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21. Homesick : A Memoir
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22. Uncle Tungsten : Memories of a
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23. Farmworker's Daughter: Growing
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24. Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir
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25. Shanghai Diary: A Young Girl's
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26. Looking for Lost Bird : A Jewish
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27. Change Me into Zeus's Daughter:
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28. Fargo Rock City : A Heavy Metal
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29. Bad Girl : Confessions of a Teenage
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30. All the Fishes Come Home to Roost
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31. When Broken Glass Floats: Growing
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32. Not Even My Name : A True Story
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33. Rattlesnake Mesa: Stories from
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34. Saffron Sky: A Life Between Iran
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35. The Coalwood Way
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36. G. I. Joe & Lillie: Remembering
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37. Notes from the Hyena's Belly :
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38. Somebody's Someone : A Memoir
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39. Tony Blair: The Making of a World
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40. Blackbird : A Childhood Lost and

21. Homesick : A Memoir
by Sela Ward
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060394366
Catlog: Book (2002-10)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 171487
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is a story about home . . .

At a time when much of America is yearning to recapture the spirit and feelings of a more innocent era, comes this exceptional new book from one of our most beloved actresses: a story of one woman's journey to reconnect with the landscape of her childhood.

Though best known today as the star of the television series Once & Again and Sisters, Sela Ward considers herself first and foremost a small-town girl. The eldest of four children, she was raised by a father who helped her believe in herself, and by a mother who taught her a sense of the importance of virtues like self-respect, grace, and sacrifice. In her hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, within a tightly-knit community of neighbors and kin, Sela learned ways that would remain with her throughout life -- humble virtues that were "forged in the hearth of a loving home."

After graduating from the University of Alabama, Sela left the South in search of the excitement of cities like New York and Los Angeles, and the creative rewards of an acting career. But as she started her own family, she found herself pining for the comforts of her small-town childhood -- and searching for a way to balance her children's West Coast upbringing with a taste of a more natural way of life. She and her husband built a second home on a farm there, where she and her family could retreat several times each year, and became involved in several projects designed to restore the vitality of the hometown she remembered so fondly. Even as Sela was reconnecting with the rhythms of home, though, her world was rocked by a crisis the family had long anticipated but never quite prepared for -- the death of her mother. As her family gathered around her mama's bedside, Sela's simple journey home became something far deeper: a turning point in her own life, as she pondered her mother's complicated legacy, and came to terms with just what it was she herself was searching for.

Filled with warmth, storytelling, and laughter, Homesick is a book to treasure: an exploration of the lessons we carry away with us from childhood, and a celebration of the bittersweet legacy of home.

... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Homesick for one's roots!
Don't we all cling to memories of our roots? Sela Wards's sensitive, personal explanation of her longing to maintain her Southern roots while maintaining balance in her family life with a loving husband and children in Hollywood is a sign post for all us. Not the 'tell all' Hollywood insider story that will generate salacious headlines...but a deeply personal and touching remembrance of Ms. Wards upbringing and the special values that help define her role as a parent, spouse and personality. What a great read!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Told With Grace
Sela Ward, in HOMESICK, has written a memoir full of heart, grace, and love. She tells the story of her life, of her family, of her Mississippi with an all-embracing spirituality and faith. Sentimental, but not saccharine. Strongly and confidently told, without overbearingness. Cynical people or those looking for some explicit "Hollywood tell-all" will be disappointed. Sela doesn't even identify those former actor boyfriends by name. If you're looking for "dirt" all you'll find in this book is Sela's love for the rich soil of her home. Highly recommended, not only for Ms. Ward's fans, but for anyone who is searching for their own definition of just what "home" really means.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book
homesick is an awsome book. her life is interesting to read about!!!buy it!!!!its the best

4-0 out of 5 stars Sela Ward Finds Her Way Back Home
Go down south with Mississippi born actress Sela Ward. Homesick is a refreshing look at the everyday life of a young girl as she moves from small town life to young adulthood in New York and then settles in Hollywood.

Sela shares the story of her family stating, "The Wards have always walked a fine line between conviction and orneriness..." She admires her father and her mother. She talks much of the way she grew up as a southern girl, the south's traditions and the legacies, girl talk sessions, cliques, church, the family restaurant, charm school and even hanging at the local Quik Stop. It's rather refreshing that the book focuses on the positives of life.

Sela speaks of her own life, though not with Hollywood spectacles on. She shares her climb to success but does not allow it to take over the entire telling of her story. Her claim to fame is only part of her. Her family, her history, her place of birth are so much more.

