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1. Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
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2. A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration
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3. Angela's Ashes (AUDIO CASSETTE)
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4. Active Side of Infinity
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5. The Journey Of Crazy Horse: A
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6. Professor and The Madman, The
7. All Souls: A Family Story from
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8. Measure of a Man, The : A Spiritual
9. Testament of Youth (Penguin Twentieth
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10. The War Journal of Major Damon
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11. The Meaning of Everything: The
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12. What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
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13. Growing Up King: An Intimate Memoir
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14. Thirteen Senses : A Memoir
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15. Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World's
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16. Where White Men Fear to Thread:
17. Mankiller: A Chief and Her People
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18. Oprah Winfrey Speaks
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19. Tis Unabridged : A Memoir
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20. Black Elk Speaks

1. Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
by James Bradley
list price: $39.98
our price: $26.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586215698
Catlog: Book (2003-09)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 110399
Average Customer Review: 3.19 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Flyboys is the true story of young American airmen who were shot down over Chichi Jima. Eight of these young men were captured by Japanese troops and taken prisoner. Another was rescued by an American submarine and went on to become president. The reality of what happened to the eight prisoners has remained a secret for almost 60 years. After the war, the American and Japanese governments conspired to cover up the shocking truth. Not even the families of the airmen were informed what had happened to their sons. It has remained a mystery—until now. Critics called James Bradley's last book "the best book on battle ever written." Flyboys is even better: more ambitious, more powerful, and more moving. On the island of Chichi Jima those young men would face the ultimate test. Their story—a tale of courage and daring, of war and of death, of men and of hope—will make you proud, and it will break your heart. ... Read more

Reviews (141)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Book About War.
If you are looking for a feel good American heroes book this is not it. "Flyboys" is a very worthwhile and thought provoking book. There are times when it causes the reader to feel uncomfortable as it describes large scale and individual atrocities including cannibalism and mass murder performed by the Japanese that are very distressing to read about. Many of the previous patriotic reviewers I believe found it difficult to face the descriptions of the small and large scale violent and destructive American behavior even though it was dwarfed by the Japanese behavior.

The author remained remarkably non judgmental in his descriptions. He tries to put in context the violent behavior, although not to excuse it, by supplying relevant cutural and historic background.

The book invites us to examine the contrast between war time and peacetime humanity. Which is really us? Is war time meanness just kept below the surface during times of peace? It reminds us that when hundreds of thousands of lives are lost, that these are the lives of valuable individuals whether American or others. It emphasizes the remarkable heroism and perhaps the naivete of our servicemen particularly our "Flyboys." They were heroes especially because they completely understood the risks they were taking and proceeded out of choice because they were needed. George Bush Sr., as one of them , is featured as a sensitive and lucky(to be alive)hero.

The Japanese soldiers were brutalized by their officers and were required to follow orders without question. One gets concerned about group think and herd mentality. How independent are human beliefs and actions? Do we actually choose them or are we mostly a product of the society in which we were raised? We must intuitively know that it is wrong to bayonet a restrained man with a sharpened bamboo pole with the purpose of of causing pain, prior to beheading him while still alive, The officers who ordered this behavior earn our contempt. They force soldiers to carry out their orders as if they were slaves.

The Japanese "Spirit Warrier" believed that all orders originated with their Emperor who they believed descended from the Sun Goddess. In a way they were following their faith. Is it right to unquestioningly follow a religious leader or a religious belief ie Jihad,or perhaps to believe that followers of our culture are more worthwhile than the followers of other cultures. We must have known as Americans in the 19th century that slavery was wrong and that women should have the right to vote but it took us a long time to correct these injustices. Were we not deserving of contempt for thoughtlessly following the group think?

This is a history of WWII in the Pacific told mainly through a small group of people involved with the battle for the island of Chichi Jima by an author who is a truth seeking patriotic American whose father was incidentally a flag raiser at Iwo Jima. It raises our awareness of the horrors of war. It ends with some optimism and descriptions of forgiveness or at least understanding by memebers of both sides. There is even some real humanity displayed as Private Iwatake, who developed a personal relationshop with a subsequently beheaded cannibalized "Flyboy" named Warren Earl Vaughn, when phoned by the author, doing his research, answers the phone with, "Hello, this is Warren." He had changed his name to honor his dead prisoner.

4-0 out of 5 stars Has its faults, but important nevertheless...
I read about 20 of the earlier reviews of "Flyboys" as I struggled through the book this past week. Some of the negative comments are deserved, such as referring to the late Gen. Curtis LeMay as "Curtis" in half or more of the references to him. This is bizarre and distracting. Whether a result of careless editing or author-torial stubborness, it does not work. Also, I agree that the term "Flyboys" as a collective description of pilots, gunners and radiomen is over-used. I also agree that the book perhaps tries to cover too much history and abandons its cover story for too many pages at a time. Some condensing and reorganization would have enhanced its power. That said, many of the other negative comments seem to be unfair. Yes, Mr. Bradley dwells on America's mistreatment of Indians and Filipinos at length, including prisoners of war. Yes, he gives disgusting details of how our napalm drops on Japanese cities destroyed civilians indiscriminately. But he is not making up those facts. And to emphasize how easily combat and its stresses can make soldiers willing to do horrible deeds is not exactly the same thing as excusing the acts. I have read my share of WW II books, as I near 60 years of age, and "Flyboys" is the first one which sensibly explains how the Japanese fighter rationalized not only his willingness to die in already-lost battles, but his contempt for those from other cultures who chose to be prisoners of war instead. To explain the Japanese viewpoint, again, is not to excuse the acts. Nor is it unpatriotic.

"Flyboys" describes disgusting acts of brutality and cannibalism, and is ultimately a very sad tale. It is not a work that should be tackled by readers who are emotionally fragile. As most people reading this review will already know, Mr. Bradley's dad was one of the Iwo Jima flag-raisers, wounded physically by Japanese soldiers in that fight, and wounded in some ways psychologically by the whole of his wartime service. The fact that his son went off to study in Japan, and developed much respect for the residents there, must have been painful and puzzling for the father. But I don't think any intelligent reader of Bradley's earlier book, "Flags of Our Fathers" or of "Flyboys" can question the younger Bradley's respect for our troops or our country. One of our strengths as a representative democracy is that we can love our nation for having humane ideals even if we are imperfect in living up to them every minute. And we can learn from injustices committed in our names by our government or military agents, and change our ways.

I stuck with "Flyboys" right to the end, flaws and all, and I'm glad I did. It gets more powerful as it goes on, and it does finish the story of the eight Chichi Jima American POW's as much as it could be completed, so long after their 1945 deaths. We live in a time when we may be facing 30 years or more of sporadic war with terrorists and the countries which fund and hide them. To read a book which makes war and its (initially) unintended horrors seem like a step to be accepted only with the greatest caution is not a bad thing right now. While Mr. Bradley is not the smoothest historian/writer on the block, he shows promise. In some ways this book is better than "Flags of Our Fathers" despite its problems of style, language and organization. For sure, it is more important than the previous book, because the Iwo Jima battle story had already been well-covered in earlier works. Former President George Bush came close to being a prisoner on Chichi Jima, and plays a small part in this book. If he cooperated, and if he thinks Jim Bradley has done a service to the country with his research into the horrors of war in the Pacific from both sides, I won't argue with him. He was there, I was not. I'm glad I read "Flyboys" but unlike "Flags of Our Fathers" which I've read three times since it was first published, I won't be reading it twice. Its medicine is too strong for a second dose.

3-0 out of 5 stars Strays way off course
I am very offended in the tone that book takes in regard to comparing Japan's Chinese campaign with our final offensives in Germany and Japan. With all of the well written reviews I do not have much to add except to say that Japan was dead in the water and would have fought to the last man, woman and child. I also think that the nuclear bombs definately did create a new level of war and by doing so expedited the surrender. I am tired of people trying to apologize for America, the fact remains if they did not engage us then they would not have faced our wrath. The Chinese on the other hand recieved the barbaric wrath of Japan without so much as provoking them. I suppose we are supposed to draw a parallel in our manifest destiny or turn of the century Phillipine campaigns that were both in a very different era. By taking away all of Japans budget to make war America gave them a head start on creating a modern economy unparalleled in the world.

This book gets three stars for having some nice solid sections when it stays on task and does not get to preachy. If it wasn't for that I would have flunked it. The author has talent though and the read is pretty good being that is so severly flawed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not sure what to make of this book
First off, I find it surprising that this story was not told sooner, as it involved a future U.S. president (I suppose much of the information was not available until recently). I give Bradley credit for telling the story of the airmen who gave their lives in service to our country, but I'm not sure what to make of Bradley's commentary on U.S. policy before and during World War II. It's true that atrocities happen in war, and the actions of our military should not be whitewashed. It seems wrong to me, however, to try to draw moral equivalency between the aggressors, and those who fight that aggression at great cost to themselves so that others may enjoy freedom. I also reject Bradley's suggestions that all atrocities committed by the Japanese were a direct result of earlier U.S. actions, however wrong those actions may have been (Bradley's description of the Japanese corruption of the Samauri code seems to contradict his own assertions regarding this point). I rate "Flyboys" 3 stars for telling a story that should have been told earlier, but I have reservations about the revisionist history in the book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, misleading title
A few months ago, I overheard an argument by two people over this book, so I figured I would read it myself to see what it was really like. I must say I was very disappointed. The first few chapters are not even about World War II. The title is misleading, for it is not really about "Flyboys", and the author uses it as a platform to condemn the use of airpower. Unfortunately, civilians were killed in bombing raids, but it should be remembered that it was the Germans and the Japanese who started this war. The author also sees very little, if any, difference, between the Americans and Japanese, yet he overlooks who rebuilt Japan. If Japan had defeated the US, would they have rebuilt our cities? I highly doubt. There are better books about World War II in the Pacific, and certainly better books that portray the courage of the American Fighting Man. ... Read more

2. A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Martin Luther King Jr.
list price: $26.98
our price: $17.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570425728
Catlog: Book (1998-05-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 73984
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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These 11 historic sermons--some complete recordings of entire addresses, others reconstructed from various church services--make plain why Martin Luther King Jr. considered his "first calling and greatest commitment" to be a preacher of the gospel. As an orator he is second to none, drawing his audience in with an urgency that resonates through every soaring cadence of his familiar, powerful voice. Using insights from psychology, philosophy, and the Bible, he appeals to the heads as well as the hearts of his congregations, explaining that personal and social change can only be effected by adopting a morality of love in service of God and humankind. While King's concern for social justice is a common theme throughout, each sermon is a jewel of literary artistry, as it presents a simple problem, examines its complications, and offers a startling and often challenging resolution. Topics range from "Rediscovering Lost Values," a caution that scientific progress without moral progress can result only in a step backward for humanity, to "An American Dream," a wake-up call to the "self-evident truth" of equality proclaimed in the Constitution.

Brief introductions to the sermons from spiritual leaders and friends, including Dr. Joan Campbell, Billy Graham, Dr. Robert Franklin, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, offer personal insights into King's life, work, and legacy. An interesting note from the producers explains how the recordings of the sermons (published in a hardcover companion of the same name) were pieced together. In word and in voice, these are masterpieces of theological literature from one of the world's great orators, who Robert Franklin rightly says may well be "the greatest religious intellectual of the twentieth century." (Running time: 8 hours, 6 cassettes) --Uma Kukathas ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars King still inspires
Forget about the sweet-toned, hagiographic introductions and organ play at the beginning of each sermon and you've got 6 cassetes with remarkable good and lively preaching. The sermons of the early King and the rather boring sermon on the American dream excluded you've got some retorical outstanding sermons like 'Love your enemies' and 'Why Jesus calls a man a fool'. Listening to King makes me wonder where this acute relevance of the gospel has gone...and how we can get this vigor back.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Profound Message
The sermons in A Knock at Midnight are both deeply moving and a powerful reminder of the greatness of Dr. King. This collection should be read and heard by everyone, especially the young of today who have been fed a Dr. King who somehow only delivered one speech ("I Have a Dream"). As a middle school teacher I found the sermons to be an excellent way for my students to move beyond the platitudes about Dr. King to a much deeper understanding of his life and ministry. To read and listen to these great sermons is an absolutely wonderful experience, but at the same time a sad reminder that today we have no great voice of moral authority like his. Fortunately we do have his words and voice preserved for us and our children.

5-0 out of 5 stars I wish I could give this EXPERIENCE 10 stars!
Notice I refer to the cassettes and the companion book as an EXPERIENCE as I both listened to and read the REVEREND King! Although the media focused on the visible part of his ministry, the civil rights movement, his sermons are profound and awesome in their implications for today as well as their in their powerful delivery during the mid-1950's through 1960's. Although I will cherish both the cassette series and the book, it is through hearing the SPEAKING of Dr. King that really made me breathless! Thank you LORD God for sending us your messenger Dr. King to give us a wonderful earthly ministry for a brilliant and brief time (much like Jesus Christ). Simply awesome!

