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  • Earhart, Amelia
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  • Eisenhower, Dwight D.
  • Elizabeth I
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    1. Who Was Albert Einstein? (Who
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    2. Who Was Amelia Earhart? (Who Was...?)
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    3. Eisenhower at War 1943-1945
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    4. The First Elizabeth
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    5. Albert Einstein: Out of My Later
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    6. Albert Einstein: A Biography
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    7. Elizabeth and Mary : Cousins,
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    8. Albert Einstein : Young Thinker
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    9. Oxford: Son of Queen Elizabeth
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    10. Driving Mr. Albert : A Trip Across
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    11. Odd Boy Out : Young Albert Einstein
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    12. Harry and Ike : The Partnership
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    13. Einstein Lived Here: Essays for
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    14. Elizabeth I, Ceo: Strategic Lessons
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    15. A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart
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    16. Amelia, My Courageous Sister:
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    17. Annus Mirabilis: 1905, Albert
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    18. E = mc2: A Biography of the World's
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    19. E = mc2: A Biography of the World's
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    20. Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life

    1. Who Was Albert Einstein? (Who Was...? (Paperback))
    by Jess Brallier, Robert Andrew Parker
    list price: $4.99
    our price: $4.99
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    Asin: 0448424967
    Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
    Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
    Sales Rank: 48175
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    Book Description

    Everyone has heard of Albert Einstein-but what exactly did he do? How much do kids really know about Albert Einstein besides the funny hair and genius label? For instance, do they know that he was expelled from school as a kid? Finally, here's the story of Albert Einstein's life, told in a fun, engaging way that clearly explores the world he lived in and changed. ... Read more


    2. Who Was Amelia Earhart? (Who Was...?)
    by Kate Boehm Jerome, David Cain
    list price: $4.99
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    Asin: 0448428563
    Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
    Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
    Sales Rank: 28836
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Amelia Earhart was a woman of many "firsts." In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1935, she also became the first woman to fly across the Pacific. From her early years to her mysterious 1937 disappearance while attempting a flight around the world, readers will find Amelia Earhart's life a fascinating story. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
    My 7 year old son could not put this book down! He read the entire book in one afternoon, and then was able to complete his biography project for school without any additional research. The book brought Amelia Earhart to life; it was comprehensive and interesting, with so many insights that I had never known before. There were also numerous sketches and maps which would keep a youngster engaged throughout the book. This book gets a resounding "WOW!" from us. ... Read more


    3. Eisenhower at War 1943-1945
    by DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
    list price: $29.95
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    Asin: 0394412370
    Catlog: Book (1986-08-12)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 162894
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Intricately detailed.......
    With 825 pages devoted to a period of three years, David Eisenhower, the grandson of DDE, has ample space to provide an intricate look at his grandfather at war. This book is primarily focused on the preparation and execution of Normandy through to the formal capitulation of Germany.

    The author, presenting the rivalries between allied generals, the political machinations of Roosevelt, Churchill and the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and the seemingly unfathomable Stalin, shows the extreme patience, diplomacy, and fortitude required of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expedition Forces, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, to win the war in Europe.

    Eisenhower: At War, 1943-1945, expertly dissects the relationships between allied parties while describing the utter destruction of Germany. It is thorough and frequently thrilling. Patton, Bradley, and Montgomery receive appropriate attention as does Normandy and the Ardennes offensive most commonly referred to as the Battle of the Bulge. I recommend the book highly and rate it an enthusiastic 4 stars.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, President and...
    grandpa. I've been meaning to read At War for some time specifically to to get David Eisenhower's perpective. It's a perpective most historians would kill for. As a kid David had the run of the White House. The familiarity he gained from comtemporaries of his grandfather-generals, aides, heads of state, friends & even other historians was invaluable. His admits this. The book look daunting at first glance, but is quite readable & I was able to stay with it for hours at a time. ha-mevaker is correct. This is a political rather than a military view of the war in Europe. Military matters are of course the backdrop for the political intrigues Ike is subjected to. The personal stories are appreciated & humanize the whole horrible war: The young private from Abeliene simply walking up to Eisenhower"s H.Q. & demanding of the guard to see Ike. He got his audience with the general as well as a signed note as proof to his buddies. The book is peppered with little stories like that. The Eisenhower-Montgomery feud is covered extensively. Surprisingly, David is more even handed & perhaps more understanding of Monty's motives than other American historians have been. By D-Day Britain was finished. She was bankrupted, & would never regain her former glory. Montgomery knew this well. The men lost could not be replaced. Yet he wanted one last moment in the sun for Great Britain, that of a spearhead into Germany & the capture of Berlin by the English (& himself). In this plan he was over-ruled by Eisenhower, his superior, a general with no battlefield experience. He was a great patriot & it galled him that by this point the British Empire was the junior partner in the U.S./British alliance. Churchill was proponent a defeating Germany thru Italy & did not support the Normandy invasion. He experienced the carnage of World War I trench warfare feared a repeat if a frontal assault was attempted. Eisenhower greatest strength was he wasn't fighting the last war as many of the people around him were. He was fighting the war he had before him & he did it quite well.

    4-0 out of 5 stars This is a different look at the events of WW II
    This is the first part of what David Eisenhower's intended political biography of his grandfather. The main thrust of the book is how Eisenhower's decisions in WW II were made, and the tensions that existed in the USA/British alliance during the war. The Anvil/Dragoon controversy is given full length because it was one of the most contended points of the allaince. The fighting of the war is distinctly in the background. It isn't clear to me how much personal analysis David Eisenhower put into the fighting aspect of the book. In a number of places it seems that he relys on the historians. Because of this, I think that it is important to keep in mind that this probably isn't an important book in terms of military history, even though it is very important in terms of understanding the political aspects of the war. Almost all the other books on WW II ignore the political aspects. ... Read more


    4. The First Elizabeth
    by Carolly Erickson
    list price: $17.95
    our price: $12.21
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    Asin: 031216842X
    Catlog: Book (1997-08-15)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
    Sales Rank: 125887
    Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In this remarkable biography, Carolly Erickson brings Elizabeth I to life and allows us to see her as a living, breathing, elegant, flirtatious, diplomatic, violent, arrogant, and outrageous woman who commands our attention, fascination, and awe.

    With the special skill for which she is acclaimed, Carolly Erickson electrifies the senses as she evokes with total fidelity the brilliant colors of Elizabethan clothing and jewelry, the texture of tapestries, and even the close, perfumed air of castle rooms. Erickson demonstrates her extraordinary ability to discern and bring to life psychological and physical reality.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    2-0 out of 5 stars A Very Difficult Read
    I have read a couple of her books, Mistress Anne and Bonnie Prince Charlie, and I enjoyed them. So when I got The First Elizabeth was extremely disappointed. Having read dozens of books on Elizabeth and knowing something about the subject, this book does not really paint an accurate picture in my opinion. She writes more on gossip and rumours without giving acutal facts. There are accurate statements but they are not in evidence on the whole. She also tended(IMO) to side more with Mary Tudor, who was not as intelligent or politically astute as Elizabeth. She gave the feeling that Mary was just misunderstood. The author seemed to relish in court gossip especially from Elizabeth's maids of honour. I would recommend Mary M. Luke's, Gloriana: The Years Of Elizabeth I, and Alison Weir's, The Life of Elizabeth I before I would recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The First Elizabeth- A great book about the Virgin Queen
    This book is absolutely the best. I had to read it for a school biography and had a really great time learning about Queen Elizabeth. Her character, power, and history simply amaze me, and has gotten me more interested in world history. I feel very satisfied with the book and can't wait to read more of Ericksons books.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nearly reads like a novel ...
    I tend to read mostly fiction, but for some reason earlier this year I decided to foray into biographies. This book gives you a peek into Elizabethan life, gives you insight into Elizabeth I's personality, and you learn quite a lot of history, scandals, and rumours-of-the-day along the way.

    This book reads more like a biographical novel than a pure biography, which, considering the subject matter is about 500-years old, probably means some license was taken with dialogue, etc., however, I think the style makes the subject infinitely more memorable.

    4-0 out of 5 stars First Elizabeth a reading pleasure
    The major difference in "The First Elizabeth" by Carolly Erickson and "The Life of Elizabeth I" by Alison Weir is stylistic. Both women are thoroughly versed in the life of their royal subject, and obviously enthusiastic about her as well.

    Erickson's style, however, leans more toward novelistic narrative. She seems to be sitting with you, telling you a story about this great monarch with her infamous "virgin" status, her political adeptness, her fearsome temper, her penchant for swearing oaths that made one's blood freeze, and her ability to command deep love and adoration from her subjects.

    This style is especially appealing for those for whom this biography is their first foray into Tudor biography. It introduces the major players in the queen's life thoroughly so that one is well acquainted with Robert Dudley, Cecil and Walsingham, as well as Mary I and the many other colorful characters that populated the Queen's life. You also get a real feel for the terror and uncertainty of Elizabeth's youth, when she lived in fear of death at the hands of her unstable, Catholic sister.

    Erickson adroitly paints a stunning (and sometimes shocking) picture of life at court - and what a life it must have been. Living at the various castles Elizabeth moved between (they changed castles regularly so that the one previously used could be cleaned and "aired out") was far from our 21st century idea of luxury, and when you read about the trials and travails inherent in the Queen's annual "progresses", you'll never gripe about rush-hour traffic again!

    Again, I would recommend this to anyone starting out to read about Elizabeth I, and to the reader already familiar with the life of the greatest queen of England. Those of the latter group might find that the author falls in love a bit too much with her subject (and who wouldn't, as this lady is one of the most fascinating people in history). In some places towards the end the flow of the narrative (going from event to event) isn't quite as seamless as it could be (you feel as though you are jumping from one to the other without a lead-in sentence/paragraph) but never mind that. Erickson does a marvelous job of painting a portrait of the life and times of Elizabeth and it's a most pleasurable learning experience and enjoyable read.

    After finishing "Elizabeth I", the reader would do well to continue on with Weir's biography mentioned above. I started with Weir and am now committed to reading Erickson's extensive series on the Tudors, including "Great Harry", "Mistress Anne", etc.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hail Britainia
    A great book about a Queen whose story reads more like "The Godfather" than you'd guess.

    Elizabeth I, thrust onto the throne while her country was still in the midst of it's centuries-long emergence from Roman rule, turned England into Great Britain through a heady mixture of guile, guts, and British steel(How's that for rhetoric?).

    It's a great book, as are most of Erickson's titles. ... Read more


    5. Albert Einstein: Out of My Later Years
    by ALBERT EINSTEIN
    list price: $8.99
    our price: $8.09
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    Asin: 0517093804
    Catlog: Book (1993-10-18)
    Publisher: Gramercy
    Sales Rank: 48520
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Albert Einstein, among the greatest scientists of all time, was also a man of profound thought and deeply humane feelings. His collected essays offer a fascinating and moving look at one of the twentieth century's leading minds.

