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$13.57 $12.97 list($19.95)
161. Mr. Tambourine Man : The Story
$23.10 $16.00 list($35.00)
162. Malraux : A Life
$20.40 $15.69 list($30.00)
163. James Dean
$12.89 $10.03 list($18.95)
164. The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956
$15.64 $14.92 list($23.00)
165. Making an Exit : A Mother-Daughter
$23.10 $2.74 list($35.00)
166. The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and
$16.76 $13.40 list($23.95)
167. Stranger Than Fiction : True Stories
$23.10 $23.00 list($35.00)
168. Standing in the Shadows of Motown
$5.00 list($27.50)
169. The Way We Lived Then : Recollections
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170. The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford
$21.95 $2.79
171. The Facts of Life and Other Dirty
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172. The Bennetts: An Acting Family
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173. Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch : Tales
$19.95 $15.44
174. Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Memoir
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175. Makes Me Wanna Holler : A Young
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176. The Kid Stays in the Picture
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177. Crazy from the Heat
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178. Who the Hell's in It : Portraits
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179. The Journals : Volume I: 1949-1965
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180. Skywriting: A Life Out of the

161. Mr. Tambourine Man : The Story of the Byrds' Gene Clark
by John Einarson
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0879307935
Catlog: Book (2005-03-12)
Publisher: Backbeat Books
Sales Rank: 17381
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Mr. Tambourine Man: The Troubled Life and Musical Legacy of Gene Clark is the story of a pivotal figure in the evolution of popular music. A founding member of the Byrds, one of the '60s' most influential groups, Gene Clark pioneered several important genres, from folk-rock and psychedelic to country-rock. His leadership within the Byrds and his subsequent acclaim as both a solo artist and member of Dillard and Clark mark Clark as one of rock music's key innovators and visionaries. Yet his troubled life hampered his career at critical junctures, inhibiting what should have been one of popular music's greatest contributors. While revered by a new generation, his legacy remains clouded. Told through the personal recollections, insights, and reflections of those closest to Gene Clark throughout his life and career, Mr. Tambourine Man offers a rare glimpse into one of America's greatest groups, the Byrds. Based on over 100 first-person interviews, the book features rare and previously unseen photographs. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Uderrated Talent
This book gives an interesting account of Gene Clark's life.The most interesting sections are about his upbringing in a large family in Kansas/Missouri. The large family undoubtedly gave Gene the time to explore his surroundings and develop a music talent.Regarding the Byrds, you get the sense that Gene Clark was the main creative force while Roger Mcguinn had the arranging and musicianship goods, Chris Hillman (underrated also) provided grounding, and David Crosby contibuted his voice to round out the unique Byrds sound.
Things went wrong though after the initial success of the Byrds. Gene's anxiety about flying and a general case of stagefright effectively ended his stint with the Byrds.Because the band was at it's pinnacle, they decided to keep going without him.The result was a few more good Byrds records but amuch wider collection of Gene Clark solo records...further under the radar.
While much of the rest of the book describes Gene's drug and alcohol problems it could not precisely portray what was behind the man.One interviewee tellingly retold how he witnessed Gene Clark singing a song...He was sure that it was not from darker sources, yet he could not understand how something so heavenly could be from someone who was so messed up. Though the book is intriguing, this instance tells us that it is equally important to remember just by listening to his records.I highly reccomend.

5-0 out of 5 stars White Light
Gene Clark seemed like a lost soul. One of the guiding lights of The Byrds and the best songwriter/singer in the band, Clark left the band due to ego, conflicts and infighting. Unfortunately, after his soaring success with The Byrds his solo career and later bands never quite took off. John Einarson's terrific biography of Gene features vintage interviews with Clark (he died in 1991), new interviews with his former bandmates, family members and managers to create a picture of a restless creative spirit who clearly wasn't comfortable with the trappings of fame or his own skin for much of his life.

Originally the most prolific songwriter in The Byrds and their main focal point, Clark was pushed out of the band by Roger McGuinn and David Crosby as they wanted to write more and sing more. It didn't help that their manager saw McGuinn as the "voice" of the band (he did sing on their most popular singles). After a disasterous reunion in 1973, Clark continued his solo career producing the legendary "No Other" album (which still has mixed reactions to this day). The lack of self confidence and set backs that Clark faced (including his stalled solo career) kept him from achieving a sense of balance in his life.

My only criticisms of the book is a lack of a detailed discography (particularly of the numerous unreleased tracks that Clark recorded)and a list of all his published songs. Also, the book could have used more photos. Despite this minor flaw, Einarson (who has written for Mojo, Uncut and other music magazines)creates a complete picture of this frequently troubled but talented musician.

Music to listen to while reading this: The first three Byrds albums, Clark's Echoes, Roadmaster, White Light (aka Gene Clark), No Other, So Rebellious a Lover (with Carla Olson)and the reissue of the Clark-McGuinn-Hillman album.

5-0 out of 5 stars No Other
I got this as a birthday gift and was so excited I practically devoured it in two days, once I calm down I'll read it again a little more slowly and savor it.John Einarson handles his subject with sensitivity, compassion and intelligence, it's an honest and sympathetic portrayal that doesn't gloat over the salacious side of his story.I would recommend this to any fan of the Byrds or 60's music in general, but make sure you also go out and get some of Gene Clark's music too, it might help you forget about the tragic side.I have the Buffalo Springfield book by this author, and am looking forward to seeking out his other books too!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sad Story of a Talent Squandered So Soon
Gene Clark was the most talented songwriter in the Byrds. The man who wrote and sang "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better", "Tried So Hard", "Train Leaves Here This Morning" (with Bernie Leadon), and "Set You Free This Time". A very sensitive man, he was also extremely self-destructive. He had wrestled with demons throughout his brief life. The opportunities that came his way he either squandered or didn't take advantage of. Leaving the Byrds early on proved to be a terrible career move that he never really did recover from.

Furthermore, through his copious use of booze, he always seemed to rub those who could help his career, the hollyweird starmaking machine, the wrong way. Angered by some of his actions, David Geffen for example refused to promote his wonderful "No Other" recording. A drunken Clark also shocked another, more sympathetic record mogul by telling him to "f" his wife in front of him at a very well-known Hollywood restaurant!

The photograph of the once-healthy and strong Clark on page 305 taken right before he died speaks volumes. No, he didn't have AIDS, but alcohol disease made him look as if he had.

John Einarson wrote a compelling, well-researched, very sad story of a good man who couldn't handle things. Essential for all Byrds fans - with contributions by Chris Hillman, John York, and Bernie Leadon, among others, including members of Gene Clark's family.

5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST
Gene Clark was one of the best (and I mean one of the BEST) singer-songwriters of the 1960's-on.He ranked up there with Dylan and Van Morrison.The reason why he didn't assume fame and fortune is chronicled in this excelllent book.Although the others may have had problems, Gene was haunted by demons most of his life.He never achieved commercial success (except with The Byrds), and this book tells the story why.Highly recommended for all who want to know the reason why. ... Read more

162. Malraux : A Life
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0375407022
Catlog: Book (2005-02-22)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 39241
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163. James Dean
by GeorgePerry
list price: $30.00
our price: $20.40
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Asin: 0756609348
Catlog: Book (2005-05-16)
Publisher: DK ADULT
Sales Rank: 15098
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The only fully illustrated chronological biography authorized by the Dean family, James Dean is an amazing retrospective packed with images from his classic movies, family archives, and private collections. This candid portrait of one of the greatest stars of all time tells the story behind the making of an American icon, uncovering new details about the man behind the legend, with in-depth commentary from his closest friends and family, including his cousin and executor of his estate, Marcus Winslow, and his best friend and roommate, William Bast. Loaded with features that chronicle his life and times, this book is a must have for fans of the man, the movie star‹ the legend. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and informative...
Over the years, there have been loads of biographies written about James Dean, some of which are significantly better than others.Today, 50 years after his death, Dean remains one of the most recognizable and captivating film and cultural icons. It's difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for Dean's seeming immortality.During his life, Dean made only three major motion pictures and yet, he defined the Post-World War II generation of reckless youths feeling somewhat misplaced, displaced, or confused.

This book, officially endorsed by the James Dean estate, is somewhat of a combination biography and coffee table book.The book contains numerous black and white and color photographs of Dean in varying stages of his life and career -- many of which have never been published before.Particularly noteworthy is the abundance of photographs of James Dean as a child and teenager.While most biographies of Dean contain mostly portraits or somewhat staged pictures, this book offers many candid shots belonging to Dean's private estate and surviving family members.Novice fans of Dean's will find plenty to entertain and inform them within the book, while Dean's more devoted fans and experts will be blown away by the beauty of both the book's photographs and their general layout.The book concentrate's heavily on Dean's counter-culture attitude (particularly in how he dressed and acted), while also delving into his romantic life and his well-publicized passion for cars and racing.

This book is a true gem and a wonderful addition to the realm of James Dean memorabilia. ... Read more

164. The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956
by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
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Asin: 0060007761
Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 8096
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Drawing on his own incarceration and exile, as well as on evidence from more than 200 fellow prisoners and Soviet archives, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn reveals the entire apparatus of Soviet repression -- the state within the state that ruled all-powerfully.

Through truly Shakespearean portraits of its victims -- men, women, and children -- we encounter secret police operations, labor camps and prisons; the uprooting or extermination of whole populations, the "welcome" that awaited Russian soldiers who had been German prisoners of war. Yet we also witness the astounding moral courage of the incorruptible, who, defenseless, endured great brutality and degradation. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 -- a grisly indictment of a regime, fashioned here into a veritable literary miracle -- has now been updated with a new introduction that includes the fall of the Soviet Union and Solzhenitsyn's move back to Russia.

... Read more

Reviews (69)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fills in the historical blanks left from public education
Gulag provided for me a powerful and shocking history lesson I had never been taught in high school or college. So much has been taught on Hitler, but barely anything of substance on Soviet Communism. After reading this book, you'll understand the reasons for the so-called paranoia of McCarthyism. Ronald Reagan had it right when he called the Soviet Union an "evil empire." I found this book so compelling, though heart wrenching, that I went on to read "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" as well as a recent biography on Solzhenitsyn by D. M. Thomas called "Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in His Life." I have come to the conclusion that nobody but a man like Solzhenitsyn could ever have written Gulag.

