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$16.50 $14.31 list($25.00)
181. Halfway Home : My Life 'til Now
$16.29 $13.98 list($23.95)
182. Chaka! Through the Fire
$11.00 list($24.95)
183. Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust
$8.95 $6.03
184. Twelve Years a Slave
$5.95 list($29.95)
185. I Will Bear Witness 1942-1945
$11.56 $5.99 list($17.00)
186. Open Mike: Reflections on Philosophy,
$15.95 $10.80
187. Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art
$15.64 $13.25 list($23.00)
188. The Story of a Life : A Memoir
$17.68 $10.98 list($26.00)
189. The Man Who Shocked the World:
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190. Churchill: The Unexpected Hero
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191. The Big O : My Life, My Times,
$30.00 $15.95
192. Assassination at St. Helena Revisited
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193. Temptations
$9.71 $1.68 list($12.95)
194. Looking for Lost Bird : A Jewish
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195. Desert Flower : The Extraordinary
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196. IM ON MY WAY BUT YOUR FOOT IS
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197. God Does Play Dice - The Autobiography
$35.00 $2.22
198. Words to Outlive Us: Eyewitness
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199. Moanin' at Midnight : The Life
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200. Rome: The Biography of a City

181. Halfway Home : My Life 'til Now
by Ronan Tynan
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743222911
Catlog: Book (2002-01-08)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 20293
Average Customer Review: 4.84 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Yes, I am a singer. But I am also a horseman, an athlete, and a doctor. I am a son, a brother, and a friend. I can sing as I do only because of the life that I've led. With each decade, I've found myself in very different, evermore challenging arenas, but the many stages of my life have always intertwined. I have moved from one stage to the next as if on a wild steeplechase, keeping my eye fixed straight ahead and above me. If there is a single line connecting all the episodes and main events of my life it is this -- a gift both given and received.

-- from the Introduction


In Halfway Home, a beautifully written memoir, Ronan Tynan, a member of the enormously popular Irish Tenors, shares his remarkable story of overcoming adversity and attaining worldwide success in several different areas.

Diagnosed with a lower limb disability at birth, Ronan Tynan had his legs amputated below the knee when he was twenty years old. Eight weeks later, he was climbing the stairs of his college dorm, and within a year, he was winning races in the Paralympic Games, amassing eighteen gold medals and fourteen world records. After becoming the first disabled person ever admitted to the National College of Physical Education, he served a short stint in the prosthetics industry and began a new career in medicine. He continued his studies at Trinity College, where he specialized in orthopedic sports injuries.

After earning his medical degree, Ronan chose music for the next act in his life. Less than one year after he began studying voice, he won both the John McCormick Cup for Tenor Voice and the BBC talent show Go for It. He went on to win the prestigious International Operatic Singing Competition in France, and in 1998 his debut Sony album, My Life Belongs to You, became a top-five hit in England within just two weeks and eventually went platinum. Later that year, he was invited to join The Irish Tenors, furthering a journey that started in a small Irish village and has brought him to the world's grandest stages.

In Halfway Home, Tynan movingly describes his life story, which Barbara Walters called "so amazing you may find it hard to believe." ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars A life worth talking about...
Fiction writers would have a hard time creating a story as compelling and inspirational as that of Ronan Tynan's. As an amputee, he's done more in 41 years than 5 able-bodied people could have. He's broken world records as a disabled athlete, and recorded records as a beloved Irish Tenor. Plus he's also helped a few other people continue to live their lives as well, as a doctor. Whew....

So at times, it seems like he's telling the story a little fast: your mind starts swimming as he goes from quickly goes from one phase of life to another. At one point, he knows for sure he's going to be a medical doctor. But a mere six paragraphs later, before he even steps foot in med school, the seeds have already been planted towards a singing career. But that's how he's lived: by always moving forward. It's been said that the man has no reverse gear.

There's a roller coaster of sadness and success in his story. But there's also a lightheartedness that comes through his dry humor, a love of food, women, and pints of Guinness. Simply, he's achieved a lot, but he's still basically a normal man.

Tynan's writing style is British English, so you do have to pay a little more attention than usual. But the payoff is worth it.
It's mind-boggling that this man can add one more accomplishment to his long list: author.

5-0 out of 5 stars A story worth sharing
Ronan Tynan's life story is one of hardship and perseverance, luck , talent and the loving support of his family. He relates this in a straight forward manner which is easy to read and to visualize. He will have you alternately in tears and holding your sides with laughter. His wonderful sense of humor comes across in every sentence. You can feel in this text his positive attitude toward life and the courage and determination with which he has faced his challenges. Ronan has accomplished many things in his life; record setting athlete, medical doctor and world famous singer. He certainly would leave the Energizer Bunny in his dust!

I enjoyed seeing the pictures of Ronan and his family and friends included in the center of the book. Ronan is the type of person for whom there are no strangers, only friends he has not met.

His journey is only halfway done. I'm sure the days and years to come will provide him with many other stories to share with us in the future.

I can unconditionally recommend this book to you.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Big Man With A Big Voice And An Ego to Match?
I am a huge fan of the Irish Tenors and so waited anxiously for this book to appear in our local book store. While I found the first half of the book to be an excellent read and found the story of how Ronan, though the love and good sence of his parents, was encouraged to go beyond his abilities to reach for the stars, the second half of the book was difficult to get through. There is no doubt that this man is really an inspiration to others with disabilities, but halfway through the book you find there is little information about others that helped him in his journey and the book becomes all about his Ego - it was a struggle to finish the book as I could not believe the long winded accounts of what he would do next. I would have liked to have read more about his association with the Irish Tenors and his travels there .. instead all you got was Ronan crowing from the rooftops with an Ego the size of Ireland itself. I almost expect any follow up book to announce that he can now walk on water! Very disappointed in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow, what a man!
The saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction." has to apply to this moving biography of Ronan Tynan's. His life so far has been filled with more trials and tribulations than any one person I have ever heard of...and he's only 43 years old!!!!! What can possibly happen to him in his next 43 years to top this??? I can only hope he keeps us up-to-date with another fascinating book. As a singer, he is the best. I have been lucky enough to see many of his solo concerts and many of his concerts with the Irish Tenors, and all are as exciting and pleasurable as this book. The man is just a wonder.

Good luck, Ronan, in all you endeavor, and please keep your fans up to date on all your activities. You are truly an inspiration to us all.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book Filled With Humanity and the Richness of Life
"Truly, an inspiring book" - I have seen that phrase on more book jackets than I care to count over the years. Perhaps some were truly inspiring to certain people. This book is universally inspiring. I can't imagine anyone, from any walk of life, not being moved by Ronan Tynan's story.

He may be well-known to many people or a total enigma to others.
In his unpretentious way, he describes his journey from a small
farm in Ireland to become one of the most popular singers of our time. And just to make things interesting, he did it without the use of his lower legs which were, eventually, amputated. Fitted with prostheses of varying quality he became a star disabled athlete, a top-rated equestrian, and picked up a few degrees along the way - physical education, music, and medicine.

He is now known in the great opera houses of the world as a tenor with few peers. To most of us he is known as one of the
Irish Tenors. You simply MUST read his autobiography to really
know the many obstacles he overcame by unwavering determination and faith in himself.

The book is as unpretentious as Dr.Tynan, beautifully written,
and shows you just how good life can be - no matter how many things were against you as you passed through life's starting gate. ... Read more


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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews (20)

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

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

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

I have a new found respect for Sister Khan after reading this book and would recommend that everyone read it as well. This is the perfect book club novel, full of great discussion points and filled with many great lessons in life. An excellent novel, to say the least.
Rene Reyes
MBC/2004

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

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

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


183. Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years
by Misha Defonseca
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0963525778
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: Mt. Ivy Press
Sales Rank: 715003
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Story of Survival and Courage
I have read this book several times, and each time I was inspired by Misha's determination and resourcefulness. I am Jewish myself and was hidden in an orphange in Molenbeek, not far from Anderlecht were Misha stayed.

The ability of a young girl to take care of herself in the wild and to relate to wild animals is remarkable. What is also noteworthy is the fact that she was able to function alone. That this is not easy. I know this from experience since I had to learn how to be alone because I was often ostracised due to religious prejudice as a child.
Hopefully more people who read about Misha will see the futility of hating ones fellow human beings and animals and be inspired to respect all life.

This book is definitely a treasure worth reading. If it were to be made into a movie, it would surely be inspiring!

5-0 out of 5 stars A survival storie through the eyes of a child
I am a personal friend of Misha and her family and the account of her story is true. Misha's personality as an adult truly reflects the effect of her life's trauma. Animals are magnetized by her. And i don't just mean domesticated animals. The wildlife is equally attracted to Misha and her love for them. My family and I have been mesmerized by the way she communicates with them. On one occasion, we joined her to a place in Ipswich where they have wolves in captivity. As the group of wolves was innocently going about their daily routine, Misha howled to them. They all howled back to her. Tears ran down my face and shills went down my spine at the same time. It was so incredible. Now we, as an audience tried to howl too. But the response just wasn't there. She clearly could communicate to them. I read her book, i know her life and she is a dear friend to the family. It's a touching story of true survival. The people that actually survived the period of the Holocaust, all have remarkable and incredible stories of survival to tell and sometimes it make you think that only a greater power must have been there to keep them alive. Misha just happened to be one of them.Now may be someone out there may know the fate of her parents and can put her life at rest.

4-0 out of 5 stars Unique and Inspiring!
What a fabulous story. I stayed up half the night to finish the book. This would be an excellent book for pre-teens and up --except for one half page where Misha witnesses a rape in the woods. It is far less graphic than a lot of evening TV. I would still recommend it for "required reading" lists- just giving a heads's up for parents/teachers. I read this book over a year ago and am leaving a review now because the book left such an impression on me.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE DEEP DOWN STRENGTH OF SURVIVAL
This is not just another view of WWII. It is a true and personal journey of an orphaned 7 year old through war ravaged Belgium and Eastern Europe. From her escape from a "safe home" to living with a pack of wolves, this is a story of what strength and ingenuity it takes to survive. She joins thousands of others who managed to escape the Nazi's. A remarkable story. Can't wait for the movie!

2-0 out of 5 stars Let's be serious for a moment here
Uplifting and entertaining though this story may be, it is impossible to tell how much of it is true. Let's face it, no-one has ever been brought up by wolves, beautiful idea though it is. I would love to believe that wolves would take care of children, bring them up and feed them, but they don't.

