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$19.99 list($17.95)
181. My Experiments With Truth
$12.24 $7.25 list($18.00)
182. Wait Till Next Year : A Memoir
$35.00 $2.97
183. Jarhead : A Marine's Chronicle
$72.00
184. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna
$17.01 $9.95 list($27.00)
185. Speaking My Mind
$17.13 $0.93 list($25.95)
186. It Doesn't Take a Hero
$13.57 $12.75 list($19.95)
187. Were It Not for Grace : Stories
$16.00 $6.95
188. BLUE HIGHWAYS
$9.95 list($24.95)
189. Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former
$12.24 $3.50 list($18.00)
190. Profiles in Courage
$32.00 $20.16
191. French Toast
$16.38 list($26.00)
192. Green River, Running Red : The
$12.00 $5.49
193. Anais Nin Reads Excerpts from
$7.49 list($17.00)
194. STRANGER AT THE GATE TO BE GAY
$2.55 list($25.95)
195. Thirteen Senses : A Memoir
$6.79 list($30.00)
196. People Of The Century : One Hundred
$29.71 $14.95 list($34.95)
197. No Room for Error: The Covert
$23.07 $22.39 list($34.95)
198. The Americanization of Benjamin
$16.99 list($24.00)
199. Against the Gods : The Remarkable
$11.99 list($12.00)
200. The CHILDREN'S BOOK OF HEROES

181. My Experiments With Truth
by Gandhi
list price: $17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1879557282
Catlog: Book (1995-05-01)
Publisher: Audio Scholar
Sales Rank: 822518
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Audio version of Gandhi's autobiography. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A mediocre production
This abridged narration of M.K. Gandhi's book is read by an englishman who tries very hard to put on an Indian Accent. Why this effort was taken for a non-fictional work is unclear.

Many of the Indian words and phrases are clearly mispronounced. This work should have been read by someone with some understanding of India and indian terms.

The fake indian accent is rather obvious through-out the production. At times one might even be ammused by this englishmans antics with accents. Gandhi woud not have appreciated this work.

Several events in the book which is considered as required reading in Indian Schools have been dropped. While other less significant events have been included. ... Read more


182. Wait Till Next Year : A Memoir (AUDIO CASSETTE)
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671577077
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 517326
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Wait Till Next Yearis the story of a young girl growing up in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, when owning a single-family home on a tree-lined street meant the realization of dreams, when everyone knew everyone else on the block, and the children gathered in the streets to play from sunup to sundown. The neighborhood was equally divided among Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans, and the corner stores were the scenes of fierce and affectionate rivalries.

The narrative begins in 1949 at the dawn of a glorious era in baseball, an era that saw one of the three New York teams competing in the World Series every year, and era when the lineups on most teams remained basically intact year after year, allowing fans to extend loyalty and love to their chosen teams, knowing that for the most part, their favorite players would return the following year, exhibiting their familiar strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and habits. Never would there be a better time to be a Brooklyn Dodger fan. But in 1957 it all came to an abrupt end when the Dodgers (and the Giants) were forcibly uprooted from New York and transplanted to California.

Shortly after the Dodgers left, Kearns' mother dies, and the family moved from the old neighborhood to an apartment on the other side of town. This move coincided with the move of several other families on the block and with the decline of the corner store as the supermarket began to take over. It was the end of an era and the beginning of another and, for Kearns, the end of childhood. ... Read more

Reviews (105)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wait Till Next Year Review
....

WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR is a story about a girl growing up in the suburbs on Long Island. What could be a boring life story, Doris Kearns Goodwin makes everything exciting, and a story worth telling. The book is an autobiography of her life. One story of hers that I especially liked is the author explaining her plan for her neighborhood to be safe if they got bombed by Russia. She explained that underneath the local stores were connected basements, large enough to fit her whole neighborhood to fit it. She would bring Monopoly, so she wouldn't be bored, and most importantly, her baseball cards.

The main character, the author, was a girl who thought differently than most young girls. She had many questions on religion, current events, and her family history, all at a young age. She explained things with comparisons like how when the Dogers left Brooklyn and Jackie Robinson retired, a chapter in her life closed.

I would recomend this book to almost anyone. Many people can relate to it. If you either grew up in the suburbs, lived with a sick loved one, or had a love for baseball, you should read WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for all!
Doris Kearns Goodwin is famous for her biographies, especially the Pulitzer Prize winning, NO ORDINARY TIME. Her new book, though, is not about someone else's life, it's about her own. "When I was six, my father gave me a bright-red score book that opened my heart to the game of baseball." Goodwin begins to recall the game that was her childhood into this "score book". Although the cover of her memoir, WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR, is not bright-red, it serves it's purpose well. Goodwin writes a "play by play" account of her life from the time she first recieved that score book till the end of her childhood at age fifteen. Underlying it all is her passion for baseball and the New York Dodgers and her hope that they will win the World Series. The author attributes her love of narration to baseball. Every day, Goodwin would recount to her father, using the system he taught her, that day's game as he got her ready for bed. As well as a sign of her father's love, this ritual introduced her to the art of storytelling. "It would instill me in an early awareness of the power of the narrative, which would introduce me to a lifetime of storytelling..." This book is filled with poignant stories about the relationships between the author and her family and friends. It also draws on the many experiences of Goodwin's from her first trip to Ebbet's Field, to her hero, Jackie Robinson. There are stories about her religious experiences as a Catholic, her obsession with James Dean and how, at first, television brought her neighborhood together. The significance of the era is portrayed well. For me, this book was particularly interesting because of my own love of baseball. Just reading it made me long for those hot summer days when major league baseball is played. I can also simpathize with Goodwin over how many times her team came close to winning the World Series. As a Cleveland Indian fan, I have been waiting my whole life for the Indians to be crowned champions. They have not one a World Series since my Dad was born, in 1948. This theme of resulted in the title of her book, a popular saying among Dodgers fans,"Wait till next year". Not only did the story amaze me, Goodwin is an extraordinary writer. Her writing clearly and smoothly tells her story. I could almost hear her narrate the book while once in a while two characters would have a conversation. I could visualize it all too. WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR is a passionate, well written, captivating book. A must read for all!

5-0 out of 5 stars For Baseball lovers.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. She paints a picture of her childhood home Rockville Centre that is wonderful. She describes the baseball games with such detail. I honestly could not put the book down. I liked the way she discussed historical events throughout the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly delightful!
Memoir of Doris Kearns' younger years, as an avid Brooklyn Dodgers fan. Although baseball was her obsession, the story is about much more than baseball - it's about life in the 50's, childhood spent outside or at the corner soda shop, the importance the community had at that time, and the troubles and changes that adolescence brings.

Great memoir, and incredibly well written and told. I thought the book was excellent, even though I glossed over the baseball parts of it! Read this for my library book group, I never would've picked this one up on my own.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful treat
I enjoyed this book the first and second time I read it. Doris Kerns Goodwin writes about her early years in post-war Long Island with grace.
This memoir reads like a charming novel - the details are wonderful, the characters are people we come to care about, and young Doris is someone you will smile with and cry with.
I've recommended this book to friends and students (I teach adult ed creative writing workshops). Everyone thanks me. If you want a good book by a good author check this one out. If you're considering writing your own memoir study WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR to see how it should be done! ... Read more


183. Jarhead : A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743535383
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Audioworks
Sales Rank: 471695
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When the marines -- or "jarheads," as they call themselves -- were sent in 1990 to Saudi Arabia to fight the Iraqis, Swofford was there, with a hundred-pound pack on his shoulders and a sniper's rifle in his hands. It was one misery upon another. He lived in sand for six months, his girlfriend back home betrayed him for a scrawny hotel clerk, he was punished by boredom and fear, he considered suicide, he pulled a gun on one of his fellow marines, and he was shot at by both Iraqis and Americans. At the end of the war, Swofford hiked for miles through a landscape of incinerated Iraqi soldiers and later was nearly killed in a booby-trapped Iraqi bunker.

Swofford weaves this experience of war with vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family. As engagement with the Iraqis draws closer, he is forced to consider what it is to be an American, a soldier, a son of a soldier, and a man.

Jarhead insists we remember the Americans who are wounded or killed, the fields of smoking enemy corpses left behind, and the continuing difficulty that American soldiers have reentering civilian life.

A harrowing yet inspiring portrait of a tormented consciousness struggling for inner peace, Jarhead will elbow for room on that short shelf of American war classics. ... Read more

Reviews (284)

1-0 out of 5 stars Overblown, self-indulgent account by a sick individual!
One of my main hobbies is studying military history and I have hundreds of books on the subject. This has got to be the very worst so-called "combat" memoir I've ever read. At least 2/3 of the book is nothing but Anthony Swofford complaining about how awful the Marine Corps was and how much he hated it. Why did the loser even volunteer for it, because according to his own account he was anything but a model soldier. Stealing from fellow soldiers, wetting his pants frequently, and complaining were just about all Swofford was capable of. Throughout the book he writes things like "To be a marine...you must kill." yet he never fired a shot in combat in the Gulf War. Hmm...

On one of the last pages, Swofford states "I have gone to war and now I can issue my complaint. I can sit on my porch and complain all day. And you must listen." Well, my reaction to Swofford's book was to throw it in the trash, because I DON'T have to listen to his endless whining. In case you're wanting to know if this is an actual combat memoir, be warned that it is not. Most of the book focuses on Swofford's troubled personal life and his training experiences which he can't seem to get over. Thank God Swofford isn't an accurate example of the typical soldier in the U.S. armed forces, otherwise I think our country would be in serious trouble. Avoid at all costs!!!

1-0 out of 5 stars DISGRACE TO ALL CURRENT AND FORMER STA/SSP MEMBERS
I have served 2 combat deployments in Iraq and ran across this book as one of my Marines was polluting his mind with Swofford's nonsense. In OIF 1, I happened to be serving with a former platoon mate of his and he wanted to have nothing to do with it. Swofford is a dirty PIG and I am glad that I can wear my tooth with pride without having to tell tall tales. Does the Corps have its faults? Yes it does. Like those of us that serve past , present, and future, Swofford signed the contract and probably bitched the entire 4 that he was on the USMC welfare system. Infidelity in the Corps? Yes, he was spot on. But then again it is rampant just about everywhere these days. I refuse to let any of my guys read this book. It is by far the worst book about or relating to the art of snipers or sniping. I have seen him on tv being interviewed as some sort of expert regarding the middle east. That's tragic...talk to the real heroes that took Baghdad or Fallujah. It might be hard as anyone who is anyone in the community would know that it is not or place to speak up and feed b.s. to the public. Not to mention the fact that our war experiences are best shared among our own, for unfortunately those who have never been there can't grasp what truly goes on physically and mentally. Humility is one of the many attributes of a good Marine, especially one serving in a STA or Scout Sniper platoon. I guess old "swoff" never got that memo. I am ashamed that this is being made into a movie. Save your money on the book and the movie. If I ever meet this man I have only two words to say to him....BEAR CRAWL!

5-0 out of 5 stars Vividly Understated Masterpiece
This audio book is immersive, it benefits from the softspoken first person of the author reading his own work. You can almost hear the hint of Post Traumatic Shock Syndrome in his voice, or at least the heavy impact of indoctrination and war, however "minor" the first Gulf War may have been.

