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121. Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos
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122. Skylark: The Life and Times of
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123. No One Here Gets Out Alive
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139. Leaving a Doll's House : A Memoir
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121. Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos andLetters : The Definitive Biography of the First American Billionaire
by Richard Hack
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1893224643
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: New Millennium Press
Sales Rank: 12766
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars. Fascinating
If you're looking for a good biography on Howard R Hughes, look no further, because this is the one you'll want. Richard Hack writes in an open and laid-back manner making it all easy to enjoy and absorb. The subject manner certainly makes for entertaining reading itself. This most noted of eccentrics will captivate you as well as disgust you. Hack takes you inside the Hughes empire and paints a very good picture of the how and why of his world. If not for Hughes inheritance from his father-owner of the Hughes Tool Co-you most likely will never have heard of Howard Hughes. Basically Howard himself had no business acumen. His life does read somewhat like a fairy tale in that most of the things he wished for he got. From movie starlets to hotels and casinos. Money can truly buy most things. Unfortunately he wasn't psychologically stable for the last half of his life and this caused him and those around him much misery. Form whatever opinion you like about Hughes, but after reading this biography, the opinion you form will be a strong one. It was a well-written biography that lagged just a little on the editing.

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars This would make a terrific movie
There has been a lot of writing about Howard Hughes. A lot of it was based on incomplete or just flat out false information, going back even to when he was living with the Clifford Irving hoax. If we are to believe the author of this book had access to thousands of never before available documents, and he's telling what he found factually, this would be the definitive Hughes biography to date. That he makes it a fat, juicy biography makes it great reading.

So I would nominate George Clooney to take this role to the big screen. There are remarkable similarities in their looks, and the public would just eat up this tale. Here we have a man who was lucky enough to inherit a big fortune early in life. But he didn't just sit on his money. He re-invested a lot of it into other industries, such as movies and airplanes. His resources greatly advanced the art of aviation in it's time, and his movie marketing greatly enhanced Jane Russell's breasts in their time. He was a hands-on, get involved manager who flew test planes himself, setting many speed records.

This dashing lifestyle also made him the darling of Hollywood. His string of glamorous conquests was a who's who of movie actresses, from budding starlets to major icons. He literally had the world in his hand for awhile.

Alas, something happens to people when they gain so much power that there are very few people or institutions that can tell them "No". We've seen this in the last 100 years with characters such as Hitler, J. Edgar Hoover, Elvis, and Michael Jackson. They get a few successes, and think they are infallable. This leads to bad decisions in life that either deteriorate them, or leave a mess for those that surround them. They also withdraw, always mentally, sometimes physically, from the world around them, as if they were surrounding the wagons to protect them from that world.

This also happened to Howard Hughes. We see early signs of where he's going when he was merely a ruthless young business man. The first thing he did upon inheriting part of a company was to immediately buy out all the other inheritors to give him total control. Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas mean nothing to him, and he calls upon his associates to work on these days to get more done. Marriage had it's uses, but none of them ever involved love.

So we get to see one side, which is this dashing young millionaire who becomes America's first billionaire. We see him as he lands at crowded airports after setting yet another air speed record. We see him with every hot babe on the silver screen, and a lot more hoping to get there. America even liked him thumbing his nose at the government when he felt they were digging into his private life too much. This would all have to be portrayed.

But we would need a director like Martin Scorsese to turn this into a "Raging Bull" type of hell. Yes, he had the women, but the feedback from them seemed to indicate a very selfish lover who often couldn't produce where it counts. Yes, he directed several films, but was such a control freak that the products went way over budget. And the volumes of instructions he wrote to his staff on how to guard against germs, real or imaginary, show a very disturbed mind.

And the movie would have to show how this increasingly lonely man deteriorated in his last ten-fifteen years of life. While it is true, as suspected, that his paid caretakers took advantage of his situation, and in fact sped up his demise, it is also surprising how much of his faculties remained in his later years. While he was well on his way to looking like the Walking Death he eventually became, he still had the ability to conduct a two-hour press conference to convince the world that the Irving biography was a hoax.

But the ultimate ending would have to show that all the money in the world cannot buy happiness. For the last several years of his life, he was surrounded only by people who were paid to be there. His hair, beard, and nails grew to extreme lengths. While obsessed with germs, he ended up living in putrid squallor, with jars of his own wastes stored everywhere. His body was stoked up with enough drugs to kill an average person, and he even had the remnants of five broken needs inside his arms.

This could be Oscar time for both Clooney and Scorsese if Hollywood lets them do it right.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine biography
A very good biography of a fascinating individual. Aside from some really lame analogies (especially in the first half of the book), the author's writing is crisp and his grasp of his subject is impressive. Overall, I enjoyed reading this biography and highly recommend it to other.

5-0 out of 5 stars Do not miss this one.
Could anybody be more eccentric? Very well written
biography. I just couldn't believe it. Wow.

5-0 out of 5 stars This guy is unbelievable!
Howard Hughes was born in 1905; he died in 1977. His mother had died in 1922 , his father in 1924 - thus, Hughes became independent at age 17 - with a guardian (Aunt Annette) and his inheritance (Hughes Tool Company) - valued at $626,000. He ignored his Aunt's advice to attend Rice Institute. He'd already identified his three main goals in life: to become the world's greatest golfer, the world's greatest pilot, and the world's greatest movie-maker. He entrusted the management of Hughes Tool Company (eventually acclaimed for having revolutionized the oil producing industry) to the same people his father had hired; thus, he enjoyed security and independence, a comfortable income, plus time and money to pursue his goals.
At 19 Hughes decides that a serious, young entrepreneur like himself needs a wife; he chooses Ella Rice, a pretty, socially prominent young lady in Houston. Though already in love with another 'promising' young man, Ella was persuaded by her mother and Aunt Annette that Howard - handsome and already rich - was a better 'catch'. After a 3-month honeymoon in New York City the newlyweds headed for California - where Hughes could launch his movie-making career. Soon Hughes was so involved in his golf (he eventually lowered his handicap to a respectable 2-plus) and movie making, that he had little time or energy left for Ella, who left him after 6 months.
In Hollywood Hughes hires an 'executive assistant'. Together they produce in 1926 one flop and one 'so-so' movie, then in 1927 they produce and Hughes directs "Two Arabian Nights" (with actors William Boyd and Boris Karloff ) - a film that wins for Hughes an Oscar for 'Best Director of a Comedy'. In 1928 Hughes begins "Hell's Angels" - a movie that includes 'dogfights' in Sopwith Camels and German Fokkers (78 of them!). Though the movie must eventually be totally re-made (converted from silent to 'talkie' version) , Hughes in the process discovers actress Jean Harlow and the movie establishes box-office records everywhere. The film's premier at Grauman's Chinese Theater was the 'best night of his life' - according to Hughes. Hughes goes on to make many other famous and profitable films (Scarface, the Outlaw), discover other starlets (Jane Russell), and in 1948 he buys a major movie studio - RKO - which establishes him as a major film maker.
Meanwhile, Ella has divorced him , thus freeing Howard to 'play the field'. He's still only 23 - but now richer, more famous and even more handsome than ever - ergo, a very eligible bachelor. Plus, he now has his own little air force, a movie studio and a 170-foot yacht. He thus has little trouble meeting and squiring the world's most beautiful women -like Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, Ava Gardner, Ida Lupino, Olivia de Havilland, Katherine Hepburn, Terry Moore, Yvonne DeCarlo, Kathryn Grayson, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, Linda Darnell, Billie Dove, and Faith Domerigue - to name a few. Not infrequently he'd be engaged to two, even 3, women at the same time. His love life was in a word - hectic. In 1957 an aging Hughes finally remarries - to actress Jean Peters, a former beauty-contest winner from Canton, Ohio.
In 1927, prompted by the exploits of Charles Lindbergh, and Amilia Earhart, Hughes turns again to his third yet unachieved goal - to become the world's best pilot. He seeks out J.B. Alexander - an experienced pilot-instructor, who is also a 'barnstormer' and stunt flyer. Alexander reports that Hughes was a natural flyer. Soon Hughes was flying his own planes and conjuring up new goals related to flying. In the early '30's, when the depression was hurting Hughes Tool Company profits and Hughes' movie-making pursuits , Hughes takes a 11 month 'sabbatical'. He works temporarily (incognito) as an airport baggage handler, then , elsewhere, as a stunt pilot - for $250.00 per month. Later, Hughes employs a pilot-mechanic and tasks him with 'souping up' Hughes' recently purchased 8-passenger Sikorski S-43. Together they would make flights around the country with Hughes' movie-star girlfriends - and sometimes with 'best friend' Cary Grant and Randolph Scott - two famous actors who later were reportedly bi-sexual - which fueled the rumor mill that Hughes, too, was probably bi-sexual.
In 1934 Hughes and his team set about designing and testing a plane (the H-1) that Hughes wanted to use to set flight records that would establish him as a great pilot. A year later, after Hughes had personally flight-tested the plane, he started flying it to establish new records - speed records, long distance records, altitude records, and, in 1938, a new record for an around-the-world flight. These achievements won for Hughes other awards and recognition for flying : a congressional medal, the Harmon Trophy, and the Collier Trophy. He was also honored with a ticker-tape parade down Broadway in New York City. Hughes, now convinced that air travel had a future, eventually acquired an airline (TWA) that promised fast, comfortable air travel for the general public.
During World War II Hughes' enterprises expanded to meet war demands. Hughes' empire eventually became one of the government's biggest suppliers of aircraft, helicopters, aircraft parts, weapons, missiles and munitions. In 1966 Hughes was declared a billionaire and the richest man in the world. His latest interests now included Las Vegas, where by 1971 he controlled 17% of the city's gambling revenues and employed some 8,000 people. By now Hughes has 'done it all' and he's become a recluse.
Howard Hughes was a giant of his times. He was shrewd, but also lucky: the fields of endeavor that he chose to enter were all just 'taking off': real estate investments in California and Las Vegas, gambling in Nevada, air travel, golf, the movie industry, and the oil industry (which boomed when the auto industry exploded.). Hughes also profited immensely because he was well positioned when World War II began. Hughes' life reads like a fairy tale. Just unbelievable! Believe me! ... Read more

122. Skylark: The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer
by Philip Furia
list price: $27.95
our price: $19.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312287208
Catlog: Book (2003-08-15)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 10945
Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Skylark is the story of the tormented but glorious life and career of Johnny Mercer, and the first biography of this enormously popular and influential lyricist.Raised in Savannah, Mercer brought a quintessentially southern style to both his life in New York and to his lyrics, which often evoked the landscapes and mood of his youth ("Moon River", "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening").Mercer also absorbed the music of southern blacks--the lullabies his nurse sang to him as a baby and the spirituals that poured out of Savannah's churches-and that cool smooth lyrical style informed some of his greatest songs, such as "That Old Black Magic".

