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61. Bringing Down the House: The Inside
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62. Into the Wild
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63. Dry : A Memoir
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64. Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind
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65. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
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66. Incompleteness: The Proof and
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67. Liar's Poker: Rising Through the
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68. Pope John Paul II: In My Own Words
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69. Nemesis : The True Story of Aristotle
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70. Dreams from My Father : A Story
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71. Wooden
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72. Take the Cannoli : Stories From
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73. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering
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74. Hey Ranger! : True Tales of Humor
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75. Inside the Wire : A Military Intelligence
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76. How to Be Like Women of Influence
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77. One Ranger : A Memoir (Bridwell
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78. Quicksands: A Memoir
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79. Leaving the Saints : How I Lost
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80. Honeymoon with My Brother : A

61. Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
by Ben Mezrich
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743249992
Catlog: Book (2003-09-09)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 174
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

#1 National Bestseller!
The amazing inside story about a gambling ring of M.I.T. students who beat the system in Vegas -- and lived to tell how.

Robin Hood meets the Rat Pack when the best and the brightest of M.I.T.'s math students and engineers take up blackjack under the guidance of an eccentric mastermind.Their small blackjack club develops from an experiment in counting cards on M.I.T.'s campus into a ring of card savants with a system for playing large and winning big.In less than two years they take some of the world's most sophisticated casinos for more than three million dollars.But their success also brings with it the formidable ire of casino owners and launches them into the seedy underworld of corporate Vegas with its private investigators and other violent heavies.

Filled with tense action, high stakes, and incredibly close calls, Bringing Down the House is a nail-biting read that chronicles a real-life Ocean's Eleven.It's one story that Vegas does not want you to read. ... Read more

Reviews (226)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beating the odds and living a constant adrenaline high!
This is a fast and explosive read. It's a true story that's so high-powered that the tension never ceases and I was thrust into a roller coaster ride that kept my eyes glued to the pages.

The story is told through the eyes of the author, who met one of the students at a party and was so intrigued by his outrageous tale that he was compelled to put it into a book. This is a story of a group of math whizzes, most of Asian descent, who used the art of card counting, worked as teams, and legally won as much as 4 million dollars during the few years they spent their weekends in the Vegas casinos, living the high life.

They strapped thousands of dollars to their bodies with Velcro to get the cash onto planes, used false names, and were always on the lookout for Las Vegas personnel who would sometimes personally escort them out of the casinos. They also learned about the seediness of the gambling world, greed, the way the Vegas corporations work. Of course they all went through changes. And eventually, it had to come to an end. Some of it is kind of scary too. But mostly, it's about beating the odds and living with a constant adrenaline high.

Well, reading this book is an adrenaline high of it's own. It put me right into the action and kept me there for the whole 257 pages. I loved it. And highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you've ever played blackjack, this is a must read!
This is a truly amazing story of six MIT students who beat Vegas at its own game.

As anybody who has ever been to Vegas knows, the ONLY game in Vegas where the player has a slight advantage (using minor card counting techniques) over the house is blackjack. The MIT students in this book took it a few steps further to increase their advantage even more. The research, practice, and other methods they used are quite remarkable. It certainly helped that they were all mathematical whizzes.

This book is a lot more than just blackjack, though. It gives an inside glimpse into the life of a high roller (AKA whale in gambling jargon) and even has some suspense and intrigue.

This is an absolute must read for anybody who has ever gambled in their life, especially if you've ever played a hand of blackjack. The book is a very fast read and you will find yourself turning the pages very quickly as you are enveloped in a fantasy world that only a handful of people ever get to realize.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read
This is a fun and interesting book. Nothing too heavy. Just a light, easy to read book - which is sometimes the very best thing. In the same easy to read level of entertainment as "Moneyball" (Michael Lewis), "Stranger Than Fiction" (Chuck Palahniuk), or "My Fractured Life" (Rikki Lee Travolta).

5-0 out of 5 stars CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE MOVIE!
Ben Mezrich knows how to tell a story. He takes us along with Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Black Jack team on casino assaults from Las Vegas to the Bahamas. We experience the life of high stakes gamblers... the fabulous hotel complementary rooms and the casinos' violent response to big talented winners. He briefly discusses the theory of card counting among team players early on, but saves the details for the last chapter. Ben also admits that the casinos have adapted by implementing continuous card shuffling machines. As a computer programmer with designs on lotteries, I felt a connection to fellow Boston area college students with a plan and the determination to follow through. I hope they make a movie out of this.

4-0 out of 5 stars decently fun....
If you like gambling, like myself, I think this book is worthwhile. It's not exactly a dissertation on winning at blackjack by any means, or a how-to book on winning lots of cash in gambling. It's pretty much a tale of a team of card-counters that hit up Vegas for millions. Whether it's true or not, I'm not sure. But it is a fun read. The story is interesting, and keeps you captivated enough so you won't put it down. But a light pleasure read. The main negative I have with this book is that it really isn't that well-written. While it is an easy read, the author shifts in and out of 1st and 3rd person narrative a lot, not only chapter by chapter, but also within pages. Not that it makes it confusing, but after awhile it becomes annoying. But all in all I thought the book was fun to read. So I'd give it 3 and a half stars, rounded up to 4. ... Read more


62. Into the Wild
by JON KRAKAUER
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385486804
Catlog: Book (1997-01-20)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 1144
Average Customer Review: 4.03 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"God, he was a smart kid..." So why did Christopher McCandless trade a brightfuture--a college education, material comfort, uncommon ability and charm--for death by starvation in anabandoned bus in the woods of Alaska? This is the question that Jon Krakauer's book tries to answer. While itdoesn't—cannot—answer the question with certainty, Into the Wild does shed considerable lightalong the way. Not only about McCandless's "Alaskan odyssey," but also the forces that drivepeople to drop out of society and test themselves in other ways. Krakauer quotes Wallace Stegner's writing on a youngman who similarly disappeared in the Utah desert in the 1930s: "At 18, in a dream, he saw himself ...wandering through the romantic waste places of the world. No man with any of the juices of boyhood inhim has forgotten those dreams." Into the Wild shows that McCandless, while extreme, washardly unique; the author makes the hermit into one of us, something McCandless himself could never pulloff. By book's end, McCandless isn't merely a newspaper clipping, but a sympathetic, oddly magneticpersonality. Whether he was "a courageous idealist, or a reckless idiot," you won't soon forgetChristopher McCandless. ... Read more

Reviews (745)

4-0 out of 5 stars Krakauer's story of Chris McCandless
Why would a talented and gifted young man walk away from his life of promise and lead the life of a penniless wanderer? Jon Krakauer, the nature/travel journalist, takes on this question in the story of Chris McCandless, who after two years of coast-to-coast travel, was found dead in the Alaskan wildreness.

Krakauer retraces McCandless's steps from his childhood to his days at Emory and uncovers a smart, compassionate young man who revelled in the works of Tolstoy, Jack London, and other figures who advocated a simple self-sufficient existence, turning away from money, government, etc. He interviews several people that Chris, "Alex Supertramp" as he calls himself, met in his hitch hiking travels and discusses his journal writings. I came upon this book after reading Krakauer's newest book, Under the Banner of Heaven. I appreciated Krakauer's style of being in the story as an author/journalist, but keeping the story in its purest form.
Krakauer first encountered this story after McCandless's death in 1992. He wrote a feature story in Outside magazine, but was very interested in McCandless, so he decided to research the events more. This book is the further research. He provides some insight and answers some of the questions with his own experiences as a mountaineer and outdoor-lover.

5-0 out of 5 stars FINDING CHRIS MCCANDLESS
As the mother of sons and a writer for whom reading is the greatest pleasure, I found "Into the Wild" to be one of the finest and most unexpectedly beautiful books I have read in a very long time.

It is the harrowing story of the death and short life of Chris McCandless, a bright, charming, adventurous young man whose mysterious travels and untimely death left a legacy of heartbreak and confusion to those who loved him.

In returning to the scene of his own admittedly incomplete reportage of the story for :"Outside" magazine, Jon Krakauer reveals his own honesty and decency as a writer and a man.

The book is as beautifully written as it is fascinating. Krakauer and his readers come to know Chris McCandless as our own youthful hopes made flesh. We also come to know this boy -- and love him -- as everyone's son, perhaps even our own.

Late in his troubled adolescence, Chris set out into the American "wilderness" on a journey to adulthood. He did not return.

He didn't return, that is, until Krakauer, who recognized in this story aspects of his own difficult youth, embarked on an odyssey of his own in McCandless' footsteps. .

With almost unbearable detail he pieces together the last year of this young man's life and derives from it a compelling pilgrim's tale of anger, fear and courage. Through those who knew him during his "lost" days, we move from dissatisfaction and yearning to spiritual rebirth that arrives gratefully, but late and despite terrible twists of fate

.Chris McCandless tunneled through Peer Gynt's mountain, punted across the Slough of Despond and into the dark and icy forest. He received boons and encountered spirit guides; listened and learned from scouts and story-tellers All of them later helped the auther piece together the real story, heretofore untold, of a boy who found himself and death in the same process and in the same place. Free at last, he quietly, and even joyously, welcomed the arrival of both with valor and uncommon grace.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting
How does a young man leave a comfortable life with an education and well to do parents and just wander into the wild? This is one of the questions that Jon Krakauer tries to answer. At first the reader is given the idea that Chris McCandless read one too many books like "On the Road" or "White Fang", but as the story develops, he becomes more complex a character. This young man was looking for adventure and decided to leave "normal" life behind. Unfortanuatly for him. it cost him his life.

Krakauer does an amazing job of bringing McCandless back to life by trying to show what he was thinking. Krakauer used personal notes, interviews with family and friends and historical experiences to flesh out this person. When the personal notes run out and speculation starts, Krakauer gives a personal tale to explain why McCandless was not an idiot and just had some bad luck. This book is a very good read and is time well spent.

5-0 out of 5 stars The dark side of idealism
Last Christmas I gave this book to my father. I thought he might enjoy the adventures of Alex (though you know from the start his life will end badly), and thought if things went well I might use this to try to explain to him why it is that I spend all my extra money on travel and why I do illogical things in pursuit of my dreams. His reaction, though, was nothing but frustration with Alex's "idiocy."

The difference between my response to the book - that Chris/Alex lived an extreme form of the longing I and many others feel - and my father's response is the same gulf that this story seeks to bridge. Jon Krakauer, who has also sacrificed a great deal and risked his life in pursuit of his dreams, clearly feels some sympathy for Alex's wild decisions. But the result of Alex's tramping is his own death and the heartbreak that ensues, which seems to outweigh any selfish satisfaction Alex may have received from his experiences.