Homesick also touches on issues such as racism in the South, the tragedy of September 11, overindulged children and drugs. The book also details Sela's mother's death and the hardship on the family.

The book is generously sprinkled with photographs which tell a story themselves. You'll see the young Sela, the model, the actress, but mostly you'll see the real Sela Ward, the one who stood at her mother's knee and listened to the stories of her family.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lady With Inbred Southern Charm
The memoir of a beautiful woman who went to NY City and then
Hollywood but longed to go home again.
A person can never really go home again, as another Southerner,
Thomas Wolfe wrote, but Sela Ward tried very hard to duplicate
her upbringing,when she married and had two chidren.
This is a book of a woman who developed in Meridian,Miss-
issippi;during the 1960's and 1970's.Her family isn't perfect
but they are good people.
A younger Sela neede more in her life to express her ambitions so she moved away.What she also found was she also needed
stability and family.
Unable to have a realistic family life in Hollywood-she
and her husband Howard Sherman set about building a new family home back in Meridan, Mississippi.Here they are surrounded by Sela's close relatives and their children are
able to lead a more rustic life.As often as possible they
reside in comfort and live here.
This is unlike any Hollywood story.People respect each
other and help one another.
It is refreshing to read about a Hollywood star, who is just like other ordinary folks.Her lovely Southern charm comes
through in the telling of her Family's customs. ... Read more

22. Uncle Tungsten : Memories of a Chemical Boyhood
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375704043
Catlog: Book (2002-09-17)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 22938
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and bestselling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals–also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, the author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.

In Uncle Tungsten we meet Sacks’ extraordinary family, from his surgeon mother (who introduces the fourteen-year-old Oliver to the art of human dissection) and his father, a family doctor who imbues in his son an early enthusiasm for housecalls, to his “Uncle Tungsten,” whose factory produces tungsten-filament lightbulbs. We follow the young Oliver as he is exiled at the age of six to a grim, sadistic boarding school to escape the London Blitz, and later watch as he sets about passionately reliving the exploits of his chemical heroes–in his own home laboratory.Uncle Tungsten is a crystalline view of a brilliant young mind springing to life, a story of growing up which is by turns elegiac, comic, and wistful, full of the electrifying joy of discovery.
... Read more

Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful science memoir!
Imagine yourself as a gifted youth born to an educated and supportive Jewish family living in WW II England where you are introduced to the fascination of discovery very early in life, exposed to the fearful suppression of twisted adults and the terror of war, and attempting to develop a personal worldview from family philosophies that ranged from confirmed Zionism through orthodox philosophies to more moderate conservative views. If you will stretch your imagination this far, then you will have a sense of one facet of neurologist Sacks's autobiographical Uncle Tungsten. Named after his Uncle Dave who manufactured tungsten light filaments and introduced the author to the fascinating world of metals, the book goes further than the usual autobiography. Containing many very informative footnotes, it smoothly digresses into beautifully written histories of chemistry and physics with marvelous examples taken from Sacks's sometimes-dangerous personal explorations as a child and young man. Written by one of the best writers of nonfiction alive today, the book gives a view of the science of chemistry that is denied most young people today in the interests of safety, if nothing else. Highly recommended; should be required reading for every aspiring young scientist. All levels.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rediscover the curious child in you!
Oliver Sacks, best known for writing about the fantastic consequences of neurological abnormalities (Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat), takes us on a journey through his childhood in Uncle Tungsten. Deftly mixing the most intriguing aspects of the history of chemistry with his own experiences as a boy and adding the spark of a unique writing ability, he's utilized the principles of chemical lab work to produce something new and different--a book that revels in the most fundamental aspects of exploring the physical sciences.

Sacks was fortunate to be born into a family heavily composed of scientists: physicians, chemists, physicists, and metallurgists, like his "Uncle Tungsten." Both of his parents were physicians and indulged his curiousities by allowing him to set up his own lab in their house, where he familiarized himself with the history of chemistry by recreating many famous experiments and also trying many more of his own devising. Descriptions of his family life and his exploration into science are filled with wonder and with love for the world we live in.

Uncle Tungsten is a book to relish--written in everyday language, not in stuffy scientific terms--a book filled with the joy of youth, the fascination of discovery, and the wonderment of life. I would recommend it to anyone interested in science and nature, to anyone trying to understand those around them who love science so much, and to anyone in junior high or high school who wonders why they have to study chemistry!

