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21. Inside the Kingdom : My Life in
$16.80 $11.00 list($24.00)
22. Who She Was : My Search for My
$10.00 list($25.00)
23. Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing
$10.50 $6.25 list($14.00)
24. The Pact: Three Young Men Make
list($27.95)
25. ``Why Should White Guys Have All
$9.00 $5.95 list($12.00)
26. The Dark Child : The Autobiography
$10.50 $2.00 list($14.00)
27. The Color of Water: A Black Man's
$16.32 $14.94 list($24.00)
28. The Face of a Naked Lady : An
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29. Hunger of Memory : The Education
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30. Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a
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31. Rain of Gold
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32. Blood Done Sign My Name : A True
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33. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse
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34. Even After All This Time : A Story
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35. Outwitting History: The Amazing
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36. With Billie
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37. Survival In Auschwitz
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38. Dear Senator : A Memoir by the
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39. Catfish and Mandala : A Two-Wheeled
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40. Gifted Hands

21. Inside the Kingdom : My Life in Saudi Arabia
by Carmen Bin Ladin
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446577081
Catlog: Book (2004-07-14)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 2899
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Osama bin Laden's formersister-in-law provides a penetrating, unusually inti- mate look into Saudi soci-ety and the bin Laden family's role within it, aswell as the treatment of Saudi women.On September 11th, 2001,Carmen bin Ladin heard the news that the Twin Towers had been struck. She instinctively knew that her ex-brother-in-law was involved in these hor-rifying acts of terrorism, and her heart went out to America. She also knew that her life and the lives of her family would never be the same again.Carmen bin Ladin, half Swiss and half Persian, married into-and later divorced from-the bin Laden family and found herself inside a complex and vast clan, part of a society that she neither knew nor understood. Her story takes us inside the bin Laden family and one of the most powerful, secretive, and repressed kingdoms in the world. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars answers many questions
Have you ever wondered how on earth a Western woman could marry a man from a culture that is totally alien to hers? In Inside the Kingdom, Carmen Bin Laden tells the story of how she went from being a free spirited Swiss schoolgirl to the wife of one of the members of the Saudi Arabian Bin Laden clan. It was easy. She was young, he was charming, handsome, rich and seemingly easy going. They fell in love. She thought they were going to live in America and Europe. She was wrong.

Imagine living in a place where it's against the law for you to show your face in public. Imagine not being able to go shopping even for your own clothes or personal items. Imagine shocking your in-laws becuase you want to go for a walk.

One of the most vivid and sad scenes from the book describes how Carmen's husband had to make special arrangements in order for her to go to a grocery store to buy baby formula. While she rushed to the baby section the customers (all male) left the store and the staff turned their backs to her.

Carmen quickly discovered to her horror that listening to music was considered sinful, reading books was considered odd and having a thought in one's pretty head was seen as completely unnatural.

Eventually, the marriage soured and Carmen decided to leave Saudi for the sake of her daughters. The book will attract attention of course because of the author's infamous brother-in-law, Osama (he was apparently a foreboding figure even as a young man) but it's more than a tragi-comic look into the Bin Laden home. This book is a clear eyed look at Saudi life.

Carmen Bin Laden went to Saudi thinking that modernity would prevail and that in a few years Saudi women would have more rights. She was wrong then and things don't look any better now. Since Saudi Arabia is ostensibly an American ally taking an honest look at it makes sense. Can such a culture really change? Are we fools to it expect to?

Inside the Kingdom is a very good book.I'm glad I bought it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for all women
Normally I don't read biographies. Usually they focus on rags to riches stories that I can't relate to. This book was the exception.
This bio starts normally: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl get married. But this is where the normality ends. Carmen marries into the Bin Ladin family,which back then were not synominous with terrorism. Carmen, who is foreign to Saudi life, is forced to live in isolation. She cannot come and go as she pleases without being completly veiled. She is forced to live in a world where women are property of the men; she is viewed as a foreigner by the other women because she was not born Saudi. Women,imagine going in a time machine from 2004 to the mid 19th century. At least that is the closest analogy I can think of.
This book made me appreciate the simple freedoms that we Americans take advantage of. I couldn't imagine living a life where I felt so powerless as a woman. I admire Carmen for being strong enough to get away from Saudi Arabia once and for all. Every female should read this book. It is an eye opener how far we women have come in America. ... Read more


22. Who She Was : My Search for My Mother's Life
by Samuel G. Freedman
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743227352
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 14749
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Samuel G. Freedman was nearing fifty, the same age at which his mother died of breast cancer, he realized that he did not know who she was. Of course, he knew that Eleanor had been his mother, a mother he kept at an emotional distance both in life and after death. He had never thought about the entire life she lived before him, a life of her own dreams and disappointments. And now, that ignorance haunted him.

So Freedman set out to discover the past, and Who She Was is the story of what he found. It is the story of a young woman's ambitions and yearnings, of the struggles of her impoverished immigrant parents, and of the ravages of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Holocaust.

It is also the story of a middle-aged son wracked with regret over the disregard he had shown as a teenage boy for a terminally ill mother, and as an adult incapable for decades of visiting her grave. It is the story of how he healed that wound by asking all the questions he had not asked when his mother was alive.

Whom did she love? Who broke her heart? What lifted her spirits? What crushed her hopes? What did she long to become? And did she get to become that woman in her brief time on earth?

Who She Was brings a compassionate yet unflinching eye to the American Jewish experience. It recaptures the working-class borough of the Bronx with its tenements and pushcarts, its union halls and storefront synagogues and rooftop-tar beaches. It remembers a time when husbands searched hundreds of miles for steady work and wives sent packages and prayers to their European relatives in the desperate hope they might survive the Nazis. In such a world, Eleanor Hatkin came of age, striving for education, for love, for a way out.

Researched as a history, written like a novel, Who She Was stands in the tradition of such classics as Call It Sleep and The Assistant. In bringing to life his mother, Samuel G. Freedman has given all readers a memorable heroine. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars When we reach the age when our first parent died ....
When we reach the age when our first parent died we have to come to a kind of realization that they didn't have any more than we're already had. Somewhere about then many of us start to reflect a bit on the life that that parent lived.

In my case it was a father who lived very poor in rural Arkansas.His father ... well this is not my family's story. It was later that I realized what he had gone through working in the hot Louisiana sun to give me a couple of college degrees.

I wish that I had the way with words Mr. Freedman has to put down the story of his mother's life. Indeed I'd like to have even researched my father's life as extensively as he has his mothers.

It was certainly a different life in the East Bronx than it was in the Arkansas Ozarks. I don't think better, or worse, just different. Mr. Freedman's grandmother had a major and not necessarily beneficial impact on his mother's life. My father's mother had died when he was six (childbirth).

Mr. Freedman has taken this story beyond just the story of one lady, it's a tale of the life of new immigrants living the Depression Era American Jewish experience. It's a good tribute to Eleanor Freeman. It's also a good tribute to Samuel Freedman.

He, like I, think of the casual cruelty we caused our parents. We'd like to go back and fix a few things, say a few things. But we can't. Instead, we smile and think of the things our kids have done, and we don't mind.

Mr. Freedman, your mother is, I think, looking down on you with pride, as I think my father is with me -- even though we know we don't deserve it. ... Read more


23. Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran
by Azadeh Moaveni
list price: $25.00
our price: $10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586481932
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 4801
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A young Iranian-American journalist returns to Tehran and discovers not only the oppressive and decadent life of her Iranian counterparts who have grown up since the revolution, but the pain of searching for a homeland that may not exist.

As far back as she can remember, Azadeh Moaveni has felt at odds with her tangled identity as an Iranian-American. In suburban America, Azadeh lived in two worlds. At home, she was the daughter of the Iranian exile community, serving tea, clinging to tradition, and dreaming of Tehran. Outside, she was a California girl who practiced yoga and listened to Madonna. For years, she ignored the tense stand off between her two cultures. But college magnified the clash between Iran and America, and after graduating, she moved to Iran as a journalist. This is the story of her search for identity, between two cultures cleaved apart by a violent history. It is also the story of Iran, a restive land lost in the twilight of its revolution.

Moaveni's homecoming falls in the heady days of the country's reform movement, when young people demonstrated in the streets and shouted for the Islamic regime to end. In these tumultuous times, she struggles to build a life in a dark country, wholly unlike the luminous, saffron and turquoise-tinted Iran of her imagination. As she leads us through the drug-soaked, underground parties of Tehran, into the hedonistic lives of young people desperate for change, Moaveni paints a rare portrait of Iran's rebellious next generation. The landscape of her Tehran-ski slopes, fashion shows, malls and cafes-is populated by a cast of young people whose exuberance and despair brings the modern reality of Iran to vivid life. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but a little flawed
Very interesting look at everyday life in Iran, pre-"axis of evil."I especially enjoyed her chapter on the veil and the effect it had upon women in Iran.Very incisive analysis of American vs. Iranian ideals & values.I wish that she had discussed gender relations more; she was most interested in politics, reform, the revolution.
Problem: Moaveni comes from a wealthy, secular family.This has apparently rendered her incapable of understanding how a person can truly believe in a religion, how a person's religion can profoundly and meaningfully affect a person's worldview.She portrays Iran as a country in the grips of a very few fundamentalist clerics, populated by closet secularists just waiting for their chance to shed pesky Islam.This I highly doubt.I noticed this same problem with religion in Carl Sagan's "Contact."He tried to write a religious character, the preacher Palmer Joss, who was totally flat and unconvincing.I feel this is because Sagan did not really believe that a person could be intelligent and religious.Moaveni has a similar issue.She cannot fathom that people would actually *believe* in Islam, would truly believe that Mohammed is a prophet.In Iran, she hangs out with journalists and corrupt clerics who shed their veils and grab beers as soon as they are out of the country.Perhaps if she had done something really brave, like mingle with the middle class, she would have found people devoted to Islam yet still unhappy with the anarchy of the country.People who view the veil as something other than repressive and the cause of constant bad hair days.
Now, I am just joshing when I mock Moaveni's bravery.Some of her experiences are horrifying.I have great respect for someone who voluntarily moves from California to a third-world country to confront head-on her questions about her ethnicity and cultural history.I just think she is young and doesn't even realize she has this religion perception issue.Another reviewer said she is wise beyond her years, and that makes me laugh out loud.No, sorry, she is not.Someone is confusing intelligence with maturity.Silly, silly.She is very intelligent.Her analysis is often razor-sharp and insightful.Is she mature?Not particularly.She tattles to her daddy when an auntie is mean, she hangs out with her teenaged cousin because adult Iranian women are "mean" to her.
Also, towards the end of the book Moaveni complains bitterly about casual American prejudice against Islam.Which, by the way, she doesn't even believe in.This I found incredibly hard to stomach, because earlier in the book she portrays Mormon women as cultish.She asks in the last chapter, anguish in her words, (paraphrasing) What other religion can you slander so completely and get away with it?The answer, Miss Moaveni, is apparently Mormonism.I might take you a little more seriously if you shed the religious hypocrisy.
I know I've ragged on this book a lot, and yet still given it four stars.I did really enjoy the book and highly recommend it.It made me think about things from a new perspective, especially America's actions in the Middle East, and I love being made to do that.

2-0 out of 5 stars Same Old Story
Although this book is slightly superior to that of Afschineh Latifi (Miss "Persian Privileged Princess" herself!)'s book of the same genre ("After all this time:A story of..."), it is still of the same kind of bleeding heart memoir books of recent publication by Iranian so called women authors which have been sprouting like mushrooms (fungi live in the dark).This book also, like others of its kind, lacks depth, and is totally void of any vision of history:a superficial "Remember When" story at best.
Iran needs concrete action towards Democracy right now, not reminiscence and lamentation for a fun-filled, decadent life style that only "Persian Marie Antoinettes" led back under the Shah.
(Read my review of Latifi's book here on Amazon for more).