When people create great art or invent something remarkable, society celebrates their achievements in spite of any collateral damage. But Alex is an example of someone whose idealism was far greater than his accomplishments. The art he left behind in his notebooks is unremarkable, and the few friends he made in his travels have not been catalysts for improvement in the world. His one success (or failure) was that he was able to unbind himself from his expected, normal life and give himself wholly to his ideals. So many of us secretly wish that we had the courage to do something similar, and this book forces us to confront that desire. Is the pursuit of a dream a worthwhile end, in and of itself?

There are no clear answers, in this book or in life, but the question is worth asking, no matter whether you see Alex as someone to be admired or throttled.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lonesome pines in snow
This is an excellent read! But more than that, it is one of most moving and human stories you will ever have the pleasure of encountering by an author such as Krakauer, a splendid naturalist with a true ear for epiphany. Krakauer has a style unlike any writer this side of the twentieth century, and makes his way honestly and earnestly into the psyche of the reader, unexpectedly portraying a very real and true, almost unspeakable understanding of the young adventurer, Chris McCandless. If you are American, you absolutely must read this book! It should be cannonized. ... Read more


63. Dry : A Memoir
by Augusten Burroughs
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312423799
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Picador
Sales Rank: 1952
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes Dry—the hilarious, moving, and no less bizarre account of what happened next.

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had to drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.
... Read more

Reviews (92)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Sobering Look At Sobriety
Augusten Burroughs showed how funny dysfunction could be in the excellent biography "Running With Scissors". Anyone who read (and enjoyed) "Running" can't be suprised that the next step for Burroughs would be rehab, which is the core of his new book "Dry".
The cast surrounding Burroughs in this novel comes with its own set of baggage, which gives him new avenues to explore, new failures to ridicule and new situations to extract both humor and pathos. Again, Burroughs makes laughing at his own missteps central to the book's theme, allthough a running second story involving a best friend who is dying of AIDS really turns the reader against Burroughs (until the necessary near-book's end epiphany, which always seems to be a common theme in alcohol-recovery stories).
Burroughs makes a funny, and tragic drunk. His confusion over dates and times, his lying and deceiving friends and co-workers lead to some laugh-out-loud tales. And the long overdue intervention will make a great movie scene someday. But this book hits its stride with Burroughs exiting rehab, and trying to cope in the real world without a drink. Here his yearning for understanding of his own condition, set against a number of incidents (his friend's eventual death, scripting a beer advertising campaign) lead to humor, sadness and understanding, and show us the heart and soul that we suspect is there, but are rarely given a chance to see until the end of the story.
Anyone who has experience with sobriety, or with twelve-step programs will especially enjoy Burrough's experiences in rehab and meetings, but there may be a few too many in-jokes for those not familiar with a sober lifestyle.

5-0 out of 5 stars Depth, reality, humanity
For someone who doesn't fancy himself a memoir reader, I'm glad to find books in the genre such as this which shine. Anyone who read Running with Scissors, Burrough's first memoir, and enjoyed it well past the hilarious "and then there was the antique ECT machine under the stairs" line into the ups and downs of that life...well, you'll also want to read this book. It's not a 'follow up' any more than Time Regained is a follow up to Swann's Way; Dry stands related but on it's own merits. Nor is the book a 'rehab' book because it transcends that kind of labelling as well. The author doesn't have to resort to edgey posturing. Burroughs privileges us with an honest look at his life and so tells us a bit more about what it means to be human. And check out his website...: from his bio you just know there's more to come, which is pretty amazing for someone who isn't 40 yet.

5-0 out of 5 stars Honest Memoir
<br /> He admits hes a drunk, admits he fails to come home...admits that he is basically forced to under go rehab. But deep within the book you understand the reasons why he got to that point. He is honest about the difficulties in returning back to where he once was, only he has to do it sober. This is a moving memoir, funny and at times heartbreaking. More importantly it is real and courageous. Courageous like other books I have read, Nightmares Echo and A Child Called It,including but not limited to his other book, Running With Scissors, Dry is the story of love, loss,and finding your way back when everyone else gave up.<br />

5-0 out of 5 stars Can Get In To The Heart Of It
This was an easy book to get in to the heart of. Excellent style of writing. The author takes you through the painstaking journey of the different forms of abuse and how it drives the adult in to addictions that are so difficult to control. There are many books out on the market that deal with abuse, and yet only a few such as 'Dry','Running With Scissors' and Nightmares Echo' allow the reader to understand without to much of the physical look in to that side of their lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Story You Can Relate Too
One of the most authentic books I've read on addiction. Never falls into that 'preachy' mode that turned me off to so many before. Tells it how it is: warts and all, but with an entertaining flair. Best addiction book I've read since Rikki Lee Travolta's "My Fractured Life." It's something I can actually relate too. ... Read more


64. Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China
by Rachel DeWoskin
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393059022
Catlog: Book (2005-05-09)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 636
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A smart, funny, insightful peek into modern China through the eyes of a "foreign babe."

Hoping to improve her Chinese and broaden her cultural horizons, Rachel DeWoskin went to work for an American PR firm in China. Before she knew it, she was not just exploring but making Chinese culture—as the sexy, aggressive, fearless Jexi, star of a wildly successful soap opera. A sort of Chinese counterpart to Sex in the City revolving around Chinese-Western culture clashes, the show was called Foreign Babes in Beijing.

Living the clashes in real life while playing out a parallel version onscreen, Rachel forms a group of friends with whom she witnesses the vast changes sweeping through China as the country pursues the new maxim that "to get rich is glorious." In only a few years, billboards, stylish bars and discos, international restaurants, fashion shows, divorce, foreign visitors, and cross-cultural love affairs transform the face of China's capital. Foreign Babes in Beijing is as astute and informative as it is witty, moving, and entertaining. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Out of the mouths of babes ... come the truest words . . .
This is one of the most entertaining and informative books I have read in a very long time.I have been to Beijing once and I now live in thevery multicultural city of Toronto.The author deftly weaves the scripted story of the soap opera in which she acts with her real story on the streets and clubs and offices of Beijing.In a style of writing that is clear but deeply nuanced and humorous, she relates the lives of young men and women in a rapidly changing China, dealing with their own kind of culture shock, even as she deals with hers.

The chapter "Model workers" talks of the emerging, very non-Maoist profession of runway models.Brief, capsule biographies of the author's friends in China who are both typical and extraordinary, painters, actors, and fellow office workers, provided me insights that I will long carry with me.The story is told in part with quotations from her actual conversations, quotations from the show script, lyrics from popular songs, and brief quips about historical women recorded in the ancient "Lives of Eminent Women." Together these constribute to a fine tapestry that reveals many truths about our complex multicultural lives without judgement and with considerable affection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crisp, Clever, Fast-paced, and Funny
This book is both smart and fun. On the one hand it is about an American babe who stars in a Chinese TV soap with funny stories to tell; and on the other, a glimpse into China's vast cultural landscape that is shifting as we speak.The seduction by the foreign babe is a metaphor for the impact of the West on the middle kingdom. DeWoskin has a smooth as silk grasp of language that is kind to the reader. Well done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Social Commentary - Served Hot and Spicy
Rachel DeWoskin arrived in Beijing during the mid-90s, among the first wave of Westerners to see the city since the protests and reprisals at Tiananmen Square a few years earlier. During her stay, China relented from rigid socialism, opened up to foreign capital, and incorporated western business practices. On one level, "Foreign Babes" is the story of this process. DeWoskin's descriptions of these cultural convulsions are pithy and delightful. From the introduction of Coke and McDonald's (and the resulting obesity epidemic), to the latest trends in Chinese rock music and performance art, she was a witness and an insider - the perfect guide.

DeWoskin was not just an anonymous tourist, though, she was a pop-sensation. Starring as an American temptress in China's version of Beverly Hills 90210, her weekly seductions were seen by half a billion people each week. Hundreds of fans mobbed her on the streets of Beijing and followed her through stores, buying whatever random products she put in her bag.

But the heart of "Foreign Babes" is not the fascinating backdrop of Beijing in bloom, or the glamorous and sexy soap opera, but the relationships between the characters. Sparring across a huge divide of language, politics, and culture, they must shed stereotypes and find a personal space in which to understand each other - not as American or Chinese, but as individuals and friends. DeWoskin possesses an astute social sensibility, a pitch-perfect ear for conversation, and the gift of spot-lighting the most awkward - and revealing - moment in any interaction.

Just going to China after college was adventurous. Signing on for the TV-show was audacious. Most impressive, however, was DeWoskin's ability to bridge the gaps and surround herself with friends in a foreign country. Impressive, but not surprising, since the author's warmth and grace are apparent on every page.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Telling Look at Late 1990's Beijing
Having lived for much of the period from 2001 - 2004 in Suzhou, (about 50 miles west of Shanghai), I can categorically say that Rachel DeWoskin's new book, FOREIGN BABES IN CHINA, gets nearly everything right when it comes to Chinese culture and interpersonal relations. Her book is a fascinating account of a city, a country, and a culture in transition. The people around her, and she herself, suffer the contradictions of tradition versus modernity, socialism versus entrepreneurial capitalism, blind patriotism versus Westernization, and government control versus individual freedom, yet everyone zooms ahead to find their own way even as the book's timeline approaches the millennium.

Ms. DeWoskin arrives in Beijing on something of a lark, a college grad with an English degree, a little Mandarin, and a desire for something adventurous. She has taken a position with the Beijing office of an international public relations firm (we later learn that "P.R." sounds uncomfortably like the Chinese word for an unflattering body part) but quickly finds the work empty of content. She unexpectedly gets offered a spot as one of the two foreign female leads in a new Chinese soap opera entitled "Yang Niu Zai Beijing," or "Foreign Babes in Beijing." She is duped into signing a contract for far less than she's worth to the producers (there are still relatively few attractive young Western women in Beijing in 1995), and a series of acting misadventures and cast romances ensue. DeWoskin can barely separate her real-life feelings for her hunky co-star Wang Ling from their respective romantic roles in the soap opera. In the end, "Foreign Babes" is a huge success throughout China, and Ms. Dewoskin is recognized everywhere she goes as Jiexi, the "loose" Western woman who steals a married Chinese man (Wang Ling's character, Tianming) from his wife and takes him to America.

The author eventually quits her P.R. job and takes on a series of small acting and spokesperson roles, and even takes a brief turn as a runway model. Along the way, she meets and briefly profiles four young Beijingers (two female and two male, despite oddly labeling their chapters, "Biographies of Model Babes") and describes their lives, beliefs, and aspirations. Each is fiercely independent and nontraditional, seeking to find their own identity and purpose in a newly-opened society. These four people are sometimes misinformed and often obstinate, even foolishly obstreperous, but there's no doubt they are brave, going where relatively few in their country have gone before.

