take from this book is to invest in companies rather than stock. If your research shows that the company is solid, you should invest in that company. Another idea is to invest as if you were going to leave for 5-10 years and had no way to change the investment.

    There is a repeat of at least one quote. "You don't need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ." A rather encouraging thought about investing.

    If you are looking for a guide to investing, then this is not your book. If you were looking for ideas to think about that would help shape long-term goals, then this would be more helpful. I would wait for the book by Warren Buffett. ... Read more

    11. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician
    by Christoph Wolff
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393322564
    Catlog: Book (2001-09)
    Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 23998
    Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. A landmark biography of Bach on the 250th anniversary of the composer's death, written by the leading Bach scholar of our age. Although we have heard the music of J. S. Bach in countless performances and recordings, the composer himself still comes across only as an enigmatic figure in a single familiar portrait. As we mark the 250th anniversary of Bach's death, author Christoph Wolff presents a new picture that brings to life this towering figure of the Baroque era. This engaging new biography portrays Bach as the living, breathing, and sometimes imperfect human being that he was, while bringing to bear all the advances of the last half-century of Bach scholarship. Wolff demonstrates the intimate connection between the composer's life and his music, showing how Bach's superb inventiveness pervaded his career as musician, composer, performer, scholar, and teacher. And throughout, we see Bach in the broader context of his time: its institutions, traditions, and influences. With this highly readable book, Wolff sets a new standard for Bach biography. 42 b/w illustrations. ... Read more

    Reviews (13)

    4-0 out of 5 stars dry but readable and insightful
    After reading this book I came away with a good understanding of Bach's musical achievements and his concept of what music is all about. This is a very well written and comprehensive look at Bach's music and musical evolution thru life - including his major, longer works (no minuets included) and musical surroundings. It is very well worth reading for its study of Bach's music if you have some technical musical background (more on that later).

    One small complaint: most of the music titles are given in German only. Since there are hundreds of such cases, it was impractical to do always search for a translation on the internet so I'm sure I missed a few points. For example the titles of Bach's first three key teaching works are listed - with only the first in English. Wolff then says that "the carefully coordinated phraseology of all three titles" were impressive!
    Fortunately, the German version of "The Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach" is obvious in meaning but shamefully without translation: for many of us, one of our first piano pieces came from that notebook!

    Finally, this is not a complaint, but a warning. You will have great difficulty with this book if you don't have some background in musical terminology, notation, and Baroque music history. You should know the meaning of terms like "basso continuo", "counterpoint", "thoroughbass" (figured bass), etc. to appreciate the text. For example, there is much discussion of Bach's role in the evolution of the "Fugue". Other forms, such as the "motet" (sacred music not an integral part of the mass) are mentioned without definition. For such a background, I would recommend Kamien's "Music An Appreciation, Ed.8" - or a less expensive alternative that covers music from the Middle Ages to the Baroque Period.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A scholarly masterpiece worthy of your intelligence!
    This book is most ostensibly not a work intended to provide a layman's knowledge of Bach. The book assumes a fair knowledge of Bach and his oeuvre, as well as a thorough knowledge of music theory and general instrumentation. Cristoph Wolff has written a thoroughly satisfying and extraordinarily comprehensive summary of Bach's professional and personal lives. I found that despite the book's intrinsically serious tone, reading it as a whole felt not like a biography, but a story that us Bach fanatics wish would never end.

    This book is thoroughly impressive in both its scope and its detail, though the numerous tables cataloguing Bach's work from the various periods such as Weimar and Cothen are not as well integrated in text as one might hope. Where Wolff makes the occasional reference to the tables, I as the reader desired to see more comparison and analysis of various works in each period.

    It is also immediately apparent upon even a glance through the index that Wolff dedicates much of his analysis of Bach's major works to Bach's vocal music, and notably less space to Bach's instrumental and keyboard/organ music. As we know, Bach's Fugue "the Great" in G minor, BWV 542, is a towering masterpiece of Bach's (and Baroque) organ music, but Wolff hardly affords it the analysis it demands. He also neglects to develop much depth of analysis with Bach's instrumental works. For example, we know that nearly all of Bach's solo and multiple piano concerti have their roots in previous concerti, but little attention is paid as to why Bach chose to transcribe to piano(harpsichord), why he selected the works he did, and whether there is a distinct method/pattern to Bach's transcriptions.

    Wolff does do, however, an exquisite job of analysis of Bach's vocal music, exploring the depth of Bach's passion for writing cantatas, and how skillfully he was able to interpet his vision of the words into music. Wolff provides numerous glimpses of Bach's organ expertise, especially in the field of repair and construction. These descriptions do require some prior knowledge of how an organ produces sound and how it is played in order to be enjoyed to the fullest. The book also does a magnificient job of exploring and relating the various and primary influences on Bach's musical development and style. Wolff provides an insight into the influence of Dietrich Buxtehude especially, as well as that of Johann Pachelbel and the numerous older Bach relations. Much has been heaped upon Mozart's child prodigy fame, but even those of us for whom Bach is a perpetual favorite, know little about Bach's formative years, and Wolff gives a very comprehensive look at Bach's musical training.

    Wolff's small digressions notwithstanding, this book is truly one every lover of Bach should keep in his library. (And reread every so often!)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Detailed and Learned but Ultimately Unrewarding
    This is a very detailed book covering a great deal about the life of Bach. A great deal of insight is on offer regarding the great man's life and times as well as the likely basis under which he produced his work. I have found that reading and re-reading this book has significantly enahnced my understanding of Bach's world - Thuringia in the first half of the 18th century.

    There is more detail here in terms of how Bach lived and his day to day relations, both personal and professional, than anyone could possibly need. In terms of factual aspects concerning Bach and his life one could not expect or need anything more that this book and in this regard the book is successful; Christolph Wolff has been more than thorough in his research. So many points of detail are listed that I thought that I would come across one of Bach's laundry lists if I read for long enough. It could be said that there is actually too much detail here which doesn't significantly more forward one's understanding of Bach the man or Bach the musician. However, in an academic book such as this it is generally accepted that a surfeit of information does not constitute a lapse of quality. Concise is not an adjective which could be applied to the author.

    However, there are two drawbacks for me in this book. The first is a relatively minor point but the second is very significant.

    The first drawback is that the content of the book is, at times, meandering. Wolff seems to move around subjects and themes within a single chapter leaving the reader confused and unsatisfied. While there is plenty of information - sometimes too much even - the underlying structure is confused and confusing. This can appear as a meandering text which sometimes seems to lose the idea of the point it is pursuing. This is more a matter of style than an outright criticim however.

    The second drawback is far more significant for me. Most people who would go to the extent of buying and reading this book would have a specific interest in Bach; that is his music represents something special to them. Many such readers will view Bach as a great genius; I am in that camp myself, no doubt so is Christolph Wolff. The main point about Bach is his musical, expecially compositorial skill. Why then is there no analysis of Bach's genius? How and where did it originate and how did it develop in his lifetime? How, in the view of the author, does Bach's genius manifest itself in his works. What is it about Bach which has raised his work to such an exalted level - how is this different to his contemporaries? The author scant regard to where Bach's creativity ebb and flow and how this manifested itself in his work. Little effort seems to be made in this book to consider the work of Bach in terms of how it could be analysed and contrasted - surely this is of primary importance in understanding Bach and his music.