5-0 out of 5 stars Hands-down the most beautiful book I've EVER read.
I cannot praise this book enough. The book's stated objective is to portray the life of a Middle Easterner growing up in America, and then attempting to integrate themselves back into the society of their home country. In my opinion, she does both rather well, although the latter is lacking only because she does not embrace what constitutes as the current Iranian culture, and thus does not attempt to integrate herself with it. The former objective is unbelievably well done, and as I've stated before, the book offers the portrait of a girl of Middle Eastern descent growing up in a culture vastly different from what she knows. Readers everywhere are lucky that its author is such a gifted writer.

My own back round is one very similar to Azadeh's. My parent's are from Israel, having migrated to America when they had an arranged marriage. Unlike Azadeh, I was actually born here in America, though I have also lived in Israel for extended periods of time, and having been a girl who attempted to integrate herself in with a seemingly foreign culture, I can really relate to Azadeh's experiences, especially her experience as an Iranian in America. I too tried to erase my "Arabness" from my life as a young girl, from the awkwardness of your friends hearing the weird language your mother speaks at home, to the funny smells that emanated from your kitchen (standardly the fruitions of my mother's laborious hours in the kitchen). And like Azadeh, I too have learned to embrace my distinction as I got older.

The strongest point in the book was most definitely the author's writing style. Reading Azadeh's own personal tale of her life in Iran has inspired me to travel there at some point, as well. I've been a huge reader since I was a little girl, and this is hands -down the most beautiful book I have EVER read, and I cannot emphasize that enough. I seriously cannot praise such a work of art enough. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, as I feel that it deals with some particularly important topics for being able to truly understand the perspectives of a Middle Easterner, especially one in America.

5-0 out of 5 stars memories of home & madness
Rebeccasreads highly recommends LIPSTICK JIHAD as a deeply disturbing, astonishingly enlightening & unflinching look into a world in upheaval, when a young journalist returns to Iran, the land of her birth, and falls headlong into a revolution where the young people explore drugs & hedonism under an oppressive Islamic regime, often with tragic results.

The old saying: "you can never go home" is fully realized as this American Iranian struggles with her dreams, memories & illusions in a very different world, where a free, modern American woman clashes with the violence of a moralistic, past-obsessed male-dominated society.

Outstanding!

5-0 out of 5 stars Poignant narrative !
The author has an excellent command of English; further, she is a gifted writer. This book is far superior to SAFFRON SKY by Gelareh Asayesh and TO SEE AND SEE AGAIN by Tara Bahrampour.Ms. Moaveni is a trained journalist unlike these other two authors. A glossary of Persian terms and personalitiescited in the book would have aided the reader.The book would have benefited from an index.Perhaps, in a future book the author could visit the Iranian Shahrestan.She did cite a trip to Kermanshah on p. 72 placing it in 'a Kurdish province of northwestern Tehran'.Tehran should be replaced by Iran.This is the only error that I could find in the book. ... Read more


24. The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream
by Sampson, Md. Davis, George, Md. Jenkins, Rameck, Md. Hunt, Lisa Frazier Page
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157322989X
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 22135
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

They grew up on the streets of Newark, facing city life's temptations, pitfalls, even jail. But one day these three young men made a pact. They promised each other they would all become doctors, and stick it out together through the long, difficult journey to attain that dream. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt are not only friends to this day-they are all doctors.

This is a story about the power of friendship. Of joining forces and beating the odds. A story about changing your life, and the lives of those you love most...together.
... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Power of Friendship and Positive Competitiveness Display
"The Pact" is an incredible book! I just finished reading the remarkable journey completed by Drs. Sam Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt. It's an easy, quick read ~250 pages.

If you're not familiar with their story, they are 3 young, African-American men from Newark that establish a pact at 17-years old to become doctors. Over the years, they run into many obstacles (peer pressure, arrest, finances, and family issues) that tend to dissuade so many young people from pursuing their dream. With the "I got your back" support of each other, mentors they encountered throughout their journey, and God they become doctors despite how many people had presumed their future would turn out.

Dr. George Jenkins, probably the most focused in the group, knew at a very young age that he wanted to be a dentist. In high school, the three friends attend a college presentation offering full scholarships to minority students interested in the medical field. Knowing that neither he nor his friends could afford college THIS OFFER would be their ONLY way to attend college...the formation of the pact.

Surprisingly, after completing college and med school, Sam and Rameck were still unsure if they wanted to be doctors. Sam saw business/management as his future and Rameck wanted to be an actor (he'll settle on being a rapper). (If I didn't know the outcome, I would have been in suspense until the bitter end waiting to learn if they became doctors.) The death of an important person in each of their lives confirmed that medically helping others is what they were meant to do in life.

If you're in the education field or work closely with children in your community this is an excellent book to pick up when you...

- feel like what can I do to get through to this person
- need a testimony that success is not by luck but achieved through faith, perseverance, and support from others
- need a roadmap to better mentor a person in need

"The Pact" is an amazing story of inspiration and motivation to get (primarily) black teens to see beyond their environment, current situation, and look ahead with a plan for tomorrow. "The Pact" also displays the need for adults to begin mentoring children before they reach their teens. The book concludes with the doctors providing the "how-to's" to make a pact work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Uplifting!
There are times that I think my life was or still is hard. Well, I'm a black female who grew up in a middle-class home with two teachers as parents. College was as automatic as sleeping and eating. But, for these young men in the book "The Pact", college was as uncertain as winning the lottery. I always knew that our young black boys growing up in the inner-city had it super hard, but this book allowed me to see another side of our young brothas. They all have dreams as little kids, even though they don't see anyone in their neighborhood to emulate. Somehow, someway, Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins all found the determination to succeed and become doctors. Their positive story is proof that just one person can make a difference in a kid's life. Everyone needs someone to look up to; someone to follow.

We all have gifts we can share. Read this book and feel blessed that someone in your life took the time to mentor you and be there for you; not everyone has that in their lives. I am so proud of these young men! Not only are they smart and positive, but they are cute too! What a great combination! God has truly blessed them and their family.

What a refreshing book. Thanks to Tavis Smiley for recommending it on the Tom Joyner Show.

5-0 out of 5 stars A HAPPY ENDING
This book was very informative. I really loved this book not only because they are from my hometown Newark, New Jersey. But it was an interesting novel. They came from the ghetto and turned out to be very distinguished gentlemen. I am so happy I read a sucess story from my hometown. I recommend this book to people that feel is though there is no way out in the ghetto when there actually is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!
I was pleased to read a book about three African-American men, from disadvantaged backgrounds, who'd beat the odds.They supported each other through thick and thin, and fulfilled their dream of becoming Doctors.They remained humble and are giving back by helping people who are at a disadvantage. They are positive, beautiful, and successful young men. God has truly gave the three Doctors a great annointing. I wish more people would read this book.I was upset when I read the last page. I did not want the book to end! The Doctors are a true inspiration. May God continue to bless them.

5-0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING BOOK ABOUT THE POWER OF A PLAN
I will definitely be giving this book to every young African American male that I know. It's such a powerful testimony of the power of the people that you surround yourself with and a plan. ... Read more


25. ``Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?'': How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire
by Reginald F. Lewis, Blair S. Walker
list price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471042277
Catlog: Book (1994-10-14)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 217577
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Voyages deep into the frenzied, complex world of LBO transactions."—BusinessWeek.

"Sheds light on an important chapter in both African-American and American business history."—Earl G. Graves, Publisher, Black Enterprise magazine.

When Reginald Lewis was six years old, his grandparents asked his opinion about employment discrimination against blacks. Reg replied simply, "Why should white guys have all the fun?" Why, indeed! Lewis grew up to become the wealthiest black man in history and one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, reigning over a commercial empire that spanned four continents. At the time of his death in 1993, his personal fortune was estimated at $400 million.

"Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" traces Lewis's rise from a working- class neighborhood in east Baltimore to Harvard Law School and ultimately into the elite circle of Wall Street deal-makers. Expanding on Lewis's unfinished autobiography, journalist Blair Walker completes a vivid portrait of a proud, fiercely determined man with a razor-sharp tongue—and an intellect to match. He shows how Lewis's lifelong hunger for wealth and personal glory fueled his success on the playing field, in the classroom, and in the boardroom. Walker also provides a rare insider's view of Lewis, the iron-willed negotiator and brilliant business strategist in action as he finesses one phenomenal deal after another.

A moving saga of personal courage and determination as well as a virtual how-to book for those who would like to follow in Lewis's footsteps, "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" is every bit as memorable as the man whose story it tells. ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Changed My Life
This book gave me a new sense of understanding on how one African American man can not only change history but do it with style and passion. I never new what Reginald Lewis did during the time frame he did it back in the 80's I was a young kid growing up in the south Bronx area of New York City still trying to find a role model to look up too that looked like me. I first heard of Mr. Lewis in college but still had no idea of what he had accomplished until reading his book and then hearing about untimely death some years later. I have read this book 5 times since I bought it and I get a sense of vigor every time I finish it. Not only is it possible for me as a young black man to become the owner of a billion dollar company like him but do it in a way that will make all the white guys at my former prep school green with envy. My only regret is that I never got to meet Reginald Lewis before he died. It would have been such a great honor to meet such a driven and determined man. To sit and do lunch with him at the Harvard Club in New York and just watch all around us wonder how we got there.

5-0 out of 5 stars A insightful guide to success
Reading this book has given a whole new meaning to the term of success. The only regret is not being able to see Reginald Lewis in action today. From the onset of the book he describes what it is like to chase success down and conquer it. This book provides a blueprint for breaking the color barriers in the world of finance, mergers and acqusitions and lbo's. For any aspiring character of color who considers entering the world of movers and shakers, trust me this is the book you MUST read.

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW is all I can say.
This book made me want to work so much harder in life to achieve my business goals. The key is fake it until you make it. No one knows you struggles unless you tell them and you can't make excuses for your life and why you have to work hard. I read it fast and read it again.

5-0 out of 5 stars The sub-title would have been a better title. Oh well.
I came across this book through the recommendation of an acquaintance. I was initially put off by the title, it seemed arrogant, but my philosophy of learning from everyone helped me get over it.

At the end of the day this is a great book. The format is confusing because Mr.Lewis passed away while still in the process of completing it. Mr.Walker does his best to keep Mr.Lewis's voice, but he fails in many ways.

As for the content, it is riveting. To see the humble beginnings of a man that decided that "No" was not good enough is tremendous.

The lesson that I learned from him is that "acquisition" is just as good, if not better than organic growth.

He pursued McCall Patterns with a tenacity that was both admirable and envious. Who else could see the potential? No one apparently, and is coup landed him a 70x's return on his money in under five years. Then to move into the food industry with the same energy was impressive.

It is unfortunate that he passed away so suddenly, his value investing was very much right out of Benjamin Grahams school of thinking, and Mr.Lewis definitely had the potential to become the next Mr.Buffett.