DeWoskin develops close relationships with each of her four Beijingers, including a live-in relationship with the actor/screenwriter Zhao Jun. The last one-third of the book details her post-Jiexi life, which seems to devolve into clubbing and bar-hopping punctuated by occasional vague hints at working. Two tragedies -- the sudden death of a close Chinese friend juxtaposed against the mistaken U.S./NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade -- bring DeWoskin's relationships and her Chinese life to an abrupt end just as the 20th Century is drawing to a close. It is time to go home, to find her place in her native country.

Ms. DeWoskin tells her story in casual prose with easy pacing. Her writing is sometimes poignant and other times humorous. The reader feels her confusion about Chinese life and language; she doesn't even learn until later that her Chinese name, Du Ruiqiu (Du for DeWoskin, Ruiqiu to sound like Rachel), actually means "Bumper Harvest." She finds huge cultural gaps and differences with everyone around her. She makes repeated cultural faux pas, but muddles through nonetheless, just like any American in her place. Interlaced with her story are bits and pieces of Chinese history and language. Ms. DeWoskin also offers a number of surprisingly on-target, passing observations about Chinese life and culture: the importance of face, women covering their mouths when laughing, lack of winter heating, foreigners' prices, women holding hands but not hugging, and a host of others. Combined, these little bits add to a greater whole, creating a "Beijing atmosphere" that effectively complements her personal story.

It is hard not to see FOREIGN BABES IN CHINA as a coming of age story, both for the naïve, young college graduate author and for the country in which she is perpetually an outsider. She uses China and the Chinese for her own adventure story as surely as they use her for her "exotic" foreignness. This book is also a story about cross-cultural personal relationships, about roles assumed and played out, about what is thought and said, and not said, between any two people, complicated a hundredfold by cultural differences and ways of thinking. In the end, Ms. DeWoskin's confused, conflicted, and ultimately lost relationship with Zhao Jun may well serve as a metaphor for the instability, and perhaps the utter hopelessness, of the larger Sino-American relationship.

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting, and impressionistic
A good read, funny at times. In a way, this book is not exactly about the "new new China," but "recent new China," for the described events happened more than 5 years ago, a generational period on the Chinese time scale. DeWoskin is charming, self-deprecating, and going out with interesting people including Cui Jian. Do not look for any substantial, observant description of the capital and its people in this chattery book. She is after all a babe, living a half-real, half-dreamy life in Beijing. Never an insider, she is but a sweet, lovely guest who is invited to watch China and be watched at the same time. ... Read more


65. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
by KorenZailckas
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670033766
Catlog: Book (2005-02-07)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Sales Rank: 1260
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From earliest experimentation to habitual excess to full-blown abuse, twenty-four-year-old KorenZailckas leads us through her experience of a terrifying trend among young girls, exploring howbinge drinking becomes routine, how it becomes "the usual." With the stylistic freshness of a poetand the dramatic gifts of a novelist, Zailckas describes her first sip at fourteen, alcohol poisoningat sixteen, a blacked-out sexual experience at nineteen, total disorientation after waking up in anunfamiliar New York City apartment at twenty-two, when she realized she had to stop, and all thedepression, rage, troubled friendships, and sputtering romantic connections in between.Zailckas’s unflinching candor and exquisite analytical eye gets to the meaning beneath theseeming banality of girls’ getting drunk. She persuades us that her story is the story of thousandsof girls like her who are not alcoholics—yet—but who use booze as a short cut to courage, astand-in for good judgment, and a bludgeon for shyness, each of them failing to see how theiremotional distress, unarticulated hostility, and depression are entangled with their sociallycondoned binging.

Like the contemporary masterpieces The Liars’ Club, Autobiography of a Face, andJarhead, Smashed is destined to become a classic. A crucial book for any woman whohas succumbed to oblivion through booze, or for anyone ready to face the more subtlerepercussions of their own chronic over-drinking or of someone they love, Smashed is aneye-opening, wise, and utterly gripping achievement. ... Read more

Reviews (67)

1-0 out of 5 stars A LOT OF RAMBLING
I HAVE NEVER READ A BOOK WHERE THERE IS SO MUCH SIDE TRACKING.THE AUTHOR DOES SO MUCH RAMBLING THAT I FORGOT WHERE SHE WAS GOING WITH THE STORY.

5-0 out of 5 stars A courageous memoir and an outstanding book
This book was amazing, engrossing, and highly thought-provoking.It seems so many people, including many "reviewers" on this site, are so quick to label somebody as an "alcoholic" or whatnot.Is the author an alcoholic?Truth is, it really doesn't matter.Zailckas examines her life and her drinking from an intellectual and partly feminist point of view.Her clarity and, more importantly, her objectivity when discussing her own situation and her deep, dark secrets lead me to believe that she is as free from the grips of alcohol as a bird is from prison bars (and I, for one, loved her use of metaphors and similes).Just baring these deeply, deeply personal stories in the hopes of relating to others who have been in or are in her situation is something I find highly admirable.And it worked.As a female college student, I can relate to so much of what she talks about.I can see it in myself and in so, so many of my friends.It is an issue that, in my experience, most girls inevitably face at some time or another.And depending on certain factors, including heredity, self-image and self-esteem, personality, availability, peer pressure and so on, many girls will unfortunately spin out of control and not even realize it until weeks, months, or years of their lives have been washed over with the rank stench of alcohol.I believe she is on to something when she implies that it is indeed a women's issue, an American issue, and a cultural issue.It is all of these things and more.Unless you are in college RIGHT NOW, you have no idea what it is like.Drinking is present and highly encouraged at 95% of the social functions that most college kids attend.It is so easy to abuse it, and nearly no one sees it as dysfunctional.I had begun to ponder this incessantly over the past year and reading this book comforts me that I am not alone, or insane.

This book was intensely personal and yet, at the same time, widely cultural.Zailckas takes a deep look at her alcohol abuse and the effects that it had on her emotional and social development.Society seems to care so much about labels.Is she an alcoholic?I don't know.I am not an addiction counseler, and I doubt any of you who were so quick to label her are, either.The IMPORTANT thing is that she finally realized the detrimental effects of her drinking and had the brains and the willpower to quit.Whatever it took to get her to see that, and however long it took, is irrelevant.We all march to the beat of our own drum.And the fact that she was able to create a beautiful, if sad, piece of writing from it was amazing.The fact that it has reached out to people, in particular, girls like me who desperately needed someone to relate to, nothing short of a miracle.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and Disturbing
I read through the book in less than two days.The style is comfortable and flows logically through this troubled young woman's adolescence into adulthood.The descriptions of her relationship with alcohol are profound and, often, hard to understand.What would create such a need, in an attractive, articulate young girl who doesn't seem to have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as a child, to medicate so much pain?One wonders if something might have been left out, but given the frank descriptions of her drinking and sexual encounters when drunk, it doesn't seem likely that she would sugar coat the rest of her life.

I was left with a lot of questions. Here are a few: Although the author spends a signficant amount of time describing her college experience, there is hardly a mention of going to class or studying.How in the world did she graduate?It would have been interesting if she would have discussed the impact her drinking had on her learning and the quality of her work.Another thing that amazed me was her account of her parents.Here is a girl who had her stomach pumped at 16 from alcohol poisoning, who continues to have severe life, health, and safety-threatening issues with drinking through college, and yet her Mother insists on buying her a drink for her 21st birthday celebration, and her Father gives her hard liquour for a Christmas gift that year.I believe it was the same brand that she almost died from at 16.What in the world were these people thinking?Lastly, although she mentions she is Catholic, the only mention of God is when she refers to the "freedom" that comes to you when you stop believing in God.I think there is a lot more there to explore, and maybe in the context of her need to drink.

Overall, a stunning work, and well worth the time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought pricking
Not often are we provided with stories that touch a rising problem in society. Binge drinking is a problem society can no longer ignore. It is endemic in countries like the UK, Ireland, and USA, and Cameroon, parts of the world like continental Europe, North America, South East Asia, and Latin America.

Smashed is an amazing story of this problem of alcoholism that is prevalent amongst young women. It is quite a scary book that will make many readers cringe when they read about the problems alcohol caused for Zailckas. This book may be a little bit too much for parents because it certainly is frightening and shocking for them to learn that heavy drinking is common amongst the young at such a young age. But as some one who went through that phase, I can relate to the story. It is a problem that should be confronted.

I like the way Zailckas did the narration. Her voice is strong in the writing and her style is unique. Poetic and fast flowing, one gets the story without drowning in compassion for her. After all, it is a past she shrugged off. That is why I think many people will find it interesting reading about this experience of alcoholism or binge drinking from the perspective of a young woman. It has lots of lessons to be learnt. Anybody can become an alcohol addict at an early stage in life. But with courage, determination and support, anybody can bit the addiction, whether as an alcoholic or a binge boozer.THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,THIS IS ME AND WHERE I AM, THE UNION MOUJIK are other gripping stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Served Up on a Plate
"Smashed" is a authentic slice of life. There are definite similarities to "My Fractured Life", "Dry" and "Nightmares Echo" but with a unique slant. This is an up and down roller coaster life and the writer has the delivery to match ... Read more


66. Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel (Great Discoveries)
by Rebecca Goldstein
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 0393051692
Catlog: Book (2005-02-28)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 79959
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Book Description

A masterly introduction to the life and thought of the man who transformed our conception of math forever.

Kurt Gödel is considered the greatest logician since Aristotle. His monumental theorem of incompleteness demonstrated that in every formal system of arithmetic there are true statements that nevertheless cannot be proved. The result was an upheaval that spread far beyond mathematics, challenging conceptions of the nature of the mind.

Rebecca Goldstein, a MacArthur-winning novelist and philosopher, explains the philosophical vision that inspired Gödel's mathematics, and reveals the ironic twist that led to radical misinterpretations of his theorems by the trendier intellectual fashions of the day, from positivism to postmodernism. Ironically, both he and his close friend Einstein felt themselves intellectual exiles, even as their work was cited as among the most important in twentieth-century thought. For Gödel , the sense of isolation would have tragic consequences.

This lucid and accessible study makes Gödel's theorem and its mindbending implications comprehensible to the general reader, while bringing this eccentric, tortured genius and his world to life.

About the series:Great Discoveries brings together renowned writers from diverse backgrounds to tell the stories of crucial scientific breakthroughs—the great discoveries that have gone on to transform our view of the world. ... Read more


67. Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street
by Michael Lewis
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
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Asin: 0140143459
Catlog: Book (1990-09-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 2179
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (148)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read, if you are thinking of working on Wall St
I worked for CSFB for three years, and am still in investment banking for a smaller firm. So I have seen a part of the world that is described here. I'm not saying that this is an exact description of what I saw, because Lewis picks the most exotic creatures that he met, but the atmosphere is perfectly conveyed. This book will tell you all the stuff that they don't teach you in an interview or recruitment visit - the pecking order, the politics, and how to get paid.