Part of a golden guild whose members included Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, Mercer took Hollywood by storm in the midst of the Great Depression.Putting words to some of the most famous tunes of the time, he wrote one hit after another, from "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" to "Jeepers Creepers" and "Hooray for Hollywood."But it was also in Hollywood that Mercer's dark underside emerged.Sober, he was a kind, generous and at times even noble southern gentleman; when he drank, Mercer tore into friends and strangers alike with vicious abuse.Mercer's wife Ginger, whom he'd bested Bing Crosby to win, suffered the cruelest attacks; Mercer would even improvise cutting lyrics about her at parties.

During World War II, Mercer served as Americas's troubadour, turning out such uplifting songs as "My Shining Hour" and "Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive."He also helped create Capitol Records, the first major West Coast recording company, where he discovered many talented singers, including Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole.During this period, he also began an intense affair with Judy Garland, which rekindled time and again for the rest of their lives.Although they never found happiness together, Garland became Mercer's muse and inspired some of his most sensuous and heartbreaking lyrics: "Blues in the Night," "One for My Baby," and "Come Rain or Come Shine."

Mercer amassed a catalog of over a thousand songs and during some years had a song in the Top Ten every week of the year--the songwriting equivalent of Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak--but was plagued by a sense of failure and bitterness over the big Broadway hit that seemed forever out of reach.

Based on scores of interviews with friends, family and colleagues, and drawing extensively on Johnny Mercer's letters, papers and his unpublished autobiography, Skylark is an important book about one of the great and dramatic characters in 20th century popular music.
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Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Informative, but unfocused
I bought this book on the basis of having read Philip Furia's excellent IRA GERSHWIN - THE ART OF THE LYRICIST. In fact, I probably wouldn't have taken Johnny Mercer very seriously if Philip Furia hadn't deemed him worthy of biography. I found this book very informative and insightful, but unfocused. The book is at its best when Furia analyzes Mercer's lyrics. Mr. Furia is a diligent student of the lyricist's craft and has the ability to express his criticism in a clear and logical way. He nailed Mercer's lyrics as "untheatrical," which I think is why I never really took to them. It explains Mercer's lack of having a hit song come from one of his Broadway scores. When Furia writes of Mercer's professional life, the book is interesting and insightful. The story of his personal life is only intermittently interesting and the amateur psychoanalysis is laughable. I found it odd that considering how effeminate Mercer was and how his life fits the homosexual case history in many ways (close to the mother, went into showbiz, married the first woman he had sex with) that there is no mention of his having been at least bi-sexual. Instead the book seems to go out of its way to butch him up. Where the book really jumps the track is when it touches upon the long-running, on-again-off-again love affair between Mercer and Judy Garland (who, Furia doesn't mention, often had affairs with homosexuals and, as Furia does mention, whose father and first husband were gay). At this point Furia jumps into HOLLYWOOD BABYLON territory and goes into a rather detailed and sleazy depiction of Judy Garland's sex life. It's enough to know that Mercer and Garland had an affair. I don't want to speculate on what they did in bed.

The backstage stories of the Broadway, Hollywood and British work are so good that I wish there were more of them and that they were more detailed. I also found the story of the creation of Capitol Records a fascinating one. Very interesting too were the descriptions of Mercer's work habits and his working relationships with his collaborators. SKYLARK is a Jeckyll-and-Hyde kind of book. The professional part of the story is excellent. The personal story is murky and questionable. Furia obviously dislikes Mrs. Mercer and depicts her as a gold-digging, spendthrift manipulator. There are too many unasked questions, for example, Why did Johnny Mercer put up with her if she was so awful? He must have been getting something out of the deal, despite the fact that they had separate bedrooms and adopted their children. Furia draws too many conclusions based on nebulous evidence. I don't know what audience this book is aimed at. Those interested in the craft of the song and the musical may be turned off by the sleazy elements. Those interested in the sleaze might be bored by the song analyses.

4-0 out of 5 stars Too marvelous for words
At last! A real biography of arguably the best lyricist in popular music. Sadly for me it is a"warts and all" book. I admire him so much that I felt hurt to see how human he was. After some time passed, I realized those "warts" were probably responsible for the quality of his later masterpieces. I am now listening " I Remember You " and "One for My Baby" and "This Time the Dream's on Me" with much more insight. Thanks Mr. Furia.

3-0 out of 5 stars Overdue recognition for a genius of song
A true example of why they don't write 'em like they used to, Johnny Mercer has written some of the catchiest, longest remembered and honored songs of the 20th century, many of which the average listener has little clue as to who put the words to the tunes that remain timeless in their appeal. As a collaborator with some of the finest tunesmiths ever (Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael to name two) Mercer could dance with words as effortlessly and as beautifully as a prima ballerina while maintaining a roots, folksy manner both charming and disarming in its playfulness.

Philip Furia's biography is well recearched and referenced, using the recollections of friends, family, and cohorts, and finds a treasure trove in Mercer's own unreleased autobiography. Mercer's bouts with feelings of unworthiness as a composer were unexplained periods of doubt in a career that spanned the thirties through the sixties. While not the financial or acclaimed success of friend and rival Bing Crosby, Mercer became a standard for composition that has yet to be matched even by modern contemporaries like McCartney (who, the book indicates, explored a partnership in Mercer's latter years).

This book explores as best it can the song writing magic of Mercer, although the explanations of his seemingly effortless method of composition appears (as the author indicates) a tad glib and self-effacing. Were they available, additional tales of his creative inspirations would have been appreciated; any man who comes up with a couplet like "If for the stork you pine, consider the porcupine" deserves to be studied if only for the glee apparent in coming up with such delicious bits of rhyme and rhythm, certainly at a level equal or surpassing today's best.

Mercer's life was also painted in broad strokes of unhappiness, and the contrast between the joyous singer of "Zip-a dee-doo-dah" with the alcoholic and unsatisfied husband provides a remarkable set of circumstances.

This book was an enjoyable read in exploring the life and career of Johnny Mercer. Like the subject of these pages, I think I could have easily been fascinated with the book had it been twice as long, as this southern gentleman's tales and stories, against the background of his life and times, would have been captivating reading for any fan of the genre of the popular song and of show business personalities (and Johnny certainly had personality to spare). I would recommend this book along with an accompanying copy of "Capitol Collector Series - Johnny Mercer" or any good compilation of his songs. Be they his renditions or the more popular cover versions, Johnny Mercer is timeless, priceless, and almost "Too Marvelous for Words". Thank you Philip Furia. ... Read more

123. No One Here Gets Out Alive
by Danny Sugerman, Jerry Hopkins
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446602280
Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 12738
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (90)

3-0 out of 5 stars Mythologizing Backfires
I liked the Doors a little less after reading this book.

This book inadvertantly reveals how merely lucky Jim Morisson was. He was certainly a charismatic singer and performer, blessed with good looks. But a great poet? At UCLA, he discovered Kurt Weill and other college-boys' idols, was smart enough to put it all together into rock n roll songs.

After reading this biography, and paying more attention to Morisson's lyrics, it seems that the Doors' success may be due just as much to Ray Manzarek's original organ sounds as to Morisson's poetry. A decent lyricist who had Ray to work out the music, Morisson perhaps relied more on his considerable bad-boy sex appeal than on any poetic genius. At times, author gives Morrison so much praise, it is embarrassing.

There is plenty of detail about Morisson's boyhood, and by ignoring the author's superlatives (which is fairly easy), reader learns about the life of a selfish man who happened to be a dynamic performer.

Probably a "must" for Doors fans, or anyone very interested in the LA music scene of the sixties.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Well-Assembled.
"No One Here Gets Out Alive" is always signaled as the definitive biography of Jim Morrison. I see it more as a good read, a very good read. There have been some plausible accusations of serious myth-making taking place in the writing of this book (Ray Manzarek is said to have crossed out "the bad stuff"). James Riordan's "Break On Through" is a better, more-detailed and captivating book in my opinion. But "No One Here Gets Out Alive" plays like what it has been accused of being, a great myth. It is kind of appropriate, considering Morrison is essentially a myth onto himself. His image has not died and the music is still alive and well among the youth (I'm not complaining, hot chicks love "Light My Fire" whenever I put it on). The book is a must for Doors fans, it is a document of the life and times of Morrison, of the era in which he flourished and it celebrates the power and poetry of his songs. It is a neat visual experience in the descriptions of Jim's stage performances and in his primal acts we see a blue-print for the madness we so regularly see in today's rock acts. Reading the book is like reading some kind of modern legend. It is also packed with some great photos of Jim and the band (some album covers are included). The story of The Doors has always been a big epic drenched in excess, insane genius, artistic tenderness and even tragic romance. You can see where all the great songs come from. Jim Morrison was a brilliant artist, his songs are timeless and he was also a fantastic poet capable of creating very captivating images in wonderful songs like "The Crystal Ship" and "End Of The Night," he took us on dark, hypnotic journeys in "The End" and "When The Music's Over" and simply recorded some great music. "No One Here Gets Out Alive" celebrates more the image than the man, and yet is also a fascinating examination of the life. I will never tire of reading Jim's lyrics and hearing The Doors' best songs, "No One Here Gets Out Alive" is a book for fans who feel the same.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's so awesome
I have a little story to tell.

One day I was walking down the street when I heard a mysterious noise. From under the cracked pavement beneath my feet came a sound not unlike the scraping of steel on steel. Placing a copies of The Doors' first album between my legs, I crawled into the sewer to investigate.

What I found startled me and stunned me.

Al Franken and Barry Bonds were below the street in a room lit by candles. There, they were engaging in an arm wrestling match. Bonds, who takes steroids and routinely snubs his fans, was winning the match. The power of his conservative beliefs helped him to overcome Franken's liberal arm wrestling tactics.

But that is when my experience got strange.

The Doors were playing. The End. My only friend, the end. Suddenly Val Kilmer appeared. With him was George Will, who was wearing a bow tie. They had a tag team match against Bonds and Franken.

I know, I couldn't believe it myself.


5-0 out of 5 stars "ARE YOU LOOKING FOR ME?"
I have to tell a story. I have a friend who won an Oscar for editing "Apollo 13". A few years ago, he drove his girlfriend to the bank in downtown Beverly Hills. Parking being what it is in the B.H., my man waited in the car while his girlfriend went in to do her banking. My pal, being a big-time Doors fan, popped in a tape, which played "The End", loud. It was hot and the window was down. Jim Morrison was wailing about how he "took a face from the ancient gallery and...walked on down the haaaaalll, yeah..."

Suddenly, Danny Sugarman, one-time Doors assistant, now married to Iran-Contra ingenue Fawn Hall, and the author of "No One Here Gets Out Alive", appeared at the window, surprising my friend.

"Are you looking for me?" he asked my friend.

It seems that Sugarman had an appointment in the area but could not find the address. Hearing The Doors playing loudly, he figured it was a siren song, like the wailing of the mermaids drawing Ulysses to the rocks, meant to say to him, "Hey man, I'm over here."

