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121. Manchild in the Promised Land
$18.90 $14.95 list($30.00)
122. Roots
$16.50 $13.62 list($25.00)
123. In Search of Sugihara : The Elusive
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124. The Beggar King and the Secret
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125. By Duty Bound: Survival And Redemption
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126. Flyboys : A True Story of Courage
127. Black Women in America
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128. Climbing Higher
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129. Monster : Autobiography of an
130. The House of Rothschild: Money's
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131. Once a King, Always a King : The
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132. Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob
133. Father Greg and the Homeboys :
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134. Forbidden Fruit : Love Stories
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135. Farmworker's Daughter: Growing
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136. America in Black and White: One
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137. Almost a Woman
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138. The Jew Store
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139. Not Without My Daughter
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140. In Our Hearts We Were Giants:

121. Manchild in the Promised Land
by Claude Brown
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684864185
Catlog: Book (1999-06-03)
Publisher: Touchstone
Sales Rank: 40197
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Manchild in the Promised Land is indeed one of the most remarkable autobiographies of our time. This thinly fictionalized account of Claude Brown's childhood as a hardened, streetwise criminal trying to survive the toughest streets of Harlem has been heralded as the definitive account of everyday life for the first generation of African Americans raised in the Northern ghettos of the 1940s and 1950s. When the book was first published in 1965, it was praised for its realistic portrayal of Harlem -- the children, young people, hardworking parents; the hustlers, drug dealers, prostitutes, and numbers runners; the police; the violence, sex, and humor. The book continues to resonate generations later, not only because of its fierce and dignified anger, not only because the struggles of urban youth are as deeply felt today as they were in Brown's time, but also because the book is affirmative and inspiring. Here is the story about the one who "made it," the boy who kept landing on his feet and became a man. ... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Greatest of the 20th Century American Autubiographies
This book for me is the most startling and important autobiography regarding black inner city life even when compared to Malcom X's. When I was a teenager growing up in the inner city in the eighties, the older black middle class generation spoke to us "youngbloods" as if we invented crime. The sickness of self hate, envy, disrespect in our community existed for a long time before it became fashionable to parade these ailments in front of mass media for profit. Manchild details these problems through a teenager growing up in the fourties in an inner city environment who luckily makes a turn for the better at the right time before becoming an adult. This is an American story, not just a black one, and one that details why blind conservative patriotism and easy fix liberal solutions still continue to be difficult to swallow for youth attempting to survive an institutionalized system designed to almost guarantee their failure in life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Those who don't remember the past.....
When this book came out in 1965, the NAACP's magazine "The Crisis" and other middle-class blacks criticized this book because it's raw and unsentimental portrait of ghetto life was seen as threatening to the entry of Black Americans into mainstream positions in America at the time. Too bad so many people tuned out it's message. Many of the things Claude Brown spoke of in this book about the Harlem of the mid-20th century came to pass in far more communities than Harlem (massive drug addiction, lunatic Black nationalist cults, massive disrespect of women, mindless violece, etc). Had more people listened to Claude Brown (RIP) at the time, perhaps Black America may have united to rid our communities of these evils instead of irrelevant "issues" like the Confederate Flag so that these things would not have become the plauge that they are today. As George Santayana said, "Those who don't remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

5-0 out of 5 stars A Definate "Must-Read"
This book goes on my list of favorite books. It is a well told story of one's transition from being a boy to a man while trying to survive an break out of Harlem's trap. I had some trouble getting interested in the book in the beginning but once I did, I couldn't put it down. Realistic and compelling.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best!
This book started what I would like to believe as my introduction to adult reading at the age of 18. I could not put it down because captured the experience of a black child in a timeless caption of America. You understood the impact of one person on hiself and even those around him. You will never forget the unrelenting love he had for "Pimp." The love that only an older sibling could have for a younger sibling. Buy it! Then read "Down These Mean Streets."

5-0 out of 5 stars Truthful
I had to do a summer reading project over last summer for 10th-11th grade. It was literally the longest book that I have ever read, but no complaining here.. I thought it was a really good book. Very moving, entertaining, and it told the real truth about how street life was like in the past. ... Read more

122. Roots
list price: $30.00
our price: $18.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385037872
Catlog: Book (1976-09-17)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 193531
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This "" (Newsweek magazine) begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley's own family tree.

When Alex Haley was a boy growing up in Tennessee, his grandmother used to tell him stories about their family, stories that went way back to a man she called "the African" who was taken aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America. As an adult, Alex Haley spent twelve years searching for documentation that might authenticate what his grandmother had told him. In an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered the name of "the African"--Kunta Kinte, as well as the exact location of the village in West Africa from where he was abducted in 1767.

While Haley created certain unknown details of his family history, ROOTS is definitely based on the facts of his ancestry, and the six generations of people--slaves and freedmen, farmers and lawyers, an architect, teacher--and one acclaimed author--descended from Kunte Kinte. But with this book, Haley did more than recapture the history of his own family. He popularized genealogy for people of all races and colors; and in so doing, wrote one of the most important and beloved books of all time, a true Modern Classic.
... Read more

Reviews (124)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truely Touching Saga - you'll be shaken to your roots
This book already has hundred reviews .. why am i writing one more ?Well,So much is the power of this book .
This book is different .. It will haunt you . You won't be able to leave this book in half.Nor will you be peaceful for few days after reading it .So is the power of this book .. you are drawn in the characters and really deeply touched by them ..
But it will teach you something you'll never forget.
This book changed my thoughts ..
People have already wriitten about historical , literery aspects of this book and i agree with them this is a masterpiece !!
I want to mention this rather small thing that struck me ,
This family has rather informal way of passing information to generations after generations ..Telling each new born stories about his dad , grand father and indirectly keeping the ROOTS ALIVE them something to treasure
I thought to myself , what will I be passing to my kids , and what will they tell thier kids and so on ..will my family members down few generations remember somethings about me our times ?
You have to have to read this ,no matter whether you are black brown or white .

5-0 out of 5 stars From Gone With The Wind To Roots
One of my college friends who studied comparative literature in China wrote to me a few years ago, about how she was longing to visit Georgia one day, "The plantation, and the oak trees...". Gone with the wind is a classic and was well translated in many languages. The movie also brought countless publicity and I remembered that I read an article once how the book "corrected" the public perception of the south and the slavery.

Well, that was my impression too, until I read Roots. Gone With The Wind is a story from Whites perspective with a focus on romance. I feel now it carried a heavy make up on the real south and the slavery. It eulogized the relationship between white masters and black slaves. Roots, on the other hand, describes the same south and the slavery, from Blacks perspective.

Roots started from Kunta Kinte's life back in Africa, to stories of several generations in the South. I feel the African part was hard to read, maybe due to lack of interests personally. Once I got past that part, I was fascinated by the story and I was saddened many times by their struggles. I believe the book displayed a much more accurate picture on the slavery and on relationships between whites and blacks. It is more than a family's tale, it is history!

I strongly recommend this book to everybody, especially to those who are interested into American History, to non-blacks, and to foreigners like myself. With Gone With The Wind overshadowed Roots in many other countries, this book offers a great education on American Slavery and on Black History. It shreds new lights on the origins of many current issues in the U.S. such as racism, racial profiling, and affirmative action. I rank this book the best book I've ever read, well, at least in English.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heritage Regained
Alex Haley's monumental tribute to his forebears provides not only the perfect antidote for Blacks in a society that perpetually miseducates us about our ancestral homeland, but also an unblinking and unflinching view of slavery.
This was the book that made Americans of all races and creeds care about this country's shameful past in a way that many never had before. The book points out the role of Arab slave traders in the problem, but it should be noted that under their auspices such problems stayed on African soil until the arrival of the toubob.
Haley does a brilliant job of getting inside the heads, hearts and souls of his forbear, Kunta Kinte and his family, however fictional certain aspects of the story may be. He warmly and lovingly re-creates both the positive and negative aspects of life in the village of Juffure, The Gambia, detailing their family lives, educational system, religious life, and their complex system of government. We learn about griots, who are highly reminiscent of the wandering minstrels of Medieval Europe, who through their songs and stories, pass the history of their people from one generation to another.I could feel the hot,arid climate of that region from just reading!
If people never read any other part of this epic saga, I would at least encourage them to read Chapter 24 in which Haley gives a brief but college-level education about the great kingdoms of West Africa, including Mali, the Kingdom where the world's first University was built in Timbuktu.More so than Europeans, Americans have a harder time accepting Africans as people of acheivement with a noteworthy history, even though they know that the earliest civilizations of man began on that continent, and that Africans have had thousand of years to figure out many things for which our culture does not give them credit.
It was to the University of Timbuktu that Kunta Kinte had purportedly planned to travel when sometime in the summer of 1767, he was chopping wood to make a drum and was attacked by four men who killed his pet dog, knocked him unconscious, and after a demeaning process of being chained, shaved, and branded by his abductors, had him loaded aboard the Lord Ligonier, and shipped to America on a filthy and horrifying journey, where he touches terra firma again at the docks of Annapolis, Maryland on September 29, 1767.
Every emotion Kunta must have felt as he lost control of his life, identity, name, and physical personage is registered. We feel his bewilderment, at dealing with his first view of an alien culture, Native Americans, innumerable degradations, first encounter with snow during one of four attempts to escape, and his pain when his foot is severed. His humbling discovery of his need for love is especially saddening.
Kunta's overwhelming resentment at the docility of the other slaves is replaced with understanding of their survival tactics. He befriends a gardener and fiddler after being sold to a kinder master, and he meets Belle, several years his senior, whom he eventually marries, and has a daughter named Kizzy.
Massa Waller's daughter, Missy Anne teaches Kizzy to read, and Kunta Kinte's life ends in the heartbreak of permanent separation from his daughter when the teenager writes an illegal pass for her sweetheart, Noah, and is sold from the Virginia plantation to a more sadistic master in North Carolina, who rapes her repeatedly and by whom she has her son, George.
In the midst of their dehuminization, we learn how the slaves manage to sustain a culture, learn and discuss current events, to love each other and have honorable relationships, even though the auction block may part them forever, and to periodically assert themselves and settle scores with their oppressors.While reading this story, I was reminded of how professors have warned that whatever Europeans did to others for so long boomeranged in two world wars.
The story follows the triumphs and tragedies of Chicken George and his descendants and finally ends with Alex Haley's emotional quest to trace his heritage and ascertain the truth about stories he was told in his boyhood.
Ultimately, Haley compensates for his ancestors' losses merely by his presence at the dock at Annapolis on the 200th anniversary of his ancestor's disembarkment there.
Whereas Kunta Kinte's abduction was lamented in 1767, two centuries later, in an underrated moment that is probably one of the most sacred in literary history, Haley visits Juffure and reconnects with those of his ancestral village who address him by his forebear's name.
Happily, the circle is complete and the world made to care about events that claimed more lives than Hitler's Final Solution.
Kunta Kinte's memory is honored with an annual festival in Annapolis, and every September 29th, a promising African American is given a scholarship in his name.
Hence, the Gambian who had once hoped to study at the University of Timbuktu has his waylaid ambitions fulfilled through others. There could not be a more fitting tribute to his memory.

