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1. Red China Blues : My Long March
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2. Moe Norman: The Canadian Golfing
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3. Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible
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4. The Selected Journals of L.M.
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5. Wondrous Strange: The Life and
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6. Confessions of an Igloo Dweller
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12. Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie
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20. Great Heart: The History of a

1. Red China Blues : My Long March From Mao to Now
by JAN WONG
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385482329
Catlog: Book (1997-05-19)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 37862
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jan Wong, a Canadian of Chinese descent, went to China as a starry-eyed Maoist in 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution. A true believer--and one of only two Westerners permitted to enroll at Beijing University--her education included wielding a pneumatic drill at the Number One Machine Tool Factory. In the name of the Revolution, she renounced rock and roll, hauled pig manure in the paddy fields, and turned in a fellow student who sought her help in getting to the United States. She also met and married the only American draft dodger from the Vietnam War to seek asylum in China.Red China Blues begins as Wong's startling--and ironic--memoir of her rocky six-year romance with Maoism that began to sour as she became aware of the harsh realities of Chinese communism and led to her eventual repatriation to the West. Returning to China in the late eighties as a journalist, she covered both the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown and the tumultuous era of capitalist reforms under Deng Xiaoping. In a wry, absorbing, and often surreal narrative, she relates the horrors that led to her disillusionment with the "worker's paradise." And through the stories of the people--an un-happy young woman who was sold into marriage, China's most famous dissident, a doctor who lengthens penises--Wong creates an extraordinary portrait of the world's most populous nation.In setting out to show readers in the Western world what life is like in China, and why we should care, Wong reacquaints herself with the old friends--and enemies--of her radical past, and comes to terms with the legacies of her ancestral homeland. ... Read more

Reviews (56)

4-0 out of 5 stars Red China Blues
Red China Blues is the historical yet entertaining autobiography of Jan Wong, a Chinese-Canadian who grew up in the chaos of the Canadian government and traveled to China in search of a Maoist utopia. Her naiveté forced her to believe that life in China was perfect during the Cultural Revolution, that everyone was happy, however, after some work in journalism and then Mao's death, the evils of the Cultural Revolution finally revealed themselves.
Jan Wong uses many different writing techniques in her autobiography, making it consistently entertaining and exciting. She makes it clear from the start that her actions and ideas were undeveloped and would change drastically. There is a sense of dramatic irony; the reader knows her final opinion but she does not. This idea also gives more emphasis to an event that is extremely important in Chinese history- the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Since the reader is wondering when and why she will change her opinion, Tiananmen Square not only becomes the turning point of communism in China but also the turning point of the book.
Jan Wong is an extremely talented author and was able to put all of her emotions and ideas into this book and therefore bring her experiences to life. Red China Blues is also an extraordinary piece of literature that combines the joy of reading with the even greater joy of learning history through entertaining means. Though there is one major flaw, a conclusion that fails to satisfy the readers' expectations, Red China Blues is still undoubtedly worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thanks to Jan Wong, I can't get China our of my head.
Red China Blues is an intensely personalized historical account that covers nearly a quarter-century in China's recent and temultuous past. In this often humorous, often harrowing memoir, Jan Wong recounts her own rocky relationship with the nation of her ancestors. Having been raised in a middle-class family in Canada, the daughter of a successful Chinese restaraunteur, Wong travels to the People's Republic of China in 1972--the height of the Cultural Revolution--as one of only two Westerners permitted entrance to Bejing University. Naively devoted to the "Great Helmsman" Mao Zedong and determined to purge herself of bourgeois privilege and capitalist guilt, Wong fervently adopts the teachings of the Communist party and eagerly joins the tide of students who spend the better part of their University years laboring in the paddy fields. Her Communist fervor is such that she even turns in a fellow student who asks for Wong's help in going to the United States, and joins in chanting criticisms at an accused counter-revolutionary. A series of lies and propagandist maneuvers--including the University's attempt to expel her on false claims that her parents have asked her to return home--begin to unravel Wong's faith in the Party. Following the first silent uprising at Tiananmen Square after Premier Zhou Enlai's death in 1976, Wong comes to a startling realization: "Nobody believed in the revolution anymore. They hadn't for a long time, and I had been too stupid to see it." In the aftermath of Mao's death and the declaration of the end of the Cultural Revolution the same year, she also begins to understand the nature of China's system of rule: "One announcement, and we were consigned to the dust heap of history. That, I suddenly realized, was how dictatorships worked. Overnight, every single person I knew made an abrupt ideological swtich." Years later, the author's metamorphosis is complete when she returns to China as a reporter for the Toronto Globe & Mail, and watches ! the massacre of Tiananmen Square from her balcony at Bejing Hotel. She paints a vivid, horrifying picture of the days of violence and chaos, when soldiers opened fire on their own people and tanks mowed down protestors in cold blood. Over and over again, the mass of protestors--comprised of students, police, and ordinary citizens--stampedes away from the army's gun volleys, only to regroup and come back for more. Red China Blues is a fascinating read for anyone interested in recent Chinese history, but the scope of the book is broader than that. It is about human psychology-- our incredible willingness to be led, our instinctual inclination for rebellion when the leaders we have vehemently followed overstep some invisible boundary. It is a criticism of absolutism delievered by a former absolutist, the story of how an idealist young girl came to realize that no single nation, party, or political regime possesses a monopoly on truth.

2-0 out of 5 stars Great historical book, but rather poor personal story
This book is great for anyone interested in recent Chinese history and what life was like for ordinary Chinese under Mao and beyond. Wong was one of only a handful of Westerners allowed to study in China during the 1970's, and as such her perspective is nearly unparallelled. Most people really don't much about day-to-day life in China and this makes for a very interesting read.
Her story, however, is so fraught with self-deprecation that it's hard to take her seriously and one must question what really goes on inside her head. She tells stories of slaving on state farms and in communist machine factories and witnessing horrible societal abuses. She consistently relates stories of her questioning of her own Maoist faith and how easily she allowed herself to be manipulated by half-wit propaganda agents. The problem is she never establishes why she was such an ardent socialist and why she so passionately wanted to reject the West. Rather, she comes across during her time in China as an immature hippie / marxist wannabe brat incapable of any form of advanced thought. Now that she is 'reformed' and sees those Chinese regimes for what they were, she can write this book. But the reader is frequently overcome with an urge to shake the author and pull her head out of the sand; since there is no reasonable justification for her actions and why she in fact stuck her head three feet down in the sand, one cannot have much sympathy for Wong and she loses credibility.

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and Entertaining
My husband and I are in the process of reading this book together, and are thoroughly enjoying it. Wong tells her story with candor and humor, never neglecting to describe the horrors and failings of the revolution while also making sure to relate the positive, uplifting, and sometimes humorous aspects of the system. An enlightening read with unique perspective.

5-0 out of 5 stars must read for westerner going to china
It's amazing how Jan Wong's frustrations as a Canadian who looked but did not speak Chinese in China are so easy to relate to even though 30 years have passed since the beginning of her account. As a Chinese-American who traveled to China recently, I highly recommend this book. Old, many-times-read copies of this book are passed from older travelers to newer travelers in youth hostels in China (because it's very honest and good, but it's banned from sale!). ... Read more


2. Moe Norman: The Canadian Golfing Legend with the Perfect Swing
by Stan Sauerwein
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1551539535
Catlog: Book (2004-01)
Publisher: Altitude Publishing Canada
Sales Rank: 131403
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Murray "Moe" Norman has always been a little different. When he took up golf, at the age of 12, he spent hours hitting balls, swinging the club until his hands bled. He soon became a phenomenon on the amateur golfing circuit. Humbly aware of his special gift, Moe went on to set 33 course records, including three 59s, and has shot 17 hole-in-ones. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Golfer!! Moe Norman Rules!!
The reknowned author,Stan Sauerwein has written a great biography of a brilliant golfer,Moe Norman.He rules!! ... Read more


3. Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy
by Seymour Reit
list price: $6.00
our price: $5.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0152164278
Catlog: Book (2001-08-01)
Publisher: Gulliver Books
Sales Rank: 55488
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1861, when war erupted between the States, President Lincoln made an impassioned plea for volunteers. Determined not to remain on the sidelines, Emma Edmonds cropped her hair, donned men’s clothing, and enlisted in the Union Army. Posing in turn as a slave, peddler, washerwoman, and fop, Emma became a cunning master of disguise, risking discovery and death at every turn behind Confederate lines. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars The story of the brave young lady with the imp voice...
Written by Seymour Reit, "Behind Rebel Lines" tells the true story of Emma Edmonds. Running away from her father at the age of sixteen, she had left Canada for the country where freedom and liberty would become a reality. Now the year 1861, Emma is now 21 and the Civil War between states has begun. When President Lincoln asks for volunteers, Emma is determined not to just sit by. She disguises herself as a man and enlists herself into the Union Army. Now everyone, including her superior officers and fellow soldiers, believe her to be Private Franklin Thompson, assigned to Company F. But Emma wants to do more, so she volunteers to be a Union spy. But while she has been all this time fooling her own army, can she keep her secret behind rebel lines?

