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$17.68 $9.99 list($26.00)
61. Living History
$15.61 $14.45 list($22.95)
62. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
$18.89 $10.00 list($29.98)
63. Three Weeks With My Brother
$25.00 $1.89
64. Worth the Fighting For : A Memoir
$17.15 $16.85 list($25.98)
65. They Made America: Two Centuries
$0.50 list($12.00)
66. Jen-X: Jenny McCarthy's Open Book
$25.87 $11.99 list($36.95)
67. Careless Love (Bookcassette(r)
$16.35 $15.89 list($25.95)
68. Founding Mothers : The Women Who
$2.87 list($27.50)
69. Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms
$32.00 $23.68
70. The Apprentice: My Life in the
$8.25 list($24.95)
71. An Unfinished Marriage
$34.95
72. Ghosts Of Everest:The Search For
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73. I'm a Stranger Here Myself : Notes
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74. Angela's Ashes (AUDIO CASSETTE)
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75. IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING
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76. My Brother
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77. The Lives of the Kings and Queens
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78. Let Me Go
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79. Without a Doubt
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80. Hidden Treasures : Searching for

61. Living History
by Hillary Clinton
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743528336
Catlog: Book (2003-06-09)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 53873
Average Customer Review: 3.05 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Hillary Rodham Clinton is known to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Yet few beyond her close friends and family have ever heard her account of her extraordinary journey. She writes with candor, humor and passion about her upbringing in suburban, middle-class America in the 1950s and her transformation from Goldwater Girl to student activist to controversial First Lady. Living History is her revealing memoir of life through the White House years. It is also her chronicle of living history with Bill Clinton, a thirty-year adventure in love and politics that survives personal betrayal, relentless partisan investigations and constant public scrutiny.

Hillary Rodham Clinton came of age during a time of tumultuous social and political change in America. Like many women of her generation, she grew up with choices and opportunities unknown to her mother or grandmother. She charted her own course through unexplored terrain -- responding to the changing times and her own internal compass -- and became an emblem for some and a lightning rod for others. Wife, mother, lawyer, advocate and international icon, she has lived through America's great political wars, from Watergate to Whitewater.

The only First Lady to play a major role in shaping domestic legislation, Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled tirelessly around the country to champion health care, expand economic and educational opportunity and promote the needs of children and families, and she crisscrossed the globe on behalf of women's rights, human rights and democracy. She redefined the position of First Lady and helped save the presidency from an unconstitutional, politically motivated impeachment. Intimate, powerful and inspiring, Living History captures the essence of one of the most remarkable women of our time and the challenging process by which she came to define herself and find her own voice -- as a woman and as a formidable figure in American politics. ... Read more

Reviews (651)

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good book
I just love Hillary Clinton, but this is only after I read this book. I never really cared for her, but I decided to give this book a shot. Now that I've read it, I can see what an incredible woman she really is. I admire her greatly.

As for the book itself, it wasn't the best thing I had ever read. Some of it was a little boring, but overall I thought it was worth reading. I enjoyed reading about her childhood and I loved hearing about her getting involved in politics. I now see her relationship with Bill in a new light, and I am glad she didn't dwell on the Monica Lewinsky scandal. She had a much bigger story to tell, and I am glad she did it.

The reason some people may not like this book is because it reads more like a political manifesto rather than an out-and-out memoir. The times when she went into too much detail on foreign policies were things I could have done without. Still, I am glad I gave this book a shot because it really does make you see her in a new light. She is no longer the ice woman I once thought she was. Then again my family is predominantly Republican, so it's no wonder I thought that. It's hard for me to think I once thought so little of this incredible woman.

Another reason people may not like this is because they were expecting a juicy gossip rag about the Lewinsky scandal. Like I said earlier, Ms. Clinton does not dwell on this and I love her for that. That is a time in her life she has moved on from and we should all take a page from her book.

I have a newfound respect for Hillary Clinton. She has inspired me to become more involved in politics and I think she is just an amazing woman. Thanks to her, I have come to embrace my liberal views and am not afraid to be the only Democrat in a family full of Republicans. Go out and buy this book to get a glimpse into who this woman really is. She will get my vote if she ever decides to run for the presidency of the United States.

4-0 out of 5 stars History Light
I must admit that this is the first memoir I have ever read that was by the First Lady and given this one is graded as one of the better ones, I think it may be my last. It was not that the book was badly written, it was just that the majority of what the First Lady does is not all that interesting to me. Reading about this fund raisers, good will trips or party planning are not my idea of thrilling political insider info. I am more interested in the hard fought, inside the beltway battles that make major decisions. I obviously new this book was about the First Lady, but given the Clinton Presidency, I assumed that it would cover more in depth the political battles the administration faced. Then again the book was about her.

The next compliant I would have about the book is that the author seamed to take the high road on all the areas you thought she would come out with both guns blazing on. Her comments were so bland that they almost acted to diminish or completely disregarded the very negative attacks the Clinton's faced during their terms. Sure she touched on the items of major interest, heath care reform, the full independent counsel investigation, Monica and the Senate race, but it seamed to be at such a high level that all the real nasty, dirty inside details were left out of the book. Ok I know that she has a new job now so that she did not what to lay waste the political landscape that she will be working in and one could make the argument that the First Lady needs to stay above the partisan attacks, but hey this is the edge of the seat reading I wanted.

Lastly I wanted more detail. Now given that she had lead a rather full life, Governors wife, working on the Nixon impeachment, First Lady and now Senator, to get a real detailed account of all of these areas she would have needed a much larger if not multiple volume book. I guess I would have just liked her to focus on the First Lady section of her life and have gone into more detail. Just as the book seamed to be getting into a topic, the chapter was over and on to the next installment of Hilary on the move.

Even though I have focused on the areas I disliked with the book, overall I thought it was probably better then most books dealing with the Clinton years. I did think the writing was better then average and she did have an interesting story to tell. The details she did given about the life of the First Lady and some of the inside information about the Clinton Presidency were worth the purchase price, throw in some of the personal bit and the book was not bad at all. I also have a sympathetic spot for her, so the increased my enjoyment of the book. I guess I am just a bit disappointed that the book could have been so much better. It could have been a stinging and focused rebuttal of all the overly negative and harmful to the country attacks. Then again how could one book fight back the 8 year, over the top negative campaign focused against the Clinton's. I felt the book was interesting and enjoyable.

2-0 out of 5 stars She's a good girl...
Hillary Clinton is an interesting woman, with tremendous drive and ambition, and this will often get a woman branded as the devil incarnate. The very polarized views of her are not surprising.

What was surprising was the tone and lack of depth in this book. It reads as if she had a list of items she wanted to tick off as having explained. 'I'm a good girl, really.' was the underlying theme. I can't believe she's as naive as she portrays herself. She does admit to a few mistakes, but her apologies are all for not doing a better job, like any good girl.

The healthcare chapter is a good example. She was unable to overcome hurdles around the complexity of the legislative process involved, and she makes 'apologies' for her failure along the lines of 'well, we tried really hard & it's a good cause'. But as she & Bill are both Yale lawyers, with experience in private practice (her) and as the Arkansas attorney general (him) and as they had easy access to many of the best legal minds in the country, it is hard to understand. It comes across more like professional negligence than the naivety it is painted as. I suspect ambition (the 100 day goal) was the real cause for failure, which is a shame given how important this issue is to our country and how badly we need healthcare reform. To put something this complex under a 100 day deadline is almost sophomoric - or ambition out of control.

She is also careful to mention every person and cause that might win over supporters. An extraordinary number of her enounters seemed to have resulted in 'lifelong' friendships. Many iconic figures like Jackie Kennedy and Nelson Mandela get a lot of airtime. It's a bit too good to be true. It reads almost as if she's running for something.

Maybe Sarah Bradford, who wrote that wonderful biography of Jackie Kennedy, will write the book about Hillary one day and we'll get a better picture of who she really is - from all angles. Personally, I would have found the intelligent, ambitious Hillary much more interesting and admirable than the girl scout we hear about in this book... it's a shame powerful women still feel they have to paint themselves as 'good girls' to be heard.

5-0 out of 5 stars 10 things to love about this book.
1. Candid revelations: "It was no surprise that Bill turned out to be a cheat. He used to hang out in the parking lot of Arby's to pick up Monica types, but it still hurts."

2. On the Sixties: "Bill really did inhale, as did we all."

3. On lesbianism rumors: "I am not a Lesbian, I only tried it those times to find that out."

4. On faith: "I am a deeply spiritual Church goer, I also dabble in Voodoo and my Wicken name is priestess Dominatrix."

5. On movies: "My favorite movie is that one by Tarintino, I forget the title, something Bill."

6. On her detractors: "They call me a cold angry lady. I am just aloof and have some hate issues."

7. On the vast right wing conspiricy: "They put a computer chip in Bill's head that makes him not very particular about the ladies."

8. On forgivness: "We all make mistakes, even I can recall waking up next to Monica after a night of drinking on a few occasions."

9. On Terrorists: "Let's find out why they are unhappy, maybe they need a hug."

10. On running for President: "I understand that France hates us for being powerful so I will reduce our power to an amount equal or less than that of other countries and stop all this helping people in forign lands stuff."

5-0 out of 5 stars An intelligent account of history, (not gossip filled)
If you are looking for gossip, go read another book. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's book is as the title states: It is a Living History. It is well-written and filled with facts and stories of past generations. If you have children or grandchildren this is a book you should buy for them. It is a warm and compassionate way to learn history (as opposed to our education system that tends to teach history via war dates). Buy this book. You Won't Be Sorry!

(...) ... Read more


62. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Abridged Audio Edition)
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679451730
Catlog: Book (1996-09-03)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 315978
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

2 CDs / 3 hours
Read by the Author, Maya Angelou

Also available on cassette

Superbly told--with the poet's gift for language and observation, and charged with the unforgettable emotion of remembered anguish and love--this remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are unaware of.
... Read more

Reviews (255)

3-0 out of 5 stars compared to To Kill a Mockingbird.....
Our 8th grade English class was required to pick an independent reading book. I picked I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou. At the same time, my class was reading To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is similar to To Kill A Mockingbird in many ways. Both books portray a girl and her brother growing up in a Southern town. The main character represents the author as a young girl learning about prejudice and the hardships of life. Both authors express their views and opinions through the main character. The key difference between the two books is "as simple as black and white." Maya is black and sees the whites as a group of prejudiced rich people. Scout is white and sees how her classmates and her town is prejudiced against Tom Robinson and other blacks. An interesting observation that I made was that although both books are against prejudice, both authors are partly prejudiced themselves. Maya Angelou seems to see all whites as evil and prejudiced, while Harper Lee shows kind whites like Atticus. Lee makes the blacks seem accepting of prejudice and docile while Angelou sees blacks as people who are very aware of their situation and rebel against prejudice as often as possible. I think that each of these books only show half the story. To get a complete picture of growing up in a racist town you have to read them both.

4-0 out of 5 stars I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
This is an enjoyable, easy-to-read short book written by Maya Angelou about her childhood in the segregated deep south. She skillfully decribes both good-times and bad in Stamps, Arkansas where she and her brother, raised by her grandmother and uncle, took on many childhood adventures in and around her grandmother's general store in the Negro section of town. She devotes several chapters to a time when she and her brother lived in Long Beach, California with her fast moving mother and indifferent father. When things go bad, she describes her return to a simple yet orderly life in Stamps.

The reader is touched by the difficulties overcome by Maya Angelou and has a new appreciation for those who were raised in a different place and time. Her upbringing filled with discipline, hard-work and solid roles models had a positive impact on her as a person. She was able to overcome the negative influences.

Most of all, the key to her success is contagious and when finished, the reader is left with a glimmer of hope that if she can do it, so can I.... no matter what my walk of life. Very inspirational book!

5-0 out of 5 stars literary brilliance
<br /> <br /> Ms. Angelou writes with literary brilliance, and "I Know Why The caged Bird Sings" is no exception. Part poetic, part memoir...she brings her life in to full view for all to see, read and feel. She has triumphed.and isn't afraid to tell about it. I rate this highly with books such as "Nighmares Echo" and "The Color Purple" among other wonderful memoirs written in the past year or so.

1-0 out of 5 stars Machiavellian
Not a man to judge others by their Christian names, I opened this book expelling my prejudices and bias. I admit, however, that my history has caught up to me, and I will be unable to complete the undertaking. It is now obvious to me that the author, like the central character of the novel, is an insidious rebel and a Negress who will never belong here. Shut your mind - and your soul - from this treason.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressionable
This is an amazing autobiography. Ms. Angelou is a beautiful story teller. She leads you in with beautiful words, but don't get the impression that it is simply a sweet book because its not. She tells the way it really was for her growing up and all the courage needed to survive.

Also recommending highly: Nightmares Echo (courage and determination in the life of a child of abuse,self-healing)Running With Scissors (deals with abuse,dysfunction,also courageous) ... Read more


63. Three Weeks With My Brother
by Nicholas Sparks
list price: $29.98
our price: $18.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586216422
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 75355
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A VIVID VOICE PERFORMANCE
Who wouldn't want to go on a trip around the world, especially in the company of bestselling author Nicholas Sparks? Well, not everyone can go around the world, but listeners now have an opportunity to hear about a once-in-a-lifetime trip undertaken by Nicholas and his brother Micah.