    I'm afraid that the dry factual/quantative approach which Wolff takes with regard to Bach's creative process is ultimately unrewarding for me. Most people who listen to Bach would be interested to hear the different musical aspects of, say the Masses. Why is the B Minor Mass considered great and how could it be compared in musical terms to the Mass in F for instance.
    Which of Bach's cantatas are the ones to focus on when trying to expand one's understanding of his oeuvre? Merely listing the various Cantata cycles is not sufficient in terms of understanding the qualitative aspects of the music.

    While this book gets behind the day to day Bach it does not give any insight into the creative core of Bach. This is certainly not easy given the essentially unknowable aspects of creative genius and the elapsed time since Bach's life - however I would have appreciated some effort on this front.

    No book can serve the purposes of all potential readers and what this book covers it does in quality and detail. However an analysis of Bach's life should never be divorced from an analysis of his genius which the author seems to have done here.

    Christolph Wolff is clearly a man who understands the life and times of Bach in great detail but I would have preferred to see more focus on the qualitative aspects of Bachs music.

    In summary, then an informative and useful factual book but one which misses the opportunity to inform the reader as to the practicalities of the works of the great genius Bach.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best book ever on Bach
    The usual view of Bach's life that I grew up with portrays him as something of a musical hermit, producing masterpieces and children at a prolific rate in relative anonymity with little or no earthly recognition. This book completely revises my view of Bach's life. Wolff shows Bach as a fantastically well-rounded and charismatic musician with a fantastic ability to create masterpieces, a great teacher, well loved and respected member of the community, a profound and simple Christian, and a fundamentally happy, joyful, complete man. Wolff also tries to show that Bach was the greatest musician who ever lived, and does a pretty convincing job at that. I always knew Bach was a great musician; this book simply reinforces and proves my intuition. His intermittant references to Newton are a little annoying and indicative of the hyperbole Wolff sometimes uses, but one gets used to them. The book also shows his human side - his mercurial temperment, his sometimes overbearing and demanding personality, and his greed. This book contains an enormous amount of personal information on Bach, far more than I knew existed. Wolff writes well and does not use an inordinate amount of musical terminology, so a musical illiterate like myself can still read and enjoy him. If you love Bach's music get this book, and you might as well the New Bach Reader along with it, as a good percentage of the quotes in Wolff's come directly from this source.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Book on Bach's Life and Influence
    J.S. Bach has been my longtime favorite classical composer, but while I knew he was one of the most influential composers in history, I never quite knew why. Moreover, he always seemed to have a tacit reputation as being rule-bound and stern, unlike the more dynamic, perhaps more charismatic, figures of Mozart and Beethoven (the latter's horrible temper notwithstanding). Cristoph Wolff's book has at last provided me with a fuller picture of Bach and his influence.

    The subtitle "The Learned Musician" sets a primary theme for the work, namely Bach as the scholar-musician, who was able to pass rigorous theology exams in Latin and whose mastery of organ building was a significant achievement of engineering, math and acoustics, to say nothing of raw musical genius. A motif that crops up in this book is the comparison between Bach and Newton (which was made in Bach's time). Bach thought that there were rules of causality in canons just like there is causality in Nature, and used other musical pieces to explore theological concepts. Musical science is no mere metaphor applied by Wolff to Bach, but is something that the composer himself took very serious, and this was realized even by some of his contemporaries. Likewise Wolff also points out that this does not mean that Bach was some soulless theoretician either. Rather, Bach's work worked within rules of composition, but also broke and surpassed them when necessary. Bach refused to divorce theory from practice, so his collections of music like the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Art of the Fugue served to show how a particular form of music (e.g., the keyboard or the fugue) could be applied in just about any combination imaginable. These compositions were theoretical statements, albeit ones without words. Wolff does not get too bogged down in musical terms: this layman did struggle periodically, and I would understand more if I were a musician, but a lack of music theory would not destroy this books value to you.

    Throughout the book Wolff shows how Bach's methodical perfectionism formed a powerful combination when joined with Bach's surprisingly passionate, joyful life. Just as his music was rigorous, Wolff also points out the profound, genuine emotion that goes into them. He also writes about some of Bach's comic cantatas--one in particular was written for a coffeehouse, and was written on coffee addiction. This did much to endear Bach to this college graduate's heart!

    Just as important, Wolff presents Bach's musical odysseys within the context of his personal life. Troubles and triumphs with jobs, Bach's family life and personal anecdotes appear throughout the book with a special chapter at the end also dedicated to Bach's later home life. We learn of a man who always entertained guests despite a brutal work schedule, and who also managed to find time to buy his wife singing birds and flowers. Much of his life would sound quite familiar in America (e.g., rebellious sons, moving to a city with a better-paying job, etc.), and does much to remind us that Bach is a man, not some musical force of nature.

    In the end, we have a picture of a man who used his art to explore nature and God, but did so with joy and while surrounded with a family to support and superiors to placate in the workplace. Now I have a foundation for appreciating some of his works that I never studied before, namely Bach's Masses and cantatata, and my appreciation for other works. I had previously read and enjoyed Douglas Hofstadter's _Godel, Escher, Bach_ (which I also recommend), and now I can why Hofstadter chose Bach to help him explore the nature of intelligence in both man and computers. Bach was truly a sort of scientist or natural philosopher, and Wolff lets you appreciate how Bach was both a philosopher and composer of beautiful music. ... Read more

    12. Is Our Children Learning? : The Case Against George W. Bush
    by Paul Begala
    list price: $12.00
    our price: $12.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743214781
    Catlog: Book (2000-09-20)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 227776
    Average Customer Review: 3.66 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    He was a poor student who somehow got into the finest schools. He was a National Guardsman who somehow missed a year of service. He was a failed businessman who somehow was made rich. He was a minority investor who somehow was made managing partner of the Texas Rangers. He was a defeated politician who somehow was made governor. You can hardly blame him for expecting to inherit the White House.

    "Is Our Children Learning?" examines the public life and public record ofGeorge W. Bush and reveals him for who he is: a man who presents the thinnest, weakest, least impressive record in public life of any major party nominee this century; a man who at every critical juncture has been propelled upward by the forces of wealth, privilege, status, and special interests who use his family's name for their private gain.

    A Texan, political analyst, strategist, and partisan, Paul Begala has written a devastating assessment of the Bush brand of politics. ... Read more

    Reviews (77)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Bad writing, scary info
    This is a truely frightening look at the man who is going to be our next president. Mr. Begala paints a picture of Bush that leads one to wonder what he would be doing if it was not for his family's connections & wealth. While some of the points raised are speculative, the author does a good job of citing the source where he got the basis for the speculation.

    The problem comes with Mr. Begala's writing. All too often he takes a conversational tone with the reader, suggesting that this is more of a personal attack than he claims it to be. After all, Gore is no saint either. Begala claims that this is not motivated by partisan feelings, but his constant gushing over Gore and the fact that much of the research was done by the Democratic National Committe refute this.

    All in all, it's a scary picture being painted of a man I wouldn't trust to house-sit, much less be the president (and I wouldn't trust any of the other front-runners either, in case you're questioning my partisanship!). Too bad about the writing and the obvious personal feelings involved with the writing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Made me change my vote from Nader to Gore!!
    I would tell anyone who is even thinking of voting for George W. Bush
    to run out and read this book cover to cover and then see if you
    really want to vote for him!

    Begala does an excellent job of
    showing the real facts of what Bush has done as governor of Texas, a
    record Bush claims he's proud of!? Hmm...more tax cuts for the
    wealthy, yet he opposed health insurance for 200,000 more children and
    a Patients' Bill of Rights. Bush claims some people choose to be

    That's only the tip of the ice, Begala shows how
    Gov. Bush made it legal to carry guns to church in Texas, put
    voluntary pollution controls in place for big corporations (who are
    also fudning his election), opposed a bill that would ban Texas from
    executing the mentally retarded, and the list goes on and on. ....