4-0 out of 5 stars A family story.
This year for Black History Month, I decided to read a black history book, and I could not think of any title more celebrated than Alex Haley's "Roots". The experience was rewarding far beyond what I would have imagined in two respects. First, learning more about a cultural heritage that was different from my own was an awakening to say the least. Furthermore, Haley proved to be a master storyteller, making the read an enriching personal event.

One of the most compelling aspects of Roots is its conceptual basis. "Roots" is unique in its approach to research. The germination of "Roots" occurred when, as a youth, Haley marveled at the ancient family stories related to him by his maternal grandmother and a coterie of other female cousins and aunts. Those tales relate how a great ancestor known as "the African" was kidnapped into slavery one morning while chopping wood for a drum along a river called "Kamby Bologo". The family's oral tradition was remarkable in its time scale, covering at least five generations after the African was sold into slavery at Annapolis in 1767.

Haley expands his research beyond the family stories to include corroboration from conventional genealogical and historical sources such as official records from Spotsylvania county Virginia. In addition, Haley takes the further (and unprecedented) step of including corroboration from African oral tradition sources know as "Griots". Griots are a cultural phenomenon in West Africa. They are individuals who are combination storytellers and historical archive for a culture that has limited written records. It is the blending of information from such diverse sources that gives "Roots" its unique appeal.

As the father of two young (and darling) children, the most touching part of "Roots" for me was the beginning that related the birth, childhood and early adulthood of "the African" who was named Kunte Kinte. Having an awareness of the general storyline, and knowing what was going to happen eventually to Kunte Kinte, it was heart wrenching to read about the loving family and village relationships that would be forever severed by a terrible crime. The process of committing a person to slavery is dehumanizing in the extreme. "Roots" reversed that process by returning to the chattel that was Kunte Kinte his basic humanity. From the standpoint of prose style, the success of "Roots" herein lies. It is not merely a story from black history, but it is an important cautionary tale for any human being that is tempted to show brutality to fellow travelers.

I did not give "Roots" five stars because of another stylistic issue that I believe diminished its potential impact. It appeared to me that Haley changed his pace about mid way through the text, and I found this somewhat disappointing. Up through Kunte Kinte's sale to "Massa Waller", the character development reminded me of the level of detail you might find in a Victor Hugo novel. However, about the time Kunte Kinte is maimed by slave hunters (they chop off half his foot), it seemed to me that Haley picked up speed in his storytelling, and the years (and generations) began to pass by with ever increasing velocity. I would have preferred a more deliberate approach and greater character development to the later generations (particularly with Kizzy and Chicken George). I think that "Roots" could easily have been twice as long and yet remain a compelling epic.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic
I never saw the mini-series and don't want to. I finished the book about three days ago, having avoided it and the film since I'm not one to jump on the bandwagon and follow a trend. But this was one time I wish I had listened to everyone else, for I truly missed one of the great pieces of literature out there. ROOTS, along with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and Jackson McCrae's BARK OF THE DOGWOOD are some of my favorite books now and have a special place in my heart. The writing is excellent, the story will blow you away, and it seems as fresh (and disturbing) today--as if it were just written. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a heart and soul.

Also recommended: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and BARK OF THE DOGWOOD ... Read more

123. In Search of Sugihara : The Elusive Japanese Dipolomat Who Risked his Life to Rescue 10,000 Jews From the Holocaust
by Hillel Levine
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684832518
Catlog: Book (1996-11-04)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 244636
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Book Description

On August 2, 1940, as on every other morning for weeks before, a long line of Jewish refugees waited outside the Japanese consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania. Many had already witnessed Nazi atrocities in Poland and other Axis-occupied lands, and they were desperate to escape. To leave Europe they needed foreign transit visas. And at the window, the smiling Japanese consul was issuing them. Before his government closed down the consulate and reassigned him to Berlin, he would issue thousands of such visas.

This is the story of Chiune Sugihara, a diplomat and spy who saved as many as 10,000 Jews from deportation to concentration camps and almost certain death, Because of his extreme modesty, Sugihara's tremendous act of moral courage is only now beginning to become widely known.

Unlike Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat whose government sent him to Hungary with the express purpose of saving Jews, and Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who at least initially had a vested economic interest in protecting the lives of "his Jews," Sugihara had no apparent reason to perform his acts of rescue. Indeed, he acted in direct violation of official Japanese policy, which directed all government and military personnel to cooperate with the murderous policies of their Nazi allies. Examining Sugihara's education and background -- a background shared with the colonial administrators and military men who committed "the rape of Nanjing" -- author Hillel Levine finds nothing that explains his extraordinary behavior.

Levine's search has taken him from the old Japanese consul building in Kaunas (now Kovno), Lithuania, to the Australian outback; across Japan from the rice fields of Sugihara's native town to the boardrooms of conglomerates where his younger schoolmates still hold power. But the more Levine sought answers to Sugihara's puzzling behavior, the more he encountered questions. Remarkably, Chiune Sugihara was not the only Japanese official to save Jews. Yet none was ever punished for insubordination. Was there a secret Japanese plan to save Jews from Nazi genocide?

Much Holocaust scholarship focuses on the perpetrators of evil, trying to illuminate what drove ordinary men and women to commit horrifying and murderous acts. But perhaps as difficult to understand is the phenomenon of rescue: what inspired courageous individuals to swim against the tide of cruelty and indifference. This sensitive and nuanced biography concludes that there is no link between a person's background and his moral inclinations. Mercy remains a divine mystery despite our human craving to reduce it to behavioristic formulas.

This book does not attempt to explain "man's humanity to man." Instead Levine has woven a fascinating narrative of one man's heroic efforts to save lives, in the midst of so many seeking to destroy them. ... Read more

124. The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness
by Joel Ben Izzy
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565122909
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Sales Rank: 37914
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
It's a very good bookclub book.

5-0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK EVER!
I had heard Joel tell stories before, and when I got this book as a gift, I knew I would love it. I started one night at eleven, thinking I would read a bit and then go to sleep. I finished the book at five a.m. I have read books that I couldn't put down before, but this one practically paralyzed me. I just had to keep going. It is beautifully crafted and well-told. If there is ever a rough spot in your life, this book will get you through it. Heartwrenching and wondefully funny, it is a book I will treasure forever.

5-0 out of 5 stars A delightful experience
This unassuming little book is packed with bits of wisdom. I loved quotes like: "The Talmud asks, 'Who is rich?' and answers, 'The man who can appreciate what he has'" and "Sometimes you must follow your dreams very far to find that which is closest to your heart."

The story is also funny and heartwrenching and uplifting. Ben Izzy's profound experience is told in a very real, personal way, and as he struggled to understand the loss of everything he valued, I struggled with him.

Do not miss this is a treasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Book
EXTRAORDINARY, A ONE-IN-A-MILLION EXCEPTIONAL BOOK, A MUST READ, PACKED WITH WISDOM. You will not want to put this book down. Joel Ben Izzy is a professional storyteller who, because of a mindboggling twist of fate, loses his voice and is no longer able to perform. Months and months pass and there is no sign that his voice will return. How does a person let go and redefine one's hopes and dreams? Ben Izzy utilizes the tales he was once able to tell and applies their lessons to his own life. But perhaps the greatest benefactors of his experience are the readers who take to heart what he learned about the "secret of happiness."

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and elegantly crafted
THE BEGGAR KING AND THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS was by far one of the best books I have read in the last five years. Always on the search for that perfect novel that takes the reader through a wide range of real emotions and teaches something wise and profound with out being 'preachy,' Joel ben Izzy's book fit that criteria and so much more. I laughed, cried, sniffled, giggled and smiled my way from opening to final sentence. This would be an excellent gift book this holiday season and a welcome addition to your own personal bookshelf. I know you'll love it. ... Read more

125. By Duty Bound: Survival And Redemption In A Time Of War
by EZELL WARE, Joel Engel
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0525948619
Catlog: Book (2005-03-03)
Publisher: Dutton Books
Sales Rank: 392509
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Book Description

The inspiring, true story of a top soldier who survived Jim Crow only to land in astruggle for survival beside his racist white captain after they were downed inVietnam

Raised in the segregated South, Ezell Ware was determined to excel beyond the linesdrawn by white power brokers. He became the top recruit in his Marine training class;having grown up without running water, electricity, or sufficient food, he wasn’t dauntedby military life. He eventually earned a chance to join the Army’s helicopter pilotprogram, realizing his dream of flying. It was a role that would change his life, and thelife of an unlikely partner in valor at the height of the Vietnam War.

Downed by enemy fire while on a mission over thick jungles, Ware and his badly injuredcaptain endured a three-week descent into hell, with one canteen and little defense againstcountless deadly forces. But when his captain revealed his membership in the Ku KluxKlan, their situation took a turn that surprised them both—and put Ezell on the road tobecoming a general.

A unique memoir of heroism and humanity, By Duty Bound captures a crucialchapter in American history through the eyes of one of its most remarkable witnesses. ... Read more

126. Flyboys : A True Story of Courage
by James Bradley
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316159433
Catlog: Book (2004-09-14)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 1191
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Book Description

This acclaimed bestseller brilliantly illuminates a hidden piece of World War II history as it tells the harrowing truestory of nine American airmen shot down in the Pacific. One of them, George H. W. Bush, was miraculously rescued. The fate of the others-an explosive 60-year-old secret-is revealed for the first time in FLYBOYS. ... Read more

127. Black Women in America
list price: $325.00
our price: $325.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195156773
Catlog: Book (2005-05-19)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 677290
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Winner of the Dartmouth Medal for Outstanding Reference Publication of 1994, the first edition of Black Women in America broke ground-pulling together for the first time all of the research in this vast but underrepresented field to provide one of the strongest building blocks of Black Women's Studies. Hailed by Eric Foner of Columbia University (for a Lingua Franca survey) as "one of those publishing events which changes the way we look at a field," it simultaneously filled a void in the literature and sparked new research and concepts regarding African-American women in history. Since the first edition was published, a new generation of American black women has flourished, demanding this landmark reference be brought up to date. Women such as Venus and Serena Williams, Condoleezza Rice, Carol Mosley-Braun, Ruth Simmons, and Ann Fudge have become household names for their remarkable contributions to sports, politics, academia, and business. In three magnificent volumes, Black Women in America, second edition celebrates the remarkable achievements of black women throughout history, highlights their ongoing contributions in America today, and covers the new research the first edition helped to generate. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a "must-have" reference source
Those serious about African-American and women's history MUST include this encyclopedia in their reference collections. ... Read more

128. Climbing Higher
by Montel Williams, Lawrence Grobel
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451211596
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: New American Library
Sales Rank: 14106
Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Television icon, New York Times bestselling author-and powerful example of the strength to overcome obstacles-Montel Williams reveals his true story of struggle and triumph in this compelling memoir that proves not only a fascinating read, but an inspiration.