    Covering a fifteen year period from 1934 to 1950, the contents of this book have been drawn from Einstein's articles, addresses, letters and assorted papers. Through his words, you can understand the man and gain his insight on social, religious, and educational issues.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Collection of Einstein's Thoughts
    This is not a book of mathematic formulas or theoretical physics concepts, it is a book of short essays by Albert Einstein on life, freedom, and some aspects of science. This book really gives us a look into the life of Albert Einstein. Not only was he a great physicist, but he was also a great thinker and a person. This is a truly remarkable read.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Travel, Quick Reads
    Out of my Later Years is a collection of Einstein's speeches and articles covering not just physics but his thoughts on the social condition of man, of Jews, and of war as well as several speeches about the likes of Max Planck, Mahatma Gandhi, and Marie Curie.

    As letters and speeches, these are written as the ordinary man that Einstein once was - very easy to read and understand. Even some of the physics lectures are understandable. Each is relatively short making this perfect for when you want to read something of substance but don't have much time.

    The sections on Public Affairs are especially haunting as Einstein presents his arguments for the "global village" and advocated someting akin to the current U.N. - things that began to come into their own after his passing. In particular, there is an interchange between him and a group of Communist scientists that underlines the Cold War tension in its height and is a chilling read now in the Post Soviet Union age.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A different man
    I found Einstein's desire to start a rock band at such an early age very surprising. A man before his time for sure. Singing about relativity while distancing himself from the groupies must have been difficult. The book reads like a good guitar riff, jolting one's mind from time to time. Excellent! ... Read more


    6. Albert Einstein: A Biography
    by Albrecht Folsing
    list price: $34.95
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    Asin: 0670855456
    Catlog: Book (1997-03-01)
    Publisher: Viking Books
    Sales Rank: 588743
    Average Customer Review: 3.78 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The name of Albert Einstein has become synonymous with supreme wisdom and benignity. Not only was he responsible for the fundamental remapping of our understanding of the physical cosmos, he also left a legacy of outspokenness on the crucial moral, political, and religious issues of the twentieth century. Drawing on an unprecedented number of sources, Albrecht F|lsing throws into fresh relief the remarkable life of Einstein, approaching the man through the science and situating him in the creatively charged times in which he thrived.Albert Einstein is both an engaging portrait of a genius and a distillation of scientific thought. F|lsing sheds light on Einstein's development and the complexity of his being: his childhood idiosyncrasies, his views on war and peace, his stimulating friendships with colleagues, and his intense relationships with women. This is a serious yet highly readable and intimate account of the genius who expanded our understanding of nature and of the singular man who played such an exceptional role in the cultural growth of this century. ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Imagination
    At the height of Einstein's career it was joked that only about a dozen people in the entire world actually understood the master's theory of relativity, which leads to the question of whether we mere mortals should even attempt this 882-page tome. The answer is a resounding yes. Albrecht Holsing never forgets that he is writing a biography, not a physics text. The result is a colorful biography of a learning disabled civil servant with perhaps the most fertile imagination in the history of science. Holsing's Einstein is a man without a country, an unabashed lover, an avowed pacifist, a born-again Zionist, bon vivant and alleged subversive. And yes, smart and eccentric as hell.

    Between 1905 and 1920 Einstein, a patent claims inspector, produced a series of papers on the subject of physics so outlandish that the world collectively gasped. Put simply, Einstein postulated connections between dimensions that had been considered unbridgeable until his day. He was not a scientist in the way we traditionally think of the discipline. He was in reality a science fiction writer who challenged the white coats to prove he was wrong. Most of the time they could not, to their own amazement. And when they did, he seemed to delight even more. God, he remarked, may be mysterious, but never malevolent. For Einstein the universe was a playground.

    Einstein enjoyed wonderful timing. By 1900 the telescope and the microscope had been perfected to the point that the bigness and the smallness of the natural world began crashing into the complacency of Newtonian physics and Euclidean geometry. Einstein, whose own spacial-temporal development was delayed until early adulthood, began to play with possibilities. Is the universe so big that the traditional absolute theorems of geometry might be disproved? Consider the classic geometric postulate that two parallel lines will stretch into infinity without ever touching. Einstein dared to question such a basic law in several ways: if the universe itself is not linear but perhaps curved, the lines would eventually meet. And second, what influence would gravitation play upon these two lines? It was these daring interplays of factors that set Einstein apart and led to his famous speculations about relationships between mass, time, and energy.

    It is a credit to Holsing that he is able to describe Einstein's mental journeys as lucidly as he does. This is not to say there is no hard work required. Einstein had a hand in nearly all branches of physics, including optics, electricity, and radiation, and he was in constant dialogue with other noted thinkers of his age, including Niels Bohr and Max Planck. For an older reader unfamiliar with quantum physics, the scientific debates over the nature of light may as well be written in Vulcan. Be that as it may, the faithful reader will probably take away enough science to be dazzled and deeply impressed when Einstein's most audacious speculation-that light is bent by gravitational pull-is dramatically proven during a total eclipse of the sun in 1918.

    For all practical purposes, Einstein's creative career ended around 1920, the same time he began to attract respectable university and lecture fees. The years between 1920 and 1955 are remarkable in their own way: Einstein became one of the world's most recognized celebrities in an era of renewed interest in popular science. Like many celebrities he grumbled about the distractions but rarely missed a good dinner. Universities that hired the grand thinker after 1920 did so at their own risk: Einstein traveled widely and allowed his life to be governed by the Muse of creativity. He spent three decades working unsuccessfully to eliminate mathematical kinks from his general theory of relativity. [Ironically, since 1995 astronomical discoveries of the magnitude of dust and gas in the universe have tended to smooth out the rough edges of the relativity theory.]

    Although he lived and worked in Germany for many years, Einstein carried a deep-seated suspicion of German militarism. He was disillusioned with the conduct of most of his scientific colleagues during World War I, and he was early to see the direction of Nazi policy. Relocating to Princeton, New Jersey, he lived the final two decades of his life in the United States. As Folsing tells it, the United States government kept Einstein at arm's length, perhaps due to a 1930 speech in which he remarked that if as few as 2% of a nation's draftees refused to serve, its military force would crumble. The speech made Einstein an icon among pacifists, and "2%" buttons became popular leftist items throughout the 1930's. Given Einstein's political leanings, it is one of history's better fortunes that Franklin Roosevelt took seriously Einstein's warnings about German development of a fission bomb. However, Einstein was considered too much of a security risk to be considered for the Manhattan Project and was systematically excluded from any information about the project.

    Folsing chronicles the struggles of Einstein's two marriages and the somewhat flagrant adulteries of his middle years. Contrary to popular belief, Einstein was in fact a handsome and captivating younger man. It was only in later years that hygiene and fashion tended to deteriorate, perhaps as a statement of sorts to his prim Princeton neighbors. Folsing captures Einstein's wit: once, when the mayor of his town apologized for sewerage fumes from a treatment plant wafting toward the Einstein residence, the good scientist confessed that on occasion he had "returned the compliment."

    3-0 out of 5 stars Gets his life right, but the science is too dense for me
    Albert Einstein led an interesting life, from his beginnings as a mathematical prodigy, to his heyday when he popularized physics, to his old age where his status as a living legend afforded him many opportunities. Folsing does a great job detailing Einstein the man in each of these sections. Generally he uses Einstein's own writings, either in letters or in papers, a technique that some find off-putting but I found useful and relevant.

    Two things about this book, though, did trouble me. First, it was overlong. There were some sections that felt either redundant or padded, and did little to provide further insight into Einstein the man. Second, the physics explanations went over my head. As a layman, I wasn't expecting a dumbed-down approach meant to pander to the dimmest of readers. I do have some math background, and usually take to the subject easily. But Folsing never gave me a chance. I went in hoping for some comprehensible explanations regarding the special and general theories of relativity, but got nothing more than page after page of jargon that assumed plenty of prior knowledge. Even an explanation of why they (along with the equation "E=mc2") received critical and popular acclaim was missing.

    Now, I'm willing to concede that something got lost in the translation, for the book was originally written in German. Folsing is by trade a physicist, and later a science journalist, so should know his stuff and have the skills needed for concise explanation. I suppose it was enough to ask that he attempt to share some of his knowledge of Einstein's science, while making Einstein's life a gripping and interesting tale.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful biography of a twentieth century giant..
    This is the BEST biography of Einstein that I have read. The writing style is 'European' in that all dimensions of Einstein are explored and referenced. A strong point of this biography is the extensive research and documentation that backs up the text. Einstein's life in science AND out of it are explored thoroughly. My only quibble is that the quality of pictures in the text is shoddy. I have the Penguin edition. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. If you want a quick superficial biography try Banesh Hoffman's Einstein (still in print?). If you want a fairly good biography I recommend Denis Brian's Einstein. If you want a very precise and detail biography get this one and enjoy!

    4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting and detailed book.
    I felt that this was a first rate reference guide, but as a novel it was lacking in readability. The science and history aspect was outstanding but because of the way it was written and the layout it was difficult to follow at times despite its accuracy. Another problem was that there was too much detail and some chapters seemed to perpetually drag on. Even though it got monotonus at times I learned much about Einstein as a person and his accomplishments other than the famous ones such as relativity and light quanta principiles. All in all despite some problems it was an informative and facinating book and I enjoyed reading it.

    2-0 out of 5 stars whoa!
    way to much information. it was good and all but it had too much info and was a slow read. i didn't liek it too much. too much info! ... Read more


    7. Elizabeth and Mary : Cousins, Rivals, Queens
    by JANE DUNN
    list price: $30.00
    our price: $19.80
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    Asin: 0375408983
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-06)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 3666
    Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Jane Dunn’s Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens offers a blend of history and biography that traces the "dynamic interaction" between two of the most powerful women in Western history. Dunn remains ever aware of the uniqueness of her two central figures: both women ruled as divinely ordained monarchs in a male dominated power structure; and both women were from the same family (Elizabeth I was the granddaughter of Henry VII, and Mary Queen of Scots the great-granddaughter of King Henry).

    By focusing not on pure biography but instead on relationships, Dunn is able to narrow her book (still mammoth in scope) to the most salient and interesting events in the two queens’ lives. The book begins in 1558, the year in which Mary first wed and Elizabeth assumed the throne of England. Almost immediately the cousins were embroiled in a conflict that would endure for the remainder of Mary’s life. A restless, sexually-active Catholic, and leader of the Scottish people in alliance with France, Mary was ever a conduit for rumors of rebellion. The "Virgin Queen" Elizabeth used Mary as a dark reflection to underline her own celibate constancy as a ruler of law and order.

