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  • Feynman, Richard
  • Ford, Henry
  • Fox, Michael J.
  • Fox, Terry
  • Frank, Anne
  • Franklin, Benjamin
  • Freud, Sigmund
  • Frye, Northrop
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    1. Perfectly Reasonable Deviations
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    2. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young
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    20. Perfectly Reasonable Deviations

    1. Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From The Beaten Track: The Letters Of Richard P. Feynman
    by Richard P. Feynman
    list price: $26.00
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    Asin: 0738206369
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-30)
    Publisher: Basic Books
    Sales Rank: 227711
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    Book Description

    An extraordinary volume of never-before-published letters written by one of America's most beloved scientists.

    Richard P. Feynman, brilliant physicist and beloved teacher, is an iconic figure in the world of science. Born in 1918 in Brooklyn, Feynman received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1942. Despite his youth, he played an important part in the Manhattan Project during World War II, going on to teach at both Cornell and the California Institute of Technology, and winning the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965 for his research in quantum electrodynamics. Many remember his work on the Challenger commission, in particular his famous O-ring experiment, which required nothing more than a glass of ice water. Besides his work as a physicist, Feynman was at various times an artist, dancer, bongo player, and lock picker.

    While there have been many books celebrating his myriad scientific achievements and personal eccentricities, his personal correspondence has remained largely hidden from view buried in the archive at Caltech or locked in a box in his daughter's Pasadena home. Now, for the first time, we have the privilege of reading his wonderful letters to students, long-lost relatives, former lovers, crackpots, colleagues, and die-hard fans. From his early love letters to his first wife Arline, who died at Los Alamos of tuberculosis, to his decades-long attempt to resign from the National Academy of Sciences, Feynman shares his views on feminism, fatherhood and everything in between. These letters, which span a full half-century, tell the story of a marvelous and inventive life, and reveal the pathos and wisdom of a man many felt close to but few really knew. By turns abrasive and charming, intimate and inspiring, we see the many sides of Richard Feynman, and treasure him all the more. ... Read more


    2. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
    by ANNE FRANK
    list price: $5.50
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    Asin: 0553296981
    Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
    Publisher: Bantam
    Sales Rank: 2494
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    A beloved classic since its initial publication in 1947, this vivid, insightful journal is a fitting memorial to the gifted Jewish teenager who died at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in 1945. Born in 1929, Anne Frank received a blank diary on her 13th birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Her marvelously detailed, engagingly personal entries chronicle 25 trying months of claustrophobic, quarrelsome intimacy with her parents, sister, a second family, and a middle-aged dentist who has little tolerance for Anne's vivacity. The diary's universal appeal stems from its riveting blend of the grubby particulars of life during wartime (scant, bad food; shabby, outgrown clothes that can't be replaced; constant fear of discovery) and candid discussion of emotions familiar to every adolescent (everyone criticizes me, no one sees my real nature, when will I be loved?). Yet Frank was no ordinary teen: the later entries reveal a sense of compassion and a spiritual depth remarkable in a girl barely 15. Her death epitomizes the madness of the Holocaust, but for the millions who meet Anne through her diary, it is also a very individual loss. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

    Reviews (436)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Diary of Anne Frank was a wonderful book.
    I read the book, "The Diary of Anne Frank." I thought that it was not only a wonderful book, but it was very real. It is the captivating story of a young girl, told to her diary about her life, growing up under sone of the strangest, and saddest conditions. It was written in Holland in the early 1940's, during the anti-semetic movements of the Nazi party. Is is told from the innocent eyes of a child, forced to go into hiding to escape Nazi persecution. She lives under close quarters, with seven other people. I felt, because the book was so real, that I actually knew the characters in the book. I found myself relating to ideas that Anne had and things that she said. I think that everyone should read this book because is is an insight into life, love, and hate. I believe that this is a great book and could be enjoyed by anyone.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl
    The book that I just finished reading is called Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl written by Anne Frank herself. It is one of the best book that I have ever read. It tells you about the life of a teenage girl who is trying to survive the awful times of the Holocaust while in hiding. Along with her, there are seven other people living in this hiding place. She learns how to cooporate with other people and how to live while all cooped up. The story takes place in Amsterdam and the hiding place is called the "Secret Annexe". There are two people who get them their food and take care of them. The end of this book is so heart-wrenching that it is unbelieveable. I would definately give this book nine stars out of ten. This book is so informative that is really makes you realize how fortunate we really are these days. It explains everything so well that you can't even believe that something this horrible could ever even happen. This book has definately made me think completely different in a good way and I hope that it will do the same for you.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Franco's Fabulous Book Review
    Anne Frank, a 13 year-old, strong-willed, and courageous girl, is living in the Secret Annex during WWII to escape the Nazi regime. Anne, along with her family and close friends, are hiding from the Nazis because they are of the Jewish faith. Anne falls in love with Peter, a 15 year-old boy who is living with her in the Secret Annex. They become very close as they spend time in the attic trying to escape Peter's annoying mother. The group living in the Secret Annex has to be extremely careful. If they make too much noise, they have a chance of being caught. If they are caught, they will most likely be sent to a concentration camp. Any loud noise or movement could cost the eight tenants of the Secret Annex to die.
    "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" is an amazing book. It lets you realize how lucky we are to live in the world we live in today. The struggles that Anne and the group go through to live a "normal" life are nothing like anyone in today's world would be forced to go through. It allows people interested in WWII to gain information as to what is was like to live during the war.
    "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" is a must read. It is ver informative, yet allows the reader to learn about WWII in an interesting way. So, if you like WWII and are interested in learning what it was like to live back then, this book is for you. It is also a good piece of historical fiction. Pick it up today!

    Julie Francolino

    4-0 out of 5 stars A diary that truly depicted War...
    I earnestly almost cried after reading this book.I was 13,the same age as Anne's when she started writing her diary,whom she called "kitty".

    For those who have no idea who Anne Frank is,she is a Jewish girl and the youngest of two girls.Her father was successful businessman...and the family led a happy and wonderful life after settling down in the bustling city of Amsterdam,that was until Adolf Hitler started the Nazis.The Nazis was an anti-Jew operation,where they would capture Jewish men and tortured them.The women and young and old were not let off either,many were sent to concentration camps,where living conditions there were so bad,many died of diseases rather than the slow torturings.

    It was at this time that Mr Frank decided to go into hiding with his family.With some of his kind-hearted co-workers,they managed to perfect a secret hideout.Anne,her mother and sister Margot began moving into the hideout,which was located just behind the office.Joining them were the Van Dans (not sure if spelling is right)who had a son named Peter and a doctor.Life was very tough,for living behind the office with barely a bookshelf as a wall means not making loud noises.No one must know of their existense,so all everybody could do is to crept round their area softly,tip-toeing and even speaking in hush-whistle.

    For almost 2 years,that's the life of Anne.A growing teenager,she could not go out to the streets to watch a movie,play with her friends or even talk to boys,for that means getting caught by the Nazis.It was also round this time that Anne had one true friend where she can confide everything to:kitty,her diary.

    In her diary,she wrote of how talkative she was in class(she went to school before the hiding),how she hates her mother when the latter compared her to her sister Margot,how she detested Mrs Van Dam...and her deepest thoughts on growing up in a secret hideout.She also shared about her crush on Peter,who also liked her.

    Anne,as we could see,was a normal girl,someone who detested writing,someone who likes a boy and someone who wants to grow up being an author.Well,you could say she is one now,with her diary published after the war, which was later translated to more than 50 languages and sold millions worldwide...but the young girl,unlike her diary,did not survived through the war,for she was captured from her hideout one fine day.Mrs Frank,Margot,the doctor,the Van Dams and Anne herself,all died.All except for Mr Frank himself,who survived...

    By the way, a little unknown fact about her Anne:her real name is Annelies Marie Frank.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank:The Diary of a Young Girl
    The epic Adventure of Anne Frank, born in Germany Anne Frank spent two years of her life in Astonishing Circumstances. Anne faces adventure when the Nazis where murdering Jews. Anne, Mummy, Daddy, Mrs. Van Daan, Mr. Van Daan, and Peter. All hid in a secret passage in an old warehouse in Amsterdam. Anne and her diary explains of the fear of being discovered by the Nazis. Yet within it, a tender love story slowly unfolds-from her shy avoidances with peter to incessant glances and first kiss! Thus her diary is not a lament but a song to life, no matter the circumstances, no matter what the threats.
    Great book for all ages, and you can't beat the low price. ... Read more


    3. Benjamin Franklin : An American Life
    by Walter Isaacson
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
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    Asin: 074325807X
    Catlog: Book (2004-04)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 1902
    Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us -- an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings.

    In bestselling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours.

    The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. America's first great publicist, he was consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity. His guiding principle was a "dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people." Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.

    In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin's amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklin's tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century. ... Read more

    Reviews (98)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great effort.
    Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" is an excellent biography of the eldest of the American founding fathers. Isaacson's writing style is incisive, so the book is never dull. Many Americans tend to view the founding fathers as god-like patriots; but Isaacson is able to show Franklin's flaws through the many refrences to Franklin's correspondences. Isaacson also extensively covers Franklin's pragmatism and frugality through many examples from his letters and other records.

    I can't compare this book to any of the other popular Franklin books because I haven't read them, but I would reccomend this book for a less analytical, though not superficial, read. I say this because it was written by a journalist - journalists tend to be incisive and easier for most to read than scholers. If you would enjoy a more psychological view into Franklin's character, HG Wells' version would probably be more appropriate.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An American Renaissance Man
    Publisher, philosopher, scientist, inventor, and statesman - Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" is a fascinating portrait of our Founding Father's most senior citizen. But it is also an outstanding history of American life in the 18th century, first as a colony, then in the struggle for independence. The role of France in the American Revolution - and Franklin's role in securing that key alliance - unfolds with a clarity I'd not previously encountered. And Franklin's often-combative relationship with John Adams is a riveting character study, especially when balanced by McCullough's biography of Adams. In vivid detail and painstaking research, Isaacson's Franklin is brilliant, but still an enigma. Despite unquestionably high morality, we see a ruthless businessman. While possessing an obvious love for socializing - especially with members of the opposite sex - his immediate family is effectively abandoned, as Franklin lives virtually parallel lives between Europe and America. We see Franklin typically charitable and charming, yet alternately cold and calculating. Yet despite his foibles and flaws, Franklin emerges deservedly as "the most accomplished American of his age." And given the breadth of these accomplishments, an argument could be made "for any age". In summary, Isaacson achieves the rare combination of an important and scholarly biography that at the same time is a lively and entertaining story of America and one of our greatest Americans.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Portrayal of the Most Versatile American
    Let me first start off by saying that I have read few biographies. But Isaacson made a biography that is both readable and balanced between Franklin's personal and professional life. Franklin was the true founding father that believed in the common man. Franklin was not perfect but he believed in fair treatment for all. America would have advanced much slower if it was not for Ben. Probably his greatest contribution to our society was the feeling of helping one another. He helped form the first fire station, post office, police force (much less his inventions) - his work had community written all over it. All of his work was done with the premise of helping mankind. Maybe other founders fought the wars and wrote the documents. But we survived all these years because we formed a community; the idea that as Americans we have to all work together. That is Franklin's legacy to our nation. I will read biographies on the other founders (Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams and Washington) to gain a more complete perspective on how this country started. This book lays an excellent foundation and is a must read for those interested in the origins of America through the eyes of one of its greatest citizens.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding biography of a remarkable man
    Walter Isaacson, former chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time Magazine, has written an immensely readable and informative biography of Benjamin Franklin that never gets too stuffy or bogged down in meaningless minutae. Instead, we are treated to a fascinating glimpse at a man who was early America's greatest publisher, scientist, politician, inventor and diplomat.

    We all have our pre-conceived notions of Franklin, including him out flying his kite to try and link electricity with lightning, or him dozing off during the lengthy and tedious deliberations at the Constitutional Convention. Isaacson peels back the layers of the story a bit, reminding us how often our vision of Franklin derives from Franklin's own pen, such as the vision of the young teen arriving in Philadelphia with loaves of bread, looking ridiculous as he passed by the window of his future wife (a scene written by Franklin at age 65 when he penned his autobiography).

    The book does a very good job not only of recounting the many accomplishments of Franklin, but also of exploring his middle class ideals and values. For example, Isaacson's book reminds us that while Franklin was never terribly pious or religious throughout his life, he favored organized religion because churches encouraged citizens to behave well, and to do good things. There was always a sense of pragmatism and public service in everything Franklin did and believed in. As a publisher, if he thought a public policy or official was wrong and needed to be criticized publicly, he would invent characters (to avoid libel suits) to write humorous and sometimes scathing attacks that were basically anonymous.

    The book also dwells repeatedly on the Franklin's love and admiration of the middle class as the real core of American society. While Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia as a college for southern gentlemen, Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania to serve a much larger, and more low-brow, populace. As a statesman, it is remarkable that Franklin (despite many years abroad as an effective French ambassador) was a participant and signer of virtually every key treaty/document in colonial history, including the Albany Plan of the Union, the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Peace Treaty with England, and the Constitution. His spirit of compromise and his sage demeanor no doubt helped bridge the gap which sharply divided members of the Constitutional Convention. He occasionally flip-flopped on an issue, including his views on the Stamp Act and his belief in the possibility of conciliation with Britain, but without his sense of compromise the Constitution would never have made it in its present, remarkable form.

    Isaacson also explores the personal side of Franklin, including his strained relationship (and ultimate lack of a relationship) with his loyalist son, who became governor of New Jersey, as well as his relatively harmless flirting with the ladies of French society while he was abroad. The contrasts in his character, and that of John Adams (who was sent out to France to work with him on the French alliance), was remarkable. Both great men to be sure, but they could not be more unalike, and their pairing was an unfortunate one.

    The book ends with a wonderful chapter titled "Conclusions" in which Franklin's place in history, and the changing attitudes towards his character over the years, are explored. The Trascendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau had little use for Ben, as he was too practical and mundane for their "rarefied tastes", but as the country became more industrial and Horatio Alger novels became the rage, Franklin's work ethic and maxims were embraced all over again. Ultimately Isaacson points out that as a writer he was "more Mark Twain and less William Shakespeare", and as a scientist he was more like Edison than Newton. Always witty and charming, if not profound, he probably did more than anyone in history to try and advance the common good, through civic associations, libraries, volunteer fire departments, post offices, etc. I put the book down terribly impressed with Franklin the man, and Isaacson the biographer.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Walter Isaacson: Mr. Shallow, An American Life
    As a direct descendant of Simon Meredith (1663-1745), father of Hugh Meredith, Benjamin Franklin's erstwhile business partner in Philadelphia, I looked forward with great interest to Isaacson's much touted book, and immediately consulted it between flights, looking up Cousin Hugh. With respect to Hugh, Isaacson, like so many predecessors, again proved shallow, inept, under informed and a grand source of misinformation: as we Merediths know all too well, Franklin simply stiffed Simon and dumped Hugh after the venerable Ben had gained a virtual monopoly to print money. Isaacson remains oblivious of the fact that the Simon Merediths of Radnorshire, members of a medieval college of physicians and clerics, were and remain one of the most distinguished Welsh-American families this country has ever known. I realize Isaacson is reputedly a great publicist and business person, but as an historian and researcher he remains woefully ignorant. Welcome to another silly, sorry Franklin read. ... Read more


    4. The Freud Encyclopedia: Theory, Therapy and Culture
    list price: $215.00
    our price: $215.00
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    Asin: 0415936772
    Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
    Publisher: Routledge
    Sales Rank: 777678
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Freud Encyclopedia: Theory, Therapy, and Cultureis a comprehensive, one-volume reference work containing entries on the life, work, and theories of Sigmund Freud.