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Main Point
    This interesting book proves the point of millions of Americans (including mine): George Bush is an idiot that deserves to be defeated in the November election by a man who actually knows what he is doing for our country and the world, John Kerry. A superb book!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Democrat fun
    We like to poke fun at those in public office, its an American tradition to make sure those who we elected don't respond to the bluster of their office. George W. Bush has a rather extraordinary resume: Yale undergraduate degree, Harvard MBA, military fighter pilot (F102 driver) a cocktail of brains and brawn that sends the fatuous left into conniptions. Indeed this Christian seems to have been placed onto the earth to drive liberals bonkers, none of them can even keep up with him. Can you think of anyone who achieved Yale-Harvard-Figher pilot credentials? I can't.

    Mostly the book is the typical Left-over misrepresentation of W, making fun of his poor verbal skills, noted, and ignoring his strong foreign policy skills. Indeed after 9/11 he persuaded 40 countries to join us in Afghanistan and all without the UN involvement. When Congress directed him to invaded Iraq he put together a coalition of 31 countries to do so without the United Nations. In 1991 the United Nations could gather only 29 for the same task.

    The fun title of the book is a claim, without a tape recording of course, that W used the wrong tense in a simple sentence. Obviously unlikely, and just as obviously a bitter attempt by the Left-overs to slight a sitting American President that has disassembled their world view.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Biased but Good
    While Begala is certainly biased against Bush, the book is based in solid facts, whose sources Begala carefully annotates. This book makes a few things abominably clear: Bush has made many mistakes, as a student and as a businessman, and yet he has always advanced anyways, largely due to his family's wealth and power. The label of "Compassionate Conservative" is nothing more than a campaign gloss. Bush's tax plan saved the wealthiest one percent an extra $46,000 per year, while the bottom twenty percent got a whopping $42 (that's per year too, if you can't beleive your eyes). Where is the compassion in that? Or in laughing when asked about death penalty cases? Whatever the topic, Begala makes it clear that Bush doesn't really care about the poor and needy, at least when it comes to politics. He follows wherever the big money lures him.
    The chapters are a short, easily readable length; the book makes for light and easy reading-- although at some points the more liberal minded may want to cry. Each chapter starts out with several quotes from W about the topic, many duplicates of the ones which appear in the Bushisms. The parenthetical comments (It's _____________, Governor, Karl Rove will explain it to you.) are hysterical. A simultaneously funny and sobering book, it is well worth the read. ... Read more

    13. A Charge to Keep
    by George W. Bush
    list price: $23.00
    our price: $15.64
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0688174418
    Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
    Publisher: William Morrow & Company
    Sales Rank: 7439
    Average Customer Review: 3.21 out of 5 stars
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    The political biography, complete with life-altering turning points and a political philosophy for leading the United States into greatness, has become obligatory for those running for president--just one more thing to check off the "to do" list on the way to the Oval Office. A Charge to Keep is George W. Bush's offering: a light and breezy book mixing personal and political remembrances that proves heavy on chatty anecdotes and light on policy prescriptions. If you read the last chapter you'll sort of learn where George W. stands on most things, but still not really discern how he would actually run the country. There are no revelations, either personal or political: Bush's wild side and youthful indiscretions, like stealing a Christmas wreath from a New Haven hotel for his Yale fraternity, are touched on lightly when he discusses them at all. A Charge to Keep is so upbeat and positive, in describing the Houston woman to whom he was engaged in college and from whom he "gradually drifted apart," Bush says simply: "I still think the world of her, and our parting was friendly. We were very young, we lived in different places, and we gradually developed different lives."

    George W. has been labeled a lightweight by some; A Charge to Keep will do nothing to dispel that notion. It features lots of Bush family memories and numerous mentions of George W.'s famous parents, including letters from his president father. George W. has followed closely in his father's footsteps, attending the same prep school and college. He even belonged to the same secret society at Yale, Skull and Bones. From college it was on to flight school and the Texas Air National Guard, Harvard Business School, and then (again, like his father) the Texas oil business and politics. George W. seems mostly in sync with his father on policy issues as well. "A thousand points of light" is transformed slightly to become "compassionate conservative," which pops up in the final chapter more than 10 times. Readers will come away knowing many of the experiences and events that have helped shaped George W., but his future is still an open book. --Linda Killian ... Read more

    Reviews (104)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Simple
    Like many another left-leaning moderate (or right-leaning liberal, or whatever the hell I would call myself these days), George W. Bush wasn't my choice for president, but with smarmy Al Gore his only serious opponent, his victory (if that's what you'd call it) didn't distress me too much. After all, if the lesser of two evils (Gore) is still evil, the greater of two evils (ahem) is almost comforting. If Forrest Gump's famous observation is correct ("Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get"), one could argue that the greater of two evils is preferable. You know exactly what you're gonna get, and if you get something you didn't expect, chances are you'll be pleasantly surprised rather than bitterly disappointed at having been betrayed.

    It's a tradition of sorts to give any newly elected leader the benefit of the doubt, and in that spirit, I read Georgie boy's book (albeit three years into his presidency). Why not? After all, it's a quick read.

    Of course, it's a "quick read" because, like all "books" supposedly written by presidential candidates prior to seeking the presidency, it's really not a book at all. It's campaign material, propaganda meant to paint the candidate in the flattering colors of his own choosing, and it's no surprise that Bush's tract does not challenge the established formula of this peculiar genre. It's also no surprise that Bush probably didn't write his book. He doesn't strike me as much of a reader, much less a writer, and one can take it for granted that he spent most of the four years preceding his "election" working on his 2000 campaign, not writing drafts of any memoir.

    This is the work of Karen Hughes, the credited co-author, and, in one sense, she does a brilliant job. Even though it's unlikely Bush spent even one moment behind a word processor or typewriter, Hughes nontheless captures his spirit in her prose, creating a book very much like the one Bush would write if he were to bother with such things. The sentences are all short and to the point, never complex enough to require a comma, all reinforcing the image of Bush as a very simple man. Simplicity has its virtues, but one can argue whether it's the best virtue for a man whose job requires day-to-day decisions regarding enormously complex life or death matters, but, like Reagan, his simplicity is part of whatever charm he has.

    The prose never reveals much, certainly nothing that would indicate Bush was anything other than what he claims to be (which is?), and is as instantly forgettable as similar books by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and other seekers of the highest office in the land. This is political propaganda and nothing more, but who would think it was anything but?

    1-0 out of 5 stars Bush is more intelligent than a turnip
    That's about all that one will conclude upon finishing this book. When I was done, I felt like I had consumed solid air, or fat-free cream cheese.

    5-0 out of 5 stars bush rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I think presadent Bush is the best presadent this county had ever had! In this book he tells how he made ot to be the govener of texas, after he was the owner of the Rangers even though they didn't do no good when he owned them even though they had Arod Pudge, and Juan Gonzalez, but it don't matter none compared to him as a presadent! HE is the best we ever had maybe except for Regan; I exspechially like the discusion about the painting he has in his offise the one of the old west battle seen that that one president had with the mustash, Roseavelt i believe. That was cool and very inspring! I think Bush is going to win again because he gave us that $400 last time, and noone else ever did that, I am glad becuase I was able to pay of my tv from rentacenter because of it I am greatful. I don't know why anyone would be against him anyways, exspecialy is you are a Christian, the world is a better place on acount of his being presadent and people should look at that. the only thing I did'nt like was that there was'mt enouf pitchers of him and his family, especially his cute girls, but they dont look like they take after him. He is a great man as this book showed and should be read by all Americans God bless the USA, love it or leeve it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic
    While some former members of the Army Reserves will be quick to apologize for Bush going AWOL - likely they, too, shirked their duties and made a mockery of our proud military - this book goes to great lengths to outline why many of the other less deserved criticisms of our esteemed president are invalid. In Bush's own words, we see that he has a lot to say, and he offers us much to think about.

