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$11.53 $10.95 list($16.95)
81. The Pot That Juan Built (Pura
$9.75 $8.30 list($13.00)
82. Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches
$170.00 $137.41
83. Notable Black American Men
$17.79 $17.07 list($26.95)
84. Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams
$10.17 $9.76 list($14.95)
85. Assata: An Autobiography (Lawrence
$10.20 $2.47 list($15.00)
86. Kaffir Boy: The True Story Of
$18.15 $17.00 list($27.50)
87. Finding Martha's Vineyard : African
$60.45 list($65.00)
88. The Leper King and his Heirs :
$6.29 $4.20 list($6.99)
89. Surviving Hitler : A Boy in the
$5.99 $3.65
90. Parallel Journeys
$40.95 $39.94 list($65.00)
91. Half Past Autumn : A Retrospective
$15.98 list($24.00)
92. If a Place Can Make You Cry :
$16.32 $9.95 list($24.00)
93. Storyteller's Daughter
$10.20 $4.15 list($15.00)
94. Opposite of Fate, The : Memories
$11.56 $6.00 list($17.00)
95. Harvesting Hope: The Story of
$7.16 $4.00 list($7.95)
96. Narrative of the Life of Frederick
$16.47 $16.21 list($24.95)
97. Burro Genius : A Memoir
$16.47 $5.99 list($24.95)
98. Ada Blackjack : A True Story of
$14.28 $0.37 list($21.00)
99. On The Up And Up: A Survival Guide
$5.39 $1.99 list($5.99)
100. Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust

81. The Pot That Juan Built (Pura Belpre Honor Book Illustrator (Awards))
by Nancy Andrews-Goebel, David Diaz
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1584300388
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Sales Rank: 175781
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Quezada creates stunning pots in the traditional style of the Casas Grandes people, including using human hair to make brushes and cow dung to feed the fire. This real-life story is written in the form of "The House That Jack Built," and relays how Juan’s pioneering work has changed a poor village into a prosperous community of world-class artists. Illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner David Diaz. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars My kid is obsessed with this book
The absorbing subject matter of this book, presented through catchy rhymes and alliteration and strong, colorful illustrations, has completely captured the imagination of my four-year-old. For three days now, he's been "Juan" almost exclusively, following ants to a vein of "the very best clay, all squishy and white," pretending to make vessels for every conceivable purpose, and peppering me with questions about Mexico, pottery-making, and Juan himself. I've had to draw the line at cutting my hair for paintbrushes and gathering the "dried cow manure" left by the neighborhood dogs. "The Pot That Juan Built" appeals to pre-schoolers' burgeoning interest in rhyme and other aspects of language; making things out of simple materials; and the world around them generally. I give it my highest recommendation!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Beautiful Book!
I'm appalled at the lack of love for this book! I am a teacher of a 3rd grade classroom in California where my children are learing about how humans use the world around them to create their life and build their culture. This book is a perfect tie-in to this concept. The illustrations are beautiful and I found the rhymes to be intelligent and descriptive. Two thumbs up from me, and 48 thumbs up from my class!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic
This is a beautiful book, in illustration and in content. It is the true story of Juan Quezada, a potter, and a celebratory tale of the village of Mata Ortiz, Mexico. Quezada's discovery of ancient pottery methods transformed Mata Ortiz from an impoverished village into a prosperous community of world-renowned artists. The story is cleverly told in the form of "The House That Jack Built". It is sing-song-y in it's rhythm and children will be enraptured by the story Ms. Andrews-Goebel has written and the beautifully vibrant illustrations of Caldecott Award winning illustrator, David Diaz. A more complete story of the famous pottery is told on the facing pages, providing intricate details of a fascinating process. A photo-illustrated afterward follows Quezada through the process of creating a pot, from the digging of the clay to the completed product. This book is a great addition to any child's multicultural library and informs us of one of the great contemporary and nationally recognized Mexican artists. DELIGHTFUL!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars not a good seller
The pictures are very nice. But as other reviewers have said, the structure and layout is fatally flawed and the writing style more appealing to adults who grew up knowing "The House that Jack Built". I'm finding it's not a popular seller. As a bookstore owner, I'm also finding that the publishing industry is more and more out of touch with consumer demand. That even goes for many of these smaller companies. Lee & Low, I admire your multicultural aim, but shake up your editorial dept. please! Many of your books are too similar, the writing trite and stilted. Do more humor, go deeper, be more original in style and content!

2-0 out of 5 stars not impressed, kids were bored
The art is not as stunning as in some other recent titles, but certain design elements are unique and make for an interesting composition. I encountered resistance when reading this story to my kindergarten class. They lost interest when I reached the historical information on the right side of the book. It was an interesting idea to incorporate the true facts of Juan's life, but I think the structure and layout of the story suffers from this dense presentation of facts. As for the poetry, I would have been more impressed by an original voice and rhythm uniquely suited to its Mexican subject and setting, and not borrowed from a Classic nursery rhyme. ... Read more


82. Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements
by Malcolm X, George Breitman
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802132138
Catlog: Book (1990-04-01)
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic
Sales Rank: 70426
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars This is Not Socialism, People
One cannot help but wonder why people who call themselves socialist distribute this book. Malcolm X is no radical, he is rather a third world nationalist. As some on the left may not yet realize, simply being anti-imperialist is not the touchstone of all that is progressive. Malcolm X is a fascinating figure and one eminently worth reading, but I have to register my objection to the tone of the other reviews and to the fact that this book continues to be distributed by supposedly radical socialist bookstores and socialist booksales on the street. One cannot help but believe that there is something disingenuous in the predominantly white socialist attempt to recruit Malcolm X to there cause so as to facilitate interest within "the black community." One cannot address race meaningfully in this country while failing to address the disastruous effects that black nationalist politics, inspired in large measure by Malcolm X, have had in fracturing and dispersing radical energies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Malcolm X on Need for all-out struggle
In re-reading Malcolm X Speaks, I'm struck by how well he understood the viciousness of the U.S. system of oppression and how clearly he expressed the need for all-out, uncompromising struggle against it. The capitalist class lashed out at Malcolm X for these speeches, not just because he criticized their system, but because he dared to awaken the oppressed to their unconquerable human potential. Fighters from all over the world have studied this book, members of Sinn Fein in Ireland, farmers fighting foreclosure, opponents of police brutality, and supporters of the embattled Palestinians. Sharing the lessons of this book will advance our struggle!

5-0 out of 5 stars His Own Words, the Way he wanted them!
This book of Malcolm X's Speeches was begun while Malcolm was alive with the publisher and the editor that Malcolm selected, and speeches he wanted in the book. This begins the series of books by Malcolm X published by Pathfinder Press in collaboration with his family as more speeches, interviews, and talks by Malcolm X have been discovered. The aim here is to put Malcolm X's words first. Read them for yourself. Find out why Malcolm was a reasoned, passionate, but uncompromising opponent of US imperialism's wars against oppressed peoples, in Africa, in Vietnam, in the Mid-East. Malcolm can really inspire you about the fights we need.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This book lets the reader feel the power and intensity of the late El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) from his time with the Nation of Islam to his Sunni Islamic belifs. While most books about Malcolm are written by PHD's who never met him this book is a combination of his OWN WORDS even a publisher cant mess this up.

4-0 out of 5 stars a useful insight into the heart of the civil rights movement
this book includes excellent speeches, although at some times, they tend to repeat themselves. Through his speeches, Malcolm X will be seen better than through any other book, in this literature lies the heart of a man who would not dare turn the other cheek. ... Read more


83. Notable Black American Men
by Jesse Carney Smith
list price: $170.00
our price: $170.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0787607630
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Thomson Gale
Sales Rank: 801416
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84. Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams : The Story of Black Hollywood
by DONALD BOGLE
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345454189
Catlog: Book (2005-01-25)
Publisher: One World/Ballantine
Sales Rank: 12556
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and Quite Interesting
I have finished reading a copy of Mr Bogle's latest book, and as always, I find it entertaining yet very interesting; For years, we have gotten via piecemeal, the efforts that African Americans have made in the cinema; This book brings it all together as well as telling us about L.A.'s famous Central Avenue, the various prominent black Los Angelenos such as architect Paul Williams, Dr John Sommerville, who built the hotel that eventually became the Dunbar; The only thing with this book is that the fifties spoke more about Nat King Cole, who although had a home in a predominately white neighborhood which was noteworthy for it's time, overshadowed it; despite it, I found it very informative of various people who worked in the industry including Madame Sul Te Wan, Noble Johnson, Stephin Fetchit, Eddie Anderson, Hattie McDaniel, Louise Beavers etc to name a very few; Please come and learn more; ... Read more


85. Assata: An Autobiography (Lawrence Hill & Co.)
by Assata Shakur
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1556520743
Catlog: Book (1987-10-01)
Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books
Sales Rank: 35501
Average Customer Review: 4.51 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (39)

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I read this book for a class that I am taking, as an assigned book review. I had heard Assata's name before but knew little about who she was. I too, heard the song by Common and was intrigued. I decided to take the opportunity to learn about Assata while fulfilling a requirement of my Political Science course. My instructor felt that the book would be relevant and approved my choice. We don't understand how little we know until we talk to people from other countries, my instructor, an Argentine who lived in the UK, knew who she was right offhand. However, several of my peers have not. I thought the book was very inspiring and informative. She is a great example of strength and determination, as well as self respect. The only complaints that I have is that the book went back and forth between past and present, in a manner that was slightly confusing. I also found that the book really only scratched the surface, which is often true in autobiographies. I think that so much was focused on the trial details that there was a lack in detail about the time in her life when she was active in the Black Panthers. Overall, I found the book well written and am interested in learning more as a result.

5-0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner!
Assata, is an autobiography that travels at a fast pace and it's hard to put down because you will truly anticipate the conclusion.

The book Assata gives great insight into the role that women played in the Black Panther Party and contrary to popular belief the women did not take the back seat.

The book is a journey through Assata's life. As a child she lived with her mother in New York and came down South (Wilmington, North Carolina to be exact) to visit her grandparents in the summer.

In Wilmington--home of the "Wilmington 10" and an 1898 coup d'etat(if you don't know about these events please ask somebody)--she got a first hand view of segregation. It is my opinion that her experiences as a child down South made her aware of the struggle of Black people.

She went through various rebellious phases as a young adult and eventually found her way to the Black Panther Party. From this point forward you begin to see through the eyes of a comrade in th! is movement.

The book deals with her expereinces with COINTELPRO (the U.S. counterintelligence program created to destablize certain civil rights organizations, particularly the BPP) to an incident on a New Jersey turnpike that leaves two highway patrolmen dead.

Although she was sentenced to life in prison, she now resides in Cuba. To find out how she wound up there, I guess you will have to read the book.

Among other reasons, this book continues to be timely and relevant because Assata continues to be a war cry for supporters of tightened sanctions against "Castro's Cuba".