A truly well-written story, "Behind Enemy Lines" is sure to please. The author did a lot of research to write this book, re-creating Emma Edmond's story through Emma's memoirs, U.S. Army Records, and files from the National Archive. At the front cover of the book it is written "Great Episodes". This is because each chapter is separated in such a way. In that sense, while reading the story the reader might feel as though the book does not really flow as well as you would like. But on the overall, the whole story is written well if not a bit aimed more for younger audiences.

Emma's character is captivating and very realistic. Oh, I know that she WAS a real character, but in few cases, some authors cannot seem to grasp the character of who they're writing about. Fortunately, Seymour Reit puts down Emma's life down on paper flawlessly. You can almost 'hear' the imp voice in Emma's ear!

On the whole, "Behind Rebel Lines" is a gripping and fascinating historical biography and I can easily recommend it. Best for ages 10 - 14 but older teens and some adults might find this a good read.

"This stranger-than-fiction story will captivate history buffs and hold the attention of the most reluctant reader."
-Bank Street College of Education-

4-0 out of 5 stars Girl Power
This is a very quick read even for the 9-12 year age group it is intended for. Never-the-less, it is a very exciting and interesting bit of true Civil War drama. It is the story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, or Emma Edmonds as she was known, a young woman, born in Canada, who, disguised as a man, became a solider, battlefield nurse, spy and detective for the Union army. Emma was sworn into the Union army as Private Franklin Thompson and served bravely and cunningly in many dangerous missions and in many disguises. She was also a devoted and skilled battlefield nurse and tended the wounded of both the Union and the Confederacy with compassion. Her career as a male soldier ended at Vicksburg when she became so ill with malaria that she had to go AWOL in order to escape detection as a female. Her adventures did not stop there. This book is sure to grab the interest of anyone who picks it up. It is not a great work of writing skill, being very episodic with little to link together the various elements of Emma's courageous life. The dialogue is fabricated, of course, and rather stilted, but the facts here are accurate and taken from Emma's memoirs and other historical documents. At least 400 women disguised as men fought for the North during the Civil War, but Emma's tale of espionage is perhaps the most thrilling. I highly recommend this book to young people as a wonderful introduction to the Civil War. Getting to know the people who fought this tragic and bloody war is a wonderful way to understand this astonishing chapter of American history. This book is definitely a page turner and so all the better for keeping interest high and fostering curiosity and discovery. Don't miss it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A woman's extraordinary role in the civil war
Behind the Lines is an adaptation of the Emma Edmonds story for young adults. Emma Edmonds was a native of Saint John New Brunswick, Canada who left for the United States several years prior to the war. She eventually found her way to Michigan where, following the outbreak of war, she under the alias Franklin Thompson enlisted with the 2nd Michigan Infantry. She served with the unit as an orderly for about a year before she volunteered herself as a spy, and during the course of the next year went on eleven assignments. Not only were her spying activities dangerous, but she always had to remain vigilant among her comrades as well, lest her identity be discovered. This is a very interesting and entertaining bit of history, one that is sure to interest even some of those who insist that history is "bo-ring".

5-0 out of 5 stars Me from TN(I'm not really under 13 shhhhhh)
This is a true story,written by Seymour Reit, about a woman overcoming the odds in a man's place. The incredible woman i am talking about is Emma Edmonds. She posed as a male nurse named Franklin Thompson. Edmonds was sent as a spy behind rebel lines.She successfully completed 11 missions!
Behind Rebel Lines really did make me think. This book was excellent! I loved it. I could barely put it down(but I did haha). I loved reading about the struggle of a real woman who could demonstrate this amount of courage. It is so inspirational. By the way,I know I sound like a fruit but my teacher is making me write this haha. See ya!Have a GREAT day!!Love yas!

4-0 out of 5 stars It was OK
I think that this book was ok but if you have a sick mind i suggest u not to read this book because it sounds like they are doing some gross stuff. But other than that the book was really good and i recommend it to anyone who thinks women have equal rights or women can do anything a guy can because in this book it seems like they can. ... Read more


4. The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Vol. 1: 1889-1910
by L. M. Montgomery, Mary Rubio, Elizabeth Waterston
list price: $17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195415124
Catlog: Book (2000-11-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 355998
Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Already a bestseller in Canada, this book will fascinate the legions of devoted readers of Anne of Green Gables and Montgomery's other Anne books. Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) kept extensive journals for most of her life, beginning them in 1889 when she was fourteen and continuing them until shortly before her death.Spontaneous and frank, they are unusual for their narrative interest: Montgomery's gifts as a storyteller are as much in evidence here as in her novels.This first volume takes her to 1910, the year before her marriage, and culminates with the publication of Anne of Green Gables. The fascinating journals collected here offer the reader not just a unique social history, but also the privilege of viewing closely the life of a remarkable woman. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of Montgomery's Journals
Volume II is easily the best of Maud's journals; it is the one that I "dip" into whenever I have a few moments or need a bedtime book and consequently is starting to show some wear and tear. It covers the most dramatic points in her life--her marriage, birth of her sons, the discovery of her husband's mental illness, and the death of her best friend, as well as her most prolific years as a writer. She hasn't yet begun to hide as much in her journals, which makes the third and fourth volumes frustrating to read. Since anyone reading the second volume will probably go on to read them all, I should say here that third volume was rather tedious with the lawsuits and maid problems, and number four, though weirdly compelling, was painful to read as her imminent breakdown is all to evident--it is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I wonder if the journals of her last years will ever be published-- I understand that there are problems with people still living, etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely memorable and delightful experience to read this
I am 40 years old and have kept a journal for 29 years, therefore, the journal format fascinates me. I adore Lucy Maud Montgomery's works and in 1992, I made a trip to Prince Edward Island to visit all her old haunts with my daugter and my girlfriend and her daughter. I purchased the first two journals while there. If you, dear reader, would like to know what went on in Lucy's (called Maud by everyone) mind and heart from the tender, turbulent age of 14 until her mid-thirties, I highly recommend this book. It will transport you to a simpler time, an era where people read more, pondered in greater depth, made visiting one another a social art. There was no television, computers, internet and telephones had just come into existence. The automobile was invented during these years. The book is fascinating in a historical realm as well as entering Maud's mind and gaining a perspective on her outlook of life and those around her. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and anyone who is a fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery will relish this book and treasure it greatly. It added dimension to my life because people have always intriged me and what their thoughts are, and where they get inspiration to write about their ideas. By reading this book, it added music and dimension to my soul. She freely discusses her love life and her miseries and joys. Read it! You will never forget it. The following journals that were published were just as compelling to read. I own them all in my personal library. My thanks to the publishers: Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Life of Canada's Most Beloved Author
This is the most interesting and enjoyable diary I've ever read. It's no wonder that this was a best-seller when it was first published. L. M. Montgomery, who liked to be called Maud, was a remarkable novelist and diarist. Most of her readers love her for the Anne and Emily books, and I'm a fan of her fiction myself, but I believe her greatest literary achievement was her journals. I also believe that her best novels which will live on are the first two Emily books, Anne of Green Gables, Anne's House of Dreams, Rilla of Ingleside, and the Blue Castle. Also, of her thousand or more poems and short stories, about a dozen of them are outstanding little works which should not perish.

These early journals start when Maud was 14 and end when she's 36, a year before her marriage to the Rev. Ewan Macdonald. Maud's ability to pen a compelling narrative makes the journals read almost like a novel. She writes about her teenage years full of friendships; her year-long stay with her father and his bitchy new wife with whom she didn't get along; her college days full of classes and courtships (she would turn down several marriage proposals); her years as a teacher when she met and fell madly in love with the eldest son of the family she was boarding with; and then the dull and frustrating years of living with and looking after her aging grandmother, which nevertheless did have its happy days, including professional success as a writer, the peak of which was the publication of her classic "Anne of Green Gables." This journal is a most remarkable achievement of a most remarkable woman.

David Rehak
author of "Love and Madness"

5-0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book very much
I give this book a very high recommendation and think anyone who reads it will love it as much as I did. I have read a few biographys on L. M. Montgomery but reading her own thoughts, in her own words was even more interesting and insightful. I am looking forward to reading the next journal.

4-0 out of 5 stars Intimate look into the thoughts of the creator of Anne
L.M. Montgomery wrote at the time when journalists were clamouring for details of the life of the author of the bestselling 'Anne of Green Gables', that she would give them no really personal information about herself - that was only to be found in her private journals.

It is very interesting for a lover of the 'Anne' books to read of L.M. Montgomery's life in that one sees flashes of incidents or a turn of expression that reveals her to be the creator of Anne.

This first part of her journals traverses L.M. Montgomery's young girlhood, in which she goes to a school which is like the school Anne goes to, and to college where she takes First Class, as Anne does, teaches as Anne eventually does as well. It is also interesting that L.M. Montgomery herself faced the prospect of marrying the wrong man, as her first engagement was a disaster - Anne later reels back from commiting herself to the wrong person.

