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  • Jackson, Andrew
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  • Jordan, Michael
  • Joyce, James
  • Jung, Carl
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    $14.97 $13.20 list($24.95)
    1. The Last Season: A Team In Search
    $11.56 $5.99 list($17.00)
    2. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether
    $13.57 list($19.95)
    3. Thomas Jefferson : Author of America
    $8.10 $4.95 list($9.00)
    4. A Portrait of the Artist As a
    $29.95 $4.40
    5. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse
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    6. Memories, Dreams, Reflections
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    7. American Sphinx : The Character
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    8. Master of the Senate: The Years
    9. Aryan Christ:, The : The Secret
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    10. Michael Jordan : On the Court
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    11. The Life of Andrew Jackson (Perennial
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    12. Michael Jackson: The Magic and
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    13. Thomas Jefferson
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    14. The Path to Power (The Years of
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    15. Thomas Jefferson : Writings :
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    16. Flawed Giant: Lyndon B. Johnson,
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    17. Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty
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    18. Inventing A Nation: Washington,
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    19. The Thirty-First of March : An
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    20. Means of Ascent (The Years of

    1. The Last Season: A Team In Search of Its Soul
    by Phil Jackson, Michael Arkush
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $14.97
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    Asin: 1594200351
    Catlog: Book (2004-10)
    Publisher: The Penguin Press
    Sales Rank: 120
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    Book Description

    Nine-time NBA Champion coach Phil Jackson knows all about being in the spotlight-about high-profile, high-pressure seasons coaching gigantic personalities through adversity and controversy in the middle of a media hothouse in which every move is another headline, another installment in the soap opera. But nothing-not six championships with the Bulls of Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen, not three previous championships with the Lakers of Shaq and Kobe-had quite prepared him for the only-in-Hollywood high-wire act of the Lakers' 2003-2004 season.

    In The Last Season, Jackson tells the full inside story of the season that proved to be the final ride for this great Lakers dynasty. From its beginnings in the off-season-with the signing of the future Hall-of-Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton and the enormous expectations it created, and the bombshell news of the felony sexual assault charges against Kobe Bryant, one of the league's marquee superstars-Jackson describes the many challenges that arose during this turbulent season. Juggling enormous egos with enormous sums at stake, managing difficult relationships and public feuds, facing injuries, contract disputes, and team meltdowns, all in the shadow of the Kobe Bryant trial-slash-media circus, Phil Jackson somehow guided his team through to its fourth NBA Finals in his five years as its coach. There, finally, his team ran out of road, a failure Jackson examines with the same deep honesty and wisdom he brings to bear on the rest of this amazing season.

    Few seasons in memory can rival this one for drama, and fewer coaches rival Phil Jackson in the ability to write about it with such wisdom and clarity. The combination has produced, in The Last Season, a book of tremendous human drama and timeless appeal, rich in lessons about coaching and about life.

    With the honesty and insight that are his hallmarks, one of the most successful coaches in the history of basketball offers his personal account of a season like no other-the extraordinary ride of the 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers
    ... Read more

    2. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West
    by Stephen Ambrose
    list price: $17.00
    our price: $11.56
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    Asin: 0684826976
    Catlog: Book (1997-06-02)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 1183
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In this sweeping adventure story, Stephen E. Ambrose, the bestselling author od D-Day, presents the definitive account of one of the most momentous journeys in American history. Ambrose follows the Lewis and Clark Expedition from Thomas Jefferson's hope of finding a waterway to the Pacific, through the heart-stopping moments of the actual trip, to Lewis's lonely demise on the Natchez Trace. Along the way, Ambrose shows us the American West as Lewis saw it -- wild, awsome, and pristinely beautiful. Undaunted Courage is a stunningly told action tale that will delight readers for generations. ... Read more

    Reviews (281)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Journey into History!
    Ambrose's books are all excellent. Well written and expertly documented. This one is no exception. He traces the steps of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their famous journey across the wild America continent in the early 1800's. Much of his narrative is based on Lewis & Clark's own journals, but the story is told in Ambrose's indomitable style that will keep you turning the pages to the finish. You will get some special insight into the relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and Lewis and how that effected the outcome of history. The book is highly entertaining and interesting to read. Ambrose is by far on the best historical writers alive today and his work should be required reading in every classroom. As for his supposed pro-America bias, some readers claim to detect, I don't understand how that detracts from his work. That he admires the men and women, who fought for and founded our country and shows them in a fair & proper perspective, makes his accounts more creditable, not less. Read the book! It's Great.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Undaunted Reading
    Ambrose does a splendid job of making the Lewis and Clark voyage come alive again for the 21st Century reader. This work provides a helpful glimpse into Jefferson and Lewis that is not often heard. Becoming familiar with this story makes one appreciate the bravery and adventurous spirit of those that went before us in America's history. The start is a little slow due to voluminous details, but once the voyage reaches St. Louis, the book keeps the reader on the edge of his seat. Ambrose's passion for Lewis and Jefferson makes the reader feel like he or she is a companion with Lewis and Clark on their expedition across the country and an advisor for Jefferson in the White House. Instead of analyzing history, Ambrose succeeds fairly well in helping us relive it. There are points where Ambrose is a bit overconfident in his explanations, but this doesn't tarnish his marvelously informative and entertaining work. Too bad Ambrose couldn't change the tragic outcome of Lewis' life at the end.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Deep / Insightful
    Ambrose wrote a very complete book here. Obviously extensive, well researched, and with a good flow - this book is worth reading. My pick with this book would be it moves along a little on the slow side, but so did Lewis & Clark on this voyage.

    High Points:

    Descriptions & Interpretations from the original journals - superb.

    Multiple points of view, Lewis, Clark, the members of the corps of discovery, native americans, etc. Ambrose brings these to life.

    Intricate step by step accounts of the trip.

    Improvement Points:

    At times it just moves along too slowly - Ambrose could have made it a bit more concise.

    Confusing ending, did Lewis commit suicide? Was he muredered, Ambroses' guesses leave something to be desired.

    All in all this is a good book which should be read by any aspiring student of history.

    Joseph Dworak

    3-0 out of 5 stars Underestimates the reader's imagination and memory
    I was disappointed in this book, which I listened to on tape. It was terribly wordy, and took every opportunity to drum in the obvious or reiterate the dangers, deprivations, triumphs, etc. It seems to be a characteristic of popular histories to assume that the reader has no imagination and lots of time, and that fattened-up-by-repetion-or-too-much-detail is better. I did think that the information delivered was interesting and balanced. Still, the L & C expedition, as well as the lives of its participants and leaders, are interesting and inspiring enough not to need alot of commentary.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Parents Beware!
    Parents, If you're looking for a good history book for your children to read, please beware.

    While Ambrose credibly presents the exploits of the Corps of Discovery, he also fails to resist the modern urge to talk about their sex lives. Descriptions of the men's sexual practices with the Mandan indian women and their varied venereal diseases are offered for our enlightenment. The author also regales us with the curious sexual rituals of the Mandans, themselves. In addition, for no particularly beneficial reason, Ambrose relates to us how cold the winter was by offering us the natural consequences to one who would chooose to relieve himself out-of-doors.

    Parental caution is advised. ... Read more

    3. Thomas Jefferson : Author of America (Eminent Lives)
    by Christopher Hitchens
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
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    Asin: 0060598964
    Catlog: Book (2005-06-01)
    Publisher: Eminent Lives
    Sales Rank: 346686
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    4. A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man (Penguin Classics)
    by James Joyce
    list price: $9.00
    our price: $8.10
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    Asin: 0142437344
    Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 9329
    Average Customer Review: 3.84 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man portrays Stephen Dedalus's Dublin childhood and youth, providing an oblique self-portrait of the young James Joyce. At its center are questions of origin and source, authority and authorship, and the relationship of an artist to his family, culture, and race. Exuberantly inventive, this coming-of-age story is a tour de force of style and technique. ... Read more

    Reviews (185)

    3-0 out of 5 stars My Humble Opinion
    James Joyce is a hero. Writing with a exceptionally unique style that fits the corresponding drama perfectly, he is able to involve several underlying themes that help advance the meaning of the book. The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is rich in detail and offers vital insights into Joyce?s art of portraying the internal struggles that all of us face within the drama of a single character, Stephen Dedalus. Perhaps the most salient brilliance of Joyce?s ability is painting the picture of simbolism and theme to allow the reader to internalize everything he reads.
    The book opens in a rather ambiguous way. Jumbled phrases across the opening pages provoke images of confusion and disorder in the reader?s mind. Joyce masters the Stream of Consciousness style of writing, which reflects the spontaeous thought process that all of us experience. It is especially notable at the beginning when he describes the unfocused thoughts of the baby Stephen. With a light touch of humor Joyce reminds us how simple life was for all of us back then when all we had to worry about was the discomfort of ?wetting the bed?
    (Portrait 1).
    The reader then re-lives his life as he joins in with Stephen?s. We are first exposed to the unjust treatment from others when the bully Wells shoves Stephen into the nearby cesspool. The imagery is more than intense here when he comes out of the pool grimy, disgusting, and smelling like a sewer. Joyce even pencils in the detail about rats wallowing around in the pool. The theme of unjustice continues as Stephen is punished publicly for losing his glasses, something that he had no control over. The Catholic Father Dolan flogs him across the hands for ?intentionally? losing them so he wouldn?t have to study.
    Another interesting piece of information that James Joyce includes for the benefit of the reader putting himself in the place of Stephen is the theme of physical beauty. Stephen experiences love all throughout the piece, starting first with the innocent love notes that he writes to a small girl his age, building to the prostitute with whom he has his first sexual experience, and culminating finally with the woman on the beach who he is infatuated with. This sexual passion arouses sympathetic feelings within the reader from all backgrounds. Everyone has experienced that true feeling of wanting to be with someone else.
    My favorite part in the story is how Joyce deals with the issue of remaining true to religion, particularly the Catholic Church. Stephen is troubled by the fact that there is so much corruption within the church. He sees the imperfections within the church, but yet he somehow continues. Other characters present Joyce with the opportunity to let us look deep into the heart of Stephen and examine how he struggles. Much of Joyce?s audience has struggled with the decision of remaining true to the Catholic Church in spite of its many corruptions, or pioneering a new generation of religious loyalty elsewhere.
    Towards the end of the novel Joyce touches on a reoccuring theme: freedom. Being free from religion as well as being free from Ireland (or the restraints that bound some individual). Again Joyce delicately works his way into the lives of his readers; all are faced with decisions of leaving their past lives, whether they be entrapped in the pits of smoking or the despair of being overweight, all of the readers of Jame Joyce are faced with that decision sooner or later. Stephen sees his escape from the island with drawing back to strength from the Greek artisan Dedalus, who crafted his own wings to escape. It seems that all of us somehow need to draw on strength from the past to give us motivation for the future. Many rely on examples from their parents. Others trust in counsel and advice given through the scriptures. All are in search of help from the past to live a better future.
    All in all, Joyce masters his work and is able to assist the reader in making his own decisions in his own life while doing it through the life of his central character. If I were anything but American, I might consider moving to Ireland.

    5-0 out of 5 stars one of the best books of the twentieth century
    "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is easily one of the greatest books of the twentieth century. Rarely is such a mastery of the English language encountered. James Joyce has an almost uncanny ability to create images and feelings out of words. He manages to describe a place and also the feelings of the main character when he's in that place with teh same set of words.
    The story itself is almost inconsequential. As I read it I was so caught up in Stephen's self-destructive spiral that I could never pass any sort of moral judgement. I had to like Stephen because he was so human. His dilemmas and his emotions were so real, and Joyce was able to bring them to life with his words.
    As a previous reviewer has said, it is true that to understand certain parts of the book, it helps to have a little background on Irish politics at the turn of the century (or at least know who Parnell is) but a few minutes of internet research will do that for you. As for strange words and slang, the language becomes more elevated as Stephen grows up (a touch of genius, if you ask me) so that's not really much of a problem. Stephen's final break with tradition as he answers the call of Daedalus, his namesake, is magnificent to read. All in all, this book is definitely worth the read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best edition of "A Portrait"
    Depending on one's taste and level of concentration, James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is either tedious flop or a wonderful cornerstone of world literature. (I believe the latter.) I won't go into a discussion of "A Portrait" here because if you are looking at this particular Viking Critical edition, you've already committed yourself to reading it. The value of this edition lies in the critical essays and notes at the end. The notes will help the reader along, as they explain some of the terms and/or conditions that are particular to Joyce's Ireland. The essays are, each and every one, valuable tools. Whether it's an examination of Joyce's life, the creation of "A Portrait", the influences it would have, etc., every essay is a heavy-weight that enchances an understanding of the book. (At least it did for me.) If you're seriously considering reading "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" this is the edition to use.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
    Sure its pretentious, frustrating, difficult, etc., but it is also such a rewarding read. Boring sections like chapter 3 with the church sermon set up excellent ones, such as the end of Chapter 4, with Stephen's epiphany, which I must say is the most beautiful, glorious thing I have ever read. the emotion and symbolism (such as Stephen Dedalus taking flight from society much like his Greek namesake Daedalus did from an island) is simply overwhelming. I had to read this for a college english class (as well as write an essay on it) but i still enjoyed it. the stream of conciousness style may be too difficult and odd for some but i found a nice break from other literature, which is more than i can say for the similar novel To the Lighthouse by Woolf (also extremely good stylistically, but much less interesting). brilliant, but not a good introduction to joyce for those still in high school or not used to reading challenging literature. I would recommend "The Dead" to try him out first.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Largely unintelligible.
    Cut straight to the chase here: I tried really hard, I really did. But after a while I couldn't read more than a sentence without losing concentration, and then noticing half a page later that I had no idea what was going on.

    It's painfully dull, and frustratingly difficult. I thought it was alright at first, but before you realise it, your man Stephen Dedalus is 16 or something, and then he may be older, but you've no idea when it happened.

    I enjoyed all the guilt he was feeling at visiting pros, and the five page description of hell (or more), and in the end it was a real shame that I had to stop reading it. I was almost 300 pages in, and just realised there was absolutely no point in continuing since it was sending me to sleep, but I was so close to the end!