4-0 out of 5 stars Dope book
If you're expecting buttery smooth lyricism - suck it up. Ms. Shakur's autobiography speaks truth, and ain't nothing about truth necessarily buttery smooth.

She weaves phases of her past in a comprehensive way. And her story represents a truthful and eye-opening account of the American (or as Ms. Shakur would say - "amerikan") judicial system. It exposes the harsh realities of prison life but leaves young revolutionaries with inspiration and old revolutionaries with a reason to stick it to the man - again.

Read this ya'll.

2-0 out of 5 stars thats it!!!!
a friend suggested this book to me and i have since thanked him.when reading material of this sort,my primary interest/query is to know the provocation for a chosen lifestyle/commitment.Ms.Shakur touches on those very succintly,from early childhood thru high school and college. I also appreciated her candor/honesty in depicting the structural and ideological reasons for the eventual demise of the BP's.
For any culture,educating our young about the past and those before us,the tools used,the effectiveness of them,the views then vs. the present and how effectively and procedurally to produce at least dialogue,if not change, is of utmost importance. Ms.Shakur explained very well her self-identity process.
I felt the book lacked a proper ending ie.what is she doing now,but more importantly, the proffering of wisdom was sadly missing.What does she want us to take from this book.An autobiography cannot just be merely a statement of facts,but should include an epilogue.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing
Assata gives us a clear look not only into her life and what led her to become a Black revolutionary, but in doing so she reminds us of the injustices that Blacks and other people of color face of a daily basis. Even though most of her experiences are based in the late 60's and early 70's it is scary because we all too often see the exact same things going on today letting us know that we still have a long way to go in terms of race relations in the U.S. Anyone with an ounce of concern for social and racial justice will most definitely be inspired to act and contribute to a cause other than capitalism. ... Read more


86. Kaffir Boy: The True Story Of A Black Youths Coming Of Age In Apartheid South Africa
by Mark Mathabane
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684848287
Catlog: Book (1998-10-07)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 33518
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Mark Mathabane was weaned on devastating poverty and schooled in the cruel streets of South Africa's most desperate ghetto, where bloody gang wars and midnight police raids were his rites of passage. Like every other child born in the hopelessness of apartheid, he learned to measure his life in days, not years. Yet Mark Mathabane, armed only with the courage of his family and a hard-won education, raised himself up from the squalor and humiliation to win a scholarship to an American university.

This extraordinary memoir of life under apartheid is a triumph of the human spirit over hatred and unspeakable degradation. For Mark Mathabane did what no physically and psychologically battered "Kaffir" from the rat-infested alleys of Alexandra was supposed to do -- he escaped to tell about it. ... Read more

Reviews (80)

5-0 out of 5 stars Growing Up
Growing Up

The book Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane is without a doubt a worthwhile read. Its unique detail and harsh reality is unparalleled by any other novel. It is the story of Johannes Mathabane, growing up in the racially unequal apartheid of South Africa. Throughout the book, he is treated under awful conditions, yet learns to persevere and comes out on top in a most heroic manner. It tells of overcoming all of the obstacles in his life - including his father, the government, and his tribal heritage. This book is not only enjoyable to read, but it is also an important book as it opens America's eyes to those less fortunate living under impossible odds.

The book takes place in South Africa, where whites predominately rule. Johannes, who later changes his name to Mark, is a young boy just beginning to experience the hatred and racism in apartheid, a ghetto in Alexandra. The book starts out immediately showing the daily terror that he had to live.  With constant raids, by the black police (headed by whites), Johannes soon develops a hate for all white people, as his parents have to constantly flee because their "passbooks are not in order". Things begin to go bad after his father is taken away to jail for a year. Poverty and hunger consumes their ever-increasing family. When his father returns, he is never the same. An internal struggle begins to develop within Johannes. He is torn between his father's tribal beliefs and the new changing era of schooling and Christianity. As he grows older his metamorphosis begins and a hatred starts to brew inside for his father. His mother turns his life around by enrolling him in school. He prospers greatly and begins to think differently of some whites as his exposure grows. Poverty is constant throughout the book, as is the disputes between him and his father. He makes it through school graduating the top of his class. It is after a few years of schooling that he is introduced to the sport tennis. This would be the changing moment in his life. Tennis opens his views to whites as he encounters those who want to help him succeed. He meets friends such as Andre and Stan who promise to help in fulfill his dreams. When everything seems to be going well in his life, revolts begin against the government which he quickly joins in. This disrupts his life and brings back his hate memories of whites. Although his life is chaotic during this period, he still manages to quench his thirst for knowledge and manages to excel in school and tennis. He begins winning tournaments as his metamorphosis slows almost to an end. He rebels against his fathers wishes, only to pursue his dream of going to America. Eventually he proves that he could overcome hate with his mothers love and embarks to an American college.

            Throughout this book, Johannes demonstrates tremendous heroic qualities in his quest for success. From the moment he is brought into the world, he is constantly defending himself and his family. He shows courage constantly during the entire story. This is demonstrated when he rebels against his father's tribal wishes, continues schooling even when it is unbearable, and when he refuses to quit playing tennis with whites even though its against the law. Another quality that Johannes has is his dedication. He refuses to quit school, because he promised his mother, and he practices tennis even when his family and political unrest go against it. He also is ambitious. He comes from a home with nothing, yet he sets high hopes and dreams and never forgets them. Also, Johannes has great resourcefulness. For his learning he was provided with very little yet he made the best of it to try and educate himself. He constantly read comics to try and prove to everyone that he is better than a "kaffir" boy. Lastly, and probably the most important quality he possesses, is that he loved his mother and never wanted to disappoint her. This was the driving force behind most of what he accomplished. All these qualities put together made Mark Mathabane a great, almost unstoppable, hero. He believed when no one else did, a very difficult yet inspiring task.

            This book is an unquestionable necessity for all to read. One reason is because of the rich detail that Mark was not afraid to write about. He crosses many racial borders and accurately describes the hell that he was forced to live in - such as the unsanitary conditions and constant fear. It is not a pretty book to read, as his truthfulness often leads to disturbing tales. But I emphasize its importance, because of its ability to grasp you and throw you right into this terrible world that most people wouldn't believe exists. This book is also very captivating. He makes you feel as if you are experiencing everything he did, a task which most writers aim for but fall short of. He powerfully conveys all his emotions- his stubbornness of his younger years, his anger at his father and his sadness at his torn family. Plainly spoken, it is a great story to hear. It's amazing that he was able to overcome such odds and hardship, and it inspires you to want to do something to end the racial oppression. The theme of a fallen, but not beaten hero appears throughout the entire book. It also does revert back to the old "good will always prevail over evil theme" as this presents itself in religion and racist disputes. This book is just as intoxicating as it horrific, which provides a sad but good read.

            When Mark Mathabane wrote "Kaffir Boy", he accomplished a great literary work, comprised of great emotion. This naked view into his life provides us with unbelievable detail. It should be appreciated not only as a book, but as his inspirational life poured onto pages. He proved to everyone that he could triumph over all the evils threatening him even if he didn't have all the necessary tools. This memoir is not to be overlooked, as his success story is like no other. He escaped degradation to accomplish his dreams. He showed heroism when it seemed unbearable and lives to this day to tell his story. This is a powerful and intensely moving story.

           

5-0 out of 5 stars Kaffir Boy
I'm homeschooling my 13 y.o. son & we are currently learning about South Africa and apartheid. After much research and reading 4 other books, Waiting for the Rain, Cry the beloved Country, A dry white season, and The power of One, I read Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane. Since reading this book, I have not stopped thinking about Mark and his bittersweet life, mostly bitter, anything sweet coming from his mother. The horrors he and his family endured were at times hard to read, but he and his mother were so inspiring in the way they managed to lift themselves above this horrific thing called apartheid. It is a very hopeful and uplifting book putting my own petty problems into perspective. Mathabane's gift of expression and putting words on paper that turn into pictures in your mind and deep feelings of despair and hope in your heart is exceptional. He has written 3 other books which it seems to my dissapointment are currently out of print, but I will find them and read them. I could not put Kaffir Boy down and it has changed me. I highly reccommend it.

Mari Yunker St. George Utah

5-0 out of 5 stars An example for all of us.
I could not believe such story could exist, I was shocked every moment I read this book and what is even more intense is that its his own autobiography. The hardships this man had to endure in order to make it into the land we live on, the land we sometimes take for granted. This is a true example of hard work overcoming all obstacles, I would really recommend this book to all young teenagers, it is in a way inspirational for many of us that help us keep going.

5-0 out of 5 stars Staying Strong
This book is an amzaing book.Showed the courge and strenth of a young man that was determined to make it throught the hell like life style of being a black person in South Africa. I highly recomend it to everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars There is always HOPE
The autobiography "Kaffir Boy" by Mark Mathabane is a very engrossing and vivid novel. Mark Mathabane encountered hardships in his life that most of the people in this world cannot even imagine. Apartheid laws in South Africa affected the lives of all the black families in both their public and private lives. Mark Mathabane grew up in society where apartheid was in total effect. The gruesome experiences that Mathabane faced were sometimes too much to bear. However, with the support of his loving mother and grandmother, Mathabane succeeded in his education by being the top in his class. Aware of the unjust laws of apartheid, Mark Mathabane was determined to somehow make a change in the community he lives in. His passion for tennis was what helped him change his life. Even with all the obstacles in his life, Mathabane hopes to be able to study in America with a tennis scholarship. With hard work and perseverance his dreams came true eventually.

"Kaffir Boy" is a very inspiring novel to everyone that is ambitious and hopeful. I learned so much through reading Mark Mathabane's autobiography. There is always hope and there is nothing impossible in this world, as long as we never give up in what we want to succeed in. With no doubt in mind, this novel is outstanding and worth it. ... Read more


87. Finding Martha's Vineyard : African Americans at Home on an Island
by JILL NELSON
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385505663
Catlog: Book (2005-05-17)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 12534
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88. The Leper King and his Heirs : Baldwin IV and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem
by Bernard Hamilton
list price: $65.00
our price: $60.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 052164187X
Catlog: Book (2000-05-18)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 114018
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The reign of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (1174-85) has traditionally been seen as a period of decline when, because of the king's illness, power came to be held by those who made the wrong policy decisions. Notably, they ignored the advice of Raymond of Tripoli and attacked Saladin. This book challenges that view, arguing that peace with Saladin was not a viable option; and that the young king, despite suffering from lepromatous leprosy, presided over a society that was (contrary to what is often said) vigorous and self-confident. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshing
Bernard Hamilitons scholarship is unsurpassed. The book does long overdue justice to the Leper King, and goes some way to correcting the demonisation of Reynald of Chatillon. Clearly exposes the widely beleived myth that if the Crusaders would of come in line with the thinking of Raymond of Tripoli, Saladin would of lived peacefully coexsisting with the crusaders.

The book is full of deatiled accounts of the most intresting events of the selected period: Reynalds raid on Arabia, the details of Balwins disease, Ramond of Tripoli's ambitions, etc..