But the journals are far more complex than that - L.M. Montgomery's deeper passions and even sexual desires are alluded at - and this has no place in the 'Anne' books. She is also unhappy for a lot of the time. She herself said it was a wonder that the difficulties in her own life did not come through in her writing - but she was happy as she wanted to give only optimism and joy through her books.

The journals give an insight to the conflicts within L.M. Montgomery because of her conservative, pragmatic pride warring with her shockingly powerful passions and emotions. ... Read more


5. Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould
by Kevin Bazzana
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195174402
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 36427
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto in 1974, he admitted that he knew only three things about Canada: It had great hockey teams, a lot of wheatfields, and Glenn Gould. In Wondrous Strange, Kevin Bazzana vividly recaptures the life of Glenn Gould, one of the most celebrated pianists of our time. Drawing on twenty years of intensive research, including unrestricted access to Gould's private papers and interviews with scores of friends and colleagues, many of them never interviewed before, Bazzana sheds new light on such topics as Gould's family history, his secretive sexual life, and the mysterious problems that afflicted his hands in his later years. The author places Gould's distinctive traits--his eccentric interpretations, his garish onstage demeanor, his resistance to convention--against the backdrop of his religious, upper middle-class Canadian childhood, illuminating the influence of Gould's mother as well as the lasting impact of the only piano teacher Gould ever had. Bazzana offers a fresh appreciation of Gould's concert career--his high-profile but illness-plagued international tours, his adventurous work for Canadian music festivals, his musical and legal problems with Steinway & Sons. In 1964, Gould made the extraordinary decision to perform only for records, radio, television, and film, a turning point that the author examines with unprecedented thoroughness (discussing, for example, his far-seeing interest in new recording technology). Here, too, are Gould's interests away from the piano, from his ambitious but failed effort to be a composer to his innovative brand of "contrapuntal radio." Richly illustrated with rare photographs, Wondrous Strange is a superbly written account of one of the most memorable and accomplished musicians of our times. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Title says it all
His music was wondrous, beautiful, and moving. His behaviour was very strange, off and on stage.
He hated performing, once turning down a million-dollar fee for a recital, but he did perform in his early years; they were bizarre, sometimes difficult to watch, but so wonderful to hear.
One the many stories Bazzana relates is of Gould's first Russian concert. The auditorium was only a third full, but at intermission, concertgoers hurriedly called their friends telling them of the incredible performance. There was a small riot for tickets for the second half of the show.
Later in his career he turned exclusive to the recording studio; bringing us some of the best selling and rarely played classical pieces ever produced.
Kevin Bazzana gives us an in-depth, very personal look at the genius that was Glenn Gould.
The Thursday File

5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Bio...Very Accessible, Very Intelligent...
I've been perusing this book every chance I get at Borders. I can't wait to buy it! This has got to be hands-down the best bio on Gould you can read. And it is remarkably accessible. I'm no musician so hate it when writers go off on tangents describing a certain "contrapuntal line in 3/10 time over a 2/8...etc, etc", but this book is nothing of the kind. Anyone can come to it and enjoy it for what it is -- a candid, in-depth, and intelligent portrait of a genius. Also, full of revealing photographs. A must-buy for any music-lover, Classical or not, doesn't matter. Gould is indispensable and I agree with the author when he talks about a "cult of personality" surrounding Gould, a cult that approaches a "James Dean, Elvis Presley" stature. Believe it!

4-0 out of 5 stars AN ENIGMATIC GENIUS
Born in 1932 in Toronto, Ontario, Glenn Gould is surely one of the most enigmatic and celebrated musicians of our time. According to biographer Kevin Bazzana, it's almost as if Gould's gifts were too many for one man to pursue.

Bazzana has spent some two decades studying his elusive subject. Given free rein to explore Gould's papers and granted interviews by any number of the artist's friends and colleagues who were once reluctant to speak, the author is able to shed light on many questions that have piqued the interest of Gould fans. We are privy to much of his family history (the original family name was Gold), and the health problems that plagued him.

Precocious? Yes, indeed. Readers learn that at the estimable age of 3 his talents were obvious. Perfect pitch was but one of them. As a child he was publicly performing on both piano and organ. His musical education was completed in Canada, and although known throughout Canada he did not make his American debut until 1955. His programs were unorthodox and his behavior on stage often very odd. To say Gould was an iconoclast is an understatement, but such a talented one. He was also an industrious writer, and later in life began conducting.

It was in 1964 that Gould deserted the concert stage to perform solely for records, radio, television, and film. His last recording was made in 1982, the year that he died.

Like some before him Gould's fame has grown since his death. Today many visit Toronto, paying their respects to a man who is arguably one of the greatest contemporary musicians.

- Gail Cooke

5-0 out of 5 stars An Enigmatic Genius, Understood a Lot Better
Among the classical musicians of the twentieth century, there was none with as eager a fan base as Glenn Gould. The fans have not diminished in number since Gould's death at age fifty in 1982. Gould was a consummate musician who brought light to neglected but important works, but he was also an oddball who adored the Mary Tyler Moore Show, (...), popped dozens of pills every day to help him over imaginary illnesses, and refused to come out of self-imposed isolation to play a recital for a million-dollar fee. There has been an authorized biography of Gould before, but now _Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould_ (Oxford University Press) by Kevin Bazzana must be the one for all fans to have. Bazzana is the editor of nothing less than GlennGould magazine, and has written a previous book about Gould's musicianship. He brings helpful light on such topics as the influence of Gould's one piano teacher and his love of Canada and his home town Toronto. He is especially helpful in illuminating Gould's early life.

Gould's parents were conservative, strict Protestants who stressed propriety as he was growing up in Toronto's Beach district. They had to make sure he did not practice too much (not too little, like most parents of young musicians) and learned that the strictest punishment they ever needed to enforce was locking up the piano. He remained close to them all his life, only moving out of their home when his parents were elderly in 1959. He knew he was going to be a classical pianist from age around five. He loved his neighborhood and the people who knew he was freakish or famous, but treated him as if he were just an unusual guy. He hated performing and touring. Even so, his performances were regarded by many as high points in their lives as listeners. Among the many stories told here is that of his first Russian concert, in Moscow. The auditorium was only a third full, but at intermission, concertgoers hurriedly called their friends to tell them what was going on. There was a small riot for tickets for the second half of the show.

It was the recording studio to which he was devoted and to which he retired from his hated performing. His premiere recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations in 1955 brought to attention a piece that had only rarely been performed or recorded before, being thought too difficult and rarefied. The recording was a sensation, and remains one of the bestselling classical discs of all time. (It ought to be; there is no better join of dazzling technique, speedy fingers, and loving intimacy with the music.) He liked working with the technicians who helped record his performances, and had good humor in the sessions, but it was him in front of the microphone, in the isolation he preferred; he wrote, "Isolation is the one sure way to human happiness." Bazzana relishes the multiple enigmas that Gould presents, and this one is surely key: Gould isolated himself right into millions of homes, where it was obvious he communicated something important. Today, worshipful listeners, some of whom were not alive when he was, make pilgrimages to see his home sites, and his rickety old chair which he used whenever he played. He said that the purpose of art is "... the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity." If that is the purpose of art, he would have admired this graceful, readable, big biography that underscores the full complexity of a monumentally enigmatic artist.

5-0 out of 5 stars A well balanced, definitive biography
After having started his career with meticulous analyses of Glenn Gould's musical interpretations, Bazzana immersed himself in all available resources to write the oracle of Toronto's definitive biography. After the previous biographies by Friedrich and Ostwald and all the articles that have appeared on Gould, much of the material in this book has limited novelty value, yet thanks to the depth of the writer's research, the detailed context he provides of the environment in which the young pianist grew up, and the balanced view of Gould the man and the performer, this biography deserves the "definitive" stamp.

Starting the book with the flight that Gould's fame has taken after his death and the almost pathological admiration among some of the fans, Bazzana puts down the fundament for this biography by detailing the political and social climate of Toronto in the late 1930s. He really does a great job in bringing the sheltered surroundings in which Gould grew up to life, shatters myths over his heritage and does not play up the friction in the relationship between Glenn and his father that others have explored.

Gould was both a "high tech" performer/recording artist and a true romantic. Bazzana delves into this dichotomy by analyzing Glenn's admiration for the odd couple Schoenberg / Richard Strauss. He hits a lot of right notes here, as he does later in unflattering, yet fair analysis of Gould's best known composition, the string quartet opus one, which was clearly influenced by Arnold and Richard.

With an intermission chapter of Gould the man, this book follows the world's most articulate keyboard player throughout his career until his untimely death. A great strength of the book is its balanced treatment of the "hero". Both fans and critics get their say, and many details of eccentricities that have so much been the focus of previous publications are either put in proper context or just completely debunked.

Even almost 22 years after his death Gould is still among his labels best selling artists and has become the most important pianist of the twentieth century. This book shows that this success was based on a lot of method and very little madness.

A must for everyone interested in a visionary artist. ... Read more


6. Confessions of an Igloo Dweller
by James Houston
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395788900
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T)
Sales Rank: 908632
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

These memoirs of James Houston’s life in the Canadian Arctic from 1948 to 1962 present a colorful and compelling adventure story of real people living through a time of great change. It is extraordinarily rich material about a fascinating, distant world.