Voice performer Henry Leyva brings to vivid life not only the recollections of the authors but also some of the world's mysterious and best known far-off spots, Easter Island, Ayers Rock, Machu Picchu, and more.

Perhaps more important than the physical journey "Three Weeks with My Brother" is also a journey of self-discovery as the two share memories of their youth. They are now the only remaining members of the Sparks family - their mother died in 1989; their father was killed in an automobile accident, and they lost their sister to a brain tumor.

As the trip begins both are grown men with families of their own for whom they deeply care. Yet, both seem to realize that the opportunity to make this trip may not happen again. Listeners will be glad that they made that choice as they listen, perhaps reflecting upon or even reconnecting with members of their own families.

- Gail Cooke ... Read more


64. Worth the Fighting For : A Memoir
by MARK SALTER
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553756672
Catlog: Book (2002-09-24)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 830375
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1999, John McCain wrote one of the most acclaimed and bestselling memoirs of the decade, Faith of My Fathers. That book ended in 1972, with McCain’s release from imprisonment in Vietnam. This is the rest of his story, about his great American journey from the U.S. Navy to his electrifying run for the presidency, interwoven with heartfelt portraits of the mavericks who have inspired him through the years—Ted Williams, Theodore Roosevelt, visionary aviation proponent Billy Mitchell, Marlon Brando in Viva Zapata!, and, most indelibly, Robert Jordan. It was Jordan, Hemingway’s protagonist in For Whom the Bell Tolls, who showed McCain the ideals of heroism and sacrifice, stoicism and redemption, and why certain causes, despite the costs, are . . .

Worth the Fighting For

After five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, naval aviator John McCain returned home a changed man. Regaining his health and flight-eligibility status, he resumed his military career, commanding carrier pilots and serving as the navy’s liaison to what is sometimes ironically called the world’s most exclusive club, the United States Senate. Accompanying Senators John Tower and Henry “Scoop” Jackson on international trips, McCain began his political education in the company of two masters, leaders whose standards he would strive to maintain upon his election to the U.S. Congress. There, he learned valuable lessons in cooperation from a good-humored congressman from the other party, Morris Udall. In 1986, McCain was elected to the U.S. Senate, inheriting the seat of another role model, Barry Goldwater.
During his time in public office, McCain has seen acts of principle and acts of craven self-interest. He describes both ex-tremes in these pages, with his characteristic straight talk and humor. He writes honestly of the lowest point in his career, the Keating Five savings and loan debacle, as well as his triumphant moments—his return to Vietnam and his efforts to normalize relations between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments; his fight for campaign finance reform; and his galvanizing bid for the presidency in 2000.
Writes McCain: “A rebel without a cause is just a punk. Whatever you’re called—rebel, unorthodox, nonconformist, radical—it’s all self-indulgence without a good cause to give your life meaning.” This is the story of McCain’s causes, the people who made him do it, and the meaning he found. Worth the Fighting For reminds us of what’s best in America, and in ourselves.


From the Hardcover edition.
... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great and good American
Senator John McCain's second volume of autobiography covers his career after his return from captivity in North Vietnam through his unfortunately failed bid for the Presidency in the 2000 elections. As he talks about his life and career, he also discusses those who have inspired and taught him, from history (TR, Billy Mitchell), literature (the Robert Jordan character from "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and Brando's portrayal of Zapata in "Viva Zapata"), sports (Ted Williams - a great baseball player and a fine Marine pilot in WWII and Korea), and from his own life (late Senators Scoop Jackson, Morris Udall, and John Tower - two of them Democrats, interestingly - among others). These essays mostly stand on their own and are worth the price of admission alone.

McCain is honest, sometimes brutally so, about his own failings and errors; his description of the Keating Five affair is thorough and unsparing, as are his admissions of occasional prevarication and displays of temper. He is no less straightforward about his political experiences. While a dedicated conservative and a believer, his contempt for the near-fascist "Christian" wing of the Republican party is evident, as is his disgust with the treatment former Senator John Tower received when nominated by President George H.W. Bush for the post of Secretary of Defense, a nomination shot down more by far right wingers than by the Democrats. One thing I did miss was his honest appraisal of the current President, but from patriotic motivations McCain may be saving that for later.

McCain seems to be suggesting at the end of the book that his public life is nearly over, that his Presidential ambitions are finished. All I can say is that I sincerely hope not. I am a Democrat who would support a McCain run for the Presidency unreservedly. I do not always agree with his views, but I admire his dedication to campaign finance reform, his strength, his candor, his willingness to work with the other side and see them as the loyal opposition rather than as traitors, his courage, and his service to our country. And if McCain never runs for the Presidency, what better final service could he render his country than to lead an effort to return the GOP back to its true core values and rescue it from the clutches of the far right.

5-0 out of 5 stars Aptly titled...Powerful, Inspirational Messages
After reading his other memoir "Faith of my Fathers," I was given "Worth the Fighting For" as a gift. And what a gift it turned out to be! Senator John McCain proves that he is truly one of the great All-American heroes of our time.

This memoir is honest, entertaining, and enlightening. By including the biographies of individuals McCain admired, we gain even better insight into the way John McCain's mind works. We begin to understand his motivations, his aspirations, and above all, his values. I am almost startled by how TRUTHFUL he is in approaching the challenges and obstacles in his life (running the gamut from his first bid for congress, the Keating Five Scandal, the run for President, and his Campaign Finance Reform movement.)What a life he's led!

I could not have come up with a better title for his work ("Worth the Fighting For"). Senator McCain very clearly demonstrates what he believes are the most important values integral to being a public servant and an American. I read this memoir with a pencil, because I found myself underlining so many moving and inspirational passages in his work.

Although I don't share the same political views as McCain, I can't help but feel an awesome sense of admiration for this man and his accomplishments. His memoir moves past political debates and dialogue...to examining and understanding our deeper core beliefs.

My absolute favorite chapters were the ones describing his bid for the Presidency and his efforts in Campaign Finance reform. However, all his biographical sketches were informative and fascinating. Another perk of reading his work, is getting a more personal opinion of the many "famous" elected officials running our nation--it's interesting to think why he either likes/dislikes these individuals.

An excellent work. Definitely pick this one up!

5-0 out of 5 stars Candid memoir that increased my opinion of McCain
Enjoyed hearing the audio version of WORTH THE FIGHTING
FOR: A MEMOIR by John McCain with Mark Salter (his
administrative assistant) . . . McCain did the narration, and that
had a lot to do with why I liked it so much . . . it felt that he was
speaking to me directly . . . I also got to know much more about
McCain's career after his Vietnam captivity . . . he pulls no
punches, talking about his friendship with John Tower and the
subsequent babble over Tower's nomination for defense

secretary . . . similarly, he revisits the "Keating Five" affair that
nearly wrecked his career in the early 1990s . . . yet both most
amazing and refreshing was his candid admission that he lied
during his 2000 run for the presidency . . . when asked about
the Confederate flag, he first did not tell the truth about his
background . . . he then compounded this mistake by not
divulging how he really felt about the subject.

Yet that said, I think the following quote from the book provides insight into
what John McCain is all about: "A rebel without a cause is just a
punk. Whatever you're called--rebel, unorthodox, nonconformist,
radical--it's all self-indulgence without a good cause to give you
meaning."

It got me thinking that I'd give serious consideration to voting for
him should he ever decide to run again. . . however, it is unlikely
that he will be given the opportunity--much to my loss but
to Arizona's continued gain.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great American hero
While there are many politicians who profess to be uncontrollable mavericks who vote strictly based upon their conscience, there are few who do so in actuality. John McCain is one of these few rare creatures that are slowly growing extinct in a political climate that readily denounces instead of encouraging political reform and true representation of one's constituency. As the noble McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform is pondered by the Supreme Court for its supposed unconstitutionality and concurrently eviscerated by machine politicians such as Mitch McConnell, John McCain continues his admirably idealistic and iconoclastic approach to political reform: It's worth the fighting for.

As the vast multitude of Senators surreptitiously sneak in pork barrel earmarks that waste taxpayers billions of dollars per year, McCain espouses a line item veto - where the President can eliminate such wasteful expenditures while still signing the bill into law. McCain is loath to the inherent corruption and undue influence that soft money has effected upon the election process under the auspices of ostensibly independent ads on the eve of elections. Corruption, pork barrel politics, dishonesty, apathy, and anti-Americanism are all anathema to the most distinguished and honorable Senator in our great country - John McCain. I highly recommend this memoir. Just as McCain does so commendably with his politics, he has put his heart into it as only he can.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth the reading
John McCain's second memoir covers the aspect of his life most of us are familiar with, his political career. In addition to telling his own tales, McCain mixes in chapters on heroes, both real and fictional, that have influenced his views and character. When discussing his own life, he writes of both his successes and failures and gives the reader an understanding of some of the reasons behind his "maverick" stances.

While some parts of the book become mired in the uninteresting details of political scandal, as a whole "Worth the Fighting For" is well worth reading, no matter your political persuasion. ... Read more


65. They Made America: Two Centuries of Innovators from the Steam Engine to the Search Engine
by David Lefer, Harold Evans
list price: $25.98
our price: $17.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586217054
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 28127
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Book Description

An illustrated history of American innovators--some well known, some unknown, and all fascinating-- by the author of the bestselling The American Century. ... Read more


66. Jen-X: Jenny McCarthy's Open Book
by Jenny McCarthy, Neal Karlen
list price: $12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694518670
Catlog: Book (1997-11-01)
Publisher: Harper Audio
Sales Rank: 740328
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

She's telegenic, brash, witty and spirited. And now she's starring in a new sitcom as part of NBC's Nielsen-bursting "Must See TV" lineup, plus she has her own smash-hit variety show on MTV.She is Jenny McCarthy -- the "It"Girl of the '90s -- and this is a look at her wild life via her "diary."

Welcome inside the crazy world of Hollywood, sudden stardom and rabid fandom in this heavily photographed, illustrated and designed "diary." An intimate peek inside the mind of the woman People named as one of the 25 Most Intriguing of the year, Jen-X showcases Jenny's offbeat wit, skewed sensibility and gentle wisdom -- traits that have already won her legions of fans and admirers.

The second of four daughters born to a housewife and a steel-plant foreman on Chicago's blue-collar South Side, McCarthy left college and made a cold call to the Playboy offices in the Windy City, becoming 1994's Playmate of the Year.From Singled Out to her highly rated MTV sketch-comedy show to her NBC sitcom, McCarthy is a star on the rise, with not a hint of an end in sight as to how high she'll go.

Vividly capturing all of the day-to-day drama, romance, heartbreak, action and humor of being Jenny, and filled with loads of wild new photographs specially commissioned for this book, Jen-X, like the woman herself, is headed straight for the top. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Greatest book i've ever read
It tells us secrets about Jenny never evealed before.It's a little costly but well worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, with lots of detail.
I found the book to be a great information resource into her life and career start. The only thing I didn't like about the book was the out of order details, found to much jumping forward then back, or back then forward, but other than that, I thought is was a great book and I still love jenny in a big way, she is the greatest.

5-0 out of 5 stars Silly Book
The title should tell it all: Jen X. It should read Jen O because she is a negative interger. Take away those breasts, and she is just another annoying self serving celebrity with little talent. This book is a must read for airheads, retards, mutants and crackheads. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars The book was a very pleasent surprise!
When my boyfriend gave me this book as a joke for my birthday, I didn't find it very amusing! You see, up to this point, I was one of the hopefully few "Jenny-haters" out there. But I decided to give the book the benefit of the doubt and give it a whirl, and I have to say that I was more than just pleasently surprised! Jenny McCarthy is not only very down-to-earth, but she's witty, hilarious, and quite frankly...normal! It was so refreshing to read that she isn't perfect after all - that she had acne, and stretch marks, and bad hair days, and bozo boyfriends. This book flys by, and I really didn't want to put it down. I am so glad I decided to read this book, not only because it was 100% entertainment, but because it gave me a chance to meet the "real" Jenny McCarthy. I loved it!

5-0 out of 5 stars jen-x rules
I think the book was one of the greatest books i have ever read. i could realate so much to her. she is my like idol and i was so happy when i found out she had a book coming out. i bought it the very first day i saw it at the mall. one day i hope i can meet her but i know that will never happen but all in all the book was really good~! i think everyone needs to buy this book and see just how much she is like anyone of us!!! well if your out there jenny mccarthy i just wanna say hi and maybe i will be lucky enough to see you one day! i love you! you are so cool! well people i have said enough, now you need to go get the book that i am raving about!please buy it! it will make me happy! well cya people! hope you read this jenny!!!! from: Your biggest fan in the world!!!!jenny h ... Read more


67. Careless Love (Bookcassette(r) Edition)
by Peter Guralnick, J. Charles
list price: $36.95
our price: $25.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1567400868
Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
Publisher: Bookcassette
Sales Rank: 614241
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Until Peter Guralnick came out with Last Train to Memphis in 1994, most biographies of Elvis Presley--especially those written by people with varying degrees of access to his "inner circle"--were filled with starstruck adulation, and those that weren't in awe of their subject invariably went out of their way to take potshots at the rock & roll pioneer (with Albert Goldman's 1981 Elvis reaching now-legendary levels of bile and condescension). Guralnick's exploration of Elvis's childhood and rise to fame was notable for its factual rigorousness and its intimate appreciation of Presley's musical agenda.