5-0 out of 5 stars A fabulous collection of soul-stirring preaching.
A fabulous collection of soul-stirring preaching by one of this century's finest preachers. Many people know King as a great political leader, fiery orator, and creative organizer. This collection of sermons will convince the world that King was first and foremost an anointed preacher. His sermons ring with authenticity and resound with relevancy. Kings messages speak profoundly to our troubled times and offer both prophetic insight and divine guidance as we attempt to find our way into the next millinium. This collection of sermons, with their superb introductions and commentaries, is perhaps one of the finest efforts of its kind. It will certainly be a source of pleasure and insight for generations to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Answering the World!!!!!
A Knock At Midnight is frightfully prophetic,subperbly truthful and dynamically inspiring.It shows what the great mind of King brings and brought to the forefront while he was living and while he continues to live in our hearts.These sermons are chillingly lifelike as if King speaks directly to your heart and mind---NOW! It is truly a must read! The sermon A Knock at Midnight delivers the powerful and sensitive message concerning where the Church has to take the people as far as their needs are concerned and it deals with the advocacy of having to open the door to the truly oppressed and needy.It is a thought provoking theme set against the veil of modern times.There is a a Knock At Midnight and it is now answering the world. ... Read more

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews (1623)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5-0 out of 5 stars ANGELA'S ASHES

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

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

4. Active Side of Infinity
by Carlos Castaneda
list price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694521248
Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 410750
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Ordinarily, events that change our path are impersonal affairs, and yet extremely personal." My teacher, don Juan Matus, said this in guiding me as his apprentice to collect what I considered to be the memorable events of my life. Don Juan Matus was a Yaqui Indian shaman from Sonora, Mexico. . . who traced [his] lineage to the shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times. Over the course of thirteen years, don Juan ushered me into the cognitive world of those shamans, a world which was. . . ruled by a different system of cognition than the one which rules our world of everyday life.

Writing The Active Side of Infinity was a response to don Juan's directive to collect such an album of memorable events. . . . As time went by, he revealed to me that gathering such a collection was a traditional task given by the shamans of his lineage to their apprentices. . . . Don Juan stated that to formulate an album of this nature demanded such discipline and impartiality that it was, in essence, an act of war.

"Don Juan described the total goal of the shamanistic knowledge that he handled as the preparation for facing the definitive journey: the journey that every human being has to take at the end of his life. . . . Don Juan considered that to collect the memorable events in their lives was, for shamans, the preparation for their entrance into that concrete region, which they called the active side of infinity."

In The Active Side of Infinity, written in the final years of preparation for his definitive journey, anthropologist and shaman Carlos Castaneda gives us his most autobiographical and intimately revealing work ever, the fruit of a lifetime of experience and perhaps the most moving volume in his oeuvre.

Read by Cotter Smith on two cassettes. ... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars The active side.
What can be said about the book? A must read for anyone familiar with Castaneda. Brilliant if not confusing. Take notice of many inconsistancies with his previous works. Written just before the end of his life or the beginning of his "Definitive Journey". Of course the question is still unanswered... is this stuff for real? The answer is moot. To the average person the stories related to us by Carlos were a big tease, we can never hope to aspire to the warriors way by ourselves. The best we can do is live our lives "like a warrior". The true brilliance of the works, is that it has forced many of us to accept the existence of other possibilities. Don't long for more books just because Carlos has passed on, there are more out there... Just look for them.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Active Side of Infinity
The Active Side of Infinity is the last book Carlos Castaneda wrote before his death in 1998. He described it as "a collection of the memorable events in my life," which he gathered at the recommendation of don Juan Matus, the Yaqui Indian shaman who was his teacher. An anthropologist and shaman, Castaneda wrote ten other books, including The Teachings of Don Juan.
Collecting the memorable events in one's life is a way of stirring "caches of energy that exist within the self," and making that energy available.
The process requires "the genuine and all-consuming act of putting together the sum total of one's emotions and realizations, without sparing anything." It's not a process that one undertakes lightly. Castaneda says that, for a shaman, the act of collecting memorable events is preparation for a "definitive journey" into the "active side of infinity."
Non-shamans call the definitive journey "death," and the active side of infinity "the afterlife." Shamans believe that human energy exists in a very real place after death, and they prepare themselves for continued existence in that place.
The collection of memorable events is not a personal memoir, or a rehashing of life's experiences, but instead is stories and events that touch something universal in all humans. They often change the life path of those to whom they occurred.
Castaneda describes how he first met don Juan, and his difficulties in finding him after they lost contact just after their meeting. He also includes several stories from his life as a child and a young man--events he had totally forgotten, but that had irrevocably changed his life.
Whether or not one agrees with Castaneda and don Juan about the afterlife, those who read The Active Side of Infinity will find themselves thinking about their lives, and journeys they must take after death, in a different way.

5-0 out of 5 stars A farewell to Carlos
Sorcerers from Don Juan's lineage believed that in order for consiousness to survive after death one must recapitulate certain events in one's life. This is the reliving of this experiences to stir caches of energy that exist within the self. This allows our life force to be free from the binds of the eagle, who then feeds itself from those experiences and not our consiousness.
This book is a colection of some of those events in Carlos life wich he recapitulated in the same fashion his benefactor did before he departed into the other world.
It is also a sort of rites of passage for any Carlos reader. We get to see the more personal side of him. An almost old fashioned and mild manner person who in the presence of Don Juan seemed to colapse only to discover his true nature and purpose. We also get to see a more detailed account of some of the unforgetable moments from his past books: His first encounter with Don Juan and his last.
This a great book and a very entertaining one as well. It's a very profound statement and a farewell to a beloved writer and an almost shaman. If he only would've "seen".

4-0 out of 5 stars Preparing for the definitive-journey...
Sometime in 1998, on a not-so unusual evening, my computer, once booting it up, seemed to explode in a dance of light and sound - my email had been inundated with the news that the famous author of 'The Teachings of Don Juan', Carlos Castaneda, had leaped into the abyss, never to return. The general response to his final passing, the commencement of his 'definitive-journey', was an ecstatic celebration: his work, it had been said, was finally complete. My feelings were mixed. Castaneda had been a close 'literary friend', a quasi-spiritual companion who, through his many books, made me aware that all things are indeed possible. The 'warrior-traveller' had moved on, and it was rumoured that his last book, ~The Active Side of Infinity~ was on the way.

It has been four years, and for a variety of reasons, I never got around to reading it, but finally did last week. To be sure, this last installment ranks, in my mind, as one of his best. This is the last in a long line of texts concerning Castaneda's appreticeship as a sorcerer, working under the tutelage of Don Juan Matus - a 'nagual' of mystery, power and hilarious wit. Don Juan has to be one of the most interestiing characters of the twentieth century. And to finally meet him again in ~Infinity~ was certainly a pleasure.

~Infinity~ has to be the most accessible of all Castaneda's books. We can almost categorize it as being his last will and testament before his final exit into infinity - an effort to pay off his spiritual debts as a warrior-traveller, recapitulating (Don Juan's term) memorable events and relationships in his life that changed his path or had, either consciously or not, affected or had a profound significance in his life as a sorcerer. The book is a collection of Castaneda's memories, intense and not so, that through re-living would prepare him for the 'definitive-journey' into the abyss. Death is the central theme in ~Infinity~, communicating the importance of preparing oneself for the unavoidable end we all must embark upon...

I was reminded of Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist who, in the last years of his life, always had 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead' on his night stand, referring to it before falling to sleep. This was Jung's way of preparing himself for the definitive journey. Castaneda, though, through re-living the past, sought-out some of the more significant people in his life, and made a practical attempt to set things right. This made a lot of sense to me on many levels.

To suggest to new readers of Castaneda to begin with ~Infinity~ would be, in my mind, a disservice. My advice would be to start from the beginning with 'The Teachings of Don Juan' and move on from's appreciation of the entire philosophy will be much deeper as a result. That said, however, ~Infinity~ could well be a good starting point, because as I mentioned before, it's the most accessible of the canon.

This book was published after Castaneda's death and he undoubtedly knew he was dying when he wrote it. This is his most autobiographical account. It provides insight into the very human side of a man surrounded by so much mystery. Many concepts described in earlier books are clarified here. The most important topic is that of "The Predator". This is the only one of Castaneda's books (with the exception of The Magical Passes) that addresses this most controversial subject. Make no mistake, this topic is not making reference to a metaphor. Without an understanding of this topic, one will never be able to make progress on the Path of Knowledge. For those interested, check out these other books that discuss this topic: 1) The Path (Esmeralda Arana), 2) In Search of the Miraculous (PD Ouspensky), 3) Far Journeys (Robert Monroe), 4)Enlivening the Chakra of the Heart (Florin Lowndes). ... Read more

5. The Journey Of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History
by Joseph M., III Marshall
list price: $34.95
our price: $23.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565118685
Catlog: Book (2004-10-07)
Publisher: HighBridge Audio
Sales Rank: 111342
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Book Description

Most of the world remembers Crazy Horse as a peerless warrior who brought theU.S.Army to its knees at the Battle of Little Bighorn. But to his fellow LakotaIndians, he wasa dutiful son and humble fighting man who—with valor, spirit, respect, andunparalleledleadership—fought for his people’s land, livelihood, and honor. In thisfascinatingbiography, Joseph Marshall, himself a Lakota Indian, creates a vibrant portraitof theman, his times, and his legacy.

Drawing on firsthand research and his culture’s rich oral tradition (rarelyshared outsidethe Native American community), Marshall reveals many aspects of Crazy Horse’slife,including details of the powerful vision that convinced him of his duty to helppreservethe Lakota homeland—a vision that changed the course of Crazy Horse’s life andspurredhim confidently into battle time and time again.

The Journey of Crazy Horse is the true story of how one man’s fight forhispeople’s survival roused his true genius as a strategist, commander, and trustedleader.And it is an unforgettable portrayal of a revered human being and a profoundcelebrationof a culture, a community, and an enduring way of life. ... Read more

6. Professor and The Madman, The : Unabridged
by Simon Winchester
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694522430
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 146569
Average Customer Review: 3.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

National Bestseller!

One of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters, the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1857, took seventy years to complete, and drew from tens of thousands of brilliant minds. But hidden within the rituals of its creation is a fascinating and mysterious story.

Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of thousands of contributors to the dictionary. But Minor was no ordinary contributor. He was remarkably prolific, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his home. On numerous occasions Murray invited Minor to visit Oxford and celebrate his work, but Murray's offer was regularly, mysteriously, refused.

Finally, a puzzled Murray set out to visit him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor . . . that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, Minor was also a murderer, clinically insane - and locked up in Broadmoor, England's harshest asylum for criminal lunatics.

The Professor and the Madman is an extraordinary tale of madness and genius, and the incredible obsessions of two men at the heart of the Oxford English Dictionary and literary history. Written with riveting insight and detail, Simon Winchester delivers a fascinating glimpse into one man's tortured mind and his contribution to another man's magnificent dictionary.

... Read more

Reviews (344)

3-0 out of 5 stars Too little story, too much padding...
The title of this book, "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary" is far more intriguing than the book itself. Once you get the main idea, that one of the most important contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary was an American living in a mad-house, there's not much more to tell. And yet, Simon Winchester goes on to tell it for another 200 or so pages.

The problem is that what sounds like a fascinating story really isn't. I mean, nothing much happens. Dr. W. C. Minor is delusional, murders a man, and is placed in a mental institution. Dr. Murray begins work on the Oxford Dictionary and makes a public request for volunteers to read through books and find examples of words. Dr. Minor responds to the advertisement from his cell, and is of great help.

Time passes. Eventually, both men die of old age.

End of story.

Simon Winchester tries to fill pages with baseless supposition, along the lines of "Perhaps it was this early experience of watching young maidens bathing in the river that would eventually lead Dr. Minor to the confused mental state that would, ultimately, land him in a mental hospital." After a while, though, one can't help thinking, it would have been nice if this book had an actual story behind it. "Perhaps Dr. Minor had an affair with the widow of the man he murdered. Although there is no evidence to suggest that anything of the kind ever occurred..."

What was interesting was seeing some of the early definitions of the words themselves, but that was a very small part of the book. Ultimately, "The Professor and the Madman" is a bit of fluff. There's enough information to make for a fascinating 5-page article, but it's extended and padded to fill a book.

Only for the very bored...

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting story
This is a marvelous book about the Professor, James Murray, the primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, and the Madman, Dr. William C. Minor, one of the Dictionary's most prolific contributors, despite his incarceration in an asylum for the criminally insane after committing a senseless murder provoked by his delusions. The book tells the stories of each of these protagonists as well as the making of the OED itself, and nicely wraps up all of the connections, even to the point of showing what happened to the murdered man's family (whose widow visited Minor regularly
for months).