Great book, it really set the tone for how I will grow my own business.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely solid!!
This is a wonderful book that has inspired me to attend law school and to traverse a positive path to success. I recommend to men and women...boyz and girls of all races. A true inspiration! ... Read more


26. The Dark Child : The Autobiography of an African Boy
by Camara Laye
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080901548X
Catlog: Book (1954-01-01)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 140165
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Dark Child is a distinct and graceful memoir of Camara Laye's youth in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. Long regarded Africa's preeminent Francophone novelist, Laye (1928-80) herein marvels over his mother's supernatural powers, his father's distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities. More than autobiography of one boy, this is the universal story of sacred traditions struggling against the encroachment of a modern world. A passionate and deeply affecting record, The Dark Child is a classic of African literature.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I read this garbage
A year ago in my freshman language arts class, I was forced to read The Dark Child. Previously having been assigned garbage such as Nectar in a Sieve and Things Fall Apart, I expected this book would be terrible as well. I was not to be disappointed.
I soon discovered that The Dark Child was a sort of childhood memoirs written by a native of rural Guinea, which is described as a primitive paradise. After choking down five pages of the poorly written (or poorly translated?) prose, I thought to myself, "Could there be a premise less compelling than a boy living an idyllic life in 1920s rural Africa?" I mulled over this thought for a while and decided that there wasn't. This book is plagued by the fundamental problem that the reader knows, doesn't want to know, or doesn't care about what's coming next. Even if you are interested in what life was like for Camara Laye's people, you will be put off by the poor writing and the utter directionlessness of this book - indeed, I constantly found myself dumbfounded by the meandering descriptions, the contrived dialogue, and the pointless vignettes.
In conclusion, I would suggest to the prospective buyer that you spend your money on something better-done and more enjoyable, such as a porn DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read African Child and Radience Of The King together
Fascinating. A young foreigner in Paris, a young foreigner in Camara Laye's African Kingdom. It doesen't get any better. Read these 20 years ago.

George Pope

5-0 out of 5 stars beautiful
A beautifully textured, fluid and organic autobiography, Camara Laye offers readers a piece of his life in The Dark Child. As part of the Malinke community in Upper Guinea, Laye captures the layered tradition and culture of his community, deemed, perhaps by most, to be simplistic or primitive compared to today's modern standards. Yet it is exactly from Layes descriptions of the traditions of his community that we can begin to understand the psychology of the author. Each chapter is rich with imagery, and his words smack of sincerity and innocence, bringing about an effortless quality and flow to his work--it is as if we are there with Laye experiencing his many transitions, from boyhood to manhood. His descriptions of the communal lifestyle of his people is remarkable. Laye's works like other modern African authors reveal the realities of colonization, and help readers to appreciate and celebrate indigenous African traditions.

5-0 out of 5 stars It took me a long time to read this book.
I first got this book in junior high by a family friend but never bothered to read it until I entered high school. Not having anything to read, I took it upon myself to read the book. I found myself intrigued by the author's way of life during colonialism and his upbringing in a village and his graduation from high school. It was sad that one of his classmates died unexpectedly. Wanting to find out some more about this author I looked up a book of African authors. Unfortuately he passed away in 1980. He is a great writer and wished that I had read it soon as it was given to me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memoir of an African Childhood
Camara Laye was one of the first sub-saharan writers to become well-known outside of Africa. "L'Enfant Noir" or "The Dark Child" (also titled "The African Child"?) was published in 1953 when the author was twenty-five and living in France. It is a pleasantly nostalgic memoir of a childhood spent in the town of Kouroussa (French Guinea, now Guinea) and the village of Tindican, his mother's birthplace. Chapter by chapter Camara recounts his childhood memories: his father's work as a goldsmith and his position in society, his parent's magic, village life, the rice harvest, elementary Koranic education, circumcision and young men's secret society, secondary education in Conakry, girls and courtship, and his departure to continue his studies in France. After almost half a century in print, this deserves to be called a classic. [Note: some authorities state that his family name is Camara (also spelled Kamara) and his given name is Laye; the text supports this at one point. If using search engines to look for information on this author it may be useful to try both versions of his name.] ... Read more


27. The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
by James McBride
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573225789
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 1394
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Order this book ... and please don't be put off by its pallid subtitle, A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, which doesn't begin to do justice to the utterly unique and moving story contained within. The Color of Water tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised. Jordan, born Rachel Shilsky, a Polish Jew, immigrated to America soon after birth; as an adult she moved to New York City, leaving her family and faith behind in Virginia. Jordan met and married a black man, making her isolation even more profound. The book is a success story, a testament to one woman's true heart, solid values, and indomitable will. Ruth Jordan battled not only racism but also poverty to raise her children and, despite being sorely tested, never wavered. In telling her story--along with her son's--The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual. And, perhaps, a little more faith in us all. ... Read more

Reviews (463)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mommy, what color is God?
This book is an amazing voyage of discovery. McBride unravels a life forgotten and buried by a mother who was born in 1921 to a Jewish Rabbi and his wife in Poland, and found Christianity and love in the arms of a black husband and her 12 children. The book tells two stories. The author tells of growing up in the projects of New York with a white mother and she tells her story of a young Jewish girl growing up in the south and then Harlem, always an outsider wanting only what all girls want, the love of her family and to be accepted.

It was early on in life that Ruth Shilsky realized that this would never happen. She found herself up against some of the greatest odds a person could face in an era of blatant racial prejudice and a family that turned their back on her because she dared to be different. The life she made was a remarkable one and the children she produced are all extraordinary people, to put it in the words of the author. An inspiring read of warm languid prose, I couldn't put it down, nor could I stop rooting for "Mommy" who just never stopped moving forward. 3/2/01

5-0 out of 5 stars Indomitable spirit and nurturing love
Subtitled, "A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother", the author, James McBride, a journalist and musician, has written his true and remarkable story.

Ruth McBride Jordan was born in 1921, in Poland, the daughter of Orthodox Jews. As a baby, her family immigrated to the United States where she was raised in Virginia where her father had a grocery store. Her life was harsh and when she married a black man in 1942, her family disowned her.

She raised 12 children, every one of them college educated, her indomitable spirit strong through poverty and the tragic deaths of two husbands. Her color confused her children who lived in a black world and it wasn't until they had grown to adulthood that her true story came out.

James McBride is a good writer, and his lively clear prose reflect a home that might have been lacking in material things, but was extraordinary in its warmth and love and nurturing atmosphere.

Ruth McBride Jordan's story is told in her voice through alternating chapters and her strength comes through in her words. Never once is there a shred of self pity as she tells her story. When she was first married she and her husband lived in a cockroach infested single room in Harlem with the bathroom in the hall. Her first four children were born while they were living in that single room. "It was one of the happiest times of my life," she says. Later they moved to an apartment with their own private bathroom which was quite a luxury.

The reader feels the emotions that James feels as he struggles with his own identity. He is the 8th of the 12 children and watches his older brothers and sisters being influenced by the "black power" movement of the 70s. Often, he's embarrassed by the color of his mother's skin.

Ruth is an active Christian avid churchgoer. James knows little or nothing of Jews. It is fascinating to read his point of view which is told with insight and honesty. And it is perhaps even more fascinating to hear the words of Ruth.

The book is an inspiration, a testament to love, and social exploration through the eyes of a mixed race family. Read it! You'll love it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this book for your mother!
This is one of the best books i have ever read!

the racial issue between a black man's perception of his white mother is presented equally with the outpouring of love and respect he has for her; simply as a mother of 12 children in Harlem who put all her children through collge and grad school. the stories about trips to church, to camp, riding public tansport, getting homemade haircuts, and how awful a cook his mother was are universal and are presented evenly with the tender moments of love and respect and joy he has with his mother.

the other half of this book is his mother's autobiography; the story of a young polish Jewish immigrant living in Jim Crow Virginia, abused by her father. the thinly veiled pain and anguish of memory that McBride's mother reveals futher illuminates his respect for his mother in his own chapters as he describes his mother founding a Baptist church in Harlem with his father.

this book is a gift to mothers everywhere!

5-0 out of 5 stars Escape Into McBride's Plight
I read this biography over the summer during camp, when I wanted to escape from the heat (not to mention the annoyance of the little campers!). It's very easy to lose yourself in this book because of McBride's straight-to-the-point, action-packed writing style. His own autobiography and his mother's biography are brilliantly intertwined in alternating chapters, keeping readers immersed in the various parallels and general comparisons of both lives.

The search for self-identity is so rich, so apparant, that almost everyone can relate to it. It also shows that the rise of poverty is possible, but also requires an endurance of obsticles along the way. Read this.

4-0 out of 5 stars A question of identity
James McBride, the author, knew very little about his mother's heritage before he began writing this book. One thing he did know was that she was different. Different from his father, his siblings, himself, his friends, and his neighbors. When he would ask her if she was white, she would avoid the question or answer that she was "light-skinned". When he once asked her what color God was she replied, "He's the color of water. He has no color". This is the way Ruth McBride looked at the world. When her Jewish family acted in an unloving manner towards her, she turned to black friends, who were more accepting of her. James loved his white mother, whom he calls "Mommy" in the book but was also embarrassed by her racial differences and was confused by a lack of knowledge of her roots. This book seemed to be a catharsis for him as it allowed him to contact some of his mother's relatives and old friends whom he had never met. Ruth McBride considered her greatest achievement to be the many college degrees which her 12 children earned and their professional occupations. This is an interesting story of a woman who did not ever let life defeat her and who held high educational and behavioral standards for her racially-mixed children. It is also the story of a search for identity. ... Read more


28. The Face of a Naked Lady : An Omaha Family Mystery
by Michael Rips
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618273522
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Sales Rank: 143785
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Nic Rips"s son had always known him as a conservative midwesterner, dedicated, affable, bland to the point of invisibility. Upon his father"s death, however, Michael Rips returned to his Omaha family home to discover a hidden portfolio of paintings — all done by his father, all of a naked black woman. So begins Michael Rips"s exquisitely humane second work of memoir, a gloriously funny yet deeply serious gem of a book that offers more than a little redemption in our cynical times.
Rips is a magical storyteller, with a keen eye for the absurd, even in a place like Omaha, which, like his father, is not what it first appears to be. His solid Republican father, he discovers, had been raised in one
of Omaha"s most famous brothels, had insisted on hiring a collection of social misfits to work in his eyeglass factory, and had once showed up in his son"s high school principal"s office in pajamas. As Rips searches for the woman of the paintings, he meets, among others, an African American detective who swears by the clairvoyant powers of a Mind Machine, a homeless man with five million dollars in the bank, an underwear auctioneer, and a flying trapeze artist on her last sublime ride. Ultimately, Rips finds the woman, a father he never knew, and a profound sense that all around us the miraculous permeates the
everyday.
... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Search For One Man's Father
Rips' father was there for his upbringing, and yet somehow he wasn't. So when Rips discovers a dark secret behind a bureau, he begins to ask if he ever knew his father at all. I don't know if anyone else has thought to blend magical realism with memoir before, (even Garcia Marquez's bio was pretty down to earth), but that seems to be Rips' objective. Part philosophical meditation, he transform Omaha into a place where people fly, millionaires haunt abandoned buildings, and even the everyday seems strange. Definitely worth your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Read
I LOVED this book!!!There islightness and humour on the surface of a complex and deeply philosophical book.I read it twice. Highly recommended.

NYC ... Read more


29. Hunger of Memory : The Education of Richard Rodriguez
by Richard Rodriguez
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553272934
Catlog: Book (1983-02-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 24934
Average Customer Review: 3.36 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (59)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for teachers of immigrant and minority students
I just finished reading Hunger of Memory as an assignment for a Language and Literacy class I'm taking in my teacher training program. I recommend this book to all teachers or to people like myself who are planning to be teachers. Rodriguez does a outstanding job of capturing the feelings of confusion and separation one feels when learning English. I liked how Rodriguez corelates language with intimacy. He talks a lot about how Spanish was for him a language of intimacy and family. When he learned English in school, however, he lost a lot of that intimacy in the home when he began to lose his language. One particularly sad part was when his grandmother died and he wasn't able to speak to her or say goodbye beforehand because his Spanish was so limited and his grandmother spoke only Spanish. Towards the end of the book, Rodriguez exhibits a lot of honesty and courage in writing about his feelings on affirmative action. As a result of assimilation and studying in England, Rodriguez no longer felt like he could be an effective role model for minority students. However, because he was a Mexican-American with a Phd in Renaissance Literature and because he was a "minority professor", he was expected by Berkley administrators (and students) to be such a role model. When some hispanic students ask him to teach a minority literature class at a community center, he declines. As a result, they treat him like a sell-out. All in all, I admire how Rodriguez is not afraid to take stances on issues like affirmative action and bilingual education that go against what is expected, considering his race. One would expect him to be in support of both programs, but he is not. Though I do not agree on his stances on these issues, I truly admire his ability to be true to his convictions in spite of being called a sell-out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still Controversial--After All These Years
I'm an author of a mystery novel in current release that features a Stanford-educated detective of Latino heritage as its protagonist, an American government/economics teacher (for over twenty years) in a rural California high school with a student population that is over 98% Latino, and I have attended several lectures/discussions by Richard Rodriguez over the years. His HUNGER OF MEMORY remains one of the most controversial books in the community in which I work for a significant portion of every year. HUNGER OF MEMORY is viciously hated by some of the most gifted students I have ever had. Others love it. My fellow professionals argue over Mr. Rodriguez and his positions on assimilation and bilingual education. I respect this book and this man. I don't necessarily agree with all he writes, but I do agree he writes what he writes well. I admire what Richard Rodriguez has gone through in life, and I admire the courage of his positions. HUNGER OF MEMORY is an excellent book that anyone interested in the contemporary American Southwest should read. It is extremely educational.