5-0 out of 5 stars Someone has to tell the truth
This is probably as significant a book as has been published in the 20th century. Not because it changed the course of history or influenced a huge number of people. It did neither of these things. The history it deals with was already long passed and its size and severity kept it from being read by a mass audience. Still, it is significant because it tells a story that otherwise could not have been told. The full extent of what happened during the half century of Soviet rule to millions of Soviet citizens is the focus of this book and Solzhenitsyn's narrative, often numbing in the regularity of repeated cycles of arrests, 'trials', and imprisonment, seems to be his effort at repaying those who perished - at insuring that they are remembered and that those who subjected them to lives of torture are remembered for what they did.

Solzhenitsyn is a true hero of the 20th century. A military officer of the Soviet Union during WWII, he was imprisoned for writing a letter that included a joke about Stalin. During his time in prison he met numerous others who had been in different camps - different places and different types - and started piecing together in his mind the full scale of the vast Gulag enterprise which eventually consumed more of his contrymen than the total count of those of all countries who died in WWII. That the size and scope of this mass internment was kept virtually a secret to most of the world (and to most Russians)for so long is only part of the horror to which Solzhenitzyn is responding.

From his first book, A Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovitch, a small volumn about a single day in the life of a typical Gulag prisoner - smuggled out of Russia and published in the West - he has devoted his life to various tellings of his country's recent history. Most of it to do with the Gulag. This isn't pleasant stuff. It isn't tight fiction like Darkness At Noon. This is the real stuff with no prettifying. He feels that someone had to tell the truth. We owe it to him to listen.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Work of Non-Fiction
This is an amazing book. It is long, but well written, despite the translation. It shows the pattern of injustices and tortures to the point of the reader's acceptance and perhaps understanding. For those of us who have never experienced such, it is a peak at something that seems important to understand.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best!
Review by Mike, Age 13

Solzhenitsyn does an excellent job of retelling the story of the atrocities of the Soviet Union. The Gulag Archipelago is a disturbing account of what happened inside the Gulag prisons. This is an account about the things hidden from the public and the things the Marxists wanted to keep hidden. And how he gave a first person account of prison life, well that was just amazing! His vivid descriptions about the kinds of arrests that took place I thought was very interesting and an amazing brainchild of a distorted Soviet Union!

How Stalin could turn an innocent gesture of two long lost friends being reunited into an arrest is beyond me. The Gulag Archipelago is an excellent book that unveiled an entirely new side of the Soviet Union and its perverted system of justice. It's a great book for historians and World War II buffs, or even if you are trying to find out more about the Soviet Union. The Gulag Archipelago is quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read! I would recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the Soviet Union. (Content will be confusing for younger readers.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Holy smoke!
After I read this book I bought a rifle! ... Read more

165. Making an Exit : A Mother-Daughter Drama with Alzheimer's, Machine Tools, and Laughter
by Elinor Fuchs
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
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Asin: 080506317X
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Sales Rank: 39661
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Frank and funny, an unexpected love story of a once-resentful daughter, a self-centered mother, and a ten-year battle with Alzheimer's

At a time when such things were uncommon, Elinor Fuchs's mother, Lillian, divorced her husband, took back her maiden name, left young Elinor to be raised by grandparents, and moved, alone, to Washington, D.C. She traveled the world selling automotive equipment and paramilitary gear to foreign governments, gave fabulous parties, and "in any given room, took up all the air there was." With her stunning looks and financial drive, Lillian was a figure to admire, not a mother to love. Shunted aside, Fuchs determined early to despise her mother's values and, once in college, to keep her distance.

Making an Exit is the affecting account of what happened afterward, during the last years of Lillian's life. Following her mother's diagnosis with Alzheimer's, Fuchs finds herself in the role of caretaker. She begins to supervise her mother's life; then as the disease progresses, she becomes her mother's mother-dressing her, bathing her, feeding her. Lil changes, too-filled with new warmth, the word "love" now regularly crosses her lips. And through the fantastic poetry in the disintegration of Lillian's language, Fuchs comes to know her mother in a way she never did as a child.

In pitch-perfect prose, Making an Exit paints a picture of a parent's decline that is not the conventional narrative of aging and loss, but a story of discovery and devotion. "The last ten years," writes Fuchs, "they were our best."
... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A treat and a tonic...
This is a wonderful book. It's about a downer subject-Alzheimer's---but manages to be funny, inspiring, hopeful and informative about the process of AD. Other reviewers are right---it is a page turner.
So what an achievement---an upbeat, engrossing book about a human tragedy. I've read a lot of first person accounts about the dementia of a relative and this is the best. It should become a classic. And now the author Fuchs, who teaches at the Yale School of Drama, should make a play of this.

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding
Laughter is the key to surviving a mother with Altzheimers.This story is so full of laughter and love that it eases the pain of the adventure, maybe not while its going on, but certainly after the "exit." It's a non-stop read at any stage of the experience even if you got along with your mother just fine.

5-0 out of 5 stars surprisingly funny as well as moving
Both Lil's story and the story of her daughter Elinor (the author/narrator) are enthralling.This is a funny, fast-paced, dramatic book, which captures deep emotions (the pain of a parent's illness, the growing love between mother and daughter) yet is always entertaining.A provocative meditation on love, loss, and memory, but also a page-turner. ... Read more

166. The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss : A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel
by Charles D. Cohen
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375822488
Catlog: Book (2004-02-24)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Sales Rank: 9213
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was one of the titans of 20th century American children's literature--a legacy that shows no sign of diminishing in the 21st. But such epochal fare as The Cat in the Hat and enduring, whimsical characters as Horton, The Grinch and Sam-I-Am represent but one corner of the late writer/artist's vast artistic universe. Other Geisel biographies have detailed his remarkable life and vibrant art, but Massachusetts dentist/Seussiana collector nonpareil Richard D. Cohen serves up a "visual biography" that's part lovingly illustrated coffee table book and part insightful analysis of a creative mind and the various historical and cultural forces that shaped it. Cohen richly illustrates his compelling tribute with key, telling artifacts from his own massive collection. No corner of the author/artist's life has escaped Cohen's obsessive collector's eye, including: turn-of the-century bottles of the Geisel family brewery, Geisel's teenage writings and illustrations, later work that spans careers in cartooning advertising (successful campaigns for Esso, Flit and others), wartime propaganda (including uncredited work on the Oscar-winning Hitler Lives!) and Hollywood (The 5000 Finger of Dr. T). Indeed, in Cohen's thoughtful, lavishly illustrated analysis, Geisel's latter-day incarnation as children's author supreme was but the logical distillation of a lifetime devoted to wit, wordplay and whimsical art.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes I Love It, Sam-I-Am!
As we celebrate the centennial of Ted Geisel's birth, material is appearing that looks at the influence of Dr. Seuss on generations of American readers. Dr. Cohen brings us what is obviously a labor of love. Drawing inspiration on his extensive collection of Seussiana, he has produced one of the most lavishly illustrated and broadly scoped book on the life and works of the good doctor.

Cohen reaches back to Geisel's school days and illustrates the development of the artist's style and humor. Continually he will point out how pieces done at various points in Geisel's life can be traced as part of the development of what would become some of his trademark images and beloved characters, including the Grinch. Instead of focusing heavily on Seuss's books, he draws attention to the vast collection of other artwork that was drawn, mostly before the books even came into being. Seuss's work as a humorist, advertising artist, sculptor, and cartoonist (political and otherwise) are shown here as he continued to improve and hone his craft. The end results are the books that are so beloved to multitudes of people who were lucky enough to grow up with Seuss in the house.

The book would be worth it for the pictures alone, but the accompanying text helps get below the surface of many of the pieces, and to tie them together into a artist's whole output. Even if you only look at the pictures and read the captions to the pictures, you will get a whole new appreciation of Dr. Seuss's work over the years. If I any complaint, it is that in some ways the books almost get shorted too much in this narrative, and too often the captions for the illustrations are repetitive to the text. But these are minor quibbles that in no way detract from the glorious whole.

For the Seuss lover, and for the casual reader, this book brings the reader a whole new appreciation of a beloved illustrator's work and the genius that was Dr. Seuss.

4-0 out of 5 stars The many facets of Dr. Seuss
Since 2004 is the Seussentennial, or the hundredth anniversary of Dr. Seuss' birth, this is a great time to get to know more about one of America's most popular icons of children's literature. Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was far more than an author and illustrator of children's books and movies. His career includes humorist, journalist, advertising genius, magazine and political cartoonist, creator of wartime training and propaganda films, president of a publishing company, and spokesman for children's education.

Author Charles Cohen, a dentist and avid collector of Seussiana, is well qualified to write this visual biography of Ted Geisel. Through lavish illustrations, many from his own collection, Cohen shows the many facets of Geisel's art and imagination. The reader is treated to Geisel's earliest works from long before his first published children's book. These include examples of his college newspaper cartoons and his many successful advertising campaigns that blended humor and salesmanship. These creations are juxtaposed with his later children's books to provide the reader a deeper understanding of how culture and history shaped the evolution of his ideas and whimsical bestiary, and to point out the same themes cropping up over and over again in his works.

Although this book provides a fascinating view into many unusual perspectives of Dr. Seuss the artist and innovator, there is little here about Ted Geisel the man. In the introduction, Cohen says that he neither met Geisel nor interviewed anyone who knew him. Instead he delved into Geisel's works to discover what made him tick. As a result, there are many facts missing about Geisel's personal life and friendships. The few personal facts that were thrown in, mostly towards the end of the book, came from out of nowhere and made me crave more details. It is for this reason, especially since this book is called a "visual biography," that I rated it four stars instead of five. It is more a visual exploration of Geisel's works than a biography. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend this book. It will open your eyes to a creatively obsessed man that you never realized existed. It will also rekindle your fond memories of the Dr. Seuss books you read as a child. Perhaps it will even shed a bit of light on why you loved those books so much.

Eileen Rieback

4-0 out of 5 stars A Grown-up Biography of a Children's Hero
With the awful, distorted, contrived pile of wasted film, conjured up in the form of Mike Myers' take on the "Cat in the Hat," it would be nice to know why, in the beginning of it all, Dr. Seuss was ever popular at all. He was a great writer and cartoonist before his famous cat's striped hat became chic fashion among post-grunge era teenagers.

In "The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel" by Charles Cohen, we are shown the greatness of Seuss -- of Theodor Geisel, through drawings, paintings and text. We get to learn about his early days at Dartmouth, as he toyed with hybridic animals, wit and satire.

Not every idea worked. Seuss, an experimenter, evolved from being a talented but rustic styler of odd creatures into a sophisticated artist of odd, if not bizarre beasts that had genuine identity.

