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161. The Sixteenth Round: From Number
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162. Riding the Bus With My Sister:
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163. Leap of Faith : Memoirs of an
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164. Lucky : A Memoir
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165. Stradivari's Genius : Five Violins,
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166. On Hitler's Mountain : Overcoming
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167. The Rose That Grew From Concrete
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168. My Personal Best : Life Lessons
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169. First They Killed My Father :
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170. The Rise of Benedict XVI : The
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172. The Orientalist : Solving the
173. Trailing Billy the Kid (Outlaw-Lawman
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174. The Secret Language of Girlfriends:
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175. Maus : A Survivor's Tale : My
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176. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph
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177. Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall
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178. Right Turns : Unconventional Lessons
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179. Saint Francis of Assisi : A Life
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180. Biochemistry (4th edition)

161. The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender To #45472
by Rubin Carter
list price: $15.00
our price: $14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140149295
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 15651
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On May 26, 1967, the spiraling career of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, then the top contender for the world middleweight boxing crown, came to a shuddering and tragic halt: he and a young fan were found guilty of murder of three white people in a New Jersey bar.The nightmare knew no bounds as Carter traded his superstar status for a prison number and the concrete walls of some of America's most horrific institutions.Originally published as an attempt by Carter to set the record straight and force a new trial, The Sixteenth Round is timeless.It is an eye-opening portrait of growing up black in America, a scathing indictment of the prison system Carter grew up in and out of, and a mesmerizing re-creation of his furious battles in the ring and in the courtroom set against the backdrop of the turbulent sixties.The liveliness of Carter's street language, its power and ironic humor, makes this an eloquent, soul-stirring account of a remarkable life not soon to be forgotten. ... Read more

Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a book
I'm not an avid reader of books. I think that in my life I've read about 6 books from start to finish. This book is one of them. His life is an amazing/tragic yet inspiring one. The feeling I got after reading this book is that it teaches alot about the human sprit and what it can accomplish when you set your mind to it.

His writing style pulls no stops, He's direct and to the point.

The writing style he adopts gives you a real look at the Rubin Carter, in a way the Movie or other books about him can't.

Want to Know the real Rubin Carter! - Read this book

5-0 out of 5 stars Hurricane:A political injustice
I heard of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter from the inspirational film "the hurricane" starring Denzel Washington. After seeing the film I became enthralled in the story of a man framed for murders he did not commit and locked away in a cell for 20 years. I decided to get the autobiography of the hurricane entitled the 16th round. The book starts by exposing the life of a child sentenced to a state home for boys from the brutality of the kids and gaurds to the racism and segregation of the prison system in America. Rubin was in prison for most of his early life filling him with hate and rage from the gaurds and other inmates. So he started boxing. His pure power and skill made him an unstoppable talent. That is until he shared his thoughts on the racist Police forces that patrolled the american ghettoes. From then on the police set out to destroy his life. Rubin was pulled over after the murder of 3 white customers of a patterson bar.After 3 witnesses claimed he wasn't the murderer he was released. Five months later He was about to take on Dick Tiger for the middle weight title.But it was not to be and he was arrested and sentenced to three times life after the admitted liars Bello and Bradley said that he was the murderer. And so Rubin entered the familiar walls of Trenton state prison once again for a crime he did not commit. This story of injustice is exellently written. It is an inspirational book that will fill you with love and compassion for the amazing fighter of battles in the ring and battles of political injustice,Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. By Owen Clark.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Touching
Obviously no one can write his story better than Rubin himself. This story is both and inspiring story of a man who has never stopped fighting and a terrifying reality check into the American judicial system. This book is filled with an anger that is only kept in check by the author's own love and compassion.

The reader whould of course keep in mind this is an autobiography and therefore is skewed to the writer's point of view and emotional state.

2-0 out of 5 stars The rounds go on and on...
I purchased this book, after viewing the much celebrated movie, "The Hurricane." The book is mediocre. I found it difficult to believe much of the writer's exaggerated boasting regarding his many talents. I had erroneously gathered from the movie, that this was a self-effacing, self-made man, not so. The reader is ever searching for the "real meat" of the story, however, the bulk of the story is about the author as a "ghetto-bad boy." The last few chapters of the book are short and quickly race you through the actual murder and trial. Overall it is not well written and disappointing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A touching story inspires child.
This story reached out and touched the lives of many people. It also made people realize not to be racist. I know that I used to be racist and this turned my life around. The fact that rubin was in jail for a crime he didnt commit just because he wasnt white isnt at all fair. His story inspired me not to be racist and to get others not to hate the non-white. It has touched many lives and i like that. I am one of Rubin's biggest fans. ... Read more

162. Riding the Bus With My Sister: A True Life Journey
by Rachel Simon
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452284554
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 4690
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Beth is a spirited woman with mental retardation, who spends nearly every day riding the buses in Philadelphia. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. When Beth asks her sister Rachel to accompany her on the buses for one year, they take a transcendent journey together that changes Rachel's life in incredible ways and leads her to accept her sister at long last-teaching her to slow down and enjoy the ride.

Full of life lessons from which any reader will profit, Riding the Bus with My Sister is "a heartwarming, life-affirming journey through both the present and the past...[that] might just change your life" (Boston Herald).
... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Special Journey
Many things in this book amazed me, not the least of which was the support system of bus drivers who were such an integral part of Beth Simon's life as she rode the city buses, day after da,y in an unnamed Pennsylvania city.

Rachel, spending part of the year accompanying her mildly retarded sister on her daily rounds of bus rides, intricately depicts these drivers and their(mostly) caring attitudes toward Beth. It was amazing to her that Beth actually had a better support system than she did in her so-called "normal" life.

Interspered in the monthly entries are vignettes about the past shared by these two sisters and their siblings. Their total abandonment by their mother when she decided to marry an abusive convict was heart-wrenching. But this book was never whiny- rather, it showed the resilience of this family.

I learned a lot about the social services, within a community, that are provided to disabled people like Beth. Her "team" seemed very caring and involved with her life.

I felt Rachel's frustration as she tried to convince Beth to eat better, take better medical and dental care of herself, and to get some kind of a job. Beth's stubbornmess and willfulness were also a challenge to her sister, as was her demanding attitude.

This book is perceptive, enlightening, painfully honest....and memorable. I am so glad that I read it and that Rachel Simon allowed me into her world.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book will appeal to anyone!
Do you know someone with a disability? Chances are, you do, and regardless of the disability, mental retardation, autism, blindness....there is much to learn and relate to in Rachel Simon's true life story entitled "Riding the Bus With My Sister". I have two sisters with mental retardation, similar to Rachel's sister, Beth. Reading this book gave me new insight into my relationship with my own sisters, and I see them and their lives with new understanding. In addition, the book was very informative of the systems in place to support the disabled within a community. This book has had a profound effect on me and I find Rachel Simon quite courageous and brave to share such a personal story. Anyone will enjoy reading this book, the messages of acceptance, enjoying life as it is and connecting with others are universal.

4-0 out of 5 stars Finding Myself
Rachel Simon is a woman in her late 30's to early 40's, living alone. She is unhappy with herself and lifestyle, which consists of writing and teaching all day long in Philadelphia. Beth, her sister with mental retardation, invites Rachel to attend her "Plan of Care" meeting, just after Rachel writes an article about riding the bus with sister, Beth. Just after this scheduled meeting, Beth challenges Rachel to ride the bus with her for a year, but they agree to two times a week for a year. This also meant sleeping over at Beth's apartment on sofa cushions that were set up on the floor. On these bus rides, Rachel learns little "facts of life" lessons from each of the bus drivers that Beth shares her rides with. Rachel is soon to realize and accepts just who her sister and herself truly is. She understands and learns to be content, to work at her faults to make them better, and not to be afraid of what leads her to happiness.
A few things I didn't like about this book was that it was slow at times. The book's progress in dialog could have been hindered by my lack of understanding at the beginning of the book and because it was confusing. Another possibility could be because I was confused by one of the extra books changing of tense from present to past childhood memories. I didn't like the fact that Rachel was shallow at times. Rachel also had a hard time accepting her sister for who she was and was too afraid of everyone else's thoughts.
There are much more positives, than I had dislikes about. This book ends with a happy note and Rachel changes. Rachel learns how to be happy, and camas's to find out that she wasn't the only one with siblings that have mental disabilities. Beth Also changes, she learns that she words can hurt more than she thinks they will. Beth sees how being difficult and stubborn pushes her family away. In conclusion, I liked this book a lot and would recommend it to family with a disabled person.

2-0 out of 5 stars Of a Boy
Of a Boy by Sonya Hartnett (A Penguin Book; $24.95)
ISBN 0-14-014622-9
Set in 1997 Australia after the disappearance of the Metford children (based on the true story of the Beaumont children). Adrian a boy of nine, lives with his Grandmother and depressed uncle Rory. Adrian feels lonely and disconnected, this feeling is increased as adults fail him. Adrian's life is full of fear he is scared of self-combustion, quicksand and shopping centers. His greatest fear is to become an outcast like the crazy children from the shelter at his school. Adrian is intrigued by the Metford's disappearance and imagines what may have happened to them. Adrian just longs for love and acceptance, he thinks by finding the Metford children he will achieve the attention he desires. Adrian along with his mixed matched out of control, friend, Nicole, pursue the Metford's case to receive acknowledgment. The gentleness and twisted perceptions of childhood are partly responsible for the rash decisions made.

The novel is written in a clear lucid style. It is not a light or humorous read, but a compelling one. Themes throughout the novel are dark, sad and heavy. This style in third person is suited to its purpose, expressing the thoughts inside a sad young boy's head. Towards the end of the novel the style becomes mysterious and suggestive as the disappearance of the Metford children unfolds. However, the dark themes within the mystery are still continued.

The reader of this novel was forced to like the sad, lost and confused boy Adrian. Adrian is so mixed up that the reader cannot help feeling sympathetic towards him. Nicole is portrayed as un-likable, she is misunderstood and totally out of control; her tone is rude and sharp. However, at the end of the novel the reader feels more sympathetic through the extremes she went to, to have people pay attention. Adrian's Grandmother was also portrayed as an un-likable character; the reader believes that she could have made more of an effort with Adrian. Through her thoughts you can see her reomorse and the self-confliction she expiriences. Uncle Rory tries to give help to Adrian but cannot give advice with the sate he is in himself.