    So anyway, there it is. I didn't want to slag it off, but if I can't get through it there's nothing more I can do. ... Read more

    5. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson
    by Kenneth R. Timmerman
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $29.95
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    Asin: 0895261650
    Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
    Publisher: Regnery Publishing
    Sales Rank: 47780
    Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Jesse Jackson is a modern day highway robber who uses cries of racism to steal from individuals, corporations, and government, to give to himself, says veteran investigative reporter Kenneth R. Timmerman.

    Until now, however, no one has been brave enough to say it and diligent enough to prove it. But Ken Timmerman has cracked Jackson's machine, found Jackson cronies willing to break ranks, and uncovered a sordid tale of greed, ambition, and corruption from a self-proclaimed minister who has no qualms about poisoning American race relations for personal gain.

    Shakedown reveals:

    * Jackson's massive defrauding of the federal government - and how both Republican and Democratic administrations have chosen to ignore it.

    * Jackson's financial ties to Third World dictators - including Mohammar Qaddafi of Libya.

    * Jackson's shocking private life - and his even more shocking public lies, including about his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King

    Other details must remain embargoed until publication, but one thing is for certain, Shakedown finally bursts the carefully constructed myths around Jesse Jackson and subject him to the critical scrutiny he's long deserved.

    Kenneth R. Timmerman, a reporter with more than two decades of experience, has written for many magazines and newspapers including Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, and The American Spectator, and has appeared on Nightline, Sixty Minutes, and many other television programs. He lives in Kensington, Maryland, with his wife and five children. ... Read more

    Reviews (121)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The dude do get over
    The author has previously written for such unusally reliable sources as Time, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. There are 1,078 references in this book in 426 pages of text covering an introduction, a prologue, and 18 chapters. The references are from such sources as memoranda and reports from U.S. government agencies, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and the New Republic, to name only a few. The author, therefore, cannot be dismissed as some sort of right wing crackpot. What Timmerman does is document Jackson's unashamed schemes to line his own pockets and those of his friends and family in the name of racial diversity, economic opportunity, and other buzzwords popular with income redistribution leftists. But Jesse is the quintessential capitalist. He doesn't do anything he can't get paid for, to include NOT speaking up in favor of minority groups who have sought his assistance in the past but didn't have the money to pay his fee! SHAKEDOWN is an appropriate title for this work, as Jackson has managed to get governments and businesses to pony up for his schemes in order to keep from being branded as racist by Jackson. This book could have been subtitled "Show Me the Money!" He has definitely helped himself, and made himself rich in the process. Whether he has helped others is truly open to question, as the author has convincingly documented.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, brilliantly researched and well written
    It was very tough to put this book down. Timmerman has done an excellent job in researching this book, and backs up his research with copious notes.

    If even one tenth of the book is accurate, Jesse Jackson is a very dangerous, dishonest, and evil character. I suspect that the overwhelming majority of the book is accurate, however, and that fact makes my blood boil at the thought of Jackson and his shakedown scheme.

    This book should be required reading for every young liberal- Black, White, Brown-it doesn't matter. Jackson's evil tactics transcend race, religion, and creed. His hucksterism is a danger to this nation, a danger to the advancing civil rights of minorities, and a danger to honest people trying to make a living in America.

    I highly recommend this book, I think that anyone who reads it with an open mind will thoroughly enjoy it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Do Not Blame the Author - Blame Jackson
    This book states the obvious. Most people half awake can see his scam a mile away. This is not a race issue; it is a scam that uses the race issue. It might not be PC to attack a black man, but when he uses the weakness in his fellow man black and white to enrich himself one needs to blow the whistle.

    Let us give Jackson a small benefit of doubt. Years ago when he worked for King he was an idealistic young man. But that has long passed. We now have a man milking the system and taking what he can - it is as simple as that. And blame the people and corporations that support his habit.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at how one obtains power.
    At first, I just wanted to read the "lowdown" on how much of a crook Jesse Jackson was, but as I read more, I see how Jesse rises from being a mere street hustler to being a major pollitical force that is known throughout worldwide. As a person that wants to understand how and why a person obtains power of that magnitude, SHAKEDOWN gives great insight into how one man, Jesse Jackson, stategically picks not only the battles he wants to fight, but also his allies. A great companion book to this is THE 48 LAWS OF POWER by Robert Greene. Many of the laws of power in that book can be seen being used by Jesse in SHAKEDOWN. What really got me was one of the guys mentioned in this book was a pastor in my church who was "rubbing elbows" with Jackson and almost got put in jail by following him. Read this book, it's a real eye opener.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wake Up America!!!!!!
    I have always been a supporter of Jesse Jackson and looked upon him as a true leader..............until I read this book. This book has opened my eyes to just what kind of person Jesse Jackson really is: con-artist, extortionist, race-baiter, etc. The people in Chicago who refer to him as "Justme" Jackson, have really hit the nail on the head. What has the self-appointed leader of the African-American race ever done for poor and truly disinfranchised African-Americans? Not a damn thing!!! The only African-Americans who have ever benefited from his shakedowns and extortion of american corporations are his rich and well-to-do cronies! Why the IRS has never stepped in and audited this scheister and crook is a travesty! Jesse Jackson is only a leader for the well-to-do African-American, the ones who can pay to play. This man is no more interested in closing the racial divide that exists in America today, than the KKK is! He is one of the reasons that the racial divide has gotten wider, not smaller. Anyone who calls this book racist is either blind, deaf, and dumb, or is a racist themselves. This book is well documented and the facts well supported. Through it all, you have to give "Reverend" Justme Jackson credit. He has taken advantage of a society where it is worse to label someone a racist than it is to call someone a rapist or child molester. He has used the word racist as his trump card and thrown it about freely, when he himself is as racist as anybody. I wonder when the next time he is going to call as his friend some 3rd world dictator who has ravaged his homeland and committed innumerable atrocities on his people? And when he is long gone from this world, don't worry America, his sons will pick up the torch and continue this man's great, benevolent works in society. Oh yeah, after reading this book, I have changed my affiliation from Democrat to Republican, as has my African-American wife. ... Read more

    6. Memories, Dreams, Reflections
    by C.G. JUNG
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
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    Asin: 0679723951
    Catlog: Book (1989-04-23)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 5226
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    An autobiography put together from conversations, writings and lectures with Jung's cooperation, at the end of his life. ... Read more

    Reviews (35)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Story about the inner life...
    This is not a typical biography. Rather than the usual record one might expect about an individuals life, that is, chronological time, events of significance, famous personages met and their influence, etc, Jung records momentous aspects about his inner life, his life long and extraordinary relationship with the unconscious. As he states from the beginning, this book is a reflection concerning his self-realisation of the unconscious and its manifestations. In old age, he realised that so-called outward memories, the temporal existence of the senses, had faded, and what remained were memories of his inner life, which manifested in dreams and visions. He found that he could only write his life in terms of a personal myth, because he believed 'autobiography', as a form of truthful expression, was at best, unreliable. Memory, in other words, cannot be trusted. Thus, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, is a personal 'story' about a man's journey of spiritual enlightenment and self-realisation, the process of the unconscious finding expression in the outer world.

    Jung's inner life was certainly extraordinary. From an early age, the sheer power of the unconscious made itself known to him in terrible visions. Jung must have been an unusually grounded child in order to withstand the psychic forces that pushed their way into his consciousness at such a young age. He survived these onslaughts, I believe, because he didn't resist them, but chose to grapple with the images, follow his instincts and, along with the violence of these images, came also a knowingness and feeling of safeness, that he was, even at a young age, following what he was meant to do. It is no wonder he became a psychiatrist, a "doctor of the soul" as he calls it; because by helping others through their personal journeys of realisation, he came to better understand his own.

    At the end of Jung's life he maintained that he was not a mystic, a wise man or a sage. He admits that he drank from the stream of knowledge and life, but was not the stream itself. But what is a mystic in the traditional sense of this term? A mystic is one who, through meditation, prayer or other means, achieves direct intuitive experience of the divine. A mystic experiences these 'other realities' and brings their experiences back, in some cases, to share with the rest of us. To the mystic these experiences are real. Taking this definition at face value, Memories, Dreams and Reflections is a record of one man's intuitive experience with the divine. Jung made it his life's mission to express these experiences in such a way as to make them real, and to then formulate them into a psychological method, in the hope of helping others lost and searching for meaning in their lives. Jung was most assuredly a mystic. His writings tell us that there is something greater than ourselves within us, and our task is to grapple and understand this power, that he has chosen to call the unconscious; and by better understanding this greater part of ourselves, we can become more human.

    This is a wonderful story about the inner life of a man, a mystic and original thinker.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wisdom from the inner life in Jung's own words
    These writings come straight from Jung's own inner experience and it is his last book before his death in 1961. I have read and re-read this work because at different times in my life I needed to re-evaluate where I was and where I was going. Other books by Jung are more intellectual and scientific, whereas, this autobiography has the wisdom of a person in the later part of life and it was written not so much to teach but to leave with us his legacy. Having myself had a near death experience, I was especially re-affirmed by Jung's own near death experience and his dealings with this phenomenon. His acceptance of his own humanity and his returning from this state to share with us his knowledge and vision is a gift to all of us. It is not easy to return to our humanity and deal with the sufferings we encounter but growth is the only evidence of life. We have to come down from the mountain top and work in the valley. This brings to mind two books written by Hannah Hurnard called Mountains of Spices and Hinds Feet in High Places. Allegories about living our lives with others and not in solitude. Solitude is a wonderful place but if we stay too long we become self-centered, afraid to reach out to others. Another author who gives a good perspective on life is Henri Nouwen and his books Out of Solitude and Reaching Out.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A glimpse into the humanity of the healer
    This book does give a good overview of Jung's ideas, and how the developed in his life and interior thought. What I most love about this book, however is the feeling I came away with for Jung himself. It made me feel that he was a deeply compassionate, openminded and rational man, if imperfect as all men. Its greatness is that it puts a human face behind all of the science and ideas of his legacy, and gives the reader an insight of his own inner experience which one can relate to.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Controversial, insightful, self-contradicting...
    Admittedly, this is the most important book for those interested not only in the Jungian approach in psychology, but also in the life itself of Carl Gustav Jung. Indeed, this is an autobiography, imbedded in which is most of Jung's theories and quite an adequate outline of his cosmotheory as well.

    Now, this being the book that "allows" us a glimpse into the soul of this psychologist, i was for one somewhat puzzled by the overall insight i got. While for the most part i appreciated Jung's bold approach in matters considered heavy taboos in his time (not to mention our time as well for certain particular issues), on the other side i found that Jung is self-contradicting at times, or murky, for lack of a more descriptive term.

    Jung dares to look on the "other side" and consider it openly an integral part of "this" side. What others deem as "paranormal" or "supernatural" is to Jung just the other side of the same coin. He discusses the reality under the accepted reality but he is not straightforward about it. If i wanted to take it far enough I'd even say he's not honest about it. He does mince hiw words much too often and stops short of telling you what he really thinks. But this hardly undermines his openmindedness. Same goes for his treatment of religion.

    In the beginning of the book he goes to great lengths in his denouncing of the western religion, and yet, all throughout the book he leaves countless hints that he's religious himself, without ever explaining in what sense. This was in my view perplexing.

    The part of the book where he details his views on psychotherapy and explains how he approached his patients is definately the highlight of this book, and it should be of paramount importance for those interested in that subject area.

    The last third of the book is mostly about Jung's travels. That part, might be disturbing for some, as one can sense that Jung felt some kind of well hidden superiority over the people he encountered. This superiority is often enough brought forward as his surprise over the insights these people offered him, but it still remains a mystery (at least to me) what he actually "took" from these people pertaining to their beliefs and approach in life. If anything, that is.

    All criticism aside, this is still essential reading. Jung was a person torn between the desire to explore the off-limits and his fear of being ostracised by the scientific community. In the gray area within that struggle is where one discovers Jung's most thought-provoking theories because that is where he presents himself bare.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius
    When I first started reading this book, I was highly naïve as to what my possible reactions could be. I never realized that this book would spark an internal flame within me, causing me to yearn for more knowledge and a broader insight into many subjects. It even lead me to come to many realizations about myself and my actions that I could never explain, but turned out to be so true and conclusive.
    The extremely difficult vocabulary content did not discourage me one bit, it just made my curiosity grow. Jung amazed me with the beauty of his language choice and writing style and further astonished me with this extensive knowledge on so many various subjects and interesting way of interpreting them. Jung constantly referred to literary works and ideas of other authors and always stressed his references. This was perfect because this was the first book that I've ever willingly read from cover to cover in the psychology field, and it gave me an idea of other books like this one that I could read on topics that I liked and could hand-pick.
    The book was most interesting knowing that it was written in autobiography-style and at the end of Jung's life, thus giving myself (the reader) his life-experienced and life-proven philosophies. It was a very difficult read but it was well worth it. I could honestly say that sometimes I just couldn't put it down; and no other book has been able to do that for me. ... Read more

    7. American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679444904
    Catlog: Book (1997-02-04)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 7135
    Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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    Well timed to coincide with Ken Burns's documentary (on which the author served as a consultant), this new biography doesn't aim to displace the many massive tomes about America's third president that already weigh down bookshelves. Instead, as suggested by the subtitle--"The Character of Thomas Jefferson"--Ellis searches for the "living, breathing person" underneath the icon and tries to elucidate his actual beliefs. Jefferson's most ardent admirers may find this perspective too critical, but Ellis's portrait of a complex, sometimes devious man who both sought and abhorred power has the ring of truth. ... Read more

    Reviews (88)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Must Read for TJ and US Revolution History Fans
    Joseph Ellis projects an interesting analysis of the illusive Thomas Jefferson in "American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson." Brilliant but contradictory, most historians glorified the author of the Declaration of Independence for nearly 200 years. Recently, with the emergence of John Adams as an equally accepted visionary Founder, the strange and conflicting sides of Jefferson have been given equal attention to those that reflect the genius from Monticello, Virginia.

    More than any other American historical figure, Jefferson was incredibly aware of his future role in history, and thereby his legacy. Much of the documented historical record, both that written by him and that written to him, reflect the facts that he chose what future generations would see. Ellis breaks down five periods of Jefferson's life: (1) the period around the writing of the Declaration, (2) the years in Paris as American envoy, (3) the years in semi-seclusion during the second Washington administration, (4) his first Presidential term, (5) and his years in retirement the decade prior to his death. The main premises of Ellis' work are that Jefferson was elusive in description, contradictory in philosophy, and often devious in action.

