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  • Wagner, Richard
  • Washington, George
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  • Williams, Hank
  • Williams, Ted
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    1. His Excellency : George Washington
    $16.06 $6.65 list($22.95)
    2. The Teammates
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    3. Complete Book of U.S. Presidents
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    4. A Garden Gallery : The Plants,
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    5. George Washington : Writings (Library
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    6. Ted Williams: The Biography of
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    7. Inventing A Nation: Washington,
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    8. The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey:
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    9. George Washington (The American
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    10. When Washington Crossed the Delaware
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    11. All Cloudless Glory: The Life
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    12. George Washington, Spymaster :
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    13. Richard Wagner: The Last Of The
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    14. George Washington's Teeth
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    15. The Tristan Chord: Wagner and
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    16. George vs. George : The Revolutionary
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    17. George Washington: A Biography
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    18. The Story of George Washington
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    20. Aspects of Wagner (Oxford Paperbacks)

    1. His Excellency : George Washington
    by Joseph J. Ellis
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $16.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400040310
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-26)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 10
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    Amazon.com

    As commander of the Continental army, George Washington united the American colonies, defeated the British army, and became the world's most famous man. But how much doAmericans really know about their first president? Today, as Pulitzer Prize-winner Joseph J. Ellis says in this crackling biography, Americans see their first president on dollar bills, quarters, and Mount Rushmore, but only as "an icon--distant, cold, intimidating." In truth, Washington was a deeply emotional man, but one who prized and practiced self-control (an attribute reinforced during his years on the battlefield).

    Washington first gained recognition as a 21-year-old emissary for the governor of Virginia, braving savage conditions to confront encroaching French forces. As the de facto leader of the American Revolution, he not only won the country's independence, but helped shape its political personality and "topple the monarchical and aristocratic dynasties of the Old World." When the Congress unanimously elected him president, Washington accepted reluctantly, driven by his belief that the union's very viability depended on a powerful central government. In fact, keeping the country together in the face of regional allegiances and the rise of political parties may be his greatest presidential achievement.

    Based on Washington's personal letters and papers, His Excellency is smart and accessible--not to mention relatively brief, in comparison to other encyclopedic presidential tomes. Ellis's short, succinct sentences speak volumes, allowing readers to glimpse the man behind the myth. --Andy Boynton

    Amazon.com Exclusive Content
    Curious about George?
    Amazon.com reveals a few facts about the legendary first president of the United States.

    Washington bust by Jean Antoine Houdon.
    Courtesy of the Mt. Vernon Ladies' Assoc.

    1. The famous tale about Washington chopping down the cherry tree ("Father, I cannot tell a lie") is a complete fabrication.

    2. George Washington never threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River--in fact, to do so from the shore of his Mount Vernon home would have been physically impossible.

    3. George Washington did not wear wooden teeth. His poorly fitting false teeth were in fact made of cow's teeth, human teeth, and elephant ivory set in a lead base.

    4. Early in his life, Washington was himself a slave owner. His opinions changed after he commanded a multiracial army in the Revolutionary War.He eventually came to recognize slavery as "a massive American anomaly."

    5. In 1759, having resigned as Virginia's military commander to become a planter, Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis. Washington’s marriage to the colony's wealthiest widow dramatically changed his life, catapulting him into Virginia aristocracy.

    6. Scholars have discredited suggestions that Washington's marriage to Martha lacked passion, as well as the provocative implications of the well-worn phrase "George Washington slept here."

    7. Washington held his first public office when he was 17 years old, as surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia.

    8. At age 20, despite no prior military experience, Washington was appointed an adjutant in the Virginia militia, in which he oversaw several militia companies, and was assigned the rank of major.

    9. As a Virginia aristocrat, Washington ordered all his coats, shirts, pants, and shoes from London. However, most likely due to the misleading instructions he gave his tailor, the suits almost never fit. Perhaps this is why he appears in an old military uniform in his 1772 portrait.

    10. In 1751, during a trip to Barbados with his half-brother Lawrence, Washington was stricken with smallpox and permanently scarred. Fortunately, this early exposure made him immune to the disease that would wipe out colonial troops during the Revolutionary War.

    Timeline
    Important dates in George Washington's life.
    Engraving of Mount Vernon, 1804. Courtesy of the Mt. Vernon Ladies' Assoc.

    1732: George Washington is born at his father's estate in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

    1743: George’s father, Augustine Washington, dies.

    1752: At age 20, despite the fact that he has never served in the military, Washington is appointed adjutant in the Virginia militia, with the rank of major.

    1753: As an emissary to Virginia Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie, he travels to the Ohio River Valley to confront French forces--the first of a series of encounters that would lead to the French and Indian War.

    1755: Washington is appointed commander-in-chief of Virginia's militia.

    1759: He marries wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis.

    1774: Washington is elected to the First Continental Congress.

    1775: He is unanimously elected by the Continental Congress as its army's commander-in-chief. Start of the American Revolution.

    1776: On Christmas Day, Washington leads his army across the Delaware River and launches a successful attack against Hessian troops in Trenton, New Jersey.

    1781: With the French, he defeats British troops in Yorktown, Virginia, precipitating the end of the war.

    1783: The Revolutionary War officially ends.

    1788: The Constitution is ratified.

    1789: Washington is elected president.

    1797: He fulfillshis last term as president.

    1799: Washington dies on December 14, sparking a period of national mourning.

    ... Read more

    2. The Teammates
    by David Halberstam
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $16.06
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    Asin: 140130057X
    Catlog: Book (2003-05-14)
    Publisher: Hyperion
    Sales Rank: 1670
    Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    As baseball legend Ted Williams lay dying in Florida, his old Boston Red Sox teammates Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio piled into a car and drove 1,300 miles to see their friend. Another member of the close-knit group, Bobby Doerr, remained in Oregon to tend to his wife who had suffered a stroke. Besides providing a poignant travelogue of the elderly Pesky and DiMaggio's trip, David Halberstam's The Teammates goes back in time to profile the men as young ballplayers. Although it is enlightening to learn about Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio, the leader of the group and star of the book is Williams. Halberstam portrays the notoriously moody and difficult Williams as a complex man: driven by a rough childhood and a fiercely competitive nature to become perhaps the greatest pure hitter of all time while also being a magnetic personality and loving friend. While there is nothing exceptionally unusual about old men who have stayed friends (plenty of people stay friends, after all), baseball gives this particular relationship a unique makeup. Unlike most friendships, that of Williams, Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio was viewed all summer long by hooting, hollering Red Sox fans. As such, their bond is forged both of individual accomplishment, win-loss records, numerous road trips, and, since they played for the Red Sox, annual doses of disappointment. Halberstam, author of Summer of '49 and October 1964 is the ideal writer to tell two equally intriguing stories, both rich in America's pastime. Although he occasionally drops himself into the narrative, one expects that of Halberstam and gladly accepts it in exchange for the highly readable exposition infused with poetic majesty that has become his trademark. --John Moe ... Read more

    Reviews (52)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "The Red Sox killed my father. Now they┬┐re coming after me."
    The 1946 World Series match-up between Boston and the St. Louis Cardinals went to seven games before Boston finally lost the championship, and Halberstam makes this seventh game come alive in all its frustrating excitement. The book is unique, however, not because of its rehash of old ball games, but because it brings back an era, more than a half-century ago, when close and supportive friendships developed between players who spent their whole careers on the same team. Telling the story of the sixty-year friendship of baseball greats Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky of the Boston Red Sox, Halberstam shows the kind of friendship which was possible in an era in which players were people, not commodities.

    Warm and nostalgic, the book opens in October, 2001, as Dom DiMaggio, accompanied by Boston writer Dick Flavin and Johnny Pesky, makes a melancholy car trip from Boston to Florida to pay a last visit to Ted Williams, who is dying. As the men drive from Boston to Florida, they reminisce about their playing days more than fifty years in the past, recalling anecdotes about their friendship and talking about their lives, post-baseball.

    Halberstam uses these memories as the framework of this book, describing the men from their teenage years. All were from the West Coast, all were about the same age, all arrived in Boston to begin their careers within the same two-year period, and all shared similar values. Ted Williams, "the undisputed champion of contentiousness," was the most dominant of the group. Bobby Doerr was Williams's closest friend and roommate, "a kind of ambassador from Ted to the rest of the world," Doerr himself being "very simply among the nicest and most balanced men." Bespectacled Dom DiMaggio, the brother of Vince and Joe, was the consummate worker, a smart player who had been "forced to study everything carefully when he was young in order to maximize his chances and athletic abilities." Johnny Pesky, combative and small, was also "kind, caring, almost innocent."