A much more credible account of the Leper Kings reign, backed up by endless foot notes and evidence, that bravely disputes the widely held, 'Steven Runicman' view on the period.

5-0 out of 5 stars An overdue Historical Revision
I greatly enjoyed this book!The reign of Baldwin IV, the Leper King has been long, long overdue for a good, historical revision!The usual story: Saladin/Raymond of Tripoli good guys, everybody-else bad guys (particularly Agnes de Courtenay, the king's mother, portrayed as a cross between "Vampirella" and Marilyn Monroe), with the poor Leper King in the middle (usually portrayed as a cross between The Little Lame Prince and Count Dracula) has always been too simplistic---I thought so, even before reading this book.Hamilton gives you all the details, all the facts, and even an appendix discussing Baldwin's illness from a medical point of view.Get this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars Unromantic but Solid Depiction of an Incredible Saga
Baldwin IV, king of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem is largely - and unfairly - unknown in the west today. But, as Bernard Hamilton details in The Leper King and his Heirs, he deserves so much better. For a start, he accomplished so much more than his famous Crusading near contemporary Richard the Lionheart, and under infinitely more trying conditions.

Not only was his childhood troubled - his father Amalric had been forced to disown his mother Agnes when Baldwin was two years old before the aristocracy would accept him as king, and Baldwin was only 13 when Amalric died and he took the throne - he contracted leprosy at a young age (Baldwin's symptoms are discussed in a useful appendix by Piers Mitchell).

The disease could not be hidden; "It grew more serious each day, specially injuring his hands and feet and his face, so that his subjects were distressed whenever they looked at him," William of Tyre, chief contemporary chronicler of the day, relates.

A lesser person would have quickly broken under such circumstances. But Baldwin was animated by both a bold spirit and a tremendous sense of duty, of his obligation to his people. One of the most human touches is William of Tyre's depiction of Baldwin as "a good looking child for his age" who grew up "full of hope" and "more skilled than men who were older than himself in controlling horses and in riding them at a gallop," (p 43). Baldwin had taught himself this skill, vital to a knight, despite already losing feeling in his right hand. And he continued to ride at the head of his men into battle when there was no way he could have remounted had he been unhorsed. Determination and courage were to be the hallmarks of his all too brief career.

For Baldwin was by any measure a successful king - considering his circumstances and limited resources, a great one. Though his people were massively outnumbered and surrounded on three sides, this boy, who took the throne in 1164 and died aged not quite 24 in 1185, for 11 years frustrated the ambition of Saladin, the greatest warrior of the age, to forge unity among the Arab people and drive the Christians from the Holy Places.

Despite being significantly outnumbered, he defeated Saladin in two major battles, Mont Gisard in 1177 and Le Forbelet in 1182, and forced him to raise the siege of Beirut in 1182 and the major fortress of Kerak twice, in 1183 and 1184. On the latter occasions he was blind and so debilitated he had to be slung in a litter between two horses.

Hamilton also helps untangle the intricate web of domestic and international relations in which Jerusalem, the center of the world for three faiths, was ensnared. Baldwin had to balance the conflicting jealousies and agendas of his own nobility, always maneuvering to secure their positions first in the event of a regency, then at the succession; the knightly orders that were within his kingdom but not of it; the neighboring Crusader states; the attitude of the Papacy; the interests of Byzantium; and the distant and fickle responses of the western European powers. And overshadowing all this was ever-present menace of the Islamic counterattack that could come anytime, anyplace. Given this ever-precarious situation, Baldwin perhaps emerges with even greater credit for his diplomacy than for his skills with the sword. Certainly, he made no fatal mistakes and left the kingdom in no weaker condition than he found it.

Hamilton makes no great departures in his work, but goes some way towards rehabilitating Reynald of Chatillon from his characteristic depiction as loose cannon psychopath. Following Michael Lyons and David Jackson's Saladin: The Politics of Holy War, he also demythologizes the Crusader's nemesis, emphasizing the traditional argument that the Christian state unnecessarily provoked Saladin into war is flawed: The great leader of the Muslim world had been working towards the cleansing Jihad his entire career.

This is a book as much about an era as an individual, and at times, Baldwin as a personality tends to disappear inside it. Even considering the limitations of the sources, one wishes there was more representing his perspective in his voice. But we are limited to a heartfelt letter he wrote to Louis VII of France, humbly recognizing his limitations and offering to hand the kingdom over to a candidate as noble, and more healthy, than he: "To be deprived of one's limbs is of little help to one in carrying out the work of government... It is not fitting that a hand so weak as mine should hold power when fear of Arab aggression daily presses upon the Holy City and when my sickness increases the enemy's daring." (p 140).

It was fortunate for the Kingdom of Jerusalem that this offer was refused. It is significant that just two years after Baldwin's death Saladin won his great victory at Hattin, fatally wounding the Crusader presence in the Middle East and setting in motion the chain of events that would culminate in their expulsion in 1291.

"Few rulers have remained executive heads of state when handicapped by such severe physical disabilities or sacrificed themselves more totally to the needs of their people," (p 210) Hamilton concludes. Baldwin's accomplishments would seem to be the stuff of myth, but he was quite real, a testament to human courage and endurance, and Hamilton does a fine job of putting his life and times in perspective.

5-0 out of 5 stars Accessible for both popular & scholarly audiences!
Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, who came to the throne as a teenager and was afflicted with leprosy, is traditionally thought of as a weak monarch -- some even claiming that the loss of Jerusalem in 1187 was an end result of his mediocre reign.

Bernard Hamilton sets the record straight in this eminently readable reassessment of the reign of "Leper king", demonstrating that Baldwin, in spite of his leprosy, was actually a resilient monarch who twice defeated the forces of the famed Saladin. Only in the last stages of his life did his gruesome ailment impede his otherwise vibrant rule. Perhaps Baldwin's only failure was his inability to provide the realm with an offspring to succeed him, which propelled the kingdom into a messy political power-struggle.This internal disunity paved the way for Saladin's victories in 1187.

While the work does address some historiographical debates, casual readers and amateur historians will appreciate the book as well. Hamilton's engaging style makes for a lively read, detailing the life of the underrated Baldwin IV, how leprosy was viewed & treated in the medieval period, the tenuous dynamics of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, and the events which led to the downfall the chief crusader state. Hopefully CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS will issue a paperback edition of the work, so the interested reader can afford this informative, enjoyable book. ... Read more


89. Surviving Hitler : A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps
by Andrea Warren
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060007672
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: HarperTrophy
Sales Rank: 54345
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Think of it as a game, Jack.
Play the game right and you might outlast the Nazis."

Caught up in Hitler's Final Solution to annihilate Europe's Jews, fifteen-year-old Jack Mandelbaum is torn from his family and thrown into the nightmarish world of the concentration camps. Here, simple existence is a constant struggle, and Jack must learn to live hour to hour, day to day. Despite intolerable conditions, he resolves not to hate his captors and vows to see his family again. But even with his strong will to survive, how long can Jack continue to play this life-and-death game?

Award-winning author Andrea Warren has crafted an unforgettable true story of a boy becoming a man in the shadow of the Third Reich.

... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A boy in the Nazi Death Camps
Surviving Hitler, by Andrea Warren, is a story about a boy named Jack Mandelbaum. He is a Jewish boy and lives during the time of WWII. He is separated from his family and lives in a concentration camp. He has to survive in them. He is very determined to survive in the camps because he wants to meet with his family after the war.
During his time in the camps he meets a man named Aaron who gives him vital information about the camps. He also tells him that if he cannot work, the Nazis will kill him. He tells him about the ovens. What I think is the most important rule that Aaron told Jack was that this was just a game that Hitler was playing. Jack was in that game. If Jack lost, he would die, but if Jack won, he would survive the Nazi death camps and live after the war was over.
I recommend this book because it had a lot of good description, great quotes, and a very interesting and unpredictable plot. I would rate this book a 4 1/2 out of 5 and not a 5 out of 5 because it didn't give many details about his life after the war or about the other characters lives after the war. This was an all around good book that I enjoyed very much.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps
Boy Survivor
Are you interested in World War II and the Nazi death camps and what it was like for the Jews? If you are, you should definitely read this book. It is a true story about a Jewish boy named Jack. Jack lived a normal life with his family in a Polish village called Gdynia. His family was well off and happy. He loved the beach and got into trouble. He was a normal boy. He didn't really practice Judaism. He didn't understand the war and he didn't care, until the Nazi occupation. That changed everything. Jack and his family are forced into a ghetto and later separated and sent to concentration camps. As Jack is moved from camp to camp, he meets new friends and he finds himself changing. All he wants is to survive. All the time he is wondering what happened to his family and when the war will be over. He is always worrying about sickness and what is happening to his family and where they are. Are they even alive? Sometimes he thinks he should just give up and die, but each time he manages to get through, right? You'll have to read and find out!
I loved this book. I have read a lot of books this year, a few were about World War II, and this was one of my favorite. This book really helped me understand what the concentration camps were like. I had always wondered what is was like and I tried to find a good book but none of them was as descriptive and real as this one. One of the reasons was that this story is true. The depth of this book really gave me a great idea about World War II. I got lost in it and never wanted to stop reading. I definitely recommend this book. I would only recommend it to people who can handle detail and gruesome facts. It has to be in detail, it's true! It may be detailed but it is still one of the best books I've ever read.
This book showed what kind of courage, hope, mental strength and faith it took to survive the camps. The most physically strong person could be the first to die, but the strong in heart were the last survivors.

5-0 out of 5 stars A boy at camp
Surviving Hitler was about a boy named Jack who was jewish. Jack lived with his mom,sister,brother, and dad. Jack's dad heard that the nazi's were coming for the jews. Jack's dad sent his family to live with his father in a small village. Jack's dad did not go because he did not have enough money. Before Jack and his family left Jacks sister went to stay with her aunt so she could help her aunt with the baby she just had. Jack and his family finally arrive at there grandfathers house. They stay there for a while then the Nazi's come and put all the jews in little houses with more than one family. Jacks father still has not came back to them. One night in the middle of the night Nazi's came and made the jews immediately leave. Jack and his family waited in line and when it was there turn jack showed the soldier that he had a nazi work stamp. Jack thought it would get his whole family through , but it only got him through. Jack was seperated from his family. Jack was moved to several different camps for his good labor. Then he met a really good friend and they were moved to be camp cooks. Jack would have died a couple of days later if he had not worked in the kitchen. You will have to read the book to see if Jack survives or if he will be reunited with his family.

5-0 out of 5 stars Holocaust Surviving
Surviving Hitler is a wonderful survival story depicting courage, and friendship in a great, breath stopping story about a boy in a Nazi death camp. Jack's faith, courage, and friendship with Moniek help him get through the hard time in his life and survive Hitler. This story is interesting to me because Jack is about my age and sometimes what happens to him can relate to life now. The story taught me about the Holocaust in a way that I could learn it better than usual. Jack can be an idol for people who are going through very hard times in their lives to show them that they can survive it. This book is so good that it is now one of my favorite books of all.

