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$9.71 $6.57 list($12.95)
1. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man,
$10.20 $9.28 list($15.00)
2. Maria Montessori: Her Life and
$7.19 $2.37 list($7.99)
3. The Water Is Wide
$9.00 $3.69 list($12.00)
4. The Headmaster : Frank L. Boyden
$8.21 $6.94 list($10.95)
5. Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's
$9.00 $3.95 list($12.00)
6. Iron and Silk (Vintage Departures)
$10.46 $1.90 list($13.95)
7. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart
$18.15 $6.47 list($27.50)
8. Dark Hero Of The Information Age:
$10.50 $1.95 list($14.00)
9. Tis: A Memoir
$45.95 $43.85
10. The Passionate Mind of Maxine
$18.95 $15.00
11. To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher
$16.50 $16.00 list($25.00)
12. I Am a Pencil : A Teacher, His
$16.47 $13.25 list($24.95)
13. Heloise & Abelard : A New
$16.32 $6.05 list($24.00)
14. Maria Montessori (Radcliffe Biography
$15.75 $14.35 list($22.50)
15. Walking on Water: Reading, Writing,
$20.40 $15.00 list($30.00)
16. The Guardians : Kingman Brewster,
$9.00 $2.42 list($12.00)
17. Black Ice
$35.00 $25.00
18. A Life With History
$6.29 $2.99 list($6.99)
19. Tisha : The Story of a Young Teacher
$12.95 $7.75
20. Reiki - The Legacy of Dr. Usui

1. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson
by Mitch Albom
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076790592X
Catlog: Book (2002-10-08)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 111
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague.Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder.Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance.He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life.Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college.Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world. ... Read more

Reviews (1628)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tuesday's With Morrie
This year for my seventh grade Language Arts class, we were supposed to choose a book and then critique it. I chose Tuesdays With Morrie after selecting it from a dusty bookshelf in my brother's room. Personally, I loved the book; it had a deeper meaning of life that i had never considered before. Some of my favorite quotes from the book have stuck with me like the one, "Love eachother or perish," The book is about a former college student, and his favorite professor. It all begins sixteen years after graduation when Mitch Albom finds himself watching his beloved college instructor on Nightling with Ted Koppel. Morrie has become a victum of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, leaving his body withered and sagging. Mitch visits Morrie one day and what starts as a reunion of old friends turns into the project of a lifetime. Now, I don't want to spoil anything, but the lessons that Morrie teaches to Mitch on their Tuesdays together will stay with him all of his life. I would recommend this book to anyone. If you are looking for enlightenment, deep thinking, and a true story, you've come to the right book. On a scale from one to ten, i would give Tuesdays With Morrie a nine and a half.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
Tuesdays with Morrie is definitely one of the best books that I've ever read. Once I picked it up, I couldn't stop until I found myself on the last page. Although the book is very short, nearly every page carries a message. It's purpose is to teach us a lesson; that was Morrie's final goal. He wanted to create this one last thesis with one of his favorite students, Mitch Albom, that would give people insight into how to live their lives and what it feels like to die. In this book, not only do we learn from Morrie (who died from ALS) how to live life to the fullest, but we learn from Mitch's mistakes as well. All too often we get caught up in our fast paced culture that we forget to stop and look around and actually enjoy things.

Mitch Albom uses a unique approach to get his old professor's message out. When I was reading this, I couldn't help but feel like Morrie was speaking right to me. The book could relate to anyone; it covers so many topics from love and life to death and trying to live even when death is knocking on the door.

I highly recommend reading Tuesdays with Morrie. You can't help but love Morrie by the end of the book, and like me, you might even tear up at the end a little.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
<br /> Beautiful and touching, inspirational and rich. A book that not only teaches but makes you feel. <br /> Also recommended: Nightmares Echo by Katlyn Stewart, Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs,The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

4-0 out of 5 stars Have A Tissue Ready
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is beautifully written. It is also an easily read and understandable. The fact that it's a true story makes it even more touching. So have some tissue ready :) . Morrie was a real person. He helped so many people during his life, and now, because of Mitch, he will touch many more after death. I strongly recommend reading this book if you are afraid of death.

There is also another book here on Amazon I have found that I highly recommend on life after death, or between death that has given me a lot to think about. It is called The book of Thomas by Daniel Aber and Gabreael. In their book everything from the suicide, the different levels of heaven, reincarnation, and so on is covered also in an easily read format

1-0 out of 5 stars I'm Embarrassed I Read This
My younger brother had this on his summer reading list and I noticed it on his desk. Seeing it was pretty short I sat down and read it. I think the fact that my high school's English department recommended it should have been warning enough to avoid this book. In all seriousness, this is the worst book I have read in a LONG time.
Even calling it a book is slightly misleading, because that usually implies some sort of literary value. It's about as literary as Life's Little Instruction Book, but far less insightful. Albom writes at about a 2nd grade reading level, in a ridiciulously simple shallow way rather than a Hemingwayesque style. Even more ridiculous is his constant use of immature, sentimental little gimmicks that I guess the Oprah-watching soccer moms giving this book a good review would call "touching and heartfelt". For example:
"He waited while I absorbed it.
A Teacher to the Last.
"Good?" he said.
Yes, I said. Very good.

I would write something like that and be satisified with it when I was probably a freshman, and I really don't consider myself to be a talented writer. The whole Tuesday motif was also along those lines. Even more annoying was I lost count of the epiphanies Mitch has by about the 11th page. Highlight how many times he "suddenly realizes something about life". Don't be materialistic? Love other people? Is this really that breakthrough? I think Jesus said that about 2000 years ago, and most people agree he wasn't even that revolutionary(in moral philosophy that is.) Look at some of his other ridiculous "aphorisms":
Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do.
Learn to forgive yourself and forgive others.

If I really felt like it, I could probably spew out about four thousand of those obvious, self-righteous statements in about 5 minutes.
I also don't even see how Morrie was such a hero. In one scene, they tried to convince you that he was some hero for turning down some medicine that wouldn't have helped and, more importantly, wasn't even available. Wow. Not to mention, it's pretty easy to be so courageous about death when you have an amazing family supporting you. I wonder if he was half his age, alone with nobody to help him except some indifferent inner city hospital nurse if he would face death with such resilience and wit.
What annoys me the most is how they planned writing this book before Morrie even died. Sounds like he just wanted to pay some bills. I mean, if they are planning to write a book about all these great moments Mitch realizes, of course he's going to have them(or pretend to) because he has to write a book about it! Furthermore, it's pretty arrogant that Morrie to think that he had some great noble truths to spread.
This book has several more blatant flaws, but this review has a maxium word limit. So, I'll say if you like reading Chicken Soup for the Soul, and other empowering self-help books that like to constantly re-emphasize the obvious for $20, go ahead and buy this. If you are looking for an actual good book by someone who actually knows how to write, don't waste your time or the 40 minutes it takes to read this. ... Read more


2. Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work
by E. M. Standing, E.M. Standing
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452279895
Catlog: Book (1998-08-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 38886
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Book Description

Maria Montessori is important background reading for parents considering Montessori education for their children, as well as for those training to become Montessori teachers. The first woman to win a degree as a Doctor of Medicine in Italy in 1896, Maria Montessori's mission to improve children's education beganin the slums of Rome in 1907, and continued throughout her lifetime. Her insights into the minds of children led her to develop prepared environments and other tools and devices that have come to characterize Montessori education today. Her influence in other countries has been profound and many of her teaching methods have been adopted by educators generally.Part biography and part exposition of her ideas, this engaging book reveals through her letters and personal diaries Maria Montessori's humility and delight in the success of her educational experiments and is an ideal introduction to the principals and practices of the greatest educational pioneer of the 20th century.
The new introduction to Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work by Lee Havis, executive director of the International Montessori Society, discusses the changes that have taken place in Montessori education within recent years.
An updated appendix of Montessori periodicals, courses, societies, films, and teaching materials.
A revised bibliography of books by and about Maria Montessori.
... Read more


3. The Water Is Wide
by PAT CONROY
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553268937
Catlog: Book (1987-11-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 10673
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This heartrending story of the difference one man can make became the basis for the first film based on a Pat Conroy work, the much-loved Conrack.

The Water is Wide

Yamacraw Island is nearly deserted. No one has paid much attention to it, nor to the few poor black families that live there. But this beautiful, haunting slip of land across the water from South Carolina is home to them, and they've lived off the bounty from the sea for generations.

But now their very existence is challenged. Industrial waste, pouring into the water from which they pull their catches, threatens the only vocation they've known. Unless they can learn a new way of life, they will surely perish. The Water is Wide is the true story of a young white schoolteacher -- a man who gave a year of his life to give an island and a people renewed hope. He becomes the teacher to their children, and teaches the adults of Yamacraw Island extraordinary lessons they didn't even know they needed to learn.

With a moving performance by Will Patton, Pat Conroy teaches us all about the triumph of the human spirit in the most desolate of circumstances. ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Novel? Not when I read it, it wasn't!
The Water Is Wide is a terrific book, but I'm confused by the many comments that praise it as a "novel." This wasn't written as a novel. Pat Conroy lived the story, and this is the story of his experiences as a teacher on a sea island off South Carolina. He changed some names (of both people and sites) in the book, but fiction this ain't. The book does, however, draw on his wonderful talents, just as his novels do.

4-0 out of 5 stars Yamacraw is a precursor to the rest of Conroy's Books
Somebody else already attacked the other reviewer for calling this book a novel. This memoir is fact. But the other writer wrote that Pat Conroy went to Yamacraw Island to fight "institutional racism", blah, blah, blah. That misses the point entirely.

Pat Conroy was a native of the South Carolina coast. Being a writer he took the job of being a school teacher at Yamacraw because he wanted to teach. That would give him time to write. And living on Yamacraw would give him something to write about.

Pat Conroy is the author of "The Lords of Discipline" , "The Great Santini", "The Prince of Tides", and "Beach Music". Fans of these novels should add "The Water is Wide" to their bookshelves.

In this memoir the young Pat Conroy takes a job teaching black children on Yamacraw Island. There is no road there so he takes a boat to work each day. The school kids are pretty much illiterate. Complicit in the neglect of the school-from a materiel point of view-is the headmistress. Representing the status quo do-nothing school board, she is just like the matron in George Orwell's novel "The Clergyman's Daughter". Just like in the same novel, Pat Controy, the bright new school teacher, comes along with some new ideas and is able to achieve some positive results in the classroom. The bureaucrat in the way laments Conroy's efforts. She says he should just beat them. That's the only way to instill discipline she says.