    An interesting and intelligent read (even those unable to understand Ulysses should be quick to grasp this), Bush offers logical arguments and sound examples to counter the "dumb" accusation. Bush is not dumb. His experience speaks for itself. He, like some ex-Reservists, was not a respectable member of the United States Armed Forced, but dumb he wasn't. Bush earned everything he has, and he should be praised for it.

    Bush is the greatest American president of the 21st Century.

    I finally read this book, and did so in light of the mounting criticism of Bush as "dumb," along with attempts to discredit his military career. My sense at this point is to look at the available empirical evidence. George W. Bush was admitted to Yale and graduated in four years. He was a legacy, so getting in was assured, but many students do not graduate in four years, as he did. This is to his credit. His grades have not been released, but most of those who were there say he was about a B- student, which is quite respectable.

    Next, he entered the U.S. Air Force, their version of the Reserves, which in his case was the Texas Air Guard. Perhaps he received some favoritism over others in getting a slot, but the evidence is he did not. The fact is, he was willing to "go jets," which few were willing or qualified to try out for. Bush went through a series of rigorous tests and passed them. He entered flight school, where the "wash out" rate is about 80 percent. He passed. He entered flight test, where the wash out rate is quite high. He passed. He qualified and flew jets. Here is the thing: People make movies and write books about this experience. "The Right Stuff", "Top Gun", "An Officer and a Gentleman" are all about exceptional young men who walk this trial by fire. Bush is one of them. He is a Top Gun - no, not the actual guys who are selected for Miramar by the Navy, not a Blue Angel, not Chuck Yeager, but he is one of an elite group of awesome Americans.

    When Fleet Week comes around, and I see these pilots walking around town, my first reaction is that by virtue of having those wings they are top flight individuals, outstanding people. I do not ask whether they flew in combat or missed some drills. I know if they are wearing that uniform and have those wings they are studs. Bush was one of those men.

    Apparently Bush missed a few drills in 1973 after five years in the Air Force. I was in the Reserves and missed some drills. Everybody misses drill occasionally, for a million valid reasons, none of which means we were AWOL. Bush was never AWOL.

    One other thing. Bush never flew in Vietnam, but I bet he is glad of this. Had he, no doubt his detractors would say he dropped napalm on villages and killed civilians.

    Bush applied to the University of Texas Law School and was turned down. So much for having every door opened to him because of his "daddy," who had been a Texas Congressman and two-time Texas Senate candidate. Bush applied to the Harvard Business School. Guess the percentage of people who are not accepted. 80 percent? 90? Point made.

    Bush was accepted. He was not a Harvard legacy. It would appear he got in on merit, being a Yale grad of good grades and a fighter pilot. Their conclusion: This guy has an impressive background. He studied the courses, and graduated with an MBA. How many enter the MBA program and wash out? Many do.

    Accordingly to the not-Republican Atlantic Monthly, Bush has never lost a political debate. He has squared off with some tough characters, like Ann Richards and Al Gore.

    Dumb? This issue has has been studied and analyzed. The conclusion? Bush is no dummy.

    STWRITES@AOL.COM ... Read more

    14. Discoveries: Beethoven (Discoveries (Abrams))
    by Philippe Autexier
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $9.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0810928329
    Catlog: Book (1992-03-30)
    Publisher: Harry N Abrams
    Sales Rank: 806209
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Don't believe everything you read :)
    Just scanning the synopsis of this book is quite distressful. I am hoping that the book does not say something as completely wrong as "his sudden deafness at age 26." That is completely false. I am not sure about this book, but I would highly recommend Maynard Solomon's "Beethoven" It is a careful and thoughtful analysis of the man and the musician.

    5-0 out of 5 stars excellent
    This is a great book about a great man, Ludwig van Beethoven. Each page has many fine photographs; most in color. It is a very well-written book which will not disappoint. In addition, the quality and feel of the paper is tops. It is nice to have color portraits of people such as Beethoven's grandfather and other members of his family, as well as Antonio Salieri, Haydn, Kreutzer, Clementi, and many of his benefactors and other personal friends, not to mention street scenes, scenes of Beethoven playing the piano as a mesmerized audience looks on, scenes of Fidelio, etc. No one who buys this book can be bored by it or have buyer's remorse.

    The reader is transported back to the the late 18th and early 19th century. One thing I liked was finding out what Beethoven was doing at the precise time he wrote a certain work. In the book, Ferdinand Ries (a friend and composer) points out that Beethoven had been humming out loud during a walk in the woods. When he returned, he put to paper the 3rd movement of the famous Appassionata sonata.

    This book gets an A plus. ... Read more

    15. Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential
    by JamesMoore, WayneSlater, James C. Moore, Wayne Slater
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $17.61
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471423270
    Catlog: Book (2003-02)
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 8975
    Average Customer Review: 3.61 out of 5 stars
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    Political consultants are nothing new in American politics; they are the big guns called in to work on a campaign or deal with the occasional crisis, then dismissed for another day. Not so with White House Senior Advisor Karl Rove. Due to his close personal relationship and unlimited access to George W. Bush, as well as his control of the information that reaches the president, this "permanent consultant" occupies a unique spot in Bush's inner circle and in history. "His influence marks a transcendent moment in American politics: the rise of an unelected consultant to a position of unprecedented power," write authors Moore and Slater. Since Rove is ultimately responsible to Bush only, not to American citizens, he is not required to work openly. As a result, Rove is hardly a household name, despite his considerable clout. This intriguing and important book seeks to remedy this by offering a comprehensive look at this behind-the-scenes political guru. "Karl Rove matters to all Americans, many who have never even heard his name. While the president chafes at the description of Rove as 'Bush's Brain,' he can hardly deny that every policy and political decision either goes through, or comes from, the consultant," write the authors, leading them to pose the question, "Who really runs this country?"

    Rove has been involved with the Bush family for nearly 30 years and has worked on every one of George W.'s campaigns. In great detail, the book shows how Rove led Bush, a "reluctant political warrior," all the way to the White House. The portrait of Bush and Rove's relationship is fascinating. Though opposites in many respects, they are an unusually effective political team. But where Bush seemed to fall into politics, Rove has been preparing for his current job all of his life, and Bush has served as a vehicle for Rove's considerable ambitions, the authors contend. "Without Karl Rove, there would be no President George W. Bush," they write. Moore and Slater look deeply into Rove's past to offer copious evidence of his political genius, his tenacity, and his remarkable success rate in getting his clients elected. The facts also portray Rove as unethical, vindictive, and a chronic abuser of power. Loaded with revealing anecdotes and inside information, this is essential reading for anyone looking to understand not only the Bush administration, but how politics really work. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

    Reviews (41)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, enjoyable, but unsatisfying.
    I leapt at the opportunity to read anything about the elusive and enigmatic Karl Rove. This man, like some political "Where's Waldo", is stitched into virtually every political scenario involving President Bush. I was curious about who this big nerdy looking dude was, how he got on the scene, and what he might want. The latter curiosity was perhaps my strongest. I wanted to know why the Campaign Consultant didn't go home after the election.