    Latest scholarship on key Freudian theories and concepts. The book discusses the most recent work on such topics as the theory of dreams, the concept of repression, defense mechanisms, and the Oedipus complex. Also included are essays on later psychoanalytic theories such as object relations and self psychology.

    Information on psychoanalytic therapy and techniques The encyclopedia contains a wealth of articles on all aspects of the practices and its theories of psychoanalysis. As the founder of psychoanalysis, Freud is a seminal figure in the development of techniques of treatment and of the philosophical foundations of the psychoanalytic movement.

    Biographies of major figures The book includes biographical sketches of Freud himself and of the leading figures in the Freudian movement, including Melanie Klein, Karl Abraham, and Otto Rank. Essays can also be found on philosophers who anticipated or influenced Freud, such as Schopenhauer, Brentano, and Nietzsche.

    International in scope The encyclopedia has essays on psychoanalytic developments in twenty-five countries and covers the criticisms and defenses of Freud's work written by leading specialists around the world.

    Sigmund Freud is regarded as one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century, and interest in his life and work remains high. This book will contribute to a further understanding of his influence and of the current evaluations and debates surrounding his work. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Review of Freud & Freudianism
    Erwin's Freud Encyclopedia is a curious mixture of very scholarly articles clearly aimed to impress other scholars and/or to make a major contribution to Freud scholarship and many articles designed to introduce educated laymen to the work of Sigmund Freud. Happily, the latter is the dominant portion. Of some 240 articles I found at least a dozen nearly impenetrable, either because of the technical demands or abominable style. Another two dozen were difficult but not of any general interest. That leaves roughly 200 articles that were interesting and readable - not a bad percentage.

    When I turned to write my review of the encyclopedia, my eye caught a previous review which expressed unhappiness with the encyclopedia solely on the basis of a single article. This is astonishing when one considers not a single encyclopedia ever has been or ever will be written that doesn't contain a very bad article. The problem is that in this case the wrong article was selected for condemnation.

    The article in question is by Charles Socarides, a psychiatrist well known for his anti-homosexual outlook. In the case in question, however, Socarides confines himself to Freud's views about homosexuality and does not express his own. Thus, maintaining, as the author does, that Socarides is the wrong man for the job is a plain mistake. The article is actually one of the best in the encyclopedia and it lays out in clear but elegant language what Freud thinks. Unlike his predecessor, Krafft-Ebing, Freud did not think homosexuality a dark perversion but provided a sympathetic portrayal of it. Moreover, even if Freud did have by contemporary standards, a preposterous understanding of homosexuality, it would be important to know what he thought. In fact, he had no preposterous ideas.

    The encylopedia is not redundant. There are other psychoanalytic encyclopedias that deal with the standard topics but they do not limit themselves to Freud's views about these matters. Accordingly, they do not cover Freud on these matters to the same degree of depth. Here we do not merely have articles on repression, catharsis, infantile sexuality but Freud on each of these issues. Consequently, the articles are less surveyish in character. Thousands of articles have been written on, say, infantile sexuality, including the Freudian view of it but inevitably something is lost - namely, how Freud himself elaborated the topic.

    The work is obviously the product of almost a decade of work if for no other reason than that it contains so many superstars as contributors. There is always a bit of the prima donna in such persons and one can just imagine the delicate negotiations the editor must have exhaustively carried on. I would recommend this book for every psychoanalyst, of course. That goes almost without saying. Also there is much here for general psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, whether Freudian, "eclectic" or what-have-you. Clinical social workers may also have good use for the book but the price is steep. Still, pricewise, it beats long term subscriptions to 90% of the journals.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    5-0 out of 5 stars Review of Encyclopedia of Freud & Freudianism
    As a licensed clinical social worker and teacher, I have studied Freud and experienced his influence in many fields of study including psychology, education, anthropology and sociology. This is by far the best psychoanalytic encyclopedia I have ever consulted, suitable for all professionals and interested laymen.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Comments on a Mistaken Review
    Whether Sigmund Freud was mainly right or mainly wrong, his ideas have had an astonishing range of influence in anthropology, psychology, psychiatry, history, philosophy, art, cinema, and literature. The recently published "Freud Encyclopedia: Theory, Therapy, and Culture" represents the best of recent Freud scholarship. It contains approximately 240 entries written by past presidents of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Philosophical Association, and the Psychoanalytic Division of the American Psychological Association, and by leading Freud scholars from around the world...

    The encyclopedia contains an entry on Freud's theory of homosexuality but none on homosexuality per se; the criticized essay explains Freud's views but does not claim that homosexuality is a treatable perversion. That claim appears nowhere in the encyclopedia...

    Edward Erwin, Editor, "The Freud Encyclopedia" ... Read more


    5. The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
    by H.W. BRANDS
    list price: $35.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385493282
    Catlog: Book (2000-09-19)
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 35257
    Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Benjamin Franklin may have been the most remarkable American ever to live: a printer, scientist, inventor, politician, diplomat, and--finally--an icon. His life was so sweeping that this comprehensive biography by H.W. Brands at times reads like a history of the United States during the 18th century. Franklin was at the center of America's transition from British colony to new nation, and was a kind of Founding Grandfather to the Founding Fathers; he was a full generation older than George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, and they all viewed him with deep respect. "Of those patriots who made independence possible, none mattered more than Franklin, and only Washington mattered as much," writes Brands (author of a well-received Teddy Roosevelt biography, T.R.: The Last Romantic). Franklin was a complex character who sometimes came up a bit short in the personal virtue department, once commenting, "That hard-to-be-governed passion of youth had hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women that fell in my way." When he married, another woman was already pregnant with his child--a son he took into his home and had his wife raise.

    Franklin is best remembered for other things, of course. His still-famous Poor Richard's Almanac helped him secure enough financial freedom as a printer to retire and devote himself to the study of electricity (which began, amusingly, with experiments on chickens). His mind never rested: He invented bifocals, the armonica (a musical instrument made primarily of glass), and, in old age, a mechanical arm that allowed him to reach books stored on high shelves. He served American interests as a diplomat in Europe; without him, France might not have intervened in the American Revolution. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He possessed a sense of humor, too. In 1776, when John Hancock urged the colonies to "hang together," Franklin is said to have commented, "We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." Franklin's accomplishments were so numerous and varied that they threaten to read like a laundry list. Yet Brands pours them into an engrossing narrative, and they leap to life on these pages as the grand story of an exceptional man. The First American is an altogether excellent biography. --John J. Miller ... Read more

    Reviews (111)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The polymath who gave America a fine start
    Being a scientist and the son of a printer, I have always been intrigued with Franklin, the man who encompassed all my family's interests single-handedly. H. W. Brands' book is a wonderful addition to the school of knowledge of one of our most interesting founding fathers. Well written, this book is notably more readable than the typical arid biography. Especially laudable is Brands' coordination of simultaneous events in the colonies and Europe, which he relates in a clear, coordinated and concise manner, avoiding confusing backtracking in parallel timelines.

    Brands' theme in this book clearly tracks the arc of Franklin life, from loyal English colonial subject to American Revolutionary advocate. While building a strong career as publisher, Franklin manages to build an infrastructure of public works in Philadelphia, including library and fire department, a colonial postal system, and defense force against hostile Indians. All the while, he gains an international reputation as a scientist and philosopher, and late in life, statesman par excellance.

    Brands is to be commended for giving us this well sourced and detailed book, which clearly relates the amazing life of a complex and fascinating American.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Biography
    When I first saw this book available for sale, I could not wait to read it. Other founding fathers, such as Washington, Adams and Jefferson have had numerous biographies devoted to them and their role in the American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin was long overdue for a new biography and H.W. Brands has supplied an excellent chapter on one of the most illustrious founding fathers.

    The book demonstrates the rise of Franklin from a younger son in a large family in Boston to a well known and respected printer in Philadelphia. Based on extreme hard work, frugality and ghe ability to impress power men, Franklin quickly becomes a force in the city. The most interesting think about this point in his life is the agility of his mind. Never content to simply wonder why, Franklin educates himself in such diverse areas as philosophy, science, mechnical engineering, etc. The classic American dream of rags to riches is truly demonstrate via the life of Franklin.

    Later in his life, Franklin spent many years in England as the colonial agent for Pennsylvania. His fame as an amateur scientist through his experiments with electricity meant he was already well known in England. Franklin himself loved England during this time in his life and the author points out that it took quite a bit of abuse from the English politicians to turn him away from pursuing reconciliation with the Mother Country.

    Once he knew that America must achieve independence and at the age of 70 (!), Franklin returned to Philadelphia and began the exciting process of fighting for independence and setting up a new country. Soon after, he went to France to persuade the French government to help the fledgling country. Later still, he worked on the development of the U.S. Constitution. In the history of man, it is difficult to find a man whose life encompasses such a wide range of achievement.

    The author does a fine job of drawing upon Franklin's own words to illustrate his life. The writing flows smoothly and covers most areas of his life in sufficient detail. Only one small complaint- I wish more would have been discussed regarding his private life, especially his marrige.

    5-0 out of 5 stars History Comes Alive
    Although a 700+ page biography of a man dead 200 years sounds daunting, in this case nothing could be further from the truth. Franklin's story is an amazing one, which the author tells in a style both fast and entertaining. He never goes into more detail than the casual reader (me) would like, but gives just enough historical perspective and philosophical framework to place Franklin in his time. Franklin's life was so full and far-ranging that it couldn't be covered in less than 700 well-manicured pages. I found it compulsively readable, despite the size. Truly he lived in "interesting times" and showed himself to be a man equal to every challenge he faced -- and quite a few left to future generations.

    The true measure of a biography may be in getting the reader to CARE about the subject, and in this Brands succeeds unconditionally. Even from the distance of 200 years Franklin's inevitable passing hit me hard, moving me to tears of sorrow.

    THAT is good writing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly Work on an American Icon
    H.W. Brands must have been a doozy back at school. Once given an assignment for a research paper I can see Brands asking "Can I do twice as many references as required?"

    I'm poking fun a little to make the point that this is a scholarly and well-researched portrait of Franklin. Brands doesn't seem to make any points that are not backed up by some written reference, and any time there is speculation Brands' language makes it clear that this is a thought extrapolated from available knowledge.

    I almost wanted to give the work 4 rather than 5 stars because my initial response was that although the book was good, I also thought that if there's anything this book needs, it's a little pruning. This biography is so exhaustively complete that there is little time to pause. ALL of the information is presented, and it got a little mentally tiring separating the wheat from the chaff. (Does this make me like the Emperor who informs Mozart his new opera has "too many notes"?) From the language of this book Mr. Franklin's early work in the printing business in Philadelphia comes across with as much force as his later participation in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

    Brands gives us a good feel for Benjamin Franklin's standing in the world community - not only in Philadelphia and America, but also in Europe and around the world. We also get a little of a taste for Franklin's indulgences in woman and for the periods in his life when he was reluctant to assume the role of "family man".

    At the end when the great citizen Dr. Franklin passed away James Madison passed the news to the new congress and suggested that a National Period of Mourning be observed - a measure that must have been one of the first official acts of Congress to pass immediately and unanimously. The word quickly spread to France where their assembly also unanimously voted to immediately don black to mourn The First American.

    Among Biographies, in particular of our Founding Fathers, this one stands up well, and should for as long as people care to read about the amazing Benjamin Franklin.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ben Franklin was the prototypical geek
    The founding fathers have been in danger of becoming mere icons for some time now -- Washington the military man, Hamilton the royalist, Jefferson the renaissance man, and Franklin, the comic foil. "Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately," Franklin quipped at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

    But in this book, H.W. Brands lays out a broader, more important role for Franklin. Besides being the most famous American to the rest of the world, Brands argues, Franklin was the first American to recognize that the colonies could never achieve an acceptable freedom from Parliament within the British Empire, and would therefore have to fight to achieve full independence.

    He was also the prototypical geek. Though he lacked formal education, Franklin had an amazing ability to arrive at the truth of a subject through observation and experimentation. His contributions on electricity and heating (the Franklin Stove) are well known, but Brands covers others in fields from oceanography to physiology to opthalmology.

    An inveterate (if inexpert) chessplayer and skirt-chaser, Franklin's family life is fascinating and new to me. He fathered an illegitimate son, William, of an unknown mother before marrying Deborah Read; Franklin and Deborah raised him. Later, they would have a son (somewhat improbably named Francis Folger Franklin, and called Franky) who died of smallpox after the family failed to inoculate him, and a daughter, Sally. Franklin won William appointments as a deputy postmaster and later as royal governor of New Jersey, but when the revolution came, William sided with the crown. It was a blow to Franklin, who never reconciled with his son. He had a major role in raising William's illegitimate son, Temple, and another grandchild, Benjamin Bache (Sally's son).

    His relationship with his wife was also somewhat curious. In 1757, Franklin essentially moved to England to represent the Pennsylvania Assembly with the English government (then under George II -- he later would be the agent of Massachusetts, Georgia, and New Jersey, as well), while Deborah stayed behind. He would spend 16 of the next 18 years in London, and 8 of the following 10 in France, but Deborah stayed in Philadelphia. She claimed a fear of ocean travel kept her from traveling, and Franklin wrote her constantly, but it's a heck of a way to run a marriage.

    Franklin simplifies the biographer's job somewhat by the very volume of material he left behind. As a printer, he published Poor Richard's Almanac, and innumberable broadsides, pamphlets, newspaper articles, and memoirs. As a politician, he contributed to the Declaration, to several constitutions for the state of Pennsylvania (he was head of the Pennsylvania Assembly before the war, and 3 times president of the state after), and the the U.S. Constitution -- Brands credits Franklin with the compromise allowing state legislatures to elect 2 members each to the Senate, while the House of Representatives was elected by population (initial proposals would have had the Senate elected by the House). And as a celebrity, his letters were almost invariably saved, and provide insights into his remarkable perspective on the world.

    There's a vogue of Revolutionary era non-fiction right now, including David McCullough's "John Adams" (Adams disliked Franklin pretty intensely, so this might be a good pair to read), "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation," by Joseph J. Ellis, and "The American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson," but the history-minded geek will probably prefer The First American. ... Read more


    6. Benjamin Franklin
    by Edmund S. Morgan
    list price: $28.00
    our price: $18.48
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0300095325
    Catlog: Book (2002-10)
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    Sales Rank: 24758
    Average Customer Review: 3.63 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history: the greatest statesman of his age, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the American republic. He was also a pioneering scientist, a bestselling author, the country's first postmaster general, a printer, a bon vivant, a diplomat, a ladies' man, and a moralist-and the most prominent celebrity of the eighteenth century.Franklin was, however, a man of vast contradictions, as Edmund Morgan demonstrates in this brilliant biography. A reluctant revolutionary, Franklin had desperately wished to preserve the British Empire, and he mourned the break even as he led the fight for American independence. Despite his passion for science, Franklin viewed his groundbreaking experiments as secondary to his civic duties. And although he helped to draft both the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, he had personally hoped that the new American government would take a different shape. Unraveling the enigma of Franklin's character, Morgan shows that he was the rare individual who consistently placed the public interest before his own desires.