Somehow this is a story that resonates in the memory of Jim Morrison, who is as much legend and hype as a great rock star and poet. Morrison may have been the sharpest rock singer ever. The son of a Navy admiral who was in charge at the Gulf of Tonkin, while growing up he would invite friends into his room and close his eyes.

"Pick a book," he would tell friends, gesturing to his shelves, which were stocked with thousands of titles.

"Go to any page," he would say. "Read any line."

His friends would do that, and Jim could always tell them the name of the book and the author. That is a genius.

Sugarman's work captures the genius and charisma of Morrison. It is, along with his other book, "Wonderland Avenue", just possibly the best rock book ever.

Steven Travers
Author of "Barry Bonds: Baseball's Superman"

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Biography of Jim Morrison
I have not read any other bios on Jim although I know there are quite a few books on his life however, I believe this is probably the most accurate so far. I read this book a long time ago and I remember being mesmerized from the first to page to the last. Danny Sugerman (who worked for The Doors for a long time) was not an only an associate but a close friend to Jim and he was able to achieve what very few people ever could: Get to know who the real Jim Morrison was. This book not only talks about his life and career but also talks in great length of the human side of Morrison as well. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE, is an almost day to day account of Jim's life from his birth to his untimely and very mysterious death in Paris in 1971. It also talks in great detail about his poetry and the things that interest him the most like films, psychology, philosophy, sex and death. This is a great read and is never dull or boring. The only downside to this book is that the print is too small. It would a good idea if they can publish the same book with a larger print. The book also includes several pages of photographs of Jim and the band and with the woman that he called his "muse" Pamela Courson who was Jim's girlfriend from the time that that the band was being formed right up till the end of his life. Again, I would like to say that this is a great book for anyone who has ever been interested in knowing about Jim Morrison, who he was and what he became and what most of all wanted to become. I highly recommended is a very good book about a man an artist who died way too young who lived life so on the edge that found life itself impossible to bare. ... Read more

124. Riders on the Storm : My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385304471
Catlog: Book (1991-09-01)
Publisher: Delta
Sales Rank: 47973
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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Reviews (54)

3-0 out of 5 stars Very candid, yet occasionally whiny
John Densmore, the drummer for the Doors, expresses practically everything in his book Riders on the Storm. He brings up his Catholic-based childhood, forming the Doors, dealing w/ rock stardom and Jim's Hedonistic behavior, the groups dissolution, failed marriages, Jim's death, family problems, and moving toward the future. It is evident that John had a lot of feelings towards Jim, like love, hate, anger, sympathy and sadness, and the part where he's at his grave in Paris is very poignant. He also recalls many of the events that shaped the Doors' brief but influential career as a rock band probably more accurately than anyone else who wrote a bio on the band or Jim Morrison. Yet, despite all of this, he does sound like he's complaining about life occasionally, and it is obvious that he had jealousy issues towards Jim, understandibly since he was such a sex icon, and his actions almost threatened to eat the group from inside out. Otherwise, this was a pretty good book, and should be considered for doing research on the band's, because who would know better about it than the guys in the band?

5-0 out of 5 stars An honest account of Densmore's feelings
John Densmore offers to the world what only an insider can: a glimpse into the inner workings of one of the most influential musical groups of this century. This book displays Densmore's inner turmoil as he lives a public life during a period of social and political unrest.

He writes clearly and honestly about his feelings, especially his feelings toward Jim Morrison. Readers are exposed to Densmore's internal battle between what appears to be love and hate for the singer. This book is not a sugar-coated tribute to Morrison, but a means for Densmore to let the fans better understand the ups and downs of the Doors as a whole.

From his beginnings learing music, to the band's formation and through the band's rise and fall, Densmore explains, as only a member could, the causes and effects of every movement of the band.

I am only twenty-two years old; I missed The Doors completely. But I am able to appreciate the music better now that I have been exposed to Densmore's work. It's hard for me to remember that most of the band was my age when they rose to stardom. Thank you John, you're a fabulous drummer and an excellent writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars 10 out of 5 stars!!
I chose to do my book report on the book called , The Riders On The Storm , by John Densmore. This book mainly talks about the life of John Densmore as the drummer of the 60's rock group, The Doors. It starts off by John going to Paris to see Jim Morison's grave. Then it goes back in time when The Doors we actually becoming a famous band. The books talks about how they went through numerous problems and how they overcame it. John shows the reader what lied inside their world of the doors, what we couldn't see.

What I like in this book is all the humor and all the entertaining/ interesting stories that were told in the book. My favorite part of the book would have to be about the draft. All the silly thing they did to try and avoid going to the army, saying that they were gay, eating foil, taking drugs, I found that hilarious. When I read the book a felt a connection between the reader (Me) and the writer (John) when he would talk about his feelings toward the song, kind of like he read my mind , I liked that too.

What I didn't like about the book was that John would start to go into detail he would go off-topic some what and then later he would get back on track, it was very confusing I tend to lose my place. Also when he starts to tell a story about his girlfriend for like a page and 30 pages later he would mention her, kind of bad timing. Sometimes he would say one thing then say the opposite. Overall I really like the book a lot and I would recommend it to any one who is a Doors' fan. I had lot of fun reading this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Read about life in the Doors.
Densmore offers a down to earth view of life behind the scenes with The Doors. He very poignantly expresses the duality at work within the band. Offering harsh critisim of Morrison's outrageous behavior while at the same time expressing his deep love of the music, the band and even Morrison himself. Both honest and enlightening this book is a must read for anyone wishing to develop a better understanding of The Doors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Riding the storm out
I enjoyed this book immensely. Densmore has a personable, clear, consise style of writing and expresses himself very well. I felt I was there as he described events that happened 30 years ago. I laughed out loud at certain anecdotes in the book, especially when he describes avoiding the draft. For being the "uptight" one in the Doors, Densmore does have a sense of humour that comes through in his writing. He neither trashes Jim, nor does he gloss over Jim. He just tells it like it was. I never sensed any jealousy, just frustration, intimidation, fear, anger, but also admiration and brotherly love. Complex feelings. Clearly that's what Densmore is trying to get through, he wants to explain himself and isn't trying to hide or gloss over. There are many great anecdotes in this book, some funny, some sad, some plain scary! I could understand why Densmore felt the way he did at any given time, he explains it so well. The Doors were 4 very different personalities, obviously. I don't see any of them as being "the bad guy", but they obviously bumped heads due to personality clashes. That's life! Densmore was a teenager when he joined the Doors, so he pretty much grew up with them as well. That's another thing I found so interesting, Densmore sharing his growing-up with the reader, the things he learned along the way. He often addresses Jim directly in the book, telling Jim he learned integrity from him. I couldn't put this book down, very addictive reading. ... Read more

125. Charlotte : Being a True Account of an Actress's Flamboyant Adventures in Eighteenth-Century London's Wild and Wicked Theatrical World
by Kathryn Shevelow
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805073140
Catlog: Book (2005-04-04)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Sales Rank: 71383
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The life of actress Charlotte Charke transports us through the splendors and scandals of eighteenth-century London and its wicked theatrical world

Her father, Colley Cibber, was one of the eighteenth century's great actor/playwrights-the toast of the British aristocracy, a favorite of the king. When his high-spirited, often rebellious daughter, Charlotte, revealed a fondness for things theatrical, it was thought that the young actress would follow in his footsteps at the legendary Drury Lane, creating a brilliant career on the London stage. But this was not to be. And it was not that Charlotte lacked talent-she was gifted, particularly at comedy. Troublesome, however, was her habit of dressing in men's clothes-a preference first revealed onstage but adopted elsewhere after her disastrous marriage to an actor, who became the last man she ever loved.

Kathryn Shevelow, an expert on the sophisticated world of eighteenth-century London (the setting for classics such as Tom Jones and Moll Flanders), re-creates Charlotte's downfall from the heights of London's theatrical world to its lascivious lows (the domain of fire-eaters, puppeteers, wastrels, gender-bending cross-dressers, wenches, and scandalous sorts of every variety) and her comeback as the author of one of the first autobiographies ever written by a woman. Beyond the appealingly unorthodox Charlotte, Shevelow masterfully recalls for us a historical era of extraordinary stylishness, artifice, character, interest, and intrigue.
... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Romp Through Georgian London
This book is of interest to anyone who cares about 18th century England but it also could work well for someone looking for an introduction to those extraordinary days.The struggle to survive has never been more acutely portrayed than in this remarkable and yet true story of a daughter spurned by a famous but cold hearted father.You will laugh and cry with and about Charlotte but you cannot come away from this book without a deep appreciation for just how easy our lives are today. ... Read more

126. Piano Girl: Lessons in Life, Music, and the Perfect Blue Hawaiian
by Robin Meloy Goldsby
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 0879308249
Catlog: Book (2005-04-10)
Publisher: Backbeat Books
Sales Rank: 247743
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Piano Girl is the story of a young woman's accidental career as a cocktail lounge piano player, and the adventures and encounters that follow. Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, this entertaining memoir provides a glimpse into the comedies, tragedies, and mundane miracles witnessed from the business perspective of a lounge musician. Robin Goldsby, a pianist in lounges around the world, tells her musical story by connecting the people she has met with places she has played and pianos she has known. Her story provides insights into the art and craft of piano playing, as well as encouraging lessons in life as she finds her own way to pursue her dreams on an unlikely path. Along the way she finds the human side, for better and for worse, in her audiences. In Piano Girl, anything can happen as people wander through her real-time soundtrack to life. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An enthralling and honest personal story
Piano Girl: Lessons In Life, Music And The Perfect Blue Hawaiian is Robin Meloy Goldsby's entertainting and occasionally mesmerizing memoir, tracing her "accidental" career as a cocktail lounge piano player. Her calling took her across the globe, from exclusive island resorts to third-world countries, and her story offers both musical insights into the art of piano playing and the life lessons she encountered on her unlikely path. Piano Girl also recounts the varied character of her audience, from the rich and famous to the down and out and everyone in between. Individual vignettes perfectly capture timeless moments in this enthralling and honest personal story.

5-0 out of 5 stars From Solo Piano Publications
"Piano Girl" is a seamlessly crafted, incredibly entertaining memoir that tells the story of one woman's journey from The Club Car in Nantucket to the castles of Europe with stops just about everywhere in between, all the while seated at a piano and playing music to enhance the experience for whoever is there to listen (or not listen!). Goldsby has a wonderfully conversational writing style, and her tales are often laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes poignant, and always abundantly human. Along with her recollections ofadventures, big and small, are portraits of many of the characters she has met along the way, providing a rich and very satisfying read whether or not you play the piano. ... Read more

127. The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou (Modern Library)
list price: $29.95
our price: $18.87
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Asin: 0679643257
Catlog: Book (2004-09-21)
Publisher: Modern Library
Sales Rank: 7886
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128. Grace Kelly: A Life in Pictures
by Jenny Curtis
list price: $9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1567996469
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: MetroBooks (NY)
Sales Rank: 402572
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The loveliest Grace book
This is simply the best Grace book I've ever seen. Wonderful and the most complete. Very highly recommended to all!