We hear how the Marine Corps shapes our young men and lets them achieve at levels they never could elsewhere, but of course at some cost. The author abandoned Catholicism in the Marines, but not spirituality. Quoting now: '...the Corps, the Suck, as they called it, "because it sucks to be in it and it sucks the life out of you." ... I realized the grunt holds Spiritual High Ground because he creates it; through constant bitching and inebriation he creates his own Grunt Island, and the poor sad, angry grunt on the outside is actually a happy and contented grunt on the inside, because he has been heard, someone understands his misery: through profanity and disgrace he has communicated the truth of his being--an awful life punctuated by short bursts of mostly meaningless action, involving situations where he might die horribly or watch his friends die horribly. The very real possibility of dying at any moment-- that is the grunt's magic, his Spiritual High Ground.'

The subtle repetition in the author's prose really works well as a spoken word tale, as exampled above by "it sucks", "die horribly" and "grunt", "grunt", "grunt". It's rhythmic and tough to turn off.

Of course this is the new Marine Corps -- they swear a lot and discuss all manner of unpleasant things, not casually but frequently and intently. The "F" word is used rampantly; my father, a career Marine, says they didn't used to use the king seven dirty words, that they could tear you apart without them. There is some of that here, some old school, creative cussing, but much of it is raw and unimaginative, yet it is intense and it feels very real; like Swofford has captured the atmosphere of being a jarhead. Being a jarhead is complex, both hateful and embracing; demanding and boring. This audio book is a vividly understated masterpiece. Enjoy.

1-0 out of 5 stars An uninteresting whinefest
I had the displeasure of listening to this "story" via Audio CD. Please do not make the same mistake I did. If you are looking for an interesting story about desert storm look elsewhere. If you are looking to hear non-stop bitching, complaining and someone pissed that they JOINED the military...this is your book. I feel like the author should pay me for listening to his dribble...reads more like a therapy session than anything.

Just not what I had expected. 95% Bitching...5%(if that) battle





5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books written on Desert Storm
I have read many books on many of the battles the US has been involved in and Tony's "Jarhead" may very well be the best.He told a hard to tell story of Marine who questioned his choices and his service.This book is very well written and is much more interesting to read than many of the books put out by journalists, Generals and Admirals.

Tony should be very proud of his service to his country and of this excellent book. ... Read more


184. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Pt. B
by Nancy Milford, Kimberly Schraf
list price: $72.00
our price: $72.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 073668509X
Catlog: Book (2002-01-01)
Publisher: Books on Tape
Sales Rank: 853596
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185. Speaking My Mind
list price: $27.00
our price: $17.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743500326
Catlog: Book (1999-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 326902
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One man, more than any other, has helped define the most important issues of our time. His name is Ronald Reagan -- one of our nation's most powerful and popular Presidents. This extraordinary audio collection includes historical excerpts from selected addresses that span his political career, laying out his vision for America and the world. From his cornerstone 1964 speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater to his moving farewell address in January of 1989, here is President Reagan as we came to know him: the public figure, the political leader, the private man. Included are personal reflections from President Reagan recorded exclusively for this production -- in an audio presentation that captures the voice, the spirit, and the intellect of the greatest communicator America has ever known. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars One for the history books
What better way to remember the Reagan legacy than by listening to Reagan's best speeches.

5-0 out of 5 stars Remembering The Great Communicator
Reagan was a great President simply from the perspective of his innate leadership ability and masterful skill as an orator. This collection of speeches is quite compelling and an excellent reference for admirers of the honorable Ronald Reagan. I also recommend Reagan In His Own Hand, which is a little more focused on the pre-Presidential Reagan during his stint as a private citizen and Governor of California.

4-0 out of 5 stars Haunting words.
Listening to the Great Communicator is like hearing the stories your grandfather used to tell. They held you spellbound and you never grew tired of them. The Goldwater speech rings true today. The most stirring speeches: Reagan's D-Day speech at Normandy, and his inspirational words following the Challenger disaster, are among the best ever delivered. Hearing these speeches gave me goose bumps. Kudos to President Reagan's outstanding speech writers. I recommend that you read David Gergen's excellent book, "Witness to Power." God Bless you President Reagan. ... Read more


186. It Doesn't Take a Hero
by NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF, PETER PETRE
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553470825
Catlog: Book (1992-09-01)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 582948
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (28)

1-0 out of 5 stars A fine leader
Norman Schwarzkopf is a fine leader, and a real gentleman.I am glad he has finally come out of the closet, and has admitted to always having been a GAY man.It is amazing he kept this big secret under don`t ask, don`t tell military rules.There is nothing wrong with being gay, and I am glad stormin Norman has finally come clean.It is also great that Dick Cheney also fully accepts his own gay family.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read, filled with adventure...
This is a great book written like a novel. Norm takes us with him, we feel like we are there reliving his life events. We also get to see the softer side of Stormin Normin, as he nearly punches out a MP in Vietnam who was less than respectful of an asian college. Softer, you ask? Read the rest of the book to see what he gets like when mad. I also liked the part of the book where Norm was talking about the problem with the NVA attacking, then running across the Cambodia border so the USA Army could not attack. One day Norms platoon is attacked and the NVA runs away, so Norm calls another soilder and asks for the map. The other soilder points to Cambodia and says "they crossed the border". Norm takes the map, licks his thumb, and proceeds to erase/smudge the part of the map that shows the border. Norm then says "Nah, they are still in Vietnam, lets go get em".

Just be warned, after reading this book you might feel like going to the local Army recruiting station. It is a great book!

4-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive biography of the general.
H. Norman Schwarkopf provides us with a detailed look at his professional life in this fine book.Schwarzkopf describes his life from his formative years through his entire military career.This look allows the reader to see how his outlook on military operations and strategy developed and how he put forth in action his military philosophy during Desert Storm.

Schwarzkopf candidly reviews the performance of his army and it's officers during the conflict with Iraq.This assessment has got him into hot water with the U.S. military establishment, but for the reader it delivers an outstanding behind the scene look at the operation.

My only complaint about the book is it's editing.Many of the stories, while providing a personal glimpse of Schwarzkopf, could have been omitted and the book still would have had the same effect.But overall, this is an outstanding read and given the current events of 2003, almost a must read for people who want to understand the current conflict with Iraq.

4-0 out of 5 stars A very readable military autobiography
The book begins with a young Norman Schwarzkopf.As with many autobiographies, there is not a vast amount of childhood memories, but here, enough memories are included to show the influence on a soldier.

From his childhood, Schwarzkopf lived a military life.With all the skills and languages he learned, as well as the cultures he experienced, the reader sees how all these were put to good use in the many duties and functions he has carried out for the United States.

His tale not only covers the events of his life, but the reader also sees how the Army has changed since Vietnam.His perspective provides us with a bit of insight that all non-soldiers should see.Although he uses some military terminology, this book is very easy to understand.

What really struck me was that he left out the names of many people he really disagreed with to prevent attacking them personally.He does mention names when he is giving praise.This, I feel, added a lot of class to my image of the general.

As expected, quite a bit of this book covers the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations.Also, the book ends rather abruptly after the operations were over.

I would recommend reading this book, and I thank him for sharing this.

5-0 out of 5 stars A soldiers story...
"It doesn't take a Hero" is the remarkable story of a remarkable man, the title of which comes from a quote Schwarzkopf gave during an interview with Barbara Walters in 1991; "It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle."

Schwarzkopf's story is very different from his compatriot, the now Secretary of State, Colin Powell. The two men are of completely different temperaments, and their tales are told in ways that reflect their personalities. Powell's book is rather dry, with the occasional flash of self-depreciatory humor... and you get the feeling that this was included on the advice of his co-author!

"It doesn't take a Hero" is full of blunt, sometimes brutal, soldiers wit; one of the funniest examples concerns a Sergeant who swore relentlessly, and had to tell his assembled troops that they were now being commanded by a Colonel - not Schwarzkopf by the way - who didn't take to profanity in any way, shape, or form. The sergeant lined them up, and cursing with practically every other word, told them to cut out the ... swearing or else! Although this may look terribly contrived, when you read the book, you simply know that it happened, just the way Schwarzkopf says it did.

When you read Powell's story you respect him for what he achieved, mainly his rise from immensely humble origins to high political office, but when you read Schwarzkopf's, you can't help but like the man, warts and all.

As well as the brutal humor, Schwarzkopf is also brutally honest about his home life. He came from a well-to-do middle class family, his father was a West Point graduate, who later led the hunt for the Lindbergh kidnappers, and served President Roosevelt on a special assignment in Iran between the Great Wars. They lived in the best house in their town, and even employed a maid, but there was a dark family secret... his mother's alcoholism. The hurt and the pain this caused himself, his father and sisters, is dealt with openly and honestly, and you cannot help but feel that the inclusion of this was a very difficult decision for him to make.

The part of the book that deals with his duties in Vietnam is very well written, and like Powell, he also rails against the stupidity and arrogance of the politicians and 'Brass' who ordered young men to lay down their lives in that far away land for no good reason. And like Powell, he became equally convinced that he had to do something to change the army from within; it was either that or resign. In that respect he and Powell were remarkably similar in their thoughts and actions.

But far and away the most interesting part of the book is his telling of the Gulf War, Desert Storm. It is probably true to say that without "Stormin'" Norman, there wouldn't have been a, successful, Gulf War. His experiences in the Middle East as a young man, he lived with his father when he was posted to Iran, gave him a unique insight into the Arab world that served him personally, and the coalition as a whole, very well indeed.

He was able to play on the links his father had with Arab Royalty, and then forged his own links with the current Saudi Royal Family, working with Crown Princes on a first name basis to get things done, everything from releasing endless millions of dollars in payments to the US - what is the daily rental on an aircraft carrier?! - to arranging for "tent cities" to be erected to shield the incoming troops from the scorching desert sun.

But for me, the most interesting aspect of the Gulf War section was the politics of the coalition, especially in the Arab world, something that was almost completely missing in Colin Powell's telling. In this crucial, although mostly unknown area of the War, Schwarzkopf's experiences in the Middle East were invaluable. Middle Eastern politics are a lethal mine field at the best of times - us Brits have had our fingers burnt on more than one occasion over the years! - and pouring hundreds of thousands of free thinking, free drinking, Western troops of endless religious and moral persuasions into the autocracy that is the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, should have been a recipe for utter disaster!

Schwarzkopf's deft handling of the endless 'difficulties' involving religious services, the consumption of alcohol, the reading of magazines of dubious 'artistic' merit, even the receiving of Christmas cards and the erection of Christmas decorations, were handled with a skill and subtlety that one would not have thought a mere 'soldier' possible. And then of course there was the Israeli question. The one thing above all else that would have blown the coalition apart would have been Israel attacking Iraq in retaliation for the Scuds that fell on Israeli territory. Although much of the efforts to keep Israel out of the action were handled direct from Washington, Schwarzkopf's handling of the Saudi's in particular, on the ground as it were, was masterful.