The novel is slow going and the ending was disappointingly predictable, the reader just does not know how this ending would eventuate. The emotion in the novel was conveyed through to the reader successfully. Being from a childs' point of view powerlessness and loss loom larger from their perspective. The characters were all very individual allowing the reader to visualise them. The themes throughout the novel were contemporary and the issues explored relevant. This novel is suitable for young adults.

5-0 out of 5 stars not a Polyanna, not a cynic
I was sickened that someone who "knows" a real-life character in a book would come on line to publically slam her. That alone should make her review worthless in everyones' eyes. As for the educator who was in special education but changed majors - thank goodness for students with special needs! These two reviews showed the polar opposite of the kind of grace and kindness this world needs, and that this wonderful book illustrates! ... Read more

163. Leap of Faith : Memoirs of an Unexpected Life
by Queen Noor
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401359485
Catlog: Book (2005-03-09)
Publisher: Miramax Books
Sales Rank: 2715
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Leap of Faith is the dramatic and inspiring story of an American woman's remarkable journey into the heart of a man and his nation.

Born into a distinguished Arab-American family and raised amid privilege, Lisa Halaby joined the first freshman class at Princeton to accept women, graduating in 1974 with a degree in architecture and urban planning. Two years later, while visiting her father in Jordan, she was casually introduced on the airport runway to King Hussein. Widely admired in the Arab world as a voice of moderation, and for his direct lineage to the prophet Muhammad, Hussein would soon become the world's most eligible bachelor after the tragic death of his wife. The next time they met, Hussein would fall headlong in love with the athletic, outspoken daughter of his longtime friend. After a whirlwind, secret courtship Lisa Halaby became Noor Al Hussein, Queen of Jordan.

With eloquence and candor, Queen Noor speaks of the obstacles she faced as a naive young bride in the royal court, of rebelling against the smothering embrace of security guards and palace life, and of her own successful struggle to create a working role as a humanitarian activist In a court that simply expected Noor to keep her husband happy. As she gradually took on the mantle of a queen, Noor's joys and challenges grew. After a heartbreaking miscarriage, she gave birth to four children. Meshing the demands of motherhood with the commitments of her position often proved difficult, but she tried to keep her young children by her side, even while flying the world with her husband in his relentless quest for peace. This mission would reap satisfying rewards, including greater Arab unity and a peace treaty with Israel, and suffer such terrible setbacks as the Gulf War and the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin.

Leap of Faith is a remarkable document. It is the story of a young American woman who became wife and partner to an Arab monarch. It provides a compelling portrait of the late King Hussein and his lifelong effort to bring peace to his wartorn region, and an insider's view of the growing gulf between the United States and the Arab nations. It is also the refreshingly candid story of a mother coming to terms with the demands the king's role as a world statesman placed on her family's private life. But most of all it is a love story—the intimate account of a woman who lost her heart to a king, and to his people. ... Read more

Reviews (196)

4-0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing Glimpse into the Arab World
I thoroughly enjoyed this book!It was fascinating to read about the Middle East conflict from an American woman turned Arab's perspective. It is intriguing how an independent, well-educated, well-connected American woman can move to an Arab country, covert to Islam and live in a society where women are second-class citizens. Having said that, I am very impressed at the role Noor ultimately created, e.g., the programs she developed to help the women in Jordan earn a living through their traditional handicrafts and her speaking engagements in the United States to help raise awareness of the Arab culture.Her background in Urban Planning and architecture also allowed her to play an important role in managing the growth in Jordan effectively.She is an intelligent, articulate and graceful woman who served the King and Jordan admirably.

The majority of the book is really a tribute to King Hussein and it goes into great detail about his politics and peace negotiations, which was very educational and compelling.Clearly, Noor loved and respected her husband deeply. However, I would have liked to have learned more about Queen Noor, her years as a young woman and her own work which she glosses over quite a bit.

Keep in mind this is a personal memoir and as such the politics presented are from the Queen's perspective, which I found to be self-serving, or, rather, King serving at times.Not that this is such a bad thing as it is important to try to learn and understandworld politics from other points of view in order to balance out the propaganda that our own government and media feed us.Read this book with an open mind and your view of the Arab world will never be quite the same.

3-0 out of 5 stars OK if you ignore the politics
It's a good book about her life, but it gets into indepth details about the politics and the religion of that area of the world. It can get very tedious, and I basically just skimmed most of the book. If you understand politics and all the goings-on of that area of the world, then this book is for you. It's sort of the other side of history as we in the U.S. know it, and it's very biased against the US and Israel. The pictures are great though, and I did cry at the end when the King died.

1-0 out of 5 stars Ghost-written pap
The story of Queen Noor's life reads like a romance novel- well, not the usual romance novel, because in this one, the ordinary girl marries the King of a nation created by Western powers in the wake of WWII who manages to survive amidst countries run by murdurous dictators by willingly bowing to the demands of whomever has the largest army at his door. A King whose country subsumed "Arab Palestine" and yet who can pretend to be a defender of the Palestinians.

Of course that's really of no interest to the readers of this book, who see Queen Noor with the same unjaundiced eye they cast towards the late Princess Diana, another fairy-tale princess- at least in the legend created by her hoarde of press agents and promoters.

But if a fairy tale is what you're looking for- you'll certainly find it here.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Loved This Book
I loved this book.I knew next to nothing about Jordan, Lisa Halaby, King Hussein, and the Middle East when I first read this book.I learned so much.I read it several times.

I particularly appreciated the perspective of an American woman, about my age, who adapted a ready-made family, a culture, a religion, and a country when she married her beloved husband.I think Queen Noor's perspective gives a balanced view of the Middle East and explains much about the differences and similarities in the world we all share.

I highly recommend this book both as a real life love story and as a mind-opening glimpse into a world very different than our own.

5-0 out of 5 stars an example to emulate
Queen Noor writes eloquently as she shares from the heart the solutions to unite humanity through peace, rather than weapons and war.
I found her courage and heartfelt intentions throughout the book to help raise awareness of the culture she married into, in order to bridge the gap between cultures in the Arab world, that is obviously wide and in dire need of peaceful resolution.

She is humble and gracious, highly educated and carries her mission to unite with her heart, rather than an ego gain for might and domineering power.
She is an example to emulate. Her book is an outstanding read.
... Read more

164. Lucky : A Memoir
by Alice Sebold
list price: $11.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316096199
Catlog: Book (2002-09)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 1926
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Enormously visceral, emotionally gripping, and imbued with the belief that justice is possible even after the most horrific of crimes, Alice Sebold's compelling memoir of her rape at the age of eighteen is a story that takes hold of you and won't let go.

Sebold fulfills a promise that she made to herself in the very tunnel where she was raped: someday she would write a book about her experience. With Lucky she delivers on that promise with mordant wit and an eye for life's absurdities, as she describes what she was like both as a young girl before the rape and how that rape changed but did not sink the woman she later became.

It is Alice's indomitable spirit that we come to know in these pages. The same young woman who sets her sights on becoming an Ethel Merman-style diva one day (despite her braces, bad complexion, and extra weight) encounters what is still thought of today as the crime from which no woman can ever really recover. In an account that is at once heartrending and hilarious, we see Alice's spirit prevail as she struggles to have a normal college experience in the aftermath of this harrowing, life-changing event.

No less gripping is the almost unbelievable role that coincidence plays in the unfolding of Sebold's narrative. Her case, placed in the inactive file, is miraculously opened again six months later when she sees her rapist on the street. This begins the long road to what dominates these pages: the struggle for triumph and understanding -- in the courtroom and outside in the world.

Lucky is, quite simply, a real-life thriller. In its literary style and narrative tension we never lose sight of why this life story is worth reading. At the end we are left standing in the wake of devastating violence, and, like the writer, we have come to know what it means to survive. ... Read more

Reviews (154)

5-0 out of 5 stars A TRIUMPH OVER TRAGEDY
Like her wonderful novel The Lovely Bones - which I've also reviewed and which you must read - Lucky is a harrowing, heart-wrenching book about the worst possible thing that can happen to a woman. Alice Sebold tells the raw story of her rape ordeal and her subsequent struggle for recovery with an honesty and warmth which is compelling. Lucky reads almost like a novel itself at times, with gripping moments of suspense, particularly during the court trial scenes.
Alice Sebold was the innocent victim of an unforgivable crime - but she doesn't ask for our sympathy or pity in these beautifully written pages. She earns our respect and admiration for the courageous way she tells how the traumatic events changed and shaped her life; how the naive college student would eventually become a hardened, determined aggressor herself in her brave fight for justice against her attacker. Sadly, this natural reaction to her personal violation came with a price - destructive behavioural damage that brought a later downward spiral into drugs. What the author didn't know at the time is that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; an anxiety syndrome that emerges following a psychologically distressing traumatic event such as rape, which she battles to overcome.
Can someone really, truly, get over something so savage and brutal as rape is the numbing thought you're left with long after you put the book aside? The past can never be forgotten, but Alice Sebold has managed to crawl from the wreckage and move on with her life to a happier future that has brought her international fame and acclaim. That says something about the human spirit - and everything about this remarkable woman.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Survival - Incredible.
In this thought-provoking, chilling memoir, Alice Sebold recounts the events of her rape and the aftermath of that tragedy. While strong enough to go through with the trial and conviction of her attacker, Sebold's emotional state was deeply affected for many years after. Her memoir follows the events that occurred after her rape and the things she attempted in order to escape her pain.

Sebold captures this period in her life with great intensity and literary skill. Not only does the reader become informed of the actual events of the rape and the events following it, but we get a look into Sebold's home life and her personality before the night that would change everything.

This story isn't just about a college girl's rape and her survival story. It's a story about her life: her family, her friends, her childhood. Sebold explains how when she was younger all she wanted was to be hugged by her parents, but she would settle for something as simple as a touch because she was offered nothing more (and sometimes not even that luxury). It's about growing up in a dysfunctional family and getting through it. It's about surviving not only bad experiences in life, but surviving and coping with continuing bad situations.

A great read - highly recommended to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
A must read for clinical psychologists and students interested in the sexual abuse topic.

3-0 out of 5 stars Yet again I'm left disappointed ...
I was a bit underwhelmed with 'The Lovely Bones' - started out great, lost me entirely by the end - but I expected great things of 'Lucky'. Yet again it starts out well, the opening chapter is horrifying, moving and completely unputdownable - but as we move away from the actual rape and its immediate aftermath all Alice Sebold's faults as a writer surface again. She seems unable to select material which will be of interest to the reader and fills pages and pages with irrelevant detail of her family life and unnecessary background detail. The book comes alive again when she spots her rapist in the street but in between I found myself losing interest. We all know the argument about real-life not being as tidy as fiction - but in this case it WAS tidy - the rapist was identified by Alice, caught and punished (a much more satisfactory ending than that of 'The Lovely Bones', ironically). I wish the book had been more scrupulously edited to focus on the essential elements of her story rather than filled up with padding. I felt cheated at the end of the book - at the beginning I felt that I would be with Alice throughout her every step of her journey to find justice and recover from the trauma she suffered but somehow this connection was lost and by the middle of the book I had no idea what she - or indeed anyone else involved was thinking or feeling. What a shame as this could have been a truly great book and an inspiration to rape survivors everywhere ...