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book about a great lady
Lovely pictures and interesting text make this book well worth buying. It showcases Grace's life from early childhood to her untimely death.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Thoughty Picture Book
Jenny Curtis' "Grace Kelly: A Life in Pictures" is a must for Grace fans. Lovely reproductions of some of Kelly's most enchanting photos fill the book. It is a pleasant addition to any collection, and it is exactly what it is entitled, a life in pictures...nothing more and yet, nothing less.

5-0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous collection of memories.
I have admired Grace Kelly all my life and this is by far the most beautiful book about her. The pictures are all stunning, and truly depict what a glamourous and classy woman she was. There is not a great deal of information - or pictures - of Grace, and this compilation is simply wonderful to look at. Definately recommended for any fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good picture book of her life
I thought this was a wonderful detailed account of a beautiful actress' life for a Grace Kelly fan. This book was well put together and I love to just flip through it over and over because I get something new out of it everytime. ... Read more

129. Queer as Folk : The Book (Queer as Folk)
by Paul Ruditis
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743476360
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 23569
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Everything you want to know about the record-breaking SHOWTIME series hailed as "fiercely realistic" by The New York Times. USA Today raves, "There's never been anything else like it on TV."

Irreverent, hilarious, and brave, Queer as Folk chronicles the lives and loves of a group of Pittsburgh's most fabulous gay men and women. Packed with hundreds of full-color photographs, this Queer book features episode guides that go behind the scenes and in-depth interviews with the actors, producers, and crew who bring the show to life. With synopses, trivia, quotable quotes, and never-before-seen photos, it's the ultimate companion to one of Showtime Network's highest rated shows!

Look inside for special features like "The Anatomy of a Sex Scene," a riveting glimpse into the sensitive work involved in taking a love scene from page to screen. Visit the sets of Babylon, Deb & Vic's house, Brian's loft, and more. And don't miss out on Deb's words of wisdom, a collection of wise and memorable gems ("You smother a pork chop, not a son") from one of Queer as Folk's most beloved characters. It's all here.

As spirited and edgy as the show it honors, Queer as Folk: The Book is the only official companion book there is! ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A perfect compliment to the show
This guide is an interesting insight to the show and an excellent help if you like to review episodes. The behind the scenes peeks and actor information gives a new perspective to the show and characters. However if you haven't watched the third season don't read to in depth as there is spoilers contained in certain character profiles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great insights!
I have to say the best part of this book are the casts insights into their characters! After all, no one really knows the characters as well as the people who bring them to life.

The pictures are all wonderful, though I would have liked more of my favorite couple, Brian and Michael! They are the heart of the show for me.

The accompanying DVD in the hard cover book is excellant though way to short!

Ann Marie

5-0 out of 5 stars The DVD: a bonus feature
The book is great, as it's great the serie. The pics are also awesome, would have loved more of my fave QAF couple: Brian and Justin.. Not everyone knows that, at least the hardcover edition of the book (which is the one I own, I don't know about the softback..) comes with a DVD, with exclusive behind the scenes material, which makes a cute addition to this already not-to miss-item for a true QAF fan! RECOMMENDED!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent QAF Title - Great Pictures - Bonus DVD
This is a great Queer As Folk "coffee table" book.

In addition to some great photographs of the entire cast (not just our favorite main characters, but everyone including Jennifer and Daphne!) this book contains a brief description of all episodes from Seasons 1, 2 and 3 (season 4 begins in 2004).

The episode recaps are a handy reference to the DVD collections, if you have those, or just as a reminder of plot sequence, and the information is accompanied by photos from the episodes explained.

Each individual character is profiled as well as the actor/actress who portrays them, again with accompanying pictures and stills. Some of the photographs are familiar, the same posted on the QAF Showtime site, but others are new.

Color photography is used throughout and the quality of the paper and the book itself is outstanding.

The Bonus DVD at the end of the book (attached at the back page) contains some fun stuff and some is brand-new, not featured on the Season 1 or Season 2 DVD collections.

I would highly recommend this Queer As Folk book to any fan of this outstanding series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
I bought the book the first day it came out and once it was sent to me, I couldn't stop flipping through the pages. The episode synopsis', pictures, quotes, cast, etc. were absolutely great for a QaF fan. Although some stuff in the book could have been more in depth, it is a great addition the Queer as Folk collection. Highly, highly recommend that all of the QaF fans out there go buy this book immediately and enjoy it. ... Read more

130. What Falls Away
list price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385471874
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Sales Rank: 969515
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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There aren't many lives more steeped in celebrity than Mia Farrow's. The daughter of actress Maureen O'Sullivan and writer-director John Farrow, she grew up in Beverly Hills as a member of "the first generation of movie stars' children." Starting at the tender age of 19 she was involved with a succession of famous men--Frank Sinatra, André Previn, and Woody Allen--and has spent many years as a major film star in her own right. The book is casually populated with dozens of high-profile friends ranging from Yul Brynner and Salvador Dali to Michael Caine and Vladimir Horowitz. Yet Farrow's memoir has an unexpectedly honest, soul-searching quality, detailing her troubled inner life, her spiritual longings and pursuits (including a famous stay at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram, where her fellow inmates included the Beatles), and her passionate attachment to children. The book unflinchingly recounts her version of the ugly, very public breakup with Allen, including--rather bizarrely--the state supreme court's custody ruling in her favor in its 27-page entirety. ... Read more

Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars An eloquent memoir of a troubled life lived selflessly
Truly memorable. I have gained much respect for this woman who I knew little of other than her role as Mrs. Woody Allen and the mother of Rosemary's Baby. Mia is truly a woman who has spent her life in the service of others, but who has had very little left to give to herself. I come away feeling that Mr. Allen's unquestioned genius is a subversion of and reaction to the unspeakable darkness that occupies his soul. There are no villains in this story so much as there are victims. Mia's children are blessed to have such a loving mother; Woody's despicable behavior in all its bizarre manifestations is the outward expression of a tormented soul that will never know peace, joy, or true happiness. He is surely suffering, as he has caused profound suffering in others. I wish Ms. Farrow and her children peace, love, and finally, contentment. But most of all, peace.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mia Farrow eloquently describes a painful and joyful life.
In "What Falls Away," Mia Farrow describes a life that many would think charmed but that was often a true nightmare. In the book, Farrow chronicles many extremely painful and heart-wrenching experiences but writes so beautifully that the reader can't help but turn the page. As for Farrow's infamous case against Woody Allen, anyone who reads this book will know that Farrow is a true hero for adopting 14 children, and Woody Allen is a cowardly, sick man who deserves no respect. This book is incredible! I would recommend it to anyone and have recommended it to everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved this!
I usually love to read a good mystery. I decided to try this one out and loved it! Mia is so honest about her life's ups and downs. I recommend this!

3-0 out of 5 stars Farrow "Falls Away"
"What Falls Away" was apparently any sense of innocence that Mia Farrow had when she broke up with Woody Allen. Farrow's autobiography has a sort of wispy appeal, with her stories about life with Frank Sinatra and Andre Previn, but it only comes to life in the last third of the book.

Farrow came from a celebrity family and started acting early. It was the cause of her deteriorated brief marriage to legendary singer Frank Sinatra, and new homebody ways didn't save her second marriage to Andre Previn -- but she did adopt many special-needs or orphaned children, alongside her own biological ones. But her sprawling adopted family was imperiled when her longtime boyfriend Woody Allen was found to be having an affair with her adopted daughter.

The first two-thirds of "What Falls Away" lacks any real punch. It's low-sugar cotton candy, with Farrow talking about the celebrity life and her time with her two husbands. And she talks about adopting children, of course -- although as the number goes up, it gets harder and harder to tell them apart.

But Farrow's biography starts showing a pulse a third of the way. Her long-term affair with Woody Allen was a bit of a freakshow, and it's only when it comes to Allen that Farrow starts to show any passion of any kind -- good, bad, or just passionate. She tries to hold back her obvious -- and justifiable -- anger, but it seeps through the ink.

Unfortunately, as "What Falls Away" starts to show signs of life, Farrow's own portrait of herself unravels. It comes across as alarming that she was merely worried by Allen's bizarre behavior toward Dylan, a young girl he sexually abused. And that after finding explicitly pornographic photographs of her adopted daughter, Farrow went back to work with Allen. Yet Farrow seems helpless to stop Allen from doing anything. She couldn't even throw him out of her apartment -- her son had to do it.

Farrow's writing is wisp-thin and sort of vaguely new-agey, especially when she writes about her transcendental trips with the Beatles back in the sixties. It's not that good, but it's pleasant enough. Virtually everyone is painted in rosy hues, save Allen (who is painted a sort of slimy sludge color) and Soon-Yi (Farrow obviously doesn't know what her daughter is thinking). In fact, it's hard to tell what Farrow herself is thinking -- she only seems to skim the top of her feelings.

Mia Farrow doesn't exactly bare her soul in "What Falls Away." What she does do is expose Woody Allen, and a life that mixes the disquieting and the impressive.

4-0 out of 5 stars ENCHANTING AND REAL
I was ready for anything with this book. I love the idea of Mia Farrow's unconventional lifestyle and her eccentricity but that does not a great writer make. However, I was really happily surprised at her lovely writing style. She is a natural talent. Her writing voice is clear and elegant and does justice to her very interesting life. I, of course, was interested in the Woody Allen scandal, but that is only a small part of what this book has to offer. Wonderful read. ... Read more

131. The Other Man: A Love Story
by Michael Bergin
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060723890
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 60294
Average Customer Review: 3.01 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

I found myself wondering what would have happened if I had said yes. . . . Would she be alive today? Would we be together? Would we be happy?

This is the story of a small-town kid who moved to the big city, fell in love with a beautiful, mysterious woman, and found himself in competition with the most eligible bachelor in the world, John F. Kennedy Jr.

Now, for the first time, Michael Bergin reveals the truth behind a life lived in the limelight and a relationship shrouded in secrecy. From his early days growing up in a small blue-collar Connecticut town, to his meteoric rise as fashion icon and television star, to the passion he shared with the enigmatic and complex Carolyn Bessette, this is an inside look at the world of beauty, power, and celebrity.

In 1992, Michael and Carolyn met in a bar in New York City. She was unlike any woman he had ever known -- sophisticated, successful, with bewitching charm and grace. An intensely passionate relationship was born. Not long after, Michael landed the coveted Calvin Klein underwear campaign, and his career took off. The future looked bright, and Carolyn and Michael seemed destined for a long and happy life together.

But it was not to be. Four years later Michael was an international fashion icon and Carolyn was Mrs. John F. Kennedy Jr. -- however, the story doesn’t end there. This is the truth about their lives, a tale full of warmth, humor, heartbreak, and tragedy.