"It doesn't take a Hero" is a fascinating tale, a real inspiration, it shows what one man can achieve through clear thinking, a positive attitude, boundless enthusiasm, and a profound love, not only of his own country, but of mankind. I would recommend it highly. ... Read more


187. Were It Not for Grace : Stories from Women After God's Own Heart
by Leslie Montgomery, Sandra Burr
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596003812
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Sales Rank: 751391
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Were It Not for Grace gives twelve prominent Christian women the platform to share their stories about how God has had his hand on their lives. The heart of each of these ladies bears the indelible fingerprint of a God who has pursued them, healed them, and held them in their times of trial.

Be enriched, moved, and inspired by the personal testimonies of these high profile, wonderful women of God:

First Lady Laura Bush
Condoleezza Rice
Kay Coles James
Joyce Wright
Leslie Parrott
Joni Eareckson Tada
Beth Moore
Kathy Gallagher
Jill Briscoe
Joyce Penner
Nancy Alcorn
Anne Paulk
... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars INSPIRING PERSONAL STORIES

Leslie Montgomery is a skilled interviewer and advocate for the Christian faith.With "Were It Not For Grace" she has gathered the testimonies of 12 women who openly and honestly share their experiences with the healing power of God.They relate how they found strength andcourage in the face of adversity, as well as a renewed enthusiasm for life.

Looking back on the time she spent with these women the author says, "There is seldom a day that I don't reflect on some powerful point one or more of them made."Listeners will have the same experience as they listen to this affecting reading by voice performer Sandra Burr.

There is little in the human experience that is overlooked whether it is death, sexual abuse or depression.All of the women are outstanding figures including Laura Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Anne Paulk, and Joni Eareckson Tada.

This is an audio book you'll want to hear over and over, as well as share with your friends.

- Gail Cooke

5-0 out of 5 stars Were It Not For Grace
Reading each of the stories in this book touched me in some way.I could relate to a lot of what the women felt or thought, regardless of whether I had experienced their particular struggle or pain in my own life.Their strength both amazed and inspired me.

As a woman pursuing, for the first time in my life, a relationship with God, this book has had a profound impact on me.I enjoyed it very much, and it brought out many different emotions, and definitely engaged me, which, to me, is a sign of a wonderful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Educational...
Leslie's interview with these women was completely awesome.The stories these women were willing to tell of their lives and how God inspired, touched and led them through their hardships is truly amazing.

This book has definitely opened my eyes to not only the miracles of God but also into the lives of real women and with real problems just as we all have.It has helped me in my daily struggles as well to know there are others out there that have made it through similar troubles and experiences I have and am continuously going through as well.

The stories portrayed in this book have definitely opened my eyes to the inner workings of a woman's mind and how they look at life and God.I have had several questions concerning women's thought patterns in certain areas such as homosexuality, sexual and physical abuse and the stories these women have told of their lives, struggles and how they got through them through their faith and with the grace of God is truly inspiring and a miracle to say the least.

My heart goes out to each and every one of them and I pray that they continue their walk with God and that they continue to receive God's blessings.

Leslie did an awesome job with this book and definitely deserves the highest rating she can receive for this.I cannot wait to read the second installment of this as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Were It Not For Grace
Were It Not For Grace is a powerful book featuring First Lady Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Beth More, Kay Coles James, Joyce Wright, Leslie Parrott, Joni Eareckson-Tada, Kathy Gallagher, Jill Briscoe, Joyce Penner, Nancy Alcorn, and Anne Paulk.

The author gives an entire chapter highlighting each woman and a difficult circumstance they have overcome through their faith.Issues addressed include; Accidently killing someone in a car accident, the death of one's parents, prejudice, death of a child, giving birth to a preemie, depression/suicide, sexual abuse, when your mate has a pornography/sex addiction, living with a man in full-time ministry, sexual dysfunction, eating disorder, and lesbianism.

There are very few women who could not pick up this book and find stregnth within it's pages for her personal life.The most powerful story is Condoleezza Rice's where she states emphatically that ... Read more


188. BLUE HIGHWAYS
by William Heat-Moon
list price: $16.00
our price: $16.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671760599
Catlog: Book (1991-11-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 472467
Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

New York Times Bestseller."Better than Kerouac."--Chicago Sun-Times

William Least Heat-Moon's journey into America began with little more than the need to put home behind him.At a turning point in his life, he packed up a van he called Ghost Dancing and escaped out of himself and into the country.The people and the places he discovered on his roundabout 13,000-mile trip down the back roads ("blue highways") and through small, forgotten towns are unexpected, sometimes mysterious, and full of the spark and wonder of ordinary life.Robert Penn Warren said, "He has a genius for finding people who have not even found themselves."The power of Heat-Moon's writing and his delight in the overlooked and the unexamined capture a sense of our national destiny, the true American experience.

(A Mariner Reissue) ... Read more

Reviews (83)

4-0 out of 5 stars One word - fascinating.
I finished Blue Highways approximately 2 weeks ago.

Never having even heard of William Least Heat-Moon before, I purchased this book based on Amazon recommendations. My only reference point was that I enjoy travel books.

Initially I was a little backed off by the sheer length, and I wondered if the author would be able to hold my attention. It was, therefore, with trepidation that I dipped into Blue Highways.

I needn't have been concerned. Yes, the book was long (and occasionally I had to re-read a handful of really detailed paragraphs), but William Least Heat-Moon was able to transport me to many of the tiny towns he visited, and I could feel the often intense discomfort of living for a season in his trusted Goast Dancing. I have true respect for this gentleman! The photographs were a wonderful addition and it was nice to put faces to names.

I agree that on occasion he was maybe a little overly critical of "modern" life, as some other reviewers have noted, but his opinion is simply own. I didn't feel he was trying to sway the reader; he was stating facts that he felt were significant, and let the reader digest them and form an opinion of his/her own.

In short, I would thoroughly recommend this book. The writing is clever, witty and detailed, and reading Blue Highways will take you on a fascinating journey. I have River Horse ready and waiting as well as PrairyErth!

4-0 out of 5 stars A solid, enjoyable travel narrative
In Blue Highways, we get to share in William Least Heat-Moon's journey across America in a trip taken about 20 years ago. The trip was brought about by the demise of his marriage and the loss of his job. In an effort to reconnect with himself and his fellow Americans, Heat-Moon embarks on a journey without a schedule or destination. He seeks to just go, meet people, and see what happens. And here is the real strength of this book: Heat-Moon does an incredible job of capturing the essence of the people he encounters along the way. By sticking to the back roads (blue highways), he meets average, ordinary people and isn't shy about striking up conversations with them. As he discovers, people are pretty much the same anywhere: most like to talk about themselves, many have an interesting story or two, and everyone's looking to connect with someone/something.

I found this book to be quite an enjoyable journey. Even though sections of it are somewhat dated, the essence of the trip still rings true. For someone looking for a humorous travel narrative similar to Bill Bryson, you may need to keep looking. While there are humorous sections to this story, this tends to be much more introspective than anything Bryson writes.

I guess ultimately this book will appeal to those of us who would love to be able just to pack up the car, fill the gas tank, and take off wherever the road may lead. I know I had my atlas next to me as I read this and traced virtually his entire journey on my map. What I wouldn't give to be able to do a 25-year follow-up and see what has changed (or what hasn't!). This is a great book to get your imagination going!

5-0 out of 5 stars A keeper
I read this book 20 years ago and I still have the original copy that I read back then. I just loved this book. In fact, I did a similar trip to Moon's, on a much smaller scale, and I even named my van "Ghostdancing" after his. It is a fun book and one in which the reader feels privileged to get a peek inside his spiritual journey. It is deeper than it first appears. I was touched by it.

1-0 out of 5 stars This is ABSOLUTELY the WORST book I have EVER read!!!
I was forced to read this book as part of my english gifted and talented class. It was the slowest, longest, worst written book ever! The best part of the book was the end. It ended! Finally, a long book about nothing. I will NEVER read this book again and I DON'T encourage anyone else to read this. PLEASE save yourselves the boredom and stupidity that comes from this book. This guy has nothing better to do than go around in little boondocks in the US and force people to have conversations with him. It's irritating. It's boring. Please do yourselves some good and read cool books like Les Miserables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, A tale of Two Cities, and other classics.

4-0 out of 5 stars Blue Highways
In William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways, he tells his personal experience of his travels across the country. He feels his life is turned upside down and he needs to escape it. Taking his van, Ghost Dancing, for the ride, he has the adventure of a lifetime. He comes to points in his journey where life is more exciting than others, and places where the wind never blows. Overall, he meets several people on his way across the country and stays in several towns. He learns the variety of ways god is believed in, the history of flying, and the way that's several of the towns he visits was started. If you like to read about other peoples travels, than I suggest this book to you. It will be hard to find at a local library, but it can be found. The author goes into detail on several different points and is very organized. He tells the story just as it seemed to happen and doesn't confuse the reader one bit. This story is very educational and leaves the reader with the want to travel the country, as did the author of this book. ... Read more


189. Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self
by Lori Gottlieb, Beverley Mitchell
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157511089X
Catlog: Book (2001-05-10)
Publisher: Publishing Mills
Sales Rank: 1121842
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Based on her childhood diaries, Lori Gottlieb’s book chronicles her preteen battle with anorexia nervosa. A precocious chess-loving student with a straight A average, young Lori aspires to supermodel thinness in an attempt to reconcile society’s conflicting messages and to gain her parents’ attention. ... Read more

Reviews (109)

5-0 out of 5 stars As Amazing as "WASTED"!
Because I struggled with an eating disorder in high school and college (I'm now in my mid-20s), I've read a lot of memoirs on this subject with particular interest. A friend who also recovered from anorexia recommended STICK FIGURE to me, saying, "You'll see yourself in this girl. And you'll LOVE her as much as you want to help her." What she meant wasn't just the very realistic depiction of obsession and distorted thinking that occurs with an eating disorder, but the fact that because these are real diaries, we see the whole girl, not someone looking back and talking only about how many hours it took to eat an apple. In other words, we see a girl who's funny and smart and as impossible as your average adolescent, who just HAPPENS to also be falling into a devastating illness. (I wonder what the author is like now -- she was HILARIOUS as a kid.)

Most books about anorexics depict them as being incredibly controlling, compulsive, and monomanical about dieting - which they ARE - but that's usually ALL you see. Here, as in another great memoir, WASTED, you realize how complicated this illness can be. At times, Lori seems so "normal" -- even MORE "normal" than her friends and their dieting mothers. And you can really see how she's influenced by the attitudes around her, even though they don't "cause" her anorexia, they definitely contribute and add wry commentary on our media-driven culture.

Most people gave this book five stars, and if I could give it six stars, I would! I TOTALLY disagree with the two people who thought the book didn't depict Lori's recovery realistically -- I LIVED her recovery and really related to the book's ending -- it isn't all neat and tidy. If they thought she saw herself in the mirror and suddenly ate again, then they clearly missed what was going on in Lori's mind. What's so compelling about this book is how subtle the messages are -- you're in the mind of an adolescent, you're reading her journals, and every line seems to have some significance without hitting you over the head with a profound "epiphany."

Even for people who have no experience with eating disorders, I highly recommend this book. All the people in her life-- her parents, her brother, her friends, her teachers, her doctors -- actually make this a FUN book to read (tragic, too, obviously, but you'll laugh even as it's sad and frightening). The people in the book are "out there" yet so real at the same time (I think we had the same teachers!). It's not quite the Addams Family, but the Los Angeles family Lori grew up in isn't quite the Cleavers either.