    Written by one of our greatest historians, Benjamin Franklin offers a provocative portrait of America's most extraordinary patriot. ... Read more

    Reviews (35)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Unconstrained by linear logic, a difficult book to follow
    Benjamin Franklin's life is one of the most fascinating in American life--he was a diplomat, legislator, printer and scientist. In this admittedly short biography in an admittedly crowded field (there have been a handful of similar books published in recent years), Edmund Morgan attempts to give us an impression of the character of the man.

    He starts with his athleticism, moves on to his views of religion and morals, and so on. Those who are unfamiliar with the factual details of Franklins life will be confused by the sudden appearance of details: Referring to his wife, Morgan writes: "He spent the last ten years of her life away from her in London." This comes as a shock as we haven't yet been told he spent so much time in the mother country.

    Morgan readily admits that the work is based largely on a recent compilation of Franklin documents on disk ("...and not much else")and doesn't offer original research.

    In sum, this becomes a difficult book to read and cannot be recommended except perhaps as an adjunct to Franklin-devotees who've already finished reading several more orthodox biographies.

    4-0 out of 5 stars insightful look at "the ornament of the New World"
    "Let all Men know thee, but no man know thee thoroughly." So advised Dr. Franklin, and so he lived. It is difficult to know any historical figure, especially as his contemporaries knew him, and Franklin's being a multifaceted, sometimes enigmatic person makes knowing him particularly challenging--and also extremely interesting. But Edmund S. Morgan, relying on the thirty-six currently published volumes (with more on the way) of Franklin's writings, does an admirable job of introducing us to this famous Founder.

    It is not Morgan's intention to offer an exhaustive treatment of Franklin's life. Rather, he paints a portrait of the man's character, personality, and opinions and shows how these traits came through in what Franklin did. The picture of Franklin that emerges here is one of a curious, industrious, energetic man, one who enjoys the company of others (particularly women--and younger women at that), one who is devoted to public service, one who dislikes controversy and scandal. He uses his considerable talents to benefit his fellow man (and himself) and to improve the world around him, as he did for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and eventually for the nascent United States. Morgan traces three major ideas running through many of Franklin's actions--(1) his belief in voluntary associations for mutual assistance, such as the fire company and library in Philadelphia; (2) the goal, ultimately abandoned, of uniting the American colonies with England in an Anglo-American empire, a single political community destined for greatness; and (3) his belief that what is right is that which is beneficial. It is also interesting, and more than a little surprising, to note, as well, that from 1757 to his death in 1790, Franklin spent only eight years in his native land.

    Readers of this volume will inevitably want to turn to more in-depth biographies of Franklin, or perhaps even to his own writings. But for a brief and insightful picture of the man, either as introduction or re-acquaintance, I can imagine no better work than this one.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not the one to get
    I feel bad saying this, but the reality is that if you are interested in learning about one of history's most interesting and influential men, you'll be better served reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Franklin. Isaacson's is more comprehensive, more detailed, more incisive, but most of all, is a total pleasure to read, whereas I found Morgan's sometimes difficult to plow through. "Plowing through" would be worth it if this book offered perspectives and facts not found in the Isaacson book, but that is not the case.

    As I said, this one isn't bad, but why get it, when the Isaacson one is superior?

    4-0 out of 5 stars Benjamin Franklin
    (...)

    Benjamin Franklin; we know about the remarkable things he did, but how do we really know him as a man? That is Edmund S. Morgan's question. Through Franklin's letters, newspapers, discoveries, autobiography, and a certain disk entitled, the Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Morgan has been compelled to write this book to give the world a taste of who Franklin was. Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, full of curiosity and vigor. He always felt the need to explore the world around him and to study the things that most took for granted. He could often be found outdoors walking about, taking in the scenery around him. He had an uncanny ability to look at everyday things with surprise and inquisitiveness. This endowment is what drove Franklin to make so many advances in human knowledge. He also thoroughly enjoyed being in the company of good friends; playing chess, telling jokes, and singing songs. He was a very sociable and companionable man; he was always looking to help people. Franklin also had his own views of religion. When Franklin was young he did a lot of thinking and writing on his morals. He came to believe that "Sin is not harmful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is harmful...Nor is a duty beneficial because it is commanded, but it is commanded because it is beneficial." Franklin never attended a church regularly and didn't take kindly to the Bible, though he undoubtedly believed in God as the creator. Franklin did not believe in a God who divided his people into those he intended to welcome to heaven and those he would condemn to Hell. Franklin even went on to write a lengthy list of virtues in his autobiography part 2. He always tried to do what he thought God wanted of him; he always tried to help the public and the economy. Franklin married Deborah Read in 1730 shortly after his first son, William, was born. The mother of this son is still unknown. When Franklin was entering his forties, he began studying about and experimenting with electricity. Only one kind of electricity was known back then, and that was static electricity, the kind that produces a shock. In the 1740's a collection of Leyden jars for storing static electricity was sent to Franklin by an English friend. Without delay, Franklin started experimenting with it. He soon discovered that a metal rod with a pointed end would attract a spark from a greater distance than a blunt one. He then went on to suggest the experiment with the kite and the key to prove that lightning was electric. His experiment was successful, and suddenly he was famous. Though, that is certainly not the only thing Franklin would become famous for. He helped write the Declaration of Independence, secured the Alliance with France, negotiated the treaty of peace with England, and partook in the convention that drafted the United States Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation. Franklin once wrote to his mother that when his life was over, "I would rather have it said, he lived usefully, than, he died rich." Franklin died on April 17, 1790. However, I feel saying that Benjamin Franklin lived usefully is a blatant understatement. Franklin was a man of great heart. He accomplished more things in his eighty-four years than most men could achieve in two-hundred. Benjamin Franklin was essential to the world.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
    This is both a fascinating book, and it is about one of the
    most fascinating subjects, Benjamin Franklin.
    The book is a little on the short side, but the author explains
    he kept it a bit limited in scope on purpose. He intends for
    it to be readable,and he wants to concentrate on Franklin's public service; plus, he tends to focus on his overseas assignments on behalf of the 13 Colonies, as well as his later
    service on behalf of the new United States.
    No hero of our Revolution is more complex and diverse than
    Franklin, and his public service far exceeds that of any other
    of the Founders. We tend to forget how old Franklin was at the
    time of some of his greatest service. After nearly 10 years in
    England, trying to pursuade the English authorities in Parliament of the wisdom of keeping their American colonies within the British Empire by giving them equal status in that
    Empire, and finally failing, he returned home to Philadelphia.
    And the next day, he was elected to the Second Continental Congress.
    As he entered the State House in Philadelphia to begin his term
    in that Congress, it is noted that he served in that same building years before in the colonial assembly. And when he
    served in the colonial government, some of the greatest of Founders weren't born yet; at that time, for example, Patrick
    Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock and John Adams had not even been born. Franklin served all those years, and as the
    Revolution was progressing, and he was in his 70s, the new government sent him to France to procure loans and to negotiate
    treaties with France to help in their fight for Independence.
    That he succeeded is evident, and he spent several years in France serving his new country.
    The book reveals, in very interesting detail, that Franklin was
    so revered and so respected in England, that while he was living
    there, fighting for better understanding by Parliament, he was
    blamed for everything that was happening in the Colonies. When
    an assembly in Bostom forwarded new demands to King George III,
    which inflamed Parliament, the Solicitor General called Franklin
    the "great director" of those events and demands. The author
    very nicely points out that the probably author of those demands
    from Bostom, Samuel Adams, needed no direction from Franklin on
    how to inflame independence passions.
    When the Boston Tea Party took place in Boston harbor, in protest against Parliament's tax on imported tea, the Secretary

    for Colonial Affairs told Parliament the whole affair looked
    like it came from "...the Franklin school of politics."
    About that time, Franklin's English friends advised him he was
    facing arrest, and many were afraid for his physical safety.
    But he continued doing his job for the Colonies, and although
    he met with much frustration in dealing with British authorities, he never wavered in his efforts to help the Colonies.
    Franklin showed style, energy, and he exercised more diplomacy
    in both England and France than we can imagine, and this author
    does a nice job of pointing out his efforts and accomplishments. ... Read more


    7. Tuva of Bust: Richard Feynman's Last Journey
    by Ralph Leighton
    list price: $19.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393029530
    Catlog: Book (1991-01-01)
    Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
    Sales Rank: 691947
    Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A moving story of Richard Feynman and his friend Ralph Leighton's attempts to reach the land of Tannu Tuva.An adventure that is sure to inspire everyone.Well written and imaginative, this book is essential for fans of Feynman. Includes a 5-minute soundsheet of Tuvan throat-singing. ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely pleasant and informative book on lost land of Tuva
    When I was a kid in the 1950s I collected stamps and had quite a few from a mysterious little land called "Tannu Tuva". It always intrigued me because though I could find it on the old globe we had at home (made before the USSR swallowed the unfortunate Tuvans in 1944)I never heard the slightest news from there, nor did I ever hear of anyone going or coming from that little red country sandwiched between the yellow Soviet Union and green Mongolia. Time passed. A lot of time. Fast forward in fact, forty years. One day I saw a new book advertised--TUVA OR BUST. I could scarcely believe that somebody else in America remembered that hapless little country that once issued diamond and triangle stamps with yaks, camels, archers, and horsemen on them. Yet, they had it at our local bookstore. I bought it and read it as soon as I got home. What a treat ! I had never heard of Richard Feynman, not being a physics aficionado, but he turned out to be a great character. I enjoyed reading about his years-long efforts with Ralph Leighton to get to Tuva. They went through all kinds of trouble and interesting side voyages. I strongly recommend that you read this book. For me, reading the book was only a beginning. I listened to the plastic disc of Tuvan throat singing that came with the book, and subsequently bought tapes and attended Tuvan concerts by the group Huun Huur Tu in Boston. I also became a "Friend of Tuva". You can find their website on the net. I still drive around with my 'Tuva or Bust' bumper sticker. All of this stemmed from reading this delightful book on a faraway, unknown country and two people's adventures trying to get there. A very pleasurable experience.

    4-0 out of 5 stars funny, informative, and even a little inspiring
    "Tuva or Bust!" is the story of three friends in the 1980s, who were determined to travel to Tuva, a little known land in Central Asia, which at that time was part of the Soviet Union. Their original motivation? As Richard Feynman says in the first chapter, "A place that's spelled K-Y-Z-Y-L (Tuva's capitol) has just got to be interesting!"

    The book chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Ralph Leighton, one of Feynman's longtime friends. Though the book is subtitled "Richard Feynman's Last Journey," it's really Leighton's story; Feynman is more of an inspiration and a supporting character. Over several years, Leighton and his friends wrote letters, researched articles, read books, and became more and more fascinated by Tuva, a tiny country in the middle of nowhere. They learned, among other things, that Tuvans practice three different types of steppe herding lifestyles, within a hundred miles of each other, and that Tuva is the home of throat-singing, a musical technique in which a single person produces two notes at the same time.

    Leighton's narration is chatty, reminiscent of Feynman's autobiographical works; one suspects Leighton learned to tell anecdotes from his friend. However, Leighton isn't as inherently fascinating a narrator as Feynman. Also, Feynman's persistent cancer, which kept him from participating in several preliminary trips, and finally killed him shortly before Leighton received permission for a group of Americans to travel to Tuva itself, casts a pall over the book.

    Still, this is a fascinating story -- a great example of what people can do if they really care about a cause, and don't realize precisely how little chance they have of succeeding. It is also informative, if somewhat superficial in its description of Tuvan culture; I now want to know more about Central Asian peoples, and Tuvans in particular. But while the chapter "Reflections 2000," included in the new paperback version of "Tuva or Bust!" is interesting, I really don't think it was fair of Leighton to mention a new idea for a Tuvan monument to Feynman, and refuse to give any details. Now I want another reprint!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Something To Do
    A peculiar book: Ralph Leighton's TUVA OR BUST isn't really about Richard Feynman, who, the more one reads about him, begins to seem a genius, yes, but more than a little insufferable. He does instigate this whimsical notion of visiting Tannu Tuva (which had become Tuvinskaya of the U.S.S.R. (the book takes place from the late 1970s to Feynman's death in 1989), but the ball is picked up by Leighton, and Feynman is merely a supporting actor in the book.

    The quest carries itself through many frustrations, mostly having to do w/ the hermetic paranoia of the Soviet Union, which seems to work like an enormous rural county: If you know someone, then things can be smoothed out; if not, then the official channels will be little help.

    I'm not sure why anyone would read this book. There's no reason to if you're interested in Feynman, because, besides his concoctions to fit in at Esalen, amongst the New Age mumbo-jumbo, his mind is absent from the book. His personality & his drumming are there on occasion, but Feynman's thinking, no.

    Leighton is not intrinsically interesting, and though a fluent writer, gives little sense of character. All the foreigners are forgettable, so the index is very handy. When a name turns up on page 150, say, then one can look it up to see which person this is.

    As one reads, one begins to have the same thoughts about oneself that one has about Leighton's attempts to visit Tuva: Why am I going on?. Moreover, I think that one comes up with the same answer: Just to get through the damn thing. By the time that Leighton reaches Tuva (without Feynman, who died just a smidgen too soon), the appearance is anti-climactic, and the land is colorless: A Nevada trailer-park suburb, but with yurts instead of double-wides.

    TUVA OR BUST! becomes a critique of bureaucracy. The slow, spirit-killing, mind-numbing bureaucracy of the Soviet Union ensured that Feynman would die without reaching Tuva. Our world, in which stupid little men can control our lives, is death to the spirit, and is death to the spirit of Feynman, insufferable though he may be, and inexplicably kow-towed to by everyone (you get the feeling that Feynman never opens a door for anyone or shuts one for himself).

    TUVA OR BUST!, in its pedestrian prose, preaches, unwittingly, I think, for a freedom for whimsy, for the spirit, for the individual. At the same time, excepting the author and his male friends (his wife is also colorless), the book has no individuals. So, by the end, nothing: No Tuva to speak of, no more Feynman, nothing but an accomplishment to scratch off the list.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Mostly Great, But Slightly Condescending!
    Did you know of certain artists who painted scenes on a human hair! Yes, bring your magnifying glass! Or singing in 2 part harmony with only one singer! I surely did not before reading this book! However, as a stamp collector starting at a very young age (about 7) , I also was fascinated by the Tanna Tuva stamps, and still have a nice assortment of diamonds and triangles. This book is an amusing and informative read, not least in its descriptions of meetings between Soviet and western scholars during some of the "Bad Old Days" of the 1980's Cold War, including moments like the shooting of KAL 007 near Korea. At times , though, there does seem to be a slightly condescending attitude towards a small section of Siberia based on what seems "funny" to English speakers. Nonetheless a very worthwhile read, with many amusing anecdotes, not to mention the amazing cancer recovery attitude of Mr. Feynmann himself!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Feynman's inspiration...
    If you're reading this review, you've probably read dozens of witicisms from Richard Feynman, one of science's most colorful characters. Though the name suggests otherwise, this is really about a Feynman inspired journey.