Before he write and drew books about green eggs, grinches, and elephants named Horton, he was an editorial cartoonist. His language in many of the cartoons was far from being politically correct, but his social commentary decrying racism was right on. He hard-handed racist thought with no evidence of his sweet children's characters kindness.

Cohen has produced an array of research. Samples of Seuss' art grace most pages. We also get a look at the vast merchandising, parodies, and unlicensed knock-offs.

This is not a children's book. Don't be fooled by the name of the publisher. It is for someone interested in reading a serious look at the history of one of America's beloved cartoonists.

I fully recommend "The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel." by Charles D. Cohen.

Anthony Trendl

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
This book is not all about reiterating the Seuss stories we've already read, but instead an objective well researched pictoral and written account of the man so many love. Cohen does a great job researching the possible meanings of Geisel's cartoons and later texts. There are many, many Judge magazine and other political cartoons that are absolutely hilarious, and absolutely adult in nature (similar to alot of his "childrens" stories).

I highly recommend this book to anyone what likes to drop into a chapter then skip to another at an opposite end of the book because they are somewhat independent although chronological, it is easy to skip around to the parts you feel like reading for that day.

Also, at 400 pages full color, who can pass up the bargain?

f.y.i. This biography seems to coincide a lot with *In Search of Dr. Seuss* the movie that just came out in dvd

5-0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book
Kudos to Dr. Cohen. The writing is insightful, the illustrations and pictures are outstanding, the sheer volume of content is overwhelming and of course, the dedication is tear-jerking. A must have for any Seuss fan. Read the inside jacket-I'm guessing someday there will be a Poem Repair Shop. ... Read more

167. Stranger Than Fiction : True Stories
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385504489
Catlog: Book (2004-06-15)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 1212
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Chuck Palahniuk's world has always been, well, different from yours and mine.The pieces that comprise Stranger than Fiction, his first nonfiction collection, prove just how different, in ways both highly entertaining and deeply unsettling.Included are encounters with alternative culture heroes Marilyn Manson and Juliette Lewis; the peculiar wages of fame attendant on the big-budget film production of the movie Fight Club; life as an assembly-line drivetrain installer by day, hospice volunteer driver by night; the really peculiar lives of submariners; the really violent world (and mangled ears) of college wrestlers; the underground world of iron-pumping anabolic-steroid gobblers; the immensely upsetting circumstances of his father's murder and the trial of his killer—each essay or vignette offers a unique facet of existence as lived in and/or observed by one of our most flagrantly daring and original literary talents.

... Read more

Reviews (12)

2-0 out of 5 stars yeah, right.
Imagine if *talented* documentary filmmaker Michael Moore set up a tripod in a trailer park and just pressed 'record,' returning at the end of the day to claim the filled tape, you would have the first segment (titled 'People Together') of Chuck Palahniuk's new book, "Stranger Than Fiction," a nonfiction anthology. This first section might have you falling in and out of consciousness, as I was, with the author's description of boondock sex shows and combine demolition derbies, and...zzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry, nodded off for a moment. The second section, 'Portraits', is a series of blandly-written interviews with pseudo-celebrities (Juliette Lewis, Marilyn Manson, and a suck-up to Ira Levin, the only author who would write anything kind about Palahniuk's "Diary"). And the third section, 'Personal'--the most brief and interesting--deals with a handful of real-life experiences that have influenced Palahniuk's work (including the disturbing details of his father's death).

Unfortunately, this autheticity and interest enters far too late to have any chance of redeeming this flat, meandering book, which seems to have no rhyme or reason except to help Mr. Palahniuk pay his bills this month. The stylistic cleverness, sharp satire, and dark humor that punctuated "Fight Club," "Survivor," and "Lullaby" seems like a distant ghost Palahniuk has lost contact with, and it shows. I'm really beginning to wonder if the aforementioned novels were as great as I remember them being, and if I just wasn't swept up in the tidal wave of philosophical brilliance in "Fight Club" that caused me not to question the author's authority. For a while, Palahniuk seemed to be ushering in an era of renewed expectation for modern fiction, but with his increasing yearly output, it's becoming painfully obvious he's having a hard time keeping up. I'd rather wait five years for one well-developed narrative or memoir instead of receiving two substandard pieces of writing in a year. But like Marilyn Manson, Palahniuk's shock value has ceased to be shocking, his style has become predictable, and if he hopes to keep his fan base, he'd better concentrate on expanding his talents outward as opposed to keeping them confined, as he has with "Stranger Than Fiction." Another total letdown, redeemed somewhat by the last section.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Loved It
A fantastic book. A bit of a departure from "Fight Club" but still a great book. I have to agree it has a lot in common with "My Fractured Life" which is good. The strangeness in fact has wonderful pull and reward. I loved it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Possessing a few full and a few hollow promises.
I started reading Chuck Palahniuk's books a few years ago when I read Fight Club and loved it, so Stranger Than Fiction seemed like an interesting read, and for the most part it was. It's nonfiction, and the stories it tells are interesting while giving us a little insight on how Chuck's mind actually works.

What we're given is a compilation of stories and articles Chuck had written for magazines, so for those of us that don't buy into magazines, it's interesting to finally see some of the stuff he's written for them. The downside is that not all of the stories are interesting.

The stories about steriod use, a day as a dog, the submarine, and the psychics are all great reads, ones that I enjoyed a lot. The personal ones were also good, which felt more like excerpts from a novel he may have written than magazine articles, but there are also the boring ones, which unfortunately bring the score down a few notches. I was personally bored by the article about castles. I bought the book to hear more Palahniuk's voice, and some of the articles do deliver, but then there are others that do not have the voice or sounds a little rough around the edges.

All in all, it's good if you have a little time and want to read another Palahniuk book, but don't be expecting another Fight Club.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Fine Company
Crazy, sick, and wickedly good. These are just a few ways to describe my wandering feelings about 'Stranger Than Fiction' by Chuck Palahniuk as he wanders from subject to subject. His meandering thoughts that always seem to come back home to make a point and come together in fascinating round about story fashion is amazing. Really the only true comparisons are 'My Fractured Life' by Rikki Lee Travolta and 'Tenacity of the Cockroach' from the editors of The Onion newspaper. 'Stranger Than Fiction' is on the same level of brilliance as both of those books. It is just as unpredictable and engrossing, and just as rewarding.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Departure
I have always been a fan of Chuck Palahniuk's fiction writing and really enjoyed this foray into the facts behind his fiction. The combination of facts and editorializing with witty storytelling is very similar to Rikki Lee Travolta's "My Fractured Life" (which I bought because of comparisons to Palahniuk's writing style in "Fight Club" and "Diary"). Fans of "My Factured Life" will really enjoy this departure for Palahniuk. ... Read more

168. Standing in the Shadows of Motown : The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0881888826
Catlog: Book (1989-05-01)
Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
Sales Rank: 20997
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Bassist James Jamerson was the embodiment of the Motown spirit and groove - the invisible entity whose playing inspired thousands. His tumultuous life and musical brilliance are explored in depth through hundreds of interviews, 49 transcribed musical scores, two hours of recorded all-star performances, and more than 50 rarely seen photos in this stellar tribute to behind-the-scenes Motown. Features a 120-minute CD! Allan Slutsky's 2002 documentary of the same name is the winner of the New York Film Critics "Best Documentary of the Year" award! ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars A good book about a great bassist
This book and CD combination examines the music of James Jamerson, the studio bassist on most of the early Motown hits. Until rather recently, Jamerson was unknown to the general public and not widely known to musicians. Nonetheless, his playing was very influential and many bassists today consider his playing the gold standard of bass guitar in popular music.

This book is valuable as a reference for the history of Motown, but it is primarily a teaching tool. It is organized into three parts. The first 78 pages give a biography of Jamerson and put his work into historical context. Part two (17 pages) is a compilation of data: descriptions of bass equipment, recording facilities, accompanists, and discography. Also included in this section is a four page "Appreciation of Style" by Anthony Jackson that attempts to analyze the musical elements that made Jamerson unique. Part three contains 90 pages of transcriptions of Jamerson bass lines and accompanying text. The transcriptions go with the CDs described below.

The CDs and transcriptions are the heart of the set. The CDs feature Motown tunes with the bass lines played by over two dozen "all-star" bassists (e.g Marcus Miller, Jack Bruce, John Entwistle). Bass is on the left channel with instrumental accompaniment on the right. The bass lines are transcribed by the author and the transcriptions are accompanied by short bios of the artists who play the lines. The tracks on the CDs are interspersed with short interviews of people who knew Jamerson. The artists reportedly donated their services as a tribute to Jamerson and the bass lines and accompaniment were recorded in a variety of circumstances. Many tracks are recorded in home studios. The quality varies, but all tracks are well played and all are useful teaching tools. I thought the variation of sounds would be a drawback, but it is a very interesting part of the project. The best Precision Bass tones are not necessarily from the artists you would expect. (Not everyone tries to duplicate Jamerson's tone. Geddy Lee was approached backstage at a concert and contributed "Get Ready" on either a Steinberger or a Rickenbacker. Lots of fun.)

The level of the transcriptions is somewhat advanced. Transcriptions are given in traditional bass staff (no tab) and the rhythms will give your reading skills a workout. There are very few specific comments about fingering, right-hand technique, or damping. Yet the range of difficulty is from dead simple (beautifully rendered) line to lines that will challenge the most advanced player. (The challenge is rhythm and feel not lots of note or big stretches.) Beginning to intermediate players can use this book, but will benefit greatly by using it with the help of a good teacher.

One can quibble with the historical overview. It is quite readable, but doesn't dig deeply into any of the tough issues it raises (e.g. Jamerson's drinking and emotional stability, Berry Gordy's business practices). Since the focus is on the music, some of this reticence is laudable. However, one important musical controversy that the author fails to pursue is the question of the true credit for recorded bass lines in the era when Motown was moving from Detroit to LA. (Many tracks were demoed by LA studio bassists and then cut by Jamerson as well. There is still debate as to which track made it to the final recording. The question is acknowledged, but no new information is brought forth.) Another musical deficit is that there is very little about the interplay between Jamerson and other members of the rhythm section. (This is in contrast to the author's better-written (if slightly less important) book on the James Brown rhythm sections.)

Even with those minor issues considers, this is an extremely valuable book. It is clearly a labor of love and will be an extremely valuable learning tool for any bassist with the fundamental skills (or support) necessary to ap

3-0 out of 5 stars Don't Believe The Hype!
As a biography of James Jamerson, this book succeeds. However, as an educational guide to James Jamerson's playing style, it is lacking. While the CDs are excellent learning tools, there are a few errors in the transcriptions. Also, there is no tablature, so be prepared to read music. Only a few of the examples are suitable for beginning bassists, and there is no fingering information, so you'll have to figure it out for yourself. As far as analysis of Jamerson's playing style goes, there are fewer than 10 pages devoted to picking apart what made his bass-lines special. On the other hand, the book includes a wonderful chromatic exercise penned by Jamerson for a fellow studio bassist.