    Stories and anecdotes, sometimes told by the players themselves, make the men individually come alive and show the depth and value of their friendship. The four characters remain engaging even when, in the case of Williams, they may be frustratingly disagreeable. There's a bittersweet reality when Halberstam brings the lives of Williams, Doerr, DiMaggio, and Pesky, all now in their eighties, up to the present--these icons are, of course, as human as the rest of us, subject to the same physical deterioration and illnesses. In Halberstam's sensitive rendering of their abiding relationship, however, we see them as men who have always recognized and preserved the most important of human values, and in that respect they continue to serve as heroes and exemplars to baseball fans throughout the country. Mary Whipple

    5-0 out of 5 stars Friendship
    Teammates is a story of true friendship. The book centers around three greats from the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams, Dom Dimaggio, John Pesky, and Bobby Doerr. Their final meeting is used as a backdrop for several stories from their playing days.

    The story starts in the final months of the life of Ted Williams. Dimaggio and Pesky are inspired to reunite with their friend before his inevitable death. Bobby Doerr is unable to make the trip because of the health of his wife.

    The book is formatted in the same way things were probably discussed in the car that day. The stories build up as each one of the four joins the team with the final addition being Pesky. The book continues as it goes through the teams years as a American League powerhouse. Unfortunately, World War II and the Korean War would be the main factor in preventing these baseball icons for playing in more than one World Series. The Red Sox lost that one World Series to the Cardinals. The play that allegedly turned that series is discussed in detail. The misfortune for which Pesky was blamed is a travesty. Even his teammates try to take the blame from Pesky. Being the stand-up guy that he is, Pesky continues to unjustly accept the blame. The book ends with each playing leaving the team until Williams returns from the Korean War to find all of his friends are gone. This drains much of the fun of the game for Williams. As a consequence he also leaves baseball.

    Halberstam really does not write a book as buy as he retells stories from a car ride. This book is certain to become a favorite of those who enjoy baseball or the friendships developed in team sports. It should also be required reading for Red Sox fans.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Moving Tribute to Friendship
    This is a moving book about friendship. As baseball legend Ted Williams' lay slowly dying at age 83 in the fall of 2001, his former teammates Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio, and Bobby Doerr considered making the long drive to Florida for a final visit. The narrative focuses on that trip, and the enduring friendship between these four that continued for five decades after their playing days ended. Readers come to know these men, their backgrounds, flaws, strengths, families, health conditions, and post-baseball careers. Fans will enjoy their playing memoirs from the powerful Red Sox squads of the 1940's - teams that often fell just short at season's end. Adding spice to the narrative are Boston sportswriter Dick Flavin (who made the trip) and occasionally the author David Halberstam. This is another outstanding baseball book by Halberstam (SUMMER OF '49, OCTOBER 1964); let's hope he'll write more. THE TEAMMATES is a concise and moving tribute to friendship, baseball...and life.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Life-long Lessons!
    When we are young, most of us idolize certain sports heroes . . . usually because of their feats on the field rather than for their characters. Author David Halberstam had the great pleasure of getting to know some of his idols when he wrote the Summer of '49 about the Yankee-Red Sox pennant race in that year. He kept up with his new friends from the Red Sox including Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky after the book came out. When he learned that in 2002 about the last trip that Dom, and Johnny had taken to see Ted, Mr. Halberstam knew that he had a story. This book relates that tale.

    The book recounts the backgrounds of all four players, details their friendships from the days when they were in the minor leagues through the end of their lives and provides lots of perspective on the Red Sox during the 1940s and 1950s when these remarkable players were on the team. The end of the book also has the lifetime stats for each player.

    One of the intriguing parts of the book is how hard Ted Williams was on himself and his friends. It is a remarkable tale of friendship to see how others would tolerate his abuse by rolling with the punches. Behind the friendships, you get many glimpses of great character . . . character that actually makes their athletic accomplishments seem paler by comparison.

    I strongly urge all Red Sox fans and parents who want their children to develop better characters to read this book, and share the story with their friends and family. I know of no better book about athletes that looks at the qualities of true greatness.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book about baseball and friendship
    Back in the 1940's and 1950's Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr were stars for the Boston Red Sox. Over the next 50 years or so, they remained the closest of friends. This book gives us a good look at that friendship, on and off the field, and at these four men.

    It's unusual for a group of friends to stay so close for so long, but reading about the friendship makes you wish you were part of the group.

    The book is full of humorous stories about their playing days and the years that followed. It also shows how close this team came to being a dynasty, but ended up only playing in one World Series (which they lost).

    Halberstam does a great job, as always, showing us what baseball was like in the good old days and how the friendship between these players grew and remained strong over the years. It's one of the best baseball books I've ever read. ... Read more


    3. Complete Book of U.S. Presidents : From George Washington to George W. Bush
    by WILLIAM DEGREGORIO
    list price: $11.99
    our price: $11.99
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    Asin: 0517183536
    Catlog: Book (1997-04-06)
    Publisher: Gramercy
    Sales Rank: 5686
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

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

    Reviews (23)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A DEFINITIVE REFERENCE BOOK FOR THE NON INITIATED
    For people around the world interested in history and the workings of the U.S. Presidential sistem, this is the ultimate reference guide about U.S. Presidents. It provides a wealth of information about Presidents that are not well known, as well as little known facts about more famous Presidents. It is organized in 43 chapters, one for each President (with the exeption of Grover Cleveland which is treated in two chapters) and every President is covered according to headings such as: Physical description, personality, siblings, childhood, education, religion, marriage (in some cases extramarital or postmarital affairs),carrier before the Presidency, campaign and issues, inaugural address, Administration Cabinet, Supreme Court appointments, books written, etc.
    A MUST HAVE !

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    4. A Garden Gallery : The Plants, Art, and Hardscape of Little and Lewis
    by George Little, David Lewis
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0881926728
    Catlog: Book (2005-02-15)
    Publisher: Timber Press
    Sales Rank: 28759
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Celebrated internationally as artists and gardeners, George Little and David Lewis open the gates to their renowned garden retreat and share the personalities and enthusiasms that have shaped its wild fantasia of plants, hardscape, and art. Little and Lewis are long-time collaborators whose concrete sculptures and installations have been collected around the world. Their Puget Sound garden is the primary showcase for their artwork but also for the unique gardening qualities that epitomize their style. Water features, oversized and broadleaved plants, expansive use of color, zone-pushing tropicals, architectural emphasis, and elements of classicism and mystery --- all combine to create a deeply personal and magical space. In this long-awaited book, Little and Lewis describe how any gardener can achieve this kind of excitement and space for reflection in his or her backyard. From practical advice on how to make a slow-drip natural fountain, choose complementary colors, or build an inexpensive Tuscan-style wall to conceptual discussions on laying out borders and making use of water, Little and Lewis offer inspiration and encourage gardeners to use imagination and take risks. Stunning and unforgettable photographs by Barbara Denk provide a lush visual interpretation, while NPR's "Doyenne of Dirt," Ketzel Levine, describes the authors' important influence on the gardening community. ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's Neverland!
    A dream garden for all tastes.The use of water, color, tropical plants, and cement sculptures make this book Magical, refreshing, artistic, and alive!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Utterly inspired
    As an afficionado of Pacific Northwest garden books, I have often seen examples of Little and Lewis' garden sculptures.Now they have their own book and it's all that I hoped for and more.Written in two voices, it's a great melding of their individual personalities and preferences.The marvellous photos and exceptional text offer tremendous inspiration to create extraordinary, personalized gardens. Move over Stephen Anderton's "Urban Sanctuaries" - at last you have worthy competition!Buy this book and take your garden beyond the everyday.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding in All Respects
    I am a gardening nut and read garden books regularly.I've never read a book that describes the feeling of creating a garden space more eloquently and beautifully.I came away with dozens of ideas for my own small garden and realized why so many areas in my garden just don't "feel" right to me.I've never been so emotionally caught up in a gardening book before.This book is wonderfully written and the photographs are spectacular.It leaves you wanting more....I'll be visiting Seattle this summer to tour the gardens!Thanks to David and George for sharing your special place with me!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The artists and their garden
    I'm saddened to say that I've never had the opportunity to visit George Little and David Lewis's celebrated garden on Bainbridge Island, Washington, but at least now I have the next best thing - this beautiful book.

    The Little/Lewis garden is a lush Eden filled with tropical foliage and blooms and decorated with the concrete objects that the two have created. Cannas, bananas, colocasia, water lilies, grasses and vines are beautifully displayed among the unique columns, vases, vividly painted walls and water features that the owners have created. Each chapter covers a different element of their garden ("Bones of the Garden," "Brave Plantings," "Elemental Water," "Art and Sculpture," "Time and Rhythm") and they each take turns sharing their thoughts and ideas that will surely inspire the reader. Even more inspring are the outstanding photographs by Barbara Denk.