There aren't any properly documented examples of wolf-children. It is an urban myth. Most of the "examples" can be traced back to some carnival barker trying to sell tickets to see somebody like "Pogo, the dog-faced boy". Just because a 19th century carny hustler says that a kid was brought up by wolves doesn't make it true.

I'm afraid that Misha either has a faulty memory or is telling an untruth here. ... Read more


184. Twelve Years a Slave
by Solomon Northup
list price: $8.95
our price: $8.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486411435
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 273109
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Kidnapped into slavery in 1841, Northup spent 12 years in captivity. This autobiographical memoir represents an exceptionally detailed and accurate description of slave life and plantation society. "A moving, vital testament to one of slavery’s ‘many thousand gone’ who retained his humanity in the bowels of degradation..."—Saturday Review. 7 illustrations. Index.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a story!
This story of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery is amazing. I know nothing of how it was written and sometimes questioned whether it was genuine or not because sometimes the writing was so eloquent, but after reading it I realized the author had some help from the editor, David Wilson. I hope Solomon Northrup is looking down from somewhere and knows what a treasure his book has become.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Autobiography of a Free Man!
Solomon Northup was an educated literate man who worked in New York and was brutally kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana. His autobiography was very detailed with skillfully painted pictures of the people and situations he encountered until at last he was freed. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Solomon Northup was also mentioned in the newly released children's historical novel, The Journal of Darien Dexter Duff, an Emancipated Slave that also takes place in Louisiana.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Historical Narrative Everyone Should Read
In an age when most history that is presented to the masses is whitewashed or made politically correct it is quite refreshing to read a historical narrative "warts and all" about a period in American History that many want to forget about or gloss over.

Solomon Northup was an educated, free black man from upstate New York with a wife and children in the 1841 when through a chain of events ended up being kidnapped and sold into slavery. He eventually ended up deep in Louisiana and spent the next 12 years of his life there until he was rescued by a prominent citizen of his home state that knew him.

What stands out in this book to me are the descriptions of the various people he met and how they treated him from being very kind and gracious to vile and wicked. As a southerner I have often heard that slaves were basically happy and contented and this book will immediately put an end such a notion. Even the most illiterate and uneducated slave Solomon met yearned for freedom, as is human nature to do so. That being said there were several decent southern slave owners described in the book who treated their slaves well. One of them William Ford, almost certainly saved Solomon from being lynched by his new owner.

On the flip side there were many vile slave owners as well. Solomon was owned by a carpenter who mistreated him quite badly and Solomon had to fight him twice to prevent himself from being killed by his owner. After one of these fights he fled into the swamp being chased by his owner and several other slave owners with their bloodhounds. His description of the bloodhounds following him into the swamp and him seeing all of the snakes and alligators was quite interesting. Solomon, beside being literate was blessed with a great deal of "street" smarts and common sense. He knew how to evade the dogs when they chased him into the swamp. The aforementioned William Ford saved Solomon from the carpenter's wrath after this episode.

Solomon then went on to spend the rest of his time in captivity with another brutal slave owner. This owner was drunk half the time and continually mistreated all of his slaves. Solomon's rescue came when a Canadian drifter who worked as a laborer agreed to mail a rescue note to Solomon's home town. A few months later Solomon was rescued by a prominent gentlemen from his native New York and was reunited with his family.

This book was fascinating reading and moved at a rapid pace. Most of the books I read I never bother to write a review on unless I found them to be a good read and this is a good read!

If you want to read about slavery as it was and not in glossed over terms or political correct terms then this book is for you. The truth what a concept!

4-0 out of 5 stars A painful, enraging read in American and Louisiana history
This is the story of Solomon Northup, in his own words, a citizen of New York kidnapped in 1841 and taken to Louisiana as a slave, where he was found twelve years later on a cotton plantation near the Red River. It is a story that will break your heart as Solomon was torn away from his family for over a decade. According to a quote from 1853, when Solomon first published his memoirs, "Think of it: For thirty years a man, with all a man's hopes, fears and aspirations--with a wife and children to call him by the endearing names of husband and father--with a home, humble it may be, but still a home...then for twelve years a thing, a chattel personal, classed with mules and horses. ...Oh! it is horrible. It chills the blood to think that such are." And indeed, this story will both chill--and boil--your blood.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great, Nonstop Read
I had to read this book for my history class, but I absolutely loved it. It was one of very few books that I did not want to return once classes were over. Once I picked it up, I did not want to put it down (but I had to to finish my other homework). I think that anyone who enjoys historical accounts would enjoy this personal account of Solomon Northrup. ... Read more


185. I Will Bear Witness 1942-1945
by VICTOR KLEMPERER
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375502408
Catlog: Book (2000-03-21)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 163063
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The second volume of Victor Klemperer's searing diary, kept in secret during the 12 years he suffered under the Nazi regime, covers the period from 1942 to 1945. The humiliations visited on even such "privileged" Jews as Klemperer (whose wife was Aryan) grew increasingly severe, with house searches, arbitrary arrests, and brutal beatings becoming virtually routine. The 60-year-old historian is forced to shovel snow despite his heart condition; hunger gnaws at him as rations are mercilessly cut. Yet he clings to an intellectual life, continuing his reading and making notes on the lies and obfuscations of official Nazi discourse that would become his postwar masterpiece, Lingua Tertii Imperii. "The Russians, who have only just been annihilated, are tremendous and quite inexhaustible opponents," he notes sardonically after reading a mendacious fascist article in 1942. His lengthy account of his escape with his wife from Dresden after the Allied bombings of 1945 unforgettably captures the chaos of World War II's final days and the mixed feelings of a Jew who could never wholeheartedly gloat over the defeat of the nation that had persecuted him. Above all, his unflinching depiction of human nature and society in extremis amply justifies his cherished belief that even the Nazis "cannot prevent language from testifying to the truth."--Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading
The extraordinary value of Klemperer's heroic diaries reside in their rich detail. Day after day, under the most unnerving circumstances imaginable, this decent, perceptive man took the time to observe and record the quotidien outrages of the Nazi horror. The result is a kind of huge pointillist canvas in which every dot of infamy, every speck of malevolence, has been precisely set down. The marvel--one might even say the miracle--is that, even in the face of Gestapo searches, any one of which might easily have resulted in his and his wife's deportation and certain murder, Klemperer had not only the self-possession but the courage to persevere.

One observation he makes in this second installment of the Diaries will doubtless fuel the ongoing debate as to the culpability of ordinary non-Jewish Germans in the Holocaust, and that is that many Germans, even those in official posts, were apparently unaware not only of the death camps but even of the severe depradations under which Jews were forced to live. One German, for example, is cited as believing that one could see many more Jews in the streets in 1942 because they were heartened by America's entry into the war, whereas, as Klemperer points out, 'the Jews were more frequently to be seen on the streets because they were forbidden to take the tram', and 'the man was completely unaware of this.' Now, whether this was inadvertant or willful ignorance is a lively question, but this and other examples cited by Klemperer seem to indicate that many Germans did at least appear to be unaware of the full extent of the mad repressive decrees daily exacted against their Jewish neighbors.

Some, however, clearly did know, and, as Klemperer shows, were not altogether comfortable with the passivity of their knowledge. One day he has an encounter in the street in Dresden and his description of it in his diary nicely exemplifies the dignified magnanimity with which this extraordinary man treated the guilt of his much more fortunate German compatriots. 'On Warplatz,' he says, 'two gray-haired ladies, teachers of about sixty years of age, such as often came to my lectures and talks. They stop, one comes toward me, holding out her hand. I think: a former auditor, and raise my hat. But I do not know her after all, nor does she introduce herself. She only smiles and shakes my hand, says: "You know why!" and goes before I can say a word. Such demonstrations (dangerous for both parties!) are said to happen frequently. The opposite of the recent: "Why are you still alive, you rogue! " And both of these in Germany and in the middle of the twentieth century.--'

Essential as this and the first installment are for any understanding of the Holocaust, both would be much improved by much more thorough annotation. Still, that will take time, and English editor and translator Martin Chalmers has produced an admirable edition for the time being.

5-0 out of 5 stars EXTRAORDINARY.
Is 'extraordinary' a powerful enough word for this book?

On reading it, I almost couldn't believe that it was genuine...but no writer of fiction could have created something as extraordinary,(I've used the word again,) as this.

Klemperer was a Jew, who managed to survive the war living within Nazi Germany because he was married to a Christian woman & 'luckily' for us, he wrote EVERYTHING down. Every. Tiny. Detail.

A superbly intelligent & witty man. Sometimes these kinds of books are just fascinating as eye-witness accounts, but what's unusual about this, is the fact that this man could actually write AND SO well.

SO sad & frustrating that it wasn't published within his lifetime.

I can't say any more. I'll never be able to say enough.

Probably the most extraordinary eye-witness account about life in Nazi Germany available...NO!...that will EVER be available.

Definetely the most extraordinary, (yes, it IS the right word,) book I've personally EVER read.

I'm honoured in being able to recommend this to you.

5-0 out of 5 stars These are powerful books
Victor Klemperer's diaries are essential reading for any serious student of the Third Reich. His achievement is extraordinay on every level. Even though he was victimized, he maintained a studious detachment and even after twelve years of persecution, could see the Nazi leaders in a clear and objective light. At no time did he underestimate their intelligence, or their effectiveness at controlling the German people. His voice holds the reader in thrall as he repeatedly describes the capability of Hitler and Goebbels, in particular, to manipulate and distort events to their own advantage. Nowhere is the Nazi regime's effective use of power more clearly described than it is in these pages.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Klemperer's observations is that he held what we now call the Goldhagen debate within his own mind. Was antisemitism a deeply embedded and inseparable part of the German people, or not? He described acts of kindness and acts of discrimination and brutality in counterpoint over and over again. In the end, he did not form a final conclusion himself on this issue.

There has been much ink spilled on the Gestapo. How effective and how pervasive was this force in institutionalized and systemic terror activities? Klemperer's detailed and careful observations over a period of years provides an insight that transcends any other. He describes not only his own mounting sense of terror at Gestapo tactics, but dispassionately describes the impact on his friends and neighbors, most of whom did not survive the experience. To the question: How much did ordinary Germans know or guess about the extermination activities in the concentration camps? Klemperer's diaries leave no doubt at all that everyone knew.