    The pair never met face to face, but as Dunn reveals, their lives were closely intertwined. After holding Mary in Fotheringhay prison for nearly two decades, Elizabeth ordered her cousin executed in 1587. Mary had chosen martyrdom in favor of a confession to complicity in the Babington assassination plot. In court, she declared: "I would never make Shipwreck of my Soul by conspiring the Destruction of my dearest Sister." Though the ostensible victor, Elizabeth (who had struggled to find a way to release her cousin while still upholding her own power as queen) confessed, "I am not free, but a captive." In Elizabeth and Mary, Dunn has built a rich world that underlines the tragic struggle between private emotions and the public faces history puts on them. --Patrick O’Kelley ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding historical comparison...
    Dunn did something different with this book. Rather than reiterate all the facts in the lives of these two contemporary monarchs, Dunn zoned in on the both the similarties between the two women, but more importantly on the differences that led one queen to being one of the best monarchs (female or male), while the other one's claim to fame would end up being a martyr around whom fogs of mysteries could be built (and were).

    At first I was a little disappointed in not getting more information than Dunn was providing. It wasn't until where I saw where she was going through comparing the two women, that I could settle in and enjoy the book. I am quite sure there are more then enough biographies out there on both the English and Scottish monarchs, and the world of intrigue swirling around them. What was interesting about this book is the recognition that Elizabeth's very uncertain childhood had an immense impact on her later abilities as a queen, while Mary was spoiled in the French court and so when she came across difficulties later on, she did not know how to handle political crises diplomatically.

    Another interesting point, is how much written information (usually in letter formats, or writing from diplomats to their respective kings or queens or popes) still exists from over 500 years ago. We may live in the information age, but these guys managed to get information quite well, as well as spread disinformation successfully.

    Dunn's writing is excellent. This book was an enjoyable and fast read. Dunn provides an excellent geneaological chart at the beginning of the book, as well as a chronological chart of the time period. In the back is a great select Bibliography for those who wish to continue to read on this fascinating time.

    Karen Sadler

    4-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating side-by-side comparison of two rival queens.
    Many have criticized this dual biography for not introducing new material, and simply re-hashing what has been written elsewhere. And clearly there is no shortage of excellent biogaphies on both of these queens. However, it is the format of Dunn's book that sets it apart and gives us an innovative perspective. Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots, were both fascinating monarchs in their own right, but equally fascinating is the complex relationship between them. Both women had a claim to the throne of England. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth's grandfather, Henry VII, who overthrew Richard III and founded the Tudor dynasty, was also the great-grandfather of Mary (born to King James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise). Elizabeth was Mary's elder by only nine years. Both women were ambitious, passionate, and cunning. Yet despite their similar status as queens and cousins, these two women were also very different from one another.

    Mary became Queen of Scotland only six days after her birth in 1542, upon the death of her father. In 1548 she was sent to France, to grow up in the court of her French fiance, the dauphin Francis. Her status was never in question, and therefore she never questioned it herself. Elizabeth, however, traversed a much more tumultuous path to her throne. When her mother was beheaded so Henry VIII could marry his third wife, the young princess was declared illegitimate and removed from the succession. Ultimately her place in the succession was reinstated, but this in no way guaranteed that she would ever become queen. First in line was her radically Protestant half-brother, Edward, who died young. Next came the devoutly Catholic Mary I ("Bloody Mary"), Elizabeth's half-sister from Henry VIII's first marriage, under whom Elizabeth even spent some time in the Tower of London. It was only upon Mary's death in 1558, when Elizabeth was 24 years of age, that she finally ascended the throne herself.

    The relationship between Elizabeth and Mary was very multi-faceted (despite the fact that the two queens never met). For most of her life, Mary referred to Elizabeth as a dear sister, and actively sought her cousin's favor. Yet at the same time Mary coveted the English crown, and even on several occasions declared that she herself was the rightful Queen of England. Yet the Queen of Scots, by dint of her as-yet unthreatened sovereignty, could also be presumtuous to a fault. Her impulsive marriage to Lord Darnley, her second husband (who was shortly thereafter murdered), against the will and advice of many in both Scotland and England, marked the beginning of her ultimate downward slide. Elizabeth, while she displayed more pragmatism in matters of the heart, was also somewhat jealous of her cousin's romantic exploits. Elizabeth had realized early on that she could never marry her personal favorite, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, and that she must instead declare herself to be married to her country, but this did not erase her longing for romantic fulfilment.

    Ultimately Elizabeth was forced to imprison, and eventually execute, her cousin and rival queen. Mary, fleeing from Scottish rebels, thought to run to Elizabeth for refuge and support. But Elizabeth insisted on an investigation into Mary's possible involvement in the murder of Lord Darnley, and therefore detained the Scottish queen in a remote castle. Despite Mary's repeated pleas, she refused an audience with her, fearing the Queen of Scots' reputation for beguiling charm. Mary's imprisonment became all the more serious when she was implicated in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth. The English queen had no desire to execute her cousin, despite pressure from her counselors. Only when irrefutable proof of Mary's involvement was produced did Elizabeth finally sign the death warrant, and even then she was plagued with guilt. In all, Mary spent nearly two decades as Elizabeth's prisoner, and was finally beheaded in 1587, still having never met her cousin and greatest rival.

    The basic story is obviously the same. Indeed, I think it would be hard to introduce any new material on the lives of Elizabeth and Mary at this point, when we probably already know all we ever will about them. Yet Dunn's presentation here is fascinating. By placing the two queens side-by-side for comparison and contrast, and focussing on their relationship, we get to see both sides of the story simultaneously. This format emphasizes the inter-connectedness of their lives, and really shows how much each was dependent on the other. In many ways each served as the only person who could truly identify with the other, both being women rulers in a time when females were seen as incapable of effective leadership, and being each other's closest blood relatives (with the exception of Mary's son, James VI & I).

    Dunn's writing style, while not the most engaging I have ever read, is nevertheless very accessible. She has clearly done her research, and paints a lovely dual portrait of these two women. I also liked the fact that, when using direct quotes, Dunn gives both the original text with its archaic and unstandardized spellings, and also the same quote written with modern spellings, which makes it easier to read and understand. My only real criticism of the text is that she skims over a few events that are considered "well-known," when the book would have been more balanced and informative if Dunn had written on all events with equal detail. After all, not all her readers will have read extensively on these monarchs before picking up this book. On a positive note, the book is equipped with numerous full-color pictures, including portraits of the queens, their family members, important members of their courts, and even some pictures of embroidery Mary completed while imprisoned in England. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, learned much from it, and would definitely recommend it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Pair of Queens
    Some have criticized Jane Dunn's history of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, for not covering any new ground. I find that the parallel biography format makes a new look at an old story well worth while. You may already know the histories of the two queens and their separate lives, but to read about them simultaneously makes vividly clear how intertwined their stories are.

    Dunn's style is accurate and entertaining without being over-scholarly. The addition of details that other biographers have omitted is welcome. (She mentions that Elizabeth was nearsighted, for instance.) The narrative flows naturally from one queen to the other without seeming choppy. Just when you are starting to wonder what's going on with the other, the scene changes to keep you up to date.

    I was somewhat disappointed with the way Dunn treats the murder of Riccio (spelled Rizzio in some accounts). While she discusses fully the repurcussions of the murder, she glosses over the actual sequence of events in one sentence, since the story "is well-known." I think a popular history such as this is the perfect place to include a full account, both for those who are new to the subject and to re-acquaint the rest of us with a dramatic event.

    Dunn, like many biographers, is attached to her subjects. She gives everyone the benefit of a doubt. This is surely the most sympathetic account of Lord Darnley that I have read yet. (Especially on the heels of the recent Alison Weir history of Mary and Darnley.) But she backs up her assertions and conclusions with solid arguments and thorough documentation. And although she says that people still tend to divide themselves into Elizabeth admirers and Mary supporters, she seems to have an equal bias for each queen.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth (Sense) vs. Mary (Sensibility) is great history!
    Jane Dunn has authored an outstanding work of Elizabethian history. Dunn is an excellent historian who is also a superb stylist writing with wit and wisdom.
    Elizabeth and Mary are, of course, Elizabeth I the daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scots who was the daughter of Mary of Guise and James V of Scotland.
    They were cousins, rivals and queens! Mary was raised in the decadent court of France when she married the French king. Later she would marry twice more-Darnley who was murdered and the murderer of her husband Bothwell. Mary was impetuous, vain,a Francophile and a devoted Roman Catholic. Her wish was to make England Catholic and herself queen. She was devious and loved nothing more than a good plot against cousin Elizabeth. Mary died in 1587 as Elizabeth executed her Scottish cousin due to the latter's involvement in a plot against her own life.
    Elizabeth spent time in the Tower as an adolescent placed their by her half-sister Bloody Mary; had outstanding advisors to guide her diplomacy (such as Cecil, Leicester and Walsingham)
    while Mary made one tragic mistake after another. Her life was one of adventure, murder (Darnley and her friend Riccio) and an insatiable desire for power. Mary gave birth to James VI of Scotland who despite her wishes was raised as a Protestant later becoming King Jame I of England.
    On and on could this reviewer go in delineating the intricacies of life in 16th century Europe as Spain and France
    with Catholic might looked with hatred at that island upstart called England.
    Elizabeth is the greatest of English queens who triumphed over both Mary and the Spanish Armada of 1588.
    This is the only dual biography I know of these two fascinating queens. Dunn has a done a superb job and is to be commended for an outstanding biography which will behoove every English history buff to read with enjoyment and profit.
    Excellent!

    A

    1-0 out of 5 stars ONE SIDED
    Impartial to both rulers, I find this book terribly one sided...much in favor of Elizabeth while essentially chastising Mary through repetetive points of describing Mary's sexual appetite and ineptness even though the next lines and paragraphs have nothing to do with the description. ... Read more


    8. Albert Einstein : Young Thinker (Childhood Of Famous Americans)
    by Marie Hammontree
    list price: $4.99
    our price: $4.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0020418604
    Catlog: Book (1986-10-31)
    Publisher: Aladdin
    Sales Rank: 33037
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
    This was an ultimate book about Einstein's life. ... Read more


    9. Oxford: Son of Queen Elizabeth I
    by Paul Streitz
    list price: $32.50
    our price: $27.62
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0971349800
    Catlog: Book (2001-11)
    Publisher: Oxford Inst Pr
    Sales Rank: 571481
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In the summer of 1548, the thirteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth Tudor was secluded at Cheshunt, England. There she gave birth to a boy, whose father was Thomas Seymour, Elizabeth’s stepfather. The child was placed in the household of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford and the changeling baby was raised as Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.

    Edward de Vere was an acknowledged playwright, poet, theatrical producer, musician, dancer and literary figure of the Elizabethan era.He wrote under several pen names and also under names of living persons.