I think that Pat Conroy might have come to Yamacraw to live the contemplative live of a writer. But he soon is embroiled in controversy and busy fending off the headmistress and bewildered parents. But his skill as a teacher is he is able to mollify his critics. The apogee of his success is when he organizes his retinue for a field trip to Savannah. This is one of the most enjoyable and most worrisome parts of the book as he and the kids have a great trip, but Conroy must jump through hoops to get the requisite signatures from all of the parents. For some of the kids this is a their first trip off the Island.

One should not look upon the people of Yamacraw with pity as I am sure Pat Conroy did not. What ruined their lifestyle, he clearly points, out is the pollution of the Savannah River which wiped out the crab population there and the islander's livelihood. (Probably the crabs have rebounded now with the Clear Water act and other efforts to curtail nitrogen and other emissions.) Rather Conroy's look at the Island is whimsical-i.e. he has a fondness for the winding creek and the expanse of marshes, the live oak forests, and the simple life of the agrarian dweller. He genuinely grows fond the of kids under his kids. As was his goal, all of this provided greater fodder for his memoir.

The only criticism I have of Pat Conroy is he seems to have strayed from literature and gone commercial. "The Lords of Discipline" was a great yarn about life at the Citadel. But I refused to read "Beach Music" because it seemed to use the same backdrop of South Carolina as a setting and theme one time too many. Not being a writer with the skills of Faulkner-who kept his focus on one tiny county in Missippi-I think Conroy could have gone elsewhere after he wrote "The Prince of Tides". Maybe he is one of these writers like Tom Wolfe (of Asheville and not the Richmond writer) who can only write autobiographical books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great writing
The Water is Wide is my second favorite Conroy--Prince of Tides being the first. Both books are excellent with great characters, situations, and bold ideas. Highly recommended.

Also recommended: The Great Santini,Prince of Tides, Bark of the Dogwood, To Kill a Mockingbird

5-0 out of 5 stars the water is wide
The Water is Wide, by Pat Conroy was one of exciting books I have read in years and based on a true story. The book is based on Pat Conroy life and what events he went through. Pat Conroy goes to a remote island called Yamacraw to teach students who have no idea of the world outside of Yamacraw island and Pat is the person who will change those students life by telling them what he knows about the life outside of island and will the students whole perspective about what the know and a lot of things they didn't know.

The book is very appealing to me because it tells me that every is like here every places is advanced in technology which makes life easier and that we should not take it for granted. "The tiny bellicose Irishman residing in my genes and collective unconscious urging me on and whispering to me that a great injustice was being perpetrated and that it was up to me to expose this condition to the person with the ability and training to do something about it". The theme of this book is to never give up no matter how hard things get and always strive for the better. I agree with the theme because not giving up is the best solution to the problem at hand. It relates to my life in a big way because when lived in country I was poor and I had always had to work hard for the things I had to get and not giving up or not quitting was my motive because if give up on anything it means you are a failure. Yes I would recommend this book to others because it has a great message and you care it through you life.

5-0 out of 5 stars It Will Make You Think
"The Water Is Wide" was Pat Conroy's second book, a non-fiction account of the year he spent teaching poverty-stricken children on isolated Yamacraw Island in South Carolina. Conroy went on to write four truly excellent novels over the next two decades, but this one is perhaps more hard-hitting. It combines his already remarkable prose with a brutally honest and telling look at the sad state of public education in an environment nobody wanted to fool with--in a racially-charged era.

Conroy readily admits that he was filled with white liberal guilt by his early twenties, and he was ready to save the world when he plunged headlong into the Yamacraw teaching position nobody else wanted. His task was all but impossible--teaching a classroom of poor, hopelessly uneducated black kids not only how to read, write and spell (many literally couldn't write their names), but to comprehend that there was a big, incredible world out there. As Conroy quickly realized, most of the kids had never even ventured off the small island.

Sadly, the biggest obstacle facing Conroy were the administrators and school board in neighboring Beaufort, Conroy's hometown. These were the folks who supervised the Yamacraw school, and to Conroy's disbelief, the harder he worked to enlighten his students, the more roadblocks were thrown at him from black and white bureaucrats. Standing up for his principles and calling attention to the problems of the poor island school eventually cost Conroy his teaching position--a job he desperately wanted to keep for another year, as he'd come to love the students and their families.

Brutally honest and beautifully written, "The Water Is Wide" is a tightly written novel which leaves a profound impression. Although relations between the races have improved tremendously since this book was written, its subject matter is still very relevant today, as educational politics still fester in school systems large and small, rich and poor. Strongly recommended for all Conroy fans, and for any past, present or future educators. ... Read more


4. The Headmaster : Frank L. Boyden of Deerfield
by John McPhee
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374514968
Catlog: Book (1992-09-01)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 181748
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Starting in 1902 at a country school that had an enrollment of fourteen, Frank Boyden built an academy that has long since taken its place on a level with Andover and Exeter. Boyden, who died in 1972, was the school’s headmaster for sixty-six years. John McPhee portrays a remarkable man “at the near end of a skein of magnanimous despots who...created enduring schools through their own individual energies, maintained them under their own absolute rule, and left them forever imprinted with their own personalities.” More than simply a portrait of the Headmaster of Deerfield Academy, it is a revealing look at the nature of private school education in America.
... Read more

Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars A good book
Being business-oriented, I wish this book had talked more about how he had built up this school and ran it. It does do that but not to the level where this could be considered a business biography. From a business standpoint, this is a book about leadership and how great leadership can do great things for an institution.

Oh, and the drawings spread throughout the book really help convey the man. There's a number of photographs as well, but the drawings add nice touch.

If this man was really as good as the book portrays him, this won't be the last book about him and, if so, I look forward to reading those as well.

While not a great book, I would recommend it. It is a thin book of nice light reading.

3-0 out of 5 stars Insightful into Deerfield's school culture
McPhee has written a highly readable account of the impact of a single individual on one of New England's important boarding schools. This work is particularly interesting when juxtaposed against similar works on the history of Groton School, St. Paul's School, or Exeter/Andover when viewing how one person can cause an entire school culture to take root. Found most often in schools where strong headmasters have either founded the school or contributed a life of service, Deerfield Academy comes across in McPhee's work as the true child of Boyden whose various quirks in no way detracted from his personal mission of making a difference in boys' lives. While by no means a critical work, "Headmaster" is nevertheless an important document in understanding the history of an important boarding school.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Teacher for the generations
From 1902 to 1968, Frank Boyden was the Headmaster of Deerfield, a private boy's school in the countryside of Massachusetts. When Boyden arrived, the school had 14 students, transportation was by foot or horse drawn wagon, and he intended to stay only long enough to get enough money. 66 years later, Deerfield was one of the leading prep schools in America, the equal to Exeter and Andover. Best of all, the school wasn't an imitation of British schools, as so many prep schools of the first half of the 20th century were. Boyden had turned Deerfield into an outstanding educational institution while keeping it uniquely American. Demanding, even a bit of a despot, Boyden shaped the school and its students into something special, a school where the students come first, then the faculty.

Only John McPhee could tell the story as it deserves. Boyden and all the other residents of Deerfield come alive under McPhee's pen. The little touches, like the Headmaster's rejuvenating midday naps, followed by letter writing and inspections tours, make it seem as if the reader is there.

I doubt you'll be able to read this book, and not wish you could have been a student under Boyden. For several generations, Deerfield under his leadership was what a school should be.

5-0 out of 5 stars they don't make em like this anymore
Sure, this may be more of a panegyric more than a biography, but it's inspiring. As someone who has spent years in private schools, it's great to read about a headmaster who really shaped a school -- Boyden defines headmastership: he was head of Deerfield for 64 years! Even more impressive than Mr. Boyden was his wife whom he called the smartest person on the campus. Proves the theory that behind every great man is a great woman. I hope we restructure our school administrations so that we allow for heads like this again -- too much time is spent these days on fundraising and not enough on school. Though Boyden was not an intellectual, he inspired and trained generations of boys and never lost his personal touch.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Headmaster at Deefield: a model for innovative educators
Like many, I read a great deal but I rarely reread books. However, The Headmaster by John McPhee is one of those rare books that I have read and reread several times. Each time I gain a greater insight into one of the most innovative educators of our time: Frank Boyden. Using both humor and profound insight, McPhee paints the picture of a tenacious headmaster who was undaunted in his attempt to create one of America's finest preparatory schools. Boyden's unfailing optimism in the face of tremendous obstacles will inspire aspiring educational leaders.

As an administrator in a small college I find that much of Boyden's philosophy of education is appropriate for educators in any setting. McPhee has done a masterful job of characterizing one of the greatest and innovative educators of the 20th century. I highly recommend McPhee's book to all who are dedicated to quality education and have a great love for students. ... Read more


5. Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year
by Esme Raji Codell
list price: $10.95
our price: $8.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565122798
Catlog: Book (2001-06-01)
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Sales Rank: 6628
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There aren't too many teachers who are written about in the New Yorker, People, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, and excerpted in Reader's Digest. But Esmé Raji Codell is no ordinary teacher. An irrepressible spirit, she wears costumes in the classroom, dances with the kids during math lessons, rollerskates down the hallways, and puts on rousing performances with at-risk students in the library.

In EDUCATING ESMÉ, the uncensored diary of her first year teaching in a Chicago public school, she opens a window into the closed world of a real-life classroom. Refusing to let anything get in the way of delivering the education her fifth-graders deserve, this dedicated teacher finds herself battling bureaucrats, gang members, inflexible administrators, angry children, and her own insecurities, while at the same time changing her students' lives forever.

Now in paperback, here is the book People called "hilarious," Booklist called "screamingly funny," Greensboro News & Record called "brilliantly conceived," and the Boston Phoenix noted "should be read by anyone who's interested in the future of public education." ... Read more

Reviews (107)

5-0 out of 5 stars VERY WORTH YOUR TIME!
I read this book all in one sitting because it was absolutely wonderful. I am one of those bright-eyed, cheery teachers-to-be who is certain she can change the world and I know I need a reality check every once in a while. Esme's spirit and uncensored voice are compelling. Her experiences will make you laugh and cry, and at times you might gasp in shock at the brutality in her truthfulness, but at no time do you lose touch with her sense of dedication. She responds to idiocracy and teaches her children the only way she knows how--by doing what she KNOWS works and what is best for her students. After all, they learned their alphabet, their division, and to love reading. Shouldn't those be the measure of a great educator?