Klemperer was a learned professor. He had both a strong work ethic and great courage. He attributes his survival to his wife Eva, an observation that is undoubtedly true. He wrote, she was the courier, a friend hid the pages at great risk. There is no way to overstate the importance of Klemperer's diaries. And there is no way to ever thank these people enough for their effort, courage, and sacrifice. These are powerful books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable
I have just started to read this book and it has already made a tremendous impact. Seeing what he and others have gone through in only the first 60 pages, I cannot help but wonder what the remaining pages will tell me and how he managed not only to survive the war but live for another 15 years.

It is one man's account of the triumph of the human spirit against all odds, faithfully recorded in rich detail for future generations to see.

Anyone who reads this cannot help but look at life in a different way.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Ten-Star Collection
Volume I and this volume of Victor Klemperer's diaries as well as "The Language of the Third Reich" ("LTI") comprise the most extraordinary view of Hitler's Germany so far published. Not only are these books superbly written by an educated and perceptive man and expertly translated, they offer the most complete and engaging view ever presented of life in Nazi Germany. Born a Jew, Klemperer was a converted Christian, married to an Aryan, an anti-Zionist, and a German through and through. He also served with distinction in WWI. None of this made much difference to the Gestapo but nevertheless the Klemperers survived all 12 years of the Third Reich without being sent to a death camp, the humiliations (confiscation of car, home, pets, even Klemperer's WWI rifle bayonet!), the shortages of food and clothing, the forced manual labor. Through Klemperer's eyes we see clearly and with amazing detail and insight how the Nazis strangled initiative and freedom in Germany between 1933-1945, not only for Jews but Germans as well. We also see that anti-Semitism was not as widely spread in Germany as we might have previously believed, at least not in Dresden, where the Klemperers spent most of these horrible 12 years. It is also significant that neither Klemperer nor any of the other Jews in Dresden were aware during the war of the precise extent of the Holocaust, although they all knew that being sent to a concentration camp meant eventual death. My only criticism of these diaries is they could have used some maps of the local area and the notes should've been put at the bottom of the pages instead of at the end of the books, arranged by date. Thus it is sometimes very easy to miss the significance of certain entries. These books are required reading for anyone seriously interested in the history of Nazi Germany. ... Read more


186. Open Mike: Reflections on Philosophy, Race, Sex, Culture and Religion
by Michael Eric Dyson
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465017657
Catlog: Book (2002-12)
Publisher: Basic Civitas Books
Sales Rank: 197098
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Essays and interviews from one of the most insightful and thought-provoking black intellectuals to emerge since the heyday of the civil rights movement.

Here, collected for the first time, are interviews and essays representing Michael Eric Dyson's most important thinking on race and identity. Exploring such topics as "whiteness" as seen through a black man's eye, modernism and postmodernism in black culture, and the emancipating role of black music from the plantation to the ghetto, Open Mike is a perfect introduction to Dyson's work and a must-have for students and scholars in African American Studies and Cultural Studies. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars not so good.
Much is made of dyson's intellectual prowess; this just goes to show you that all things are relative. There are organisms shuffling down the street to whom dyson's intellect would, one assumes, seem impressive. But that don't necessarily make it so. You may, at some point, have heard the term pinhead. The term signifies that the owner of such a head has a tiny little brain, a "peabrain" if you will. This, in a nutshell, is dyson. He meanders around offering weak commentary and observation that appeals chiefly to the MTV and BET crowd. This is to say, he offers nothing of value other than allowing Penn to make their quota. Do yourself a favor and avoid at all costs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Controversial, Articulate, Unapologetic
Open Mike is a book that I picked up on accident and I thnak whatever angel was sitting on my shoulder that day. I had never been blessed enough to have been exposed to Dyson before and I was quite surprise about what I found. This man is BAD. He has the same theoretical and intellectual presence as Malcom, Martin, Carmichael, etc. In Open Mike, a series of interviews Dyson gave, I found that I was surprise that anyone could speak this way from the hip. I often wondered if he'd practiced what he had to say. Then I heard him speak at the State of the Black Chruch conference in Detroit, MI 2003. He's for real.

Open Mike is an honest and revealing account of Dyson's life, his thoughts, and the controversies that he's started. No one is safe from this man 's tongue---no one. Pick it up and be enlightened.

Also check out Race Rules: Navigating The Color Line; Holla If You Hear Me; and Why I Love Black Women.

5-0 out of 5 stars Open Mic is Dyson's answer to the esoteric!!!
As a mentee of Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, I can certainly attest to his rhetorical genius, his intellectual compassion, his scholarly depth and his cerebral authority on a wide range of cultural, philosophical and theoretical themes. But as it occurs, many acadamicians (i.e. Adolph Reed) have questioned his scholarship, and even if he is a serious intellectual, suggesting that his writing tends to gravitate toward petty motives that deal with popular culture and the commercialization of societal issues. Nevermind that one of the most noted philosophers, Antonio Gramsci proposed the notion of the "organic intellectual" as one who could arise from the people but never become so esoterically connected to some ebony or ivory academy. That is Dyson--the organic intellectual--and we Dysonians appreciate him as a defining intellectual acrobat regardless of the commentaries put out by PEDANTIC scholars who resist mainstream culture, pretty much because they, themselves, fail to identify with it.

But still, Dyson answers his critics with Open Mike, a scholarly enterprise of the highest order. The book is a collection of conversations on philosophy, race, sex, culture and religion, that definitively evinces the "seriousness" of Dyson's scholarship. Dyson effortlessly registers his deepening intellectual and moral convictions on every subject from poststructuralist theory to the polyrhythmic structures of African American musical traditions and from Nietzsche's view of God to the prism through with Nas analyzed black social plight.

As Mark Anthony Neal stated in the foreword, "Open Mike is a critical beat-down!" I recommend that this scholarly contribution be digested by every intellect for its complex exploration into the various layers and dimensions of black radical discourse, politics and ethics. And I even further, invite all general readers to add this book to their reading appetite, as Dyson's consistent flow and vivid portrayals are sure to delight your thirst for an impassioned discussion of the social dynamics that affect us all.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Man is Deep
He is truly One of the Greatest Writers that I have Ever Read on.Brother Dyson has a way with words&bringing so much Groove in His Presentation.I truly applaud the way He tackles so many subjects&never misses a beat.He is a Deep Cat&always someone you have to Read a Couple of times to fully Digest His Knowledge&Wide Scope of things going on. ... Read more


187. Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art
by Phoebe Hoban
list price: $15.95
our price: $15.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140236090
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 107470
Average Customer Review: 3.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The bestselling biography of the controversial artist, and a vivid account of the fast times in which he lived--and died

Painter Jean-Michel Basquiat was the Jimi Hendrix of the art world: in less than a decade he went from being a teenage graffiti writer to an international art star; he was dead of a drug overdose at age twenty-seven. Basquiat's brief career spanned the giddy '80s art boom and epitomized its outrageous excess, from its art dealers to its drug dealers, from its clubs to its galleries. A legend in his own lifetime, Basquiat became a fixture in the downtown scene and got involved with many of the period's most celebrated personalities, including Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Madonna.

Phoebe Hoban's Basquiat, the first biography of this charismatic figure, charts the trajectory from the artist's troubled childhood to his volatile passage through the art world of white dealers and nouveau-riche collectors. As much the portrait of an era as the portrait of an artist, Basquiat is an incisive expose of the eighties art market that paints a vivid picture of the rise and fall of the graffiti movement, the East Village art scene, the avaricious dealers, and the out-of-control auction houses. Ten years after the artist's death, Basquiat resurrects both the painter and his time.

* A New York Times Notable Book
* Basquiat appeared on the Los Angeles Times and Voice Literary Supplement bestseller lists

"Compulsively readable. . . there is enormous value in it, especially in Hoban's depiction of the glitzy 1980s art world, which is sharply etched and deadly accurate." --Patricia Bosworth, The New York Times Book Review
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Reviews (17)

2-0 out of 5 stars Good book, He think.
Don't look to this work for any information about Basquiat as an artist. This is a book about fame. It took Ms. Hoban 7 years to write about an artist whose career wasn't even that long. This is a book about the eighties, fame, and excess. You will not learn much about Jean-Michel by reading this book. You will learn about the climate of the eighties art world and the ever-present parasites that the enormous speculation over great artists can create(Braghoomian for instance). The photographs of Jean-Michel are interesting, but because of the ownership of the artist's works, none are present to look at while reading this work. Buy a book of Basquiat's work if you are interested in the artist. If you are interested in the vacuum of New York 1980's culture, check this out at the library--it's not worth purchasing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Basquiat: We hardly Knew Ye
This book runs the gamut between gossip, stories of 80's excesses, and art history. The book is not so much a biography of Basquiat, rather a peek into the insipid world of the 1980's New York art scene. It has the usual "hangers-on" bottom-feeding on the talents of others, the "know nothing" art buyers driving prices up on marginal works, and the merciless art dealers who appear oddly enough to be the victims in this book. Basquiat does not deserve glorification, after all he was a drug-soaked addict and mooch, and this book provides none. It is a lively read that brings to the forefront the artists that drove the scene, the dealers that made them famous, and the host of actors that shaped the movement.

5-0 out of 5 stars IF YOU NEED ONE BOOK ABOUT BASQUIAT, THIS IS IT !
I really love this book ! I buy a lot of art books all the time. Some of them are pretty bad, and one of the art books I recently bought only because it was published 20 editions already. And that one was really a disappointment. This book, however, is the BEST art book I have ever bought! It is a book I will always come back to read again and again. (I have finished it 3 days after I got it and now I am reading it the second time) If you need only one book about Basquiat, let this one be it, and you will make a great choice. The writer has great knowledge in art, and that make this book so much more valuable!

I cannot recommend the book called Widow Basquiat. Because nobody knows who should be called Widow Basquiat. There are at least 2 dozen girls fighting for that title and the money behind it, not-knowing that Basquiat senior has already got the best lawyer and inherited everything from his son.

5-0 out of 5 stars Phonebe Hoban is a great Basquiat expert
Phoebe Hoban has shown that she is a great Basquiat expert. She spent 7 years to do research for this book, and that is why the book is filled with credible interviews, comments and fascinating stories. She is so honest and decent, and she is not afraid of affending bad guys or anyone for that matter. She even named all those drug dealers who sold stuff to JMB. I solute and applause to her great effort. In the end of the book, she also did not forget to write her visit to JMB's mother who is apparently suffering from her fraigile psychological condition. The writer told us the vivid scence at her home. The writer asked us not to forget this: while JMB's father got millions dollars by inhariting the entire JMB fortune, his mother who has been long divorced from his father, Basquiat senior, has been living in absolute poverty. Lawyers, this is your chance to make it. Even if you do not have much good conscience, just think about the estimated value of the JMB estate - (now valued over $500 million !) you should go and and visit JMB's mother today and start sueing JMB estate which is run by JMB's father. (by the legal arrangement, each party has 50%) This is one thing JMB himself will be pleased.