In summary - this is a good book if you are really interested in learning about this Motown legend, or if you are an intermediate or advanced bass player willing to spend some serious time to learn some incredible bass-lines. Just thought I'd add a level-headed assessment to all the adulation here.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Portrait, a Tribute, a Learning Tool, & a Great Listen
To comprehend James Jamerson's work, listen to the beautiful bass lines of the hits. Whether you're a student of bass or a seasoned player, playing those lines is no easy task! "Bernadette", "Reach Out",.... Envigorating sounds! Jamerson's story is here. Hear re-creations of his work minus vocals by the best of the best of today's bass players. Most of the sheet music is included!
Sitting without tribute, quietly and anonymously in the audience at the Motown 25th anniversary TV special performance in California, Jamerson had been akin to the elder Indian in the old "Keep America Beautiful" TV ad who sheds a tear with grief at the spoiling of his pristine land. This book was a great first step at righting that wrong.
This book went on to inspire a similarly titled movie on the Funk Brothers. This book and the 2 CDs that accompany it are a one-of-a-kind find for the bassists and all who crave the Motown and soul sound of the sixties and seventies. Thanks to its author for assembling the treasures and for inspiring such good will in the music community!

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb resource for new Bass players
This is a must-have for new Bass players who want to be serious about the craft.
One possible draw-back is that there is no TAB, but serious students will value the extra push towards better standard notation reading skills.
Much of Jamerson's music is now 40+ years old. So, in some ways the book now also serves as an important Historical perspective on the roots of the modern Bass sound.
If you're serious about BASS, get the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars James Jamerson, Stone Alone
In contrast to the bass players warning you away from not reading this book, those who have seen the movie of the same name may not be surprised enough by how different this book (dedicated to James Jamerson alone) is. This is because the movie is frankly a celebration of a Motown sound which is no longer a live cultural influence, and many may not properly understand the equivocality of this statement on account of Norman Whitfield's other omisssions -- Jamerson was very much a figure of Detroit Motown, but like the "psychedelic soul" which immediately preceded the *auteur* LA era he was *meant* to be felt and not heard.

Due to his increasing cultural stature, very little attention is paid here and elsewhere to the fact that the famous AM-friendly Motown mastering was intended almost explicitly to reduce Jamerson's presence in the mix, to the point that I suspect the first revelation for quite a few concerning the downside of the Sixties was the discovery that some people *really* knew how to play. The praise for "Igor" is not "subaltern" hype: Jamerson's arpeggios meet the formal standards for virtuosity set by classical musicians, and the further standard of not interfering with Motown's positioning in the "social field" as the "Sound of Young America" in no ambiguous sense. Here we can see how Jamerson's stature was reduced during his lifetime *even* as the cultural influence of his midsixties highpoints increased.

Such that we might do well to wonder not only "whither Berry Gordy?" but also whether Jamerson's descent into madness and death reflected the de-privileging of a certain standard of craftsmanship in American culture (one might also consider Rick James' sobriquet for the late Marvin Gaye, "Uncle Marvin"). On this score, the sociologist Niklas Luhmann once said that his position on long-term societal changes was that he was not asked: and although there is a refreshing amount of realism in such positions, that is rather explicitly and interestingly not the stance of this book -- those curious about "cultural memory in the present" would also do well to consider it. ... Read more

169. The Way We Lived Then : Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper
list price: $27.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0609603884
Catlog: Book (1999-09-28)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 117172
Average Customer Review: 3.61 out of 5 stars
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In a previous incarnation, writer Dominick Dunne was the toast of Hollywood--entertaining movie stars and socialites and invited by moguls to clambakes and black-tie dances. Long before he started churning out his romans à clef set in the private recesses of Hollywood and penthouses of New York City and his dispatches from notorious murder trials, he spent his days on movie sets, producing films like Ash Wednesday and working as an executive at various studios. In the off-hours, he and his wife Lenny ate dinner with Vincente Minnelli, Jack Benny, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Montgomery. They went to beach parties hosted by Jane Fonda and Roddy McDowall--and threw not a few bashes of their own, attended by, well, everyone and often photographed for Vogue magazine. Dunne seemed to carry his camera with him everywhere and "was always sticking [it] into someone's face." Kirk Douglas biting into an oversized hotdog, a scantily clad Paul Newman perusing a picnic table, Princess Margaret smoking, Mia Farrow dancing, and Natalie Wood hamming. Each weekend he carefully arranged his snapshots along with the week's invitations, telegrams, and news-clippings into a set of scrapbooks.

The Way We Lived Then closely resembles those scrapbooks, filled as it is with images culled from them. Dunne sews the scraps together with a loose memoir that moves from the mundane (how the house was decorated for a certain party, how the subjects of a given photo were feeling about one another at the time) to the grand (meditations on his marriage and his children). All of these famous friends, glittery parties, and cozy evenings did add up to a picture-perfect life for a time. But by the mid '60s, Dunne was drinking hard, insulting acquaintances in public, and being a perfectly terrible husband to the lovely Lenny. He was soon arrested carrying drugs into the country from Mexico, divorced, nearly poverty-stricken, and living in a cabin in Oregon. But he lived to tell about it, and though his story is something of a cautionary tale about the dangers of success and excess, punctuated as it is by his dreamy photos, one can't help but wonder if he'd happily go back to the way he lived then. --Jordana Moskowitz ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tantilizing Reading
For the die hard fan of Dominick Dunne--including the little known "The Winners", His current offering is a crowning achievement. Sitting down and reading "The Way We Lived Then" is like stepping onto the set of an old movie, to where everyone is famous, or yearns to be famous--most notably, the author himself. The fuzzy quality of some of the photos adds much to the tonial focus of the writing, that the glamorous life is not always happy or fufilling. Mr. Dunne shines the spotlight on his own pain, and never tries to paint a sunny picture when the rain pours. Many of the memories are heartwarming, especially the photo of his daughter on his lap as a toddler. Real fans of Mr. Duune will be able to spot so many details that he had used in his novels, which to me made it interesting. I loved this book, and I love this author, and it will sit proudly on my coffee table for some time to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars who is an ardent Dominick Dunne fan
To anyone who can remember the Los Angeles of the 50s, 60s and 70s, this book is a treasure and a real piece of social history. It is wonderful to see how beautiful and stylish the women of that era were, and how the behind-the-scenes entertaining of celebrities was accomplished. The photo of Priness Margaret with a cigarette in her mouth is priceless, as is the shot of Natalie Wood fixing her makeup in the reflection of a dinner knife. Dominick's black and white ball, which preceeded the Truman Capote extravaganza held in New York, apparently was the prototype. It's a wonderful read that I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about behind-the-scenes Hollywood.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Dunne, I adore you!
I think I was probably one of the very first people who purchased this book...and I loved every page and every minute of it! Some of the earlier reviewers I read below simply don't seem to "get" this book. It is not meant to be great literature. It is meant to be a great read with one-of-a-kind photos, and it delivers both in spades! Also, I believe it is meant to be somewhat of a love letter, both to the parts of Mr. Dunne's ealier life that were happy and held great promise, AND perhaps to the fans of his all of us glimpses into what was an incredibly fascinating "Hollywood existence" and giving us a peek at the REAL people that he has thinly veiled, completely disguised, or combined to create the fascinating characters that populate his terrific books. Mr. Dunne, if you read these reviews (I know that I probably would!!), please know that I eagerly await everything you publish, including your monthly "Diarist" articles in Vanity Fair. Your writings are so incredibly enjoyable, fascinating, and provide a much-needed escape for me. You must feel very blessed to have finally found your calling - so many never do.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dominick Dunne is fascinating
It is easy to see why celebrities, criminals and perfect strangers have told Mr. Dunne their secrets. He is so interesting in a gossipy, name-dropping but sweet way. His Hollywood life makes an engrossing tale, much more entertaining than fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful collection of photos
This book is filled with beautiful photographs of almost every star imaginable with personal anecdotes from Mr. Dunne to go with them. There are beautiful photos of Natalie Wood and a young (brunette) Elizabeth Montgomery. Mr. Dunne's life has certainly had its ups and downs, but this is NOT another celebrity pity party...he writes of the bad times he has faced, as well as the good, in a very matter of fact style, which is (thankfully) not at all whiny. But, again, the real treasure here are all the beautiful photographs of beautiful people in beautiful places. Thanks, Mr. Dunne, for sharing them with us. ... Read more

170. The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family
by Mary S. Lovell
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393324141
Catlog: Book (2003-03)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 23309
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"The Mitford girls were probably the most spectacular sister act of thetwentieth century."—Vogue

This is the story of a close, loving family splintered by the violent ideologies of Europe between the wars. Jessica was a Communist; Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy was one of the best-selling novelists of her day; the ethereally beautiful Diana was the most hated woman in England; and Unity Valkyrie, born in Swastika, Alaska, would become obsessed with Adolf Hitler. 24 b/w photographs. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars Powerfully Engaging Story
Mary S. Lovell made a wise decision when she took up her pen and joined the Mitford industry. The Sisters (The Saga of the Mitford Family) is a truly fascinating and endlessly engaging book. And there was no way it could not be with those crazy Mitfords: Nancy, Jessica, Debo, Diana, Pam and, of course, the very tragic Unity Valkyrie, conceived at Swastika Canada and devoted friend of Hitler. The story of these sisters spans the twentienth century and travels all over the political spectrum. The author shows her own conservative bias clearly throughout and was obviousaly charmed by Diana Mosely (nee Mitford), the still living wife of Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Fascists during the interwar years. But her prejudices and political naivete (the author's suggestion that World War II could possibly have been avoided if Diana just brought Hitler and Churchill, a relative of hers, together is quite silly and should have been edited out) are so apparent that one can enjoy the book regardless. The portrayal of the mother of the girls, Sydney, is the most interesting to come along of her. A wonderful, delightful read of six powerfully individual women.