I am a future teacher who has trouble standing up for myself. Esme does what she knows is right, never what she is told. This book showed me that I don't have to swallow the garbage that is shoveled at me. Thank you, Madam Esme, for teaching me confidence.

PS: One negative reviewer who criticized just about everything in the book REALLY wanted to use the word "kowtowing" instead of that other misspelled one. Perhaps she could have used a few minutes in Madame Esme's class herself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like being in the teacher's lounge
Of course this book is self-absorbed, it's a diary, not a how-to book. When I read it, I wasn't under the impression that it was written to tell other teachers how to teach, it was written to share her experience. I heard Esme speak in person and she said the diary was unabridged and that she herself knew she didn't come off that well, but if she changed it around it would't be a real diary anymore. She published it to serve as a battle cry to help other teachers value their own anecdotes and start a dialogue about what works and doesn't work in education. I appreciated the the honesty of the voice, she was either brave or crazy to publish it. Use this book to look inside one inner-city classroom, and into one teacher's soul. Those people who criticize this book for not being something that it never proported to be, like Harry Wong's The First Days of School, are unfair. Don't read this if you are looking for someone to tell you what to do. Even if you don't find much pretention or insight, you're bound to laugh a lot, and I mean A LOT. What teacher couldn't use a dose of that?

5-0 out of 5 stars Educating Esme
I read this book by the recommendation of my boyfriend and then it was used in two college courses for elementary education. It is fantastic!! I want to teach on the south side of Chicago and this book was an amazing insight into what one may or may not expect during their first year. Esme is amazing and talented and I already know that I will walk into my first classroom with a great deal of knowledge and a massive amount of ideas just from reading this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone heading into the teaching field or anyone how wants to read something enjoyable!

5-0 out of 5 stars Educating Esme is perfect
Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year is one of the best books I have ever read. When I came to the end, I cried because it was over. Esme Codell is a defiant, tell-it-like-it-is, awe-inspiring, creative and brilliant first year teacher in an inner-city classroom of Chicago and gives her first-hand account of the ups and downs of her fifth grade class. The book is heartwarming and heartbreaking, laugh out loud funny and bring tears to your eyes sad, and above all else - inspiring. From someone who is currently applying for her first teaching position, I loved every word Esme put into her diary. I highly recommend this book to anyone!

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not GREAT!
Educating Esmé by Esmé Raji Codell is a diary of the author's trials and tribulations during her first year teaching. She learns that sometimes everyone doesn't like "her" way of doing things in this inner city Chicago school. She never gives up though, due to her extraordinary will to succeed. Madame Esmé, as she likes to be called, talks as though she is the only teacher in the school. She writes about being the only one in her school that really cares about the students, and she is the lone one who tries to connect with them.
This book was good, but not great. I wouldn't read it again, and I would only recommend it to someone going into teaching. I believe that I wasn't too interested in it merely because I'm not into teaching. This book is full of details, but none seem to go anywhere. Nothing eventful happens in this book that makes readers want to keep going to find out what happens next; every event is predictable. Overall, I enjoyed the reading experience, but would not read this book again. ... Read more


6. Iron and Silk (Vintage Departures)
by MARK SALZMAN
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394755111
Catlog: Book (1987-10-12)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 23146
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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In 1982, Salzman flew off to teach English in Changsha, China. He writes of bureaucrats, students and Cultural Revolution survivors, stripping none of their complexity and humanity.He's gentle with their idiocies, saving his sharpest barbs for himself (it's his pants that split from zipper to waist whilst demonstrating martial arts in Canton).Though dribs of history and drabs of classical lore seep through, this is mostly a personal tale, noted by the Los Angeles Times for "the charmingly unpretentious manner in which it penetrates a China inaccessible to other foreigners." ... Read more

Reviews (74)

5-0 out of 5 stars Heart-warming, Winning and Well Worth the Read
This is an autobiographical account of a young man's teaching English for two years in main land China. He also spent his time learning what he could of martial arts, calligraphy, and obviously the wonderfully different and often touching ways of the Chinese people. The vignettes are sketched with humanity, warmth, skill and a great sense of humor. When I told my Chinese friends some of the stories they smiled broadly, nodded knowingly, and assured me that that is the way things are. We appreciated deeply the story of how Mark tried to cash in a dead rat for five cents and ran into bureaucrats who were silly but not stupid. It has been made into a film and the video ought to be readily available. Do see it as well as reading the book. Mark and his teacher Pan play themselves and they're both worth getting to know a lot better.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sense of Wonder
In 30 short anecdotes, Mark Salzman gives a compassionate and humorous account of teaching English and studying martial arts in Changsha, a provincial capital in central China shortly after the opening of the country in the early 1980s. Changsha has the reputation that "there is nothing to do, nothing to buy, the people have no manners, the food is terrible and their dialect sounds awful" - so the book might have become very different from what it is: insightful, very funny, and full of respect for the often strange customs of traditional Chinese culture. In the best manner of innocents abroad, Mark Salzman knows how to make fun of his blunders in a very charming way. He conveys his sense of wonder beautifully, and does not pass judgment on anything he witnesses. Unlike many other authors who write about China, he is able to appreciate traditional Chinese forms of expression and self-mastery like martial arts (wushu) and calligraphy on their own terms. In his anecdotes he catches the essence of these arts: dedication, commitment, respect. "No matter what the quality of brush or paper," explains his calligraphy teacher, "one should always treat them as if they were priceless."

What Mark Salzman wrote about China some 15 years ago is not dated in many ways. Strange ideas are still being trumpeted as truths, and bureaucrats still like to harass foreigners (although humiliating unwitting foreigners is not "something of a popular sport in China" anymore; today it may even happen that a young female police officer at a police station first lectures you for half an hour on a minor transgression, but asks you out for a date right after she is finished).

Mark Salzman has a wonderful, gentle humor, and an admirable open-mindedness. He combines both to focus not on the ignorance of the people he meets, but on the insight which even ignorance can produce. There is no doubt that one little Chinese boy has no idea about the real Hong Kong, but being asked what he knew about this city, he answers "It's a big department store, isn't it?" Finally, let me say that I have never heard or read of a more charming and polite way of telling a Westerner that he has a big nose than in Mark Salzman's gem of a book: "You have a very three-dimensional face."

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written travel story
This book is an account of the two years Mark Salzman spent as an English teacher at the Hunan Medical College. Salzman arrived in Hunan Province in 1982, fresh from Yale, where he had graduated with a degree in Chinese literature. He took with him his cello and his experience studying Chinese martial arts. Salzman was an ideal American emissary- -he brought his youthful yet serious enthusiasm to the classroom, and forged ties with the local populace through sharing his skills and interests. Once he even consented to attempt to tune a piano for his supervisor, his only qualification for the task being that he was familiar with the sound of well-tuned pianos back home. He befriended local fishermen and shared his art and music with them, but he also got to know Chinese grad students and professors through his interest in calligraphy and Chinese language.

Foremost in his interests was martial arts. Before arriving in China, Salzman had studied Chinese martial arts for 9 years. He hoped to find a teacher of martial arts, or wushu, so that he could continue his practice while in Hunan. Because of his openness to meet others and because of his language skills, he eventually met and studied with some remarkably skilled wushu teachers in Hunan, including Pan Qingfu, perhaps the most renowned living practitioner of Chinese martial arts in the world. Much of Salzman's account is a record of how he met these teachers, and how they helped him develop his skill, each in his own particular way and style.

Salzman's interest in calligraphy and martial arts opened doors for him that otherwise may never have appeared. Practicing calligraphy and wushu gave him the excuse for meeting Chinese citizens with similar interests, and for them to seek him out. But Salzman points out the ethical dark side of pursuing these interests as a foreigner. Salzman is very aware of the fact that, while he has studied martial arts for 9 years, no matter how seriously he had applied himself, he had practiced only on a hobby basis, a background to his academic and professional pursuits. On a Chinese scale, his 9 years of part-time study would barely constitute dallying with the sport. Yet because he was a foreigner who seemed to demonstrate such a serious degree of interest in the topic, he had access to the very best teachers, famous superstars that few Chinese wushu students could every dream of meeting. This is not meant to criticize Salzman, as he himself pointed out several times how distressed he was when his teachers would ignore their Chinese students so as to focus on his personal needs. Situations where an interested Westerner is given attention by experts that far exceeds that merited by their skills are unfortunately, quite common. Indeed, many Western musicians of very average talent manage to be accepted as students by famous classical Indian musicians, who may be fascinated by a Westerner who seems seriously interested in Asian music, or who may simply think that having Western students will somehow add to their prestige. I, myself, have benefited from such circumstances while studying Indian music, finding that my teachers give me extra attention or praise that is merited only by the color of my passport. What is remarkable about this book is how much Salzman is aware of this conundrum as he sees it playing out, and how he shows maturity in trying to address the situation both with humility and devotion to his art.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent and entertaining!
i was assigned this novel for a course and thought it would be another dry novel such as the ones typically assigned for university history courses. i was pleasantly surprised! salzman's sense of humor and good natured relating of the events surrounding his two years in china is only surpassed by his knowledge and understanding of the culture he lived in for those years. it is an excellent story for anyone who is learning about china or simply wants to know more about the culture. salzman's view as an american looking in is especially helpful for western readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars what a heartwarming eye-opener!
Mark Salzman writes of his experiences while teaching in China. His book reminded me a little of the Tony Hillerman and "The No. 1 Detective Agency" series in that they all give us a look at an entirely different culture that many of us know little about. He is a martial arts student and continued learning from masters in China during his stay as a teacher.

In some ways we could learn a little from their polite culture and they could learn from ours. They are a much more family oriented than I realized, children remaining with their parents until married in many cases and they are more respectful of their parents and others around them than many of us are.

Their homes did not compare in any way to what we are used to, but, you know, when you've never had it, you don't know what you are missing and as most of them were in the same circumstances, they do with what they have. This is not to say that everything was great, because it wasn't, there were many things that could have been improved upon, but the book wasn't about that. It was an account by the author of his experiences and friendships that he developed during his stay in China. We get to know about a lovely group of individuals and how they lived and worked. The politeness, and their way of showing hospitality was endearing.