5-0 out of 5 stars True Holocaust Story
Surviving Hitler is one of the best Holocaust books I have read. I love to read about it and this book makes you feel as if you are acually there with him in the death camps. I like the saying,"This is all a game.You must win to live."It is both dramatic as well as a little bit scary.I hope that people will read this book and realize what life was like for the Jews in concentration camps.This is clearly the best non-fiction book I've read. ... Read more


90. Parallel Journeys
by Eleanor H. Ayer
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0689832362
Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
Publisher: Aladdin
Sales Rank: 281619
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

She was a young German Jew.

He was an ardent member of the Hitler Youth.

This is the story of their parallel journey through World War II.


Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck were born just a few miles from each other in the German Rhineland. But their lives took radically different courses: Helen's to the Auschwitz extermination camp; Alfons to a high rank in the Hitler Youth.

While Helen was hiding in Amsterdam, Alfons was a fanatic believer in Hitler's "master race." While she was crammed in a cattle car bound for the death camp Auschwitz, he was a teenage commander of frontline troops, ready to fight and die for the glory of Hitler and the Fatherland. This book tells both of their stories, side-by-side, in an overwhelming account of the nightmare that was WWII. The riveting stories of these two remarkable people must stand as a powerful lesson to us all. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for youth to read
This book is geared for youth, and I think it's okay for kids from age 10 on up. Older teenagers and adults should be sure to check out Heck's other two books, "Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore a Swastika," and "The Burden of Hitler's Legacy." All three books contain good stuff that is left out of the other two books - for example, Parallel Journeys contains the Jewish perspective of Ms. Waterford, and is written for youthful readers; Child of Hitler focuses on the events prior to and during the war; and The Burden of Hitler's Legacy provides a lot more detail about the events leading up to the end of the war, and the events after the war. I strongly recommend all three books, and promise you that you will not come away with the feeling that you have read the same story three times.

4-0 out of 5 stars Parallel Journeys
This book is about two people living in two very different worlds. One is a Jew who gets sent to a concentration camp and the other is a member of the Hitler Youth. One strong point was how the author put the book together, on a timeline of events. You get to see both sides of the story. It got me hooked because I was waiting to see what happened to them. I thought this was a very good book to read, especially if you want to teach kids about the Holocaust.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelivable!
This is probably the best Holocasut book I have ever read, which is a real honor considering how many I have read. I cannot belive the truth of this book and how you are afraid to end it because you will loose a friend. I was impressed how each story told was backed up by facts and took you through the entire ordeal from childhood to present. In the book it tells the story of a woman who is a Holocaust survivor and a man who is in the Hitler Youth and becomes a pilot for the Nazis. It is the real-deal when it comes to Holocaust literature and I reccomend it it you are new to this area, and I reccomend it if you have been at it for years!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best Holocaust books I've ever read!
I thought that Parallel Journeys was an amazing and informational books, and I thought that it was the best Holocaust book that I have ever read. (And that it is a lot of books) And why, people ask, do I like Parallel Journeys so much? It is because it gives both sides of the Holocaust: one of a Nazi and the other of a German Jew. It was amazing, and I learned quite a bit for it. And the way it was written: with one chapter of the Nazi's story and the next of the Jew and so on, was amazing. Both stories facinated me, and I will never forget the huge amount of information that I learned from it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Parallel Journeys
This book was very enlightening because it shows the view of a woman (Jew) Helen Waterford and a man (Hitler Youth) Alfons Heck. ... Read more


91. Half Past Autumn : A Retrospective
by Gordon Parks
list price: $65.00
our price: $40.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0821222988
Catlog: Book (1997-10-15)
Publisher: Bulfinch
Sales Rank: 114709
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars photojournalism master
mr. parks' book is autobiographical in photo and text. the book reveals his journey to becoming a documentor of turbulent times during his career. this is a must purchase.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Book by a Great Photographer
Buy this book and see the wonderful and varied career of Gordon Parks. See the world through this stunning photographer's eyes, and you will never see the world the same again. Then buy *A Choice of Weapons* and find out how this man came to create these masterworks. Everyone knows his genius as a photographer, filmmaker, and composer, but people may not know that he is a master memoirist as well. Put this book and *A Choice of Weapons* on your Christmas list!

5-0 out of 5 stars learned so much in one day
Seeing the exhibit was the most wonderful day of my life. Getting the book was the next best day. I am not sure if another photographer so talented in all fields will ever appear again. Raad A Choice of Weapons also by Gordon Parks, it will help reinforce the Retrospective.

5-0 out of 5 stars Note to Amazon.com from Gordon Park's assistant:
Please note that the cover that you show on the internet is incorrect. I am the photgrapher and what you show is the photograph that was used for the dummy book shown at the book fair. The photograph shown is an unpublished photgraph. Please look at the book for the actual cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb account of the world he's experienced!
Through his poetry and photographs, Parks does an excellent job of allowing the reader to some into the world he has experienced over the years. You feel like you've gone off on assignment with him and like you've have expericned the bigotry first hand. The messages he conveys through his work were way ahead of his time, but right on time in today's world. His intelligence brightly shines through both his photographs and poetry. The narratives, photographs and poetry all make for an outstanding compilation of his feelings and views on the world. Marvelous! ... Read more


92. If a Place Can Make You Cry : Dispatches from an Anxious State
by DANIEL GORDIS
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400046130
Catlog: Book (2002-10-15)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 250994
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the summer of 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family moved to Israel from Los Angeles. They planned to be there for a year, during which time Daniel would be a Fellow at the Mandel Institute in Jerusalem. This was a euphoric time in Israel. The economy was booming, and peace seemed virtually guaranteed. A few months into their stay, Gordis and his wife decided to remain in Israel permanently, confident that their children would be among the first generation of Israelis to grow up in peace.

Immediately after arriving in Israel, Daniel had started sending out e-mails about his and his family’s life to friends and family abroad. These missives—passionate, thoughtful, beautifully written, and informative—began reaching a much broader readership than he’d ever envisioned, eventually being excerpted in The New York Times Magazine to much acclaim. An edited and finely crafted collection of his original e-mails, If a Place Can Make You Cry is a first-person, immediate account of Israel’s post-Oslo meltdown that
cuts through the rhetoric and stridency of most dispatches from that country or from the international media.

Above all, Gordis tells the story of a family that must cope with the sudden realization that they took their children from a serene and secure neighborhood in Los Angeles to an Israel not at peace but mired in war. This is the chronicle of a loss of innocence—the innocence of Daniel and his wife, and of their children. Ultimately, through Gordis’s eyes, Israel, with all its beauty, madness, violence, and history, comes to life in a way we’ve never quite seen before.

Daniel Gordis captures as no one has the years leading up to what every Israeli dreaded: on April 1, 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that Israel was at war. After an almost endless cycle of suicide bombings and harsh retaliation, any remaining chance for peace had seemingly died.

If a Place Can Make You Cry is the story of a time in which peace gave way to war, when childhood innocence evaporated in the heat of hatred, when it became difficult even to hope. Like countless other Israeli parents, Gordis and his wife struggled to make their children’s lives manageable and meaningful, despite it all. This is a book about what their children gained, what they lost, and how, in the midst of everything, a whole family learned time and again what really matters.
... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars For Those Who Have All the Answers
This is a MUST READ for anyone who thinks they have a solution to the problems in the Middle East. Rabbi Gordis doesn't present ideology -- rather, he gives us a dose of reality; of what he and his family face every day, along with constantly questioning the decision they made to remain in Israel. I've read a lot of negative comments regarding "putting his children in harm's way," but he is teaching his children what's to be valued, cherished and fought for -- not land, per se, as some have intimated but, rather, the ideal of one place on this earth that Jews can live -- one day, God willing, in peace. Israel serves its purpose not only as the one place Jews in peril can immigrate to, but as a place of inspiration and dedication. While Israeli and American parents both want the same thing for their children -- they should only be happy, have a successful career, a loving spouse, healthy children and NOT have to face going to war. Israeli parents, however, know there is something more -- that achieving these personal goals should not come at the expense or peril of the country's goals.

In the past, I have had opinions as to what Israel should or shoould not do to make peace, but this book highlights better than anything else what the daunting reality is vis-a-vis a solution. While we may all "pray for the peace in Jerusalem," the reality is that more than prayer is needed, and there may not be A single solution or long-term peace -- at least not without other Arab countries stepping in.

This is an extremely well-written, highly enlightening book, and the next time I hear anyone stating a firm opinion as to what Israel should do, I'm going to recommend they read this before the spout off again!

3-0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Sad
I started "If A Place Can Make You Cry" expecting what the dust jacket promises -- the story of a family's move from California to Israel, from safety to war, why they did it and how it affected them (particularly the children). What I got instead was something very different, worth reading for the many questions it raises, but profoundly sad and dispiriting -- one man's journey from a religion and culture based on moral values to one based on land and security. As Gordis puts it toward the end of the book, "when you finally understand what is important to you, you have to be willing to fight for it." (266) The land of Israel itself becomes that important to Gordis, important enough that he is willing to stand aside and tolerate the suffering of innocent Palestinians (of which he admits there are many) in order to secure his family's safety. (See pages 186-87 for an explicit admission that he is sacrificing his values for security.) Maybe I would do no better in his place, but it still sad to watch.

Gordis will make you think about other interesting questions -- what does it mean to have a home? Can one live a meaningful Jewish life outside Israel? How does one justify where one lives (or doesn't live)? Gordis is of two minds on many of these questions -- for example, he states several times that he's not suggesting all Jews are morally obligated to move to Israel, but at the same time, he does in fact suggest that meaningful Jewish life is possible only if it is at risk (see, e.g., page 259). Gordis seems to be utterly befuddled by the idea of secular Israelis or secular Jews (for example, at pages 66-67, where he asks "what is the point?" of having this country if it's not religious) -- apparently ignoring the fact that there would be no State of Israel without the secular Zionists. (For an interesting look at combining secular values with the religious and cultural heritage of Judaism, read "From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven," by Ari Elon.)

It is not surprising that Gordis fails to offer any solutions to what are obviously very complicated problems. Where it seems to me that the book really fails is in the limited range of viewpoints it presents. Perhaps because the book originated in personal emails to family and friends, it consists almost entirely of Gordis' personal observations and angst, his own questioning of himself, his values and his actions. His wife and children are present only as foils, for Gordis to react to something they've said, done or experienced. I did not come away with any sense of who they are or what any of them really think. Secular, Orthodox and Palestinian viewpoints are barely mentioned (of these, the best represented are the Palestinians, interestingly enough, although mostly to illustrate Israeli failures). At the end, it's hard to say whether you've learned much about the state of Israel today or if you've just learned something about one man's viewpoint. And although that viewpoint develops somewhat over time, the constant hammering away at the same issues becomes tiring by the end by the book (again, if you read one email/chapter every few weeks, it probably wouldn't be nearly so bad).