    Ralph Leighton and Richard Feynman spot a stamp from Tuva, which inspires Leighton's journey around the world. What makes the book an interesting read is that you can easily follow Feyman's curious energy in the actions and writing of the author. This really brings the heart of the book's value - this type of intellectual curiosity is not just the property of Richard Feynman. Anyone can chase a journey because it's fun or because it's there.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and hope that you do too. ... Read more


    8. No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman
    by Richard Phillips Feynman, Christopher Sykes
    list price: $21.95
    our price: $14.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 039331393X
    Catlog: Book (1995-06-01)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 40204
    Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars From Physics to Touva!
    My reading of "Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman" was surely "forced" me to read the life of Richard Feynman furthermore: NO ORDINARY GENIUS is a GREAT BOOK. Family, friends and colleagues of Feynman share their views regarding the genius (with bump's-language-style) Feynman. The photos are great and can make a good spot on his life. Truly inspiring especially when he stated that he's an irresponsible man! And also, he couldnt stop to do physics until several days before his death: he's still doing the physics in 70. Feynman also brought the tiny-state named TOUVA to the world: even a geographic teacher wouldn't know bout this region! Buy this book, okay?

    5-0 out of 5 stars fun character fun book!
    This book made me laughed and it made me cry but most importantly it taught me a lot, not just about feynman but a lot more other stuff like science, life, having fun and reminded me why I got into science in the first place. It was very inpirational as well as fun.

    If you want to know a little about what feynman was like, then you must read this book. I said
    "little" because there is no way you will ever get to know this man just by reading a book. This book was really good at taking out the really good stuff from other books and integrating it.

    I like what his friends and family had to say about him and adventures they had, as much as when Feynman was quoted. It is
    really interesting and gives you a really deep insight on stuff he may not had put into his other books.

    Even if you don't like to read biographies, or care about feynman, you could read this book like a novel. Its little
    stories are so interesting funny (sometimes sad) that you forget that you are reading a biography. I say this because
    reading biogrphies usually gets me bored. Not this one however, its and adventure!

    After I read this book I felt like I lost a friend and mentor--it was that good or perhaps feyman's life was that interesting--I actually missed a guy I never met before! It sounds flaky, but I guessed Feynman would had liked it that way!

    Alex Lee
    ...

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Superb Introduction to an Under-Appreciated Man
    Richard Feynman was a remarkable man who lived many remarkable lives, most of which are succinctly summarized in this fast, engaging read. Relying upon testimonials from close friends and associates of Feynman's and mostly from Feynman's own recollections, No Ordinary Genius delves into each of these lives, including Feynman's childhood obsession with finding out how things worked (a trait inherited from his father), his work at Los Alamos both as the keeper of the keys to the mainframe processing the mathematical calculations for the Manhattan Project and as the head of on campus hi-jinx and safe-cracking, his Nobel Prize for developing the field of Quantum electrodynamics (and along the way the now famous "Feynman diagrams" which have become the physicist's graphical tool for "viewing" sub-atomic activity), his very early visionary forays into what has become nanotechnology, and his ability to buck the NASA bureaucracy and quickly get to the bottom of what really went wrong with the 1986 Challenger disaster. Along the way we learn of his love of people (including his two wives, the first of whom died when she was only about 20 years old of TB), of life, and of physics (though probably not in that order), and what begins to emerge is a rare character, a multi-dimensional, and apparently "human" genius-one with foibles like anyone else...but one surprisingly devoid (at least as Sykes's book of recollections would have us believe) of the peccadilloes and neuroses of similarly brilliant historic figures. In fact one wonders whether Feynman's relative "normalcy" may have prevented him from being more widely known outside of scientific circles. This is itself somewhat ironic as Feynman was not just a brilliant physicist in his own right, but was perhaps the greatest interpreter (and hence most accessible) of all physicists who tried to explain how the world really worked to the rest of us.

    Feynman was often criticized for not giving greater weight to the moral consequences of the actions of scientists like him who were responsible for creating "the" Bomb. At one point toward the end of the book, and partially in response to this question about the morality of scientific progress, Feynman observes the interesting irony that it's only in the most free, open, and democratic societies (i.e, the U.S.) that computers capable of infringing the most upon individuals' privacy have been developed. I.e., the countries that would have stood to benefit the most from this advanced "snooping" technology (i.e., the USSR, China, etc.) during Feynman's Cold War days, weren't able to produce the requisite technological infrastructure.

    Later, towards the end of the book, the Nobel laureate, Marvin Minsky speaks about a feeling he and Feynman shared about man's soul. "Now here you are, a person, and thirty thousand genes or more are working to make the brain, the most complicated organ. If you were to say it's just a spirit, just a soul, just a little hard diamondlike point with no structure, a gift from some creator, it's so degrading! It means that all of the sacrifice by all of our animal ancestors is ignored. It seems to me [any by implication, Feynman] that the religious view is the opposite of self-respect and understanding. It's taking the brain with a hundred billion neurons, and not using it. What a paradoxical thing to be taught to do!"

    So at once you have Feynman then specifying democracy and freedom as the necessary precursors to allow for scientific innovation. Then later he's demonstrating his "belief" in the pre-eminence of reason over non-fact-based belief and religion. Though non-Objectivists and spiritualists could debate his point-of-view, it is particularly refreshing to observe in thought and action a true seeker of the way things truly work. In many respects, Richard Feynman was Ayn Rand's John Gault.

    This book should be read as a precursor to getting to know one of the great characters of the 20th century. But it won't suffice if one really wants to understand his genius. For that, one has to read his two books of "Six Easy Pieces", his lecture on Quantum Electrodynamics, or most appropriately of all, his Lectures on Physics.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Does it even need one ???
    Does a book on the one of the greatest person to have lived need a review. Even a badly written book about Feynmam would be fun to read ! and this is one of the better written one. My only wish is that every person gets to read about this fascinating person.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST for Feynman fans everywhere!
    This is a wonderful book for all those individuals who are even remotely interested in the life of the great Richard P. Feynman. It is illustrated with pictures that cover the entire scope of his life; from his earliest days as a boy all the way up to his final years.

    The book is mostly a collage of anecdotes and commentary written by a slew of people from all walks of life. We hear from an artist friend of his, Feynman's musician friends, his sister Joan (who herself received a Ph.D. from Syracuse university) and his daughter, as well as the memories of such distinguished colleagues as Freeman Dyson, Hans Bethe and Marvin Minsky.

    So order this book, borrow this book, do whatever you have to do to read & enjoy it. Come, take a tour of the life of a humble & friendly (and extraordinary) genius. You owe it to yourself. ... Read more


    9. Contrabando : Confessions of a Drug-Smuggling Texas Cowboy
    by Don Henry Ford Jr.
    list price: $21.95
    our price: $14.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0938317857
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-15)
    Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
    Sales Rank: 14404
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Don Henry Ford, Jr. is a Texas cowboy, rancher and farmer. In the late 1970s, he was foreman of his father's ranch and farm in West Texas along the Pecos River. The ranch was going broke. The bankers were knocking at the door. Don went to his Mexican hands, the same guys who were the connection for his own marijuana--smoking inclinations, and they directed him to their contacts on the other side of the Rio Grande. Soon, he was scoring some easy money and he was hooked. For the next seven years, he made his living as an outlaw, smuggling marijuana across the U.S./Mexico border in the Big Bend region. Millions of dollars passed through his hands. He did business with many of the big-name narcotraficantes of the era like Pablo Acosta and Amado Carrillo Fuentes. After being arrested and sent to prison, he escaped and lived for a year in rural northern Mexico, raising a bumper crop of marijuana and hiding out from the federales. Contrabando is a confession, but it's also an homage to the Mexican paisanos and, indeed, to other outlaws north of the border who became Don Ford's friends and protectors during his seven years as a smuggler.

    Charles Bowden (author of Down by the River, Simon & Schuster, 2003) has written a remarkable introduction to Contrabando, giving an historical perspective to the never-ending "war on drugs" waged by the U.S. government.

    In December 1986, the feds caught Don Henry Ford a second time. He was sentenced to 15 years in a maximum security federal penitentiary. He now lives in Seguin, Texas, farming and raising race horses.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Story, From Start To Finish
    Not too long ago I was on a hiking trip in the middle of the near-desert of West Texas. On the verge of exhaustian and still fifteen miles from my destination, a friendly driver pulled over and offered me a ride. Before long he was talking about his old life, the life of an outlaw, smuggling drugs across the border in the dead of night, running from the police, breaking out of prison, hiding from the Mexican Government and living through a shootout with major drug runners such as Pablo Acosta. Standing on the side of a deserted farm road in the middle of nowhere, this man introduced himself to me as Don Henry Ford, Jr., author, social activist, cowboy, ex-convict, ex-drug smuggler. I was a bit skeptical of his story at first, yet the manner in which he told it didn't leave much room for disbelief. After he took his leave I made my way home again and immediately went to this site -- sure enough, here it is: Contrabando by Don Henry Ford, Jr. I couldn't wait to read it, and found that the wait was indeed worthwile.

    Mr. Ford's is truly an amazing story, and the fact that he lived to tell it at all is even more astounding. From his first attempt at purchasing marijuana, ending in a run-in with the Mexican Police, to being set up by the DA, to the shootout with Pablo Acosta, to the rich description of life in rural Mexico, this book will entertain you from start to finish. More so, it will inform you of a culture that exists today on the fringes of society, a culture that is ignored by most and looked down upon by almost all. You will not regret the purchase of Contrabando in the least.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and entertaining without being heavy.
    Contrabando is a real life account of a Texas cowboy/farmer who began smuggling to save the farm. It escalates quickly into tales of murder, danger, corruption, and hilarity. There are many characters that settle in the badlands and their stories are told without judgement or prejudice here. The book is an easy read yet precisely descriptive. The author paints beautiful pictures of the almost uninhabitable deserts and mountains of Texas and Mexico. Throughout the book are incredible tales of survival and an informal philosophical commentary which really helps one to understand the mechanics of the drug trade. This book offers a perspective seldom heard which is the true force of human nature. This natural human survival is pointedly at odds with societal and governmental policies concrning the drug trade. That conflict is addressed honestly and without moral judgement in the book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Live to tell the tale
    In Contrabando, Don Henry Ford tells the story of his 10 years as a marijuana smuggler on the Texas-Coahuila border. He recounts a period of his life that reveals the prehistory of the border drug trade. As a freelancer, Ford brushed up against the likes of Pablo Acosta and Amado Carrillo, but in contrast to their star power, he remained in the shadows.

    This book does not pussyfoot around the hard facts of the drug business and the economic ruin that forces so many into it, in both Mexico and the United States. Some will say that the things in this book can't be true, but that is because they don't go there. Some people DO go there, but Don Henry Ford is the only one to come back to write about it.

    And he can really write! Like earth smells--beans frying in lard over a wood fire, coffee under crystal stars, green-sweet stickiness as he pinches seed heads on a crop, dank ruin as storms strip $600,000 of ripe cotton from its stalks, the hard rush of ozone and adrenalin as he pulls his daughters from an angry river in flood, blood-in-the-mouth fear in a dealer's motel room or a Mexican cave or a federal prison cell. And the warmth of caring for people and horses and making things grow. He's a writer who lives and breathes grit and blood and life itself.

    And it's hard to argue with a witness like Don Henry Ford, a man who spent years enmeshed in the dark entrails of the business. And lived to tell the tale.
    ... Read more


    10. What Do You Care What Other People Think: Further Adventures of a Curious Character
    by Richard P. Feynman
    list price: $17.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393026590
    Catlog: Book (1988-10-01)
    Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
    Sales Rank: 156435
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    A thoughtful companion volume to the earlierSurely You Are Joking Mr. Feynman!. Perhaps the most intriguing parts of the book are the behind-the-scenes descriptions of science and policy colliding in the presidential commission to determine the cause of the Challenger space shuttle explosion; and the scientific sleuthing behind his famously elegantO-ring-in-ice-water demonstration. Not as rollicking as his other memoirs, but in some ways more profound. ... Read more

    Reviews (39)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Prof. Feynman Tells It Like It Is!
    Richard Feynman (1918-1988) had a very full and adventurous life as can be gleaned from this great book. The first half is mostly autobiographical and anecdotal and in the typical Feynman way, he leaves nothing to the imagination. He spent the latter part of his life as a Professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Ca.

    For hobbies he loved bongos and drums and occasionally performed with a drumming group at Caltech, but was content to spend hours drumming with close friends such as Ralph Leighton at his home. Feynman also enjoyed drawing and painting and some of his artwork is depicted in this book. The artwork was exacting and professional. There are several photos covering Feynman's life and concluding with space shuttle photos and diagrams.

    The second half of the book, and some would say the most potent part, is dedicated to Feynman's participation in the investigation of the 1986 space shuttle "Challenger" accident. Feynman demonstrated the ultimate in dogged pursuit of the cause and was not to be intimidated or put-off by NASA and military officials who would have been happy not disclose the damning facts that they were thoroughly warned about safety issues before the launch, yet chose to ignore these warnings in deference to thenPres. Reagan's desire for a political feather in his cap by launching the shuttle on his schedule.

    Who knows what, if anything, was explained to Reagan that the weather was too cold to launch (the shuttle was not suppose to be launched in less than 53 degree weather and the temperature at launch time was 29 degrees!). What is known is that the NASA management chose to ignore the warnings and heeded the beck and call of the President to launch. Later, and like typical management weasels, they tried to hush-up the fact that they were warned and then tried to blame the "O"-ring failure on the manufacturer, Thiokol.

    During the inquiry, Feyman took the opportunity to demonstrate a simple, common-sense experiment in front of his fellow investigative teammates and news cameras that when the "O"-rings are chilled (he dropped a piece of one held by pliers in a glass of water) they shrink and cannot seal properly, and especially when the violent vibration of the launch process is added for an ultimately disastrous mix.

    If not for Feynman's persistence, this simple, but profound demonstration could have been swept under the rug and fingers unfairly pointed at Thiokol. Management refused to take any responsibility for the disaster, yet when in fact, their incompetent dismissal of the freeze conditions were what led to the disaster. Thank God for Richard Feynman! This is not only a fascinating look into Feynman's life, it is a national treasure, for here is where we see the bungling, politically motivated decisions of a great country being jerked around by bureaucrats leading, ultimately, to disaster.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awe Struck
    In my life I have only come across a few books which have been able to exert the same type of force on me as Richard P. Feynman's collection of essays, What Do You Care What Other People Think? has.To use an appropriate analogy: it is the feeling that a massive body exerts on all lesser bodies around it, pulling them down the bent slope of space towards them - it is not a conscious act but rather is just the natural result of the weight of the ideas involved.From nearly the first page on there are passages which you just feel compelled to tell a friend about, like there wonder is too much for you to handle on your own and you need someone else to share that since of awe with.