Houston, a young Canadian artist, was on a painting trip to Moose Factory at the south end of Hudson Bay in 1948. A bush pilot friend burst into his room with the news that a medical emergency meant that he could get a free flight into the heart of the eastern Arctic. When they arrived, Houston found himself surrounded by smiling Inuit – short, strong, utterly confident people who wore sealskins and spoke no English. By the time the medical plane was about to leave, Houston had decided to stay.

It was a decision that changed his life. For more than a dozen years he spent his time being educated by those kindly, patient people who became his friends. He slept in their igloos, ate raw fish and seal meat, wore skin clothing, traveled by dog team, hunted walrus, and learned how to build a snowhouse. While doing so, he helped change the North.

Impressed by the natural artistic skills of the people, he encouraged the development of outlets in the South for their work, and helped establish co-ops in the North for Inuit carvers and print-makers. Since that time, after trapping as a way of gaining income began to disappear, Inuit art has brought millions of dollars to its creators, and has affected art galleries around the world.

In the one hundred short chapters that make up this book, James Houston tells about his fascinating and often hilarious adventures in a very different culture. He tells of raising a family in the Arctic (his sons bursting into tears on being told they were not really Inuit), and of the failure to introduce soccer to a people who refused to look on other humans as opponents. He tells about great characters – Inuit and kallunait – who populated the Arctic in these long-lost days when, as a Government go-between, he found himself grappling with Northern customs that broke Southern laws.

A remarkable, modestly told story by a truly remarkable man.
... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down
This book was a delight to read. Mr. Houston's admiration for the Inuit culture is evident on every page. Many of the passages and stories are thought provoking and educational. I especially enjoyed his descriptions of bewilderment turned to enlightenment by such unassuming teachers.

4-0 out of 5 stars A really good book
Really enjoyable. This man's interraelationship with a disappearing culture and the hurdles he faced in the Arctic wilderness are tangible and detailed. Mostly this book is about a youth (his own) - lost but still remembered. I read Joseph Conrad's Youth at the same time and the themes were quite similar.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Yes, but is it Art?"
First this is a book about art. If you have ever wondered how those most beautiful Eskimo sculptures and prints have found their way to your local gallery; this book tells you how.

Mr. Houston was the first artist to recognize and search out the Inuit artforms and to deliver them to the art markets "outside". In every detail, name by name, you can read about the Inuit art culture from the very first stone figures and bone scluptures, to the latest prints.

Second this is a book about Arctic. Adventure on a epic scale. Mr. Houstons' honeymoon was one of the very few trips from east to west across Baffin Island by sled. Mr and Mrs. Houston spent years in the Arctic living in the Inuit way; both their sons spoke Inuktitut in preference to English and preferred raw seal meat to... well that was all there was to eat.

Sadly there are in this book no prints of the Inuit art, nor photos of the artists, nor any example of the art described in the text. For all the journeys by sled, boat, plane, and on foot there are no suitable maps. For a book about a culture that is so completely linked to geography, there are no maps for the reader to follow nor plates for the art lover to love.

The most astonsihing event of the book occurs on page 9. A very young Mr. Houston steps off of a plane in the Hudson's Bay Arctic, looks around, and flatly refuses to live any place else; He stays for 15 years.

You can add Mr. Houston to the list with Barry Lopez, William Vollmann , Farley Mowat, and John McPhee; thoes writers that get the Arctic Expericence

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping, non-judgemental, true-life narrative.
This is one of the finest first-person, historical narratives I've read for many years. Mr. Houston provides a unique, non-judgemental series of observations and first-hand stories about the Inuit and his own experiences living among them and working with them and, most importantly, learning from them. He is very honest in relating his own foibles and potentially life-threatening mistakes. His style is very easy to read and personal and I could not put this book down after starting it. Mr. Houston lived a highly privileged and unique life among a pre-literate but very evolved group during a crucial turning point for their culture. This is a rare and wonderful narrative. ... Read more


7. The Concubine's Children
by Denise Chong
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140254277
Catlog: Book (1996-01-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 95055
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book...
This book tell a tale of the harsh life of May Ying (concubine), and her daughter. It gives it's reader a glimp into the life a young immigrant sent overseas, against her will, to be a concubine of a man she doessn't even know. It tell of May Ying's relationship with men, addiction to alcohol, and her daughter's stuggle to support financially and emotionally. Her life is a sad one, but the author wrote the story so well. It touched me.

I read this book a few years ago in my 1st year English class. I am really glad that the prof chose this book. I recommended this book to friends and they told me they love it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A rich tale of a family's struggle at the Golden Mountian
Being a 1st generation Chinese Canadian I feel very close to this story. Although my circumstances are not as dark as that of the people in the story, I feel a certain kinship.

Denise Chong is honest and her story is remarkable. I read that book in one night and had to miss school the next day because I could not put the book down. The pictures in the book gives a dimension to the characters.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Captivating Read
I may be a white, teenaged, american male, but I still can appreciate the value and hard work that went into this book.

This book was absolutely wonderful in that it covered the family history so well, leaving out very few details, even though it was all put together by word of mouth, letters and photographs!

This must have been an extremely difficult book to write for all parties involved, and for that the author and her relatives have my deepest respect.

This book is absolutely beautiful and represents Chinese culture very clearly and in an interesting manner. I would recommend this book to ANYBODY

5-0 out of 5 stars Page turner...
but I did find that I had a bit of a difficult time getting myself through this book, maybe because this story with the exception of a concubine, hits close to home. My Grandfather had come to America without his wife and three children looking for a better life. This occured in the 1930's around the same time that Sam Chan sent for a concubine from China. May-Ying was a young girl sent alone on a long journey to Vancouver, B.C. to become a concubine to Sam Chan, who would father two daughters. As the girls got older it was decided that they would be schooled in China. The entire family returned home where May-Ying, although the mother to the girls, became the second wife next to Hungbo, who was to be known as the "big mother" to the girls. Hungbo had replaced Sam Chan's first wife who had passed away some years earlier.

May-Ying had started out as a young innocent girl who came to North America on falsified papers and was thrust into a life that she didn't desire. It was in Vancouver and the numerous Chinatowns that dotted the area that her wild side let loose, especially when Sam Chan returned for an extended stay in China to build a house. Now May-Ying was forced to work in a tea house to support not only herself, but also her infant daughter (the author's mother) as well as those in China. She was required to send back money to support the building of the house.

The rest of the book goes on to describe the hardships that she faced as well as the emotional and physical abuse suffered by the third daughter Hing. Sam Chan did indeed have very good intentions to try to provide well for the families on two continents, but it would all back fire during The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution that would take place. This is when Sam Chan would return to Vancouver and start living apart from May-Ying and Hing.

The last few chapters deal with the author trying to reunite the two families and helping her mother come to terms with the demons that were inside her. Her mother felt that the happiness that she should have had was sacrificed for the other family in China. After meeting her siblings for the first time, she was able to answer a lot of questions that for a long time she had suppressed.

An interesting look into what life was like for those looking for the pot of gold in another country and the sadness that was shared among the many who made the trip.

5-0 out of 5 stars A part of Chinese immigration uncovered
Denise Chong reveals a world of immigration that this very Anglo Texan had no idea existed. With each multicultural title I read I become more and more amazed by the sacrifices that immigrant people make by seeking their fortunes in a New World. Learning about the U. S. closure to Chinese immigration was news to me. And realizing that the only course for Chinese men was to immigrate through Canada opened up at least two new vistas. The one in Canada of Chong's grandmother, the child of the concubine, was so primitive and pain filled; I was intrigued to know that it could be survived. To learn of the custom of the Chinese man having family in China that was honored and in the New World that was less highly regarded surprised me even more. The child's struggle through rejection, poverty, parental alcoholism and addictive gambling, and sexual promiscuity seemed nearly impossible.