Despite these significant qualifications, the book is generally well written, a quick read, and I am giving it extra credit for presenting a point of view we seldom get to see and for making me think about the questions he raises.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Moving, Personal Memoir
This is a moving, compelling and readable book that draws you in from the first page. Gordis is a gifted and sensitive observer whose account of his family's life in Israel is so personal and honest that the reader feels an emotional bond. On every page, you feel his passion, his struggles and his deep knowledge of Israel's history and meaning. More than a book about politics, it is a family story -- about parents and children and how they cope with life in a place that is full of pain and hope, a place where the author finds inspiring, transcendent surprises around every corner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gradual dimming of idealism
Old joke, often seen on bumper stickers: "Definition of a conservative? A liberal who's been mugged. " Daniel Gordis would probably still not describe himself as a conservative, but the liberal views he and his family took to Israel when they moved there four years ago have taken a severe beating.

When Rabbi Gordis was offered a year-long fellowship in Jerusalem, the Oslo peace process was offering a vision of peace and prosperity for a country that had seen neither for some time. Inspired by what they saw, the Gordis family cancelled their plans to return to Los Angeles and moved permanently to Israel; a move known to Jews as "making aliyah," or in English, "rising up." Daniel Gordis began to write occasional email essays to family & friends updating them on this new life, and the emails were forwarded to a wide circle. Eventually they were extracted in the New York Times, and now they've been collected (with some new writings as connective tissue) in this remarkable book.

What shines through this book is the gradual dimming of the idealism with which the Gordis family saw their new country. As the peace process collapsed, replaced by a constant undercurrent of shootings, bombings and rocket attacks, Israeli attitudes and opinions moved firmly towards an uncompromising crackdown on Arab terrorism. Former liberals and peace activists found themselves grasping for a framework that could support their principles; but this time partners were hard to find.

The most disturbing part of the book is hearing the effect that it has had on the Gordis children. They went to a country that offered them safety and security, a place where they could walk safely in the streets late at night, but ended up living in a war zone. A comment by his son, quoted on the back cover, illustrates the heartbreaking transition the family has made:

"You know what I think?," he suddenly added. "I think that when grown-ups really love Israel, they're even ready for their children to get killed for it. That's what I think."

Despite the hardship of life in Israel now, the overall tone of the book is positive. The Gordis parents continue the struggle to make life for their children meaningful and nurturing, secure in the belief that the choices they've made for their lives are the correct ones, despite the challenges. ... Read more


93. Storyteller's Daughter
by SAIRA SHAH
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375415319
Catlog: Book (2003-09-16)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 29137
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The vivid, often startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds. Saira Shah is the English-born daughter of an Afghan aristocrat, inspired by his dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears presided over for nine hundred years within sight of the minarets and lush gardens of Kabul and the snow-topped mountains of the Hindu Kush. Part sophisticated, sensitive Western liberal, part fearless, passionate Afghan, falling in love with her ancestral myth–chasing Afghanistan–Shah becomes, at twenty-one, a correspondent at the front of the war between the Soviets and the Afghan resistance. Then, imprisoning herself in a burqa, she risks her life to film Beneath the Veil, her acclaimed record of the devastation of women’s lives by the Taliban. Discovering her extended family, discovering a world of intense family ritual, of community, of male primacy, of arranged marriages, and finding at last the now war-ravaged family seat, she discovers as well what she wants and what she rejects of her extraordinary heritage. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Multifaceted Jewel of a Book
Saira Shah's stunning new memoir is one of those rare and wonderful books that's hard to classify because it touches the reader in so many different ways. A jewel of many facets -- from high adventure to geopolitics to the wisdom of the ages -- it takes us on a journey of the human spirit as compelling as it is rewarding. The setting of the book is Afghanistan, a country that, despite its recent prominence on the world stage, remains for most of us little known and much misunderstood. Shah opens up Afghanistan for the reader, revealing it to be far more complex and culturally rich than the evening news would lead us to believe; and in so doing, she opens up much, much more. An acclaimed London-based journalist whose powerful television documentary "Beneath the Veil" exposed the horrors of the Taliban to the world just prior to Sept. 11, Shah comes from an accomplished Afghan family of ancient pedigree. Her brother, Tahir Shah, is a celebrated travel writer, and her father, Idries Shah, who died in 1996, was a well-known Sufi philosopher whose 30-plus books have been translated into a dozen languages. But growing up in England, where her family had settled, Saira Shah's main contact with her Afghan heritage was through the stories her father told her and her siblings -- timeless stories of fairytale mountain landscapes peopled by proud and fearless warriors upholding a centuries-old code of honor. THE STORYTELLER'S DAUGHTER is built around her search for her own identity as she attempts to reconcile the romantic Afghanistan of her father's tales with the country's reality after years of devastating civil war. In gripping fashion tempered with gentle humor, it recounts her clandestine forays into Afghanistan with the mujahidin as a fledgling reporter in the mid-1980s, as well as her equally risky trips there in 2001 to film "Beneath the Veil" and its follow-up documentary, "Unholy War." In the process, it sheds considerable light on the conflict that has ravaged that country for decades, as well as on the upsurge of Islamic fundamentalism -- quite alien to Afghanistan's moderate, Sufi-influenced tradition -- that has given rise to al Qaeda. But the book goes far beyond those things in scope and appeal and, like the very best literature, serves as a lens through which the reader can gain a greater self-understanding. Thought-provoking, moving and beautifully written, THE STORYTELLER'S DAUGHTER is, among many other things, a timely reminder that we can rarely fit the world's complexities into the narrow confines of our own preconceived notions and oversimplifications.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Valley of Song that will change you
Saira Shah continues the tradition of her esteemed family with a compelling and personal travelogue and object lesson that meets the high standards set by her grandfather, grandmother, and father (Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah, Morag Murray Abdullah, and Idries Shah). This book is necessary reading for all Americans, considering our relationship with her ancestral homeland of Afghanistan over the last twenty-plus years. Those who seek easy answers, who rely on programmatic belief-structures and simplistic views of the complex phenomena that are human nature and culture... are, as usual, advised to seek elsewhere. The combination of ancient wisdom, colorful people and locales, horrific atrocities, and the hope that is endemic to humanity despite everything... is wonderfully realized here, and will change the reader, much like the characters in a story Ms. Shah presents and from which the title of this review is taken. I believe it remains incorrect to jump to any conclusions about her being placed in some sort of jeopardy or other by her father's ideas; first, because it was her interpretation of those ideas, not the ideas themselves, that led to the jeopardy; second, because her father made it clear that if she grew up she would not need to go; third, because he warned her of a need to compromise or she might get herself killed; fourth, because, given his participation in the struggle against the Soviets, it would have been hypocritical for him to stop his adult daughter doing what she could about the situation; fifth, because her father did not believe in forbidding as a teaching method, and it would have been inconsistent for him to use it in this case. Given the time span and events involved in this narrative, it goes almost without saying that things were omitted; it is unknown, perhaps even to the author, what steps were taken by others, and at whose behest, to minimize the risk of her capture or death. But what is here rings of truth, and is more than sufficient; indeed, it is excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting and Enlightening
This book is both a series of tales of travel in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as the personal memoir of a young woman in search of the Afghanistan of her father's stories. It is studded with unforgetable characters and situations, a world away from typical western concerns. The writing is excellent. The author is fully engaged intellectually and emotionally, and has the ability to inspire that engagement in her readers as well. Further, anyone with a familiarity with her father Idries Shah's writings will find it of great interest that he left at least one member of his own family struggling to understand his broad claims about the wisdom and nobility of the Afghan people (see his Kara Kush, for instance). His ideas led his daughter, per her own admission, into some terribly dangerous situations during the Afghan conflicts. ... Read more


94. Opposite of Fate, The : Memories of a Writing Life
by AmyTan
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142004898
Catlog: Book (2004-09-28)
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Sales Rank: 64563
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Amy Tan begins The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings, a collection of essays that spans her literary career, on a humorous note; she is troubled that her life and novels have become the subject of a "Cliff’s Notes" abridgement. Reading the little yellow booklet, she discovers that her work is seen as complex and rich with symbolism. However, Tan assures her readers that she has no lofty, literary intentions in writing her novels--she writes for herself, and insists that the recurring patterns and themes that critics find in them are entirely their own making. This self-deprecating stance, coupled with Tan’s own clarification of her intentions, makes The Opposite of Fate feel like an extended, private conversation with the author.

Tan manages to find grace and frequent comedy in her sometimes painful life, and she takes great pleasure in being a celebrity. "Midlife Confidential" brings readers on tour with Tan and the rest of the leather-clad writers’ rock band, the Rock-Bottom Remainders. And "Angst and the Second Book" is a brutally honest, frequently hysterical reflection on Tan’s self-conscious attempts to follow the success of The Joy Luck Club.

In a collection so diverse and spanning such a long period of time, inevitably some of the pieces feel dated or repetitious. Yet, Tan comes off as a remarkably humble and sane woman, and the book works well both to fill in her biography and to clarify the boundaries between her life and her fiction. In her final, title essay, Tan juxtaposes her personal struggles against a persistent disease with the nation’s struggles against terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11. She declares her transformative, artistic power over tragedy, reflecting: "As a storyteller, I know that if I don’t like the ending, I can write a better one."--Patrick O’Kelley ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty, Engaging and Well-Written Gems
Amy Tan is without question a gifted writer.In this book of essays/musings as diverse as the erroneous interpretation of "The Joy Luck Club" by Cliff Notes or Tan's debilitating and horrifying bout with Lyme disease, the author writes with zest, humor and insight, and she engages the reader from the first page.In some ways, writing essays about one's craft is more difficult than writing a novel because essays are generally less creative and inspiring than fiction, and the reader usually suffers as a result.But Tan's "The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings" is like O'Connor's "Mystery and Manners" and "The Habit of Being" in that both authors are able to inform their essays with clever and profound insights that are contained in their works of fiction.Above all, this book is about the relationship of mother and daughter that is at the core of Tan's works.A must read.

3-0 out of 5 stars The good stuff is good, and the rest is...
As a few others have indicated, there are some really moving pieces here about family and memory, as well as some good looks at the life of a writer in many arenas (at the keyboard, on tour, etc.). Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to have been enough of that stuff to fill a book, and so we get a lot of filler, including e-mails that are not that riveting and the essay she wrote about the library when she was 8 (no, I'm not kidding). There is a LOT of repetition; many of these pieces were written and published previously, and that's fine, but when you sit down to edit them into a collection that hangs together, you really need to go through and make sure that things like her father's and brother's deaths, moving to Switzerland, first boyfriend, etc. are not repeated 15 times.