3-0 out of 5 stars Informative - but somewat petty and gossippy.
I know that's a contradicition however one gets the feeling that the author was not a fan of Jean-Michele Basquait. His art or his work.

She seems to take an almost preverse pleasure in sharing the more "scandalous" aspects of his behavior.

There is much more time devoted to his alleged "drug abuse, whoremongering and venereal disease sharing" than his art work.

Overall, I learned some interesting information about his relationship with art dealers. The author seems particularly infatuated/intimidated with the recording artist/actress Madonna (who Basquait has a brief relationship with) and the art dealer Mary Boone.

But there is precious little about his family life, what motivated him or his connection to the Black community of which he was most assuredly. In fact, there seems to be a lack of respect for the African-American culture and the community as a whole.

I wanted to like this book, and it was very detailed,however much of it came from interviews, innuendos and third-persons accounts. Fufilling at some points, it often reads like tabloid journalism too. Some objectivity would have been nice, but maybe that's another book.

Surprisingly, I would recommend it to the Basquait fan, (for informational purposes) just check it out from the library or used stack. ... Read more


188. The Story of a Life : A Memoir
by AHARON APPELFELD
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805241787
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: Schocken
Sales Rank: 16335
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189. The Man Who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram
by Thomas Blass
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0738203998
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 42467
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The sole and definitive biography of one of the 20th century's most influential and controversial psychologists.

The creator of the famous "Obedience Experiments," carried out at Yale in the 1960s, and originator of the "six degrees of separation" concept, Stanley Milgram was one of the most innovative scientists of our time. In this sparkling biography--the first in-depth portrait of Milgram--Thomas Blass captures the colorful personality and pioneering work of a social psychologist who profoundly altered the way we think about human nature.

Born in the Bronx in 1933, Stanley Milgram was the son of Eastern European Jews, and his powerful Obedience Experiments had obvious intellectual roots in the Holocaust. The experiments, which confirmed that "normal" people would readily inflict pain on innocent victims at the behest of an authority figure, generated a firestorm of public interest and outrage-proving, as they did, that moral beliefs were far more malleable than previously thought. But Milgram also explored other aspects of social psychology, from information overload to television violence to the notion that we live in a small world. Although he died suddenly at the height of his career, his work continues to shape the way we live and think today. Blass offers a brilliant portrait of an eccentric visionary scientist who revealed the hidden workings of our very social world. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stanley Milgram: His research and his personality
Stanley Milgram was clearly a genius! His research on obedience to authority gave the world surprising insights into such phenomena as the role of ordinary people in the Nazi Holocaust. His innovative studies on the small world problem gave rise to the notion of six degrees of separation-which in recent years has been applied as a general principle in such diverse fields as physics, epidemiology and neuroscience. Whether we consider cognitive maps of cities, the lost letter method of assessing attitudes, the concept of the familiar stranger or Cyranoid communication, the mark of Milgram's research was its originality and brilliance in conceptualizing everyday events in a manner that elucidated the phenomenon, yet was never tried before.

In this beautifully written biography of Milgram by Thomas Blass, we not only get a superb overview of Milgram's work, but we also find out about Stanley Milgram-the person. By learning about his parents and his childhood we can now understand what drew his interest into Holocaust relevant research. Following his graduate career, we can gain insight into the personalities and social dynamics that existed at the Harvard Department of Social Relations and how these forces shaped Milgram's research agenda. His European travels, studies and adventures (amorous and otherwise) fill out the picture of Stanley Milgram's early interests.

Fortunately, Milgram was a prolific writer of letters to his friends that expressed his feelings at that moment. It appears that the author gained access to practically every word ever written by Milgram and through extensive interviews with Milgram's family, colleagues and students Blass compiled an even larger database of quotes and anecdotes which he appropriately shares with the reader. Some of these anecdotes are not complimentary, but I believe they give us an honest view of this very complex person. These firsthand testimonies paint an intriguing image of one of the most influential social scientists of our time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Milgram: Arrogant and Clever
I've been a fan of Stanley Milgram's work since my psychology grad school days in the late 60's. Fortunately, I also had the pleasure of hearing him speak and the honor of meeting him. So I waited with anticipation when I learned that Thomas Blass was writing a biography on Milgram. I was hoping that I would lean more about Milgram's groundbreaking research and that I might also end up liking him as a person, although I know that's certainly not the purpose of biography.

Well, thanks to Blass's book I did learn a lot about Milgram, not all of it very pleasant. And even at that, it seems to me that Blass pulled some punches to avoid making Milgram even less attractive as a person, perhaps in deference to Milgram's wife and his children who cooperated in the writing of this biography. For example, Blass reports that Milgram delayed his departure from Paris until he found out if his French girlfriend was pregnant. Blass doesn't say whether she was or not or what happened if she in fact was. Blass frequently references Milgram's sexual appetite and conquests but avoids discussion of whether this carried over to Milgram's later life. When I met Milgram, he was in the company of a tall, beautiful young woman who was described simply as his "traveling companion".

Blass does repeatedly mention Milgram's arrogance, snobbishness, and abrasiveness but also offers up what seem to be pedestrian acts of kindness attributed to Milgram and that he was a good family man. This "on the other hand" approach by Blass is apparently intended to imply that underneath it all Milgram could be very sensitive and kind or that he was "complicated". Blass also briefly mentions Milgram's drug use as a possible explanation of his mercurial behavior.

Overall, I was left with the impression that although Milgram was certainly funny, clever, creative, and intellectually curious, he was also driven by a strong need to gain status and recognition and that he could be deceptive and manipulative, e.g., he wrote letters to politicians representing himself untruthfully and falsely claimed to be a French student in order to get a rent subsidy from the French government. Later in his career, he even hired a professional clipping service to find all the reviews of his books but then, despite his substantial income, complained about the cost of his children's education.

Does this matter? In terms of Milgram's significant influence on social psychology and our understanding of obedience, the small world effect, etc., probably not. But in terms of biography just for the sake of recreational reading, to me it does. I almost hate to admit it but it's just more fun to read about someone you end up caring about, much like identifying with the main character in a movie. Although I was constantly reminded of Milgram's methodological cleverness and powers of observation, I couldn't shake the notion that Blass was too easy on him and that I would not have liked him very much as either a teacher or as a colleague. But perhaps this very type of personality is exactly what was needed to do the kinds of studies Milgram did, i.e., a "nicer" person wouldn't have done them.

Despite these opinions, I would still recommend the book because Milgram's work is so socially significant, unconventional, and methodologically clever. You might also gain some insight into the department politics at two prestigious universities when Blass writes about Milgram's unsuccessful attempts to land a tenured position at Harvard and Yale. If you decide to read a psychologist's biography other than this one, I would definitely recommend "Love at Goon Park", the biography of Harry Harlow by Deborah Blum. I believe Harlow was even more influential than Milgram. Better yet, read them both.

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant biography of a brilliant social scientist
Due to the high level of excitement and anticipation surrounding the arrival of this important biography, I was eagerly looking forward to receiving it, yet naturally concerned it might not live up to expectations. Fortunately, I am pleased to say this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, it's a fascinating and well-written book by Blass, who is recognised as the authority on Milgram.

Since I am not a psychologist myself, what struck me initially was how readable an account this actually is. I was also extremely impressed by the incredible level of detail and nuance that Blass offers about Milgram's life and work. I've read some earlier material on Milgram that Blass wrote over the years, which is one reason I was looking forward to the publication of the biography.

In my view, it offers a very important and unparalleled glimpse into the life as well as full range of research of a man who became so controversial--in large measure--for revealing a disturbing side of human behaviour that has proven to transcend boundaries of time and culture. Now more than ever--given the current state of affairs on the world stage--I feel this book is a very important contribution to the field of psychology, and obedience to authority in particular. Moreover, given the far reaching implications of the subject matter and the readability of this book, it should appeal to an even broader audience. ... Read more


190. Churchill: The Unexpected Hero (Lives and Legacies Series)
by Paul Addison
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199279349
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 154138
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Churchill was the only British politician of the twentieth century to become an enduring national hero. His unique image, complete with V-sign, giant cigar, and outlandish costumes, was as universally famous as Charlie Chaplin's tramp. Now, in Churchill, The Unexpected Hero, Paul Addison offers a major reassessment of this highly charismatic figure, focusing largely on the life-long battle over Churchill's reputation."Churchill's career," notes Addison, "was one of snakes and ladders." The longest of the "snakes" was Gallipoli, the ill-starred military campaign that all but destroyed his career in 1915. After Gallipoli, Churchill's reputation plummeted, and he was attacked as a shameless egotist, an opportunist without principles or convictions, an unreliable colleague, an erratic policy-maker who lacked judgement, and a reckless amateur strategist with a dangerous passion for war and bloodshed. Indeed, throughout his career, at one time or another, Churchill offended every party and faction in the land. Yet all but the most hostile also conceded that he possessed great abilities, remarkable eloquence, and a streak of genius, and with the coming of World War II, the man long excluded from high office--on the grounds that he was a danger to King and Country--became the savior of that country, a truly great war leader. As Churchill's reputation skyrocketed, Addison shows how his heroic self-image was communicated to the world through a stupendous public relations campaign in which oratory, journalism, and history were all pressed into service.Churchill won two great victories in World War II. The first was a victory over Nazi Germany. The second, a victory over the legion of skeptics who derided his judgement and denied his claims to greatness. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Expected Hero
Paul Addison has written a competent introduction to a lifemore interesting, in the sense of history, than any other of the twentieth century. His book is enlivened by many vivid quotes from a broad assortment of people who had reason to know Winston Churchill.However, I think the author, in an excessive attempt at balance, bends too far over backward in making use of certain highly negative assessments-- such as one offered by Evelyn Waugh at the time of Churchill's death.

While he may have had feet of clay, his name remains remembered in Westminister Abby--and elsewhere over the globe.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Addition To Sir Winston's Understanding


I've waited the past two months to receive a copy of this short biography on Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. Reading this book does not disappoint.

This short work, though fair and favorable to Sir Winston, also discusses the controversies of his career. Not everyone in Britain was a fan of Churchill, with some disliking him, with others fearing he would ever have any part of the government. In spite of his monumental contributions to the World War II years, some never lost their mistrust nor dislike of the man.