The other reason to read this is that Lewis is a brilliant writer, with a real talent for describing people and their situations. Lots of other people have written boring books with the same raw material. For a non-specialist like my mother, the technicalities were hard work, but you don't need a lot of special knowledge to like this book. My mother certainly did.

Probably the best way to look at this book is like a travel book - you're not visiting a country, you're visiting a world. Great travel books are not word-perfect descriptions of a place, they are representations of what the author felt like when he was there, and they give the reader a feeling of what it was like to be there. If you read this book, you will understand what it feels like to work inside a big bank, and you'll enjoy the ride, even if you have no interest in actually working there.

3-0 out of 5 stars Obvious Cry Baby
I want you to realize that Michael Lewis is only one perspective albeit a very biased and skewed one at that. If you speak to any one who worked at Salomon they will bluntly tell you that the book is not completely factual. Michael Lewis has an agenda, and it is very obvious that he has it in for the Salomon and Wall Street traders. And, he is willing to bend the truth and exagerate things to make the people look like monsters. Using the endearing term of Human Pirhana speaks to this point. I loved the book, because it gives you somewhat of a perspective on the life of traders, but I don't think you truly know what it is you're up against until you go and do actual trading. I wouldn't believe everything you read in Liar's Poker, and I would weigh each word carefully, because Meriweather isn't the only playing Liar's Poker here. Enjoy, and don't let the book discourage you from hedge funds and investment banking, especially if you really love finance.

4-0 out of 5 stars An insider's view of Solly
'Liar's Poker' is worth a read if you want an insider's account of life on Wall Street. The book doesn't pretend to glorify the easy money that Lewis and his ilk made during the bond schlepping go-go days of the 1980s. Rather, Lewis is disillusioned by the greedy culture and hypocritical short-sightedness at Salomon Brothers, but not enough that he doesn't enjoy the ride for a few oh-so-profitable years. Like his other books, 'Liar's Poker' is fun to read. His anecdotes about the training program and the trading floor, albeit surely embellished, read like a day at the amusement park. The key shortcoming is an oozy 20-something self-righteousness that pervades many of the book's chapters, and reaches a crescendo in the final pages. But hey, arrogance begets credibility. And when it comes to describing Wall Street in the 80s, Lewis is as credible a spokesman as anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excelent insight into the world of wallstreet
Michael Lewis is obviously an excellent writer. The words simply flow from him. He speaks from experience so his perspective is insightful, and entertaining.

I have always been mesmerized by wallstreet, as well as silicon valley, simply because we it allows us, if even for just a few hours, to imagine the possibility of attaining great wealth legitimately thru our talent and hard work.

He reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut. But Kurt speaks of the old wrld, the one our fathers lived in. Lewis in more today. Somewhat ike Po Bronson

4-0 out of 5 stars Good read for a finance novice too!
I picked up this book as it is highly popular among investment bankers. I am not an investment banker and do not intend to be one but I was keen to find out what makes Wall Street special. The book not only satisfied my curiosity but also was pleasantly amusing.

The author traces the glorious and gloomy times of Salomon Brothers, a big financial enterprise in which he worked long enough to be able to tell this tale and become a rich man. He explains some financial innovations of Salomon brother's in lay man's terms, which makes this book very readable for all.

The author's self-deprecating humor and his vivid analysis of the people he came across in his organization make the account entertaining.

Whether or not the author's opinions on technical matters in this book are meritorious-I am not qualified to say. If you are a finance novice and curious to find out about life in that universe, you will find this book worthwhile. ... Read more


68. Pope John Paul II: In My Own Words
by Pope John Paul II
list price: $4.99
our price: $4.99
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Asin: 0517220849
Catlog: Book (2002-08-06)
Publisher: Gramercy
Sales Rank: 12342
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Book Description

Spiritual father of millions, globally influential leader: Pope John Paul II's words have brought inspiration, solace, and courage to those who have listened. The quotes and prayers collected here are both for the faithful and for those who have been touched by and want to know more about this remarkable man. His words on love, family, truth, freedom, human relationships, the power of God, and the importance of hope and prayer explore what it means to be alive and what we are doing here on Earth, and offer answers to some of life's hardest questions. ... Read more


69. Nemesis : The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys
by Peter Evans
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 0060580534
Catlog: Book (2004-06-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Peter Evans's biography of Aristotle Onassis, Ari, met with great acclaim when it was published in 1986. Ari provided the world with an unprecedented glimpse of the Greek shipping magnate's orbit of dizzying wealth, twisted intrigues, and questionable mores. Not long after the book appeared, however, Onassis's daughter Christina and his longtime business partner Yannis Georgakis hinted to Evans that he had missed the "real story" -- one that proved Onassis's intrigues had deadly results. "I must begin," Georgakis said, "with the premise that, for Onassis, Bobby Kennedy was unfinished business from way back..."

His words launched Evans into the heart of a story that tightly bound Onassis not to Jackie's first husband, but to his ambitious younger brother Bobby. A bitter rivalry emerged between Bobby and Ari long before Onassis and Jackie had even met. Nemesis reveals the tangled thread of events that linked two of the world's most powerful men in their intense hatred for one another and uncovers the surprising role played by the woman they both loved. Their power struggle unfolds against a heady backdrop of international intrigue: Bobby Kennedy's discovery of the Greek shipping magnate's shady dealings, which led him to bar Onassis from trade with the United States; Onassis's attempt to control much of Saudi Arabia's oil; Onassis's untimely love affair with Jackie's married sister Lee Radziwill; and his bold invitation to First Lady Jackie to join him on his yacht -- without the president. Just as the self-made Greek tycoon gloried in the chance to stir the wrath of the Kennedys, they struggled unsuccessfully to break his spell over the woman who held the key to all of their futures. After Jack's death, Bobby became ever closer to Camelot's holy widow, and fought to keep her from marrying his sworn rival. But Onassis rarely failed to get what he wanted, and Jackie became his wife shortly after Bobby was killed.

Through extensive interviews with the closest friends, lovers, and relatives of Onassis and the Kennedys, longtime journalist Evans has uncovered the shocking culmination of the Kennedy-Onassis-Kennedy love triangle: Aristotle Onassis was at the heart of the plot to kill Bobby Kennedy. Meticulously tracing Onassis's connections in the world of terrorism, Nemesis presents compelling evidence that he financed the assassination -- including a startling confession that has gone unreported for nearly three decades. Along the way, this groundbreaking work also daringly paints these international icons in all of their true colors. From Evans's deeply nuanced portraits of the charismatic Greek shipping magnate and his acquisitive iconic bride to his probing and revelatory look into the events that shaped an era, Nemesis is a work that will not be soon forgotten.

... Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Credible and Entertaining
By now most people know that the JFK image was an elaborate facade that covered up and hid a more complicated situation; the real story involved a charismatic leader, a shaky marriage and much womanizing. This book fills in a few more blank spots especially about the other half - Jackie and her sister Lee.

Peter Evans has already established a fine reputation in a series of 10 prior books including "Ari". Here he tries to clean up a series of loose ends on Aristotle Onassis, his Greek associates, his wife Tina, Maria Callas, Jackie O, her sister Lee, the Kennedy boys JFK and brother Robert Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and others

For the most part this is an interesting read but it falls a but it short of being an absolute page turner. Still it is an interesting read and mostly compelling and is based on new information and stories from people wanting to set the record straight after the fact so to speak. I will not repeat the plot in detail here.

The main focus of the book is Onassis, and he is attempting to have three or four mistresses or more - all famous women - simultaneously while at first somewhat incredibly also attempting to stay married to his wife Tina - the latter he married when she was just seventeen and he was well into his middle years. He courts both the married Jackie while simultaneously bedding her sister plus opera singer Callas who he has pried away from her husband - all according to the book. This stirs up a lot of animosity with the Kennedy brothers and we follow an interesting and a real life tale of intrigue, jealousy, and revenge. In retrospect we should not have been surprised by the marriage betwen Ari and Jackie in later years.

It is like a "tell all" with many twists and turns, rises and falls in health, wealth, and marriages. The book does not have an index but it has an excellent section of detailed notes and a nice collection of photographs.

Generally a good read and well researched. 4 stars.

Jack in Toronto

4-0 out of 5 stars In Short There Simply Was Never Camelot
I found this book, intriguing, interesting and sad because it is so credibly written. The footnotes are at times more interesing than the book. The research, the interviews the documentation of where people where, when events occured. Facinating.

I have been an admirer of Bobby Kennedy all my life. The poise and class of Jackie Kennedy seemed so believable, undeniable. Sure many know all the stories about the Kennedy men. (I for one wonder when he had time to be president, he seems to have had so many women) Turns out Jackie Kennedy Onasis could keep pace with the darker side of Jack Kennedy and was even greedier than Joe Kennedy.

Myths die hard. The author creates the sense of being inside the unraveling of the mystery. It is amost voyeristic to read about the tradegies that these wealthy people created for themselves.

I think this book is a must read, but be prepared to be disappointed in what you learn at some level. For in short, there simply never was a happily ever after life in Camelot.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lifestyles of the Rich, Famous and Scandalous!
This book is a fascinating and addictive read. I could not put it down, unless I was throwing it down in shock, complete and utter shock at the way our so called "American royalty" lived their lives! But everytime I threw this book down, I picked it up again and continued -- the truth hurts, but it must be read! Peter Evans has spent more than 30 years researching and writing about Aristotle Onassis (He wrote the bio "Ari: The Life and Times of Aristotle Socrates Onassis"). He has demonstrated his insider access and ability to get candid interviews, quotes and details -- it's all in the book and the footnotes!!

This author spent time with Onassis, his daughter Christina and many of Onassis's closest relatives and associates from the late 1960's on. His theory, that Aristotle Onassis paid Palestinian terrorists to have RFK killed is supported not just by rumor and circumstantial evidence -- but by the confessions/revelations of Aristotle and Christina Onassis, business associates of Aristotle and one of his many lovers. Plus scribbling in Sirhan Sirhan's notebooks (that were entered into evidence at his trial) that implicated Onassis to anyone who was familiar with his world (and apparently convinced his own son of his involvement!).

You will not believe the reckless sexual behavior of Jackie, her sister Lee, the Kennedy men and just about everyone else in their world! Or how Ted Kennedy reportedly "pimped" Jackie when her intention to marry Onassis was announced (read the footnotes!).

If you think I have told too much you really need to read this book -- this isn't even the half of it!