.Above all, The Other Man is a testament to the enduring power of love and a story about the painful choices we make with our all-too-human hearts. ... Read more

Reviews (97)

4-0 out of 5 stars Michael Should Have Listened to his Father!
I watched the A&E interview of Michael Bergin with great interest. He seemed genuine in his need to tell his story. The whole time I watched the interview I kept thinking, why is he putting himself, his family, and Carolyn's family through this? Then I read the book and I felt great empathy for him. His writing style reminds me of a letter that you would receive from a friend. He comes across as rather corny, but sincere. However well meaning his efforts are to clear Carolyn's name in the media after reading the Edward Klein book, he didn't do himself any favors. After it is all said and done, Michael has revealed himself to be Carolyn's "backburner" guy, the one that she is never seen in public with. I guess he didn't realize that Carolyn had an agenda which did not include him in her future. Carolyn chose John Kennedy, Jr. not Michael Bergin. Is there really any more to say?

During the course of the interview, the interviewer said to Michael, "Your father didn't want you to write this book." Michael nodded and acknowledged that indeed his father did not think it was a good idea. Michael, you should have listened to your father. No one is interested in the truth, no matter how well intended it is. This book does nothing to disspell the myth of Camelot and John and Carolyn's place in it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A tragic story of great love and great loss.
Michael Bergin comes across as very genuine and sincere. He eloquently describes his insatiable desire for Carolyn Bessette and the turbulent relationship they shared. Together, they shared great joy and heartbreaking pain.

One can only conclude that there was definitely a deep love, a strong connection, and an everlasting bond between Carolyn Bessette and Michael Bergin. Definitely worth reading!!

1-0 out of 5 stars What an idiot!!!!!
Has this guy done ANYTHING since Baywatch??? His writing style is that of a third grader...and how dare he come out with this gossip AFTER she's dead? Who can defend her? If what this brainstem says in the book IS true, he looks like a human bobo doll being used by a very troubled, yet smart as a fox woman.
She was no dummy.
This dude needs to get a life. I'm so ashamed to say I let my human curiosity get the best of me and read this trash.
Sorry John.......Sorry Carolyn.

3-0 out of 5 stars Leave the Guy Alone!
Unlike many of the other reviews here I did actually read the book and did not dare to comment on it until I had. Michael isn't a literary genius by any stretch of the imagination, but I found his book very entertaining and easy to read. I appreciated his humor a great deal. For all of his good looks and charm the man has a wonderful, genuine modesty. He seems to me someone worth knowing.... Caroline on the other hand may have been a different story.

Do I believe him? I do! I believe that those who have posted negative comments and attacked Michael are those who wanted to keep Caroline on her Camelot pedestal. I always believed that she was overrated and was tired of seeing her face on every magazine and hearing constantly of her beauty. I didn't see it. I found her white, gaunt and hawk like features far from any ideal! C'mon, it is obvious that the media hype is what made her...That, and the hotties she bedded down with and there were several!

In his book Michael reveals quite honestly his heartbreak and pain. Because of his ignorance and naiveté in loving a woman whom most would consider cold, manipulative, sluttish, mentally / emotionally unstable and abusive! Michael didn't see her that way, obviously the man was deeply in love and as he himself admits love is blind. I feel truly sad for Michael that he could confuse her sex and manipulation as evidence of any kind of real and true love. He was young. I hope he learns what real love is.... Michael, it is about respect and honestly, and intimacy, letting someone get to know the real you. Seems that Caroline was too insecure too ever share herself honestly with another human being. She was not mature or sophisticated or classy or any of the things the press built her up to be! Get over it fans! The person you loved as John Jr's wife did not exist! As for Michael, I wish him the best.

3-0 out of 5 stars Poor Carolyn Had Mental Illness
This book confirms what I have read all along about Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. While she is dead and not able to defend herself, this is coming straight from someone who actually had a relationship with her. She did not want him, but neither was any other woman to have him. Pushing another woman aside in a bar(she could have been charged with assault by both the other woman and Mr. Bergin)is not to me the actions of a "classy, sophisticated woman". No matter how many people want to repeat this little mantra about Carolyn, she was neither.Beautiful is another word that was bandied about in regards to Carolyn. She was a plain Jane with bleached blond hair. Had she been married to anyone but JFK Jr. I dont think she would have fallen into this category. As far as comparing her with Jackie Kennedy, I dont think so...I do not see Jackie O acting in such a raunchy way. Jackie was class, Carolyn crass, there is a difference.As alot of articles stated "you had to know her and you would see why people were drawn to her", that may very well be true.We all know people like that. Unfortunatley though, even good stories do not let you meet the person, and in print she comes off as a selfish, self-absorbed,neurotic, with a bag full of mental problems, who instead of running off to see old boyfriends should have been running to a therapist.She is gone from this realm, and enough print about her and poor JFK jr.has been written to last a lifetime. To many "well meaning friends" have tried to set the record straight and it just ends up making them look bad.(makes the friends look bad too, as I firmly believe TRUE friends would not be writing about them. ... Read more

132. His Way : An Unauthorized Biography Of Frank Sinatra
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553265156
Catlog: Book (1987-09-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 181736
Average Customer Review: 3.18 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

3-0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
Kitty Kelley's book about Frank Sinatra made countless headlines when it was released and shot to the top of the best seller list. Unfortunately, the book is very tabloidy. If you read this book without knowing anything about Sinatra, you will come away with the impression that he was a monster. True, he did have his share of fights and problems with the press, but Kelley makes it sound as if all he did his life was yell at people. The few times she mentions all of the charity work he did, its in passing and never very respectful.
There is no doubt that the book is readable. I found myself not wanting to put it down, but at the same time wishing Kelley was more unbiased.
It is one of the longer Sinatra bios, but I feel that the definitive biography of the man as a human being with both good points and bad points has yet to be written. Read this book with an open mind and don't take everything as fact. I suggest that to get "the other side of the story", you read Nancy Sinatra's "An American Legend" as well.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money on this garbage!!!!
Don't buy this garbage, if you want to read about Frank Sinatra and want to know what he was really like pick up "Frank Sinatra: An American Legend: by Nancy Sinatra" and "My Father's Daughter :by Tina Sinatra" =-)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ol' Red Eyes
This book is very readable. Pick it up at any page and go. A lot of Sinatras wild exploits are written about. Many are of a negative nature (as many interesting wild exploits are), but there are many references supporting them.

The long length of this book, combined with its interesting items, and its ease of reading, make this book great.

Truth or not? Who knows to what degree. Certainly there have been enough well documented incidents with Sinatra that the content of this book is not unreasonable to believe.

It does focus on his behavior, and life, more than his actual music activities. If that makes this book "tabloid" then fine, it also makes it interesting and readable.

For in depth Sinatra music related biographical information, there must be a better book than this.

This book is great if you are intersted in the wild exploits of his life. And oh they were wild.

The book keeps moving. Its fast (though long). Nothing in the book is uninteresting.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fun Fiction
I didn't know Frank was in the mob and was required to bed down every new star in Hollywood, oh yea an then there was the part about him and Jack Ruby... If you have ever read one of her books then this is the same thing, an easy to read book full of juicy rumors and assumptions that are fun to read. My only complaint is that I think her legal team probably goes over the test better then the editors, some cuts here and there would have made it moves a bit faster. This book is like a 350 page Start Tabloid issue devoted to Frank, if that is your type of thing this is a good book for you. IF you are after an unbiased story I would keep looking.

3-0 out of 5 stars "If Adolph Hitler Could Sing....."
When her meat cleaver of a 'biography', "His Way," was first published in 1986, Kitty Kelley appeared on the Larry King show and claimed it was a "balanced" book.

Had King read the book and if he had some guts as an interviewer,
he would have laughed her off the show.

Claiming "His Way" is "balanced" is like the Grand Dragon of the KKK stating his group is racially mixed.

With a certain amount of glee, Kelley recounts every seamy story of Sinatra's personal life...the women, the brawls, the fits of temper, the mistreatment of employees (Frank allegedly dumped a plate of spaghetti over his valet's head, because the man didn't cook it 'al dente').

Nowhere, however, in this litany of horrors, real or rumored, does Sinatra, the musician,emerge.

"His Way" paints the man who many regard as the finest pop singer of our time,as a psychotic egomaniac, who sang a song from time to time.

Kelley completely misses the point of what made Sinatra so alluring to the public...the dichotomy of the public man and the private artist...that a man so capable of violence and ugliness could also produce such continually beautiful music through the years (Example: Kelley recounts the year 1965 without once mentioning Sinatra's record breaking tour with the Basie band).

By almost ignoring the music, Kelley has produced a book with the mentality of the worst of the supermarket Sinatra epitaph would ever use the phrase "Frank was a nice guy," but'His Way' portrays a man who was Adolph Hitler with a tuxedo and hand mike.

It's like writing a biogprahy of Picasso and adding as a footnote at the end.."oh, by the way, he could ALSO paint!" ... Read more

133. Eyeing the Flash : The Education of a Carnival Con Artist
by Peter Fenton
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743258541
Catlog: Book (2005-01-04)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 338019
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Book Description

The year is 1963, the setting is small-town Michigan. At age fifteen, Peter Fenton is a gawky math whiz schoolboy with a dissatisfied mother, a father who drinks himself to foolishness, and no chance whatsoever with girls. That's when he meets Jackie Barron.

Jackie is the unlikely progeny of Double-O and Vera, professional grifters running a third-rate traveling carnival, and he's been part of the family business since he started earning his keep as the World's Youngest Elephant Trainer. Jackie is a smooth-talking teenage carnie with his own Thunderbird, and with wisdom beyond his years.

Jackie shares Pete's way with numbers, and he has a proposition. They'll start a rigged casino in Jackie's basement and take their classmates for thousands of dollars. Pete hesitates, but not for very long. Two years later, he's working joints for the Barrons' Party Time Shows, wearing sharkskin suits and alligator shoes, and relieving the public of its hard-earned cash. He learns to hold his own with veteran con men who have nicknames like the Ghost, Horserace Harry, and Talking Tony, and colorful personalities to match. This is the world of the Alibi and the Hanky Pank, of Flatties and the mark. Amazingly, Pete Fenton has never been more at home.

But in this strange new world with its topsy-turvy code of ethics, where leaving a mark without a dollar for gas is outlawed while cheating a best friend is par for the course, the tension between teacher and student grows until Pete finds himself attempting the ultimate challenge: to out-con his mentor.

Eyeing the Flash is a fascinating insider's view of the carnival underworld -- the cons, the double-dealing, the quick banter, and, of course, the easy money. The story of a shy middle-class kid turned first-class huckster, Peter Fenton's coming-of-age memoir is highly unorthodox, and utterly compelling. ... Read more

134. Last Train to Memphis : The Rise of Elvis Presley
by Peter Guralnick
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316332208
Catlog: Book (1994-10-03)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 132067
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (45)

4-0 out of 5 stars A slice of Southern history
This is one of those rare biographies that transcend its subject. The rise of Elvis is fascinating and true Elvis fans will find a wealth of information in the book, but there is also much more to take from this well researched tome. The discussion of the music of Memphis, the sources that influenced Elvis and the rise of rock and roll make this book a terrific addition to anyone's library who is interested in music or the south.