I would have to say that Mark must have had a special touch also for them to react so warmly to him. His sincere interest in their martial arts and learning their calligraphy, etc. drew their support also.

If you'd like to know more about how many of the people live and their customs this is a wonderful book that will give us a good unbiased view of them. Highly recommended! Enjoy! ... Read more


7. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart of Japan
by Bruce Feiler
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060577207
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 37409
Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Learning to Bow has been heralded as one of the funniest, liveliest, and most insightful books ever written about the clash of cultures between America and Japan. With warmth and candor, Bruce Feiler recounts the year he spent as a teacher in a small rural town. Beginning with a ritual outdoor bath and culminating in an all-night trek to the top of Mt. Fuji, Feiler teaches his students about American culture, while they teach him everything from how to properly address an envelope to how to date a Japanese girl.

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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is how it really is
Bruce Feiler was one of the first participants on the JET program, a program sponsored by the Japanese government to bring foreign young people to Japan for the purposes of education and "internationalization." While Feiler's experiences are a little unusual, in that he can already speak Japanese when he arrives and the events at his school are rather dramatic, overall his story reflects the life of a typical JET program participant. The culture shock, the unbending bureaucracy, the complex and often disaffected attitudes of students, the instant celebrity and lack of privacy that goes with it, are all symptoms that JETs experience. I read the book and often found myself nodding in agreement, having experience the same events and feelings myself. If you want to have an intimate look at the world of education in Japan today, Feiler's book is an excellent place to start. If you are thinking about joining the JET program, this book is a must, along with Importing Diversity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Learning to Bow
Although Feiler paints a detailed, and often humorous picture of life in a Japanese public school, his picture is far too clean. He strikes me as being a bit like the foreign talents that work in Japan who have been neutured by Japanese society to make them more palletable to their xenophbic audience. I felt like the Ministry of Education had come through and ereased the negative comments before I could read them. So, in short: it is a well-written book, but should not be the final word on an outsider's perspective on the Japanese educational system.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful Information For Any Gaijin in Japan
This book is useful for anyone moving to Japan, either as part of the JET Programme or any other reason. After living in Japan for a few years (not on the JET Programme) I recognized a lot of truth to what Feiler had to say. This book also provided me with an inside look at and the pros and cons of the Japanese school system. Through my own experience, I honestly am amazed at the amount of pressure placed on students to do well in school in Japan. For the most part, the students' effort pays off when they are accepted into a great high school or college, regardless of the two-hour-one-way commute some of them endure. At the same time, however, I wish the school system in Japan encouraged students to be more creative and that the environment allowed them to learn more about the world around them. Despite that, though, the Japanese people make great students and are some of the nicest people you'll meet in your life. This book, through the author's experiences in Tochigi Prefecture, show this and more, all in an entertaining, well-written way. And if for that reason alone, this book is worth reading once for anyone interested in Japan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cultural lessons disquised by an American sensei in Japan
Bruce Fielder pens the story of his experience as an English Teacher in Japan. Similar to "You Gotta Have Wa", this book is more about the experiences of an outsider fitting in to Japan than the occupational hazards of teaching English. To use his own words, Fielder really does cut into the heart of Japan. Interspersed between stories of the challenges of the educational system are many deeper lessons. Included are an explanation of the importance of group harmony and identity, how co-workers balance formal working relationships with personal bonds, and how personal development differs between Japan and the West.

Perhaps my only struggle was hearing how hard it was for the author to find a date in Japan. Japan is legendary for English teachers "punching above their weight" and finding girlfriend's well out of their league in the US. But perhaps the book would have lost it's tone and cultural insights if it degenerated into a story of how many girls the author picked up.

The book has held up remarkably over the past 10 years. Despite the bursting of the Japanese bubble, the cultural lessons ring true today. I recommend the book to anyone interested in Japan, independent of occupation.

2-0 out of 5 stars rather offensive to a fellow American
I am an easy audience and for the first twenty pages or so, I was really set to enjoy this book.

Then I found myself gradually more and more frustrated when Mr. Feiler would stop to explain how some event or peculiar classroom trend he experienced was obviously due to blah blah blah historical or cultural Japanese dynamic...for pages upon pages. If I wanted to study social complexities, I think I could read Reischauer or someone with ample expertise.

He also maintains quite an attitude of American superiority over the absurd Japanese way of doing things. He seems to think himself immune to this, though, because he has learned Japanese. He even goes so far in one chapter to discuss his anxieties about the feasibility of engaging in intimate acts with a Japanese woman due to his highly developed gringo genitalia. He also seemed obsessed with the fact that he was taller than almost all Japanese people. If there is one thing you will learn in this book, it is that Bruce Feiler is 6'4". His light humility is hardly bevievable.

Despite the vast network of superiority complexes seen in this specimen, this book is periodically entertaining. However,I think it is not worth your time, ... Read more


8. Dark Hero Of The Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener The Father of Cybernetics
by Flo Conway, Jim Siegelman
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0738203688
Catlog: Book (2004-12-14)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 19733
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the middle of the last century, Norbert Wiener-ex-child prodigy and brilliant MIT mathematician -founded the science of cybernetics, igniting the information-age explosion of computers, automation, and global telecommunications. Wiener was the first to articulate the modern notion of "feedback," and his ideas informed the work of computer pioneer John von Neumann, information theorist Claude Shannon, and anthropologists Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead. His best-selling book, Cybernetics, catapulted him into the public spotlight, as did his chilling visions of the future and his ardent social activism. So what happened? Why is his work virtually unknown today? And what, in fact, is Wiener's legacy? In this remarkable book, award-winning journalists Conway and Siegelman set out to rescue Wiener's genius from obscurity and to explore the many ways in which his groundbreaking ideas continue to shape our lives. Based on a wealth of primary sources (including some newly declassified WW II and Cold War-era documents) and exclusive interviews with Wiener's family and closest colleagues, the book reveals an extraordinarily complex figure, whose high-pressure childhood, manic depression, and troubled relationships had a profound effect on his scientific work. No one interested in the intersection of technology and culture will want to miss this epic story of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant and colorful figures. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Norbert Wiener - MIT's "dark hero"

DARK HERO OF THE INFORMATION AGE

Having been a Tech student during many of the years covered by "Dark hero of the Information Age" - undergraduate in physics from 1948 to 1953, graduate student in electrical engineering from 1957 to 1961, and postdoc in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) from 1961 to 1962 - I found this book fascinating to read. Norbert Wiener's portly figure waddling about the campus, popping peanuts from his jacket pocket into his open mouth, rapt in conversation, or staring blankly into middle distance was familiar to all as is well described by authors Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman. Although aware of the "communist threat" supposed to stem from some MIT faculty members in those years, it was both interesting and chilling to read that the FBI had investigated even Wiener - interesting because his FBI dossier was a boon to his biographers, chilling to learn that our benighted federal agents had found this kindly, bumbling man a threat to the republic.

Based on many interviews with surviving friends and family members and on Wiener's own autobiographies, the authors provide a highly-readable account of his unusual childhood as a prodigy, force-fed on a diet of germanic poetry and mathematics by his obsessed father - a Harvard professor of modern languages who arrived as a penniless immigrant to the US from Russia at the age of 19. Obtaining a doctorate from Harvard at the age of 18, Norbert Wiener eventually obtained an academic position in the MIT mathematics department, where he taught and conducted research for 45 years until his death in 1964.

Wiener is widely known as the "father of cybernetics" which he famously defined as the science of "control and communication in the animal and the machine". In its heyday, cybernetics was of great interest to anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, neuroscientist Warren McCulloch, and mathematical physicist John Neumann, among others, and Wiener's popular books on the subject brought the implications of the emerging information age to the attention of the general public. In a depressing story that is particularly well told, the authors reveal how the machinations of Wiener's "emotionally-deaf" wife prevented him from interacting with an exciting cadre of cyberneticians that was brought to RLE in the early 1950s, with the aim of making MIT preeminent in the interdisciplinary area between electronics and biology.

Less well presented is the authors' evaluation of Wiener's fundamental contributions to these areas. Although his 1926 papers on Fourier transform theory may have cleared up some fine mathematical points, these papers and Wiener's subsequent writings on the subject go unnoticed by those electrical engineers who teach and study the subject at MIT. To negative feedback theory, Wiener made no fundamental contributions at all - the essential idea sprang from the brow of Harold S. Black, a young engineer at the Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) in 1927 and was fully worked out by BTL applied mathematicians, including Henrik Bode, whose famous book "Network Analysis and Feedback Amplifier Design" we all studied. In neuroscience, Wiener seemed unaware of the truly important analysis of nerve-impulse propagation published in 1952 by Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley, and of the basic theory of biological pattern formation proposed by Alan Turing in the same year. Wiener's contribution was to see the importance of feedback control systems in biology and the social sciences and to make his cautionary views known to the general public.

Despite these minor lapses, Dark Hero is highly recommended for all who would understand the birthing of the information age.

Alwyn Scott
http://personal.riverusers.com/~rover/

5-0 out of 5 stars The original Cybernaut
Charming biography of the founder of cybernetics. Norbert Weiner had a curiously unique life, as a child prodigy and then mathematician at the birth of the new information sciences. The so-called Von Neuman computer is really the Weiner-Von Neuman computer, and the book describes the eclectic birth of modern computation (Weiner was himself a considerable 'computer' in the old-fashioned sense of the term)in the tribulations of warfare research in the second world war. Weiner had a unique concern for the implications of technology, and his _Human Use of Human Beings_ is a classic of its type. The birth of Cybernetics and Information theory projected its own future, but events moved in a slightly different direction. However, as we look back the significance of this period, and of Weiner's work, is resurfacing once again, and we can see the labored birth of our digital generation in the prophecies of such as Weiner.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Valuable Literary Contribution
DARK HERO OF THE INFORMATION AGE opens the doors to full understanding of the roots of our present information technology era. But beyond that, it presents, in Novel form, the fascinating and often difficult life of the Dark Hero, Norbert Wiener, who almost singlehandedly made it all possible.

The book is easy reading. The words flow and carry one along on Norbert's magnificent trip from boyhood genius to adult contributor of scientific truth: those truths and insights that have changed our world for the larger good.

One does not need an Engineering or Scientific degree tounderstand it. All can easily follow and appreciate this most interesting biography about a Boy Genius who did not flame out in adulthood, as have so many others with equal talent.