If you loved "Wasted," you'll love "Stick Figure." And you might even learn something -- about yourself, about eating disorders, about the confusion of being a female teenager, and about the ridiculous pressures of our society -- along the way. But mostly, you'll just want to read it over and over again.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very unique perspective on anorexia
This story is the memoir of a Beverly Hills woman's descent into anorexia at the age of 11. Her mother's constant "real women don't eat dessert" attitude, her perfectionistic nature, and the realization of how much power she could get by not eating were the main factors I saw that lead to the disease.

Strikingly first person, the story is written based on Gottlieb's childhood diaries. Therefore, it has a very unique tone to it. Her attitude that the rest of the world is crazy gives the reader a sense of what could be going on in the minds of other young girls with anorexia. It is exceptionally poignant; humorous at times and heartwrenching at others.

I literally wanted to jump in the book and knock some sense into her parents, based on the way they were "handling" Lori. Her mother's comments made me jerk with agitation at some points. Of course, it was 1978 when much less was known of the disease. Fortunately, the support today is much stronger for the families of anorexics, who can then better support the terrible situation of their loved ones.

What surprised me the most about this book was how Lori was such a brilliant student. In my mind, smart people don't get anorexia. It certainly shifted my thinking about who the prime candidates for this disease are.

I would recommend this book to anyone who deals with girls as young as 10. It is amazing how early anorexia starts, and this book gives a great new perspective on the disease, and of some of the warning signs.

2-0 out of 5 stars Almost a mockery.
I have read many books on eating disorders. While I somewhat appreciated the lighter side of this book, as eating disorders are very serious issues, it almost seemed as though she was mocking people with eating disorders. That's just how it came across to me, and I'm not sure why. The story didn't seem to have a real ending- she shows no signs of complete recovery or destined to a life in hospitals. I feel like it was written just as a "me too" type of story- everyone wants credit for their own little story to share.

2-0 out of 5 stars read Wasted instead
it was entertaining, but not what i expected. i was so excited to buy it, then very disapointed. read Wasted instead.

1-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but this is not an authentic diary
I defer to a previous reviewer who stated, "This book was no more written by an 11-year-old than it was written by my Himalayan cat." This book sounds like an adult desperately trying to sound 11. I also found the book lacking in any real or useful substance. It's more like a Juvenile Fiction book--interesting while reading it, but ultimately forgettable. In absolutely no WAY is this book as "amazing as Wasted!" (by Marya Hornbacher)!! For an infinitely better book than "Stick Figure," I highly recommend "Diary of an Anorexic Girl" by Morgan Menzie. Really insightful, funny at times, and beautifully written. ... Read more


190. Profiles in Courage
by John F. Kennedy
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0898457939
Catlog: Book (1985-01-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 421696
Average Customer Review: 3.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"This is a book about that most admirable of human virtues-- courage. 'Grace under pressure,' Ernest Hemingway defined it. And these are the stories of the pressures experienced by eight United States Senators and the grace with which they endured them."

-- John F. Kennedy

During 1954-1955, John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator, chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1957, Profiles in Courage -- now reissued in this handsome hardcover edition, featuring a new introduction by Caroline Kennedy, as well as Robert Kennedy's foreword written for the memorial edition of the volume in 1964 -- resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. It is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword, "not just stories of the past but a hook of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."

... Read more

Reviews (62)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book brings out the true meaning of patriotism.
With the recent impeachment of President Clinton by the U.S. House of Representatives, and the impending trial in the Senate, "Profiles in Courage" gives an appropriate historical persepective on the impact of the impeachment process. This book allows the reader to truly understand the immense pressure each member of Congress was under at the time of the impeachement of President Andrew Johnson. It also brings into focus the sheer magnitude of the duties we have bestowed on members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate today. This book points out that an impeachement trial should not be taken lightly. As was demonstrated in "Profiles in Courage", John Kennedy skillfully portrays the agony Edmund G. Ross went through before making his decision to cast a not guilty vote - saving President Johnson - from being thrown out of office. Ross'decision would have a resounding impact on the Constitution and the history of our nation. Now, 130 years later, members of the U.S. Senate are being asked to face the same challenges that Senator Ross faced. This portion of "Profiles" should be read by every member of the U.S. Senate before any votes to throw the president out of office are cast.

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage is indeed a virtue
John F. Kennedy presented to America a book that obviously would have stood out for all time as one of the most patriotic and true books ever to be written about the courage to stand up for what you believe is right. The central theme that Profiles In Courage emphasizes is that courage is a virtue that should, and has been, a trait which only a few Senators have shared. JFK was himself a senator at the time that this book saw the light of day in 1957. Perhaps it goes without mention that this book reveals the author's courage in the face of opposition. JFK biographers have pointed out on numerous occasions that President Kennedy was, as a youth,taught to stand up for your rights. Every senator portrayed here in this masterpiece tells a different story, but every single one of them never allowed themselves to be subjected to a popular referendum. Politicians today have lost sight of some of the most sought after virtues in America and within the United States Government. Our nation's leaders should take a good look at this book and read every chapter, word for word, until they understand, as did JFK, that political courage is always learned and never aquired. I would recommend this book to any serious American who is concerned with the way in which the United States is being governed.

4-0 out of 5 stars A must buy
I have never been a big fan of JFK and I have found that many things remotely associated with him to be unnecessarily praised because he is a Kennedy, American royalty. However, I found the book "a must buy" for the two objectives JFK wanted to demonstrate:
- The courage of individuals at key points in their careers who risked and usually lost everything for what they believed in
- That politicians are forced in their careers to balance of the interests of their parties, their voters, their state, the nation, and their conscience. It is very hard to serve so many masters.
The book increased my understanding of the difficulty of the political process.

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage Defined
John F. Kennedy was an award winning writing before he became President. While I have long intended to read his best known book, I have only recently acted on the opportunity. Although my primary interest in American history is relegated to more recent history, I found "Profiles in Courage"to be a very pleasurable read.

Kennedy chose a select group of senators with courageous motives to be the subject of his book. The time periods of the senators are as diverse as their deeds. John Q. Adams is the discussed for his valor in voting against the Federalist principles he was elected to defend. His actions made him unpopular in his home state of Massachusetts. Daniel Webster is noted for his attempts to keep the union together. Thomas Hart Benton refused to allow Missouri to leave the union while combating the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. Sam Houston turned most of the state of Texas against himself by refusing to allow Texas to leave the union. Edmund Ross perhaps received more abuse than any of the senators mentioned in the book for being the vote that prevented Andrew Jackson's conviction on impeachment charges. Lucius Quintas Cincinnatus Lamar became the unpopluar southern senator to bridge the gap with the North in the Reconstruction. George Norris caused an end to the political machine the senate had become in his time. Robert Taft became to unpopular spokesman for the illegalities of the Nuremberg Trials. Most of these men sacrificed their political careers for their stance. These stories are refreshing in an era of partisan politics. It is difficult to image similar acts today.

Although Kennedy was never allowed to reach his potential as a President, he proves to be an accomplished writer. Kennedy unintentionally raises questions about the functioning of the senate and government in general. It must be questioned if a democracy is truly working if the main goal of a senator or elected official is to be reelected. With reelection at stake, can any elected official vote for the best interest of the country if it is unpopular with the people? Government is intended to act in the people's best interest. It must be considered if appointed senators were more effective than elected senators. While there may be no easy answer to this, pondering the question and potentially making changes is an example effective democracy.

5-0 out of 5 stars The prescience to transcend
Edmund G. Ross(R). Who is he? How could someone so unknown be so significant in saving our country during a time of unprecedented peril? From threats both near and far, Ross was under a seemingly insurmountable burden to vote for impeachment, he chose, however, to exhibit "the courage to vote according to the dictates of my judgment and for the highest good of the country." This courage to uphold the Constitution and ignore the rabble rouser constituents of his native Kansas and the ever-strident Radical Republicans emboldened him to cast the deciding vote in acquitting President Andrew Johnson from certifiable impeachment -- by one vote. In doing so, Ross sagaciously restored order in the most tumultuous time in our history, and more importantly, forever rescued the dwindling autonomy of the executive branch from an increasingly partisan Congressional autocracy.

While this profound book chronicles the trials and tribulations of an impressive, yet eclectic, group of Senators all the way from the courageous John Quincy Adams up until the principled Robert A. Taft, I found one prevailing theme to be both extolled ad nauseam yet rarely enacted -- the laudable attribute of unassailable principled conviction in a time of unfathomable duress which, oftentimes, leads to grave repercussions.

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."
- Robert F. Kennedy in the foreword ... Read more


191. French Toast
by Harriet Welty Rochefort, Anna Fields
list price: $32.00
our price: $32.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078619944X
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 674775
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Peter Mayle may have spent a year in Provence, but Harriet Welty Rochefort writes from the wise perspective of one who has spent more than twenty years living among the French. From a small town in Iowa to the City of Light, Harriet has done what so many of dream of one day doing-she picked up and moved to France. But it has not been twenty years of fun and games; Harriet has endured her share of cultural bumps, bruises, and psychic adjustments along the way.

In French Toast, she shares her hard-earned wisdom and does as much as one woman can to demystify the French. She makes sense of their ever-so-French thoughts on food, money, sex, love, marriage, manners, schools, style, and much more. She investigates such delicate matters as how to eat asparagus, how to approach Parisian women, how to speak to merchants, how to drive, and, most important, how to make a seven-course meal in a silk blouse without an apron! Harriet's first-person account offers both a helpful reality check and a lot of very funny moments.
... Read more

Reviews (35)

2-0 out of 5 stars OK, but very thin and lacking much insight
Having lived in Paris, I found some of her insights interesting, and a few caused me to chuckle. But this book really serves to reinforce French stereotypes, so it's not very illuminating. The writing isn't great, and in some places, it's just plain sloppy.

I'd recommend "Almost French" by Sarah Turnbull over this book. It's more thoughtful, better written and more insightful. If you just want some here-are-what-the-French-are-like-and-why, try reading the book "French or Foe," which I found very helpful in preparing for living in Paris.

Her husband does not come off well in the book, as other reviewers have noted.

5-0 out of 5 stars good book
This book was funny and entertaining to read. I have to say i didn't like French before and this book did nothing to change my mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surviving culture shock
This book is a practical guide to understanding cultural differences between the French, especially Parisians, and Americans, intended for Americans taking up long-term residence in France.The author herself has lived in France for 20 years, married to a French man, and has found herself a long way from her small town Iowan origins.The book deals with a range of topics, from food, to family, to sex and education.

The blurb on the cover states that the book is "wise and devastatingly funny".I would agree with the "wise" assessment, but I'm not sure where "devastatingly funny" comes from.The book certainly doesn't come across as "pompously didactic", and there are indeed moments that are humorous, but the book includes a very substantial amount of informed analysis and practical advice.This is not a humor book where readers are brought in as third-hand observers to relive Rochefort's most embarrassing cultural gaffes.Instead, Rochefort examines her experiences as a foreigner who marries into the culture.She states in the very beginning of the book that she has found cultural differences becoming more and more noticeable the longer she lives in France.It makes sense in a way- -the longer you live in a country, the more you think you should understand it.When a cultural difference that has gone unnoticed for years finally raises its head, it can be even more unnerving that if one had met with it right at the very beginning.Rochefort's description of differing expectations experienced in cross-cultural French-American relationships is particularly strong, and anyone in or contemplating starting such a relationship would be well advised to read it.But even those who are not living in France can learn much about French culture in this book.Her last chapter, for example, covering the French educational system starts with nursery school, and progresses through the university and Grande Ecoles (which I thought were glorified high schools until Rochefort straightened me out).