    This book did a fairly good job of satisfying most of these curiosities. I now know about Karl Rove as a kid, Karl Rove as the know-it-all student, Karl Rove as the guerilla campaign consultant, and Karl Rove as the first ever "permanent consultant"; which is a unique (if not scary) position. It seems that Bush decided it would be a good idea to keep someone in the White House full-time to help him ascertain how certain policy decisions would likely play with the electorate.

    Unfortunately, and most likely because of the unprecedented secrecy of this administration, that's really where "trail ends". The author doesn't offer much as to what Rove has been doing the last four years. I found that disappointing. Also, I found way to much "kenstaresque" witchhunting going on - he said/janitor said style accusations about impropriety in some of the campaigning he was involved in. Nothing juicy.

    I would recommend this book for those who have an insatiable appetite to know everything publicly available about the Bush Administration. Even in that case, I'd recommend skimming through this book vs. reading carefully. I read carefully, and there just wasn't enough there there.

    Christian Hunter
    Santa Barbara, California

    5-0 out of 5 stars Even more timely information on the sleaze of Karl Rove
    Anyone who wants to know whether Karl Rove is petty
    and political enough to out Joe Wilson's wife as
    a CIA agent needs to read this book.

    The claim has been made that this outing served
    no "purpose", coming after the fact of Wilson's
    op-ed piece and supposedly gaining nothing
    (others have pointed out that the attack may
    have been aimed at deterring other potential
    administration critics).

    But Rove, for all his political calculations,
    has shown a viciousness and a disregard for any
    element but the political throughout his career.
    Moore and Slater present the details of Rove's
    political and personal history in this excellent
    book. Read it, and then ask why Bush is where
    he is today, and why we should have a person
    such as Rove as the closest person to the ear of
    the person making momentaous decisions about war
    and peace, life and death.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting piece of the Bush puzzle
    I have read several current books about the Bush Administration that seem to share one element: the quest for the source of decisionmaking in the Bush White House. Even the insiders are baffled as to who is making decisions. This book, of course, points the finger at Karl Rove. It paints an interesting and persuasive portrait of him as a brilliant and sometimes devious political strategist, who is shaping national and international policy with a long-term view towards, well, ostensibly politics and election(s).

    I have a couple of problems with the book and my primary one may be unfair, but here goes. Ultimately, Rove is not the story. If he is behind decisions on steel tariffs and war in Iraq and a myriad of other important policy decisions, then the "story" is exactly the inverse: who is being marginalized from these decisions and/or the lack of a sound decisionmaking framework in the Bush White House. Or, similarly, that the decisions are political and are being made by people who were never elected to office. So I guess I would have been happy with a nice, say, New Yorker article detailing the significant influence of Karl Rove - but for me it wasn't quite enough for a book. And the elements that I found interesting, the significant policy decisions - were not explored to the extent I would have liked.

    I also had a problem with the Foreword that has been added to the latest edition. It basically argues that Rove must be behind the White House leak revealing Ambassador Wilson's wife as CIA undercover agent because, well, this is the sort of thing Rove does, it bears his signature. As much as I love a good conspiracy theory, I found this very weak and just not a solid way to start the book. It seemed gratuitous; the authors establish their point about Rove in the book - no need to mix inference (the Foreword) with their attempt to present solid factual research in the book itself.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Bush's Brain
    I didn't realize that they would put a more appropriate title on a book of blank pages.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is your Brain on Stand By
    I do not know if the authors set out to make Karl Rove out to be such a dark, evil man with the book or that is just where the research took them, but I doubt too many readers will come away thinking that Karl Rove is anything but. I think the first thing that struck me is that the authors portray Rove as more then just your run of the mill political consultant. They want you to leave with the impression that Rove is the man behind the curtain pulling all the strings of the Bush presidency. They detail how Rove's influence goes beyond just the political front to be an all-encompassing review of anything Bush does. I think we have all heard how President Clinton seemed to take the pulse of the country via polls and then choose his direction based on the polls. Well the authors want you to think that Bush basically has substituted the polls and maybe even an individual thought process with whatever King Karl wants to do.

    The book provides some background on Karl, how he started in politics and his life before GW. I found the section detailing the work he did for the first President Bush too limited and the detail about Rove's non-Bush work too detailed. The authors get into the weeds to prove a point that Rove is a rather mean player in the world of politics and I think they could have edited some of it out. This background and the detail on his work with Bush all point to some interesting things that do seem to be playing out today. They state that Rove is the kind of man that has to win and by winning it means really making the opponent lose and lose big. They also point out that Karl is a very good player at the down and dirty art of nasty politics. He would make the Nixon team take a step back.

    The one area you always have to be on the look out for in books like this is down right bias based on a dislike for the President. To be fair I think the authors steered clear of this for the most part. I felt there were plenty of opportunities for the authors to take more shots at President Bush and they did not. That is not to say that President Bush gets away scott free. They do lay a few jabs at him for seaming to let Karl play the game so nasty and for enabling this winner take all approach Rove has taken. They state clearly that Karl is a great political operator, but if he is your only close confidant there could be extreme pressures to let him and his slash and burn style take over for your own. Overall I found the book very entertaining. It offers and insight into a man we do not get a lot of information about and a process that does not see the light of day much. If you are interested in politics or the Bush Presidency you will be interested in this book. ... Read more

    16. Jerome Bonaparte: The War Years, 1800-1815 (Contributions in Military Studies)
    by Glenn J. Lamar
    list price: $85.00
    our price: $85.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0313309973
    Catlog: Book (2000-03-30)
    Publisher: Greenwood Press
    Sales Rank: 1876685
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Napoleon's youngest brother, Jerome, has over the centuries been portrayed as a military commander who was completely incompetent and unimportant to his famous sibling. This first biography of Jerome by an American author utilizes many firsthand accounts of Jerome's abilities that have never before been available to readers in English, as well as archival material that has never been published in any language, to challenge this view. Focussing on the lesser-known theaters of operation from 1800 to the Russian campaign in 1812, this study completes the gaps in the military history of the Napoleonic Wars. As Lamar demonstrates, Jerome was not responsible for the failure of Napoleon's early maneuvers during the invasion of Russia, nor did he lose the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Family Affair
    Professor Glenn Lamar has provided a fast-pace, scholarly, yet interesting account of the career, experiences, and loves of Napoleon Bonaparte's youngest brother, Jerome. Professor Lamar sets the record straight regarding many controversies that surround the young Bonaparte, such as his role at the infamous battle of Waterloo in June of 1815, which brought his great brother to his knees. Lamar's research is impecable; he has drawn information from all of the major French archives, including the French military archives: the Archives de la guerre, and the French state archives: the Archives Nationales. Lamar, a graduate of the prestigious Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at Florida State University, has published numerous essays on French history, as well as specific aspects of the career of Jerome Bonaparte. This book, Lamar's inaugural work, not only provides a model for historical scholarship, but is highly entertaining for the scholar, novice, and buff. Readers learn how the young Jerome, laboring in the shadow of his famous brother, strove to make a name for himself in the French navy; how he became stranded in Baltimore and not only won over that city's high society, but also took Elizabeth Patterson as his American wife. Read the sad story of this ill-fated marriage as Napoleon--Jerome's only father figure--had political plans for his young ward and thus destroyed the marriage before Elizabeth ever stepped foot on French soil. Like the rest of his siblings, Jerome received his reward for doing as his brother wished when Napoleon appointed him to be King of the German state of Westphalia. Other chapters include Jerome's controversial role in the disastrous 1812 invasion of Russia in which Napoleon lost almost 500,000 men. One of the real merits of Lamar's book, however, is to illustrate the inner workings of the Bonaparte family. Napoleon awarded his siblings crowns all over Europe; Joseph became King of Spain, Louis was King of Holland, Jerome, the flamboyant playboy King of Westphalia, and Caroline took the throne of Naples. He demanded strict obedience from his siblings, and Lamar's book offers a fresh insight into Napoleon's relations with his family. This book will be highly satisfying to a broad array of readers. ... Read more

    17. The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte
    by Robert Asprey
    list price: $18.00
    our price: $12.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0465004822
    Catlog: Book (2002-10)
    Publisher: Basic Books
    Sales Rank: 47358
    Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Robert Asprey completes his definitive, two-volume biography with an intimate, fast-paced look at Napoleon's daring reign and tragic demise with more of the personality and passion that marked the first volume of this cradle to the grave biography.