Very well written, researched and documented. I am already hunting down books listed in the foot and end notes. New, used, you've got to read this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that proves truth is more fascinating than fiction
I've read many books on Jack and Jackie, the Kennedys, Bouviers and Onassis. This was a page turner from front to back and showed the darker side of the triangle that existed between Jackie, Robert and Ari. The writer is rather skillful in this expose of a book where he laid out in curious detail the connection between Aristotle Onassis and the assassination of Robert Kennedy. For anyone who wants to dig deeper into the private world of these wealthy jet setters and their life style of unleashed sex, power, betrayal, corruption and murder - this book is a must. It's a believable book, which makes it all the more intriguing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Onassis versus the Kennedys
Peter Evans has written a fascinating and well documented work which reveals the Onassis-Kennedy connection which plays out like a Greek tragedy with Americna gods. It is a good follow up to another book Jackie Ari & Jack: The Tragic Love Triangle by January Jones which conclusivly connects Onasssis to the original JFK assassination. Both books are must read for all assassination buffs who are still asking who did it? ... Read more


70. Dreams from My Father : A Story of Race and Inheritance
by Barack Obama
list price: $13.95
our price: $9.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400082773
Catlog: Book (2004-08-10)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 154
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Obama, the son of a white American mother and a black African father, writes an elegant and compelling biography that powerfully articulates America's racial battleground and tells of his search for his place in black America. 8 pages of photos. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful Book from Political Leader
As a first-time writer, Obama does a wonderful job in relating the stories that affected his life. Obama details his personal reflections on his family, his childhood, race in America, and what it means to be biracial in a multi-ethnic society. Obama is painfully honest in discussing his life, which is not only rare for a politician but requires a tremendous amount of self-understanding and respect for the reading public. This book is a must read for those who are interested in Obama as a politician and for those who have an interest reading first-hand accounts of growing up in America as an "other".

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoy Reading
Obama makes little mention of his white half -- although by his own account he was lovingly brought up by his white mother and her parents, and this might have provided further answers to the questions he raises about himself and where he belongs. Obama, whom I admire as a political leader in Chicago, is young; the book is hard to read. Obama seems to say that people of mixed backgrounds must choose only one of those backgrounds in which to make a spiritual home.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Surprise Find
I highly recommend this book to almost everyone. It should really get more attention!

The writing is thoughtful and interesting, and the subject matter unique. The book follows Barack Obama as he grows up and defines himself and his view of the world, as he finds the community that he wants to count himself a member of. In the end that "community" is really the community of humanity, but this book takes you on Barack's journey.

The author examines his heritage of white, midwesterners on his mother's side and later in the book explores the world of his father, a Kenya of the Luo tribe who came to the U.S. to study. Three parts of the book I found especially well done. First, the evocation of what it was like to be in Barack's head as a young black man with few black role models in his life and the difficult philosophical (internal) conversation of the African-American community defining itself in white America. Second, his work as a community organizer in Chicago really dealt well with the complex problems of declining inner cities. Third, the idealization of his absent father by both himself and his mother and the gradual discovery of the real character of his father and grandfather.

Overall, this book was about his struggle to be true to himself and to figure out what that meant. ... Read more


71. Wooden
by JohnWooden
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0809230410
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 2736
Average Customer Review: 4.98 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Coach Wooden's remarkable 10 national basketball championships in 12 years at UCLA speak for themselves. In Wooden, the coach--quiet, thoughtful, and introspective throughout his distinguished career--finally speaks forhimself, and he's well worth hearing. Wooden is a modern chapbook of inspiration and good sense that reveals the hard-court philosopher behind it as a man of character, conviction, decency, and straightforwardness. There are no complex ideas, just little beams of light filtered through anecdotes that project the kinds of simple, immutable truths that in the end touch nothing but net. ... Read more

Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars A PYRAMID OF SUCCESS
John was truly a team player no matter what his tasks was. He taught many to understand others, but also understand actions in every different situation.Wooden shares his personal philosophy on family, achievement, success, and excellence on every aspect of life. John shares his teachings to others and guides them with wisdom far beyond sports. This book written by John Wooden himself with Steve Jamison will pull you in, as you read a lifetime of observations and refelctions on and off the court, and how great his success was at U.C.L.A as a basket ball coach.
I mostly enjoyed the man's passion for being a better person in life, but also teaching others. He was a man of integrity with great knowledge and wisdom, he created success. What I like most about the book is that in a way to read about John, it is also a learning experience, because you are still learning about his teachings. I most respect on how John took lessons taught as a child from his parents and continued to take them with him in life. I also like how he had a pyramid of success faith and patience were at the top. He was a man of his word, but also the "word," that being the bible.
I do not dislike anything about this book, because there are many different teachings to value. It makes you want to learn more from life everday and how you can make your work that much better. His benevolence is proudly displayed in all aspects of life, but most importantly he also learned from his players as he coached them everday. This shows that not everyone is here to teach, but many are here to listen. As Wooden did so, he lived his life with wisdom, success, and leading to your capabilities

5-0 out of 5 stars A "Wizard", Yes, But Also Human
Having once coached varsity high school basketball for 13 years and having heard Coach Wooden speak at numerous clinics, I can personally attest to the authenticity of this book's contents. It correctly suggests both the man's wizardry and humanity. Jabbar and Walton have almost nothing in common except their talent to play basketball and their love and respect for Coach Wooden. He is proud of them but probably just as proud of hundreds of other players (most known only to him, their families, and friends) who are physicians, educators, artists, attorneys, public servants, corporate executives, entertainers, etc. He set very high standards, especially for himself. He prepared for each practice and each game with meticulous care. He hated losing for lack of a maximum effort but accepted defeat (after a maximum effort) with exceptional style and grace. Anyone who has any association with children, especially those privileged to coach at any level, should read this book. And may I add, anyone who feels adrift in her or his life should also read this book. The "lessons" provided helped to win so many NCAA national basketball champlionships; they also helped to develop the character of those who played on the U.C.L.A. teams which won them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Wisdom
This is the kind of book I'll go back to again and again. I got it after finding out about Wooden's "Pyramid of Success" from his website ... I think what I got out of it mostly was the value of being as prepared as possible (for whatever's coming up, short and long-term), and of being industrious... but the latter is a lesson *I* need to learn right now, and others might pick up something else... their particular weakness right now.

So I would recommend it as a valuable "life manual," right alongside books like 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Power of Positive Thinking, and Think and Grow Rich.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book slowly - there's a lot to think about here.
In my business reading this year, I find myself "flying through" the standard business fare, finding the important points and moving on. Very many business books are written that way. Although "Wooden" is not a business book, I expect a lot of the business crowd will be attracted to the book - John Wooden is mentioned in so many other books about leadership and teamwork. When I began reading this book - dare I say treasure - I realized that my brain began recalibrating to a much slower reading speed, because the content is so fresh, so pithy, and so engaging. I felt as though I was sitting in a room with this great man, listening to him talk about life and basketball. I sensed his delicate and understated humor, his love of poetry, his clarity of priorities and purpose, and found myself wrapped up in the text. This is a book that you will want to read slowly, and read again from time to time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for any time of sports fan
I read this book in no time. It constantly brought up different points about Coach Woodens upbringing, work ethic and what he taught the kids at UCLA. The book shows how he was more concerned about bringing the best out of every player instead of the final score. This truly is a great book for any type of person who has in interest in sports. The book is well written and covers all aspects of Coach Woodens life. It talks about how he was just as proud of the teams that won the title in 66'-67' as opposed to the streak of 7 in a row he had because of the circumstances they were dealt with. This is a must read. ... Read more


72. Take the Cannoli : Stories From the New World
by Sarah Vowell
list price: $12.00
our price: $10.80
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Asin: 0743205405
Catlog: Book (2001-04-03)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 3654
Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Take the Cannoli is a moving and wickedly funny collection of personal stories stretching across the immense landscape of the American scene. Vowell tackles subjects such as identity, politics, religion, art, and history with a biting humor. She searches the streets of Hoboken for traces of the town's favorite son, Frank Sinatra. She goes under cover of heavy makeup in an investigation of goth culture, blasts cannonballs into a hillside on a father-daughter outing, and maps her family's haunted history on a road trip down the Trail of Tears. Vowell has an irresistible voice -- caustic and sympathetic, insightful and double-edged -- that has attracted a loyal following for her magazine writing and radio monologues on This American Life. ... Read more

Reviews (64)

4-0 out of 5 stars I LOVED THIS BOOK...
...but I will caution readers that they MIGHT find it more enjoyable to hear Consigliere Sarah Vowell read them herself. That's what I discovered. Don't get me wrong, this is a fantastic book start to finish; my favorite This American Life essayist covers a wide and diverse variety of topics, from the Trail of Tears to growing up a gunsmith's daughter to going Goth for a day. Every essay in this book was a delectable morsel of Sarah Vowell's acid, accurate wit. This wonderful piece of insight made me laugh, made me think, and most of all, made me understand why I should leave the gun and take the cannoli. Thank you, Sarah Vowell, for continuing to grace the world of popular culture with your fresh, cutting perspective.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great, laugh-out-loud funny essays
This is my first experience with Sarah Vowell's work, having seen her on Letterman and Conan O'Brien, and I found it at a used book sale at the local library and decided to get it. I'm glad I did; this is one of the funniest collections of essays I've read in a while. Vowell's unique, almost Gen-X approach to life (though I hate to use the label "Gen-X", as that suggests someone much more mopey than Vowell really is). I'm perplexed by the reviews that cite this as being "boring" or "not funny", I suppose everyone's entitled to their opinion but I couldn't disagree more. Whether knock-down hilarious ("Take The Cannoli", "Shooting Dad", etc) or serious and well-thought historical and emotional ("What I See When I look at The Twenty-Dollar Bill", the Frank Sinatra-Hoboken essay), Vowell is excellent, and I look forward to reading more of her work. I highly recommend this to anyone who's looking for a good laugh, and hopefully I'll get a chance to hear her on NPR sometime. At any rate "Take the Cannoli" is a good primer for Vowell.

5-0 out of 5 stars Partly cloudy patriot
Read everything Sarah Vowell writes but possibly read radio on after partly cloudy patriot and take the cannoli.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fairly Decent
Take the Cannoli serves as a decent introduction to Sarah Vowell's writing, although it is not nearly as good as Partly Cloudy Patriot. The most appealing thing about her is the simple fact that one can disagree with her opinions without feeling argumentative. She has a way of presenting her opinions that does an excellent job of articulating why she feels the way she does without sounding like she is attacking any opposing opinion. Very civilized and enjoyable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Like a lively conversation at a bistro
...and speaking of a bistro, her take on the hidden meaning of your morning mocha is laugh-out-loud funny. This collection of essays deals with her historical, political, religious, and cultural experiences - and who could be more fun to wade through that with than a cynical, lyrical gen-X commentator?!