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but it should have been longer
French Toast is a memoir rather than a sociological study, so it only looks at the Paris that the author has experienced.For anyone who has read other books about French culture or spent a great deal of time in France, many of the observations will not be new.

If the book had been longer, I think I would have enjoyed it more.I liked her look at French femininity and childrearing and I would have like to have read more about why and how she
decided the stay in Paris, her cross-cultural courtship with her husband, what she loves about Paris, and uniquely French manners.

Personally, unlike several of the other reviewers, I found her discussions of female Parisian behavior interesting.In my 20-something East Coast world, women are often more talkative
and expressive than men, so it was interesting to hear how, in the author's experience French women do not take the lead in discussions.As I am used to a certain solidarity among
American women, it was interesting to read that Parisian women do not share this trait.The author didn't make me think that French women are doormats, merely that their social
behavior differs from than of the American women I know.I didn't find the author to be a militant feminist at all, though perhaps these observations about female behavior are more
interesting to women than men.

I also found that she had nearly as many negative stereotypes about Americans as she did about Parisians.An okay, but not great book about Paris.I would have given it three or
four stars if it had been longer.

1-0 out of 5 stars Iowa Corn would be a better title . . .
Instead of an enlightening and humorous look at the French culture, this book presents an extremely narrow perspective of a middle-aged American woman who looks back on how shocking the real world in France was 20 years ago and still may be in her small corner of Paris.Indeed, you can pretty much replace the word "Paris" with "New York City" and the anecdotes wouldn't be different.

Ms. Rochefort admits she grew up in a tiny farm town in the southwest corner of Iowa.From her writing it appears that she still thinks she's there (only she's shocked that there are buildings that look like the Tour Eiffel and the Arc de Triomphe).

While some of her anecdoates are the slight bit amusing, most of them meander without a point and tend to be more complaints than observations.Her personal opinions obscure a truly objective view of the French.She claims to balance her perspective by "interviewing" her French husband Phillippe.I can only guess that he is not a typical Frenchman to have married this woman (indeed, it is interesting that she never discusses how they met or what events led up to them deciding to get married).

She reveals such shockers that French women like shoes, shopping (but not for groceries), and cook several course meals for their families.WOW!REALLY?That is so different from women in Peoria, Illinois.She also discloses that the French are not as prudish as we Americans, that they have a passion for food and politics, and that there are etiquette rules in society.I'M FLABBERGASTED!

She spends an inordinate amount of time ridiculing the French because the women are glared at if they shout or guffaw loudly in public (shame on them!), that French women are paid less than French men (this is news?), and that French women intentionally stay out of political discussions at the dinner table.Has Ms. Rochefort visited any other country in the last 30 years?I'd hate to think what she would write about the cultures in most Eastern European or Asian countries.

I am disappointed by this book (and that is putting it mildly) because I expected a more objective, universal view of the French.Not a personal vendetta because the author would rather be sitting in a Starbucks back in Iowa than learning about a country with more than 450 cheeses and wine and history more than 1000 years old.Frankly, I don't care what her mother-in-law does, especially if it is not characteristic of the Provencals, the people of Burgundy, or even of Parisians.

Peter Mayle has much more insightful accounts of the French than Ms. Rochefort.For that matter, so does Bill Bryson.This book is better suited to narrow-minded Americans who never plan on visiting France. ... Read more


192. Green River, Running Red : The Real Story of the Green River Killer--Americas Deadliest Serial Murderer
by Ann Rule
list price: $26.00
our price: $16.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743538250
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 341797
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Book Description

In the most extraordinary book Ann Rule has ever undertaken, America's master of true crime has spent more than two decades researching the story of the Green River Killer, who murdered more than forty-nine young women. The quest to discover the most prolific serial killer in American history has been an intimate part of Ann Rule's life, with some of the corpses found only a mile or so from where she lived and raised her own daughters. She did not know the killer, but he apparently knew her and attended many of her book signings.

For twenty-one years, the killer carried out his self-described "career" as a killing machine, ridding the world of women he considered evil. His eerie ability to lure his victims to their deaths and hide their bodies made him far more dangerous than any infamous multiple murderer in the annals of crime.

A few men -- including a law student, a truck painter, and a taxi driver -- eventually emerged as the prime suspects among an unprecedented forty thousand scrutinized by the Green River Task Force. Still, there was no physical evidence linking any of them to the murders until 2001, when investigators used a new DNA process on a saliva sample they had preserved since 1987, with stunning results.

Ann Rule has followed the case since July 1982, when the first body -- that of teenager Wendy Lee Coffield -- was found in the Green River, snagged on pilings under a bridge. Rule has compiled voluminous files, working through an incredible 95,000 pages of official police records, transcripts, photographs, and maps, winnowing out the chaff and identifying what is truly important. Over the years, she gained unparalleled access to all the key players -- from King County Sheriff Dave Reichert to those close to the killer and his victims.

When finally apprehended and convicted, the killer made a detailed confession -- of his twisted sexual obsessions -- that will shock even the most jaded reader. Green River, Running Red is a harrowing account of a modern monster, a killer who walked among us undetected. It is also the story of his quarry -- of who these young girls were, and who they might have become. A chilling look at the darkest side of human nature, this is the most important and most personal book of Ann Rule's long career. ... Read more


193. Anais Nin Reads Excerpts from the Diary of Anais Nin
by Anais Nin
list price: $12.00
our price: $12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559948361
Catlog: Book (1993-09-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 839317
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For many years the name Anais Nin was associated with the avant-garde and the literary underground. During the liberated 1960s she became widely recognized as a daring and innovative artist. Her work, at once familiar and exotic, is today considered among the important achievements of twentieth-century literature. Here she reads excerpts from her famous diary and answers questions. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST for Nin Fans.....
To hear Ms. Nin's sweet voice after reading her works for 25 years was mesmerizing and unexplicably delicious and delightful! She brought the selections to life as no other reader could have. If you love Anais Nin, this is a must-have!! ... Read more


194. STRANGER AT THE GATE TO BE GAY & CHRISTIAN IN AMERICA
by Steve White
list price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671891812
Catlog: Book (1994-05-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 1087758
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195. Thirteen Senses : A Memoir
by Victor Villasenor
list price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694526614
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 1040945
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Exhilarating Family Saga That Began In The Widely Acclaimed Bestseller Rain of Gold Continues

In Thirteen Senses, Victor Villaseñor brings listeners into the Bonnie-and-Clyde world of his parents, Salvador and Lupe, and their colorful immigrant family: a world set in Depression-era Southern California; a harsh world, where only the wily and strong survive, and where love, passion and committment to familia are the sole dependable forces in their lives. In the unfolding of the Villaseñors' story, we see Lupe move beyond her young and naive conventions of femininity to become a vessel of power, strength, courage and brains. Salvador, in turn, is forced to extend beyond his macho "Godfather" persona, becoming whole by learning to listen to the intuitive wisdom of his young wife.

A rapturous depiction of love between all men and women, Thirteen Senses uncovers a path toward enlightenment, enabling us to realize that an awakened soul is not restricted by the usage of five senses, but capable of using the power of all sacred thirteen.

Thirteen Senses is a daring memoir of love, magic, adventure and miracles. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Had not read "Rain of Gold"
I too was moved to read "13 Senses" by a PBS radio interview. What a great story. I apreciated the fact that Victor Villasenor did not list the thirteen senses but uses the story to illustrate what they are. An extremely mature writing style that I enjoyed.

After reading "13 Senses" I then read "Rain of Gold". Thirteen Senses is to me by far the better book. It is not just reporting facts and dates; it is reporting life and feelings. Victor Villasenor in this book believes, not just reports. The many years between the two books reflexes his attained maturity and sureness.

5-0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE!!
Victor Villasenor has done it again. He brings the gift of his family's continuing history once again. We meet up again with Lupe and Salvador on their journey through life together. I can say that this book along with Rain of Gold has touched me like no other. I have finished the book and already miss the characters. I applaude and thank the author for his wonderful gift...

4-0 out of 5 stars Mucho Macho
I read "Rain of Gold" in 2 days and *RAN* to Barnes & Noble to buy Thirteen Senses. However, it's been nearly two weeks since I opened Thirteen Senses and have only managed to complete 3/4 of it. I find myself sighing (heavily) and gritting my teeth through each and every chapter because it's LOADED with underlying male chauvinist concepts like "men are weak therefore women must be strong" crap. See page 407 where Dona Margarita sums it all up for her "daughter in love":

" . . . but, -- desgraciadamente, he is a man and so he will drift away from you with dreams of power and riches and maybe other--" (women, of course)." "Oh, no, mi hijita, men have been men for millions of years! What they are, they are already! So we, women, must face this and--".

Although Villasenor attempts to characterize Dona Margarita as an enlightened, independent, progressive, and strong woman for her era, he ultimately insults her and all women by placing her in the role of the clean-up lady.

Lupe's role is even worse! She is portrayed as a pure and innocent virgin . . . which of course is what ALL men naturally seek. I found it insulting that any attempts by Lupe to step into adulthood were characterized as "cute" and "innocent".

Was I the only person who thought it a bit strange Villasenor chose to include explicit details of his mother's honeymoon?

Don't get me wrong, it was an entertaining book and I don't want to downplay the much deserved success of a fellow Latino. When a book elicits this type of response it is only because it has succeeded in stirring up emotions. Toward that end, bravo Villasenor. But, let's edit out the virgin and the clean-up lady images. Roxanne Ocampo

4-0 out of 5 stars Villasenor is Magnificent!
I was truly excited to hear Villasenor had written a continuation to Rain of Gold! I could hardly wait to get my hands on a copy of Thirteen Senses, and I'm so happy I did. Rain of Gold did so much to change my perspective on the Mexican experience in this century, and I felt a longing to know what happened to Lupe and Salvadore after their marriage ceremony. This story really came through, showing their growth as a couple along with their individual spiritual growth. This story is about growing into real adulthood and loosing our childish self centeredness. It's about discovering how incredible a person can be, and how far limits can be pushed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Daughter-in-Love
I think the sequence where Lupe is talking with her mother-in-law an Idigeneous Mexican Indian was very moving. Finished the book on our way to San Francisco were we visited our daughter-in-love" and our son and grandchild. Have been struggleing with the "Thirteenth Sense" all my life, and if I can't make it on a beautiful barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico, with my husband of 37 years, there is no hope for the rest of us. Buying the book for Christmas gifts to give all the people who give meaning to my life. Beautifully written and with such sensitivity it makes you want to invite Victor for dinner. ... Read more


196. People Of The Century : One Hundred Men And Women Who Shaped The Last One Hundred Years
by The editors of Time-life
list price: $30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684872315
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 198374
Average Customer Review: 2.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is the century that split the atom, probed the psyche, spliced genes, and cloned a sheep. Plastic, the silicon chip, and rock-and-roll were invented. Airplanes, rockets, satellites, televisions, computers, and atom bombs were built. Traditional ideas about logic, language, learning, mathematics, economics, and even space and time were overthrown and radically refashioned. People of the Century presents the most influential leaders, artists, intellects, and heroes who shaped this monumental era.