Picking up where the first volume left off, Guralnick sees Elvis through his tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Germany, where he first met--and was captivated by--a 14-year-old girl named Priscilla Beaulieu. We may think we know the story from this point: the return to America, the near-decade of B-movies, eventual marriage to Priscilla, a brief flash of glory with the '68 comeback, and the surrealism of "fat Elvis" decked out in bejeweled white jumpsuits, culminating in a bathroom death scene. And while that summary isn't exactly false, Guralnick's account shows how little perspective we've had on Elvis's life until now, how a gross caricature of the final years has come to stand for the life itself. He treats every aspect of Presley's life--including forays into spiritual mysticism and the growing dependency on prescription drugs--with dignity and critical distance. More importantly, Careless Love continues to show that Guralnick "gets" what Presley was trying to do as an artist: "I see him in the same way that I think he saw himself from the start," the introduction states, "as someone whose ambition it was to encompass every strand of the American musical tradition." From rock to blues to country to gospel, Guralnick discusses how, at his finest moments, Elvis was able to fulfill that dream. --Ron Hogan ... Read more

Reviews (68)

4-0 out of 5 stars Brings back memories
Except for some more detail lacking in the post divorce years (after 1973), this is an outstanding book.However, I wish I hadn't read it.It's not hard to understand what the fascination with Elvis is about.There won't EVER be another one.I've seen well over 50 concerts in my life, but the Elvis concert I saw in Dayton, Ohio in 1972 was without a doubt the most incredible event I have EVER witnessed in my life.He TORE the place up, he was in 100% total awareness and control.He was almost God like and he KNEW it.I saw also saw him him in Louisville, Ky on 5/21/1997, less than 3 months before he died.Needless to say, the Elvis I saw in 1977 didn't resemble the Elvis I saw in 1972.He was already dead inside.It is a tradgedy that one man with so much could fall so fast professionally.I wasn't sure the Elvis I saw in 1972 was human and I'm not sure the people around him realized he was human either.But he was and that's the sad part, the show I saw in 1977 made that clear.I wish I hadn't read this book.In fact, I'm going to get rid of it.When Elvis was on top of his game, non-other compared.It's IMPOSSIBLE to stay at that level......IMPOSSIBLE.That's the way people want to remember Elvis, on top.....that MAGIC that ONLY he had.Skip this book if you don't won't to be sad.

5-0 out of 5 stars A poingant, depressing, and insightful look at Elvis...
First and foremost, this is a depressing book. There is a warning in the author's note that the book is about a tragedy, and this is an understatement. Elvis Presely's "fall" was a hard and bitter one. This book outlines events starting in 1960 up to Presely's death in 1977. Things start out looking pretty good for Elvis as he leaves the army and begins his career almost anew, but as the 1970s emerge, things start to cloud over, and the book follows the downward spiraling vortex that Presley and his somewhat bizarre and almost constantly fluctuating entourage followed up to the end. Along the way, Guralnick allows readers to draw their own conclusions about Presley. Mostly the book outlines details of certain events - sometimes so detailed one wonders if Guralnick was there himself - interspersed with commentary from people who lived through these same events. It is not an uplifting read. One gets the impression that Presley's fame isolated him from pretty much the human race, made him untouchable (reprisals were feared by anyone is his immediate "gang", and it didn't help matters that most of them were on his payroll) and ultimately put him beyond the help of his own family and the people who he thought were his friends. Presely's fame turns horrendously destructive in the 1970s, and some of the stories and anecdotes may make the sensitive reader wince. Some of the stories are just downright strange: Presley's religious enlightenment from seeing an image in the clouds of the face of Stalin turn into the face of Jesus; Presley's determination to secure himself a position of Narcotics officer from President Nixon; the pranks Preseley and his retinue play on each other, on audiences, and on themselves; the fact that, as record sales declined, Presely's revenue actually increased. Other anecdotes have a more disturbing undertow: Presley's manipulation and abject objectification of the women in his life, and the fact that many of them kept coming back even after being brusquely brushed off; Presley's fascination with guns, and his sometime not so comforting habit of pointing them at people when angry; Presely's wild, erratic, and irresponsible spending; Presley's inability to take advice from his wife, girlfriends, business manager, and even his own father on dire personal matters (e.g., his finances, his marriage, his health). It is a tragedy to read about someone who both cared about people but also put himself above others in a way that put him beyond their help or aid.

The figure of "the Colonel" lurks behind the entire story. He has Presley's business needs in mind, and, due to his business acumen, makes Presley (and himself) multi-millionaires beyond imagination. It's amazing to read how the Colonel is able to make more and more money from Movie studios, even as movies starring Presley are on a sharp decline in revenue and popularity. The whole story is mind boggling. In the end, the Colonel thought he was taking care of Elvis in the best way he knew how, but insatiable greed and insular attention to the bottom line and almost nothing else probably hurt Presley more than it helped him in the long run. Guralnick does not say this anywhere in the book. Again, the reader must draw moral conclusions based on the evidence. Guralnick does not moralize apart from calling the story a tragedy, and this makes this biography doubly interesting, as different readers will likely draw different conclusions based on their own interpretations of the delineated events. Who is to blame in the end? Is it fair to blame one or a few people? Is it fair to blame Presley? These questions are not answered (as they shouldn't be) but much food for thought is presented. As usual in life, the answer is far more complicated than mere finger pointing can accommodate. Guralnick handles this subject with eloquence and a distance that pull the reader in and allow for reflection upon what happened. This is not the usual shoddy rock biography that typically clutters the "Music" section of bookstores. This is a story to sink one's cognitive teeth into and reflect upon. Warning: this book will make you think; it will make you moralize; it will make you angry and frustrated at what happened, and it will make you ask "Why?" Regardless if you are an Elvis Presley fan or not (I'm really not; I was very young when Presley passed on) this is a book worth reading. It is a thick book, but a quick read (keep your dictionary handy nonetheless). Once you're in fifty pages or so, you'll probably find yourself stuck on it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stirring...
I picked up the book Careless Love. At the time the title puzzled me. Who was guilty of Careless Love? Elvis? Umm. Go figure. But upon completion of the book, I now realize no other title would have suited. Elvis was guilty of careless love as was the people whom he surrounded himself with daily and most importantly the fans.
Now, I find no joy in his music and it is painful for me to look at smiling happy picture's of him when he was at the height of his career. Why? Because I know how it all ends. The man, who would burst on the scene and shred American culture,all the while rebuilding it, fascinates me.He was a pioneer, a rebel. Everyone knows the story. Poor boy makes good. But the trajectory his life took is painful to follow. How could a man whose vision changed the music world not have had enough foresight to see his own destructive and erratic behavior?
Paul Guralnick writes the only account of Elvis that I trust implicitly. Why? Because his regard for Elvis as an artist is woven between even the most heart wrenching accounts of his life. Mr. Guralnick does not try to persuade you to like or dislike Elvis. He merely gives Elvis life and places him in front of you saying, "Here he is...you make the decision on how you feel about him."
The book is a disturbing but respectful look at a man who was gifted beyond reason. Mr. Guralnick clearly demonstrates that the fame Elvis endured was even beyond him.

5-0 out of 5 stars You want to know who Elvis really was? Read this book!
A wonderful achievement. Thoroughly researched, beautifully written. You'll learn everything about the King you always wanted to know - plus some facts of which you had rather remained ignorant. Careless Love is on par with the first volume of Guralnik's Elvis-biography, "Last Train to Memphis" (see also my review of that outstanding work).

5-0 out of 5 stars An American tragedy
This book brought a lot of unexpected emotions up in me, mostly painful emotions. I felt a real sense of frustration throughout this book. Its amazing to read from a distance how Elvis' character flaws caused him to surround himself with weak, servile people who refused to see or help avoid the inevitable approaching train wreck. I found myself thinking of ways to help Elvis out in my head. Frustrating.
Why didn't they pull the plug and move on after say the Aloha Satellite concert, they'd made billions at this point and Elvis was obviously fading and weak at this time? Where were you Colonel?
Did Elvis start to believe the 'Godhood' title eggreigously put on him by the public?
How was it rationlized in Elvis' mind that the release that prescription drugs gave him was acceptable?
More questions than answers, painful questions.

I see this book as a cautionary tale about the immense pressure of stardom, which Elvis met headon and conquered, accepting his situation fully, lifting the spirit of America in the process on his back. Life is truly new every day, and despite all his huge victories, at the end Elvis was broken and beaten, if not in spirit in body and mind.
Thats a bitter truth to swallow, best we can do now is honor him in our minds and our hearts. ... Read more


68. Founding Mothers : The Women Who Raised Our Nation
by Cokie Roberts
list price: $25.95
our price: $16.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060527889
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 8262
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Cokie Roberts's #1 New York Times bestseller We Are Our Mothers Daughters examined the nature of women's roles throughout history and led USA Today to praise her as a "custodian of time-honored values." Her second bestseller, From This Day Forward, written with her husband, Steve Roberts, described American marriages throughout history. Now Cokie returns with Founding Mothers, an intimate look at the passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families and country proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it.

Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Eliza Pinckney, Mary Bartlett and Martha Washington -- proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might have never survived.

Social history at its best, Founding Mothers unveils the determination, creative insight and passion of the other patriots, the women who raised our nation. Cokie Roberts proves beyond doubt that like every generation of American women that has followed, the founding mothers used the unique gifts of their gender -- courage, pluck, sadness, joy, energy, grace, sensitivity and humor -- to do what women do best, put one foot in front of the other in remarkable circumstances, and carry on.

... Read more

Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars NO DOLDRUMS HERE.
One of the problems with history is that it's male orientated. There isn't much about our "founding mothers." Roberts finds most of her information in the letters and diaries of these women. At the age of sixteen, Eliza Lucas (Pinckey) ran her father's three plantations, taught her sisters and slaves lessons and wrote Wills for her neighbors. Ben Franklin's common-law wife ran his print shop and her Sundry shop while he played politics. Pamphlets were the delivery system of the colonial era and it was Mercy Otis Warren, the wife and sister of revolutionaries, who bravely published pamphlets against the British government.

_Founding Mothers_ is a fascinating read/listen. Those who consider history dull will discover this book has enough personal tidbits about our founding mothers to ward off the doldrums. Highly recommended for a personal read or for a school project.

Brenda @ MyShelf.Com

5-0 out of 5 stars It's About Time!
It's about time that a book was written about the extraordinary women who were obscured behind famous men throughout history. In this book Cokie Roberts does an excellent job in telling their much overlooked story and pointing out how important their contributions were to America. If you love history, I highly recommend it! Debbie Farmer, 'Don't Put Lipstick on the Cat'

3-0 out of 5 stars Better in the hands of Doris Goodwin or John Krakauer
The concept of this book is what interested me. I was quite inspired by the women depicted here. Unfortuantely I found the work to be poorly written. I certainly could have done without the personal commentary Cokie threaded through the book. It was as if I was being directed what to think. I "get it" I wanted to scream. The content wasn't all that bad but the book is written for the reader young reader, perhaps of high school age. I would consider it for paperback if at all.