I still love this book for the good parts, but would have been just as happy checking it out from the library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Really nice
I enjoyed reading Amy Tan's essays, the same enjoyable style of writing, although I think her essays are a little more complex than her fiction and this is not a criticism.Observations, some personal history, although this is her thoughts and experiences, it is not "all about her."She isn't full of herself at all.Her experience with Lyme Disease is horrific.And informative!Amy Tan seems to be a very nice person and I am glad she wrote this book.It is one that I will keep on my book shelf and re-read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Many enjoyable essays
I've read and enjoyed all Amy Tan's fiction and was very excited when Opposite of Fate showed up at my local bookstore.I love reading autobiographical pieces from my favorite writers.It's so intriguing to find out where their magic comes from and how they go about tackling the writing process.Amy Tan truly invites us into her life with the essays in this book, with subjects ranging from her thoughts on writing, her upbringing, her favorite author, battling Lyme Disease, hanging out with Steven King and Dave Barry, and (my favorite) turning the Joy Luck Club into a movie.She also gives us background information on some of her novels, which any fan of hers will find interesting.

This book appeals to the side of me that enjoys the candid celebrity photos in People Magazine--the side of me that likes to see personal, private glimpes of how the most wealthy, famous, and successful people live.But this book is guilt-free.No paparazzi stalked Amy Tan to give us this intimate portrait--she voluntarily offers it to us.I recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars Setting the Record Straight on Amy Tan
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, and not just  writers, women, North Americans with Asian heritage or people with any such specific demographics. A charming and well-written book that is true to the memoir genre where you get to know the author rather than the events of his/her life. There are enough interesting stories from Ms Tan's past, especially the cultural and cross-cultural ones - the former involving her Chinese ancestry and the latter involving her American and Chinese heritage. The reader knows plenty about the events of her life, but only the ones which matter to her, which, ultimately, are the ones that really matter in getting to know someone. However, Ms Tan's goal and focus was to set the record straight on Amy Tan, what she's like and where she stands on many issues, and that she did. There are many enlightening essays with Ms Tan's views and questions on a variety of interesting topics, with notes on how they've impacted her life. The writing style, vocabulary and organization of stories are very typical and symbolic of Ms Tan's ways. I feel like I partly know her now, as in having a feel of the gist of what she is like, how she thinks and sees the world, and that I would find her very amiable if I met her. I only wish every memoir could tell me as much about the writer. PS If you are writing essays on Ms Tan's books and/or her, take her advice and avoid using Cliff's Notes. Cliff never met her. Net sources are even worse! ... Read more


95. Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez
by Kathleen Krull
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0152014373
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Sales Rank: 14518
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Cesar Chavez is known as one of America's greatest civil rights leaders. When he led a 340-mile peaceful protest march through California, he ignited a cause and improved the lives of thousands of migrant farmworkers. But Cesar wasn't always a leader. As a boy, he was shy and teased at school. His family slaved in the fields for barely enough money to survive.

Cesar knew things had to change, and he thought that--maybe--he could help change them. So he took charge. He spoke up. And an entire country listened.

An author's note provides historical context for the story of Cesar Chavez's life.

... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars A children¿s book about collective bargaining? ¡Si se puede!
In light of the "zero tolerance" policies maintained by most schools, conventional wisdom says parents should discourage their children from fighting or causing trouble.
Kathleen Krull's latest biography flies in the face of such convention, daring children to resist the status quo, to take a stand and to, yes, fight.
This past Saturday San Antonio honored the legacy of Cesar E. Chavez with a march to the Alamo - the mission, not the premiere. But how much do we really know about the noble migrant laborer who passed away peacefully in his sleep 11 years ago? How much do our children know about this Chicano organizer - only the second Mexican American to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom?
With broad brushstrokes and soft, warm tones, Krull and illustrator Yuyi Morales paint a picture of a quiet, peaceful man who was compelled by injustice, greed and racism to overcome his own fears and insecurities.
The story begins on a summer night upon the lush, utopian, magical fields of his grandfather; family that relaxes after a long, but satisfying day working the land surrounds Cesar.
Watching young Cesar run away from school on the first day of class back to the loving embrace of his gentle mother, the reader relates, beginning to see the human being behind the legend.
To drought and depression paradise is soon lost and the Chavez family must strike out towards California to seek out new opportunities, a new Promised Land.
But Cesar finds instead an oppressive blanket of harsh reality, patched together by insecticides, calluses, short-handled hoes and pennies a day for backbreaking work. After many brutal hours under the unrelenting sun his family returns to a shack with no doors in an overcrowded shantytown. And school provided no refuge, either, as teachers torment Cesar for his poor English.
Through these difficult pages he appears downtrodden, quiet, sad, fearful. As injustice is heaped upon his shoulders Cesar quietly bears his load.
But he remembers his early childhood, knows "Farmwork did not have to be this miserable" and gradually Cesar realizes things will never change by themselves - he must force change.
The book then details the nonviolent means Cesar used to battle oppression and stand up for the rights of migrant workers, returning a sense of pride and hope to a people long deprived of these basic human needs. Krull recounts in simple language the first meeting of the National Farm Workers Association, the grape picker strike of 1965 and the subsequent March to Sacramento from the San Joaquin Valley.
Morales' sweeping images use few straight lines, so the rigid black eagle of the NFW and the large banner reading "HUELGA" stand in stark contrast, anchors providing the weight due such monumental matters in a book washed over in light acrylic and pastels.
But the pictures match the man - mild and unassuming, with the strong, black eagle representing the warrior spirit of the Aztec imbedded inside.

Cesar Chavez demonstrated the power of unity and organization. And "Harvesting Hope" begins to show that a person with tenacity and compassion spurs change from the way things are to the way things should be.
Unfortunately, this is a lesson that may go largely untaught in a school system dedicated to keeping our children in line and outbursts to a minimum, making Krull's work that much more necessary and relevant.

5-0 out of 5 stars Top notch, two thumbs up, and other cries of adulation.
In her author's note, Kathleen Krull points out that Cesar Chavez continues to remain a controversial figure in the United States today. The fact of the matter is, he followed perfectly in the footsteps of the men he admired; St. Francis of Assisi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and Gandhi. Helping to lead migrant workers in the first successful agricultural strike the U.S. had ever known, he is best remembered worldwide as a hero. In her book, Krull follows Chavez from a happy early childhood in Arizona to an unpleasant shift to the fields of California. As we watch, Cesar grows from a boy forced to endure the humiliations of the fields (and the poor schooling as well) to a man capable to leading workers in a non-violent protest against the grape growers of Southern California. Especially impressive are the ways in which Krull ties in young Cesar's lessons about life (his mother cautioning him to use one's head to work through conflicts) with their actual implementation years later. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales, the book looks like nothing so much as Jonah Winter's fabulous biography of Frida Kahlo. Beautiful surreal images meld with sweeping panoramas of a life of difficulty. You'll find yourself reading it over and over again just to look at the pretty pictures.

The fact of the matter is, there's not a single misstep in this book. Anyone familiar with the previous Pura Belpre winner, "Esperanza Rising" will see that this book succeeds where "Esperanza" was apt to fail. But, quite frankly, it's unfair to compare the two. Fiction will always pale in comparison to well-written non-fiction. In this book you have an honest story told simply with an elegance all its own.

5-0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: HARVESTING HOPE
"César reprimió la amargura que le causaba haber perdido su hogar y empezó a trabajar junto a su familia. Era pequeño y no muy fuerte, pero un trabajador incansable. Casi cualquier cultivo era un tormento. Arrancar betabeles le desgarraba la piel entre el dedo pulgar y el índice. Los viñedos rociados con pesticidas le irritaban los ojos y le hacían difícil la respiracíon. La lechuga era lo peor de todo. Plantar lechuga con un azadón de mango corto le causaba espasmos de dolor por toda la espalda. Trabajar la tierra de otros en vez de la propia, le paracía ser una forma de eslavitud.
"La familia Chávez hablaba constantemente de ahorrar lo suficiente para poder volver a comprar su rancho. Pero al atardecer, la familia entera había ganado no más de treinta centavos por todo un día de trabajo. Conforme pasaban los años, hablaban cada vez menos del rancho."

That's right, a total of thirty cents pay for a long, backbreaking day of labor put in by the whole family!

Oh. You didn't understand that the first time because it was in Spanish? Hey! What's wrong with you?

"The towns weren't much better than the fields. WHITE TRADE ONLY signs were displayed in many stores and restaurants. None of the thirty-five schools Cesar attended over the years seemed like a safe place, either. Once, after Cesar broke the rule about speaking English at all times, a teacher hung a sign on him that read, I AM A CLOWN. I SPEAK SPANISH. He came to hate school because of the conflicts, though he liked to learn. Even he considered his eighth-grade graduation a miracle. After eighth grade he dropped out to work in the fields full-time."

When Cesar was young, his mother cautioned him and his siblings "against fighting, urging them to use their minds and mouths to work out conflicts."

And so, instead of punching out those people responsible for making his family's life so tough, Señora Chavez's son grew up to be a disciple of Gandhi and of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Cesar organized migrant workers one by one, persuaded them to go on strike against grape growers, and led them on a march of over 300 miles to Sacramento, thus obtaining the first contract for farmworkers in American history.

As Kathleen Krull reiterates in her author's note, "Before [Chavez] formed the National Farm Workers Association, [farm] workers had...the longest hours, lowest wages, harshest conditions, shortest life spans, and least power of any group of workers in America."

Krull also explains how Chavez would go on hunger strikes as a publicity tool for achieving economic justice for the migrant workers. (This strategy had worked well for both Gandhi and, earlier, for the Suffragists. Sadly, while also effective for Chavez, it eventually killed him.)

HARVESTING HOPE: THE STORY OF CESAR CHAVEZ (the title of the English language version) is an essential biography for elementary and middle school libraries about one of America's greatest civil rights leaders. It is written in the 32 page picture book format and illustrated with brilliant, Caldecott-quality acrylic paintings by Yuyi Morales who trekked through the fields and vineyards for inspiration.

Before sharing this book--the English edition--with her eighth-grade English students last month, my wife Shari asked her students about Cesar Chavez. Despite being raised in California where Cesar did all of his groundbreaking work, not one in a hundred of these students knew anything significant about Chavez. A couple had heard of him--thanks to there being streets and plazas named in his honor.

The book has unfortunately been mislabeled as being for ages 6-9. In reading it to a class of 8-10 year olds, I found those students did not have the same firm grasp of the vocabulary and concepts (union organizing, contracts, walking 300 miles, owning 80 acres, etc.) that makes it a more ideal fit for middle schoolers. (Yes, this review will serve as my nomination of the book for the California Young Reader Medal in the Picture Books for Older Readers category.)

As with great books about other important and inspirational leaders who have devoted their lives to change for the better, HARVESTING HOPE: THE STORY OF CESAR CHAVEZ provides fertile ground for planting a seed of activism in the hearts of young readers. Hopefully, the book will also provide inspiration for celebrating Cesar Chavez Day (March 31st) in significant fashion, as we do with Martin Luther King Day.