5-0 out of 5 stars A readable and entertaining look at social history/biography
This carefully researched and constructed biography of the six Mitford sisters, Nancy, Pam, Diana, Unity, Jessica and Deborah, and their brother, Tom, is a fascinating look not only of their lives but at the time in which they lived. The reader is drawn into the world of minor British aristocracy and is treated to characters who, although somewhat eccentric at times, seem much like people we know: Parents are well-intentioned if somewhat misled, children are willful and spoiled. Life, however, is frivolous and carefree in an increasingly dangerous and threatening world. It's easy to understand where Nancy got her sense of humor and her ability to write social satire -- it was bred into the bone.

It's also understandable (and not at all uncommon) that the older siblings found some measure of success while the younger ones behaved like the over-indulged, spoiled children they were and never seemed to cease to be.

The reader who remembers (and the student of) the early- and mid-20th century will recognize the famous names that wander through these pages with the infamous family: Aly Khan, Winston Churchill, Katharine Graham, Diana Cooper, Evelyn Waugh and more -- it's a star-studded group of friends, relatives and acquaintances that touch and often seriously influence the lives of the Mitfords.

I loved this book. The story is fascinating and almost surreal as it unfolds through the girls' schooling, debutante years and various adult exploits played against the backdrop of the developing World War and its aftermath. Lovell has done a superb job of presenting the zeigeist of their era and their lives in a readable and entertaining text.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Familial Portrait of the Wacky Mitford Family
I first read Jessica Mitford's "A Fine Old Conflict" when it was published in the early 1970's. It remained in my bookcase and I recently re-read it and also read "Hons (Daughters) and Rebels" which whetted my appetite for more information on what the sisters came to label as the "Mitford Industry". I then purchased "The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family".

I was not disappointed. I found The "Sisters" really enjoyable and well researched, and the photos excellent. There is much interesting information in the many footnotes, too.

Like Sydney said, "What a Set!"

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating, Riveting Book
"The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family" tells the (true) story of the Mitford sisters, six beautiful and talented aristocratic young women who came of age in the interwar period.(There was a brother Tom who died during WWII. He does not play a major role in this book nor does it seem in their lives.)

These women lived, for the most part, amazing (though not admirable in all cases) lives: Nancy, the oldest, became a best selling novelist; Pamela, the "least interesting" (to the biographer and her family, though not necessarily the reader), lived a country life after a marriage to a brilliant man who married compulsively (six total); Diana, the society beauty, who left her husband for the fascist Oswald Mosley and who befriended Hitler; Unity, who became obsessed with Hitler and met him 140 times during a short period before WWII; Jessica, the rebel, who eloped at 18, became a communist, moved to the states, and became a best selling author on such topis as the funeral home industry; and Deborah, the youngest, who made the most brilliant marriage, to the future Duke of Devonshire.

This book details the eccentric but loving childhood of these sisters (though the father had murderous rages that seemed to have a lifelong impact on the children) and the diverse set of political causes and men that both brought them together and drove them apart over the years. Any book that affords the reader glimpses of Churchill as an uncle, Hitler as a "friend", Maya Angelou as an honorary "sister", is worth its price. Lovell presents her material in a straightforward manner. The book is thoroughly researched.

However, there are flaws. Lovell could probe further than she does into the psyches of the sisters. Three of them became obsessed with men in ways that bordered on the unhealthy and bizarre (Nancy had a lifelong infatuation for a count that would never marry her, the beautiful Diana dedicated her life to the unfaithful Mosley, and Unity's fixation on Hitler was downright psychotic.) And she lets Diana off the hook a bit too easily for her fascist and pro-Hitler views (Diana never repented.) She seems somewhat bewitched by Diana's external beauty-she met her at the age of 90--and doesn't focuse on the fact that it was external. (As obituary writers did this past summer after her death in August.)
Still it is a great read particularly for those fascinated by the British upper classes between the two wars.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Very Flawed Masterpiece
To begin, the author has done an outstanding job of research, compilation, and organization. Quite a balancing act with multiple subjects, and the author has superbly achieved her feat. This said, the biography has too many serious flaws for it to be given the rave notices of most reviewers. I'm afraid most readers are too enchanted by the fascinating lives of these highly unusual women and, thus,have not critically approached the book. The author has provided us with a literary tea party with her subjects, but other than the superficial facts of their lives, she has provided us with only an elementary analysis or understanding of who and what they were, and more importantly, how and why they got that way. Perhaps a more thorough grounding in psychology could have benefited the writer in her profession. The unique characters of David and Sydney Mitford are the key to understanding their daughters. Both of them had troubled emotional lives that were fully transfered genetically and environmentally to their offspring. Sydney lost her mother at a very young age and emotionally "shut down" for the rest of her life. A paragon of virtue, totally devoted to her family, she was like a dead-pan, sonombalant iceberg. It must have been maddening to these six girls to have such an outwardly unfeeling, unaffectionate mother. Imagine how it must have felt to know that nothing you did, even threatening suicide by jumping off the manor roof, could ever do more than raise a polite and tranquil eyebrow of your mother and elicit only a supremely detached and blaise reaction. And the father - even as a boy it seems apparent that he had mental problems - just not eccentricity - but blind rages that alienated him from his boyhood family. As a father, David deeply loved his children but completely undermined them by his relentless volcanic fits of rage. His good side was his sharp, sarcastic humor which amused his children, but sadly taught them that it was the only acceptable vehicle for expressing their emotions. Thus, the four famous daughters adopted a sharp-tongued pose to hide their damaged emotions. There's way too much of these things to go into at any depth here. Suffice it to say, the author failed to give her subjects the psychological analysis and understanding that they were screaming for their entire lives. She also failed to give an objective view of the British caste system and way of life that helped create their attitudes, such as the emotional sterile childhoods of he upper classes that necessitates the life-long use of childish nicknames. Nicknames are almost a sub-theme of the book, but the author fails to note their importance in both helping to keep the users securely attached to their meager childhoods with their nannies in the nursery and also to perpetuate the upper class eliteness of having a private club with secret passwords - you know you belong because you use the ridiculous childhood nickname - thus today you could not be more upper class than if you referred to Her Majesty the Queen as "Lillibet". As for the technical, a good editor is screamed for here. The author has no gift for sentence construction or the usage of words. She loves introducing a sentence with a dependant clause that has nothing to do with the subject of the sentence. It is so often confusing and irritating - the reader has to skip back a few sentences to see what she's referring to. An example: "Indulging in these constant volcanic eruptions with loud shouts and dangerously flashing blue eyes, the house was not a pleasant place to be." Now, where's the editor? It's absurd that an author be allowed to drop or confuse her subject noun literally dozens of times in a book. And the sloppy choice of pronouns is also confusing and sometimes disastrous. When five or six women are previously mentioned by name, and then the author proceeds to refer back to one of them with the "she" pronoun, you have to almost disect the paragraph to figure out which she is being referred to. Like I said, a great researcher this author certainly is - a great organizer - but a very untalented writer, and, alas, a very mediocre biographer who lacks the skills of critical analysis and intellectual understanding to give these fascinating subjects the presentation that they truly deserve. But a worthy attempt. Once again, WHERE WAS THE COPY EDITOR?! ... Read more

171. The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes
list price: $21.95
our price: $21.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375507310
Catlog: Book (2002-01-08)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 152819
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

If you had to give America a voice, it’s been said more than once, that voice would be Willie Nelson’s. For more than fifty years, he’s taken the stuff of his life-the good and the bad-and made from it a body of work that has become a permanent part of our musical heritage and kept us company through the good and the bad of our own lives. Long before he became famous as a performer, Willie Nelson was known as a songwriter, keeping his young family afloat by writing songs-like “Crazy”-that other people turned into hits.

So it’s fitting, and cause for celebration, that he has finally set down in his own words, a book that does justice to his great gifts as a storyteller. In The Facts of Life, Willie Nelson reflects on what has mattered to him in life and what hasn’t. He also tells some great dirty jokes. The result is a book as wise and hilarious as its author. It’s not meant to be taken seriously as an instruction manual for living-but you could do a lot worse.
... Read more

Reviews (20)

3-0 out of 5 stars Liked the lyrics
Willie Nelson is a great singer and pretty good guitar player. Now for the book: Most of the book consists of his song lyrics. That's the best part. As to the jokes, a few of them made me chuckle. The "keep breathing" and "long liver" lines on page 22 are ancient. Willie admits to being 68. As to the slang language, those same old "s" words and "f" words and a few others might be OK for emphasis, and if you like repetition, there's a bit of that. The joke about AIDS on page 64 is modern, but. Stick to music, Willie.

5-0 out of 5 stars ON THE ROAD WITH THE MAN!
If you are a fan of Willie Nelson ... as most folks are ... you'll want this book.

It's spoken in town-to-town musician-bus language and it's simply what Willie intended for the book to be --- a no-holds-barred bit of chit-chat placed into print by utilizing the casual talking style of the author.

Like his many musical compositions that have been released on records, CDs and cassettes during the past 40 years or so, this is a work of art by an artist who has lived the life and is, therefore, qualified to talk about it.

Willie sent me the beginning pages of the manuscript as he was creating it on his bus while riding from city to city for various appearances. After reading what was submitted to me, I knew it would be a "winner". Reading the completed book was a genuine delight.

Some of the jokes told by Willie are not the type you would tell to your mother (who made have already heard them if she knows Willie), but are not offensive unless your head has been buried in the sand during the past couple of decades. Like a good movie, the hilarious attachments just add to the atmosphere.

While you are reading this book, you get the feeling you're sitting on Willie's smoky bus, listening to the genius as he laughs and relays numerous stories of the road, discusses some personal friends and speaks with a tongue in cheek manner about the somewhat complex music/entertainment scene. There are also some bits that are to be taken as serious statements from time to time.

Although he needs no introduction to his talents as a singer, actor, extraordinary guitar picker and songwriter, it's the "common" connection that makes this an authentic piece of literary art.

Willie caps it all off with many photos and lyrics for songs, most of them composed by a man who is looked upon by his many peers and countless fans as being unsurpassable in the business of entertainment.

You might put Willie's new CD, "THE GREAT DIVIDE", in the player unit while you lay back and enjoy this very good book written by a dear old friend.

2-0 out of 5 stars Willie can do no wrong, but this is close.
First, let me state emphatically that I am a huge Willie Nelson fan. He is, by far, my favorite recording artist and I have seen him in concert three times. That said, there is not much in this book to recommend it. There are a few very funny jokes, although not that dirty. There are dozens of song lyrics, many of them his lesser know works. Upon reading, you discover the lyrics are indeed mostly simple, yet profound, and you wish Willie was singing them instead of you reading them. Willie tells you he is in favor of the family farm, God, marijuana, less government. He is against smoking. He plays golf and jogs. Everybody seems to be his best friend. But, if you are a Willie fan, you already know that. And there's the problem. I didn't read anything about him I didn't already know. Damn, I wish he would really get serious about writing an autobiography. There is so much I would love to learn about Willie, but it's not here. Save your money and buy another Willie CD.