    Although this is not a technical "how-to" book, there are sidebars that tell how to make simple water features (including a jardiniere fountain), materials for building walls, and lists of the author's favorite plants.

    The is one of the most beautiful garden books I've ever seen and I would recommend it highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Garden Gallery:The Plants, Art and Hardscape of Little..
    A visit to the intriguing garden/art gallery of George Little and David Lewis on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, is an unforgettable experience.Here is a beautiful book that gives insight into the collaborative partnership of these two talented artist/gardeners.Illustrated with gorgeous photography showing many of their original works in garden settings, it is a thoroughly enjoyable read for gardeners who will appreciate a truly unique example of creative inspiration and artistic vision. ... Read more


    5. George Washington : Writings (Library of America)
    by George Washington, John H. Rhodehamel
    list price: $40.00
    our price: $26.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 188301123X
    Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
    Publisher: Library of America
    Sales Rank: 108837
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars 'Marble Man' of Revolutionary War speaks his mind
    Like Robert E. Lee, George Washington might be considered the marble man of his time, a revolutionary whose passion doesn't burn as bright on the pages of history as, say, Thomas Paine, or as clear as Thomas Jefferson. He may be admired and revered, but not necessarily loved, certainly not in the way as old Marse Lee.

    Whether Washington the man can be reclaimed from Washington the statue is a task left up to biographers and fiction writers, because after thumbing through this collection of his writings, it is with some certainty that the man from Mount Vernon can't do it himself.

    Once gets the impression that Washington was a man who believed in duty, to himself as an eighteenth-century man of means, and to his country, whether it be England (for whom he participated on several expeditions against the French in Pennsylvania), or his newly created United States. The man who, in 1755, volunteered to join the British commander in chief, General Edward Braddock, on what became a disasterous expedition into western Pennsylvania, became by 1775 the man who would write to his wife announcing his appointment to head the rebel army, that, "I have used every endeavour in my power to avoid it [command]."

    Even his ascention to the presidency was performed in very reluctant steps. In a letter to Henry Knox, he wrote, "I can assure you . . . that my movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied with feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution."

    So why serve? "It was utterly out of my power to refuse this appointment without exposing my Character to such censures as would have reflected dishonour upon myself, and given pain to my friends," he wrote Martha Washington.

    Perhaps an early clue to his character can be found in the first entry, a collection of 100 maxims he composed when he was 15, rules for living which range from the practical ("Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your hand neither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pye upon a Dish nor Cast anything under the table"), to the inspirational ("Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull"), and even a bit of the poetic ("Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience").

    Sober, practical, firm-minded, George Washington was not a man to inspire devotion through force of personality, only through a far-sighted competence which does not make for glorious history, but to those who cherish the ideals and promise of America, one can be thankful that he was in the right place at the right time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In this splendid book, Washington finally speaks for himself
    George Washington is far more revered than known; but, as this splendid book proves, when you come to know him you feel even more admiration for him. This installment in the indispensable LIBRARY OF AMERICA series gathers hundreds of Washington's letters, as well as his more formal public statements as Virginia legislator and revolutionary leader, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, advocate of federal constitutional reform, and First President of the United States. The formal public statements display the heavy style that Washington fell into when consciously speaking to posterity. It is in his letters that Washington's vigorous mind, strong emotions, and sound judgment emerge most cleary -- and that portray his humanity and his nobility most clearly and accessibly. Readers of this volume would be well-advised to read John Rhodehamel's superb chronology (appearing at the back of the book) first, and then turning to the text. If they do this, they will have! a sound chronological and historical basis for setting Washington's writings, public and private, in context and for seeing the critical founding decades of the American republic as he saw and experienced them.

    -- Richard B. Bernstein, Adjunct Professor of Law, New York Law School; Daniel M. Lyons Visiting Professor in American History, Brooklyn College/CUNY; Book Review Editor for Constitutional Books, H-LAW; and Senior Research Fellow, Council on Citizenship Education, Russell Sage College ... Read more


    6. Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
    by Leigh Montville
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $16.17
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    Asin: 0385507488
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 1147
    Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Leigh Montville's Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero is the definitive biography that baseball fans have been waiting for. Montville, who was a sports columnist for the Boston Globe and then a senior writer for Sports Illustrated is an admitted Red Sox and Williams fanatic, and his passion for his hero rings clearly from every page, along with his clear baseball expertise. But Montville does not hide Williams's flaws. The young Williams was temperamental and justified bad behavior with batting prowess that could excuse just about anything. Quick to anger, "the Kid" had a gift for foul language, too.

    Montville's study offers insides accounts of Williams's obsessive development as a hitter and his constant struggle to perfect his swing (mistakenly called "natural" by sports writers with little understanding of his extensive preparation). The chapter on 1941, perhaps the greatest year in his career, draws on research and interviews never before published. Montville lets whole passages stand uninterrupted--from Williams's manager, Joe Cronin, from his teammate Dom DiMaggio, and from other players and baseball officials who tell the story of Williams's quest for a .400 batting average. The tale of the final day of the season (when he refused to be benched and went six for eight in a double header to jump from .39955 to his final total, .406) is as pulse-pounding as any thriller.

    Alongside its essential focus on Williams's baseball life, the book also delves into his military service during both World War II and the Korean War, his passion for sports fishing, and his commitment to helping children through the Jimmy Fund. Finally, Montville devotes a chapter to the controversy after Williams's death, exposing the back-and-forth among Williams's heirs in the bizarre decision to freeze his body in a cryogenic warehouse in Scottsdale, Arizona.

    Montville's biography makes a good case that Williams was, if not the greatest hitter ever to play the game, certainly among them. For his focused, scientific approach to hitting, Williams is unmatched in the history of the game. His life, marred perhaps by a temper and occasional immaturity that soured his reputation in Boston, is one of true sports greatness. Early in the book, Montville argues that Williams is less appreciated today than he might be because he played out most of his 19-year career in the era before televised highlights. But with Montville's efforts to capture first-hand accounts of Williams's achievements, The Splendid Splinter's legacy is assured. --Patrick O'Kelley ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    2-0 out of 5 stars The Life Of Ted Williams
    Ted Williams is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His .406 batting average stands as of the game's greatest accomplishments and is still the benchmark average that modern players aim towards. Leigh Montvale's Ted Williams: The Biography Of An American Hero is the most extensive book about the Splendid Splinter. Despite the fanfare, the book is a disappointment. Mr. Montvale spends far too much time on Mr. Williams' life after baseball than his time within the game. To any reader of any sports biography, the most important aspect of the book should be the subject's athletic career. No one wants to read just an expanded stat sheet, but Mr. Montvale concentrates too much of the book on Mr. Williams' life outside of baseball. The 1941 season has some detail, but the 1946 is almost written as an afterthought. That season ended in Mr. Williams' only trip to the World Series in his long career. His two Triple Crown seasons of 1942 & 1947 are mentioned in passing. Mr. Montvale does do an excellent job of explained the bitter rivalry between Mr. Williams and the Boston sportswriters. But again, he spends too much time into the background of the writers (one doesn't really care about the life history of Mr. Williams' fiercest critic, Dave Egan, but we get that). Mr. Montvale does go into great detail about Mr. Williams' three marriages and his fishing life on the Florida Keys and Canada. This is interesting, to a point, but these aspects of his life should have been given the secondary nature that his career received. Mr. Montvale also conveys Mr. Williams as an impetuous, foul-mouthed crank and relays countless stories from acquaintances and loved ones who hammer this point home. Included is a word for word interview with Mr. Williams' third wife Dolores that was conducted in 1969 but never released that makes this point abundantly clear. Mr. Montvale ends the book with a sort of biography within a biography as he details the life and exploits of Mr. Williams' only son, John Henry. Again, this is interesting and shows how sad of an end that Mr. Williams' life had, but he goes overboard in his tales of John Henry's transgressions. This book is not without merit as it does provide some detailed insights into one of the 20th Century's greatest athletes, but it falls short of its potential greatness.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great biography, depressing ending
    This is a fascinating and illuminating book about a talented baseball player, a military hero, and a cantankerous curmudgeon - Ted Williams. Montville does a terrific job of encapsulating the Splendid Splinter's eventful 83 years into a fascinating 500-page book, complete with nearly a hundred black-and-white photographs, many never before seen. If you're looking for a biography of Ted Williams this is probably the one to get; it covers his entire life, something that his 1969 autobiography doesn't do (obviously).

    Montville doesn't shine much new light onto the Public Ted - any true baseball fan is already familiar with his battles with the media, his 406 average in 1941, his weak performance in the 1946 World Series, the two military interruptions to his baseball career, his storybook home run in his final at-bat, etc. We already knew that stuff. Where the book truly shines is in illuminating the Private Ted...