5-0 out of 5 stars A real tale, full of sound and fury
This book is so many things, but the one that comes first to mind is "brave." For Seabold to have written this is amazing--the courage it must have taken. But that aside, it is well-written. I read "Lovely Bones" first, and then this one. While the premise of "Lovely" was great, I found "Lucky" to be a better book. Don't get me wrong, I like both of them, but "Lucky" was by far the more "real" tale. Try them both and then decide for yourself.

Also recommended: McCrae's Bark of the Dogwood, A Boy Called It ... Read more

165. Stradivari's Genius : Five Violins, One Cello, and Three Centuries of Enduring Perfection
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375508481
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 274563
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166. On Hitler's Mountain : Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood
by Irmgard A. Hunt
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060532173
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 19532
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On Hitler's Mountain is a powerful, intimate, riveting, and revealing account of a seemingly halcyon life lived mere paces from a center of evil and madness; a remarkable memoir of an "ordinary" childhood spent in an extraordinary time and place.

Born in 1934, Irmgard Hunt grew up in the picturesque Bavarian village of Berchtesgaden, in the shadow of the Eagle's Nest and near Adolf Hitler's luxurious alpine retreat. The very model of blond Aryan "purity," Irmgard sat on the Führer's knee for photographers, witnessed with excitement the comings and goings of all manner of famous personages, and with the blindness of a child accepted the Nazi doctrine that most of her family and everyone around her so eagerly embraced. Here, in a picture-postcard world untouched by the war and seemingly unblemished by the horrors Germany's master had wrought, she accepted the lies of her teachers and church and civic leaders, joined the Hitler Youth at age ten, and joyfully sang the songs extolling the virtues of National Socialism.

But before the end -- when she and other children would be forced to cower in terror in dank bomb shelters and wartime deprivations would take a harrowing toll -- Irmgard's doubts about the "truths" she had been force-fed increased, fueled by the few brave souls who had not accepted Hitler and his abominations. After the fall of the brutal dictatorship and the suicide of its mad architect, many of her neighbors and loved ones still clung to their beliefs, prejudices, denial, and unacknowledged guilt. Irmgard, often feeling lonely in her quest, was determined to face the truth of her country's criminal past and to bear the responsibility for an almost unbearable reality that most of her elders were determined to forget. She resolved even then that the lessons of her youth would guide her actions and steel her commitment to defend the freedoms and democratic values that had been so easily dismissed by the German people.

Provocative and astonishing, Irmgard A. Hunt's On Hitler's Mountain offers a unique, gripping, and vitally important first-person perspective on a tumultuous era in modern history, as viewed through the eyes of a child -- a candid and fascinating document, free of rationalization and whitewash, that chronicles the devastating moral collapse of a civilized nation.

... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Growing Up in the Shadow of The Eagle's Nest
You may have read numerous books on World War II, but Irmgard Hunt has written an account from her viewpoint of growing up in Nazi Germany in the town of Berchtesgaden.She describes conflicting opinions held by family members regarding Adolf Hitler and her confusion as to who and what to believe.Was he Germany's savior or a monster to be feared?School became something she hated due to pro Nazi teachers who indoctrinated the students and abused their authority with unnecessary corporal punishment.One of her classmates was the son of Albert Speer while another was the son of the executed Fritz Sauckel. Irmgard describes an experience of a fanatical pro Nazi teacher who insisted she get up in front of the class and state how proud she was that her father gave his life in the war for the Fuhrer.Another of her teacher's appeared to be a kindly woman who gently asked whether or not one of her relatives was supporting the Fuhrer.She hesitated in answering, but then lied that he doesn't talk about the situation.She later found her teacher was an informant for the Gestapo, and shuddered as to how close she had come to consigning him to a concentration camp.She also relates her uncomfortable experience of sitting on the knee of Hitler in addition to her fear of allied bombings and wondering how the Americans would treat her family members once they invaded Berchtesgaden.This book is told from the viewpoint of a child and the fears and conflicting thoughts she had regarding the war.The book also includes a picture of Hitler's Berghof after it was bombed along with a picture of the Eagle's Nest sitting on top one of the mountains.The author also speaks of her beginning to challenge her mother's beliefs.The war became tiresome and Irmgard realized she had been robbed of a significant part of her childhood.This book is a quick read, but whether you are a grizzled veteran of World War II books or a neophyte this is a book that gives you the war from a different viewpoint ( a child).

5-0 out of 5 stars A valuable book!
Irmgard A. Hunt's memoir, "On Hitler's Mountain," is a valuable, fascinating addition to the accounts of the Second World War.Hunt, born in 1934, gives a clear, heartbreaking account of daily life during the 12 years of Hitler's regime.She makes no excuses for how her countrymen (and parents) fell for Hitler's line of a "greater Germany," particularly after the horrid, humiliating Treaty of Versailles, the subsequent inflation and hunger of the Weimar period, and the seeming miracle of the 1933-1938 period.Her father was a draftee in the German army, and died in France.Illustrated with family photographs, and appropriate non-family photographs, this book is well worth reading, and deserves to be included in school curricula worldwide. Hunt grew up, came to the States, married, had two children, and became an executive in several organisations in defence of the environment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Irmgard Hunt's book is a thoroughly engrossing story of a childhood in extreme circumstances.Equally enthralling is her description of how evil crept so easily into German society.Her parents voted for Hitler in 1933 because they were desperate for stability and prosperity.Their middle class respectability kept them from questioning authority or the authoritarian tactics of the Nazi regime.

Her description of the hardships and ravages of the war from a child's point of view makes for a fascinating narrative.Someone once said of U.S. Grant's memoirs that it's the only book about the Civil War that you keep reading because you want to find out how the war turned out.The same can be said of Hunt's book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Young Girl Growing Up In Nazi Germany
She was on the politically correct side of the fence. She even got to sit on Hitler's lap and her parent's supported Hitler. However, she was in other ways an ordinary German trying to live an ordinary life and to have a regular childhood. Through her eyes the reader has an opportunity to answer some of the questions that most readers have. What was it like to be an "ordinary" German citizen caught up in the evilness of the time? How did "ordinary" German citizens react to the crimes all around them?

Hunt writes of her life and the lives of adults around her. She sheds light on how this criminal government came about and of the complacency those persons who could have stopped it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable memoir
On Hitler's Mountain is a beautifully-written, thought-provoking memoir of Nazi Germany from the perspective of a young blond German girl.Irmgard Hunt describes the everyday life of her childhood in a remarkably frank style.She resists any temptation to justify or editorialize her recounts of her joining the Nazi youth group or her parents support for Hitler.Her depictions of war-time poverty and the pressures from teachers and neighbors to conform don't seek to justify the behavior of her family and neighbors.Rather, they illuminate how one can be lured into thinking or acting in ways that are in retrospect so monstrously wrong.

Like me, you may well finish this book in just three evenings and not stop to wonder how you would have behaved, either as a child or an adult, in Nazi Germany. ... Read more

167. The Rose That Grew From Concrete
by Tupac Shakur
list price: $21.00
our price: $14.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671028448
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: MTV
Sales Rank: 2483
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

His talent was unbounded, a raw force that commanded attention and respect.

His death was tragic -- a violent homage to the power of his voice.

His legacy is indomitable -- remaining vibrant and alive.

Here now, newly discovered, are Tupac's most honest and intimate thoughts conveyed through the pure art of poetry -- a mirror into his enigmatic life and its many contradictions.

Written in his own hand at the age of nineteen, they embrace his spirit, his energy...and his ultimate message of hope. ... Read more

Reviews (137)

5-0 out of 5 stars See The World Through The Eyes of a Great Man
"The Rose That Grew From Concrete" is an amazing collection of poetry by Tupac Shukur. The poems let you go deep in his mind and see a side of Tupac that most people have never seen. As you read his poems you start to realize how he truly feels and what messages he wants to get across. You also see the pain and obstacles in his life that he had to overcome. Some people listen to Tupac's music and just hear the negative and the cussing. Not understanding that you have to know the negative to see and understand the positive. Some people see Tupac's music as a bad influence, because they don't listen to all the words to get the real message. This collection of poems is a great way to understand Tupac's life and to receive his true message, to end crime and to stop the hate. This collection of poems has had a great influence on my life and the way I look at the world. I think that everyone who reads this book can relate to Tupac in some way and I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of poetry about life and of course to anyone who loves Tupac.

5-0 out of 5 stars His Legend Lives On
Tupac Shakur's collection of poetry is as dynamic as his life and songs. Tupac has touched on many subjects that cross the racial barriers in his book. He seems a young man full of hope and promise. The gangster mentality is almost nonexistent in The Rose That Grew From Concrete. His thoughts on love and relationships are wonderul and moving. Even his poem about death is insightful. Some of the poetry really touched my soul. I have been a Tupac fan for many years and when I saw the book in the store, I immediately started reading. The poems are compelling and remind me of his life. I couldn't wait to share The Rose That Grew From Concrete with my family and friends. If you love poetry and the African American culture than this is a book to add to your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful teaching tool!!!
I am a middle school English teacher who uses this collection when teaching a poetry unit. While most of Tupac's writing is rough and unedited, it shows students that poetry is a beautiful way to express ideas and emotions. Young people are so full of passion and idealism. Someone as famous as Tupac started off similar to them... Small with bigs dreams and a hunger for growing up and changing the world. It's not so much about rap but about the art of lyrical poetry. My students find it fascinating and inspiring.

1-0 out of 5 stars sorry to say this
all the stuff from this book is from when he wasn't famous yet. he didn't have anything to say back then. he was a very profound person but i wasn't compelled with anything he said until he started looking at political issues and crimes and society in his raps. When he was in his late teens and early 20's and had to deal with the corruptions of society, that was when he had interesting, even brilliant things to say. But, not before. I'm a big Tupac fan, but this wasn't worth it. He just talks about love and it's cheesy and the rhymes aren't very well done. Get stuff from his more recent times to really understand his character.