I highly recommend this book for all readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars A testimony to a true hero of science and humanity
Having read "Dark Hero Of The Information Age" I am now somewhat taken aback when I look around and can recognise the hand and mind of Norbert Wiener throughout much of contemporary life. Be it in learning, language, communication or use of technology Wiener's scientific vision and development of cybernetics has had significant influence over the way human beings interact with each other and with technology.

But, as the authors make the point so clearly, his vision and thinking cannot be separated from his humanity. In their book Conway and Siegelman take the reader on an intimate journey into the complex life of an extraordinary person, complete with his personal struggles and failings as well as his triumphs. It's a journey that reveals just how human Wiener really was and the degree to which his scientific genius was underpinned by his innate sense of ethics and morality.

Today, those who bring new science into the world are sometimes criticised as 'soulless' individuals who only focus on assumed benefits, without regard for unrealised consequences. But Norbert Weiner, several decades ahead of his time, is revealed as a scientist whose motivations were tempered with concern for the protection of people, from both the perspective of social cohesion and that at the level of individual well-being. His legacy, apart from all his unique mathematical and scientific contributions, is that the advance of science is not at the cost of human dignity, and is the challenge that he has left squarely in front of today's scientists and of the community at large.

He lived his life acrosscontinents in the northern hemisphere. I was saddened to learn that we in Australia missed a rare opportunity to cross paths with his genius, when an academic appointment he pursued here earlier in his career did not come to fruition. Despite this, we have no doubt indirectly benefited from his wisdom in the many and varied aspects of human endeavour to which he contributed.

The authors bring into the 21st Century a fascinating and relevant story of a 'dark hero' - but also that of someone whose life should illuminate our path ahead, if humanity is to pursue scientific progress without bringing harm to itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great reading for both scientist & layman
After reading the "Dark Hero" I find it a fascinating book that should appeal broadly to both academics & general readers who seek to understand the role of communication technology in society. The authors have put together a creative "tour de force" by drawing upon the memories, records & multiple interpretations of events leading up to & following the birth of Cybernetics. I believe that Wiener himself would be pleased with Conway & Siegleman's contribution to the understanding of how we may all may work toward creating " a world that embraces as its goal & highest good the human use of human beings'. ... Read more


9. Tis: A Memoir
by Frank McCourt
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684865742
Catlog: Book (2000-08-28)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 7143
Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Frank McCourt's glorious childhood memoir, Angela's Ashes, has been loved and celebrated by readers everywhere for its spirit, its wit and its profound humanity. A tale of redemption, in which storytelling itself is the source of salvation, it won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Rarely has a book so swiftly found its place on the literary landscape.

And now we have 'Tis, the story of Frank's American journey from impoverished immigrant to brilliant teacher and raconteur. Frank lands in New York at age nineteen, in the company of a priest he meets on the boat. He gets a job at the Biltmore Hotel, where he immediately encounters the vivid hierarchies of this "classless country," and then is drafted into the army and is sent to Germany to train dogs and type reports. It is Frank's incomparable voice -- his uncanny humor and his astonishing ear for dialogue -- that renders these experiences spellbinding.

When Frank returns to America in 1953, he works on the docks, always resisting what everyone tells him, that men and women who have dreamed and toiled for years to get to America should "stick to their own kind" once they arrive. Somehow, Frank knows that he should be getting an education, and though he left school at fourteen, he talks his way into New York University. There, he falls in love with the quintessential Yankee, long-legged and blonde, and tries to live his dream. But it is not until he starts to teach -- and to write -- that Frank finds his place in the world. The same vulnerable but invincible spirit that captured the hearts of readers in Angela's Ashes comes of age.

As Malcolm Jones said in his Newsweek review of Angela's Ashes, "It is only the best storyteller who can so beguile his readers that he leaves them wanting more when he is done...and McCourt proves himself one of the very best." Frank McCourt's 'Tis is one of the most eagerly awaited books of our time, and it is a masterpiece. ... Read more

Reviews (528)

4-0 out of 5 stars Frank McCourt is a brave, brave man . . .
Writing a memoir invites accusations of myopia and self-indulgence. Writing a sequel begs comparison (with novelty often tipping the scales in favor of the first work). Along comes Frank McCourt who combines the two and manages to succeed admirably. Picking up where Angela's Ashes leaves off, 'Tis recounts young Frankie's impoverished early days in New York, his broadening stint in the Army, and his subsequent development from an unschooled laborer to a teacher of creative writing able to inspire others to make that same arduous climb.

McCourts narrative voice is a paradoxical wonder. Muscular prose and keen observation lay bare dire circumstances and woeful ignorance. Financial poverty stands in sharp contrast to an abundance of imagination and desire. Indeed, it is his driving hunger--both physical and metaphorical --that spurs him to read and write his way out of despair.

McCourt's style captivates with his underlying Irish lyricism and his overlay of poetic repetition. Young Frankie's incredulous tone reveals a touching, often frightening, lack of sophistication. It's a wonder the lad survives his youth. Ever so slowly, he trades that innocence for a college degree, a young wife, and teaching jobs that range from thankless and intimidating to purposeful and rewarding. Never stooping to sentimentality, McCourt evokes plenty of genuine emotion, a skill that serves his reading public as well as it must have served his students.

It is in the final quarter of the book that McCourt stumbles. His hard-won (and much described) sweetheart mutates quickly into a difficult wife, then fades to near obscurity. That they eventually divorce is no excuse for this disappearing act. McCourt needn't have trashed the ex-wife to expose his own grappling. His daughter, with whom he ends up on better terms, suffers similar abridgement, aging years in the space of two pages. Subtext (not to mention the character of the author) suggests a backing off due to pain and guilt but that's an inexcusable squeamishness in a memoir. This abbreviation and lack of candor give the reader a sense of having been rushed through important territory.

His relationship with his parents is drawn with a bit more detail but then it's generally easier to focus on others' failures than to examine your own. Case in point--McCourt spoke of the abysmal effects of his father's chronic alcoholism and admitted he saw himself making some of the same mistakes, yet his reactions seemed to stay on the surface. I kept hoping he'd make peace with his father's fallibilty even as he came to grips with his own but he retains his judgemental tone till the end, missing a valuable connection that might have shed some light on a man he regarded as something of a mystery.

Despite these deficiencies. McCourt's story vibrates with honest intensity and the great ache of anyone whose passion intially exceeds his eloquence. Whatever he turns his hand to next (surely this isn't the last we've heard of him), the lad with the bad eyes, the bad teeth, and the gnawing belly grew into a man with much to be proud of.

5-0 out of 5 stars A really good book for different reasons than Angelas Ashes
I really enjoyed the book and was disappointed when I read a New York Times book reviewer who panned it for being too cynical and bitter. The innocence, openness and hope that came out of Angelas Ashes reflected the child and youth of Frank McCourt during the time about which he was writing. In 'Tis, Frank confronts the reality of adulthood on his own, in the multi-cultural, and multi-spectral world of NYC - as an immigrant Irishman, Paddy-off-the-boat. His humanity shows. He describes with a lot of humor but not too much rancor, his envy, bitterness, anger, a tendency toward irresponsibility, and occassionally confusion about life's travails as they came his way. He also doesn't lose his ability to laugh at himself and see the humor and humanity in the situations and adventures he describes. It was about Frank's real life as an adult. It was written in the same lyrical,humorous and extremely perceptive style as Angela's Ashes and was just as much fun to read. I STRONGLY recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING STORY
Sequel of "Angela's ashes", I was not disappointed a second. The book starts exactly when Angela's...finished. It's written with talent. We hear about what happen to the dad & mum afterwards(You can also learn more on Malachy's first book...Read it).
By the way you'll learn of anything happened to Frank in USA, his return to Europe (after war as a soldier) and in Ireland.
A life that could have finished in an Irish lane fortunately made it in USA successfully.

5-0 out of 5 stars WE WANT MORE!
What a follow up. His life was so bad is was good and he tells it the way only Frank could. You practically fall in love with him and pray to God to send you back in time to meet up with him when he steps into America. It was a good ending to a good beginning.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tis is a must read for everyone
I read Angela's Ashes at the suggestion of a very good friend, Louis it was his favorite book and I have say I could see why. When a friend at work saw me reading it she told me about the sequel "Tis a Memoir", I just had to get it and I have to say that when I did, I could not put it down! It is an excellent book, Frank McCourt has such an engaging way of keep his reader hooked! Superb! I love his sense of humor, his triumphs a wonderful and give us all hope, a must read for all ages! ... Read more


10. The Passionate Mind of Maxine Greene: "I Am...Not Yet"
by William F. Pinar
list price: $45.95
our price: $45.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0750708786
Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
Publisher: Falmer Press
Sales Rank: 697947
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Book Description

Maxine Greene is arguably the most important philosopher of education in the US today, but until now she has not been the subject of sustained scholarly analysis and investigation. This study of Green's contribution is organized from several points of view: studies of her four books; studies of the intellectual and aesthetic influences upon her theory; and her influence on the various specialization within the broad field of education-the teaching of English, arts education, philosophy of education, curriculum studies, religious education, cognitive theory, and theory of teaching. ... Read more


11. To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher
by William Ayers, Gloria Ladson-Billings
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807739855
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: Teachers College Press
Sales Rank: 39463
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful Reading for All Educators
Ayers takes us on a journey unlike any other yet, with glimpses of ourselves as students and as teachers. Concepts, ideas and rememberances encapsulated in this book reveal the heart of a teacher who recognizes his own imperfections and shares his lessons learned. This book is insightful, intellectual reading that I would recommend to parents of school-aged children, prospective teachers, new teachers, veteran teachers and teacher-educators. This is a book I believe will become a teaching classic. Reading this book and Crossing Over Canaan will give readers some real-life insights of what it means to be a teachers in public schools. This is an excellent book!

5-0 out of 5 stars To Teach: the journey of a teacher
This book offers an insight to teaching, the most students and teachers will never see. His use of words for discribing a teacher are to the point and wonderful. He offers thoughts and observations on how to handle various situations. This should be required reading for students and teachers. It would be refreshing for teachers to read and regain their passion.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hatt-Echeverria's assignment
Ayers approach to teaching is holistic and densely worded. He is a true veteran of the academic trenches having taught for almost 40 years at every level from K to college. He shows the utmost respect and concern for his students. Inextricable from his profession and unshakable in his conviction about what is greatness in teaching.