As an American, I see him as the beacon of hope for war-torn Britain. The best possible man to lead the country during those years, an uncrowned king giving the British people the hope and stamina needed to go on, day by day, overcoming all the suffering World War II brought them. Should he not have been the best, surely there existed no one better. When one thinks today of World War II Britain, one must think of Winston Churchill. They have become intertwined and inseparable.

Even from his earliest years, Churchill always felt he was a person of destiny; so was able to equally accept and act in that role. One must wonder what England would have been without him. Prior to the war he was seen as too strident and hawkish, once the war began however his views and demeanor coincided exactly to the needs of the time. Once the war was over, most of the country turned their backs to him at the polls, feeling he was not up to running a tamer, peacetime government.

Being neither British, nor ignoring his earlier government service prior to World War II (he was 65 in 1940 at time of his becoming Prime Minister with many years of government service behind him), I cannot agree with their post war thinking. And as discussed in this slim volume, I agree with the author that the mistrust and distrust of earlier Liberal versus Tory episode was ever overcome. Too many felt they just could not count on, nor place their full trust in this man.

Winston Churchill is my 'cup of tea'. One of the few 20th Century men of both character and leadership.True, he had both great flaws and great abilities as well; and this book fairly shows both.

Recommended reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Churchill's life and career
Though Winston Churchill has never wanted for biographers, over the past few years the publication of brief studies of his life have come into vogue.Written by some of the leading historians of the period - John Keegan, Geoffrey Best, Stuart Ball - they offer an accessible (if condensed) examination of one of the dominant figures of the twentieth century.Paul Addison's book is the latest addition to their ranks, and one that deserves to be ranked as among the best of these efforts.

Addison argues that the heroic status that Churchill enjoys today belies much of his career.Considered an irresponsible genius by his contemporaries, he was a polarizing figure who was never completely trusted by any side of the political divide.Yet as prime minister during the Second World War he went on to become "the embodiment of national unity," a symbol of Britain's determination to defeat Nazi Germany.Addison provides a more nuanced view of Churchill's career, noting his ideological consistency in a politically turbulent age.When war came, the man and the moment were ideally matched; indeed, many of the traits that his opponents deplored - his enthusiasm for war, his advocacy of impossible ideas, even the fact that he was half American - became assets in the conflict and were keys to his successful leadership.

Developed from his entry on Churchill for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Addison succeeds in providing an insightful introduction to the life of one of the dominant figures of the twentieth century. Though hardly a hagiographical account - he freely acknowledges such faults as Churchill's massive egotism - his portrait is a sympathetic one, depicting the prime minister as "a hero with feet of clay."The result is a good read and a great starting point for anyone seeking to learn more about this fascinating figure. ... Read more


191. The Big O : My Life, My Times, My Game
by Oscar Robertson
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1579547648
Catlog: Book (2003-11-15)
Publisher: Rodale Books
Sales Rank: 238514
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

While The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game will not disappoint basketball purists longing for Oscar Robertson's play-by-play of favorite games, the attraction of this autobiography is Robertson's perspective on the evolution of the sport and on the racial struggles that were the context of his formative years. Called by many basketball experts the greatest all-around player ever, Robertson earned an astonishing array of honors including an Olympic gold medal, 12 NBA All-Star appearances, the NBA Rookie of the Year award, and the 1964 NBA MVP award. Most remarkably, Robertson remains the only player in basketball history with a triple-double season (double-digit averages for scoring, rebounds, and assists).

While Robertson could have easily candy-coated this impressive record for his retrospective, he devotes large sections of his book to the racial battles he faced off court, and his final chapters recount his controversial efforts as an NBA union leader to create free agency, a pension plan, and disability protection for players. In telling his life story, he lays bare the racism and mistreatment he suffered at the hands of individuals and institutions throughout his career, from the Mayor of Indianapolis and Cincinnati University to the NBA and CBS Sports. At times, his critiques can seem excessive (e.g. his discussions of the distortions in the film Hoosiers, while interesting, are repeated a bit too often), and some sections (like his attempts to compare himself to contemporary players) border on self-indulgence. Yet, he seems justified in arguing that his achievements--largely accomplished on second-rate teams, against a back-drop of unprecedented racial strife, and before the modern era of sports-media saturation--are easily underrepresented. In the end, The Big O offers a complex, human portrait to complement a spectacular sports career. --Patrick O'Kelley ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars BUT ONLY FOR BASKETBALL FANATICS - LIKE ME!
TO READ, MUCH LESS REVIEW, THE "BIG O" YOU HAVE TO BE, AND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN, A TRUE LOVER OF THE GAME. IT IS AN AUTOBIOGRAHY OF THE IDIVIDUAL I HAVE ALWAYS CONSIDERED TO BE THE GREATEST OF ALL BASKETBALL PLAYERS - PAST & PRESENT. HIS EXPLOITS BOTH ON AND OFF THE COURT ARE REMARKABLE. IT'S A BOOK FOR EVERY BASKETBALL JUNKY, AND FOR OTHERS WHO WANT TO LEARN A GOOD DEAL ABOUT WHAT'S REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE EXCELLENCE IN ANY FIELD OF ENDEAVOR.
SINCE I CAN'T FIND REFERENCE TO A "GHOST WRITER, OR ANYONE ELSE INVOLVED IN WRITING THIS BOOK, I WILL ASSUME THAT OSCAR WROTE IT HIMSELF. IT WOULD BE WRONG TO JUDGE THIS BOOK ENTIRELY ON "EDITORIAL" GROUNDS, ALTHOUGH IT'S NOT BAD. OSCAR STYLE OF WRITING IS SIMILAR TO THE WAY HE PLAYED BASKETBALL - HE TAKES IT RIGHT TO YOU! "HERE IT IS, DEAL WITH IT IF YOU CAN." HE DOESN'T MINCE WORDS, TELLS IT LIKE IT IS, AND WAS, AND TO HIS CREDIT DOESN'T SEEM TO REALLY CARE, WHAT YOU OR I THINK ABOUT HIS OPINIONS - USUALLY NOT A GOOD IDEA, BUT COMING FROM HIM, AND GIVEN THE SUBJECT MATTER IT'S ABSOLUTELY PERFECT.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Class Man and Player
At 50 I'm a little young to have followed Oscar Robertson's career other than the Milwaukee Bucks period. I have run into Robertson at Cincinnati ballgames and hotels when in the city although have not spoken to him. This is a biography written in typical form, "Here's what I did growing up, here's the influence of my parents and others, here's what I did that you know me for and here's what I'm doing now." But the difference is Oscar really has something to say and he's rattled a few cages saying it.

While many people come from poor backgrounds, particularly basketball players, Oscar's is particularly interesting due to the very rural nature of his upbringing in Tennessee. Most of his early life was centered on working in fields, church and family. A move to inner city Indianapolis was significant in his development as a basketball player. And this is where the book becomes very interesting as Oscar conveys the first noticeable slights from racism. Oscar has always been very well mannered projecting a great image. And maybe in many ways this hid the hurt he was feeling from racism or maybe I was just too young to hear about it.

After rising to a top star, Robertson commits to a smaller school, U of Cincinatti, amid rumblings of improper recruiting. He dispels most of this and introduces boosters or mentors who took his best interests at heart and helped him grow as a man. He also meets his wife who he describes in glowing terms, clearly a very strong marriage that eventually yields two daughters. This is another interesting part of the book as one of his daughters suffers from a disease requiring an organ transplant.

Robertson starts his pro career in his hometown of Cincinnati with an under funded team which creates conflicts throughout his career there as money and a good supporting cast is always short. Discussing his pro career you can really see his bitterness with the pre-free agent market and how he had to fight for his money and was often blamed for putting himself above his team. This for a man that averaged a triple-double. If you follow the NBA today, you will almost find the numbers thrown around as comical.

Clearly, this book has generated controversy as Robertson has alluded to racism throughout the book. While it didn't match the impression I had of Robertson, I found he supported his positions well even though you may not agree with the outcome.

Overall, I found this to be an excellent book of a basketball icon in the late 50s to 70s. If you have interest in sports in those periods, life in America in those periods, or a short view of race relations at that time, I think you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
the Big O is One of the Greatest Talents in any sport Period. Wilt Chamberlin is to Me the Greatest Player in the NBA Ever but I could Put the BIG O right there with Him.He was unstoppable&One of the Game's true Ground-Breakers.in His Book He pulls no punches&Brings it here. He is a very down to Earth Soul brother&a Class act. He should Be running a Team in the NBA or something that showcases just How Important He was&is to the Game.Fantastic Book&strong read.

5-0 out of 5 stars a worthwhile read
I was a big fan of the Big O growing up. He was the most complete player on the basketball court. This book is very well written and well rounded, covering his triumphs and conflicts during the racially charged 50's and 60's. I highly recommned it, as it discusses college and professional basketball history extremely well - particularly the seminal period of the NBA in the 60's which I now only vaguley remember - but also discusses the societal environment in which the Big O' incredible career took place. ... Read more


192. Assassination at St. Helena Revisited
by BenWeider, StenForshufvud
list price: $30.00
our price: $30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471126772
Catlog: Book (1995-09-29)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 373710
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Napoleon was poisoned! The academic elite hated this theory when Sten Forshufvud first introduced it in 1961, but over the years, working with experts across the globe, he built an increasingly forceful case that an assassin killed Napoleon with arsenic. Assassination at St. Helena Revisited presents the most complete argument yet, and a growing number of authorities now accept its premise as an established fact. (See, for instance, Alan Schom's biography Napoleon Bonaparte.)Forshufvud and coauthor Ben Weider reveal their science and also detail Napoleon's final years of exile on St. Helena. The culprit, they believe, was Comte Charles-Tristan de Montholon, an opportunistic man who had both the motive and means to do the deed. A minor classic of historical and scientific detective work, Assassination at St. Helena Revisited will continue to spark debates, but for now it looks like the conspiracy theorists have the upper hand. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book but a bit heavy
This book was not exactly what I expected. I thought it would be a focused look at the reason the authors thought that Napoleon was assassinated, but much of the text is actually his campaigns and political life. It almost seems that they were trying to make the book look big by adding information that you can easily read in other texts. I really thought this one was going to be different but it fell a little short in my opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece for history lovers and Napoleonic fans!
This formidable story brings us to the magnificent life of one of the greatest heroes ever existing on earth, and of his mysterious death. It all begins on a lavish sofa at Ajjacio, Corsica, on August 15th 1769,when the second child of the Buonaparte family was born.Then it continues with his becoming general, emperor of France, and conqueror of Europe, until his disastrous attack at Moscow, his abdication, the hundred days,and his exile to a little island in the middle of the Atlantic. It culminates with his poisonment of arsenic and goes through a great detail in his last days before his death.It expands new evidence of his intoxication behind the miserable and tragic life inside the walls of Longwood. Was he really poisoned? Who was really the culprit? How can the author be sure of that? Is there a possibility that Napoleon comitted suicide? You can find all of it in this book. If you're a great admirer of this Eagle of France, I'm sure you won't regret.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling Story for True Crime and History Lovers
This is a wonderful book for anyone who likes history and/or true crime stories. It's amazing that so little has been known about Napoleon's last days, and that so little attention has been paid to such a wonderful book that seeks to explain Napoleon's demise. Through a mix of science and story telling, Weider and Forshufvud weave a tale of intrigue and murder. Their analysis and conclusions are so compelling, and their evidence so convincing, that it would seem impossible for anyone, after reading this book, to believe anything other than Napoleon was poisoned. As someone who is trained in these same forensic sciences and investigative principles, this is a fantastic and accurate book. ... Read more


