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$17.16 $5.99 list($26.00)
101. Let Me Create A Paradise, God
$10.50 $5.98 list($14.00)
102. Dust Tracks on a Road : An Autobiography
$1.99 list($24.95)
103. Soul Survivors: The Official Autobiography
$17.13 $0.96 list($25.95)
104. A Lawyer's Life
$20.40 $19.76 list($30.00)
105. Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account
$13.95 $6.50
106. Narrative of the Life of Frederick
$16.47 $14.49 list($24.95)
107. Luther : The Life and Longing
$16.17 $12.47 list($26.95)
108. Unforgivable Blackness : The Rise
$10.50 $5.00 list($14.00)
109. All Souls : A Family Story from
$15.61 $10.95 list($22.95)
110. Devil in the Details : Scenes
$4.99 $2.49
111. We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries
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112. Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years
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113. Killing Bono : I Was Bono's Doppelganger
$9.60 $7.57 list($12.00)
114. Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo
$16.97 $14.69 list($24.95)
115. Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson
$16.32 $11.99 list($24.00)
116. Ester and Ruzya : How My Grandmothers
$13.80 $13.00 list($23.00)
117. Journey from the Land of No :
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118. Great Jewish Women
$14.28 $6.75 list($21.00)
119. Oscar Wilde
$13.57 $11.00 list($19.95)
120. Condi: The Condoleeza Rice Story,

101. Let Me Create A Paradise, God Said to Himself: A Journey of Conscience from Johannesburgto Jerusalem
by Hirsh Goodman
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586482432
Catlog: Book (2005-03-30)
Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Sales Rank: 112257
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Book Description

From Johannesburg to Jerusalem: A moving memoir and a controversial examination of a nation's conscience.

Hirsh Goodman's childhood in South Africa was white-and Jewish-in ways he did not initially appreciate. While the local culture brutally suppressed the black population, Hirsh and his friends marched off to Zionist Socialist meetings, full of rhetoric about equality, justice, and democracy-all within the context of Israel. By his mid-teens, Goodman could no longer ignore South Africa's anti-Semitism and racism. He soon left for Israel, never expecting that the promised land of his dreams would also prove to be riven by ethnic and religious conflict. It was after marching victoriously through the Sinai as a paratrooper in the Six-Day War that Goodman heard David Ben-Gurion on the radio warning that Israel must rid itself of its Arab territories lest it "become an Apartheid state," a warning that had a very specific meaning to the young soldier. Then, as a journalist, Goodman witnessed first-hand all of Israel's subsequent troubles, from frontlines, to occupied zones, to the summits that attempted to find even a temporary peace.Let Me Create a Paradise is a wise, warm, and wry memoir. It is one man's life story and the story of two divided nations in two different eras; the tragedies in their histories, and the hope that still exists for both of them. ... Read more

102. Dust Tracks on a Road : An Autobiography
by Zora Neale Hurston
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0060921684
Catlog: Book (1996-06-19)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 31656
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows with a harp and a sword in my hands."

First published in 1942 at the crest of her popularity, this is Zora Neale Hurston's unrestrained account of her rise from childhood poverty in the rural South to prominence among the leading artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. Full of wit and wisdom, and audaciously spirited, Dust Tracks on a Road offers a rare, poignant glimpse of the life -- public and private -- of a premier African-American writer, artist, anthropologist and champion of the black heritage. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Dust Tracks seen from the eyes of a Slovene English student
Hurston's Dust Tracks on a Road is a true story of a smart little black girl, who has the intelligence and the perseverance to rise above her all-black community, Eatonville, and become a respected and well known novelist,short-story writer, folklorist and anthropologist.
However, it is not a typical autobiography, not in any way. It has often been said that Hurston lived her life 'half in shadow' and this is also characteristic also of this book. It is rare that ,after having read an autobiography, the reader is left without the information of the writer's year of birth, for instance. On the other hand, it is, in the words of Robert E. Hemenway, who also wrote her biography, 'a fascinating self-portrait, despite its inconsistencies, of one of the major black women artists of the twentieth century'.
The main reason for reeding Dust Tracks is its nature, i.e. the way she describes the struggle of a poor black girl to 'secure an education and catch fame'(R.E.Hemenway, Introduction to Dust Tracks on a Road, Second Edition) and the way she manages to collect her reflections and ideas about her own life into three unique chapters at the end of the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Khalia
This autobiography focuses equally on her opinions (highly untraditional)and her life (also highly unorthodox) giving the reader an unashamed glance to peer into the deepest wells of her being.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book
The autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston, "Dust Tracks on the Road", proved to be an incredibly interesting book. This book shows the hardships that Zora underwent during her rise from childhood poverty in the rural south to a prominent place among the leading artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. One part of the book that really caught my attention is how Zora manages to give her reader glimpses of a character that is a very public and privet artist, writer, and companion of black heritage. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to deepen as well as straighten their knowledge of the African American Heritige.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Book
This autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston was very fascinating. She talks about her childhood on to her others works. I found this very humorous. I recommend this book for anyone wanting a interseting read.

3-0 out of 5 stars eventually satisfying
I've just finished reading this book as a summer reading assignment for school, and to my surprise, I found myself actually enjoying it. I went into the reading of this book with reluctance. I've read THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, and while I enjoyed that book at first, I was always frustrated that the main character had to find herself through dependence on men, namely Tea Cake, whom I despised because of his controlling nature and ultimate betrayal. However, despite my prejudices against it, this book managed to grab my attention.

That is, in the last three chapters. I did not think this book was mostly an account of the other books Hurston has written, as some other readers have stated. Hurston only focused one or two chapters toward the middle of the book on other works, but even then it was only to list when she wrote which book, not to go in depth on the process and motivation. However, it seemed to me that it was an account of Hurston's journey through life, including details on her childhood in Eatonville. This is all well and good, except, especially as Hurston gets into the adult years, she tends to gloss over much of the details, omitting names, and mentioning events which obviously impacted her life yet for some personal reason or another, refusing to describe to the reader these events for fear of who knows what.

This was only the first confusing element. I also had a difficulty with Hurston's writing style. She tends to jump from one anecdote in the middle of another with no explanation before returning to her original story, which left me as the reader, feeling befuddled. The sequence of the chapters, out of her childhood, also does not really seem to follow a sequential storyline.

I was also bothered with Hurston's portrayal of herself, especially her childhood self. She seems to portray herself as the only child there ever was with an active imagination. Perhaps I am actually a member of the privileged minority, but I know that I told myself stories and had imaginary friends when I was a child. I was also very devoted to literature, and reading, as I still am, though Hurston's individualities in that area are more understandable, perhaps, considering the circumstances.

Despite all this, I walked away from this book with a respect for Hurston that I hadn't felt before because of the last three or so chapters in the book where Hurston discusses her thoughts and feelings on her race, and the inter-racial strife which hurt the African-American Civil Rights movement. I also enjoyed the appendix in which the reader is allowed a glimpse at Hurston's more controversial writing.

I don't hold a grudge against Hurston's perhaps unorthodox method of writing an autobiography, far from it. In fact, I think this book would have benefited greatly if Hurston had included more of her personal view points on the world as she did in the last few chapters. Hurston was often criticized for writing African-American literature that was not a rousing cry for Civil Rights, in this book, Hurston finally explains WHY. It also would have been helpful if Hurston either would have detailed the events in her life which were so groundbreaking, or simply not mentioned them at all, instead of saying "Then this happened and it changed my life and for that I will be forever grateful, but I'm not going to tell you anything about what it was." The strange presence of such passages was much more disquieting then their absence would have been.

So in conclusion, I'm glad this book included an appendix, and I do feel Hurston deserves some plaudits for writing what was eventually a stimulating autobiography. ... Read more

103. Soul Survivors: The Official Autobiography of Destiny's Child
by Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060094176
Catlog: Book (2002-04)
Publisher: ReganBooks
Sales Rank: 76967
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

It must be a part of human nature to love drama. We never would have sold as many records -- and we never would have been this popular -- if our member changes did not happen. Up until that point, we were squeaky-clean nice girls who couldn't get on the cover of any magazines. --Beyoncé Knowles

They're beautiful, they're talented, they're bootylicious . . .