    In The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, Asprey showed us that Napoleon was not the father of chaos, but rather an heir to it. In this companion volume, we see Napoleon struggling to subdue the turmoil. We peer over Napoleon's shoulder as he solidifies his growing empire through a series of marriages, military victories, and shrewd diplomatic manipulations. We watch Napoleon lose control of his empire, plot his return from Elba, rally peasants in his march to Paris, endure defeat at Waterloo and suffer exile and a lonely death on the island of St. Helena. Robert Asprey tells this fascinating, tragic tale in lush narrative detail. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    1-0 out of 5 stars napoleon book bombs
    I agree with Mr. Brooks' negative review on "Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte," by Robert Asprey. It would be comparable to reading a biography of Babe Ruth that was written by studying the box scores. The book has hardly anything about Napoleon's persona, which is promised in the preface, and important events are trivialized and hardly mentioned. After reading this and learning almost nothing, I opened a copy of Emil Ludwig's biograpy of Napoleon, written in 1926, which I had picked up years ago. Ludwig's book is much better.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Flawed
    The second volume of Asprey's biography of Napoleon makes the same error of the first one: he focuses entirely on Napoleon's military career while virtually ignoring every other aspect of the man's life. Asprey has billed his book as an attempt to see the whole Napoleon, but in this he fails. Napoleon's personal life, his domestic policies in France, his philosophy, are passed over with scarely a mention.

    Furthermore, even in covering Napoleon's military career, Asprey falls short. The section on the crossing of the Danube River during the 1809 Austrian Campaign, one of the most fascinating events in Napoleon's career, is covered in a confusing and slipslod manner, leaving the reader utterly at a loss to what actually happened. The Battle of Dresden, a massive engagement which lasted two days and was Napoleon's last major victory, is mentioned only in passing, without even a full sentence devoted to it. Overall, the writing gives the impression of an author in a hurry to meet a deadline, unable to carefully edit and correct his work.

    This work fails in its stated purpose to present a full view of Napoleon's life, its writing style is somewhat sloppy and overall the book fails to impress.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fair, balanced, thorough, and entertaining life of Napoleon
    As an avid history buff I've searched over the years for a really good modern, readable and fair biography of Napoleon. I had big hopes with a number of "high profile" works in the past few years, but I found so many of them were written by English authors who were none too objective and went so far as to compare Napoleon to Hitler (e.g. Alistair Horne's terribly biased "How Far From Austerlitz" and even more biased work by Alan Schom). That comparison is simply ridiculous -- no one talks today of "Hitler-Kulture," he left no legacy but murder and madness. Napoleon on the other hand left numerous infrastrucural improvements, the 'Code Napoleon' judicial system largely still in use not just in France but in dozens of countries worldwide, the list goes on. He didn't simply "grab for power" as many would have you believe, it was the French Revolution and because of his immense popularity throughout France he was -invited- to be Consul in an effort to end the chaos and Terrors. All this and more is nicely characterized in Mr. Asprey's work. As the author makes so clear, much of what is commonly known about Napoleon is taken out of context, "history written by the victors" as it were -- of course the English demonize Napoleon, and he hated them just the same, but in the book you find that it was not Napoleon who started one war after another in Europe but in fact it was usually the English as the "bad guy," bankrolling and instigating 7, yes SEVEN, coalitions against Napoleon, all but the last of which they lost (and consequently lost so much of Europe). I was drawn to this biography of Napoleon because I had previously read the author's Frederick the Great biography, which I counted as the second-best biography I've ever read (after Robert K. Massey's Pulitzer-winning Peter the Great). He did not disappoint -- this is a truly great work, sure there are probably some areas here and there one might like to know more about, one reviewer here called his treatment "superficial," but again, let's be fair, Napoloeon's life is vast, Mr. Asprey gives two very full action-packed volumes for a terrific overview. I agree with another reviewer here, take this one plus the Vincent Cronin and you have a pretty darn good feel for Napoleon and his times.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What Napoleon's Leadership Really Tells Us
    For those who read history with an eye for understanding the human traits that so enrage or encourage us all, reading the second book of Asprey's work on Napoleon reminds us what the elusive term "leadership" really is. For those who were taught that leadership is "not a personal or individual thing but rather a relationship and a process whereby people influence one another concerning real changes they intend for the organization or a society" this latest book should serve as a wake-up call. Leadership in Napoleon's time (and today?) is a personal and individual thing. Once again Asprey has meticulously researched a side of Napoleon vis a vis his leadership roles as simultaneous imperial administrator and military commander, with such incredible insight that the reader is forced to rethink all that he or she thought about this incredibly complex man. Most telling, and most prescient of all the chapters, are the end ones describing how the many nation entities of the European continent, along with England, waged incessant battle until Napoleon was doomed to failure. States Asprey, "Why did (Napoleon) persist in his discredited strategy (moving ahead without reinforcement/resupply)? The short answer is because he did not believe that it 'was' discredited. We are dealing here with disparate and complex factors working on a strange amalgam of past and present caught in the fearful coils of the arrogance of ingnorance, trapped in his belief of enemy impotence and cowardice, failing to recognize that his once omnipotent and beautiful army had weakened and withered into halting old age, that the political elixir which he had brewed to save Europe from itself had turned poisonously bitter and impotent...That was the real key to his disjointed actions and spurious decisions and it is at once terribly sad, yet in another sense strangely noble --- a defeated man refusing to accept defeat." And contributing to Napoleon's defeat (and education) was the war he was forced to contend with in Spain against terrorists and guerrillas. Those forces wore Napoleon's army and lessening resources down, weakening them to the point they could not be used in future battles. Napoleon loathed terrorism and guerilla tactics, but in the end, was forced to use them to wear down opposition forces. Asprey makes nearly two hundred years of history as relevant as if it had happened on 9/11/01. It is now up to the greatest military and economic power on Earth to deal with disparate and complex factors and not get caught in the fearful coils of the arrogance of ignorance. Asprey reminds our leadership how and why.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Beyond the Battle
    With much Napoleonia, the reader finds himself lost in the powerful scenes and events. There was however, much more to the man than just the battlefield. Asprey performs a difficult task well in bringing to life the man behind the mask and revealing Bonaparte as both a military leader and as the ranking statesman of his age.

    Beyond even those facets however lies a personality, larger than life, dedicated to not only his personal prestige and ambition, but to that of his family as well. Questions such as how does one person emerge as the central figure of the era or how does a man put personal accomplishment above the world around him continue to bedevil historians. Asprey disects these and other aspects of the career of Napoleon while enlightening readers about the nature of the man himself.