In 1999, after almost twenty years of mysterious symptoms that he tried to ignore, Montel Williams, a decorated former Naval intelligence officer and Emmy(r) Award-winning talk show host, was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Like others suffering from the devastating and often disabling disease, which attacks the central nervous system, Montel was first struck with denial, fear, depression, and anger. Next came the emotional trial of informing friends and family, and finally going public with the news. What followed was a fierce determination not to be beaten down by MS, and to live the most vital and productive life possible while becoming a dedicated spokesperson and fundraiser for the disease.

Montel Williams's Climbing Higher is a penetrating and insightful look at a remarkable man, his extraordinary career, and the illuminating life that graced him with strong values, courage, and wisdom. Now he shares that wisdom in this uplifting book on the divergent roads a life can take, and recounts his own resourceful approach to the challenges he has faced. Deeply personal, Climbing Higher is as straight-forward, honest, inspiring, and motivating as its author.
... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Example
Montel Williams is a successful talk show host in which he discusses serious topics such as devastating physical diseases, criminal behavior, and many other life problems with his guests. He recently wrote a book, Climbing Higher, in which he tells all of his readers that he has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He talks about his struggles with the disease and how he overcame them.

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease that causes demyelination in the brain. The myelin is a covering or insulation of the nerves. It helps transmit action potentials, which are the electrical impulses that the nerves use to communicate with each other. When the myelin is damaged do to MS severe pain and other unwanted symptoms can result.

In his book, Montel talks about how he has dealt with his pain. He had the option to have any pain medication he wanted, but he did not want to become addicted to drugs such as oxycontin or morphine. Instead, he chose to use medicinal marijuana. He feels that marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes only. Through his treatment with marijuana he has been able to cope with the pain and continue to go to work and make a difference in peoples' lives.

This book is well written, and Montel is open and honest with the emotional roller coaster he has taken when dealing with his disease. It is an inspirational book for those who have struggled in any area of life, especially those who have Multiple Sclerosis. It is a treat to see a celebrity humble himself or herself, becoming vulnerable in the process, to his fans and peers. I recommend this book to all people, and if a person gets a percentage of the satisfaction and joy out of reading this book, then he or she will have gotten his or her money's worth.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I was recently diagnosed with MS, and have been wanting to find more information about the disease, and as Montel states, it is hard to find any type of concensus on this disease. His roundtable discussion at the end of the book was a stroke of genius, and I found it very informative.

Most of the book was great, and it made the best arguement for legalization of medical marijuana research that I have ever heard. Also, I happen to live in Utah, and I have had a great experience with my neurologist. Just wanted to let everyone know that not all Utah doctors are like the one that he had to deal with.

Overall, this is a great book. Another book I would recommend is Lance Armstrongs "It's Not About the Bike". Montel made me feel better because I could relate to his symptoms and feelings, however Lance's book is a great story of fighting for life, despite increadible odds. They are both great books that help people understand what it means to fight to overcome life threatening and/or debilitating diseases.

3-0 out of 5 stars The..
I am not a fan of Montell at all, and I don't watch his show. I don't know what made me pick this book, but I'm glad I read it. The book was not what I expected at all. I had never heard of MS prior to reading this book. It was short and to the point. He makes some compelling arguments for the legalization of marijuana and the benefits and disadvantages of some other drugs. I felt his pain as I read the book. I felt every spasm, frustration, and fatigue episode. This will be a helpful read for MS sufferers. I hope a cure is found soon. I also hope that those who do not have MS will pick up the book and understand not just the nature of the ailment, but also those who live with it daily.

3-0 out of 5 stars Research...........Accuracy.........but a fairly good read.
No one can deny the ravages of MS. My oldest daughter has MS. No one can deny Montel Williams success in life. He's earned it.

What made this book lack a bit of credibility was the lack of research and accuracy when describing weapons and military service branches. Possibly this is due to poor quality control as I'm sure Mr. Williams was a decorated veteran (many of us were).

My observations are based on a 22 year Marine Corps career and 8 years as a peace officer.

First off, I thought Montel was a Naval Intelligence Officer. How could he have a "doctor in 'the marines'"? What are 'the marines'? Does he mean the Marine Corps? There is NO such thing as a Marine Corps doctor. There ARE Navy Corpsmen who are assigned to the Marine Corps during deployments and combat operations. They are NOT doctors though they do a tremendous job and are HIGHLY under rated.

As to weapons:

What is a Sigsaur??? Does he mean a Sig Saur?
What's a 'cylinder gun'? Does he mean a Revolver?
What's a clip? Does he mean a magazine?

He states he has a 'lot of guns'. Nine is not a 'lot'.
He says the guns are 'All registered' 'All legal' In what context does he say that? Guns don't have to be 'registered' to be legal unless you live in an area where the basic Constitutional Rights are denied.

He mentions a "big semiautomatic 'handgun'". What's a 'handgun'? ALL personal firearms are handled with the 'hands'. Some are 'shoulder weapons' and some are 'sidearms' but ALL are 'handguns' if held with the hands.

Montel says that his 'big semiautomatic handgun' had so much kick that he was "afraid when I pulled the trigger it would slip from my hand and wouldn't make a big enough hole". Sorry, Montel, with the weapon so close to your body, you wouldn't have to worry about slippage OR making a 'big enough hole'. If Montel were any way at all AFRAID of his weapons, he shouldn't have them. Respect is another thing altogether. If he had RESPECT for his weapons, he wouldn't be thinking of using one in a suicide anyway, depressed or not.

Hydroshock rounds? Standard 'ball' would have done the same job and been neater.

Speed loaders?? How many 'speed loaders' does he think he would need if he used a .357 magnum? Why speed loaders in the first place? Was he in a hurry to load the weapon? He only needed ONE round to do the deed.

What WAS Montel anyway, A NAVAL Intelligence Officer OR a United States Marine. To clearify an important matter. The Marine Corps is NOT a part of the Navy. The Marine Corps and the Navy are SISTER services, both serving within the Naval Department.

Over all, when I read this book, I felt very sad. Not so much that a former professional military officer had such a lack of knowledge of weaponry. If Montel HAD been in the Marine Corps, I doubt his knowledge of weapons would have been so vague. The sadness was that a potentially good read was made less so by a lack of attention to detail and proof reading.

That's NOT to say that his strength and ability to overcome his MS isn't to be admired. My daughter has overcome her own MS (severe) and is a fighter from the word go. Congratulations to Montel on his victory.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good information!
I was diagnosed with MS 22 years ago. Thank goodness I wasn't hit hard in the beginning and was able to go on with life to achieve many of my goals. Over the last few years, the MS has gotten worse but I still get out of bed and go to work each morning. I totally understood most of what Montel said in his book, such things as muscle spasms, not wanting the public to know about the MS, etc. Although I have finished this book, I plan to go back through and highlight several sections. This book will remain close at hand for years to come. ... Read more

129. Monster : Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member, The
by Sanyika Shakur
list price: $13.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140232257
Catlog: Book (1998-01-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 24422
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

After pumping eight blasts from a sawed-off shotgun at a group of rival gang members, eleven-year-old Kody Scott was initiated into the L.A. gang the Crips. He quickly matured into one of the most formidable Crip combat soldiers, earning the name Monster for committing acts of brutality and violence that repulsed even his fellow gang members. When the inevitable jail term confined him to a maximum-security cell, Scott channeled his aggression and drive into educating himself. A complete political and personal transformation followed: from Monster to Sanyika Shakur, black nationalist, member of the New Afrikan Independence movement, and crusader against the causes of gangsterism. In a document that has been compared to The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, Shakur makes palpable the despair and decay of America’s inner cities and gives eloquent voice to one aspect of the black ghetto experience today. ... Read more

Reviews (127)

5-0 out of 5 stars Monster:Autobiography of an LA gang member review
I have read this book a number of times and it still does not fail to capture me. I have never read a book that involves its reader from start to finish as this does. Sanyika Shakur takes us on the path of his life from the age of 11 in the most graphic detail. Being from England, nothing could prepare me for the way of life Kody Scott had to live, a life of violent crime and also of belonging. It was good to see Kody realise his faults and turn into a muslim but unfortunate to hear that he returned to jail on a parole violation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazingly real and gritty to the end
I have read Monster:Autobiography of an LA gang member six times now, the cover is battered and tatty from carrying it around on numerous journeys with me - yet I would still read it again. When I first read this book I couldn't put it down, it was so real. From the first page I was a crip through and hrough true blue. I felt a part of every scene that was written about. It is good to read the truth in black and white from the inside out rather than the outside in. I feel that Leon Bing tried to capture some of this reality in Do or Die but when you mask out people's names or edit the stories it doesn't captivate the reader as much. When you read this book Kody Scott becomes a part of your life, as though you are his sidekick. You begin to understand gangbanging in its every capacity. One of the saddest moments in the book for me is when Monster has undergone his change and finally visits his roaddog 'Crazy D' in jail. Athough Crazy D is serving life with no parole he is still down for the crips but that bond has been broken with Monster. I would recommend this book to any gang member or wannabe just for keeping it real without the bragaddocio

4-0 out of 5 stars Monster
Monster is a very interesting book that takes place in a harsh enviroment. Monster, a well known cript L.A. gang member survives very exciting and dangerous real-life gang-banging, drive-bys and much more. I enjoyed this book although it is not for everyone. There is a lot of cursing, violence (not too bad), and adult content.