    After reading Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis (see my review dated 7/23/01) I had enormous expectations for his previously penned biography of Thomas Jefferson. It is a good scholarly account, but falls short of the enormously readable "Founding Brothers" work that won the Pulitzer Prize. Ellis teases you by revealing the many two-faced aspects of Jefferson's character, but shies away from drawing the conclusions that Jefferson's personality was bizarre. The third President was generally a person who could make himself believe anything he wanted, that his position and beliefs were always righteous, as long as it helped him get or preserve what he wanted.

    Ellis does reveal the many aspects that prove Jefferson such a contradiction. Those include his inability to speak in public compared to the tremendous talent as a writer and analyst. The fact that he betrayed one of his most loyal and devoted friends for decades (John Adams), to secure the goals of the Virginians in the roots of the Founding, also speak loudly to his complex nature. What most people do not realize was that though he was extremely reticent that our country not become encumbered to a national financial consolidation, he was among the most atrocious of debtors and virtually ruined his family through decades of irresponsible personal spending. Finally, everyone now knows his amazingly illogical position regarding slavery, and the facts proven by modern DNA mapping techniques that demonstrate that he fathered children by his slave Sally Hemings.

    I rate this book most accurately at 4.00 out of 5.00 stars. It is a must read for devotees of the Revolutionary period, and for those interested in Jefferson or John Adams. Ellis could have rated higher by really getting in depth in the many complex facets of Jefferson's personality, ability the author demonstrates better in other works. The book is worth reading and valuable for reference work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling Study of a Founding Father
    Of all the historical characters I have ever read about, Thomas Jefferson by far is the most complex. His entire life seems to be a contradiction. The writer of the Declaration of Independence, yet he owned slaves all his life, refusing to free them even in his will. Opposed to any kind of centralized federal government, yet under his presidential administration, the US doubled in size with the Federal government purchase of the Louisiana territory. Author Ellis does a superb job of noting these contradictions and many other weaknesses displayed by Jefferson throughout his career. A Francophile, Jefferson was totally unable to predict the violence of the French Revolution, even though he was living in Paris during the time. During the American Revolution, Jefferson wrote the Declaration and then disappeared to Monticello, then leaving men like Adams and Washington to put his ideas into action. This particularly charactertizes the actions of Jefferson- his thoughts were so idealistic as to be incompatible with reality. This is opposed to Adams, a thoroughly pragmatic man. Time and again, author Ellis contrast Jefferson to Adams and in the majority of the instances, Jefferson loses. Yet, the American public is still drawn to Jefferson while Adams does not seem to generate that kind of esteem. Why? Jefferson was an idealist, who talked about the moral goodness of man and thought the human race able to function with very little in the ways of laws, government oversite, etc. These ideas were portayed by Jefferson in his writings which fed the higher nature in all of us. Men like Adams were much more pragmatic- ideas are fine, but what can we make that will actually work in the real world?

    This book does a wonderful job of trying to define the character of Jefferson and the title American Sphinx is more accurate. I don't believe we can truly know Jefferson and perhaps that's what makes him one of the most interesting of the Founding Fathers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a better understanding
    I imagine that in order to spend months and years researching and writing about an historical figure you must admire that person immensely, otherwise it would be terribly difficult to retain any interest. In most biographies, this usually translates into a deification of the subject. Not so in Joseph J. Ellis' AMERICAN SPHINX: THE CHARACTER OF THOMAS JEFFERSON.

    I'll confess that Jefferson has not always been one of my favorite founding fathers. I have always thought of him as duplicitous, racist, anachronistic in his thinking, vain, and cowardly in a way. As a New Yorker, I've always been irked by his bad-mouthing of the city, and by his insistence that the capitol of the new nation be moved from here to Washington, D.C. [Good riddance, by the way. We did just fine without being the capitol city, thank you very much ;-) ] And as I am a devout admirer of Alexander Hamilton... need I say more?

    After reading Ellis' other great book, FOUNDING BROTHERS, I began to get a more rounded look at Jefferson, one that shed a little more light on the human forces that may have been working on him. Then I read McCullough's brilliant biography of Jefferson's close friend (at times), John Adams. This led me to read this biography, and I am glad I did. I finally was given a better understanding of the sage of Monticello. Ellis does an admirable job of conveying an honest and balanced view of the chief author of the Declaration of Independence, without resorting to hero-worship, as do most biographers. At times, the writing was very moving, especially as Jefferson's loved ones began dying around him. I'm still not crazy about the guy, but I have a better appreciation of him.

    Ellis' writing is brisk, loaded with telling anecdotes, and never attempts to impress the reader with the research he has done. Other biographers would do well to follow Joseph Ellis' example. And lovers of American History would do well to read this book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Dry, but overall interesting
    This book took me about four months to read. I kept picking other books up and forgetting about this one. So it is not addictively readable, to say the least. In fact, it was difficult for me to read more than 15 pages at a time. I would find my attention wandering or my mind falling asleep.

    Dryness and drab writing aside, the book in the end was interesting. It is not a conventional biography. Unlike historians such as David McCulloch, Joseph Ellis digs deep into the story and into the character of Thomas Jefferson. It does not follow Jefferson from birth to death, chronicling life events. Instead, Ellis picks seminal points of Jefferson's life: his move to Paris, the Constitutional Convention, his stint as President, and his retirement to Monticello, and then examines Jefferson's attitudes, actions, and writings from these time periods to create a picture of the man. It answers the question "Who was Thomas Jefferson?" more thoroughly than any biography I have ever read.

    Ellis's Jefferson is not hugely likeable, but is very human. Ellis certainly succeeds in knocking Jefferson fro his hallowed pedastal, but only in making him human and fully fleshed, which in the end only can do Jefferson justice.

    After finishing this book (finally), I feel I have a pretty clear picture of Jefferson and his legacy, which makes me feel this read was very worthwhile.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Thomas Jefferson Survives
    If you've read about the Founding Fathers, you can't help but notice that Thomas Jefferson has an eerie elusive quality that the others just don't seem to possess. You can figure out Ben Franklin, George Washington, James Madison, etc.. Jefferson, however, seems to be someone who you can't quite pin down or so easily lay claim to by today's standards. As was once said of William James, "He's just like a blob of mercury, you cannot put a mental finger upon him." It probably has something to do with, as Ellis states in the book, the fact that he was far more inclined to rhetoric and theory than he was to the tedious gears of hand-on politics.

    I was expecting this book to cross the line in relation to dragging Jefferson into the present and beating him up a bit, but it kept within reasonable boundaries without either unrealistic hero worship or a foolish attempt at character assasination. Very readable and informative. ... Read more

    8. Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0394528360
    Catlog: Book (2002-04-23)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 9604
    Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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    Robert Caro's Master of the Senate examines in meticulous detail Lyndon Johnson's career in that body, from his arrival in 1950 (after 12 years in the House of Representatives) until his election as JFK's vice president in 1960. This, the third in a projected four-volume series, studies not only the pragmatic, ruthless, ambitious Johnson, who wielded influence with both consummate skill and "raw, elemental brutality," but also the Senate itself, which Caro describes (pre-1957) as a "cruel joke" and an "impregnable stronghold" against social change. The milestone of Johnson's Senate years was the 1957 Civil Rights Act, whose passage he single-handedly engineered. As important as the bill was--both in and of itself and as a precursor to wider-reaching civil rights legislation--it was only close to Johnson's Southern "anti-civil rights" heart as a means to his dream: the presidency. Caro writes that not only does power corrupt, it "reveals," and that's exactly what this massive, scrupulously researched book does. A model of social, psychological, and political insight, it is not just masterful; it is a masterpiece. --H. O'Billovich ... Read more

    Reviews (104)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best of the Three Volumes
    After reading all 1,040 pages of this biography cum political history there is something to be said for the book. Richard Caro does not admire LBJ. But there is much not to like about LBJ. In the worst way he was deceitful, manipulative, crude, selfish, cowardly, and dishonest, however he was also smart, a very hard worker, willing to make sacrifices to serve ambition, a student of human nature and thrived on politics. He knew what he had to do to get power and, when he had power, he knew how to use it. Caro's research is thorough yet he does not get lost in minutia. There is not a dull page in this tome. For an historian he has a smooth, if not elegant, writing style - reminiscent of David McCullough or Doris Kerns Goodwin.
    While this book covers only about 12 years of Johnson's life, it is rich in politics and history. For each biographical episode Caro sets the historical foundation to better understand the flow, the impact and importance of events. A compelling example of this concerns civil rights legislation. Caro does not limit his investigation to the weeks and months preceding the passage of the voting registration law of 1957, rather he goes back to Reconstruction and gives an historical thread up to the 1950's just to get the proper perspective. In this connection, LBJ for years stood with the South and shamelessly blocked civil rights legislation - doing do as a Senator, as minority leader and then as majority leader. It was at the 1956 Democratic convention that he got a rude awakening. He sincerely believed that he had a respectable chance at the nomination for president. It was there he learned that in the eyes of the rest of the country he was just another southern bigot. For the 1960 presidential run he would have to change that image by becoming a champion of civil rights. In executing this turn-around and orchestrating the passage of the first civil rights bill in 72 years Johnson's performance is truly masterful. History and personal ambition came together to serve the county. You can take the last 200 pages of this book alone and sell a 100,000 copies!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Caro Delivers on LBJ Again.
    As usual, Mr. Caro's work on LBJ is excellent. In particular, the book starts with a very absorbing overview of the US Senate, showcasing the concept of the founding fathers to make the Senate a bastion of calm and reason. However, he also shows the Senate's inherent flaws so keenly exploited by the southern senators who for many generations successfully fought off Civil Rights legislation. Mr. Caro includes a sobering and retrospective view of the Senate's inherent isolationism to include "what if" the Senate had ratified the Treaty of Versailles and America had joined the League of Nations.

    As an historian with a deep background in 20th Century America, I have a professional interest in the topic, but so should any reader with an interest in 1950's America, in particular during the tumultuous challenges brought on by the Cold War and the fight for Civil Rights .

    However, this book definitively showcases LBJ's years in the Senate. He remains a larger-than-life figure in American politics and his "history" is truly extraordinary.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A master work with a central flaw
    I have read all three of Robert Caro's volumes on LBJ with fascination. Caro is unsurpassed as a researcher, and while there is far too much repetition here (similar evidence marshalled to make a similar point) and too wide a sense of relevance (was it necessary to spend a chapter, for example, on Coke Stevenson's happy marriage AFTER he lost the 1948 Democratic Primary for the Senate to LBJ?) and a lot of stagey writing, too (eg, thundering one-sentence paragraphs), the degree to which Caro succeeds in reconstructing a context for the most minute of LBJ's machinations gives priceless insight and makes this a truly exciting work to read.
    The great flaw of these books, however, is that they make Johnson a one-dimensional character, a tireless self-seeker and manipulator of men and women who cannot live a day without furthering his ambitions. In the service of his cause, Caro's Johnson never commits himself, never gives a hint of his true views, if he has any. He started out as a New Dealer but with Southern Conservatives he always behaved like one of them. Then finally, added to this portrait of the shamelessly sycophantic bully, Caro also would have us believe that Johnson all along was an idealist who really wanted to help people, a trait that Caro sees expressed in LBJ's heroic early performance as a teacher of poor Texas children. This assessment will be borne out by the record of LBJ's presidency (Caro is still at work), when Johnson did abandon his Southern base and revert to the emulation of his original model, FDR. But there is no way that the Johnson has described so far will be able convincingly to be transformed into the idealistic reformer president Caro hints at in volume theree. The complexity of motivation simply isn't there in these three volumes. Caro's LBJ seems always to be approached through the eyes of others, whereas LBJ's own point of view remains elusive.
    LBJ's life makes a fascinating story--that of a man who used every dirty trick in the book on his way to the top, then tried to use his position to help people. Caro's book would have been better titled LBJ and the Art of Corruption, for he shows that part of the story brilliantly--how money and power work together (roughly, power equals money squared). It's the other side of the story that is unconvincing here, and we are still left wondering Who is the real LBJ?

    2-0 out of 5 stars Like chinese food: an hour later, you're hungry again
    I should start by saying I feel badly that I am only giving this book two stars, but I think the biggest factor affecting the rating should be the book's substance and general tone, and that is what I take issue with. That said, I will point out that the style of writing is classic and the sort that only appears in great works of nonfiction. Caro really is a very skilled writer and others should emulate his phraseology.

    The problem with the book is that, even though it's 1000 pages long, it feels oddly unsatisfying. I read it through and found myself asking, "Wait, how did he get control of the Senate again?" When you really look at it, Caro tends to say things like, "If so-and-so senator couldn't be persuaded by money or by concessions [or whatever else], then Johnson would just use his power to get the vote." Caro seems to keep using this phrase - Johnson would just use his "power" - to explain things. But that doesn't explain anything, and when you dig down to see what it means, Caro doesn't have any more of an answer than anyone else. He fails to really convey the "why" of things - why no one would vote for Estes Kefauver to get one some committee, or why everyone followed Russell's word so closely, or why the Policy committee decided so much. Any attempt to explain it just hits up against some well-written but basically empty passage saying how "clever" or "feared" or "powerful" Johnson or Russell was.

    The real reason for this failure is the basic exaggeration of Johnson's power. Caro makes him out to be the wisest, cleverest person since Solomon. But instead of being "Master of the Senate," Johnson is really just "Master of His Times." That is because Johnson, instead of imposing his will on the majority, like some seem to believe, really just shepherded the pre-existing will to passage. The heart of the book, the struggle over the 1957 Civil Rights bill, proves this. It passed not because Johnson singlehandedly made them do it, but because there was finally enough liberal support, coupled with Republican votes, to make it happen. Johnson may have insisted on making the deal, but any majority leader in office at the time could have done so as well.

    So the book's main failure is one of emphasis. By devoting so much well-written copy to a great story (but re-telling it with Johnson as the prime mover), Caro gives too much credit to his subject, and his slippery definition of the exact source of Johnson's power is a symptom of this. Many future politicians will surely try to use this book to imitate Johnson's feats; too bad there really isn't anything particularly exceptional to learn from them.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 4 Volumes on a Dead Man. What a Waste of Time
    4 Volumes on a Dead Man. What a Waste of Time.

    Homo-Erotism of a Dead President. LBJ Dead since 1973.
    I am always curious why smart people devote years obsessed with dead people, not to mention dead people from the long past.