To enrich Chong's narrative, a biography no less, she includes family pictures. And the links back to the family in China show the culture that is stuck in another century, another time. It is a picture that reveals family that is revered though separated by distance and time. Reading this book enriched my understanding of a people about which I knew very little. I highly recommend this book. It is an extension past the very excellent fiction of Amy Tan and well worth the read. ... Read more


8. An Englishman's Journey along America's Eastern Waterways : The 1831 Illustrated Journal of Herbert Holtham's Travels
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1580460798
Catlog: Book (2001-02-20)
Publisher: University of Rochester Press
Sales Rank: 1846697
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Book Description

Herbert Holtham, a Unitarian minister from Brighton, England,came to the United States in the spring of 1831, and spent several months traveling in the northeast. His travels took him from New York, where his ship landed, to Philadelphia, eastern Pennsylvania, then back to New York, up the Hudson River to Albany, across the entire state on the six-year-old Erie Canal. He stopped in Utica, Rochester, and Buffalo, noting the rapid growth of these cities, especially Rochester, that had occurred in the few years the canal had been open. From Buffalo he crossed into Canada, traveling east along Lake Ontario, past Toronto (then called York) to Ottawa and Montreal; he returned through Lake Champlain to Albany and New York, and continued south to Baltimore and Washington, returning to Philadelphia once again in order to set sail for England. Holtham recorded his impressions of both urban and rural scenes, the people and their opinions, family life, church life and activities, and reports of many conversations he had while traveling. The journal of his travels provides a superior set of impressions of America at the time from a man who brought his skills of perception to the transcription.Beyond the words, the journal contains 30 marvelous pencil and ink drawings of what he saw; scenes of Niagara Falls and downtown Rochester accompany paintings of the Capitol in Washington, a carriage operated by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Seymour I. Schwartz, MD, is Distinguished Alumni Professor of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical School. Schwartz is an expert on historical maps, especially of America. His avid interest in American History is evidenced by his published books, The Mapping of America and The French and Indian Wars. He is a member of the boards of the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution and the Philip Lee Phillips Society of the Library of Congress. ... Read more


9. Gil Evans-Out of the Cool: His Life and Music
by Stephanie Stein Crease, Stephanie Stein Crease
list price: $26.95
our price: $26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1556524250
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: A Cappella Books (IL)
Sales Rank: 536457
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars First-rate job
I read the manuscript before the book was published, and Stephanie has done a miraculous job. Gil Evans was an extremely private person, and there were so many things about his life that were unknown or mysterious (nobody is even sure what his name is) until Stepanie started compiling her research. This book is filled with little-known information about his early life, and the photos she has discovered are amazing. She has found long-forgotten correspondense between Evans and his friend Pete Carpenter, and has interviewed people who have never spoken about Gil before in print. If you have any interest in 20th century jazz ensemble music, this book is invaluable. ... Read more


10. There It Is : A Canadian in the Vietnam War
by LES BROWN
list price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0771016921
Catlog: Book (2000-05-13)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Sales Rank: 525739
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Written with honesty and humour, There It Is brings us Les Brown’s compelling, grunt’s-eye view of his tour in the Vietnam War.

In the raw language of soldiers, Brown describes what it was like to move through dense jungle in unbearable heat; to live in a world of perpetual danger and disease; to confront the enemy in battle; and to see his buddies die. Brown tells of his struggle to survive, a struggle which ultimately leads him to take a risky, rebellious stand.

Featuring a scene-setting introduction by Global Television News anchor Peter Kent, There It Is is a powerful, personal account of war, and a surprising reminder of the role played by thousands of Canadians in Vietnam.
... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An eye-opening antiwar memoir!
This book had a profound effect on me in the way it illustrated how the "spiritual awakening" and prosperity of Canada during the 60's was paid for with the blood of America's children. I find it sickening how Canadians have distanced themselves from this war and condemned innocent veterans, most of whom were just out of highschool at the time...while at the same time praising the draft dodgers who headed north and assimilated into the Canadian population. These veterans need to be treated with the respect they deserve once and for all.

In his autobiography, "There It Is", Les Brown tells of his experiences as a Canadian born teenager, drafted into the US Army after returning to his parents home in California after a summer vacation in his native Quebec. You feel the helplessness he must have felt while trapped in the Kafkaesque draft system -one moment surfing the golden California beaches, the next on the front lines in South East Asia.

Lost in the green whirlwind that is the US Army, the young soldier quickly adapts to grunt life -finding brotherhood among those poor souls lost in the anarchy of a deteriorating war effort. As it becomes more and more clear that the American leadership has failed, Les becomes increasingly defiant. While in the most dangerous jungles he refuses to carry an M-16 and even goes AWOL for week surfing the beaches of Vietnam. A truly courageous Anti-War memoir, "There It Is" brings to the public consciousness the demons harbored by one man but belong to us all.

5-0 out of 5 stars An eye-opening anti war memoir!
This book had a profound effect on me in the way it illustrated how the "spiritual awakening" and prosperity of Canada during the 60's was paid for with the blood of America's children. I find it sickening how Canadians have distanced themselves from this war and condemned innocent veterans, most of whom were just out of highschool at the time, as "baby-killers" while at the same time praising the draft dodgers who headed north and assimilated into the Canadian population. These veterans need to be treated with the respect they deserve once and for all.

In his autobigraphy, "There It Is", Les Brown tells of his experiences as a Canadian born teenager, drafted into the US Army after returning to his parents home in California after a summer vacation in his native Quebec. You feel the helplessness he must have felt while trapped in the Kafkaesque draft system -one moment surfing the golden Calfornia beaches, the next on the front lines in South East Asia.

Lost in the green wirlwind that is the US Army, the young soldier quickly adapts to grunt life -finding brotherhood among those poor souls lost in the anarchy of a deteriorating war effort. As it becomes more and more clear that the American leadership has failed, Les becomes increasingly defiant. While in the most dangerous jungles he refuses to carry an M-16 and even goes AWOL for week surfing the beaches of Vietnam. A truly courageous Anti-War memoir, "There It Is" brings to the public consciousness the demons harboured by one man but belong to us all. ... Read more


11. I Remember Korea: Veterans Tell Their Stories of the Korean War 1950-53
by Linda Granfield
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 061817740X
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: Clarion Books
Sales Rank: 35768
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

While current events have focused the public"s attention on Korea once again, many veterans of the conflict that occurred there half a century ago worry that their time spent fighting in this "Forgotten War" will not be remembered or understood unless their story is told. Award-winning nonfiction author Linda Granfield has collected the personal accounts of thirty-two men and women who served with the U.S. and Canadian forces in Korea during the years 1950--–53 and has written her own introduction describing the main events of the war.The veterans in this book represent a variety of service areas, including medical, supplies, infantry, and naval, and their moving, sometimes graphic, recollections are illustrated with their own personal photographs. As commemorative ceremonies mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the Korean War this year, attempting to understand the human face of war is more important than ever. Timeline, glossary, bibliography, Internet resources, index. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The decency that lurks in all of us -- even in war
If Napoleonic warfare shattered concepts deeply rooted in the past century, this fact does not inavlidate reasons for studying warfare as waged in that earlier era, Col. Thomas E. Griess, of US Military Academy, wrote in July 1969.

Griess, head of the Department of History at West Point, wrote the foreward to "The Art of War in the 17th and 18th Centuries" which analyses the tactics of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, the "Lion of the North" in the Thirty Years War. Linda Granfield, in "I Remember Korea" about the 1950-53 Korean War, is a "historian in arms" fit for the company of any other military writer. Her book is a gem.

In contrast to the mob armies of his time, the army of King Adolphus was carefully trained, thoughtfully administered, well equipped, splendidly led. In contrast to the mob army the US sent to Vietnam, "The Art of War . . ." is a blueprint for the awesome military machine the US created after its defeat in Vietnam. The quality of American men-at-arms hasn't changed; but there is a vast improvement in leadership.

Granfield presents us with 31 poignant and telling snapshots of those who served in Korea, drawn from the experiences of the veterans of that war which ended 50 years ago. It is a reminder of the basic good nature, generosity and compassion of Americans and Canadians in the military as well as civilian life. One element of military history covers the Captains and Kings, which is part of training leaders; Granfield writes of the ordinary folks who are commanded by Captains and Kings, which is also part of training effective leaders.

Instead of writing like Napoleon, Granfield writes like Abraham Lincoln who believed, "God must love the common people, because he made so many of them." Today, any officer who doesn't respect and learn from the sergeants has zero future in the military; Granfield presents example after example of those fine qualities of the "common people."

She doesn't analyse the tactics and strategies and advances and retreats and blunders and triumphs of the war, the favorite pastime of armchair generals and obsession of real generals. Instead, her inclusion of stories such as "Lima Beans? No, thanks!" ought to be required reading for anyone and everyone, political or military, who wants to command. She has a superb sense of what matters to real people.

Unfortunately, some people may classify this as a "children's book" because of its straightforward style and concise clarity. If so, we should all be children. It's not a book to be read by freshmen at the Royal Military College in Kingston or West Point, they're still too young for it; instead, it should be assigned reading for the Senior Class with the admonition, "This is the type of people you want to command; now, as an assignment, find someone about whom you can write a story that matches Granfield."

It would be part of a useful graduation exam. If an officer-to-be cannot find a story to match these memories of a grim experience, are they really capable of seeking the best in commanding others?