2-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Innocent or Society Made Me Pull the Trigger
This autobiography does not lend itself well to being rated, since it basically consists of two different parts. The first one is a fascinating and insightful description of a childhood and a youth spent in one of the country's most gang-ridden and dangerous neighborhoods, South Central L.A. This part deserves four stars. The second one is an endless tirade of how society has done the author wrong. This part deserves none. As a result, I could not give the book more than two stars.
Kody Scott tells with verve how he grew up to become one of L.A.'s most notorious teenage gangsters. A shocking and frightening account of boys gone mad, killing other kids for the mere fact of wearing the wrong color, or living on the wrong street corner. What sets Kody's story apart is the fact that he is a first-person narrator (albeit, it seems, with the help of a professional writer), whereas other authors have based their books about gang-life on observations and interviews. As a result, readers will learn more from Kody about gang members' motivations and feelings than they ever could from an author who has not been affiliated with gang-life him- or herself.
However, the second part of the book, Kody's description of his life in prison and his conversion to a black nationalist, is downright pathetic. He constantly blames others for the choices he made in life: His parents he calls "promiscuous" and "irresponsible", society ("the system") he accuses of "oppressing every person of color". The horrible acts of violence he has committed he plays down as "wrongdoings ... things that were morally wrong based on the human code of ethics". He tries to make his readers believe that there is an automatism: Every kid from a poor neighborhood will invariably end up as a gang member. However, why then, I would like to know, are kids mentioned throughout the book who choose not (!) to join a gang. And finally, he constantly complains about life in prison ("nothing ... could explain this level of action to me"), as if he had just run a red light or stolen a candy bar. He demands respect, but he doesn't give any (cops and prison guards he calls "pigs" and "Nazi-types").
The saddest thing of it all is this: Kody obviously revels in the attention and applause he has received from journalists and book critics. However, he overlooks that this praise is only lavished on him because he "only" ran amok in South Central. Had he gone to the suburbs and shot kids there, the same people would have called for his head. Considering the fact that Kody is a self-proclaimed Afrikan, I find his disregard for the lives and the well-being of his fellow African-Americans quite astonishing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good read for people of all ages.
This is an well written book about life and death, love and hate, and self discovery. ... Read more

130. The House of Rothschild: Money's Prophets 1798-1848
by Niall Ferguson
list price: $34.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670857688
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 218989
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first historian with access to the long-lost Rothschild archive, bestselling author Niall Ferguson offers a myth-breaking in-depth portrait fo one of the most fascinating and powerful families in Europe. Hidden for nearly fifty yers in the KGB's special archive, the uncovered records cast new light on the banking family's rise to preeminence. With the help of Hebrew scholar Mordecai Zucker, The House of Rothschild also reflects the first major translation of important and revealing intra-family correspondence in the Judendeutch dialect.In a vast undertaking, Ferguson has synthesized material from over 20 different archives and 20,000 letters, as well as other historical sources, and produced an exceptional--and readable history. Ferguson follows the founders' five sons in their rise to power as pioneers of modern business communication, creators of the international bond market, and the financial force behind many political events of the time. A family saga as well, Ferguson reveals the true nature of the family's relations with one another and with most of the important politicians and monarchs of the time, as well as their profound connection to the Jewish community. A major book, The House of Rothschild is the definitive account of one of the most important firms--and one of the most exceptional families--in modern history. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent and comprehensive analysis
Niall Ferguson has done a commendable job of describing the developement of a captivating family saga. What I found most appealing about the book is its comprehensive nature -- it weaves the family story in the context of the political and economic developments,with which it is closely intertwined. What is even more fascinating is the level of financial details about the bank than Ferguson provides. Perhaps it is his access to the recently open archive in Moscow that allows the author to deisclose finanacial history that it fascinating and detailed.

I would highly recommend this book to any serious student of history, as well as to people interested in banking and economics. Perhaps it may appear too detailed for the casual reader.

4-0 out of 5 stars A first-rate history, if a bit thin on the finance
Ferguson has written a rare work: a family chronicle which is both a compelling read, and is good history. The text is richly detailed, while the very complete footnotes provide the reader with a clear sense of the broad scholarship that has gone into the book. One caveat: while Ferguson points out in his introduction that the work is not a financial history, he unfortunately doesn't paint as rich a picture of the financial markets of the early 19th century as the book requires. While the house's trading history makes for a fascinating read, it takes place without any contextual comparison of how other market makers behaved and traded (other than an occasional comparison of profits and losses). Still, though, it's a minor criticism of a great book. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging and enlightening
The House of Rothschild 1798-1848 covers a pivotal time in history. The Napoleonic Wars, rise of capitalism, the rise of multinational businesses, development of the railroad and the French Revolution. The Rothschild's had a front row seat to all of this and were the focus of some of it. From humble beginnings in the Frankfurt Jewish Ghetto, the rise of this family is chronicled through three generations. Many myths about the Rothschilds are laid to rest by Ferguson's groundbreaking research, much of it original scholarship. One of the main threads running through the book is that finance had a profound role in the ability of the rulers of Europe to do what they wanted. By 1825 the Rothschild had a significant role in sovereign finance. Many things were wished for by the various despots that ruled Europe at that time, but if the Rothschilds did not perceive that those wishes would lead to stabilization and peace it typically was not supported thereby making it difficult to realize. They did not support the despots with out reserve, but they knew that peace protected their interests. That perspective makes this book unique.
The Rothschild family business was a partnership that was constructed as the 2nd generation left Frankfurt for London, Paris, Vienna, and Naples. That the partnership should survive was the 1st generation's greatest desire and was respected (most of the time) by his descendants. The exchanges between the 5 houses make for fascinating reading and are reference extensively in the book.
The book details how the Rothschilds pushed for Jewish emancipation and equality and were resisted at every turn. That did not prevent them from receiving commendations from the various governments that the worked with. It did not prevent them from gaining entry to the most prestigious universities for their children. It did not prevent Lionel from gaining entry into the British Parliament without having to swear a Christian Oath. The Rothschilds achieved a great deal for themselves and for Judaism.
Intrigue, betrayal, revolution, and vignettes of famous people make this a very entertaining book, not merely a historic rendering of dates and places. From the beginning of the Rothschild climb to prominence with the Elector of Hesse-Kassel to the French Revolution in 1848, this book will engage the reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars The House of Rothschild
Ferguson (Oxford) presents a fascinating picture of the first two generations of the Rothschild family (Mayer Amschel and his five sons Amschel, Solomon, Nathan, Carl, and James), who laid the foundation for the family's banking fortune in the early 19th century. Ferguson attacks the myths surrounding the family and focuses on the nature of the partnership and the secret of its success. Intricately weaving together strands of familial, financial, and political history into a highly readable but complex narrative, the author presents a vivid picture of this Jewish family, which emerged from the Frankfurt ghetto to dominate European finance, particularly the international bond market, and which, despite its rise to unparalleled wealth and influence, never deserted Judaism. This massive, lucid, and captivating study rests largely on previously unexamined manuscript sources in Paris, London, Frankfurt, and Moscow, many written in German with Hebrew characters. These sources are meticulously documented in 140 pages of footnotes/bibliography within the 600-page text. It will remain the definitive account of the early history of the family. Highly recommended for scholars and general readers alike.

2-0 out of 5 stars BORING
This book is about the rise of the House of Rothschild but it is not written for the casual reader of history. This is written for the scholar whose subject matter is economic history. As that is not my field of study, I found the book boring in the extreme (it took me two months to wade through it). However, for the student of Jewish history, it does have some interesting ideas as to the origins of some of the Nazi propaganda. ... Read more

131. Once a King, Always a King : The Unmaking of a Latin King
by Reymundo Sanchez
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1556525532
Catlog: Book (2004-10-28)
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Sales Rank: 43559
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This riveting sequel to My Bloody Life traces Reymundo Sanchez’s struggle to create a “normal” life outside the Latin Kings, one of the nation's most notorious street gangs, and to move beyond his past. Sanchez illustrates how the Latin King motto “once a king, always a king” rings true and details the difficulty and danger of leaving that life behind. Filled with heart-pounding scenes of his backslide into drugs, sex, and violence, Once a King, Always a King recounts how Sanchez wound up behind bars and provides an engrossing firsthand account of how the Latin Kings are run from inside the prison system. Harrowing testaments to Sanchez’s determination to rebuild his life include his efforts to separate his family from gang life and his struggle to adapt to marriage and the corporate world. Despite temptations, nightmares, regressions into violence, and his own internal demons, Sanchez makes an uneasy peace with his new life. This raw, powerful, and brutally honest memoir traces the transformation of an accomplished gangbanger into a responsible citizen.
... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not just for those invloved in a gang
After reading Reymundo Sanchez's first book "My Bloody Life", i wanted to know more. I was excited when i heard there was a second autobiography! This was a great book, and needless to say, i finished it two days! Yes, there is excitement from the beginning to the end, but this isnt a book only for those involved in a gang or associated with that lifestyle. Reymundo reminds us ALL that with hardwork and determination, you too can succeed. Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMOR DE REY TO A TRUE KING
the book titled once a king always a king chronicles my homeboy reymundo sanchez's aftermath after a ruthless killing in humboldt park following his violation out of the Latin Kings. Being a King myself i feel that the nation at the time of king lil locos violation, took a turn for the worst when everyone lost their thirst and love for the manifesto, Big things like self respect, death before dishonor, and drug abuse became very hypocritically viewed by older brothers in the nation, thus setting the entire youth of the up and comming nation ablaze,King lil loco pointed this out when he was incarcerated in this book when he sat with an older king who was taken by Locos drive and desires. Its a goddamn shame that the only kings around who actually know whats going on are locked up. So thats why as a hard working latino who is serving his country in the middle east in a war that nobody back home appreciates, I take pride in everything that i do. I mean hell if i had to go back to my roots...and bring my roots into my life that i am living today, Id have every one of my latin brothers and sisters out here with me throwing up king love and respecting each other, But refering back to loco's new profession in corporate america, people are just as cutthroat in this profession as they are in Gangs. Call me stuck in my old ways or whatever the hell you wish. But i am a king who was brought into the nation by those who believed in restoring the nation back into the respectful organization that everyone used to love and adore. I believe one day i will rise and conquer from this crap im out here doing for my country, and continue to prosper back in my old neighborhood and become a mentor for the kids comming up in the streets i grew up in. Im all about getting the kids involved with school, sports, and being active in thier society....Proactive i mean. I hit alot of bumps on my road to becoming the respect worthy individual i am today. But reading this book showed me that anything is possible for anybody who has the heart to fight....for those who are tired of struggling....for those who can take no more and wish to fight for themselves....Im saying that the world is infinate for those who possess inner motivation. weather this be pain and sorrow combined with heartlessness, you can channel this all into something positive if you live for a brighter day. And on that note i would just love to say to my brother reymundo sanchez: Thank you for living for a brighter day, its because of you that i now think in a brighter way. Amor de rey my brother. and even though your older and have your family and something to live for, Its because of stories like yours that make it possible for me to spread the word of a better nation of latinos in my community, I plan on taking my streets back in a possitive way when i get home. I thank you for your strengths and also your confrontations of your weaknesses-"the mark of a real man" To all those reading this review if you are from a background similar reymundo's as well as my own. then i suggest you read this book. Weather you be in the lifestyle, or on the outside looking in.Lil Loco's story is extremly compelling and love everybody, and to all my kings educated in the old ways reading this...Amor de rey....and remember....The true meanings of the manifesto are lost, not forgotton...1
~king5150~ \^/\^/360 worldwide

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding
i never read a book i always got to page 1 and put it down but once i seen my older brother reading and so into the book i started to read it. When i was reading it i felt like i was there it was so cool i hope some day the people in the streets read this book to see how much he has been throgh and how much you could go throgh if you join a gang. i have learn alot reading this book. I'm not going to mess up like he did.i'll give this book 10 stars **********

5-0 out of 5 stars All the King's Horses and All the King's Men...
"I just want to know why me,!" Reymundo Sanchez wails during an explosive argument with his estranged sister about how, as a child, he suffered years of abuse at the hands of their mother. That question, which occurs about two-thirds of the way through this sorrowful memoir, haunts every page of this book, and indeed seems to have been the theme of much of Mr. Sanchez's scarred, young life.