    The selfish Ted, who'd drag uninterested wives along with him on fishing trips, and who'd rather be alone in a boat somewhere than be present for his children's births; his lustful enjoyment of his hobbies was more important than his family. The angry and blasphemous Ted, who'd spit at fans and frequently (and colorfully) take the Lord's name in vain with a smattering of the f-word and his favorite modifier, "syphilitic." The lonely Ted, who married three beautiful trophy wives, had teammates and friends all over the country, yet still lacked the unconditional love he desperately needed. Somehow Montville manages to paint Williams as sympathetic, lovable, and even heroic, while still telling the story of a bitter and cranky man.

    Thankfully, there were at least a few caring people in Ted's life to help diffuse his negativity and give him unconditional love: Louise Kaufman, the grandmotherly woman who became Ted's longtime companion after his three failed marriages to younger women, and the male nurses who took care of him during his final decade on Earth.

    Sadly, the book (like Williams's life) ends on an unavoidable down-note. Montville frightens us with the awful tale of Ted's money-grubbing son, John-Henry. Here the author fairly throws objectivity aside, painting the younger Williams in tones reminiscent of Shakespeare's Iago. John-Henry's underhanded machinations and obvious treatment of Ted as a meal ticket rather than a beloved father left me feeling sad and depressed at the story's end. Junior was more concerned with his progenitor's ability to sign and sell valuable autographs than his comfort and welfare during his declining years. The demon seed of Ted Williams kept his father's friends and loved ones from calling and visiting, and then - in an act which violated Ted's wish for cremation, as per his will - John-Henry had his father cryogenically frozen after his death. Thus began the fighting and infinite court proceedings between Ted's offspring - an embarrassing and surreal coda to a life otherwise lived with integrity and dignity.

    A great book about a great man. As sports biographies go, it's surely one of the best - just like Ted.

    (News update: John-Henry Williams, 35, died of leukemia in March 2004. Perhaps now the legal maneuvering will stop; perhaps Ted can at last be cremated and have his ashes spread across the waters of Florida, just as he wanted. Meanwhile, thanks to John-Henry, the decapitated head of Ted Williams remains in a frozen vat in Arizona.)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A must read for Williams fans...
    This book is a must read for Williams fans, Red Sox fans and baseball fans in general. I felt this book was one of the most balanced books I have read aboout Williams. Not only does it pay tribute to his success on the field and in the air during WW II and Korea, but also decribes his many faults. I have always been a fan of Montville and this book, simply put, is a great one.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good, honest look at a good, honest man...
    I recently read Cramer's bio of Joe DiMaggio and thought this would be a good complement. And it was. While the more one finds out about DiMaggio during and after baseball, the less one likes him; the more one reads about Williams, the more one likes HIM. He was the anti-Joe with his time and genuine concern for people, especially those less fortunate (in particular, children and the Jimmy Fund in Boston).

    For baseball fans, this book is not too deep on his accomplishments on the field. But then again, his career is so well-documented that baseball fans are probably very familiar with it. Montville does shed light on his early days in the minors, the majors, the .400 season, the service years, his bad relationship with the Boston sportswriters and his refusal to tip his cap when he homered in his last career bat. All things that we are familiar with, but about which it was good to know more.

    For those who are not baseball fans, the book offers more of a look at this man who had achieved so much in his profession, served his country in the middle of his career (in two separate wars) and delved into the complex relationship he had with his family yet how easy it was to be his friend...on his terms.

    I think the author gives a good and balanced account of how this man went from a not-so-popular player in his own hometown and even with some of his teammates, to the much-adored icon he was in the last 10-15 years of his life. There are some truly touching passages about his innate goodness that was sometimes overshadowed by occasional and irrepressible bouts of anger. Looking around at today's ballplayers, once hopes for someone like Barry Bonds to have the same fate. To be misunderstood and unpopular while putting up one of the best careers even seen in the game and to be redeemed in the later years of his life. Might be too much to hope for in that case...

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a life Teddy Ballgame had!
    This book describes greatness, a quest for perfection, deep and long-term friendships between men; heroism and personal sacrifice for country; some of the inside details of baseball, a deep love for the game, betrayal and exploitation; and ultimately one of the most bizarre aftermath's to the life of a legend. There is no doubt that Ted Williams was one of the best hitters who ever lived. In fact, it can be argued, something that I often do, that he was the best hitter to ever play the game. On that note, while he was blessed with incredible skills, like so many successful athletes, he practiced as if he was a religious fanatic and that was his daily devotions. He was also a very intelligent man, some of the facets of hitting that Williams discussed had never been considered before. He studied pitchers with a precision that probably has never been duplicated.
    Under the social classifications now used, Ted was a Hispanic, his father was Mexican and his mother Caucasian. Growing up in San Diego, he was worshipping baseball and making it his field of study at a very early age. Unfortunately, his skill at hitting a baseball did not translate into maturity. He became a star at an early age, and he never managed to mellow a ferocious temper, which many of his friends said was the key to his success. Like so many people who accomplished so much, he was a perfectionist. He would hit a homerun and then criticize himself for swinging at a pitch that was not in the strike zone. Montville criticizes Williams for this, but it is not totally justified. A mistake that turns out right is still a mistake, and if you are satisfied with that, then over the long haul, the mistakes will sum to a point that will overwhelm you.
    It is amazing to think that he pulled two tours of duty as a Marine Corps pilot, flying combat missions in the Korean War and having a plane shot out from under him. There is no greater testament to his hitting ability than what happened after he returned from Korea at the age of 35. Having almost no time to readjust to the baseball world, he managed to hit over .400 for the remainder of the season and have a slugging percentage over .900. A close second is when he hit .388 at the age of 38, which put him within a few hits of .400. Over the course of the season, that many hits would have been generated by legs even a few years younger.
    His later years were spent in and out of baseball, fishing, hunting and enjoying himself. It is here where we also see the consequences of celebrity. His relationships with women were strained, often a consequence of the fact that he could have so many. Women seemed to roll in and out of bed with him at a regular pace and there is a somewhat substantiated rumor that he caught an STD while in Korea. His relationships with his children were poor, which led to his being exploited, manipulated and mistreated in his last years. Those who knew him best and had looked after him were shut out of his life when he needed them most. After his death, his body was frozen, something that was almost certainly the consequence of a forgery that was somehow accepted as legal.
    Ted Williams did many things at the highest level. He lived fast, enjoyed the good life of women, fame, adulation and monetary rewards. At the end, it seemed that his only regret was that he did not build familial relationships. Which is probably correct, because he maintained close relationships with friends for decades, old buddies to shoot piles of BS with.
    Montville captures Ted Williams as a great man with great flaws. Some criticized him because they could and because it sold papers. Nevertheless, Williams often went out of his way to antagonize others, spitting at and cursing fans and sportswriters when he felt like it. As is so often the case, the very qualities that make someone great also make their flaws great. However, he was also willing to help people in need. There are many stories of his charity work and how he would stop and give a total stranger a tip on hitting. This is a book that all baseball fans should read. ... Read more


    7. 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


    8. The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey: A Portrait in Her Own Words
    by Oprah Winfrey, Bill Adler
    list price: $14.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1559724196
    Catlog: Book (1997-01-01)
    Publisher: International Thomson Publishing
    Sales Rank: 53322
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Words more important than packager
    You can get lost in the fact that this is a collection of quotes by Oprah and not thoughts written by Oprah exclusively for this book.
    Or you could be smart and glean wisdom from what she has to say.
    How she grew up, what she learned from her errors, what she thinks of money and herself in relationship to it, the mental preparation to receive the abundance that she has and how she stays centered.

    What I think thsi book is valuable for is insight, and perhaps personal inspiration for how to manage one's self in certain situations. The goal is not to become Oprah, it is to become the best YOU possible.

    You take or you leave it, but you integrate it into the lessons and challenges of your own life. The same with John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, Jenny Jones (hahhahahaha----kidding).

    3-0 out of 5 stars A chronology of quotations
    While this is a very interesting and well researched book on Oprah, keep in mind that it is an unauthorized biography. This book is basically a chronology of Oprah's life, and Adler does a decent job of stringing her quotes into a coherent history. A nice bonus is the section of short quotes on a wide variety of subjects. If you love Oprah, you'll probably love this book!

    1-0 out of 5 stars An unauthorized book of Oprah Winfrey quotes.
    Bill Adler has taken past interviews, articles, and speeches of Oprah Winfrey and complied _his list_ of her best quotations. It's an unauthorized book - meaning Oprah didn't write it nor was she involved in the production. Some quotations show the source of information with a date and some don't -- which makes it a bit disappointing not to have the history or context pertaining to the quote. If you have an extensive Oprah collection, you'll want this book just to say you have everything, otherwise there are many other good Oprah biographies available. ... Read more


    9. George Washington (The American Presidents)
    by James MacGregor Burns, Susan Dunn
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0805069364
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-07)
    Publisher: Times Books
    Sales Rank: 93422
    Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A premier leadership scholar and an eighteenth-century expert define the special contributions and qualifications of our first president

    Revolutionary hero, founding president, and first citizen of the young republic, George Washington was the most illustrious public man of his time, a man whose image today is the result of the careful grooming of his public persona to include the themes of character, self-sacrifice, and destiny.