(And if you would like to read, or read aloud, an unforgettable speech about Martin--Lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.-- that was given by Cesar Chavez on Martin Luther King Day, 1990, you can find it on the San Francisco State University site at http://www.sfsu.edu/~cecipp/cesar_chavez/cesarmlk.htm .)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Illustrations and Thoughtful Treatment
This is a well-written book enhanced immeasurably by Yuyi Morales' vivid, mural-like illustrations (done with acrylics, handmade stamps, and computer-created cutouts). Morales' tableaux display swirling designs, bold colors, and expressive faces to portray the joys and struggles described in Kathleen Krull's narrative. It's not a preachy book, but relies instead on short revealing statements of fact: "Once, after Cesar broke the rule about speaking English at all times, a teacher hung a sign on him that read, I AM A CLOWN. I SPEAK SPANISH."

The book describes the inhumane treatment of the farm workers, focusing on Chavez' own experience: "Anyone who complained was fired, beaten up, or sometimes even murdered." Some may complain that this represents a monolithic view of ALL landowners in California. Still, this is a children's book, not a history of agricultural employment in California. The author correctly points out the terrible conditions that Chavez battled through non-violence, notably the 1965 grape strike which ended with Chavez signing the first farmworker contract in American history. The book ends with a 2-page "author's note" that summarizes what Chavez accomplished. I look forward to more of Morales' work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredibly moving and beautiful
This book tells the story of Cesar Chavez and his fight to improve the lives of itinerant farm workers. The story is wonderful- inspiring and educational and always interesting.

And the illustrations must be seen to be believed. The artist uses a gorgeous palette of colors and mixes the fantastic with the realistic in her moving depiction of the life of a true American hero. Buy this book immediately! ... Read more


96. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave: Written by Himself
by Frederick Douglass, John W. Blassingame, John R. McKivigan, Peter P. Hinks, Gerald Fulkerson
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300087012
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: Yale Nota Bene
Sales Rank: 47090
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1845, just seven years after his escape from slavery, the youngFrederick Douglass published this powerful account of his life in bondage and histriumph over oppression. The book, which marked the beginning of Douglass's career asan impassioned writer, journalist, and orator for the abolitionist cause, reveals the terrorshe faced as a slave, the brutalities of his owners and overseers, and his harrowing escapeto the North. It has become a classic of American autobiography.

This edition of the book, based on the authoritative text that appears in Yale UniversityPress's multivolume edition of the Frederick Douglass Papers, is the only edition ofDouglass's Narrative designated as an Approved Text by the Modern LanguageAssociation's Committee on Scholarly Editions. It includes a chronology of Douglass'slife, a thorough introduction by the eminent Douglass scholar John Blassingame,historical notes, and reader responses to the first edition of 1845. ... Read more

Reviews (60)

4-0 out of 5 stars A damning Tale of Evil in America
This is a difficult book to read because the evil that slavery entails. The oppression of anyone is an evil that must be overcome. Frederick Douglass displayed a remarkable courage in learning to read and write to finally overcome the horror of slavery. I appreciate his observation on the religious hypocrisy of the South. It was telling that religious slave owners were always the worst. Of course since religion helped breed slavery in America this really should not come as any surprise. I have great admiration for the founders of this country but I also feel that the evil and hypocrisy of slavery should be exposed. It is an ugly passage in American history that must be addressed. This book should be read by high school kids in every high school in America--make that every American period. Frederick Douglass deserves to be recognized as a great American and this book is essential reading for any American.

5-0 out of 5 stars Revealing
A prime subject of debate before the Civil War seems to have been the nature of slavery in the South. Northern abolitionists would shoot rhetorical darts concerning the ineffable cruelties done to slaves at the hands of Southern slaveholders; Southern Confederates would fire their own salvos in return, telling stories to show that the abuses did not outweigh the general decency of the system. In this autobiography, Frederick Douglass weighs in heavily with the abolitionists, laying bare the barbarity and brutality of his experiences with slaveholders in the South. Tracking his life from the ignorance of childhood, to his growing awareness and education, to his final escape, Douglass makes his opinion plain: It is not only the South's particular form of slavery which is savagely corrupt - the system itself is despicable at its core.

My college assigned me this book to read, suggesting I watch for two things: the relationship of Christian faith to his life and to that of his masters, and the role of education in his journey toward freedom. In regard to the first, Douglass actually says surprisingly little about how his faith sustained him throughout his captivity. A few brief mentions are made here and there about how Christianity strengthened him during his trials, but the vast majority of his remarks on Christianity addressed the viciousness it seemed to inspire in his masters. In his experience, pious slaveholders were more cruel and malicious than unbelievers. Indeed, one of his worst masters was reverend of a local church. Douglass explains that while religion is well and good in its proper state, the corruption of the Southern version of Christianity was unpardonable, a religion where piety begot brutality, and faith sanctioned savagery.

In my reading of this narrative, Douglass' primary hope was not in Christianity, but in education. Throughout the book, he explains the various devices slaveholders used to keep their slaves from getting religion, or getting reading and writing, or getting knowledge of current events. He shows that the Southerners knew exactly what they were keeping from their slaves - the very tool by which they could gain liberty, humanity, and freedom. Douglass traces his tortuous trials in learning to read and write, and then shows the invaluable benefits he received from these. A good education is one of the greatest and most liberating things a person can get, and Douglass' narrative drives this point home hard and clear.

This book is a worthwhile read. Engaging and well-written, this narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass fascinates and informs. It illustrates the cruel treatment he, and by extension many other slaves, received at the hand of Southern slaveholders. It shows how a barbaric form of Christianity inspired some of these cruelties. And it shows how education delivered Douglass from the hands of his oppressors. Read it as a history. Read it as a story. But by all means, read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good
I had to read this for a freshman history class. I dreaded it before because I usually hate historical nonfiction biographies, but I was quite surprised. Anytime somebody says that Affirmative Action is necessary because of past wrongs, I direct them to read this book. This man had the drive to learn to read in secret (at the age of 8) and ultimately escape to the free North to become an author. And his conditions were FAR worse than anybody's today! It's a very inspirational novel. It details the horrors of the slaves having to be split from their families and the hardships they had to endure. It also gave some insight to the mindsets of the slave owners. This is not a long book and is well worth an afternoon.

3-0 out of 5 stars Frederick Douglass review
I enjoyed "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass", but would not necessicarily recommend it to a person or class. I appreciate the perspective that I gained from encountering his life story, but I was never really entertained or enlightened. The story was more depressing than happy, and large parts of the story were left out for his safety reasons. Allow I respect that, it does have an effect on his account of the escape. I would say that overall this book is pretty good, but just doesn't connect for me.

4-0 out of 5 stars JAMIN BIO!
Wow! This has got to be one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. Douglass gives one a great idea of the struggles he went through while he was a slave and trying to runaway. If you want to know more about slavery then this is the book to read. ... Read more


97. Burro Genius : A Memoir
by Victor Villasenor
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060526122
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: Rayo
Sales Rank: 9129
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From one of America's most beloved authors comes a raw and unnerving memoir that explores the transformation of an angry young man into the bestselling author we know today.

When Victor Villaseñor stood at the podium and looked at the group of teachers amassed before him, he became enraged. He had never spoken in public before. His mind was flooded with childhood memories filled with humiliation, misunderstanding, and abuse at the hands of his teachers. With his heart pounding, he began to speak of these incidents. To his disbelief, the teachers before him responded to his embittered recollection with a standing ovation. Many could not contain their own tears.

So begins a touching memoir of an extremely angry adolescent. Highly gifted and imaginative, Villaseñor coped with an untreated learning disability (he was finally diagnosed with extreme dyslexia at the age of forty-four) and the frustration he felt growing up Latino in an English-only American school system that had neither the cultural understanding nor the resources to deal with Hispanic students.

Often beaten by his teachers because he could not speak English, Villaseñor was made to feel ashamed about his heritage, and even questioned the core values prioritized by his tight-knit family. Villaseñor's dyslexia, and growing frustration over not fitting in, fueled his dream to one day become a writer. He is now considered one of the premier writers of our time.

With his signature passion, his gift as a storyteller, and his own incredible story, Villaseñor allows readers into the soul of a young life touched by insecurity yet encouraged by a personal sense of artistic destiny. Burro Genius, a complex and inspiring coming-of-age story, is certain to become an American classic.

... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is about ALL OF US!
I was born in America, like Victor. I am not Hispanic. I relate to this book because my ancestors were from Italy. They came to America with very little, and with no knowledge of English. They built businesses, some of which flourish to this very day! They worked hard - often much harder than the people for whom they worked. They educated their children, often with very little help from the American school system. They survived drought, hunger, abuse, unfeeling teachers, uncaring political leaders. This is about Victor. And it is about all the people who built America. It is about you, me, our friends and relatives, our neighbors. Please read this. And please read WALKING STARS with your children. You are, after all -- each and every one of you -- a Burro Genius Miracle Maker!

5-0 out of 5 stars Villasenor does it once again.........
Burro Genius has been added to my list of favorite books, along with some of his previous work....

Learning about the way his teachers abused him and the way his classmates disrespected and hated him because he was Mexican made me feel helpless.....it made me wish many times through out the book that it would've been me who they'd disrespected and slapped around just so that I could do something about it.

It's an experience that makes him feel out-of-place and turns him into an angry child who, at one point, becomes ashamed of who he is and where his family comes from.

It's crazy how Villasenor, along with other Mexican kids, was forced to speak "English Only" and now that's all changed. America encourages and almosts expects of people to learn more than one language. Like a slap in the face....

5-0 out of 5 stars Something very special
Victor Villasenor has written well before, but this is something completely new and special. It's his story, compelling, heartbreaking, and funny. You want to keep reading just to find out what happens to this kid, who is at once precocious, confused, and angry.

Victor's voice rings through the pages. Even if you have never heard him in person, you will know his voice by the words he writes. And you'll know him, in a more personal way than you probably know your neighbors.

The book is definitely psychologically and politically challenging. You can't help but wonder why his world is the way it is, and what you can do, years later, to change it. ... Read more


98. Ada Blackjack : A True Story of Survival in the Arctic
by Jennifer Niven
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786868635
Catlog: Book (2003-11-12)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 19061
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the author of The Ice Master comes the remarkable true story of a young Inuit woman who survived six months alone on a desolate, uninhabited Arctic island.

In September 1921, four young men and Ada Blackjack, a diminutive 25-year-old Eskimo woman, ventured deep into the Arctic in a secret attempt to colonize desolate Wrangel Island for Great Britain. Two years later, Ada Blackjack emerged as the sole survivor of this ambitious polar expedition. This young, unskilled woman -- who had headed to the Arctic in search of money and a husband -- conquered the seemingly unconquerable north and survived all alone after her male companions had perished. Following her triumphant return to civilization, the international press proclaimed her the female Robinson Crusoe. But whatever stories the press turned out came from the imaginations of reporters: Ada Blackjack refused to speak to anyone about her horrific two years in the Arctic. Only on one occasion -- after charges were published falsely accusing her of causing the death of one her companions -- did she speak up for herself.