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't read, please.
This book is so bad. It is not interesting at all. If you don't have a chemical background, you will not understand it. Mr. Vincelette must die!
the end

5-0 out of 5 stars A passion for discovery
Oliver Sacks was gifted by his parents with the greatest boon any child could receive. From the start, he writes, he was "encouraged to interrogate, to investigate". With this mandate, he spent his childhood interrogating the history of science and scientists. He investigated the nature of chemicals, learned magnetism and electricity, and, in preparation for his anticipated medical career, probed into the mysteries of the body. This exquisite and frank account traces Sacks' boyhood in London - with side pauses to the schools attended - exposing his fears and ambitions with equal fervour.

Sacks' quest for knowledge mainly focussed on chemical elements and compounds, with metals dominating his attention. "Uncle Tungsten" [his uncle Dave] owned a lamp factory and provided both advice and materials. Sacks drew heavily on his expertise, but Dave often left him to experiment on his own. With a highly inquisitive mind and a drive to learn, Oliver often duplicated the research performed by notable figures of science to achieve the same ends. This technique provided great insight into the scientific method, allowing him to manufacture chemicals that might have been purchased at a nearby shop.

He learns the scientists' techniques through the blizzard of printed paper he plowed through during those years. Biographies, autobiographies, published journals and notebooks, all were his reading fare throughout his boyhood. He reminds us of the hazards of research from the burned hands and faces from potassium to the still-radioactive notebooks of Marie Curie, today stored in lead boxes. Setting up a laboratory in a back room of the family home, he followed their reasoning, their sense of discovery, and their techniques as he made bangs, smells, brilliant lights and beautiful crystals. His biological endeavours were often less successful. He and his chums once drove the inhabitants of a house away for months until the noxious odour of rotting cuttlefish could be exorcised.

Although Sacks introduces a wealth of scientific information from a broad sweep of sources, there is not a dull page in this book. He describes the techniques to isolate elements in vivid detail, and you find yourself sharing the researcher's frustration to achieve the goal along with the exhilaration when success is achieved. You follow Sacks willingly as he plods through the museums and into shops buying chemicals. Mostly, you watch him as he begs Uncle Dave for materials or sits spellbound as "Uncle Tungsten" describes the properties of metals. Sacks' joys at "re-learning" what others have done is infectious - he leaves you longing to repeat the experiments for yourself - only to learn, of course, that today's caution has sequestered the materials away to prevent you blundering into harm. That's a sad testimony, but Sacks' journey through time and place remains for us to gain some sense of what it must be like to undertake scientific adventures. Every schoolchild should be in possession of this book as parents encourage them to "investigate and interrogate". [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

2-0 out of 5 stars Self-Indulgent, Boring
I was quite a fan of "The Man Who..." when I read this book. At least those stories were about people and things other than himself.

But, the "Tungsten" chapters are curiously dull and self-congratulatory without knowing it. As a kid, he's so blessedly, bloody interested in chemistry (don't get me wrong: I am too) but then travails us with his terribly elementary and utterly banal chemical trivia. (And get this: The uncle's nickname actually reflects his occupation! Fascinating!) Devoid of charm.

Perhaps he should have made his family even more the central focus of the book. Then at least you wouldn't expect to read about science.

If you could turn this book into a movie, it might appeal to science-loving sixth graders, but it does not entertain, and is not very scientifically enlightening. ... Read more

23. 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

24. Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir
by Susanne Antonetta
list price: $15.00
our price: $15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582432090
Catlog: Book (2002-05)
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Sales Rank: 204534
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For readers of A Civil Action and Refuge, a harrowing story of a body and a place--the New Jersey boglands, one of the most contaminated regions of the country.

This is an American story. Two immigrant families drawn together from wildly different parts of the world, Italy on one side and Barbados on the other, pursued their vision of the American dream by building a summer escape in the boglands of New Jersey, where the rural and industrial collide. They picked gooseberries on hot afternoons and spent lazy days rowing dinghies down creeks. But the gooseberry patch was near a nuclear power plant that released record levels of radiation, and the creeks were invisibly ruined by illegally dumped toxic waste. One by one, family members found their bodies mirroring the compromised landscape of the Barrens: infertile and damaged by inexplicable growths. Soon the area parents were being asked to donate their children's baby teeth to be tested for radiation.

Body Toxic is an environmental memoir--merging the personal and familial with the political and environmental. Intensely intimate and starkly contemporary, it is a story of bravery and resignation, of great hope and great loss. This beautifully composed book presents American families in the midst of the wreckage of the American dream. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Body Toxic
Written in a style both haunting and poetic, this book captured my attention immediately. Susanne Antonetta examines the environmental and political issues of radioactive waste, nuclear reactors and chemically poisoned water supplies, blended with excerpts from her memoirs as a child, growing up in New Jersey in the 1950's when silence and family secrets were sacrosanct.