1-0 out of 5 stars For In Style readers who've yet to graduate to People Mag
With Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation, Cokie Roberts has provided a service to remedial readers everywhere.
Writing on what appears to be a third grade reading level (which I hope reflects a choice she made and not her own reading comprehension level), Cokie's prodded her usual readers to put down their See Spot Run picture books.
Trudging through page after page of facts from other books (usually better written ones), I kept attempting to think of another writer so committed to a grace-free style.
Used to be that a writer of Cokie's ilk would put out a book (say, Joan Rivers) and no one who read it fooled themselves into thinking it was a great book or helping the nation's literacy levels. We knew it was trash and if we read it, we didn't try to justify it after the fact by praising it as anything other than a "page turner" (high praise for these type of books).
But somewhere along the way we appear to have lost our abilities for critical thought if this repetative, plodding clip-job can be seen as anything other than a hack trying to cash in with as little work as possible. (The American dream? I don't know, we used to take pride in our work.)
I made it to page 70 (and felt I lost several reading levels in the process) before I tossed this book. Couldn't even pass it on because though I do favor recycling, I couldn't in good faith risk inflicting the cellular damage this type of dull, graceless "writing" does to one's brain.
I read the reviews of this hoping to find something I'd missed in the 70 pages I had read, some level on which to appreciate it.
I didn't find any comments like that. Some argue it's "new" information. New to them, perhaps, but that's nothing they should scream from the rooftops. (Has Jay Leno's stupid American skits made people proud of their own ignorance?) I did read a review that cautioned readers not to mistake clip-jobs for books and not to mistake magpies for authors. I applaud that sentiment. It's sound, it's reasoned, it's informed, it's educated.
But clearly there's a market for this book. I've reflected on the seventy pages read for half an hour now trying to figure out whom these people are. Then it hit me, Founding Mothers is a "book" for In Style readers who've yet to graduate to People Magazine.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tough People That Weaker Sex
This book is a tremendous contribution to the historical picture. Suppose you were the wife of an upper-level Colonial Army officer who, during the annual winter pause in fighting, visits the family from November to February, then he goes back off to war and is thus not around to talk to. You, the wife, now have the management of the farm/business, with perhaps 5 children to raise, with the task of planning for the family's escape should the British invade your part of the colonies, and since women were the fighters against outbreaks of deadly infectious agents (smallpox, cholera, yellow fever, tuberculosis, measles, whooping cough, etc) you could be called into this action, and, by the way, you are 7 months pregnant. Added to this is the good chance that you could deliver the child in the heat of summer (the year being about 1780) with no electric fans, no air-conditioning, and with 1780's medical knowledge (no knowledge of viruses or bacteria, and no antibiotics). As illustrated by this book, this routinely was the situation of our Founding Mothers. And of course there is more. (By the way, window screens will not be invented for 100 years, leaving folks with the interesting choice of leaving the windows open and being eaten alive by mosquitoes, or closing the windows and sweltering.) ... Read more


69. Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms
by ED ROLLINS
list price: $27.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553477366
Catlog: Book (1996-08-01)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 1183365
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In a book as fierce and stunning as a prize fight, Ed Rollins tells of his many triumphs and sometimes spectacular blunders during a thirty-year career in
American politics. From the Reagan presidency to the campaigns of Ross Perot and Christine Todd Whitman, Rollins has long been at the red-hot center. Now,
in Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms, he gives us the inside story on Washington and many of its most prominent players with sharp reflections, revealing and frequently irreverent anecdotes, and always astonishing candor.

Once a champion amateur boxer, Rollins brings the pugnacious spirit of a born fighter to everything he does. Never shy about his opinions, he now delivers the kind of take-no-prisoners honesty for which he is notorious. He dissects the personalities of Richard Nixon, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, George Bush, Ross Perot, James Baker, Michael and Arianna Huffington, and Newt Gingrich. He shows how political campaigns really operate, and he offers keen insight on this year's contenders, from Bill Clinton to Bob Dole and Pat Buchanan.

Part autobiography and part political primer, this is a deeply compelling story and a highly personal look into the inner workings of government and campaigns. Ed Rollins's passion for the game and thoughtful insight into our political system make this a must-read for anyone interested in how the game of contemporary politics is really played.

Who else but Ed Rollins--the brilliant, bare-knuckled political consultant--would dare give us the inside story on how Washington really works?Famously outspoken, Rollins is a true maverick whose gift for winning campaigns is matched only by his talent for generating controversy.Now, in this astonishingly candid book, he delivers a no-holds-barred, hugely entertaining account of his thirty-year career in American politics.

Rollins has worked for almost every major Republican politician of the past two decades, but he was never a member of the Washington aristocracy.Raised in the tough shipyard town of Vallejo, California, he fought as a championship amateur boxer and won over 160 bouts.His love of politics was kindled when he worked for Bobby Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968, but after Kennedy's assassination and a life-changing experience during a violent anti-war demonstration, he joined the Republican party.By 1981, he had worked his way up to a job in the Reagan White House;the following year, he became the president's top political advisor.He has battled at the center of the political arena ever since, and he and his candidates have won far more often than they have lost.

If Rollins loves anything more than a good fight, it's a good story.Here is Richard Nixon complaining to him about the lack of a "nutcutter" in the Reagan administration; Nancy Reagan berating him for his atrocious attire; Barbara Bush telling him he's not welcome in the White House; Ross Perot wailing about how expensive campaign advertising is; Arianna Huffington hiring a private detective to investigate an unfriendly journalist.But Rollins has made some spectacular blunders of his own, and now he tells stories on himself too--most particularly when he provides the first full account of his role in the scandal that followed Christine Todd Whitman's election as governor of New Jersey.

Ed Rollins is an American original--a power-punching, street-smart insider who loves politics and his country with equal fervor.Fast and funny, pugnacious and passionate, this is one of the best books ever written about how the modern political game is really played. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful behind-the-scenes in recent political history
This is a perfect book for those looking to get insights into politics that you won't get from self-serving politician autobiographies or "insider" scoop from newspaper reporters turned authors. Ed Rollins' career spans some of the more formative years and races in recent times. His wit and honesty made this book a wonderful, easy read. I will never look at some politicians the same.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Laughed Until I Cried
Warning: There's quite a bit of foul language in this book.

I've always liked Ed Rollins and his honesty gets him in enough hot water to boil a frog. He tells how it's really done and how he learned the game from California Speaker Jesse Unruh. He tells of his split from the Democrats to Reagan and from the Bush GOP to Perot.

The Perot chapter, appropriately titled the "Campaign From Hell," is the ultimate hilarity. He has kind words for nearly everybody - even his enemies - but he also says some hilarious tidbits so that it's never dull. Among the things Rollins addresses:

A GOP sex scandal in the opening days of the Reagan era

What REALLY happened in the 1993 New Jersey governor's race

How an off the wall comment can get you in hot water

How Ross Perot decided a thirty-day campaign was better than actually running for office

All this and much more. And he correctly calls the 1992 Bush campaign the "worst performance by an incumbent in modern political history." This kind of honesty shows that whatever flavor your party - Democratic, Republican, Independent, or even if you hate politics - Rollins has something for you. A must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Bare Facts
I am a self confessed Democrat and even I loved this book. The author is as about as right leaning as they come, but that did nothing to diminish the enjoyment any political junkie would get from the book regardless of what side of the spectrum you are on. The author has been involved in Republican politics sense the Nixon administration and in this book he givens a well written, interesting and humorous account of what he has been a part of. I would not call this book a kiss and tell, but he does give you the facts in a straight up manner, regardless if it makes his clients or himself look bad.

I found the time he spent on the Reagan and Perot campaigns the most interesting. The Reagan campaign because he really lays out the best way to run a campaign. This section of the book could almost be used as a how to tutorial on how to win a race. I found the Perot campaign info interesting for the exact opposite of the Reagan section. This guy was a flake and the author captures every odd, weird and down right stupid thing that happened. The author also talks about his relationship with the first President Bush and lets just say it is very eye opening. Everything he says about the father can be seen in the son today. His main point is that the Bush family feels loyalty is the most important trait a person can have and if you cross that line you will be paying for it for years.

I enjoyed the fact that the author did not spend exorbitant amounts of time on his pre political history or his family situation, just enough to set the stage. I may be unique in this regard so if you are looking for an in depth view into his family this is not the book for you. Overall I really liked the book. It read fast and it is so interesting I just did not want to put it down. I read a lot of political books and this ranks up there as at least one of the more entertaining. If you are interested in the campaign process or the Reagan and Bush years then I would recommend this book regardless of your party affiliation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Political History
If you love political history or if you want to see the inner workings of the US government, this book is for you.
I read this book in two nights. I love material that was covered: Ed Rollins early years, his years on Reagan's staff, his time with Kemp, his campaign with Perot (I never realized Perot was that kooky of a man, the Christine Todd-Whitman camapaign.
The book is excellent. Rollins holds nothing back. This is one of the top 10 books I have ever read. I was glued.
This book is more of a history, than a how too. But even if you are looking for a how too, you will still love this book.
This book is worth more than 19 bucks.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Political Book!
A terrific companion to this is Jack Germond's chronicle of the classic 1980 presidential campaign (Teddy Kennedy vs. Carter vs. Reagan), "Blue Smoke and Mirrors."

Too bad this book's 96 release was too soon to receive much boost from the internet. Would have liked to read of author Rollin's take on the Monica/Clinton sex scandal. Rollins is observant enough to mention qualities of public figures that are seldom mentioned (such as Barbara Bush's mean-spiritedness).

I found it interesting that despite his immense talent for political strategy, and the wealth and power this talent gave him, Rollins had a failed marriage to a single mother with 2 kids. Professional success did not lead to personal success until later in life for him. I hope Mr. Rollins will pop up on political shows more often. ... Read more


70. The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
by Jacques Pepin, Michel Chevalier
list price: $32.00
our price: $32.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618331697
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Sales Rank: 465382
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this captivating memoir, the man whom Julia Child has called "the best chef in America" tells the story of his rise from a frightened apprentice in an exacting Old World kitchen to an Emmy Awardwinning superstar who taught millions of Americans how to cook and shaped the nation's tastes in the bargain.
As a homesick six-year-old boy in war-ravaged France, Jacques works on a farm in exchange for food, dodging bombs, and bearing witness as German soldiers capture his father, a fighter in the Resistance. Soon Jacques is caught up in the hurly-burly action of his mother's café, where he proves a natural. He endures a literal trial by fire and works his way up the ladder in France's most famous restaurant, finally becoming Charles de Gaulle's personal chef.
When he comes to America, he falls in with a small group of as-yet-unknown food lovers, including Craig Claiborne, James Beard, and Julia Child. The master of the American art of reinvention, Jacques goes on to earn a graduate degree from Columbia University, turn down a job as John F. Kennedy's chef to work at Howard Johnson's, and, after a near-fatal car accident, switch careers to become a charismatic leader in the revolution that changed the way Americans approached food.
The Apprentice is the poignant and sometimes funny tale of a boy's coming of age. It is also the story of America's culinary awakening and the transformation of food from an afterthought to a national preoccupation.
... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars A JOY TO READ AND SAVOR
As satisfying as a 5-star meal, as delicious as his mother's cheese souffle, Jacques Pepin's autobiography is rich in scenes, friends, recipes, and anecdotes.

Surely one of the most famous chefs in the world who came into homes through his PBS cooking shows and popular cookbooks, Pepin now reveals the story behind the public face.

Born in prewar France to a cabinetmaker and an energetic woman who owned a small restaurant Pepin was enamored with the kitchen as a youth. He left his formal education behind at the age of 13 to sign on as an apprentice in the arduous training system then required. It was a difficult road he had chosen in a system reminiscent of feudal days. Yet the young man persevered, and before the age of twenty found himself in France's most elite restaurant. Next, he would become personal chef to Charles de Gaulle.

After coming to America he numbered among his friends those with like interests and gifts - Julia Child and James Beard. He also earned a degree from Columbia University, and began to work for Howard Johnson.

A serious automobile accident might have meant the end of anyone's career, but not Pepin's. When he was unable to keep up the daily routine in a kitchen he became a cooking teacher, and a television icon.

"The Apprentice: My Life In The Kitchen" is a joy to read and savor.

- Gail Cooke

4-0 out of 5 stars A delightful read- Quite a life!
This book was really pleasant to read. I could almost hear Mr. Pepin's voice as I read it. It is a fascinating look into his life from young childhood to the present. Also a fascinating look at restaurants, training, apprenticeships, and cooking. If you have enjoyed Pepin's books, or TV shows (my favorite was the PBS series with Julia Child and Pepin) you will enjoy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily the Best Memoir I've Read this Year
The skills that make an awesome chef are the same skills that make an awesome writer, patience, a loving devotion to detail, an appreciation of the sensual - this has it all. It's a great slice of history and does what a great memoir is supposed to do - it allows you to enter the world of another.

Jacques Pepin's book, "The Apprentice : My Life in the Kitchen", is a light and compelling, can't put it down read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful Reading
I enjoyed every minute of this delectable memoir. Amusing and thoughtful; Pepin shares an intimate look from WWII France and as an ex-pat in America. I hated to see the book end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book by a great cook
Julia Child (who should know!) has called him the best cook in America today. That's high praise.

Jacques Pepin's life in kitchens, beginning with his mother's cafes and continuing on the Food Channel, is a fast-moving and sometimes surprising journey. As a child he worked on a farm (sent there by his parents to avoid the bombs of WWII) but it's his experiences in his mother's cafes that confirms his culinary talent and hitches his wagon to international stardom in cuisine.

Entertaining and international, this is a book that should bring more admirers to Pepin's already crowded table. ... Read more


71. An Unfinished Marriage
by Joan Anderson
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1575111152
Catlog: Book (2002-03-10)
Publisher: Publishing Mills
Sales Rank: 868401
Average Customer Review: 3.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With A Year by the Sea, Joan Anderson struck a chord in many tens of thousands of readers. Her brave decision to take a year for herself away from her marriage, her frank assessment of herself at midlife, and her openness in sharing her fears as well as her triumphs won her admirers and inspired women across the country to reconsider their options. In this new book, Anderson does for marriage what she did for women at midlife. Using the same very personal approach, she shows us her own rocky path to renewing a marriage gone stale, satisfying the demand from readers and reviewers to learn what comes next. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Comments about a Relationship
I loved Joan Anderson's book "A Year by the Sea" and I was very happy to see that she had written another book about her life. I wasn't disappointed with this novel and read it in one sitting. I have come to the conclusion that either you like this writing style, a memoir with a homey feel, or you don't. With that said, what this book is, is Joan's opinions about her life and her observations about her marriage. This book won't appeal to everyone. Not everyone will agree with her opinions and may find her constant observations egocentric but for me, it was a wonderful look into an intelligent woman's world of what makes her relationship work and not work. I love the way Joan writes through the seasons, expressing her transformation from the self limiting roles of wife and mother to the open ones of companion, trusted friend and soulmate. Anderson is not afraid to take a hard look at herself and analyze the reasons she falls into negative behavior and attitudes. What's more she genuinely wants to transform and allow her husband to transform in his own unique way without interfering. Not an easy thing to do. As I finshed the book, I felt as if I had just ended a conversation with a friend who had shared some secrets, fears, laughs and accomplishments with me. This was an enjoyable and enlightening memoir.