1-0 out of 5 stars SELLOUT
I wont purchase a book by Rodriguez because he is a sellout to himself and his people. The man has consistently come out against affairmative action when he himself is a product of it, and owes his success to it. We all make choices in life and Rodriguez chose to distance himself from his Mexican roots and wants us to validate his choices. Rodriguez is a sucess in the Anglo world but nothing is worth the cost of selling your soul to achieve success at such a high cost. The man is not Mexican he is best described as a pitiful soul that wrote a book trying to find redemption, but you cant have it both ways. Be what you are, take pride in your difference and you can still succeed in this country. I feel contempt not pity for the man.

1-0 out of 5 stars Tio Tomas
Richard shed himself to become a white man. He defines himself by the success standards set by white people. Although I don't disagree with him on everything, he clearly has been white washed and it's really sad. HE rants about himself like his 'ethnic' look is so mesmerizing to people. He's got a big head that I really can't empathize with. He made a choice many people of color make, assimilation in most extreme way. If you need a reason to feel pride in your cultural, read this book and see how you cold turn out if you have no pride in your culture

2-0 out of 5 stars Makes some good points but boring as hell
Indeed Richard makes some good points about bilingual education and affirmative action - and they ARE well worth noting (how affirmative action doesn't benefit those who need it the most)....but everything else about this book [is bad]. His writing style is very self-absorbed. His opinions are inserted after just about EVERY comment and EVERY action ANYONE (his family or the outside world) commits, it's like he's trying to beat his own opinion into your head. There's also very stuck-up tone lurking under his writing; he VERY often notes his own accomplishments endlessly (...at a cocktail party in Bel Air...entered high school having read 100s of books...), it's all fabulous but reading about his greatness gets very tedious after awhile (especially when he's describing how he started making lists of books he read...that alone is 6 pages - go look yourself: p.59-64.

Many advocates of this book say that they like it because of how he becomes "aware of his assimilation" and "recognizes that with all gain comes some loss." Well, unfortunetely, even though Ricahrd becomes AWARE and RECOGNIZES all these things - he lets everyone know he knows by portraying himself as a suffering hero and a "cosmic victim." By saying he's a "cosmic victim" implies some divinity "choose" him to suffer - as if! He chose to separate himself from his family the minute he decided he repected his teachers more.

And yes, Mr. Rodriguez dedicated his book to his parents - but it's funny how he wrote "For him and her-to honor them." To me, if he hadn't written the "to honor them", I would have though he was writing this book as almsot a cruel parody of them - of what they never could be anything else but what they already were in his world, that they are not as great as he because of their lack of education.

Overall, this book is nothing remarkable, if not very boring. Read for an opinion of affirmative action and biligual education (but ignore the fact HE frequently benefited from both, even he admits that!). Yes, he is educated, intelligent, and perhaps (I wouldn't know) a "provocative speaker"....but his image at the end is not of a strong, modest, "manly" man, but a pathetic figure of a person who wants to comfort himself in the glory of his accomplishments. The overall taste you walk away with this book is not respect for Richard Rodriguez, but pity. ... Read more


30. Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus
by MirtaOjito
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200416
Catlog: Book (2005-04-07)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 13260
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Finding Mañana is a vibrant, moving memoir of one family's life in Cuba and their wrenching departure. Mirta Ojito was born in Havana and raised there until the unprecedented events of the Mariel boatlift brought her to Miami, one teenager among more than a hundred thousand fellow refugees. Now a reporter for The New York Times, Ojito goes back to reckon with her past and to find the people who set this exodus in motion and brought her to her new home. She tells their stories and hers in superb and poignant detail-chronicling both individual lives and a major historical event.

Growing up, Ojito was eager to excel and fit in, but her parents'-and eventually her own-incomplete devotion to the revolution held her back. As a schoolgirl, she yearned to join Castro's Young Pioneers, but as a teenager in the 1970s, when she understood the darker side of the Cuban revolution and learned more about life in el norte from relatives living abroad, she began to wonder if she and her parents would be safer and happier elsewhere. By the time Castro announced that he was opening Cuba's borders for those who wanted to leave, she was ready to go; her parents were more than ready: They had been waiting for this opportunity since they married, twenty years before.

Finding Mañana gives us Ojito's own story, with all of the determination and intelligence-and the will to confront darkness-that carried her through the boatlift and made her a prizewinning journalist. Putting her reporting skills to work on the events closest to her heart, she finds the boatlift's key players twenty-five years later, from the exiles who negotiated with Castro to the Vietnam vet on whose boat, Mañana, she finally crossed the treacherous Florida Strait. Finding Mañana is the engrossing and enduring story of a family caught in the midst of the tumultuous politics of the twentieth century.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Mariel boatlift, a Pulitzer Prize winner's extraordinary memoir of her childhood in Cuba and her historic journey to America
... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best in a Long Time, and We Read Them All!
This is definitely the best Cuban memoir book of the year!If you liked "Waiting for Snow in Havana," you'll also love Mirta and her great story.The writing in this book is excellent.Her chronicle of the exodus from Mariel was of particular interest to Jorge, as he shares some of the same memories.This book gets THREE THUMBS UP -- the ultimate Three Guys From Miami seal of approval!

Best to you Mirta!

Three Guys From Miami
(Authors of the book, "Three Guys From Miami Cook Cuban.")


5-0 out of 5 stars Finding Manana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus
Finding Manana is a page turner I could hardly set down.I was a television reporter in Miami during the Mariel Boatlift.I was in Key West every week covering the plight of the refugees and the politics that created the situation.I followed the first group of Cubans to their tent city in Lima, Peru.I thought I knew this story inside out but Mirta Ojito has filled in many gaps.I read the book to my teenage children who were shocked and amazed by this piece of history.This book is a gem and should be read by anyone interested in Cuba, Cubans or just the remarkable story of a young girl.

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ FOR ALL
Mirta has been able to capture the essence of what is was like growing up in Communist Cuba, the painful episode of the Peruvian Embassy and subsequently, the Mariel boatlift. With no false pretenses, and in the most elocuent, objective and descriptive style, Mirta, ever the accurate reporter, is able to convey and transfer the facts alongside her feelings. Kudos to Ms.Ojito. This book is a must read for all generations of Cubans and for those interested in our own pursuit of Freedom. Carlos L. Eguaras Miami FL

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I read the final chapters of this book in flight from Miami to Havana. I could not put this book down. I absolutely loved every word. Thanks.

5-0 out of 5 stars a rare success in historical writing
Mirta Ojito attempts a very unusual kind of history-writing and pulls it off to an uncommonly successful degree. Cuba under Castro is a difficult, contentious subject. Many journalists have lost their bearings and produced works that are superficial at best and self-absorbed at worst. Ojito herself took part in the Mariel exodus and treats her own experience in a manner that's dignified as well as personable. In addition, she analyzes the events and provides a genuine historical context. Ojito's dual approach to history avoids the pitfalls of first-person journalism and is replete with insights that will stand the test of time. ... Read more


31. Rain of Gold
by Víctor E. Villaseñor
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038531177X
Catlog: Book (1992-10-01)
Publisher: Delta
Sales Rank: 11419
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


... Read more

Reviews (75)

5-0 out of 5 stars An exquisitely told tale!
When I was an English Literature major in college in the early 1990s, I wrote my senior thesis on the significance of Chicano literature. "Rain of Gold" was included in my study. It is a beautifully written book and a tremendously valuable contribution to American literature.

In Victor Villasenor's "Rain of Gold," the dominant theme or metaphor is the struggle for survival. The mythic structure provides a rich and meaningful context for the characters and their inner struggle for identity and survival. "Rain of Gold" is the story of two parallel lives -- those of Juan Salvador and Lupe Gomez, characters delineated from Villasenor's real-life mother and father, who grow up with their respective families in two distant towns in Mexico and meet as young adults in California.

The novel can be divided into three parts: the families trying to survive in Mexico, but opting to find a better life in the U.S.; their harsh and harrowing journeys through the rough terrain of the Mexican deserts; and finally, their miraculous arrival and struggle in the U.S. The novel challenges the reader to experience the harsh realities of the characters' hardships and triumphs. Their struggle is internal and personal. Villasenor's adherence to myth, religion and a little of the magical paints a vivid image of a people -- survivors not only of physical challenges, but spiritual ones as well. His story is well detailed and well developed. It is truly an epic in every sense of the word.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best I've Read!
Rain of Gold is a book written by Victor Villaseñor an author of Mexican Heritage. Villaseñor wrote this book when he felt the urge to pas down to his children the history behind their name. Villaseñor traveled to Mexico and after years of hard work and several conflicts he published "Rain of Gold", the biography of his family. In "Rain of Gold" Villaseñor describes with full detail the lives of his ancestors in Mexico and later in the United States. More than just a story, Villaseñor gives a vivid image of life during the Mexican Revolution {the times of Pancho Villa}. He explains how his family was forced as well as other families to abandon their beloved country because of the violence and danger the Mexican Revolution brought to its citizens. Villaseñor also explains the hardships his family had to got through to adapt and survive prejudice, hunger and unfair work in the states. Not only does Villaseñor capture the struggles of his family but also the exciting and glorious moments his ancestors lived. This book has a vivid message to everybody of Mexican background. Especially to teenagers who usually don't get the chance to be taught their history with out somebody making fun or putting down their culture. This is the first book that I have truly related to, because of my Mexican background and hardships I've faced in this country. This is a book you just can't stop reading because you get so close to the characters. By the end of the book I assure you that not only will you know all of the people in the book but you will also respect and consider them part of your family! More importantly, I recommend this book to everybody who has parents or somebody who has immigrated to this country in search of opportunities and better life.

1-0 out of 5 stars This book needs an editor
This book deserves 1 star, not the 5-star rating it receives on Amazon. I can open up to any place in this 562-page novel that is 500 pages too long and find a poorly crafted paragraph. Jeez -- ever hear of an editor? The writing is so bad at times it's unintentionally funny ("Love was in the air, choking the atmosphere" -- "Their home was leaping in flames").

This is NOT a great book. It's not even a good book. It's an OK book, an historical account of one man's family history. The characters are colorful but not especially deep. The book jumps back and forth from believable family saga to trite Mexican soap opera stocked with cliched characters. Men are weak but lovable, women stoic and boundlessly loving, and gringos are all greedy, untrustworthy SOBs. The narrative has big wide seams that disrupt the flow. The author has an annoying way of jumping between past and present without any skill.

If Villasenor was trying to evoke the magical realism of Garcia Marquez' 100 Years of Solitude when he wrote this, he failed miserably. There's no magical realism here, just absurd realism. Anyone who gives this book five stars needs to read more.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sadly, this book is required reading in some high schools
Political correctness has actually fooled people into thinking that this work is on par with Dickens.