This book has a little something for everyone. Well, O.K., probably not everyone. If you're a big fan of the Left Behind series, you might not like her take on premillenial dispensationalism. If you have little appreciation for Frank Sinatra, you may need to skip a couple of the essays. It reads like a lively road-trip passenger, full of random opinions and witticisms. Having heard her recently in a live reading, I think we would be well served by an audio version of this book. ... Read more


73. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by DAVE EGGERS
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375725784
Catlog: Book (2001-02-13)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 791
Average Customer Review: 3.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Well, this was when Bill was sighing a lot. He had decided that after our parents died he just didn't want any more fighting between what was left of us. He was twenty-four, Beth was twenty-three, I was twenty-one, Toph was eight, and all of us were so tried already, from that winter. So when something world come up, any little thing, some bill to pay or decision to make, he would just sigh, his eyes tired, his mouth in a sorry kind of smile. But Beth and I...Jesus, we were fighting with everyone, anyone, each other, with strangers at bars, anywhere -- we were angry people wanting to exact revenge. We came to California and we wanted everything, would take what was ours, anything within reach. And I decided that little Toph and I, he with his backward hat and long hair, living together in our little house in Berkeley, would be world-destroyers. We inherited each other and, we felt, a responsibility to reinvent everything, to scoff and re-create and drive fast while singing loudly and pounding the windows. It was a hopeless sort of exhilaration, a kind of arrogance born of fatalism, I guess, of the feeling that if you could lose a couple of parents in a month, then basically anything could happen, at any time -- all bullets bear your name, all cars are there to crush you, any balcony could give way; more disaster seemed only logical. And then, as in Dorothy's dream, all these people I grew up with were there, too, some of them orphans also, most but not all of us believing that what we had been given was extraordinary, that it was time to tear or break down, ruin, remake, take and devour. This was San Francisco, you know, and everyone had some dumb idea -- I mean, wicca? -- and no one there would tell you yours was doomed. Thus the public nudity, and this ridiculous magazine, and the Real World tryout, all this need, most of it disguised by sneering, but all driven by a hyper-awareness of this window, I guess, a few years when your muscles are taut, coiled up and vibrating. But what to do with the energy? I mean, when we drive, Toph and I, and we drive past people, standing on top of all these hills, part of me wants to stop the car and turn up the radio and have us all dance in formation, and part of me wants to run them all over." ... Read more

Reviews (741)

2-0 out of 5 stars unstaggered
You've got to give Dave Eggers this, if nothing else, he knows how to market himself. First he wrote this memoir, loaded with irony to appeal to Gen-Xers, continually self-referential to appeal to postmodernists, and centered around his efforts to raise his little brother after their parents both died of cancer, a sure chick magnet. Then, having exposed most of his and his family members' lives to public view (at least in theory) he adopted a Pynchonesque/Sallingeresque reclusive pose, and feigned personal agony at having to discuss the book. All this while cashing in big time on the supposedly "tragic" events of his life. For these savvy ploys alone he deserves to be called a "staggering genius."

The book itself uses a host of postmodernist, ironical, satirical, etc., etc., etc...techniques, which are rather hackneyed and, given the ostensible topic of the book (his family tragedy), quite off-putting. A fairly representative passage comes when he's heaving his mother's ashes (or cremains) into Lake Michigan :

Oh this is so plain, disgraceful, pathetic--

Or beautiful and loving and glorious! Yes, beautiful and loving and glorious!

But even if so, even if this is right and beautiful, and she is tearing up while watching, so proud--like what she said to me when I carried her, when she had the nosebleed and I carried her and she said that she was proud of me, that she did not think I could do it, that I would be able to lift her, carry her to the car, and from the car into the hospital, those words run through my head every day, have run through every day since, she did not think I could do it but of course I did it. I knew I would do it, and I know this, I know what I am doing now, that I am doing something both beautiful but gruesome because I am destroying its beauty by knowing that it might be beautiful, know that if I know I am doing something beautiful, that it's no longer beautiful. I fear that even if it is beautiful in the abstract, that my doing it knowing that it's beautiful and worse, knowing that I will very soon be documenting it, that in my pocket is a tape recorder brought for just that purpose--that all this makes this act of potential beauty somehow gruesome. I am a monster. My poor mother. She would do this without the thinking, without the thinking about thinking--

Yeah sure, I get it, the way he's having this discussion shows that he understands what's going on, yadda, yadda, yadda... But unfortunately, the point he's making is more accurate than his style is clever. There simply is something gruesome about this kind of mannered irony and the way, throughout his life, that he seems to interpret his experiences through the filter of the book he plans to write.

At the point where every thought, emotion, and action in your life must be considered for how it will appear in print, you've become a fictional character rather than a real human being. And by creating so much distance between the character of Dave Eggers and the supposedly tragic events of his life, Eggers (the author) makes it really hard for the reader to care much. I finished the book unstaggered and heart unbroken, but grudgingly forced to admit that the literary world has a potential new genius, a writer with a genius for self promotion the likes of which we've not seen since Norman Mailer; and we all know how the Norman Mailer story has gone : badly.

GRADE : C-

3-0 out of 5 stars Bitter, Sad, Self-Obessed, Humorous....but not quite genius
Frankly, I felt this was a heartbreaking work of staggering genius that sputtered and stopped just shy of greatness.

The first half of the book was brilliant. The middle was torturous. The end (being that it followed so closely after the agonizing middle) just didn't feel as captivating anymore.

I disagree, however, with the reviewer who criticized Eggers for not caring about his mother and sister. There is tenderness and profound sadness there, you just have to perceive it underneath the facade Eggers constructs.

His brutal portrayal of the death of a loved one and the complication of family relationships afterward is, perhaps, too much for some readers. I found it to be honest (probably the most honest aspect of the book).

That said, I recommend this book to those with an open mind, an appreciation for ironic humor, and a tolerance for an unconventional approach to writing. It was mad. It was refreshing. But it was just a little too unedited to live up to the title completely.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lies, Lies, Lies, and more Lies
First off, the title is a lie.

The book is boring. The narrator does not care about the deaths of his parents nor the future death of his sister, so how is it heartbreaking?

Einstein was a genius. Shakespeare was a genius. Eggers is incapable of writing a book with a plot and characters.

Then, all the blurbs are lies, as they were all written my people on the McSweeney's payroll.

And then, all the insider tax and tuition snark-fests, held by pomo hipsters on college campuses are lies.

And then, all the creative-writing workshops which assign this book, as well as postmodern english classes which place it on the suggested reading lists are lies.

The sales numbers given by the corporate conglomerates are lies, aimed at bolstering their bottom line while Eggers aims to eradicate literature by spamming the bookstores with his crap, killing trees and displacing quality literature penned by indy presses.

Then, all the positive reviews here are lies, written by Eggers himself, as the New York Times reported.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Heartwrenching Display of Staggering Hubris
There are so many other good books out there, why waste your time with this one? The title is lofty and ambitious and creates expectations for the reader that this work fails to realize (Of course, Dave, you did ask for it). No question to me that Eggers has potential to be a decent writer, but his smug (oh, but I try to be self-deprecating, and I almost mean it, too!), cooler-than-thou, "Are you in on the joke?" style gets in the way of what could have been, if not a work of staggering genius, a well-told coming-of-age story.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Self-Indulgent Work of Staggering Verbosity
Have you ever had a friend who just couldn't stop talking about him or her self? They seem to have no other concern in life but to tell you how great, magnificent and important they are. It's as if they think they're the only ones who exist, or worse yet, matter. And after reading Dave Eggers' "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius", I couldn't help but feel that's exactly who I had been listening to.

Alright, perhaps I'm being a bit harsh. Eggers is a very talented writer, with enough quirkiness to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool to brimming. The subject matter he attempts here is very "heartbreaking", and he manages to evoke strong emotions from his readers without becoming overtly sentimental. And in dealing with the tragic loss of two parents to cancer (in the same month), this would be easy to do. Eggers deftly keeps his memoir moving by utilizing humor, anger, and a jarring, schizophrenic leaping from story thread to story thread.

Eggers shows a clever and refreshing playfulness in his writing. Where else are you greeted with directions on how to read a book? Where else do you get the story notes "before" the story actually begins? The book is also filled with various other clever devices, such as diagrams which point out optimal areas on his kitchen's hardwood floor for sock-sliding, a chart which explains all of the symbolism in his book (for his less alert readers), and a number of formatting switches, such as to movie script format or interviews written in italics. Eggers has employed nearly every trick in the book to maintain his reader's attention.

The story, however, even as Eggers states in his "reading directions", is a bit uneven. The heart of the story, that of Eggers' coping with raising his young, orphaned eight-year-old brother, Toph, is rendered with tenderness and honesty. Simple acts such as throwing frisbee and sliding down a hardwood floor in one's socks take on a philosophic poignancy, and the remarkably realistic dialogue between the brothers is captivating.

However, true to his schizophrenic nature, Eggers is not content to merely talk of Toph. The middle of the book he fills with stories of his attempts to start up a (relatively pointless) satirical magazine, Might, and his attempt to get on MTV's even-more-pointless reality show, The Real World. These threads, while somewhat entertaining, tend to wear thin, especially when Eggers continually rants about how great and important he is. The worst part is a nearly fifty page "transcription" of his interview with the producers of The Real World to sell himself onto the show. Pages and pages of where he grew up, what his favorite food was, and why he is so gosh dang vibrant and beautiful and necessary to everyone on the planet. Energy is refreshing. But in Eggers case, it gets self-indulgent at times.

Still, there is something to be read here. The first 100 pages and the last 50 are fantastic, particularly his thoughts on his mother, and Eggers exuberance, as well as his ferocious anger, are marvelous to behold. Staggering? Yes. Masturbatory? Very. Genius? Not quite. Entertaining? You betcha'. ... Read more


74. Hey Ranger! : True Tales of Humor & Misadventure from America's National Parks
by Jim Burnett
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1589791916
Catlog: Book (2005-04-25)
Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
Sales Rank: 4933
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In his thirty years with the National Park Service, Jim Burnett has seen it all: baotramp mishaps that have sent cars into the water; skunks in the outhouse and bears at the dumpser; visitors looking for the bridge over the Grand Canyon. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for everyone!
This book is a good read for anyone who enjoys reading about how incredibly dense other people can be!I love the acronyms he uses, and I especially like the chapter titled "Back It Up Right Here!"and "Thousands of Chickens!"Jim Burnett has a great sense of humor and I'm sure he has more stories to tell!I really hope he writes another book - I'll be sure to get it!