5-0 out of 5 stars middle-age crisis
I like both this book and Joan's first book, A Year by the sea. I like her written style and her honesty. When I read this book, I feel my heart beat and try to find out what is going to happen. It is a great book! As a woman, I understand her situation. I feel sorry for her. However, I just wonder how Robin (her husband) thinks of these two books. These two books unveiled their unfinished marriage, just like be naked in front of the public. I don't think I would like my husband to write and published our relationship "in public." And, I also wonder how her grown up children feel about the books? Will they feel comfortable about their parent's "problem" to be known? Will the books help their marriage? Well, I don't know. Probably I will have an answer as soon as Joan publishes her third book.

2-0 out of 5 stars An Unfinished Woman
This is a memoir about a woman so selfish, so castrating, that it is wonder that she has any marriage left to finish. I kept wondering why her husband, Robin puts up with her. She appears to have very little to offer. She shows him no love or understanding - it's all about her, her needs, her yearnings. She has no sympathy for his new premature retired state in an isolated beach community. She resents his furniture, his music, his golfing, his plans She gives him a hard time about a TV he wishes to install in the house and his plans for some home remodling. She announces to friends that she would like Robin to take a job in social services. She complains about the lack of money coming in since her husband retirement, yet balks at going to work. She left him the year before to "find herself" It appears as though she still hasn't.

1-0 out of 5 stars An Unfinished Writer
There is one voice in this book and every character uses it in exactly the same pedantic, stilted manner. (At a dinner party, with the alcohol flowing freely, the husband finally lets his real feelings rip: "Joan might wax poetic about the Cape's bucolic nature, and this place may have filled the soul of Thoreau, but I'm not sure what it's going to do for me".) Each tiny situation is analyzed to death within the narrow prism of Anderson's self-centered nature. Considering her broken ankle: "It is no coincidence that the left side of my body sustained the injury, as it is the left side that is thought to be the feminine side - the side that receives and surrenders. In the healing of my ankle, am I also meant to allow my softer energies to flow more freely"? Geez. Joan needs to get out and do some volunteer work.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Unfortunate Sequel
"A Year by the Sea," to which An Unfinished Marriage" is the sequel, is the memoir of a woman who peeled off the layers of her life and found again the person hidden under those layers. This is not unique in literature, nor in the lives of women, but Anderson's story is satisfying to women, most of whom are unable or unwilling to take Anderson's drastic and courageous approach to reshaping their lives. It was well-written and, deservedly, it sold well; a lot of us who read it learned from her experiences and appreciated her insights.

Unfortunately, "An Unfinished Marriage" is a bogus effort to take advantage of that success, with little basis. "Write a sequel, Joan. A lot of readers will buy the book, thinking that you really have something else to say."

Most of this book--and most of the so-called work on "finishing" or rescuing the marriage--takes place in Joan's head, not between Joan and Robin. Robin, newly retired, is undeveloped in the book, presented as though he has little or no role in the marriage and little or no interest in taking any steps to preserve it. He is trying to redefine himself as a retired person, a position for which Anderson has little sympathy. Having spent the preceding year re-evaluating and changing her life, she has not much interest in his attempt to do the same in the year she has apparently designated for re-evaluating and changing their marriage. This is a man who has obviously failed to get with the program.

Joan seems to feel that the future of the marriage is entirely in her hands and that somehow the marriage will move forward if she is very introspective and contrives everything possible into a series of lame metaphors that supposedly represent the marriage. A trip to the dump makes her realize that the marriage can be recycled like an aluminum can or a plastic bucket? Oh, please. Robin and Joan undertake the renovation of the beach house that has now become their year-round home and that is a metaphor for the remodeling of the marriage. Yes indeed, a recycled metaphor.(Which came first, the renovation or the metaphor?)

The dialogue in this book is stilted, way too heavy for normal conversation, fraught with meaning. In fact, everything in the book is fraught with meaning, too significant. If this reflects the their daily life during the period reported in the book, no wonder reassembling the marriage was so difficult. It seems that every action, every conversation, every event must be analyzed, reshaped and forced into significance for the sake of the book.

And therein lies the major problem with this book: It was forced into being. There is no book in this book. ... Read more


72. Ghosts Of Everest:The Search For Mallory & Irvine
by Jochen Hemmleb
list price: $34.95
our price: $34.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0736650474
Catlog: Book (2000-03-27)
Publisher: Books on Tape
Sales Rank: 874705
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

For three quarters of a century, adventure enthusiasts around the globe have speculated about the fate of British mountaineers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine. Did they reach the peak of Mount Everest before disappearing on June 6, 1924? How did they die? What was their fatal mistake? In 1999, the Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition set out to answer these questions by retracing the steps of the doomed climbers, and in The Ghosts of Everest, they share their findings. William Nothdurft has gracefully woven the testimonies of expedition members Jochen Hemmleb, Eric Simonson, and Larry Johnson, all the while counterpointing the modern ascent with a captivating reconstruction of what befell the earlier one. There are also stunning photographs, which manage to be inspiring and beautiful and gruesome--occasionally all at once. And while it's impossible to establish exactly what happened to Mallory and Irvine, this account is persuasive enough to fascinate rock climbers and couch potatoes alike. --Melissa Asher ... Read more

Reviews (51)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Lesson on How Money is Replacing Adventure
This book allowed me to analyse why I have not read too many books on Mtn Climbing in the past few years. I am a climber and the genre was important to me for a big part of my life. Reading through this book made me realise how much climbing has not only changed from the days of Mallory, but even from the old siege operations in the 70s. Today the emphasis on gaining money and the machinations and business tactics that go into getting the dosh to go, take up not only the majority of the time making the ascent, but also the majority of the time (and lines of writing) in most mountain literature published these days.

Gone is the old style adventure: 1) adventure-for-the-sheer-fun-of-it, Joe Brown, Don Whillans; 2) adventure-of-the-tortured-soul, Eric Shipton, Joe Simpson; 3) adventure for Imperial gain, Capt Noel, Sven Hedin, or the early British Expeditions to Everest, (though to be fair, it is hard to ressurect this particular genre) and; even the 4) adventure-to-be-the-first-to-do-something, Bonnington and Hertzog, is relegated to second place -- now adventure takes second place to how much money and designer deals for broadcast rights and publisher exclusives can be done before, during and after the point when all the adventure takes place.

As such this book is very symptomatic of this new genre. There is all sorts of vignettes of the evil BBC and it reps and the business concerns of all the others who made crucial decisions tying their business fates to this expedition --- too much of this and too little detail both of the original British Expeditions the search expedition this books puports to write about. There is also precious little route description, how the route was put up and the actual "thrill" of the hunt to find Mallory. Fully one-third of the book deals with these machinations.

Even the people that the authors palpably do not like get off lightly. All of the people they like are usually gifted with some god-like aspect of physical prowess --- eg. barrel-chested, large arms etc. For those who have read Chris Bonnington's books on any of his expeditions, the slow burning personality problems that manifest themselves on so many of these expeditions are conspicuous by their absence in this book.

In sum I liked the book. The good parts are two, and only two in my estimation: 1) the find of Mallory's body and 2) the ascent of the last ridge by the search party members. It is no coincidence that these two subjects are raw adventure and have nothing to do with gaining money or searching to personally skewer someone's personality.

I am glad I read it. But as an inspiration for further reading in the contemporary mountaineering genre, this book is symptomatic of how far the adventure genre has fallen, particularly in the past 10 yrs or so. Maybe you will like it. Maybe you will not. I am the kind of person who trekked the subsidiary valleys around Mt. Everest, but I would not go to Everest base camp --too many people, too much garbage and too many people following the populistic mantra of what passes for adventure writing these days... like the valleys around Everest these days, this genre has been tamed, beaten into submission, and transformed into a pablum for mass consumption. Better to settle down and re-read the Hertzog or Bonnington Classics.

5-0 out of 5 stars INSPIRING STORY OF A MAN'S DREAM, MYSTERY OF HIS FATE
The book is focused on the search conducted to find out what happened to Mallory and Irvine, the two British climbers who disappeared on Everest in the 1930s.Mallory is basically a legend in mountaineering.

The authors tell the story of their own search expedition by making it parallel to Mallory's.For example, we see the logistics it took this expedition in 1999 to get everyhitng to Everest base camp.In contrast, we see the long trek the expedition in the 1930s had to face, with sickness and much more difficult terrain and logistics.It was amazing that they had the energy to climb once they got to base camp.

The book switches between a technical archeology mystery and the history known of the expedition.It is very interesting to see the 1999 expedition trace back the steps of the earlier one.We see the tremendous difficulties they went through in the 1930s, with clothing that was hardly appropriate and the best equipment at the time.

Ultimately, the authors find Mallory's body, but it is still not clear if he reached the summit before falling.He fell and broke a knee, which is a death sentence at that altitude.Irvine was not found.The book ends with the authors making their own summit bid, and only two of them making it.

This is one of the best mountaineering books, especially as it brings in the mystery of what happened.I highly recommend it for the armchair mountaineer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Like climbing a mountain worth climbing!
This effort starts out a bit lackluster and overweighted with
facts, statistics and hyper technically overloaded with how the research expedition got started, who ate what and who arranged for this and that. Once the authors put the reader "on the mountain" with pictures and text, the book and the adventure makes it all worth the effort to have stayed with the book. It is a bit like climbing a mountain...it can't all be a spectacular view from the summit! For those interested in the history of climbing in the Himalaya this is worthy of your interest and should be read.

5-0 out of 5 stars An inspiring story for ALL readers!!
This is an amazing tale of selfless and dedicated people. A beautiful mix of detective story, climbing epic and historical drama this is not just for climbers. The interweaving of the 1924 expedition on which Mallory & Irvine were lost, w/ this 1999 hunt for their fate brings an immediacy and sense of having "been there" to the reader, as well as important understanding to those who are not frequent readers of the mountain genre.
Even among the tightly knit cadre of high altitude climbers and support people, this group stands out for their cooperation and respect, not only of each other, but for the men they seek to find. I was struck with the haunting beauty of this endeavour, through the glorious photos, the wonderfully descriptive recollection of the '99 participants, and the words from the past men of '24. There is an awe inspiring feeling of monumetalism best typified by Dave Hahn's likening of his first view of George Mallory's body to a statue of ancient Greek or Rome. The tenacity and tenderness of the 99 crew leads one to feel that "fate" conspired that only THIS group, at THIS time, (75 years forward of the tragedy) could rightly be the ones to discover and tell of Mallory's last moments, and with deep respect and a sense of being very privileged, lay their great man to rest.
Truly inspiring, and a delicious winter night read, and reread!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Search for Mallory
This is a collaborative effort of the men who put together an expedition to Everest in 1999 for the purpose of obtaining more evidence on whether or not George Mallory and Sandy Irvine reached the summit of Everest in 1924 before they both mysteriously perished.

This is a beautifully produced book.The paper is heavy and glossy, the photographs are fantastic and the makeup is flawless.

The content I would have to say is uneven. The electrifying discovery of Mallory's body is well written and in good taste.The trials and tribulations of getting financial support are well done.The duplicity of the good and gray BBC is an eye-opener.No punches are pulled about the various expedition team's strengths and weaknesses.However, it shows the faults of a book written by committee and the continuity is sometimes poor.I felt the pages and pages devoted to oxygen tanks were, to put it kindly, far too many.

The 1999 expedition uncovered a treasure lode of documents and artifacts about Mallory and Irvine's last day on earth and can be considered a total success.The big question:Did Mallory and Irvine summit Mr. Everest some 29 years before Sir Edmund Hillary?Maybe.To this reader the most compelling evidence was what was not found on Mr. Mallory's body:the picture of his wife that he always carried in his billfold.He had said he was going to leave her picture on the summit of Everest.Maybe he did. ... Read more


73. I'm a Stranger Here Myself : Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055352626X
Catlog: Book (1999-05-04)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 291021
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The master humorist and bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods now guides us on an affectionate, hysterically funny tour of America's most outrageous absurdities.

After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly three million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliens--as he later put it, "it was clear my people needed me"). They were greeted by a new-and-improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item.

Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I'm a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth. From motels ("one of those things--airline food is another--that I get excited about and should know better") to careless barbers ("in the mirror I am confronted with an image that brings to mind a lemon meringue pie with ears"), I'm a Stranger Here Myself chronicles the quirkiest aspects of life in America, right down to our hardware-store lingo, tax-return instructions, and vulnerability to home injury ("statistically in New Hampshire I am far more likely to be hurt by my ceiling or underpants than by a stranger").