5-0 out of 5 stars This
This book is one that each and every teacher should read. It is valuable not only because of the content (which is exceptional), it is also very easy to read. I would recommend this book to any teacher.

4-0 out of 5 stars To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher
The author does an excellent job of explaining "how to" methods of teaching. Explaining how to build relationships and raise standards through methods beyond testing. Any perspective or current teacher looking for ways to reach their students by bridging the gap between the role of teacher and student should read this book. ... Read more


12. I Am a Pencil : A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories
by Sam Swope
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
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Asin: 0805073345
Catlog: Book (2004-08-03)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Sales Rank: 9657
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Book Description

A teacher discovers how reading, writing, and imagining can help children grow, change, and even sometimes survive

A few years back, children's-book writer Sam Swope gave a workshop to a third-grade class in Queens. So enchanted was he with his twenty-eight students that he "adopted" the class for three years, teaching them to write stories and poems. Almost all were new Americans (his class included students fom twenty-one countries) and Swope was drawn deep into their real and imaginary lives, their problems, hopes, and fears. I Am a Pencil is the story of his years with this very special group of students. It is as funny, warm, heartbreaking, and hopeful as the children themselves.
Swope follows his colorful troop of resilient writers from grades three to five, coaxing out their stories, watching talents blossom, explode, and sometimes fizzle, holding his breath as the kids' families brave new lives in a strange big city. We meet Susie (whose mom was a Taoist priestess), Alex (who cannot seem to tell the truth), and Noelia (a wacky Dominican chatterbox). All of the children have big dreams. Some have big problems: Salvador, an Ecuadorian boy, must cope with a strict Pentecostal father; Soo Jung mystifies Swope with sudden silences-until he discovers that her mother has left the family. Preparing his students for a world of adult dangers, Swope is astonished by their courage, humanity, but most of all by their strength.
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13. Heloise & Abelard : A New Biography
by James Burge
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0060736631
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 27468
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Book Description

The heart-rending love story of Abelard and Heloise was one of the most talked about relationships in the Middle Ages, and is one of the greatest love stories of all time. Peter Abelard was arguably the greatest poet, philosopher, and religious teacher in all of twelfth-century Europe. In an age when women were rarely educated, Heloise was his most gifted young student. As master of the cathedral school at Notre Dame in Paris, Abelard was expected to be celibate; his career would be destroyed by marrying. In spite of this, Abelard and Heloise's private tutoring sessions inevitably turned to passionate romance, and their moments apart were spent writing love letters.

When Heloise became pregnant, her possessive guardian and uncle, Fulbert, angrily insisted that they marry. The ceremony was held in secret, but the rumor spread through Paris. Enemies confronted Heloise, who publicly denied the marriage in order to protect Abelard's career. Fearing for her safety, Abelard slipped Heloise out of the city and sent her to a convent. Robbed of his niece and his family's honor, Fulbert took revenge by having Abelard brutally castrated. Abelard retreated to a monastery, and the famous lovers now lived separate lives behind cloistered walls -- but their love, and their letters, continued.

For a long time, the only letters known to have survived dated from the later period of their separation. Then, astoundingly, a few years ago a young scholar identified 113 new letters between the pair. Lost for almost nine hundred years, these fresh missives provide an intriguing snapshot of the couple's clandestine passion that is erotic, poignant, and at times even funny.

James Burge is the first biographer to combine these astonishing new discoveries with the latest scholarship, resulting in a more complete biography; one that paints a fuller picture of Heloise as a woman who tested the cultural constraints of her time. Burge also addresses Abelard's theological disputes with other teachers, including Bernard of Clairvaux, which led to Abelard's eventual trial for heresy. But Heloise & Abelard is much more than a biography. It opens a window onto the enormous and exciting changes that took place in medieval Europe, even as it presents us with the richest telling yet of one of history's greatest love stories.

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14. Maria Montessori (Radcliffe Biography Series)
by Rita Kramer
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
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Asin: 0201092271
Catlog: Book (1988-09-01)
Publisher: Addison Wesley Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 394024
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thorough, but left me hanging
This book covers Maria Montessori's life very thoroughly. It covers her life well, but it would have been nice to include something of an afterword on what happened to the Montessori movement after her death, it's re-emergence in the US, a little of what Mario Montessori did with AMI, etc. Rita Kramer gave me a good understanding of how Montessori was able to rub some people the wrong way, which had an effect on the success of the movement here in the US. I don't really begrudge her trying to keep tight control over the movement, and I can see it from her point of view, after all, as Kramer points out, the movement had her name attached to it, for good and ill. If it had been presented as a neutral method, or if she had taken an academic post, and therefore didn't have to be so invested in the didactic apparatus, her ideas may have spread farther. I was also interested in what happened to the method in the US after WWI, since Kramer points out that, for example, the Rhode Island school system adopted Montessori for its public schools in something like 1910. When did they go back? Kramer did do a good job of explaining why the method caught on in some countries and not others. The real tragedy was in Vienna, which had a thriving Montessori community in the 20's and early 30's, but which was wiped out in WWII. This book gave me an appreciation for Maria Montessori I didn't have before, and reinforced my opinion that, politics aside, with the grown-ups talking and arguing about committees, names and priorities, what's important is where the rubber meets the road, that is, in the classroom. In the classroom, when you're down with the kids watching what they do, you can see the fundamental truth in Montessori's approach. ... Read more


15. Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution
by Derrick Jensen
list price: $22.50
our price: $15.75
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Asin: 1931498482
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 47835
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Remember the days of longing for the hands on the classroom clock to move faster? Most of us would say we love to learn, but we hated school. Why is that? What happens to the creativity and uniqueness of each child as they pass through our schools?

Derrick Jensen contends that the culture we live in is based on one great illusion in which schools are central to the creation and perpetuation: happiness lies outside of ourselves. By learning to submit to and please those in power we freely give our lives to a system where we will always watch the clocks and calendars. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and beautiful!
Derrick Jensen is truly brilliant. I've known it since I read the very first paragraph of "A Language Older Than Words". But, it's not just what Derrick Jensen says that makes his writing the best of our time--or any time--it is the way he says it. Reading "Walking on Water" feels like a personal journey into his classroom, a chance to learn how one teaches as well as how one learns (and writes). But more than that, Jensen's classroom is a place to realize what it really means to be human.

I'm there. I am the girl who always sits in the back--the one who has always gotten good grades but has never really felt smart or eloquent enough to speak up or answer questions, even when I am sure I know the answers. Seeing a bright red "A" has always been enough motivation for me to want to see another. So, I am at first uncomfortable when this new kind of teacher--who is, but isn't, teaching--suggests that grades will not be given or will only be given based on standards he won't solely establish. Up until this moment, I have been taught (forced really, though I've never actually realized it) to find my own value in the marks another person (more like a long series of other persons) would give me. But as this man keeps talking and encouraging me through exercises and activities that are unorthodox and unexpected, I begin to realize that he is really showing me a world way beyond this classroom or any other cultural confinement. And suddenly, I can hear the only important questions, first spoken in ink within the pages, then repeated over and over in my mind like the sound of his voice, and then, finally, whispered from every face and force around me: who am I and, more importantly, what am I going to do about it?

I no longer care to make the grade.

Jensen is a master at destroying destructive mindsets while opening and enriching the mind that was so set. He removes layers of mystification, peeling each one away with awareness and care. He teaches by showing us that we can learn our own lessons. This book does so much more than expose modern education systems as the tools (training camps) of modern civilization they really are. This book awakens and inspires the creativity that is alive in each of us that has so long been silenced or sleeping or waiting to be born.

5-0 out of 5 stars What are you waiting for?
"Walking on Water" is filled with insight, wisdom, and humor by Derrick Jensen, one of the most important (although, sadly, not well known) thinkers, visionaries, and leaders of our time. This is a fascinating book -- provocative, intriguing, informative, entertaining -- albeit a bit scattered at times. Given what I know about Jensen (I have read several of his other books and belonged to his Yahoo discussion group for a while), my guess is that "Walking on Water" is a bit scattered because it is in part an interlude, almost a palate cleanser, for Jensen as he authors his next great "Radical Environmentalist" jeremiad.

And what will THAT book be about? Here's a hint: it's Derrick's third "R" after Reading and Writing. Or how about the following quotes from "Walking on Water": "I hate industrial civilization...[it] is killing the planet" and we need to "change the whole system." In other words, "Walking on Water," while excellent in and of itself, is most likely something of a warmup for Jensen's "bringing down civilization" book -- the book that will represent the culmination of Jensen's thinking, activism, and life work to date (I can't wait!).

As a warmup, though, if indeed that's partly what it is, "Walking on Water" is important because it focuses on the critical role played by our "industrial education" system, and the damage that this system does to to our souls, our communities, and our ecosystems. In other words, training people to think and act like unthinking, mindless, interchangeable parts coming off an assembly line may be a politically effective, cost-efficient way of holding together the industrial capitalist economic system. But, treating people like this is certainly not conducive to their well-being or to the well-being of the planet, which is being rapidly destroyed by human greed and stupidity even as we sit here. This is why Derrick Jensen's "Walking on Water" is important, because it attacks this system based on Jensen's tremendous knowledge and insight, his deep personal experience with the education system (and with fighting the worst of the capitalist system), and his skill, passion, and courage as a writer, thinker, and activist.

At the risk of oversimplifying, what Jensen is (correctly) arguing and demonstrating here is that our education system is first and foremost designed to produce good worker bees for the capitalist economy, bees who will accept authority and "won't question country, God, capitalism, science, economics, History, the rule of law" or anything else, really. In other words, bees that collect honey but don't sting.

What Jensen is also arguing --and showing, through his own leadership and life example -- is that it DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. Thus, we see Jensen teaching ("Principles of Thinking and Writing") in a very different way than most of us are accustomed to, both at an actual prison and also at a metaphorical one (a state university in Eastern Washington). Some of the most interesting moments in the book are when Jensen collides with people who have obviously bought into the system to an extreme degree.