    His most famous pen name was "William Shakespeare." ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Earl of Oxford, Queen Elizabeth 1 and Shakespeare
    "Oxford, Son of Queen Elizabeth" by Paul Streitz (published by Oxford Institute Press, 2001) is an extraordinary and provocative book. It is likely to be considered totally unacceptable to "Stratfordian" Shakespearean scholars, who believe that plays and poems attributed to William Shakespeare can only be the work of the celebrated man of that name, born in Stratford-upon-Avon and christened "Gulielmus Shakspere" in 1564. By contrast, the book will be welcomed by "Oxfordians" who believe that the same plays and poetry should instead be attributed to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, born in 1548.

    This authorship question has been growing for several decades. Streitz has now contributed to the debate by compiling historical evidence to suggest that Elizabeth I was the mother of the Bard, that the biological father was Thomas Seymour, and that the 16th Earl of Oxford (John de Vere) was his foster-father. These suggestions may be considered preposterous by many critics, but Streitz obviously would not have dared to publish his book if he did not have some substance to advance them.

    Consider the so-called "Virgin Queen". Streitz notes that "in over four hundred years, there have been no critical investigations of whether or not Elizabeth had children". Evidently there had been rumours circulating in 1549, when Elizabeth was just 15 years old. In a letter addressed to Edward Seymour, the Lord Protector, the princess herself referred to "shameful Schandlers" (slanders) that she was "with Child". In a second letter she appealed again to the Lord Protector, requesting that "no such rumours should be spread". Apparently she succeeded in this regard. Now, 450 years later, Streitz is the first person to link the "Schandlers" with events in the summer of 1548, when a child was born in suspiciously secret circumstances to a "very fair young lady" of about "fifteen or sixteen years of age". There is no proof that this young lady was princess Elizabeth, but Streitz considers this as a possibility in the context of events which he strings together to make a possible if not proven case. Notably, suspicions are associated with "the lawfulness or unlawfulness of the birth of the saide Edward, now Earle of Oxforde" (to quote from a late 16th century document)..

    There is no doubt that the 17th Earl of Oxford was given opportunities to study in Cambridge (in 1564) and in Oxford (1566), and that he travelled to France and Italy (1575). Further, there is no doubt that Edward de Vere did write poetry, but not every modern scholar would accept that the de Vere poems correspond to the quality and style of those attributed to William Shakespeare. By contrast, Gabriel Harvey, a contemporary of the Earl, was absolutely flattering in 1578: "Thou has hast drunk deep draughts not only of the Muses of France and Italy...thine eyes flash fire, thy countenance shakes spears" (from Latin, 'tela vibrat', which can be alternatively translated as "brandishes spears"). Oxfordians venture to say that it is not coincidental that the name Shakespeare can itself be translated into Latin as 'tela vibrat'.

    "Shakespeare's Sonnets", with a publication date of 1609 , have been interpreted in numerous ways. Streitz provides novel interpretations, suggesting not only that they include cryptic references to the 17th Earl of Oxford, but also that they were written by that dignitary whose dignity was diminished towards the end of his lifetime.

    A poem with metaphorical references to bees is extraordinary. It includes references to henbane, hemlock and other substances, including tobacco. The line "wordes, hopes, witts, and the all the world [is] but smoke" leads to the statement "Twas not tobacco [that] stupifyed the brain". If the verse was indeed written by the Earl of Oxford, as Streitz suggests, perhaps at times he wrote under the influence of a substance more "bewitching" than tobacco: "from those [leaves] no dram of sweete I drayne, their head strong [fury] did my head bewitch"

    "Oxford, Son of Queen Elizabeth" makes very interesting reading, even though one need not accept everything contained in it. There are intriguing facts, such as the Queen's grant of 1,000 pounds per annum to the 17th Earl of Oxford. That was an enormous sum of money in 1586. The obvious question is why? Was it really a gift from a benevolent mother to a playwright son? Streitz suggests that the anomalously large grant was intended to support actors and playwrights to prop up political power at a time when Elizabeth I had to be extremely careful against Catholic opposition at home, and the prospect of a Spanish invasion.

    To assess the merits of the book, it is strongly recommended that it be read in its entirety. Even if one is willing to absorb and accept only parts of it, those parts may help to "flesh out" an understanding of relationships between Elizabeth I and the 17th Earl of Oxford, in the context of literary debate.

    Reviewed by J.F. Thackeray, Transvaal Museum, Box 413, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

    4-0 out of 5 stars More evidence in favor.
    My first review and recommendation of this book is below. I just wanted to add an interesting experience. I was channel surfing the other day and came across a program of Henry VIII and his six wives. Toward the end of that very engrossing show, Thomas Seymour, the dashing paramour of the last of the wives, is shown in very clearly incriminating circumstances with the adolescent Elizabeth. The show even quoted Catherine Parr on her death bed as, in and out of a high fever, she accused Seymour of having relations with her favorite step-daughter. This being the central assertion of this book, I thought it very illuminating to see it presented in the flesh and blood, so to speak, by another source. Readers should not dismiss this book by its outwardly scandalous assertions.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Long-suppressed, soon to be recognized┬┐
    Ten years ago, my mother (M. Stanley Tucker, Columbia, SC) introduced me to the evidence for deVere's authorship and an "enlightened" interpretation of the plays and sonnets. Since then, I have read and studied all the works by "Shakespeare," as well as all the published research on the authorship issue. There is no doubt in my mind Oxford is the author of the works of "Shakespeare".

    It is a travesty the illiterate bumpkin of Avon has been masqueraded to the public as the brilliant author of these literary jewels. The whole affair is a superb example of successful propaganda by the English royal family and the publishing industry.

    This book is the most illuminating of all I have read. In his book, Oxford: Son of Queen Elizabeth, Mr. Paul Streitz builds upon the previous scholars who have been building the case for Oxford. Streitz's understanding and presentation of the complex "symbols" left behind by a frustrated artist deprived of the rightful recognition of his royal title and his unparalleled, creative body of work, greatly furthers the cause of Oxfordians.

    The greatest tragedy of the "Stratford" charade is the reader's loss. Without Oxford as author, the richness and poignancy of his supremely autobiographical works are lost.

    Even 400+ years later, deVere is due the long-suppressed acknowledgement that he is truly the author of the most marvelous works in the English language. One only has to read the Arts section of the New York Times today to see how many of his plays still dominate our theatres and films. No other author can equal to his gift to our society. He deserves to have his true name on his "ever-living" dramas.

    1-0 out of 5 stars OXFORD
    I purchased this book after seeing the author interviewed on television and reading the reviews. I cannot understand the number of 5-star reviews this book was given. The only plausible explanation is that they were all written by Mr. Streitz himself. Whether or not Oxford was the son of Elizabeth I is irrelevant. This is one of the most poorly researched and poorly written books I have ever tried to read. I finally gave up after the third time he told of event that probably happened, but for which there is no proof yet, stating that sometime in the future "someone" should do the research. No, Mr. Streitz, that someone should have been you, and the time to do the research is before you write the book.

    Bottom line - unreadable drivel.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Queen Gertrude is Hamlet's mother. Duh!
    If Hamlet is indeed Shakespeare's most autobiographical work, then the obvious has been staring us in the face for too long: the Queen is Hamlet's mother.

    This and other assertions are sure to shock readers and undermine the author's credibility. Mr. Streitz may be out to make a name for himself, if only in notoriety. One thing is for sure: the whole Elizabethan period needs a fresh overhaul, based on the twin assertions, that the commoner from Stratford most certainly did not write the greatest works in this or any language; and that the 17th Earl of Oxford most probably did. Once these premises are accepted as truth, then the whole orthodox history becomes a worthless conceit.

    Not all that Mr. Stritz asserts is easy to accept, but enough of it falls within the realm of possibility to make this book an interesting diversion. There certainly was a whole lot going on in the second half of the 16th century that, when looked at through the eyes of the born-again Oxfordian, needs deciphering. This book makes a good start, if only by asking a lot of questions and raising possible answers. Only much further research will vindicate or villify Mr. Streitz.

    I removed one star for mechanics: this book screams for a good editor. ... Read more


    10. Driving Mr. Albert : A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain
    by MICHAEL PATERNITI
    list price: $10.95
    our price: $8.21
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 038533303X
    Catlog: Book (2001-06-05)
    Publisher: Delta
    Sales Rank: 55276
    Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Albert Einstein's brain floats in a Tupperware bowl in a gray duffel bag in the trunk of a Buick Skylark barreling across America. Driving the car is journalist Michael Paterniti. Sitting next to him is an eighty-four-year-old pathologist named Thomas Harvey, who performed the autopsy on Einstein in 1955 -- then simply removed the brain and took it home. And kept it for over forty years.

    On a cold February day, the two men and the brain leave New Jersey and light out on I-70 for sunny California, where Einstein's perplexed granddaughter, Evelyn, awaits. And riding along as the imaginary fourth passenger is Einstein himself, an id-driven genius, the original galactic slacker with his head in the stars. Part travelogue, part memoir, part history, part biography, and part meditation, Driving Mr. Albert is one of the most unique road trips in modern literature.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (84)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Just another book about a guy with a brain in his trunk
    Michael Paterniti came upon a great idea, to write about his cross-country trip with Thomas Harvey, the man who autopsied Albert Einstein and then stole his brain, keeping it in his basement for fifty years. Much of this book is entertaining: meeting up with Harvey's various lady friends, visiting the bizarre William S. Burroughs months before his death, eating in truck stops, Paterniti rambling to strangers having Einstein's brain in the back of his Buick Skylark.

    DRIVING MR. ALBERT is no ON THE ROAD, however. This book is a long-winded magazine article, stuffed with sidetrips and a light biography of Albert Einstein. Paterniti never truly has a meeting of minds with Harvey; he does not develop a friendship or any kind of trust. Paterniti is merely the driver, Harvey a spectacularly unusual character along for the ride.

    Paterniti thanks a friend in his acknowledgments for pulling him back from precipices of metaphor, though it's obvious the friend didn't pull at him enough -- Paterniti still goes over the edge a few times, sprinkling the text with phrases such as "big as the cosmos" and "we drove down the highway like neurons racing through the brain."

    Pacing is a problem as well. The backstory of Einstein's life is not well integrated into the book, taking us on day trips to nowhere. Paterniti has obviously researched this book well, but has merely inserted others' paraphrased words wholesale.

    I love road trips, especially with cerebral passengers, but I was ready to bail on this one somewhere between Lawrence, Kansas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Relative Review 84
    I personally enjoyed this story of 2 unlikely road trip companions who travel across America with Albert Einstein's brain in the trunk of their rented Buick. I think some of the people reviewing it here on Amazon take it and themselves a little too seriously.

    It was quirky and fun and sweet all at the same time. Included is a light biography of Einstein and the bizarre events that took place after his death concerning his brain. Even a little Relativity is thrown in. This is not a serious book and shouldn't be approached as one. I don't think it is one of the great books of our time, but it did provide an interesting escape.