1-0 out of 5 stars He can do better
Willie Nelson is a great performer, a talented singer and guitarist, a decent actor, and one of the best songwriters this nation has ever produced.
If he really tried, I'm sure he could write a pretty good book, too.
On this one, he didn't try. Just a series of disjointed, low-class, rambling tales. If this is the real Willie Nelson, we've been had.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Willie Nelson
He has such a great sense of humor. This is a funny, quick read, perfect for summer! ... Read more

172. The Bennetts: An Acting Family
by Brian Kellow
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0813123291
Catlog: Book (2004-11-15)
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Sales Rank: 64152
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Book Description

The Bennetts: An Acting Family is a chronicle of one of the royal families of stage and screen. The saga begins with Richard Bennett, a small-town Indiana roughneck who grew up to be one of the bright lights of the New York stage during the early twentieth century. In time, however, Richard’s fame was eclipsed by that of his daughters, Constance and Joan, who went to Hollywood in the 1920s and found major success there.

Constance became the highest-paid actress of the early 1930s, earning as much as $30,000 a week in melodramas. Later she reinvented herself as a comedienne in the classic comedy Topper, with Cary Grant.. After a slow start as a blonde ingenue, Joan dyed her hair black and became one of the screen’s great temptresses in films such as Scarlet Street. She also starred in such lighter fare as Father of the Bride. In the 1960s, Joan gained a new generation of fans when she appeared in the gothic daytime television serial Dark Shadows.

The Bennetts is also the story of another Bennett sister, Barbara, whose promising beginnings as a dancer gave way to a turbulent marriage to singer Morton Downey and a steady decline into alcoholism.

Constance and Joan were among Hollywood’s biggest stars, but their personal lives were anything but serene. In 1943, Constance became entangled in a highly publicized court battle with the family of her millionaire ex-husband, and in 1951, Joan’s husband, producer Walter Wanger, shot her lover in broad daylight, sparking one of the biggest Hollywood scandals of the 1950s. ... Read more

173. Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch : Tales from a Bad Neighborhood
by Hollis Gillespie
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006056198X
Catlog: Book (2004-03)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 29442
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

NPR commentator Hollis Gillespie's outrageously funny -- and equally heartbreaking -- collection of autobiographical tales chronicles her journey through self-reckoning and the worst neighborhoods of Atlanta in search of a home she can call her own. The daughter of a missile scientist and an alcoholic traveling trailer salesman, Gillespie was nine before she realized not everybody's mother made bombs, and thirty before she realized it was possible to live in one place longer than a six-month lease allows. Supporting her are the social outcasts she calls her best friends: Daniel, a talented and eccentric artist; Grant, who makes his living peddling folk art by a denounced nun who paints plywood signs with twisted evangelical sayings; and Lary, who often, out of compassion, offers to shoot her like a lame horse.

Hollis's friends help her battle the mess of obstacles that stand in her way -- including her warped childhood, in which her parents moved her and her siblings around the country like carnival barkers, chasing missile-building contracts and other whimsies, such as her father's dream to patent and sell door-to-door the world's most wondrous key-chain. A past like this will make you doubt you'll ever have a future, much less roots. Miraculously, though, Gillespie manages to plant exactly that: roots, as wrested and dubious as they are.

As Gillespie says, "Life is too damn short to remain trapped in your own Alcatraz." Follow her on this wickedly funny journey as she manages to escape again and again.

... Read more

Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Bad Neighborhood," good book
"Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales From A Bad Neighborhood" is probably the best title so far this year. And, unlike with many books, the contents live up to it. Writer/NPR commentator/translator/airline attendant Hollis Gillespie shares nuggets of her life (and razor-edged wisdom) in this offbeat, zany memoir.

Gillespie draws readers into her life, past and present: Her three best pals are Lary (who offers to shoot her sometimes), Daniel (a likably weird artist) and Grant (gay bartender/seller of porno-religious signs made by an angry ex-nun). She struggles with horrible bleach jobs, jars of teeth, imperfect German ("It would please me greatly to purchase medicine for my fluid nostrils"), and Myrtle the lesbian ghost.

She suffers the world's least dignified mugging, a visit to the Amsterdam red light district (rubber fists?), and the question of whether she flashed people when she was soused. At the same time, Gillespie deals with more touching topics. As the daughter of an alcoholic trailor-salesman and a kleptomaniac bomb-making mom who wanted to be a beautician, she describes her family's trials and distances, one of the last visits to her terminally ill mother, and how her young niece was hospitalized.

"Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch" veers between wacky and touching, past and present. Gillespie's stories are less like a memoir or autobiography than like a collection of columns, loosely strung together. She also has the unique knack of being able to take little experiences, ramble about them in an engaging way, and wrap it up without losing her way.

Gillespie comes across as real and a bit twisted, like the zany pal of yours who lives down the street. Life keeps swinging at her, and she keeps dodging. Her tone is honest, endearingly self-deprecating, with a dose of sarcasm to keep her observations sharp. Backing her up are her likably eccentric pals, who serve as her partners in crime (translation: in ear-piercing and drinking).

Funny and poignant and strange, "Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch" is a unique look at a witty woman who tells us of her personal storms. Wickedly delicious and highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars The recollections of a hellish gargoyle who talks on NPR
The fact that Hollis Gillespie is a commentator on NPR is more important to know than the fact that her name translates into "Hellish Gargoyle" because it provides a big hint as to how you should read "Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch: Tales from a Bad Neighborhood." I made the mistake of reading the book pretty much straight through on connecting airplane flights, which I thought was appropriate since Gillespie worked as a flight attendant as well as a foreign-language interpreter, but that proved not to be the case. There are several dozen commentaries in this book (you cannot really upgrade them to the status of either chapters or essays), almost all of which are in the two to four page range in terms of length. Consequently, the ideal way of reading this book is to put it on the nightstand and to read a couple of entries each night before you go to sleep.

Actually the best way of thinking of this book is as a collection of conversations. This makes a big difference because Gillespie tends to repeat herself from time to time in terms of phrases, descriptions, and events. If this was a paper written by a student I would make sage comments about not arguing the same thing in two different places, but if this is a conversation you just acknowledge that you have heard this part before and let Gillespie continue to tell her story.

As with any conversation some parts are better than others. For my money the first one, where Gillespie explains that her first name means "hellish" in bad German and that her translation abilities consist of massacred phrases pronounced perfectly, is the funniest in the entire book (plus it is a more accurate title than what she has, which was just a passing insult by a guy she was trying to run down with her car). This makes for getting off of the right foot, but it also suggests a way in which it is all down hill from here. That is not really the case, because there are some gems scattered throughout the book, such as "The Long Good-bye." Her relationship with the lesbian ghost in her house is interesting, but clearly not as important as her relationship with her dying mother. There is as almost as much pathos in this book as their is humor.

Those looking for a narrative theme have picked up the wrong book. Gillespie writes about her family and her friends, as well as the various trials and travails that assail a young woman in the world today. There are some photographs, taken by the aforementioned family and friends, scattered throughout the book and one of them seems particularly insightful. It shows Hollis standing next to her siblings and the family dog, Echo. Kim, Cheryl, and Jim and all wearing solid colors and standing up straight, while little Hollis in her plaid dress is standing wit her legs at an angle. If this is not a sight of what is to come, then I do not know foreshadowing.

However, the key psychological insult comes when Gillespie confesses she collects old pictures that she finds at flea markets and thrift stores. The pictures of her own family have long been abandoned and now just clutter the empty corridors of her memory, and she has replaced them with new ones. Reading that revelation it becomes clear what key roles Daniel, Grant, and Lary play in her life. This is one of those books where you can pick up a lot in between the lines.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bleachy-Haired babe!
A friend got me this for my birthday and my only regret is that it isn't longer and she doesn't have any other books out...

When I grow up, I wanna be Hollis.

4-0 out of 5 stars Had me laughing out loud!
This book was a real page turner! This collection of randomly assorted personal accounts by the author, really allows its reader to say to oneself, "I'm not so weird after all." Her collection of strange obsessions and proclamations makes even the most insecure freak, feel right at home. The term "freak", in a GOOD way. This book also emphasizes the value of the various human connections we make throughout our lives. The assorted adventures the author described sharing with her compadres throughout her book is almost envious. A definitely, highly recommended read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bleachy-Haired Honky (...)
One of the funniest books I've read lately, along with some heart-breaking observations. I don't know why everyone's hung up on the "chapters" not going in order; they're essays, not a narrative memoir. I liked it so much I just bought one for my sister, and I'll look for more by Hollis Gillespie in the future! ... Read more

174. Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Memoir by the Man Who Knew Him Best
by Peter Freestone
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0711986746
Catlog: Book (2001-12-01)
Publisher: Music Sales Ltd
Sales Rank: 38016
Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars The man behind the music
I have been a long time fan of Freddie's and when someone bought this for me I was thrilled and yet scared. Scared because I have tried on Many occasions to read biographies and failed miserably. Luckily this book was really well done and the topic was close to my heart.

The biography is written by a man who obviously loved Freddie and was very close to him in life and affected immenly by his personality. The book covers who Freddie really was to his friends, family and fans. It covers several albums and inspiration behind the music. It also covers his very sad sickness and I must admit I cried quite a bit.

I only have one qualm about this book and this is the time line as it jumps around quite a bit. But it is still followable and you can piece it together.

However in the end I was left feeling like I really did know Freddie and it gave me a warm feeling inside. Now when I listen to his music it brings back parts of the book to me and helps me build a better picture of the artist that Freddie really was.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Memories of Freddie Mercury...
I truely enjoyed reading this book. I have, for many years been a Freddie Mercury fan and great admirer of his music. I was very apprehensive about buying this book, as most often books as such are rarely kind to the individual whom they are written about. But I felt that this book characterized Freddie Mercury more as a "person" rather than this huge "rock star" (which he was) and gave some delightful and colorfull insight into his daily life. The book is filled with many stories and incidents that depict his life style more in terms of his love of music, the band, his friends, his home and his cats. There are stories demonstrating his sensitive character, as well as his over all kindness and generousity. The fact that he was gay is secondary in this book, but it was not ignored either. If you are a Freddie Mercury fan I know you will enjoy this book very much. The photo section in the book is good...but for Freddie Mercury fans there are never enough pictures.