Spending extraordinary summers as a child in a bungalow built by her grandfather, facing the small inlet of Barnegat Bay, the author blissfully picks berries and runs through wide open spaces, taking in the colors, sounds and smells of the area, oblivious to the horrific danger all around her. This book is so personal, so beautifully descriptive and so painfully honest, I am reminded, once again, that the real heroes are walking among us.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightened in New Jersey
Body Toxic, the memoir of a poet, is a great book. Instead
of having us laying in her hospital bed taking her medications
and reliving her miscarriages in detail on every page, Antonetta
almost dances around her illnesses in order to bring awareness
of the contamination to earth that is killing everyone.
Michael Klein said "Poets write the best memoirs." Three years
ago I questioned that statement; after reading Body Toxix, I agree.

3-0 out of 5 stars What happened to John McPhee's Pine Barrens?
While I was reading "Body Toxic", I had a nagging recollection of another book and finally remembered John McPhee's book, "Pine Barrens" which was written in the 60's. Read side by side, there would be a great difference in the two accounts of a now ravaged area.

I am not a reader of poetry and maybe that is why I found the prose of this book somewhat difficult to follow. I didn't like the flow of words. The words themselves however were another matter.

"People fought with violence: airplanes,sprays, chemicals. They recruited with zeal. One of the recruitments was the Baby Boom, which my brother and my cousins and I belonged to, the plume of babies that followed the soldiers back from the second world war as if we'd been flushed from their wounds. American men had gone ouerseas and lost limbs and seem themselves die and come back filled with a desire to make new humans. For each of us boom children a soldier lay dead on a battlefield on another continent, and we corrected with our fat and harmless flesh what had been done to their bodies. We are all substitutions."

I finished this book wondering about Susanne Antonetta's health now. I am worried about her and about all of us.

5-0 out of 5 stars A first-person story of toxic environmental effects
Two immigrant families from different parts of the world pursue their dream by building a summer home on the boglands of New Jersey outside the industrial zone - and find their family members falling prey to mysterious illness. Science fiction? No, fact and autobiography in Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir, a title which tells of their health decline and presents a first-person story of toxic environmental effects on generations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sad, poignant, and poetic
While "Body Toxic" is an environmental memoir, it is debatable whether the accent should be placed on the term environmental, or on the term toxic. In all probability it should be toxic, because that term is more apropos to the disfunctional maternal side of the family whose emotional problems, while apparently exacerbated by the environmental conditions Antonetta describes, predate them.

As the book starts, it is reminiscent of "A Civil Action", and reader becomes caught up in the environmental devastation of what was a seemingly benign seaside vacation retreat. However, the work deftly becomes more of a family memoir, periodically interwoven with descriptions of the environmental devastation of Ocean County New Jersey which, ironically her mother's family refused to recognize, just as they suppressed acknowledging their family's many aberrant behaviors and personalities.

While perhaps a trite comparison, the family reminiscences are reminiscent of the writing of Jamaica Kincaid in terms of the cadence, and occasions of repetition. Perhaps this is no coincidence since Antonetta focuses on the family's Afro-Carribean roots (or perhaps I subconsciously looked for such a similarity).

This is an important, beautifly written, and bittersweet work. I highly recommend it. ... Read more

25. Shanghai Diary: A Young Girl's Journey from Hitler's Hate to War-Torn China
by Ursula Bacon
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1595820000
Catlog: Book (2004-10-10)
Publisher: M Press
Sales Rank: 20527
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Against the backdrop of looming world war and Hitler's "Final Solution," 11-year-old Ursula Bacon and her family made the terrifying 8,000-mile voyage to Shanghai with its promise of freedom. Instead they found overcrowded ghettos filled with desperately poor Chinese and Japanese. Amid the city's abysmal conditions and its prostitutes, drug dealers, and rats, Ursula discovered a city of exotic, eccentric, and exciting humanity. Years later, when the fate of friends and family left behind in Germany became known and documented, the hard life endured by those in the Shanghai ghetto seemed to pale in comparison. As a result, the "Shanghai Jews" have been all but lost in history. Ursula's eight-year struggle is a story to be shared and remembered. As she watches her best friend die from fever, befriends a Buddhist monk, learns the lessons of street life, and aids an American airman, her remarkable memoir will resonate with readers long after the last page is read. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars quick and powerful
This book is a quick read as there is no one highlight, no one climax...the book is chalk full of horrid surprise, history, and wisdom filled insight. This is being made into a movie currently. Vivid, powerful, a must read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Truth vs. Fiction
More than unbelievable! Is this story actually true? In this book, it seems as though the fine line between truth and fiction is nonexistent.

Riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies. Does confusion reign? The most inaccurate accounting of World War II I've ever read. Was this story ever verified? The stories themselves were quite interesting and entertaining, yet I can't help but question the historical accuracy of this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiration, History, and a Study in Contrasts
Wow! I was in tears by the second page. I ordered takeout and left dishes in the sink just so I could keep reading this compelling glimpse into a lesser known aspect of World War II. I'm not a history buff, but Ursula Bacon's story drew a sketch of the war at such a personal level that I couldn't stop reading.

The book covers the eight year period during which an aristocratic Jewish family fled Nazi occupied Germany to Japanese occupied Shanghai, only to be trapped in a detention center when Japan joined the German Axis.

Lest you think the subject might be depressing, let me assure you that it is quite the opposite. The courage, enthusiasm, and even humor that this family mustered to deal with their adversity is inspirational. I especially enjoyed how the author shared the spiritual insights she gained during this period. She blended her Jewish background with Catholic schooling, enhanced by teachings from a Buddhist monk and her own intuition. The result is that she could feel compassion for those who would victimize her. That's a lesson most of us can't achieve in a whole lifetime of petty annoyances. Yet, this young girl managed to love the enemy that treated her as a "sub-human" and "lowest form of life," to use her own terms.

I think this book would appeal to a wide variety of people at any age. Some of the images portrayed will stay with me forever- the bombings, the squalor, the beauty. The author's style vacillates between conversational and lyrical. The way she dealt successfully with the contrast between her former life of unimaginable opulence and then her ordeal with abject adversity was stunning. I already find myself taking guidance from her Buddhist teacher Yuan Lin who always reminded her, "Remember, it's all the same."

5-0 out of 5 stars Shanghai Diary, the little-known story of the Shanghai Jews
When I started Shanghai Diary, I found that I simply couldn't put it down. I hadn't known the story of the Shanghai Jews in the Hongkew ghetto, and I was riveted by the well-written story of Ursula Bacon's 8 years as a young girl in Shanghai, where it was nothing to see a dead baby girl thrown on a heap of trash and where day-to-day existence was harsh and often degrading. Despite all of this, Ursula's family managed to maintain their dignity and prevail. To me it was a story of great courage. When she left Shanghai at the end of the war, far from being devastated by the experience, Ursula took away the lesson that she had seen first hand what hate can do, and she would never hate anyone as long as she lived. The book was so moving that I had to sit quietly and reflect for quite some time after I read the final page. ... Read more

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


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

Reviews (10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27. Change Me into Zeus's Daughter: A Memoir
by Barbara Robinette Moss
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743202198
Catlog: Book (2001-08-07)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 22789
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Change Me into Zeus's Daughter is a haunting and ultimately triumphant memoir about growing up poor and undaunted in the South. With an unflinching voice, Barbara Robinette Moss chronicles her family's chaotic, impoverished survival in the red-clay hills of Alabama. A wild-eyed, alcoholic father and a humble, heroic mother along with a shanty full of rambunctious brothers and sisters fill her life to the brim with stories that are gripping, tender, and funny.

Moss's early fascination with art coincides with her desire to transform her "twisted mummy face," which grew askew due to malnutrition and lack of medical care. Gazing at the stars on a clear Alabama night, she wishes to be the "goddess of beauty, much-loved daughter of Zeus." Against all odds, the image of herself surfaces at last as she learns to believe in the beauty she brings forth from inside. ... Read more

Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars Character Will Prevail
This wonderful book has so many surprises. First among them is the undaunted spirit and strength of a girl who suffers through a hellish childhood and can write beautifully about it without wallowing in regret and elegiac gloom. The humor and apparent lack of bitterness is truly amazing as Ms. Moss relates the horror of an abusive alcoholic father, a numbed but loving mother, and the suffocating poverty of her rural South. This is not a depressive book. And there is no request or undertone for pity.

Simply put, this is a must read for those who were moved by Angela's Ashes or similar books. This is America. This is a woman. This is a disadvantaged girl who perservered. To have written this book without a sense of loss or regret is an astonishing feat.

The writing is clear and uncomfortably descriptive. You will feel her hunger, pain, fear and shame. And you will learn her incredible ability to cope and triumph.