    I started readng it, thinking it was fiction, only to discover it is for the most part a factual account. I found it to be the perfect read while I was cruising around the Caribbean on my honeymoon. Anyone who is interested in this subject matter and doesn't already know much about it should pretty much feel the same way. Enjoy!

    2-0 out of 5 stars You can tell he writes for Esquire
    This book is just one long-winded Esquire article...a topic with a catchy enough premise to suck you in, words that are put together well enough that you don't put it down immediately after picking it up, but in the end, it goes absolutely nowhere. There's no attempt to get to the heart of ANYTHING...the "brain keeper" his acquaintances, or the author's relationship with his wife, Sara.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not great
    The book is just OK. A friend told me that inspired by the success of this project, the author got a job as a Federal Baggage Screener to write an expose of this profession (although he claims that he just wanted to be a Federal Baggage Screener), and has been doing the rounds of TV interviews (CNN, FOXNews(unfair and biased), Nickelodeon, etc) to boost sales. He's been attacked by some of the interviewers for not being straight about his intentions to write an expose (but he claims that he just wanted to be a Federal Baggage Screener.) Does anyone else know if this is correct?

    2-0 out of 5 stars In the words of Sybil Fawlty, "Pretentious, moi?"
    As another reviewer has pointed out, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" this book ain't.

    The writer's understanding of even basic physics seems very limited (this is evident from how confused his physics based metaphors are), let alone whether he understands anything at all about relativity. If you are tempted to read this book because you think that it will offer a readable introduction to relativity - don't because it won't. The reviewers who have said that the book offers an introduction to relativity must be as confused as the writer is. I have the suspicion that the number of stars given by the reviewer is inversely proportional to the amount of physics which the reviewer understands.

    The main flaw of this book however is how contrived it is. In this respect it is deeply disappointing, as the further I got into the book, the deeper was my feeling of hurt at being conned by this writer. Persevering with reading the book is like persevering with cultivating a relationship with an absolute liar and is deeply upsetting in this regard. You feel like reaching out to grab them and implore them, "Just tell the truth." I know nothing about writing, and have not attended graduate school in creative writing as has the author, but surely the first thing that a writer must do is develop his own voice which is an honest voice, and not a phony voice. Most of the incidents relayed in the book appear to be manufactured merely for inclusion in a book about travelling across America with Einstein's brain in the trunk - to be quirky and to boost sales.

    The most enjoyable and least phony passages are towards the beginning of the book concerning the author's time spent at graduate school where he met Sara and his trips across country as a teenager and a 23 year old. After this, the mask comes up in front of his face and we step into the realm of "contrived quirkiness," presumably in the interests of sales. Perhaps "zany" sells, and it is probably easier to sell books by fooling the customer than by actually writing something of some enduring value. The many good reviews on this web site seem to me to be a testament to this fact.

    All of this is to say nothing about the despicable act which the physician Harvey committed in stealing the brain out of a corpse. To employ my own physics based metaphor, there is a certain wave-particle duality between the dishonesty exhibited by Harvey in his actions (whatever his intentions were) and the actions of getting a magazine contract, then a book contract, then going on the trip (in a car paid for by the publishers) and then pushing the manuscript on those unsuspecting readers out there across America, who are waiting to lap up "zany" (whatever the intentions of the writer were.)

    I'm with the school kid who asked the physician Harvey, "What's the point?" Ultimately, an exercise in pretentious and dishonest babbling, and I will be glad to be finished with the book. ... Read more


    11. Odd Boy Out : Young Albert Einstein
    by Don Brown
    list price: $16.00
    our price: $11.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618492984
    Catlog: Book (2004-09-27)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
    Sales Rank: 19430
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    Book Description

    When he was born in 1879, Albert was a peculiarly fat baby with an unusually big and misshaped head. When he was older, he hit his sister, frustrated his teachers, and had few friends. But Albert"s strange childhood also included his brilliant capacity for puzzles and problem solving: the mystery of a compass"s swirling needle, the intricacies of Mozart"s music, the secrets of geometry—set his mind spinning with ideas. In fact, Albert Einstein"s ideas were destined to change the way we know and understand the world and our place in the universe. In spare, precise text filled with graceful detail and accompanied by sometimes humorous, sometimes lonely portraits, Don Brown introduces us to the less than magnificent beginnings of an odd boy out. The result is a tender rendering of the adventures of growing up for one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. ... Read more


    12. Harry and Ike : The Partnership That Remade the Postwar World (Lisa Drew Books (Hardcover))
    by Steve Neal
    list price: $26.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0684853558
    Catlog: Book (2001-09-12)
    Publisher: Scribner
    Sales Rank: 366036
    Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower worked more closely between 1945 and 1952 than any other two American presidents of the twentieth century. They were partners in changing America's role in the world and in responding to the challenge of a Soviet Europe, yet they are remembered more for the acrimony that ended their friendship. Both were men of character, intelligence, and principle, and as the nation learned in the 1950s, they could also hold a grudge.

    Drawing on letters, diaries, and interviews with close associates, this is the first examination of the warm friendship, bitter rupture, and eventual reconciliation between two remarkable Americans. From the author of The Eisenhowers: Reluctant Dynasty and Dark Horse comes a unique volume focusing exclusively on the relationship between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman.

    Harry and "Ike" grew up 150 miles apart in the heart of America. They met during World War II, when Truman became commander-in-chief after FDR's death. Together they would oversee not only the great Allied victory but also the restructuring of the U.S. military and the reconstruction of Europe. Together they would forge history's most successful alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

    Their initial relationship was so respectful and warm that Truman offered to step aside in the 1948 presidential election if Ike would agree to run on the Democratic ticket. Preferring to remain out of politics, Eisenhower declined and instead became president of Columbia Uni-versity. Truman helped make Ike a wealthy man by granting him a special tax break for his memoirs. Eisenhower later prepared to remove himself from contention for the presidency in 1952 if Robert A. Taft supported Truman on NATO. But Ike's friendship with Truman would not survive the 1952 presidential campaign, and for nearly a decade the former allies were engaged in an epic feud. It was not until the funeral of John F. Kennedy that the two men put aside their differences and reestablished a semblance of their previous bond.

    In exploring the complexity of character, intelligence, and principle, Neal provides a fresh perspective on two giants of the twentieth century, and on the American presidency. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Flawed premise, but brilliant history
    Steve Neal's historical biography "Harry and Ike" nearly fails right from the start by building on a premise that is non-existent: the 'close' relationship between Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. It's well known that Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower were never close working partners, even prior to the epic, decade-long feud that began during the 1952 election. It's a stretch to building a book on the premise of such a partnership and Neal does very little support his theory. Harry and Ike were two men who initially had great respect for each other and occasionally worked together on issues of common interest, but otherwise had little to do with one another. The failure to make a case otherwise should have torpedoed this book. What saves it, however, is that, even with the flawed premise, it is a fascinating historical record.

    While Neal is unable support his premise, he does an excellent job and revealing the histories and backgrounds of these titans among men. He tracks their lives and developments independently until their disparate paths crossed during the last, mad days of World War II. From there, Neal uses the framework of this supposed friendship to provide informative and interesting accounts of history as it happened during that era. He covers moments like Truman offering to step aside and run as Eisenhower's Vice President in 1948 if Ike were to run as a Democrat (possibly the foundation of Neal's assertion of a 'close' relationship). He covers the major events like the hostile 1952 Presidential election, the beginning of the Korean War, and firing of General Douglas MacArthur. Neal uses these events to show the impact it had on each man and the reactions it prompted.

    "Harry and Ike" serves as a good primer for studying the historical events of that time. It has the effect of making the reader want to probe deeper into those events. Reading this book led me to seek out and read the incredible Douglas MacArthur biography "American Caesar". Given that strong historical narrative of "Harry and Ike", Steve Neal should not be penalized too much for his flimsy premise. There's no doubting that it still serves as an effective historical record.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, a satisfactory explaination
    Harry was wild about Ike, until Ike gave him hell, sending Harry on a crusade in Illinois. I have read a dozen or so books by and about Harry and Ike, none of which adequately explained the root causes of their falling out or their eventual reconciliation. This book fills that gap. Ike was politically naive, as Harry feared. I agree with the author that Ike would have been a better President if he had followed the advice of more of his friends, including HST, and less advice from his political handlers. This is an excellent book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Another buddies in history book. We have Napoleon &
    Hitler, Hitler & Stalin, FDR & Stalin, FDR & Truman among others.
    Some with no connection. Obviously Naploeon didn't know Hitler. I'm kinder that most reviewers. But this was cooperation, not a partnership. The author strains for similarities. They were both poor boys growing up at the same time in mid-America 200 miles apart.
    Childish & paranoid come to mind in decribing their relationship after Ike decides to run in 1952. Truman's problem was he idolized generals such as Pershing, Marshall, MacArthur & Eisenhower. He would have stepped aside for MacArthur or Ike if either had wanted to run as a Democrat in 1948. Then he became paranoid that Ike might take him up on it. Ike said he wouldn't run & Truman thought that meant forever. When Ike did run as a Republican to deny Robert Taft the nomination Truman felt betrayed, even though Ike was doing him a favor. He attacked Ike & his character viciously. Of course Ike responded in kind. There were other issues mostly personal. Their foreign policy was seamless from one administration to the next. They basically ignored each other until Kennedy's funeral when they had to sit next to each other. Good history of two great Americans leaders 1945-52 & slightly tarnishing their image after that.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Very light reading about two powerful men.
    I had hoped this would be an in-depth exploration of
    the inner workings and motivations of Presidents Truman
    and "Ike" -what I discovered was a poorly researched, boring
    book. It's almost as if Mr. Neal assumed putting both
    names on the book's cover would make it a seller. Buyer
    beware. You can find more in-depth material on these
    men and their times right here on the internet. Also,
    it turns out, Mr. Neal received monies from a Truman
    Foundation, which is a poor ethical choice on his part, in
    presenting a history that the reader assumes is unbiased.
    If you like to see pictures of "Harry & Ike" -many which
    have been printed elsewhere, you may enjoy "Harry & Ike"
    the book. Quite a letdown as to what I expected.