5-0 out of 5 stars tupac shakur in the hearts of his fans
This book is full of feelings towards love and full of anger towards the government and against politics. His best poetry was written through his expressions and feelings. This book could relate to the way you feel about something during that period of time. The right words are put together to express what you feel within. Tupac was a great poet who was with respect by the society he wrote what he felt, not what people wanted to hear. ... Read more

168. My Personal Best : Life Lessons from an All-American Journey
by JohnWooden, SteveJamison, John Wooden, Steve Jamison
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071437924
Catlog: Book (2004-04-09)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 2217
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For John Wooden's millions of fans comes a new and revealing self-portrait--the people and events that shaped his life

Sports Illustrated declared: "There has never been a finer coach in American sports than John Wooden. Nor a finer man." ESPN selected him as the "Greatest Coach of the 20th Century." From his birth on an Indiana tenant farm, to All-American honors at Purdue, to his historic recordsetting UCLA dynasty, John Wooden is a towering figure in 20th-century sports, and his experience and wisdom an American treasure. In My Personal Best, Coach Wooden tells how he did it and the lessons he learned on his remarkable journey.

Pairing never-before-seen photos from Coach Wooden's private collection with his personal stories and affirmations, this book encompasses the dramatic arc of Wooden's larger-than-life achievements and experiences. As he did in his perpetual bestseller Wooden, Coach offers a wealth of biographical details, personal reflections, and a lifetime of lessons. His millions of fans will cherish this definitive pictorial history of a living sports legend.

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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A living legend
My Pesonal Best was a joy to read. I'm 35 yrs. old and have been a Coach Wooden fan for as long as I can remember. Success leaves clues, and Coach Wooden has left all of us pure gold with his wisdom and insight for living a successful life. He is incredibly thoughtful and cares not about glory or accolades, but about the person. I wrote Coach Wooden a letter in 6th grade expressing my admiration for him and UCLA, he responded with a full page hand written note and copy of his Pyramid of Success that I cherish to this day! Who other than Coach Wooden would have taken the time to do such a thing? Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly...The Best....In Many Respects~~~
While a student at UCLA in the '70s, I often stopped by the afternoon practices to watch Coach Wooden. To this day, he remains an inspiration. His coaching and teachings reach far beyond the basketball arena. His demeanor and style is one to admire.

Grab this book!~ Read it! Learn from it! It is the type of lifestyle you want to replicate, follow, and nurture to all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Coach Wooden is a teacher for yesterday, today, and tomorrow
I think I've read all, or at least most, of the other books by or about Coach Wooden. This one is, by far, the most personable and unique. You get a quick, but in depth, look into Coach's past, his theories on life, and his love of basketball and people. Having had the opportunity to learn from many great coaches, both in person and through reading, I still feel, and will probably always feel, that Coach Wooden is THE BEST. Thankfully, John Wooden and many of his co-authors and collaborators are leaving a rich source of inspiration for future generations. One day we will wake up and the morning newspaper will report the death of a true leader, teacher, and friend. The world will weep. Coach Wooden, may you continue to educate and inspire those smart enough to open their minds to your wisdom.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book about Coach Wooden is a must read!
My husband and I truly enjoyed reading "My Personal Best" and learning about the important people in Coach Wooden's life who inspired and taught him. He shares with us these lifelong lessons he learned from them. All of us can use this in our own lives.

We highly recommend this book to parents, coaches and teachers. What Coach Wooden teaches us in this book is exactly what we need to teach our children.

Inspirational! Great book! Really enjoyable! Coach Wooden's wisdom is invaluable! ... Read more

169. First They Killed My Father : A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
by Loung Ung
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060931388
Catlog: Book (2001-01-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 34614
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights, and sassing her parents. When Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Ung's family was forced to flee their home and hide their previous life of privilege. Eventually, they dispersed in order to survive. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans while her other siblings were sent to labor camps. Only after the Vietnamese destroyed the Khmer Rouge were Loung and her surviving siblings slowly reunited.

Bolstered by the shocking bravery of one brother and sustained by her sister's gentle kindness amid brutality, Loung forged ahead to create a courageous new life. Harrowing yet hopeful, insightful and compelling, this family's story is truly unforgettable.

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Reviews (110)

4-0 out of 5 stars First They Killed My Father
Book Review

"First They Killed My Father: A Daughter Of Cambodia Remembers" by Ms. Loung Ung. January 2000. HarperCollins Publishers, 256 pages.

Reviewed by Ronnie Yimsut Special to the Asian Reporter

Do you remember when you were just a child? What kind a childhood did you have? Do you still remember what kind of dream you have? What was it like for you when you were growing up?

These are some of the questions one should ponder before he or she is about to read a recently published book by Ms. Loung Ung. For Loung, a genocide survivor, her answer to these questions might have been simply as, "I never really have a childhood, with the exception of the brief happy moment I have with my family." Loung's childhood, like that of many other children in Cambodia-including this reviewer, was taken away completely by war and the Khmer Rouge's Killing Fields regime. Only loneliness, suffering, extreme hunger (starvation), and sadness seemed to accompany Loung's early childhood in Cambodia.

Forced to live and work as slave labors in a virtual "prison without a wall," Loung and her family endured every basic human rights abuse by a genocidal regime, following a long and agonizing forced march across Cambodia. Overworked, sickness, and starvation soon followed as her constant companions. One by one, her family members were dying. Her family unity was slowly and agonizingly breaking up piece-by-piece by the so called, "Angkar," the Khmer Rouge secretive or phantom organization. An older sister was the first to die of illness, as a direct result of overwork and starvation, in a primitive Communist hospital. Her father, a former government official, was the first to be taken away and subsequently executed. Her mother and the youngest sister survived long enough to endure more torture before the Khmer Rouge young and eager executioners also killed them. No one immune from the mass killing by the Khmer Rouge, including some of the loyal Khmer Rouge cadres and soldiers themselves.

Orphaned by age eight years old, young Loung managed to overcome the Khmer Rouge brain washing sessions and training to be a child soldier. They trained her to be just another obedient killer for Angkar, like so many others before her. But they failed miserably. She survived only by her wit and her own family members' love for one another, and the numerous sacrifices that were made. It was the formula needed to fence against a genocidal regime bent on destroying family unity and a civil society. Loung refused to give up. In the end, Loung strong will have triumphant against all odds.

Loung's memoir represents the story of countless other children in Cambodia who did not survive to tell of their fate, of their immense suffering before their untimely death. In telling her own story, Loung is in fact telling many other untold stories of the suffering and death of her fellow children in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge reign of terrors. She is the voice for many others who are no longer have a voice. As Loung often said, "By telling my own story of suffering to others who would listen, I am worthy of being alive."

Thank you for your courage and determination, Loung!

5-0 out of 5 stars A deeply moving story of courage and survival
In the beginning pages of "First They Killed My Father", the book is dedicated in memory of the two million people that were killed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The vastness of that number is hard to understand and comprehend, but by writing her book Loung Ung helps us to understand. By telling her story she speaks not only for herself; but for all of those other voices that will never again be heard. The story that she tells is especially heartbreaking, because it is a story of horror and brutality seen through the eyes of a child. Loung Ung was only 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia in 1975. Loung and her family; along with hundreds of thousands of other families from the capital city of Phnom Penh; were forced to leave their homes and to flee into the countryside. They witnessed the deliberate destruction of an entire society by the Khmer Rouge. Day to day life in Cambodia became a living nightmare. I felt a very deep sense of grief and sadness reading about the death of so many of the Cambodian people; and of the terrible suffering endured by Loung and her family. But beyond those feelings of sadness, there is much more within this book. There are many poignant moments in the book, that reaffirm the ultimate value of every human life. As you read Loung's story, every member of her family will be vividly brought to life before your eyes. The love, sacrifice, courage and kindness of Loung's family helped to give her the strength to survive. Loung's courageous heart has helped others to live too. This is a book that was written from the heart, and it is a story that you will always remember.

5-0 out of 5 stars My new favorite book
This is an absolutely wonderful book. I wish that I hadn't read it yet so I could go back and read it again for the first time. It is a haunting recount of the transition of Cambodia's government by Pol Pot and the Khmer rouge and an amazing story of the people who were able to survive it. Fantastic writing that keeps you glued to every page. THis book really makes you realize the lack our hardship in your own life.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Reading
Forget Britney....And do you tend to complain of your life's miseries because you are not Britney? This is the kind of literature that makes you a different person, if you read it. You won't be the same, I promise. You'd appreciate the simplest of things in life...a drop of water, a grain of rice, a grain of sugar...and love and support from the family. It should be on a reading list for every students.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moved me so much on the human spirit
As I'm now travelling in the Southeast Asia I would want to read some books about this area. I found Ms Luong Ung's book in a bookstore in Nha Trang of Vietnam (original copy!). Once I started to read it I had to stop for some time to get some fresh air before I could finish it. The book was so greatly written but the story was so horrible, it's impossible to be unmoved by the knowledge that this is not a fiction but a real life story that happened at the time of my generation. I felt the sorrow when Ms Luong's father, and later her mother, were taken away by the Khmer Rough, I felt the happiness when she finally started a new life in America. I was born in Aug 1977 and it's somehow quite difficult to imagine that when I was well brought up in a peaceful place (in Hong Kong), then a girl and other children of my generation living very near to me would force to serve for the children army and suffer from great miseries and unspeakable carnage. This book definitely tells us how lucky we are, how precious a life can be, and how one politician's stupid idea would ruin so many lives and families. Thanks Ms Loung for writing such a great book to share her experience with all of us, it must have taken you great courage to tell us your story, which moved me so much on the human spirit. ... Read more

170. The Rise of Benedict XVI : The Inside Story of How the Pope was Elected and Where He Will Take the CatholicChurch
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385513208
Catlog: Book (2005-06-07)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 6935
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by David McCullough
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671792768
Catlog: Book (1992-11-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 7930
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

David McCullough, author of Truman, has collected his favorite pieces -- profiles of exceptional men and women past and present who have not only shaped the course of history or changed how we see the world but whose stories express much that is timeless about the human condition.

Here are Alexander von Humboldt, whose epic explorations of South America surpassed the Lewis and Clark expedition; Harriet Beecher Stowe, "the little woman who made the big war"; Frederic Remington; the extraordinary Louis Agassiz of Harvard; Charles and Anne Lindbergh, and their fellow long-distance pilots, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Beryl Markham; Harry Caudill, the Kentucky lawyer who awakened the nation to the tragedy of Appalachia; David Plowden, a present-day photographer of vanishing America.