    As Washington sought to interpret the Constitution’s assignment of powers to the executive branch and to establish precedent for future leaders, he relied on his key advisers and looked to form consensus as the guiding principle of government. His is a legacy of a successful experiment in collective leadership, great initiatives in establishing a strong executive branch, and the formulation of innovative and lasting economic and foreign policies. James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn also trace the arc of Washington’s increasing dissatisfaction with public life and the seeds of dissent and political parties that, ironically, grew from his insistence on consensus. In this compelling and balanced biography, Burns and Dunn give us a rich portrait of the man behind the carefully crafted mythology.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    1-0 out of 5 stars pettty, immature academic view of Washington
    Burns and Dunn seem to think ambition is a dirty word, and that one can't have ambitious goals for oneself combined with modesty. Perhaps they've never known modest, hard-driving and successful men - that is, people with outstanding abilities who want to realize their potential and yet are innately modest. So we get the historian picking on Washington, exposing him for a hypocrite, instead of informing us on what contributed to Washington's outstanding leadership and moral qualities. very disappointing. I quit reading after chapter 3.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction of Washington as President
    I too am surprised that this series of short works on the American Presidents is getting what seems to me to be too little attention. While not every book in the series is of the same quality, several, and in particular this one on Washington, are gems. Not a general biography, this is an analysis of Washington's presidency and what we get of his early life is here only to further that analysis. Despite this relatively narrow focus, it is a book all who want to understand our political system as it exists today should read. Dense but very well written, I give it four stars only because I leave five for the greatest works of English literature and we aren't offered four and a half. Nevertheless, I recommend it highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars History and biography at its best
    I admit I am a sucker for history, and especially American History and biographies. In the last few years there have been a plethora of books about our founding fathers, and Professor Burns and Dunn's work is right up there with the best. If there is a flaw it lies in the brevity. But the writing is sharp, almost like a well developed college lecture series, and though I have read longer, more detailed biographies of Washington, this was the most entertaining and easy to digest. I also highly recommend Professor Burns previous books on Franklin Roosevelt if you have a mind to immerse yourself in a very thorough history of a very troubled time and a very heroic, and human statesman.

    5-0 out of 5 stars First rate book, about the country's First Citizen
    This is one of the latest of the American Presidents Series of short biographies, presented by Arthur Shelesinger, Jr. I remain puzzled by the lack of strong public interest in these books while lengthier tomes make the best sellers lists. Regardless, I find these books to be an excellent complimentary resource that allow a reader to learn much more about presidents for whose name may have only have been memorized for a middle school civics class.

    Much has been written about Washington in the past, and he seems to be enjoying a resurgence of interest. Some of these biographies are more hagiographic than the last, while others are critical especially of his contrary views on slavery.

    The authors of this book, Burns & Dunn, choose to try and focus on Washington's character, and philosophy, instead of chronicling each aspect of his life. They discuss his military career up to the revolution and give short mention of his generalship. But, what they miss in the revolution, they expound on in his post-war career as the president of the Constitutional convention, and as President.

    They provide beliefs of his that are relevant in today's executive branch, but more as an example of his judgments that were not followed. For example, "In all situations, including emergencies, Washington demanded calm examination and 'a deliberate plan.' No action, he repeated to the secretary of war, should be undertaken without absolutely reliable facts and information." (pp. 63-64). Also, Washington the southerner, not Lincoln the northerner, set the precedent for taking armed action against internal insurrection without the specific approval of the Constitution. This is an historical fact that is ignored by too many of the current population.

    Washington failed to live up to his famous maxims in many situations, as the book makes note, including short changing his former troops in the Ohio territory. But, what he did accomplish in defining the role of the chief executive officer is a legacy that is too much taken for granted when rating the great former presidents. This book only shows that character is a difficult judgment to make. It's like trying to define beauty or love. I was taught that there was only one perfect person in this world's history, and he was crucified. ... Read more


    10. When Washington Crossed the Delaware : A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots
    by Lynne Cheney, Peter Fiore
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.86
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0689870434
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
    Sales Rank: 296
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    Book Description

    "This is the story that I tell my grandchildren at Christmas. I hope that this book will bring the tradition of sharing history to families all across America."
    -- Lynne Cheney


    Christmas night, 1776, was a troubled time for our young country. In the six months since the Declaration of Independence had been signed, General George Washington and his troops had suffered defeat after defeat at the hands of the British. It looked as though our struggle for independence might be doomed, when Washington made a bold decision. He would lead the main body of his army across the Delaware River and launch a surprise attack on enemy forces.

    Washington and his men were going against the odds. It seemed impossible that the ragtag Americans could succeed against the mightiest power in the world. But the men who started across the icy Delaware loved their country and their leader. Under his command they would turn the tide of battle and change the course of history.

    Best-selling author Lynne Cheney tells the dramatic story of the military campaign that began on Christmas night in 1776. When Washington Crossed the Delaware will teach the young about the heroism, persistence, and patriotism of those who came before them. ... Read more


    11. All Cloudless Glory: The Life of George Washington : From Youth to Yorktown and the Making of a Nation
    by E. Harrison Clark
    list price: $69.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0895264412
    Catlog: Book (1995-11-01)
    Publisher: Regnery Publishing
    Sales Rank: 499639
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Volume Two takes the nation's first president from the end of his career as a great general, through his final days at Mount Vernon, to the often tumultous years of his presidency. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Straight facts, verbatim words from the man, himself.
    Not only did I read this book, Vol 1 of 2, but I read Vol 2, as well.The first is "From youth to Yorktown"the second is "Making a Nation."This is not just a read, but a study of Washington with a vast quantity of verbatim correspondence from and to the man himself. Great insight into the inner man, how he thought, the deeds, the challenges he and his peers faced.Read these two volumes, cross-reference with other works, and you'll have a much enriched appreciation for the father of our country.Great Read/Study.If you like factual history, Enjoy!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Searching for a good book on Washington - don't buy this one
    I am under the belief that the people that wrote favorable reviews for this book were related to Harrison Clark (the author).

    Although the book contains a lot of great information, the format, the grammar, and the lack of good maps limits the readers understanding.

    format - there were times when the text was so disjointed that I had to reread sections several times and sit down with pen an paper to map out his ideas.

    grammar - the author, for example, will tell a story about several men.When continuing the story about one man specifically Harrison will refer to the person as "him" without letting the reader know which of the men to whom he is making the reference.

    maps - The author refers to a lot of places, but doesn't map them out so it is hard to gain an understanding of what is happening in the book.

    If you haven't purchased this book - don't.Given Harrison's creditials this book is a disappointment.

    2-0 out of 5 stars woman seeking a better book on George Washington!
    I found this author to be a very cumbersome writer.He delivers a lot of great information, but often in a scattered, non grammatically correct format.This has caused me to reread sections of the book and make assessments about what the author is attempting to convey.For example, the author could be telling a story about 3 men and then continue talking only about one of them - but never tells the reader about which man he is speaking....he only refers to the man as "him".For a man of his credentials, I am really disappointed.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great Information, But A Clumsy Format
    The first of Harrison Clark's two-parter on George Washington focuses on Washington's life and career up through 1781, and this volume closes with the victory at Yorktown that effectively ended the American Revolution.

    Iwould take issue with the Book Description (above) which describes the maincharacter in this book as the "youthful Washingon, one not transformedinto the dignified figure we associate with our first president."While Washington does not become president at any point in these pages, allthe traits that we look for in Washington -- the dignified figure, masterpolitician and diplomat, and inspirational leader -- are already in well inplace by the final third of this book.One factor that practically leapsoff the pages is the all-out adoration that men and women alike, regardlessof their place in society, felt for the man.Clark lets those who saw andinteracted with Washington do the talking through their letters or diaries,and Washington's charisma shines brightly from these pages.

    Clark haschosen to let Washington and his contemporaries tell the story ofWashington's life and career through their own writings, and it would be awelcome choice but for one thing -- the book is organized so clumsily as tobecome disjointed.Rather than edit and organize the various writings intoa narrative, Clark instead divides each chapter up into what I can onlythink to describe as a series of short vignettes.

    For example, chapter19, "Cambridge and Boston," is broken up into 11 smaller parts,some of them only half a page long.It makes progress rather like readinga college textbook, with each section broken into smaller subsections,separated by its own little bold-faced headline ("The VanishingArmy"). Clark does tend to group events into short pieces that makesense on their own, but lack the context of the larger story.