    It must be a man acting out their homo-erotic fantasies out of another man. Of course, LBJ was Texas roughneck, cowboy, and Robert Caro, the pencil-neck geek must find this guy attractive.

    LBJ died in 1973 from a Heart Attack. He got kick out after one term in office, the Vietnam War was a diaster. The welfare state left us with billions in debt.

    All this can be debated in academic circles. But why devote three books to a man dead since 1973.

    Robert Caro, please get a life, a real job. All humans born, live and then die. The USA life expectancy is about 72. We can debate politics and so on.

    Weak males tend to be attracted to strong, dominating males and that explains why Robert Caro is devoting three books to a dead man. ... Read more

    9. Aryan Christ:, The : The Secret Life of Carl Jung
    list price: $35.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679449450
    Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 405089
    Average Customer Review: 2.93 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Carl Gustav Jung, along with Sigmund Freud, stands as one of the two most famous and influential figures of the modern age. His ideas have shaped our perception of the world; his theories of myths and archetypes and his notion of the collective unconscious have become part of popular culture. Now, in this controversial and impeccably researched biography, Richard Noll reveals Jung as the all-too-human man he really was, a genius who, believing he was a spiritual prophet, founded a neopagan religious movement that offered mysteries for a new age.

    The Aryan Christ is the previously untold story of the first sixty years of Jung's life--a story that follows him from his 1875 birth into a family troubled with madness and religious obsessions, through his career as a world-famous psychiatrist and his relationship and break with his mentor Freud, and on to his years as an early supporter of the Third Reich in the 1930s. It contains never-before-published revelations ab! out his life and the lives of his most intimate followers--details that either were deliberately suppressed by Jung's family and disciples or have been newly excavated from archives in Europe and America.

    Richard Noll traces the influence on Jung's ideas of the occultism, mysticism, and racism of nineteenth-century German culture, demonstrating how Jung's idealization of "primitive man has at its roots the Volkish movement of his own day, which championed a vision of an idyllic pre-Christian, Aryan past. Noll marshals a wealth of evidence to create the first full account of Jung's private and public lives: his advocacy of polygamy as a spiritual path and his affairs with female disciples; his neopaganism and polytheism; his anti-Semitism; and his use of self-induced trance states and the pivotal visionary experience in which he saw himself reborn as a lion-headed god from an ancient cult. The Aryan Christ perfectly captures the charged atmosphere of Jung's era and presents ! a cast of characters no novelist could dream up, among them Edith Rockefeller McCormick--whose story is fully told here for the first time--the lonely, agoraphobic daughter of John D. Rockefeller, who moved to Zurich to be near Jung and spent millions of dollars to help him launch his religious movement.

    As Richard Noll writes, "Jung is more interesting . . . because of his humanity, not his semidivinity." In giving a complete portrait of this twentieth-century icon, The Aryan Christ is a book with implications for all of our lives. ... Read more

    Reviews (28)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but not totally convincing
    In this book, Noll argues that not only did Jung create a religious movement but that Jung himself believed he was a savior of sorts. The first claim is, of course, completely convincing (and is, I believe, the main focus of Noll's _The Jung Cult_, which I have yet to read); the letter to C. Long which the author quotes late in the book pretty much closes that debate.

    On the other hand, I remain unconvinced concerning the nature of Jung's 'revelation' in 1913 and how he saw himself subsequently; i.e., whether he really believed he was the "Aryan Christ". Noll quotes extensively from dozens of documents, and many of them are very suggestive of this, but when actually coming to this point, I feel Noll loses his grip a little; in each case where this is stated, Noll momentarily leaves the historical evidence behind and infers this final point, which is, unfortunately, the basic thesis of the book.

    Still, despite that consistent flaw, which pops up about half a dozen times in the book, Noll's thesis that Jung saw himself as a god or savior is compelling, and I suspect that, if and when the Jung estate opens its archives, he will be proved correct. In the meantime, however, I must remain doubtful.

    The rest of the book concerns the development of Jung's various theories and is critical of the concept of the 'collective unconscious' while occasionally lauding Jung's contributions to personality typology. In contrast to critics of this book, I see no evidence that Noll has a 'hidden agenda'. In fact, for the most part I think he has been more than fair to Jung and his movement.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Banquet for Jungophobes
    I find Noll's previous Jungicidal effort more interesting and persuasive: first and foremost microanalyzing the roots of CGJ's intellectual edifice, from Haeckel and Driesch to Nietzsche. Unfortunately, insightful material was pretty much devalued by Noll's unique blend of personal vendetta against all things Jungian and glaringly obvious intent to write a bombastic bestseller. Anyway, I think Noll has accomplished at least three things:

    1. Wrote a convincing record on Jung's, er, "shadow"

    2. Traced his Lehrjahre and conceptual development ( albeit distastefully gloating over Jung's polygynistic "scandals" ). Still, I like the "neovitalism" and Mithraism parts - although, in all sincerity, I can't buy anti-Semitism, anti-Christianity and Blut-und-Boden Nazi parts. These two books ( I'd say, intentionally ) overlook Jung's later development, with Christ emerging as the most powerful ( for Westerners ) symbol of Self. In short: Jung's was/is a neo-Gnostic Christ, not "Aryan". Especially ridiculous is the contention that Jung considered himself to be a sort of "Messiah".

    3. Vented his rage and lo and behold...he was showered with $$$$$s and academic awards ( at least, one big fish in the net ). If Jung is pop, this is hip-hop, rave and rap combined.

    All in all: cca 40-50 pages from both books [The Aryan Christ and Noll's earlier work The Jung Cult] are valuable. The rest is a salacious chronicle a la Seutonius.

    1-0 out of 5 stars how projections and hurt feelings write a book
    an atrocious bunch of lies, innuendoes and half-truths rush to
    print aided by the New York Times book review, noted Jung-hater. One of the most irresponsible books to hit the presses in recent years, it
    masquerades as science in areas that most would not be able to
    challenge. And like the DaVinci Code (that at least has the grace to call itself fiction), Noll calls into question sacred cows. Noll obviously has a vendetta and is out to discredit and smear Jung. Reader beware! BS camouflaged as "scientific research".

    1-0 out of 5 stars Neither History nor Biography
    This is neither well-written nor well-supported argument. Terms are bandied about, such as the adjective "magical" to disparage activities, or "lie"--if everything I ever misremembered or simplified (after 60 years) was called a lie, I would be the anti-christ. People do forget, do simplify, do misremember without an active agenda of misrepresentation.

    Also, if all that my students ever did was laid at my door, I again would not relish the picture people formed of me. Jung was groping towards ways of articulating his perceptions, and he was treating and attracting a great many obviously disturbed people. That they misinterpreted him, etc., does not mean he encouraged that. Also, their memories are in several instances obviously shaped by personal agendas.

    There was not the clear exposition of the contentious view that Jung was a proto- or pronazi in the early years of Hitler. Except of course that he had "volkish" tendencies. The level of argument here would suggest that everyone who ever owned a volkswagen was anti-semitic and prohitler.

    No balance at all. Stupid stuff.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Agenda masquerading as a scholarly work
    Evident in the beginning of this book is the author's obvious disenchantment with Jung and his subsequent dislike of the man. Much of the book is filled with conjecture that is, in turn, used later as if it were fact. For example, early on Noll describes Jung and his associates as a cult, thereafter referring to any member of the Jungian persuasion as a "disciple" or "apostle", instead of what they truly were: patients, colleagues, and admirers. Noll also seems to be confused on the matter of Jung's concept of a person's deification. Anyone familiar with this Jungian concept or similar concepts based upon Gnosticism is probably aware that the terms "inner-god" or "Self" do not literally indicate a person's Godhood or the transformation into a God in the Classical sense, yet indicate a change in awareness that elevates the person's consciousness to a primal state that is in harmony with the universe. Although I can't remember the page this is on, Noll gives a quote by Jung that specifically states his view that psychoanalysis is but one way in which to achieve greater self-awareness, something that doesn't quite fit into the common cult mentality. Another example of the author's clear bias toward Jung is in his disregard for the accounts of patients helped by Jung's analysis. Whenever referring to one of Jung's new patients or followers, Noll uses such phrases as "fallen under Jung's spell" or "snarred by Jung", in obvious attempts to paint these people as if they were victims. When speaking of those that defected from Jungian thought, he uses the word "escaped". The fact that these people were clearly not victims, in fact mant were either cured or enjoyed prestigious careers due to their encounters with Jung, is conveniently never brought up. Fanny Bowditch Katz is a good example of this. Katz came to Jung on the verge of suicide, yet after treatment by Jung and his colleagues, Katz found meaning in her life. This is all mentioned in the book, yet Noll can't seem grasp that perhaps Katz's return to a healthy mental state may be an indication of what Jung was doing right... you would thing a Harvard grad. would have the ability to realize this!
    Anyway, there is so much that is bad about this book that 1000 words simply won't suffice. Many of Noll's arguments are either petty or thinly veiled attempts to portray Jung as a lunatic. He also employs that old trick of linking Jung to the Nazis in the last chapter and constantly mentions Jung's antisemitic tendancies (although he excuses Freud's anti-Gentile attitude). If the antisemitism of a thinker was a disqualifying factor for their ideas, we would have to disgard the likes of Luther, Goethe, Kant, Paine, Franklin, and a whole host of others. It is these types of irrelevant remarks attempting to discredit Jung that make up the bulk of this book.
    The only reason I don't rate the book lower is due to its cleverness in delivering its deceit.
    A true piece of trash produced by an otherwise intelligent individual. ... Read more

    10. Michael Jordan : On the Court with (Matt Christopher Sports Biographies)
    by Matt Christopher
    list price: $4.99
    our price: $4.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316137928
    Catlog: Book (1996-09-01)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 6900
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
    James and Deloris met in high school after attending a basketball game. They married on Feb. 17, 1963. Michael one of four children was born. The youngest son of the Jordan household, baseball was Michaels favorite sport. One day his father put up two wooden backboards and baskets and gave the boys a basketball. They called it the Rack. Michael practiced often to try to keep up with his brothers. When in high school it was recommended he attend a basketball camp known as a Five
    Star Camp. Education was always important to his parents, they knew that unless he was a good student all of his athletic talent would go to waste. In the fall of 1981 Michael enrolled in the University of North Carolina. After playing for three years there was little left for Michael to accomplish. He decided to turn pro and on June 19, 1984 he was picked by the Chicago Bulls. He made history and won championships for the Bulls and won consecutive MVP awards.

    I liked this book very much. It is very hard to shorten in length the information this book has given me about the life of this great basketball star.

    The saddest part of the book was when they talked about his father dying. From what the police could piece together James had apparantley pulled of the highway to take a nap and was attacked by two eighteen year old boys. They were later arrested and charged for the murder of James Jordan. Michael retired to spend more time with his family.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Caseys MJ review
    On the court with...michael jordan was the best book I've ever read. it waz soooo cool. It had everything i needed for my book project that i had to do for school. I learned so much about michael jordan after reading that book. i recommend u buy this book.i would give it 5 stars cause it waz the best.bye

    5-0 out of 5 stars the phat mj
    i think this book was the best book.i also hink mj is the best b-ball player well untill i come into the nba!=)i like how it tell about all his life and how he didnt make the high school team and i also learned a lot more than i already new i hope u read it

    4-0 out of 5 stars This is a good book.
    The number one sports writer for kids, Matt Christopher, writes about basketball superstar Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player ever. He covers his childhood, college career, his spectacular debut year in the NBA, his Championship years, and his current proffesional standing. Matt Christopher's easy-to-read style of writing makes this even better.

    4-0 out of 5 stars I love this book because it tells you about Michaels life
    In this book you learn about Michael's life and his struggles and his sucsess. When he was young he always played basketball with his dad,James. As he got older he grew very close to his dad. His dad was his best friend. In 1992 his dad got murded and Michael was in shock. He quit basketball to be with his family. He joined baseball for awhile, but then he quit. He then went back to play basketball for his dad. I loved this book. It tells you to go for your dreams and never give up even if something bad happens in your life. ... Read more

    11. The Life of Andrew Jackson (Perennial Classics)
    by Robert V. Remini
    list price: $18.00
    our price: $12.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060937351
    Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 23678
    Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The classic one-volume biography of Andrew Jackson

    Robert V. Remini's prizewinning, three-volumn biography, The Life of Andrew Jackson, won the National Book Award upon it's completion in 1984. Now, Remini captures the essence of the life and career of the seventh president of the United States in the meticulously crafted single-volume abridgement.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (16)

    3-0 out of 5 stars An all too brief summary of Jackson's life.
    "The Life of Andrew Jackson," written in 1988, is an abridgment of Robert V. Remini's masterful three-volume Jackson biography comprised of "Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Empire;" " Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Freedom;" and "Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Democracy."

    Normally, I shy away from reading single volume abridgments of multi-volume works. In this particular case, I ended up reading the shorter version AFTER I had finished Remini's longer, more detailed triptych. As abridgments go, "The Life of Andrew Jackson" is decently written. It encapsulates the long and controversial life of Andrew Jackson clearly and succinctly. Unfortunately, it has one glaring flaw: it lacks much of the fine detail I look for in presidential biographies.

    Exactly who was this extraordinary man who became our nation's chief executive? Born in 1767 in South Carolina, Jackson was Revolutionary War hero by age 12. As a young man, in Tennessee, he became a lawyer, judge, major general of the Tennessee militia. He made his fortune as a land speculator; married the great love of his life, Rachel Donelson. He killed at least two men while fighting several duels; the wounds he received while duelling caused him lifelong pain.

    Jackson gained national stature as a military hero. His most famous victory came on January 8, 1815, at the end of the War of 1812. It was there he led American forces to an overwhelming victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans.

    After losing in the 1824 Presidential election to John Quincy Adams, Jackson was elected President of the United States in 1828; a champion of majority rule in America, he passionately believed that the office of President was the only one that represented all the people, and that the president must be obedient to the will of all the people. Jackson's party became the Democratic party that lasts to this day. His political opponents became "National Republicans," then "Whigs," and finally, in the 1850's, the Republican party that exists today.

    When Andrew Jackson died in 1845, at age 78, his legacy was vast indeed. He left behind an America transformed by democratic principles; a nation which had taken its rightful place among the nations of the world; a nation of peace and prosperity. But, also a nation about to be riven by the simmering dual controversies of states' rights and slavery.