The relationship between Presley and his many women is discussed here and so is the complex interaction between him and his family. Perhaps his most interesting relationship is with his manager, Colonel Parker. How that relationship shaped his career certainly makes for an interesting read. The author does as fine a job as I have ever seen of documenting his sources and treating his subject with respect, but not awe. This is one of the best bio's I have ever read. I highly recommend this book to students of Elvis, pop music, the south or to anyone looking to be exposed to a world that no longer exists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Elvis 101
"Last Train to Memphis" and its sequel, "Careless Love", make a deeply engrossing, carefully researched, finely written biography of Elvis Presley.

Author Peter Guralnick took eleven years to exhaustively research sources and interview people who knew Elvis personally and would tell their firsthand experiences. Guralnick's scholarly approach automatically eschews any hint of the fan adoration that can taint celebrity biographies. Guralnick might even have erred on the dry side rather than the juicy or dishy side of the story. This is all to the good, because Elvis' life story, a fantastic, zany, epic arc through American pop culture, is one that needs no embellishment and is served well by a measure of journalistic restraint.

Guralnick made a wise choice with the two-book format, because in Elvis' life there was a distinct "Rise and Fall." "Last Train to Memphis" is the rise: "Careless Love" is the fall. In each volume, Guralnick reveals much not just about Elvis, but about the people who were his family and closest friends and how their actions and relationships to him and to each other shaped Elvis into the man he became.

Accounts of his school days, his early days as a musician, his early girlfriends, and his family life all flesh him out as a human being and penetrate the shell of celebrity to offer a three-dimesional glimpse of the individual and his own ideas and aspirations and insecurities. The first volume ends with the death of Elvis' mother, a loss that sent him into the first tailspin of many, from which he never seemed to recover.

After reading this volume, you will be hooked on the story and will want to immediately begin the second volume, which is much darker and sadder as the King's world starts to unwind, chronicling his spiraling drug habit and his battles both public and personal. The second volume is catalogued and reported as dispassionately as the first, so that the same unblinking honesty that gave "Last Train" such sparkle and joy reveals the true depth of Elvis' isolation without having to resort to hyperbole.

Guralnick said it himself; that the rise to fame and the person were larger than life, and so too was the decline larger than life. It's an ending that leaves you feeling sad that what began so brightly should end so awfully.

I read these books because I knew very little about Elvis and wanted to know his life story, and they are a deeply satisfying and very credible account of the King's life. I can't imagine that there is a better bio out there for anyone who wants to study Elvis 101.

5-0 out of 5 stars Guralnick Gives Us Back the Music!
Peter Guralnick -- with both love and meticulous scholarship -- has written a supremely ethical work of cultural archaeology.

With meticulous care and fairness -- but with no sugarcoating whatsoever -- he excavates Elvis out of the layers of rumor, innuendo, and mystery that have conspired over the years to make him a caricature and a joke rather than a human being.

Gurlanick gives us back the artist (who first thrilled me on 78s) and exorcizes so much of the snobby and dismissive trashy gossip (Goldman) that has obscured Elvis for almost 40 years.

I don't mean that a saint emerges. No way. But in Guralnick's telling, a brilliant musician and excruciatingly vulnerable human being pushes aside the fat guy in the gold Vegas suit.

The result? The music -- in all its glory and raw excitement -- returns to take its rightful and deserved place.

The best books (with Guralnick's 2nd volume) about rock and roll ever written.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating History
This is a book for those who love American music, not those looking for lurid scandal. Guralnick's respectful yet honest history of Elvis's rise to fame is endlessly engrossing. Not only do we meet Elvis, Gladys, and Vernon in the years before the myths took over, we meet lesser-known yet facsinating characters as Sam Phillips, the idealistic founder of Sun Records, and Dewey Phillips, the eccentric DJ who first played Elvis on the air. As Guralnick presents Memphis in the 50's, it seems so real one almost feels as though it could be visited today.

You don't have to be an Elvis fan to enjoy this biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - as if the author and Elvis were Siamese twins
One of the best biographies I have ever read. Detailed, sensitive, written with just the right mix of empathy and detachment a biographer needs. I know two people who are about Elvis' age and grew up with him. Both of them say that the chapters dealing with the King's upbringing in Tupelo and his years at the Lauderdale Courts read like they have been written by someone who grew up with him. If you have only the slightest interest in Elvis, Memphis, Southern history, or American popular culture, buy this book. ... Read more

135. Highway to Hell : The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott
by Clinton Walker
list price: $22.95
our price: $16.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1891241133
Catlog: Book (2001-04-15)
Publisher: Verse Chorus Press
Sales Rank: 60750
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The definitive account of a bestselling rock band’s glory years

Since its initial publication in Australia, Highway to Hell has established itself as a classic of rock writing. It’s the definitive account of AC/DC’s rise to fame, when the ribald lyrics and charismatic stage presence of singer Bon Scott, along with the formidable guitar work of brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, defined a new and highly influential brand of rock’n’roll.

Drawing on many first-person interviews and featuring a gallery of rare photos, Clinton Walker traces AC/DC’s career through the life of their original front man, from the Scottish roots he shared with the Youngs to small-time gigs to recording studios and international success—right up to Bon Scott’s shocking death in 1980, just as the band were attaining the worldwide recognition for which they had worked so tirelessly.

AC/DC’s undiminished superstar status today—and their lasting influence on such different genres as hard rock, grunge, and rap/metal—ensure that Bon Scott’s presence continues to be felt. Now Highway to Hell offers the full story of this seminal rock figure.

Highway to Hell has previously not been available outside Australia, and the author completely revised the text for this first American edition. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mr Walker sure has done his homework!
This book was great. I dont often read anything, but this one only took a short amount of time because I couldnt stop reading it. It dives back into the life of Bon Scott, but not the Bon Scott that is whats sort of "mythical" or "legend", nor does it start from when Bon joined AC/DC!

This book was orginaly supposed to be a movie, but Alberts wouldnt allow a movie about Bon to be made. Clinton Walker has not given you a collection of rumurs or storys that are just words of fans who heard rumours, he has actualy gone and found freinds & fammilly of Bon, and gone straight to the horses mouth for the info, from the people who knew Bon best!

It starts from the begining of Bons life; And gradulay tells you about Bon's life during the 50's & 60's, and the previous bands he was with, and why they colapsed. It is very suprising to find out who Bons closest freinds actualy where!!! Not to mention that many of Australias best rock bands members all kind of worked together at one stage, or knew each other, it is very intresting to read about who Bon knew!

Then of coarse, the life into Bon's introduction to AC/DC. And it lays to rest the rumour that Bon was a driver/roadie type of person for the band, it explains why people would think that, and the real story of how Bon joined AC/DC; and you will discover it was on purpose, not accidently as many have come to beleive!

There is alot of great information that let you into the life of not just a rock & roll legend that we are all fammiluer with fronting the worlds greatest rock band, but also who Ronald Scott was on the inside. He was not the wild man everyone saw him as, he had a public image that he would put on, but behind the frontmans public mask, there beat the painfull heart of a man who's dream was to be the biggest. And he got there after a hard struggle. But unfortunatly, when he got there, he didnt have anyone to share that glory with. Youll find out that Bon, despite what his public interveiws and charactor said, he was really searching for love and someone to take care of him. My thoughts on when Bon died, it wasnt just choking on his own vomit as you would have heard. He was also dieing of a broken heart. The poor man acheived fame, but didnt find love before his time had come.

Many other intresting things I found from this book. How Bonny got into AC/DC, who Bon really was, Who bons freinds where, how Bon was not as solid in the band as you might think, he was considered disposable of and replacable by the Youngs untill around about 1977!! It also speaks about the struggles and hurdles of AC/DC, they where almost dropped by Atlantic untill pretty much the Highway To Hell album! There struggles on the road in the early days, there disrespect in Australia, and there hard fight as they discovered that it really is a long way to the top, if you wanna rock n roll!

The only reason I drop it one star is that I feel that Walker has a grudge about the Young Brothers. He seems ticked about them not wanting to be interveiwed for the book, and maybe having somthing to do with the movie not beeing made? But he speaks about there shyness like it was some kind of disgrace, and he just dosent seem to have much nice to say about Angus or Malcolm, and I get a strong vibe that he feels that the Youngs pushed him into his grave, and drove him to drink himself to death. But I dont think so, Bon i'm sure died of a broken heart after splitting up with his girl. Then it dosent seem to talk about AC/DC's success after Bons death, it mentions the 80's and early 90's, but dosent mention the sucsess they had with LIVE performances as they always did from the begining. He seems to have gone out of his way to try to make it look like AC/DC died when Bon did, and blames the Youngs for it.

But apart from some bad blood issues; I think the book is great, letting us see the Bon that we never knew, and his days with Fretinity and the Valentines, even back with the Spktors, his hay days in Perth and what Bon would get up to, the great storys of freinds memorys of Bon, and the sad tradjedy that Bon was seen as the wild legendary frontman of a great powerfull rock band, but on the inside, just your average Joe looking for freinds and love, and who sadly didnt get to settle down as he wanted to

Rest In Peace Ronald Bon Scott - We Salue You

4-0 out of 5 stars VERY GOOD READING
This book is simple a must if you're a real AC/DC fan. Altough it is focused mainly on Bon Scott ( for the simple reason of the man's unbeliavable great charisma ), of course it deals a lot about AC/DC's career until the "HIGHWAY TO HELL" album. YOu have to got a little patience in the first hundred pages or so, when the book deals with all the secundary bands Bon worked before joining the Young Brothers. But this phase is fundamental in understanding the man's backgorund and way of life. Of course there is no official quote from AC/DC actual members ( AC/DC would never permit it!!!), but a lot of interviews from ex-bassist Mark Evans. What becomes clear after reading the book (what was already clear for clear-minded fans) is how the band lost creativity after Bon died, mainly in the lyrical department. The book reveals that some years ago the band even contemplated sacking Brian Johnson (the guy just can't sing or scream anymore - it's awful !!). The band today is almost an "Institution", like the Stones (that's why they released only two albuns in the entire period since 1991)and losing their second singer could be a definitive blow to the band. All in all, this book is a must have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
Highway to Hell tells the story of singer extraordinaire Bon Scott. Bon rocked hard, lived hard and played hard. This book takes you behind the scenes in recording stories and tales from the road.