Jennifer Niven has created an absorbing, compelling history of this remarkable woman, taking full advantage of the wealth of first-hand resources about Ada that exist, including her never-before-seen diaries, the unpublished diaries from other primary characters, and interviews with Ada's surviving son. Ada Blackjack is more than a rugged tale of a woman battling the elements to survive in the frozen north -- it is the story of a hero. ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
I was lucky enough to sneak a peek at an advanced copy of Niven's book, Ada Blackjack, and found myself swept away by this riveting story about an Inuit woman who was the lone survivor of a grueling expedition. If you are tired of the Arctic genre, don't despair-- this transcends Arctic adventure. Although part of it is set in the Arctic, it is really the story about an amazing, extraordinary woman and her journey to survive, both in the ice and in civilization. I was a fan of Niven's first book, The Ice Master, and am even more of a fan now. Her prose is immediate, accessible, gripping, and skilled, and I love the way she weaves a story, making this reader forget he is receiving a history lesson as, all the while, he is speeding to the last page, desperate to see how it ends.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worthy follow up to the ICE MASTER
I had read the ICE MASTER by Jennifer Niven when it was first published and found it a remarkably well written and compelling narrative of a strange arctic expedition lead by strange and misguided Vilhjalmur Stefansson. The story of the Karluk getting trapped in the ice and drifting north of Siberia to remote Wangel Island is gripping, as is the miracle of who dies and survives. And now Jennifer Niven has written a kind of sequel or continuation of the story as the strange Mr. Stefansson sends four explorers back to Wangel island to live and settle so the island can be claimed by the British or Canadians (who want nothing to do with the expedition). Strange as it seems one of the survivors of the Karluk, Fred Maurer is one of these four. Joining the expedition is Ada Blackjack, an Inuit Eskimo woman they hire to sew clothing for them while living on Wangel Island. This second volume is told though Ada Blackjack's life story and introduces us to wide ranging cast of characters, the expeditions relatives, Mr. Harold Noice who leads a rescue mission and his mad wife Florence who's paranoia leads to lies and the undoing of Noice and Ada Blackjacks reputation. If this all sounds a bit like an arctic soap opera, it is of course, and the story is not as exciting a read as the ICE MASTER. But anyone who loved that volume as much as I did is sure to enjoy the complete irony of this return exposition and Ada Blackjack's
Unusual life story.

4-0 out of 5 stars Heart-wrenching heroics of an Inuit woman
Ada Blackjack reads like a documentary and can be a bit dry at times as it really tells the greater story of the doomed Wrangel Island Expedition of the Arctic. But the deeper story of Ada Blackjack, the lone survivor of the expedition, is riveting. Her simple faith and love for her son gives her the strength to endure unimaginable hardship. This woman should not be forgotten, nor should the folly of the men who pioneered the expedition go unremembered. Kudos to author Niven.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spend the jack to buy this book!
I havn't even finished the book (about 3/4 through it) but I am so impressed by the writer's style, and the general interest of the subject, that I am compelled to recommend it highly. This is one of those books I just can't wait to pick up again. The writer's style is so concise, logical, and flowing that the story moves along effortlessly. Niven has obviously taken a huge amount of information and distilled it skillfully into a lean narrative. Buy it! I am a lover of the adventure/survival genre, particularly as regards the Arctic, and this book is one of the good ones!

5-0 out of 5 stars a worthwhile read
If you like inspirational stories, this is a great one. Ada Blackjack is an amazing woman, every inch a hero, even though she is also a flawed, fallible person. That makes her even more likable and easy to identify with. I highly recommend this book to anyone craving a good story, a good adventure, or inspiration. I will think twice about complaining about the mundane daily details of my life now, after reading what Ada and her colleagues endured. ... Read more


99. On The Up And Up: A Survival Guide for Women Living with Men on the Down Low
by BRENDA STONE BROWDER, Karen Hunter
list price: $21.00
our price: $14.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0758210752
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Dafina Books
Sales Rank: 10232
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars NOT AT ALL WHAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE........
I was looking for all sorts of dramatic revelations....this story really disappointed me. While uplifting to some degree and a great saga detailing a woman's journey into the positive, I don't think it was helpful with regard to assisting women in identifying the signs of a man who is living a double life.I was left wondering why she didn't take the gloves off...no specifics regarding how she caught "Jimmy," other than some obscure reference to an inscription on a piece of jewelry.In fact, her version of how the revelation takes place is vastly different from his. His book was the bigger success because it was "no holds barred."Too bad she could not follow suit.


DYB

1-0 out of 5 stars Totally disappointed
I read this book along with my bookclub and we were totally disappointed with the stories that were told by Mrs. Browder, she never fulfilled any topic for which she was talking about. It was almost as if she was reading on the down low and responding to that book without giving any true feelings or emotions of her own. The book offered no survival skills for women in this situation. My book club members have all returned the books to the store for a full refund.

3-0 out of 5 stars On the Up&Up:An PeoplewholoveGoodBooks Review
On the Up and Up by Brenda Stone Browder is the response to the book "On The Downlow by JL King", Ms. Browder is the ex-wife of JL King and this is her story, her side of events.She talks about the DL signs and the health risks that women should be aware of if found in that situation.What I liked most about this book, is that she explains to those found in the same situation, is that it's NOT your fault.I think if Black America were more accepting of those who are "different", there may not be men on the "down-low".This is a story that needs to be told and deserves to be heard.Reviewed by Shay C of PeoplewholoveGoodBooks

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I was truly disappointed with this book. I read this book for my book club, along with On the Down Low, and I must say that my expectations were not met. She addressed some things J.L. King spoke about in his book, but not enough. Ms. Browder went into long tirades about faith and conversion (not sure I agree) and other things except how to help women who have lived with or currently live with men on the down low. She never explained how she helped her children get through it and it seems like she, at times, defended her ex-husband's behavior. I'm not sure who Mrs. Browder is helping to survive, herself or other women.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritually Uplifting
This book is an honest, open, very real story of a woman who went through something too many women have had to endure--a lying man. She overcame and now gives us all hope that there is a better tomorrow.

I was sick of the down low stuff. But it's a reality. And now there is another side to consider.
... Read more


100. Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story
by Lila Perl, Marion Blumenthal Lazan
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380731886
Catlog: Book (1999-11-30)
Publisher: HarperTrophy
Sales Rank: 31670
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

If she could find four perfect pebbles of almost exactly the same size and shape, it meant that her family would remain whole. Mama and papa and she and Albert would survive Bergen-Belsen. The four of them might even survive the Nazis' attempt to destroy every last Jew in Europe ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars WWII as seen through the eyes of a child.
Though this story is told as Marion saw it as a young child, it nevertheless remains a powerful and moving documentary of the most devastating war our planet has ever known.

This book is also a very good WWII primer. It would be required reading for a class entitled "WWII 101".

Marion Blumenthal spent her early childhood in Hoya, Germany with her brother and parents. They were a happy, prosperous Jewish family who owned a successful shoe retail business. But Marion's safe, secure world was shattered by the rise of the Third Reich in Germany. The Nazis, the dominant political party of the Third Reich, implemented their radical racial attacks against Jews, Gypsies, Slavics, Homosexuals, Communists, and whomever else was seen as a threat to Aryan purity. This meant the end of life as Marion knew it. Each passing day was a struggle to stay alive and out of the Nazis' clutches.

Despite their best efforts, the Blumenthal family fell prey to the Nazis. They eventually landed in Westerbork, a camp from which the prisoners where shipped to their deaths in places such as Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. The Blumenthals were transferred to Belsen, and despite their bleak future, Marion clung tenaciously to the hope that better times would come for her and her family. To bolster her and their spirits, she set about collecting four perfectly-shaped pebbles from the grounds of the camp. This was her metaphor for her family which, hopefully, would remain as one till the end of the war.

As the war dwindled to a close and Germany suffered one defeat after another, camp prisoners were shuttled along the remains of the Germain railways as the Nazis tried to desperately conceal the evils they had commited in the abandoned camps. Just when it seemed the war would drag on forever, Marion, her family, and their fellow prisoners were intercepted and liberated by Russian troops.

A beautiful story of inspiration, courage, and keeping a positive attitude even in the most dire of circumstances.

5-0 out of 5 stars Its a great story of a family's courage during the Holocaust
I am in 6th grade and 11 years old. I love holocaust stories better than anything and this is definitely a five star book! I have read this book and it is fabulous. Marion and her family show great courage as they fight the battle of antisemitism. I love this book and I want Marion Blumenthal to know that it has touched me very much. It was so stirring that I couldn't put it down. If you liked this book, you should read Never to be Forgotten by Beatrice Muchman. (You can order it here on Amazon.) Marion, her mother, brother and father are wonderful testimonies of strength and courage during WWII. Anyone else who has a story like this should tell it. There are to many people out there who love these stories alot, I'm one of them. Thankyou for sharing your story with us Mrs. Blumenthal!!! It is fantastic!

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving story from a child's point of view
"Four Perfect Pebbles" by Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan, tells the story of young Marion's life in Hoya Germany during the rise of the Nazis. The story goes from Holland to Bergan-Belsen where the Blumenthal family ends up. And then after the war in the United States.
While this is book for the younger reader, this is a book that can be enjoyed by anyone at any age. Truly this book should not be missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read
FOUR PERFECT PEBBLES is just one of thousands of such stories that mandate telling and retelling. Simply and beautifully, Perl relates one little girl's mode of survival through one of history's most heinous periods. As the author of another Holocaust book, FAR ABOVE RUBIES by Cynthia Polansky, I read everything I can get my hands on pertaining to the Holocaust. This one is a gem that must not be overlooked.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mary Cooke and Kate Robinson's review
Brief summary and Review:

Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story is a wonderful book of how a family stays together through thick and thin. The story is about one Jewish family's struggle for survival during the Nazi occupation of Europe. The family includes Ruth Blumenthal, the mother, Walter Blumenthal, the father, Marion Blumenthal, the daughter, and Albert Blumenthal, the son. The Blumenthals lived in concentration camps for six years which included Westerbork in Holland and the notorious concentration camp of Bergen-Belson in Germany. Conditions in these camps were so terrible that nearly half the camps population died of disease, starvation, exposure, exhaustion, or brutal beatings. The book received its name from young Marion's search to find four perfect pebbles of almost the same size. If Marion could manage to find these four pebbles, she felt that it meant her family would remain whole and be strong enough to survive the Nazi reign. This game kept young Marion's mind on things other than dead bodies lying around, the rumbles of her starving tummy, and the want for her family and life to go back to normal. This is a great story about the importance of family and diversity. I would encourage everyone to take this book home with them today and experience the true account of one family's struggle through the Holocaust. ... Read more


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