    Robert V. Remini's biographies of Andrew Jackson are imbued with the highest degree of scholarship, and brilliantly capture the essence of this towering figure in early nineteenth century history. Because Remini uses a wonderfully conversational writing style, the pace of the story never flags and the reading never becomes dry or stuffy. That's true even when Remini discusses political and economic issues.

    "The Life of Andrew Jackson's" primary flaw is its brevity. I think Remini cut far too much detail from this abridgment to do Jackson the level of justice he deserves. It touches too lightly on many aspects of Jackson's life and times. I got the feeling that "The Life of Andrew Jackson" was deliberately left too short in order to encourage readers to opt for the three-volume set.

    If you only want to familiarize yourself with the basics of Andrew Jackson, without going into any substantial detail, "The Life of Andrew Jackson" is the ideal book for you. You'll find a neat, brief encapsulation of the man and the President. If you'd like the broader, "meatier," more detailed story of our nation's 7th president: skip "The Life of Andrew Jackson" and go directly to Remini's much longer but much more detailed three-volume biography.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An engaging, eminently readable snapshot
    This is a gripping, well-written chronological account of Jackson's life from his 1767 birth in South Carolina to his death at the Hermitage in 1845. With a gifted, engaging literary style, Remini paints a series of memorable portraits of all the major scenes in Jackson's life. For instance, the opening pages describing the Battle of New Orleans are filled with more tension and excitement than most fiction!

    Remini's literary, impressionistic style works most of the time, but for the complex political issues that come up when Jackson is president a bit more analysis would be useful. For instance, Remini describes in detail Jackson's hatred of the Bank of the United States, but never goes into any detailed discussion about whether this hatred was justified or the putative wrong-doings of the Bank. In that sense, the book is incomplete.

    Some reviewers have worried that Remini overlooks the horrible fate of the Native Americans under Jackson's rule, such as the forced relocation of Native Americans to reservations west of the Mississippi. I must differ with these reviewers. For instance, in summarizing Jackson's treatment of the Native Americans, Remini says:

    The removal of the American Indians was one of the most significant and tragic acts of the Jackson administration. It was accomplished in total violation not only of American principles of justice and law but of Jackson's own strict code of conduct (this is from p. 219).

    Finally, to Remini's credit as an editor, the fact that this is a distilled version of his own three-volume work on Jackson never comes through. I would recommend 'The Life of Andrew Jackson' to anyone who wants an introduction to Andrew Jackson's personal and political lives, and doesn't mind missing out on some of finer political complexities of Jackson's time.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Andy,..quite a man
    Better than fiction, just good reading, entertaining and interesting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sad to be finished...felt like I knew the man
    I enjoyed every page of this biography. Jackson was an amazing man, who, like Theodore Roosevelt, wore so many hats during his lifetime, frontiersman (sorta), attorney, congressman, general, war hero, President...rebellious at times, pensive and practical at others...born out of the families of Ulster, this Scots-Irish president was one our greatest American gems.

    The book made me wish I had read the whole three volume, unabridged version. The writing at times was a bit akward, not sure if the author is from the US or Europe, but otherwise well written, specific, full of footnotes, quotes, etc. Gives you a real feel for what was going on. I'm off to Madison and Monroe.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Electrifying!
    After Washington and Lincoln, Andrew Jackson is possibly the most important President in American history, and the most over looked. This book is an abridgement of the author's three volume biography that took 15 years to write. But unlike other abridgements, this one is really quite excellent.

    Our first populist president, the first one to truly break the choke hold Virginia's aristocracy had on the formation and development of the early republic, Andrew Jackson was the first Chief Executive to put the American people first.

    Remini's Jackson is a man of incredible contrasts. Egotistical yet selfless, hateful yet tender, his devotion to his country is so intense that it borders on chauvinistic. Reckless in the extreme, his explosive temper makes one wonder how he managed to accomplish anything at all. Yet his accomplishments are so paramount and his impact on the development of the early United States so indelible that he has managed to leave a legacy of goodness, of uncorrupted power, second to none.

    We should all know more about Andrew Jackson. More than any other President he stood fast for the American people. God help the person or country that stood in the way of his serving his people and defending his Nation. ... Read more

    12. Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness
    by J. Randy Taraborrelli
    list price: $21.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1559720646
    Catlog: Book (1991-05-01)
    Publisher: Birch Lane Press
    Sales Rank: 529053
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    "Some of the rumors are true, some of the rumors are false, and a lot of the tales are just plain weird.There are speculations about sex, allegations of unchecked greed and suggestions of a highly dysfunctional family."


    After hundreds of interviews, celebrity biography J. Randy Taraborrelli tackes the rujors andinnendo that hover over the extraordinarily popular and talented family from Gary, Indiana.He traces the real story behind Michael's extensive plastic surgery; his bizarre publicity stunts; the mini-Disneyland built for his private use; the exciting Motown days of chart-busting records and tours; the phenomenal solo success that has brought Michael undreamed-of wealth and also great personal pain, and much more.It's the whole Jackson Family saga, and it's all in here.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (23)

    5-0 out of 5 stars WHAT A BOOK!!!!
    I am a huge mj fan, when i first saw this book in the book shop i read on till the shop manager told me to stop!!I had to buy it. I took it home and just could not put it down. The detail it goes into is unbelievable!So much is revealed about the "King of Pop". This book answers all the questions you would ask if you were talking to michael yourself. Taraborrelli tells us of Michaels childhood and his problems with his father. Never before heard facts are shared, such as his relationship with Tatum O'Neil and his immense feelings for Diana Ross. Not only does this biography help us understand Michael, it also tells us a great deal about his brothers and sisters. Before reading this book i was pretty sure the horrible accusations about Michael were untrue, but now i have read this book i would bet everything i own on Michael not being found guilty!!This is a must have book for not just MJ fans but for anyone who has heard of him. Basically everyone in the civilized world should read it!!!!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BIOGRAPHY EVER WRITTEN!
    J. Randy Taborelli has written a compelling and engrossing biography of Jackson and his family. Taborelli is obviously a huge fan of Michael and his brother's music. His analysis of their career is brilliant. Taborelli's insight into the record business is fascinating. Especially interesting is his knowledge of Berry Gordy and Motown. I really enjoyed reading about The Jackson 5's split from Motown to go to Epic records. Taborelli tells truth about the jacksons; warts and all. But unlike sleazy talentless biographers, Taborelli puts heart and humor into his work. Taborelli, like the people who would want to buy his book, obviosly cares a great deal about Michael and his music.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A BETTER UNDERSTANDING
    I bought this book about two years ago. I consider myself a fan of Michael's and sometimes wondered why does he do the things that he do? But after reading this book, mostly everything that was said or published about him were fabricated by his people to make him seem more interesting. However, it backfired in the worst way. I realized that he has alot of insecurities, and tries too hard to live up to everyones expectations of him. Also, he's been hurt and betrayed quite often. Not to say that he didn't also betray a friend(ie. Paul McCartney). Even through his current legal troubles, you still get a better understanding of him in this book. On a serious note, if he can ever get out of this situation, he definitely needs to talk to a professional about his past and present, so he can move on to the future.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book to read and RE-read
    excellent excellent book. Highly entertaining, detailed, objective. Forget about the other MJ biographies, cuz this book gives you the low-down on everything, the "behind-the-scenes".

    It covers not only his life, but the inner-motivations of his decisions, mind, thoughts, reasoning, relationships especially. Excellent!

    5-0 out of 5 stars It made me feel sorry for Michael
    Although I don't condone his behavior, I can understand now why Jackson acts the way he does.

    This guy had a childhood from hell and the family weirdness goes WAAAAY back....from the ridiculous names to the multiple divorces to the cold, unfeeling parents who are convinced child abuse is discipline.

    Joe Jackson belongs in a cage. Katherine could have done SO much better than this arrogant womanizer who seems to enjoy terrorizing children.

    The book did something I never thought would happen: it made me feel sorry for Michael Jackson. ... Read more

    13. Thomas Jefferson
    by R. B. Bernstein
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $16.38
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0195169115
    Catlog: Book (2003-08-01)
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Sales Rank: 5350
    Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Thomas Jefferson designed his own tombstone, describing himself simply as 'Author of the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.' It is in this simple epitaph that R.B. Bernstein finds the key to this enigmatic Founder--not as a great political figure, but as leader of 'a revolution of ideas that would make the world over again.' In Thomas Jefferson, Bernstein offers the definitive short biography of this revered American--the first concise life in six decades.Bernstein deftly synthesizes the massive scholarship on his subject into a swift, insightful, evenhanded account.Here are all of Jefferson's triumphs, contradictions, and failings, from his luxurious (and debt-burdened) life as a Virginia gentleman to his passionate belief in democracy, from his tortured defense of slavery to his relationship with Sally Hemings. Jefferson was indeed multifaceted--an architect, inventor, writer, diplomat, propagandist, planter, party leader--and Bernstein explores all these roles even as he illuminates Jefferson's central place in the American enlightenment, that 'revolution of ideas' that did so much to create the nation we know today. Together with the less well-remembered points in Jefferson's thinking--the nature of the Union, his vision of who was entitled to citizenship, his dread of debt (both personal and national)--they form the heart of this lively biography.In this marvel of compression and comprehension, we see Jefferson more clearly than in the massive studies of earlier generations. More important, we see, in Jefferson's visionary ideas, the birth of the nation's grand sense of purpose. ... Read more

    Reviews (16)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best one volume Jefferson biography I've read
    A great book. This wonderful biography takes an unbiased look at the life of Thomas Jefferson. By not trying to stir things up or offer his opinion on an unresolvable issue, Bernstein succeeds in bring Jefferson's life into clear focus.

    Well written and very informative, this would be a great indroduction, or a great re-introduction, to Jefferson. From there you can try the many other Jefferson biographies (Dumas Malone's 6 Volume Set, etc..) or one of the many book that examine his character and/or certain events in his life (American Sphinx, Understanding Jefferson, Negro President, etc...).

    Highly Recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Response to Richard E. Dixon
    I read with mingled exasperation and disappointment Richard E. Dixon's misleading review of my book. To cite particulars:

    * There was no way for me to cover everything in a book of this length, so an omission of a statement that Jefferson's work on the Virginia capitol was the introduction of classical forms of architecture to America is hardly an error or a fumble.

    * I grounded my interpretation of Napoleon's actions regarding the Louisiana Purchase on the work of Peter Onuf, Jon Kukla, Lawrence Kaplan, Roger Kennedy, and Alexander De Conde. Since my book appeared, the recent Monticello Monograph by James E. Lewis has appeared, and is in accord with the arguments already cited. If he disagrees with their -- and my -- interpetations, that is a disagreement, not a historical error.

    * On page 74, I wrote that Jefferson HELPED to move Madison from opposing a bill of rights to favoring it. I have noted the four reasons that Madison made this transition in my 1987 book ARE WE TO BE A NATION? THE MAKING OF THE CONSTITUTION and my 1993 book AMENDING AMERICA -- those including (i) Madison's pledge during ratification; (ii) his recognition that the Federalists' pledge to work for amendments was a necessary concession to popular opinion; (iii) his working out a solution -- embodied in the Ninth Amendment -- to his fear that a bill of rights might omit rights by failing to list them; and (iv) his having been influenced by Jefferson. I cited AMENDING AMERICA in JEFFERSON (210n118). No fair-minded reader would have drawn the conclusion that Mr. Dixon drew from that passage, or from the larger discussion on pages 72-74.

    * On page 137, I write that the Executive Mansion is "now known as the White House." "Now" in that passage means today, not in Jefferson's or Madison's presidency. Indeed, not till Theodore Roosevelt's presidency (1902 or 1903) did the Executive Mansion acquire its official name of the White House. No fair-inded reader would have misread the text as Mr. Dixon misread it.

    * On the Sally Hemings question, Mr. Dixon is unpersuaded and, I find from previous experience of his approach to this controversy, unpersuadable. One specific error that he made in misrepresenting my work: I note in my text at page 196 that the DNA study disproved the Woodson claim. His "reasoning" on Frasier Nieman's study -- which consists of dubbing it a "Monte Carlo" methodology, then claiming that another scholar using a similar "Monte Carlo" methodology failed miserably, with the implicit conclusion that Mr. Nieman's study is similarly a miserable failure -- is worthy of a place as an illustrative example in Jeremy Bentham's HANDBOOK OF POLITICAL FALLACIES.

    I respectfully but firmly request that Mr. Dixon withdraw his imputations against my book. I would have written to him privately, but I could not find a current, valid email address for him.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good overview of Jefferson life but author stumbles
    Thomas Jefferson's long and accomplished life resists compression into a one volume treatment. Professor R. B Bernstein almost meets the challenge but not without some lapses. He misses the importance of Jefferson's design of the Virginia State Capitol as the introduction of classical architecture to public buildings. It was not Jefferson's influence that brought James Madison to accept the need for a bill of rights, but the opposition of Virginia and other states to the adoption of a Constitution that lacked such amendments. It was the loss of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) that caused Napoleon to give up his dream of a western empire, not the costs of maintaining the Louisiana Territory. Bernstein succumbs to the revisionist effort to create a persona for Sally Hemings in asserting she was given "extensive authority over running" Monticello.

    There are errors of fact which should have been caught by the readers Bernstein credits in his Acknowledgments: Eston Hemings was born in 1808, not 1809; the earliest references to the Presidents House as the White House was 1812, not at the time Jefferson moved into it; Sally Hemings never went to Ohio with her sons, but died in Charlottesville.

    It is disappointing to read the "proof" Bernstein, a law professor, accepts in the last chapter when he discusses whether Jefferson fathered children by Sally Hemings. Bernstein is one of the "believers" scattered throughout academia who have followed a pattern of making the test for paternity "could he have" rather than "did he." Two examples suffice. One, in his first term as president, the Federalist press accused Jefferson of fathering a son Tom with Hemings. A Woodson family had long claimed they are the descendants of this Tom. Although DNA tests destroyed this myth, Bernstein calls the family stories of other descendants of Sally Hemings "oral history" and insists they are "proof" of paternity. Two, Bernstein endorses a Monte Carlo simulation by an archeologist at Monticello on the "odds" that Jefferson was the cause of Hemings' conceptions. If this gibberish had any value Bernstein should take it to the racetrack. Recently, a professor at St. Joseph's University did a Monte Carlo simulation for the NCAA basketball tournament. In the round of sixteen, he got eight right.