    Clarkwisely spends most of his time in this book outlining Washington's careerin the Continental Army, but it is sometimes difficult to get anappreciation for the battles and skirmishes Washington fought because themaps of the battle sites are almost completely useless.The map of the1776 New York Campaign, for example, is difficult to align with almostanything in the text.

    It's a shame that Clark has chosen such a floppyformat in which to present his information, because there's some reallyfirst-rate stuff in here (the chapter on Benedict Arnold's treason is ahighlight of the book, although it, too, gets bogged down in somedisjointed narration).If you've not had the opportunity to readWashington's own letters from this period, Clark provides you with lots ofsamples of Washington's writings which, by themselves, make this volumeworth owning.But if you're looking for an easily accessible, readablebiography, this one probably isn't for you.

    Five stars for wealth ofinformation presented, but only one star for the format, bringing this onedown to a three.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great book making me want to learn more.
    This is a great book.It is (obviously) centered around Gearge Washington rather than the events of his time.I learned alot about the person and the early history of America.George comes as alive as much as one canfrom strictly written sources. The two heros of the book are Washington andLaFayette, everyone else does something that is not favorable to the eyesof Washington or the author.John Adams, John Hancock, Gates and othersare seen as obstacles to Washington's success.I would like to learn moreabout these individuals . This book opened my eyes to The AmericanRevolution and how truly great a struggle it was. ... Read more


    12. George Washington, Spymaster : How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
    by Thomas B. Allen
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0792251261
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
    Publisher: National Geographic
    Sales Rank: 63742
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I didn't know Washington had it in him.
    This was a fascinating look at a part of the Revolutionary War I didn't even know existed, and I'm sure my children didn't either. Spies and double spies and secret codes I associate more with James Bond than George Washington. Presented in a clear and interesting way that makes for a compelling book, full of the kind of details that make history fun. Nice writting that is understandable but doesn't talk down to children. Also, an appealing book physically, small, and made to look (under the paper cover) like George's own secret book of codes. The codes are reproduced in the book and there is a running message to decode. ... Read more


    13. Richard Wagner: The Last Of The Titans
    by Joachim Kohler, Stewart Spencer
    list price: $40.00
    our price: $26.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0300104227
    Catlog: Book (2004-11-30)
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    Sales Rank: 44099
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    Book Description

    “The most stimulating study of Wagner to have been published for years. An enthralling read.”—Barry Millington

    In this new biography of Richard Wagner, Joachim K&ouml;hler draws on social and political analysis, documentary interpretation, and psychological insights to paint a rounded picture of Wagner as both a controversial historical phenomenon and a complex human being.

    K&ouml;hler’s reading of the letters, diaries, and other documents of the main protagonists, some of them unfamiliar even to seasoned Wagnerians, results in some breathtaking but convincing reappraisals. He examines Wagner’s love affairs with Jessie Laussot, Mathilde Wesendonck, and Judith Gautier and assesses their lasting emotional effect. He re-evaluates Wagner’s relationships with his mother, step-father, sister, and—most revealingly—his wife, Cosima, a relationship seen as based on fear rather than love. K&ouml;hler explores the philosophical roots of Wagner’s work, which the composer himself deliberately obfuscated. And he analyzes Wagner’s relationship with King Ludwig, whom Wagner is revealed to have blackmailed, and with Nietzsche, whom he tried to destroy.

    The traumas of his youth haunted Wagner throughout his life, as his emotional development underlay his notorious anti-semitism. K&ouml;hler’s interpretation of Wagner’s dreams, as recorded in Cosima’s diaries, offers astonishing insights into the paranoia and insecurity of a man who was one of the leading composers of his age.

    Joachim K&ouml;hler is the author of Nietzsche and Wagner: A Lesson in Subjugation, and Zarathustra’s Secret: The Interior Life of Friedrich Nietzsche, both published by Yale University Press. He is also the author of Wagner’s Hitler. Stewart Spencer is editor of The Selected Letters of Richard Wagner, Wagner’s Ring, and Wagner Remembered.
    ... Read more


    14. George Washington's Teeth
    by Deborah Chandra, Madeleine Comora
    list price: $16.00
    our price: $10.88
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0374325340
    Catlog: Book (2003-02-03)
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
    Sales Rank: 55340
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The creators of George Washington's Teeth unhinge the jaws of history to examine the mouth of America's first president, tracking the poor man's dental woes as he gallops to war, crosses the Delaware, and, with only two teeth left, takes his place as leader of the country. Washington was plagued by black, rotting teeth from the time he was 22, losing about one a year until he was nearly "toofless" and had to have his first dentures made from a hippotamus tusk (that's right, not wood!). Poets Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora begin their quirky historical tale at a lively clip: "The Revolutionary War/ George hoped would soon be won,/ But another battle with his teeth/ Had only just begun..." Indeed. Evidently he was losing teeth even as he crossed the Delaware: "George crossed the icy Delaware/ With nine teeth in his mouth./ In that cold and pitchy dark,/ Two more teeth came out!" (Cleverly, illustrator Brock Cole mimics Emanuel Leutze's famous painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware," making Washington seem more uncomfortably tight-lipped than dignified.) The story ends happily ever after with the crafting of a nice new pair of ivory false teeth that allow George to dance around the ballroom through the night. Truth be told, however, he would be deeply troubled by his teeth until the day he died. A four-page, illustrated historic timeline of Washington's life (and mouth) completes this carefully researched, very funny, charmingly illustrated picture book that works to humanize a larger-than-life historical figure and in turn, history itself. Brilliant! (Ages 7 and older) --Karin Snelson ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars New Perspective
    An intersting new perspective on George Washington. It makes him seem more human to children. Young children are intrigued to have the myth of wooden teeth squelched. Ther book provides a historical timeline in the back. This is a great book for children of ALL ages. Even I, an older child and teacher, learned some things. I had no idea our first president was so obsessed with his teeth and that he had such an active role in the solutions to his dental problems. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everything young kids will want to know about George's teeth
    There are lots of ways of chronicling the change in the national temperament, and one of them is that when I was a kid it was the story of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree that was what stood out. However, the inquiring minds of the nation's youth today are now going to be more intrigued by the legend the first President had wooden teeth, which is precisely how Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora, aided and abetted by Brock Cole's pictures, manages to teach young readers a nice little lesson in the finer points of historiography.

    Told in four line verse, "George Washington's Teeth" relates an imaginative set of encounters between General Washington and his dentist as the number of teeth in the mouth of the Father of Our Country decreases one by one over the years leading to Independence and the Presidency. Well, that is not entirely true since the authors have Washington losing two teeth the night be crossed the Delaware, but that left him with seven at that point in American history, which is a lucky number that fits the victory at Trenton. Eventually Washington is elected President, which is good, but has no teeth left, which is bad (especially when having your portrait painted). Fortunately, he comes up with a solution.

    The first part of "George Washington's Teeth" is pretty whimsical, but then the last part of the book contains a time line of important events in George Washington's life from his own letters, diaries, and accounts. However, instead of dealing primarily with the highpoints of Washington's personal and political life, we learn about what historians have uncovered about his teeth: from having already lost two teeth by the time he was twenty two and the rest were all black and rotted, to eating pickled tripe because it does not hurt his teeth, and a letter requesting plaster of Paris to make some false teeth. These are the sort of bizarre historical details that can trick young readers into thinking history is fun.

    There are even photographs of Washington's last sent of dentures. For the record, they were not wooden, but carved from hippopotamus ivory, the palate swaged from a sheet of gold, and springs made of coiled gold wire. Hopefully there are some other small nuggets of historical gold that Chandra and Comora, or like minded individuals, can turn to for books in the same spirit as this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WELL RESEARCHED AND WITTY
    Here's the real truth on our first President's tooth! No, he didn't really have a set of wooden teeth. But, poor man, the Revolution wasn't the only battle he fought. We learn in this delightfully illustrated book that from the age of 24 he lost a tooth a year. Hence, by the time he reached the presidency there were only two teeth left. (Their whereabouts in his mouth seem to be unknown).

    Based on historical records as well as Washington's letters and diaries this is a sprightly, fascinating account of the root of his problem (pun intended).

    Youngsters will learn a bit of history as well as enjoy a rollicking good read. For instance, they'll learn about Washington crossing the Delaware, and that he then had only nine remaining teeth. He didn't have too many teeth to chatter during the frozen winter at Valley Forge as there were only seven left.

    According to a letter Washington wrote he did at one time wear false teeth secured by wires hitched around his remaining teeth. His last set of dentures were made by a Dr. Greenwood, and carved from hippopotamus ivory.