This century's most influential people were selected by the editors of Time magazine and featured in a series of documentaries produced by CBS News. Here, their profiles are crafted by this era's finest writers, from Salman Rushdie and Elie Wiesel, to Gloria Steinem, George Plimpton, Robert Hughes, and more. Memorably narrated by some of the century's most accomplished actors, People of the Century is the ultimate millennial keepsake. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Some Parts Good; Mostly A Dissapointment
This audio presentation of "People of the Century" is I'm afraid mostly a dissapointment. Dan Rather serves as the overall narrator briefly mentioning the 100 people included with a select few of these people given an expanded presentation written usually by a famous author or personality (i.e. Lee Iacocca writing about Henry Ford; Salman Rushdie about Ghandi,etc.).

My criticism lies in the fact that some major figures were briefly mentioned while some lesser lights were highlighted. Examples of this include only brief mentions of people like Ronald Reagan and Ray Kroc(founder of McDonald's)while questionable figures like Margaret Sanger, Watson and Crick, and Charlie Chaplin are given expanded treatment.

There is of course the fact that many of these articles are slanted ideologically and that some articles are written by unabashed fans of the historical figure (i.e. Arthur Schlessinger on FDR)while other articles are written by critics (i.e. Richard Shickel on Walt Disney) thus furthuring to unbalance the presentations.

The Best Inclusions in my view: Rushdie on Ghandi, Iacocca on Ford, and Elie Wiesel on Adolph Hitler.

While you might learn something from this work, you would be better off reading individual biographies of these people

1-0 out of 5 stars If you've never heard of Winston Churchill, this CD is for y
Very disappointing. Much of the narrative spits out facts that everyone already knows. Most of the rest is decoration, trite commentary and superficial philosophizing. The piece on Bill Gates is typical. It was delivered in a contemptuous tone, skipped the exciting history of Microsoft, and even dismissed "The Road Ahead" as trivial! Similarly, Iacocca's piece on Henry Ford does not even mention Ford's infamous bigotry. In fairness, I must say that I did learn a bit about the lesser known people, and enjoyed the imaginative piece on Gandhi. On the whole, though, if you've ever heard of Winston Churchill, this CD will probably bore you.

4-0 out of 5 stars People of the Century
It¹s countdown time whether we face it or not. And the bestsellers prove it. We¹ve encountered books predicting happenings for the millennium we¹re about to greet and books listing people, businesses, music, inventions, events that have made impacts during the millennium we¹re leaving. In addition to Life: Our Century in Pictures and Russell Ash¹s The Top 10 of Everything 2000, there are seemingly 1000 collections about these 1000 years. One book worth looking at is PEOPLE OF THE CENTURY with a forward by Dan Rather of CBS and an afterward by Walter Isaacson of Time Magazine. The compilation features 100 men and women who influenced the century, rather than the millennium.We reunite with leaders, artists, and intellectuals who gave us rock Œn¹ roll,jazz, flight; shopping malls, existentialism, bytes; splitting the atom, penicillin, cloning of sheep, and Bob Dylan. Those writing the profiles with reputability include William F, Buckley, Rita Dove, Molly Ivins, Roger Rosenblatt, and Deborah Tannen. Descriptions of the contributors appear in the index along with photo credits, nicely referenced. We readily expect some profiles: Henry Ford, Anne Frank, James Joyce, Rosa Parks, Theodore Roosevelt, and Igor Stravinsky, We might have forgotten others: Sigmund Freud (as profiled by Peter Gay) and Leo Baekeland, the maker of plastics who moved to the U.S. from Belgium in 1889. We ask ³why?² of others. For example, Hitler is included, as is Bart Simpson. Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel bluntly admits how frightening it was to write of Hitler. And some readers might bluntly admit how foolish it is to read about ³forever 10,² make-believe Bart Simpson. Others might question ever-lovin¹ Oprah being among the 100, but the criteria put her on the list. PEOPLE OF THE CENTURY concerns people who ³cast a long shadow.² We are refreshed by some inclusions: Emmeline Pankhurst, for instance, reminds us of the women¹s-right-to-vote, which she achieved for England in 1918 (2 years before America¹s in 1920.) The book is arranged chronologically, beginning in 1903 in nearby Kitty Hawk and moving poignantly to 1989 with the ³unknown,² lone ³everyman² in Tiananmen Square. In this compact history, people are profiled as well as pictured with a ³life-at -a glance² bio. The index needs improvement ( so that readers can more easily locate people by their fields) and so do Dan Rather mixed metaphors. ( The new age is ³taking flight² and becoming a ³rough draft.²) Also Paul Rudnick could use poetic sensitivity when writing about Marilyn Monroe. He callously groups her with American commodities of Coca-cola and Levis. Isaacson¹s afterward reminds us of the century¹s lessons: ³freedom won² and not the pursuit of ³material abundance² but the nurturing of ³the dignity and values of each individual.² Obviously some of these lessons were learned the hard way. PEOPLE OF THE CENTURY reminds us to repeat the goodness of our history, repel the other, and to think as we close this year, this century, this millennium.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well written and interesting though a biased list of greats
This presentation of 100 great people of the century (as selected by the editors of TIME) is noteworthy both for its bias and limited scope - it is heavy on Americans and late 20th century personalities - and for its writing. Each person is presented to the reader through an essay, and most of these essays are not capsule biographies so much as meditations on the nature of the person and his/her influence. The strange pairing of certain authors and subjects (Elie Wiesel on Adolf Hitler or Salman Rushdie on Mohandas K. Ghandi) allow for some interesting insights and speculation. More sympathetic pairings of author and subject (George Plimpton on Muhammad Ali, Rita Dove on Rosa Parks, Philip Glass on Igor Stravinsky) offer equally interesting, though less speculative, pieces that are quite fun to read.

Overall, the quality of writing in the book is quite high, and even when it isn't (as, for example in Bill Gate's essay on the Wright brothers or Lee Iacocca on Henry Ford) the insights of the author - because of who and what they are - allow the ideas to take on a level of significance that makes up for so-so skills as an essayist.

I received this as a Christmas present and spent most of Christmas day reading through all the essays. It provided a very pleasant way to review the century we are leaving. My one regret with the book is the inclusion of a few subjects that simply don't belong (Brue Lee, Bart Simpson? )which necessarily restricted the field that could be included. It is, of course, a personal bias and everyone will have their own take on who should or should not have been represented, but in the entire list there is only one novelist, one poet, one composer, one painter; yet there are numerous political and military figures. Understandable in terms of overt impact on history, but it sells the cultural aspects of the century short._ ... Read more


197. No Room for Error: The Covert Operations of America's Special Tactics Units from Iran to Afghanistan
by Colonel John T. Carney Jr., Benjamin F. Schemmer
list price: $34.95
our price: $29.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1885408943
Catlog: Book (2002-09-25)
Publisher: Listen & Live Audio
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When the U.S. Air Force decided to create an elite "special Tactics" team in the late 1970s to work with special-operations forces, John T. Carney was the man they turned to.Since then Carney and the U.S. Air Force Special Tactics units have circled the world on clandestine missions.They have combated terrorists and overthrown dangerous dictators.They have suffered eighteen times the casualty rate of America’s conventional forces.But they have gotten the job done.Now, for the first time, Colonel Carney lifts the veil of secrecy and reveals what really goes on inside the special-operations forces that are at the forefront of contemporary warfare. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Reading for Students of Military History
I am privileged to have received and read an early copy of this book, a timely reminder to all Americans that "Freedom is not Free." Colonel John T. Carney, Jr. (Retired), is President of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a very special charity that provides full scholarships to the children and families of fallen special operations soldiers, sailors and airmen. As a member of a fraternity of men known as "Quiet Professionals," it must have been terribly difficult for him to put into words acts of incredible courage which have heretofore been closely held knowledge among very few people. On the verge of retirement from the Air Force after a disappointing and stalled career, Carney gets a word of advice from an old friend, changes his career track and begins a journey down a lonely road towards the creation of a special Air Force unit that expertly handles air assets during special operations missions. The road for his "Brand X" unit is full of obstacles, but with slow acceptance among some of the Army's Special Forces legends, like Colonel Charlie Beckwith and Lieutenant Colonel Lewis "Bucky" Burruss, he doggedly champions his unit's abilities and repeatedly demonstrates the utility of having a trained combat controller in situ with the Army's Special Forces teams. Having previously been a football coach for the Air Force Academy, Carney's program for his special tactics teams is as tough as any training the services can muster, including HALO, HAHO and scuba training. Skydiving is fun. HALO and HAHO with special operations forces in the dead of night, in all weather conditions, and with 200 pounds of equipment is deadly serious business and not much fun at all. The men whose job is to maintain that edge now have a safety net for their families: the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. They can do their jobs comfortable in the knowledge that the net is held by an American hero, Colonel John T. Carney, Jr., founder of the Air Force Special Tactics teams.

5-0 out of 5 stars The credit they deserve
Along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, in the Mekong delta, and in the air, the U.S. military's special operations forces played key roles in Vietnam. After being neglected by the regular military bureaucracy for most of the quarter-century that followed, U.S. special ops forces finally got the appreciation and credit they deserved when a few hundred very smart and superbly-trained men engineered the overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. This book is largely about the period in between Vietnam and the post-9/11campaign, and it fills an important gap in the literature. It focuses particularly on the U.S. Air Force's Special Tactics Units, who are an essential part of the larger special ops picture, and who make many missions possible through their extraordinary skils at getting teams in and out of dangerous territory, often at night and without being detected by the enemy. This book is full of revelations, and is highly recommended to anyone interested in the field.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but might be better as a Documentary Movie
I'm about 2/3 done with this book. I previously read Black Hawk Down, and picked up this book next. While Black Hawk Down makes you feel like you are in the middle of the action, this book reads more like a documentary. You never quite feel for the heroes the author writes about; you never quite understand who they are, what their personalities are like, are what these people have gone through. Instead, its almost as if you are watching a black-and-white movie and are set far back away from the action. There's a lot of facts, and a lot of names. Names of people that not too many people (at least today) know about. The main point of the book seems to be that Special Operations has really grown up in America, and that frankly it was really disorganized before.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book on America's silent warriors!!!!
I am a combat control apprentice right now and I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Special Operations or just want to understand them better. It is written in a historical format that presented facts more than a dramatic style.

I am very proud to be doing what I am doing after reading this book. It really brings Air Force Special Ops out and presents it for everyone to read. There are still many people in the military including those in the Air Force or don't know what Combat Controllers or PJ's are. Since combat control is such a new unit, news programs often credit other unit forces with tasks that were performed by AFSOC (Air Force Special Operations Command) units.

3-0 out of 5 stars Informative, historically accurate, lacks action
I enjoy military books immensely, and this book seemed right up my alley. I like those books that you can not put down, where you feel like you are right there in the middle of the action. This book, however, is written in a historical manner which presents lots of facts, names and who did this, who went where info. There is very little first-person action where conflicts are described and you feel part of the battle. Great book, well written, just not what I was looking for. ... Read more


198. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin
by Gordon S. Wood
list price: $34.95
our price: $23.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565118855
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Highbridge Audio
Sales Rank: 734783
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From "the preeminent historian of the Revolution" (Jonathan Yardley), a groundbreaking study, many years in the making, of Benjamin Franklin the man, Benjamin Franklin the myth, and the roots of American character.