    5-0 out of 5 stars an insightful book
    I like this book a little better than "SYJ"--I certainly do also like "SYJ". However, the best thing I like about Feynman is that he talked so honestly about himself. Hardly any other celebrity would want do that. In "SYJ", he is real, not afraid to talk about his adventures or even sex. But you still can tell that in that book he was like a naughty boy, sometimes deliberately created "troubles" and generated adventures. In this book, he became more genuine, he used a very sincere voice to focus on how he see and value things -- love (2nd chap.), life, science (last chap.)... It almost make me have a crush on him - although he is dead. What do I care what you think about my last remark? :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The ordinary genius: serious and romantic edition
    Feynman's book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" is a lot of fun. But fun was not the only thing in Feynman's life. "What Do you Care What Other People Think" is a rather different book.

    Don't get me wrong: there are various funny stories in this book, too. And the book also describes various controversies - for example the story in which the silly feminists called Feynman "a sexist pig". Feynman never hesitated to inform morons (especially the pompous fools) that they were morons, and this book is another proof of it. Nevertheless, the main focus of the book is different.

    Feynman first talks about his childhood - especially his father who taught him to question the orthodox thinking, and who probably always wanted Richard to become a scientist. On the other hand, Feynman's father was not an intellectual. One of the special features of Feynman is that he was brought up in an ordinary family - not in a family of professors which is unfortunately the case of most professors today.

    The second part of the book is very sad and very emotional. It's about his first wife, Arlene. I think that the book will show you how much they loved each other and how big influence Arlene had on Feynman. Well, a problem was that she suffered from tuberculosis. She was dying while Feynman was working on the atomic bomb in Los Alamos. This part of the book could compete with any good fiction - the difference is that this story is real and it happened to one of the most influential physicists of all time. I am sure that you will agree that Feynman's heart was at least as strong as his brain.

    However, it's not just a sad love story: Feynman also describes their tricks that they used to send letters to each other (circumventing the censorship in Los Alamos) and other amusing details of this period.

    The third portion (about 55%) of the book is dedicated to the commission that investigated the explosion of the Challenger, the space shuttle in 1986. Feynman was always eager to get to the very heart of the matter and he never cared whether he looked "nice" to others. Even Ronald Reagan knew about that, and therefore he personally asked Feynman to serve on the committee (with Neil Armstrong and others).

    Feynman did not disappoint and the book reveals the findings in depth - well sometimes the description is too detailed, I would say. It shows how some people in NASA - for example an executive called William Rogers - preferred the image (their personal image as well as the image of NASA) over the truth. You will also learn about many technical details that have led to the explosion. Feynman was thinking differently - unlike the chairman of the commission who thought that everyone should sit in a room and ask the experts, Feynman decided to talk to the engineers. Feynman's analysis is also a critique of the government bureaucracy.

    Although NASA was probably a unified force when it sent the first men to the Moon, it became fragmented afterwards, Feynman argues. The engineers estimated the probability of the failure to be about 1:300, while the top bosses were painting an optimistic picture to the Congress that the probability of an explosion was about 1:100,000, and NASA can be both cheap as well as efficient.

    Feynman's most visible conclusion is that the space shuttle program may have been a mistake because the public had to be fooled that the project was better than it actually was.

    Feynman always believed that the public must be allowed to decide whether they want to fund you and your projects, after you honestly tell them what the project means. Unlike many unrealistic people in the academia who believe that an arbitrary amount of money paid for an arbitrary project in science is a good investment - and that it is always OK to fool the ordinary people to get some money - Feynman understood economics and the workings of the society very well. Moreover, honesty was his primary goal in debates with the laymen.

    At the end of the book, Feynman advocates science and its principles. However, you don't need to be trained in physics to understand the book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not Joking this time
    The follow-up to the successful, "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" this book offers four pretty distinct parts.

    First section describes how his father taught him to think about the world and his father's ambition to make young Richard a scientist.The end of the book is Feyman's case for the importance of science.In between we get the sad, but sweet story of his first wife and the utterly compelling story of his time on the committee investigating the challenger explosion.It was my favorite part of the book.

    The description of how government committees decide facts and make recommendations was eye opening.It was the best description of how these things work that I've ever read.Feynman was constantly up against a committee chairman that wanted to keep everyone in a room asking questions of experts.Feynman didn't like that setup.He wanted to travel out to NASA and talk to engineers, so he did.

    Going to Huston and Canaveral, Feynman learned something about the nature of NASA that probably goes for any big organization.He found that NASA was a unified force when their goal was putting a man of the moon.Information was shared freely and appreciated at every level.Once that goal was met NASA became compartmentalized.

    Leaders at the top spent their time reassuring Congress that NASA would achieve their goals with low costs and high safety.Engineers at the bottom realized that this wasn't entirely possible.The middle managers didn't want to hear the challenges because they would be forced to report it to the top bosses who didn't want to hear it.It was much easier for top bosses to paint a rosy picture to Congress if they were unaware of the actual challenges of making it work.The end result was that top bosses said that the likelihood of a mission death was 1-100,000 while engineers on the ground felt that the likelihood was more like 1-300.

    Feynman concludes that maybe the shuttle program was a bad idea.It could never live up to the ambitious projections of the leaders and the American public was being lied to. NASA should be honest with the American people, Feynman thought, then Congress and voters can decide if they are getting enough for their money.It was a surprisingly thing to hear from an advocate of science and discovery.But Feynam reckoned that the amount of science and discovery has been little compared to the cost.He complained years after the first shuttle launch he still hadn't read any significant experiments in scientific journals.

    In all, I liked this book a little better than "Surely You're Joking."It was a little more thought provoking than those fun tales. ... Read more


    11. Tuva of Bust: Richard Feynman's Last Journey
    by Ralph Leighton
    list price: $19.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393029530
    Catlog: Book (1991-01-01)
    Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
    Sales Rank: 691947
    Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A moving story of Richard Feynman and his friend Ralph Leighton's attempts to reach the land of Tannu Tuva.An adventure that is sure to inspire everyone.Well written and imaginative, this book is essential for fans of Feynman. Includes a 5-minute soundsheet of Tuvan throat-singing. ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely pleasant and informative book on lost land of Tuva
    When I was a kid in the 1950s I collected stamps and had quite a few from a mysterious little land called "Tannu Tuva". It always intrigued me because though I could find it on the old globe we had at home (made before the USSR swallowed the unfortunate Tuvans in 1944)I never heard the slightest news from there, nor did I ever hear of anyone going or coming from that little red country sandwiched between the yellow Soviet Union and green Mongolia. Time passed. A lot of time. Fast forward in fact, forty years. One day I saw a new book advertised--TUVA OR BUST. I could scarcely believe that somebody else in America remembered that hapless little country that once issued diamond and triangle stamps with yaks, camels, archers, and horsemen on them. Yet, they had it at our local bookstore. I bought it and read it as soon as I got home. What a treat ! I had never heard of Richard Feynman, not being a physics aficionado, but he turned out to be a great character. I enjoyed reading about his years-long efforts with Ralph Leighton to get to Tuva. They went through all kinds of trouble and interesting side voyages. I strongly recommend that you read this book. For me, reading the book was only a beginning. I listened to the plastic disc of Tuvan throat singing that came with the book, and subsequently bought tapes and attended Tuvan concerts by the group Huun Huur Tu in Boston. I also became a "Friend of Tuva". You can find their website on the net. I still drive around with my 'Tuva or Bust' bumper sticker. All of this stemmed from reading this delightful book on a faraway, unknown country and two people's adventures trying to get there. A very pleasurable experience.

    4-0 out of 5 stars funny, informative, and even a little inspiring
    "Tuva or Bust!" is the story of three friends in the 1980s, who were determined to travel to Tuva, a little known land in Central Asia, which at that time was part of the Soviet Union. Their original motivation? As Richard Feynman says in the first chapter, "A place that's spelled K-Y-Z-Y-L (Tuva's capitol) has just got to be interesting!"

    The book chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Ralph Leighton, one of Feynman's longtime friends. Though the book is subtitled "Richard Feynman's Last Journey," it's really Leighton's story; Feynman is more of an inspiration and a supporting character. Over several years, Leighton and his friends wrote letters, researched articles, read books, and became more and more fascinated by Tuva, a tiny country in the middle of nowhere. They learned, among other things, that Tuvans practice three different types of steppe herding lifestyles, within a hundred miles of each other, and that Tuva is the home of throat-singing, a musical technique in which a single person produces two notes at the same time.

    Leighton's narration is chatty, reminiscent of Feynman's autobiographical works; one suspects Leighton learned to tell anecdotes from his friend. However, Leighton isn't as inherently fascinating a narrator as Feynman. Also, Feynman's persistent cancer, which kept him from participating in several preliminary trips, and finally killed him shortly before Leighton received permission for a group of Americans to travel to Tuva itself, casts a pall over the book.

    Still, this is a fascinating story -- a great example of what people can do if they really care about a cause, and don't realize precisely how little chance they have of succeeding. It is also informative, if somewhat superficial in its description of Tuvan culture; I now want to know more about Central Asian peoples, and Tuvans in particular. But while the chapter "Reflections 2000," included in the new paperback version of "Tuva or Bust!" is interesting, I really don't think it was fair of Leighton to mention a new idea for a Tuvan monument to Feynman, and refuse to give any details. Now I want another reprint!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Something To Do
    A peculiar book: Ralph Leighton's TUVA OR BUST isn't really about Richard Feynman, who, the more one reads about him, begins to seem a genius, yes, but more than a little insufferable. He does instigate this whimsical notion of visiting Tannu Tuva (which had become Tuvinskaya of the U.S.S.R. (the book takes place from the late 1970s to Feynman's death in 1989), but the ball is picked up by Leighton, and Feynman is merely a supporting actor in the book.

    The quest carries itself through many frustrations, mostly having to do w/ the hermetic paranoia of the Soviet Union, which seems to work like an enormous rural county: If you know someone, then things can be smoothed out; if not, then the official channels will be little help.

    I'm not sure why anyone would read this book. There's no reason to if you're interested in Feynman, because, besides his concoctions to fit in at Esalen, amongst the New Age mumbo-jumbo, his mind is absent from the book. His personality & his drumming are there on occasion, but Feynman's thinking, no.

    Leighton is not intrinsically interesting, and though a fluent writer, gives little sense of character. All the foreigners are forgettable, so the index is very handy. When a name turns up on page 150, say, then one can look it up to see which person this is.

    As one reads, one begins to have the same thoughts about oneself that one has about Leighton's attempts to visit Tuva: Why am I going on?. Moreover, I think that one comes up with the same answer: Just to get through the damn thing. By the time that Leighton reaches Tuva (without Feynman, who died just a smidgen too soon), the appearance is anti-climactic, and the land is colorless: A Nevada trailer-park suburb, but with yurts instead of double-wides.

    TUVA OR BUST! becomes a critique of bureaucracy. The slow, spirit-killing, mind-numbing bureaucracy of the Soviet Union ensured that Feynman would die without reaching Tuva. Our world, in which stupid little men can control our lives, is death to the spirit, and is death to the spirit of Feynman, insufferable though he may be, and inexplicably kow-towed to by everyone (you get the feeling that Feynman never opens a door for anyone or shuts one for himself).

    TUVA OR BUST!, in its pedestrian prose, preaches, unwittingly, I think, for a freedom for whimsy, for the spirit, for the individual. At the same time, excepting the author and his male friends (his wife is also colorless), the book has no individuals. So, by the end, nothing: No Tuva to speak of, no more Feynman, nothing but an accomplishment to scratch off the list.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Mostly Great, But Slightly Condescending!
    Did you know of certain artists who painted scenes on a human hair! Yes, bring your magnifying glass! Or singing in 2 part harmony with only one singer! I surely did not before reading this book! However, as a stamp collector starting at a very young age (about 7) , I also was fascinated by the Tanna Tuva stamps, and still have a nice assortment of diamonds and triangles. This book is an amusing and informative read, not least in its descriptions of meetings between Soviet and western scholars during some of the "Bad Old Days" of the 1980's Cold War, including moments like the shooting of KAL 007 near Korea. At times , though, there does seem to be a slightly condescending attitude towards a small section of Siberia based on what seems "funny" to English speakers. Nonetheless a very worthwhile read, with many amusing anecdotes, not to mention the amazing cancer recovery attitude of Mr. Feynmann himself!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Feynman's inspiration...
    If you're reading this review, you've probably read dozens of witicisms from Richard Feynman, one of science's most colorful characters. Though the name suggests otherwise, this is really about a Feynman inspired journey.

    Ralph Leighton and Richard Feynman spot a stamp from Tuva, which inspires Leighton's journey around the world. What makes the book an interesting read is that you can easily follow Feyman's curious energy in the actions and writing of the author. This really brings the heart of the book's value - this type of intellectual curiosity is not just the property of Richard Feynman. Anyone can chase a journey because it's fun or because it's there.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and hope that you do too. ... Read more


    12. Genius : The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
    by JAMES GLEICK
    list price: $16.00
    our price: $10.88
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679747044
    Catlog: Book (1993-11-02)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 30767
    Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    If you've read any of Richard Feynman's wonderful autobiographies you may think that a biography of Feynmanwould be a waste of your time. Wrong! Gleick's Genius is a masterpiece of scientific biography--and an inspiration to anyone in pursuit of their own fulfillment as a person of genius. Deservedly nominated for a National Book Award, underservedly passed over by the committee in the face of tough competition, and very deservedly a book that you must read. ... Read more

    Reviews (32)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent companion to Feynman's own writing
    Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, Gleick
    Q: "I read both of Feynman's autobiographies! Why would I need to read a biography?"
    A: "Because it's awesome."

    Gleick, firstly, goes far deeper into Feynman's life than Feynman did. Feynman didn't consider his books to be autobiographies; they were "Adventures of a curious character." They were a few hilarious events picked from his long, full life.

    Gleick's book covers many of the hilarious aspects, but also covers the painful and formative aspects. Also curiously missing from Feynman's books were his science. Feynman wrote about his adventures, Gleick covered the adventures, the disasters, and the science.