3-0 out of 5 stars Quick read for philologists, historians, and others.
I like reading the occasional historical fact (rather than historical fiction) "novelette," and The Professor and the Madman was definitely easy to get through. One can learn much from books like this, particularly the way normal people lived their day-to-day lives in a certain time and place.

A few things I liked about this book:

1. One will assuredly learn a thing or two about the English language, in reading it. You will learn some obsolete words, the origin of some words, and just get a refresher of other, more common words. Each chapter begins with a dictionary entry of a particular word, some very normal words, some more exotic words.

2. The parallel lives of the two main characters are interesting to follow. One feels real emotions for both. There are a few shocking moments in the book, which stand out quite a bit in front of the otherwise fairly tame narrative.

3. I grew up with the Oxford English Dictionary, and I always wondered how they compiled all the words. It was great learning about how they did that.

4. The book covers an array of themes and topics, and a fairly diverse geography. Mental illness, civil war, sexual propriety, crime and punishment, one can learn a little bit about a lot of issues in the reading of Simon Winchester's book.

I wouldn't recommend the book to just anyone, though. It can be kind of slow, and sometimes one simply grows tired of bouncing back and forth between the two main characters. It is also fairly short; one sort of wishes for more detail on certain events. In some places, the book reads like a crime/detective novel from the 19th century, in others it is more like a biography. It sort of skips around from one style to the next, almost as if different parts were written at very different times by an author in very different states of mind. Overall, though, this book is a nice, quick read, a good plot, and you will learn a thing or two from it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Footnote to History
Simon Winchester has written a very unusual book about a very strange series of events during the last century and the dawn of this one. First, we have various literary authorities in England deciding to compile and edit a massive dictionary (eventually it became the Oxford English Dictionary), which took 70 years to finish and filled multiple volumes. Then we have the editor of the project for most of its life discovering that one of his most valuable contributors was in a lunatic asylum because he murdered someone. The story goes from there.

Winchester is a good writer, and he milks this story for everything it's worth. He spends a good deal of time talking about side issues, as is common with this sort of slice-of-life thing. He does a very good job with them, as far as I can tell. I'm pretty knowledgeable with regards to the American Civil War; the author must tell you of the Battle of the Wilderness to explain how the murderer went mad, and he does so skilfully. The writing of the OED and its contents are intelligently discussed and dissected, and the history of dictionaries themselves was fascinating. The other characters, namely the editor of the dictionary itself, James Murray, are interesting and well-drawn.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. It is short, but it's fascinating, and I would recommend it pretty much universally.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun and Accessible
Being a dictionary enthusiast, especially of the OED, I was excited to come across this book. It reads quickly, and has a wealth of factual information and also some fun speculation. The author uses lots of words which are themselves fun to look up, but also has OED references printed right in. I suggest that any fan of the OED read this book. ... Read more

7. All Souls: A Family Story from Southie
by Michael Patrick Macdonald, William Dufris
list price: $69.95
our price: $69.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0792723767
Catlog: Book (2000-06-01)
Publisher: Sound Library
Sales Rank: 501927
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Michael Patrick MacDonald grew up in "the best place in the world"--the Old Colony projects of South Boston--where 85% of the residents collect welfare in an area with the highest concentration of impoverished whites in the U.S. In All Souls, MacDonald takes us deep into the secret heart of Southie. With radiant insight, he opens up a contradictory world, where residents are besieged by gangs and crime but refuse to admit any problems, remaining fiercely loyal to their community. MacDonald also introduces us to the unforgettable people who inhabit this proud neighborhood. We meet his mother, Ma MacDonald, an accordion-playing, spiked-heel-wearing, indomitable mother to all; Whitey Bulger, the lord of Southie, gangster and father figure, protector and punisher; and Michael's beloved siblings, nearly half of whom were lost forever to drugs, murder, or suicide. By turns explosive and touching, All Souls ultimately shares a powerful message of hope, renewal, and redemption. ... Read more

Reviews (141)

5-0 out of 5 stars All Souls
My reactions relate not only to the reading "All Souls" but to other reviews of the work. I should state with clarity that I am familiar neither with the individuals in the book nor with the history of Southie. Yet MacDonald's book is vital to both the story of urban centers such as Boston but also to the untold story of white poverty in the United States. Books such as "All Souls" and more militant pieces such as "The Redneck Manifesto" (Jim Goad's brash and irreverent book) are important accounts of white poverty. MacDonald never portrayed his work as "a socio-cultural study of white poverty in an Urban Center in the Northeastern United States," but a personal account of his family's experiences. "All Souls" presents a good picture of the complexities of the real world - a family that was a picture of both dysfunction and resiliency, a community "code" that served both as its' strength and its' Achilles heal, and a person who journeyed through life trying to come to terms with these issues.

Unaware of the accuracy of the "facts," the story of this family is an important addition to those who continually ignore the reality of the "white experience in America" - an experience, that for many, is not couched in race-based advantage. To dismiss an important piece of work such as this based on interpretation of facts or untold pieces of what is an enormously complex story misses the point. Mr. MacDonald, good job on starting an important discussion!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read!
I couldn't put this book down, and I jsut finished reading it for a second time. Mike MacDonald brings the reader into his childhood and won't let him escape. His story of growing up poor in Southie, amidst the drugs and violence and busing crisis, yet still being able to call it "the best place in the world" allowed me to finish the story with a smile on my face. And I challenge the person who wrote that despite the drugs and crime, etc. that he grew up with, Mike was still able to "convince himself" that it was the best place in the world. After sitting down with him last week for an interview/conversation, I believe he would maintain his point of view; he wasn't convincing himself of anything. And that's what allowed me to stay positive through the book: yes, the MacDonalds had to deal with unfathomable pain and hardships, but Southie's tight-knit community made for a home that is hard to forget about. I also challenge the person who in his review said that MacDonald's book was an "indictment" of the gangsters in Southie and that he made "brave accusations" about them; the truth is obvious, and Whitey Bulger and his crew managed to bring unbelievable amounts of drugs and crime to Southie. Despite what the newspapers or anyone else wants to say. I now work in Southie and have seen first-hand the poverty and drugs, but it is still a great community. Mike MacDonald, in his book and in our conversations, erased stereotypes of Southie that existed in my mind and that exist across the country today. He also got through to me that writing can and will allow one's wounds to heal; he is a brave man, an excellent writer, and one of the nicest guys I've met since I began working in Southie three months ago. Y'all have to read this book if you want the truth on one of the most misunderstood neighborhoods in Boston.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone from Boston should read this book
Before the gentrification of Southie and Dot, these areas contained Boston's infamous white "underclass." This book is the story of a fascinating family that lived in Southie in the 70's and 80's, and witnessed and participated in some of the most important events to happen in Boston in the 20th century.

The book is really divided into two parts. The first part takes place when the author was a very young child, and is primarily about his older siblings. It is the 70's, when the bussing riots are threatening to destroy Boston and the Winter Hill gang was hanging around in a certain auto body shop. The author makes it clear that a lot of what he tells about these events is second hand, primarily from his siblings and his mother. However, since they were very active in so many events, and since this book concentrates on the whole family and not just the author, this does not detract from the veracity of the book at all. The second part takes place in the 1980's, when, in the aftermath of the Charles Stewart fiasco, the police are looking for a martyr to prove that they're not rascist. They settle on the author's younger brother.

The most fascinating thing about this book his how the author manages to chronicle how a family and a community can disintigrate while remaining as strong as ever. Not everyone in the family, or the community makes it through the book, and as Southie is quickly becoming hot real estate it is sad to think of the community that is being condo'd over.

Anyone who is interested in knowing why Boston is the way it is now should read this book. Boston is still living with the repurcussions of the period that this book covers, and this book offers a fascinating first (and sometimes second) hand account of the events that shaped our city.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Eye-Opening, and Tragically Irish
Ignore the attacks - All Souls is beautiful and timeless. It is at once a story of 20th century American turmoil and also a story with the Irish tone and Irish rhythm, calling to mind Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. But above all else it is, as described on the cover, a family story. A story written throughout a childhood, it tells the tale of a family torn violently apart by fate and circumstance, yet in some form still together, still beating and moving on with force. What many people, including some of my fellow Irish-American Boston residents, fail to grasp is that this story is not an analysis of a neighborhood; it is nothing historical but rather a vibrant story that drives straight into the core of what it means to be Irish and American simultaneously, and how the joy, loyalty, and fierce pride combine with hypocrisy and silence to produce a perplexing Irish-American identity. The story hits home for me, and it's truth is not necessarily in the trivial names of bars or individuals as some myopic readers contend. The truth comes in its message, in the power and emotion in Michael Patrick MacDonald's pride and disgust for the neighborhood that can be at the same time "the best place on earth" and a "hellhole." Do not fight the contradictions - it is contradictory and beautiful as a novel. It's American; it's Irish; it's human; and it's timeless. I urge anyone to read this phenomenal piece of work by MacDonald!

2-0 out of 5 stars 'ALL SOULS' very disappointing!
Highly anecdotal and unreferenced, the memoir: 'ALL SOULS: A Family Story from Southie' (c. 2000) by Mr. Michael Patrick MacDonald, simultaneously presented an unquestionable account of the author's tragic family life while presenting a dubious description of the neighborhood of South Boston.

Any life-long resident of South Boston who reads ALL SOULS will recognize the many errors in this memoir and the author's reliance on hyperbole for dramatic effect; such as referring to a fist fight as a 'riot' or an orderly protest as a 'mob'. The author further uses terminology not part of South Boston vocabulary, such as: Racist, Scapegoat, riots, molotov cocktails, and 'Lace Curtain Irish' (which is straight out of the book: 'Liberty's Chosen Home' p. 30 and not a Boston figure of speech).

ALL SOULS is further marred by the many suppositions, innuendos, and non-sequiturs used to describe residents and the neighborhood: such as the author's detailed descriptions of Whitey Bulger, a man the author admitted he never met; or the mentioning throughout ALL SOULS of the bar, the *Irish Rover*, which isn't even in South Boston but three miles away in Dorchester. In fact, the author seemed to have had most of his Southie experiences on the South Boston/Dorchester border, blurring those two distinct neighborhoods.

While the careful reader will not question the authenticity of the author's account of his family tragedies, some of which appear self-inflicted, the MacDonald family, as presented in ALL SOULS, had serious issues way before they moved to the Old Colony projects - therefore, 'ipse dixit', those tragedies 'happened' in South Boston, they were not 'caused' by South Boston, as implied in ALL SOULS! For the vast majority of South Boston's diverse & multi-cultural 32,000 residents, except for forced busing, Southie was a good place to grow up!

Neither autobiography nor diary, the memoir ALL SOULS is obviously valueless for serious historical research. The author mistook digressions for correlations, as Mr. Michael Patrick MacDonald presented a heart rendering account of his family's tragedies along with a dubious and mechanistic opinion of South Boston history and events. As a complement to ALL SOULS, please read: 'THAT OLD GANG OF MINE: A History of South Boston' (c. 1991) by Southie native Frank J. Loftus, which presented a less posit history of South Boston than the flawed ALL SOULS. ... Read more

8. Measure of a Man, The : A Spiritual Autobiography
by Sidney Poitier
list price: $32.95
our price: $21.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694521965
Catlog: Book (2000-04)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 583366
Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this luminous memoir, a true American icon looks back on his celebrated life and career.  His body of work is arguable the most morally significant in cinematic history, and the power and influence of that work are indicative of the character of the man behind the many storied roles.  Here, Sidney Poitier explores these elements of character and personal values to take his own measure - as a man, as a husband, and father, and as an actor.

Poitier was uncompromising as he pursued a personal and public life that would honor his upbringing and the invaluable legacy of his parents. Committed to the notion that what one does for a living articulates who one is, Poitier played only forceful and affecting characters who said something positive, useful, and lasting about the human condition.

Here, finally, is Poitier's own introspective look at what has informed his performances and his life. Poitier explores the nature of sacrifice and commitment, pride and humility, rage and forgiveness, and paying the price for artistic integrity. What emerges is a picture of a man seeking truth, passion, and balance in the face of limits--his own and the world's. A triumph of the spirit, The Measure of a Man captures the essential Poitier.

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Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful memoir by a great human being
In his autobiography, "Measure of a Man", Sidney Poitier talks about his failures as an actor, his struggles with life, and his encounters with nature. Poitier writes in a straight-forward style, making the book an enjoyable read. It's quite easy to get involved in Poitier's stories about his childhood skirmishes, his acting failures, and other sketches from his life, because he writes as if he were having a conversation with the reader. Poitier reflects on his past without sounding preachy. His tone has a sense of inquiry and wonder in it. A job well done by a fine human being.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book by a great actor...
I didn't know that Sidney Poitier had written a book until I saw the commercial for the "Oprah" show. I decided to tune in to see the interview, and found that Mr. Poitier was a very wise person. So, I decided to get the book, and I was not disappointed.