193. Temptations
by Otis Williams, Patricia Romanowski, Patricia Romanowski Bashe
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0815412185
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Cooper Square Publishers
Sales Rank: 29557
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Williams, a founding member of the legendary Motown group the Temptations, tells the story of the group's formation and its years of musical success. ... Read more

Reviews (51)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book!
Once I saw the movie, I wanted to know more about David, Eddie, Paul, Otis and Melvin, so I decided to get this book so I could learn more about one of the most incredible, talented, groudbreaking not to mention classiest groups of all time. This book has a lot of info that isn't in the movie, so it was wonderful to read an account of how things really went down, especially at Motown in the early days. I finished this book in less than a week, I just couldn't put it down. This book has definitely made me a Temptations fan for life. I admire all of them and what they went through, and I especially commend Otis Williams for writing a book that discussed the good times and the bad, with class and grace. I am saddened by the fact that Eddie, David, Melvin and Paul (my favorite) aren't with us today, but their places in music history will always be remembered. A wonderful book!

5-0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Biographical Books On Music
When I first saw this book, I thought to myself "What can be so different between this and the NBC mini-series." I was wrong. In fact, this book gives more information than the movie, that in some ways it tells a little different version in the story of how one of the most famous R&B groups, in history, had started. For instance, in the movie it shows Elbridge Bryant singing lead on a song called 'Come On'. In Otis's book, he writes that Richard Street sang lead on that song.
It tells all about the countless changes in the group lineup. From day 1 until today, Otis mentions every Temptation that evr stood on stage with them. Also, he writes about Motown, when it was in it's early days, when Mary Wells and the Contours were making hits.
About this book, I give it five stars. It tells more details on the history of Otis Williams, and the Tempations, than any other source. I think Otis Williams tells the story wonderfully. I would recommend this book to any music lover.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Big Fan from Old School!
I read the first edition of this book(in "88"). I borrowed it from the Library.Read it in four days, it was so informative on
life within the group and I loved the pictures. Wished there were
more of them. Being grown in the sixties, you know, I know of them.

I broughtjust about all of their 45's(smiles) and quite a few of
their albums,and now cd's. My loves were David and Eddie.
Otis's account of the group is one that he lived, whether we
like it or, we have to respect him as a living monument to the
group."REALITY CHECK," AS ONE REVIEWER SAID, Otis has a right to
have some bitternes.He put a lot of heart, sweat and tears into
keeping the group together. I also have the dvd of them and the
"Standing In The Shadow of Motown dvd, the Funk Brothers Band's
story, behind Motown's Music. I recomend this one too. Read other
performer's story about Motown for more history.I'll buy this book, for my self and WILL read it. If you don't buy, get it from
the library. God bless you Otis! you must be doing something right!I saw Their Movie, but the book is actuall.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disgusted with Otis
I have read the 1988 version and the updated version of the Otis book. I even went out and bought the DVD. Okay, Otis if you want to hurt your soul brothers you have achieved! Why the hate!! According to you, Melvin and you did not do anything but become true Temps and everyone else was there for personal reasons. I totally agree with one of the reader, I will not buy anything that YOU publish!! Moreover, if you come to my town I will not spend a dime to see the show. Your true hate should be Barry Gordy not four uneducated men who did not understand how to become successful. I don't blame Eddie, Paul, David, and Dennis for their demons however; I blame the one who made 5 million dollars off of Temptations Barry. Yes, the producers wrote the songs but, Temptations brought the songs to life. You were all great in your own special way why do you hate your brothers because you are mad at BG.

BG used five talented men to get what he wanted and it is a shame you did not get that!! When I read the book, I cried for all of you guys not just you Otis!! With little or none education, you guys did not understand that you were being used to point that Paul had to drink; Eddie had to increase smoking, and David bad behavior. Next time you get in mood of bashing your brothers, please ask yourself why they acted like that!!

I am so sorry I bought the 1988 version, the updated version, and the movie. Otis, when you guys were at the top I was a baby I did not get an opportunity to share in the Motown excitement. All I can do just wonder what it was like in that era but after reading your materials I wish I would never pick up the book. I wish Eddie, Paul, Melvin, and David was around so they can help me understand what it was like being a temptation. In the movie, you were referring to David success brings out the worst in people. I think you were talking about yourself.

Recomendation to readers if you are looking for a book that will bash all the members please feel free to buy Otis version. If you want to celebrate the lives of the classic 5, seach for a book that will give a fair balance of each member.

4-0 out of 5 stars Otis's Version of the Tempts
I love this book and I am grateful that Otis Williams wrote it. But I strongly suggest to all Motown fans to do your own research and read other books because things don't add up with Otis's version of the Temptations. I am not calling the man a liar because I admire him and I think he believes his own story, but I feel that he's trying to add importance to himself by taking away from David, Paul (my favorite), Eddie, Dennis and even Melvin. I didn't like the way he protrayed any of them. Yes, its true that David, Paul, Dennis and Eddie had both ego and personal problems, but I am sure that Otis had his demons too. In fact, from what I hear he wasn't the best person either. But he doesn't show that side to you in his book. The only bad thing he admits to is cheating on his wife and at times, I felt like he was bragging about his relationships with certain women. Although he was kinder to his friend Melvin, he protrayed Melvin as a follower and not a leader. I wonder why? One of the most disturbing tales in his book is about Paul's drinking problem. Its true that he had a problem, but Otis doesn't really talk about Paul's bout with Sickle Cell which made his problem even worst. Also Paul's "suicide" his rather strange and things don't add up (but do the research). I also found it odd that he didn't talk alot about how Berry G. ran Motown and why alot of the artists lived terrible lives after their Motown's glory years and why most died broke. By now, everyone knows that Berry was a cheat, but Otis seems to forgive him more than he forgives his brothers. Part of the reason why they died so young has something to do with Berry. Now, I am not blaming Berry for everything. I have read books that put all the blame on Berry (which I don't agree with), but its doesn't take an expert to realize that the Motown story is mostly sad. We will never hear David, Paul, Eddie, and Melvin's side of the story...and that is why you shouldn't take this book as 100% fact. Maybe the still living Dennis will write his own version. Excellent book, but not perfect. ... Read more


194. Looking for Lost Bird : A Jewish Woman Discovers Her Navajo Roots
by Yvette Melanson, Claire Safran
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380795531
Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 355310
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

 

In this haunting memoir, Yvette Melanson tells of being raised to believe that she was white and Jewish. At age forty-three, she learned that she was a "Lost Bird," a Navajo child taken against her family's wishes, and that her grieving birth mother had never stopped looking for her until the day she died. In this haunting memoir, Yvette Melanson tells of being raised to believe that she was white and Jewish. At age forty-three, she learned that she was a "Lost Bird," a Navajo child taken against her family's wishes, and that her grieving birth mother had never stopped looking for her until the day she died. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story about loved ones being reunited!
Like many of the readers I couldn't put the book down until I read it from cover to cover. While reading the story I found out these people were my extended family! I know everyone mentioned in the book. As a youngster I remember the crusade of Aunt Desbah, Uncle John and others in finding the twins who were stolen as babies. I wept at the end when Yvette participated in the holy Hozhoji ceremony to be reunited with her birth place, family, culture, and environment. Very moving!

Aunt Betty, Yvette's biological mother lived a very brave life as she longed and searched everyday of her life wanting to be reunited with her twins. May God bless her soul.

4-0 out of 5 stars A poignant uplifting story about finding one's roots + place
A few years ago, NBC-TV did a story about a 43 year old Jewish woman who, when she sought out her birth parents, discovered that she was actually born to a Navajo family. Yvette was a lost bird, the name Native Americans give to their children who were stolen by "well-meaning" white social workers and others. This is Yvette's fascinating story. Yvette Melanson was born "out West" in the 1950's, adopted by a Jewish couple in Miami, and raised in New York City in a wealthy, doting, Jewish family. Although she knew she was adopted, her parents always deflected questions about her roots, but did let it slip that she had a twin brother. When her mother died a painful death when Yvette was just a young teenager, Yvette's father blamed Yvette, rejected her, and soon remarried a woman who treated Yvette worse than Cinderella. So I don't give away any more juicy details, suffice it to say that Yvette moved to a Kibbutz in Israel at 17, was injured as a soldier during the '73 Yom Kippur War, returned to the U.S., joined the US Navy, and settled in Maine to raise a family. Can you believe that at her father's funeral, a stranger had to ask her stepmother to move over so Yvette could sit in the family pew? Can you believe such a family? Upon discovering her true birth heritage a while after the funeral, we follow Yvette as she meets her Navajo family, learns the truth, tries to fit into Navajo culture, which is sometimes at odds with a more loud, New York City/Israeli/Jewish one, and finds similarities between her Jewish faith and Navajo culture. Will she fit in? Will she find her twin brother? Can a Jewish woman find peace on the res? A fascinating cross-cultural story

5-0 out of 5 stars Looking for Lost Bird: A Review
Looking For Lost Bird:
A Jewish Woman Discovers Her Navajo Roots.
Yvette Melanson with Claire Safron
Bard Books. 233 pages. $22.00
By Elliot Fein

Looking For Lost Bird is a true story that is disturbing yet compelling. A Native American Navajo Indian woman gives birth on her reservation home in Arizona to twins, a girl and a boy. During their infancy, both children get sick. The mother takes the children to the nearest local hospital for a diagnosis.