    In short, not the "brilliant" biography praised on the back cover, but certainly a readable and thorough one. Just skip the last chapter.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Food for thought
    I have nothing but glowing praise for this author of "Thomas Jefferson", R.B. Bernstein. I just wanted to say that I agree with all the reviewers who gave the book good marks. I also took one reviewer's suggestion and went on to read "West Point:Thomas Jefferson.." by Remick and found it different than the Bernstein book and other T.J. books because it is not so much ABOUT Jefferson, as is a biography, but FROM Jefferson, the moral history and philosophy being drawn from his own readings and writings. I recommend after reading Bernstein's "Thomas Jefferson" you go on to the book by Remick, if you enjoy food for thought.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very readable
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned a significant amount about this most interesting character. It is interesting to compare with "An Imperfect God" by Wiencek, which seems to dislike Jefferson somewhat, perhaps justifiably in places, where these subjects (such as that of Sally Jennings) are dealt with kid gloves in this book. ... Read more

    14. The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1)
    list price: $45.00
    our price: $29.70
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0394499735
    Catlog: Book (1982-11-12)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 58948
    Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Part One Of Three Parts

    THE PATH TO POWER reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the superhuman drive, energy and urge to power that fueled LBJ. It is the first part of Caro's project and brings LBJ from childhood to Washington.

    Johnson showed political genius early on. His boyhood, filled with friendship and maneuver, set the stage for later moves. He consolidated power in powerful friendships and, in D.C., leveraged the loyalities of his youth.

    "Here as never before is Lyndon Johnson--his Texas, his Washington, his America--in a book by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author that brings us as close as we have ever been to a true perception of political genius and the American political process." (Publisher's Source) ... Read more

    Reviews (62)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A great read, but.....
    This huge first volume of Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson tells the story of Johnson's life up to the time of his defeat in the Texas senatorial election of 1941.

    I enjoyed the book very much, staying up late into the night to read more, yet having now finished it I thought that - somewhat perversely perhaps - the book's weaknesses as a biography were its strengths as a more general work of historical analysis.

    Although the book is about Johnson, Caro doesn't restrain himself from letting his focus shift away from Johnson for long stretches: for example, the natural history and settlement of the Texas Hill Country are described in detail (fascinating to someone like me who knew next to nothing about these subjects); and the lives of other people who were important to Johnson are described in great detail (Sam Rayburn in particular).

    I was happy to follow Caro down these roads, as he wrote so compellingly - for example, the descriptions of women's lives in the Hill Country should destroy a few rural myths. Other historians would have abbreviated or summarised such descriptions to the absolute minimum necessary to add to the reader's understanding of the context of the subject's life, whilst maintaining the overall focus on the subject himself. Indeed, at times, Caro loses sight of Johnson completely, and the book becomes more of a general history.

    I felt that Caro made up his mind that Johnson was an utterly unscrupulous and amoral politician, totally devoted to the acquisition of power. The picture he paints of Johnson and of American democracy is unflattering - elections and politicians are there to be bought - money is everything. We're in a precursor stage to the "military-industrial complex". Even where Johnson did good, Caro's praise is brief (for example in his determination to force through the rural electrification program). I thought that there needed to be a better balance - surely there were issues other than money and gerrymandering that decided elections in the US? Or am I being naive?

    Also, if Johnson the man was such a hated person, why did he evoke such loyalty? It seems too dismissive to explain this by stating that other people were furthering their own self-interest through Johnson.

    I feel somewhat churlish at criticising a book I enjoyed so much, but I will read the next volume!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The autoritative LBJ biography.
    Caro's work is simply flabbergasting. I read the 768 page book in a week flat (and ordered Vol. 2 at the mid-point to ensure I could seamlessly continue).

    The key to the work is the way in which Caro is able to take a complex set of events and explain it in the context of a central theme. For example, Caro uses the building of the Marshall Ford dam to explain the urgency with which Herman Brown and Alvin Wirtz worked to get Johnson elected to the House.

    In short, the book is well-written, thorough, and smart. Caro adds the extra value we require of a historian -- that is, he doesn't merely retell events, he places them in a coherent context so that we can understand what made LBJ. In the end, the portrait is a complex but ultimately scary one of power sought for power's sake.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest biography in print
    The Path to Power is probably the greatest biography ever written.

    I'm a Texan, but a Republican, and I never particularly admired LBJ for his political decisions. However, he's a fascinating study in contemporary politics. Even if you hated Lyndon, he was the most masterful politician of the 20th Century.

    This book is a 24 karat gold winner. I've probably re-read it twenty times and each time I learn something else.

    The Washington Post called it "a book of radiant excellence". That is a gross understatement. This book transcends everthing I have ever read about American politics.

    It captures the true feelings, emotions, ambitions, and everything else about America in the middle of the 20th century.

    This is the most compelling book I have ever read. You have to read it too. Get it now. You'll love me and thank me later for recommending it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 4 Volumes on a Dead Man since '73. Get a Life Please
    Homo-Erotism of a Dead President. LBJ Dead since 1973.

    I am always curious why smart people devote years obsessed with dead people, not to mention dead people from the past.

    It must be a man acting out their homo-erotic fantasies out of another man. Of course, LBJ was Texas roughneck, cowboy, and Robert Caro, the pencil-neck geek must find this guy attractive.

    LBJ died in 1973 from a Heart Attack. He got kick out after one term in office, the Vietnam War was a diaster. The welfare state left us with billions in debt. All this can be debated in academic circles. But why devote four books to a man dead since 1973.

    Robert Caro, please get a life, a real job. All humans born, live and then die. The USA life expectancy is about 72. We can debate politics and so on. LBJ has been dead for 31 years.

    Weak males tend to be attracted to strong, dominating males and that explains why Robert Caro is devoting three books to a dead man.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book
    I picked up this book on a recommendation from a coworker who said that LBJ was the most intriguing character of all the America presidents. I've read several past presidential biographies and I felt that LBJ's legacy and history were important for me if I were to grasp the motivating forces behind Civil Rights history and Vietnam.

    This book exceeded my expectations and turned out to be a gripping read. Caro gives his reader story, character, and research. The length of this book is its strength because he gives the reader so much context for the events. Before talking about how LBJ brought electric power to his impoverished home district for example, Caro breaks away for a 14 page illumination of the realities of day to day to living without electricity entitled "The Sad Irons". Where many other biographers make their subject the sole focus, Caro generously supplies his reader with the details that make you empathize for the characters he portrays. In that sense, I put this book almost up there with Richard Kluger's "Simple Justice" for its ability to create vibrant vivid history.

    Caro does see LBJ in a somewhat negative light, although he tries to temper his criticism with understanding of why he became the way he is. Caro respects the political genius of Johnson in his admiration for Johnson's work ethic and drive during the 1937 campaign for Congress. He also admires how LBJ did take pride and gain satisfaction for the individual voters that he presented and the benefits he won for them as a Congressman.

    Yet I expect a Macbeth as I read Caro's later volumes. Caro disapproves of Lyndon's unwillingness to take a stand and reveals how the Lyndon Johnson succeeded in part because he was a "professonal son" exceedingly capable of earning the good graces of those with the power to help him be they Sam Rayburn, President Roosevelt, or even the college president as he struggled to earn tuition.

    So many episodes in this book will linger. I almost wish LBJ had been an anonymous teacher after hearing how successful he was in the two positions he held early on in his career. The power that he earned through his stint as unofficial Congressional campaign manager is amazing as is his ability to balance New Deal rhetoric with conservative financial backing.

    Besides LBJ you gain the story of his rural district, a lesser know side of the New Deal, the beginnings of the awesome power of Texas Oil and understanding of democratic politics.

    I could go on so much, but all I can say is if you are at all interested in LBJ this book will be worth the effort.

    5 stars!

    --SD ... Read more

    15. Thomas Jefferson : Writings : Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters (Library of America)
    by Thomas Jefferson, Merrill D. Peterson
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $22.05
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 094045016X
    Catlog: Book (1984-08-01)
    Publisher: Library of America
    Sales Rank: 8629
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The most comprehensive one-volume selection of Jefferson ever published. Contains the "Autobiography," "Notes on the State of Virginia," public and private papers, including the original and revised drafts of the Declaration of Independence, addresses, and 287 letters. ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Comprehensive Collection
    This edition of Jefferson's writings is an excellent comrehensive collection. Edited by Jefferson biographer Merrill Peterson this volume is a treasure.

    It includes Jefferson's Anas, Autobiography, The Notes on Virginia( complete), Summary View of the Rights of British America, his version of the Declaration of Independence, numerous public papers, and addresses. This volume is a must have for the Jefferson reader. It also very necassary for the current state of the American Republic which would be wise to hear the words of this great man. A great buy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Jefferson, a renaissance man.
    This book is a treasure: it contains many of the writings of Thomas Jefferson, and his letters.
    They are reveal a crisp thinking, like Voltaire, Rousseau, the abbey Gregoire, Rabeau Saint Etienne, and other geat thinkers of the 17th Century (T.Jefferson meet with most), as well a Pascal who was way ahead of his time. TJ try to explain the rational for generosity, compassion, respect for life, respect for people, respect for justice, and more: anyone who claims to be president of the USA (or any sovereign nation) should read and understand this book. Unfortunatly this is probably not the case... Politicians love to use a citation of TJ, but their policies would often be despised by TJ.
    Let's hope that the future will give the US presidents with the values of this great thinker, and for the time being let's just be patient.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Almost One Stop Research
    As a student in England, doing work on military academies, I came across the notes, papers, writings, etc of Thomas Jefferson in the bibliography of "West Point", by Norman Thomas Remick. I'm absolutely thrilled that Merrill D. Peterson has put it all together in one 1600 page book. It makes this part of my project almost like one stop shopping. The book is marvelous as a research reference, while at the same time being very interesting reading. By the way, as I see that the book "West Point" is not among the Amazon books on Thomas Jefferson, I hereby highly recommend it to you. It was marvelously interesting, as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Needed NOW More Than Ever!
    JEFFERSON: Writings, Autobiography, Notes on the State of Virginia ... etc. is a collection of Thomas Jefferson's political soul in writing.

    Today, perhaps the most anti-democratic bipartisan political elements in American history infiltrated the United States Congress ... wrapping themselves in the mantle of Thomas Jefferson. The ONLY antidote for their well orchestrated propaganda is to actually know what Jefferson stood for by reading what he himself advocated for the democratic republic of the United States of America.

    In 1984, the Library of America published this indispensible collection of the most important of Jefferson's writings. And just like his Declaration of Independence and his friends' Constitution it is necessary to have this resource on your bookshelf.

    Speaking of the Declaration of Independence, did you know after Jefferson wrote it out "perfectly" [his words] the first time, the colonial representatives who would eventually sign this document revised it at least TWICE? All versions of Jefferson's nation building document are included in "Thomas Jefferson Writings ..." Read about his first condemnation of slavery in the Declaration ... which was deleted by the representatives, and more.

    Also, read Jefferson's letter while to James Madison he was in France; in which he strongly recommends including a bill of rights in the new constitution. Also read in his letters to Madison exactly what is Jefferson's concept of a just economy, and much more.

    At $25, this book is the 20th and 21st Centuries' biggest bargain!! ... Read more

    16. Flawed Giant: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1960-1973
    by Robert Dallek
    list price: $40.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0195054652
    Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Sales Rank: 153890
    Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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    In the opening pages of Flawed Giant, readers meet adowntrodden politician whose greatest ambition--the presidency--istantalizingly close but seemingly out of reach. JFK's elder by almost20 years, Johnson was a reluctant and unenthusiastic vice president.When he finally realized the office, his satisfaction there was marredby his difficulty in reconciling his deeply held beliefs and politicalexpediency. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Lone Star Rising,biographer Robert Dallek concentrates on Johnson's White House years.In addition to expertly covering the major events of Johnson'spresidency, Dallek probes lower-profile episodes that help exposeJohnson's character. His agonizing search for a vice president in 1964is one such example--in order to salve his ego, Johnson was adamantthat he should win reelection without a Kennedy on the ticket andresisted both the Democratic party and Robert Kennedy right up until the convention.

    Dallek is skilled at laying bare the man's complicated and evencontradictory nature. At diplomacy, Johnson often seemed like a loud,brash American, yet successful trips to Southeast Asia and Africa asvice president prove his occasional adroitness in this area. One ofJohnson's Achilles' heels, it seems, was paranoia; a firm believer inthe fact that knowledge is power, Johnson rarely communicated his trueintentions or feelings, even to his closest confidants or cabinetmembers, until the last. And he secretly tape-recorded thousands ofconversations with people at all levels of government. Dallek aversthat Johnson's impenetrability is the reason why much of his action onVietnam defies explanation. And the dark cloud of the war now largelyobfuscates Johnson's impressive congressional record. Careful toneither vilify nor deify his subject, Dallek devotes large sections ofthe book to both Vietnam and Johnson's major accomplishments in thearea of reform and funding for programs such as civil rights, Medicare,clean air and water, the NEA, public broadcasting, and food stamps.