From first kisses and broken hearts to pillow fights and legal battles to losing friends and finding strength in God, Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams share it all. Their example of survival has made Destiny's Child one of the most beloved, bestselling female groups ever.

Here for the first time, the three share the struggles that have made them stronger, from Beyoncé's battles with weight loss and shyness, Kelly's coming to terms with growing up without a dad, and Michelle's triumph over grade-school bullies. They've grown up under the media microscope, and have had to deal with lineup changes and media rumors. Now they set the record straight.

The demands and drama, the schedules and scrutiny -- from the tour bus to the dressing rooms to backstage at awards shows, Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michelle talk about what it takes to be successful. Whether it's changing outfits in the rain, changing their hair color, or changing a name, they've done it.

Don't be mistaken, they're not a prefab group of young girls -- they're smart, independent women with a lot of soul. When these ladies had only minutes of studio time to work with Wyclef Jean to remix one of their songs, they didn't stress, they just started singing faster -- and the result was a unique sound that put them on the map. Everyone has caught on to the Destiny's Child groove -- Whitney Houston, Bono, and Michael Jackson have all given them props, and the King of Pop himself serenaded them with a rendition of “Bootylicious.”

Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michelle take you behind the scenes of a video rehearsal at which Aaliyah rewound their practice music, to the set of Austin Powers 3, where a starstruck Beyoncé felt anything but foxy before auditioning for the part of Foxxy Cleopatra, and backstage at the Grammys, where a last-minute costume change fiasco nearly kept Michelle from going onstage.

With total honesty, these soul survivors not only dish the details of their past, but share their hopes, plans, and dreams for the future. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars It is a very good book, just not enough dirty secrets.
I felt they touched on some things but didn't go deep enough. I wanted to read about their personal ... lives; the things that we REALLY wanted to know about. What about all these guys Beyonce have been romantically linked to such as Kobe Bryant, Jay-Z, Eminem, Mos Def, just to name a few. And what about that rumor about Beyonce being pregnant and having an abortion last year and who got her pregnant? What about ex-member Farrah Franklin saying in a magazine that Michelle is really miserable and unhappy being in that group but tolerates it for the fame and fortune and because she wont like herself if she is not in Destiny's Child. She also said the only reason Kelly gets treated half way decent is because she is a realtive. Also, when disucssing the drama with ex-members Toya and Tavia they never made themselves look like the bad guys in any situation. Beyonce mentions her parents brief separation but didn't really go into detail about what led to it. They call themselves survivors but that is a strong word to use to describe these young, rich and famous glamour girls that have survived nothing worse than than acne, weight gain(Beyonce), bullies (Michelle), losing friends (group members), dead beat dad (Kelly), criticism, and jealousy; it hardly qualifies you as a SURVIVOR. No one in the group has suffered any kind of real abuse, life threatening illneses, immediate family deaths, being homeless or hungry, trying to make a comeback after a failed career. Those are things TRUE suvivors go through. Don't be fooled, these girls didn't have it too badly. Beyonce grew up in a two parent home with a dad that adores her, a mother who loves her and aint never had to go without anything even before the fame. Her parents dropped their lives to help her pursue her dreams which paid off for all of them. Either the title of the book is too heavy or maybe they held back on the real pain and heartache they have survived, who knows. My review was a little harsh but I really love these girls and wish them all the success in the world. I think Beyonce is has a lot of soul within herself and in her voice that has been hidden to gain pop appeal. I think she should sing more songs that have that deep soul feeling, more like Aretha or Patti. she has a beautiful soulful voice and can really sing. Kelly seems free sprited and care free, sort of like a wild but fun girl. Michelle seems like the sweet one who will go witht he flow to avoid drama. Yeah, these ladies make me proud.

5-0 out of 5 stars They are truly "Soul Survivors"
I am loving the Official Autobiography. The ladies have given us something that no other person can give us. They tell us the up and down sides of their life. How they grew up just like the normal human beings. Also Kelly Rowland tells us about the absent father in her life. I must say if you want the truth you need to get the book. I will not give away any secrets to the book. You just have to read it for yourself. I am so proud of the ladies and they are truly "Soul Survivors" in my opinion!
God Bless Destiny's Child :)

5-0 out of 5 stars very good book
the book is very good i want to read over and over again and i like how they put pictures in the middle of the book and they talk about their child hood but they talk to much about the break up but not the future and what they have accomplished as a group with out the other members but i would recomend this book

4-0 out of 5 stars So-So...
I was at a book store, and I found it for six dollars in hardback condition. Me, being the Destiny's Child freak that I am, jumped at the chance to buy it for such an inexspesive cost. There was NO WAY that I was going to pass this offer up! It is a really easy book to read. The only part that I didn't like about it, was that the book was mostly about the break-up and make-up of Destiny's Child. It is a great book, but I just wish they would have told us a little bit more. I reccomend this for the collector, but not too much for the reader!

4-0 out of 5 stars It's Pretty Good
I enjoy Destiny's Child, and I thought it would be interesting ot read about them. It was a good book mostly, and you learn a lot about these three members, like their childhood, early life, school years, how they joined Destiny's Child, and more. What was strange to me was the title of this book. I really am not sure that these three rich woman who are famous all around the world are really "soul survivors". What did they survive? Sure, they lost three group members but that's about it. Another thing that bothered me was that the book was mostly Beyonce this, Beyonce that. She did most of the writing, or should I say talking because they just told their story to James Patrick Herman, who actually wrote it. Also, it seems like the book is mainly about her. So what, she writes their songs and is their (Destiny's Child) lead singer. It dosn't mean she should always get all of the attention! Overall, the book is great, but I think big Destiny's Child fans would like it the most. ... Read more

104. A Lawyer's Life
by Johnnie Cochran, David Fisher
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312278268
Catlog: Book (2002-10-11)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 465273
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Johnnie Cochran had been famed as a folksy oratory in Los Angeles courtrooms since the 1960s, but the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial catapulted him to international fame--a status he gladly acknowledges in this bare-knuckles memoir of his years in court.

Cochran doesn't spend much time revisiting the Simpson case (except to proclaim O.J. innocent). Cochran devotes most of his account to less-celebrated cases that address repeated themes--police negligence and outright perjury; the difficulties minorities face in securing impartial justice; the inherent unfairness of racial profiling. Cochran describes his methods, and explains the reason for his rhyming summations ("If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit"): "Juries enjoyed them, understood them, and, more importantly, remembered them."

Readers may not be won over by Cochran, but his book will be widely enjoyed and remembered. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Defense of the Defense
A lady I worked for was making a snide comment about Johnnie Cochran and Michael Jackson, about how they think they're slick. I lit into her immediately about Michael, his childhood, and what he's done for the community, but I didn't have much to say about Cochran. I didn't know him. I knew about the O.J. trial because I didn't fall off the planet, but I didn't follow it. I do remember this goofy football player I knew standing outside screaming and dancing when he found out Simpson was acquitted of the charges. I shrugged it off. But when that lady called Cochran "Crocodile Cochran" in the same sentence as insulting Jackson, I decided to do my research. I already had an interest in criminal justice and after reading this book, I understand why everyone tries to make me understand that I need to become a lawyer. I loved the fact that he loved to debate, be right, and gave intelligent speeches with a touch of humor. I respect him for standing up for very intense cases (O.J., Puffy, Diallo, Amarou, reparations, etc.) and I will always commend anyone who fights against racial profiling. Needless to say, I got in touch with this critic and pointed out all of the contributions to society that Cochran has made, and told her to get over the O.J. trial. I even offered to buy the book for her. She wasn't convinced but atleast she now was forced to learn some things she originally never knew!

5-0 out of 5 stars
If you need to develop your practice visit

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST for White Republicans.
...And I know you well, because I am a Black Republican - far to the Right - libertarian even. This book is not the typical liberal drivel from a neck bone-eatin' preacher. This is a good treatise on recent Black history, and an expose' on the justice system - in my view, the last vestige of true racism.

While I had to hold my nose in reading the very last chapter of the book (where he goes liberal), I could not refute the notion that that I was reading the words of a "wise old man." Such an opportunity should not be ignored, regardless of your race or political persuasion. If you can read this extremely pleasurable book, and still not at least understand the pov of the other side, then you truly don't have a heart.