    5-0 out of 5 stars New Information
    Steve Neal presents new information from recently released primary source material and demonstrates the ability, integrity and patriotism of Presidents Truman and Eisenhower despite their differences. Few people are aware of their reconciliation, not unlike that of Presidents Adams and Jefferson also mentioned by another reviewer in these columns.
    One example of a little gem in the book describes President Truman's anger at Senator John Sparkman, the 1952 Democratic vice-presidential candidate, during that campaign. This volume has many well documented anecdotes that have not been told before and Steve Neal has both an ear and a voice for politics that few possess.
    As an individual who has spent most of his life involved in politics and public affairs I found this a fascinating, informative and enjoyable read. My wife and I have chosen to send it as a Christmas/Hanukkah gift this year because of its originality and intelligibility. ... Read more


    13. Einstein Lived Here: Essays for the Layman
    by Abraham Pais
    list price: $25.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0198539940
    Catlog: Book (1994-04-01)
    Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr (T)
    Sales Rank: 597051
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Abraham Pais's 'Subtle is the Lord...' is the definitive biography of Albert Einstein. Timothy Ferris, in The New York Times Book Review, called it "the biography of Einstein he himself would have liked best," adding that "it is a work against which future scientific biographies will be measured." As a respected physicist himself, Pais was the first biographer to give Einstein's thinking its full due, and as a close friend and associate of Einstein, he could provide an intimate, first-hand account of the life of this great scientist. The result was a national bestseller. Indeed, it was one of The New York Times's Best Books of the Year, and the winner of the 1983 American Book Award for Science.

    Now, Pais turns his attention to the great physicist's life outside of science, with an informal, almost kalaidoscopic portrait of Einstein--his personal life and his public persona ("my mythical namesake who has made my life so burdensome"), his scientific contributions, and his thoughts on religion, philosophy, and politics, on Israel and Zionism, on the rise of Nazism and McCarthyism, and on much more. Pais offers a candid look at Einstein's troubled personal life--his two failed marriages, his first child Lieserl, who was born out of wedlock (and of whom all trace has vanished), his estranged son Hans Albert, also a scientist, who felt his father had abandoned the family, and his son Eduard, who gradually descended into madness. Of course, any book on Einstein must touch upon science, and Pais includes several illuminating chapters, one of which offers general readers an accessible explanation of relativity, and another traces the long road to Einstein's Nobel Prize (after being nominated almost every year from 1909 to 1920, he finally won in 1921--not for relativity, but for his work on the photoelectric effect). On the lighter side, Pais includes samples from Einstein's "curiosity file," in which he kept crank letters, marriage proposals, hate mail (one began "You are the prince of idiocy, the count of imbecility, the duke of cretinism, the baron of morons"), and the like. But the heart of the book is the final section, where Pais traces Einstein's life as seen through the media. Here we not only meet Einstein the living legend--receiving the keys to New York City from flamboyant Mayor Jimmy Walker, attending the Hollywood premier of City Lights with Charlie Chaplin--but also witness his extensive involvement in the issues of his day. Much of his commentary is amazingly prescient. In 1933, he said of Nazism: "I cannot understand the passive response of the whole civilized world to this modern barbarism. Does the world not see that Hitler is aiming for war?"

    "I can still see Einstein's smile before me," the great physicist Niels Bohr said several years after Einstein's death, "a very special smile...knowing, humane, and friendly." In Einstein Lived Here, this more than anything else is the Einstein we see--knowing, humane, friendly--a world figure on a par with the greats of his age who could still ask "Why is it that nobody understands me and everybody likes me." ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An indispensable source for the educated layman
    As it is known, Albert Einstein is the leading creator of the relativity theory, that's right? It's right, but this is not only a stereotyped image, it's also a very simplified image of the geniality and the psychological complexity of one of the major savant among all the savants. An excellent overview of the Einstein scientific work is presented in that many people consider the best biography of this genial scientist. I'm referring to the Abraham Pais book "Subtle is the Lord", published in 1982. Although an incontestable bibliographical source, "Subtle is the Lord" is not at all accessible to the layman. With the present book, "Einstein Lived Here", Pais help the general public, from the relativity theorist to the absolutely layman. While not discarding a rigorous historical approach, Pais priority is on Einstein human dimension, and gives us a fluent and very agreeable text in which he deals with polemic questions, as the supposed involvement of Einstein in the American atomic bomb fabrication. Among all those that have written about Einstein, Abraham Pais seems to be the most qualified. Theoretical physicist of recognized competence, emeritus professor at the Rockefeller University, New York, Pais have been acquainted with Einstein from 1946 to December 1954, when he visited him for the last time; at the Einstein death, in April 18, 1955, Pais was not in the USA.

    Even for the reader reasonably up to date with the pertinent literature, Pais discloses interesting facts. For example, in the first chapter there is an admirable description of the dramatic marital life of Albert and Mileva Maric, his first wife. Pais discusses the very controversial participation of Mileva on the Einstein's scientific work, particularly on the relativity theory. For the author, the only evidence for a possible role of Mileva in the creation of relativity is Einstein's remark in a letter of March 1901: "Together we shall conclude victoriously our work on relative motion". The followed discussion arrived at the author's suggestion that the remark was no more than a love declaration.

    These letters, published in "Albert Einstein-Mileva Maric, the love letters", by J. Renn and R. Schulmann, Princeton University Press, 1992, revealed an absolutely unknown fact until 1986: In April 1901, before the Einstein's marriage, Mileva was pregnant. The child, born in January 1902, was a girl, named Lieserl. But, what became of Lieserl? Nobody knows! Apparently Einstein ever even saw her. In the summer of 1903 Mileva went to visit her family. From Berna Einstein wrote to her expressing concern about Lierserl's attack of scarlet fever. This is the last known communication between the parents about their daughter.

    The Einstein's life was a great target of the public curiosity. As such he had to pay the price of receiving numerous messages from strangers. It is a safe bet that among scientists no one received more such letters than him. The true amount it is not known, but over 600 is now in the Einstein Archive at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Einstein referred to this collection as "die komische Mappe". In chapter 8, Pais presents a lot of strange, funny, sometimes pathetic envelopes and letters.

    Chapter 11, almost a half of the whole book's content, is concerned with the press interest on Einstein's work and life. This kind of approach is the first in the vast Einstein bibliography. For Pais, "Einstein, creator of some of the best science of all time, is himself a creation of the media in so far as he is and remains a public figure". The beginning of Einstein's mythical role dates from November 1919, after a joint session of the Royal and Astronomical Societies, in London, in which the results obtained by British observers of the total solar eclipse of May 29 were discussed. The observations were decisive in the verifying of the prediction of Einstein on the bending of light when it approaches a large body, like the sun. By the way, the Einstein's work was so ample and full in geniality that its perception depends strongly on the observer cultural profile. For the layman the Einstein's Nobel Prize is associated to the relativity theory, but in Chapter 6, Pais discusses how the photoelectric effect, and not the relativity theory, enables Einstein to get the Nobel Prize. Pais explains why Einstein did not win the Nobel Prize because of the relativity theory. Besides these fabulous works, Einstein published in the same annus mirabilis of 1905 three other marvelous works. For Pais, any single one of "these theoretical discoveries would have sufficed to guarantee Einstein a prominent and lasting position in the history of science". However, none of these contributions caused even modest mention in the press before 1919.

    In conclusion, "Einstein lived here" is a highly recommendable book for any educated layman and indispensable for any scientist, by the complex personality of this renowned savant and by his splendid scientific contribution. ... Read more


    14. Elizabeth I, Ceo: Strategic Lessons from the Leader Who Built an Empire
    by Alan Axelrod
    list price: $16.00
    our price: $11.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0735203571
    Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
    Publisher: Prentice Hall Press
    Sales Rank: 173465
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Last year, Alan Axelrod used General George S. Patton's WW II experiences as the basis for his national bestseller Patton on Leadership.This year, Dr. Axelrod turns to one of history's greatest rulers, and greatest women, for a fresh look at the always-compelling topic of how to lead people to extraordinary achievement.Elizabeth I, CEO: Strategic Lessons in Leadership from the Woman Who Built an Empire reveals how the embattled monarch overcame daunting obstacles to win intense loyalty and lead England to greatness.Elizabeth I, CEO will attract the leaders of today, the builders of contemporary empires, as well as history-lovers.The life of Elizabeth has much to say to those beginning their climb up the corporate ladder as well those who, having attained the top rung, do not want to slip from it. The queen's long reign offers lessons on:Developing a leadership attitude and image, enhanced by personal dynamism Becoming an effective coach and mentor, skilled at nurturing creativityManipulating others--subtly and ethically Knowing and anticipating the "enemy" Setting clear goals and motivating others to work to achieve themMost of all, the career of Elizabeth I is an example of vision, of creating vision, of communicating vision, and of realizing vision. Not only did she create loyalty among those nearest her, she met headlong an array of the most daunting challenges any leader has ever faced.

    How did Elizabeth meet these challenges, managing not only to stay alive and to keep her imperiled nation afloat, but also to win the intense loyalty of her people and to lead England to greatness?Historians and biographers have offered many explanations. Elizabeth, CEO takes a fresh view, exploring issues that are relevant to leaders--especially business leaders--of today. ... Read more

    Reviews (32)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
    You may have regarded Queen Elizabeth I of England in many ways - as a ruler, as a dramatic historical figure, as the prototype of a powerful woman, but have you ever thought of her as a corporate manager? Alan Axelrod has. He explains how the Virgin Queen exemplified principles of good business leadership during her reign from 1558 to 1603. He shows how these ideals helped her survive to become queen and how she used them to transform England from a tumultuous country to a powerful empire. Lessons from her rule can show any CEO a few things about leadership in perilous times. The book's combination of management principles with the drama of Elizabethan history makes for compelling reading. One critical note - the book skips around historically, which muddies the sequence of events. Otherwise, we at getAbstract recommend this excellent mix of enjoyable historical reading with powerful reminders about the fundamental principles of effective leadership.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Poor rendition of history leads to not-so-useful conclusions
    This book is a follow-up to Axelrod's book on leadership lessons for executives drawn from the example of George S. Patton. Here, he's picked another historical figure, Queen Elizabeth I of England. This had the makings of a potentially valuable book, save for the slight problem that the history is so poorly rendered that little of value can be gleaned for anyone facing the unrelenting pressures of running an actual business.

    Axelrod portrays the Elizabethan period with such rose-coloured glasses that he fails to impart a useful or realistic message here. The book has numerous references to the queen's fiscal management of the country, to the Spanish Armada, to the outpouring of literature of Shakespeare and his fellow masters of the pen, with little bits of wisdom relayed in the process. All well and good.

    But in recognising and deriving lessons from the queen's many undoubted successes, he should have been balanced and also discussed where things went wrong. There is scant if any attention paid to Elizabeth's policy in Ireland, which had a particularly bloody legacy and in which England's undertakings gave rise to failure at every turn from the 1570s onward. The consequences of this policy failure are still with us today. Nor is there mention of England's military defeats against Spain after the Armada, which devastated English plans to settle the new world and gain control of trade routes. Nor does Axelrod note the cases of financial mismanagement and corruption that plagued Elizabeth's reign in the late 1500s. And where is this empire he talks about in the book's title, "the leader who built an empire"? Axelrod skips the specifics on this because there was no empire by the time King James I succeeded Elizabeth in the early 1600s. England would not have an empire to speak of for another 150 years.