    This is a well researched book complete with excerpts from Washington's letters and diaries. Witty pastel illustrations enhance the text. For all ages.

    - Gail Cooke

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic fun, and history too!
    Comora and Chandra have made a book to delight wordsmiths and history buffs alike. A verse narrative, each stanza informs by amusing. The great craft of the poem is never visible, but always in evidence -- none of the inane repetition that often informs such efforts is found here.
    The whimsical illustrations are more than fine, and laid out to support and complement, rather than compete with the words.
    A true delight for President's Day, and many others besides.
    Bravi! ... Read more


    15. The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy
    by Bryan Magee
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $22.05
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0805067884
    Catlog: Book (2001-11-07)
    Publisher: Metropolitan Books
    Sales Rank: 154822
    Average Customer Review: 4.95 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A profoundly searching investigation that reveals for the first time the philosophical foundations of Wagner's art

    Richard Wagner's devotees have ranged from the subtlest minds (Proust) to the most brutal (Hitler). The enduring fascination of his works arises from his singular fusion of musical innovation and theatrical daring, but also from his largely overlooked engagement with the boldest investigations of modern philosophy.

    Now, in this radically clarifying book, Bryan Magee traces the Wagner's involvement in the intellectual quests of his age, from his youthful embrace of revolutionary socialism, to a Schopenhauerian rejection of the world as illusion, to the near-Buddhist resignation of his final years. Mapping the influence of ideas on Wagner's art, Magee shows how abstract thought can permeate musical work and stimulate creations of great power and beauty. And he unflinchingly confronts the Wagner whose paranoia, egocentricity, and anti-Semitism are as repugnant as his achievements are glorious.

    At once a biography of the composer, an overview of his times, an account of 19th century opera, and an insight into the intellectual and technical aspects of music, Magee's lucid study offers the best explanation of W. H. Auden's judgment that Wagner, for all his notorious difficulties, was "perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wagner, from leftist revolutionary to world-rejecting mystic
    Before picking up this book, I had Wagner pegged as a proto-Nazi. This was not based on any investigation, I just absorbed it somehow, and took it for granted. Imagine my surprise, then, to learn that Wagner was a hotheaded anarchist revolutionary as a young man, who stood shoulder to shoulder with Bakunin as a leader of the 1848 uprising in Dresden! This part of Magee's book is just the prelude to his real topic, Wagner's later turn to the philosophy of Schopenhauer, but I enjoyed it tremendously. Like many before and since, Wagner became disillusioned as he reached middle age. Whereas he had developed an elaborate philosophical and aesthetic theory about revolutionizing human relations, based on Fuerbach among others, he read Schopenhauer and had an epiphany. One of the most fascinating aspects of this is that he was only partially through composing "The Ring" -- the libretto was complete, but not the music. He stopped in the middle of "Siegfried," wrote "Tristan und Isolde" in a Schopenhauerian frenzy, went on to write "The Mastersingers," and only then returned to finish the music for "Siegfried" and then "Gotterdammerung." So the story of the "The Ring" reflects an anarchist revolutionary vision, far from any proto-Nazi sentiments! "Parsifal," often taken for a Christian work, is not Christian per se, but rather Schopenhauerian -- Wagner used Christian mythic imagery just as he used "pagan" mythic imagery in The Ring.

    If you have only the received view of Wagner, prepare for a journey of discovery. Magee's writing is smooth and easy, and the nearly 400 pages read as if only half that. My only minor complaint is that Magee proclaims at regular intervals that Wagner is one of history's greatest geniuses, alongside Shakespeare and Mozart. I have only heard a small sample of Wagner's music, and I am as of yet far from convinced of that, but for the first time I'm ready to give Wagner a fair hearing!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wagner- One, Two, Three
    This book, 380 pages in length, is a perfect book for those people who love Wagnerian operas and want to learn more without having to plough through a heavy tome which 9 out of 10 readers never finish. The author, Bryan Magee, intelligently wites to the lay reader. His explanation of philosophers such as Nietzche, Hegel, Marx, Schopenhauer and others who helped form Wagner's thinking, is easy to follow and brilliantly shows how Wagner developed and merged philosophy and music. Wagner changed music. One cannot recommend this book more highly to those interested in learning what made one of the great composers tick and how he is often misunderstood. It is a treasure trove of information and is well laid out. A great read. Bravo, Mr. Magee.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wagner: Not a Proto-Nazi
    One of the most brilliantly argued defenses of Richard Wagner I've ever come across. The genius composer is not the proto-Nazi that many make him out to be (having hobnobbed with Bakunin, Proudhon and other anarchists early on in his career) The author sets out to show that the philosophers Kant and Schoepenhauer had a profound influence on Wagner's music, esp, the Ring and Tristan and Isolde operas. I commend this author for his courage in defending one of the greatest composers of all time. May all PC hacks wither away and die in Wagner's eternal genius light. (...)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Aesthetic states...
    I read this at the same time as J. Kholer's Wagner's Hitler (q.v.) and the result was partial dialectical collision. It is difficult to know how to take Wagner in the midst of so much revisionist detective work. But Magee's book is, in the realm of pure Wagner limbo, a splendidly done piece which shows Wagner to be one of the most complex and significant figures of the nineteenth century. This is not the same as the usual oulala about genius since Wagner and Nietzsche both did a lot of bungled work, among them fixing culturally inadequate views of tragedy. They both failed their own tests, and if you can't figure out the essence of Greek tragedy you can end up in the middle of one yourself. Worth keeping in mind in the tiresome eulogies of these two failures of genius. What a waste.
    As a musical peon in the Verdi bleachers with the old rotten cabbage in reserve I can do without hagiographies of this period, but find the subject interesting in a different way. With the Marx brothers A Night At The Opera under one's belt maybe the right methodology to deal with all this is at hand: this complete shambles is important!
    Thus it is worth looking at a book such as Josef Chytry's The Aesthetic State for a history of the context of attempts to produce a tragic theatre, and/or the Gesantkuntswerk that Wagner so heroically pursued. But in the context of the overall history which starts with the ancient Greeks the question (which haunted Hegel) is why modern society simply can't match that great other chord of the 'aesthetic state' proceeding from Homer to Euripides. Here Wagner, good or bad, fails his own test, but is the most remarkable self-appointed guinea pig putting the whole issue to a test. It is hard to believe a man of such talents and heroic endeavors could be so unlucky as to fall into the whole occult shebant leading into the emergence of the lunatic far right. Watching him fail is significant in itself, especially next to the stupefying things he manage to accomplish in the process.
    But in the final analysis, Wagner was coopted by the society he was and we see a great success in the middle of a great fiasco.
    Anyway, Magee's book is a really good snapshot of Wagner. It is good to see the bright side first in trying to get the riddle of Wagner straight.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for Any Wagner Lover
    The Tristan Chord is a brilliant exploration of the evolutionary nexus between Wagner's political and philosophical beliefs, and the momunental works of art he created. For me the finest part of the book is the very detailed examination of the philosophy of Schopenhauer and it's extraordinary impact on the composer. To be able to write on such a complex subject and to do it in such a completely compelling and readable way is an amazing achievement. Essential reading for a deepening understanding of Wagner's oeuvre. ... Read more


    16. George vs. George : The Revolutionary War as Seen by Both Sides
    by Rosalyn Schanzer
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0792273494
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
    Publisher: National Geographic
    Sales Rank: 269302
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    17. George Washington: A Biography
    by Washington Irving, Charles Neider
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $16.32
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0306805936
    Catlog: Book (1994-09-01)
    Publisher: Da Capo Press
    Sales Rank: 80933
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Powerful & sagacious review of the first Commander in Chief
    Washington Irving's biography on Washington is by far the most detailed review on our first President from youth through his post Presidential years. Given that Mr. Irving personally met George Washington at the young age of 7, Irving's book has all the more relavence than today's revisionist historians can ever provide. However, the "old english" that Washington used in his correspondence makes for difficult comprehension. It is interesting to note that by 1850 the change to a more modern writing style by Irving presents a clearer picture of Washington's time, but it still requires an occasional re-read to fully understand Irving's point. A person with a limited interest in the Revolutionary War may be better suited to purchasing a more contemporary biography for ease of reading.