It is enjoyable reading, unoffensive to all, and a good lesson on life in America from one of its premier insiders. Further, it advances the cause of racial harmony.

BUY THIS BOOK. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A FOOT SOLDIER FOR JUSTICE

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing - Mind Boggling!
I read this book in a short period of time, due the fact that it was so interesting, and more importantly, I was so saddened by the REAL justice system in the United States. I was amazed and disgraced that racial injustices such as those described in this book have remained steady as if it were still the 1950s and 60s. I hope and pray that some day we as a people indeed "WILL OVERCOME."

I applaud Mr. Cochran for standing up for what is right for African Americans in the face of his many critics. I say "keep on keeping on, Johnnie." From the infamous Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream Speech," "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back..." This quote may help those who are victims of racial discrimination and is a quote I refer to when times are tough.

This book has only solidified my desire to enter into the field of Law. I can only hope that I make half the progress towards achieving equality and leveling the scales of justice for my people as Mr. Cochran has. ... Read more

105. Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account of His Life, Wartime Activities, and the True Story Behind The List
by David M. Crowe
list price: $30.00
our price: $20.40
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Asin: 081333375X
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Westview Press
Sales Rank: 12659
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Book Description

Spy, businessman, bon vivant, Nazi Party member, Righteous Gentile. This was Oskar Schindler, the controversial man who saved eleven hundred Jews during the Holocaust but struggled afterwards to rebuild his life and gain international recognition for his wartime deeds. David Crowe examines every phase of Schindler's life in this landmark biography, presenting a savior of mythic proportions who was also an opportunist and spy who helped Nazi Germany conquer Poland.

Schindler is best known for saving over a thousand Jews by putting them on the famed "Schindler's List" and then transferring them to his factory in today's Czech Republic. In reality, Schindler played only a minor role in the creation of the list through no fault of his own. Plagued by local efforts to stop the movement of Jewish workers from his factory in Krak--w to his new one in BrŸnnlitz, and his arrest by the SS who were investigating corruption charges against the infamous Amon Gšth, Schindler had little say or control over his famous "List." The tale of how the "List" was really prepared is one of the most intriguing parts of the Schindler story that Crowe tells here for the first time.

Forced into exile after the war, success continually eluded Schindler and he died in very poor health in 1974. He remained a controversial figure, even in death, particularly after Emilie Schindler, his wife of forty-six years, began to criticize her husband after the appearance of Steven Spielberg's film in 1993.

In Oskar Schindler, Crowe steps beyond the mythology that has grown up around the story of Oskar Schindler and looks at the life and work of this man whom one prominent Schindler Jew described as "an extraordinary man in extraordinary times." ... Read more

106. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass : An American Slave, Written by Himself (The Bedford Series in History and Culture)
by Frederick Douglass
list price: $13.95
our price: $13.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312257376
Catlog: Book (2002-12-25)
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
Sales Rank: 99212
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading
I read this book as part of a summer assignment entering into the 11th grade in addition to "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" by Harriet Jacobs. Both are great pieces of African-American historical literature and well worth the read. I couldn't read this book all in one sitting, due to the need to fight the urge to throw up. He detailed descriptions of physical, psycological, and emotional abuse are enough to sicken any one and make you disgusted with the human race.

5-0 out of 5 stars My heart broke
The honesty with which this is written is amazing.I was glued to it from page one.I felt disgusted by the human race,saddened by his traumas and guilty just for being white.I think this needs to be read more.Especially in schools.Why isn't it??? ... Read more

107. Luther : The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross
by Craig Seymour
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060594187
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: HarperEntertainment
Sales Rank: 26685
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On April 16, 2003, Luther Vandross suffered a near-fatal stroke, and the world held its breath. Inside sources said he might never sing again. He was too weak to receive visitors, but cards and good wishes came from Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Anita Baker, Halle Berry, Patti LaBelle, Jesse Jackson, Burt Bacharach, Bette Midler, Star Jones, Gladys Knight, and Dionne Warwick, among others. With a will to live matched only by the enormous strength and power of his heart, soul, and singing talent, Luther survived and is regaining his voice. This biography is a loving tribute to the man who has entertained millions.

Luther remains one of the music industry's most private celebrities. In Luther, the first biography of the hugely popular and beloved singer, Craig Seymour investigates and illuminates Luther's life, from his early obsession with soulful girl groups to the day he was discovered by glam rocker David Bowie to his devastating stroke and inspiring recovery. Seymour explores Luther's elusive sexuality, the taboo question that has plagued him for his entire career. He talks about Luther's yo-yo dieting, and the pain his weight has caused him and those around him. He tells the whole story behind the widely publicized feuds between Luther and R&B icons Aretha Franklin and Anita Baker as well as the group En Vogue. And he frankly and honestly explores the tragedies of Luther's life: the 1986 car crash that killed his best friend and nearly destroyed his career, and the 2003 stroke that almost ended his life.

An authentic R&B legend, Luther Vandross is one of the most popular and talented vocalists in the world. His life has been full of pain and love, tragedy and redemption. And now, for the first time ever, Luther gives you a backstage pass into his life and longing.

... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and surprisingly funny
This Luther Vandross biography unexpected arrived in the mail and I begin reading immediately. An easy, quick and fascinating read, I enjoyed learning about Luther's background, his struggles to become a recording artist, and his careers successes and challenges. Although this really isn't a book filled with personal comments by Luther to the biographer, Craig Seymour, you can tell that the author did a great job seamlessly piecing together Luther's history so that it reads logically and thoughtfully. There are sad and poignant moments (the stroke), and many funny moments too (Luther's quick wit and great sense of humor). The squabbles he's had with fellow singers will make you laugh too and shake your head at what goes on behind closed doors within the industry. Even if you aren't a Luther Vandross fan, if you enjoy reading about a slice of R&B music history, you may enjoy reading this book. The book provides a fascinating and dramatic look at the music industry, and it simultaneously honors Luther Vandross with grace and honesty. It's highly recommended and may give you a greater appreciation for Luther, as well as entertainment in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book!
I loved this book! Luther's life unfurls with drama and style--much like his live shows. I've been a Luther fan for years and learned more about him--and had a greater appreciation for him--by reading this book. I definitely recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
The story is inspirational; aspiring artists should read it to appreciate the obstacles and fears that perseverance overcomes. After finishing the book, I was inspired to begin my artistic projects again. Also, it was a wonderful journey down memory lane.

5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting Biography
This is probably the best celebrity biography I have read. Seymour demonstrates his reporting and writing prowess by filling the book from beginning to end with loads of character-revealing research, while simultaneously maintaining pace and rhythm. He gives readers the sensation of having front-row seats to the ongoing drama by recreating the kinds of behind-the-scenes antics that only an insider gets to witness. He also helps to transport readers across the barriers of time and place by recreating the sights and sounds of the important social (and musical) events that mark each era. Even if you have not followed Luther's career closely, you'll find yourself drawn into this engaging portrait of a man whose childhood hobby led him to become a producer for some of R& B and pop music's biggest icons and, ultimately, to attain mega-watt stardom.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational, Uplifiting Read!!!!
This book cuts to the heart of Luther's artistry and spirit. A must read!!!! Great for the beach!!! ... Read more

108. Unforgivable Blackness : The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375415327
Catlog: Book (2004-10-26)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 1434
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109. All Souls : A Family Story from Southie (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 034544177X
Catlog: Book (2000-10-03)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 15037
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

Reviews (141)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

110. Devil in the Details : Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood
by Jennifer Traig
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 0316158771
Catlog: Book (2004-09-14)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 7861
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Book Description

In the bestselling tradition of Running with Scissors and A Girl Named Zippy, Jennifer Traig tells an unforgettable story of youthful obsession.

When her father found the washing machine crammed with everything from her sneakers to her barrettes, 12-year-old Jennifer Traig had a simple explanation: theyd been tainted by the pork fumes emanating from the kitchen and had to be cleansed. The same fumes compelled Jennifer to meticulously wash her hands for 30 minutes before dinner: All scrubbed in for your big casserolectomy, Dr. Traig? her mother asked. It wasnt long before her familys exasperation made Jennifer realize that her behavior had gone beyond fastidious--in her own eyes, shed gone from quirky girl to raving lunatic.