Poitier's prose is very much like a friend having a discussion with you over a cup of coffee -- more like a conversation with an intimate friend, rather than just a written record of his life and career. There is much wisdom here -- from his early beginnings on a small island in the Bahamas, he learned quite a bit about life and living. He has carried this knowledge throughout his life, and he now shares it with us.

It's hard to know a person just from the movies he makes. Mr. Poitier's body of work speaks volumes -- and so does this excellent book.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Measure of a Man, a literary addition to Poitier's life
Sidney Poitier fans are not hard to come by and would thoroughly enjoy this book, seeing as how the tone of the book is exemplary of Poitier's signature calm and confident demeanor.

_The Measure of a Man_ is organized into eleven sections that take the reader sequentially through the main lessons of Poitier's life with insights by the author looking back. Each section contains several stories from Poitier's life, each flowing seamlessly into the next. For example, under the chapter title, 'Life in Black and White' Poitier recalls the Harlem, New York that he loved. He opens with the politics of the area, including the fact that blacks were expected to go into New York City to work, but once the day was over, they were expected to stay far away from downtown, which segways into Poitier recalling the great nightlife of Harlem which in turn leads to a story of a specific man who was able to stay in Harlem as a hot item for one week annually. The man saved his money all year to spend on himself and others in the city in seven days before returning to Poitier's home place, Cat Island. These examples, along with many others support the overall lesson of this section; that the author was faced with discrimination many times, but he did not accept it into his beliefs and was happier with himself and his lifestyle.

The highlight of the book for me was understanding how Poitier's beginnings and upbringing support the life of an actor so well. Poitier never comes out and states, "this is what happened when I was a kid and at this moment on stage I drew from it," rather it is left to the reader to make the connections which I rather enjoyed. Any aspiring actor or speaker can take note from Poitier's examples and apply them to their own situation.

Anyone faced with adversity can respect and draw strength from Poitier's firm beliefs that had to be proven over and over again. His upbringing comes in to play in this aspect because he was raised in the 1940s but was unaware of racial segregation for the majority of his childhood. Being raised on an island where everyone was black with the exception of two people was helpful for Poitier because he developed his sense of self without the concept of prejudice. When this was introduced to him in his early teens, Poitier was already developed enough to feel confident enough to reject bigotry.

I have read other reviews that found tones of "black anger" in Poitier's story and I have found none. I believe he tells his story from his point of view and it is a viewpoint of equality for all men and a view of high self-respect, containing no notable tones of "black anger."

Some less enjoyable moments of _The Measure of a Man_ are the times Poitier drops names like a novice at a networking luncheon. Anyone who writes an autobiography thinks enough of himself or his story that he expects others to be interested. Poitier, for the most part does this unpretentiously and without excessiveness. Unfortunately, that makes the few times he does preach all the more noticeable. When recalling a filming, an integral meeting, or a high stakes encounter, Poitier drops a lot of names. Reading through the lists five or six lines long full of names becomes a bit tedious.

Another aspect to be aware of is that where as this is a great book for anyone looking to know more about Poitier's career, but anyone questioning about his family or personal life will be disappointed.

Sidney Poitier's _The Measure of a Man_, published by Harper SanFransisco is the literary addition to Poitier's life, and is not to be missed by those who respect his work.

5-0 out of 5 stars review of measure
The measure of a man is a story of integrity and character,anyone who would like to know something about the true man Poitier is should read this selection, but not just who Poitier is but also anyone who's looking for questions about themselves. Questions of life discipline, integrity. I also recommend it to a person who is open to a broad band of religion and isn't set on one particular religion, but open to a broad christianity. Sidney tells us of religion, but he never tells us of a particular one or group he belongs to, instead he takes things from many religions and kind of lumps all of their values and aspects into one form of his own particular standards and beliefs, he takes us on a journey through time, the trials and tribulations of his own life. The book also tackles the very controversial issue of race and segregation, and breaking through the race barrier, through pure determination.

The book starts of with Sidney watching T.V. and not being able to find anything on the television. He's frustrated with the fact that there are 97 channels on the television, but nothing to watch on them. He says he starts to think of "...images of a time in my life when things were so much simpler, when my options for entertainment couldn't be counted on a scale from 1 to 97." From this point the rest of the book is a continual flashback, structured into main points of the authors life from growing up on Cat Island to making movies, and to dealing with international stardom, a journey through time if you will. Its written in a very conversational style of writing, making you believe that your sitting right in front of Poitier himself, watching him tell his story and interacting with him with either disbelief, joy, or laughter. The book is well written from front to back, and because of this and his conversational style of writing, the events he describes, his actions, his feelings and his thoughts, are greatly illustrated. After reading a measure, you don't just feel as if you meet a man, you feel as if you lived with a man, through his struggles and through his success.

I enjoyed the book thouroghly, he says in his introduction he didn't want to write a book about his life, instead he "wanted to write a book about life. Just life itself." I think he accomplishes this throughout his book. He doesn't make the focus on his particular life, instead he uses his life as an example to others. He doesn't make it a standard he makes it a lesson, for all to read and all to learn from. It's an intriguing tail of a man who came from nowhere and wasn't given anything or any special treatment, but fought his way to the top, all by himself. It is an inspiring tail of self determination and tells a story everyone can learn from.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mistakes are to be found in this book!
Poitier describes,in the picture section, the 1958 movie, The Defiant Ones, he made with Tony Curtis as being a 1966 film! And Guess Whose Coming To Dinner, a 1967 movie of Poitier's, is described as being a 1968 film. ... Read more

9. Testament of Youth (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics S.)
by Vera Brittain, Cheryl Campbell
list price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140861599
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: Penguin Highbridge (Aud)
Sales Rank: 1009548
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars An inspiring, heartbreaking, unforgettable book.
Vera Brittain is not always easy to like. She's frequently disagreeable, usually opinionated, always challenging. But she also has more courage, strength and vision than most people you will ever encounter. As part of the first generation of women to achieve a university education in England, she put her studies aside to volunteer as a nurse on the front lines of World War I. This seminal event in world history profoundly altered her philosophy as she suffered the heartbreak of losing the two men she loved most in the world. Her triumph over tragedy should be inspiring to anyone who has ever lost a loved one, as she turned her grief and anger at the war into a lifelong committment to the cause of pacifism. Brittain is a beautiful writer with a sharp wit and an incisive mind. Her portrayal of the brutality of war and the tragic consequences of "God and country before all" makes for perhaps the most powerful anti-war book ever created. This is not only a testament to youth, but also to the courage and resiliancy of the human spirit.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully moving personal account life during WW1
This book by Vera Brittain is one of the most moving that I have read. Written as an account of the experiences of young men and women at the onset and during the First World War, it gives a particular insight which is different from, but equally absorbing as, those accounts, so often understated, of soldiers who fought in the trenches during the conflict. To be more accurate, while she recounts the feelings and experiences of the men who were closest to her, hers is the only woman's viewpoint which is given in any depth - and, indeed, it is her personal account, given in such depth that it draws in and involves the reader in a way unlike any simple factual account of events. While it recounts in some detail her own work as a nurse in the war theatres, it is a story with as much muted romanticism as those of the Brontes or Jane Austen, and belies to a degree the orthodoxy of Vera Brittain's feminism. This is a book to be recommended without hesitation, for anyone interested in the period, but also as a timeless account of human endeavour, endurance and love.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why isn't this GREAT Book better known here in the States?!
Reading the first few pages of this extraordinary memoir convinces me that Vera Brittain was truly one of the great writers ever! In fact, it must be among the very greatest memoirs ever. So when I mention this book to friends, they without exception , have never heard of it! Granted it's about a war from long ago, starting 90 years ago, a horror that Vera B. looks at, and condemns with all her passionate genius. And there were hundreds of classics written at the time, written about this most senseless of wars, a slaughter worse than anyone could ever have predicted. But she describes with great compassion this nightmare, and its effect on herself and her generation. When you read about how her fiance is killed, it will be difficult not to put the book down, and do some serious thinking. And her nursing efforts aboard the SS Brittanica (later sunk by a German U-Boat) make a fine story as well. The book may be a bit dense, and overly literary, but it seems that during this era quoting poetry was a normal part of conversation, unlike today!.Anyway, give this book a chance and you'll be completed entranced by this incredible author!

5-0 out of 5 stars Gift Book
I first became aware of this author when I saw the PBS series of this book. Another reviewer was right, it should be a movie, instead it was a television series. I also had this book, then someone borrowed it and they lost it. I found a new copy at a garage sale and everytime I find a copy, I buy it as I am always giving them away as gifts telling people that they must read this book.My 16 year old daughter loves it also. It is well-written. As someone who taught high school history, I know how important having an interesting book dealing with history is when trying to get most teens to think about the past.. I also recommend reading Testiment of Friendship and Testament of Experience, the continuation of this story.

5-0 out of 5 stars it never ends
it has been a while since i have read this book, & i have to replace my lost copy, but, i still remember how unsparing it is.
i got it to learn more of what my maternal grandfather went through. several years ago, i learned from listing to john mccdermot's version of eric bogle's "and the band played waltzing matilda" my mum listened to it with me. i have never been able to listen to this song without at weeping or at least tearing up. as i wiped my eyes, my mum casually informed me that her da had miraculously survived gallipolli! knowing that fact let me on trying to find out about the nice little corner of hell known as the great war. (i am not a christian any longer, but, i retain a very real idea that hell is real, not a place you goto when you arn't a christian, but, a place we put each other in) this book is more important than ever, & i would like any person who is thinking war is glorious, or willing to rush in head first, it should be reqired reading. writing this on sept 11th, & as a person of whom some of their earliest memories are of watching the veitnam war on television, & who knows all too well the damage war does: (my paternal uncle jaime died in italy five weeks before ww2 ended) in memeory of the dead of all wars, the sept 11 victims, & the ones whose bodies lived, but their souls died. sometimes, i think the first two catagories are the lucky ones, to quote long john silver via robert louis stevenson. thank you, vera brittain. i hope that you are back with your finance, your brother, & his mates, young again, & i deeply hope that all of you are at peace now. (revised slightly on date indicated, but, written on the first anniversary of 9/11) ... Read more

10. The War Journal of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause: The Firsthand Account of One of the Greatest Escapes of World War II
by Damon Gause, Dick Hill
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1567404669
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One of the most extraordinary tales of American military history -- the true, firsthand account of a World War II soldier's escape from the Bataan Death March in the Philippines, across the enemy-held Pacific in a leaky boat, to freedom in Australia.

Immediately following his return to safety, Major Gause wrote his gripping memoir using his notes from the battered ship's log and the handmade diary he kept throughout the journey. His account begins with the siege of Manila, where the young Army Air Corps pilot was stationed, and the eventual fall of the Philippines into Japanese hands. Along with 70,000 other American and Filipino soldiers, Gause was captured by the Japanese and destined to walk what would later go down in history as the Bataan Death march.

In the first of many amazing feats, he managed to escape, then swam three miles through shark-infested waters to the rock island fortress of Corregidor. When Corregidor fell, Gause and two Filipinos escaped during the night and continued on a ten-mile trek across the water to reach Luzon Island. Island-hopping for two months, Gause was sheltered and moved about by several Filipino families, always staying one step ahead of enemy patrols. On the island of Mindoro, he met a fellow American escapee, Captain Osborne, who was also determined to make it to safety. Osborne and Gause embarked on a 3,200 mile journey to Australia, and to freedom, in a twenty-foot wooden fishing boat. Along the way, they faced strafings from Japanese fighter planes, tropical storms, jagged coral reefs, and near starvation. Once there, Gause met General MacArthur, commander of the American armed forces in the Philippines, who had been ordered to regroup in Australia months before."Sir," he said simply, "Lt. Gause reports for duty from Corregidor!"