    Brilliant, enthralling reading. Highly recommending to anyone who enjoyed Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Which is, in turn, recommended to anyone who likes funny stories. It reads fast, BTW.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The life and times of a " half buffoon , half genius "
    James Gleick's life of Feynman comes highly recommended to anyone concerned with the scholarship of safe-cracking , impromptu Brazilian samba ensembles and the fineries of quantum electrodynamics . Space shuttle design and the Manhattan Project are also included , so that no critic can claim in any seriousness that Feynman lacked balanced life-experience. This book is highly and competently researched ( 70-odd pages devoted to notes , acknowledgements and bibliography ) but it is no mere archive - there is a sense of presence in Gleick's narrative which , at times , borders on the voyeuristic (see , for example , the chapters detailing the correspondence between Feynman and his first wife Arline while he , shrouded in systematic censorship and effectively isolated , worked on the Bomb and she died slowly of consumption.) His account of Feynman's physics is similarly uncanny, making esoteric and , dare I say it , deep , theoretical material accessible to non-specialists . Perhaps this success in transmitting his ideas in a second-hand fashion is due to some aspect of the nature of Feynman's thinking - he was what might be called a ' freehand ' theoretician , prepared to step outside the realm of the accepted processes in order to see new ways of achieving old results , and thus to reconfigure the family-tree of physics and open new branches of inquiry . His closest rival for much of his career , Julian Schwinger , also comes across as his antithesis - Gleick , in any case , would have us believe in two incompatible minds , in Feynman the intuitive doodler and Schwinger the rigorous draftsman , both working to slice the same pie but with different mental utensils , one with a machete and the other with a laser . This was an academic showdown of the first order and one of the more compelling themes in the book . Compiling the life of an arch-scientist with a penchant for percussion and amateur safe-cracking is no mean feat . Feynman was enigmatic as an individual , to say the least , but this book goes! a lot of the way to answering , in the positive , the old freshman question " IS FEYNMAN HUMAN ? "

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Genius!
    Richard Feynman is certainly one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century,one who belongs to the small group of the chosen few(Einstein,Bohr,Pauli ,among others)and one who fully deserves to be called a genius!His biography by James Gleick is nothing short of excellent:it is very well documented and very well written.For those who want to understand the role played by Feynman in the advancement of modern physics, and especially in the genesis of the theory of Quantum Electrodynamics,this book is a must!It also gives a thorough account of Feynman's life, which makes very good reading ,even if one is not interested in physics...
    But a five- hundred- page book will always contain a few paragraphs which are not at the same level as the rest of the book!One such paragraph will be found at page 177,where the author wastes the reader's time in explaining Hans Bethe's mental calculation ability in the "squares-near-fifty trick".Apart from the fact that this sort of ability has nothing to do with genius and is within reach of any intelligent High School student,James Gleick explains it wrongly!He says that"...the difference between two successive squares is always an odd number,the sum of the numbers being squared.That fact,and the fact that 50 is half of 100,gave rise to the squares-near-fifty trick".In fact ,the trick is based on the "remarkable identity" (50+/-a)^2=2500+/-100*a+a^2.Nothing to do with the difference of two successive squares!

    Fortunately,the book does not contain many passages like this one!

    3-0 out of 5 stars mediocre
    Gleick's biography of Feynman is certainly palatable for even non-techical readers... however, if you're interested in Feynman as a person, you're far better off reading it in Feynman's words: "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman"... not only was that book much funnier and an immense joy to read, but you get a much better feel for a lot of the anecdotes that are relayed again in Gleick's book.

    If you're interested in learning about the history of QED and Feynman's hand in its development, this book is a nice teaser, but it really doesn't go into much depth. It focuses too much on the shallow rivalries between the physicists of that time, without really making clear what the developments were or how they were developed.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Captures Feynman Folklore but Fails to Put Him into Context
    This is a fun book, hard to put down, and is comparable to a romance novel or a so-called "chick flick"--with unfortunately about as much depth. If you are a Feynman fan or a Physics fan or someone who is considering Physics as a career--this book is 5 stars. What the author omits one can can figure out,if you already know quite a bit. I dropped out of Physics as I preferred reading about the great Physicists to working through the problems in the Electricity and Magnetism or Quantum Mechanics texts, and did not have the feel for all those waveicles.

    Since my brother was for a time a theoretical Physicist I heard much of the Feynman folklore. Gleick captured the folklore quite well. But the power and influence of the famous lectures given by Feynman to Caltech freshman and sophomore Physics students(known simply as Feynman's Lectures)was understated. During the last half of the 60s and through the 70s it would be hard not to find Physics Graduate students at the elite Universities (Chicago,MIT and so on) intensely studying Feynman's lectures as preparation for their PHD comps. This is so well known that the conceitful dream of other introductory text writers such as Samuelson in Economics, is to have the same role in their field.

    The real shortcoming of the book is that it is a 90% solution. It would be interesting to have compared him with other Physics theoreticans--as a group. They are quite similar in many ways. You look at the famous and not so famous in that area and they have a set of commonalities. They will have self-taught themselves Mathematical subjects and found those challenges less exciting than understanding the physical world. In fact,that is the rationale of their existence, at least for a time. They all need to be do-it-themselfers. Many are great puzzle solvers in other contexts. They almost all had a certain kind of nurturing to encourage them to develop their talents along the way. The author leaves the false impression that these are special characteristics of Feynman. They are not--he is special enough in his achievement.

    The title genius in that already extremely intelligent group goes to those, like Feynman's fellow Noble recipients for developing Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED),who learned the regular stuff/theory so well they were smart enough to figure out difficult solutions for the problem that was implicit in the prior theory. The rarer type of genius is the Feynman treated the problem as if he had figured out just enough to know what the problem was and used novel means (now known as Feynman diagrams)to solve the problem--ignoring the powerful but obscuring technology developed by those who came before and developing new more usable tools.

    Despite its originality Feynman did not regard the QED in the same light as his discovery (independent initially of his fellow Cal Tech professor Gell Mann)of a theory of weak interactions. But he regarded his Lectures in Physics as his great contribution--no where could you get that from Gleick. A very interesting oversight was that Gell-Mann suffered writers block but was emersed in the standard literature. But Feynman often worked things out but would not work them out in publishable form but when they were forced to work together they did very well indeed. This relationship should have been explored in more depth. I wondered did Gell-Mann serve as the filter to let some of the standard work or not?

    The late great contemplative Thomas Merton kept himself cut out from the news while in the monestary except that which was shared with him by friends such as the Berrigan brothers and James Forest. Did Feynman have similar friends or associates who informed him of problems out in the Physics world he might be interested in? Feynmann appeared to have few lifelong friends beyond family if you listened only to Gleick, but some of his sometime collaborators seemed to have been friends, but not of long standing.

    This book generates more questions than answers and adds too little to the knowledge of Feynman but synthesizes quite well. Good work, well written but not up to the clarity or completeness standards of the subject. ... Read more


    13. No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman
    by Richard Phillips Feynman, Christopher Sykes
    list price: $21.95
    our price: $14.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 039331393X
    Catlog: Book (1995-06-01)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 40204
    Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars From Physics to Touva!
    My reading of "Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman" was surely "forced" me to read the life of Richard Feynman furthermore: NO ORDINARY GENIUS is a GREAT BOOK. Family, friends and colleagues of Feynman share their views regarding the genius (with bump's-language-style) Feynman. The photos are great and can make a good spot on his life. Truly inspiring especially when he stated that he's an irresponsible man! And also, he couldnt stop to do physics until several days before his death: he's still doing the physics in 70. Feynman also brought the tiny-state named TOUVA to the world: even a geographic teacher wouldn't know bout this region! Buy this book, okay?

    5-0 out of 5 stars fun character fun book!
    This book made me laughed and it made me cry but most importantly it taught me a lot, not just about feynman but a lot more other stuff like science, life, having fun and reminded me why I got into science in the first place. It was very inpirational as well as fun.

    If you want to know a little about what feynman was like, then you must read this book. I said
    "little" because there is no way you will ever get to know this man just by reading a book. This book was really good at taking out the really good stuff from other books and integrating it.

    I like what his friends and family had to say about him and adventures they had, as much as when Feynman was quoted. It is
    really interesting and gives you a really deep insight on stuff he may not had put into his other books.

    Even if you don't like to read biographies, or care about feynman, you could read this book like a novel. Its little
    stories are so interesting funny (sometimes sad) that you forget that you are reading a biography. I say this because
    reading biogrphies usually gets me bored. Not this one however, its and adventure!

    After I read this book I felt like I lost a friend and mentor--it was that good or perhaps feyman's life was that interesting--I actually missed a guy I never met before! It sounds flaky, but I guessed Feynman would had liked it that way!

    Alex Lee
    ...

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Superb Introduction to an Under-Appreciated Man
    Richard Feynman was a remarkable man who lived many remarkable lives, most of which are succinctly summarized in this fast, engaging read. Relying upon testimonials from close friends and associates of Feynman's and mostly from Feynman's own recollections, No Ordinary Genius delves into each of these lives, including Feynman's childhood obsession with finding out how things worked (a trait inherited from his father), his work at Los Alamos both as the keeper of the keys to the mainframe processing the mathematical calculations for the Manhattan Project and as the head of on campus hi-jinx and safe-cracking, his Nobel Prize for developing the field of Quantum electrodynamics (and along the way the now famous "Feynman diagrams" which have become the physicist's graphical tool for "viewing" sub-atomic activity), his very early visionary forays into what has become nanotechnology, and his ability to buck the NASA bureaucracy and quickly get to the bottom of what really went wrong with the 1986 Challenger disaster. Along the way we learn of his love of people (including his two wives, the first of whom died when she was only about 20 years old of TB), of life, and of physics (though probably not in that order), and what begins to emerge is a rare character, a multi-dimensional, and apparently "human" genius-one with foibles like anyone else...but one surprisingly devoid (at least as Sykes's book of recollections would have us believe) of the peccadilloes and neuroses of similarly brilliant historic figures. In fact one wonders whether Feynman's relative "normalcy" may have prevented him from being more widely known outside of scientific circles. This is itself somewhat ironic as Feynman was not just a brilliant physicist in his own right, but was perhaps the greatest interpreter (and hence most accessible) of all physicists who tried to explain how the world really worked to the rest of us.

    Feynman was often criticized for not giving greater weight to the moral consequences of the actions of scientists like him who were responsible for creating "the" Bomb. At one point toward the end of the book, and partially in response to this question about the morality of scientific progress, Feynman observes the interesting irony that it's only in the most free, open, and democratic societies (i.e, the U.S.) that computers capable of infringing the most upon individuals' privacy have been developed. I.e., the countries that would have stood to benefit the most from this advanced "snooping" technology (i.e., the USSR, China, etc.) during Feynman's Cold War days, weren't able to produce the requisite technological infrastructure.

    Later, towards the end of the book, the Nobel laureate, Marvin Minsky speaks about a feeling he and Feynman shared about man's soul. "Now here you are, a person, and thirty thousand genes or more are working to make the brain, the most complicated organ. If you were to say it's just a spirit, just a soul, just a little hard diamondlike point with no structure, a gift from some creator, it's so degrading! It means that all of the sacrifice by all of our animal ancestors is ignored. It seems to me [any by implication, Feynman] that the religious view is the opposite of self-respect and understanding. It's taking the brain with a hundred billion neurons, and not using it. What a paradoxical thing to be taught to do!"

    So at once you have Feynman then specifying democracy and freedom as the necessary precursors to allow for scientific innovation. Then later he's demonstrating his "belief" in the pre-eminence of reason over non-fact-based belief and religion. Though non-Objectivists and spiritualists could debate his point-of-view, it is particularly refreshing to observe in thought and action a true seeker of the way things truly work. In many respects, Richard Feynman was Ayn Rand's John Gault.

    This book should be read as a precursor to getting to know one of the great characters of the 20th century. But it won't suffice if one really wants to understand his genius. For that, one has to read his two books of "Six Easy Pieces", his lecture on Quantum Electrodynamics, or most appropriately of all, his Lectures on Physics.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Does it even need one ???
    Does a book on the one of the greatest person to have lived need a review. Even a badly written book about Feynmam would be fun to read ! and this is one of the better written one. My only wish is that every person gets to read about this fascinating person.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST for Feynman fans everywhere!
    This is a wonderful book for all those individuals who are even remotely interested in the life of the great Richard P. Feynman. It is illustrated with pictures that cover the entire scope of his life; from his earliest days as a boy all the way up to his final years.

    The book is mostly a collage of anecdotes and commentary written by a slew of people from all walks of life. We hear from an artist friend of his, Feynman's musician friends, his sister Joan (who herself received a Ph.D. from Syracuse university) and his daughter, as well as the memories of such distinguished colleagues as Freeman Dyson, Hans Bethe and Marvin Minsky.

    So order this book, borrow this book, do whatever you have to do to read & enjoy it. Come, take a tour of the life of a humble & friendly (and extraordinary) genius. You owe it to yourself. ... Read more


    14. Contrabando : Confessions of a Drug-Smuggling Texas Cowboy
    by Don Henry Ford Jr.
    list price: $21.95
    our price: $14.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0938317857
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-15)
    Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
    Sales Rank: 14404
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Don Henry Ford, Jr. is a Texas cowboy, rancher and farmer. In the late 1970s, he was foreman of his father's ranch and farm in West Texas along the Pecos River. The ranch was going broke. The bankers were knocking at the door. Don went to his Mexican hands, the same guys who were the connection for his own marijuana--smoking inclinations, and they directed him to their contacts on the other side of the Rio Grande. Soon, he was scoring some easy money and he was hooked. For the next seven years, he made his living as an outlaw, smuggling marijuana across the U.S./Mexico border in the Big Bend region. Millions of dollars passed through his hands. He did business with many of the big-name narcotraficantes of the era like Pablo Acosta and Amado Carrillo Fuentes. After being arrested and sent to prison, he escaped and lived for a year in rural northern Mexico, raising a bumper crop of marijuana and hiding out from the federales. Contrabando is a confession, but it's also an homage to the Mexican paisanos and, indeed, to other outlaws north of the border who became Don Ford's friends and protectors during his seven years as a smuggler.

    Charles Bowden (author of Down by the River, Simon & Schuster, 2003) has written a remarkable introduction to Contrabando, giving an historical perspective to the never-ending "war on drugs" waged by the U.S. government.

    In December 1986, the feds caught Don Henry Ford a second time. He was sentenced to 15 years in a maximum security federal penitentiary. He now lives in Seguin, Texas, farming and raising race horses.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Story, From Start To Finish
    Not too long ago I was on a hiking trip in the middle of the near-desert of West Texas. On the verge of exhaustian and still fifteen miles from my destination, a friendly driver pulled over and offered me a ride. Before long he was talking about his old life, the life of an outlaw, smuggling drugs across the border in the dead of night, running from the police, breaking out of prison, hiding from the Mexican Government and living through a shootout with major drug runners such as Pablo Acosta. Standing on the side of a deserted farm road in the middle of nowhere, this man introduced himself to me as Don Henry Ford, Jr., author, social activist, cowboy, ex-convict, ex-drug smuggler. I was a bit skeptical of his story at first, yet the manner in which he told it didn't leave much room for disbelief. After he took his leave I made my way home again and immediately went to this site -- sure enough, here it is: Contrabando by Don Henry Ford, Jr. I couldn't wait to read it, and found that the wait was indeed worthwile.

    Mr. Ford's is truly an amazing story, and the fact that he lived to tell it at all is even more astounding. From his first attempt at purchasing marijuana, ending in a run-in with the Mexican Police, to being set up by the DA, to the shootout with Pablo Acosta, to the rich description of life in rural Mexico, this book will entertain you from start to finish. More so, it will inform you of a culture that exists today on the fringes of society, a culture that is ignored by most and looked down upon by almost all. You will not regret the purchase of Contrabando in the least.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and entertaining without being heavy.
    Contrabando is a real life account of a Texas cowboy/farmer who began smuggling to save the farm. It escalates quickly into tales of murder, danger, corruption, and hilarity. There are many characters that settle in the badlands and their stories are told without judgement or prejudice here. The book is an easy read yet precisely descriptive. The author paints beautiful pictures of the almost uninhabitable deserts and mountains of Texas and Mexico. Throughout the book are incredible tales of survival and an informal philosophical commentary which really helps one to understand the mechanics of the drug trade. This book offers a perspective seldom heard which is the true force of human nature. This natural human survival is pointedly at odds with societal and governmental policies concrning the drug trade. That conflict is addressed honestly and without moral judgement in the book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Live to tell the tale
    In Contrabando, Don Henry Ford tells the story of his 10 years as a marijuana smuggler on the Texas-Coahuila border. He recounts a period of his life that reveals the prehistory of the border drug trade. As a freelancer, Ford brushed up against the likes of Pablo Acosta and Amado Carrillo, but in contrast to their star power, he remained in the shadows.