    This engrossing biography is peppered throughout with snippets of its subject's trademark: colorfully idiomatic speech that brings himvibrantly to life. Based upon exclusive interviews with Lady BirdJohnson and Bill Moyers, as well as recently released papers andtranscripts, Dallek's biography is a major contribution to thecollective understanding of this man whose passions had a major impacton American society. ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Sympathetic but the Fairest work on LBJ
    LBJ, a very complex and contrdictory man, is often remembered for the failings of the Great Society and is often blamed for U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Thus, him and Richard Nixon have unfairly become the scapegoats of an entire generation. One thing that I deeply admire about Johnson was his partiotism but, unfortunately, his partiotism and his idealism were not a good mix. It was a noble gesture to try and end poverty and fight a limited war at the same time, but economically and socially, it was just not feasible. His policy of "Guns" and "Butter" drove the United States into domestic chaos and shattered the economy to an extent that it is still suffering from the Johnson years. My main criticism of Dallek would be the fact that he downplayed Johnson's patriotism and belief that Vietnam was a just cause. After McGovern won the party's nomination in 1972, Johnson became somewhat disillusioned with the party and continued to support Nixon in the war. There is little emphasis on the fact that Vietnam was a just war, but the Johnson administration, composed of JFK's elite advisors, manhandled the war in such a way that the national will never was able to recover and thousands of people were lost because of those blunders. Other than the aforementioned criticisms, 'Flawed Giant' is the most definitive work on Johnson and is recommended to and student of U.S. History.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Definitive Johnson
    Robert Dallek's concluding volume on Lyndon Johnson completes what is to date the definitive biographical account of Johnson's life. Flawed Giant primarily deals with Johnson's Presidential years and is a bit more sober in tone than the lyrical Lone Stare Rising. But Dallek provides a fresh look at the difficult decisions facing a conflicted man with absorbing detail. This is no small feat, as the events of Johnson's life from 1961 to 1973 have been picked apart by biographers, historians and journalist again and again. It is unfortunate that the middlebrow, popular accounts of Johnson's life by Robert Caro have received so much attention. The result has been that serious biography on this subject has not been given it's day in the sun. I should note that Robert Dallek's comments about Mr. Caro have been much kinder to the popular writer than mine. Flawed Giant is a must read for those interested in American history and politics.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Skip this one!
    Dalleck is a third rate historian who has produced a poorly-written, pro-LBJ screed that provides almost new information. Read Robert Caro and learn the truth.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Sequel
    Unlike some other reviewers, I was not disappointed by this sequel to Lone Star Rising. LBJ was so complex, and so was his Presidency. I've read many books on him and often get the impression given by the parable of the elephant and the three blind men: each writer gives a part of the description of the 'elephant' that was Johnson, but no real complete picture. Mr. Dallek comes closer, in my opinion, to representing the complete picture of Johnson and his Presidency, than others. I've always viewed Johnson in the same mold as FDR, in terms of scope of personality and ability to place a personal stamp on his Presidency. Both mean had such great assets and achievements, and both had great shortcomings. The difference that comes to mind immediately is Johnson's lack of confidence in many judgments and life-long lack of self-confidence; this is well-illustrated in this book. Unlike Roosevelt, Johnson lacked the ability to disguise his motives and emotions in an ongoing manner.

    Like other reviewers, I only wish there had been greater coverage of Johnson's Vice-Presidential years. I've never read any detailed history of this period in Johnson's life, other than the feuding with the Kennedy clan. There's probably a book here for someone willing to spend the time and effort.

    Dallek's writing is much more balanced than the books by Caro, and I think history will prove them of greater value.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent biography of a complex president.
    This is the second volume of a two-volume biography; the first is "Lone Star Rising", which covers Johnson's life up until his run for the vice-presidency with JFK; this volume covers his years as vice president, president, and his short retirement.

    Dallek does a very good job of showing both the positives and the negatives of a man who he demonstrates clearly deserves the title of the book. Johnson is unquestionably a giant of American history; his domestic accomplishments, most notably pushing the Civil Rights Act through congress (something that few other men could have accomplished in the same position, given that Johnson had more influence with southern politicians who were inclined to oppose the act than most liberal democrats at the time) are certainly undeniable. Yet his flaws were spectacular too, notably his handling of the Vietnam war; it isn't just that he escalated the war from a minor, we-had-a-few-advisors-over-there situation to a situation in which thousands of Americans were dying; it isn't just that he refused to pull out when it became apparent that we weren't going to win the war anytime soon, and that Americans by and large didn't support the cost in lives of staying the course. It's that he lied repeatedly about our prospects there in order to build support for something that he knew perfectly well people wouldn't support if they knew the truth, and that he became downright paranoid on the subject, considering anyone who disagreed with him on it to be a "commie dupe" and a "traitor". It's that he subtly undercut the presidential campaign of Hubert Humphrey, his own vice-president and the man most likely to continue his domestic policies, in favor of Richard Nixon, because Nixon's stance on Vietnam seemed more in keeping with his own.

    Dallek does an excellent job of detailing all of this, and having read this book, I am both more aware of the good Johnson did, and more aware of the reasons why, prior to reading this book, I did not credit his presidency for that good; all I knew prior to reading this book was the negative side of the story, and not even all of that. ... Read more

    17. Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty - Volume III (Jefferson and His Time, Vol 3)
    by Dumas Malone
    list price: $36.00
    our price: $36.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316544752
    Catlog: Book (1962-01-30)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 217588
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The third volume in Dumas Malone's distinguished study of Thomas Jefferson and his time deals with one of the most fascinating and controversial periods of Jefferson's life. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Research paper vs. Story Telling
    So far i have given this series thumbs up due to the historical significance coupled with Duman Malone's detailed account of Thomas Jefferson in the period during which the story takes place. This book is more qualified to be a research paper, not a historical account of Thomas Jefferson. The high level of detail the book provides, in most cases, is overpowering and often times delutes the significance of the important details. Especially excruciating to read was TJ political account. If Dumas Malone would have had additional records of TJ's most insignificant and irrelevant actions during the priod, he would have included it in detail as well. Dumas Malone did quite a poor job of filtering unnecessary details, causing the reader to fequently tune out. The story was drawn out, and focused too little on his personal life in comparison to his political life.

    Also curious was the mention of TJ's slaves and his attitudes towards them without giving any account to Sallie Hemmings (other than mentioning the Hemmings Family name). Some objectiveness would be refreshing in this series... It appears as if Dumas Malone provides a very one sided account of Thomas Jefferson. Whether certain claims regarding TJ are founded or not, they should still be included in the story. The author should not filter information on the basis of convenience or lack of objectivity.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty
    Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty written by Dumas Malone is the third installment of six in the life and times of Thomas Jefferson and according to the author the most arduous to write. The time frame of this segment starts where the second volume left off and continues to the election of Thomas Jefferson to his first term as President of the United States, (1792 - 1801).

    This volume is divided into four seperate sections of Jefferson's life in this series of years, but Jefferson as Secretary of State, has frustrations in Philadelphia and as we see most of them are Hamilton in origin. Begining the first segment we see Jefferson completing his secretaryship of state, the second deals with his early retirement to Monticello, third section deals with the growth of political parties and Jefferson's reluctance to be the head of the opposition to the Federalists, and the fourth segment deals with the basic individual freedoms of the people being seriously imperiled.

    Even though the author stated than this was a difficult time to write about Thomas Jefferson, it is apparent, through the tone of this book that great care was given to portray Jefferson as he was in life... we even get to glimpse at a dark side of Jefferson as the heated frustration with Hamilton begins its culmination, as Jefferson relies on James Madison to do the "dirty work."

    This is a fascinating and contriversial time in Jefferson's life and the author tells the story well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Continuing conflict between Jefferson and Hamilton
    This volume continues to explore Jefferson's tenure as Secretary of State and his battles with Hamilton. What's interesting is the effect Hamilton's assaults had on Jefferson's reputation: by imbuing him with every quality from limitless guile to "great passion," Hamilton makes Jefferson into a colossus in the public eye. Jefferson was more passive than Hamilton thought. One interesting thing about this book is that you get glimpses of Jefferson's dark side. In one letter to Madison, Jefferson asks Madison to "cut [Hamilton] to pieces in the face of the public." Ouch.

    Also, the story of Citizen Genet is pretty funny. Genet thought he could somehow go above the head of the Washington administration and appeal directly to the American people. Genet is quickly recalled by France. ... Read more

    18. Inventing A Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson
    by Gore Vidal
    list price: $22.00
    our price: $14.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0300101716
    Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    Sales Rank: 9443
    Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Gore Vidal, one of the master stylists of American literature and one of the most acute observers of American life and history, turns his immense literary and historiographic talent to a portrait of the formidable trio of George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.In Fathers of the Republic, Vidal transports the reader into the minds, the living rooms (and bedrooms), the convention halls, and the salons of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and others. We come to know these men, through Vidal's splendid and percipient prose, in ways we have not up to now-their opinions of each other, their worries about money, their concerns about creating a viable democracy. Vidal brings them to life at the key moments of decision in the birthing of our nation. He also illuminates the force and weight of the documents they wrote, the speeches they delivered, and the institutions of government by which we still live.More than two centuries later, America is still largely governed by the ideas championed by this triumvirate. ... Read more

    Reviews (24)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Political propaganda disguised as history
    You might look at Gore Vidal's Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson and think you are gazing upon a book of history. Oh, there is an element of history to it - albeit a messy, unorganized one - but Inventing a Nation is really about two things only: Gore Vidal's glorified opinion of himself and his hatred for George W. Bush. Most hate mongers and political pundits would simply come write out and attack the current administration, but Gore Vidal is far too pretentious and smarmy to take the common man's approach to political protest. Perhaps he hoped to cleverly disguise his political screed by masking it in the history of the founding of this great Republic (he does, after all, consider the majority of Americans stupid enough to believe anything they are told), but his gleeful delight at stepping aside every few pages to launch vicious attacks on just about everyone associated with America betrays the true nature of his work.

    Let's look at this book as history and see why I personally say that Inventing a Nation is a perfect example of how not to write it. This could have been an informative work, for Vidal sets out to explain just how contentious and vulnerable the new nation was in its earliest days. He quotes extensively from the writings and speeches of prominent Revolutionaries to reveal the sorts of grudges, bitter disagreements, and questionable behavior these men sometimes engaged in. Unfortunately, he never really builds an adequate framework on which to make his presentation. In his eagerness to dish out dirt on our Founding Fathers, he fails to establish the true context of the times (which is ironic, given his unabashed lament over the ignorance of the American people). He also fails to identify a single source for any of his quotations and references; he does not even provide a bibliography of sources consulted. Thus, all of the quotes he throws around are presented in a manner completely devoid of context, and the reader has no easy way of verifying a single thing he reads here. Vidal also jumps around in time and place continuously. We can be with Jefferson the French diplomat one minute and then, quite suddenly, find ourselves examining President Jefferson's purchase of Louisiana. Poor John Adams is thrown around so violently that he would surely sue Vidal for whiplash, were he alive today.

    I will admit that Vidal does manage to put together some valid points and arguments, but he continually nullifies the good he has done with bouts of infuriatingly sophomoric insults and name-calling, not to mention numerous departures from the subject at hand to fan the flames of his fiery political manifesto. Vidal manages to insult just about everyone associated with the founding of America, and I get the impression Vidal thinks the whole idea of America was a mistake. He belittles James Madison, or "little Jemmy," as he calls him, for being short. He describes John Adams as a short, fat man of great vanity and self-pity who "waddled into history." He lampoons the Boston Tea Party and the "Disney-like Mount Rushmore," states as fact that the women of the nascent Republic-to-be found King George's hired Hessian mercenaries much more physically attractive than their "scrawny, sallow" proto-American counterparts. He criticizes Jefferson's "immoral" life but has nothing but praise for Benjamin Franklin (mainly because Franklin provides him with a quote he loves to use when attacking the modern politicians he hates so much). Vidal particularly dislikes Jefferson, whom he continually describes as a hypocrite of the highest order. (He does, however, make use of Jefferson to imply that he would have called for secession from the nation over the establishment of the Patriot Act.)

    The only memorable aspects of this book are the numerous vitriolic asides, many of which have little to do with the subject at hand. Vidal cannot speak about a certain Supreme Court justice without including the parenthetical remark "thought by many to be a visiting alien." His attacks on the Bush administration are as snide as they are numerous. The most galling of statements, however, are pointed at the American people, and I can't imagine how any American of any political party cannot but be offended here. He refers to the nation as "the United States of Amnesia," speaks of this country's "uneducated, misinformed majority" and sanctimoniously bemoans the fact that most Americans don't even know what the Electoral College is. That's just the tip of the iceberg. It's one thing to disagree with current policy, but to boldly state that Afghanistan had as little to do with the terrorist attack on 9/11 as Canada did is something else. Those who agree with Vidal's politics will praise this book, but I don't think anyone will argue too strenuously that Inventing a Nation is a work of history. Historians may not always be objective, but they must at least attempt to be so. Twisting history in order to push your own agenda is, was, and always will be propaganda. It is unfortunate because this book did have the potential of filling a few gaps in our understanding of the founding of the United States.

    4-0 out of 5 stars More Than Just History
    I read this book after having the fun of listening to Mr. Vidal discuss it at an event last month at the new National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. I've also taken into account some of the earlier reviews posted here. I agree it's not his best work; I'd save that distinction for LINCOLN and the UNITED STATES essays. However, it is a very thoughtful and funny piece of work. Vidal INTENDS you to think about what he says. There is more to history (at least there should be) than just getting the dates and names right. If you want the life of Washington read D.S. Freeman or J. T. Flexner. If you want John Adams, go to David McCullough. If you want Jefferson, see Joseph Ellis or even Dumas Malone. Those are first-rate biographies. However, what Vidal attempts here (generally successfully) is the second part of history - how does what they did reflect now? What present events suggest we haven't come as far as this founding trio would like? (See his comments on the relationship of Adams' Alien & Sedition Acts to the Bush Patriot Act.) It's funny, elegant, and enlightening. I enjoyed every skewering line.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Unscholarly Rant
    In this poor excuse for a work of scholarship, Vidal spends his time (and ours) entertaining personal assumptions (see Publishers Weekly review), viewpoints, and pet themes. Why, in the middle of a purported historical work on the Founding Fathers, does he digress into making weak connections with the war in Iraq, his generalizations of contemporary America, and other unrelated, obviously biased dribble? If I want politically charged opinion on the topics of the day, I'll read Op/Ed pieces, or at least something that admits its bias from the onset. If you are looking for an unbiased, focused, and SCHOLARLY substantive work on the topic, read Ellis' Founding Brothers. It won the Pulitzer--because it is everything Inventing a Nation is not.

    5-0 out of 5 stars when the People shall become so corrupted ....
    Vidal's latest, is a broadside typical of the period he's writing about -- a mixture of historical anecdote, contemporary commentary and unabashed partisan analysis --in other words, a great read! Vidal surveys the period from 1776 to 1800, concentrating on the personalities and writings of Washington, Hamilton, Adams & Jefferson. Along the way, he contrasts 18th century politics and political philosophy with 21st century politics [only, since he sees little reasoned analysis in modern government]. And sometimes he just goes for the quick jab, as when he quotes Adams view of the newly arrived French minister as a comparison with our first unelected president:

    >>>>>>>John Adams had known Genet's family in France: he had also known the boy himself. Politely, he received the fiery minister and then wrapped him round with Adamsian analysis of the graveyard sort: "A youth totally destitute of all experience in popular government, popular assemblies, or conventions of any kind: very little accustomed to reflect upon his own or his fellow creatures' hearts; wholly ignorant of the law of nature and nations . . . " Adams did grant him "a declamatory style. . . a flitting, fluttering imagination, an ardor in his temper, and a civil deportment." Thus two centuries ago the witty French had sent us an archetypal personality whose American avatar would one' day be placed in Washington's by now rickety chair.