Jennifers childhood mania was the result of her undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder joining forces with her Hebrew studies. While preparing for her bat mitzvah, she was introduced to an entire set of arcane laws and quickly made it her mission to follow them perfectly. Her parents nipped her religious obsession in the bud early on, but as her teen years went by, her natural tendency toward the extreme led her down different paths of adolescent agony and mortification.

Years later, Jennifer remembers these scenes with candor and humor. What emerges is a portrait of a well-meaning girl and her good-natured parents, and a very funny, very sharp look back at growing up.

Books like A Girl Named Zippy, Running with Scissors, and Why Im Like This prove that funny books about extraordinary childhoods can find massive audiences. ... Read more

111. We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust
by Jacob Boas
list price: $4.99
our price: $4.99
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Asin: 059084475X
Catlog: Book (1996-11-01)
Publisher: Scholastic
Sales Rank: 24411
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jewish teenagers David, Yitzhak, Moshe, Eva, and Anne all kept diaries and were all killed in Hitler's death camps. These are their stories, in their own words. Author Jacob Boas is a Holocaust survivor who was born in the same camp to which Anne Frank was sent. Includes a photo insert. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Source of Information on the Holocaust
Have you ever wondered what life for Jewish teens was like during the Holocaust? David, Yitzhak, Moshe, Eva, and Anne were five Jewish teens who lived and died during the Holocaust. Each of their lives and deaths are captured in this book, which uses factual information and chosen portions of their diary entries to compare their experiences. Boas efficiently chooses information to show what was happening at different times and places. His choice of entries, like Anne writing " spite of everything I still think people are really good at heart," supports the main theme that it is in the human nature to never give up hope. This book is very informational and eye opening, although it does not develop the five individual stories, which would make it more interesting and understandable. This book is good for anyone, but young adult readers will probably get the most out of it beacuse the main characters are young adults. This book made me want to learn more and gave me a greater understanding of the Holocaust.

5-0 out of 5 stars we are witnesses
We are witnesses by Jacob Boas, is a GREAT book to read it gives you different views of teenagers that went through diffuculty during the holocaust. As you know, the person who was in charge of the holocaust was Hitler. All the teeangers talked about hope they always had the hope to live and to have their own family. They never talked about hate, they never said they hate hitler the only thing that they said was that he was responsible for what was happening. This was shocking to me because I would hate the person who had my family killed. Wouldn't you?

2-0 out of 5 stars Ok I guess
This book was OK. I had to read it for school but I agree that it had way too many narrations in it and the only thing that captured the teens' feelings and thoughts were the scant entries from their diaries. This book didn't move me at all. If the author had put more of the kids' entries in it, it might be more effective.

5-0 out of 5 stars Touching, sad, but moving and worth the read
Although many people think that reading such books as these, the accounts of teenagers who died while under the Nazi regime, is depressing...people should tell them, it should be. This book was very good, and I read it a few years ago during a class that I had to take. Everyone had read the Diary of Anne Frank, but although this includes excerpts of hers, I was interested to know what others thought. Whether or not they were as optimistic as she was. If you are looking for a read that will give you different perspectives on how teenagers thought about the Holocaust, this is the book for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars We Are Witnesses
We Are Witnesses: Five Teenagers Who Died In The Holocaust is written by Jacob Boas. We are witnesses is a book of diaries of five jewish teenagers. The five diaries belong to David Rubinowicz, Yitzhak Rudashevski, Moshe Flinker, Eva Heyman, and Anne Frank. The book tells you what the teenagers thought and felt. The book takes you through the life of the teenagers during the Holocaust. All the teens were waiting for liberation from differnt country. Yitzhak was waiting for liberation from the Russian army and Anne was waiting for the D-Day team. Some of the teens had some one special who they cared about Moshe with his secret girl and Anne with Peter. Liberation never came for any of the teens. The liberation was only days after there death. The teens all died in a concetration camp, some were exterminated, others died of sickness or hunger. This book didn't really reach me like I thought that it would. I think there was to much narriation and not enough from the veiw of the teens. Over all it was a so so book. ... Read more

112. Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers
by Filip Muller, Helmut Freitag, Susanne Flatauer, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 1566632714
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Ivan R Dee, Inc.
Sales Rank: 20905
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Muller is a source-one of the few prisoners who saw the Jewish people die and lived to tell about it. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Holocaust Textbook
Filip Muller's Eyewitness Auschwitz serves as a textbook for those interested (and willing) to examine the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies and political prisoners under the Third Reich. Muller claims to have witnessed the process from it birth in Auschwitz to its death in Birkenau shortly before the camp's liberation; accordingly, he spells out the details in a disturbing, meticulous fashion. The reader finds him/herself escorted through the notorious Block 11, its courtyard, the crematoria and the open burning pits. Muller recounts everything from the logistics of the ovens to the subterfuge the SS employed to lure prisoners into the gas chambers. Instances of revolt and insight into the plans and psychology of the camp resistance are also tackled. Some readers might find the account harrowing in its attention to grisly detail and facts; at times the book reads like a news story. Hence Muller's testimony is, perhaps, best read as a companion to other accounts that delve more deeply into the survivor's mind (such as the works of Tadeusz Borowski or Primo Levi). Further, Muller writes almost exclusively as a member of the Sonderkommando--those charged with the upkeep of the crematoria. This focus comes at the expense of attention to other areas of the camp that a holocaust scholar should explore.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good first read on the Holocaust.
I first read this book in the spring of 1982 when I was 16. I was overwhelmed by the content and the author's description of the gas chambers at Auswitz, as well as the fine detail of the burning pits that were constructed to minimize fuel consumption as well as maximize the diposal of murdered persons. Later when I was 30 I read it again and wept for mr Muller and all those who did suffer so within the dark machinery of the SS. What I found fascinating was that the author became numb to the Horrors around him with the passage of time. This too happened to me while I read his words. He portrayed what he saw in a very vivid manner. I recommend this personal narrative very highly to those who wish to get a first hand look into the Holocaust.

5-0 out of 5 stars A memoir is a memoir......
[...] This book is an essential eyewitness view of life as a sonderkommando, and how the Nazi establishment in Auschwitz killed three and & half million people, all in a historically unprecidented short period of time. Muller describes the "shower" facade, and the mechanics of destroying that many bodies.

David Irving, the notorious holocaust denier, contends that the Nazis could not have killed eleven million, simply because of the amount of coke/charcoal needed to burn that many bodies. How did that happen in Auschwitz? Muller describes how Master Sergeant Otto Moll (who was in charge of the gas chambers) had the prisoners build large pits to burn an anticipated influx of Hungarians. These pits included brick "channels," which funneled the melted body fat from the fire into large cauldrens. The melted fat was then dumped back on top of the bodies, to encourage the fire & save on coal, fuel oil, and fire wood.

There are dozens--if not hundreds--of books about Auschwitz. Many are better written than "Eyewitness." Just off the top of my head, Borowski's collection of short stories "This Way for the Gas, Ladies & Gentlemen," Wiesel's "Night," Levi's "Survival"--they have better writing. But none of those books grasp the enormity of the sonderkommando experience, because none of those three were in the sonderkommandos like Muller. Similarly, Steiner's "Treblinka" is a more complete picture of the origin and evolution of the gas chambers. But Muller writes what he saw--what he lived--in a way that is unbearably moving. If you want to get a picture of Auschwitz, read this book--and Sara Nomberg-Przuytyk's "Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land."

All that said--let me get down from my high horse. Simply because a book is a holocaust memoir does not automatically make the book worth reading. For example, I found Frister's "The Cap: The Price of a Life" to be completely unreadable. I enjoyed it, but many people will also not care for Glazar's "Trap with a Green Fence: Survival in Treblinka." In fact (taking a deep breath & cringing a little) aside from "Night," I am not wild about Wiesel. I think for historical analysis, Simon Wiesenthal is more informative, and from a moral philosophy perspective, nothing Wiesel wrote can touch Primo Levi's "The Drowned & the Saved."

This is a long way of my saying that while this book is not Shakespeare in its language, it is very readable--and very moving. This book is an important part of the history of the 20th century, and not one that can be replaced....even by a book as good as "Survival in Auschwitz."