Different as they are from each other, McCullough's subjects have in common a rare vitality and sense of purpose. These are brave companions: to each other, to David McCullough, and to the reader, for with rare storytelling ability McCullough brings us into the times they knew, and their very uncommon lives. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hidden Gems of History
McCullough shows that history is more than great men and great events. One only needs to read about the discovery of lost and forgotten blueprints of the Brooklyn Bridge to see a new window open on events that we all thought we knew about. The joy of reading anything by McCullough is that he takes you on a guided tour of captivating people, places and events that have been glossed over by more so-called grteat events and people. McCullough does this with a great passion and an understanding that the readers are not always college scholars, but real people who expereince life on a simpler level, people who can relate to the ordinary progress and pace of life. Brave Companions is a book that opens the door to new insights of history, and the door is open to eveyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For Historians
This book is another McCullough masterpiece. A collection of articles and essays published by McCullough in the past few decades, this book is truly the epitome of well written and researched history. McCullough definately knows how to make his subjects (dead people and events that very few people know about) come back to life. His prose flows like a fictional narrative. The people and events discussed are enough to make you wonder often if the book is fiction. But it's not. All of McCullough's sources are authentic. And what he doesn't know, he'll admit - a sign of a true historian.

If you like history you'll love this book. As an amateur historian myself I greatly appreciated the last few chapters in the book where McCullough emphasized the importance of learning our history, as well as the need for us to write our own. This is a short, but highly entertaining and beneficial book. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Profiles - People with a purpose
Since reading my first David McCullough book, MORNINGS ON HORSEBACK, I was delighted and impressed by the author's depth of research and his easy style of writing. I loved his book, JOHN ADAMS and also TRUMAN. The author can be trusted with the facts and although the books are long, the reader doesn't want them to end - they are that interesting! I plan to read all of David McCullough's books.

BRAVE COMPANIONS is a wonderful easily readable book of interesting in depth portraits of people with a purpose. The author makes his portrayals come alive in a unique way. You will learn how history was shaped by ordinary people who did amazing things. I was familiar with only a few such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Charles and Anne Lindbergh, and was so pleasantly surprised to read about many others such as Miriam Rothschild and David Plowden. I am happy to have met all of these different and exceptional folks. The last chapter, Simon Willard's Clock is just plain great!

Be warned - when you begin reading this informative book, you will not stop until completing it and you will want to know even more about each subject - it's that good! And, like me, you will buy a few copies to give as gifts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Entertaining
Absolutely excellent. Many interesting short non-fiction stories that feel like a novel by the end. Very descriptive in a way that gives you the feel of a particular moment which is why McCullough is such an incredible Artist. If you read Truman or Adams, this a must.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Collected McCullough
David McCullough is, arguably, the best popular historian of his generation. He has written amazing historical works ("The Johnstown Flood," "The Path Between the Seas," "The Great Bridge) and outstanding Presidential biographies ("Truman," "John Adams," "Mornings on Horseback"). In addition, over the years he has produced numerous shorter pieces for magazines, which were bound together for "Brave Companions."

As a historian, McCullogh has always been very interested in the lives of people, hence the title of the book. In his narrative he brings to life a number of historical figures, some of whom have become quite obscure. Alexander von Humboldt, for example, was a contemporary of Lewis and Clark whose scientific expedition to South America may have been a more impressive feat than the journey of the two Americans. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" author Harriet Beecher Stowe and Old West painter/sculptor Frederic Remington are the subjects of short but frank mini-biographies.

The biographical material remains McCullogh's strong suit and represents the best parts of this collection. A few of the other pieces don't work quite as well. Some were written as long as 30 plus years ago and are dated today. As with any collection of this kind, the reader is likely to focus on those articles that are of the most personal interest. At less that 250 pages of text, the book is a relatively quick read compared to most of McCullough's works.

Overall, an excellent historical work that will particularly be enjoyed by fans of David McCullough. ... Read more

172. The Orientalist : Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400062659
Catlog: Book (2005-02-15)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 3147
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gives life to those memories and images of yesteryear
I was captivated by the narrative of The Orientialist so thoroughly that I found myself reading whole sections aloud: to myself and to whomever came within the sound of my voice.Tom Reiss' writing style evoked many cross currents of sounds and images from my childhood.I was eight and a half when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

My parents bought and read Time, Life, Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, The Grit, subscribed to two newspapers, and played the radio throughout the day up till bedtime.I remember listening to the London radio reports of Edward R. Murrow with my parents.I saw at least one movie newsreel each week during WWII.And at age 11 I had an evening paper route; my delivers were also late because before starting my route I read the war correspondents' columns and read the news items and studied the maps concrning the Allies' progress against the Axis.

So, Tom Reiss' The Orientalist called forth a grand perspective of just how important the time of history that the life of Lev Nussimbaum covered really was.And Reiss' narrative illustrates how significant the life of a single person, no matter how obscure, mysterious, and "insignificant," can be for getting a profound insight into how history is about life and death, not just about names, dates and places.

The Orientialist should be read by those who don't know about "this past," and, especially it should be read by those who have forgotten "this past."

5-0 out of 5 stars The Orientalist
The author of this truly wonderful book has written a fascinating story about an enigmatic figure in history, but the intriguing substory interwoven into the narrative is that which chronicles the dogged research he did to discover his material.Along with this remarkable tale of following every scrap or paper, every character, every hint and rumor, he encountered amazing coincidences.Somebody said you never have really good luck unless you work very hard, and this is surely the case here.

The descriptions of Baku in the early 1900s and Berlin between the wars are vivid and moving, and provided me information I had never heard before.I have a special interest in Turkey and the Middle East, and the attitudes among Jews and Muslems of the 20s and 30s was enlightening.

One of the best books I have ever encountered.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved the Orientalist
I knew very little about the fascinating pre and post World War I erathat is so very well illuminated in this book, and about how the major Empires of Europe all collapsed in a few years.The life of the mysterious lead character, Essad Bey (with numerous aliases!) held me spellbound - in an earlier Hollwyood era, he would have been portrayed on the screen by Peter Lorre, as in a Bogart movie.All in all, this book is a fabulous recreation of some really weird times in history -- (almost as weird as today!) Literally could not put the book down and await Tom Reiss' next book eagerly.

Bill Sheldon, Glenview IL

5-0 out of 5 stars past and prologue
'The Orientalist' is as clear a portrait as one can find about how we got, in a series of horribly transfixing steps, from WW I to WW II. People under 60 do not realize how close we are still to that time and how easy it would be to repeat it. I am 63 and have a friend (Christian) whose family escaped their farm in Latvia just ahead of the Russians, leaving the farm wagon and the old horse with a bit of hay on the wharf. Our Bible class teacher's grandfather, a rabbi, was one of the last 800 people to get out of Lithuania before the borders were closed.

One does not feel that the spirit of Europe perhaps is less different today than it was then, despite the intervening 60 years. Factions of Communists, Nazis, Socialists, and Fascists still battle it out in many countries. The Rom, the Jews, and other ethnicities are still disliked and persecuted, and, if you read Malcolm Muggeridge's books and the new 'The Cube and the Cathedral,' Christians are not too popular either. It may be that Europe retains more of its barbarian heritage, its paganism, than anyone would like to admit.

Lev Nussimbaum, with a fascinating history from a region that looked hopefully multiethnic in 1900, is worth knowing, as well as his bittersweet novel 'Ali and Nino.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Bringing the tapestry of history to life
What a great "can't put it down"ead.

Mr. Reiss describes the rich tapestry of social and political life in Europe and the Middle East which produced conditions which brought Hitler to pass.All this is woven through a tale of the life of a man as complex and complicated as the times in which he lived. ... Read more

173. Trailing Billy the Kid (Outlaw-Lawman Research Series)
by Philip J. Rasch
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0935269193
Catlog: Book (1995-07-01)
Publisher: National Association for Outlaw and Lawman Hi
Sales Rank: 791943
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174. The Secret Language of Girlfriends: Talking Loudly, Laughing Wildly, and Making the Most of Our Most Important Friendships
by Karen Neuburger, Nadine Schiff
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401301630
Catlog: Book (2005-04)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 12955
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"For better or worse, for richer or poorer, your girlfriends are yours for life." --Karen Neuburger

A joyful celebration of female friendship in all its wild, poignant, and inspirational glory.

Karen has spent the past ten years collecting stories of love, laughter, and inspiration between girlfriends from the thousands of women she comes in contact with through her work as the founder of an immensely popular lifestyle company. Often funny, sometimes sad, but always enlightening and uplifting, these testimonials show that in a world where women are constantly being pulled in several directions, they can always rely on their girlfriends to be there for them.

Celebrating these rare and unique bonds between women, The Secret Language of Girlfriends shows how restorative friendship can be and how setting aside time to be around other women can have a transforming effect. Whether it's getting over a breakup, struggling with family frustrations, dealing with illness and loss, or simply just shopping 'til you drop and sharing a bottle of wine over dinner, being around your girlfriends can make all the difference in the world.

The Secret Language of Girlfriends is Karen Neuburger's personal prescription for more happiness and fulfillment in life -- a healthy dose of girlfriendship! As the perfect gift from one girlfriend to another, it's sure to find a place on every woman's bookshelf. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars I now know what this girlfriend thing is all about
I expected one of those easy, fun, skim-the-surface reads when THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF GIRLFRIENDS arrived in my mailbox recently. Before even opening the envelope, I was already imagining something along the lines of those tacky TV "chick shows" about the pitfalls of Internet romance, the miracle of cosmetic makeovers, breathless tell-all forums on perfect love-making, how to shop for shoes, etc. etc.

In other words, I was expecting style, self-absorption and perhaps some cynical wit. But substance? Soul-stirring inspiration? Genuine cosmic insight? After all, we're talking girlfriends here --- you know, the kind of relationships formed in high school washrooms, in shopping malls, over interminable phone calls that drove our parents mad.

But now it's confession and celebration time. I was wrong --- and I was never happier to be wrong.

You see, I couldn't actually reach the mailbox to get Karen Neuberger's wonderful revelation about female friendship. Thanks to some rogue bacterium, a minor leg injury went terribly wrong, leaving me miserably chair-bound, very sore, frustrated at my doctor's orders to choke down those antibiotics, and not a little worried about the long-term effects on my mobility.

It was a visiting girlfriend who cleared my mailbox, made coffee, did my dishes, even fed the cat, and then sat down and kept me company all evening with some of the best conversation I'd had in ages. And of course she told all the other girlfriends. I had become a team project!