This book is great literature like the participants in the Special Olympics are great athletes.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Thrilling Novel
Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor is an excellent novel. Being an eleventh grader, I found this novel to be quite different from what I had expected. My first thought was that it would be boring because of course all non-fiction books are boring. It turned out to be fast paced with dramatic situations of starvation and the battle for life. Rain of Gold is truly an inspirational story and is worth the time to read. Looking at the novel itself is intimidating- the width is at least four inches long- but Villasenor has created an exciting historical vision, forcing audiences to be glued to the pages, desperately yearning for his words. At first the novel may push away some readers for the first chapteris focused on the provety of a little girl(Lupe) and boy(Juan/Salvador), but as they grow older danger seems to lurk in EVERY corner while death and rape stare down at them. ... Read more


32. Blood Done Sign My Name : A True Story
by TIMOTHY B. TYSON
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400083117
Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 4982
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

When he was but 10 years old, Tim Tyson heard one of his boyhood friends in Oxford, N.C. excitedly blurt the words that were to forever change his life: "Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger!" The cold-blooded street murder of young Henry Marrow by an ambitious, hot-tempered local businessman and his kin in the Spring of 1970 would quickly fan the long-flickering flames of racial discord in the proud, insular tobacco town into explosions of rage and street violence. It would also turn the white Tyson down a long, troubled reconciliation with his Southern roots that eventually led to a professorship in African-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison--and this profoundly moving, if deeply troubling personal meditation on the true costs of America's historical racial divide. Taking its title from a traditional African-American spiritual, Tyson skillfully interweaves insightful autobiography (his father was the town's anti-segregationist Methodist minister, and a man whose conscience and human decency greatly informs the son) with a painstakingly nuanced historical analysis that underscores how little really changed in the years and decades after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 supposedly ended racial segregation. The details are often chilling: Oxford simply closed its public recreation facilities rather than integrate them; Marrow's accused murderers were publicly condemned, yet acquitted; the very town's newspaper records of the events--and indeed the author's later account for his graduate thesis--mysteriously removed from local public records. But Tyson's own impassioned personal history lessons here won't be denied; they're painful, yet necessary reminders of a poisonous American racial legacy that's so often been casually rewritten--and too easily carried forward into yet another century by politicians eagerly employing the cynical, so-called "Southern Strategy." --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I am from Oxford, and I still live there. This is an excellent book. It opened my eyes to what happened here in the past.

5-0 out of 5 stars An important book, well written, researched and documented
If only all history could be told by the voices of those who lived it, maybe those voices could tell truth to power.Except on sources like "Democracy Now", those authentic voices seem to be missing in the media's telling of the stories of today.I think therefore this book is important for what it tells us about the history of race relations in this country but also for what it can tell us about our decisions and view of present reality.

I live in Madison, Wisconsin and this quote from "Blood done Sign My Name" is sometimes pretty applicable today in my town."Black Southerners forcibly altered that narrative in the 1950's and 1960's by stepping outside their assigned roles - and compelling a reluctant federal government to intercede on their behalf.As often as not, they had to be prepared to defend themselves physically from terrorism by white reactionaries.White liberals, with their hesitancy and quibbling, were sometimes very little help.In North Carolina, white liberal paternalists did not stand in the schoolhouse door as George Wallace had in Alabama.Instead, journalist Osha Gray Davidson observes,they 'would quietly appoint a committee to deliberate for eternity over exactly which door, and of what dimensions, would best facilitate the ingress and egress of all students.The style of a Wallace was different, but the result was the same.'And so sometimes it was necessary to escape from an endless and pointless conversation with white paternalism by striking hard and sometimes violently against the architecture of their oppression-Oxford's tobacco warehouses being only the local example."

Timothy Tyson delves into his personal history with an open mind and eye to find the truth about his family and his town during a difficult time and era.But he is also making the point that times are still difficult and the way to work on problems is to face them head on with a knowledge of what came before.

"There it should stay, many people seem to think - why dredge this stuff up?Why linger on the past, which we cannot change?We must move toward a brighter future and leave all that horror behind.It's true that we must make a new world.But we can't make it out of whole cloth.We have to weave the future from the fabric of the past, from the patterns of aspiration and belonging - broken dreams and anguished rejections - that have made us.What the advocates of our dangerous and deepening social amnesia don't understand is how deeply the past holds the future in its grip - even, and perhaps especially, when it remains unacknowledged.We are runaway slaves from our own past, and only by turning to face the hounds can we find our freedom beyond them."



5-0 out of 5 stars Confronting the painful history of race in America
Author Timothy B. Tyson has carved out a rather unique role for himself.Believe it or not, he is a white man from North Carolina teaching Black History in Wisconsin."Blood Done Sign My Name" is the compelling, personal and brutally honest story of how this all came to be.
Tyson was 10 years old back in 1970 and living with his family in the small rural town of Oxford, N.C.His dad was the Methodist minister and his mom a schoolteacher in town.One day in May, his 10 year old playmate Gerald Teel casually remarked that "Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger."Indeed, his daddy and two of this brothers had brutally shot and killed a 23 year old black man, Henry Marrow, for very dubious reasons.This single event would have profound implications for the little town of Oxford and would play a major role in shaping the life of one Tim Tyson.
"Blood Done Sign My Name" is a remarkable book on many levels.If you are interested in learning more about the arrest and subsequent trial of Robert Teel then you will certainly find it here. It is not a pretty story.
Likewise, if you would like to learn more about the painful history of race relations in this country then this is your book as well. Tyson believes with all his heart that most of us have an extremely distorted and somewhat sugar-coated view of what really went on in this country during the 1960's and 1970's. For example, as a fairly well read white man in his 50's I had never even heard about two incidents that Tyson contends are key to understanding what really happened in those years.When you read about the case of the Wilmington Ten you begin to understand the rage black people felt back in the early 1970's. And when you read the grisly and heartbreaking story of what happened to some slaves who dared to rebel at the Destrehen Plantation in Louisiana way back in 1811, you again begin to appreciate the reasons why blacks in this country feel and react the way they do. The history books that most of us read in school never mention incidents like these.So how are we to know?And if we don't know, how can we possibly understand?
And finally, "Blood Done Sign My Name" is an intimate account of one man's personal struggle with the issue of race. Tim Tyson has presented us with an exceptionally well written book that offers the reader an awful lot to chew on.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indictment of America
I just finished reading Blood Done Sign My Name.I found it to be a very powerful indictment of America.I have basically shunned my German heritage based upon their complicity in Hitler's genocide of the Jews and other "misfits."This book made me re-think my own prejudices. Especially where the author's African-American friend, whose parents were a mixed-race couple, found it safer to live in Germany than in the U.S. It hit me like a 2x4 to realize that America has treated not just one or two groups this way but many. To name a few: African-Americans, American Indians, Japanese Americans, Chinese-Americans and most recently Arab-Americans.Just when I was despairing of our country and it's people who are leaning ever to the right, just as I was contemplating moving to Canada, I turned the page and Tyson began writing about hope and redemption.He wrote about facing the past and teaching it to our children.Teaching the truth, not the sanitized, re-written version.

I have felt that as individuals, we have to face our individual pasts or we will repeat the past and visit it upon our children.It is clear from reading Tyson's book that we must do so as a people/country as well.We have a long way to go considering that people don't even want to face violence and abuse that happens in our own homes.Until women and children are safe in their homes and we face these issues, I don't have a lot of hope that our treatment of groups of people will change.

I will pass this book around and recommend it to my friends and acquaintances not just because of the wonderful writing style but because this is a very important work that hopefully will hasten this country facing it's past and moving toward a better future.I am also very impressed that Tyson took a tragedy that impacted his life and turned it into a positive, not only for himself but others as well.

Thank you Timothy Tyson for writing such a powerful important book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily One of the Best Books I've Read
Part civil rights history and part autobiography, this book deals with a little known 1970 lynching in Oxford, NC, its root causes and aftermath.I will allow the other reviewers and amazon.com to detail the story, but suffice it to say that it reads like a novel and is both heartbreaking and uplifting. A very personal and spiritual look at race relations and the impact it had on the author's life.A truly great book. ... Read more


33. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson
by Kenneth R. Timmerman
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
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Asin: 0895261650
Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 47780
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jesse Jackson is a modern day highway robber who uses cries of racism to steal from individuals, corporations, and government, to give to himself, says veteran investigative reporter Kenneth R. Timmerman.

Until now, however, no one has been brave enough to say it and diligent enough to prove it. But Ken Timmerman has cracked Jackson's machine, found Jackson cronies willing to break ranks, and uncovered a sordid tale of greed, ambition, and corruption from a self-proclaimed minister who has no qualms about poisoning American race relations for personal gain.

Shakedown reveals:

* Jackson's massive defrauding of the federal government - and how both Republican and Democratic administrations have chosen to ignore it.

* Jackson's financial ties to Third World dictators - including Mohammar Qaddafi of Libya.

* Jackson's shocking private life - and his even more shocking public lies, including about his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King

Other details must remain embargoed until publication, but one thing is for certain, Shakedown finally bursts the carefully constructed myths around Jesse Jackson and subject him to the critical scrutiny he's long deserved.

Kenneth R. Timmerman, a reporter with more than two decades of experience, has written for many magazines and newspapers including Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, and The American Spectator, and has appeared on Nightline, Sixty Minutes, and many other television programs. He lives in Kensington, Maryland, with his wife and five children. ... Read more

Reviews (121)

4-0 out of 5 stars The dude do get over
The author has previously written for such unusally reliable sources as Time, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. There are 1,078 references in this book in 426 pages of text covering an introduction, a prologue, and 18 chapters. The references are from such sources as memoranda and reports from U.S. government agencies, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and the New Republic, to name only a few. The author, therefore, cannot be dismissed as some sort of right wing crackpot. What Timmerman does is document Jackson's unashamed schemes to line his own pockets and those of his friends and family in the name of racial diversity, economic opportunity, and other buzzwords popular with income redistribution leftists. But Jesse is the quintessential capitalist. He doesn't do anything he can't get paid for, to include NOT speaking up in favor of minority groups who have sought his assistance in the past but didn't have the money to pay his fee! SHAKEDOWN is an appropriate title for this work, as Jackson has managed to get governments and businesses to pony up for his schemes in order to keep from being branded as racist by Jackson. This book could have been subtitled "Show Me the Money!" He has definitely helped himself, and made himself rich in the process. Whether he has helped others is truly open to question, as the author has convincingly documented.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, brilliantly researched and well written
It was very tough to put this book down. Timmerman has done an excellent job in researching this book, and backs up his research with copious notes.

If even one tenth of the book is accurate, Jesse Jackson is a very dangerous, dishonest, and evil character. I suspect that the overwhelming majority of the book is accurate, however, and that fact makes my blood boil at the thought of Jackson and his shakedown scheme.

This book should be required reading for every young liberal- Black, White, Brown-it doesn't matter. Jackson's evil tactics transcend race, religion, and creed. His hucksterism is a danger to this nation, a danger to the advancing civil rights of minorities, and a danger to honest people trying to make a living in America.

I highly recommend this book, I think that anyone who reads it with an open mind will thoroughly enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Do Not Blame the Author - Blame Jackson
This book states the obvious. Most people half awake can see his scam a mile away. This is not a race issue; it is a scam that uses the race issue. It might not be PC to attack a black man, but when he uses the weakness in his fellow man black and white to enrich himself one needs to blow the whistle.

Let us give Jackson a small benefit of doubt. Years ago when he worked for King he was an idealistic young man. But that has long passed. We now have a man milking the system and taking what he can - it is as simple as that. And blame the people and corporations that support his habit.