2-0 out of 5 stars Read a better written memoir...
While Muller's account is an emotional portrayal of the horrors of Auschwitz, his excessive use of adjectives and repetitive narration makes his account somewhat difficult to get through. He talks us through many of the horrid details of the selections and gassings, but his redundancy ends up slightly immuning you to the plight of the victims. I liken this immunity to that which much of the world has acquired toward violence. The one excellent aspect of this book is the inside look into the actions of the Sonderkammando squad and the events of the uprising that led to the burning of crematiorium 4.

A much better written memoir is Primo Levi's "Survival in Auschwitz," a truly chilling account of the Auschwitz experience. Every word carries a weight that drives home the inhumanity of the concentration/death camps without overdoing it.

5-0 out of 5 stars There's One Born Every Minute . . .
First, print out the previous comment by the reviewer from Berlin and buy the book. When you receive the book, read the review and then read the first chapter, then read the review again and read the second chapter, etc. What a chilling contrast. ... Read more

113. Killing Bono : I Was Bono's Doppelganger
by Neil McCormick
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743482484
Catlog: Book (2004-10-19)
Publisher: MTV
Sales Rank: 2339
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Download Description

"Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. Some have greatness thrust upon them. And some have the misfortune to go to school with Bono. Everyone wants to be famous. But as a young punk in Dublin in the 1970s, Neil McCormick's ambitions went way beyond mere pop stardom. It was his destiny to be a veritable Rock God. He had it all worked out: the albums, the concerts, the quest for world peace. There was only one thing he hadn't counted on. The boy sitting on the other side of the classroom had plans of his own. Killing Bono is a story of divergent lives. As Bono and his band U2 ascended to global superstardom, his school friend Neil scorched a burning path in quite the opposite direction. Bad drugs, weird sex, bizarre haircuts: Neil experienced it all in his elusive quest for fame. But sometimes it is life's losers who have the most interesting tales to tell. Featuring guest appearances by the Pope, Bob Dylan, and a galaxy of stars, Killing Bono offers an extremely funny, startlingly candid, and strangely moving account of a life lived in the shadows of superstardom. ""The problem with knowing you is that you've done everything I ever wanted to,"" Neil once complained to his famous friend. ""I'm your doppelganger,"" Bono replied. ""If you want your life back, you'll have to kill me."" Now there was a thought..." ... Read more

114. Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679722130
Catlog: Book (1989-07-17)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 56950
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Immensely readable...A Chicano Manchild in the Promised Land."

-- Publishers Weekly

Before his mysterious disappearance and probable death in 1971, Oscar Zeta Acosta was famous as a Robin Hood Chicano layer and notorious as the real-life model for Hunter S. Thompson's "Dr. Gonzo," a fat, pugnacious attorney with a gargantuan appetite for food, drugs, and life on the edge.

Written with uninhibited candor and manic energy, this book is Acosta's own account of coming of age as a Chicano in the psychedelic sixties, of taking on impossible cases while breaking all tile rules of courtroom conduct, and of scrambling headlong in search of a personal and cultural identity. It is a landmark of contemporary Hispanic-American literature, at once ribald, surreal, and unmistakably authentic.

"Acosta has entered counterculture folklore. This is the life story of a man whose pain is made real, whose roots are in question, and whose society seems to be fragmenting around him."

-- Saturday Review of Literature ... Read more

Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars wallowing in the trough of excess
Once one gets past the multiple occurences of multi-hued vomit and the daily self-love in the shower... As autobiography, one would do well to read this with some skepticism; Acosta makes himself into an icon of the 60s and 70s, and less a faithful recorder of that time. However, the book can also function as a wonderful novel read in the tradition of pulp novels of the 70s such as Valley of the Dolls. The last chapter shifts from the searching bravado and life on the edge quality into a moving testimony of who Acosta is, and what he is. The book has become one of the important books in the growing recognition of Chicano literature, and Oscar's papers are in a collection open to the public at the University of California. There's a 60 minute videotape of him, 10 of which are Acosta reading from this book. I wonder if his virtual voice is as wild and rich as the voice of the author in print?

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read.
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Brown Buffalo is basically a road story about a Mexican-American looking for his identity in a time before the Civil Rights movement. The narrative focuses on Oscar Acosta and his semi-autobiographical account of his life story. The hero of this novel is what makes it so good. Acosta's detailed storytelling keeps the reader interested throughout.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good story at heart
It is easy to dismiss this book. The hallucinations and drug-induced rants become a little exaggerated and tedious. Although, his friend and partner in crime, Hunter S. Thompson, would detail similar bizarre experiences in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, their intent seemed different. Whereas HST played with fantasy in social satire as a form of comic relief, OZA seems to want you to believe it to be fact...or at least for you to trust that he believed it.
With that said, the story is one of the most self-deprecating, odd, and entertaining autobiographies I have ever read. It can easily stand alone as study of a Mexican-American struggle for the American Dream, as well as companion book to Hunter S. Thompson enthusiasts. Regardless of your intent on picking this book up, OZA will amuse, disgust, and surprise you...making this a worthwhile read.

On a sidenote: This book truly makes you wonder, when HST and OZA joined up, who influenced who more.

3-0 out of 5 stars Overhyped, Formless And Dull
Strong writing in places, but Acosta's style is sometimes hard to follow. Overall, I found the book to be meandering, formless, and kind of dull. The "Chicano in search of his identity" stuff is pure marketing hype. "A Chicano in search of beer, chicks and drugs" would be more like it--but there isn't much of that here, either, in case you're looking for a story of epic debauchery by Hunter Thompson's Samoan attorney. Acosta comes off as a fairly conservative character--he was a Christian missionary in Panama at one time--and basically apolitical at this point in his life. He wanders around the country, goes to bars, tries peyote, smokes some weed, drinks a lot of beer, but it's all pretty low key and, personally, I never thought this kind of thing was very interesting to begin with. Still, Acosta is a fairly sympathetic character and he's a better writer than most. This isn't a bad book, but it isn't that great, either--read Hunter Thompson instead

5-0 out of 5 stars A superb book
This book is one of the most memorable I have read in many years. Oscar lived an incredible life, and his ability to render it in this book is consistently amazing. I've read this book about three times, and I reflect on the trajectory of Oscar's life often. ... Read more

115. Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues
by Elijah Wald
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060524235
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Amistad
Sales Rank: 31504
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Robert Johnson's story presents a fascinating paradox: Why did this genius of the Delta blues excite so little interest when his records were first released in the 1930s? And how did this brilliant but obscure musician come to be hailed long after his death as the most important artist in early blues and a founding father of rock 'n' roll?

Elijah Wald provides the first thorough examination of Johnson's work and makes it the centerpiece for a fresh look at the entire history of the blues. He traces the music's rural folk roots but focuses on its evolution as a hot, hip African-American pop style, placing the great blues stars in their proper place as innovative popular artists during one of the most exciting periods in American music. He then goes on to explore how the image of the blues was reshaped by a world of generally white fans, with very different standards and dreams.

The result is a view of the blues from the inside, based not only on recordings but also on the recollections of the musicians themselves, the African-American press, and original research. Wald presents previously unpublished studies of what people on Delta plantations were actually listening to during the blues era, showing the larger world in which Johnson's music was conceived. What emerges is a new respect and appreciation for the creators of what many consider to be America's deepest and most influential music.

Wald also discusses how later fans formed a new view of the blues as haunting Delta folklore. While trying to separate fantasy from reality, he accepts that neither the simple history nor the romantic legend is the whole story. Each has its own fascinating history, and it is these twin histories that inform this book.

... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars great book!
I just finished this book, and I have to say that it is the best history of blues I have ever read. It was full of facts, but written in a really readable style -- sort of like a conversation with someone very knowledgable about the subject, more than a lecture. It also made me think about a lot of the music I love in a whole new way.

I have been listening to Robert Johnson's music for years, and after reading Wald's chapters on his recordings I went back over them again. I can't say I agree with every single one of Wald's comments, but I heard so much that I had never noticed before. It really opened up Johnson's music, and made me understand what he was doing, and how he fit into the bigger picture.