    But Vidal's slyness is only a cover for his real subject -- the creation of a government that could hold democracy at bay without the trappings of a monarchy. The book is not much longer than an old-style New Yorker series, and he summarizes major events like the constitutional convention to provide details of the men involved, as seen by themselves and their peers. Early on he shows the prescience of many of the founders:

    >>>>> At eighty-one Franklin was too feeble to address the convention on its handiwork, and so a friend read for him the following words: "I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such: because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well-administred; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administred for a Course of Years and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.
    Now, two centuries and sixteen years later, Franklin's blunt dark prophecy has come true: popular corruption has indeed given birth to that Despotic Government which he foresaw as in-, evitable at our birth. Unsurprisingly, a third edition of the admirable Benjamin Franklin: His Lift As He Wrote It, by Esmon . Wright, is now on sale (Harvard University Press, 1996) with' significantly-inevitably?, Franklin's somber prediction cut out, thus silencing our only great ancestral voice to predict Enron et seq., not to mention November 2000, and, following that, despotism whose traditional activity, war, now hedges us all around" No wonder that so many academic histories of our republic and its origins tend to gaze fixedly upon the sunny aspects of a history growing ever darker. No wonder they choose to disregard the wise, eerily prescient voice of the authentic Franklin in favor of the jolly fat ventriloquist of common lore, with his simple maxims for simple folk; to ignore his key to our earthly political invention in favor of that lesser key which he attached to a kite in order to attract heavenly fire.

    In the afterword Vidal pushes the point home, starting from his discussion of the Alien & Sedition Acts, progenitors of the Patriot Act, he follows Jeffersons careful defense of civil rights with his orchestration of the states counterattack that resulted in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. Jefferson had to act cautiously, for, even as Vice President, his mere criticism of the acts of Adams & Hamilton could be a violation of the Sedition Act. [Not so different from today's Bush supporters who declare any dissent being aid and comfort to the enemy.] In this case, the ultimate confrontation was avoided by Jefferson's electoral defeat of Adams and immediate suspension of the 2 acts. But nullification remained an inflammatory concept lurking within the Constitution; exploding in the Civil War 2 generations later. Today, Vidal sees it as perhaps the last defense of the states when the Federal Executive abrogates power.
    I've only traced here one of several threads Vidal ties to contemporary issues. Others include Hamilton's creation of the financial system, and Marshall's bold construction of judicial review. Shortness doesn't prevent Vidal from presenting many arguments that are vital to today's national politics. Conservatives kneejerk reactions is amusing since much of the discussion in the book is of ideas any true conservative should hold as core values!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Supercilious Ego Trip
    This book is all about how smart and witty Vidal thinks he is. Why doesn't he just build an altar to himslef so we can all worship at his feet? Enough already with the same lame stuff. Do not expect any serious insight about the founding fathers. He disguises lack of scholarship and historical understanding with dime-store psychology and tabloid journalism. ... Read more

    19. The Thirty-First of March : An Intimate Portrait of Lyndon Johnson's Final Days in Office
    by Horace Busby, Hugh Sidey, Scott Busby
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $16.32
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0374275742
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-31)
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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    Book Description

    An intimate, compulsively readable memoir by LBJ's closest aide and chief speechwriter.

    "I have made up my mind. I can't get peace in Vietnam and be President too." So begins this posthumously discovered account of Lyndon Johnson's final days in office. The Thirty-first of March is an indelible portrait of a president and a presidency at a time of crisis, and spans twenty years of a close working and personal relationship between Johnson and Horace Busby.

    It was Busby's job to "put a little Churchill " into Johnson's orations, and his skill earned him a position of trust in Johnson's staff from the earliest days of Johnson's career as a congressman in Texas to the twilight of his presidency. From the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination when Busby was asked by the newly sworn-in President to sit by his bedside during his first troubled nights in office, to the concerns that defined the Great Society, Busby not only articulated and refined Johnson's political thinking, he helped shape the most ambitious, far-reaching legislative agenda since FDR's New Deal.

    Here is Johnson the politician, Johnson the schemer, Johnson who advised against JFK riding in an open limousine that fateful day in Dallas, and Johnson the father, sickened by the men fighting and dying in Vietnam on his behalf. The Thirty-first of March is a rare glimpse into the inner sanctum of Johnson's presidency.
    ... Read more

    20. Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 2)
    list price: $45.00
    our price: $29.70
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0394528352
    Catlog: Book (1990-03-07)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 49627
    Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    MEANS OF ASCENT is the second book in the LBJ trilogy. It carries Johnson from his 1941 Senate defeat through WW II and on to the securing of his fortunes, both economic and political.

    Caro tells this story with an eye for detail. He focuses not only on Johnson, but on Johnson's "unbeatable" opponent, former Texas Governor Coke Stevenson. As the political duel between the two men quickens, it moves with all the drama of the perfect Western. Caro has us witness a momentous turning point in American politics: the tragic last stand of politics of issue versus politics of image.

    "One of the most important political biographies of our time...the picture of a man on his way up, regardless." (B-O-T Editorial Review Board) ... Read more

    Reviews (61)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Easy, now...
    I have to disagree with the universal 5 stars this book gets from other reviewers here.

    First, readers not familiar with Caro should know that he uses LBJ as a springboard to do a larger social history. In the first book, this included fascinating insights into what daily life was like in rural Texas and rural America in the early part of the 20th Century.

    One weakness of this 2nd volume is that, despite an early go at Johnson's WWII service & early time in Washington, Caro largely narrows this focus down to Texas itself, a particular election, LBJ's opponent in that election, and finally even to one flunkie in the Texas political machine. This somewhat derails both the social history aspect and the LBJ-biographical aspect.

    (Readers who don't want to have some of the story given away shouldn't read the rest of this review.)

    Caro tips his hand with this book. In the first volume, Caro says Johnson stole all his early elections, even little ones. Caro tells the tale so well in that book that the whole story becomes rather shocking, even in today's politically cynical age. Here, Caro says Johnson stole his big Senate election. It's becoming quickly apparent that Caro is prepared to tell us that Johnson stole literally every single election he ever ran in during his entire life. I think only the biggest Johnson-loathers around would buy this premise on its face.

    Still, this a fantastically-written narrative, and I eagerly await the 3rd volume. But, in the end, let's hope that Caro's whole story doesn't simply boil down to the thesis that "LBJ is not only as bad as you've ever heard...he's WORSE." Given how much of his life Caro has devoted to this work, and how much time and money we readers have devoted to it as well, it would be a shame if Caro's sweeping narrative proves to ultimately be that narrow.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic -- a must read
    Anyone interested in the history of US Politics must read this book. It tells the true story of Lyndon Johnson's role in the Second World War. It also discusses Johnson's hatred of the House of Representatives. It is too big. It is, as Caro puts it, "too slow," for Johnson. The only way to get power in the House is to wait. Johnson, impatient and itching for real power, has none. Sitting in the Naval Affairs committee, ruled by Dictator Vinson, Johnson has no power. He would have to wait many, many years until he would possibly, if at all, reach the chairmanship. Handicapped by ancestral health problems (Johnson men died in their 60's), he realizes this path is "too slow".

    Having lost the Senate race in 1941 to W. Lee (Pappy) O'Daniel, he gives it another shot in '48. O' Daniel is not running because of the mockery he made of himself in Washington. Even worse, Coke Stevenson, a Texas Legend runs. In perhaps the most monumental and competitive political race in the history of Texas, Johnson wins by a mere 48 votes, but not after a investigation into those votes and a legal battle. You cannot miss the story of this election. I flew throught the book, and you will too. With absolutely impeccable prose and style, Caro does it again with Means of Ascent.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stolen Election
    The 1948 Texas Senatorial race is the centerpiece of this outstaning 2nd volume of Caro's epic biography of Lyndon Johnson. Caro spends the first half of the book documenting Mr. Johnson's "war years". The second half is devoted to this controversial election. Mr. Caro's writing flows and he does an outstanding job of setting up time and place. I cannot wait to read Volume 3.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding and Spectacular
    After having read Robert Caro's Path to Power, the first volume of his monumental trilogy on the life of Lyndon Baines Johnson, I came away with the feeling that although Johnson was an utter scoundrel, he had a few redeeming qualities. Now that I've read Path to Power, any redemption Johnson had earned in my eyes has been stripped away.
    In this volume, Caro lays bare once and for all the evidence that anyone of any political stripe should need to discover that Johnson was driven solely by naked ambition and was utterly bereft of principle or scruple. No one or nothing was sacred if it stood between him and the power he craved.
    In his losing 1941 Senate race against the charlatan Pappy O'Daniel, Johnson ran on a platform of Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt. He made a public show in Washington of being one of FDR's most devoted lickspittles. Yet behind the scenes, he made deals with some of the most anti-Roosevelt money men in Texas and was able to convince them that he was really a conservative. Johnson narrowly lost that election and the lesson learned was that he had to steal more votes than he supposed his opponent to have stolen and then not have them counted until after the "last" votes were in.
    Reading between the lines, I can guess that FDR was finally on to him as Truman certainly was.
    Then there was the matter of his "heroic" war record. Even today when a candidate's claims are so much easier to check for veracity we have those who brazenly lie a la LBJ about their wartime service.
    LBJ comes off at his worst during the 1948 Democratic Senatorial primary in which he and his minions stole the election from former Governor Coke Stevenson by arranging the stuffing of ballot boxes and in some cases, paying voters to vote for Johnson. When the "results" were contested by Stevenson, Johnson and his legal team lied and cheated their way through the system all the way to using a Supreme Court Justice to install Johnson as the official Democratic candidate for the US Senate.
    A few people come off as heroes: Coke Stevenson himself, Circuit Court Judge T Whitfield Davidson, Federal Master in Chancery William R Smith and a handful of reformers in Jim Wells County and other South Texas counties who had the real courage to stand up to jefe George Parr, his enforcers and his pistoleros. Others include the very brave indeed Mexican-American residents of those counties who were willing to publicly testify that though they were counted as having voted, they had in fact not voted at all or had voted for Stevenson.
    Besides those whom the reader would expect to be slimeballs, Abe Fortas, Tom Clark,and Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black emerge from the sordid affair bathed in the stench of corruption.
    Although its obvious that the author is developing an increasing distatse for Johnson, he does not neglect showing the shrewd and forward looking side of the man. Johnson proves himself many times to be a keen reader of men and part of his political success stems from his ability to make snap decisions on what is and isn't going to work as far as campaigning goes. The story of his brilliant strategy of barnstorming the state by helicopter as his better known and hugely popular opponent Coke Stevenson slogs along county by county the old fashioned way is one of the high points of the book.
    It was that modern and then novel approach, coupled with his use of polling, vicious ad hominem attacks on Stevenson and mass mailings thinly disguised as newspapers that put Johnson in the position that stealing a few thousand votes could win the election for him. At the beginning of the campaign, almost no one outside his camp thought he had a chance of winning.
    I recommend this spellbinding and spectacular book to anyone interested in politics. Its a reminder to all of us how ignoble the quest for office can be, and a warning to all of us that we must constantly be on guard to ensure the fairness and sanctity of the principle of one man, one vote.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating political shootout, but may overdo the rehash
    Other reviewers on amazon have found this to be the weakest of Caro's three published volumes on LBJ, and while I haven't read volume 3 yet, I agree that this book is not without its flaws. Principally, Caro spends an enormous amount of time rehashing the events of volume 1, often in exactly the same language as in the earlier work. I agree with the reviewer below who asserts that this may have been stronger as a 200-250 page tag to Caro's earlier volume.

    Yet the story does focus on 3 major details in Johnson's life that are essential to understanding his future relationship to the American public and the manner in which he would wield Senatorial and Presidential power. First, Caro goes into the facts behind Johnson's war service and exposes the political fuel for his service and how he subsequently exaggerated or outright lied about his military record to gain political favor. Not the most important thing in the book but definitely interesting new info.

    Secondly, Caro reveals how Johnson leveraged his political influence to gain control of a fledgling radio station and turn it into the foundation of his personal fortune. This is a major revelation as it demonstrates that Johnson, while frustrated politically during the 40s, found a way to gain a fortune using his political contacts.

    Lastly, the entire second half of this book focuses on the Senate primary between Johnson and Coke Stevenson. Caro, while respecting Johnson's energy and creativity in pursuing his aims, considers this an entirely tragic episode in Texas and American politics. The manner in which Johnson obtained funds and outspent his noble candidate bothers Caro. More importantly, Caro feels that Johnson's stolen votes in many ways were the foundation of the credibility gap in Texas politics and in the later Johnson presidency. Caro makes a special point to show how Johnson relished the fact that he used his guile to steal votes, even showing a picture of himself with those he purchased the votes from to a reporter as president. Many reviewers feel this book is too negative on Johnson, but I am convinced by the facts given that a negative position on Johnson is warranted, especially given the amorality of the tactics he used in winning the election.

    Where I was less convinced was in the nobility of Coke Stevenson as Johnson's foil. Sure Stevenson did not appear to steal votes in the manner of Johnson or vacillate in his positions or really go negative in attacking his candidate. But on the other hand, Stevenson exhibited debilitating tactical blindness and stubborn pride in not directly confronting Johnson's attacks or changing his style in some ways to meet changing times. Stevenson may have had more integrity, but I also feel that he was a deeply conservative politician who was more interested in his political principles than in the political reality he faced. Caro spends so much time portraying him as "Mr. Texas" that I feel he glosses over many of his faults. While Stevenson was a better man, I am not sure he would have been an effective Senator and the United States may have been worse off having him as Senator. I felt that Caro's dislike for Johnson, though justified, led him to distort his portrayal of Stevenson.

    Overall, though this is a good book which could have been done just a little bit better. It remains a fascinating read and a vital addition to Caro's masterful biography that is worthy of your time and effort.

    4 stars. ... Read more

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