Born in 1963 to a 16-year-old mother and a 74-year-old father in the hilltop village of Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sanchez (a nom de guerre) survived being raped and beaten by his 18-year-old cousin at age five. After his father died, his mother quickly remarried, decamped Puerto Rico, and moved the family to Chicago. There, Sanchez suffered another wave of physical and psychological torment from his mother and stepfather (and, subsequently, a third father figure named "Pedro") while his sisters seemed to escape much, if not all, of the mistreatment. At 13, Sanchez found himself alone on the mean streets of Chicago, after his mother cast him out of the family home.

By the mid-1970s, the Latin Kings had established themselves as a highly organized megagang in Chicago, and their mantra "Amor de Rey" ("King Love") seemed to hold the promise of a better, if not love-filled existence for Sanchez, who quickly joined. To his dismay, though, he found only further violence and ruinous relationships in his newly adopted "family." Still, as a gang member, there were other castaways with whom he could relate, and although he hated what was required of him to maintain his membership, at least he felt a sense of belonging.

Eventually, even the brotherhood of the Kings proved to be an illusion, and for the next ten blood-splattered years, Sanchez existed at the fringes of society on the unkindness of strangers and on a steady diet of alcohol, cocaine, and loveless sex. In the name of the Latin Kings, he also returned to society much of the brutality that had been inflicted upon him, by participating in the usual gang fare of beatings, shootings, and other acts of violence and revenge.

Most of these events are chronicled in Sanchez's first book, My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King (Chicago Review Press, 2000), a savage record of a young immigrant's cold life on the streets, whose hopeful finale had Sanchez quitting the Latin Kings and thinking ahead to college.

In this tortured sequel, Sanchez lets us know that that is not how things turned out.

Like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part III, Sanchez proved no match for the lure of la familia, and was pulled back into the thick of the Latin Kings" lucrative drug trade, despite numerous attempts to stay out. He acknowledges that trying to give up gang life "is like trying to quit an addiction."

After he was arrested and convicted on a drug trafficking charge, the young gangbanger spent two years in a state prison, which, he says, turned out to be his salvation. Sanchez reports that it was a turning point in his life, and freely admits that, paradoxically, it was his membership in the Latin Kings that afforded him that singular opportunity. He used his time inside to educate himself, to write, and to begin reflecting on all that happened in his life -- this time from an adult perspective, and in relative seclusion.

In a series of emotional hemorrhages, Sanchez resurrects his tangled past, in particular, several ill-starred sexual relationships he had with women he mistook for people who cared, in part, one would imagine, out of a desperate need to relieve his own immense suffering, to feel loved, and to feel, finally, a sense of belonging to someone, anyone. Only in a coda tacked on at the end of the book does he reveal perhaps the real source of his impulsive behavior, and it's as eye-opening as it is troubling.

While the first half of Once a King focuses on Sanchez's misdeeds as a "restored" member of the Latin Kings, the second half centers around his life-redeeming but ultimately ill-fated relationship with a discontented feminist named Marilyn. Marilyn seems to be the first person in Sanchez's life who challenges his intellect, and whom he can trust with the knowledge of his horrific past. It is therefore devastating to Sanchez when she uses his past against him in a heated and ultimately violent exchange that alters their relationship forever. As Sanchez recalls: "The one and only person I had ever opened up to about that experience with my cousin had just used my own words to destroy me."

But destroy him it didn't. In a final chapter titled "Here and Now," Sanchez seems to have achieved another level of self-awareness and acceptance, even if he still seems disquieted about the past. Although his family's lifelong indifference toward him still haunts him, he has come to terms with it.

As a sequel to My Bloody Life, Once a King is best understood in the context of the earlier book. Like its predecessor, it is a somber, intense pathography, but offers a somewhat deeper insight into its author's tender psyche.

Sanchez's narrative style is effortless and evocative; its power lies in the naked honesty with which he chronicles his ultimate deliverance from the past. There are times when it seems he is revealing too much about himself; at other times, it's hard not to want to reach through the page, extract him from the situation he's in, and give him a life-affirming hug. Though the prose has its flaws ("Hearing the name made me mentally reminisce about the old days") and occasional cliches ("I had been robbed of my childhood and young adulthood"), Sanchez hits his mark so often, and with such resonance and candor, that it is easy to forgive him the occasional miss. --Jeff Evans, author of Undoing Time: American Prisoners in Their Own Words

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Real
I enjoy reading, in fact their is nothing that I enjoy more then curling up with a good book. I finished Part I, and when I realized their was a part II I ran to the bookstore and picked it up, this book is amazing, very easy to read, keeps you captivated from the moment you start to reading it, very exciting, and you only wish you can locate his mother and find out why she did the things she did. I am a native of Chicago and very familiar with all of the streets, and even Bellas Pizza, you only wish you could have been around to give the author the love he needed growing up. An excellent book, I highly recommend it. ... Read more

132. Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley
by Timothy White
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080506009X
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Owl Books (NY)
Sales Rank: 7296
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Bob Marley, reggae superstar and pop culture icon, left an indelible mark on modern music. Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley delves deep into the life of the lionized leader of a musical, spiritual, and political explosion that still reverberates more than a decade after his death.Almost nothing pertaining to the life of Bob Marley is left out; the origins of Rastafarianism (the Ethiopian religion that was the keystone of his life), the roots of the reggae sound, the Jamaican political and social debacle that informed his lyrics--this is a comprehensive account of the life of the artist and the times that produced him.

Catch a Fire is assiduously researched; the details writer Timothy White presents of the King of Reggae's life are cinematic in scope and, at times, cumbersome. White includes much of his primary source material, ranging from full interviews with band members to unearthed CIA documents, and devotes a whole section to describing his exhaustive research process. The final product is rich with elements of spiritual tome, rock biography, and history text; it is a hagiographic epic--the story of a man and his legend. --Brendan J. LaSalle ... Read more

Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars Iron Lion Zion
After being a fan of Bob Marley's music for years, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the legend. I chose to read Catch a Fire and found it to be an amazing book about an even more amazing person. Not only does it tell everything about the life and times of Bob Marley, but it tells of the origins of reggae and Rastafari. It is a book that I found myself glued to time after time, I just couldn't put it down. The book describes life in Jamaica in an awesome way that makes you feel like your there. I recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in learning more about the Natural Mystic that is Bob Marley.

5-0 out of 5 stars the Best Ever
This is the first biography of Bob marley that I have read. But I have read (and written) numerous biographies of people in popular culture, social history, military history etc. This book is written in a way that is hard to describe - it uses the jamaican patois so cleverly and appropriately that you realise there is no other way the events in Bob's life could have been described. So detailed are the descriptions that it is obvious the author writes from a personal knowledge of Bob, his family, his friends and his musical associates. Absolutely rivetting, and impossible to put down, it stays with you. I listen to the music now with a quite different appreciation of what is going on in the songs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Catch A Fire
Catch a Fire was a great book. It helped me to better understand the culture of Rastafarians and the type of life which a Rastafarian lives. The book Catch a Fire gave tons of background and information that you do not read in the everyday biography of Bob Marley. The book also helped you to understand the politics of Jamaica which in return helps you to understand the lyrics and songs of Bob Marley on a completely different level.

Reading this book made me understand why such a vast age range of people enjoy Bob Marley's music. I gave this book five stars because I feel that it is not only a great book on Bob Marley but also a great book about the Rastafarian culture and Jamaican politics. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is at all interested in Bob Marley, Reggae music, Jamaica, politics, and or the history and culture of the Rastafarians. I feel that this book would appeal to a great number of people.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book you won't want to put down
It's been some time since I read this book TWICE. First bumping into it at the library and then buying my own copy on-line... As you start to read this book, it is as though the lights are turned down low and the projectionist starts to roll the movie - it is entirely absorbing. Bob's life, the changing times, the Jamaican political scene, the protagonists and antagonists - the Chris Blackwells and Scratch Perrys - the hanger-on-ers and the End. Marley's life is better than any fiction - as can be said for each of the players in this true tale. In a way, Chris Blackwell even offers an unexpected "Bond" connection.... The book will give you an escape from wherever you are now and a deeper understanding of the person behind the stage persona you see in the videos... Like a perfect cup of coffee in the morning, or a great album such as Marley's "Legends" album filling the air of your room, you will enjoy the read this book provides.

If your into Bob Marley this is a must have book. You will love this book and get hooked on it and won't want to stop reading it. This is a heartpounding book that explains the time period that he lived in and how he made a big impact on the whole world with his music and his attitude towards life. So go to your nearest book store and purchase your book today!

xoxo rhino ... Read more

133. Father Greg and the Homeboys : The Extraordinary Journey of Father Boyle and His Work with the Latino Gangs of East L.A.
by Celeste Fremon
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786860898
Catlog: Book (1995-07-14)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 576896
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
Fremon's account of Father Greg's early 1990's work in Boyle Heights, CA. is as moving and powerful a work as one is likely to read. The fact that this book is out of print (currently) is a crime!


5-0 out of 5 stars a great book!
I teach criminal justice courses at Dodge City Community College. One of the topics most students are interested in is hispanic gangs. I found this book to be excellent, and a number of students have also said positive things about the book. It gives the reader a realistic view of gang life in LA, and Father Greg's work is very encouraging. I tell my students that 1 person can make a difference in life, but most don't believe me. The book not only depited gang members and their lives, it also demonstrated some programs that were effective. I highly recommend the book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Father Greg--A Real-Life Angel
I had the pleasure of hearing Father Greg Boyle speak in my religion class at Santa Clara University earlier this year. I enjoyed his talk so much, I went to a subsequent one and it was there I was first introduced to his book. A wonderful book to compliment a wonderful person. Father Greg is truly an angel in human form.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Performance
I tend to always to back and read this book one more time. I'm an English Lit. major and love this book. I grew up some what in Pico/Aliso projects and that book reminds me of all that went on in those years. Ms. Freman performed an outstanding book! ... Read more

134. Forbidden Fruit : Love Stories from the Underground Railroad
by Betty De Ramus
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743482638
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Atria
Sales Rank: 46746
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Forbidden Fruit is a collection of fascinating, largely untold stories of ordinary men and women who took extraor dinary measures, risking life and limb to be together. It1s the story of couples who faced mobs, bloodhounds, bounty hunters, and bullets to defy the system that allowed slave masters to breed and sell people like cattle. Some broke the taboo against interracial marriage, putting their lives in the most severe peril.