I have to admit that I am not as familiar as I should be with some of the other people the book talks about, like Leroy Carr and Dinah Washington, but this made me want to go out and get their records, and learn more. And I guess that's really the point of any book on music.

2-0 out of 5 stars Long haul to the Crossroads
When I saw this book, and the cover picture I was so excited. I couldnt wait to read it. I anticipated some insite into Robert Johnson, and the blues generally. Never judge a book by its beautiful cover....

I read the book, cover to cover. I have been an avid blues fan since 1967, still am, and listen to the stuff and play it on my guitar almost every day. I was familiar with 95% of the performers mentioned in the book. I owned the companion CD and have much of the material on other Lps and CD's. This is an area of interest, passion and comfort for me.

I would really like to meet Mr. Wald and play guitar with him-he is clearly knowledgable and stimulated by the genre.

But in a nutshell, this is a LONG READ, which I eventually found TEDIOUS. All of the five star reviews are accurate regarding its content and meaning, and I don't take issue with Mr. Wald's premise. The information on Robert Johnson, which interested me enough to buy this book was not comprehensive-the liner notes from The Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson are more informative. This has ALL THE THRILL OF A TEXTBOOK, with a bit LESS USEFULL information. But, thanks to Mr. Wald for his efforts on a subject not much delved into since the folk anthropology of the late sixties and early seventies.

5-0 out of 5 stars Six stars. A required book to understand Blues & Culture
Every time I read this book I am emailing, making long distance and local telephones, going to parties, political meetings, music
performances and other gatherings that I would prefer to miss for
a quiet night at home reading and practicing my many instrument. I am calling and talking to, running out to meet with, scholars of the blues and African American music, performers of blues, jazz, and folk music, people who study culture, ideology, race, and class, crusading that they buy this book.

This book follows the reality of the invention of the blues and how it really spread and what it really is. This book tells the truth and not the ignoramus stereotype of the state of blues culture in the world that Robert Johnson, and for that matter, his parents grew up in. This book tells a story the moldy fig people the Johnson met the devil at the crossroads idiots, etc won't recognize, but if you are African American, you will recognize you grandparents and parents and great grands depending on how old you are and how musical the memory is, whether you come from Mississippi or Los Angeles.

This is a serious serious serious book clean and well written, a book that belongs in every home. This book is marketed as a book about Robert Johnson. However, the central thesis of the book is that blues is a creation of a black public that loved and desired the blues and that defined the reality of the blues and then seeks to find this music's history and how the conflict between it and the nature and business of commercial recording transpired, and how this is totally contrary to the folklorists image of the dustry field hand by day, and blues virtuoso of sad existential songs at night.

To the many researchers and divers into our past this book is sourced enough that if you are quick enough you can get to the primary sources he mentions that will help you be in the next generation of rational thinking papers, books, music collections, and discoveries will come from, at least if you share my hope that real scholarship and knowledge can pierce through the garbage oceans of stereotypes and thinking that serves dominant culture and the place of Blacks in its fantasies and nightmares.

For those who are into the blues as practiced by those on the earth as Blues People as Imamu would have said, this brings things wherethey are for you and where they should be.

As I have said in various places, this book is marketed as a
biography of Robert Johnson, but what this actually is is a condensed criticisms of the views of the blues foisted on blues people by the folk and post folk white blues industry, a concise and factual criticism of previous histories of the blues, and a lot of practical learning in a short readable book.

Not only if you are interested in blues, African American music, butif you are interested in the deformities of the culture by dominance in this society, you need to own this book and know what it teaches.

For those who see the blues as being ultimately represented by
isolated nearly African, primitive delta bluesmen, pouring out theirdeep Negroid souls about the existential nature of black suffering and founding the blues, this will show you that you are a complete fool or at least a victim misled by pervayors of ignorance.

Nice job

Click on the about me blurb above my name and then procede to my comments on the complete Robert Johnson set to see description of the realities of Bob Johnson that this book reflects even though I wrote it before this book came out. Then buy this book because it says so much more than I could have imagined along the same lines.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Blues and Romantic History
Many Americans have shown a great interest in "roots" music as part of a highly commendable effort to understand our country's life and culture. Much of this interest has, over the years, focused on the blues of the Mississippi Delta and, in particular, on the recordings of singer and guitarist Robert Johnson (1911 -1938). Johnson was an obscure figure in his day and his life and music remain the stuff of legend. He had two recording dates in 1936 and 1937. His music was rediscovered in the 1960s and since that time the sales of his collected recordings have numbered in the millions.

In "Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues" (2004), Elijah Wald offers a compelling study of the blues and of blues historiography focusing on Robert Johnson. Wald tries to correct what he deems to be the prevailing myths about Johnson: that he was a primitive folk artist caught in the Mississippi Delta who recorded and perfected a local traditional form of blues. Wald finds Johnson an ambitious young singer who had studied the blues forms popular in his day. Johnson, Wald argues, wanted to escape the Mississippi Delta and pattern himself on the urban blues singers, in particular Leroy Carr, emanating from the midwest and Chicago.

Wald finds that Johnson displayed a variety of blues styles in his recordings and that he was largely ignored by black music listeners of his day because Johnson's early efforts to capture an urban blues style were basically copies of more successful singers and because his songs in the Delta blues style lacked appeal to the urban and sophisticated black audience of the time.

Johnson's music only became well-known, Wald argues, with the rise of English rock, and with his rediscovery by a largely white audience. The tastes of black music listeners had moved in a mostly different direction towards soul, funk, rap, disco and did not encompass rural blues singers. The fascination of modern listeners with Johnson, according to Wald, is due to a romantic spirit -- a boredom with the life of the everyday -- and a search for a past full of authentic individuals who knew their own wants and needs and who projected themselves in their art.

Wald's book begins with a history of the blues before Robert Johnson focusing on the commercial character the music had at the outset. He gives a great deal of attention to the Blues queens -- Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey -- and to their smooth-voiced male sucessors, particularly Leroy Carr, as mentioned above, and Lonnie Johnson. These singers profoundly influenced Johnson's music and his ambitions to become a popular entertainer and not a cult figure.

The central part of Wald's book consists of a brief biography of Johnson -- summarizing the various speculations on his life -- and of a song-by-song discussion of his recordings. In this discussion, Wald discusses the music with a great deal of intelligence and understanding. He shows very clearly Johnson's debts to his more commercially sucessful predecessors and explains as well the variety of blues styles Johnson encompassed in his songs.

The final portion of the book carries the story of the blues forward beyond Robert Johnson's death. It shows how the music at first evolved into a combo style, again approaching popular music, which took blues into a different direction from Johnson's recordings. The book concludes with a discussion of Johnson's rediscovery, and the discovery of other Delta blues singers, beginning in the 1960's.

Wald clearly knows his material. For all his criticism of the mythmaking cult over Johnson, Wald's love for this music shines through, as he is the first to admit. Upon reading this book, I spent considerable time relistening to Johnson's music and felt I came away with a better understanding and appreciation of it than I had before. The goal of every book about music should be to encourage its readers to return to (or get to know) the songs, or what have you, themselves. The book meets this goal admirably.

There are few books on the blues that manage to be both scholarly, critical, and inspiring and Wald's book is one of these few. I do not find Wald's thesis as unsusual as he claims it to be, but it certainly will be worth exploring by listeners and readers who do not have a large backround in this music.

In music, a fair and careful historical account will in the long run perform a greater service to the music and the artists than will legends and stereotypes. The Delta singers discussed in this book, Robert Johnson, Son House, Skip James, Charley Patton, were musicians of talent. Understanding their story can only increase the listener's appreciation of the blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Who was Robert Johnson?
This is an intelligent, thoughtful, informative book, with a unifying objective historical view. If you want the musical answer to the musical question I posed above, it's here. Wald puts Johnson in context in the history of the blues, and there's a great companion CD, Back to the Crossroads: The Roots of Robert Johnson, with 23 rare 78 tracks, so you can hear many of the hundreds of blues pioneers mentioned in the book.

My favorite suggestion in this book: What effect did Alan Lomax's 1941 Mississippi interviews with Delta blues players regarding Robert Johnson have on their assessment of "their one-time peer"? This thought made me put the book down and think about history and history writing, for about 2 days.