As for the rest of us . . . . . it is a reminder of the decency that lurks in everyone, even under the rigors of war. She has written a gem. ... Read more


12. Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie
by Laurel Oke Logan
list price: $12.99
our price: $10.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764225626
Catlog: Book (2001-08-01)
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Sales Rank: 249365
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Story of One of the Most Beloved Novelists of Our Time

Written by her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan, this book offers intimate glimpses into the life and heritage of author Janette Oke. An ordinary woman with extraordinary gifts, Janette grew up on the Canadian prairie to eventually become the wife of a pastor and educator, the mother of four grown children, a grandmother who delights in her grandchildren—and one of the best known and love Christian novelists of our time. You'll discover how the strength of family connections and spiritual values have shaped her life and permeate her novels from the first, Love Comes Softly, to her most recent. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars An Inspiration
I was thoroughly inspired by reading this book. It seemed to me to be a little slow developing at the beginning, due to a fairly complex family history. Even this should be interesting to people who like history from the perspective of people who lived it. It is well organized, and provides a good description of the environment that nurtured this God-inspired writer. Janette Oke's life experiences are so easy to identify with, and her dependence on God so well portrayed that it is an inspiration to me. It is also fascinating to learn how one of my favorite writers arrived at her mission in life. ... Read more


13. Niagara Daredevils: Thrills and Spills over Niagara Falls (Amazing Stories)
by Cheryl MacDonald
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1551539624
Catlog: Book (2003-07-01)
Publisher: Altitude Publishing Canada
Sales Rank: 1184194
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14. First Crossing: Alexander Mackenzie, His Expedition Across North America, and the Opening of the Continent
by Derek Hayes
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570613087
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Sasquatch Books
Sales Rank: 91319
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition is this remarkable account of Alexander Mackenzie--the explorer who beat Lewis and Clark across the North American continent. Mackenzie accomplished this feat an astounding twelve years before the Corps of Discovery. Drawing extensively on the journals of Mackenzie and other turn-of-the-century explorers--and featuring historical and contemporary photographs, illustrations, and maps--Hayes presents a lively portrait of the explorer who both preceded Lewis and Clark and provided an impetus for their expedition. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Illustrated throughout with maps and photographs
First Crossing by historian Derek Hayes is the amazing story of Alexander Mackenzie, and his trailblazing journey across the North American continent before civilized society conquered the North American wilderness. Illustrated throughout with maps and photographs in black-and-white and color, the deftly researched and meticulously reported details of Mackenzie's voyage vividly reconstruct an 18th Century expedition of truly insurmountable bravery and pivotally important discovery.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not much new!
OK, there is some new information here. Mostly it seems that Hayes has helped illustrate the travels of Mackenzie, something that was not available previously. Barry Gough's book is notoriously lacking in any illustration of Mackenzie's voyages and Mackenzie's own book is virtually without useful illustration. Maybe having read the previous two books makes me jaded but Mackenzie's voyages can only be retold so many times.
Hayes has presented us with a slightly new take on telling the story with pictures, maps and historical vignettes but I hunger for a more thorough job. Perhaps more in the nature of Moulton's "Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition". Finding someone willing to wade through Mackenzie's rather impenetrable prose may be a challenge.
Notwithstanding the above this is probably the best explanation of Mackenzie's voyages since the original journals. ... Read more


15. Grass Beyond the Mountains : Discovering the Last Great Cattle Frontier on the North American Continent
by RICHMOND P. HOBSON
list price: $12.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0771041705
Catlog: Book (1978-01-01)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Sales Rank: 47119
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read It!
We own the Legacy Ranch high in the mountains of Northeastern Utah. For years we have loved the beauty of the unspoiled wilderness. Nursing newborn elk calves, watching Canadian Lynx outside their lairs, and many other adventures have cast us in the mold of lovers of the wilderness. To read the adventures of true cowboys, who started with nothing else but their "grit" and ended up with lives spent plumbing the depths of fun and hard work was one of the top literary experiences of our lives. This book, far better than the sequels, will be part o four Christmas giving this year.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nothing To It!
Nothing to reading it, that is. This is one of the first nonfictions books I've read that I have ever liked. I got interested in it when I saw the TV show 'Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy' and had to read the books. This book made me laugh and almost made me cry. The characters are too funny and very heart-warming.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a book that has no comparison and no equal.
Outstanding! This book was an absolute, heart pounding thrill to read. An epic illustration of the unstopable drive of the human heart and the unyeilding will of man to print his own name across the pages of time. Men and women of a class that survives now, only in the memories or our lost heritage. People with unconquerable spirit and no notion of the impossible. If comparison were possible, this book would be the Bendigo Shafter of non-fiction but even the endless imagination of the great Louis L'Amour could not stand against the unforgiving truth of a land not tamed by man. The writing is clear and descriptive, showing the obvious education and experience of it's author, a man who chose ranching by choice rather than out of necessity. As the pages turn, the reader gets a look into the lives of these mountain men and without effort, we learn to understand each and every character, almost to the point of friendship. Quite an accomplishment in a fast-paced 250 page book. The pride, drive, knowledge, and respect of these men for the world they lived in is unparelleled. Though I was forced to perform certain daily activities, my mind never left the book until I could complete it's last inspiring page and sit breathlesly paralized in awe and admiration of this newly created dream world. This is the greatest book that I have ever been given the pleasure to read and I don't hesitate to say that the next two books I read will be the conclusion to it's sequence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hobson gives an excellent account of the way it really is.
This book debunks the cowboy myth and shows the life of a rancher the way it really is. Well written, with tragedy and humor on every page, this book also shows the relationship between man and horse the way it should be. If I hadn't already been there, I'd go looking for a cowboy job now.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Canadian History - Simple Elegant Writing
There was a time, that can be recalled by just a few who are still alive, when northern British Columbia Canada was much like the American West. This book describes the adventures involved in surviving and prospering in cattle country. When you are done with the book you will feel that you have learned enough to lead a winter cattle drive through unknown country. As Pan says in the book, "Nothin' to it, nothin at all. ... Read more


16. Barren Lands: An Epic Search for Diamonds in the North American Arctic
by Kevin Krajick
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0716740265
Catlog: Book (2001-10)
Publisher: W. H. Freeman
Sales Rank: 46238
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the tradition of Sebastian' Junger's The Perfect Storm and Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, Barren Lands is the extraordinary tale of two small-time prospectors who risked their lives to discover $17 billion worth of diamonds in the desolate tundra of the far north.

In the late 1970's, two men set out on a twenty-year search for a North American gem mine, along a fabled path that had defied 16th-century explorers, Wild West prospectors, and modern geologists.They are an unlikely pair: Chuck Fipke, a ragged, stuttering fellow with a singular talent for finding sand-size mineral grains, and Stew Blusson, an ultra-tough geologist and helicopter pilot.Inventive, eccentric and ruthless, they follow a trail of geologic clues left by predecessors all the way from backwoods Arkansas up the glaciated high Rockies into the vast and haunted "barren lands" of northern Canada.With a South African geochemist's "secret weapon," Fipke and Blusson outwit rivals, including the immense De Beers carte, and make one of the world's greatest diamond discoveries- setting off a stampede unseen since the Klondike gold rush.

A story of obsession and scientific intrigue, Barren Lands is also an elegy to one of earth's last great wild places, a starkly beautiful and mysterious land strewn with pure lakes and alive with wolves and caribou.An endless variety of primeval glacial rock formations hide copper, zinc, and gold, in addition to diamonds.Now that the barrens are "open for business," what will happen to this great wilderness region?

Barren Lands is an unforgettable journey for those who, in the words of a nineteenth-century trapper, "want to see that country before it is all gone."
... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Diamonds, David and Goliath, and the Dark Side of Geology
Barren Lands by Kevin Krajick is epic nonfiction without artifice. The author does not create straw heroes or villains, but presents the story and its participants warts and all. The search for diamonds in North America is the story, and myriad searchers enter and exit during the tale's almost 500 years. The ultimate discovery of the source of North America's diamonds in the Canadian Arctic is the goal of the story. Charles E. Fipke, a person who presents a lot of reasons for the reader to dislike him, is the unlikely David in the story and De Beers, the company with a stranglehold on the World's diamond markets, is the Goliath.

Part of my interest in Barren Lands stems from my training as a geologist with an emphasis in mineral exploration. Part of the reason I became a high school earth science teacher has to do with my weakness at keeping scientific secrets. I knew that working for a mining or mineral exploration company would necessarily involve the nondisclosure of proprietary information and I knew that I couldn't do it. The tension between proprietary information and open scientific discourse is strongly portrayed in the book. Another reason for my interest comes from the fact that geology students of my generation were very aware of what these diamond deposits in North America should look like. I have been telling my 9th graders for years that somewhere in Canada there are some diamondiferous kimberlite pipes that have been glacially scoured and probably contain circular lakes, making them difficult to find. I have been telling them that someday someone would follow the diamonds in the glacial till covering northern North America back to the source of the diamonds. Barren Lands allowed me to enjoy the fact that at least one of the things I learned in college, and then passed on to my own students, was correct.

I cannot recommend this book enough. If you have an interest in geology, exploration, history, nature, and economics, this book should keep you up late at night as you eagerly read the book to its conclusion. A special recommend to anyone interested in being an exploration or mining geologist. Some mining is necessary and mining is necessarily a destructive process. Mining resources like diamonds and gold present a large challenge to any environmentally oriented person since most of the money to be made on diamonds and gold is for luxury items, things humans could do without.