    Clearly this book along with its earlier companion "The Rise..." should take pride of place in any historians Napoleonic collection. What better way to recognize the bi-centenial of the era than with publication of these volumes? ... Read more

    18. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill
    by Ron Suskind
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $16.38
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743255453
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 1562
    Average Customer Review: 4.34 out of 5 stars
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    The George W. Bush White House, as described by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, is a world out of kilter. Policy decisions are determined not by careful weighing of an issue's complexities; rather, they're dictated by a cabal of ideologues and political advisors operating outside the view of top cabinet officials. The President is not a fully engaged administrator but an enigma who is, at best, guarded and poker-faced but at worst, uncurious, unintelligent, and a puppet of larger forces. O'Neill provided extensive documentation to journalist and author Suskind, including schedules with 7,630 entries and a set of 19,000 documents that featured memoranda to the President, thank-you notes, meeting minutes, and voluminous reports. The result, The Price of Loyalty, is a gripping look inside the meeting rooms, the in-boxes, and the minds of a famously guarded administration. Much of the book, as one might expect from the story of a Treasury Secretary, revolves around economics, but even those not normally enthused by tax code intricacies will be fascinated by the rapid-fire intellects of O'Neill and Fed chairman Alan Greenspan as they gather for regular power breakfasts. A good deal of the book is about the things that O'Neill never figures out. He knows there's something creepy going on with the administration's power structure, but he's never inside enough to know quite what it is. But while those sections are intriguing, other passages are simply revelatory: O'Neill asserts that Saddam Hussein was targeted for removal not in the 9/11 aftermath but soon after Bush took office. Paul O'Neill makes for an interesting protagonist. A vaunted economist from the days of Nixon and Ford, he returns to a Washington that's immeasurably more cutthroat. And while he appears almost naïvely academic initially, he emerges as someone determined to speak his mind even when it becomes apparent that such an approach spells his political doom. --John Moe ... Read more

    Reviews (282)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Disturbing Insider's Perspective
    "The Price of Loyalty" is an insider's perspective on an inside fight -- inside the Republican Party and particularly inside the Bush '43 White House. Suskind's book articulates the view of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill that the ideological wing of the Republican Party has ascended. O'Neill, representing the pragmatic wing, is appalled.

    Democratic and Republican pragmatists may be perturbed by what they read. Politics inevitably influences policy, and that may even be a good thing. But science should not be enslaved to ideology, as it was in the Bush '43 White House's Kyoto Protocol deliberations. Tax cuts should not be enacted to please the Republican base at the price of a huge deficit, when responsible counsel (Alan Greenspan) points to an economy already on the mend and to long-term disastrous effects of that deficit. American soldiers should not be sent to foreign lands to fight and die without compelling reason. "The Price of Loyalty" makes the case that all of these unhappy occurrences transpired.

    This book is more memoir than policy tome, but it articulates convincing positive positions that thoughtful members of both major parties could endorse, but which never saw legislative daylight. For example, fiscal prudence. For example, a paltry twenty-five million dollar foreign aid investment in an African country's water system that would have provided all its water needs, saved lives and exponentially advanced that country's economy -- creating a reservoir of good will that would have payed dividends far into the future.

    This book gives credit where credit is due. O'Neill admired some members of the administration -- for example, Christine Todd Whitman (now gone), Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice (whom O'Neill praises as an "honest broker" of divergent viewpoints). Karen Hughes he compliments as pragmatic.

    "The Price of Loyalty" raises questions for the reader to answer. O'Neill admired President Ford's amazing grasp of issues and rigorous thought process. Ford did not win re-election. O'Neill also admired George H.W. Bush. Bush '41 did not win re-election. So, for a book that extols pragmatism and denigrates the opposite, the question arises: is the Bush '43 White House in its own way more pragmatic than its immediate Republican predecessors? Isn't it smart for politics to trump policy? The answer lies in the attentiveness of the American voter and the kind of leader they want. Personally, I think O'Neill is prophetic, but time will tell whether he is a prophet of the Cassandra variety.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Suskind & O'Neill REAL Patriots
    I noticed a few months ago the media referred to O'Neill as "Not Patriotic." What's the definition of a patriot? Here it is from Cambridge dictionary; Patriot -a person who loves their country and, if necessary, will fight for it. Notice it doesn't state blind allegiance to a dictator or a specific authority.

    O'Neill is the perfect Bush Administrator "Insider" being that he basically grew up with a lot of these folks for the past 30 years. Even the big cats like Cheney & Rumsfield. This also means that he has the ability to judge their character based on true interaction and not assumption.

    This book talks about his real experiences working in the Administration and serves as his own vindication given the circumstances of him "resigning." Paul is very concerned about his credibility, and feels that he needs to communicate his concerns and experiences to the American people.

    Numerous resignations within the Administration have occurred. Anyone from Diplomats to foreign countries to critical members on the cabinet. Even the EPA Director Christie Whitman has resigned.

    This book/tape series goes through these experiences in vigorous detail. I beleieve this information is completely objective about the circumstances facing the Bush Administration.

    If you're a biased person, there is no way to convince you so I won't bother. Somehow people got to eliminate their bias so they can get to the real truth of the matter. Otherwise, in the world, you will only see what you ...choose... to see.

    1-0 out of 5 stars DISGRUNTLED EX-EMPLOYEE
    It is a good thing Mr. O'neill gets his frustrations out by using his typewriter. This seems to be the year for 'Bush Bashing' and many people seem to be getting on the band wagon. It is amazing to me that so many people actually believe everything they read or hear about President Bush.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reasonably Informative
    Paul O'Neill was persuaded by his friend Dick Cheney to take the job of Treasury Secretary, on his retirement from Alcoa. After he was dismissed from that post, a chance encounter with Ron Suskind (senior national affairs reporter at the Wall Street Journal for eight years) led to this account of his two years in office. It is Suskind's book, not O'Neill's, though of course it is intended to present his understanding of O'Neill's experiences and views, and was reviewed by O'Neill for general accuracy. Since the book passed that review, I take it to be a satisfactory account of both.

    The writing is quite lively, and directed at a general audience with some interest in politics. A reader who has been following the news will not be much surprised by anything in it (particularly with the quotable bits having now made their way
    into the general press). But it is useful to have this insider's confirmation of what can only be guessed at from new reports, as the present administration is considerably more secretive than any administration, of either party, in living memory.
    For example, the famous first-month reversal that embarrassed Christie Whitman was clear enough at the time, where the administration flipped its position on global warming without warning the head of our environmental agency (just after she presented that policy at a major international conference), but it is interesting to see it unfold from O'Neill's perspective.

    The younger Bush remains an enigma throughout; one gets little understanding either of how he thinks, or what his own primary motivations might be - in striking contrast to every other member of his government. While many politicians may be described as "enigmatic", Cheney for example, this is not strictly speaking accurate. Their goals, values, and objectives are generally transparent, and can be read both from their history and some of their public pronouncements. Cheney may be a good poker player, but at least you know he's playing poker.The enigmas are tactical rather than strategic. Bush's enigmatic quality lies considerably deeper, beginning with the question, what game might he be playing? O'Neill does not pretend to know, which is refreshing. From my own perspective, the most significant remark Bush makes is "I don't negotiate with myself". O'Neill finds this extremely puzzling. Late in the book there is a detailed account of one meeting in which, exceptionally, a free exchange of views on policy was encouraged, in an interestingly chaotic manner.