    This book does not pussyfoot around the hard facts of the drug business and the economic ruin that forces so many into it, in both Mexico and the United States. Some will say that the things in this book can't be true, but that is because they don't go there. Some people DO go there, but Don Henry Ford is the only one to come back to write about it.

    And he can really write! Like earth smells--beans frying in lard over a wood fire, coffee under crystal stars, green-sweet stickiness as he pinches seed heads on a crop, dank ruin as storms strip $600,000 of ripe cotton from its stalks, the hard rush of ozone and adrenalin as he pulls his daughters from an angry river in flood, blood-in-the-mouth fear in a dealer's motel room or a Mexican cave or a federal prison cell. And the warmth of caring for people and horses and making things grow. He's a writer who lives and breathes grit and blood and life itself.

    And it's hard to argue with a witness like Don Henry Ford, a man who spent years enmeshed in the dark entrails of the business. And lived to tell the tale.
    ... Read more


    15. Lucky Man: A Memoir
    by Michael J. Fox
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $15.61
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0786867647
    Catlog: Book (2002-04)
    Publisher: Hyperion
    Sales Rank: 26999
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The same sharp intelligence and self-deprecating wit that made MichaelJ. Fox a star in the Family Ties TV series and Back to the Futuremake this a lot punchier than the usual up-from-illness celebrity memoir. Yes,he begins with the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the incurable illnessthat led to his retirement from Spin City (and acting) in 2000. And yes,he assures us he is a better, happier person now than he was before he wasdiagnosed. In Fox's case, you actually might believe it, because he thencheerfully exposes the insecurities and self-indulgences of his pre-Parkinson'slife in a manner that makes them not glamorous but wincingly ordinary and ofcourse very funny. ("As for the question, 'Does it bother you that maybe shejust wants to sleep with you because you're a celebrity?' My answer to that onewas, 'Ah...nope.'") With a working-class Canadian background, Fox has anunusually detached perspective on the madness of mass-media fame; hisdescription of the tabloid feeding frenzy surrounding his 1988 wedding to TracyPollan, for example, manages to be both acid and matter-of-fact. He is frank butnot maudlin about his drinking problem, and he refreshingly notes that gettingsober did not automatically solve all his other problems. This readable, wittyautobiography reminds you why it was generally a pleasure to watch Fox onscreen:he's a nice guy with an edge, and you don't have to feel embarrassed aboutliking him. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

    Reviews (153)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book that celebrates life
    Most people know that Michael J. Fox is a talented and charismatic actor,
    but what you realize when you read "LUCKY MAN" is that he is also an
    amazing human being. His experience with Parkinson's Disease is obviously
    a major theme of this book, but you never feel sorry for him, nor does he
    ever complain about what has happened to him. In fact, he does just the
    opposite and explains how he actually found his life and his vitality when
    he came to terms with his circumstances. His honesty and vulnerability in
    describing his life leading up to his diagnosis and coping with the reality
    of an (as yet) incurable disease has helped and will help many thousands of
    people lead happier lives. After reading this book, I find myself inspired
    by the possibilities life has to offer and grateful that Mr. Fox chose to
    share the intimate details of his and his family's journey so that
    everyone, not just those afflicted with Parkinson's Disease,
    can lead lives as their own master, as creators of an extraordinary life for themselves.

    While reading "LUCKY MAN", I kept wishing I could recommend "WORKING ON
    YOURSELF DOESN'T WORK" by Ariel and Shya Kane to Michael J. Fox and the
    Parkinson's community he discovered. Anyone who is touched by his outlook
    on life, who is looking for something magical, who wants to discover the
    moment-by-moment joy of being alive should read this book also. In "LUCKY
    MAN", I found empathy, compassion and admiration for Mr. Fox and those who
    suffer from PD (or other debilitating diseases). In "WORKING ON YOURSELF
    DOESN'T WORK", you will find the road map to loving life, no matter what
    your circumstances.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Why should Michael J. Fox pen his memoirs?
    Because his story is more fascinating than most Presidents.'

    Fox begins with the first twitch he felt in his left hand back in 1990. He titled this chapter, "A Wake-up Call," but even he admits he went through long periods of doubt, denial and even self-destruction on the road to accepting Parkinson's Disease as part of his daily life.

    Even though Fox goes into great detail about his battle with Parkinson's, he also takes you back to his childhood and all the way up to modern day. His words are candid, straight from the heart and he doesn't sugarcoat his autobiography to be a self-serving tool.

    The love of his family clearly shows throughout the book as he talks about his brother, three sisters, parents and his beloved grandmother, Nana. And, of course, he doesn't leave out his home life with wife Tracy and their four children.

    From his "escape artist" days as a two-year-old in Canada where neighbors labeled him as a real "charmer," to his decision to go public with his disease, Fox bares his soul in these pages. This includes how he got started in showbiz in Canada, crossing over to Hollywood success and even living the glamorous lifestyle.

    Heart-warming tales are scattered throughout and you can't help but laugh, cry and feel like Fox is a member of your own family.

    You're embarrassed for him when he meets with an agent in the late '70s who thinks he has a physical handicap because he's wearing platform boots with four-inch heels and two-inch soles, which he thought were in style. As he speaks about becoming a man on his 18th birthday, the sense of being an adult since he's now legal age, you'll laugh outloud when he says he blew out the candles on his Mickey Mouse birthday cake.

    You witness the growth of his relationship with Tracy that ultimately lead to marriage and the start of his own family. You shudder when you realize the pain and turmoil he and his family endure as he has undergoes brain surgery, being awake during the entire process.

    And you watch the evolution of this man come full circle as he leaves the partying behind to dedicate himself to his family and to the search for a Parkinson's Disease cure.

    Michael J. Fox is not just an award-winning actor, he's a devoted family man and an activist for research-funding and finding a cure for Parkinson's Disease. With "Lucky Man," Fox also proves he is an outstanding author. The book has topped the New York Times bestseller lists and the audio tapes have been nominated for a Grammy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars More than a bio, ten stars plus, a must read by all,
    Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton in 1961. Residing in Burnaby, British Columbia, while his father was in the Royal Canadian Army Signal Corps, he recounts growing up with parents, siblings, Nana, and friends. Describing himself in the toddler years, Michael says, "... a handful, a whirlwind... precociously funny in a what-spaceship-dropped-off-this-alien kind of way." Michael's early love of music, specifically the guitar (self-taught), was fruitful as a member in the "Halex" band. His love of drama and art was realized at age sixteen when Michael made his debut as a twelve-year old in the Canadian Broadcasting Company's production of the series "Leo and Me". Fox's American career was launched with Disney in "Midnight Madness". Career credits include the theater screen with "Back to the Future", "Teen Wolf", and "Doc Hollywood"; and popular television series, "Family Ties" (on the set, Michael met actress/wife Tracy Pollan), and "Spin City". With humor Michael describes success, '...those who got, get', i.e., if famous and with fortune, free offers abound. Just the mention of his favorite beer in a conversation, brought a truckload of the beverage to his front door... with a promise of more anytime he wanted it!

    Fox's emotional journey in facing the reality of the diagnosis of Young Onset Parkinson's Disease (PD) began in 1990 with the twitching of a finger. In LUCKY MAN, Fox approaches his story with wit, positive attitude and honesty, emotions, and the trials in the continuation of his career. The diagnosis of PD was understandably kept from the public for seven years... shared only with his inner circle of family and trusted associates. Michael experienced the ritual commonly traversed with diagnosis of debilitating diseases including anger, denial and acceptance. Candidly, Fox tells his faults, ups and downs, the highs and lows of life and show biz, his philosophy, and the thrill of playing hockey against Bobby Orr. In admitting his problem with alcohol and the existence of PD, Michael is led to a therapist and engages a permanent neurologist for treatment of his illness.

    As an advocate for PD research funding, Fox has testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing. His campaigning efforts, continued to this day, have had a definite effect on raising awareness of PD in the public and private sectors. Specifically, the acknowledgement that PD is prevalent in earlier ages vs. the medical textbooks statement that PD is diagnosed in later ages of 50-65 years. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease Research has become a passion in his life. To this date, the exact cause of PD is unknown. LUCKY MAN is not only biographical, it is a highly-informational writing with regard to the progression and research of PD. Medications associated with treatment are described, differing in results with each person. Fox says of his release of the diagnosed illness to the public, "Disclosure had allowed me to rearrange life so that I could get more from it."

    Michael J. Fox possesses obvious penchant for writing. His exceptional narrative in LUCKY MAN is philosophical, uplifting and insightful. While reading LUCKY MAN, I laughed and I cried. I am in awe of Michael J. Fox for his honesty, humility, compassion, and courage (that includes wife/actress Tracy Pollan and his four children). Review based on paperback edition 2003

    [Note: The author's profits from the sale of "Lucky Man" are donated by the author to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Please visit the author's website: michaeljfox.com]

    Connected books recommended are: LIFE LESSONS by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; THE WHEEL OF LIFE: A MEMOIR OF LIVING AND DYING by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; SHAKING UP PARKINSON DISEASE: FIGHTING LIKE A TIGER, THINKING LIKE A FOX by A. N. Lieberman, Abraham, M.D. Lieberman

    5-0 out of 5 stars A GOOD READ FROM MARTY MCFLY
    I REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK. MIKE DOES A GOOD JOB DESCRIBING HIS DISEASE. HE GOES IN GREAT DETAIL WITH THE SYMPTOMS, DENIAL, MEDICATION, ACCEPTANCE AND FINALLY COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET IN DEALING WITH THIS DISEASE. HE ALSO GOES IN DETAIL WITH HIS OTHER BATTLE WITH ALCOHOL WHICH HE NOW HAS SEVERAL YEARS OF SOBRIETY. I FIND MIKE TO BE A PRETTY GOOD GUY WHO HAS FACED ALOT OF ADVERSITY. I LOVED HIM IN THE BACK TO THE FUTURE MOVIES AND AS ALEX KEATON IN FAMILY TIES. A VERY TALENTED AND FUNNY GUY. I GIVE ALOT OF CREDIT FOR FACING UP TO HIS DEAMONS AND COMING PUBLIC WITH BOTH OF HIS DISEASES. A VERY INTERESTING BOOK. ALSO GIVE CREDIT TO MIKE'S WIFE TRACY FOR STAYING WITH HIM THRU HIS DRINKING DAYS. THE ONLY THING I WISHED HE HAD DONE IS THIS BOOK IS TOLD US MORE ABOUT WAS THE MAKING OF HIS BACK TO THE FUTURE MOVIES. THIS IS A VERY SMALL COMPLAINT. A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great read!!
    Short and Sweet, this book is great. I listened to the book-on-Cd which Michael J. Fox read, and it was a fantastic voyage through his life. ... Read more


    16. Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision--An Analytical Biography
    by LouisBreger
    list price: $30.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471316288
    Catlog: Book (2000-09-08)
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 561096
    Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Advance Praise for Louis Breger’s FREUD

    "Louis Breger’s rich and readable study of Freud offers a thoughtfully complex account of a great but flawed man. Everyone with an interest in psychoanalysis and the psychoanalytic movement will enjoy exploring, grappling with, arguing about, and learning from this absolutely fascinating book."—JUDITH VIORST, AUTHOR,

    Necessary Losses and Imperfect Control "Written with brilliance and insight, Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision takes us on a daring, at times chilling, journey to the early years of psychoanalysis, revealing both the human weaknesses and the professional triumphs of its founder. . . . Cutting away the accretions of fabrication and romance cloaking Sigmund Freud, Breger has reinstated historical honesty to its rightful, high place, but the figure who emerges at the end of this breathlessly honest biography is quite as extraordinary as the legend concocted by Freud and perpetuated by his followers. Fresh, vigorous, and lucid."—PHILIP M. BROMBERG, Ph.D., CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

    "Louis Breger’s fine new biography of Freud is a welcome contribution to the existing literature and a corrective to much of it. It is also one of the best intellectual histories of the origin and development of psychoanalysis I have read in recent years. Breger is to be commended for his original research, the objectivity of his views, and the elegance and grace of his writing."—DEIRDRE BAIR, NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER FOR Samuel Beckett AND AUTHOR OF A FORTHCOMING BIOGRAPHY OF CARL JUNG

    "Finally, the Freud biography we have long been waiting for. With the history of Europe in the background, we follow with fascination Freud’s journey from an impoverished childhood filled with losses to worldly fame, ending in exile in England. We come to understand the impact of Freud’s difficult personality on the development of his brilliant as well as questionable theoretical ideas. Breger writes with compassion and fairness toward Freud as well as toward the many interesting personalities who cross his life, with their complicated relationships to the great man."—SOPHIE FREUD, FREUD’S GRANDDAUGHTER AND PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF SOCIAL WORK, SIMMONS COLLEGE

    "Louis Breger’s magnificent book is the definitive work on the personal psychology of Sigmund Freud. it brilliantly illuminates how the darkness in Freud’s vision has affected psychoanalytic history. This book will be central for psychoanalytic scholarship for decades to come."—GEORGE E. ATWOOD, Ph.D., PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    5-0 out of 5 stars And the truth shall set you free
    An excellent treatment of not only the man and his work, but the time and context in which it should be viewed. Breger's greatest treatment of this topic is his use of context in which he views the work and events surrounding Freud and his comtempoaries. A remarkable piece of research that should be mandatory reading for all behavioral science majors at the undergraduate level.

    Breger's struggle to provide balance in his treatment of Freud is quite evident in the context of his research. He never questions Freud's contribution to advancing the school of Psychoanalysis. What he does point out is that even a man of his stature is just as human as anyone else in his interpretation of reality. Any competent therapist must not only know this but insure that he/she does not permit their own issues to impact their efforts to assist others. It is this incredible blindness that Breger points out as his chief criticism of Freud which is why the title of his book "Darkness in the Midst of Vision" is so appropriate.

    Congratulations on an outstanding effort!

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Darkness" is Illuminating
    As one contemplates purchasing this biography, attention must be paid to the subtitle: "An Analytical Biography." This is not an all-encompensing portrait of Freud, in that it's not focussed on his many contributions. Rather, the biographer provides a rare glimpse into a man who's name has been omnipresent in all of psychology as well as the arts since his works first began to be published at the end of the 19th century.

    Frued's influence is undeniable and inescapable. Yet, there remain very few studies into the psychology of the man himself. What is found mostly are brief accounts of Freud's genius and heroism. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, what we have with this biography is a psychological profile of the man himself.

    In this biography, there is no "hero worship" to speak of. I would like to say that the biography is balanced, but it's not, and that is not even the point. I believe the reason to read this book is to gain account of historical facts that have been white-washed and profound insights that are missing in other Freud studies. We learn, for instance, of the dynamics between Freud and his mother, which (fascinatingly) were characterized by avoidance, fear, guilt, and denial. We also learn of Freud's far-reaching, heavy-handed influence in the early days of psychoanalysis, a level of control that managed to destroy careers, even lives.