Central to America's idea of itself is the character of Benjamin Franklin. We all know him, or think we do: In recent works and in our inherited conventional wisdom, he remains fixed in place as a genial polymath and self-improver who was so very American that he is known by us all as the first American.

The problem with this beloved notion of Franklin's quintessential Americanness, Gordon Wood shows us in this marvelous, revelatory book, is that it's simply not true. And it blinds us to the no less admirable or important but far more interesting man Franklin really was and leaves us powerless to make sense of the most crucial events of his life. Indeed, thinking of Franklin as the last American would be less of a hindrance to understanding many crucial aspects of his life-his preoccupation with becoming a gentleman; his longtime loyalty to the Crown and burning ambition to be a player in the British Empire's power structure; the personal character of his conversion to revolutionary; his reasons for writing the Autobiography; his controversies with John and Samuel Adams and with Congress; his love of Europe and conflicted sense of national identity; the fact that his death was greeted by mass mourning in France and widely ignored in America.

But Franklin did become the Revolution's necessary man, Wood shows, second behind George Washington. Why was his importance so denigrated in his own lifetime and his image so distorted ever since? Ironically, Franklin's diplomacy in France, which was essential to American victory, was the cause of the suspicion that clouded his good name at home-and also the stage on which the "first American" persona made its debut. The consolidation of this mirage of Franklin would await the early nineteenth century, though, when the mask he created in his posthumously published Autobiography proved to be the model the citizens of a striving young democracy needed.

The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin is a landmark work, a magnificent fresh vision of Franklin's life and reputation, filled with profound insights into the Revolution and into the emergence of America's idea of itself.
... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars The insulted hero
The main point I took from this book is that Ben Franklin's conversion from loyal British subject and lover of the King of England to American revolutionary occurred primarily as a result of ridicule heaped on him by the British Parliament in his presence.So his Americanization, or radicalization, was a result of hurt feelings, was a grudge against those who turned on him.

He would have been happy to be a loyalist if only the British had flattered him.Isn't that childish?His idealism, his devotion to the cause of American independence, was nothing but his childish revenge at being personally insulted.It had nothing to do with British policy or any political issue.

Not that the American Revolution was a question of black and white idealism.We often hear that it wasn't, that it was a question of economics.We hear these days that the Boston Massacre was the fault of the Americans, that the British were innocent, that they were only defending themselves from a mob.The American Revolution wasn't a war of good vs evil as World War Two was.So Franklin can be excused for not knowing which side to land on, until he was personally insulted and his feelings of pride and revenge got involved.

That, in a nutshell, is the Americanization of Ben Franklin.But the book covers other material as well.One of the most interesting parts to me was Franklin's life in France, where he was loved and appreciated as much as Jerry Lewis.

John Adams comes off as a big boob in this book.An utter fool.I doubt it.I think the author chose to give us a cardboard John Adams to knock down, because he was a rival of Franklin.Adams is certainly not three dimensional here.He isn't even two dimensional.He is just on the left side of the line, the negative side, of a one-dimensional line, where the right side is intelligence and the left is nothing but a boob.

Franklin comes off as a bit of a boob too, in places.He kind of more or less sort of supports or doesn't object to the Stamp Act, but then when he is stunned by the violent reaction of the Americans to it, he goes oops, and he changes his tune.And he goes through the same thing about the Boston Tea Party, thinking the British actions were pretty much okay, maybe, who knows?, but then being surprised at the violent reaction of the revolutionaries, and offering to pay for the tea himself.

To the author's credit, he does explain why the British felt it necessary to tax the colonists.They were in a deep financial hole thanks to the French and Indian War in support of the colonists, and they needed to recoup their losses.The English people were taxed more heavily than the Americans to begin with.Franklin was correct to be ambivalent to these taxes.Again, the American Revolution was not a black and white case of good vs evil, so sensible people could land on either side of the question.

Franklin does not come off as an unqualified hero.He had a lot of sense and ability as an ambassador, and he was extremely important to the war effort primarily because he managed to get the military and financial assistance of France, without which the result could not have been what it was.For this reason alone, he is considered to be second only to Washington in importance.

On the other hand, he treated his wife churlishly, abandoning her, not caring about her a bit, while she suffered physically and pined away at home for him.Her sin was a lack of sophistication, and his weakness was vanity.

He prided himself on being a chess player on a grand stage, a world mover and shaker, but he completely misunderstood what was going on half the time.Later in life he realized that world events are not like a chess game, but more like a dice game, and his fallback position was that God controls, people don't.

Was his main strength simply that he knew how to play the French, or to put it another way, that the French loved his act and appreciated his anti-aristocracy views?

In the end of the book we are brought firmly onto his side by our sense of sympathy.Here he was, having secured America's independence from England, surrounded by idiots like John Adams who did nothing but obstruct, and America failed to appreciate their real hero.Only France got it right, and adored the man who fleeced them, who used them, who inspired them to their own revolution.

Franklin comes off strongest at the end of the book.We are told what his religious views were, and they make perfect sense.He believed in a creator, he did not believe in the divinity of Jesus, and he considered organized religion to be more divisive than unifying, and therefore probably more trouble than it is worth.I'd go along with him on those points.

He would have hated today's right wing loonies who think the Bible is the dictation of God Himself, and who don't even know what is in the Bible in the first place, thinking it is all about the evils of sex and abortion, when the fact is that abortion isn't mentioned once in that old collection of fictional myths and semi-history, and sex, whether hetero or homo, is far from central to the plot, is in fact barely touched upon, occasionally.

Franklin opposes the two-part Congress, the separation of Senate from Representatives.Why are there two houses of Congress anyway?Apparently it is to mimic the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and the Senate is the American version of the House of Lords, designed to give the wealthy a much stronger presence in government than the commoners.The Senate represents the power of the aristocracy, and Franklin saw no need for it.

Why do we have two houses anyway?I see his point.But to me, the rich have undue influence in every branch of government.It's their country, not ours, and the one thing we are called on to do is shut up and do what we're told.

I think the book is worth reading.Go read it.See what you make of it, and whether your impressions are similar to mine.

5-0 out of 5 stars Benjamin Franklin, Public Figure
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin is an excellent portrait of Benjamin Franklin as a public figure.The book does not focus heavily on his personal relationships with Deborah Franklin, his children and grandchildren (except perhaps with William), nor on his inventions, ideas and creations, but instead focuses on two things:the perception ofFranklin's public persona and Franklin's metamorphasis from loyal subject of the crown to American patriot.Franklin is an interesting and complex historical figure and was not as fully appreciated in America during his life as he should have been and Wood explains the political forces that led to that.Part of the problem, perhaps, was the fact that he had to be "Americanized" and made a radical.Those who were already Americanized and radicalized, such as John Adams, had difficulty believing that he fully supported the cause.The passage of time has of course corrected that misunderstanding.Wood does an excellent job of telling Franklin's story.The book is a very readable and engaging account of one of America's most compelling characters.

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting man, an interesting read.

Having several books on Benjamin Franklin, I was anxious to read this one, too. Having read it I think it well worth the time.

But I would caution any reader coming to this work expecting a full-blown biography, to read a straight biography or two, first. Mr. Wood is offering us glimpses or stages, such as restore points in a computer. We get to see Benjamin Franklin begin in poverty and accompany him as he moves through life. It is a quick, smooth read, but it really only touches the surface of the man called Benjamin Franklin. And this exists as a valid problem because as Mr. Woods states Mr. Franklin is still an enigma in many respects to most historians today. Just 'who' Benjamin Franklin was can give even the most diehard biographers great difficulty.

I'm sure any reader interested in colonial or American history will enjoy this book, but I also believe it cannot offer the depth of study that a biography would.

But, again, Mr. Woods DID NOT say he was writing a biography, that was never his intent, so I am NOT faulting him. His purpose is well served here. But a reader interested in a more complete life, may come away needing more

Truly, I think any book written by this scholar is deserving of our attention.

5-0 out of 5 stars BF's legacy saved by his Autobiography and Poor Richard
This book reads like a novel and is difficult to put down.The author tries to get into BF's mind, not an easy task.While Wood doesn't leave out BF's failures, it is easy to be overwhelmed with how talented this man was.Although his whole life is reviewed, I would like to cover in this review something only hinted at in the last chapter.

When BF was in his young to middle aged working life, he created, among other things, Poor Richard's Almanac.This was first published in 1733; full of common sense, admonitions to industry and frugality, and homespun proverbs.His last edition was in 1758, reprinted separately as "The Way To Wealth," and attributed to a "Father Abraham."

Later, when in a rare depression following a political failure in England, a friend convinced him he owed it to the public to write an autobiography.He began the first installment as advice to his son, William, and wrote additional entries over a number of years.

BF loved Europe, and they loved him.His work in electricity in his early 40's earned him in international reputation, complete with multiple honorary degrees.Perhaps because he spent so much time abroad, perhaps because his political enemies set the tone, he was not as appreciated in his home country.Interestingly, he made it back for the writing of the both the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution 11 yrs. later.

After BF died, he was virtually ignored in America, while France proclaimed 3 days of mourning and made him a national hero.This contrast is more than striking.There were lots of signers to the Declaration of Independence, but only a few of them stand out in America as household names.The rest of them have varied lesser legacies, with perhaps only short encyclopedia entries.

BF's legacy would possibly have shared that fate, had it not been for his writings, particularly his Autobiography and Poor Richard's Almanac.Vitally important to the popularity of BF's writings were the changes that were occuring in American society, lessening the mindless esteem of the seemingly non-working upper class, and celebrating the working man. Perhapshis books helped to expedite these changes.

In the early 1800's these two books became standard issue for those working men who aspired to get ahead in America."The Way To Wealth" alone had over a hundred editions in over a dozen languages.His "list of virtues" comprised 13 traits (virtues), each one to be concentrated on for a week at a time.At the end of thirteen weeks, they would have all been practiced once, so one starts over.At the end of a year, each one would have been worked on for four weeks.BF admitted in writing the difficulties he personally experienced while trying to be virtuous, but maintained there was virtue in attempting perfection.One of his famous statement concerns his difficulty conquering vanity.He wrote that in trying to keep his vanity under control during"humility" week, he found himself succumbing to proudness for having achieved so much humbleness (or something like that).

Indeed, in 1836, a copy of the Autobiography was amongst Davy Crockett's few possessions found at the Alamo. This excellent book about one of my heroes, though relatively short, captures BF's exemplary abilities and a few human weaknesses, and I recommend it highly.