    There is nothing wrong or unexpected about these setbacks in Elizabeth's reign-- she had many successes and, like any monarch, some missteps as well. If one wishes to use such a monarch as an example for a business, it is a disservice to readers to trumpet the successes while ignoring the failures. What business, after all, turns in profitable quarters with every fiscal year and pleases its investors and even competitors with its every move? You'd be hard-pressed to find any such firm gracing the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Real businesses learn from their failures as much as their successes, and Axelrod has denied his readers a valuable example by focussing too much on the latter and too little on the former. This book would be more valuable with a little more depth and a little more perspective in its treatment of its historical subject.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Historical Leadership Lessons
    After reading this book, I took away a few key points. One, don't mess with a woman who is a good leader. Two, always play your cards close to your vest. Three, if you lead, truly lead, people will attack you and you need to be prepared. Four, this was a very useful book.

    I serve in a leadership/management role currently and much of this book applies univerally to any leadership situation. I have read other books of this type, (Lincoln on Leadership), and have really enjoyed studying past leaders. It also should push current leaders to see how it stacks up to now, and what we need to do better.

    I recommend this book. B

    Joseph Dworak

    5-0 out of 5 stars It worked then, and it works now....
    Elizabeth demonstrated strong leadership skills that are directly applicable in today's world. This is a simple read, with great chapter heads and quotes. A brilliant woman long underrecognized for her contributions.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Still more leadership lessons from history
    There has been such a glut of books teaching management and leadership lessons from historical figures and spiritual traditions (Attila, the Tao, Machiavelli, etc.) you'd think the market would be saturated by now. Apparently not, for they keep coming. As far as this kind of book goes, Elizabeth l CEO isn't bad. Of course, the theory's premise is basically contrived. While we can draw analogies between 16th Century politics and 21st Century business, the two environments are fundamentally different. For example, one subject Alan Axelrod often refers to in Elizabeth l (he has the unfortunate habit of repeating the same points many times) is Elizabeth's struggle to enforce religious conformity in England. Elizabeth was a devout Protestant in a nation where Catholics still had a strong influence. How exactly does this translate into a modern business context? The fact is, it doesn't. There is nothing in the business world that even remotely resembles Medieval/Renaissance religious orthodoxy. Only someone who takes management platitudes such as the "vision" of a business could fail to realize this. Visions aside, corporations all have the same goal --profit. They are essentially amoral. Any attempt to indoctrinate employees of a corporation with something akin to religious fervor would be absurd (this isn't to say that such efforts are not made by overzealous CEOs and managers). Despite these serious objections, I still enjoyed Elizabeth l CEO and found some worthwhile lessons in it (though not necessarily in the realm of business). Axelrod does a good job of presenting history in an informative and entertaining manner. He effectively portrays Elizabeth as a powerful and innovative leader who kept her many virtues --intelligence, courage, frugality, pragmatism-- in balance. I suspect, however, that the realms of politics and business are both far too complex to be mastered by any simple set of principles. The audiobook version is narrated by Nelson Runger, who does a fine job of presenting the book. ... Read more


    15. A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart (Picture Book Biography)
    by David A. Adler, Jeff Fisher
    list price: $6.95
    our price: $6.26
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0823415171
    Catlog: Book (1999-10-01)
    Publisher: Holiday House
    Sales Rank: 174222
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
    My whole family loves these books, and Amelia Earhart is my daughter's current favorite. We own about seven of the books in this series, and each one is as good as the next. We are planning to collect the whole series. They are a second or third grade reading level but the information is presented clearly enough that younger kids can grasp the essentials. At the same time, there is enough substance that older kids have plenty to think about. Adults can learn something too! I recommend this book, and the whole series, very highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Kids' Book About Amelia On The Market!
    This easy to read biography is the best on the market aboutAmelia Earhart! Adler's series is outstanding and this is one of hisbest!From learning about her plucky attitude as a little girl (building a roller coaster in her backyard and pelting boys with mud balls!) to her mysterious disappearance, young readers will be captivated by Amelia Earhart! END ... Read more


    16. Amelia, My Courageous Sister: Biography of Amelia Earhart : True Facts About Her Disappearance
    by Muriel Earhart Morrissey, Carol L. Osborne
    list price: $36.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0940997002
    Catlog: Book (1987-05-01)
    Publisher: Osborne Pub
    Sales Rank: 642032
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Look at an Aviation Pioneer
    This book has earned a place in my libary. Filled with obscure yet extremely interesting information about Amelia Earheart. Covers everything and more. The best biography I've ever read on Amelia.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent story of Amelia life & disappearance-PHOTOS GREAT!
    Excellent 320 page book with photos and documents on every page. This is the best account I have seen about the facts behind Amelia's last flight, disappearance over the Pacific and interviews by those who worked on her plane/knew her or were on the searched for Amelia and Fred, July 2, 1937. For the first time information is available about Fred Noonan, Amelia's naviagor that disappeared along with her.There is a chronology of Amelia's last flight collected from thousands of pages of records from the Navy and Coast Guard ships' logs, White House records, and data from sources including Western Electric, Lockheed Corporation and the Japanese Government ... Read more


    17. Annus Mirabilis: 1905, Albert Einstein And The Theory Of Relativity
    by John Gribbin, Mary Gribbin
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1596091444
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-30)
    Publisher: Chamberlain Bros.
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    18. E = mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation
    by David Bodanis
    list price: $25.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0000C8WEW
    Catlog: Book (2000-09)
    Publisher: Walker & Co
    Sales Rank: 234551
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars This is a keeper
    I first encountered this book at the library as a book on tape. I was fascinated. It would make a good companion to Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb. ... Read more


    19. E = mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation
    by David Bodanis
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $25.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0802713521
    Catlog: Book (2000-09)
    Publisher: Walker & Company
    Sales Rank: 106872
    Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    E=mc2. Just about everyone has at least heard of Albert Einstein's formulation of 1905, which came into the world as something of an afterthought. But far fewer can explain his insightful linkage of energy to mass. David Bodanis offers an easily grasped gloss on the equation. Mass, he writes, "is simply the ultimate type of condensed or concentrated energy," whereas energy "is what billows out as an alternate form of mass under the right circumstances."

    Just what those circumstances are occupies much of Bodanis's book, which pays homage to Einstein and, just as important, to predecessors such as Maxwell, Faraday, and Lavoisier, who are not as well known as Einstein today. Balancing writerly energy and scholarly weight, Bodanis offers a primer in modern physics and cosmology, explaining that the universe today is an expression of mass that will, in some vastly distant future, one day slide back to the energy side of the equation, replacing the "dominion of matter" with "a great stillness"--a vision that is at once lovely and profoundly frightening.

    Without sliding into easy psychobiography, Bodanis explores other circumstances as well; namely, Einstein's background and character, which combined with a sterling intelligence to afford him an idiosyncratic view of the way things work--a view that would change the world.--Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (75)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great book for the non-scientist
    I have read many books on this subject and NONE of them conveyed the essence of the equation the way this book does. I am not a scientist, and did poorly in chemistry in school, so I really needed a book such as this one. Bodanis' metaphors make this famous concept - that mass and energy are the different aspects of the same thing - really easy to understand. For example, he describes the uranium atom like an overstuffed water balloon, ready to be punctured by a slow moving neutron. Now I can finally picture how the atomic bomb worked. Bodanis also shows how this timeless equation developed against a backdrop of human frailty - insecurity, double-dealing, backstabbing, jealousy, and even romance. His description of an Allied nighttime raid against a Nazi-operated heavy water factory in Norway reads like a spy novel. There were at least two surprises in this book for me: 1) the crucial role of women in the development of proof of Einstein's equation, and 2) the academic establishment's resistence towards the equation and other aspects of the new physics. Many of the pioneers either skipped school or did poorly in it - probably because they were too imaginative to put up with orthodoxy. But they kept their individual, iconoclastic spirits alive, and helped found a new physics and cosmology. At the end of the book, author Bodanis writes "I loved writing this book." And one can tell that he did. I loved reading it as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reading this book requires E.
    The simple equation having only 5 symbols is deep in meaning. It took the genious of Einstein to put the equation together way back in 1905 - - - What E found was: Energy equals mass when you accelerate mass to the speed of light squared. That's 670,000,000 mph times itself.
    C stands for 'celeritis' in latin and it means, 'swiftness.' C squared is 448,900,000,000,000,000 mph!
    No speedometer exists on Earth that can travel that fast! WOW!
    Einstein knew that energy could naturally transform itself into mass under specific and unique condtions.
    The equation was published in 1905 and essentially remained dormant and untested until the war.
    Then it became a horrifying reality that Einstein himself wished he never uncovered all those years ago.
    Other scientists converged their great minds together in a think tank called the Manhatten Projet, and the world changed for the worse --- upon their nuclear discoveries.
    Did Fat Boy really need to do what he did?
    NEVER! THe controversy broils to this day.
    It is so strange to contemplate that in the pool of the most intelligent men on Earth, not a one of them was smart enough to forsee the evil that they created.
    Like the saying goes, "You can lead a man to wisdom, but you can't make him think."
    None of them thought about what this nuclear power could do when left in terrorist grips.
    This book tells the story behind the famous little equation.
    Einstein did play a part in developing nuclear arsonel, even though he later denied he encouraged it.
    Please see his letter to President FDR on pages 117 - 18.
    The reader is left to draw thier own conclusions on that.
    Regardless of the controversy, I read this book and must give it my highest recommendations to all who ever wondered what this equation means. It's deep but not complex.
    It's complex but not inaccessable by average minds.
    What's really chilling is reading what is not said in between the lines of this book.
    Could we have avoided the discovery of the Atomic bomb?
    Imagine our world without it.....and to think, the Germans weren't all that close to uncovering the secret behind the destruction.
    This is a good book about E = mc 2.
    Read it and learn that all discoveries have a dark side.

    4-0 out of 5 stars meandering history of relativity
    In this slim and easy-to-read volume, David Bodanis gives us a meandering history of relativity. First, he looks at each of the individual pieces of the equation (even the equals sign gets its own chapter). Then, he builds up a discussion of other relevant work that led to Einstein's famous equation. He next discusses its applications. The book closes with an immense amount of back matter, including the footnotes and suggested further reading on the topic.

    This book is not for physics students who are already intimately familiar with the requisite mathematics and physics. It is intended for a general audience that probably can't remember calculus (or was never introduced to it in the first place). Bodanis engages in a bit of handwaving to make the more difficult parts easier to accept; in general, he acknowledges this. I can't fault him for this decision, although the mathematician in me occasionally found it a bit frustrating.

    Make sure that you read the footnotes! It's not necessary to flip back and forth between the main text and the footnotes, but at least read them when you've reached the end of the chapter. Scan past the ones that are simply listing the source material, and read the ones that are longer. There's a lot of great information to be found in those footnotes that doesn't quite fit into the main text. Some of it tells you a bit about what was going through the author's mind when he wrote his book, other material elaborates on what is in the book.