Even with all of Bon's hard living, he is portrayed in a sentimental manner. You get to know him as a man in addition to the rock star. This is a must read for any AC/DC fan.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worst Book Ever
Mr. Walker wrote this book in a voice of being scared to publish anything controversal about Bon. People who say that it was wrong that the Young brothers didnt give an interview to honor Bon have their head up their arse. Back in Black was their way to honor Bon, not give a stupid interview 15-20years after hes been dead

1-0 out of 5 stars A juvenile effort
I was expecting so much more from this piece, a profound disappointment. I can see why the members of the AC/DC organization wanted no part of it. Its full of sophomoric, misleading, and inconsequential innuendo and hearsay. The writer has talked to lots of people who knew Bon Scott at one time or another or another, yet little of any substance is presented. Instead, the author spends more time trying to place the life of Bon Scott in a context that did not exist when he was living.
This book is more of a study in social phenomenon than an actual biography. Instead of concentrating on the man and his music, he focuses more on Bon Scott as a social icon. The book is filled with stale cliches and endless repetition of the same dull themes that would be more at home in a mass market paperback about Joan Collins.
If I read a book about Mars, I would expect the author to have a firm grasp of astronomy in particular and science in general. If I read a book about rock and roll, I would expect the writer to actually know something about guitars, chords, notes, progression, recording etc. This author's main credentials with regards to Bon and AC/DC appears to be that he is Australian, and that he has written about Australian music as a popular phenomenon.
Very thin, not much weight to bring to bear on a subject that deserves much better treatment. A lame limp-wristed effort. ... Read more

136. Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story
by John D. Luerssen
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1550226193
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: ECW Press
Sales Rank: 10704
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Book Description

This compelling look at the inside life of Weezer, one of the most intriguing and dynamic bands in contemporary rock, offers insightful commentary on their rise to stardom. A complete historiography, it covers their first commercial success, The Blue Album; their four-year hiatus; and their 2000 Warped Tour comeback. A detailed look at the childhood and failed hair-metal career of band founder Rivers Cuomo provides a revealing look at the inspiration that led this band to stardom. No secrets are left untold, revealing behind-the-scenes stories of infighting, power struggles, and lawsuits. Key interviews with band members and friends complete this dynamic analysis. ... Read more

137. Chaka! Through the Fire
by Chaka Khan, Tonya Bolden
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1579548261
Catlog: Book (2003-10-10)
Publisher: Rodale Books
Sales Rank: 177905
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Rolling Stone compared it to melted caramel, and Miles Davis compared it to his horn.

Chaka Khan's scorchingly soulful voice first dazzled most of us back in 1974 with Rufus and "Tell Me Something Good," and most recently in her Grammy Award-winning performance in Standing in the Shadows of Motown, singing "What's Going On?" with the Funk Brothers. Over the years, she's had twelve number-one hits and nine number-one albums. Over one hundred appearances on the Billboard charts. Nineteen Grammy nominations and eight Grammy wins. Her achievements in the music industry are legendary, and like her twenty albums, they're well-known to the public.

But the private side of Chaka, the story of what fame and fortune have cost her-- and taught her-- hasn't been told before. In Chaka! Through the Fire, Chaka Khan gives us the whole story of the woman behind the diva and reveals her high and low points. A happy early childhood in a loving, creative home was shattered by escalating fights between her parents. When they finally split, Chaka's father disappeared without even a goodbye, leaving Chaka bewildered, bereft, and blaming her mother. She reconnected with her dad in her teens, finding that he was as liberal and permissive a parent as her mother was strict. Chaka started experimenting with drugs and joined the Black Panthers. Soon after, she fronted for a band called Rufus.

They hit it big with "Tell Me Something Good," and Chaka's stardom was launched. But life on the road was grueling, and as the years went by, the pressures grew. Chaka turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of failed relationships, the guilt of leaving her kids to be raised by Grandma, the resentment she felt about the exhausting demands of her career. It wasn't until things got very bad that she started to see the patterns. All the things she had suffered through in her childhood and swore never to do to her kids-- well, she was doing them.

That's when she began the work of turning it all around. These days, she's still a musical powerhouse, but she's making sure there's time for family, too. She's drug-free. She's started her own record label and has also started a foundation to help women and children in need. Remarkably, Chaka has remained a true wild child despite all the changes: a fiercely independent woman who never compromised her spirit.
... Read more

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars Really 4.5
I am a huge fan of Chaka Khan and have waited patiently for her memoir. I wasn't disappointed. Though I don't know Chaka personally, I am really proud that she faced her demons and put pen to paper in order to share her story with the world. From what I have ever read about Chaka and seeing her on countless television appearances and interviews, she appears to be a private person. Putting your business sort of speak out there is not an easy thing to do or want to do. It's takes a certain amount of strength to face things you have done that may be deemed negative. I saw her on The John Walsh show recently and she was very emotional as she spoke about leaving her children with her mother while she traveled with Rufus. It was a very real moment for Chaka and I sense she is just beginning to come into her own and acknowledge those things that caused her to drink and do drugs. Chaka you are awesome with incredible talent and strength. Continue to love yourself and everything else will fall in line.

5-0 out of 5 stars Every fan should read this book
Growing up listening to Chaka Khan's music and already having a sense of understanding about her, made this quite the enjoyable read! Every fan should read this book and then share it with anyone who would like to see how a sister triumphed over the harsh reality of the ghetto, drug abuse and the entertainment industry.

This autobiography shapes Sister Khan's life in a positive, truthful way. I read this and at times, would catch myself looking at her pictures, listening to some of her favorite songs and then acutally crying, because our music would not be the same without her. It felt good knowing that after all that she had been through, she is still here and we can still experience her gift through the sampling of new artists and by dusting off an old album or CD.

I have a new found respect for Sister Khan after reading this book and would recommend that everyone read it as well. This is the perfect book club novel, full of great discussion points and filled with many great lessons in life. An excellent novel, to say the least.
Rene Reyes

1-0 out of 5 stars BORING
Don't buy this, borrow it from the library. It's the usual musician story...raised singing in church, start band/group, get discovered, tour, family, drugs, get clean.

2-0 out of 5 stars Wait for the movie
I guess if you are really in love with Chaka Khan, the book will be alright for you. I liked her music years ago, and realized I didn't know a lot about her, so I got the book. I was surprised that it was so boring. Get it from the library. It really wasn't worth buying and had no insight into the real chaka. Where were the facts that exist in other biographys?

5-0 out of 5 stars Candid, Honest and a Good Celeb Autobiography
I really love Chaka Kahn for her honesty with this book. Being 28 years old, Chaka is around my moms age. This book really helped me to understand a lot about the culture and the vibe of the late 60's and 70's in Chicago. Chaka devotes a lot of text to her early days in Chi-town. I feel that Chaka is so honest and forthright in this book that it is a biography that many will enjoy. I don't personally know if she comes clean on all topics, but she is very candid and frank about her love life, her mistakes and even which songs she likes and dislikes to perform. If you are a fan of course you should read this book. If you are someone who just wants to learn more about a woman who has really made an impact on the music world, check out this book. I really enjoyed it. It was one of the better celeb autobiographies. It really reads as if Chaka put a lot of pain into this book because she discusses some real close to home situations that she didn't have to disclose. Her frankness helps readers to understand her a better as a person and as an artist. ... Read more

138. Dracula, Prince of Many Faces : His Life and His Times
by Radu R Florescu, Raymond McNally
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316286567
Catlog: Book (1990-10-31)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 12188
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Real Life Vlad Scarier than Bram Stoker's Character
I, like many readers and movie fans, was pretty familiar with Bram Stoker's "Dracula" as a character. And as a history student, I was always intrigued by the settings and history alluded to by the books and films. This book by co-authors Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally fills in the gaps on Vlad the Impaler's upbringing, his history, his family, and his place in the world of Eastern Europe and the Carpathian mountains. The narrative is clear and well written, and it is not too academic in tone. It can be used strictly as a background source on Eastern European 15th century history, but I found it very entertaining to read simply on its own. This book is eerie and macabre without trying too hard...these are rare traits for any type of history book. If you love history and horror, then you can't go wrong with Dracula: Prince of Many Faces.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, captivating book!
Everybody has seen the "Dracula the vampire" movies, everybody does the Hungarian-accented "I vant to suck your blood" shtick, but virtually nobody really knows who the real Vlad Dracula was. I certainly didn't, and I'm kind of a history-geek.

While wordy and heavy reading in a very few places, this book was a fascinating look at the history behind the real Vlad Tepes ("The Impaler"), upon whom Bram Stoker loosely based his Dracula. It also offered an absolutely wonderful look into the trials and tribulations of 15th and 16th century Romania (or, more accurately, the principalities which would later become Romania). This was especially welcome for me, as I am adopting a child from Romania, and it is extremely enlightening to get a peek behind the complex history of this country and its people.

If you're interested in finding out about the "real" Dracula, I highly recommend this book. If you're also a history geek (or "buff," if you're not a proud geek like me!), I would go so far as to call this a must-read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dracula Book
This book was very good in my opinion because it gave more insight than most books about the time period of the famous Wallachian Prince Vlad III Dracula. In order to get the full effect of the book, one must understand the values of the people at that time. Prince Vlad III Dracula was a brilliant tactical warrior and understood the psychology of the invading Turks, which is where he gets his more infamous exploits. Many books tend to leave out how many rulers and conquerers did vicious and terrible things to secure order and maintain the peace. Prince Vlad III Dracula was no different than Richard the Lionheart, El Cid, or Atilla the Hun. This book dispels more of the myth and reveals the man in the times that changed him.

4-0 out of 5 stars Okay.
The authors are abit long winded and I got bogged down by all of the names and dates. But is it interesting. I wish that there were more pictures.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
I decided to read this book because I wanted to learn about the real Dracula -Vlad, the impaler,- and I wanted to learn something about the struggle against the Ottomans during the middle ages. I was satisfied in both those regards. However, I cannot say that this book was an easy read. I found the sentence structures often awkward, so that it didn't flow, and often there were so many different names of people and places that it was difficult to follow the details. Despite these difficulties, Dracula was a fascinating character, and since Europe during the middle ages generally interests me, I enjoyed a look at the Balkans during that time and in particular, the battle against Mehmed II. Even though Dracula was a terrible butcher (with a mind similar to Saddam Hussein's) I found his tactics in that battle fascinating and I found myself rooting for him. I found myself wanting to learn more about Hunyadi, but that is another book. I was glad I read this book. ... Read more

139. Leaving a Doll's House : A Memoir
by Claire Bloom
list price: $17.99
our price: $17.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316093831
Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 213150
Average Customer Review: 2.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Writing with grace, wit, and remarkable candor, actress Claire Bloom looks back at her crowded life: her accomplishments on stage and screen; her romantic liaisons with some of the great leading men of our era; and at "the most important relationship" of her life--her marriage to author Philip Roth. of photos. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars For Roth junkies only; a guilty pleasure
Ok, I admit and I am embarrassed--I ate this book up like a pint of Haagen-Daz. And afterwards, I felt about the same as I do when I look at the empty ice cream container: a little shamed, vaguely nauseous, highly satisfied. I am a huge Philip Roth fan, a collector of his signed first editions, etc., so you have to take this reveiw with a grain of salt. Ms. Bloom, or whoever ghosted it, is much better writer than I had anticipated and the pages flew by (just one more spoonful...). Charlie Chaplin, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, Gore Vidal, Rod Steiger--it was interesting to read what felt like highly redacted versions of who these men were in Ms. Bloom's life. She does seem to reserve a certainy clarity and honesty for her depiction of Roth, for better or worse, than she seems willing to give to these other men. I, frankly, believe most if not all of what she wrote about Roth, and it is tantalizing to watch the threads of her fact with him reverberate in his fiction. (Sylphid, the harp-playing harpy in "I Married A Communist" is very openly Bloom's daughter with Rod Steiger). So if you are a Roth fan and are interested in a painful dissection of his fiction, you should probably put this on your shelf...though don't expect HIM to appreciate it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Philip Roth gave me a lousy divorce settlement...
I picked up this autobiography not out of any particular interest in Claire Bloom the actress (I'll say Claire Bloom the writer resembles Claire Bloom the actress : competent, well-spoken, attractive but so narcissistic it is difficult to empathize with her), but rather intrigued by her relationship with Philip Roth, an author I admire but find maddeningly misogynistic.