5-0 out of 5 stars Diamonds, Danger, Desire
Did you know that in about half of the states of the US people have found diamonds? Diamonds of more than two carats have been found, for example, in Ohio and Alabama, and finding them is often just child's play. Kids are the ones who pick these gems up, because kids are close to the ground and always looking for treasures. Finding a reliable supply of diamonds is much more difficult; the ones found on the ground are often chance deposits that were dropped when a glacier melted, but the glacier must have carried them from somewhere rich in diamonds. There aren't many such places, and it was a surprise that over the past decade, the Northwest Territories of Canada were deemed to be diamond mining country. The eerie, exciting, and disturbing story of how this came to be is told in _Barren Lands: An Epic Search for Diamonds in the North American Arctic_ (Times Books) by Kevin Krajick. The lure of diamonds has proved inescapable for a certain class of men for centuries, and Krajick's book tells about some of them he met while he did his research.

The Barren Lands (yes, that is the designation you will see on maps) is a half million square mile region as far north as Americans can go. There are no roads and no people, and it is called barren because it is above the northern limits which trees can reach, Since diamond exploration has started, however, it could well be populated with workers producing gold, uranium, and other minerals. At the heart of the story of exploration here is Chuck Fipke, a weird little guy who does nothing to improve the image of geologists. When Fipke was in charge of a prospecting expedition, he drove his men ruthlessly, especially his own son with distressing ferocity ("When you're not eating or sleeping, you're working for me."). Fipke was just one of a long line of explorers to the region, and their history is well covered here. The unbelievable hardships of traversing the area, or working in it, are well described in many sections of the book; bears, mosquitoes, and deerflies all supply annoyance or danger. Then there were the people. Fipke could not keep his operation secret for long, and DeBeers and other mining firms shouldered in. Fipke's team painted the plywood cubicles that held the drills with camouflage paint that would prevent detection from the air, and even ordered army-surplus camouflage nets to cover supplies. This was not paranoia; there were commercial spy planes making regular flights to see what was up.

The prospectors faced challenges from the environmentalists, who worried that the caribou, wolves, falcons, wolverines, and bears would get shoved aside by the industrialization of a previously pristine area, and the local tribes worried about water pollution, looting of artifacts left by their ancestors, and "perhaps most of all they worried that they might be left out of the profits." Barren Lands now has a hugely expensive mining factory, and will simply churn out millions of dollars worth of diamonds every year. There is a pressure to build roads and power lines to the site, which will mean more alteration of a basically natural area, but profits like these cannot be resisted. While Fipke and his partners are all now unimaginably rich, they are not unimaginably happy. Fipke alienated many of his crew, and shattered his family during the most intense of the mining preparations. He admits that putting all his energy into his mine had its price. "But that was _cool_! To do all that we did? It was _fun_!" It is not surprising that with this attitude, all the riches and all the family problems haven't made a difference: he is still out there looking for the next strike.

5-0 out of 5 stars What's required to find a multi-billion dollar mine
-----------------------------------------------------------

Rating: "A" -- the obsession, hard work, heartbreak and good luck
required to make a multi-billion dollar discovery. Highly
recommended.

This is the story of the discovery of the Ekati diamond mine, in the
Barren Lands of the Northwest Territories, by Chuck Fipke, Hugo
Dummett, and others.

Hugo Dummett signed on with Superior Oil in 1978 to prospect for
diamonds in North America, just as the science of using indicator
minerals -- pyrope garnets, chrome diopside and chromite -- for
diamond exploration was being worked out. Superior started
prospecting around Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds -- now
inconveniently a State Park. Hugo and Mike Wolfhard hired Chuck
Fipke and his crew to sample the area. Lots of fun with jungly brush
and shotgun-toting landowners... Hugo even tried to sweet-talk Gov.
Bill Clinton into leasing him the park!

Fipke is a poster child for the space-case prospector-geologist, but he's
smart, has a sharp eye and was an *amazingly* hard worker. But a
*terrible* boss -- he drove his workers to exhaustion, and wouldn't
take elementary safety precautions, even on helicopter-supported
work. It's remarkable he didn't kill anyone [note 1].

The road to Ekati was not direct. Superior's exploration program (and
their competitors') went down the usual side tracks and dead ends --
including rediscovery of the salted site of a 19th century diamond
fraud. Then -- just as Fipke & company were developing some truly
good-looking Barren Lands prospects -- Mobil Oil bought Superior,
and summarily axed all Canadian exploration. Thud.

Fipke and Dia Met scrambled for money from family, friends and
penny-stock speculators, raising enough to stake a sizeable claim-
block near Lac de Gras, in the trackless barrens a couple hundred
miles northeast of Yellowknife. Then the money was gone, and none
of the pros were interested in Dia Met's "moose pasture." Bankruptcy
loomed -- but Dummett landed a new job with BHP, with a healthy
budget, and he quickly leased the Fipke-Dia Met ground.

Word of the BHP deal brought De Beers, Corona and others into the
area, but the *real* excitement started when BHP's first drillhole
found diamonds -- lots of diamonds! Despite strenuous secrecy
efforts, the word got out -- as it always does -- and the Great Diamond
Rush of 1991 was on! Tundra was staked by the township, and Dia
Met stock, which sold for 50c. a share in mid-91, hit $67 by the end of
1992. Fipke and his partners were paper billionaires.

The Ekati mine was commissioned in late 1998. Capital cost was
US$700 million. Sales of US$448 million (FY 2001) yielded gross
earnings of $285 million (!, EBITDA = earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation & amortization = gross profit). Mine life is expected to exceed
25 years.

District exploration costs (1989-98, Ekati-Diavik district, all companies)
exceeded US$500 million(!). A second mine, Diavik (Rio Tinto-Aber),
inconveniently located directly under Lac de Gras, is scheduled to go
into production in 2003 at an estimated capital cost of US$885 million.
Serious money is involved here. [Financial data from BHP 2001
annual report, and various web reports. Don't expect much financial
information in the book. Google is your friend.

Fipke & his longtime partner, geologist Stewart Blusson, each retain a
10%(!!) interest in the Ekati mine. (Blusson later gave $50 million to
UBC, his alma mater). When the big bucks rolled in, Fipke's marriage
fell apart, his brother sued him (as did many others), and his son
stopped speaking to him. The Big Strike had its costs.

The book's meandering start might put you off, but don't be
discouraged -- Krajick has a fine story to tell, and once he get's rolling,
this is strong stuff. No geologist who's worked in exploration -- or
anyone with a taste for an old-fashioned strike-it-rich story -- should
miss this one .
____________
Note 1) There was fatal helicopter crash at the BHP camp in 1992,
while Fipke was project manager. The apparent cause was pilot error
-- flying without reeling in the sling-line -- but Fipke wasn't directly
involved.

Happy reading!
Peter D. Tillman
Consulting Geologist, Tucson & Santa Fe (USA)

4-0 out of 5 stars Revised review
On October 17,2001, I submitted a harsh and critical review of Barren Lands, by Kevin Krajick, which is still being presented by Amazon.com. After discussions with the author and others, I regret the too negative tone of my review and now wish to modify my comments to reflect my much more favorable opinion of the work and its intregrity. I hope that visitors to this web site will discount my earlier comments.

Sincerely,

John S. White

5-0 out of 5 stars Diamonds and Minerals, look and you will find.
Great story of the quest for diamonds. Just goes to show you, that if you are allowed to look you can find anything society wants.

A great story about a driven geologist that does not take no for an answer. Prospecting is alive and well, if the greenies do not lock it all up! ... Read more


17. History on the Run
by KNOWLTON NASH
list price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0771067003
Catlog: Book (1984-11-03)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Sales Rank: 531129
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18. Wolf Willow: A History, a Story, and a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
by Wallace Stegner, Page Stegner
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0141185015
Catlog: Book (2000-12-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 187923
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Wallace Stegner weaves together fiction and nonfiction, history and impressions, childhood remembrance and adult reflections in this unusual portrait of his boyhood. Set in Cypress Hills in southern Saskatchewan, where Stegner's family homesteaded from 1914 to 1920, Wolf Willow brings to life both the pioneer community and the magnificent landscape that surrounds it. This Twentieth-Century Classics edition includes a new introductory essay by Page Stegner. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Vividly told account of the Canadian frontier
This wonderful collection of essays and fiction about the last Western frontier is both romance and anti-romance. Writing in the 1950s, Stegner captures the breath-taking beauty of the unbroken plains of southwest Saskatchewan and the excitement of its settlment at the turn of the century. Part memoir, the book recounts the years of his boyhood in a small town along the Whitemud River in 1914-1919, the summers spent on the family's homestead 50 miles away along the Canadian-U.S border. His book is also an account of the loss of that Eden and the failed promise of agricultural development in this semi-arid region with thin top soil.

Stegner is a gifted, intelligent writer, able to turn the people and events of history into compelling reading. The opening section of the book describes the experience of being on the plains and specifically in the area where Stegner was a boy. And it lays out the geography of that land -- a distant range of hills, the river, the coulees, the town -- which the book will return to again and again.

The following section evokes the period of frontier Canada's early exploration, the emergence of the metis culture, the destruction of the buffalo herds, the introduction of rangeland cattle, and then wave upon wave of settlement pushing the last of the plains Indians westward and northward. A chapter is devoted to the surveying of the boundary along the Canada-U.S. border; another chapter describes the founding of the Mounted Police and its purely Canadian style of bringing law and order to the wild west.