Along the way Bill Bryson also reveals his rules for life (#1: It is not permitted to be both slow and stupid. You must choose one or the other); delivers the commencement address to a local high school ("I've learned that if you touch a surface to see if it's hot, it will be"); and manages to make friends with a skunk. The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man's attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended, if at times bemused, love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.
... Read more

Reviews (158)

4-0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable perspective on America
Bill Bryson can be a curmudgeon. A very funny curmudgeon. This book is a collection of columns he wrote for a British publication over the course of a year. Collected here, they contain the experiences of a person returning to their homeland after 20 years and reacquainting himself. As mentioned by previous reviewers, a couple of the columns seem as if he was rushed (although I found the tax column funny), but many of them are spot-on. Many column subjects are about things Americans like to remember fondly - diners, drive-in movie theatres, the outdoors, and are therefore touching. Others are just plain hilarious. When he's in the 'zone', Bill Bryson is among the funniest authors alive. If you've read a column or any previous books by Bryson and slightly enjoyed it, there will be something here for you. Keep in mind that it is a collection of essays written over the course of one year, so a couple may not sway you, but overall this collection is definitely a keeper!

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting insights from the outside
Bill Bryson's "I'm a Stranger..." is an interesting collection of observations and comments about several aspects of American life. As they are taken from weekly columns he wrote for a paper in England, this is not a "book" per se. But that fact doesn't take away from its charm, or, at times, stinging criticism.

This is mostly a humorous work, like the article Bryson wrote poking fun at the US Federal Tax Return (wait 'til you hear it!). But it's not all light-hearted; Bryson also finds time for more serious matters, like immigration and gun control. His analyses of these situations and his expose' of inconsistent American values/beliefs is worth the price of the book alone. Sometimes it takes an outsider, like Bryson was, to show you things you couldn't see yourself. He does this splendidly.

Others have commented that the book was a little too formulaic; I have noticed this too. Many of the articles end with a "punch-line" of sarcasm, and it seemed a bit predictable the more I read. For this reason I would recommend not reading too much at once. It worked better for me listening to one or two themes at a time, and then taking a break. The material (and Bryson's approach) remained more fresh that way.

In all, though, this was a good effort. Bryson definitely makes you think about issues you might have taken for granted. Four stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars An American Portrait
After reading and enjoying "Notes From a Small Island," I was looking forward to Bryson's witticisms in regards to every day life in America. Although an American, having spent twenty odd years in England gives Bryson a unique perspective on what makes America, and Americans, tick. "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" is a collection of essays Bryson wrote for an English audience; but they lack none of their charm when read by an Anglophile American.

"I'm a Stranger Here Myself" is and odd conglomeration of essays that deal with a range of topics: small-town America, shopping, the inconvenience of our numerous "conveniences", and several entries on his own ineptness when it comes to technology. In each of his essays Bryson is a bit of a wanderer, starting in one direction, only to go off on a tangent. Usually he's able to bring himself back to the point, and can even poke fun at himself for doing so. His wanderings are what sets his style and what generates the largest laughs or head shakes of disbelief.

While Bryson is at times critical of what happens in America, "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" is a loving portrait of a revered country. However, Bryson's perspective is one of a man living a blessed life. He now resides in a virtually crime-free small New Hampshire town and grew up in small-town Iowa. His essays sometimes lack the experiences that growing up or residing in other areas might offer. However, due to his extensive travels, Bryson's perspective is truly unique and a joy to read.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Bryson's best
Bryson's best book is "Notes From a Small Island," about traveling in Great Britain. It's one of the funniest books I've read. The British are funny, and Bryson knows them well after living in Britain for 20+ years.

His book about Australia, "In a Sunburned Country," is also entertaining. He studied Australian history, met many interesting locals, etc. After reading it, I feel like an expert on Australia and its people.

His book about Europe, "Neither Here Nor There," isn't so good. The problem is that he speaks no languages other than English. He didn't talk to anyone on this trip. Wwithout any characters (other than Bryson) the book isn't engaging. The book has only one joke, which he repeats: "The waiter/hotel clerk/taxi driver didn't speak English so I tried to make him understand that I needed..." Some of these moments are quite funny, but they don't constitute a book. Bryson didn't study the places he visits. Unlike the Australian book, you learn almost nothing about the countries he visited.

Bryson's book about America, "I'm a Stranger Here Myself," failed to make me laugh. It reads like a series of Erma Bombeck columns. Bryson comments about various aspects of his life in a small town in New England. Not other people's lives, which might have been interesting, but only about his domestic life.

I got only a few chapters into his book about the Appalachian Trail, "A Walk in the Woods." I wasn't amused that two people with no backpacking experience would attempt a six-month hike. After several chapters of Bryson repeating one joke -- "I know nothing about any of this!" -- I stopped reading.

This suggests that the old advice "write about what you know" is worth following. It also made me realize that traveling is only enjoyable if you do two things: meet interesting people, preferably by speaking their language; and studying the area you're visiting.

Review by Thomas David Kehoe, author of "Hearts and Minds: How Our Brains Are Hardwired for Relationships"

3-0 out of 5 stars A stranger in a strange land.
"The intricacies of modern American life" leave Bill Bryson wondering, "what on earth am I doing here?" in this collection of short, anecdotal essays (pp. 231; 286). Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Bryson (best known for NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, A WALK IN THE WOODS, and A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING) lived in the Yorkshire Dales of England for twenty years before returning to the States in 1995 with his English wife and his four children (p. 1). The Brysons lived in Hanover, New Hampshire, before recently returning to Britain (where Bryson is finishing a new book on Shakespeare).

This book offers a compilation of Bryson's whimsical contributions from 1996 to 1998 to London's Night & Day magazine, offering his humorous observations upon life in the United States and in New England in particular. While Bryson recognizes that there is a great deal about American culture that is appealing--"the ease and convenience of life, the friendliness of the people, the astoundingly abundant portions, the intoxicating sense of space, the cheerfulness of nearly everyone who serves you, the notion that almost any desire or whim can be simply and instantly gratified (p. 286)--with his characteristic wit, he chooses instead to skewer American culture in all of its idiosyncrasies--diners, drive ins, dental floss hotlines, diets, processed foods, cable TV, lawsuits, drug laws, running shoes, and garbage disposals.

I am a big Bill Bryson fan. I have rated this book with three stars only when measured against some of his better books--A WALK IN THE WOODS, NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING, for example. This book didn't hold my attention as those books did, and Bryson's reunion with American culture didn't leave me with a sense of wonder and delight. Rather, his encounters with the American "have-a-nice-day" culture left me feeling like a disenchanted stranger in a strange land myself. Ah, well, who wants to be "normal" by the cultural standards described here anyway?

G. Merritt ... Read more


74. Angela's Ashes (AUDIO CASSETTE)
list price: $50.00
our price: $34.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067158037X
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 76449
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland.Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages.Yet Malachy does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story.

Perhaps it is a story that accounts for Frank's survival.Wearing shoes repaired with tires, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner, and searching the pubs for his father, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors -- yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.

Imbued with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion -- and movingly read in his own voice -- Angela's Ashes is a glorious audiobook that bears all the marks of a classic. ... Read more

Reviews (1623)

5-0 out of 5 stars Depressing but Excellent
5 Stars- Depressing but excellent

Frank Mc Court's memoirs "Angela's Ashes" takes us back to the 1940s where he tells us of his childhood and the poverty that his family lived though. This book can be very depressing at times which brought me to tears, but this is an excellent memoirs worthy of a 5 star rating.

The book starts out in New York, the Mc Court family lives in one of the most impoverished areas of Brooklyn and father, Malachy Mc Court has a hard time keeping a job and a drinking problem. After the death of baby Margaret, the family moves back to Ireland where times are harder and life is poorer. The family relies on help from Saint Vincent, DE Paul Society and they are forced to go on relief. The father drinks whatever money he makes and has a hard time finding or keeping a job. Frank has a dream of returning to America, where he feels that he can make life better for himself.

I watched the movie right after reading the book and was amazed at how many part were left out. I advise everyone to read the book to get the true story of the Mc Court Family and I look forward to reading the second part, Tis.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Well-Deserved Pulitzer
McCourt speaks to the reader through his childhood voice in this splendid, moving, and thought-provoking autobiography. McCourt begins the story as a four-year-old living in New York City with his parents and three younger brothers. The poverty stricken Irish family is unable to make ends meet in America and so they head back to Ireland in hopes of survival.

They settle in Limerick where McCourt's mother Angela grew up. Malachy McCourt, the father in the story, claims that he will find work and support the family. However, Malachy's love of alcohol prevents him from finding or keeping any gainful employment. When he does work, he takes his wages and goes to the bars and drinks until all the money is gone. Meanwhile, the family is hungry, the children are wearing shoes with holes, and Angela sinks into a deep depression but remains obedient to her husband because of her Catholic faith. The family moves around Limerick frequently, renting dirty rooms with flea infested bedding, living on the floors in small houses owned by relatives, and even renting a house in which the bottom floor is constantly being flooded with neighborhood sewage. The family comes face to face with illness, death, starvation, and ridicule. The low point strikes when Angela must resort to begging on the streets to help her family survive.

All the while, McCourt has the reader grow with him through the ages of four to nineteen. He shares the Irish tales he grew up with, the feelings he had toward his dyfunctional parents, his opinion of the Catholic Church, and the good and bad lessons he learned from his harsh schoolmasters. Never does McCourt wallow in self-pity, rather he presents the facts of his life in an honest, poignant manner. Despite the despair, it seems that McCourt has no regrets about his upbringing, for he was a child and had no control of the situation. As he grew, however, he came to the realization that he could begin to change things for the better. Unlike his father, he became eager to work. He struggled to support his mother and younger siblings in his teen years with after school jobs. He educated himself through reading and observation. He set goals and priorities and didn't give up until he reached them.

McCourt takes what is tragic and presents it in a beautiful, descriptive language that leaves the reader spellbound. His story is obviously written unselfishly and is told to show that triumph can be the end result of tragedy. Each individual has the power to rise above and make his or her life meaningful. This is the essence of McCourt's message. A message you will not forget after reading Angela's Ashes.

5-0 out of 5 stars a memoir of myself?
This book is simply incredible and the inclusion of the patriotic and doleful poems of the Irish make it simply the best and stand out from the rest. Frank Mc Court has retold the story in a perspective of a child and I wonder how could he retell each and everything so clearly and touchingly.... so hands up for him... Mc Court is one of the greatest Irish writer ever.... This book has broken my heart, made me laugh, brought tears in my eyes and has made me obsessed with Little Frankie and his sore eyes....I never wanted to finish Angela's Ashes and wish I could continue reading it forever and ever.... If you are keen about Frankie's life then Tis' is a must read book...

I wish I could invite Frankie during Christmas so that he didnt have to eat the pig's head....

5-0 out of 5 stars ANGELA'S ASHES
THIS BOOK LEFT SUCH A MEMORABLE IMPRESSION ON ME. IT HELPS ME TO UNDERSTAND HOW SOME PEOPLE IN AMERICA, DURING THE DEPRESSION YEARS, MUST HAVE LIVED. THE WAY THE STORY IS WRITTEN MAKES YOU FEEL AS IF YOU ENDURED SOME OF THE UNFORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCES FELT BY THE WRITER. HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO REMEMBER THIS STORY IN TIMES WHEN THE SIMPLICITY AND BASIC JOYS IN LIFE ARE OFTEN OVERLOOKED.

1-0 out of 5 stars P.U.!!
Stinkaroo! Thank god I borrowed this work of maudlin stereotypical crap from the library so I didn't actually fork over any cash for it. Jeez, if I was Irish I would be completely insulted by the authors' ludicrous, stereotypical portrayal of the anguished poor Irish Catholic family. "Aw no da's drunk agin! Aw no, ma's bein' shagged! Aw, I wish ere lived in Ameriki!" Blah blah blah! These characters aren't even as well developed as the guy on the Lucky Charms box. Has McCourt ever been to Ireland?

I couldn't even finish it. It just plodded and sobbed and whined on and on and on. In fact, before I took it back to the library I inscribed in one of the early chapters, "WARNING: MORE CRAP AHEAD". I didn't consider that defacing library property, I considered it a public service. ... Read more


75. IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING
by Gilda Radner
list price: $18.00
our price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671683616
Catlog: Book (1989-07-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 388393
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"I started out to write a book called A Portrait of the Artist as a Housewife.I wanted to write a collection of stories, poems and vignettes about things like my toaster oven and my relationships with plumbers, mailmen and delivery people.But life dealt me a much more complicated story..."

Gilda Radner died on May 20, 1989, shortly before publication of her book It's Always Something.A month before her death, Gilda entered a Los Angeles recording studio to deliver what would be her final performance -- this remarkable audio autobiography, in which she reveals the inspirational story of her struggles with cancer...a private, personal battle in which the humor and humanity that has touched millions became her most powerful weapon. ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars this book is heartbreaking and inspiring all at once.
it took me only one day to read this entire book. gilda was a brave and inspiring woman. god bless all who have cancer.