In one remarkable story, a Georgia couple who fled slavery wearing multiple disguises sailed for England with bounty hunters and federal troops on their trail. A fugitive slave from Virginia spent seventeen arduous years searching for his wife. A Missouri slave fell in love with his white Mormon neighbor and escaped to Canada to be with her, putting pepper in his shoes to throw dogs off the scent at night and hiding in trees by day.

Betty DeRamus gleaned these amazing stories from descendants of runaway slave couples, unpublished memoirs, Civil War records, books, magazines, and dozens of previously untapped sources. Beautifully and compassionately written, this important book reveals a chapter of American history that is shameful but is about triumph as well as torture, achievement as well as degradation, and indomitable love as well as hate. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Adds a Human Dimension to Slavery
These are stories of hope that take place in the midst of one of the most terrible times in American history. When some people thought that they could own others based just on skin color, other people lived and even loved.

These stories are based on the tales passed down by descendants, unpublished memoirs, Civil War records, books, magazines and dozens of previously untapped sources. They add an entirely new dimension to what life must have been like in the pre-war South.

More than anything else these stories help you to relate to the people, they add character to the bare statistics. It adds a very human dimension to the people who through no fault of their own were slaves. These people knew love, had feelings, were not just the animals they were considered by their owners.

4-0 out of 5 stars wonderful book
Forbiden Fruit is one of the best history books I've seen in a long time. It tells a largely ignored story and reminds the reader that the slaves were human beings, not symbols and that they weren't passively waiting to be saved. This book is filled with men and women who risked everything for the freedom to be with their beloved.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Real Life Romance Resurrected"
Betty DeRamus is an excellent writer and her take on how far people were willing to go for love in a time when the ultimate price was literally losing your life is a tribute to our African American ancestors. As a columnist for the Detroit News and Michigan Chronicle, DeRamus has educated and informed the masses of devout Detroit followers who, like her, son believed that she had more to contribute to the legacy of all writers especially African American writers. DeRamus will sign copies of Forbidden Fruit at Barnes & Noble in Detroit on Warren btwn. noon and two on 2/9/05 and Waldenbooks btwn. noon and two on 2/10/05.

An excerpt of this book is available at
... Read more

135. Farmworker's Daughter: Growing Up Mexican in America
list price: $20.00
our price: $20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597140066
Catlog: Book (2005-04)
Publisher: Heyday Books
Sales Rank: 105326
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Book Description

In this affectionate memoir, Guilbault invites us into her girlhood, revealing what it was like to grow up as a Mexican immigrant in a farming community during the turbulent 1960s. She recalls her early struggles to learn English, to fit in with schoolmates with their Barbie dolls and cupcakes, to win approval, and to bridge the tensions between home life and the public world to which she was drawn.

As her mother dreams of owning a house with her new farmworker husband, Rose perfects her English and writes for the school newspaper, nurturing dreams of her own that will eventually take her far from her life as a farmworker’s daughter. ... Read more

136. America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible
by Stephan Thernstrom, Abigail Thernstrom
list price: $32.50
our price: $32.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684809338
Catlog: Book (1997-09-10)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 84151
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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Written by a pair of social scientists--Stephan Thernstrom is a professor of history at Harvard;his wife, Abigail, is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute--America in Black and White is acomprehensive look at how much life has changed (and remained the same) for black Americans. Theauthors conclude that, while much remains to be done, life has gotten measurably better for blacks since thecivil rights movement. For example, only a quarter of black families live below the poverty line, ascompared with more than three-quarters of black families in 1940; similarly, where 60 percent of workingblack women were domestics in 1940, today a majority are white-collar workers. In what will likely proveto be the most controversial of their conclusions, the authors argue that, while many problems remain,traditional civil rights remedies, such as affirmative action and racial preferences, will not solve thoseproblems. ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Slightly to the right of center look at race relations
Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom's "America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible" charts a different course from many of the scholarly books written about racial relations in the United States today. The authors agree that the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s was a resounding success, opening many doors to African-Americans as a result of the systematic dismantling of Jim Crow laws in the South. This book is necessary, claim the authors, because the ideas that originally drove the civil rights movement have since drifted into dangerous terrain. According to this book, Martin Luther King's message of one nation where all people will be judged by their individual merits and not skin color has become a land where blacks and whites are once again moving into separate camps based on race. The introduction of affirmative action programs and other racial social policies does not solve divisive problems but instead creates new racial barriers. Moreover, media and civil rights proponents today discuss black problems as though that segment of the population has made little progress. The authors insist that there are still nagging difficulties to overcome, but that a "lack of analytic rigor" leads to false perceptions about how far blacks have actually risen in society. Therefore, the authors rely heavily on statistical tables, charts, and polls to prove their arguments.

The first section of "America in Black and White" outlines the history of the odious conditions blacks faced in the American South and the resulting rise of the civil rights movement. The Thernstroms describe southern society in all of its squalor: the crushing poverty faced by both whites and blacks, the lackluster drive towards industrialization that kept many members of the population toiling in fields and small towns, pathetic levels of state spending on education for blacks, and the biases of the criminal justice system. Relying heavily on Gunnar Myrdal's groundbreaking study of race in America, the authors correctly detail the host of social structures aligned against the African-American population. For example, blacks rarely received decent treatment in the legal system because police departments run by whites often failed to protect the black citizenry from criminals. Moreover, the legal system in the South considered crimes committed against blacks secondary to outrages perpetrated against white members of society. Subsequent sections of the book take an in depth look at black progress in various social arenas from the 1970s onward, arenas such as education, politics, law, crime, and many others.

The absence of job opportunities, poor education, lack of protections in the courts, and segregation policies in the South led African-Americans to increasingly move north. The first migration came during World War I. A second, even larger migration occurred in the 1940s and 1950s. Blacks in the North did not have to deal with segregation, but did experience racism in housing and certain sectors of the job market. Better conditions in the northern states led to an increasing drive for an end to Jim Crow in the South. The authors argue that federal legislation destroying segregation in the 1960s also contained the seeds of future divisions. The Thernstroms see a sinister change of direction with the release of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's report on the black family in 1965. Moynihan's remedy for the problems faced by black citizens, echoed by Lyndon Johnson in a speech at Howard University the same year, moved beyond providing for equal opportunity to call for "equal results" as well. This argument indirectly endorsed the idea of affirmative action and social entitlement programs based specifically on race. For the authors, the problems inherent in this approach are clear: to formulate policy giving special treatment to one race is just as racist as passing laws subjugating specific races.

Perhaps the most interesting section of "America in Black and White," and probably the most controversial, concerns the authors' claims that African-American social advancement was greatest immediately before the rise of the civil rights movement. During the 1940s and 1950s, the authors write, blacks surged forward in nearly all areas of American society. This growth was far from perfect, but in the arenas of education, economics, politics, and sports blacks saw remarkable gains. Almost half of the African-Americans who lived in poverty moved out of that classification during this period. Education levels for blacks, while lagging behind whites, still grew significantly compared to earlier eras in American history. This period also saw the integration of professional baseball and basketball, opening up an entirely new aspect of society to black advancement. African-Americans showed signs of vigor at the polls, as a court case outlawing white southern primaries and greater movement to the North allowed more blacks to vote than ever before. Obviously, there were still many problems to overcome: black wages still lagged behind white levels, education was still a problem, and the South still practiced vigorous discrimination against its black population. But African-Americans did make progress, and this chapter effectively illustrates that modern day claims about the complete lack of black improvement before the civil rights movements of the 1960s are patently false.

The greatest problem with this analysis of black gains during the 1940s and 1950s is that it undercuts the need and influence of activism as a force for change. If African-Americans were achieving so much, why did the civil rights movement appear on the scene? It may well be a case of a segment of the population finding some success and quickly wanting more, thereby accelerating the growth and scope of that change. But the Thernstroms spend more time discussing the overarching factors-political, economic, and social-that contributed to two decades of growth instead of focusing on what everyday people were doing on a local level to bring about advancement. Following this argument to its logical conclusion makes a reader suspect that twenty years of gradual progress would have toppled Jim Crow laws without the assistance of any sort of social activism.

3-0 out of 5 stars No gray areas?
In contrast to the title of the book - AMERICA IN BLACK AND WHITE, it is rare that the subject of race relations can be discussed in such black and white terms. There is definitely a gray area on most issues.

The Thernstroms however, argue otherwise. On one hand are their views and on the other is the opinion of the "chattering classes." Whites who are in favor of affirmative action, in their view, support "policies built on deference to black victimization through which they can display their racial virtue." The book however is not vitriol, and it does have a central argument. Two of the main points developed on are:

(1) Black progress has been substantial; progress began post WWII, long before the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement therefore, has been given too much credit for the progress blacks have made in this century.

(2) Affirmative action is a mistake and it is "manifestly absurb" that these programs have improved conditions for blacks.

The Thernstroms use a wealth of polling data to support their points, and seemingly present a solid case for progress. For instance:

> "In 1958, 44% of whites said they would move if a black family became their next door neighbor; today, the figure is 1%"

> By 1997, "a Gallup Poll found 83% of whites aged 18 to 34 approved of interracial marriage. (The figure for blacks in the same bracket was 86%)."

Yet, there are other data sets that show conflicting views. How do we reconcile data from AMERICAN APARTHEID by Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton with that of this book? Massey and Denton show that there is a high degree of residential segregation still existing with whites having "little tolerance" for residential racial mixture beyond 20% black. Other studies, using data in Stanley Lieberson's and Mary Waters' FROM MANY STRANDS go beyond calculating residential segregation to indicating marital isolation. Orlando Patterson has calculated that the odds that an African-American woman will marry an African-American man are 27,444 times greater than that a non African-American woman will marry an African-American man. Lastly, a statewide special election was held in Alabama last November. The purpose being overturning the state's anti-miscegnation law which was still on the books. Over 40% of Alabamans voted to keep the ban in place; obviously there are still a lot of people that think blacks and whites should not mix blood.

AMERICA IN BLACK AND WHITE fully endorses the civil rights acts - the quarrel is with affirmative action. However, while stating that "too much remains" of white racism, they contradict themselves when saying that "haters have become a tiny remnant with no influence in any important sphere of American life." Perhaps this ambiguity, and the Thernstroms inability to speak with certainty, only serves to underline the reality that in race relations in general, and policy prescriptions in particular, there remains a vast gray area. Other contributions are needed.

5-0 out of 5 stars The moralists of the Right
This book renders a thoughtful and persuasive treatment of the facts of racial divisions in the United States. The problems encountered by the Thernstroms in propounding on this subject can be summed up in what one anti-reveiwer on this page has written in order to smear another reveiwer with whose opinion he apparently disagrees. To wit, the anti-reveiwer does nothing more than cite a case brought by the CFTC against the son of the targeted reveiwer whom he's attempting to marginalize, much as those who don't agree with the Thernstroms' attempt to marginalize them; and with the same type of faulty facts and sloppy research, just as in the instant case I cite.