A few days later, as I was deeply immersed in the anecdotes and insight of THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF GIRLFRIENDS, another brought over dark chocolate, flowers, and an unfinished knitting project. She insisted on doing my laundry while I sorted out her dropped stitches. Then we shared the chocolate, talked, watched a favorite Britcom, talked, laughed ourselves silly, talked.... Several others joined the relay in the following days, knowing exactly what to do, when to do it, and how much.

Finally, I realized that this is what it's all about, the girlfriend thing. We were living what Neuberger has packed so brilliantly --- and substantially --- into every page. I also realized that who we are as befriending and tending women has got to be genetic, uniquely hardwired into every healthy feminine psyche from the dawn of creation.

And so a week-from-hell that had begun with a fearful six-hour ordeal in the local hospital ER, ended in happy tears, gales of laughter, and above all, the indescribable grace of knowing I would never be alone when some dumb luck crisis suddenly strikes. As one of my long-distance "broad squad" members reminded me during a two-hour phone call across three time-zones, it just happened to be my turn to "get the treatment" --- to be spoiled, reassured, affirmed, propped up, accepted unconditionally in my worst moods, and loved into healing.

I'm still spending a lot of time with the inconvenient leg propped up, but I'm beating the blues now by reading my favorite bits of THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF GIRLFRIENDS aloud, sometimes for the second or third time, to this wonderful, extravagant herd of women, whose collective power to release healing endorphins never fails to astonish me.

Neuberger may not have invented the "secret" of our intuitive language, but few writers communicate its vocabulary and grammar with such authentic experience and delightful skill. This is one "chick book" that belongs on every mature woman's bookshelf --- if you can actually keep it there.

Be firm, be strong: tell the girlfriends to go buy their own copies.

--- Reviewed by Pauline Finch

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Gift!
A great read! I thoroughly enjoyed every page. In fact, I thought it was so much fun I purchased a book for each of my girlfriends and plan on giving the book as gifts on our annual summer road trip to the coast. It brought up so many memories of my own experiences...I loved it! Cherish your girlfriends...Thank you Karen.

1-0 out of 5 stars Secret marketing ploys and celebrity suck up .......
At first glance this book looked like a really fun read.Cute cover and catchy concepts it seemed like it would something right up my alley.I was very wrong.The book talks all about the sort of girlfriends that one may want to have or hope to have over the course of her lifetime.That's all fine and dandy (not to mention obvious) but does anyone really need to read 200+ pages of the author's fond memories of her friends? Is it necessary to suck up to Oprah right in the dedication and then barely mention her in those 200+ pages? I also did not appreciate the cheap marketing ploy that involved the author plugging her stupid pajama line.I don't think that the author imparts any true words of wisdom and I seriously doubt there is much for anyone to gain by reading this book.You could do better things with your time like perhaps watching Thelma & Louise, A League of their Own, Beaches, Steel Magnolias, etc.... Don't waste your time or money on this.Don't even waste a trip to the library - grab a girlfriend and go shopping instead!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars A gentle Read
I have read half of the book in just two days. It is a great read. I felt like I could relate to a lot of what was being said. The tales are of everyday women in everyday situations. It is comfortable to know that others out there feel as you do during any stage of your life. ... Read more

175. Maus : A Survivor's Tale : My Father Bleeds History/Here My Troubles Began/Boxed
by Art Spiegelman
list price: $28.00
our price: $18.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679748407
Catlog: Book (1993-10-19)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 2928
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Volumes I & II in paperback of this 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrated narrative of Holocaust survival. ... Read more

Reviews (107)

5-0 out of 5 stars More subtle than can be understood in a single reading
These books are an easy and fast read, but by no means are they simple. In two slim comic books, Art Spiegelman chronicles his parents' movement from comfortable homes in Poland to the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and from there to a surreally banal afterlife in upstate New York. We watch the destruction of the Holocaust continue in Spiegelman's father's transformation from a bright, good-looking youth to a miserly neurotic, his mother's deterioration from a sensitive, sweet girl into a suicide, and in the author's own unhappy interactions with his parents.

I have read some of the most negative reviews of these books, and I respectfully disagree. Some negative reviews ("Spiegelman is a jerk") castigate Spiegelman for his shamefully self-interested milking of his father's life and the Holocaust. Other negative reviews find fault with the unoriginality of the story, or discover historical inaccuracies, self-contradictions, or simplifications in the tale. Finally, a set of reviews are upset with Spiegelman's coding of people of different nationalities as animals(especially the Poles, who were also victimized by the Nazis but are depicted as pigs in the comics.)

The first criticism is both deserved and unfair. Deserved, because Spiegelman profits by the pain and death of millions, including his own family. Unfair, because Spiegelman himself consciously provides the basis for our criticism that he mocked and neglected his elderly father at the same time that he fed his own success upon his father's tales. The two volumes echo with his regret and unexpiable guilt at his treatment of his parents, and at his own success and survival. To attack Spiegelman for these things is like scolding a man in the midst of his self-immolation.

The second type of criticism finds _Maus_ to be sophomoric, inaccurate, or repetitive of other Holocaust survivor's experiences. The defense here is that Maus is the story of a single family, seen through the eyes of a single man (Vladek Spiegelman), and filtered again through his son. It is almost certain that the elderly Vladek forgot, exaggerated, or hid details, just as it is certain that his son summarized and misunderstood. However, the quasi-fictionalized format of the comic book throws this subjectivity into relief. The destroyed diaries of Spiegelman's mother are a reminder of the millions of life stories left untold, including stories perhaps too horrible and shameful for the survivors to reveal. _Maus_ does not claim to be an objective, authoritative history of the Holocaust, and in fact tries to emphasize its own limitations.

While other works may better convey the Jewish experience in the Holocaust, the innovative format of _Maus_ justifies its existence, as it allows the story to reach a greater audience.

Finally, many have objected to the negative stereotyping of the many peoples appearing in the book, especially the Poles. Spiegelman draws the Jews as innocent mice, but the Germans as bloodthirsty cats, and the Poles as selfish pigs. More amusingly (because they appear infrequently in the story) the French are drawn as frogs, the Swedes as reindeer, and the British as cold fish. The Americans are dogs, mainly friendly bow-wow dogs but also sometimes cold-eyed predators capable of pouncing on a mouse or rat. I believe that the wrongness of stereotypes was a major reason why Spiegelman used them. The Nazis are recorded as having called the Jews "vermin" and the Poles "pigs". Whether they had the qualities of these animals or not, they were treated as such... and such they were forced to become despite themselves. The Jews had to hide, hoard, and deceive; the Poles were compelled to act out of self-interest just to survive.

In other words, I think that Spiegelman's stereotypes were a deliberate choice. The WHOLE POINT of _Maus_ is how the dehumanization of the Holocaust twisted people beyond their capacities... how the camps tried to make people as ugly and despicable as their worst racial stereotypes, by making them all alike in their fear. Sometimes they succeeded.

Neither Poles nor Germans are depicted as only selfish, cowardly, and cruel in _Maus_. In fact, there are many Polish in Spiegelman's books who are shown as fellow-sufferers, or kind despite the risks to their own lives, just as there were Jews who betrayed their own. Look closely at the drawings-- I open Maus II to a random page, and see both pigs and mice in the prison suits, both as capos and victims. Who is the kind priest who renews Vladek's hope on page 28? A Pole! Even the Germans are seen to suffer from the war, caught by powers beyond their control. Meanwhile, Vladek himself is shown to be an inflexible racist (II, p. 98).

I argue, therefore, that the above criticisms of _Maus_ show a hasty reading of the books and poor comprehension of how an artist(even of non-fiction) chooses to convey a theme.

As a non-European, I have no personal investment in Jewish, German, or Polish points of view. However, as a second-generation American and child of war survivors [a civil war, so we are both victims and oppressors], I have a chord that resonates with the story of the Spiegelmans. I just re-read "Maus II" this afternoon and found to my amazement that it was still able to draw tears. In fact, when I first read the Maus books ten years ago I don't recall them affecting me so deeply... but I was younger then and had only an intellectual understanding of many things, such as love, fear, guilt, death, and weakness.

I wholeheartedly recommend these books to those who are willing to read them more than once. If you are not moved by them now, perhaps later you will be. Meanwhile, let's do our best to stop such suffering around the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Allegory
A veteran of the underground comic scene in the 1970s and a more recently a cover artist for the New Yorker, in the late 80s, Art Spiegelman undertook a project of interviewing his father Vladek, a Polish Jew who survived the holocaust in Auschwitz. He turned the narrative into an allegorical, graphical representation of the ordeal, in which Europe is a menagerie of humans behaving at our raw, animalistic worst, and perhaps best as well. Umberto Eco claimed that "Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep." This was certainly true for me when I read it. Perhaps the only 'comic book' (as inappropriate as that term may be here) to win a Pulitzer Prize, Maus is gripping and compelling. Some have criticized it for relating simply a story which was no more remarkable than millions of others. Can anything different be said, however, of Night, or The Diary of Anne Frank? Does that make it any less important that the story be told? And yet, in Spiegelman's cat and mouse play, where moral virtues, failings, and decrepitude are writ large, Maus is also exceptional because of the strength of its allegory, which is almost Spenserian in its strength.

1-0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Sanctimonious Telling of the Holocaust
This is yet another sanctimonious telling of the Holocaust. Maus is the blatant type of trivialization being taught to our children that leaves most unaware of the other victims of the holocaust. For American school children the Holocaust has become synomous with Jewish history. Maus simply reinforces most historical literature which focuses on the six million Jewish victims to the exclusion of the nine million Gentile victims. This book goes so far as to portray one of the Nazis other targets, the Poles, as fattened pigs going about their business unmolested by the Germans! There were three million non-Jewish Poles who perished in this tragedy, many trying to save their Jewish neighbors. Shame!