Vividly written with astonishing attention to detail and a surprising sense of humor, "The War Journal of Major Damon 'Rocky' Gause is impossible to put down. Accompanied by photographs taken during the voyage and an introduction and epilogue by Rocky's son, Damon L. Gause, this amazing document reveals a true American hero and pays tribute to the bravery of those who fought and died beside him. ... Read more

Reviews (31)

4-0 out of 5 stars Endless Journey
Overall, in my opinion, the book was very good. The characteristic that I liked most was that it was written in first person. It is the actual account in Gause's words of what happened. If the story had been fiction, it would not have been as enjoyable. It would have been unfair to all the brave soldiers who actually fought in the war to make up a story such as this. However, since the story was real, it gave me a lot of respect for everything that Gause had to go through. He was so brave and so determined. Many people never would have even thought of risking the 3,200-mile voyage to Australia. Gause never gave up, though, even when all hope seemed lost and it did not look like the trip could get any worse. Another characteristic that made the book enjoyable was that it was easy to read. The book used short sentences and simple words. Gause was writing everything in his log, so he did not need long elaborate sentences, or have the time to write them. The book also teaches many lessons. Whenever I look at a challenge that I'm facing, I will realize that maybe it really is not so bad after all. Chances are, I will not be running from the Japanese in a leaky boat like Gause was. The book helps me to put my own problems in perspective. Never, ever, give up. It also teaches the value of friendship. Without the support that Gause and Osborne gave to each other, they never would have made it to Australia. They had their disagreements, but they always managed to settle them. It was very important that they were able to communicate with each other. The book also it gave a real feel for how hard the journey was. There was not anything covering up the hardships. Many times Gause wrote about how bad the conditions were and how he had been overly optimistic right from the beginning. Nothing was done to try and "sugar-coat" the story. Gause was just telling it as it was.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than just a war story... it offers a wealth of lessons
I was seventeen when I joined the army during the Vietnam Era (I plead youth and insanity), and, after training at Fort Polk's 'Tiger Land' (Special Forces), I thought I was tough stuff. But, after reading what Major Damon Gause went through, I paled in comparison. This man dwarfs any other combat man (or woman) I have ever known. I doubt that even Rambo could have endured what this man experienced.

Damon Gause had the characteristics of Rambo: raw physical strength, mental toughness, the ability to withstand tremendous amounts of pain, discomfort, deprivation of food & water, toleration of the sight of gore and scores of gruesome deaths, plus one more - both he and the war he fought were real.

Beyond being a true warrior Damon Gause is also a very good writer. Most "journal" books have the prose of flour paste. This war journal is an exception. Gause brings you into the horrible moment of the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese. You feel the desperation, despair and dementia when the Japs took Corregidor. Continually through the book Gause praises the courage and loyalty of the Filipinos who fought with him and often helped him.

It would be easy to read this book as just an account of a courageous and extraordinary American solider whose feats of "heroism in action" awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross, but this book offers more. It offers a wealth of lessons that anyone could learn from, and apply to daily life.

Two truths that can sustain you in the 'valley of the shadow of death': believe in your cause and hold to your ideologies. In the words of Winston Churchill "Never, Never, Never Give Up". And, despise the thought of surrender. Retreat yes, surrender no. Fight on, even when it looks impossible to prevail. Remember, that of those that surrendered, they were starved and mistreated, often kicked or beaten, and many who fell were bayoneted. 7,000--10,000 died on the way in the Bataan Death March.

Other axioms that are applicable for living and prevailing even today are found throughout the book: develop partnerships, remember your destination and stay focused, camouflage your intentions when the adversary is around, risk trusting others to help you - they will. For those that can, have faith in God's ability to provide and protect you. And finally, when a passing enemy ship's canons are trained on you and your rickety little boat, display their flag, zealously wave and smile, shouting, "long live Japan", and perhaps you too will live. Remembering that their day will come; a day when they will stand on your battleship, with their heads bowed, in defeat. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating First-Person Account of War
Beautifully written and unpretentious, this book amazes and inspires! A classic World War II account!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great first-person WWII narrative
"The War Journal of Major Damon 'Rocky' Gause" is a well-told, exciting survival and escape story of World War II. Lieutenant (at the time of the events related in this book) Gause was a pilot stationed in the Phillipines when General MacArthur was ordered to retreat. His plane being destroyed, he fought with the American troops to the bitter end of the defeat of Corregidor, and through the kindness of the Filipinos and natives of the South Pacific, escaped via a 3,200 mile route to Australia.

This story may perhaps be the greatest survival and escape tale from World War II. It's full of close calls (a Japanese submarine surfacing next to their craft), thrills (a disguised Nazi officer trying to murder Gause and his companion, Lt. Osbourne, in their sleep), quirks (getting much-needed help from a leper colony) and hardships (their small wooden craft being thrown about in a storm). The book also has some truly touching moments--the kindness and loyalty of the Filipinos who were willing to aid Gause despite the risk, and the picture of Gause with his son, whom he saw for a mere few hours before his deployment and subsequent death in Europe in a training exercise.

The book is written simply (but is not a simple book), and not too politically correct (which I don't think Maj. Gause would care for being, anyway). The story flows well, and the foreward and afterword by Maj. Gause's son are well-done. The book would be improved by the inclusion of more maps showing their route and a timeline, and perhaps the reproduction of some of the original ship's log pages.

The book also has a prologue by Stephen Ambrose (whose imprimatur should promptly silence those questioning the credibility of the story).

1-0 out of 5 stars Incredible, in "not credible"
If half of this stuff actually happened, I would be the most surprised man on earth. I've read a great deal about WWII and this story smells like bologna to me. Had I approached the book as fiction I would have enjoyed it much more. Knowing that it was written as a first person account you aren't expecting Hemingway, but Gause managed to take exciting events and make them rather dull. ... Read more

11. The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester
list price: $34.95
our price: $22.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060592354
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 132468
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the bestselling author of
The Professor and the Madman,
The Map That Changed the World,
and Krakatoa

Writing with marvelous brio, Simon Winchester first serves up a lightning history of the English language and pays homage to the great dictionary makers from Samuel Johnson to Noah Webster before turning his unmatched talent for storytelling to the making of the most venerable of dictionaries – The Oxford English Dictionary. Here the listener is presented with lively portraits of such key figures as the brilliant but sickly first editor Herbert Coleridge, the colorful, wildly eccentric Frederick Furnivall, and the incomparable James Augustus Henry Murray, who spent half a century as editor bringing the project to fruition. Winchester lovingly describes the minutiae of dictionary making, brings us to visit the unseemly corrugated iron shed that Murray grandly dubbed The Scriptorium, and introduces some of the legion of volunteers, from Fitzedward Hall, a bitter hermit obsessively devoted to the OED, to the murderous W. C. Minor, whose story is one of dangerous madness, ineluctable sadness, and ultimate redemption.

The Meaning of Everything is a scintillating account of the creation of the greatest monument erected to a living language.

... Read more

Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Flawed People Who Together, Made A Masterpiece
The Oxford English Dictionary is an unrivaled monument to the history, beauty and complexity of the English language. The story of the men and women who made this marvelous work makes for compellling reading, especially in the hands of such a skilled storyteller as Simon Winchester.

"The Professor and the Madman," Winchester's first best-seller, was the story of Dr. W.C. Minor, an American who had gone to England in what was a vain hope of regaining his sanity. Instead, he committed a senseless murder, and was imprisoned in an asylum for life. Minor found redemption in his otherwise ruined life by devoting decades of service as a volunteer reader/researcher for the OED.

In his introduction to this volume, Winchester explains that an editor at the Oxford University Press suggested that since he had written a footnote to the story of the great enterprise, he might want to undertake the main story. Fortunately for us, he took up the suggestion with enthusiasm.

The pace of the narrative never falters in its entire 250 pages. The opening chapter provides a brief overview of the evolution of English and of previous efforts to compile a truly comprehensive dictionary of the language--and why all fell short of that lofty goal.

What became the OED enterprise had its origins in the late 1850s, but the first completed dictionary pages did not see the light of day until the early 1880s. Why the project was almost stillborn, how it survived deaths, disorganization, lack of funds and innumerable other setbacks--all of this is brought vividly to life in Winchester's tale. Even when the great editor James Murray took the helm and the project finally emerged from chaos, it still faced obstaces, especially from those who would have sacraficed quality in order to produce a swifter, but less authoratative, final product.

Today, the third edition of the OED is in preparation by a staff working in modern offices, making use of all the tools of twenty-first century information technology. The contrast to the conditions facing makers of the original OED, laboring by hand, sorting tens of thousands of slips of paper into pigenhole slots in an ugly, dank corrugated tin shed (grandly named the "Scriptorium" by Murray) is startling, and makes their achievement all the more amazing--and grand.

Dr. Minor makes a brief appearance in the story, along with some of the other unusual and exemplary volunteer contributors from around the world who combed nearly 800 years of English literature to give the OED its impressive depth. While none of the other's stories may be quite as extreme as Minor's, it's clear that for many, their involvement in this great cause (with no pay and little recognition) also gave depth and meaning to their lives.

It's the vivid, human qualities that Winchester illuminates so well make this a great that you won't want to miss.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Delight
Anything by Simon Winchester is bound to be a delight due to his mastery of the English language and his ability to tell a fascinating tale. In The Meaning of Everything he returns to much of the same subject matter as he covered in his best known work, The Professor and the Madman.

The Oxford English Dictionary is a peerless reference work. Winchester tells the story of how it was conceived and brought to fruition by the work of numerous talented men and women from the mid eighteen hundreds up until the 1920s. He describes the painstaking work that developing each etymology and definition involved and the many personalities involved, most especially the greatest of the Dictionary's editors, Sir James Murray. There are also many vignettes of some of the others who spent time and energy creating the Dictionary, including J.R.R. Tolkien, who created many of the W definitions.

This is a delightful book that will entertain you even if you rarely have occasion to consult the OED.

4-0 out of 5 stars Needed some of that famous editing....
This is an interesting story well-told, but I find myself in agreement with those readers who feel that it was somewhat hastily thrown together. On page 75 (of the first hardcover edition, Oxford University Press, 2003, 2nd printing), the writer tells us as simple fact that James Murray, born in 1837, "cherished the fact that he had managed to befriend a local ancient who had been alive when Parliament proclaimed William and Mary joint sovereign in 1689..." Do the math. If this "ancient" was two years old in 1689, he would be 152 years old in 1839 when Murray might be old enough to meet and remember him. Ancient indeed, and worth at least a comment. On page 124, the writer says of compositor James Gilbert "He joined the Press as an apprentice in 1880... and was still working 36 years later when the final words... were set in January 1928." Perhaps he was docked 12 years for lollygagging. I tend to think that Mr. Gilbert worked for the 48 years because 36 years at the same job is not so remarkable. What is remarkable is that this kind of obvious error would get past the august editors at the Oxford University Press.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awe inspiring on several levels
Simon Winchester's book chronicles the efforts of many individuals who, as he often repeats, never received compensation and only limited recognition. In many ways it presages the millions of Internet contributors whose collective contributions create disproportionate value for everyone. Winchester writes well, as one would expect of someone writting about the best dictionary in the world. He weaves history and personal quirks into the narrative. I could hardly put the book down.

In a way, the narrative is inspiring at a higher level than just the creation of a big, fat dicitonary. Many of the participants in the enormous project had lives with disappointments or (and suprisingly often) even madness. For them, their contributions represented a redemption of sorts -- adding a small part to a huge undertaking compensated for their real or imagined failing.

He presents enough facts to give the reader a sense of the day-to-day work. The sheer mechanics of millions of slips of paper stored in wooden holes, the arguments about words to be excluded, how far back in time to go ... all had to be resolved. I particularly like the introduction where he mentions that the top echelon of educated people in 1928 were FAR more educated than almost all educated people today. While I don't think people today are dumber than in 1928, that comment sounds like the basis for a new book ....

Anyhow, this is an "accomplished, admirable, attractive, beautiful, capital, choice, cool, crack, dandy, elegant, enjoyable, exceptional, expensive, exquisite, fashionable, first-class, first-rate, first-string" read!!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Concise history of the OED
Immediately after I finished undergraduate school, some thirty years ago, I joined a book club, finally free to read for pleasure once again. In exchange for ordering x-number of books and promising to buy several more over the coming year, I received a bonus: a micro-print edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, two large blue volumes with print just large enough that the naked eye could recognize it as print, but small enough that one could not read it comfortably without the magnifying glass that came in its own box and drawer at the top of the box. Although I was familiar with the OED, this was my first extended exposure to its riches. I was fascinated with the many illustrative quotes drawn from English literature. What surprises me now is that I had so little curiosity about who collected all those quotes. Who read all the books necessary to find all those sentences? And how did they catalogue them?

Simon Winchester answers both questions (volunteers all over the world to the first, and specially built pigeon holes to the second) and many, many more in his short, but informative "The Meaning of Everything." In lucid prose, with just enough humorous anecdote to moisten what could have been dry facts, he traces the history of the OED from its inception in a speech to the Philological Society in 1857 to its first complete printing in 1928 and then through its various revisions and expansions, including my micro-print edition.

Along the way, he drops in character sketches of some of the major players, describes some of the major predecessor dictionaries, offers some almost unbelievable statistics and compares the OED to its peers (if one admits any exist) in other countries, always with a gentle sense of humor. He shows admirable discretion and restraint in selecting his examples. Rather than attempt sketches of all the various types of volunteers, for example, he contents himself with portraits of a few representatives, and includes a list of some of the more colorful and evocative names to stimulate the reader's imagination.