5-0 out of 5 stars I haven't read this book....
...quite yet (though I certainly intend to), but, as a former Park Ranger, I'm going to give it 5 stars. I heard the interview on NPR with Mr. Burnett and he sounded like he had some terrific and hilarious stories in the book. I can confirm that I've seen otherwise reasonable people ask incredibly stupid questions or do completely off-the-wall things while on vacation, so I can well believe the veracity of the author. I'm looking forward to reading this. I may be a law student now, but I still bleed gray and green.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fun book for almost anybody
I enjoy travel and visiting parks, and even though I don't consider myself to be an `outdoorsman," I really liked this book. The author is a great, conversational story-teller and has a wonderful sense of humor. If you like Garrison Keillor you'll enjoy this style of writing. He has come up with some really funny acronyms to describe why things often turn out differently that we expect, such as the "oops" factor (outcome outside of planned scenario). My son always thought he wanted to be a park ranger and I'm giving him a copy of the book. Like the previous reviewer I was surprised at some of the things I learned about their jobs. This is a fun read and the short chapters made it easy to enjoy even with my busy schedule.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hey Ranger!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading, Hey Ranger!, especially the amusing style the author uses to tell of the incidents he encountered and the so called fringe benefits a Park Ranger's family endures.The chapter titles grab your attention and relates well to what's told in that chapter."Don't feed the skunks" is one of many hilarious accounts of how people depend on a Park Ranger to solve their mistakes. I really enjoyed the use of abbreviations such as C.U.B.S. (Constitutionally Unable to Behave Sensibly), that adds to the funny explanations of brainless situations people get into. His own personal chapter account of one of his moves in, " Mister, It's not to late" was so funny I found myself laughing out loud.This book proves that a Park Ranger's job is more than just riding around in a truck enjoying National Park scenery as some people think. It's hard to put down and I'm sure you will find it entertaining. ... Read more


75. Inside the Wire : A Military Intelligence Soldier's Eyewitness Account of Life at Guantanamo
by ErikSaar, VivecaNovak
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200661
Catlog: Book (2005-05-02)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 2799
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Inside the Wire is a gripping portrait of one soldier's six months at the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - a powerful, searing journey into a surreal world completely unique in the American experience.

In an explosive newsbreak that generated headlines all around the world, a document submitted by army Sergeant Erik Saar to the Pentagon for clearance was leaked to the Associated Press in January, 2005.His account of appalling sexual interrogation tactics used on detainees at Guantanamo Bay was shocking, but that was only one small part of the story of what he saw at Guantanamo --and the leak was only one more strange twist in his profoundly disturbing and life-changing trip behind the scenes of America's war on terror.

Saar couldn't have been more eager to get to Gitmo.After two years in the army learning Arabic, becoming a military intelligence linguist, he pounced on the chance to apply his new skills to extracting crucial intel from the terrorists. But when he walked through the heavily guarded, double-locked and double-gated fence line surrounding Camp Delta -- the special facility built for the "worst of the worst" al Qaeda and Taliban suspects - he entered a bizarre world that defied everything he'd expected, belied a great deal of what the Pentagon has claimed, and defiled the most cherished values of American life.

In this powerful account, he takes us inside the cell blocks and interrogation rooms, face-to-face with the captives.Suicide attempts abound.Storm-trooper-like IRF (initial reaction forces) teams ramp up for beatings of the captives, and even injure one American soldier so badly in a mock drill -- a training exercise -that he ends up with brain seizures.Fake interrogations are staged when General Geoffrey Miller - whose later role in the Abu Ghraib fiasco would raise so many questions - hosts visiting VIPs.Barely trained interrogators begin applying their "creativity" when new, less restrictive rules are issued by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

When Saar takes over as a cosupervisor of the linguists translating for interrogations and gains access to the detainees' intelligence files, he must contend with the extent of the deceptions and the harsh reality of just how illconceived and counterproductive an operation in the war on terror, and in the history of American military engagement, the Guantanamo detention center is.

Inside the Wire is one of those rare and unforgettable eyewitness accounts of a momentous and deeply sobering chapter in American history, and a powerful cautionary tale about the risks of defaming the very values we are fighting for as we wage the war on terror.
... Read more

Reviews (37)

4-0 out of 5 stars Overall, it wasn't bad
I am currently assigned the Naval Station in GTMO.I read this book, and found it very easy to read and follow.It had an interesting plot and told a good story.

Before anyone who is reviewing this and is convinced that this book deserves a bad review decides to scan down to the next one, please hear me out.I have never worked inside the camp.I know several people who have, but I have never done more than drive down the road inside.I don't know what goes on in that camp, and like many other sailors and government employees here, I listen to CNN talk about what is happening less than a mile away from me on television everyday.I cannot draw a conclusion about the truth behind statements and stories contained in this novel because I simply don't know.I bought this book after reading mixed reviews because I wanted this former soldier's perspective on what happens back there...not caring whether it was true or not.I hear so much about what goes on in there I don't know what to believe anymore.

But with all of that said, I believe the book was very well written.It was easy to read, and was very hard to put down. It doesn't go into as much political depth as I had expected, which was OK, because I don't like reading books like that.It is simply one man's views of what goes on there.

I only gave this book four stars for one reason.The information that the author adds about the Naval base itself is very true for the most part.He describes buildings and placesin a way that anyone who has been here for a while and knows their way around the base would be able to pick them out in a heartbeat.However, he mentions some things in the book that completely off the wall, and crazily un-true about the base itself.These are included as so called "rumors" but are just silly in my opinion.This is the only reason I gave it four stars, but like I said, it was overall a good novel.

Before I close though, I would like to add that I believe you have to have an open-minded opinion of the goings-on at GTMO before you dive into this one.The personnel that openly bashed this book after it's release were careless, and downright rude.Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but next time it should be displayed with a bit more couth.

4-0 out of 5 stars Its nice to know so many GITMO personnel buy books!
After reading the reviews, I was very suprised at the number of former/current GITMO personel that buy and review books on amazon.com This is truly an untapped market! Evidently this is the ONLY book being read at GITMO, since they have never reviewed anything else on amazon.com Ok, Im finished with the sarcasm.
The book was an easy read. The details were disturbing. Is it fact/fiction? Its up the reader to decide. Unfortunately we dont have any nice digtal photos floating around on the internet to verfiy the author's account.
Many are quick to dismiss his version of events. But then again, if someone had written a book about soldiers in Iraq leading detainees around on leases, making them masterbate, stacking them naked in a pyramid...I would be inclined to think it was fiction too. Now if only we could find some photos from GITMO.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Real Profile in Courage
Erik Saar's book has all the credibility of the Onion or at this point Newsweek. It strikes me that anyone with a dissenting view of the book is labeled right wing etc or that they will not post their real names. After seeing some of the responses on here and on Blogs I can not blame anyone for not posting their real name as I can see hate mail direct towards them. As Americans we seem to have a disturbing trend to want to believe in all conspiracies no matter how far fetched. The Iraq prison scandal has shown that clearly as is Erik Saars book. My hunch is that some of the positive reviews on here also believe that the government has Aliens in Area 51 and that the CIA killed Kennedy.
There is a true patriot from both GTMO and Abu G, Specialist Joseph Darby who was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. The annual honors recognize acts of political courage. Darby was the first to report abuse at the prison. He turned over pictures that included images of prisoners chained together in sexual poses. Spc Darby did not write a book and is not making money over what he saw and felt was wrong. He took a stand and did what is morally right which is more than I can say for Erik Saar.
While this book is well written it is far from the truth and it is amazing looking through interviews with Saar that his story changes and he seems to stick to doing interviews on the far left fringe of things.
I am neither left nor right, I make educated choices and decisions based on the facts and Saar book lacks facts and has a lot of conjecture. As the Newsweek story has shown not everything in print is the truth and a stronger more in depth review of Saars book will show the same. I would love to see Saar's NOCER's for the time as well as the interrogation plans that show Saar was in the booth. I have a feeling most of what he said he saw is stuff he heard happened etc. It also strikes me as odd that Saar as an Arabic linguist never advanced beyond E5 despite the points being low and the need for Arabic linguists being great. I also noticed he has two good conduct awards. This means he did at least 6 years active duty. The average soldier makes E5 in 3-4 years and E6 in Saars MOS he should have had it in 5 with ease. I have a feeling there is more to look at with this young man than meets the eye.
SPC Joseph Darby is a true American hero, not Saar, America should be offended at those who commit abuses and question the government and challenge it for better government and leaders, but we should also be offended at those that chose to try and profit from situations such as this and make matters worse and instead in flame things needlessly.

4-0 out of 5 stars a thoughtful read
this book was written by someone who had actually been at
guantanamo and for that reason, if none other, deserves
better attention than some previous reviewers want to give it.the author gives us chapter and verse but of course, it is up
to the reader to accept or challenge, but the challenges
should come from readers who come to the book without
built-in prejudices.

saar was a participant in events and i thoroughly appreciate
his view of that history.

5-0 out of 5 stars An important and accessible work
This book gives us an alternate view into the workings of the Guantanamo detention facility.Before this book almost all of the information we have received has been second hand, either from officials in Washington or commentators.None of these people have actually been there, day in and day out, as part of the operation.

Other reviewers have cast aspersions on the veracity of this book.My objective opinion is that Sgt. Saar's story rings true.For instance, we are told of a farmer who had no idea why he was there, and had not been charged with any crimes.If we were paying a bounty to Northern warlords for capturing terrorists, but not validating their claim that the people presented are terrorists, it seems reasonable that the warlord would pick up local farmers and tradesmen as easy money. It seems that they would certainly be easier to find and capture than real terrorists.In any case, the problems illustrated by this book would be easy for the government to check out.

Some of the reviewers have impugned Sgt. Saars motivations and patriotism.While it is difficult to speak of another's motivations, writing this book is the definition of patriotic right and duty.The fact that we are able to criticize our government is at the heart of what being an American is all about.The free press is the ultimate check on the behavior of our government - the fourth branch.

I believe that the most important point in the book is not the fact that we have violated international treaties and our own principals at Guantanamo, but that it hasn't worked.I remember the mood after 9/11.The world had shifted and only an extraordinary response would keep us safe.But this doesn't give us leave to forget about leadership, training, organized execution and oversight.We seem to have been making mistakes, but ignoring the outcome - the lack of good intelligence and the problems in moral and performance.Sgt. Saar is doing us a service by providing valuable feedback.The question is, will the leadership receive it from this source, as they didn't get it from proper oversight.