This is a wonderful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is an experience
Writing at its best is lived rather than read. Occasionally we have the privilege to be drawn into someone's experiences with such power and clarity that we are possessed by their history and translated into it. Barbara Moss's story makes us members of the family as she weaves gripping tales of poverty, alcohlism, sickness and neglect into a book that you can't stop reading. As difficult as the circumstances are, the story is never without hope. The characters are in many ways ordinary and flawed and in spite of that, are amazingly appealing, interesting, funny, and often heroic as they struggle with the situations that compose their existence. In her writing she is able to depict seemingly ordinary events, turning them into human essences that touch our deepest emotional levels, where we live and laugh and cry and love.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Memoir of a Complex Family Life (see more about me)
I think in years to come,this will stand out as an
American classic.Americans on the whole were living better
than ever in the years after World War II. Too bad her
Dad didn't take advantage of the G.I. Bill, that elevated
the lower and middle classes.
I thought I would hate it with the first chapter, where
all the chidren were starving in front of their Mother.
But I continued to read and I thought of Francie, in " A Tree Grows In Brooklyn",
and I realized I was reading a great
book and could not put it down until I finished every page.
Barbara, you are a beautiful women with a good sense of self.
I don't want to give the story away,but I would ask the
author to continue this story of her Family or treat us
with another.It shows you don't have to be great or famous
to inspire people.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kindred Spirit
Barbara Robinette Moss is a masterful storyteller of the highest order!! Her memoir both encourages and motivates me. I can hardly wait for her next book! Our reading group in Birmingham interviewed her by telephone last night and she helped us understand even more about the complexities of her family. Folks, these are real people! Some rose above the circumstances and some didn't. We love you, Barbara, are are thankful that you are still "rising." We laud you for your courage, and we want you to continue your story. You're an inspiration! As we say in Alabama, "You go, girl!"

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Example Of Anything Is Possible
Barbara Robinette Moss' book "Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter" was a book that I could not put down! It's hard to imagine a little girl growing up in the south who was poor, malnourished & facially disfigured living with an alcoholic father and submissive mother could write a book with such honesty without any bitterness. A motivating book for anyone young or old, no matter what your circumstances - that anything is possible! ... Read more

28. Fargo Rock City : A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota
by Chuck Klosterman
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743406567
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 15576
Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Empirically proving that -- no matter where you are -- kids wanna rock, this is Chuck Klosterman's hilrious memoir of growing up as a shameless metalhead in Wyndmere, North Dakotoa (population: 498). With a voice like Ace Frehley's guitar, Klosterman hacks his way through hair-band history, beginning with that fateful day in 1983 when his older brother brought home Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil. The fifth-grade Chuck wasn't quite ready to rock -- his hair was too short and his farm was too quiet -- but he still found a way to bang his nappy little head. Before the journey was over, he would slow-dance to Poison, sleep innocently beneath satanic pentagrams, lust for Lita Ford, and get ridiculously intellectual about Guns N' Roses. C'mon and feel his noize. ... Read more

Reviews (43)

4-0 out of 5 stars Everywhere was a 'Rock City" in those days
Man you know you are getting old when the local bookstore starts carrying books that are retrospectives of your youth. I have read Deena Weinstein's "Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology" and enjoyed it, despite the fact that I think Ms. Weinstein gets a little too analytical about metal culture and turns a simple form of music into some sort of nuclear science. We listened to heavy metal in the 1980's because there was little else to do, it was the perfect vehicle for teenage frustrations and it really did disgust normal thinking people. That is excactly the point of Chuck Klosterman's book.
Being a child of heavy metal in the '80's meant that you had to defend yourself against those Geraldo Rivera specials about satanism, contend with those 20/20 shows about dysfunctional kids who happen to like Iron Maiden and explain to teachers and parents that because you liked Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest you weren't about to shoot yourself in the head or be found sucking on an exhaust pipe in the garage. We also had to deal with the blatant sexism of some of the genre's biggest commercial forces like Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Poison, etc. Klosterman deals with this topic quite frequently in his book. Rightfully so, because it is the sexual imagery that sold "hair metal" to legions of teenage boys and girls alike. Metal offered pure fantasy, girls wished guys like Vince Neil and Sebastian Bach existed in their hometowns and guys dreamed that scantily clad video vixens strolled Main St. like they did the Sunset Strip.
"Fargo Rock City" is an entertaining read mainly because Klosterman is very witty and a very amusing social commentator. The one thing I believe he tried to do in this book is offer up some sort of relative importance of the big hair metal explosion of the Reagan era. He does not succeed in doing this blatantly. If you were not affected by Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue in any way, you will never find any importance in that music. For those of us who lived it, we understand and already know how important it was. You see our generation didn't have the war and social issues of the sixties, nor did we have the freewheeling attitudes of the seventies. Casual sex and recreational drug use turned into AIDS and the crack epidemic and the whole world was "Reaganomics". So of course all we wanted from our music was cartoon satanism and "Nothin' But A Good Time".
One thing I wish the author had discussed more was the fact that metal was probably more visible in the heartland than it was in trendy big cities. Metal bands touring arenas in those days spent more time playing the local civic centers of Fargo, North Dakota and Cedar Rapids, Iowa than they did playing the L.A. Forum and Madison Square Garden. In the small cities, metal concerts became huge events and spawned heated fundamental debates between church leaders and local government whereas the big cities just looked at them as a way to keep the local sports arena busy between home games.
This book will guarantee a few laughs and maybe make you a little nostalgic. Highly recommended for anyone who spent a few Saturday nights watching "Headbanger's Ball" and wasted entire math classes drawing pentagrams on their school books.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic
I spend about half my time thinking and writing about music and this is the best damn book I've read in several years. Nothing written about metal comes close. It deserves a place alongside Dave Marsh's The Heart of Rock and Soul, Greil Marcus' Mystery Train, Peter Guralnick's Sweet Soul Music, and Gary Giddins Visions of Jazz at the very top of the list of the best books ever written about American music. Its obvious virtues are, well, obvious: it's funny, entertaining, and true to its subject. What's not obvious until you let it simmer for a while is how smart the book is. The discussions of what irony meant in the 80s, of the not-so-useful discussions of sexism in heavy metal, and the razor sharp "sociology" of the rural midwest ought to attract the attention of a ton of people who hate (or, mostly, think they hate) Van Halen, Motley Crue, GnR. Yet and still, the best thing about this book for me is that it took me back to some music I'd half-forgotten about and reminded me of why it spoke to me in the first place. If you love metal, you gotta read this book. If you don't, you still gotta read it.