If you use the OED regularly, or even occasionally, you may be as fascinated as I at how long it took to finish, and that the project was almost abandoned - several times. If you are not familiar with the OED, this history should be sufficient to entice you into finding a copy to peruse ... Read more

12. What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553527770
Catlog: Book (2003-07-08)
Publisher: RH Audio Voices
Sales Rank: 272955
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now, in his most daring act yet, E. Lynn Harris writes the memoir of his life--from his childhood in Arkansas as a closeted gay boy through his struggling days as a self-published author to his rise as a New York Times bestselling author. In WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED, E. Lynn Harris shares with readers an extraordinary life touched by loneliness and depression, but more importantly, he reveals the triumphant life of a small-town dreamer who was able through writing to make his dreams--and more--come true.

From the Hardcover edition.
... Read more

Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Page-Turner Destined to Be a Book Club Hit
E. Lynn Harris's novels about black middle class homosexual and heterosexual life have captured the fancy of thousands of readers. His success is remarkable because his honesty about gay, bisexual and "confused" African American men hasn't turned off women readers and has sparked discussion about male secrecy, sex and lies.

Many of his readers, myself among them, have wondered about the relationship between Harris and Raymond Tyler, the protagonist of his first novel and some of his subsequent work. Because the novels are written in such a straightforward, conversational tone, it's easy to imagine that the author is telling his own thinly-veiled story.

With his new memoir, WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED, Harris both dispels and confirms the questions about whether or not Raymond is really his doppelganger. As Harris tells it, Raymond's perfect middle class upbringing with loving parents is a far cry from his humbler and, often, more cruel beginnings. But the character's life experiences closely mirror those of the author's adult life, including their search for love, sex, and a path out of depression.

Like his popular novels, Harris's memoir is a page-turner that feels more like a long, confessional letter or an all-night conversation. Its principle merits are as a record of the modern gay black man's experience and an insider text for his legions of fans.

Having read all of Harris's novels, I was very curious about the who's who aspect of his memoir and pleased to meet some of the real-life people who inspired his fictional characters. However, his conversational style was sometimes disappointing because the memoir occasionally fails to fully explore various experiences. And while it seems he wrote some of the last pages earlier this year, Harris chooses to keep some secrets to himself. Unfortunately for the reader, he only hints at the happiness he has found in the last decade and keeps those tales undercover.

His honesty about battling depression and "lying Lynn" are also important aspects of his story. As his novels forced women to face facts about male sexuality and gave gay black men their own serial, his memoir will help raise the veil from the issue of depression.

Harris's first nonfiction work will likely be another book club and talkabout hit. Hopefully, it will also open hearts and minds as his novels have for the last decade.

--- Reviewed by Bernadette Adams Davis

5-0 out of 5 stars What Becomes of the Brokenhearted : A Memoir
Harris is one of America's top writers, chronicling the experiences of gay and heterosexual African Americans through books such as Invisible Life and Just as I Am. His first nonfiction offering provides listeners with a glimpse into his life, starting with his childhood in Little Rock, AR, with an abusive father and loving mother. The author discovers his sexual identity in high school and college and has bouts with depression and alcohol abuse. Harris pulls no punches, and listeners will want to reach out and touch the little boy who must deal with the daily whippings from the man who turns out to be his stepfather; the young man who wants to find love with another man but must hide his feelings from other blacks at his college; the man who goes into sales at IBM and deals with the pain of disastrous relationships with drinks and late-night parties; and the man who realizes that writing his story can help his people learn the truth about the homosexuals they live with and love. Read by Richard Allen, this wonderful book is full of passion and joy and provides a message of hope to those within the gay community and those fighting depression. For all libraries, especially those with collections in African American, gay, lesbian, and transgender studies and in mental health

3-0 out of 5 stars Humble beginnings
E. Lynn Harris gives the reader a thorough background understanding of where he was born, to whom, and his struggles to overcome feelings of inferiority & insecurity. What's missing is how he became a writer and what drove him to write. Most of his adult career was as an IBM and computer sales rep, which was a surprise, but it's not until near the end that he discusses writing and publishing.

The first half of the book is very engrossing, as he talks about his two fathers and his mother. But the second half does not divulge much about the man. He discusses going to college, dating, and successes as a school office holder. His homosexuality is widely known. He recounts chance encounters, pickups, lovers, heartbreaks, it's almost like reading a romance novel. Surprisingly, he glazes over the AIDS epidemic and how it effected he and his friends. Only 1 page is devoted to AIDS. The second part could have been more poetic and in-depth.

5-0 out of 5 stars A BOOK YOU DON'T WANT TO PUT DOWN
This is the first E. Lynn Harris book I've read - I TOTALLY ENJOYED IT!! I am always looking for a GOOD book that I just can't put down and this was it. It gave me more of an understanding about the "Gay" life. It also MAKES ME WONDER -ARE THE MEN I SEE EVERDAY THE MEN I THINK THEY ARE?:-) BUY IT!

5-0 out of 5 stars ALL THAT AND A BOWL OF GRITS & BACON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

13. Growing Up King: An Intimate Memoir
by Ralph Wiley, Dexter Scott King
list price: $25.98
our price: $25.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586212001
Catlog: Book (2003-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 1010067
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Dexter King was only seven when an assassin's bullet took his father's life, shattering the boy's childhood. And as he stumbled into adolescence, both the tragedy and the weight of living up to the King legacy would exact an additional toll. Challenged with undiagnosed A.D.D. and rocked once again by his grandmother's murder, King became emotionally isolated and, in his early 30s, sought answers from an inspiring source: the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. Now, in this intimate portrait, Dexter King reveals for the first time what it was like growing up in the shadow of greatness, and how his father's lessons continue to inspire and inform his own ideas on race in America today. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Insightful Read
This was a very insightful read for me. No, this is not a story about Martin Luther King, Jr .. it's about living the life as Martin Luther King, Jr's child. It reveals the ups and downs of being born to a public figure such as the late GREAT Martin Luther King, Jr. Dexter does a pretty good job of showing us the hurdles he and his family have had to cross. I think it's good for people to read, because you get to see what the family members are faced with (a sort of behind the scenes glance at being in the shadow of one's famous father). Dexter also gives you insight on The King Center. I recommend this read to all people. Teachers and professors should also have this book on their list of student required reads.

Tonya Howard

3-0 out of 5 stars Routine autobiography, nothing new to add to the King aura
This is NOT a story about Martin Luther King, Jr...But then again, it is! With such an imposing aura and legendary persona that Martin possesses even in death, it would be extremely hard for anyone trying to extract meaningful context without him playing a prominent role to analyze anything for or against it. GROWING UP KING is Dexter Scott King's story. He being the youngest of Martin's four children, sets out to give revelations for the first time what it was like growing up within the huge monolithic shadow of greatness, and how his fathers' maxims continue to inspire and inform his own ideas on race matters. I would imagine amid the aura of being a member of such a prominent family it would behoove one to set a sustained agenda to carve a preferred path. With this book, you'd think that definitions would be finally told in the first person. I wanted to be rational as I read this book and try not to compare the Martin of yesteryear to what his offspring needed to bring forth. But to do this, I knew I had to do so with an open mind. Thus, I read it with mixed emotion, and tried to be objective in attaining a reasonable view to support the author's intent, and more importantly, to see if certain truths would come forth to quell rumor, and set the record straight on a multitude of issues. Most notably the controversy surrounding The King Center for Non-Violent Social Change.

I came away with a feeling of loss, as if something truly was missing that wasn't said that should have been. I kept looking for reasons to give standing ovations to a member of this family who had the courage to give insight to all questions the public wanted answered. For those looking for insight that hasn't been before public domain, there may be something that Dexter espouses that may warrant merit. File this one on the shelf with the rest of the books written about the King family legacy. I rate this book above average, but still worthy of a read if nothing more than to give chance to this scion who endeavor to be his own man.

3-0 out of 5 stars MOVING BEYOND THE SHADOW
The progeny of great men and women are usually compared to their venerable parent. Such is the case in the Martin Luther King, Jr. family. Since his death a microscope has been placed over his children comparing them to him. Dexter, the second son and third child of King attempts to break out of the shadow of his father and reveals to us his hopes, dreams and aspirations for himself and his family. Dexter's text is a good try but fails in its efforts.

Growing Up Kings gives the reader the perspective of a child raised in the Martin Luther King, Jr. family. Dexter reveals the challenges that he faced in living under the shadow of a famous father. We as readers are shown the stresses and pressures put upon the family as they faced tragedy after tragedy but continued on with the dream as articulated by King. Dexter does a fair job in sharing with us some of his family's personal matters but is very restrained in critiquing the actions of his mother and other civil rights icons.

As you walk through the narrative, you will find Dexter repeating himself and giving the reader a history of the civil rights movement. He shares his foibles but was again there is a restraint in his revelations. Just how much is Dexter telling us that is true? Our author seems to never be able to stand on his own two feet without invoking the shadow of the King family over his life.

The best part of the book is his explanation regarding the safeguarding of M.L.K Jr.'s speeches and intellectual property that is not in the public domain. You will learn that there is another side to the story and Dexter tells it well. You also receive a bit of insight regarding the functionairies of the King Center and how Dexter chose to resign his position as president rather than become a puppet.

Like many people I was attracted to this book due to the nature of its contents. Who wouldn't want to know what it is like growing up under Martin Luther King, Jr.? Dexter's story was interesting but lacked a greater depth in terms of his own vision for the future beyond his family. He appeared to be trapped in the King mystique although he tried to become his own man. The book neglected any full scale treatment of his relationships with his mother and siblings. Yes, he throws tidbits concerning his failed love relationships but those appear to be mere diversions to keep up your interest. In general we are given a decent perspective of the King family.Hopefully a more definitive portrait of the family will come from the rest of his siblings.

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally their side of the story
I read this book by Dexter King, but I have also read Growing Up X. There were some similarities between both books, but there were some differences also. I had heard some of the rumors and speculation about the King family trying to milk Dr. King's legacy in the monetary sense. However, Dexter does a good job of clearing things up about how much time and money is spent protecting his father's legacy due to the fact that some individuals and corporations believe and/or assume that Dr. Kings' speeches and papers are public property and can use them for monetary profit. I agree whole heartly with the King family in protecting their father's legacy including all of his speeches and writings. The thing that stood out the most to me pertaining to this issue was that we as blacks in America discount great black thinkers, intellectuals and people who take a stance in the black community. We have a belief that our black intellects work such Dr King, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers is not as valuable as compared to that of their white counter parts such as Nixon, Kennedy or Bush.

Dexter King also gives us some insight into how he grew up near housing projects in Vine City, attended a exclusive private school then public high school, and life at Morehouse. I had no ideal that Dexter's mother currently lives in Vine City, because gossips have always said she was living in a huge mansion in Buckhead. Next Dexter talks about his love life, but never gives any names but calls one serious girlfriend "Mon Ami." I would recommend this book to anyone trying to find out more about the King family.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a terrific book.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Growing Up King." This is a
terrific book. Not only is this book required reading for
any student of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it also brings
insights how the King Center in Atlanta is run while main-
taining its mission to spread the teachings of Dr King. There
are lessons here for any well-intentioned organization.

This book is clearly written by subject and most of the subjects
overlap chronologically.

Thank you, Dexter King! ... Read more

14. Thirteen Senses : A Memoir
by Victor Villasenor
list price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694526614
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 1040945
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

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

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

Reviews (12)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. Godforsaken Sea: Racing the World's Most Dangerous Waters
by Derek Lundy, Michael Tezla
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565113489
Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
Publisher: Highbridge Audio
Sales Rank: 814814
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"The best book ever written about the terrifying business of single-handed sailing--.Lundy tells a harrowing tale, as tight and gripping as The Perfect Storm or Into Thin Air."--San Francisco Chronicle

A chilling account of the world's most dangerous sailing race, the Vendée Globe, Godforsaken Sea is at once a hair-raising adventure story, a graceful evocation of the sailing life, and a thoughtful meditation on danger and those who seek it.

This is the story of the 1996-1997 Vendée Globe, a solo sailing race that binds its competitors to just a few, cruelly simple rules: around the world from France by way of Antarctica, no help, no stopping, one boat, one sailor. The majority of the race takes place in the Southern Ocean, where icebergs and gale-force winds are a constant threat, and the waves build to almost unimaginable heights.As author Derek Lundy puts it: "try to visualize a never-ending series of five- or six-story buildings moving toward you at about forty miles an hour."

The experiences of the racers reveal the spirit of the men and women who push themselves to the limits of human endeavor--even if it means never returning home.You'll meet the gallant Brit who beats miles back through the worst seas to save a fellow racer, the sailing veteran who calmly smokes cigarette after cigarette as his boat capsizes, and the Canadian who, hours before he disappears forever, dispatches this message: "If you drag things out too long here, you're sure to come to grief."

Derek Lundy elevates the story of one race into an appreciation of those thrill-seekers who embody the most heroic and eccentric aspects of the human condition.