I myself have reread my book several times and enjoy it just as much each time, sometimes reading something I missed before. Peter Freestone remembered his friend kindly.

2-0 out of 5 stars Diamond in the rough? Not likely!
I am searching high and low, for a book that wasn't as badly written as this one. I have been a fan of Queen and Freddie for over ten years and from time to time I get into my collecting bug. For example, tapes, cd's obviously, very rarely would I be able to find a book! Back in the day when the internet wasn't as fast, as commonly used, or for that matter things were as easy to find..I would be on it constantly looking for bits and pieces of information about my favorite, although somewhat defunct Queen. Now, with this plethora of information I have now, etc., I was still surprised to find this book at my local bookstores, not once but twice! Go figure, not taking any chance at all, I bought it. I was a little hesitant at first, being that because of all the information I didn't know about Freddie, personally I mean, he didn't give many interviews, etc. would this shatter my naivte about his personal life? Would it effect the way I viewed him? Well, the answer to that my friends is no. I will tell you why, because this book went into depth about nothing. From here to there it was a list of Freddie's friends and lovers, nor does it disspell so many rumors at all, they're was maybe a page about that.. until this choppy, "safely written" memoir, basically goes on about the bars, clubs and people they frequented all over the world. It doesn't go into much about really freddie at all. It seems that this book is a bit superficial, at the end is probably the most infomation you'll get out of it.. well, perhaps the beginning as well, but as for the middle, i say, read the first twenty, then the last twenty pages you just about have the book summed up.

2-0 out of 5 stars An Intimate and UNabriged Memoir
This book could easily have been condensed to 1/4 of the pages. Each event or memory written about goes on and on, and on... - impatient readers beware.

While the author does a great job of providing every little detail, it is amazing to believe that he could remember everything in this much living colour, and doubtful that at the time he carried around a notebook to record everything happening around him.

Generally the writing is poor to midland at best and it is obvious the author is not a professional writer. The book also could have been organised a bit better, for it is not chronological, nor are chapter headings or topics given.

The reader will sense that the author wrote this book out of memory for his friend, Freddie Mercury, rather than out of primary interest in the royalties. Overall, this book is for only the most fanatical of Queen fans and for those supremely interested in Freddie Mercury.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Last Twelve Years -- 1979-2001
I will say, on the one hand, I am not a "die-hard" Queen fan, nor am I a "die-hard" Freddie Mercury fan. On the other hand, I do enjoy Queen's music.
The intent on buying this book, as in any biography, is to learn about the birth, career, and so on of the person in which the biography is based. That is not the case for this book.

At first, I was a bit dissapointed to discover that I would not learn about Freddie's birth, childhood, his early carrer, the founding of Queen as a band, as well as the birth of Queen's successes.

The book opens in 1979. That is when the author, Peter Freestone, began working for Queen; his original job was to make all the costume changes ready, during Queen's concert performances. His job descriptions, and responsibilities increased as time went on, and he began working solely for Freddie, himself.
'I was Freddie's chief cook and bottle washer, waiter, butler, secretary, cleaner..and agony aunt',writes Peter Freestone (quoting from the back cover, to give an insight as to the various responsibilities he had while employed by Mercury.)
'I travelled the world with him, I was with him at the highs and came through the lows...I acted as his bodyguard when needed and in the end, of course, I was one of his nurses.'

This is, indeed as the title states, an intimate look at the man who is Freddie Mercury, written by someone who became one of Freddie's closest, most trusted friends.
But, it only covers the 12 years that Freestone knew, and worked for him.
The last 2 chapters are especially touching. Peter Freestone was there when Freddie passed away, in 1991, and he shares a very personal account of the goings on before, during, and after his death.

What I learned, and appreciated about this intimate memoir, was how generous, and giving Freddie was. He was a loyal friend. He treated those who worked for him as close friends.

This book was excellent reading, for what it was; and what it was, was an intimate portrait, getting to know Freddie Mercury on a personal level (kinda like getting a backstage pass, so to speak), learning things that would be, otherwise private. ... Read more

175. Makes Me Wanna Holler : A Young Black Man in America
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679740708
Catlog: Book (1995-01-31)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 18951
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this "honest and searching look at the perils of growing up a black male in urban America" (San Francisco Chronicle), Washington Post reporter Nathan McCall tells the story of his passage from the street and the prison yard to the newsroom of one of America's most prestigious papers. "A stirring tale of transformation."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The New Yorker. ... Read more

Reviews (128)

5-0 out of 5 stars most profound book i've read
Reading the other reviews of this book, and seeing that many reviewers wondered where McCall's self-judgement or remorse came in, I don't think this book would be the same if McCall spent 400+ pages whining about what mistakes me made. He lets the errors of judgement and difficulties of life stand out glaringly clear to all of those who should choose to read them.

This was one of the most profound, important books I've ever read for several reasons. One, it helped me understand the black male psyche from one point of view (mccall's) but when paired with other "prison" writings (cleaver, malcolm x) can help a non-black person understand the difficulties that black males go through in this society. Two, I teach in a poor neighborhood in NYC and this book helped me understand a lot of the mental stress and strain young children are under. When living amongst an oppressed people, where money/status/power/priviledge/mobility are slim, the tricks and games humans will play on each other to get ahead/survive may seem crazy or illogical to those of us who don't live that life. To those that do, it is real. I was better able to understand the pressures of being black, and the different masks black men wear, by reading this book. Three, this book shows how difficult it can be to turn around from past mistakes/actions, but how one must continue. McCall's life could've turned out so differently. He kept fighting and made it so he could have a "piece of the pie" and actually provide something to his children, and show his parents all their help was not totally lost, and prove to himself that he could do it. He said, after serving three years in prison, that he believed he could do anything if he made it out alive. That belief was tested at times when he went through difficulties at various workplaces, with his women, or in the transition back into society from prison. He even went so far as to think for a second that prison was an easier place to be (monastic) because there he could focus entirely on himself, and all threats were known entities. Four, this book helped me at a time in my life where i felt (feel) the walls are closing in on me. My problems are not so deep as McCall's, but i know what it feels like to feel that there are NO options, or the few you have are all bad, and you must simply do the best you can, keep thinking, keep struggling. This is a story of a spirit unwilling to throw in the towel, determined to carry out the strength that miraculously keeps it alive, striving, growing, despite all odds.

I will never forget this book. For those who say it ought to be required reading, I agree. It is an amazingly honest memoir. I'm not disappointed in McCall for not showing "remorse" or appearing contrite about what he's done. He lets his words speak clearly to us, showing us that he has learned from his mistakes, otherwise he'd be unable to sit down and write a book as honest and powerful as this one.

2-0 out of 5 stars A well-written book about BM hypocrisy!!
I am an African American female.

I have very mixed feelings about this novel. What was GOOD -- explaining the criminal mind while engaging in a crime, high school rivalries, prison life, post-prison life.

What was SAD -- McCall's anger/hatred/violence directed at black women, the girls he gang-raped in high school, the one he planned to kill after sex in a car, his crazed criticism of his wife, his illegitimate children (again blaming their mother alone as if he himself never heard of a condom).

Also, SAD -- McCall had no problem committing crimes against black people in his own community yet he admitted that he would dare not challenge a White police officer's authority on the street! Also, this lying, raping, stealing excuse of a Black man gets caught by America's justice system and now he cries "racism" the way his female victims tried to cry "rape." Like them, no one hears McCall's cry. Next, McCall lies to get a job and is upset over getting caught! He steals and is upset over being watched by others! DUHH! -- MCCALL, YOU ARE MISSING A FEW FRIES FROM YOUR HAPPY MEAL!!

The worst part of this novel is that McCall grew up in a decent home with a father/stepfather. Yet McCall criticized everyone: his stepfather working for white people, Blacks who travelled, white people (yet he confessed having sex with a white woman was some kind of Black male rite of passage).

This is a well-written book by a very disturbed criminal who happens to be a black male. (The book's subtitle is a complete misnomer!!) The only time McCall claims "Blackness" was when he got himself in trouble and needed a way out.

3-0 out of 5 stars The author should NOW write about victim compensation.
I read this book some years ago and was more impressed then than now. Unlike most authors, Mc Call actually admits that he was a an active participant in a gang rape. To actually have such a violent and humiliating crime published in one's own autobiography, the author would have to be very honest, insane or a liar.

As hideous as some parts of this book, I still gave this book to my nieces, daughters and other young Black impressionable females who seem to mindlessly believe anything a Black man tells them. Some months after my adolescent niece read McCall's works, she confessed that she completely broke ties with a young man she had been dating because he showed a lot of Mc Call's tendencies. Some years later, this same young man has impregnated several different women, 3 of which gave birth to his children in the same week (while he was unemployed). Today, he is doing a life sentence in prison for violent crimes.

As disturbing as Mc Call's work is, I have used it for good. Every mother should know where her son is at night. Also, blaming white people for your problems is no reason for McCall commiting the same sins (color casting, rape and robbery).

Finally, if Mc Call committed all the crimes he claims, he should now publish a NEW novel covering his efforts at some form of victim restitution to the individuals, businesses and others he has violated in his past. Well, how about it, Mr McCall?

2-0 out of 5 stars Makes me wonna scream!
I read Nathan McCall's book when it came out in 1995. On the one hand, here's a guy who became a gang-banger, thug and all-around menace to society, eventually serving time in prison for armed robbery, but eventually got on the right track and is now a reporter for the Washington Post. Good story. When I first read the book I was impressed. Not anymore.

McCall describes a life growing up in a solid, lower-middle-class family. In his early teens, he joined a gang. Soon, he participated in the gang-rape of a young girl. Eventually, he graduated to burglaries, holdups and gang fights, shooting a loaded pistol at unarmed teens. His political conscience awakened by the Black Panthers, which ultimately led to his racist hatred for white people, which he uses as justification for the barbaric acts perpetrated by him and others against whites. For example, he once fired a sawed-off shotgun into the suburban home of a white family watching TV, and then ran off without knowing (or, apparently, caring) whether anyone was hit.

Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, admitting to his mistakes, and trying to warn impressionable young black men NOT to make the same mistakes that he made, McCall tries to show that it was "racism" that caused him to make the choices he made. By the end of the book, it seems he wants to reader to be impressed with his generous decision to "forgive" white people. Forgive them for what? What did "Whitey" ever to do him to make him become a gang-banging, gang-rapist thug? How did that white suburban family provoke him into firing a sawed-off shotgun into their home, possibly seriously injuring (if not killing!) someone inside?

It is obvious that McCall was an angry young man. However, instead of delving into the real sources of his anger and dealing with it in a constructive way, he uses his anger, as well as his racism (let's call a spade a spade) to justify his criminal past.