The middle section of the book is a novella and a short story about the winter of 1906-1907. In the longer piece, eight men rounding up cattle are caught on the open plains in an early blizzard. Stegner builds the drama and the peril of their situation artfully and convincingly. The final section of the book returns to Stegner's memories of the town and the homestead, ending with his family's departure for Montana.

Stegner lived at a time and in a place where a person born in the 20th century could still experience something of the sweep of history that transformed the American plains. I've read many books about the West, and because of his depth of thought, his gifts as a writer, and his unflinching eye, Stegner's work ranks for me among the best. I heartily recommend this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars wistful retrospective
Part history and part dreamy reminiscence, this book is an account of a boy growing up in Southwest Saskatchewan in the early part of the 20th Century. The central portion of the book is pure history, and the long chapters on cowboys are particularly challenging because they require an intimate knowledge of cowboy terminology. Stegner does not mince words about the difficulties of life on the plains--extremes of heat and cold, wind, hostile topography, lack of cultural amenities--the result of which is that most who grew up there moved elsewhere. But he also shows a passionate attachment for the country of his childhood. The narrative often seems rambling because, like James Michener, the author tries to incorporate so much besides history--including the biology and geology of the nearby Cypress Hills, the biologically diverse area nearby--and even his poetic musings have elements of fact, as when he describes the wind, or the gophers, or his swimming hole, or his school, or his family's homestead, or the problems involved in the town's incorporation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Growing up on the northern plains.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Wallace Stegner grew up on the prairie frontiers of North Dakota, Saskatchewan, and Montana, and in the mountains of Utah. As is indicated by the subtitle, this volume combines history, a memoir, and historical fiction. Readers who have spent significant time on the snow swept northern steppes may find a small part of themselves, and of this land, in Wolf Willow. ...
"On those miraculously beautiful and murderously cold nights glittering with the green and blue darts from a sky like polished dark metal, when the moon had gone down, leaving the hollow heavens to the stars and the overflowing cold light of the Aurora, he thought he had moments of the clearest vision ... In every direction ... the snow spread; here and there the implacable plain glinted back a spark - the beam of a cold star reflected in a crystal of ice." (The scene evokes in me a powerful memory, as I recall often standing alone on just such "murderously cold" snow blanketed prairies and gazing into those "miraculously beautiful" night skies.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stegner's Homage To The Frontier As It Was Lived
Wolf Willow is one third local history of the Cypress Hills area of Saskatchewan, One third compelling fiction and one third memior.

The book is an intimate, knowing portrait of the area and an insightful meditation of what living on a frontier was like, not just writing about it or seeing romanticized movies.

While Stegner sometimes suffers from being the creative writing professor he was, for my time and money he remains the preeminent literary voice of the West. As with almost all of his work, Wolf Willow is an engrossing read and will leave you thinking long after you close the back cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweet Dust and Dandelion Wine of Youth
Stegner, whose ambitious works stand as one of the finest legacies of fiction in any language, chronicles his early years in the praries of Dakotas and nearby provinces with some of the most poetic and dignified prose ever offered. Like the author's Angle of Repose, Recapitulation, or Big Rock Candy Mountain, Wolf Willow provides a window to West as experienced by youth; as opposed to merely read. Anyone raised in the West near canyons, who knows the smell of pinon and pepper tress or simple brush of wind over open space of grasslands will identify with and appreciate this gift of autobiography. It breathes like dandelion wine uncorked years after being stored. Highly recommend ... Read more


19. Paper Shadows : A Memoir of a Past Lost and Found
by Wayson Choy
list price: $14.00
our price: $14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312284152
Catlog: Book (2001-10-05)
Publisher: Picador
Sales Rank: 337456
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the author of the popular and widely acclaimed novel, The Jade Peony, comes this new autobiographical exploration of past and present, culture and selfhood, history and memory, immigration and family life--in other words, the modern-day collision of Eastern and Western experiences and worldviews.

Three weeks before his 57th birthday, Choy discovered that he had been adopted. This astonishing revelation inspires the beautifully-wrought, sensitively told Paper Shadows, the story of a Chinatown past both lost and found. From his early life amid the ghosts of old Chinatown, to his discovery, years later, of deeply held family secrets that crossed the ocean from mainland China to Gold Mountain, this engrossing, multi-layered self-portrait is "a childhood memoir of crystalline clarity" (The Boston Globe) that will speak directly and arrestingly to all students of Chinese immigrant history.
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mo-no juk sum Makes Good, Eloquently
In anticipation of the lunar new year, I picked up this book. The author had me under his spell by the second page. In his memoir of growing up in the 1940's, as the son of Chinese immigrants in Vancouver's Chinatown, the reader learns that Mr. Choy, while on a promotional book tour in 1995, received a call from a woman who says that she just saw his mother. But his Toisanese mother died nearly two decades earlier, he tells the mysterious caller. No, the caller replies, she means his 'real mother.' And so the memoir and the mystery begin. In descriptive language that is hypnotic and nearly as haunting as a ghost filled home his family lived in, an extremely detailed portrait of his life as a young boy is drawn. In Part 1, his pre-school years are filled with family, Chinglish, mah-jong, lots of single "uncles" to take him for ice cream, nightly Chinese operas (his mother's version are a permanent barrier against pessimism), cowboy films, and his assertively willful tantrums. In Part 2, the author writes of his school years, English and Chinese lessons, stubbornness, truancy, confusion, helplessness, his pet dog, the humiliations his father endured at work, and the other concerns of children. In the last third of the book, Mr. Choy returns as an adult to the mystery of his and explores the hidden secrets of his family. Upon close reading, one learns about the stress of living as an Asian in North America during the War, a time when burials were only allowed in Asian-only cemeteries, when sick Asians were housed in the basement of the hospital, when Asians were offered payments to return to Asia if they promised never to return, and when men were not allowed to bring their families or wives over to the Gold Mountain from across the Pacific. On even closer reading, one can discern how different Chinese identities were crafted in North America by his grandfather, his parents, and finally himself in an in-between'ness third generation. ... Read more


20. Great Heart: The History of a Labrador Adventure (Kodansha Globe)
by James West Davidson, John Rugge
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568361688
Catlog: Book (1997-05-01)
Publisher: Kodansha Globe
Sales Rank: 188493
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In 1903 Leonidas Hubbard set out to cross the Ungava-Labrador Peninsula, and to forge a name for himself as an adventure writer. He took a friend, a guide, a canoe, a ton of equipment, and scads of naive hope. Months later, the friend and guide staggered out of the snow, and Hubbard starved to death in his tent, too weak to attempt the 30-mile trek to safety. And that's just Part I. James West Davidson and John Rugge narrate with simple dignity, making vividly tangible the wretchedness of mosquitoes, the panic of no food, and the rocky tangle of the Labrador wilderness. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Adventure Story Ever
Why don't more people know about this book? It puts most adventure stories to shame and makes most survivors of "hardships" look like wimps. Adventurers with virtually no prior experience, wearing wool sweaters and cotton pants, carrying tons of food, canoe and portage through uncharted waters only to get hopelessly lost. Between the bugs, cold, lack of food, etc... you wonder how any could survive. The concepts of leadership, friendship and conquest are tested. After a harrowing adventure ending in death, the widow of the expedition leader races a team member into the wilds of Labrador the following year. In 1905, it was hard enough for a man to make this unprecedented trip, and unheard of for a woman to try. It is a must read for all adventure lovers!

2-0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing
I personally found the *gritty* style of this book annoying. I knew it was an intimate look at the circumstances surrounding the disasterous Hubbard expedition and the subsequent journey undertaken by his wife Mina, but this account reads more like a 1950s pulp novel or a Louis L'amour western. The prose is choppy and entirely too chatty, sinking at times to a veritable nadir of banality: "George stepped off the Williamstown train, feeling like a fox ready to have his heart pulled." (whatever hell that means), or "...a lot of trappers weren't interested in the idea of foolin' with someone dead" (too folksy). In short it's a slipshod narrative history written in the vein of an adolescent adventure story.

1-0 out of 5 stars Annoying novelistic style
As you can see from other reviews, most people seem to really like this book. I, however, got a few pages in and found I had no use for it, even though I generally go for just this sort of story. The authors of "Great Heart" use a novelistic narrative style, filling in from their imagination all manner of little details that they obviously could have no way of knowing. I'm apparently enough of a purist that I want my narratives based on reliable source material, not imagination. When an author begins to fictionalize, how can one ever know where the boundary between fact and fiction lies? This doesn't seem to have bothered most of the reviewers, but you might want to stay away from the book if you're similarly picky.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
Excellent read - hard to put it down.

5-0 out of 5 stars A First Rate Wilderness Adventure with a Twist!
This is a fabulous narrative of a wilderness adventure, like many others filled with the hazards adventurers encounter when they stray far from home. What makes the story unique is not a side-bar intrigue of romance and mystery but a deep underlying question about human motivation, relationships and dreams - as lived through the minds and bodies of the adventurous. The story is told with skill and grace - and is spellbinding. ... Read more


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