"The genocidal policies of the Nazis resulted in the deaths of about as many Polish Gentiles as Polish Jews, thus making them co-victims in a Forgotten Holocaust. This Holocaust has been largely ignored because historians who have written on the subject of the Holocaust have chosen to interpret the tragedy in exclusivistic terms--namely, as the most tragic period in the history of the Jewish Diaspora. To them, the Holocaust was unique to the Jews, and they therefore have had little or nothing to say about the nine million Gentiles, including three million Poles, who also perished in the greatest tragedy the world has ever known. Little wonder that many people who experienced these events share the feeling of Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, who anxious when the meaning of the word Holocaust undergoes gradual modifications, so that the word begins to belong to the history of the Jews exclusively, as if among the victims there were not also millions of Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, and prisoners of other nationalities." Richard C. Lukas, preface to The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944

1-0 out of 5 stars Anti-Polish Propaganda
While this a moving account of one families experience during the holocaust, the depiction of Poles as pigs in Spiegelman's "Maus" an unfair and highly insulting caricature. Poles suffered horribly under Nazi occupation. No nations suffered worse. Six million Poles were murdered. Roughly half were Jewish and half Gentile. In fact exterminating Poles was also part of the Nazi master-plan. They were victims and to portray them as pigs is a grave injustice. While I read the reviews pointing out pigs have positive traits or are neutral animals, it is disingenuous to present the selection of the pig as representative of the Pole as anything but a slur. Germans are shown as cats. This is no wonder since cats chase mice. Apart from that, cats are quite nice animals. This, however, does not pertain to pigs. I suggest when reading this book you research the positive events in the 1000 history of Polish Jews. For starters, visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Over 11,000 'Righteous Gentiles' are honored; almost 5,000 are Polish. These are non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

5-0 out of 5 stars A landmark comics work
"Maus," Art Spiegelman's moving tale of the Holocaust and how it impacts a family a generation later, is hailed as a comics classic for a reason. It is a landmark work that transcends the term "comics."

Through the seemingly absurd decision to use animals in place of people - Jews are mice, for instance, while Nazis are cats - Spiegelman manages to avoid coming across as heavy-handed, exploitative and melodramatic. The reader never feels that they are reading an educational tome with badly drawn people better suited for school than compelling entertainment. Instead, through the use of universal cartoon imagery, the emotional tug of the story is successfully conveyed.

Two threads are woven throughout. The first deals with the Holocaust directly, from the years before Jews were taken to the camps and then to release. The second thread deals with Spiegelman's relationship with his father many years later, and that relationship's ups and downs as the author tries to get the oral history he needs to tell the tale of "Maus." All of the pain, confusion, death, turmoil and horror of the Holocaust comes home, as does the autobiographical tale interwoven throughout of the author's relationship with his father - who is also the central figure of Holocaust survival.

Modern editions of this book ("Maus" was originally published in serial form) are generally produced very well. The two-book slipcase offered here is sturdy and attractive to look at. The pages are printed on thick, glossy stock. The black and white artwork really shines, every stroke visible and vibrant. Mine has been read multiple times and still looks great.

"Maus" is compelling reading that requires no great love of comics to enjoy. History lovers, those interested in the Holocaust, and people who like stories about family struggles will enjoy this. Readers will quickly forget they are reading a comic, instead becoming wrapped up in the story Spiegelman has to tell. A highly recommended buy. ... Read more

176. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill : A Love Story . . .with Wings
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0609610554
Catlog: Book (2004-01-20)
Publisher: Harmony
Sales Rank: 7207
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is the inspiring story of how one man found his life’s work—and true love—among a gang of wild parrots roosting in one of America’s most picturesque urban settings.

Mark Bittner was down on his luck. He’d gone to San Francisco at the age of twenty-one to take a stab at a music career, but he hadn’t had much success. After many years as an odd-jobber in the area, he accepted work as a housekeeper for an elderly woman. The gig came with a rent-free studio apartment on the city’s famed Telegraph Hill, which had somehow become home to a flock of brilliantly colored wild parrots.

In this unforgettable story, Bittner recounts how he became fascinated by the birds and made up his mind to get to know them and gain their trust. He succeeds to such a degree that he becomes the local wild parrot expert and a tourist attraction. People can’t help gawking at the man who, during daily feedings, stands with parrots perched along both arms and atop his head.When a documentary filmmaker comes along to capture the phenomenon on film, the story takes a surprising turn, and Bittner’s life truly takes flight.
... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Inadvertant Memoir
I was attracted to this book because of my long-standing curiosity about the feral parakeets of San Francisco, where I grew up and still live. And it is definitely worth reading on that score -- Mark Bittner has more information to impart on those birds than any other source I've ever found. But the book is fascinating, too, because it is the truthful autobiography of someone who is, frankly, a loser in the lottery of life. Not a big loser -- he manages, barely, to escape from homelessness, and he (pathetically) substitutes relationships with feral parrots for normal human relationships. But he is so clueless in many obvious ways. Too poor to pay for practically anything, but he buys parrot books at the local bookstore, and is amazed at his discovery of the local library, where, gasp, he can read books for FREE. And it is intriguing to read his accounts of his petty descents into the rivalries of these animals, and his adoption of their aims and hostilities, in the absence of a normal human existence. By all means, get this book if you have ever wondered about the weirdo around the corner who can only interact with dogs, cats, birds, or whatever. And get it if you're curious about feral exotic birds -- he documents their lives like nothing I've ever read of before.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wild magic in the heart of the city
For one or two weeks every two months I live in an apartment at the base of Telegraph Hill, a place of true magic. I could not believe my ears the first time I heard the parrots, or my eyes, the first time I saw them! I soon found Mark Bittner's web site, complete with wonderful photos of the parrots and the story of his connection with them. What a pleasure, then, to find in my local Massachusetts book store, a copy of this wonderful book. Mr. Bittner takes us with him as his relationship with the parrots becomes inextricably woven into his life search for meaning. His study of the parrot's lives, first undertaken by chance, becomes a life's work of real interest to anyone who has an affection for animal life in general, or these amazing birds in particular.

5-0 out of 5 stars incredible story
I'm only halfway through this book right now, but I can't wait to finish it. It's funny and charming. I only started to read it because someone simply recommended it, I had no idea what to expect, but it really is amusing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sounds very much like "Elsewhere in the land of Parrots"
"Elsewhere in the land of Parrots" by Jim Paul, which takes place on telegraph hill also. And is also about the wild parrots of San Fran. And is also an excellent read and a very charming book. I'd be interested to know whose came first.

Have not read this yet, so I can't REALLY rate it, this form insists you put a rating. I will be reading it soon though because it sounds like something I will enjoy.

This is a must read for people who love parrots and freedom and love to study the connundrum of jobs/captive life. The author was ultimately "freed" by enslavement by the flock/project. Anybody can find natural and spiritual lessons in this wonderful book. Wild life isn't a picnic, and the quest for "freedom" can imprison the mind.

Even those who live with companion parrots often fail to establish the rapport Mark Bittner achieved with a group of wild parrots. ... Read more

177. Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York
by Kenneth D. Ackerman
list price: $27.00
our price: $17.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786714352
Catlog: Book (2005-03-12)
Publisher: Carroll & Graf
Sales Rank: 3300
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Among the monumental characters who ascended to renown and influence in the history of American politics, few are more fascinating than Boss Tweed; and few working historians could record in more vivid detail his astonishing career than Kenneth D. Ackerman, who in his two previous books has established himself as an investigative historian of the first order. This vibrant, accessible, and altogether captivating new work, Boss Tweed, is a biography of the legendary figure who "bribed the state legislature, fixed elections, skimmed money from city contractors, and diverted public funds on a massive scale." During his reign at Tammany Hall and then in a variety of elected posts, including as U.S. senator, Tweed wielded almost total control over New York State and City politics, before his unparalleled zealotry and remorseless disregard for the law led to his imprisonment. Yet, as Ackerman shows, Tweed's positive political contributions have been largely overlooked. From one of the most talented new historians to have emerged in recent years comes this thrilling story of William Marcy Tweed, the master manipulator who tried to make all of New York the instrument of his own ruthless ambitions, and succeeded-for a time. Numerous historic photographs are also featured. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Procrustean Politics
Without rancor or bile, Ackerman brings Boss Tweed back from the grave.Without moralizing or proselytizing, Boss Treed and his New York is laid out in its finery for all to view.The idea that Tweed was the root stock of political corruption is also laid to rest.Great read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not much of the rise but the fall is brilliantly told
Perhaps author Kenneth Ackerman and the publishers of "Boss Tweed" can be accused of misrepresenting the book in the subtitle.There is hardly any of Tweed's rise to be found.Virtually the entire book covers the latter years of Tweed's time at the top and then his fall.But oh what a story it is and what a wonderful job Ackerman does of telling it.
Tweed was the iconic big city boss of New Yeark in the years form the Civil War through the start of the gilded age.
Tweed and his cronies brazenly pocketed enormous sums of public money and lived as veritable kings.Indeed, Tweed himself was a king-sized person (over 300 pounds) who lived a king-sized life.
The manner in which he and various other big shots of Tammany Hall siphoned money from city coffers is an amazing story of guile and greed.
Also at the heart of the story are those who sought to bring Tweed and company down (ultimately succeeding, of course) notably eventual New York governor and presidential hopeful Samuel Tilden, and the brilliant political cartoonist Thomas Nast (about whom a worthy full length biography is due).
Ackerman tells the whole of how the might fell and how Tweed took the brunt of that fall for his gang.Included is the story of Tweed's jail time and ill-fated escape from prison out of the country.
Ackerman's book is an important work in understanding post Civil War America, the ways and means of corruption and he nature of political power gone bad.
In Ackerman's more than capable hands Tweed is brought to life.He does not so much render sympathy as he does a bit of admiration.For from the distance of over a century later we can enjoy this corrupt pol for the entertaining stories and cautionary tales that his life provides.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Top American Scoundrel
In my little town, we have councilmen who from time to time might be accused of taking unfair economic advantage of their jobs.In Washington now, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is accused of various instances of taking gifts and bonuses to which he was not entitled.Along with political power at any level comes the ability to use it for one's own financial benefit, always with the hope that no investigative reporter will come asking questions and upsetting the comfortable situation.There are hundreds of instances of financial corruption by politicians, and then there is William Magear "Boss" Tweed, whose name is synonymous with being on the take.In _Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York_ (Carroll & Graf), Kenneth D. Ackerman has given an entertaining account of the life of a rascal.Tweed was, in his way, brilliant.He liked people, and he knew how to get them what they wanted if they would just play his game.He had a superb organizational memory, for favors done and for amounts given.As Ackerman writes, "except for his stealing, he would have been a great man; but then had he been honest, he wouldn't have been Tweed and would not have left nearly so great a mark."He did leave his mark on New York, in structures like the Tweed Courthouse, and even the Brooklyn Bridge (or at least he said he had handed out bribes to approve a bond for it).He is remembered for none of what he did, though, except for his stealing, which was for decades more successful and exuberant than any American politician ever, or any that has so far been caught.