... Read more

Reviews (57)

4-0 out of 5 stars an excellent book
This a truly excellent book about sailing. Lundy knows his trade and seems to be able to sail, too. He's candid when he's got to describe his own experiences at sea, and got all my sympathy through his confessions about the old fear of capsizing and the open ocean. He wrote a detailed book about a race, probably the craziest in the world, only for people willing to risk their lives against the icebergs, but plays it all down and doesn't make you feel like you're an inferior idiot wasting your time right now, on your chair. In a very careful crescendo, he tells about the people and the ships, about designs and expectations, some technical and some poetic stuff, and you're suddenly into the South Seas, together with the mad skippers. The book reaches its highest points of drama and emotion in succession, one desaster after another, until it reaches the puzzling disappearance of Gerry Roufs, the only tragedy without redemption. Once there, Lundy doesn't stay away from the worst edges of real stories, as opposed to most novels, and deals with the sour accusations against those who maybe, only maybe could have done a little bit more for finding Roufs, instead of keep racing back to Europe. All in all, it's real good reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good book that could have been great...
Reading "The Godforsaken Sea" is an experience in frustration. The events recounted, the Vendee Globe race of 1996, has all the requisite features to make an exciting page-turner. Instead, thanks to Derek Lundy's strange choices in narrative, we know the ending from the time we finish the first chapter! The rest of the book is an exercise in filling in the blanks interspersed with philosophical quotes cribbed from more metaphysical authors.

Equally frustrating is the complete absence of photos. Altho the book has 2 maps & a diagram of a typical Vendee Globe 60' sailboat, there are no photos at all (except 2 on the back cover)! Considering the amount of media coverage generated by this event in France, this lack is strange, to say the least. Photos are absolutely necessary in cases such as when Lundy describes his subjective reaction to viewing the latest design in racing 60' boats from the Groupe Finot workshop as compared to more traditional designs in the race. Why isn't the reader allowed to view the boats in question? He describes the way various sailors in the race appear to him; why can't we see them too? Considering the large number of sailors involved, photos of the most prominent would be a great help to the reader!

Despite these caveats, "The Godforsaken Sea" still manages to enthrall as we experience capsizes beyond the reach of land-rescue efforts, incredible heroism in the face of seemingly impossible odds, self-surgery, physical deprivations & hardships...If only a little suspense had been added to the mix, Derek Lundy would have had a best-seller!

5-0 out of 5 stars difficult but worth it
This book is so full of information it is difficult to get into, but all of the narrative is well worth the effort. It covers so many of the important aspects related to sailing in very difficult conditions. It also relates aspects of sailboat design associated with sailing in dangerous seas.

5-0 out of 5 stars A sailing book readers
I read many, many books on sailing. Don't bother to read many others. Only Derek Lundy's book and Moitissier's own book 'The Long Way' are truly above the rest. This book got me also got interested in other aspects of the outdoors and mans place in nature.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book if you're into sailing.
If you like sailing get the book. The things they do are truly amazing. ... Read more

16. Where White Men Fear to Thread: The Autobiography of Russell Means
by Marvin Wolf, Russell Means
list price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1574530119
Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
Publisher: Audio Literature
Sales Rank: 381628
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Means is the most controversial Indian leader of our time. This is the well-detailed, first-hand story of his life so far, in which he has done everything possible to dramatize and justify the Native American aim of self-determination, such as storming Mount Rushmore, seizing Plymouth Rock, running for President in 1988, and—most notoriously—leading a 71-day takeover of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973. This visionary autobiography by one of our most magnetic personalities will fascinate, educate, and inspire. As Dee Brown has written, "A reading of Means's story is essential for any clear understanding of American Indians during the last half of the twentieth century."
... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Russel Means really opened my eyes and my heart.
Russel Means has writen a powerful and provoking book about his life and the current plight of a people (Native American Indians and other indigenous peoples) that need thier indentiy preserved for thier own sake as much as for ours. He showed me that to lose thier song of life with all it's celebrations, joys, hardships and pain will damage the diversity of all people in our world. I hope many more people will buy and read this book and then pass it on to someone else so they may do the same. After reading his book I feel that I have meet him and have seen into his heart. I feel that it is true and good and what he wants for his people and for all people is for them to be free. Thanks Russel for your story and sharing your spirit that goes with it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Autobiography
Most people have probably heard of Russell Means at some point. Means is the best known member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). AIM was the group that took over Wounded Knee in the early 1970's and engaged in numerous protests to try and bring attention to the plight of the Native American. This autobiography not only gives the reader a detailed description of the life of Russell Means, but insights into the philosophy of this revolutionary. While AIM has receded into the background quite a bit since its glory days, Means is still going strong. This book shows us why.

The book doesn't flinch from unpleasantness. We find out that Means' parents were abusive and that his father was an alcoholic. Russell himself became mixed up in drugs during his youth and quickly became sucked into the same alcoholic world that his father inhabited. Throughout his career as a member of AIM, Means drank constantly until he finally came to terms with this problem and discovered that his rage could be controlled. During the course of the book we see Russell being beaten up, shot, arrested numerous times, and imprisoned for his activities. This guy has seen it all, and the picture on the front of the book tells me that I would hate to be on this man's bad side. He's tough, but cares deeply for his people and what he believes in, a trait that is certainly noble and admirable.

What comes across most strongly in this book is how AIM helped Means find his spirituality. Before becoming conscious of his heritage, Means spent most of his time in bars drinking. Once he gained awareness of his heritage, Means took part in numerous rituals, such as the Sun Dance and crying for visions. The book goes into intricate detail in describing the importance of these rituals and how they are practiced. This spirituality helped Means to quit drinking and allowed him to begin taking care of his family (which is sprawling; he was married a lot and has many children). The element of spirituality in the book is important because for years many Indians were denied the right to practice their religious ceremonies by the federal government. Even now, according to Means, there is still opposition to some of the ceremonies.

The last several chapters of the book show why AIM became increasingly insignificant. Fractures within the group over spiritual matters escalated, and Means himself became wrapped up in trivial issues. Means associated himself with Larry Flynt, the Unification Church, and the Libertarian Party. All of these associations reflected poorly on what AIM tried to accomplish. The final straw seemed to be when Means defended the Indians in Nicaragua against the Communist Sandinista regime. The Indians there were being bombed and killed by the Communists, and Means spends a chapter or two showing how serious this was. American Leftists and other pro-Marxists vilified Means when he proved his case. These people just couldn't accept that Commies were killing indigenous people.

This is an excellent book that will make people think about their culture. I recommend this to anyone interested in Native American studies or political movements. Russell Means, whether you agree with his life or not, should be commended for standing up for what he believes in and never backing down. We should all be more like that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Great Book
Russell Means is an amazing guy and has been through so many situations which are mentioned in the book.

His book explains his life and how he discovered his true identity - Lakota and how he dealt with the issues that impact his tribal identity.

In addition, the book also mentions how his involvement with the movement and other demonstrations which represent his views and why many things that are done by the US are wrong or a flagrant insult to the tribes.

I strongly suggest you to read his book to learn how he found his true identity, how he evolved from being indifferent into a big time activist, and what messages we lack to understand about the tribes.

Lastly, the book is easy to read and entertaining!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Russell Means is controversial, but I admire him for
telling it like it is, after all,
this is HIS book, HIS viewpoint. If we don't like what he
says, we don't have to finish the book.

I may not agree with everything he says, either, but
he does have the right to express his opinions.

2-0 out of 5 stars Sonii Wytewa, a Native woman
Sure, he's a great man, but please look into the image of the "leader" they call Russell Means before falling in love with him, the man who called people "apples" then went on to selling himself out in "Last of the Mohicans" and "Pocahontas," two pieces of texts he previously condemned while he was with the AIM, WHICH he quit on multiple occassions WHILE they put up with his oftentimes sociopathic behavior -- currently Means is running for governor of New Mexico but has had run-ins with the law out there for assaulting his Dine' father-in-law (an elderly man, mind you!) and then, recently, for domestic violence involving beating his wife, also Dine'. Come on, who is afraid to tread around Means unless he has a crowbar in his hand and is going to beat you for not agreeing with his ideals.

I'm sure his text has some historical, political, and cultural resonance but when put into context with the wackyness he is about these days, it doesn't quite add up to much. ... Read more

17. Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (Audi O Literature Presents)
by Wilma Mankiller, Michael Wallis, Joy Harjo
list price: $16.95
our price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0944993893
Catlog: Book (1994-08-01)
Publisher: Audio Literature
Sales Rank: 1286962
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this spiritual, moving autobiography, Wilma Mankiller, former Chief of the Cherokee Nation and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, tells of her own history while also honoring and recounting the history of the Cherokees. Mankiller's life unfolds against the backdrop of the dawning of the American Indian civil rights struggle, and her book becomes a quest to reclaim and preserve the great Native American values that form the foundation of our nation. Now featuring a new Afterword to the 2000 paperback reissue, this edition of Mankiller completely updates the author's private and public life after 1994 and explores the recent political struggles of the Cherokee Nation.
... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!!!
I found it very hard to close this book! I was riveted to Chief Mankiller's every word and finished her book still wanting more. Her knowledge of Cherokee history and legend is vast and taught me many things I never knew. Also, her strength and enduring spirit is inspiring to me as a Cherokee. She succeeded, through her own life story, in instilling a new sense of pride in me that has made me become more involved in keeping native american culture alive and well. After reading her book I truly felt proud to be Cherokee. She should be an inspiration to us all. Highly recommended reading!

5-0 out of 5 stars Our Uncommon and Common Cherokee History by Mankiller
I spent a whole weekend not just reading but absorbing this work of Wilma Mainkiller.On Sunday I could only describe feeling wonderfully enriched by the experience both personally, as a Euro- and Native American person and also as an American. All of us have been denied major parts of our comon American history with the repression of Native American History. The mid section of the book is purely historical, and so much of it was news to me! (I thought that I knew Native history and yet it would prove that I had alot to learn that weekend.) The interection of Cherokee and African American history is fascinating ! It is a reoccuring theme. What history books cover that? The focus is usually Euro-American to Native American, or Euro-American to African-American. At a personal level the experience was tremendous. Putting personal information together with her history, I learned that I have a matrilineal clan affliation (bird). I feel that as the result of her work I myself ,my family, and descendents have connected with something that would have otherwise been lost. Generations ago, two orphaned Cherokee boys were adopted by a white family in Georgia. One later went "white' the other "red". This is not just my personal background. This is a metaphor for so much of American history. Truely, Cherokee culture is the best kept secret in America today, as the author writes. It is our common cultural heritage, like jazz, like democracy. I relish reading other works by this author ! Doris Hale

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of the history of the Cherokees
First of all, I would encourage anyone who is interested in the history and culture of the Cherokees to read this book. The average American is taught very little about the native peoples who inhabited this land before the white men took over. The first reviewer, gsibbery from Baton Rouge, LA, shows the mentality of most whites today. The native Americans have been trying to share their views and feelings for years but most people do not care to listen, and in general, do not care about the circumstances these people have had to endure. I commend Mrs. Wilma Mankiller for the effort and time she spent in writing this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it and have shared it with others. I think we all need to try to see things from another's perspective sometimes. It was a great book!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I enjoyed reading about Wilma Mankiller and her activities to better the lot of her people. She is obviously a very strong woman with deeply-held beliefs and convictions which she does her best to apply in everyday life. Still, there was more than a hint of modern-day victim mentality, which considering the culture that she has come from is sort of insulting. The identification with the past generations of Indians does little to help her cause. Tradition and heritage may be important to some people, but it's hard not to scoff when you hear her say "I feel the pain of my ancestors". Maybe she does, in a small way, but it's also a clever political tactic that I don't altogether approve of. Native Americans need to learn to move forward instead of always moaning about how they were forced under by superior numbers. So much of this seems like whining that it can be a little hard to take in places, especially considering that Native American culture before the whites came was no less brutal than that of their oppressors. Still, this was an interesting sojourn into a little-known aspect of American politics and culture that few are aware of. All in all not a bad book, although it could be better.

4-0 out of 5 stars An enlightening version of Cherokee history and a woman.
The author does an excellent job of reviewing Cherokee history and explaining how the Cherokee individual has assimilated into today's American culture. It was pointed out that education has always been highly valued in the Cherokee tradition and the tribe has remained alive and well because culture never dies when there is communication. The Cherokee people highly value the history of their matriarchs. Women were respected and valued in the tribe. That tradition has surfaced in this century with the leadership of Ms. Mankiller. On a personal note, it was enlightening that Wilma shared much of her personal life with us, the readers. She is blessed to have found a life-partner with Charlie. He comes from a good family. I used to watch the Soap boys play basketball in school. Thanks for a good book about a great people. ... Read more

18. Oprah Winfrey Speaks
by Oprah Winfrey, Janet Lowe, Carol Stewart, JanetLowe
list price: $17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559352868
Catlog: Book (1998-09-27)
Publisher: Soundelux Audio Pub
Sales Rank: 516793
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"People have told me that their lives have changed because of me. I take away from this the sense that I'm on the right track."