    One could be left with a vision of Freud-as-tyrant. In this case, pick up another biography of Freud, and you will find some "lightness" to counter the darkness presented in this biography. This book is not, however, some sort of hatchet job. It is vital, important, clear-headed, insightful, and absolutely necessary to gain an understanding of Freud the man. He was no different than the rest of us. This biography helps to balance unreasonable "hero-worship" that, after all, isn't helpful or conducive to level-headed understanding human nature.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Our Golden Sigi
    He was the founder and autocratic (some would even say dictatorial) leader of one the most controversial, yet profoundly influential, intellectual movements of 20th century. While his own thought sought to systematically dismantle the prevailing medical orthodoxy of his era, it simultaneously introduced a new and even more rigid orthodoxy. Though he was largely uninterested in politics, he proved himself to be the consummate politician, always carefully calculating the effects his actions would have on his movement, the psychoanalytic movement, as a whole. He zealously recruited the best and brightest minds of the time, only to shackle and ultimately squander much of their individual creativity through an endless series of loyalty tests in which the more sycophantic and unquestioning you were, the higher you rose within the inner-circle. His fateful obstinacy extended even to his own physical well-being, as he continued to smoke his trademark pipe even after much of his lower jaw had rotted off from the cancer that eventually killed him.

    Freud is a legend, no doubt. But, as this skillful biography of the man makes clear, his legendary status is marked as much by deep personal flaws as by personal greatness. This is only fitting for the man who invented psychoanalysis. We all have tendencies toward self-mythologization, towards the creation of a narrative which minimizes our weaknesses (either by ignoring them outright or blaming their causes on others) and maximizes our strengths. Indeed such narratives are but the linguistic manifestation of our unconscious defense mechanisms. And consequently much of analysis centers around penetrating the core of this chain of signifiers and discovering the breaks, infinite loops and ideological repetitions within. And while he is no Lacanian (the Frenchman is never even mentioned in this text), Breger's analysis is completely given over to this psycho-linguistic imperative, an imperative which is governed and ultimately enforced by the biographical narrative of Freud himself.

    This is because so much of what has been written about Freud's life has been directly influenced by Freud's pathological desire to craft a public persona that fits within his own neurotic view of himself as the great conqueror . And so Breger's destructuring of the typical Freudian biographical narrative is tantamount to a bloody confrontation with the man's well-fortified psycho-linguistic defense mechanisms (Freud himself always spoke of analysis in military terms). Whether we're talking about Freud's own autobiographical hero narratives ("On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement", "An Autobiographical Study"), Jones' dutiful doting, or even the more recent version of the same by Peter Gay, the man himself is almost always lost in the excremental haze of pre-digested meaning. Thus Freud's neuroses--his travel phobia, his dislike of music, his prudish attitudes towards sex, his desperate, inverted oedipal desire to slay his adopted male children (Jung, Adler, Rank, Ferenczi)--are rarely given the hermeneutical space necessary to stand in their proper relation to the events of his life. Breger's diegetic approach places the events of Freud's life in their proper socio-historical context, but without simply substituting history for personal responsibility, as is so often the case. Freud's cruelty (towards his fellow analysts, towards his patients) is shown to be a symptom of his neuroses, rather than mere juridical technique. (Freud constantly claimed that utter coldness and neutrality was required in the relationship between analyst and analysand, but he was most successful as a therapist when he befriended his patients and showed them warmth and sympathy.)

    As you may have guessed, Breger is a practicing analyst, which obviously brings certain prejudices to his account of Freud's life. But Breger shows a remarkable level of honesty by pointing out this fact himself in a section at the end the book. And though I may quibble with him over his emphasis on the primacy of personal trauma over the primacy of sexuality and the role of larger social institutions in the formation of the individual ego, I still think this is a superb example of that particularly personal form of insight which only the very best of psychoanalysts can achieve.

    A fine piece of work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Factually fulfilling
    This book informed me on the one question that I most wanted to know about Freud. I have been reading a lot of magazines, in which the funniest thing that could relate Freud's life to our times was that he had been ask to sign something, like Americans being able to waive a few rights in order to achieve some meaningful concessions from a government which had its own ideas about the kind of order which needs to be imposed. All Freud wanted was to leave Vienna, after "a gang of storm troopers did come to the apartment and confiscated $500," (p. 359), "the Nazis moved in on the Psychoanalytic Press and arrested Martin for a day," (pp. 359-360), "the Gestapo took Anna in for a day of questioning," (p. 360), and:

    There is a widely circulated story that before finally allowing the party to leave, the German authorities made Freud sign a document stating that he had been treated with `respect and consideration.' It is said that he asked if he could add something, and wrote, "I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone." This sounds like a fine bit of Freudian irony, though it would have been foolhardy to endanger so many lives on the very point of departure. The document has subsequently been found and it contains no such comment. Perhaps it was what Freud imagined himself writing. (p. 360)

    This reminds me, too much, of Nietzsche, in ECCE HOMO, complaining that Stendhal "took away from me the best atheistical joke that precisely I might have made" (Walter Kaufmann translation, p. 244). As R. J. Hollingdale put it, in the Penguin Classics edition, "Perhaps I am even envious of Stendhal? He robbed me of the best atheist joke which precisely I could have made:" (p. 28). In a thoroughly comic society, any book which can precisely describe the setting for the best joke I ever read, "I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone," deserves to be read. I hope it is this useful for everyone.

    4-0 out of 5 stars This IS the Man, Myth and His Chilling Darkness
    I am not expert in psychoanalysis. What drew me into this book was the humanization of this slightly stooped, ambitious, clearly brilliant, altogether bourgeois, autocratic, but - yes - great man. Breger shows us, mostly sympathetically, a thoroughly human man, with all the foibles and prejudices of his time. But Breger also shows us the other side of the coin - a fanatic drive for personal fame and a chilling cruelty to all of the many who even slightly questioned his drive for mythic status. We realize the revolution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries wrought by Freud's brilliant, if now widely regarded as deeply flawed, insights into the nature of the mind. Indeed, that there is such a thing as a subconscious, an id ("the horse"), ego ("the man on horseback"), and superego (the rider's "internal voice"). There are so many famous Freudian phrases that virtually all his basic theses have "passed into the common domain", almost biblically, in Breger's typically serviceable prose.

    I would recommend this aptly titled "Freud: darkness in the midst of vision" to any interested lay person, not for critiques of Freudian theories, though they are well-presented and solidly researched. Rather, I recommend this for Breger's at times soaring descriptions of Freud's utterly fascinating inner demons and his tempestuous relationships with colleagues: the 'Napoleon of neuroses' Charcot; Brucke of the "terrifying blue eyes"; his 'beautiful' Ernst Fleischl, whom he bathed, and whose photo was the only one in his consulting room, 45 years after Fleischl's death. The [narcotics], the nicotine addiction, the erotic Jung, the dissenter Adler, the hagiographer Anna Freud, and on and on --explosive relationships powerfully described. Through it all, Breger mostly succeeds in giving us a balanced criticism of Freud's ideas and, more excitingly, an intimate view of the deeply complex man. The rare photos, integrated into the text, are a treat. ... Read more


    17. Ford: The Men and the Machine
    by Robert Lacey
    list price: $24.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316511668
    Catlog: Book (1986-06-01)
    Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T)
    Sales Rank: 337341
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Master biographer Robert Lacey tells the fascinating, authoritative account of the ambitious men and glamorous women behind the world's largest family-controlled business empire.From Henry Ford -- the original in every sense of the word -- whose revolutionary standards created a new way of life for America and the world, to Henry Ford II, old Henry's grandson, who rose from a frivolous playboy to become an industrial giant in his own right, to the tragic figure of Edsel Ford, old Henry's son and young Henry's father, smothered by the one and overshadowed by the other, to brash Lee Iacocca, whose visionary plans for the company would put him in conflict with Henry Ford II.

    "Richly anecdotal and wonderfully readable . . . irresistable."The Washington Post Book World

    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars All you ever wanted to know about Henry Ford
    This book provides a comprehensive look at Henry Ford's life that is both entertaining and educational. It covers basically everything, his personal affairs, all the little side ventures he took part in in addition to his car company, even relationships with other notable people of his time, namely Thomas Edison, Dodge brothers, etc. It is overall an interesting read and at times I find it quite humorous. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sensational, Definitive and Entertaining! A Must Have!
    "Ford: The Men and the Machine" is the most definitive and complete book about the life and happenings of automotive's greatest man, Henry Ford. His accomplishments as cited cannot compare to any other single figure in automobile history (or even business itself).

    The book is nothing short of epic: over 800 pages and 36 chapters, plus appendices. It starts off with the author's assessment of Ford's total contribution to life, starting at Dearborn Michigan in 1831. The details are all-inclusive and mind boggling, right down to Henry's Sister's comments about his early days repairing watches. The book moves slowly and steadily through Part One, "The Rise of Henry Ford" to Parts Two and Three, "Glory Days" and "Grass-Roots Hero." Here the reader is given the unbiased account of even the thoughts of young Henry, and how he became so fascinated with what was then the latest thing: the gasoline engine, which he saw in 1877 from a trip to Machinery Hall in Philadelphia. We are given the full story behind Ford's rise to power over other prominent automotive men of his time, such as the Duryea and the Dodge Bros., and particularly Henry Selden. I found it exciting to read about how Ford didn't give in to a greedy, money-hungry individual like Selden who had no real engineering talent, but wanted only to rake in the royalties from his so-called gasoline engine that he patented in 1895 (it didn't even work as illustrated in his diagram, and Selden didn't even have a working model in an automobile until 1904--it went five yards and died!). Ford held out through more than 10 years of court battles over the legal implications of the Selden patent, and won. After that, there was no doubt that Ford had firmly established himself as a "man for the people." The victory over the Selden patent allowed ALL automobile manufacturers to keep their prices affordable.

    Part Four, "Henry and Edsel" describes the business relationship with his firstborn son, and their occasional public disputes over company policies and overall business strategies. Henry bitterly opposed automoible financing, for example, but Edsel was all for it. Edsel was right, too, it was the only way to sell cars to lower-income buyers. Of course, the whole story behind the biggest flop in automotive history, the Edsel car itself, is revealed. What happened? How much money was lost? What were the shortcomings of the Edsel that ultimately was its demise? "...The Men and the Machine" will tell you, without room for doubts.

    In fact, as part of the research I'm doing for an automotive book of my own, I noticed at least three other authors in my bibliography that referenced this same book, perhaps Lacey's greatest achievement.

    Parts 5 and 6, "Henry II" and "Henry and Lee" gradually move more away from the business side of the Ford Machine--but not altogether away--and gradually reveal personal aspects of later Ford generations and their family relationships. Discussed are the development and marketing plans of the Mustang and Pinto which, ironically, were diametrically opposed to each other as complete success and utter failure.

    This book is worth double the money. Sometimes I am amazed at the length Lacey went to get his sources, over 50 pages of specific and varied references. I feel fortunate to have a copy that is in good shape. Every time I open the pages, I learn something new. Each page informs, educates and increases depth of thinking, in that sometimes what appears to be a single invention is only a hub to other spokes of development. "...the men and the Machine" actually helps me to think better overall. I can then apply the underlying techniques to all situations in life; consider that one thing leads to another, and if this happens, then it will affect that and that, and so on. If you have even the slightest interest in automotive development, automobile history, American Culture or the person of Henry Ford himself, do not be without this book. Buy it today. My highest recommendation for all readers over 14 (reading level).

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's an auto industry history and a soap opera!
    For those who want the dish on one of the most dominant yet dysfunctional American family businesses, Robert Lacey's profile of the Ford Motor Company is a must. It's plot is pure Movie-Of-The-Week - a country boy inspired to build a cheap car for the masses, accrues wealth and fame, then has to deal with the giant he created. His lone son, the second generation gives his life for the company, a casualty of the tug of war between a patriarch and his ego. Just as the company is about to crash in corruption and incompetence, the grandson, Henry II enters and saves the day, building the infrastructure of a modern corporation. But, eventually Henry's hat changes from white to shades of grey - the pitfalls of arrogance from never ending riches and successes. It's 650 pages of American history and soap opera, and it was so interesting it could have been longer. A great book for those who appreciate American motoring history. - Leila Dunbar, Mobilia.com ... Read more


    18. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
    by Benjamin Franklin
    list price: $10.00
    our price: $7.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743255062
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-06)
    Publisher: Touchstone
    Sales Rank: 32500
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    Book Description

    "The first book to belong permanently to literature. It created a man."
    -- From the Introduction


    Few men could compare to Benjamin Franklin. Virtually self-taught, he excelled as an athlete, a man of letters, a printer, a scientist, a wit, an inventor, an editor, and a writer, and he was probably the most successful diplomat in American history. David Hume hailed him as the first great philosopher and great man of letters in the New World.

    Written initially to guide his son, Franklin's autobiography is a lively, spellbinding account of his unique and eventful life. Stylistically his best work, it has become a classic in world literature, one to inspire and delight readers everywhere. ... Read more


    19. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Yale Nota Bene)
    by Benjamin Franklin
    list price: $9.95
    our price: $8.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0300098588
    Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
    Publisher: Yale Nota Bene
    Sales Rank: 15193
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    Book Description

    Translated into a dozen languages, printed in hundreds of editions, and read by millions of people, Franklin’s autobiography has had an influence perhaps unequaled by any other book by an American writer. Written ostensibly as a letter to his son William, the autobiography offers Franklin’s reflections on philosophy and religion, politics, war, education, material success, and the status of women. This edition of the autobiography, prepared by the editors of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, is drawn with scrupulous care from the original manuscript in Franklin’s handwriting now in the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. The introduction by Leonard W. Labaree places the autobiography in literary and historical contexts.In a new foreword, Edmund S. Morgan writes about Franklin’s dual allegiance as an American and a subject of an English king—and his emergence as a leader of the American Revolution.This edition also includes biographical notes, a chronology of Franklin’s life, and an updated bibliography. ... Read more


    20. Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman
    by Richard Phillips Feyman
    list price: $34.99
    our price: $23.09
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 141934322X
    Catlog: Book (2005-05)
    Publisher: Recorded Books
    Sales Rank: 203000
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Richard Feynman himself...
    With this new book collecting Richard Feynman's correspondence, you won't only better know about a Nobel laureate physicist, but you will be able to appreciate the deepest insight, knowledge and inspiration of an honest man. From his first beloved wife or the Manhattan project to motivation and good understanding of Physics. I have loved Feynman since I first read one of R. Leighton books when I was a teenager, he inspired and encouraged me a lot and since I had a great interest in Science I eventually fell in love with Physics, which I'm studying know, thanks to him. Besides, his wise guide helped me out to understand life better and cope with difficulties, mostly tackling problems à-la Feynman. This book is worth reading and it's quite big with hardcover so the price is quite great!

    Everybody interested in Feynman biography and character cannot miss this chance to meet him at his most personal book for which we all should thank his daughter Michelle Feynman. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR MAKING THE WORLD WISER ABOUT A GREAT SCIENTIST AND HUMAN BEING. ... Read more


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