3-0 out of 5 stars small town bustout
As an '80's kid growing up in rural Indiana, there weren't a lot of ways to imagine the world outside. T.v. was stupid, the movie theater was forty minutes away, and even the local library wasn't all it was cracked up to be. My conduit for fantasies of a faster, more glamorous life was the radio.

It was the same for Mr. Klosterman, as told in Fargo Rock City. The glam-metal bands of his time set out a full plate of crashing chords, easy women, and free-flowing booze. He (nor I,)never tasted any of those things personally, but the bands painted a vivid enough picture to focus on a better life in the wide world - after high school, when your mom could no longer dictate your hairstyle.

This is a light read, certainly. Mr. Klosterman's book is meant as no more than a remembrance of things past. Even his dissection of what separates "poseur" bands from the "real rockers" is a throwback - what is easily recognized as rock marketing today could get you in fistfights with your Slayer-loving brethren back in '88.

So scratch your itch for "serious" lit elsewhere - Fargo Rock City is meant for fun, and Mr. Klosterman does an admirable job of providing it.

1-0 out of 5 stars How kitsch is our sincerity.
My roommate lent me this book, which I believe he bought on a lark in Union Station (DC), to distract himself during the nine-hour train ride to Boston. I also believe he liked the book, though I'm not sure.

It's an awful book.

Maybe, if you're into heavy metal (or any of its derivative sub-genres, which requires pedantry of the worst sort to know), this book will appeal to you. Even then, I'd bet not.

Musical taste isn't determinative here. No, it's something much more basic than that. Ultimately, writing style aside--and Klosterman's is brutish, equal parts Ben Greenman and Saul Bellow, i.e., leaden and sleep-inducing--obsessions over obsessive insignificantia of American Youth, circa 1984, just aren't that interesting. Worse, Klosterman probably doesn't think they're interesting either.

But, oh, how it sells. Such is the hipster set. The pre-emptive "just kidding" is the most powerful marketing device of the last 15 years. Celebrations of the banal, studious glorifications of the arcane. Eat your Eggers, drink your This American Life. The diet of the regret-filled 34-year-old living in a gentrified 3rd-floor Brooklyn walk-up.

Full disclosure, in light of the recent review scandals: I don't know Chuck Klosterman, nor do I try to get published anywhere, in any form. I think the ULA are small-time heroes, and Mark Ames was exactly right in his NYPress evisceration of Klosterman.

Give me James Kunstler's deft, relevant prose or Michel Houellebecq's biting, angry fiction. It's time our generation became a little more serious, a little less sincere. Sorry, "sincere."