Hospital staff members instruct her that they will need to keep the two children over night for observations. When the mother returns the next day, the children are gone. The hospital has no record that they were ever admitted.

The kidnapped infant children are each adopted in Florida by two different families. One of the families is a young Jewish couple that lives in a New York City suburb. Looking for Lost Bird is the story of the Navajo girl, Yvette Melanson, who is raised in that Jewish household.

As an adult, Melanson discovers her Navajo origins and searches for her family roots. She finds her family (minus her mother, who died of a broken heart grieving for two lost children) still living on the Navajo reservation in which she was born. At the age of forty-three, Melanson decides first to visit her birth family in Arizona, then to move there permanently with her husband and two children.

While adjusting to the reservation, Melanson learns and begins practicing the religion, culture, and way of life of her birth family. In this process, she abandons many of the Jewish cultural practices (but not necessarily Jewish values) in which she was raised.

Melanson's Jewish parents (particularly her mother) provide a loving and caring environment for their daughter. In Yvette's recollection of how she was raised, their warts do surface, particularly the shortcomings of her father. After her mother becomes ill and eventually dies during her teen years, the father changes into a different, less appealing character.

Melanson never reveals whether her Jewish parents knew about her Navajo origins. The reader is left to speculate whether the knowledge, if known by her Jewish parents that she was stolen from a Native American Indian family would have impacted their decision to adopt.

What is surprising in the telling of this life story is the absence of any form of anti-Semitism by the author. When Melanson writes critically about her mother and father, she writes about them as individuals. She does not associate her criticism of them with Judaism as a faith tradition.

On the reservation, when she begins taking on Native American Indian ways, Melanson naturally compares Navajo culture to Judaism. In this comparison, Melanson writes with respect, affection, and even admiration about the religious tradition in which she was raised.

Melanson tells her life story (with the help of Claire Safron) with compassion, humor, and eloquence.

I recently led a book club at my synagogue. A member of the club recommended that I read Looking for Lost Bird. After reading it, we immediately decided to include Looking for Lost Bird one of our featured selections. The book provides a great opportunity to learn about Navajo culture and to see how it compares to Judaism as a religious tradition. The book is also a true gift for adopted individuals, particularly native American Indians, seeking to uncover their past.

Elliot Fein teaches Jewish Studies in the Tarbut V'Torah School in Irvine.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful journey of soul and spirit
I read this book from cover to cover in a few hours and wished it had gone on and on. It is a poignant yet heartwarming story of an American family. For many years our Native American people suffered immesurable pain as their children were stolen from them and often lost forever. This is a "happy ending" story of a joyful reunion! The emotions in all of the family members are deeply felt. Lost children are returned to their roots and the depth of love of these family members for one another is beautiful. This book is wonderfully written!

4-0 out of 5 stars Navajo Twin finds her harmony on the reservation
This story is a touching recollection of painful experiences. Through Yvette's story the reader is taken through a series of emotions. Native Women coming from a matrilineal clan systems will surely relate to the expressed feeling of attachment to family, land, sprirituality and harmony.

Although the reader is taken through a complex array of ceremonies, the content is described with specific simplicity , as to not disrespect the traditional ceremonial purposes.

The book encourages women everywhere to take adversity in ones life and face it with courage, vision, and spiritual growth. ... Read more


195. Desert Flower : The Extraordinary Journey Of A Desert Nomad
by Waris Dirie, Cathleen Miller
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0688172377
Catlog: Book (1999-10-06)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 44924
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Waris Dirie leads a double life -- by day, she is an international supermodel and human rights ambassador for the United Nations; by night, she dreams of the simplicity of life in her native Somalia and the family she was forced to leave behind. Desert Flower, her intimate and inspiring memoir, is a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered about the beauty of African life, the chaotic existence of a supermodel, or the joys of new motherhood.

Waris was born into a traditional Somali family, desert nomads who engaged in such ancient and antiquated customs as genital mutilation and arranged marriage. At twelve, she fled an arranged marriage to an old man and traveled alone across the dangerous Somali desert to Mogadishu -- the first leg of an emotional journey that would take her to London as a house servant, around the world as a fashion model, and eventually to America, where she would find peace in motherhood and humanitarian work for the U.N.

Today, as Special Ambassador for the U.N., she travels the world speaking out against the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation, promoting women's reproductive rights, and educating people about the Africa she fled -- but still deeply loves.

Desert Flower will be published simultaneously in eleven languages throughout the world and is currently being produced as a feature film by Rocket Pictures UK. ... Read more

Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars Desert Flower
Desert Flower
Waris Dirie tells the story of her life, from a world of poverty and the nomad lifestyle, to the pressures of being a super model. I found her biography to be one of the most compelling books I have ever read. She is able to tell the remarkable story of her life and in doing so teaches its audience about the struggles that women still face in many other cultures today. She truly takes advantage of her privilege of living in the United States where as many of American natives take the simple pleasures for granted.
She gives excellent detail in telling her story and captured my attention quickly. She starts talking about her life as a child and the hardships that were brought upon her living the nomad lifestyle, constant moving around and a father with several wives. To make matters worse she is attacked and raped several times. One of the most heart breaking parts of her story is that she had to have Female Genital Mutilation, which is a common practice in Africa, but definitely illegal her in the United States. Through telling of her experiences it helps the readers of the book especially women to be thankful of the rights and freedoms we have today.
This book is a true inspiration and shows the power and strength of the human spirit and the will to overcome struggles. The shortcomings are a lot of bad words were used in the book, although I realize sometimes a certain word needs to get a point across to the audience. That was really the only part that bothered me. Overall I would rate the book at four stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Desert Flower - A remarkable piece of literature
Dear editor, I read your book and I think this a remarkable, rather brilliant piece of literature in modern times. It is not only because of Waris` touching story how she finally succeeded in getting that modelling job. To me, it is more the insight in a nomad`s life how they live and how they are confrontated with western attitudes. It is quite certain that Waris` story sounds realistic to the reader, though I have to remark that some passages in the book seem either not to be happened or unrealistic. Sometimes I ask myself how a girl at the age of 13 years managed to find Mogadishu (her aunt) almost on her own when running through the desert for weeks without having anything to drink or to eat. Well, perhaps it is my lack of imagination or more her strong bond to nature or even simply her female intuition. Due tu the fact that the language is far-reaching, easy to understand and that I can easily identify with Waris Dirie, I think on the whole this is a very good book. Apart from some critical points I can only recommend this to others.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes!
It naturally just goes to your heart. The language is simple and honest, so you can read the book in a day or two. Her story was just remarkable and the book was well-written. People should be made aware of FGM and its effects. They should know that it exists. I particularly liked the way she ended the book. She says that if the existance of FGM has any meaningful explanation, maybe she would think twice about denouncing it...but this practice has no significant reason to exist what so ever! There were, however, too many "In Africa..." generalizations in the book. FGM is not ubiquitous in Africa, in fact, most Africans don't even know that it's there. It is just concentrated mainly in East African countries like Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Djibouti, and some areas in West Africa like Mali for example. I loved the book. Everyone should read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow...:'(
I read this book as part of a medical sociology class that I took, and all I could think was wow. The strength of Waris is amazing. I was brought to tears so many times throughout this sad story, and it really made me angry that this sort of thing still goes on. As part of the class we also watched a tape showing an actual mutilation occur, and I couldn't stop shaking and crying. This book is definitely a must read for evry person out there, especially those whom have never heard of this widespread yet horrific practice. To Waris, I am very saddened by your story and send all of my love your way, no one should have to go through what you went through, and thank you for having the amazing courage to stand up against this practice, even when it is so unspoken about within Islam and African society. I truly hope that these outcries will open minds and educate those who need it most, and save many young women and girls from such a horrible, traumatic thing. My heart is with you and all women who have had to suffer under this horrible practice.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must Read!!
I absolutely loved this book!! A Human Geography teacher recommended this book to me, as well as others in the class. I was very glad that I took her advice, and read it!! I could not put this book down! I read it in 3 days!! It's an incredible story. I think it's very moving to see how much some people have to go through. It really makes you appreciate what you have. Definitely read this book! ... Read more


196. IM ON MY WAY BUT YOUR FOOT IS ON MY HEAD: A Black Woman's Story of Getting Over Life's Hurdles
by Bertice Berry
list price: $11.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684831406
Catlog: Book (1997-07-09)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 373246
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars inspirational
This is the best book I've read this year. Dr. Berry gave a real insight to the 'black experience' . I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at a conference a couple of days ago and she is one of the most marvelous people that I have heard. Her words go far beyond that of John Grisham, or Stephen King. She is truly an inspirational person. I can't wait to read her other books ... Read more


197. God Does Play Dice - The Autobiography of a Holocaust Survivor
by Klara Samuels
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1891696076
Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
Publisher: BainBridgeBooks (PA)
Sales Rank: 276658
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling and well-written
This is an account of how shear luck and personal fortitude can enable a person to survive and continue to learn and grow under the most horrendous conditions.

As with all holocaust stories, from the beginning one knowsthe outcome, which in this case is happy.The middle and necessarilyhorrible part is told forcefully, but with a degree of detachment whichmakes it bearable.The tone reminded me of Frank McCourt's in Angela'sAshes.

The story of how the author put together a very successful lifeafterwards is fascinating.She also has sympathy for those who were notable to cope with the aftermath, and has substantial insight on the effectsof the experience on herself and on her family.

In summary, very wellwritten and an important addition to the record being left by thisgeneration. They must tell their stories so that it never happens again. ... Read more


198. Words to Outlive Us: Eyewitness Accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805058338
Catlog: Book (2002-10-02)
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Sales Rank: 162495
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The story of the Warsaw Ghetto told through twenty-eight never-before-published accounts-a precious and historic find.

In the history of the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto stands as the enduring symbol of Jewish suffering and heroism. This collective memoir-a mosaic of individual diaries, journals, and accounts-follows the fate of the Warsaw Jews from the first bombardments of the Polish capital to the razing of the Jewish district. The life of the ghetto appears here in striking detail: the frantic exchange of apartments as the walls first go up; the daily battle against starvation and disease; the moral ambiguities confronting Jewish bureaucracies under Nazi rule; the ingenuity of smugglers; and the acts of resistance.