5-0 out of 5 stars I truely couldn't put it down.
When I found out I had to do a project on Gilda Radner I was stunned. It was for my American history class. I had never been a huge Gilda fan, but seen a few of her SNL skits, so I thought to myslef 'how did she change history'. I had no idea, until I read this book. Not only did Gilda change comedy forever, but she gave many cancer patients a reason to try and live. My Aunt had ovarian cancer durring the 80's, and told me that with out Gilda's advice, she would have wanted to die. Gilda wrote this book while she had cancer, what an amazing thing to do. She wrote a beautiful book that truely I wouldn't put down. I read the book 4 times, and still wanted to read it again. Gilda finds a way to tell her story as your own. She touches something from your past or future. It's such an amazing book, and i recomend it to people of all ages.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Always Something........Something Wonderful
On Sunday, May 21, 1989, I was dining at a favorite restaurant, poring over the front page of "The Kansas City Star." When I saw the cruel headline ("Gilda Radner Dies at 42"), my appetite vanished - and I felt as if I had lost a very close friend. Two months later, battling my own chronic illness, I was given a copy of "It's Always Something" while hospitalized with major depression. I had always loved Gilda from "SNL", but now I loved her even more.

The gifted comedienne's gripping, poignant, wrenching (and, yes, at times humorous) account of her fight with Ovarian cancer touched my heart, and I mourned her death even more fully. Ovarian cancer ended Gilda's life, but Radner's tragedy didn't begin and end there. The medical community failed Gilda. Her maligancy was not diagnosed until TEN MONTHS - that's right - nearly a near - after her symptoms began. By the time she underwent surgery in October 1986, she was at Stage IV in the illness - a time in which survival rates are distressingly low.

I'm angry. I was angry in July 1989 - and I'm still angry nearly 15 years later.

But the sorrow and regret do not mitigate the joys and beauty of Gilda's wonderful book. Her vulnerability, endearing childlike innocence, her abundant wit, her lovable nature, and her enduring kindness pervade "It's Always Something." And that's probably why I loved this book, even at the lowest point in my own life, when I was facing potential long-term hospitalization.

Luckily, I didn't have cancer, but I still relate - in spades - to Gilda's frustration with the medical establishment. I'm still fighting the condition diagnosed 15 years ago, and I still love and revere the beloved comedienne who inspired such loyalty from so many.

I adore Gilda Radner, and "It's Always Something" I'll carry in my heart.....forever.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly Inspiring
I have always loved Gilda Radner's sense of humor, but this book showed me there is much more to her than just her ability to make people laugh. This book was written by Gilda herself and chronicles her battle with ovarian cancer. She goes into detail about certain procedures she had done, about how she reacted when she lost her hair from chemo and about how the Wellness Community helped to keep her sane when she could no longer cope with having cancer. I had tears in my eyes thoughout the book, but I was able to smile and rejoice along with Gilda when she managed to put a positive spin on a bad situation. It doesn't matter if the reader can relate to her experiences or not. This book will touch your heart either way.

5-0 out of 5 stars A brave woman...
I read this book during the big blackout (using my trusty booklight), and it really affected me. Such a vital, funny, and brilliant young woman who was lost to ovarian cancer much too soon. It made me laugh, cry, and all the emotions in-between. A must-read book! ... Read more


76. My Brother
by Jamaica Kincaid
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140867376
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 853035
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Compassion only occasionally lightens the grim tone of Jamaica Kincaid's searing account of her younger brother Devon's 1996 death from AIDS. As in novels such as Annie John, Kincaid is ruthlessly honest about her ambivalence toward the impoverished Caribbean nation from which she fled, her restrictive family, and the culture that imprisoned Devon. That honesty, which includes chilling detachment from her brother's suffering, is sometimes alienating. But art has its own justifications. The bitter clarity of Kincaid's prose and the tangled, undeniably human feelings it lucidly dissects are justification enough. ... Read more

Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars ENIGMATIC
Kincaid is one of the pillars of American literature at present. Her AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY MOTHER was nominated for the prestigious Dublin-IMPAC Award, and a widely-praised writer. Her brother, Devon Drew, died of AIDS at a very young age (he was only thirty-three). He was an intelligent, charming young person, and a dreamer who could have been something. He died, however, as an unknown, "of a disease that had a great shame attached to it."

Their mother is a powerful and, at times, threatening figure. She, of course, is the central character of this biography (despite the fact that its title suggests otherwise). What she did in the past (The burning of Kincaid's books when she was a child) consumes a quarter of "My Brother".

I found the MY BROTHER frustrating when I first read it (In fact, I wrote an earlier review trumpeting how bad it is). But this is a very confronting, powerful book, and worth reading. One that is enigmatic, and humane underneath

4-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
I first read Jamaica Kincaid's work in "Talk Stories", and I loved it.

I discovered this book (My Brother) when reading the book "Writing as a Way of Healing" by Louise DeSalvo.I was curious about Jamaica's life and her writing style intrigued me.

Through her writing, Jamaica brings beauty to even the most difficult of life's experiences.She writes, "That sun, that sun.On the last day of our visit its rays seemed as pointed and unfriendly as an enemy's well-aimed spear."(p.73)

Her writing is honest and balanced between expressing the hard aspects and the kindness within her family life.This book is mostly about her brother dying of AIDS, a very difficult subject matter to read.I also enjoyed reading about how she became a writer, and what it means to her to be a writer.

This book also tells about life in Antigua, which I was especially interested in learning about.The next book I will read by Jamaica is "A Small Place", to learn more about life in Antigua.

3-0 out of 5 stars Where's the story?
Normally a fan of Jamaica Kincaid, this book was terribly disappointing.Kincaid tells the story of her brother's battle with AIDS . . . well, sort of tells it anyway.

This book tells the reader surprisingly little about any story.Kincaid, wrapped up in age-old animosity toward her mother does not tell the story of her brother's fight with a deadly disease, or the story of her brother's death, or the story of her brother's life, or even her own story of how she dealt with all of this--all of which would have been fascinating stories had they been told.Kincaid's feelings toward her mother seem not quite unfounded to the reader but certainly a bit mysterious.There is deep conflict between the author and her mother but as readers we have only two or three explanations for the mother/daughter difficulty.If this were only mentioned in passing we could overlook this flaw, however, Kincaid is extremely hung up on the issue and the ill feelings toward her mother cloud the true story of the book (whatever that may be).

Kincaid's style, usually quite interesting, was lacking in this book.Her wandering, redundant sentences build her excessively long and redundant paragraphs, which are full of distracting and also redundant parenthetical comments.

However, the book is not without a few strong points.There are some good detailed descriptions--particularly of her brother's physical condition and of specific places.Kincaid also does a fine job of describing her various feelings when she realizes toward the end of the book that she knew her brother even less than she had previously thought (and she never claimed to know much about him to begin with).

My advice is to pass this book by and pick up one of Kincaid's novels, or--even better--get your hands on one of her short stories.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Complicated Work
I'm still thinking through the issues raised in "My Brother" -- and I suspect that it will be one of those books which, though it feels a bit hollow as I read it, will turn out to haunt me in the future.Only time will tell.The most remarkable thing about it, I think, is the way that Kincaid refuses to valorize any of the characters she describes.The incredible ire towards her mother is the only emotion that feels puzzling, given the lack of context for it -- I kept waiting for a revelation there that never came.With this exception, however, Kincaid seems committed to presenting a balanced portrayal:she does not heroize the dead, nor does she portray herself as particularly wise or noble in the face of death.It is this commitment to a human, complex portrayal that makes the description unique.

I just want to add that I am only posting this to counteract what appears to be a long list of high school book reports that make up most of the "reviewing" on this page....

5-0 out of 5 stars Jamica Kincaid, a story of family and loss
Jamaica Kincaid tells the story of her ill brother and his encounters with the virus HIV. The story has the title of My Brother by Jamaica Kincaid. The story is essentially written to save Jamaica's own life. Whenever there is a tragic happening in her family, she writes about to let her feelings out and she also tries to exclude herself from her family. She moves away from Antigua once she became old enough to do so. Jamaica goes through sever years without connection to her mother and her siblings. Jamaica struggles to find feelings for her sick and dying brother as he spends his last days in an old run down hospital in Antigua. Jamaica is only able to let her own feelings out in a comfortable manner to Dr. Prince Ramsey. Jamaica is unable to communicate with her own mother. This is due to Jamaica's feeling that her mother was only a mother at certain times. Jamaica is driven on the idea that her mother only wants to care for her children if they were sick or in need of caring. Any time other than that, Jamaica thinks she had a poor mother. Jamaica is pleased however with few things her mother did. When Jamaica was only fifteen years old, she was forced to look after her younger brother who was only age two. She decided to read her books all day long and decided that looking after her younger brother was not a number one priority.Jamaica realized at the end of her reading that her mother would be home soon so she tried to clean up the things she thought her mother would realize first. One of these things was her brothers diaper but Jamaica did not have enough time to change so once her mother found this out, she took all of Jamaica's books, took them outside, doused them with kerosene, and burned them all, every last book.Jamaica recalls this event as driving her to become a written to make up for all for all of the books that she had lost at a young age.
Throughout the book Jamaica conveys her struggle to find love for her dying brother, Devon Drew. She never was close at all to her younger brother and as her brother became more sick, Jamaica knew she need to do something to redeem her self for all of the years she was absent in the presence of her brother. On page 72, Jamaica and her mother have a conversation about bringing her brother the medicine that prolonged his life several months more. Her mother said to her that god would bless her richly for providing her brother with the medicine, AZT. Jamaica was not sure if what her mother said was true but she was really not concerned with gods or being richly blessed. Jamaica was constantly thinking about how her brother was sick and how much Antiguan society shunned HIV positive people. Even though her brother was feeling better from the AZT, Jamaica knew that eventually her brother would die. On January 19th, 1996, at the age of thirty-three, Devon Drew died.
At certain times throughout the story, Jamaica thinks that it is perhaps better if her brother would just die, but when Devon was no more, Jamaica did not know what to feel. At certain points throughout the story, Jamaica feels that Devon is becoming a burden to her, making fly from her home in Vermont to Antigua, every time her brother needed more AZT. On page 87 she states that it seemed that his dying was a good thing, she was relieved when her brother finally did die. She says " when that moment came, the moment I knew he was no longer alive, I didn't know what to think, I didn't know how to feel" I think that this sentence conveys the struggle Jamaica has internally about her brothers illness and about how she felt about him when he was alive. During the story Jamaica also remembers the death of her father. She got word of his death right around Christmas time and she felt increasingly depressed. On page 119 Jamaica says " In the letter telling me that my father is (that is, the man who was not really my father but whom played I thought of as my father, and the man who had filled that role in my life) had died, my mother said his death left them impoverished, that she had been unable to pay for his burial, and the only charitable of others allowed him to have an ordinary burial, not an extraordinary burial of a pauper, with its anonymous grave and which no proper mourners attend". Throughout the second half of the book, Jamaica demonstrates her increasing anger toward her father and her brother. She becomes very angered at the thought of anyone dying and she keeps feeling that she really did not care about the loss of her father, only how to try and make up for the lost time with her brother, who in retrospect never really seemed to love Jamaica as a sister, just perhaps someone who provided him life with more AZT. Jamaica has difficulty dealing with all of the tragic experiences that has happened to her family, that is why one could feel that Jamaica isolated herself from her family. She feels that at certain times throughout the book she feels that perhaps she is to blame for being in the absence of her ill brother.
One could feel that Jamaica Kincaid does represent a hero but in defined terms. At times the only reason she is able to provide her brother with AZT is because she has had a better life than the rest of her family and she also has more money than the rest of her family.She tries her hardest to find love for her brother, even though she really cannot relate to any of his problems. She buys him temporary relief with the AZT medicine, but she knows that is not enough to make up for all of the lost years she had been without her brother. One might not necessarily think that Jamaica wanted to reconnect with her brother and the rest of her family, one might think that she just wanted to see him again before he died. While visiting her brother the experiences Jamaica had with her mother did make her more stressed out and more prone to mental and physical breakdowns. One could say that Jamaica did triumph all of the death and stress that was associated with her mother and the rest of her family.
One cold imagine that this story is heartfelt at times and a very good read. Some parts of the story were somewhat confusing when Jamaica puts things like my father (not my father but my brother's father) in parentheses. It seems as though she does want a mother and father but at times is seems as though Jamaica knows that maybe they do not want to be parents to her. This book is touching on several levels and anyone who has family members who are sick can relate to this book. This book was moving and really from the heart (of Jamaica Kincaid). One could feel that this book could be given to almost anyone and that person would be moved emotionally as well as physically. This book tells the story of hardship and death a young girl inspired to write her feelings in order to save her own life. Jamaica was inspired by the acts of her mother burning the few items she truly loved in live. Her books. She is familiar with the act of saving herself, so when she found out her brother was sick and dying. She started to write she knew that was the only was to understand his sickness, and she also began to write so she would not die with him. This book was amazing and is truly one of the best works of all times. It deals with emotion and real life situations. One feels that anyone who wants to learn the story of a girl who overcame the impoverished life of her family and the way Jamaica tried to save her own brother even when she could not relate to him, and she did with grace and inner strength that is unprecedented and amazing. She tried to keep a smile on her face and have a strong heart through it all. ... Read more


77. The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England [UNABRIDGED]
by Antonia Fraser, Wanda McCaddon
list price: $34.95
our price: $23.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1572701013
Catlog: Book (1999-05-01)
Publisher: Audio Partners
Sales Rank: 257628
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is a celebration of almost 1,000 years of English history, told through the lives of England's monarchs. Antonia Fraser, an acclaimed scholar, has created both a useful reference and a fascinating history. Eight specialist contributors bring to life many royal figures such as the well-loved Victoria and the enigmatic, little-known sovereign, Richard III. This newly revised 1998 edition features expanded and timely coverage of the House of Windsor. Complete and unabridged. 8 cassettes. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource
Antonia Fraser does a great job here, outlining the lives and adventures of the Kings and Queens of England, from the time of the Norman conquest. And of course its not just a history of England that we are reading here, from time to time it was also a history of the known world - there were times when if England didn't own another country, they were coveting it, or were in some conflict with it. And what fascinating people these royal people were. They were of their times, they were shaped by the times, they were defeated by their times, and in being so helped shape the world that we see today. They were competent, insane, brilliant, loyal, lecherous and obsessive. This is a history of mankind - only far more visible!