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at how one obtains power.
At first, I just wanted to read the "lowdown" on how much of a crook Jesse Jackson was, but as I read more, I see how Jesse rises from being a mere street hustler to being a major pollitical force that is known throughout worldwide. As a person that wants to understand how and why a person obtains power of that magnitude, SHAKEDOWN gives great insight into how one man, Jesse Jackson, stategically picks not only the battles he wants to fight, but also his allies. A great companion book to this is THE 48 LAWS OF POWER by Robert Greene. Many of the laws of power in that book can be seen being used by Jesse in SHAKEDOWN. What really got me was one of the guys mentioned in this book was a pastor in my church who was "rubbing elbows" with Jackson and almost got put in jail by following him. Read this book, it's a real eye opener.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wake Up America!!!!!!
I have always been a supporter of Jesse Jackson and looked upon him as a true leader..............until I read this book. This book has opened my eyes to just what kind of person Jesse Jackson really is: con-artist, extortionist, race-baiter, etc. The people in Chicago who refer to him as "Justme" Jackson, have really hit the nail on the head. What has the self-appointed leader of the African-American race ever done for poor and truly disinfranchised African-Americans? Not a damn thing!!! The only African-Americans who have ever benefited from his shakedowns and extortion of american corporations are his rich and well-to-do cronies! Why the IRS has never stepped in and audited this scheister and crook is a travesty! Jesse Jackson is only a leader for the well-to-do African-American, the ones who can pay to play. This man is no more interested in closing the racial divide that exists in America today, than the KKK is! He is one of the reasons that the racial divide has gotten wider, not smaller. Anyone who calls this book racist is either blind, deaf, and dumb, or is a racist themselves. This book is well documented and the facts well supported. Through it all, you have to give "Reverend" Justme Jackson credit. He has taken advantage of a society where it is worse to label someone a racist than it is to call someone a rapist or child molester. He has used the word racist as his trump card and thrown it about freely, when he himself is as racist as anybody. I wonder when the next time he is going to call as his friend some 3rd world dictator who has ravaged his homeland and committed innumerable atrocities on his people? And when he is long gone from this world, don't worry America, his sons will pick up the torch and continue this man's great, benevolent works in society. Oh yeah, after reading this book, I have changed my affiliation from Democrat to Republican, as has my African-American wife. ... Read more


34. Even After All This Time : A Story of Love, Revolution, and Leaving Iran
by Afschineh Latifi
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060745339
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 15896
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story with Several Lessons
I see this book as two or perhaps three in one.

On the one hand it is the story of a family torn apart by the execution of the father (convicted of commiting murder on the day he was in a hospital far away). The author was a young girl of ten at that time. This is the story of her life after her fathers arrest and execution. Obviously well to do at the time, the two daughters were sent to school in Austria, and finally to an uncle in America.

As part of this, I am reminded that when people move to the United States, they often become the best, most capable citizens we have. In this family of four children there are two doctors and two lawyers. Often, usually, the people who leave a country are the best people that that country has. Our country is benefitted by their being here.

Finally, this is the story of how an Islamic government moving into power. At one time the author's mother is showing hospital records to the jailer, and is told that it doesn't matter what proof she has, the decision stands and he will be executed. Not too different, I guess, than the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, but a pretty rough way to life. And this is what people say they want???

1-0 out of 5 stars Little Princess Cries,....... Again!
Cheio de Gases must be addicted to fiction and romance novels! He/she certainly lacks appreciation for and understanding of history. It appears to me that Az Kayhan, the other reviewer, hits it on the nose: This book is yet another sob story written by a former little princess who can't be one anymore. Read it as fiction and you'll be fine. Placing any significant amount of factual value on it is like taking the National Inquirer as a legitimate source of news.
Unfortunately, this is yet another book in a series of a dozen or so which very similarly chronicle the life story of children who were forced to leave Iran when the revolution hit and are now grown up to write their own "memoirs" with amazing recollection of the events of 26 years ago, when they were mere children. How detailed and accurate are our recollections of our childhoods? Fiction it is, fine literary work? I'm afraid it it is not.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Blame Game
Another reviewer savagely and unfairly attacks this quietly powerful book by saying that everyone suffered in the Iranian revolution and therefore the book author must learn to deal with her tragedy.Strangely, this bitter reviewer does not mention that the author's father was executed and that this regime is by far more cruel and inhumane than what the Shah was ever even accused of being. The reviewer's bizarre obsession with the CIA-supported coup in the 1950's shows an unhealthy complex of reality avoidance.Get over it--what happened 50 years ago has little to do with Mullah's trampling of human rights today.Talk about weird nostalgia--if one were to accept the reviewer's tortured argument, then every execution in Iran is preceded by a salute to Mossadegh's unattractive portrait.

The simple reality is that political simpletons such as the CIA-obsessed reviewer were naive participants in a revolution that succeeded in killing innocent Iranians, and destroying a generation of hopes with war, religious fanaticism and repression. Now that the simpletons have seen their mistake, they revert to the old favorite of blaming the CIA!You might as well blame the Mongols too---no one ever fully recovered from their rampage and they were possibly under the direct control of the CIA Ulan Bator station.

This book is a personal story with facts that are sadly so true. Let the author tell her story in dignity and give her the respect that she has earned.Her tragic history in Iran is no less real than what she ways.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pretentious, Counter-productive nagging and nostalgia
Another book added to the slew offemale Iranian exile Fifth Generation bleeding heart nostalgic over the "lost glory" books of the same genre that have sprouted like mushrooms in the last 5 years or so.Which begs the question:Who is encouraging and supporting these mostly women exiled "writers" to write these mostly fictional accounts and "auto-biographies"?These books are basically a written transcript of a Persian tea visit to a friend:full of delusional and vague memories, gossip, and exaggerations.
The photo album is cracked open and published, and the authors who are still "after all this time" still suffering from the "Persian Privileged Princess Syndrome" are culturally frustrated and emotionally depressed for having to live outside Iran are reaching out to the public as their potential therapists or saviors.Like all people who are confused about their identity living outside the land they grew up in as kids and teenagers, only worse!

These so-called authors are women who were teenagers in the 60s and 70s under the Shah's regime, and who were (and are) mostly brats from privileged and affluent families who consumed the cream off the top of the food chain in Iran and lived really nice lives even with American standards.Now they have lost it all and are like lost Persian kittens in a land they feel estranged in culturally.So, they regurgitate "old glory" stories.The truth is that most of those sweet juvenile memories are exaggerated.Furthermore, for most Iranian people who lived under the old Shah's un-Democratic and Dictatorial regime deprived and persecuted, and without any nuance of social or political freedoms, these books sound hollow, indeed.

The Shah was put back in power in 1953 via a CIA coup d'etats which overthrew the Democratic nationalist government of Dr. Mossadegh, and replaced him with the ruthless General Zahedi who was on the CIA payroll.And so began the un-popular and un-Democratic regime these writers fret over with such longing and pain in their books.None of these books mention these historic truths.None mention SAVAK, the Shah's secret political police, who arrested and killed many free-thinkers and students in the 60s and the 70s.Instead, the authors choose only to depict the pretty, sweet tea parties of their cushiony past that they choose to remember.

Tens of thousands of people lost their lives in the 1979 uprising to correct that historic faux pas committed by US and Britain intelligence services.It was a reaction by a frustrated people who were deprived of the most fundamental freedoms, and deeply resented the foreign-installed monarchy and the atmosphere of fear, corruption, persecution, and social injustice that was created later.Not all who lost their lives were officers in Shah's army.Soldiers accept certain risks when they become soldiers.That is what happens in Revolutions, people die.And Revolutions happen because there is injustice, or at least perceived injustice.The original intent of that uprising was to regain the social justice and freedoms lost under the Shah.But since the Shah and his SAVAK had all but destroyed all viable Democratic opposition in Iran, the mantra of the Revolution was snatched and its path derailed, distorting a genuine movement into a totalitarian theocracy.So does that mean that anyone who was part of the illegitimate rule of the Shah has anything to be proud of now?History has been, and will continue to be the judge of that.But one thing is for certain: no amount of "how sweet it was" tales by Persian Marie Antoinette "Wanna Be"s can alter that judgment.

Besides, there is hardly any Iranian family who was not adversely affected during those times, and even to this day.Iranian ex-patriot hard luck stories are dime a dozen.Everyone has one, but most who were affected do not claim any special mantra because of that loss, nor do they write books to gain financially from that loss, and nor live in the relative comfort, wealth, and social status that most of these women authors writing these kinds of books enjoy outside of Iran.

Feminism is good when it talks about gaining expanded and equal rights for women, but when it becomes a tool for self-propagation, self-righteousness, buying vindication due to real or imaginary loss, or trying to legitimize or create sympathy for an illegitimate and corrupt regime, it becomes pure non-sense.

For effective and Democratic changes to take place anywhere, we should all first stop nagging and crying over the fake Garden of Eden that we think we had.To be effective for creating a Democracy again, we must first and foremost have a vision of history, something that these dreamy and mystified so-called authors sorely lack.We must also be forward-looking and hopeful, instead of being reactionary dreamers of the past.And most of all, please, no moroseness, fretting, sulking, or sad violin playing, and no hiding behind the shield of being a woman from a country where women are oppressed.And one more thing: keep your family photo album to yourselves (That's why they call it "family" album), we all have "look what I was" pictures from our past, no one is impressed.And guess what:no one cares.
As a famous contemporary Persian poet said in a poem:" there is nothing in the past but a dusty, old window shutter".

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST-READ!OPRAH'SLIST should include this Best Seller!
Afschineh Latifi's touching tribute to her loving, devoted parents touched me in so many ways.I could not put it down.Ms. Latifi is a terrific role model who demonstrates that the power of strong morals beliefs, high personal goals, perseverance and family values can lead not only to professional success but also to inner peace.

The true saga of a young father's execution by barbaric terrorists a mere 25 years ago was very tragic, especially when heard through the voice of the victim's young daughter.The story continues with tales of two innocent little girls who were thrust into the world to fend for themselves without the guidance of a mother or father for many of their formative years.

While reading the book I found myself crying one moment and laughing the next. The author's frankness in sharing the experiences and inner thoughts of a child growing into her own were honest, pure, and often hysterical!

"The wife and daughters of a soldier," as they proudly refer to themselves, Afschineh, her sister, Afsaneh, and their mother, Fatemeh, did what was required to provide for their family through very difficult times. They overcame great obstacles and persevered together to achieve great success in their lives emotionally and professionally.An impressive collection of family photos dispersed throughout the book makes their life story really come to life.I found this book to be extremely inspirational and I would recommend it to anyone, including my 4 children.

... Read more


35. Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of A Man Who Rescued A Million Yiddish Books
by Aaron Lansky
list price: $24.95
our price: $15.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565124294
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: Algonquin Books
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Book Description

In 1980 an entire body of Jewish literature--the physical remnant of Yiddish culture--was on the verge of extinction. Precious volumes that had survived Hitler and Stalin were being passed down from older generations of Jewish immigrants to their non-Yiddish-speaking children only to be discarded or destroyed. So Aaron Lansky, just twenty-three, issued a worldwide appeal for unwanted Yiddish works.

Lansky's passion led him to travel from house to house collecting the books--and the stories of these Jewish refugees and the vibrant intellectual world they inhabited. He and a team of volunteers salvaged books from dusty attics, crumbling basements, demolition sites, and dumpsters. When they began, scholars thought that fewer than seventy thousand Yiddish books existed. So far 1.5 million volumes have been saved!