It's unfortunate that the debate of such momentous and substantive issues, such as the racial problems addressed by the Thernstroms, cannot take place in more temperate tones. It would also be more helpful if reveiwers would focus on and respond to the facts presented in this book, on the merits, rather than opposing them because they affront the complainants belief system.

This book reflects some sobering and instructive work. Let's hope the more emotionally balanced among us can use it to further the goal of racial harmony rather than to continue being divisive.

2-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up to promise
The title is apt since bouth authors appear to see the world in black and white with little room for gray area. This is clearly evident in their thesis, "That which brings the races together is good; that which divides us is bad." A grand oversimplificiation, if you ask me.

The questions is: unity at what cost to black Americans? While you cannot argue that black Americans have progressed greatly since the Jim Crow era, I do take issue that "the perception of serious racial divisions in this country is outdated - and dangerous", as the back cover states. Tell that to the unarmed blacks being killed across the country by white police officers and to the many blacks who can't get taxis in New York City.

The Thernstrom's also contradict their own statistical data. They assert that the greatest gains achieved by blacks in the US came during the 1940's-1950's, before the civil rights movement. That may be true, yet thier own data shows that the average income of a black family today is still the same ratio as it was to whites in the early 1950's. Same for the unemployment rates of blacks, which have been around twice those of whites since 1954.

While loading up on charts and graphs, they fail to get to the meat of the problem, which is "the system" (for lack of a better term) itself. The one which rewards blacks that mesh nicely with white culture (i.e. Michael Jordan) and labels outspoken blacks such as Allen Iverson as "bad role models" for our children, simply because he doesn't conform to the white Americans idea of what a black person (or any person) should act like. I'm not trying to say that Iverson is a good role model, but what has Michael Jordan ever done to help the cause of blacks in this country? Selling $... shoes (that cost about $... to make) to kids in the inner city, whose parents are struggling to get by, doesn't exactly qualify. This gets back to the whole unity thing, since the authors point to the Michael Jordan's and Vernon Jordan's of the world as proof of black success. Yet look at how Iverson is treated in the media and by the Philly PD and how Jordan got treated in the media after his gambling scandal and the message is obvious: talk like a white person, act like a white person, dress like a white person and you will be treated well. But the moment you start to act like that black kid from the street....kiss those endorsements goodbye. If you replace clean cut Kobe Bryant from the 'burbs with street tough Allen Iverson from the 'hood in this current rape case and you think the media would be treating this story just a little differently? I rest my case. But I digress.

This book is a dichotomy, since it is interesing and thought provoking at times (especially the first six chapters) yet also flawed, biased, and based on illogical preconceptions. It is very easy for two well paid white professors who live in the mostly rich, white suburb of Lexington to write a 700+ page book essentially telling black America to stop their whining. It's another thing to get me to believe them.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive Analysis of American Race Relations...
Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom's book is the most comprehensive survey of American race relations that I have ever read. The authors present important new information about the positive changes and improvements in the lives of African-Americans as a whole. They go on to argue, with tons of statistics to back them up, that the perception of serious racial divisions in our country are outdated, exaggerated, and dangerous. The reason for this, they show, is political: "it nurtures the mix of black anger and white shame and guilt that sustains the race-based social policies implemented since the late 1960s." Proponents of this status quo are afraid that calling attention, for example, to the rapidly-growing black middle class, "... would invite public complacency and undercut support for the affirmative action regime."

I was especially enthralled by the authors' analysis of the "War on Poverty" programs of the 1960's, particularly the expansion of welfare, and their horrifically negative effects on generations of black families since. Not only did the "War on Poverty" make things worse for the poor, but the expansion of welfare to include unwed women and children fostered a lifestyle of dependency and irresponsible behavior, and precipitated the downward trend in two-parent black families, that has left three generations of black Americans in dire straits ever since.

Liberals, especially black liberals, are terrified of books like this, and rightfully so. This book undercuts the blacks-as-perennial-victims/American-society-as-forever-racist rhetoric that keeps the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons, with support from the liberal media, in business. Along with the works of John McWhorter, Shelby Steele and Thomas Sowell, this books serves as a much-needed wake-up call on the issue of race; a cold dose of reality that no doubt makes most liberals cringe. ... Read more

137. Almost a Woman
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037570521X
Catlog: Book (1999-09-07)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 72005
Average Customer Review: 3.89 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Not only for readers who share [Santiago's] experiences but for North Americans who seek to understand what it means to be the other."--The Boston Globe

In her new memoir, the acclaimed author of When I Was Puerto Rican continues the riveting chronicle of her emergence from the barrios of Brooklyn to the theaters of Manhattan.

"Negi," as Santiago's family affectionately calls her, leaves rural Macún in 1961 to live in a three-room tenement apartment with seven young siblings, an inquisitive grandmother, and a strict mother who won't allow her to date. At thirteen, Negi yearns for her own bed, privacy, and a life with her father, who remains in Puerto Rico. Translating for Mami at the welfare office in the morning, starring as Cleopatra at New York's prestigious Performing Arts High School in the afternoons, and dancing salsa all night, she yearns to find balance between being American and being Puerto Rican. When Negi defies her mother by going on a series of hilarious dates, she finds that independence brings its own set of challenges.

At once a universally poignant coming-of-age tale and a brave and heartfelt immigrant's story, Almost a Woman is Santiago's triumphant journey into womanhood.

"A universal tale familiar to thousands of immigrants to this country, but made special by Santiago's simplicity and honesty."
--The Miami Herald

"A courageous memoir. . . . One witnesses. . .the blessings, contradictions and restraints of Puerto Rican culture."
--The Washington Post Book World
... Read more

Reviews (28)

4-0 out of 5 stars Soul-Searching in a Light-Hearted Memoir
After reading "When I was Puerto Rican", I was eager to read the next installment of Esmeralda Santiago's life-story. Because this book is set in New York, it lacks the scenic imagery that is used in the first book to describe her home country. However, we are instead introduced to the introspective musings of a girl attempting to define and journey into womanhood while acclimating to New York - both of which are unfamiliar territory. The book explores some very real and/or mature concerns - e.g., love, an absent father, familial obligations, unwed motherhood, sex, responsibility, culture, etc. - although they are interwoven into a fun and lighthearted tale of Negi's teen years. I would recommend this book (although I would suggest picking up "When I Was Puerto Rican" first).

5-0 out of 5 stars A memoir about an immigrant coming of age in New York City
I loved Santiago's first book (When I Was Puerto Rican) and I love this one too. Almost a Woman is a memoir about coming of age in New York City. It is also about the struggle to find her own identity among a large family and a domineering but loving mother. Even though I am not an immigrant or Puerto Rican I found this book very compelling and hard to put down. I only hope Santiago will write a third memoir so I can find out how she gets to Harvard, what happens to her mother, brothers and sisters, if she sees her father again and what happens to her lover. Santiago has become one of my favorite authors!

This is the biography from Esmeralda Santiago that starts off where WHEN I WAS PUERTO RICAN ends off. That is where the comparison/connection ends, because this book is horrible compared to Santiago's first biography. To sum up one part of the book that really sums up the whole: There is one "big" event that happens in this book (won't give it away) and it's 272 pages leading up to it, and when it finally happens, ONE PAGE (and barely that, it's more like half a page) is devoted to describing it. Does that make any sense? Other events are given twenty pages to describe it, and the "big" moment for Santiago gets one page? The talented way Santiago describes her whereabouts and experiences are happily evident on her first biography; in ALMOST A WOMAN, they are almost non-existent. This biography is flat, empty, boring, and just plain stupid. Hard to believe the person who wrote it also wrote the first biography.

2-0 out of 5 stars Boring; tedious; read only if you have nothing else to read
"Almost A Woman," the "sequel" to the well-written "When I Was Puerto Rican," is boring, tedious, and only recommended to hardcore fans of the first memoir from Esmeralda Santiago (and even then, your patience might wear thin on this one). While the first book, written with descriptive details and passionate voice, shows us the insights into young Esmeralda growing up poor in Puerto Rico, "Almost A Woman" is filled with uneventful happenings that won't draw the reader in as much as the first book. "My Boring Recollection of When I Became a Young Lady" would have been a better title for this book, and one wonders what the point was behind writing it in the first place. You won't come away feeling satisfied with what happens to the "characters," nor will you care halfway in. The first book captured you: you wanted to know about Esmeralda and her family; why her father did what he did; her childhood in Puerto Rico and its effect and lasting impression on her. The first book is "must reading" if you were/are an immigrant from any backround. In "Almost...", you read about Esmeralda in the US as a young lady: going on audtions; contemplating who she will give her virginity to; her future and what pain it will bring to her overprotective mother. This isn't, unfortunately, a "must read" for young ladies, or anyone who wants a good read, for that matter. This book is a huge disappointment, considering how good Santiago's first memoir was. It's useless, senseless reading and only if you have nothing else to read will you even bother wanting to read towards the end (which I might add, is predictably as boring and senseless as the rest of the book).

4-0 out of 5 stars Esmerelda's Captivating Life
This book takes place in the run down streets of Brooklyn. The story focuses on a proud Spanish family who has immigrated to the alien United States. They find the large Puerto Rican family consisting of eleven children is irregular compared to the small white families of the United States. This book gave great insight into the Puerto Rican culture and also does an excellent job of attaching the reader to the main character. I felt as though i had grown up with Negi and was expeiencing the same emotions she was. This book is great for anyone who finds Spanish culture interesting and enjoys tapping into the cognitive process of the characters in the story. ... Read more

138. The Jew Store
by Stella Suberman
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565123301
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Sales Rank: 34833
Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Bronsons were the first Jews to ever live in the small town of Concordia, Tennessee-a town consisting of one main street, one bank, one drugstore, one picture show, one feed and seed, one hardware store, one beauty parlor, one barber shop, one blacksmith, and many Christian churches. That didn't stop Aaron Bronson, a Russian immigrant, from moving his young family out of New York by horse and wagon and journeying to this remote corner of the South to open a small dry goods store, Bronson's Low-Priced Store.

Never mind that he was greeted with "Danged if I ever heard tell of a Jew storekeeper afore." Never mind that all the townspeople were suspicious of any strangers. Never mind that the Klan actively discouraged the presence of outsiders. Aaron Bronson bravely established a business and proved in the process that his family could make a home, and a life, anywhere. With great fondness and a fine dry wit, Stella Suberman tells the story of her family in an account that Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, described as "a gem...Vividly told and captivating in its humanity."