Bloom the writer is no more convincing than Bloom the actress at depicting a depth of feeling. She tells us she loved Roth, Richard Burton, her mother and her daughter. Yet mother and daughter both get short shrift (when Roth didn't want the daughter around, the daughter was out on her ear). First and second husbands get little attention (not famous enough ? there is something of the groupie about Ms. Bloom).

She names her autobiography after « A Doll's House » but is this ironic ? She portrays herself as the original doormat-wife and mistress and then asks her audience to sympathize with her inability to get her husbands to respect her. She moans about unfaithful husbands but delights in telling her readers how she cuckolded Richard Burton's wife. Pot, meet kettle.

The book's main source of interest is its description of Philip Roth's mental breakdown. This is fascinating for Roth readers - however humiliating it must have been for Roth the man to endure (and now to have exhibited in public by his ex-wife).

1-0 out of 5 stars Waaaah!
Waaaaah! I had an unhappy love affair and now I think I'll make the world feel sorry for me because this has never happened to another single human being in the history of human relations! Waaaaah!

(You don't see Roth trying to exorcise his demons by acting, do you? He knows his strengths, as should Miss Gloom.)

1-0 out of 5 stars Hysteria in Bloomland
Relationships are sticky things, and people standing outside of a particular one can never completely emphathize and get the full picture. That being said, as a reader of Bloom's memoir, one feels darned ready to pass judgment, and not so much on the men (especially Philip Roth) who have messed up parts of her life. The way in which the book was written, its tone, its texture, leads me to believe that it is Bloom herself that is being unjust and slanted in judgment. For some reason she seems to gravitate toward men who she knows will screw her over. The most significant beau is Roth. Everyone knows he's the bad boy of contemporary American letters, and it's a good thing, too. It feeds his writing in unbelievable ways, ways in which might earn him a Nobel someday (if there's any justice in the world). And perhaps Bloom's wonderful acting ability is fueled by her emotional problems too. Art, like relationships, is indeed an unstable and unpredictable thing, but reading Bloom complain--almost whine--about how she's been wronged as a victim really grates on this reader. If her turmoil does fuel her art, then perhaps that old saying about sausage is true: if you really like it, you don't want to see how it is made.

2-0 out of 5 stars Ho hum
Hmm. I agree with the other reviewers who say that there is no depth or reflection here. It is quite a catalogue of woes, and there is a sincerity and honesty in the telling. But.... As a piece of writing, it is not at all distinguished, and there is not much nourishment as in something left to reflect on, observations worth mulling over, whether in agreement or disagreement. It is, sadly, like some of the worst celebrity autobiogs on the shelves. Which is a pity, because I think with better editorial direction this could have been a far better book. ... Read more

140. Making the Wiseguys Weep: The Jimmy Roselli Story
by David Evanier, Farrar Straus & Giroux
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374199272
Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Sales Rank: 176676
Average Customer Review: 3.87 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The fascinating life of an Italian American icon.

The mob couldn't live with Jimmy Roselli and it couldn't live without him. Roselli is Hoboken's other great singer, and to a greater degree than Frank Sinatra, Roselli maintained his ties to his old neighborhood and its people--indeed, he made a career of those ties. He's their link to their cultural heritage and Italy, and continues to sing a good half of his repertoire in Italian. But this didn't stop his wiseguy following from getting angry at him from time to time.

"When I started singing big," Roselli told biographer David Evanier, "the tough guys were in the front row with the big cigars. They loved me so much they wanted to kill me. But their mothers and sisters and their wives wouldn't allow it." Roselli sang his best-loved song, "Little Pal," at John Gotti, Jr.'s wedding reception. Mobster Larry Gallo was buried with a Roselli record in his hands. "Hell of a guy," Roselli says of Gallo. "Nice, warm individual."

Hoboken's unsung singer feuded with Sinatra, stood up to shakedown artists, befriended godfathers, and now has thirty-six recordings in print. A captivating story of a brilliant entertainer, Making the Wiseguys Weep is also a colorful portrait of Italian American culture from the 240 saloons that lined Hoboken's streets to the bright lights of New York City. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars The author speaks
I am the author of "Making the Wiseguys Weep." The reactions to my book have been extremely gratifying. Probably the most moving tribute came from the reader who called me the "Dante of the Italian-American community." I think that anyone interested in the Mafia or who loves "The Sopranos" would want to read my accounts of Gyp de Carlo, Carlo Gambino, Sam Giancana and John Gotti, among many others. Jimmy Roselli is not only the "sweetheart of the mob" but an amazing singer who is considered the soul of the Italian-American community. Martin Scorsese featured his voice in "Mean Streets." After writing the book I was told by a disc jockey in New Oreleans that Norjo's, the Italian grocery in New Orleans, features behind its counter pictures of the Pope, Sinatra and Jimmy, and CD's of Roselli and Sinatra. In addition, it's important to note that Frank Sinatra had only one true rival in terms of a great voice, and that was--and is--Jimmy Roselli. It was a joy to discover a great singer, someone who deserved far greater recognition, and who, thanks to my book and the movie planned about it, is finally receiving it. There are many great Italian-American singers: Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Louis Prima, Bobby Darin and Jerry Vale among them. No one is more unique than Jimmy Roselli. No one has more passion. Check out "Making the Wiseguys Weep" and some of Roselli's truly great albums: "3 A.M.," "The Best of Neapolitan Songs," "The Italian Album," "Jimmy Roselli," "When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New," and "What is A Song." You will never, ever, forget them. Vincent Patrick, critic of the book for the "New York Times," Sammy Cahn, Joe Pesci, who loves Roselli and wants to play him, Chazz Palmintieri, and John Gotti, among others, will attest to that.

4-0 out of 5 stars I am the author of "Making the Wiseguys Weep"
I'm the author of "Making the Wiseguys Weep." The reactions to my book have been extremely gratifying. Probably the most moving tribute came from the reader who called me the "Dante of the Italian-American community." I think that anyone interested in the Mafia and loves "The Sopranos" would want to read my accounts of Gyp the Collar, Carlo Gambino, Sam Giancana and John Gotti. Jimmy Roselli is not only the "sweetheart of the mob" but an amazing singer who is considered the soul of the Italian-American community. After writing the book, I was told by a disc jockey in New Orleans that Norjo's, the Italian grocery in that city, features behind its counter pictures of the Pope, Sinatra and Jimmy, and, beside the olive oil from Italy, CD's of Roselli and Sinatra. In addition, it is important to note that Frank Sinatra had only one true rival in terms of a great voice, and that was--and is--Jimmy Roselli. It was a joy to discover a great singer, someone who deserved a far greater recognition, and who, thanks to my book and the movie planned about it, is finally receiving it. CNN's "Newstand" and ABC's "Good Morning America" have featured the book with profiles of Jimmy. Check out "Making the Wiseguys Weep" and some of Roselli's great albums: "3 A.M.," "Best of Neapolitan Songs," "The Italian Album," "Jimmy Roselli," "When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New," and "What Is A Song." You will never, ever, forget them. Sammy Cahn, Joe Pesci, who loves Jimmy and wants to play him in the movie, Chazz Palminteri, and John Gotti, among others, will attest to that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where's the movie?!
I read Making The Wiseguys Weep 4 times. It had me captivated from beginning to end. I was not aware of Jimmy Roselli's music before reading it, but picked it because I am Italian-American and wanted a compelling mafia story. This book paints a picture so vivid of Italian-American culture, the life and times of the "good ol' days" and the amazing experiences of Jimmy Roselli. It made me track down some Roselli albums for his talent is amazing.
I read that this would be adapted into a movie starring John Travolta called Standing Room Only directed by Gus Van Sant. As of now, it has not been made, and I read an interview with Mr. Van Sant from mid-2003 saying that it is a possibility that the film will indeed be made. I want to know any information about this movie! I am unaware of it being in production and if it is, I absoloutly cannot wait to see it! Travolta would be terrific as Mr. Roselli.

3-0 out of 5 stars like casino profits, best used by skimming
This book has much to recommend it. It provides insight into the aftermath of the profliferation of rock in the '60s---the virtual banishing to the wilderness of talented performers committed to, in my opinion, songs on a much higher level than those penned and sung by many of the musically less-than-literate '60s icons. Both songs crafted by Berlin, Porter, et al and the performers who delivered them with depth of feeling and well-honed craft were suddenly visciously shunted aside by both kids caught up in rebellion (somewhat understandable given the times, hell, I was one of them) and profit-driven record companies (sickening and unforgiveable). Gifted singers like Tony Bennett, Roselli, and many others were pretty much hung out to dry as American culture took a nose dive it has yet to recover from ... . This phenomenom, the steamrolling of America's great song book and its interpreters, is well documented in chapter 6 here.

Evanier also casts the light well on Roselli's sentimentality toward wiseguys as family that supplanted that of his biological family, and does a good job of explaining why Roselli kept coming back for more punishment, exposing and analyzing his frailties and rationalizations. He also does manage to take us into the Copa or other saloons and relive the excitement, the raw emotional power, the connection with his audience which made Roselli special. All commendable.

But I must confess disappointment. ... In the book ... the reminiscences of his wife and running buddies get repetitive and old awful fast. The key points are made, and made well early in the book, and after that there's some coasting and page filling. It goes on longer than it has to. As for Roselli himself, what at first reads like admirable [bravery] in standing up to the "boys", blowing off Ed Sullivan, etc., soon turns into tiresome tirades of self-justification and egotism. Ironically, he comes off as petty, mean, and self-important at times as his purported hated arch-rival, Sinatra. (This is not, of course, Evanier's fault) ... I have to hear Roselli sing (which the book did make me want to, a definite plus).

Pay close attention up to chapter 6, then skim like you were a boss controlling the slots in a classy joint in Atlantic City.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Five more stars to David Evanier for writing a great story on Jimmy Roselli. After reading the reviews, some people feel that Jimmy is not the greatest person in the world, but I think we can all agree that he is one of the best singers who's story is a story of interest and it was superbly told by David Evanier. ... Read more

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