4-0 out of 5 stars Really 3.5
This is an extended essay on Benjamin Franklin by the distinguished historian Gordon Wood.Wood explores Franklin's career and his later significance in American life.This concise book gives an outline of Franklin's life and then concentrates on Franklin's role in the American Revolution.Wood uses Franklin to show the evolution of many colonials from thinking of themselves as English and enthusiastic supporters of the British Empire to revolutionaries.Franklin is an extreme example of this general phenomenon.Resident for many years in England, Franklin was enamoured of the cosmopolitanism of English life and an enthusiastic imperialist.Many many colonials, he was disillusioned by the maladroit handling of colonial affairs after the Seven Years War.Once he converted to the cause of the Revolution, he became a fervent supporter and his diplomacy at the French court was crucial to the success of the Revolution.Woods deals also with Franklin's transition from craftsman to gentleman and his later adoption by the American public as the symbol of successful capitalism.These discussions provide some insight into the changing nature of social and political life engendered by the Revolution.
Like all of Wood's work, this is a well written and insightful book.It is, especially in comparison with his prior monographs, relatively slight.Well worth reading but not a major work of scholarship. ... Read more


199. Against the Gods : The Remarkable Story of Risk
by Peter L. Bernstein
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671576461
Catlog: Book (1997-03-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 474757
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller

"Ambitious and readable . . . an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism." —The New York Times

"An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book." —The Wall Street Journal

"A lively panoramic book . . . Against the Gods sets up an ambitious premise and then delivers on it." —Business Week

"Deserves to be, and surely will be, widely read." —The Economist

"[A] challenging book, one that may change forever the way people think about the world." —Worth

"No one else could have written a book of such central importance with so much charm and excitement." —Robert Heilbroner author, The Worldly Philosophers

"With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it." —John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University

In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today.

"An extremely readable history of risk." —Barron's

"Fascinating . . . this challenging volume will help you understand the uncertainties that every investor must face." —Money

"A singular achievement." —Times Literary Supplement

"There's a growing market for savants who can render the recondite intelligibly—witness Stephen Jay Gould (natural history), Oliver Sacks (disease), Richard Dawkins (heredity), James Gleick (physics), Paul Krugman (economics)—and Bernstein would mingle well in their company." —The Australian ... Read more

Reviews (111)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mathematics for freethinkers, for gamblers, for bankers
Any reader who picks up "Against the Gods" for mathematical amusement will be surprised to find out that "the revolutionary idea that defines the boundary between modern times and the past is the mastery of risk." This claim, in the introduction, should be evidence enough that this book is no brainteaser, but rather the chronicle of a concept that has transformed how society thinks about the future.

Peter Bernstein, author and consultant, begins with the ancient civilizations that came close but never actually thought specifically about risk. The reasons are many-for one, absent Arabic numerals, computational mathematics were impossible. More importantly, conceiving of risk required a profound metamorphosis of the way people thought about the future: mathematicians and philosophers could only develop risk mathematics once people were convinced that the future was unpredictable and depended on their choices more so than the whims of any particular deity.

Most of the advances in the field came from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Often, the impetus was gambling; in fact, most of the puzzles that mathematicians tried to solve by developing probability mathematics were related to card games or craps. After that came the actuarial science, with mathematicians gripping with questions of life expectancies and illnesses.

Only in the second half of the twentieth century does risk become highly mathematical, as it enters into economics and finance, where precision and quantitative data overtake rough estimations and qualitative analysis. But with the emergence of precision have also come severe criticisms-on one end from psychologists who have cast doubt on the robustness of the rational behavior hypothesis, and on the other, from chaos mathematicians who prefer non-linear and complex explanations that go against the intellectual tradition of statisticians.

The history of risk, readers will find out, is more interesting than expected. It is a story of gamblers, philosophers, mathematicians, economists, psychologists and many others. Most of all, it is a chronicle of an ever ending dream: to anticipate or even predict the future. Whether people will ever be able to do that is doubtful; but there is no better account of that quest than Mr. Bernstein's "Against the Gods."

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding book about the evolution of risk.
Against the Gods is an outstanding book about the evolution of risk and man's attempt to understand it. Bernstein begins with ancient times and traces the history of numbers and probability leading eventually to today's seemingly complex financial world of portfolio theory, derivatives, and risk management techniques. Readers will learn about revolutionary thinkers including John von Neumann (inventor of game theory), Isaac Newton, Harry Markowitz (grandfather of portfolio theory), and the late Fischer Black (Black Scholes option formula) among others. Readers will also find enlightening stories about game theory, fibonacci numbers, chaos theory, the bell curve, regression to the mean, and more. Yet despite all the intelligence, computer power, and sophisticated techniques, Bernstein presents us with the growing body of evidence discovered by researchers including the late Amos Tversky and others that "reveals repeated patterns of irrationality, inconsistency, and incompetence in the ways human beings arrive at decisions and choices when faced with uncertainty." Against the Gods was chosen as one of Business Week's top 10 books of the year for 1996.

3-0 out of 5 stars History Buffs: Here you go!
Against the Gods draws you through a vast time span. Peter Bernstein begins with the conception of the Arabic numbeting system, up through present time super speed computers. Although, the history found in this book is interesting, the title leads you to believe it is all about investment risks, however it is more of a history text book than a manual. This book is a story of theories and how they developed. You will learn quite a bit about ancient times and how things evolved into the way that they are now, but do not expect any great help or advice on how to deal with risks in the investment world. Once you get into this book, Bernstein's writing sytle draws you in. The book is interesting enough, Bernstein's knowledge of hisotry is astounding. History Buffs: here ya go!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good outline of the history of risk
"Against the Gods" is a book outlining the history of risk. The book provides an outline of all the key players and their contribution to risk theory and management. Chronologically, the book begins in ancient times and stretches all the way to the present, where Bernstein delves into the works of modern day risk luminaries. The book is well written and the style is engaging, with the author always managing to find a way to keep the reader entertained as well as informed.

The book does not pretend to be a "how to" guide for risk management, nor should readers treat it as such. Although the book does discuss modern risk management tools such as derivatives, it is devoid of complex technical analysis and its treatment of such devices is limited to outlining their place in the history of risk. Those looking for technical trading analysis should seek elsewhere.

One of the key questions a potential reader of this book should be asking is "Does this book have any practical applications with regards to modern day risk management?" Whilst as mentioned above the book is not a step by step guide, I firmly believe the book is useful insofar as it enables the reader to avoid the pitfalls of the past. For example, capital markets are continually surprising those who hold an unwavering belief in "regression to the mean". The books provides an explanation of what this theory states, how it has been applied and where overzealous disciples have misused this principle in the past. Overall I would recommend this book as an informative and enjoyable read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Neutral Recommendation - Do Not Buy - Maybe Borrow
I am going to give you a short review and to the point.

I read this book because it was recommended on "Money Talk" the national radio show on every weekend for 6 hours on investing - Bob Brinker hosting. He is an excellent market timer and gives solid advice. Follow his (diversified investment) advice and you will make lots of money and unlike mutual funds do better than the S&P 500 with low expense ratios.

He had a recommended reading list and he named this book. The book is a disappointment. It is light weight stuff. Only part is on the markets. Frankly I cannot recommend the book.

The point of the book is that the market carries risk. Most people know that and never put more than 4% in one stock. Even Bill Gates knows that and has quietly converted some of his Microsoft stock into other areas. So skip the book and just invest in government backed instruments or follow the golden rule, no more than 4% in one stock.

Jack in Toronto ... Read more


200. The CHILDREN'S BOOK OF HEROES CASSETTE
by William J. Bennett
list price: $12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671576291
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 204020
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"We all need a hero or two to help us stand fast and think right," says William J. Bennett, author of The Book of Virtues, the #1 bestseller that millions of American families turn to for moral inspiration. A new treasury chosen for young children, presents splendid tales of the valor and indomitable spirit. This lasting testament to our cherished values features performances by:

  • Elayne Bennett
  • André Braugher
  • Patricia Kalember
  • Campbell Scott

The Children's Book of Heroes is a celebration of the endurance, sacrifice, courage, and compassion that characterize truly heroic deeds. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting mix of historical and fictional heroes
William J. Bennett and Michael Hague, having teamed together to produce the national bestseller "The Children's Book of Virtues," now offer up "The Children's Book of Heroes," which celebrates heroic deeds, both historical and fictional, as appropriate inspiration for children. Certainly it is interesting to see the dozen-plus heroes, from Christopher Columbus and Jackie Robinson to the legendary Sir Roland to a young girl named Tashira, who are presented in this volume.

People might be surprised as to how few religious and political figures are included in this volume given that Bennett is the editor. For the former there are just the Biblical story of "David and Goliath," the story of "Father Flanagan" of Boys Town, and "Mother Teresa" as the epitome of the modern-day heroine. The only political figures, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, appear in episodes well before they each became president with "A Prayer at Valley Forge" and "Honest Abe" respectively. However, one of the better aspects of this book is that some of the stories and poems are not about famous people but rather about a mother ("About Angels"), dads ("Only a Dad"), and even how kids can be heroes by putting themselves on the line for someone they love ("The Hero of Indian Cliffs") and showing moral courage in order to avoiding temptation ("Our Heroes").

Because of my academic interest in mythology I was especially interest in the two classical myths that were selected. The story of Theseus and "The Minotaur" is given as an example of doing the right thing even when afraid of danger while the story of Oedipus and "The Sphinx" is used to remind us that heroes use their brains. This is certainly an interesting pair given what happens to each hero after their defeat these monsters: Theseus and Ariadne never make it back together to Athens and as for Oedipus, well, you probably know what happened to him once he became king of Thebes.

"The Children's Book of Heroes" does indeed present a diverse collection of role models, which at the very least, should expand a child's notion of what constitutes a hero. Each story begins with a brief comment on what the particular life lesson is from that story, for example Jackie Robinson represents "keeping your cool and doing the best you can in a bad situation," which arguably present values that transcend the ideological spectrum.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Kids are Enthralled
Bennett has edited another fine book that introduces young children to values and charactor while making reading interesting.

This book of heros combines mythical and historical figures with everyday folk (moms and dads) whose actions and charactor speak to the better values that should be taught to children. The book is fairly accessible to ages 4 and 5 -- the gist of the story will usually be understood and there are enough new concepts / words to prompt meaningful discussion. The illustrations are rich and invite children into the story by providing an attractive visual introduction to each vignette.

Bennett continues to provide a great service to parents and children with the series of which the Book of Heros is a part.

1-0 out of 5 stars More Cultural Bigotry from a Drug War-Criminal
It's not surprising that Bill Bennett has ignored some of the more marginalized of society. Here's some folks YOU WON'T find in Bill Bennett's "heroes"

Saladin: who gave Christians in his domain greater tolerance than the Christians did the Muslims

Ashoka: whose (real) legendary beneficient government is sitll to be matched by the West

I could go on... but suppose, just suppose your "real mom and dad" is a child abuser.

Not all real moms and dads *can or should* be looked up to, and Bennett expresses is profound lack of humanity with such jingoistic nonsense. To suggest that simply because 2 people are have a contract that is ratified at an atavistic ceremony, and have sexual intercourse resulting in the birth of life human somehow makes them "heroes" (when in reality they may be *Republicans*) is obscene.

I wouldn't let my kid near this man's work.

But this isn't surprising- the policies carried out on his watch have needlessly imprisioned *thousands* of real people.

Now there's some heroes he could have put in- the people who are standing up to the tyranny created by Bennett's "War on Drugs."

5-0 out of 5 stars My kids really love these stories!
I know some of these stories but not all. My 3-year old and 5-year old really sit and listen. They even ask questions about them later.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for all parents, forget the politics, buy the book
Has the old with the new, learned along with my children, great book ... Read more


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