    However, this book does provide such insite into the minds of Washington and those around him and it allows the reader to finally start to understand why our Founding Fathers risked all for the sake of freedom and liberty from the English. Today we take for granted rights that never existed anywhere in the 1770's and such historical works penned in the mid 1850's provides an insite that should be required reading for both liberals and conservatives. Overall, the book is long and difficult to read, but well worth the time, effort and cost.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Bio of a Great Man
    The life of Washington should be required reading for everyone. The amount of difficulty he faced throughout his life is unimaginable to modern man. Washington had a life of privilege which is the main reason he was placed in a position of responsibility so early in life. However, in all of his campaigns he was dealing with shortages, sicknesses and other difficulties that make our own seem not so difficult.
    Reading this work will provide the reader with an understanding how lucky America was to have a man of such temperament at her founding. Washington was a man of great intellect. He proved that by defeating the British on a number of occasions. He was a man of high honor which he proved when the various cabals tried to remove him from his office and he answered them with excellent performance and an absence of the acrimony so many would have used. He was a man of incomprehendable determination. The crossing of the Deleware, the winter at Valley forge and hundreds of other examples prove this. He was a man of tremendous resourcefulness as is shown by his ability to field an army when provisions were always in want for many years and at the same time attend to so many other details.

    Washington Irving's work will provide the reader with an excellent understanding of all of these qualities. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Washington's life. The vast majority of this work deals with the revolution so if you are interested in the early years or the later years you will not find a great deal of detail in this particular work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great bio of a great man
    The life of Washington should be required reading for everyone. The amount of difficulty he faced throughout his life is unimaginable to modern man. Washington had a life of privilege which is the main reason he was placed in a position of responsibility so early in life. However, in all of his campaigns he was dealing with shortages, sicknesses and other difficulties that make our own seem not so difficult.

    Reading this work will provide the reader with an understanding how lucky America was to have a man of such temperament at her founding. Washington was a man of great intellect. He proved that by defeating the British on a number of occasions. He was a man of high honor which he proved when the various cabals tried to remove him from his office and he answered them with excellent performance and an absence of the acrimony so many would have used. He was a man of incomprehendable determination. The crossing of the Deleware, the winter at Valley forge and hundreds of other examples prove this. He was a man of tremendous resourcefulness as is shown by his ability to field an army when provisions were always in want for many years and at the same time attend to so many other details.

    Washington Irving's work will provide the reader with an excellent understanding of all of these qualities. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Washington's life. The vast majority of this work deals with the revolution so if you are interested in the early years or the later years you will not find a great deal of detail in this particular work.

    4-0 out of 5 stars This was a fascinating book: detailed, but not without flaws
    This edition of Washington Irving's biography of George Washington has been substantially reduced in size via editing from the original editions, published in the 1850's. Irving was one of, if not the first American author to receive literary acclaim in the salons of Europe. This book was Irving's life's dream. The book details Washington's life, military career, and political thoughts in a very deferential way, as the author appears to have remained in awe of the "Great Man" who had patted him on the head when he was but a child. Irving seems incapable of finding any fault with Washington, and his conclusions on that score probably do not fully reflect later historical thinking. The book does suffer from a lack of maps, as the stories of the military campaigns of the Revolutionary War are recounted in great detail. In addition, having been written almost 150 years ago, there is a substantial amount of archaic word usage that could give your dictionary a workout, if you are so inclined. In addition, the book treats the latter stages of Washington's life thinly, due largely, I believe, to Irving's declining health as the last editions of his multi-edition biography was being written. Thus, if your focus is on Washington's Presidential years, look elsewhere. Otherwise, one could hardly choose a better biography of Washington; it is probably the oldest biography of Washington that is easily accessible to the average reader today. Overall, the book was very enjoyable to read. ... Read more


    18. The Story of George Washington Carver (Scholastic Biography)
    by Eva Moore
    list price: $4.99
    our price: $4.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0590426605
    Catlog: Book (1995-08-01)
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Sales Rank: 178086
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Born into slavery, George Washington Carver became one of the mostprestigious scientists of his time. This biography follows Dr. Carver's lifefrom childhood to his days as a teacher and discoverer. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great History Book
    My son and I read this book this summer for his summer reading program. Not only did my son, who was 7, enjoy the book but I couldn't wait to learn more from our readings. We read the book in two days. I am suggesting this book to his 2nd Grade teacher this year. This is a must to read book!!! ... Read more


    19. George Washington and the General's Dog (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)
    by FRANK MURPHY
    list price: $3.99
    our price: $3.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375810153
    Catlog: Book (2002-12-24)
    Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
    Sales Rank: 56268
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Boom! Bang! Guns fire! Cannons roar! George Washington is fighting in the American Revolution. He
    sees a dog lost on the battlefield. Whose dog is it? How will it find its master? Early readers will be surprised to find out what happens in this little-known true story about America’s first president.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read Aloud for President's Day!
    This easy reader is a delightful story to share with all students. The information gained about President Washington is unforgettable. Children will love that George named his dog "Sweetlips" and they won't forget that he was super kind and honest to one of his enemies! This book will be a staple in classrooms across the country and this true story of George may replace his "Cherry Tree" tale. ... Read more


    20. Aspects of Wagner (Oxford Paperbacks)
    by Bryan Magee
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $5.18
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0192840126
    Catlog: Book (1988-10-01)
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Sales Rank: 203837
    Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Many music lovers find Wagner's operas inexpressibly beautiful and richly satisfying, while others find them revolting, dangerous, self-indulgent, and immoral.The man who W.H. Auden once called "perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived" has inspired both greater adulation and greater loathing than any other composer.

    Bryan Magee presents a penetrating analysis of Wagner's work, concentrating on how his sensational and deeply erotic music uniquely expresses the repressed and highly charged contents of the psyche.He examines not only Wagner's music and detailed stage directions but also the prose works in which he formulated his ideas, as well as shedding new light on his anti-semitism and the way in which the Nazis twisted his theories to suit their own purposes. Outlining the astonishing range and depth of Wagner's influence on our culture, Magee reveals how profoundly he continues to shock and inspire musicians, poets, novelists, painters, philosophers, and politicians today. ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading, But Not Essential
    Some of the reviews here imply that this is a comprehensive study of Wagner, and the best of its kind ever written. Wrong on both accounts. As the title says, the book, which contains five essays, is about ASPECTS of Wagner, not a full-blown study (it's also barely more than 100 pages long).

    Of course, Magee is one of today's most insightful and provocative commentators on Wagner, and anyone interested in the composer will certainly want to check out this book, because it's a short, easy read, yet is filled with some interesting points about the obsessiveness of Wagnerites and the psychological reasons behind it, among other things.

    On the other hand, not only does the chapter on Wagner's anti-semitism strikes me as half-baked (he does it much better in his full-length study of Wagner, THE TRISTAN CHORD), the book was written over 30 years ago, before Magee came to his his more mature and brilliant insights about Wagner which he outlines so majestically in the TRISTAN CHORD.

    Overall, Magee's TRISTAN CHORD is one of the greatest books about Wagner ever written. His ASPECTS OF WAGNER is certainly worth reading, but not essential.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
    This penetrating essay on Wagner's works is deceptively brief. Magee's analysis is brilliant and right on target. He manages to say in a few well chosen words what other books ramble on about for pages. This book is well written, authoritative, and masterful. I can't recommend it highly enough.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best wee book on Wagner
    The kind of book you buy several of to give away to friends. Short, to-the-point, lucid, wide-ranging. The author has a readable style and, well, knows what he's talking about. Good job.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Concise, Lucid Approach to Richard Wagner
    Despite the fact that this book was first published in 1969, it is so well written in such reasonable language that it still stands as one of the most cogent introductions to the genius of Richard Wagner. The bookstore shelves are full of volumes on the man many consider one of the most important composers ever. But many of those books are biased by quirks of each writer who preach either a love-him-or-hate-him agenda. Magee goes to the source, addressing the writings of the composer during his musical hiatus between Lohengrin and the Ring of the Niebelungen, a period (1848 - 1851) when Wagner withdrew into the works of the great German philosophers and gradually formed his world view of Opera as Drama, or, a religous happening - quite a different stance from the 'Opera as Entertainment' that was the popular consensus of the time. Magee offers translations of Wagner's words that clarify the messages that so often are lost in the verbiage that Wagner labored as he responded to the importance of mythology as a universal language, to Shakespeare as the perfect man of words, to the music of Beethoven as the writer of music that ALMOST didn't need poetry ( even though he granted that Beethoven's 9th Symphony which includes poetry was the gold standard of his time and indeed opened all the Bayreuth Festivals with that Beethoven work before presenting his own operas), and to the writings of Karl Marx, et al. Magee's essays include notes on the claims of AntiSemitism, on the influence of Wagner on the other artists of his time and after his time, and even on performance standards of his works. All this, in a book just over 100 pages in length! An invaluable tool for those who want to better understand why Wagner's music continues today to cause such profound emotional responses. Beautifully written and informative.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just in the middle of the target
    This small book speaks about Wagner's aspects that are the very most important in his real profile. And best of all, it follows (or he, Magee), the most adviceable use in Southern Europe, not to make a mixture between the genius personality and private life with his splendorous and unique art. We do not see Wagner as a relative or friend but as the most spectacular intuitive artist of the history of art. ... Read more


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