Tweed practiced local politics in Tammany Hall, the political organization for the powerful Manhattan Democratic Party.Tammany corruption was an open secret.Tweed got things done within the city, but took his fee for doing so; he and his circle would skim 15% from city contracts, and contractors would agree to pay 35% on all bills in order to have the city's business.Tweed himself was welcomed into the boards of many corporations.He didn't mind his constituents (many of whom were poor Irish immigrants) seeing how well he was doing.He had two yachts, a race horse, a Greenwich estate, a grand Fifth Avenue mansion, and an immense ten and a half carat diamond stickpin that clearly informed any onlooker who was Boss.The stickpin was one of the visual hooks (Tweed's 300 pound frame was another) that Thomas Nast used in his many political cartoons critical of the Boss.Nast and _Harper's_ had no hard evidence that the Boss was stealing; they just harnessed the universal conviction that Tammany was corrupt.The articles exposing Tweed came from the _New-York Times_, which was eager for any facts against the Boss.A bookkeeper in the comptroller's office painstakingly copied one dry financial document after another, and brought the newspaper incontestable evidence of fraud.The problem with the _Times_ stories was that obviously millions had been taken, but there was no one culprit; a Nast cartoon showed a circle of suspects all pointing to the guy on the right.

The "audit trail" was eventually puzzled out by Samuel Tilden, who rode his reform record to nomination for president in 1876.Tweed was arrested, and all the weight of his circle's crimes landed on him, as everyone else went free, not of obloquy but of prison sentences.While Tweed was in jail, he was able to buy favors, and while on a visit home, he disappeared, taking a jaunt to New Jersey, Florida, Cuba, and Spain, where a Nast cartoon was used to help identify him for arrest.He was returned to his New York jail.Tweed knew he had the press to blame for his capture, but was grudgingly admiring of them: "If I could have bought newspapermen as easily as I did members of the Legislature, I wouldn't be in the fix I am now."He made a deal that he would confess everything in order to regain his freedom.He did make a full confession (perhaps too full, taking credit for thefts he had nothing to do with), and was double-crossed, dying in jail in 1878.He had lost his fortune, his wife, and his family, but New York had grown because of him, and even the poor were faring better because of his machinations.Hundreds of workers showed up for his funeral, and thought he had been merely the victim of political malice.This sort of ambiguity shoots through Ackerman's fine book; if we must have selfish scoundrels in our current politics, let us vote in the colorful ones like Boss Tweed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Subject Matter, Great Book
The illustrations prompted me to buy this book, political satire and cartoons fascinate me.Thomas Nast and Harpers Ferry produced some exceptional work on Boss Tweed.Even less balanced than journalism of today - editorial cartoons had superb artwork and were very vicious.

The author provides a well written, lucid and balanced portrait of a politician who was very corrupt (by any standard) but achieved alot.The courthouse he was responsible for building (and was sentenced in)is a great monument for Tweed; most ironic.

The author demonstares well the long term impact Tweed had on New York City.Great book - an empathetic account of a fascinating man.

5-0 out of 5 stars Looking Forward to Another Good Book by Ackerman
I have been looking forward to a new book by Ken Ackerman since reading Dark Horse, his book about President Garfield.Ackerman's Dark Horse was a wonderfully engaging and educational book, and I am sure the same is true of his latest work on Boss Tweed.Politics can be a dirty profession, and Boss Tweed was a master of his trade.Most readers will be shocked at how brazen he was, and surprised at how timid modern day politics seems when compared to Tweed and his contemporaries.I am confident that Ackerman will give us a good look at one of the more interesting figures in New York history.

I've been looking, but haven't seen this a local bookstore yet.I can't wait for it to show up. ... Read more

178. Right Turns : Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life
list price: $26.95
our price: $18.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400051878
Catlog: Book (2004-12-28)
Publisher: Crown Forum
Sales Rank: 597
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179. Saint Francis of Assisi : A Life of Joy
by Robert F. Kennedy
list price: $18.99
our price: $12.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786818751
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 1135
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

He turned away from his life of wealth and privilege to live with lepers, the "untouchables" of his society. He preached the idea of the sanctity of all life, becoming an advocate of animal rights and environmentalism in a time when even human life often had little value. He found joy in owning nothing, and giving everything away. He was story of Saint Francis of Assisi and the story of his life is inspiring and radical. And now more than ever, it bears important messages for American children living in a culture of casual abundance and waste. Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.-a father, a devout Roman Catholic, a crusader for clean air and water, and a member of a family famous for its dedication to public service. It is no wonder, then, that this saint's story should resonate so powerfully with him. Mr. Kennedy has retold Francis's story as a lesson and inspiration for his own children-and for children everywhere. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars ...To Seek A Newer World.
This is a wonderful book for people of all ages. It is full of hope and wonder and teaches us all, as the author's farther did, "to seek a newer world".The protection of our animals, birds and overall environment is more important today then it was in St. Francis' time and his life story is told with wit and grace by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. As one who was an intern in Senator Kennedy's ill fated campaign for the presidency in 1968, I feel a special happiness that RFK's namesake is contributing so very much to make our country and world a much better place.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book!
When I saw Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. talk about his book on Good Morning America, I rushed out to buy a copy.My mom always
had a Saint Francis figurine out in the garden and the story
about him has always been an inspiration to me.

Though this book may be advertised as a child's book, it really
is for any one at any age.Each page has exquisite illustrations done by Dennis Nolan; each page has has a verse
and an accompanying full page illustration and calligraphic letters.

Whether young or old, you should read this book.It will make you think about plants and animals - our most endangered resources - and will give you a different view after you've read it.

Lovely work.Beautiful story.

Valerie Atkinson Brown
Author, International Thomson Publishing ... Read more

180. Biochemistry (4th edition)
by Lubert Stryer
list price: $141.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0716720094
Catlog: Book (1995-03-01)
Publisher: W H Freeman & Co (Sd)
Sales Rank: 195359
Average Customer Review: 3.63 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars CONCISE; YET, WELL-DETAILED
Compiled by an experienced mind, this "Biochemistry" by Lubert Stryer may seem a little pricey, but it is worth investing on. Its everyday language is comprehensive, generously illustrated, and presents details using a concise format. The book was designed for intermediate learners; although that its aura appeals to both beginners and advanced students. The sequential organisation of each section makes self-teaching an easy task. There are also revised chapters with overviews of Developmental Physiology and Genetics. It is a very fine text.

3-0 out of 5 stars Easy to read, but not so good to study from
This book is considered a classic in its field, and, indeed, had few serious competitors up until about eight years ago. But, with new undergraduate texts that appeared since then, the weaknesses of Stryer's text became more apparent.

1. The text is not structured well enough: its 37 chapters are divided into a number of titled topics, but it is apparent that students would find it easier to manage if each chapter were divided into 4-8 major topics,just the way it has been done in 'Student companion for Stryer's Biochemistry' by Gumport et al.

2. It seems that the book owes part of its popularity to the fact that the most difficult topics have either been left out or are covered very briefly and with serious lack of rigor. The most notorious example is incredibly poor coverage of biochemical energetics. Since most readers are life science majors or medical students with little background in thermodynamics and electrochemistry, this ought be treated in a more detailed and more serious manner. Many students find the treatment of energetic aspects of oxidative phosphorylation and photosynthesis so unclear tham majority of them find it necessargy to consult some other text to figure things out. The same goes for enzyme kinetics - it is just inexcusable for a text of this size to completely ignore discussion of bisubstrate kinetics and other common complex kinetic systems.

As a conclusion, Stryer's Biochemistry 4th ed. is still readable and up-to date text. However, nowadays there are several other texts of about the same size and aiming at the same audience, but with much less things to complain about. As a TA in an undergraduate biochemistry course, I found texts by Mathews and van Holde (1996), Garrett and Grisham (1995) and Lehninger, Nelson and Cox (1993) to be more adequate for the needs of most students. My students especially praise Matthews and van Holde as a book which enables them to easily grasp even the most difficult concepts.

1-0 out of 5 stars Learn elsewhere
A disorganized muddle of clinical correlations, chemical mechanisms, and pathways, the text attempts to destroy an otherwise beautiful topic. It is difficult to extract the main pts and organize the information into a coherent fashion. But fortunately there are other texts, and a map showing how all the pathways converge and a table w/enzymes organized by mechanism w/cofactor, rxn info will be golden. With books like Lippincott's Reviews and Voet&Voet, youll be biochemistry's biggest fan in no time.

2-0 out of 5 stars Jack of a few trades, master of none
As with any intro text, this book tries to reach the largest audience possible. The problem is that it has deficiencies in many areas. The initial sections on DNA are short, completely avoiding any detailed mechanisms about DNA replication or transcription, putting those with a background that is stronger in chemistry at a disadvantage. When it comes to proteins, the book seems to have no trouble giving detailed mechanisms but the mechanisms are often obscure and poorly labeled (notably in serine proteases and metal-ion catalysis) making the information more difficult for those stronger in regular biology. Perhaps the worst part is that this book, which was chosen for my professor based on its integrated web courseware, has a website that is often unresponsive and seems to only work on old versions of Netscape. Nonetheless, I still keep a copy on my bookshelf for reference since the sections on proteins (notwithstanding the diagrams) are actually pretty good. All in all, an okay text and decent reference but certainly not for someone looking to pursue a career in biochemistry, molecular biology, or medicine. If you have a choice, the new Lehninger 4th edition is way better.

3-0 out of 5 stars One step forward, one step back from previous edition
OK, it seems that the new authors of the 5th edition actually took to heart soem of the critiques of the 4th edition. The chapters are more structured, and the worst chapters of the previous editions have been completely overhauled. There is a modest increase in the amount of quantitative materrial, although its quality still cannot rival some other biochem textbooks targeting the same audience (e.g. the wonderful Mathews, van Holde and Ahern text).

The 5th edition also succumbed to a malaise common to most textbooks when they are taken over by a different set of authors: an absolute overkill of "new pedagogical features". Icons, boxes, keywords, conceptual insights, structural insights etc. belong well to a study guide, but here they just interrupt the flow of the exposition unnecesarily. The simplicity of layout and the illustrations was one of the strengths of previous editions, and it seems to be lost here.

Also, without questioning the importance of the structural data that accumulated over the past decade, I am very doubtfull of the pedagogical value of their extensive use to explain basic biochemical concepts: way too often they just add additional complexity that moots the point the authors are trying to convey. Just look at the figure 10.21 - without the accompanying animation, it is about the poorest (least illustrative) depiction of the T to R transition in hemoglobin I have ever seen.

Overall, it is an updated text that will please Stryer fans. Those using other textbooks (Mathews, Lehninger) will have no reason whatsoever to switch to this one. ... Read more

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