Now available for the first time in paperback, here is the book that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said was "forthright. . . . not a revisionist history of Jewish life in the small-town South but . . . written within the context of the 1920s, making it valuable history as well as a moving family story." ... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be Jewish to love this book!
The Jew Store is a wonderful, absorbing memoir, rich with detail about a Jewish family's experiences in a tiny, "dot on the map" southern town. Stella Suberman's vivid descriptions of her Russian immigrant parents' adjustment to this life include unflinching examinations of the prejudices and imperfections of the community they join as well as those the couple bring with them. So much happens to the family in the course of this memoir that the narrative is as compelling as a good novel. The dilemmas the family faces are so convincingly rendered--Where will Joey get the training necessary for his bar mitzvah? Will Miriam marry a gentile?--that I was occasionally moved to tears. By the time you reach the end of the book, you will miss some of these people, as if they have become part of your own story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A POIGNANT REMEMBRANCE
"For a real bargain, while you're making a living, you should also make a life." That was Aaron Bronson's motto. Well, Russian Jewish immigrant Bronson did both, "in spades," as he would say. His daughter, Stella Suberman, has now written a book, and she's done it "in spades."

This warm memoir of her family's experiences as the first Jews to live in Concordia, Tennessee, is vibrant with wit and cogent with commentary about 1920s life in a small Southern town.

Rather than a pejorative title, Ms. Suberman says "the Jew store" is what people really called such shops, businesses owned by Jews who catered to farmhands, share croppers, and factory hands, offering them inexpensive clothes, piece goods, and linens. "They didn't know about political correctness in those days," she said, "that is just what it was called."

Seeing opportunity in the South, Aaron Bronson, his wife, Reba, and their two children, Joey and Miriam (Stella was not yet born) set out from New York City to open a dry goods store. Upon arriving in Concordia, population 5,381, the family was taken in by voluble, independent Miss Brookie.

Reba, who came with a mood that was "like a thing on her chest," was ill-at-ease, fearing the Ku Klux Klan, and people who believed Jews had horns on their heads. Later, she faced what she considered to be an even greater terror: Joey might not have a bar mitzvah and Miriam might be in love with a Gentile.

On the other hand, Aaron took to the town immediately and opened "Bronson's Low-Priced Store," so identified by gilt lettering on the windows. His elation at having his own business knew no bounds; Reba described him as "Flying with the birdies."

Aaron's shop flourished, as did he, becoming the first to hire a black as a salesperson. In years to come, he would make invaluable contributions to his Depression wracked community.

Detente preceded affection as the townsfolk overcame their initial skepticism of Jewish people and grew to view the Bronson family as neighbors and friends. Miss Brookie gave Miriam piano lessons and attempted to enlist Reba in a battle to do away with child labor in the local shoe factory.

Nonetheless, In 1933 Reba held sway and, although Aaron thought of Concordia as home, he agreed to take their three children and return to New York City, where he would open a garage and each child would eventually marry within the Jewish faith.

Stella Suberman has turned a poignant family remembrance into a rich, sometimes funny, always touching story. In addition, she has shed light on a little known facet of Jewish/American history.

5-0 out of 5 stars an unusual childhood
I read "The Jew Store" after seeing author Stella Suberman on Booktv. I was impressed with her, as she is young looking and quick thinking into her ninth decade.

  Her story relates an unusual childhood, growing up in a small Tennessee town in the 20s and 30s where her immigrant parents ran a dry-goods business that catered to the lower income residents. They were the only Jewish residents, occupying a unique niche in the life of the area. Her sunny-natured, optimistic father flourished there, becoming southern in speech and outlook. The adjustment was harder for her sensitive, traditional mother. For Stella and her older sister and brother, there was no question of adjustment, as life in Tennessee was the only life they knew, and they were generally accepted and able to take root.

Suberman is a wonderful writer, as one might expect for a "retired editor" of many years experience. Her style is vividly descriptive, with a perfect balance of the characters' inward and outward lives. "The Jew Store" is a joy to read. Suberman's book deserves the highest recommendation and will appeal to readers of all ages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great History !!
Stella Suberman is sixteen years older than I am, and much of the action in this narrative takes place before she was born. Call it a full generation before me. My recollections are not hers. I conjecture that the differences are perceptual although it is possible that the sociology changed that much in a generation. My town was in Mississippi, although I went to high school in Gibson County Tennessee not far from "Concordia."

I don't recall a single dry goods store in my small town (5000 people), and there were several, that was not owned by Jews. They were not ever called "Jew Stores" to my recollection, and until this book set me to thinking, I had never remarked the fact that no goyim were in the dry goods business in small town Mississippi.

Maybe that says more about my "raisin'" than about the sociology of my town, but I can recall no overt discrimination *against* jews until I grew up and moved to New York. Years later, it came to my attention that there was a "jewish discount" among the merchants in Mississippi that was not extended to goyim, but that is another investigation for another time.

I am intrigued with the fact that the Bronson family encountered such intense discrimination so shortly before I became sentient. Stella Suberman's account, although filtered through the perception of her parents, rings true, and reads like a novel. We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. Assuming that assimulation is our goal.

5-0 out of 5 stars For young adults, wannabe adults, and real adults
Imagine being raised in rural Tennessee in the 1920s, the child of a Jewish storekeeper. Imagine this child, quiet and observant, watching, always watching and listening. She listens to family stories well enough to begin her tale prior to her own birth. It's a different tale of anti-Semitism, one that only someone who lived it on intimate terms would be in a position to tell.
Engaging writing and a believable narrator contribute to the book's value. ... Read more

139. Not Without My Daughter
by Betty Mahmoody
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312925883
Catlog: Book (1993-10-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 59480
Average Customer Review: 3.47 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In August 1984, Michigan housewife Betty Mahmoody accompanied her husband to his native Iran for a two-week vacation. To her horror, she found herself and her four-year-old daughter, Mahtob, virtual prisoners of a man rededicated to his Shiite Moslem faith, in a land where women are near-slaves and Americans are despised. Their only hope for escape lay in a dangerous underground that would not take her child...

Now the true story of this courageous woman and her breathtaking odyssey bursts upon the screen in the Pathe Entertainment production starring Academy Award-winner Sally Field!

A Literary Guild Alternate Selection.
... Read more

Reviews (151)

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolutely compelling story.
This book tells about one woman's courage and strength. Those who panned this book should remember Betty Mahmoody agreed to go to Iran only because her husband "promised" her they would only stay two weeks. He announced just a few days before their scheduled departure that he lost his job and they would remain in Iran. He betrayed her in a very big way. Since, according to government rules, she could not divorce Moody without losing her daughter or if she left the country without Mahtob to visit her dying father, she would not be permited to return. Remember, Betty did not want to live according to their culture and she had that choice since these are modern times. As a result, Betty was going to leave the country anyway she could. There have been Iranian women who have left the country never wanting to return also. Yes, she is negative toward the country but she is not the only one who has escaped Iran or other such countries. Not Without My Daughter is one of the most compelling life experience stories I have ever read. I will read it again and again.

1-0 out of 5 stars zero stars
This book deserves zero stars, not 1! A one-sided, racist, diatribe against Iranian people, its publication almost rises to the level of a hate crime, in my opinion. Like most stories, there are two sides, but this only tells it from the perspective of the mother who unlawfully and immorally took away the father's daughter and for years has refused to even let him see her! There is a documentary film showing the father's side of the story (there was also a shameful film, starring Sally Field that was based on this book), but it is not generally available in the U.S. This propaganda book should be taken only with a mountain of salt!

5-0 out of 5 stars Nerve-wracking
Don't read this book when you go to bed if you want to get a peaceful night's sleep. Its tense, but never a dull moment. I love true stories and this is one of the best.

Betty's Iranian husband was medically trained in the US and was an anesthesiologist. I have never heard of anyone going to an anesthesiologist for a mental problem, unless they beg to be euthanized and put out of their misery. The reviewer from London, UK also says maybe Betty's attempts to escape Iran was the cause of her husband's anger and abuse. Well, since her husband had promised they were only going for a 2-week visit to Iran to visit his family, and then held her against her will there, I think she had the right to be very angry herself. Too bad she couldn't give back some of the beatings he gave her. Also, Betty said they bathed every two months, not once a year.

I marvel at Betty's determination and courage. She was lucky to have such honest, kind, Iranians, Kurds and Turks to help her get home to America.

1-0 out of 5 stars This book is absolutely not true!!!
This book provides a false image of the iranian culture. The story provides false details and description of the role of iranian women in iran. Although, the revolution required the women to wear Hejab, however it did not limit their freedom. Women were NOT slaves, rather they enjoyed complete autonomy like the women in the United States of America. Women had the right to vote, make decisions, study, enjoy life; in other words they had complete autonomy. Not only the laws and court system of iran, gives women their right; the society also forbids infringing upon women's rights. This book further provides a false description of the Iranian cutlure after the revolution. The city as described in this book, is completely false. Tehran is one of the most modern cities in the world. One can even compare it to modern New York and Tokyo. The author of this book took advantage of the political situation of the time, in order to sell a novel. One must know that this book is 99% inaccurate.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
I was absolutely fascinated by this book. I can so identify with this woman, because I am in the same situation. Only my abusive husband is an American, and I am not allowed to go back to my home country with my daughter. When it happens to an American woman in Iran there is outrage. When the exact same thing happens to a Dutch woman in America, then it's okay. What's wrong with this picture? ... Read more

140. In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe--A Dwarf Family's Survival of the Holocaust
by Yehuda Koren, Eilat Negev
list price: $25.00
our price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786713658
Catlog: Book (2004-04)
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers
Sales Rank: 126082
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this remarkable, never-before-told account of the Ovitz family, seven of whose ten members were dwarves, readers bear witness to the terrible irony of the Ovitz’s fate: being burdened with dwarfism helped them to endure the Holocaust. Through research and interviews with the youngest Ovitz daughter, Perla, the troupe’s last surviving member, and other relatives, the authors weave the tale of a beloved and successful family of performers who were famous entertainers in Central Europe until the Nazis deported them to Auschwitz in May 1944. Descending into the hell of the concentration camp from the transport train, the Ovitz family—known widely as the Lilliput Troupe— was separated from other Jewish victims. When Josef Mengele was notified of their arrival, they were assigned better quarters and provided more nutritious food than other inmates. Authors Koren and Negev chronicle Mengele’s experiments upon this family and the creepy fondness he developed for them. Finally liberated by Russian troops, the family eventually found their way to a new home in Israel where they became wealthy and successful performers. In Our Hearts We Were Giants is a powerful testament to the human spirit, and a triumphant tale that no reader will forget. Photographs are included. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars a poignant and uplifting story of survival
As an avid reader of many Holocaust stories, I was very moved by the remarkable, true story written by Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev, Israeli authors who interviewed the last surviving dwarf of the Lilliput Troupe. This Orthodox family which consisted of ten children, seven of whom were dwarfs, all survived the horrors of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and the experiments by Joseph Mengele. Unlike other stories of Holocaust survivors which describe horrific conditions of death, starvation, and torture, this story is unique in that the reader can identify with the emotions and vicissitudes of the dwarfs and sympathize with their situation. It is a poignant and uplifting story of survival and compassion for the little people of the world who have made an important contribution to world history, unique in the Orthodox world. ... Read more

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