    Also, read through the list of suggested readings. It's like getting book recommendations from a well-read friend. The suggestions are thorough, insightful, and often entertaining.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A bumpy ride through Relativity
    This is a mildly eccentric book on Relativity. David Bodanis claims at the start that he won't be talking about physics and Einstein --- he's just going to tell you about The Famous Equation. But once he's done with the first chapter, which goes through the basic principles of the equation step-by-step, he gets into physics and Einstein. He loses his focus quickly, but he's always entertaining.

    Bodanis loves colorful anecdotes about physicists, the art of discovery, contributions by neglected scientists (primarily women), and the prospect of the Nazis building an atomic bomb. It's this last topic that weakens the book. Frankly, the Nazis never came close to building an atomic bomb. Yes, they would have had a Fat Man or a Little Boy if they built reactors and had heavy water and understood the physics and had a team of scientists working on it and they tested it. But they didn't have any of it. "Might have" doesn't cut it.

    The second half of this book is made up of biographies of scientists and extensive footnotes. Bodanis makes good use of the notes, giving you plenty of sources and a lot of additional information. His personal interests are on full display here, as he mentions whatever concept or story that the footnoted information triggers in his mind. It's fun to read, although it does tend to wander.

    I recommend this book to anyone who's read a little bit about Relativity. It's a useful refresher, an eccentric view of the topic that will keep your interest. If you've never read about Relativity, try Gribbin and White's biography of Einstein first --- or, better yet, Richard Wolfson's book on Relativity (which is still the best).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Transforming human mass into energy for good
    It is easy to think of technology in the context of hard science and with the intellect. Bodanis gives lay readers an appropriate level of insight about how math and science evolved through several hundred years to propel our species toward the elegant equation that changed the world. This historical journey enlivens many forgotten but critical thinkers who made it possible for a restive patent clerk to make the essential creative leap into the intellectual unknown. But this book accomplishes something else, even greater. The author's brilliant chapter describing in micro-second details the detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima creates a powerful, sobering perspective of this fearsome technology and dispassionately reminds all of us of the threats looming. The author uses his beloved science to bring into searing perspective the human face of thermonuclear war. The power to manipulate the atom has the capacity for good in medicine and other human advancements, but it is also a power capable of planetary destruction. It is wise for lay readers to understand E=MC2 beyond science. Our survival is at stake. ... Read more


    20. Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life
    by Carlo D'Este, Carlo d Este
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0805056866
    Catlog: Book (2002-06-04)
    Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
    Sales Rank: 77817
    Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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    There is hardly a shortage of books about Dwight Eisenhower, but CarloD'Este's Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life stands tall in this forest byvirtue of the author's insistence on a too-often forgotten rule of biographers:show--don't tell about--the subject. Though D'Este doesn't neglect Eisenhower'searly years (his sketch of the man's rambunctious West Point years ishearteningly entertaining), the book concentrates on his military career,including his years of treading water in the Philippines. By far the mosttrenchant sections, however, deal with World War II (including a keen look atthe little-discussed North African campaign.) We see Ike, who had a famoustemper and, when angry, a most indelicate vocabulary, chain-smoking cigarettesand unable to sleep in the weeks leading to D-day; refusing--out of disgust forGerman atrocities--to be present at the signing of the articles of surrender;bantering, though his heart was heavy, with enlisted men; wrestlingcontentiously with MacArthur and Field Marshall Montgomery. We read excerpts ofhis letters to Mamie and are privy to, perhaps, his laying the groundwork for apolitical career. A Soldier's Life, long but brisk, sympathetic but notadoring, rigorous but never tedious, is a commendable biography. --H.O'Billovich ... Read more

    Reviews (33)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Dwight Eisenhower--For Better and Worse
    This is a powerful, compelling and probably destined to be somewhat controversial book which captures Dwight D. Eisenhower in a different light than past biographers. Carlo D'Este has carefully and thoroughly woven together exhaustive research to describe with often brutally honesty "Ike," the man. Eisenhower's childhood, education at West Point, long and painful service between the World Wars and his meteoric rise from Lieutenant Colonel to Five-Star General reveal a man driven by ego and determination, fired by a tremendous and sometimes ungovernable temper. The author carefully removes the veneer from almost every important character within Ike's circle of friends, fellow soldiers, adversaries and others with whom he had to interact as he ascended to Supreme Allied Command. Ike's relationships with Kay Summersby, Generals Marshall, Patton and Bradley, Winston Churchill and Field Marshal Montgomery are explored in great detail, much of which will be new and intriguing to most readers. The political pressures Eisenhower faces as his responsibilities increase, from the Pentagon, to London, North Africa and finally the D-Day Invasion and ultimate surrender of the Germans, are artfully explored and the key players like General Charles de Gaulle, Churchill and President Roosevelt are brought into sharp focus. The author treats all those surrounding Ike with penetrating precision, extolling their strengths and exposing their shortcomings. Readers will come away appreciating that Eisenhower's almost mystical skills in holding together allies, led by men of great power and even greater egos, are the critical aspect of allied success in the war. His single-minded determination and methods for achieving the allied cause make for dramatic reading entertainment. This book is very well written, clearly revealing the incredible pressures Eisenhower faced and the travails they created, giving the reader an enjoyable and highly informative picture of one of America's greatest military men.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Bio of Eisenhower only goes halfway
    Carlo D'Este is one of my favorite authors, and I don't think there's a better military historian in the United States. It was, therefor, interesting to me to see that he'd written this book, following the life of Dwight Eisenhower. His previous biography, of George Patton, was complete and frankly one of the best military biographies I've ever written, so I was expecting something similar. Unfortunately, while this is still a good book, it doesn't realize the promise at that level.

    This book follows Eisenhower from his beginnings in Texas and Kansas to the end of WW2. D'Este turned out to be quite good at depicting the beginnings of a person's life in the Patton bio, and he does the same credible job here. Eisenhower's early life is wonderfully brought out, and right up to the Second World War the book is quite good. Then things sort of go sideways.

    Eisenhower's rise during WW2 was precipitous, to say the least. He was a lieutenant colonel on the eve of the war, wondering if he would get promoted again, and three years later he was promoted to five star general. He rocketed past most of the U.S. army, from Patton and Mark Clark to his old boss, Douglas MacArthur.

    All of this is reasonably well recounted, but the author does something I've never seen in a book, or at least haven't seen at this level, and I will confess I was annoyed a bit. He quotes other authors. It would seem appropriate to quote from the various memoirs (Eisenhower's, Monty's, Bradley's, etc.) or perhaps an official biography, but he goes further, and at various times quotes Geoffrey Perret, Ronald Lewin, Russell Weigley, and so forth. If I want Geoffrey Perret's opinion on Eisenhower I'll read that book. Perhaps he was reacting to the Ambrose/Goodwin plagarism scandals?

    The book is also shaped by a few opinions that the author holds, which are very important and which, if you read the Patton biography, you don't need me to tell you. If you didn't read it, you will need to be warned of these things before you start Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life. He doesn't like Omar Bradley really at all, thinks he was at best a mediocre general, and often a really lousy one, thinks only a bit of Eisenhower himself, and thinks Patton was brilliant, if a bit flawed by his personality. Interestingly, he thinks relatively well of Monty. Patton and Monty were good tactically and strategically, but had no clue how to fight coalition warfare alongside Allies. Bradley, by Normandy, was getting fed up with both men's antics in favor of their own careers or methods of fighting the war. Bradley was horrified by Patton's slapping incident, and disgusted by Monty's seeming assumption that the British should be allowed to lead American troops to victory. Somehow Bradley comes out of this considerably behind the other two men, and is also censured for being "intolerant of failure." As if being tolerant of it is a good thing.

    There is one further issue: the book isn't a complete biography in that it ends in 1945. We don't see Eisenhower become president or anything of his postwar activities. Leaves you with an incomplete feeling.

    So I only gave this book four stars. I do like Carlo d'Este, and I did enjoy the book, but not as much as I hoped to.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fair and Balanced Look at Ike
    Dwight Eisenhower's life has been so thoroughly written about and re-written that another biography seems laughable. Nevertheless, Carlo D'Este deserves credit for this highly readable description and analysis of Ike's career through the end of WWII. D'Este highlights Eisenhower's strengths but also his weaknesses, some of which are in the eye of the beholder (the debate over the "Broad Front" strategy in late 1944-45 will likely never be settled).

    Some Eisenhower worshippers may be offended by D'Este's detailing of Ike's faults (both as D'Este defines them and Ike's troublesome British and American contemporaries). However, he always comes back to the one ultimate, essential point: who else could have led the coalition better?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everything You Wanted To Know About Ike
    Carlo D'este has followed up his work on General Patton with a biography of General Eisenhower which cover his life through World War II. The book is 705 pages long not counting the notes, and will take some time to pioneer your way through. I found the book to be interesting, but have to admit I was glad when I finally finished it. You will learn a great deal about Eisenhower the young boy and his competitive attitude which contributed to his qualities of leadership. The responsibilities he had thrust upon him throughout his military life brought on an addictive smoking habit that would later lead to health problems. Juggling the egos of George Patton, Omar Bradley, Bernard Montgomery, and others proved to be a challenge and strain on Eisenhower as he directed the allied forces through Europe. Patience and restraint were often needed when it may have been helpful for Eisenhower to vent his frustrations. Ike's relationship with his driver, Kay Summersby, is dealt with in some detail. They were very good friends, but there is no evidence of a consummated romantic relationship. I'm not going to rehash the book in this review. Suffice it to say if you want to learn about America's man in command of World War II this book will provide you with ample information of both Eisenhower the man and the soldier.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A very fair look at Ike!
    Carlo D'Este wrote a very readable account of Eisenhower's military career. While its not good as his work on Patton, D'Este managed to conveyed a true essence of Eisenhower and his abilties as a soldier. The author is fair and correct and while Ambrose's books may be more detail, Ambrose was definitely Eisenhower's admirer and defender. D'Este appears to admired Eisenhower but he seem to realized that Ike got some super limitation as a soldier, that is - a fighting soldier which Ike definitely is not. Eisenhower we see here proves to be the ultimate paper pusher, supreme organizer and as many thought during the war, a fantastic chairman of the board. He seem to be the World War II version of General George McClellan of the Civil War in some ways (without McClellan's super ego and risk fearing personality). What is interesting is how Eisenhower, a student of military history, failed to understand the political aspect of war which is just as important as the military aspect. I don't think Ike ever considered the post-war situation once during his period as Supreme Allied Commander and that was a major failing in his part. But a great book overall, I wished D'Este finished covering Eisenhower's military career which did not end with the surrender of Germany. (It also interesting to note that General Omar Bradley continued to get bad press by historians of our generation.) ... Read more


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