"I believe you're here to live your life with passion. Otherwise, you're just traveling through the world blindly—and there's no point to that."

"Oprah's on." It's the catchphrase that inspires millions around the world to tune in to one of the most trusted women in the history of television. Almost everyone follows Oprah's every move. One word about a book club selection sends an obscure first novel rocketing to the top of the bestseller list. Oprah Winfrey possesses what is arguably one of the world's most influential voices.

Alive with her unique warmth and insight, Oprah Winfrey Speaks reveals the mystique of Oprah in her own words. Drawing on hundreds of sources, Janet Lowe provides an evocative, personal portrait. Here are Oprah's opinions on everything from childhood and overcoming adversity to dealing with fame and staying real. Oprah Winfrey Speaks highlights Oprah's abiding faith, no-nonsense business rules, generosity, and love as well as her 10 commandments for lifelong success.

Oprah's lifetime theme has been personal transformation—she's constantly seeking, questioning, changing, and growing. This uplifting theme echoes throughout Oprah Winfrey Speaks.

Here is just a hint of the wisdom you'll discover:

  • "Just tell the truth. It'll save you every time."
  • "Don't complain about what you don't have. Use what you've got. To do less than your best is a sin. Every single one of us has the power for greatness, because greatness is determined by service—to yourself and to others."
  • "I am a woman in progress. I'm just trying like everyone else. I try to take every conflict, every experience and learn from it. All I know is that I can't be anybody else. And it's taken me a long time to realize that."
  • "If you're angry, be angry and deal with it. Don't go eat a bag of Ruffles."
  • "God blesses you better when you pray on your knees."

The world listens when Oprah Winfrey Speaks

Here's just a hint of the wisdom you'll find inside...

"I am what I am because of my grandmother.

My strength. My sense of reasoning. Everything.

All that was set by the time I was six."

"Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity."

"I always feel if you do right, right will follow."

"You know the old clich—, 'a good man is hard to find'? Well, it's true. And the smarter you get, the harder they are to find."

This book has not been prepared, approved, licensed, or endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, Harpo Productions, or by any entity that creates, produces, or broadcasts THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight
I believe that books of thsi nature are to show and elucidate hwo certain kinds of peopel think and act. I think that the consumer shoudl remember that most of these books are gleaned and compiled from interviews, articles and TV quotes not the person directly. Which means that things can be taken out of context or contrary events can be exampled to a person's time static comment.
All the same, this book is pretty good for insight in Oprah and her thoughts on some issues as well as maturely seeing how her opinion has grown/matured over the years.
A good subject makes a good book but this isn't the indepth exploration of Oprah that one may hope. Perhaps in some ways she can't truly be seen in any other context as she has a show where she talks about herself and her experiences. Only a book absolutely written by her could ever truly reveal her. Someone truly interested in her thoughts will have to wait for that day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Change your life! If Oprah did it, you can too!
When I think of Oprah, I think of "awareness." Her presence on earth is to bring us all to the awareness of our potential. If you want to know more about her life, Janet Lowe will take you on a journey through Oprah's life. Within a few hours you will see Oprah in a whole new light.

What I find most fascinating about Oprah is her love of reading and quotes. Those are things I can relate to well. Now it seems, I have been collecting "Oprah quotes!" Throughout this book you will find Oprah's wisdom presented in an organized fashion in sections so they relate well to the topic.

Oprah speaks from a background of adversity. The events of her life have changed her, yet she has decided to take charge of her destiny and become a positive influence. Her background is almost shocking when you think of who she has become. The contrast is sharp and it is very apparent that she drew on an inner strength.

The book begins with details of Oprah's roots in Mississippi and her educational background. There is a discussion of "Harpo" and how she deals with her fame and fortune. Her generosity is impressive and her efforts for children's rights are commendable.

There are some things in life money can never replace. I was saddened by some aspects of her life and see how her own sorrow, abuse and lack of a loving relationship with her own parents early in life influenced her. Some of the best things in life are free. Money helps, but I don't think it heals the longing we all have for love.

Oprah's love of reading has encouraged others to delve into knowledge and better themselves. She also enjoys writing in a "gratitude" journal. Janet Lowe brings out the positive and negative aspects of Oprah's life. With more than 22 million American viewers hanging on her every word, she continues to have the instinctive knack of feeding their desire to find meaning in life.

Oprah started me reviewing because after seeing Gary Zukav on her show, I wanted to know more about the books she was talking about and knew others would also want to know more. I thought maybe I could help others see what was in his books.

Oprah sent me on a journey to delve into the minds of our time. A journey of discovery I have just started on! For that I thank her.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oprah Winfrey is the Strong Voice of the American Woman
Hello, My name is Sabuyen and I am from Hokkaido, Japan. ...Itruly enjoy this book becase Oprah Winfrey represent all strongintelligent woman in America. In this book you shall read all herinsight and charm. Perhaps I am more awareness becase of a childhoodin Japan, where it is vey different to be a woman.

This is the firstlong book I have read in English. It took me a vey long time to read,but please belive, it was worth every minute. I am delight to alsodiscover that there is a "cassete" version of this bookavalable on I shall listen as I ride the bus orexercise.

When you read this book you shall feel power and energyfrom Oprah. She think positive, despite a difficult background, andshe has work hard for what she have. Here Oprah does share her wisdomand intelligence. It is very plain to see.

Oprah, if you are readthis, please know that you are my hero and roll model, and for everyother woman in America. You have give so much to all.

If anyone wishto read more about me, please read my profile. Love, Sabuyen.

1-0 out of 5 stars INSIDIOUS!
The boorish broad from Baltimore strikes again! What makes this book so insidious is the way that the heroine peppers her pseudo-intellectual do-goodisms with an underlying capitalist mentality. Given her background, she should know better. Shame on you girl!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Winner!!!
This book really gets to the heart of what Oprah is all about. The book is filled with quotes taken from Oprah's childhood and throughout her entertainment career. The quotes are inspiring because they allow you to figure out ways to relate them to your own life. Janet Lowe's biography about Oprah is a very likeable book because it presents such topics as fame, fear, fortune, and family. To hear Oprah talk about her perfections and imperfections and how she is coping with them makes you feel like saying, 'If Oprah can do it, I sure can'. There is extensive research as her endnotes suggest. The book is an easy read and a good choice for people who are looking for a little more motivation in their everyday lives. The only thing that this book does lack is finding new, unique information about the talk show host/movie star/producer. Other than that, it is a winner! If you've ever watched her show on TV and heard Oprah say something that caught your attention, but ten minutes later couldn't remember it, then this book has it for sure. I recommend this book, especially for women. (Makes a great gift too!). ... Read more

19. Tis Unabridged : A Memoir
list price: $49.95
our price: $49.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671045555
Catlog: Book (1999-09-21)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 221144
Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

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

Frank McCourt's 'Tis is one of the most eagerly-awaited audiobooks of our time, and it is a masterpiece. ... Read more

Reviews (528)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20. Black Elk Speaks
by John G. Neihardt, Fred Contreras
list price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0944993362
Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
Publisher: Audio Literature
Sales Rank: 624356
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Black Elk's Narrative shows us what we have lost
This is one of the singularly most powerful narratives I have ever read, and, being an academic focused on Native Languages, I have had the opportunity to read many. Black Elk tells the story of his life and his spiritual experiences unabashedly, and with the force and clarity that come with wide experience and careful contemplation. He was a singular individual, and his story is unique, even among his own people. His account is dense and complex, especially regarding his spirituality - and it is naturally very confusing to a Westerner. The historical accounts are fascinating, and more accessible, and drive home with vivid imagery the human beings our country devoured in the name of "progress". (Something particularly useful to remember at this juncture in our history)
For his story to have the right impact, you must believe what Black Elk says to be true. If you're coming to his story for "feel good" new-age spirituality, go read something mushy from the Oprah Book club. Any sort of Western paternalism, most often cloaked in new-age terminology and half-witted sophomoric Literary criticism, about how Black Elk uses "wonderful metaphors" and "fabulous, alive imagery" is really missing the point and dishonors one of the key figures of a very important Native American religious movement - the Sun Dance. This movement is not only important to the Sioux, but to many other tribes in the great plains.
Black Elk is telling you the truth. He wasn't "smoking peyote" as some suggest, or anything of the sort. He really did see a red buffalo that led him through the spirit world. Suggesting that he was confused or delusioned, or feeding half-truths to Mr. Neihardt is like patting him on the head and telling him to trot off to bed so that the 'big boys' can think important things. If you don't accept that premise, you will never understand him or any of his people.
One aspect of his life that has fascinated me the most is his fearless application of faith. He was given a vision in which he was told that a bow would protect him in battle. So he promptly got the bow, and then went out in front of the Union machine guns with it held over his head, riding back and forth. After several trips across the line, he was hit once with a bullet. This he attributes to his own momentarily failing faith, and not to the falsity of the vision. Another man believed he could stop bullets with a sacred pelt-cloak draped across him. He put it on and stood calmly at the crest of the hill in full view of the Union guns. After a while, he came back down and shook the bullets from his clothing onto the ground. I find myself wondering how many of the sweating, blubbering "religious" people in the modern age would be so brave as to put their professed faith into such direct action. Black Elk and many of his fellow warriors LIVED the "matrix"'s dualistic philosophy instead of watching it on TV.
This underscores an excellent message in his narrative - where have we come to? Why do we live this false life now? The trappings of modern civilization that we have been taught to see as blessings and indispensible to life were seen by Black Elk as a curse on his people. They robbed his people of their power and made them helpless. It is left to wonder if this technology has done the same for its creators.

5-0 out of 5 stars Black Elk Still Speaks
To potential readers, worried about the authenticity of this work and its right to speak for Native Americans:

The question of how closely the words of this book follow the words of Black Elk has long been debated. It will not be decided here. Turn to the scholarly literature if you truly wish to pursue an answer. I have done that and in my mind (and I do have some education in these realms) am at peace with the book as a genuine expression of turn of the century Lakota spirituality. Neihardt may have written the words, and Ben Black Elk (Black Elk's son) may have done the translating, but Black Elk lived the life, as is corroborated by other sources.

I use the work in my introduction to religion classes, to bring another world to life for my students. Is Black Elk's vision theirs? Of course not. Is the book even Black Elk's vision? Perhaps not exactly. But it is a vision of power and every now and then it awakens a vision in students living 100 years after Black Elk. I belive Black Elks speaks and there is some power in his words still.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Primary Source
Black Elk's account of the life of the plains indians at the close of the 19th Century is an excellent first hand account of how the United States forced change on the Native Americans and how they struggled to find a way to save their culture in the face of such a radically different and sometimes violent opposing philosophy. Through out the story, Black Elk indicates a level of sadness at being forced into violent confrontation and forced moves around the upper midwest and into Canada. As he puts it in, all they wanted to do was to live in the land that was theirs and it was no longer theirs. His accounts of how the United States routinely violated treaties that were forced on the Native Americans is also a source of the sadness that pervades his account.

In addition to providing a great accounting of the injustices that were committed by the United States, Black Elk also gives an excellent insiders view to the culture of the Lakota. The use of visions, sweatlodges, and dances as a way of promoting their nations is recounted in great detail and provides real insight into how this tribe lived prior to being forced onto a reservation.

The writing of Black Elk speaks is also well done. It is not dumbed down, but at the same time, it was not written over the head of the average reader. There are some instances where going to the appendix to find a good meaning for some of the native words included in the text is helpful, but this is not in the least bit distracting to the readers. If you are looking for an excellent first hand account of the close of the 19th century and the US treatment of Native Americans, look no further than this.

4-0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt Tale
This work relates some of the main events of the life of a man (Black Elk) who was both an Indian warrior and holy man. He had several visions when he was younger including one great one which formed much of his later thought and also how he viewed his people. It's a heartwrenching story because one can't help but feel saddened while listening to this man relate how his people lost their land and also many of their own in battles. Also one is moved to sadness by hearing of the instances when the Government lied to his people and either gave them half of what they said they would (in the way of land or cattle) or flat out didn't uphold the terms of a treaty. As Black Elk said, "You can't eat lies." One is reminded how devastating our modern notion of progress has been while we have wallowed in the ignorance of other people and also of the Great Mother (Earth). We've lost out on much of a great culture with the Indians and their way of life and also ruined a lot of the environment out of notions of stupidity such as looking for yellow metal. I recommend this book to get you thinking about how to have compassion for all peoples regardless of how different or savage they may appear and also so we hopefully never make some of the dastardly mistakes other people have made in the past.

4-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
This is a book that every person will obtain something of important value in their life from reading. It is my thought that every person who is a religious leader of any faith should consider it required reading. ... Read more

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