Very heady. I'll be looking for anything Mr. Wald writes. ... Read more

116. Ester and Ruzya : How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385336047
Catlog: Book (2004-10-26)
Publisher: The Dial Press
Sales Rank: 25108
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117. Journey from the Land of No : A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran
list price: $23.00
our price: $13.80
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Asin: 1400046114
Catlog: Book (2004-08-10)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 2863
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118. Great Jewish Women
by Elinor Slater, Robert Slater
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0824603702
Catlog: Book (1998-01-01)
Publisher: Jonathan David Publishers
Sales Rank: 159432
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Profiles of more than one hundred Jewish women who have had a great impact in their respective fields of endeavor, including Golda Meir, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barbra Streisand, and U.S. senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. Their unusual achievements are interestingly presented and their relationships to Judaism highlighted. With black-and-white photographs. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Great?
While there are some genuinely great Jewish women in this book, there are too many whose claim to greatness rests solely on fame and left-leaning politics. How is Barbara Streisand a "Great Jewish Woman"? Is it because she is a great Democtratic fundraiser? And How does Shulamit Aloni get to be great? By being an anti-Israeli Israeli? Diane Arbus (eeww) hated being Jewish and would be uncomfortable to see her name in this book if she hadn't killed herself, and Estee Lauder became a Roman Catholic........not exactly a "Great Jewish Woman".

If your idea of greatness is actresses and singers or anybody Jewish who managed to get her name in the paper than this is your book. Rosalind Franklyn and Judy Resnick constitute real greatness, while Goldie Hawn is merely famous. I would never put them in the same category.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great gift for Jewish Women
This book makes a great graduation gift or other gift for any jewish woman, young or old. It illustrates the accomplishments of women and shows the adversity that they overcame to achieve greatness. Enjoyable for woman of any age. ... Read more

119. Oscar Wilde
list price: $21.00
our price: $14.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394759842
Catlog: Book (1988-11-05)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 151680
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Richard Ellmann capped an illustrious career in biography (his James Joyce is considered one of the masterpieces of the 20th century) with this life of Oscar Wilde, which won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize on its original publication in 1988.Ellmann's account of Wilde's extravagantly operatic life as poet, playwright, aesthete, and martyr to sexual morality is notable not only for the full portrait it gives of Wilde, but also for Ellmann's assessment of his subject's literary greatness; both aims are served by a plethora of quotations from Wilde's own work and correspondence. Wilde straddled the line between the Victorian age and the modern world as he did everything in life ... with impeccable style. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book will have you eating, drinking and sleeping Wilde.
Richard Ellmann obviously knew just about everything there was to know about Oscar Wilde; what is amazing is that he was able to put most of it in his Wilde biography and still make it a graceful, engrossing read completely free of boredom or didacticism. Wilde was one of the truly great personalities of all time, and Ellmann not only brings him to vivid life, but demonstrates why he was one of the most important literary figures of the 19th century.

I bought this book after seeing the movie, "Wilde" which is based on it. I have to say that I caught a bit of "Oscar Fever" while reading it. The book is incredibly thorough and well-researched; Ellman definitely knows his stuff. The book is written in an admiring, respectful tone but remains objective. Excerpts from Wilde's works that the author found particularly significant are included, as well as many wonderful pictures.

After reading this book I have a lot of admiration and fondness for Wilde, and I marvel at his fascinating but ultimately tragic life. A couple of months before I read this book I was wandering around the cemetery de Pere-Lachaise in Paris and happened upon Wilde's grave. I didn't think too much of it then but now that I have learned a bit about the man I really do want to go back and pay my respects. Ellman has written a beautiful, loving portrait of Wilde and it is thoroughly enjoyable and poignant. I'd also recommend the wonderful film starring Stephen Fry and Jude Law but to get the whole story, read the book!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars scholarly yet stimulating
I remember reading this book when I was 16 and being blown away by the erudition. Even to this day it's probably the most erudite biography I've ever read. The scholarly weight and depth of this book is tremendous. It is amazingly comprehensive. This is the kind of book that takes 20 years to write and must be a labor of love for the writer--the writer must really love his subject, in this case, Wilde. And one has every indication from the book that Richard Ellman did. His portrait of Wilde is no less sympathetic as it is complete. This must be the definitive biography which all other Wilde bios should be measured against. A superlative achievement.

David Rehak
author of "A Young Girl's Crimes"

5-0 out of 5 stars Utterly Moving
I had just finished this book ten minutes ago and I am completely in love with the man. His life was one of both tragedy and creativity. I felt so sad for him in the last part of his life. He was an amazing soul and this bio accented it. A must read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Likely to stand as the definitive biography of Wilde
If Richard Ellmann had not already written the definitive literary biography (his astonishing JAMES JOYCE), this utterly first-rate biography would be a legitimate candidate for the title. One might initially think that Wilde would be an easy subject for a biography: his life was interesting, eventful, literarily significant, triumphant, and tragic. But the problem is that for many Wilde has become a symbol either of the late 19th century Victorian decadence or the oppressed homosexual. To treat anyone, and especially Wilde, primarily as a symbol or a representative of anything outside himself, is to distort and misrepresent. The genius of Ellmann's biography of Wilde is that Wilde never becomes either more or less than the writer and person Oscar Wilde.

The portrait that emerges of Wilde is absolutely fascinating. If Ellmann's JAMES JOYCE is the greater biography, Wilde emerges nonetheless as the more interesting of the two Irish authors, and perhaps the more brilliant, if not the more productive. Indeed, one of the things that emerges from Ellmann's book is a sense that Wilde might have become a greater writer than he did, and not just if he had not sued the Marquess of Queensbury and had not been sent to prison on sodomy charges. Wilde emerges as even more brilliant than the work he produced, as if he had produced much of his work with a minimum of reference.

Ellmann does a marvelous job of situation Wilde in his time and place, with the cultural and artistic concerns paramount at the time. He also does a fair and just job of depicting the major involvements in his life, beginning with Whistler and his wife Constance and continuing on with his various involvements, especially with Alfred Lord Douglas. With the latter, Ellmann certainly does not try to idealize the relationship, but recounts it warts and all. If there is a villain in the book, it is not, surprisingly, the Marquess of Queensbury, but his son Lord Douglas.

The saddest part of the book, by far, is the section recounting Wilde's life after leaving prison, which is one disappointment after another. He first intended to reunite and reconcile with his wife, but she unexpectedly died, thereby cutting himself off from both a family and his children. He then reunites uncomfortably with Lord Douglas, but the attempt is a disaster. He final year or two are recounted as being especially miserable, with an impoverished Wilde reduced to conversing entertainingly with strangers for the benefit of a drink. It is especially heartbreaking to read how almost all his former friends cut him off, refusing to help him in his time of greatest need. An encounter with a young man from Arkansas provides perhaps the most apt Wilde quote from his last days. Upon hearing about Arkansas, Wilde remarked, "I would like to flee like a wounded hart into Arkansas."

One learns a vast amount of fascinating biographical detail about Wilde's life from this book. For instance: Wilde was double-jointed, could speed read and knock off books in scarcely more than a half hour in some instances. He was acquainted with the Yeats family in Ireland, and spoke with a pronounced Irish accent until he went to Oxford. He bought Thomas Carlyle's writing desk. He was a Mason. Physically he had tiny feet and teeth that were darkened by mercury treatments. And there is much, much more.

On nearly every level, this is a truly great biography. Even if one is not a fan of Wilde's works, it is definitely worth reading. ... Read more

120. Condi: The Condoleeza Rice Story, New Updated Edition
by Antonia Felix
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1557046751
Catlog: Book (2005-02-28)
Publisher: New Market
Sales Rank: 96816
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"The secretary of state is America's face to the world and in Dr. Rice the world will see the strength, grace and decency of our country....I've relied on her counsel, benefited from her great experience and appreciated her sound and steady judgment. And now I'm honored that she's agreed to serve in my Cabinet."—George W. Bush, in his official statement nominating Condoleezza Rice as the next Secretary of State

As Secretary of State and a close confidant of President George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice is the most influential woman in the history of the United States government, and perhaps one of the most famous black women in the world. Her latest stint in Washington, DC follows her role as National Security Advisor to the President and a distinguished career as scholar, professor, provost, and foreign policy advisor that has taken her from Birmingham, Alabama, to Denver, Colorado, to Palo Alto, California, to the White House—all by the age of 50.