Filled with tender and sometimes hilarious stories, this is an inspirational account of a man who had a vision and made a difference. It is a collective love song to the brilliant Yiddish writers--from Mendele to Sholem Aleichem to I. B. Singer--whose lasting cultural relevance is evident on every page.
... Read more


36. With Billie
by JULIA BLACKBURN
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375406107
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Pantheon
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37. Survival In Auschwitz
by Primo Levi
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684826801
Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
Publisher: Touchstone
Sales Rank: 10087
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Survival in Auschwitz is a mostly straightforward narrative, beginning with Primo Levi's deportation from Turin, Italy, to the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland in 1943. Levi, then a 25-year-old chemist, spent 10 months in the camp. Even Levi's most graphic descriptions of the horrors he witnessed and endured there are marked by a restraint and wit that not only gives readers access to his experience, but confronts them with it in stark ethical and emotional terms: "[A]t dawn the barbed wire was full of children's washing hung out in the wind to dry. Nor did they forget the diapers, the toys, the cushions and the hundred other small things which mothers remember and which children always need. Would you not do the same? If you and your child were going to be killed tomorrow, would you not give him something to eat today?" --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars Passionate & instructive insight into the Holocaust
In a more perfect life, this book should be science fiction. Primo Levi deposits us in a world where the typical convivality that makes human society bearable has been eliminated and replaced by a horrible premise: humans may only live if they can do work useful to the state. "Survival in Auschwitz" plays the theme out. Those who are unable to work are immediately killed, using the most efficient means possible. Those who survive must find ways to maintain the illusion of usefulness with the least possible exertion. Instead of brotherhood, there is commerce, a black market where a stolen bar of soap is traded for a loaf of bread; the soap allows the owner to maintain a more healthy appearance while the bread feeds its owner for another day. We see property in its most base form. A spoon, a bowl, a few trinkets cleverly used, that is all a person can hold at a time. It's instructive to read this book as an insight into homelessness. What kind of place is this where we create humiliated zombies, shuffling behind their carts containing all their worldly possessions? How long can we let the State fight against the innate emotion that tells us that no-one should go hungry while we eat and no-one should be homeless while we have shelter?

What always amazes me about the Holocaust is the sheer improbability of the story of each of its survivors. This is the horror. For every shining genius of the stature of Primo Levi, there are thousands of other amazing people, gassed and murdered in the showers filled with Zyklon-B.

3-0 out of 5 stars Surviving a Real Nightmare
"We had learnt of our destination with relief. Auschwitz: a name without significance for us at the time, but it at least implied some place on this earth"

Primo Levi's memoir, Survival in Auschwitz, is a moving account of one young man's struggle for survival in the notorious Polish concentration camp. Levi employs a unique narrative structure, emphasizing the power of words both thematically and stylistically. Levi is only twenty-five when he enters the camp, and his storytelling does much to reveal the devastating impact that concentration camps had on the psyche and on the spirit. Levi confronts the harsh reality of what life in Auschwitz means, and how different it is from any form of civilization. In clear contrast to the camp's dehumanizing effects on its victims, Levi uses language to stir the hearts of his readers. In a kind of dictionary of suffering, he gives the reader the terms of his old existence: Buna, where young men labor in a factory that will never produce synthetic rubber; Ka-Be, the infirmary where Levi is granted a few weeks' rest to recover from a foot injury, and Selekcja, the Polish word for "selection," that seals the fate of those marked for the crematorium. Many readers wishing to learn more about the Holocaust or concentration camps will find Levi's work powerful and enriching. Perhaps more importantly, these readers will continue to ask Levi's questions in today's society.

3-0 out of 5 stars Primo: Still a Man
I'm not a fan of Holocaust narrative, mostly because I've read and been forced to read in school many of this type of novel. Primo's memoir, however, sticks in my mind unlike any other. What makes Survival in Auschwitz, aka If This Is A Man, unique is the complete objectivity he writes with. He records only fact, expressing no emotion whatsoever. The effect is unsentimental and wholly horrific. His role is a recorder of events for posterity, and asks the reader to judge for his/herself the morality of what took place in the camp, not only the actions of the Nazi guards but also the prisoners themselves. He lets the reader decide whether he retained his humanity in the face of complete dehuminization. If all you know of the Holocaust is contained in Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, it might benefit you to pick this one up.

5-0 out of 5 stars A gut-wrenching tale
Reading Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi was one of the most dificult experiences of my life. With each turn of the page came a new horror, I found it dififult to read more then a chapter at a time, and yet with horrific fascination I was also unable to put down the book. His stories of human nature rock the reader in a way that is unfathomable to someone who has never read a novel of this type. His original title "If this were a man" is far more descriptive then Survival in Auschwitz, and the reader will be shocked by the tales he tells.

4-0 out of 5 stars survival in auschwitz
Primo is an italian jew from italy. in 1943 the fasciest militia raided her town and home. the german militia took everybody in that town and put them on a train. they didnt know it yet but thay had just become prisoners of germany, prisoners of adolf hitler. everything they knew and loved gone in and instant. they never knew if they would ever see their homes again or even their best friends again. primo lived in auschwitz for over a year and a half, fighting for her life day after day. during the day, her and the other prisoners in the camp got 3 meals a day, but it isnt the kind of meals you adn i think of. day after day all they had to eat was a piece of bread and a bowl of soup. thats not very filling, not very filling at all. also during the day they would have to work or they would be killed on teh spot. life was rough for that year and a half. probably the worste time was during winter. each prisoner was issued one thin shirt and pants and wooden shoes. might i remind you wood isnt a really warm material until you light it on fire witch they couldnt do because they were infact there only pair of shoes. i liked this book because it is a true story, a personal story of a young womans life. living through such a horrible time, living in auschwitz the worste concentration camp there was. i liked how it told everthing that happened and not just the bad. i thought it was funny how some of the prisoners tried to hurt them-selves to get into the ka-be, work free for forty days. i dont like how it is a book. i would rather watch it instead of reading I HATE TO READ. i dont like how it happened the whole holacaust thing. there could have been a better way to tell your hatred. you dont have to captize a entire nationality just to prove there hatred. i would recommed this book to people who liek to read. if you dont liek to read then dont buy books or read them. this book is good for people who liek to learn about the holacaust or personal stories about what actually happened while in auscwtiz. ... Read more


38. Dear Senator : A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond
by Essie Mae Washington-Williams, William Stadiem
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060760958
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 10628
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Dear Senator, Essie Mae Washington-Williams -- daughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond -- breaks her lifelong silence and tells the story of her life. Hers is a story seven decades in the making, yet one whose unique historical importance has only recently been revealed. Until the age of sixteen, Washington-Williams assumed that the aunt and uncle who raised her in Pennsylvania were her parents. The revelation of her true parents' identities was a shock that changed the course of her life. Her father, the longtime senator from South Carolina, was once the nation's leading voice for racial segregation; he ran for president on a segregationist ticket in 1948 and once mounted a twenty-four-hour filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 -- in the name of saving the South from "mongrelization." Her mother was Carrie Butler, a black teenager who worked as a maid on the Thurmond family's South Carolina plantation.

Set against the explosively changing times of the civil rights movement, Washington-Williams's memoir reveals a brave young woman who struggled with the discrepancy between the father she knew -- one who was financially generous, supportive of her education, even affectionate -- and the old Southern politician, railing against greater racial equality, who refused to acknowledge their relationship in public. She describes what it felt like to face overt racism, especially in the slow-to-change South, despite the fact that her father was the most powerful politician in Dixie. From her richly told narrative emerges a nuanced, fascinating portrait of a father who counseled his daughter about her goals, and supported her in reaching them -- but who was ultimately unwilling to break with the values of his Dixiecrat constituents.

With elegance, candor, and spirit, Essie Mae Washington-Williams gives us a chapter of American history as it has never been written before -- told in a voice that will be heard and cherished by generations.

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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Poignant and Fascinating
An enjoyable book to read.I finished reading and had the feeling I wanted to know more and I wanted to meet Essie Mae.She has tremendous grace.It is a bitter pill to swallow, when you have never been invited to share a meal with your own father. Her restraint and respect for her father in those circumstances is incredible.The story is well written and fascinating to read.I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to regain faith in our humanity.I am a white american who would be proud to include Essie Mae in my family.I thank her for sharing her private life with us.

5-0 out of 5 stars "on the other side of the blanket"
Essie Washington Williams's memoir of her life as the half-black daughter of "Dixiecrat" Senator Storm Thurmond is seasoned with grace, humor, warmth, and love, which help to mitigate the harsh realities of her circumstances.Williams looks at her father with a clear-eyed compassion. She first learned of her parentage when she was a teenager; she had no choice but to make allowances for the segregated society in which her father was a political mover and shaker.

As you turn the pages of this book, you will feel along with Williams anger, fear, pain, but also you will rejoice in her successful struggle to make a meaningful life for herself, to find joy in family and career, to maintain loving respect for her father.He privately acknowledged her, helped her with higher education, gave generous gifts of money, and remained in touch with her throughout his long life.

Williams's story can be viewed as a tragedy of the American south with its unenlightened prejudices and hypocrisies; but it also can be viewed as a story of family ties, of love and honor shown by a father and daughter who were forced to make their separate, emotionally costly accommodations to the culture into which they were born.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good information, but the book could be better
I read this book in about 5 hours. I liked the book, but I feel that there could have been more details. The author does a good job talking about her father, but she doesn't give enough details about her relationship with her father. I would recommend this book to another person. I just feel that I didn't finish the book feeling satisfied.

5-0 out of 5 stars Savannah
I am a native of Savannah, Georgia. I enjoyed the book. Essie Mae lived in Savannah for a short time. I never heard of her husband.Was Essie and her husband in Savannah during the sixties? I would have to say so. Clarence Mayfield was an attorney during the mid sixties-early seventies.But I didn't know that Mrs. Williams' husband was his law partner. The picture of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity is not a college photo. These were doctors and other professional men who lived in Savannah. You have Dr. Wilson a dentist. Dr. C. Vernon Clay a professor at Savannah State College. Dr. Herny Morgan Collier and Dr. Stephen M. McDew. The book is entertaining. Great job Ms. Essie!

5-0 out of 5 stars Movie Material
What a story! Told with simplicity and integrity, it presents a powerful picture of this wonderful, terrible place I love--the South. I kept seeing visual images on a wide screen: the lovely, quiet girl discovering the South, meeting her father for the first time, getting to know her birth mother.I loved the description of Senator Thurmond in California,meeting his darker offspring with their huge Afros, "looking like the Jackson Five."

I've observed and tried to understand race relations in the South for more than half a century. This book added a whole new dimension. And who could not love Essie May Washington-Williams. ... Read more


39. Catfish and Mandala : A Two-Wheeled Voyage through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam
by Andrew X. Pham
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312267177
Catlog: Book (2000-09-02)
Publisher: Picador
Sales Rank: 19728
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Winner of the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Winner of the Whiting Writers' Award
A Seattle Post-Intelligencer Best Book of the Year

Catfish and Mandala is the story of an American odyssey—a solo bicycle voyage around the Pacific Rim to Vietnam—made by a young Vietnamese-American man in pursuit of both his adopted homeland and his forsaken fatherland.

Andrew X. Pham was born in Vietnam and raised in California. His father had been a POW of the Vietcong; his family came to America as "boat people." Following the suicide of his sister, Pham quit his job, sold all of his possessions, and embarked on a year-long bicycle journey that took him through the Mexican desert, around a thousand-mile loop from Narita to Kyoto in Japan; and, after five months and 2,357 miles, to Saigon, where he finds "nothing familiar in the bombed-out darkness."In Vietnam, he's taken for Japanese or Korean by his countrymen, except, of course, by his relatives, who doubt that as a Vietnamese he has the stamina to complete his journey ("Only Westerners can do it"); and in the United States he's considered anything but American. A vibrant, picaresque memoir written with narrative flair and an eye-opening sense of adventure, Catfish and Mandala is an unforgettable search for cultural identity.
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Reviews (84)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unveils the complex relationship between Vietnam and America
Catfish and Mandala is about the author's journey to Vietnam to get in touch with his roots. Andrew is a Vietnamese-American that immigrated to the US shortly after Vietnam's reunification. "Mandala" signifies a bicycle wheel, as Andrew's journey is undertaken on bicycle. His stories of modern-day Vietnam are interdispersed with his mother's memories and his own memories of his childhood in Vietnam and the US. This story is mind-broadening -- I am amazed at the difficult trials he experienced at such a young age. Andrew also has to come to terms with his incredible luck when compared to people still living in Vietnam. Viet-Khieu - Vietnamese-Americans - are not always received warmly in Vietnam.