Written inside the ghetto or in hiding outside its walls, these extraordinary testimonies preserve voices otherwise consigned to oblivion: a woman doctor whose four-year-old son is deemed a threat to the hideout; a painter determined to complete his mural of Job and his trials; a ten-year-old girl barely eluding blackmailers on the Aryan side of the city. Stunning in their immediacy, the urgent accounts recorded here provide much more than invaluable historical detail: they challenge us to imagine the unimaginable.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Personal Accounts from Hell
How can one describe the indescribable? In the last several years, I have read maybe a dozen and a half books on the Shoah and have been greatly impressed by many if not all of them. This narrative though, I feel, is head and shoulders above all of the other personal accounts that I have read thus far. Words to Outlive Us is a fascinating read. This, I feel, can be attributed to three things: the structure of the book(it is divided into six chapters each dealing with a particular aspect of life and death inside the Ghetto), the fascinating and in many cases heartbreaking quality of the accounts and finally, the sheer quantity of unique individual accounts. . While none of these components of the book are unique individually, put together they create an unsurpassed narrative of those Jews, who for no other reason than the fact they were Jews, suffered under the Nazis and in many cases, their Polish neighbors. This compilation is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. It is even more amazing when one takes into account the immense danger that these victims placed themselves in simply by writing of their experiences as Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland.
Particularly poignant I felt, were the chapters on the institutions of the Ghetto, the resistance and liberation. Through these accounts the reader is seeing day to day life and tragedies as if he or she is witnessing them personally. The reader is a witness to both the greatest acts of kindness and the most horrific acts of violence which human beings are capable of. This is, I believe, the greatest testament to the power of this collection of personal stories. My only disappointment in this book was that it wasn't double it's 440 pages.

5-0 out of 5 stars How some fought back and why others could or would not
So often, we read accounts of the Shoah afer the fact. Not to diminish their power, but primary testimony as the events happened, understandably a rarer extant survival, speaks directly and eloquently with a visceral power. The accounts here, by a cross-section of thoughtful, self-deprecating, agonized, and bewildered observers, show why those in the ghetto were so diminished and demoralized.

Years of abuse, mental and physical, years of starving and disease and uncertainty wreaked havoc on the Jews in Warsaw. Reading these accounts, you understand how awful were the limited choices between giving in and holding out could both be. Also, what here emerges more fully is the extent to which Jews were exploited with the hopes of work permits, resettlement, visas, and hush money by informers, turncoats, bosses, and those willing or forced to collaborate. The constant anxiety underscores the bodily suffering of the ghetto's inhabitants.

Revealed here are the predicaments hundreds of thousands of people like you and me faced, nearly half-a-million crowded into an area the size of Central Park. What often has been distorted into kitsch or melodrama in later re-creations in its original context remains unforgettably eloquent.

5-0 out of 5 stars For people who want to understand the Holocaust
I read this book after I watched the movie "The Pianist". The true accounts in this book shocked and moved me. By combining with the visual impact from the movie, I am able to relate what I read with what I watched from the movie. After reading the book, I admired the courage, the-will-to-survive, and the brilliance of the Jewish people. I suggest to people who are interested to know what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto, but who has no such background on the holocaust, watched the movie first, then read this book. It is not a dry history book. The acccounts were written by people who have superb writing skill, though they might not know themselves. ... Read more


199. Moanin' at Midnight : The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf
by JAMES SEGREST, MARK HOFFMAN
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375422463
Catlog: Book (2004-06-01)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 6662
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars From Blues ToDo Monthly, June 2004
I was sitting with Hubert Sumlin in the Green Room of Jazz Alley last week, when Mark Hoffman peeked through the doorway. The customary mischievous twinkle in his eye was augmented by an excited sense of urgency. In his hands he held a book; not just any book, but one he had written himself. This particular copy was a gift for Hubert, because Hubert had provided a critical link in the book's research. How could anyone write the definitive biography of Howlin' Wolf without consulting the man who'd been Wolf's guitarist for 25 years?

Hubert grinned, Mark bubbled with appreciation. Crisp new pages and a freshly-pressed sepia close-up of a cigarette-puffing Howlin' Wolf on the cover. Someone set the finished product down on the table; that's when I grabbed it and started leafing through. It was impossible to resist.

Moanin' at Midnight, The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf, finally gives the blues world back its missing link. When Howlin' Wolf left this earth in January 1976, he took with him his stories, his imposing presence and his immensely powerful voice. Fortunately, he left behind his recordings, which, for a generation now, are all we've had by which to remember him. Fortunately also, Wolf had many friends and associates who refused to let go of his memory, and were willing to share their recollections with co-authors Hoffman and James Segrest.

Throughout the book, Hoffman and Segrest use words like gargantuan, ferocious and primal to describe Wolf's persona. If you ever were lucky enough to see Wolf perform, you know why. But even the surviving videos are enough to get the point across. It was not only the man's size that was intimidating, it was the way he wrapped his huge and startling voice around a song. It was his big hands dwarfing a guitar neck or reducing a harmonica to relative invisibility. As the equally legendary record producer Sam Phillips remarked the first time he heard Wolf on the radio in 1951, "This is where the soul of man never dies."

Moanin' at Midnight is as thorough as a biography can be, but to Hoffman and Segrest the project was clearly a labor of love. A dozen years, hundreds of hours of interviews, cross-country commutes to glean insights into a personal hero, the relentless pursuit of detail...the devotion is unmistakable, and it shows.

What Hoffman and Segrest have accomplished with their book is nothing short of magnificent. What they have given us, at long last, is the big picture of Chester Arthur Burnett, aka Howlin' Wolf . At 6'3" (some say 6'6") and nearly 300 pounds, Burnett demands a big picture. Wolf was not only a bluesman's bluesman, he really was larger than life.

If you have any doubts, ask Hubert Sumlin.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent biography
For any fan of Howlin' Wolf, this book is a must. It sheds a lot of light on a man that was as complex as he was talented. Wolf learned his craft from blues legends, like Charley Patton, and took the blues he heard when he was a child and molded it into his own sound. With a voice that was truly unique and actually quite flexible, he put everything he had into a song.

It tells the heroic story of a man born in the south in the first decade of the 20th century amid grinding poverty, extreme racial prejudice, and an unhappy childhood, that found his freedom and his place in the world of the traveling blues man. His early life scarred him both physically and emotionally, and it can be heard in his music.

The musical structure of his music could be very simple sometimes, but he put so much heart, so much emotion into it that the music is never boring, never trite. His childhood and life were hard, but his music is not merely a reflection of hard times. It also can reflect the joy he took in his talent and sharing it with people. A totally unique performer and voice in all of music, not just the blues. And a truly unique man.

The book is well written and is easy to read, with many bluesmen telling about their encounters with 'The Wolf'.

Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars immerses you in the world of the wolf and the blues
In a word: spectacular. These writers have filled in what was, until now, the blank slate of Wolf's childhood and early life. They also describe every facet of his long career in detail, all the way from when he first started playing with Charlie Patton in the 1920s up to his last big show in Chicago in the 1970s. All the major players are in here: Willie Johnson, Hubert Sumlin, Sam Lay, Jody Williams, Eddie Shaw, Jimmy Rogers, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boys I and II, Little Walter, and on and on. So are an amazing number of fists, knives, bullets, and other instruments of mayhem-a lot more than you'd expect any human could survive in one lifetime. This is the big book about the big man that every blues fan's been waiting for for many years. It'll probably be the definitive biography and maybe the only one needed about the Wolf. Blues biographies don't get any better than this. ... Read more


200. Rome: The Biography of a City
by Christopher Hibbert
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140070788
Catlog: Book (1988-03-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 219896
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Just the Facts, Please
In Self-Reliance, Emerson says, "In history our imagination plays us false. Kingdom and lordship, power and estate are gaudier vocabulary than private John and Edward in a small house and common day's work; but the things of life are the same to both; the sum total of both is the same," (130). This is a good place to begin articulating my discomfort with Hibbert's Rome: The Biography of a City. Halfway through the book one still has not seen any of Emerson's view that history is more than a succession of popes and kings. On the contrary, Hibbert seems to think that history is only that. It is an older book, and so we spare it some of our modern politics, but thus far, I've read nothing of women, nothing even of artists or architects in a city renowned for these, only that this king fought with this pope etc. through the centuries. I thought historians somehow knew better. One possible explanation for Hibbert's lack of attention to the actual soul of Rome is that he casts a broad net, writing so many histories he can hardly have time to do anything like justice to a place. He's written about France, Britain, America, and India, about their revolutions and separate books about their major figures, lending the impression that he may approach theses "biographies" like assembly-line machinery. One last neglect which seems to me not only in bad taste, but odd: Hibbert's Rome has been pretty overt in its dismissal of the Catholic Church. Nothing has been said about its many acts of charity, nor of its social/art educational status in the community, nor about the individual faiths of the saints and pilgrims, whose devotion, in the face of such obvious abuses, I find heartening.

4-0 out of 5 stars A bird's eye view of an incredible uninterrupted history
With a book that covers over 2,500 years of history, don't expect in-depth coverage here. That's not what this book is about. It provides a very good, bird's-eye view of the city and its history, however, and does a good job of impressing on the reader the incredible continuity of the city's history. I think there's a tendency to concentrate on ancient Rome and then to jump a thousand years to the Renaissance and the Baroque, without focusing on the incredible medieval history of the city. I found the chapters of the book devoted to the medieval period to be some of the more interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Concise History of Rome
This is a good book for those interested in learning about general Rome History but not necessarily in reading thick textbooks. If you're interested in learning about specific periods/events (or the Roman Empire as a whole), you might want to look elsewhere. If you're interested in reading about a great city as a whole, this is a solid choice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reads like a novel
I planned to visit Rome and was told Mr Hibbert's book was better than any travel guide. I was worried it would be a boring, textbook read. To my surprise, I was absolutely engrossed from cover to cover. The endnotes were a bit too inclusive for my taste, but for a true historian, the information would be captivating. Mr. Hibbert's focus on numerous Vatican events is eye opening.

5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing look at the timeless city
Hibbert presents Rome in a refreshing and vibrant light. Starting with the foundations of the city and the Romulus and Remus myth, and continuing through the days of empire, the barbarian onslaught, the rise of the church, the medieval era, and the city in more modern times, he links location, biography and history in a way that continually excites. Well illustrated, with maps, diagrams, paintings and photos, this book should be essential preparatory reading before visiting the Eternal City. (For a modern guide including information on restaurants, etc, to act as a good counterpart to this historical book, I recommend looking at Let's Go Rome. I used both these books on my two week trip in 1999, and didn't require any other references.) ... Read more


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