Antonia Fraser is one of the finest historical writers today. In this book she does not have the space or time to delve into the nitty gritty of the reigns of each monarch, but she does give a fascinating and insightful snap shot of their times. This is a valuable reference book for any half serious library, as it deals not only with the people, but the times tthat they lived in.

4-0 out of 5 stars History Thru Biography
Until I read this book, the history of England and her monarchs was clouded in confusion. No longer! A beautiful book, full of color and informative graphics, "Lives" packs much information in one volume. Antonia Frazier has done a wonderful job editing the work of many authors. "Lives" draws the reader into the life and times of kings, queens, bas***ds, pretenders, earls, dukes and mistresses. The role and evolution of Parliment is explored, as well as brief outlines of the world at large in order to maintain historical perspective. Often the authors attempt to correct what they feel were previous historical inaccuracies and judge the reigns of each monarch. From the Norman conquest in 1066 to the present, the history of this great country (and Empire) is one we need to better understand because of England's great influence on not only the US, but the world. I can't wait to read the updated 1998 edition, which I just thumbed through at a local retailer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Royal Portraits
Antonia Fraser's 'The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England' has long been one of my favourite books (since my childhood, really), because it has both breadth and brevity simultaneously, a rare feat. Lady Fraser's style is evident here, a non-imposing and non-technical style, that is nonetheless satisfying to all but the most rigourous of academic historians.

Fraser's account begins with the Norman invasion; like many books on royal history, scant attention is paid to pre-Norman figures. Fraser groups the monarchs into categories:

Normans
Angevins
Plantagenets
House of Lancaster
House of York
Tudors
Stuarts
House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
House of Windsor

Putting together the genealogical tables is a fun exercise--beware here, however, that lesser historical figures are left off the charts (thus, Queen Anne's bevy of children are not represented on the genealogy as none lived to assume the crown or perpetuate the line). Each monarch is given an article about 10-15 pages in length (a good bedtime reading length, I've found). Pictures and paintings help place visually the stories, together with the interspersed essays on coats-of-arms and other topics.

Fraser likes to find the humourous aspects whenever possible. Writing on William IV's distaste for the young Victoria's mother:' 'In 1836 the Duchess of Kent took over a large suite of rooms in Kensington Palace without the King's permission. William was furious. If he died now, Victoria would not be old enough to rule without her mother as Regent. At a public dinner, attended by more than a hundred guests, William said that he hoped his life would be spared long enough to prevent such a calamity.'

His wish was granted.

An ideal gift for anyone, child to adult, who has an interest in the history of the British royals, and a good ready-reference for students, this book is first-rate.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Overview Of The Monarchs Of England!
If you are not aware of whom the Kings and Queens of England are, or if you are a novice in understanding who these colorful individuals are this is a wonderful book to introduce you to them. This book covers all of them from the beginning (Norman Rule) to present day, and even takes a look at the future of the monarchy. Short biographies on each monarch as well as color photos help put a face and personality to each monarch.

Don't expect this book to offer a detail explanation and action of each monarch since that would require the book to be way to extensive. This is a brief intoduction to each and a wonderful first look. This book is great for either pleasure reading, or reference material.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful for the novice.
As someone who is not already well-read on the subject, this was a very handy introduction. I'm sure that it is of limited value to someone already versed in the subject, and I admit to wishing that it had not started with William the Conqueror; I don't know much about it, but I DO know that there were Kings in England before 1066. But it does what it sets out to do well: a brief recitation of the Kings and Queens since the Norman Conquest, with a bit of detail about each. ... Read more


78. Let Me Go
by Helga Schneider, Barbara Rosenblat
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786127376
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 1289089
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Book Description

Helga Schneider was four when her mother suddenly abandoned her family in Berlin in 1941. This extraordinary memoir, praised across Europe, tells of a daughter's final encounter with her mother, who had left her family to become an SS guard at Auschwitz. ... Read more


79. Without a Doubt
by Marcia Clark, Teresa Carpenter
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140864490
Catlog: Book (1997-05-01)
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 1029801
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Book Description

Without a Doubt is not just a book about a trial. It's a book about a woman. Marcia Clark takes us inside her head and her heart with a story that is both sweeping and deeply personal--and shocking in its honesty. Her voice is raw, disarming, unmistakable. She tells us how a woman, when caught up in an event that galvanized an entire country, rose to that occasion with singular integrity, drive, honesty, and grace.How did she do it, day after day? What was it like, orchestrating the most controversial case of her career in the face of the media's relentless klieg lights? How did she fight her personal battles--those of a working mother balancing a crushing workload and a painful, very public divorce? Who stood by her and who abandoned her? As Clark shares the secrets of her own life, we understand for the first time why she identified so closely with Nicole Brown Simpson, in a way no man ever could.Sparing no one in this unflinching account--least of all herself--Clark speaks frankly about the mesmerizing and controversial personalities in the Simpson case: Lance Ito, Kato Kaelin, Johnnie Cochran, Mark Fuhrman, and Christopher Darden, among others. She also takes on her critics, the "armchair warriors" who scapegoated her after the verdict, and tells us why they were wrong. In a case that tore America apart, and that continues to haunt us as few events in our recent history have, Marcia Clark emerges as the one true heroine, because she stood for justice, fought the good fight, and fought it well.
Also available as a Penguin Audiobook
A bestseller in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Publishers Weekly, and New York Newsday
TV movie rights sold to CBS
... Read more


80. Hidden Treasures : Searching for Masterpieces of American Furniture
by Joan Barzilay Freund
list price: $17.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570429782
Catlog: Book (2000-11-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audio Books
Sales Rank: 775940
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Leigh and Leslie Keno are twins with a single passion--the pursuit of American antiques. One (Leigh) is an antiques dealer in New York. The other (Leslie) is a director at Sotheby's, New York. Together with Joan Barzilay Freund--a New York-based freelance writer who specializes in American antiques--they tell tales of the hunt.

Some of the stories come from the twins' childhood in upstate New York (they started keeping antiques dealer diaries when they were 12); one riveting anecdote is set more recently in the auction room of Sotheby's, circa January 1999. But all of the treasure-hunting episodes are imbued with the drama and thrill of the chase as well as the bliss of aesthetic appreciation.

It doesn't matter whether you, yourself, have swapped bids in tense auction rooms for million-dollar furnishings, or traipsed through small-town flea markets in search of sleepers, or gained the bulk of your antiquing know-how while firmly planted in your easy chair watching the Antiques Roadshow. Because the Keno twins know their stuff and they evoke the rich details of antiques, such as the creamy surfaces of 18th-century ceramics and the plum-pudding mahogany sheen to the rare secretary bookshelf. The passion that drives them is evident on every page of the book, and that emotion is the hook that allows them to so effectively share their fascination with the reader. To read their stories is to enter their world, and while the color photographs are certainly appreciated, the prose does a fine job by itself to portray the lure of the Seymour table and the Canton ginger jar. Along the way, the life stories and distinctive personalities of the twins come through, too. By time you finish the final chapter, you will have learned a lot about American antiques, and even more about the happy souls of two brothers pursuing their craft. --Stephanie Gold ... Read more

Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, not bad at all!
I too, was a recruit from the Antiques Road Show- they are the only reason I am interested in the show (they get so dang happy over a good find) and therefore the ONLY reason I grabbed this book.

I am interested a little in antiques but MORE interested in a good "discovery" or score at a yard sale....I found this book had it all - it is very well written and kept my interest the entire "read".

The brothers take turns between chapters and keep your interests in them completely equally.

I was also impressed just how their parents influenced them in such an "uncool" hobby, that ultimately led to their popularity and provided them both with success.

Many parents could take a few tips about being involved in their kids hobbies, and lives.They not only were into antiques, but dirtbikes and fishing!Just well rounded kids, and that comes from one place- attention from home.

Any how- I am off my soapbox.I do reccomend this book because it is INTERESTING, it keeps your attention and both get to show their own personalities.

I read it and shared it... have found the same response: surprise that it was INTERESTING!That we wanted to finish it.I am so glad these guys are on TV, I really appreciate the knowledge they are willing to share with us.That is why I like them; their lovely antiques packed minds!

Some brains are very attractive!

5-0 out of 5 stars Super Keen on Keno book
I am astounded.Did I really go to the dollar store and come home with this gorgeous book by the Keno twins?Is it actually a beautiful book with gorgeous color plates?Is it one of the most readable books I have ever read?

A resounding triple "YES"!!!

I purchased this book and thought, "Oh well, only a dollar, and looks like it is at least worth that."Then I browsed through the photos once I got it home.And on the third day of ownership, I began reading the Keno saga, a non-fiction journey of avid treasure hunters from their youth in the countryside of New England where they grew up, to their professional work in the world of Americana antiques.

These guys are versatile with a capital "V" and with the help of Joan Barzilay Freund, they have put together a wonderful set of chaptered adventures that each center on a separate discovery of very special Americana antiques.

Freund is the author of a book on the collection of Americana furniture of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Henry Meyer; so she obviously knows her stuff.The Townsend desk from the Meyer collection is featured in one of the Keno book chapters.

This is just plain good reading.And without intending to do so, I am swept into the education they afford me as the reader who learns from eager teachers, lovers of their work of discovery.The same élan one sees in Leigh and Leslie on TV pours out of these pages in their own voices.

Certainly I have loved seeing Leigh and Leslie on "Antiques Roadshow" and on their own PBS series, "Find!"The gentlemanly enthusiasm of these brothers is infectious and makes me feel like I might just make a great discovery in my antiquing adventures, too.

Whether or not I do, I have certainly loved reading their book and highly recommend it to any reader.Without intending to, you will be swept along into the Keno brothers' lives and inadvertently learn a lot about the glorious craftsmanship of American cabinetmakers and the surviving products of their hands.

What an exciting read!Now, if I could just find a few more copies for friends!

5-0 out of 5 stars --Living in the world of antiques--
I've enjoyed the Antiques Roadshow for a number of years, and have been intrigued by the various people who are specialists in the different fields of antiques. How did they learn their subjects?What education did they pursue? Those were a few of the questions that were of interest to me.The twins, Leslie and Leigh Keno are an attractive addition to the Roadshow.I especially like the fact that they are always polite and kind to the people who bring in the antique items for evaluation. The Keno brothers never appear to be condescending to the visitors, and their enthusiasm about the antiques is catchy.

Well, HIDDEN TREASURES was a pleasure to read.In this autobiographic form, Leigh and Leslie tell about growing up in New York and how they became interested in learning about objects that they found around the old family farm and how that interest turned into a love of American antiques. They also relate some interesting stories about their experiences in discovering, and being involved in the identification of some rare and unique pieces of furniture. They both write well, and I found the book to be very entertaining.

You don't have to be an antiques expert to enjoy this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Their Passion is Inspiring
Even if antiques isn't your 'thing', you may want to take a look at this combined life history in the realm of antique dealing.

Why?

Because their passion for what they do comes shining through.Their dedication to the craft catches up with the reader and sweeps him/her away.It is this type of passion and dedication which almost inevitably brings success to people in any walk of life.In fact, possessing this level of passion IS success in life.

Highly recommended for those who want to simply enjoy a story about two unique brother's experiences in rising to the height of their profession.

5-0 out of 5 stars fascinating
What a terrific book! Leigh and Leslie Keno, the twins on Antiques Roadshow wrote a book that is fun to read and educational. These guys aren't just TV people they know their field thoroughly. If you love the look of Colonial furniture but don't know enough about it this isa good introduction to the field. If you love antiques and have ever dreamed of a career with them this book should be on your list.
I love the way the twins describe the furniture, it's so lush and romantic. Their obvious passion for their work is thrilling. ... Read more


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