For instance, who knew that arranging chairs in a circle could set off such strife (the "Great Chalkboard War of 1995")? And who knew that encouraging students to think for themselves would lead one particular student, a fundamentalist Christian woman, to come to Jensen's office, to sit in his chair, to tell him he's "going to hell" (while taking "a lot of people with [him]"), and finally to drop down on her knees and start praying for him (as Jensen watches tensely to see if she's about to pull a gun on him). Finally, who knew that one-third of college students, at least in one classroom at one university in America -- answer in all seriousness that they have no interest whatsoever in thinking at all (this does, of course, help explain how 40+% of Americans can continue to support George W. Bush)?

In the end, "Walking on Water" is both encouraging and depressing. Encouraging because it demonstrates that it IS possible to help people break free of the mental straightjacket they have been placed in by the "industrial education" system. Depressing because it highlights that there are perilously few Derrick Jensens out there, and because those few brave souls are fighting such a huge, powerful, rotten system. As Jensen emphasizes through his words and actions, however, we must all fight for what we believe in while living our lives as if death is at our shoulder (which, of course, it is). To quote the last words of Jensen's book: "There is much work to be done. What are you waiting for? It's time to begin."

5-0 out of 5 stars Revolution for learning and life!!!
This is such an important book! Walking On Water explores the brainwashing and manipulation we call education that turns our children into a nation of passive workers and citizens. Jensen's insights on how this contributes to our culture of destruction and denial make this a wonderful companion piece to his longer books, "A Language Older Than Words," and, "The Culture of Make Believe," and a must read for anyone in the field of education.

At the same time this book is an inspirational catalyst for self discovery and creativity as Jensen brings the reader into his creative writing classrooms in colleges and prisons. These passages made me angry that no writing instructor (or any other teacher, for that matter) I'd studied with ever had the guts to ask such vital questions or challenge their students to achieve so much. An enormous "Thank you" to Derrick Jensen for sharing his questions and lessons with us! I predict this will rapidly become the new text for creative writing classes across the country.

"If you're willing to ride the wave, and let the wave ride you, if you want to write from the gut, from the soul, then reach deep into the tiger's fur and hold on tight, because we're all in for a wild ride." - Derrick Jensen, Walking on Water

2-0 out of 5 stars Not the caliber of Jensen's former books...
I eagerly looked forward to buying and reading this book. Having read Jensen's other books, I have come to appreciate his willingness to address the ills of this society. However, I was deceived by the title, which I felt would discuss revolution or solutions to the ills of this society. Here is the final line to the book, "There is much work to be done. What are you waiting for? It's time to begin". To be honest, I expected more. I could not shake the feeling that Jensen's recollection of the class discussions were half made up. If you are seeking a book that looks at how a teacher can institute a no grading policy in class while seeking to institute a non-hierarchal classroom, then this book MAY be for you. I say MAY, because being a teacher myself I have already played with these ideas and more. I liked at times how Jensen addresses the free-loader problem within the system he uses, and although he fixes this problem within his classes, he never discusses the ramifications of his solutions or the ramifications of letting a free-loader turn in more than one or two recycled papers throughout the semester. Hence, the disappointment of the book. I honestly found myself saying three-quarters of the way through the book, "What a waste" and "This feels like filler". To sum up, Jensen's previous books are wonderful because I knew what I was getting, this book I felt did not address the issue of change (revolution) and thus I was not satisfied. Be free thinkers and then what? Bring back the Renaissance era? What happened to the Hippies in the 60's? They got jobs. How do we negotiate idealism and realism? The solution must address both.

5-0 out of 5 stars Leading us back to our hearts.
I really think Derrick Jensen is one of the most important thinkers of our time. Walking On Water is another Jensen masterpiece that has reaffirmed this belief!

Jensen asks his students and readers to think the unthinkable and do what we think could've never been done. After reading Walking On Water I can only imagine how different our lives would be if as children we weren't coerced into participating in the industrial school system. I ask myself how different things would be if students were loved and accepted by their teachers like Derrick shows love and acceptance for his students. I wonder: would most of us be going to jobs we hate everyday? Would we be captives of a civilizational system that compels us to destroy the very ecological system that we depend on to keep us alive? Would the U.S. taxpayers be spending 400 billion to make war? Would we EVEN put up with this corrupt economic and political system?

"If one of the most unforgivable sins is to lead people away from themselves, we must not forgive the processes of the industrial education." Pg.216 D. Jensen. In this book Derrick has truthfully spoken to my experience in our industrial education system. I can remember sunny spring days, (I'm sure you can too) when all I wanted was to be playing outside with my friends, and having my mom and dad close by. But instead I was forced to sit in a hard seated desk in a block building with few windows. They call this a classroom. And this memory of my past experience is part of the unforgivable process of leading us away from ourselves. It's really sad to think that most of us have memories like this.

Time is short! And if you've been forced to sit at a desk wishing away your time(the most precious thing we as human beings have)waiting for that bell to ring, you will love this book. Once again Derrick has showed me things really don't have to be this way. ... Read more


16. The Guardians : Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment
by Geoffrey Kabaservice
list price: $30.00
our price: $20.40
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Asin: 0805067620
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Sales Rank: 181524
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

How liberalism and one of the most dramatic eras in American history were shaped by an influential university president and his powerful circle of friends

Yale’s Kingman Brewster was the first and only university president to appear on the covers of Time and Newsweek, and the last of the great campus leaders to become an esteemed national figure. He was also the center of the liberal establishment—a circle of influential men who fought to keep the United States true to ideals and extend the full range of American opportunities to all citizens of every class and color. Using Brewster as his focal point, Geoffrey Kabaservice shows how he and his lifelong friends—Kennedy adviser McGeorge Bundy, Attorney General and statesman Elliot Richardson, New York mayor John Lindsay, Bishop Paul Moore, and Cyrus Vance, pillar of Washington and Wall Street—helped usher this country through the turbulence of the 1960s, creating a legacy that still survives.

In a narrative that is as engaging and lively as it is meticulously researched, The Guardians judiciously and convincingly reclaims the importance of Brewster and his generation, illuminating their vital place in American history as the bridge between the old establishment and modern liberalism.
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Important Book About an Important American
Although he is almost forgotten today, Kingman Brewster who was the president of Yale from 1963-1977 was in fact an important figure in recent American history. One reason for this was the fact that he ran Yale in such a way that the university almost completely escaped the tumult that wracked other campuses during the Vietnam War. Another reason is that he revamped the admissons policy at yale so that poorly achieving students at prep academies such as Andover could not get in Yale over high achieving public school graduates.

It was in this area of expanding the elite educational experience at Yale to all Americans, not just members of the WASP elite that Brewster did his most signal public service. Brewster was truly an agent of change. This was most interesting in light of the fact that Brewster was born to a comfortable upper class family, which is precisely the sort of background one would think would spawn conservative thinking. Brewster's activism began back when he was a big man on campus as a Yale undergraduate.

Interestingly enough, Brewster was also one of the founders of the America First Committee that many Americans today regard as being a right wing outfit. Actually, as the author of this book points out, America First was originally a left-wing group and many of its most prominent members were left wing activists. After America's entry into World War II, America First dissolved and Brewster wholeheartedly took up America's cause against the Axis Powers.

It may surprise many Americans today that the Republican party used to have a strong left wing and Brewster was both a stalwart liberal and Republican. It was for this reason that Brewster was never offered a position in the Kennedy Administration.

As university president, Brewster initiated a wide body of reform on campus. Unlike most campus administrators of his time, Brewster did not resort to repression of dissent during the Vietnam War. In fact, Brewster publically sympathized with the radicals on many issues. After resigning from the presidency of Yale in 1977, he became the U.S. ambassador to Britain. After leaving the diplomatic service, he retired from public life and passed away as the 1980's were drawing to a close.

Kingman Brewster was an important American who held an important position as Yale University president. Geoffrey Kabaservice has done a public service in writing this book about a forgotten man in American history.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is an amazing book
Many of us who came of age in the 1980s and '90s forget that America used to be a much more liberal place, and that there was a time in recent history when Republicans aligned themselves with issues like civil rights, meritocracy, affirmative action, and the problems of the inner city. We forget -- or never realized -- that in the '60s and '70s there existed a significant faction within the Republican party known as "the liberal establishment." These were men who, on the one hand, undeniably represented the Establishment: "old wealth" Yalies and Harvardites who had attended the best prep schools and summered on Martha's Vineyard; advisors to presidents, board members of the biggest corporations, leaders at the helm of the nation's academic, philanthropic, and religious institutions. On the other hand, they were extremely progressive, regarded as "traitors to their class" for pushing forward policies that were considered radical at the time. THE GUARDIANS recalls an era when Republicans were not all in thrall to populism and the agenda of the religious right, when they were just as likely to be seekers of peace in foreign affairs as rabid hawks. There's a quote from Elliot Richardson in this book that's an eye-opener: "Most people don't really get the fact that the Nixon administration was to the left of the Clinton administration. Even the Eisenhower administration was to the left of the Clinton administration."
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in modern American history. ... Read more


17. Black Ice
by LORENE CARY
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
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Asin: 0679737456
Catlog: Book (1992-02-04)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 224802
Average Customer Review: 3.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1972 Lorene Cary, a bright, ambitious black teenager from Philadelphia, was transplanted into the formerly all-white, all-male environs of the elite St. Paul's School in New Hampshire, where she became a scholarship student in a "boot camp" for future American leaders.Like any good student, she was determined to succeed.But Cary was also determined to succeed without selling out.This wonderfully frank and perceptive memoir describes the perils and ambiguities of that double role, in which failing calculus and winning a student election could both be interpreted as betrayals of one's skin.Black Ice is also a universally recognizable document of a woman's adolescence; it is, as Houston Baker says, "a journey into selfhood that resonates with sober reflection, intellignet passion, and joyous love." ... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars in response to "it's one of the worst books i read this year
I too had to read this book for school. Once, in the summer going into my freshman year, and again during my junior year. On both occassions, I found that this was a delightful book. The word choices are quite appropriate, and if the words are too big for your vocabulary, then read with a dictionary. I thought that this was a poignant memoir about the early days of integration. As a reader--amazingly, as a white reader--I was very empathtic to the challenges that Ms. Cary overcame. If after all you came away with after reading this book is that it was boring and inconsequential, read it again. Reading for school may not be on the top of my list for fun things to do, but if you forget you're doing homework and yourself to enter the atmosphere of the book, then there is no way you cannot enjoy it. Black Ice is a very powerful and moving book. In recounting her own adolsence, Cary helps people in their teen years make sense of all that is happening to them. She also allows others who have left those years, to remember their own adolescence. There is much to be gained from reading this book, and nothing to lose. I guess if you are a thoughtless person, who does not want to know the history of this country, then this book is not for you. But if you have a compassionate bone in your body, you will learn and grow from this amazing book.