At the same time that Catfish and Mandala reveals truths about Vietnam that no Westerner would ever unveil, it also tells about the racism in US society that many of us never experience. I was shocked to read about the subtle and outright racism that is a part of his life in the US. At the same time, the author maintains a love for the United States, only made stronger by his visit to his fatherland.

Catfish and Mandala, so far, is one of the best books I have read this year, perhaps the best. 24 hours after I started it, I had finished it. The writing is hilarious, tragic, vivid, visceral. I can see the beggars, smell the rain-damp air, visualize the author's changing relationship with his homeland as he immerses himself in it. This book definitely deserves all the awards and accolades it has already received and then some. I am of a mind to go out and buy it for everyone I know.

For the past two days, I have come home from work, sat on the couch to read it, and not moved for several hours. Not even hunger could interrupt me. I have even attempted to read it in the car, during those long traffic lights. Such is the grip that this book takes hold, having a sense of when to lighten the story with tales of cultural misunderstandings contrasted with the difficult stories of his family.

4-0 out of 5 stars thought provoking
Midway through this novel, I wanted to pull my heart out of my chest. The emotions I felt were painful and sad. Worse part, this book wasn't meant to be depressing or close to tear-jerking.
While I could really care less about author Andrew Pham's adventures on his bicycle, this book gave me a deeper admiration for my Vietnamese-American friends. It helped answer why they were born is such far flung locales like Albuquerque, Kansas City and some hick town in Illinois. Yes, Illinois.
I did a double take while reading, wondering if my friend Ryan had actually written this novel. It seemed like his story, immigrating from Vietnam during the war, growing up in California and now successful in the medical profession. It seemed too close to be true, even down to the two gay brothers.
I always wanted to ask him, but always thought twice, what was it like when he came to the states as a 13-year-old. I wanted to know how he felt, what high school was like, the struggles, the successes, the tears. Did his father die in the war? When did he finally feel comfortable with the English language? What was the discrimination he endured? How did his family leave war-torn Vietnam? All these questions, not a single answer.
Pham's vivid and emotional depiction of immigrant life in the U.S. could be applied to any immigrant group. He retraces his history from life in Vietnam, the escape from Vietnam, finally making it to the U.S. and then, his return to Vietnam.
Pham achieves something with his depiction of his return home. He gives readers the truth, not some pretty account driven for tourists. He doesn't lie about the mosquitos, dirty air, poverty, feelings towards America, commercialism and amount of change since the war.
Pham tries to find some connection with the country he grew up in, some connection to understand who he is. What he finds is something readers need to read to gain a better understanding of immigrant life, Vietnam and one's strive to survive.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for those who want an introduction modern Vietnam.
This book is two-fold. One part of the book is a story about the struggle of a Vietnamese family who travels to America and their tragic story after reaching the U.S. The second part of the novel is about one of the members of that family who travels to Vietnam after completing an engineering degree at UCLA. Both of the stories are centered around Andrew X. Pham (I assume it's autobiographical).
The story about Pham's family's immigration to America is in and of itself a reason to buy this book. Although Mexican, Irish and Eastern European immigration to America are covered in school, the Vietnamese experience is one that is almost almost ignored. That is regretable because it is a facinating one.
This book is also a great view of modern day Vietnam. Americans often ignore the plight of people in 3rd world countires like Vietnam. Reading this book will open your eyes to the hardships those who live in Vietnam are having today.

4-0 out of 5 stars Catfish and Mandala
This book is highly reccomended. For those who know so little about such a trerrible country, vietnam

2-0 out of 5 stars How much is fiction?
I don't know this guy but they certainly were not the only Asians in Shreveport, Louisiana nor were they the first Vietnamese there. There were Chinese families there since the 1920's that I know of and there were several Vietnamese familes that came over in 1975. If he came over when he was 10 it would have been 1977...over 50 years since some Chinese families and restaurants had been in town. I know, I was there. Even today you can find several of the old families still there although only a handful have restaurants now. Their kids have gone on to become Doctors, Lawyers, CEOs of Companies and Entrepreneurs as well as Policemen, Firemen and serving in the military.

Growing up as an Asian in the South during that time period wasn't as dramatic as he made it sound in his book. He came after the Chinese had settled the town and won the respect of the community. For example, there was one chinese businessman in town who was very involved in politics in the 1960's and did wonders for the Chinese community along the way of paving the road to acceptance. The church he mentions that sponsored him was the church of the the elite in town and that included several millionaires. These people were educated and had a lot of class.

After I read that part I started to question how much was fiction. Vietnamese soldier earning the Green Beret of the US Army??? Hmm, I just don't know about this guy. ... Read more


40. Gifted Hands
by Ben Carson, Cecil Murphey, Dr. Benjamin Carson
list price: $18.99
our price: $18.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0310546508
Catlog: Book (1990-06-04)
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 127697
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The inspiring story of Ben Carson, M.D. takes readers into the life of an inner-city youngster who rose above his circumstances to become director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. ... Read more

Reviews (93)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gifted Hands: An autobiography by Ben Carson
Gifted Hands, the inspiring transformation of Ben Carson, was a great autobiography! As he faced terrible times during his rough childhood years, he still managed to become successful.

Ben Carson was a troublesome juvenile growing up in a terrible neighborhood. He did not excel in school and therefore battled an anger problem which almost caused his best friend's life. His lack of self-control always led him into a rage that would hurt others as well as himself both physically and emotionally. Carson later realized that he had a serious problem and wanted to change. He decided to transform from a immature angry boy into an unique man that impacts other peoples lives.

This novel revealed an interesting zeal of success and motivation that inspires readers of all ages. It led to having hope, never giving up, and striving to become the individual that God wants you to become.

Dr. Carson suceeded and now is a brain seargeant at Johns Hopkins Hospitol in Baltimore, Maryland. One of the most inspiring surgeries he ever performed was on separating simese-twins who were joined at the head. Dr. Carson also speaks to young men and women to encourage them to turn their lives around to make something of themselves. After this breathtaking autobiography, Carson remains one of the most highly respected and intriguing African-Americans in the history of America. I actually had the opportunity to meet Dr. Carson at Johns Hopkins one day while visiting my father when he was being hospitalized there. After that short time talking with him, I could already begin to admire him. This book,Gifted Hands will change any readers life for the better.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Inspiration
This is a must read for anyone interested in stories of people overcoming adversity, and making something of their lives. This is the Ben Carson story plain and simple. Dr. Carson gained world wide fame when he and his staff separated the occipital twins from Germany, but the real story of Ben Carson begins much earlier in his native Detroit. Ben came from circumstances that most people do not overcome, but he found a way out through his love of learning. However, he faced numerous challenges before he would reach his desire to become a medical doctor. Early on in his life he was hit with a real whammy when his father left the family under the strangest circumstances when Ben was eight years old. He also shares the fascinating experience of how anger nearly doomed his medical career before he ever graduated from high school. In addition, he discusses his early academic struggles at Yale, and how faith, prayer and hard work got him through. The final chapter of the book provides the doc's prescription for success using the acronym Think Big. This book is a great read, and provides many wonderful ideas on how to make a life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good.
It's a very good book to read, particularly for the younger generation who are still on their way to realizing their goals in life, in terms of profession. My only problem with it was that ever since Ben got his reading glasses, every single little thing went well for him. The path was butter-smooth for him ever since, except for one or two incidents or issues. Maybe that's the way it really was for him, but it made it difficult for me to be able to relate to it. It's probably because our lives are so contrasting...luck does not come easy for me, although I do work hard. Other than that, I found it a quick enjoyable read. I wish Carson the best of luck too. He's a good guy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Contagious inspiration and motivational drive
GIFTED HANDS, an autobiographical look into the life of one of the best neurosurgeons in the U. S. of A, is so unbelievably inspirational and poignant. If 100 people simultaneously read this book, I assure you at least one of them would walk away a changed person! I know Ben Carson has changed me. From now on, I'm vowing to do my absolute best. This year of homeschooling has given me many opportunities to "slack off" as one might say - I've taken a few of those opportunities. Even though I ended up with mostly As, I'm vowing to give my all into my academic performance next year. Ben Carson's motivational drive is absolutely contagious!

Benjamin Carson, M.D started out on the mean Detroit streets. His father had to leave the family after it was found he was practically living a double life: he had a girlfriend and another family while married to Ben's mother. While his mother assured him the family would be fine, they had to struggle to make ends meet. Yet all the while, she kept pushing and pushing Ben to be the best he could possibly be. All the while, she knew he had it in him to get out of the Detroit ghetto in which they lived. All the while, she knew he'd make something of himself. And he did.

We see an amazing transformation from a skeptical kid, unsure of life, to an intelligent neurosurgeon with a heart of gold - so much so that he can't help but break down and cry when surgery results in the death of a patient. He is a person who made the best of his education, as well as his college years. He went from being the best to simply doing his best and can be regarded as an inspiration to all because his standard of life he began with wasn't as favorable as many rich families who have attended Ivy League colleges for generations. In his case, he along with his older brother, Curtis, were the first in the family to attend colleges. Curtis ended up at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor and Ben enrolled at Yale University, where he met his wife, Candy.

Ben's beginnings were certainly not easy. Signs of determination showed as young as the age of 10. He started out as the "class dummy" in school, frequently getting every single question on his math tests wrong. But then, through hard work and a lot of reading at the local library, plus a new presciption for glasses, he expanded his knowledge in every subject. Soon, "good" wasn't good enough. Ben was driven to be the best. In fact, he was so driven that he won a full scholarship to the renowned Yale University.

God has clearly played a pivotal role in Ben's life. Before operating, he always prays to the Lord. But one life experience in particular especially is one I won't soon forget. Ben feared flunking a Yale exam and knew last-minute cramming would do him no good. As he slept, he dreamt of the mathematical facts and figures and equations. The next day, he nervously proceeded to take the exam and realized many of the questions had been in his prior dream! After a lot of worrying, Ben scored a 97 on the exam. He knew it was God's way of helping him.

What I most enjoy about this autobiography is the way in which Ben addresses the readers. Whether his audience ranges from the age of 13 to the age of 99, either age should enjoy it. Clearly, Ben is a brilliant genius. He speaks eloquently, yet he doesn't throw in the "big words" he could probably use if he chose to. Instead, his story is told through simple language that anyone can understand.

Ben Carson ought to be regarded as a role model for today's youth. Those not on the right path to a successful future could especially benefit, as a book like this could assist in a serious straightening out of priorities. As I mentioned before, Ben's motivational drive is contagious and inspiring! This down-to-earth doctor's story is really meant for everyone, teens and adults alike.

1-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Awful
This book was truly a painful read. Carson's story is one dimensional, boring, and horribly written. There seem to be no low points in his life, only highs where he suceeds apparently against all odds.

His life seems to occur in a vacuum, with very little sense of time or place. He says he live in a poor area of Detroit as a child, but there is extremely little description of the place or its people, or how his life is extraordinary compared to everyone else who was raised there. You can't imagine what it was like for him at all. The people in Carson's life are poorly and unimaginatively described. In the first half of the book, Carson talks about his mother very much and how much she influenced him, but only mentions her once in the rest of the book. His mother seems to be a talking head, not a real person with any kind of physical weight, but just a voice. It is hard to picture her or to think of her or anybody else in the book as a real person and therefore it is hard to care about any of them.

Although Carson has done a lot of good for people, he comes off as arrogant, talking about his endless string of sucesses and how humble he is on every page . He has no sense of humour irony, or subtlety. In the end, this book is just hollow words with no soul. ... Read more


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