But just who is this powerful woman who has experienced firsthand some of our nation's darkest and brightest moments, who was a key player in the government's response to the September 11 tragedies, and who some believe will likely be a future governor, senator, vice president, or even president? Drawing from exclusive interviews with dozens of relatives, colleagues, friends, and teachers and from scores of previously published interviews and articles, Antonia Felix gives us the first biography of this extraordinary American—a poised, immensely appealing, fiercely loyal, and deeply religious woman, whose passions include music, football, and Russia.

Her remarkable story is founded on a compelling family legacy. With ancestors on both sides who were white slave owners and slaves, Condoleezza Rice comes from two lineages, the Rices and the Rays, devoted to education and achievement. She was born in segregated Birmingham in 1954 and grew up in the upwardly mobile, high-achieving, black middle-class enclave of the city. Her music-loving parents, both educators, named her after a musical term, con dolcezza—to play "with sweetness."

The Rices started their only child on piano lessons at age three and filled her childhood years with ballet, figure skating, tutoring in French and Spanish, football viewing, and a constant flow of books at her bedside table, setting forth a standard of excellence that would give her the "twice as good" edge necessary to be on an even standing with her white peers in the segregated South.

While in training to become a concert pianist (a dream she eventually cast aside), Rice graduated from high school at 16 and from the University of Denver at 19. She ultimately found her career calling from her professor there, Josef Korbel, former Central European diplomat and father of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who sparked her passion for Soviet studies. After receiving a Ph.D. at age 26, Rice became an assistant professor of political science at Stanford, starting on the path that led to her becoming the youngest-ever provost at Stanford, the youngest and first-ever female national security advisor, and the first black, female secretary of state.

The story of her path to excellence is an inspiration to all, regardless of politics. Ms. Felix's book, Condi, not only gives us the first comprehensive portrait of the person who has the president's ear perhaps more than anyone else in his administration—a black woman who has risen to the top in a field traditionally dominated by white men—but also a greater understanding of and insight into the workings of the White House. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars Objective and Entertaining
Condi is an objective biography of Dr. Rice, beginning with her childhood experiences in Alabama, and continuing on with her rise to the White House.The most interesting part of the book is the history of her family, and how they shaped her into the ambitious and intelligent woman she now is.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating life of a fascinating woman
I picked up this book to learn more about the woman who is our new Secretary of State and I'm glad I did. It seems she's been on the track to get where she is almost from the time she was born.

Although born in segregated Birmingham, her parents tried to shield her from those realities and instead focused her upbringing on scholastic achievement and church. Her parents, very accomplished and community involved people, made sure Dr. Rice had every opportunity growing up.

The fact that Dr. Rice initially studied to become a concert pianist, until she realized she didn't have what it takes to be a success didn't surprise me. Neither did the fact that she was bright enough to skip two grades and was very young when she graduated college. I was suprised to learn that Dr. Rice initially registered as a Democrat and voted for Jimmy Carter. It was that administrations Soviet polices (and her belief in small government) that turned her into a Republican.

This book details the public face/life of Dr. Rice (the schooling, jobs, etc). Her private life is barely mentioned (no gossip here). For example, the fact that she's dated several football players is mentioned (briefly) but not discussed in any depth (the gentlemen's names aren't even included). What finally emerges is a portrait of an extremely bright, accomplished woman who loves her job, her friends and family and football.

4-0 out of 5 stars Condi is a Respectable Character
You don't have to agree with her views to be in awe of what this woman has accomplished. I for one am not a huge fan of the administration for which she belongs, but I figured since Condoleeza Rice is about to step into an historical position (the highest government position appointed to a black woman- Secetary of State), I better educate myself on the woman and her journey.
Condi-The Condoleeza Rice Story gives its readers an overview of this intriguing woman's life, but no more. I was pleased to find out more about her family background which is filled with scholars. Knowing more about her family history gives me a better understanding of why she is the way she is. The book goes on to detail every accomplishment Condi has made whether it be the University of Denver's "Senior Woman of the Year," Standford's provost, or National Security Advisor. I must admit that I was very disturbed and stunned to read of her connection to oil (served on Chevron's board,etc.) That definitely made me a little weary.
While this biography was very informative, it failed to shed light on Condi's personality. I would like to know more about the Condi that enjoys football and hanging out with her firends.

3-0 out of 5 stars Shows us the career superwoman but not the person
Condoleezza Rice was the object of intense curiousity earlier this year during the controversial 9/11 hearings. Although she revealed nothing except the standard public relations talking points, Rice maintained her poise in the onslaught of intense scrutiny. So it's no wonder the Bush administration has increasingly leaned on her to argue their position about the war in Iraq.

Antonia Felix's biography of Rice reads like an elongated resume of her subject and not much more. It's very much a public relations work as she dutifully cites Rice's accomplishments. However, anyone who has paid scant attention to Rice has heard it all before. Sure we learn of Rice's childhood in Birmingham during the height of the civil rights struggle, her love of football and classical music but we get no sense of what really makes her tick.

Is she an icy, cold blooded schoolmarm as many have suggested or is there in fact a personality behind the image she presents? Does she wholeheartedly believe in the policies she argues for on behalf of her employer or does she entertain any doubts? Rice is obviously an intelligent woman and I strongly suspect she's a more complex individual than her press, good or bad, lets us believe. I'm sure many would love to know how she reconciles her personal viewsand beliefs as a preacher's daughter and African American with some of thestands and policies of the people and institutions she has served as a spokesperson for.

Read this book if you want a recitation of Rice's career accomplishments but if you're looking for more you'll have to wait for another biography.

3-0 out of 5 stars Will the Real Sistuh Please Stand Up?
Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story by biographer Antonia Felix paints a picture of a life divine. This is the story of how a little black girl from the segregated south rose to prominence to become one of the most powerful women in political history. A woman whose impact may affect America forever. Hers however is not a story of a poor little girl scuffling from the ravages of poverty to a top level Presidential appointment. Not a rags to riches story here. No, Rice was raised in the comfort of the educated middle class, a privileged daughter of the south, the quintessential BAP, (Black American Princess).

Born to a third generation college-educated family in Birmingham, Alabama, Rice knew well the family history of her paternal grandfather's journey from sharecropper to college graduate and she knew the legacy she inherited was not to be taken lightly. Both the Rices and The Rays (maternal line) were proud, educated folk. Her mother, Angelena Ray Rice, was an accomplished musician and school teacher when she met John Rice, a young Presbyterian minister. By the time Rice was three years old she was learning French and the piano. Though she was in the midst of the most heated time of the civil rights movement-- her hometown was known as Bombingham--, the coping methods of the black middle class was one that shielded their children from the insanity and horrors of Jim Crow. Rice's parents' response to her concerns about segregated facilities was that it was not her problem. When the amusement park opened one day of the year for blacks, they did not patronize it. Summers were spent at college campuses where her parents took graduate courses, one being the University of Denver. They eventually moved there when John took a position as professor and administrator. Rice excelled in music and ice skating though she was informed that she did not have the aptitude for college. Of course her parents dismissed the notion and Rice proved them wrong by excelling in her studies at private schools.

After entering the University of Denver at age fifteen, where she challenged a professor on the intelligence of blacks, Rice realized that while she was a good pianist, she was not great and therefore shifted her interests elsewhere. She took a class in Russian Studies and there she found her passion. She went on for advanced degrees and eventually ended up at Stanford University as a professor and then a provost. It was there she came to the attention of President George Bush. But it is under the present President George W. Bush's regime that she has flourished and received world wide attention as the National Security Advisor.

The book, in tedious detail, chronicles Rice's academic and political career, however, nothing was really revealed that could have been culled from articles and other media outlets. This reviewer anticipated reading this book to get a real picture of the Condoleezza Rice that the public is not privy to and have my knowledge expanded about this hard-to-read woman. I wanted to get into the head of this woman with the plastered smile and perfect demeanor. I wanted to know the real woman. But maybe the façade is just what it is.

Dera Williams
APOOO BookClub ... Read more

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