    No doubt other readers will approach this from other perspectives, and reach quite different conclusions. There is ample material to do so.
    For example, the portrait of O'Neill's relationship with Greenspan reveals something worth knowing about both, and one of the more striking sections deals with O'Neill's experiences on an official trip through Africa. While it has little to do with the rest of the Bush administration, it is interesting in its own right (as are the remarks on the development of the Argentine financial crisis). O'Neill's views on policy matters are also given, with brevity and clarity, for the most part as one of a range of options with various identifiable strengths and weaknesses.

    One major strength of the book is that O'Neill worked with other administrations, including Nixon and Ford, and is in a position to compare their working styles.

    Perhaps this book deserves a 4.2 rather than a 5 star rating.
    It is not one of the classics of political reporting, merely timely, easy to read, and informative.
    On the other hand it is clearly of more value than the polemical books that have been doing quite well of late, so I give it a 5 for its combination of seriousness of intent, execution, and general readability. Suskind keeps well out of the way and allows you to see O'Neill's world. In this category, the basic question is whether a book is worth reading at all. This one is.

    [Here's a little zinger that had me sitting up on page 107: "It was a mistake of nearly $700 billion. 'What do you mean, no one was consulted?' O'Neill moaned."]

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Book
    I found this to be a very eye-opening and scary book, but very factual. It follows Paul's own feelings, so at the beginning he is excited and hopeful, and then he gradually gets disillusioned about the current administration. Had to be gutsy to write this, but I'm glad he did, and I hope as many people as possible read it before the election. Without calling Bush an idiot, he makes it clear what kind of administration we currently have, and how it compares to many previous administrations. ... Read more

    19. Boy Genius: Karl Rove, The Architect Of George W. Bush's Remarkable Political Triumphs
    by Carl M. Cannon, Lou Dubose, Jan Reid
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $6.78
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1586483366
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
    Publisher: PublicAffairs
    Sales Rank: 338261
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    20. The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte
    by Robert B. Asprey, Robert Asprey
    list price: $19.00
    our price: $12.92
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0465048811
    Catlog: Book (2001-10)
    Publisher: Basic Books
    Sales Rank: 31829
    Average Customer Review: 3.41 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Robert Asprey charts Napoleon's thrilling, reckless rise to power in this fast-paced first volume of the definitive biography of the fascinating, enigmatic, and still mysterious tragic conqueror.

    Ever since 1821, when he died at age fifty-one on the forlorn and windswept island of St. Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte has been remembered as either demi-god or devil incarnate. In The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, the first volume of a two-volume cradle-to-grave biography, Robert Asprey instead treats him as a human being. Asprey tells this fascinating, tragic tale in lush narrative detail. The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte is an exciting, reckless thrill ride as Asprey charts Napoleon's vertiginous ascent to fame and the height of power. Here is Napoleon as he was-not saint, not sinner, but a man dedicated to and ultimately devoured by his vision of himself, his empire, and his world. ... Read more

    Reviews (22)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Asprey rises as top historian with The Rise of Napoleon
    Few historians could write this most impressive and thoroughly researched work about Napoleon Bonaparte. Written in a clear and insightful style, Asprey has mined sharp insights, shrewd observations, and new understanding of one of history's greatest (and most complex) leaders, from a gold mine thought long paid out. What readers should gain from this important biography, that is also a political-military-economic history, is that there are distinct doctrines for war, peace, and more importantly, intervention to impose the will of peace, law, and government upon nations which threaten another's security. Asprey accomplishes this by using a very well written and interesting story line that chronicles Napoleon's life in a manner used all too infrequently by other writers of historical lives. It is never dull, often revealing, and thoroughly fascinating. The reader finds the secrets of Napoleon's great abilities by understanding his childhood, his youth spent in bookstores, and his lust for reading and writing. Like Asprey's "War in the Shadows," this book will enlighten, infuriate, and hopefully inform a whole new generation of 21st century historians, members of the armed forces, and business leaders to understand that genius come from knowing, doing, and believing in one's innate abilities. Napoleon Bonaparte certainly understood his and Robert Asprey reveals all in this first of two volumes. The next volume, The Fall of Napoleon, will be eagerly anticipated.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, but Not What I Was Looking For!
    This is a beautifully written, excellently researched book on Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to power, from the perspective of his military leadership. Although a great book, packed with military campaign detail, I was looking for more of a Biography of Napoleon's life. I suppose you can argue that his battles were his life, but I wanted more his life, and less battle detail! I still give this five great stars, it deserves it, but let you know that if you are looking for a standard biography and not a military history, this one isn't it. Well done, nonetheless.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A fine introductory biography on Napoleon
    I believed that many of the previous reviewers were probably misled into thinking that this biography was something gear toward a higher level. Upon reading this book, I discovered that this book is perfectly geared toward the casual reader and those just coming into the Napoleonic study. The book proves to be well researched in information, very easy to read and equally easy to understand. I basically regards this book as very good introductory biography on Napoleon up to the end of 1805.

    To a veteran Napoleonic bluff, this book may not served your purpose outside of reading a relatively objective book on Napoleon's early career. As other reviewers wrote, the book tries to revealed Napoleon the man instead of the Napoleonic concept that often swirled around his life and accomplishments.

    So if you are deep into Napoleonic, you can probably skip this this book and the next. If you are just getting into the subject matter, this book and the next would make an excellent introduction to Napoleon's life and career without overwhelming you with information overload.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Asprey's "Rise" Left Me Flat
    First off, let me say that I am not an avid reader of biographies. But when a compelling, beautifully written biography like Edmund Morris's "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" or Antonia Fraser's "Marie Antoniette" comes along, I devour it with relish. I did not find Robert Asprey's "The Rise of Napoleon" to be that kind of book at all. This is a military history, first and foremost. If you want to know (and can keep track of) every move of every division of every army in which Napoleon ever fought, or fought against, this book is for you. I wanted much more personal information, much more about the inner thoughts of the man and what might have made him tick. Nor does Asprey do much towards explaining the world in which Napoleon lived or the political forces that made him what he is. Honestly, I couldn't finish this first volume, and will certainly not go on to read the second.

    3-0 out of 5 stars General Bonaparte's Reasoning Survives This Marine's Siege
    As a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, United State Marine Corps Captain Robert Asprey unintentionally dons rose-colored glasses when examining the military career of Napoleon. Asprey attempts to portray Napoleon Bonaparte the man versus the anti-Christ or demi-god that other authors may have depicted.

    Though Asprey reveals Napoleon to be a deeply flawed man, he glosses over much of the reasons on why the General condoned the Jacobin Massacre, the lootings the Army of Italy carried out, or the motivation behind the campaigns against the Turks, Egyptians and Syrians. The canned explanations regarding the campaigns, which was that Napoleon wanted to strike at the British Empire's purse, is not a sound enough reason to invest such a great amount of troops, money and time in Africa and Asia Minor.

    Asprey did not pull any punches when discussing Admiral VerHuell's movements against Admiral Nelson and the Royal Navy. Neither Napoleon nor VerHuell had much confidence in their ability for maritime dominance, and Asprey brings this subject out into the light of day. As a Marine, the author probably sees this lack of confidence inexcusable, and impresses upon the reader the importance of having a well-rounded national force.

    Each chapter follows a chronological order covering six-month spans starting from the dawn of Napoleon's military career to the victory at Austerlitz. This is an abrupt break for the reader, and we are left without a conclusion, summary or a teaser of what's to come in Asprey's next volume on Napoleon.

    For the casually interested, The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte is a great start to understand this historical giant's life. For the seriously interested, this may not be the best book to find the answers behind this man's way of thinking. ... Read more

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