You might have noticed that I was using the pronoun "we" when I spoke of activities described in the book.This was unintentional, and when I focused on it, I felt it might have been presumptuous.I certainly wasn't there.I was living in safety and comfort in the presence of my loved ones while Sgt. Saar and the others were doing their countries work in Guantanamo.On reflection, I decided to leave the pronouns where they lay.The military is the shield that protects us, but our surrogates.The soldier shows the world how we respond to difficult situations.

Sgt. Saar's response has been both courageous and appropriate. This is an important book.

... Read more


76. How to Be Like Women of Influence : Life Lessons from 20 of the Greatest
by Pat Williams, Michael Mink, Ruth Williams
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0757300545
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: HCI
Sales Rank: 34029
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What do Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Day O'Connor, Margaret Thatcher, Marie Curie and Sojourner Truth have in common?Not only are they some of the world's most influential women, their life lessons are now revealed in the latest book by Pat Williams.

Williams blends the personal accounts of each influential woman with the contemporary and historical insights of others, what emerges is an intimate portrait of each great person-her motivations, her aspirations, her personal challenges and the qualities that made her so successful at her calling. An added bonus is life lessons at the end of each chapter, which provide remarkable motivation for women who are blazing a new career trail, building a strong family or struggling to "have it all".
This exceptional book highlights a diverse group of women, from activists, businesswomen and humanitarians to athletes, explorers and scientists-it will appeal to any reader regardless of age, occupation or creative pursuits.

Profiles of women of influence include: Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Mary Kay Ash, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Amelia Earhart and others. This is not a history book-it is a perfect blueprint for creating a successful life.

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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read even if you know the stories already
The book spine is cheap and separates some from the pages (without the pages falling out) - the physical quality of the book isn't among the best in the bookstore, but what's inside was surprisingly great--much better than I could have expected from the outside. Even if you know the stories of these women already, it's still great reading!, which amazed me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Give him a PAT on the back...
I cant say enough about this book.I, being a woman, have always thought of taking on a project of this nature.However, Pat Williams beat me to the punch.It tickles me to see an idea I often thought about in such a splendid format.Any woman who feels the need to improve on their quality of life must read this book.You can be sure to gain a new perspective on living life as a women.The content of the book provides the reader with twenty life lessons that will continue to guide you throughtout your life.A great read for any female regardless of race or wealth.In addition, any of you fellas out there who are interested in females, if you have ever wanted to learn what makes us tick, read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Motivational and Inspirational
My life was in shambles.I had no direction and I was definately no women of influece.One day I stumbled upon one of Pat Williams great pieces of literature, how to be like women of influence.It changed my life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Motivational and Inspirational
My life was in shambles.I had no direction or meaning for my beautiful journel through life.I was looking for something to save me and sure enough I found it in my local bookstore.What I found was the book, how to be like women of influence and now the rest is history.

5-0 out of 5 stars How to Be Like Women of Influence
This book has been such an inspiration to me. The in-depth way that the author describes each woman featured is incredible. After every reading session, I was more and more anxious to better myself to be like these women. They really have made a huge influence on society and I think this book will also! ... Read more


77. One Ranger : A Memoir (Bridwell Texas History Series)
by H. Joaquin Jackson, David Marion Wilkinson
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0292702590
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Sales Rank: 11236
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When his picture appeared on the cover of Texas Monthly, Joaquin Jackson became the icon of the modern Texas Rangers. Nick Nolte modeled his character in the movie Extreme Prejudice on him. Jackson even had a speaking part of his own in The Good Old Boys with Tommy Lee Jones. But the role that Jackson has always played the best is that of the man who wears the silver badge cut from a Mexican cinco peso coin--a working Texas Ranger. Legend says that one Ranger is all it takes to put down lawlessness and restore the peace--one riot, one Ranger. In this adventure-filled memoir, Joaquin Jackson recalls what it was like to be the Ranger who responded when riots threatened, violence erupted, and criminals needed to be brought to justice across a wide swath of the Texas-Mexico border from 1966 to 1993.Jackson has dramatic stories to tell. Defying all stereotypes, he was the one Ranger who ensured a fair election--and an overwhelming win for La Raza Unida party candidates--in Zavala County in 1972. He followed legendary Ranger Captain Alfred Y. Allee Sr. into a shootout at the Carrizo Springs jail that ended a prison revolt--and left him with nightmares. He captured "The See More Kid," an elusive horse thief and burglar who left clean dishes and swept floors in the houses he robbed. He investigated the 1988 shootings in Big Bend's Colorado Canyon and tried to understand the motives of the Mexican teenagers who terrorized three river rafters and killed one. He even helped train Afghan mujahedin warriors to fight the Soviet Union.Jackson's tenure in the Texas Rangers began when older Rangers still believed that law need not get in the way of maintaining order, and concluded as younger Rangers were turning to computer technology to help solve crimes. Though he insists, "I am only one Ranger. There was only one story that belonged to me," his story is part of the larger story of the Texas Rangers becoming a modern law enforcement agency that serves all the people of the state. It's a story that's as interesting as any of the legends. And yet, Jackson's story confirms the legends, too. With just over a hundred Texas Rangers to cover a state with 267,399 square miles, any one may become the one Ranger who, like Joaquin Jackson in Zavala County in 1972, stops one riot. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Texas History Book!
This was a very interesting book about Texas Ranger Joaquin
Jackson.Along with his biography you get some good insight into
the legendary crime fighting unti known as the Texas Rangers.You
are taken through the requirements that one has to achieve to
become a Texas Ranger.You also get the story behind the Texas
Ranger badge.
Jackson takes you on a journey starting at youth and ending with his retirement.He describers being a college student at West Texas State and Texas Tech.Jackson then tells about being
hired by the Texas Department of Public Safety.You are taken on
a tour of the various town and counties where he served as a Highway Patrolman.He is next accepted into service by the Texas
Rangers.He is under the command of the legendary Captain Alfred Allee.Jackson tells of having to ensure a fair election in Zavala county during the days of La Raza Unida.You are also told of he and Captain Allee getting into a shootout with inmates at the Carrizo Springs jail and capturing the jail back.He also tells of capturing the "See More Kid" a horse theif
and burgular.You are also taken into the investigation of The
shootings in Big Bend's Colorado Canyon.He even had a role in training Afghan mujahedin warriors to fight the Soviets.
All in all this will prove to be interesting reading especially if you like Texas history.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Man
My wife and I know Joaquin & Shirley Jackson as NRA friends. That said, I have rarely read anyone's memoirs where the truth about a "real man" matches what is present when met in person. It happens in Joaquin Jackson's One Ranger. I'm in my 77th year and have collected Ranger books since the late 1930s. With all my reading over sixty years about Rangers, this is the first one that left me with the feeling "That's what it takes and that's what it is like."
Few are gifted to be a great Ranger and even fewer to write meaningfully about it.I can guarantee any reader you won't be able to put it down this book. You will have been entertained royally. One Ranger makes it evident what's wrong with our present system of law enforcement - it takes giants and they are in short supply.

5-0 out of 5 stars Only in Texas
One Ranger is the well-told Memoir of H. Joaquin Jackson.

Having been on the other side of the law, (I was a marijuana smuggler), I anticipated a book that would tell how the cops are the good guys and all the crooks are evil and how the Texas Rangers are far superior to any cop on the planet.

While an element of pride does creep into this work in places, it is offset by an honest and frank view of the world from Jackson's eyes. He peers into the gray areas in his life and that of others and talks of racial prejudice, greed, pride and even contempt for the law. Of the fears and doubts he felt. He addresses flawed policies on the war on drugs and border related issues with courage and conviction.

He also does a good job of painting the world from which he comes-a world he loves dearly-perhaps more than his own life. Almost to a fault. For those that love Texas and the border regions you will find interesting history and perspective woven into the stories and accurate and colorful portrayals of the land and the people that make this country what it is.

He shows us how flawed people can be good people, a lesson all of us need to learn.

He stares into what certainly is his biggest personal nightmare and takes the reader with him-a nightmare that will continue to haunt him for the rest of his life-the fact that his son, a son bearing his name, would grow up to kill another human and be sentenced to prison for murder. I couldn't help but share in the pain and doubts he lives with.

Why did this happen?

Being the eldest son of an equally dynamic and successful man, and also bearing the name of my own father (don means "sir" in Spanish), I think I understand. The only thing I have to say publicly is this: the grace of God is greater than all of this. And sometimes a man must die (figuratively or literally) to overcome the curse into which he is born.

I want Mr. Jackson to know that hope remains for his son and that sometimes God takes a person from the lowest of places and raises him up to do his will.

This is an exceptional book.

Buy it and read it. You will profit from the experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Money Well Spent
I bought this book and couldn't put it down.I spent my entire weekend reading it.I just couldn't get enough!You laugh and cry with Joaquin Jackson and end up loving life in the end.I recommend this book highly!

5-0 out of 5 stars Old-west Adventures in Modern Times!
Very exciting fast-paced book.The history is fascianting and the story-telling is engaging.A great read - I couldn't put it down. ... Read more


78. Quicksands: A Memoir
by Sybille Bedford
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582431698
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Sales Rank: 9581
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Book Description

Beginning in 1956 with the publication of A Legacy, the highly acclaimed Sybille Bedford has narrated-in fiction and nonfiction-what has been by turns her sensuous, harrowing, altogether remarkable life. In this memoir, her first new book in over ten years, she provides the moving culmination to an epic personal story that takes readers from the Berlin of World War I, to the artists' set on the C™te d'Azur of the 1920s, through lovers, mentors, seducers, and friends, from genteel yet shabby poverty to settled comfort in London's West End. Whether evoking the simple sumptuousness of a home-cooked meal, or tracing the heartrending outline of an intimate betrayal, she offers both "a deliciously evoked return to worlds" (John Fowles), and spellbinding reflections on how history imprints itself on private lives. ... Read more


79. Leaving the Saints : How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith
by MARTHA BECK
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0609609912
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 74568
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80. Honeymoon with My Brother : A Memoir
by Franz Wisner
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312320906
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 159772
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Book Description

This is the true story of Franz Wisner, a man who thought he had it all- a high profile career and the fianc&eacute;e of his dreams- when suddenly, his life turned upside down.Just days before they were to be married, his fianc&eacute;e called off the wedding.Luckily, his large support network of family and friends wouldn't let him succumb to his misery.They decided Franz should have a wedding and a honeymoon anyway- there just wouldn't be a bride at the ceremony, and Franz' travel companion would be his brother, Kurt.

During the "honeymoon," Franz reconnected with his brother and began to look at his life with newfound perspective.The brothers decided to leave their old lives behind them.They quit their jobs, sold all their possessions, and traveled around the world, visiting sixty countries for the next two years.In Honeymoon With My Brother, Franz recounts this remarkable journey, during which he turned his heartbreak into an opportunity to learn about himself, the world, and the brother he hardly knew.
... Read more

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