1-0 out of 5 stars I'm Soooooooo Confused!!!!!
Black Ice was by far one of the most difficult and boring books I've ever read. I choose this book because it was and autobiography about a young African American girl and I thought in some way I could relate. First of all, the book starts off completely slow and it stays that way throughout the whole book. It doesn't have any parts that are interesting or keep your attention. One other thing I didn't like was the fact that the words she used were dull and hard to understand. There were too many characters and she jumped back and forth between them throughout the entire story, so you never know whom she's talking about or what their purpose is in the story. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone under the age of 21 and I'd never read it again.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dull and confusing...
I recently finished reading the book Black Ice, and did not understand what the whole point of the book was. i also had to write a report on the book and you dont have any idea how many hours i spent and headaches I had trying to find some plot the story.
a definite "dont-read-unless-you-have-to" and a big disappointment.
I am a big reader, and I have found few books boring, but this book was a clear exception.

1-0 out of 5 stars Black Ice--No Dice
Black Ice is a badly written memoir. Though I am an avid reader, I found myself struggling to get through this work. Not only does it lack insight into her situation, Cary consistently practiced poor word choice in her writing, leaving the reader wondering what her intention was. I also question Cary's editors at Vintage Books--why did they allow her to leave in page after page of lackluster prose describing the minutia of her life? (i.e., pp.60-61 in which Cary describes dropping her soap) I am shocked that reviewer Arnold Rampersad and the Washington Post Book World placed Cary in the same league as Maya Angelou and Richard Wright. Having recently read Ron Suskind's Hope in the Unseen which was a fabulous nonfiction book about a young African American's struggle to fit into life at Brown University, I was disappointed that this coming-of-age offered such little insight into Cary's inner world.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good story
This is a memoir by one of the first black female students at an elite prep school in New Hampshire, in the early 70's. The biggest psychological issue that come clearest through in this book, is the author's feelings of severe insecurity about operating in this rich white academic environment. She was ambitious to outshine everybody, of whatever race at the school and she ended up a neurotic mess, full of deep dissapointment that she did not. The author makes her deep confusion clear as she struggled with guilt about wheather she was betraying her working class black background to partake in the immense luxuries provided by the school. All the while so many hardworking working class people, like those she knew growing up, were deprived of that which the rich white snobs at the school took for granted. She seems to feel longer guilty about all this; she's proud of who she is and what she's gone through. Also of interest is her apparent deep fear of her white classmates, even though she developed many friendships.

One gets the impression that the author may not, when she published this book, have completely resolved her feelings.

For the most part, this is a well-told story (except towards the end). I particularly liked the contrast between her artistocratic life at St. Paul and her life when she came back to her working class home for the summer before senior year and worked at the Dinner. There she met Booker, the pot-smoking, tough-guy head cook and reveals him to be a tragic figure. ... Read more


18. A Life With History
by John Morton Blum
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0700613382
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Sales Rank: 173607
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Book Description

The author of such classic works as The Republican Roosevelt, V Was for Victory, and Years of Discord, John Morton Blum is one of a small group of intellectuals who for more than a quarter of a century dominated the writing of American political history. Writing now of his own career, Blum provides a behind-the-scenes look at Ivy League education and political power from the 1940s to the 1980s.

Blum insightfully recounts a long and distinguished journey that began at Phillips Academy, where he first realized he could make a career of teaching and writing history. He tells how young men were socialized to the values of the Northeastern establishment in those years before World War II, and how as a non-practicing Jew he learned to over-come bigotry both at Andover and at Harvard, which then had no Jewish professors.

In 1957 Blum joined the faculty of Yale University's history department, widely regarded as the nation's best, where he became both influential and popular and where his students included one future U.S. president as well as others who aspired to the office. He reveals much about the inner workings of Ivy League education and tells of controversies over the Vietnam War and the Black Panthers, his role in Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaign, and how he searched for common ground between reactionary faculty and radical students.

More than a recounting of a singular life, Blum's story explains how political history was researched and written during the second half of the twentieth century, describing how the discipline evolved, gained ascendancy, and was challenged as historical fashions changed. It also offers revealing glimpses of such prominent academics as Kingman Brewster, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., C. Vann Woodward, and William Sloan Coffin.

Over a distinguished career, Blum witnessed considerable change in elite educational institutions, where minorities and women were grossly underrepresented when he first entered academia. In a memoir brimming with insight and laced with humor, he looks back at the academy-"not a refuge from reality but an alternative reality"-as he reflects upon his intellectual journey and his contributions to the study and writing of twentieth-century American history. ... Read more


19. Tisha : The Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaska Wilderness
by ROBERT SPECHT
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553265962
Catlog: Book (1984-07-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 32309
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Anne Hobbs is a prim and proper 19-year-old schoolteacher who yearns for adventure. She finds this and much more in a town with the unlikely name of Chicken, located deep in the Alaskan interior. It is 1927 and Chicken is a wild mining community flaming with gold fever. Anne quickly makes friends with many of the townspeople, but is soon ostracized when she not only befriends the local Indians but also falls in love with one. A heartwarming story in the tradition of Benedict Freedman's classic, Mrs. Mike, Tisha is one of those rare books that stays with the reader for years, beckoning to be read again and again. --Maudeen Wachsmith ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book to get your dander up and cheer for a courageous girl
I met Anne Hobbs Purdy in Junior High School. Her story captured my imagination and still does to this day. I have read Tisha many times and every reading captures my heart. Her courage to stand for what she believed to be right in the face of opposition, is a lesson that carries through almost 80 years later. Alaska, seen through her eyes, is a place of incredible beauty and harsh reality. Even though I wanted to crawl into the pages and do battle with some of the characters, they also earned my grudging respect. Anne's will power, strength of heart, and sheer determination to do what she knew was right, made her a formidable force. The book I own is a treasured possession, signed for my father. She writes, "Happy landings from the Land of the Midnite Sun, Yellow Gold, and Determined mosquitoes." A must read book!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Novel You Won't Ever Forget
This is a fictionalized true account of a young schoolteacher's experiences in the Alaskan frontier in 1927. This book has something for everyone: plenty of adventure, romance, and colorful personalities. My favorite thing about this book was reading how Anne (the teacher) and Fred's relationship - taboo due to prejudice - slowly blossomed from friendship into love. It is one of those books that you never forget reading. Anyone who has read "Mrs. Mike" or "Christy" would also love reading this book. This book is one of my favorite books of all time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Auntie Anne
This is a great account of how early life in Alaska truly was. My father mined with Fred Purdy from the late 30's till the war broke out and he enlisted. After he married my Mother they moved back to Chicken and my Mother became a close friend to Anne. While Fred and Anne adopted other children over the years they always had a house full of everyone else's children too, a sign of their loving and open nature. The flavor of this book reflects the bias of the "Outsiders" to the local natives that still runs uneasily under a more modern and progressive time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tisha
I've had this book for many years and I've re-read it many times and enjoy it each time. It is an amazing story of courage and love. I feel as if I'm in Alaska each time I read it. Currently, I'm reading Tisha for the 6th time.

5-0 out of 5 stars My all time favorite book
I bought a copy of this book which was copyrighted in 1976 and my book seems to be from the first printing. As all of the other reviews say, it is about a young girl who goes to Alaska to teach school. It is spellbinding. One thing that I thought was interesting is that on the flyleaf of my book it says that the author is writing a sequel, but apparently that never happened. I just re-read the book and saw that comment and that is the reason I got on the web to see if there was a sequel. I wish there had been on. ... Read more


20. Reiki - The Legacy of Dr. Usui
by Frank Arjava Petter, Christine M. Grimm
list price: $12.95
our price: $12.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 091495556X
Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
Publisher: Lotus Press
Sales Rank: 436170
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A great deal has been written and said to date about the history of Reiki andits founder.The author has come across documents that quote Mikao Usui'soriginal words.In a number of essays, he discusses topics related to Reiki and the viewpoints of an independent Reiki teacher.Questions that his studentsasked and he answered throw light upon Usui's very personal view of theteachings.Materials meant as the basis for his student's studies round off the entire work.A family tree of the Reiki successors is also included. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Opinion from a Reiki Master
I have studied Reiki and am a Reiki Master. I give this book to all of my Reiki students because it explains Reiki so simply and well. I especially like that it is informative without giving the impression that only the author's opinion of Reiki is important, and also that it sites Reiki's founder, Dr. Mikao Usui. It is clearly a tool to help one further one's understanding of Reiki.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reiki - The Legacy of Dr. Usui
Thank you Frank Arjava Petter for being daring and brave to bring the 'real' version of Dr. Usui's Reiki to the west. I had from the beginning a little difficulty to accept everything which was said about the 'grand-masters' and their likes. And in the past very little facts were given about Dr. Usui and mainly in a kind of fairy story tale. Now I can accept Reiki as I believe Reiki should be: free from major money making and available for all people who truly wish to heal themselves, others and the world. God and Reiki bless us all. B. Müller, Reiki Master, South Africa

5-0 out of 5 stars Very informative
I learned the real history and idea of Reik

5-0 out of 5 stars Here's to the emergence of the "New Man"!
Wow! I have so much enjoyed reading Arjava's (to use the name Osho gave him) sincere and blameless expose of our westernized, Christian-Reiki myth. Not only to allow fresh breezes to blow into places of misconception and illusion, but to offer as foundation for this brave undertaking, the simple, heartful truth of Dr. Usui's own words. A touching experience. In a period when each individual soul on this earth seems to be longing for a more beautiful way of being, Arjava's timely presentation of "The Legacy of Dr. Usui" is a wake-up call to all the vested interests, for whom Reiki is primarily about money, power and prestige. Here's to the emergence of the "New Man"! Nirda Jones (Reiki Master)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read the words of Dr. Usui
A MUST HAVE for ever Reiki library. As part of the continuing flow of new information about Reiki from Japan, Mr. Petter has found a short paper written by Dr Usui about Reiki and had it translated into English. Reading his words, for the first time, I really felt a connection to Dr Usui, and what he was really like. As someone who has been teaching Reiki at a national level since 1993, this is pretty amazing. ... Read more


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