Negro, Pu-LEEEZE!

I would have had more respect for him had he just owned up to his mistakes, as opposed to trying to justify his actions via "Whitey." "Makes Me Wonna Holler" makes me wonna scream.

5-0 out of 5 stars Makes Me Wanna Holler : A Young Black Man in America
this is a geat book for anyone how wants to know the truth of how people were really treated in lif in this book nathan mccall really gives birds eye view of his life once u start reading this book u just dont want to stop ... Read more

176. The Kid Stays in the Picture
by Robert Evans
list price: $17.95
our price: $17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1893224686
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: New Millennium Press
Sales Rank: 89025
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Book Description


The fascinating rise, fall and rise again of legendary producer Robert Evans.This is one life story you'll never forget: a kid actor in New york on radio plays...popularizing "women in pants" at Evan-Picone...being discovered poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel by Norma Shearer...becoming the first actor to ever run a motion picture studio...reviving the moribund Paramount Pictures...overseeing production of Love Story, The Godfather, Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Odd Couple...marriage to golden girl Ali McGraw and birth of son Joshua...long friendships with Nicholson, Beatty, and Hoffman....disgrace and drugs...the Cotton Club scandal...self-commitment and escape from a mental institution...and an eventual triumphant return to the catbird seat.An extraordinary raconteur, Evans spares no one least of all himself, on this legendary no-holds-barred Hollywood journey. ... Read more

177. Crazy from the Heat
by David Lee Roth
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786863390
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Sales Rank: 46830
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (65)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very funny and wonderful book!!!
I highly recommend this book to all Van Halen/David Lee Roth's fans. It includes 48 pages of color/photo pages. Dave tells all; from the backyard party days, club days, big hit, breakup and his solo career. Some reviewers below complained of grammatical errors. So what? This is not a textbook! The story still flows smoothly to me. I have read and reread this book and will read this again... If you want to know the story of Van Halen from the beginning, buy this book! Fyi, it's out-of-print now, but you'll defitely find one on auction/Amazon marketplace sellers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Legendary stories from rock's ultimate showman
No band captured the spirit of the wild lifestyle of rock n' roll better than Van Halen, and David Lee Roth was the ringmaster of it all. The self-proclaimed "Toastmaster of the Immoral Majority" relives all those crazy years while in Van Halen, as well as the years before and after it, and tells it like only he can. Diamond Dave has always moved & talked 3 times faster than anyone else, and this book is a testament to his philosophy on life - live every day to the fullest and make it fun! I have already read it 3 times, and look forward to the 4th! I hope Dave takes time out of his "no rear-view" life and writes another great book. Long live Diamond Dave!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK IS WORTH THE EXPENSE
David Lee Roth is probably the most talented frontman I have ever seen in concert. His music with Van Halen was absolutely classic, and they were better live than the Rolling Stones when Dave was their singer. This book is good, but describes some elements of the rock-n-roll profession (and Dave's personality) that I would have preferred to not know.

I would have preferred a simple autobiography. If Dave had simply told "his story" I would have been satisfied. Instead, a good amount of it is dedicated to mud-slinging toward the Van Halen brothers. It is also geared toward "self defense" because Dave is Jewish and believes the world is out to get him. I almost wish he hadn't pursued that line of reasoning as far as he did. I'm sure not an anti-semite, but the stories Dave tells almost make anti-semites look like they have some grounds for what they say.

For instance, Dave describes how he planned to upstage Aerosmith when Van Halen was opening for them. They were going to basically trample Aerosmith's show when the boys in Van Halen opened the concert. It wasn't a gesture of sabotage, but was designed to be pretty offensive toward Aerosmith. If they had been better MUSICALLY, then I would have no problem with it. But no, this was different, pretty offensive. It turns out Aerosmith found out about Dave's plan before the show. They didn't stop what he intended to do (although I'm sure they could have), but basically reminded the audience who the headliner was. No problem, right? Well, Dave was furious. The way he describes it in the book, it sounds like he was saying "How dare they [Aerosmith] NOT let me rip them off?!" He even says he never spoke to any of the guys in Aerosmith after that show! HO-kay, Dave...

His efforts at explaining his career reflect a similar line of reasoning. He describes how he monitored every element of merchandising involved in Van Halen. I'm talking EVERYTHING: T-shirts, posters, you name it. He says the "programs" on sale at the VH concerts were "works of art." Well, I can testify that they weren't. They were about as attractive as 2-week-old newspapers, and were way overpriced. The T-shirts were overpriced too, and of terrible quality. The fact that Dave was in charge of all of that makes him look pretty bad.

He says he didn't do all this merchandising to make more money, but says that since he did it he DESERVED the money. Okay... How about making more music, Dave? How about shutting up and just singing the songs? In the book, how about talking about what inspired the great music Van Halen made? Instead Dave talks about how many women he simultaneously "got physical with."

Later in the book Dave cries about one of his guitar players getting Lou Gherig's disease. It was clearly a charity note: Meaning, by saying the guitar player was a genius, and how sad he was about the poor guy getting ill, he tries to make himself look like a nice guy. Let's freeze the frame here: First, the guitar player wasn't very good to begin with (just listen to the LITTLE AIN'T ENOUGH album!); Second, Dave's explanation seems so fake that you will believe his only "sense of loss" was about the MONEY he might have lost. Dave's character starts to show itself, and in spite of his tremendous abilities as a frontman he is basically a slimy jerk.

In a way that's all right, though; Mick Jagger is too...!

Basically, if you're a fan of classic Van Halen then you might like the book. You don't have to LIKE Dave to like his abilities as a frontman! Classic Van Halen rocks, and has never been the same since he left!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring book that should be read by all
David Lee Roth is a Man's Man's Man. He really speaks from the heart and is for the most part honest in this autobiography. Ironically, he almost comes out as the Anti-Simmons if you have read Gene Simmons yarns of half-truths. I never expected Roth to be as literate and witty as he is in this book, which was edited down from a manuscript that was thousands of pages. In this book, he tells us about his Jewish upbriging, his early adventures with Rock and Roll and other culture, his (mis)adventures with Van Halen, as well as a lot of other personal stuff. It almost reads like a beatnik "on the road" type book, with his flair for language, and his witty tales. I never knew that he was an experienced mountain climber, a poet, and also a once aspiring movie director. Basically David Lee Roth has a zest for LIFE and this makes the book one of the most inspiring I've ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of my standard "beach" books
It might seem like an odd choice, but "Crazy From the Heat" retains a permanant spot in my beach bag for one very simple reason: Diamond Dave understands island time.
The prose is VERY laid back: in fact, I strongly suspect someone gave Dave a list of topics, turned a tape recorder on, then simply transcribed the resulting stream-of-consciousness rambling that came forth.
There's very little slagging his former band here: In fact, I found Dave to be generally complimentary about the Brothers VH (and we can forgive a little dig here and there). And guess what? Legendary ego aside, Dave is the first one to admit that he doesn't have the greatest singing voice in the world; in fact, he says he sounds like four flat tires.
This book is part biography, part music industry commentary, part travelouge and part philosophical manifesto. The photos and captions are a hoot. There's some BS here and there -- I'm not sure I believe his rif about scrubbing stages late at night before a show (C'mon Dave... give us a break...) -- but all in all this is a fun, disarming, light-weight read. If you're From The Eighties, love music and travel, I'd say throw this one in your beach bag too. ... Read more

178. Who the Hell's in It : Portraits and Conversations
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0375400109
Catlog: Book (2004-09-28)
Publisher: Knopf
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Book Description

Peter Bogdanovich, known primarily as a director, film historian and critic, has been working with professional actors all his life. He started out as an actor (he debuted on the stage in his sixth-grade production of Finian's Rainbow); he watched actors work (he went to the theater every week from the age of thirteen and saw every important show on, or off, Broadway for the next decade); he studied acting, starting at sixteen, with Stella Adler (his work with her became the foundation for all he would ever do as an actor and a director).

Now, in his new book, Who the Hell's in It, Bogdanovich draws upon a lifetime of experience, observation and understanding of the art to write about the actors he came to know along the way; actors he admired from afar; actors he worked with, directed, befriended. Among them: Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, John Cassavetes, Charlie Chaplin, Montgomery Clift, Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, Ben Gazzara, Audrey Hepburn, Boris Karloff, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier, Frank Sinatra, and James Stewart.
Bogdanovich captures--in their words and his--their work, their individual styles, what made them who they were, what gave them their appeal and why they've continued to be America's iconic actors.

On Lillian Gish: "the first virgin hearth goddess of the screen . . . a valiant and courageous symbol of fortitude and love through all distress."

On Marlon Brando: "He challenged himself never to be the same from picture to picture, refusing to become the kind of film star the studio system had invented and thrived upon--the recognizable human commodity each new film was built around . . . The funny thing is that Brando's charismatic screen persona was vividly apparent despite the multiplicity of his guises . . . Brando always remains recognizable, a star-actor in spite of himself. "

Jerry Lewis to Bogdanovich on the first laugh Lewis ever got onstage: "I was five years old. My mom and dad had a tux made--I worked in the borscht circuit with them--and I came out and I sang, 'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?' the big hit at the time . . . It was 1931, and I stopped the show--naturally--a five-year-old in a tuxedo is not going to stop the show? And I took a bow and my foot slipped and hit one of the floodlights and it exploded and the smoke and the sound scared me so I started to cry. The audience laughed--they were hysterical . . . So I knew I had to get the rest of my laughs the rest of my life, breaking, sitting, falling, spinning."

John Wayne to Bogdanovich, on the early years of Wayne's career when he was working as a prop man: "Well, I've naturally studied John Ford professionally as well as loving the man. Ever since the first time I walked down his set as a goose-herder in 1927. They needed somebody from the prop department to keep the geese from getting under a fake hill they had for Mother Machree at Fox. I'd been hired because Tom Mix wanted a box seat for the USC football games, and so they promised jobs to Don Williams and myself and a couple of the players. They buried us over in the properties department, and Mr. Ford's need for a goose-herder just seemed to fit my pistol."
These twenty-six portraits and conversations are unsurpassed in their evocation of a certain kind of great movie star that has vanished. Bogdanovich's book is a celebration and a farewell.
... Read more

179. The Journals : Volume I: 1949-1965 (Journals (Alfred A. Knopf))
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 1400044316
Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 28852
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180. Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue
by Jane Pauley
list price: $25.95
our price: $15.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 140006192X
Catlog: Book (2004-08-24)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 2555
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