5-0 out of 5 stars Why yes, I am ready to rock. Thanks for asking.
This is one of the best metal-related books I've ever read. It focuses on the 80's hair metal scene and it's affect on pop culture, as well as seeing how that music reflected the society of that time. It's interesting material, and it also happens to be one of the funniest books around. This book made me laugh out loud several times, earning me some interesting looks from my fellow metro passengers. Imagine all of the times you and your buddies have joked about Kiss's shameless self-promotion, Axl Rose's antics, or Kip Winger's teeth, and factor in some witty social commentary, and you have the spirit of this book. If you grew up with 80's metal, Fargo Rock City is required reading. ... Read more

29. Bad Girl : Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590710258
Catlog: Book (2004-08-17)
Publisher: Rugged Land
Sales Rank: 19708
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30. All the Fishes Come Home to Roost : An American Misfit in India
by Rachel Manija Brown
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594861390
Catlog: Book (2005-10-07)
Publisher: Rodale Books
Sales Rank: 166905
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Book Description

In the bestselling tradition of Running with Scissors and Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight - a hilarious, affecting memoir of the author's upbringing in an ashram in India.

In 1980, when she was seven, the author's parents, 60s-holdover hippies, leave California for an ashram in a cobra-ridden, drought stricken spot in India.Rachel is the only foreign child in a hundred-mile radius.

The ashram is devoted to Meher Baba, best known as the guru to Pete Townsend and thus for having inspired some songs by the Who, for having kept a lifelong vow of silence, and for having coined the slogan, "Don't worry, be happy."

Cavorting through these pages are some wonderfully eccentric characters - including a holy madman permanently doubled over from years of stooping to collect invisible objects; a senile librarian who nightly sings scales outside Rachel's window, only with grunts instead of notes; and a middle-aged male virgin who begs Rachel to critique his epic spiritual poems.Somehow, Rachel manages to keep her wits and humor about her when everyone else seems to have lost touch with reality.Astutely observed and laugh-out-loud funny, this astonishing debut memoir marks the arrival of a major new literary talent.
... Read more

31. When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge
by Chanrithy Him
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393048632
Catlog: Book (2000-04)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 280034
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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"Chea, how come good doesn't win over evil?" young Chanrithy Him asks her sister, after the brutal Khmer Rouge have seized power in Cambodia, but before hunger makes them too weak for philosophy. Chea answers only with a proverb: When good and evil are thrown together into the river of life, first the klok or squash (representing good) will sink, and the armbaeg or broken glass (representing evil) will float. But the broken glass, Chea assures her, never floats for long: "When good appears to lose, it is an opportunity for one to be patient, and become like God."

Before this proverb could come true, Chanrithy had to watch her mother, father, and five of her brothers and sisters die, murdered by the Khmer Rouge or fatally weakened by malnutrition, disease, and overwork. Now living in Oregon, where she studies posttraumatic stress disorder among Cambodian survivors, Chanrithy has written a first-person account of the killing fields that's remarkable for both its unflinching honesty and its refusal to despair. In wrenchingly immediate prose, she describes atrocities the rest of the world might prefer to ignore: her sick yet still breathing mother, thrown along with corpses into a well; a pregnant woman beaten to death with a spade, the baby struggling inside her; a sister impossibly swollen with edema, her starving body leaking fluid from the webbing between her toes.

The mind retreats from horrors like these--and yet what emerges most strongly from this memoir is the triumph of life. Chanrithy is determined to honor her pledge to the dying Chea, to study medicine so she can help others live. When Broken Glass Floats accomplishes the same goal in a different way. "As a survivor, I want to be worthy of the suffering that I endured," Chanrithy writes; by giving such eloquent voice to her dead, she has proven herself more than worthy of her suffering--and theirs. --Chloe Byrne ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping, sad, will make you appreciate life...
Through my readings of books dealing with the barbarism of the human soul I have gained a profound appreciation for the subtleties of life. This work brings that understanding another giant leap forward.

The plight of Chanrithy Him through the relentless suffering of the Khmer Rouge is no less than heart sickening. You will discover a profound sense of respect for her and the victims and survivors of the infamous Pol Pot regime.

This book has a similar approach to another - "First They Killed My Father" - by Loung Ung. Both books command you to continue reading. I could not put them down.

All in all, a superb work on a less than superb topic - required reading for anyone interested in Asian culture, human suffering, and in a surprising way - human survival.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Tragedy, There Is Hope
When she hears the news of the death of yet another family member, young Chanrithy writes, "Death is a constant, and we've become numb to the shock of it. People die here and there, all around us, falling like flies that have been sprayed with poison." Such was life under the Khmer Rouge. Chanrithy Him was only four years old when war came to Cambodia, first in the form of troops fleeing from neighboring Vietnam, and then the more deadly Khmer Rouge. Educated professionals were summarily executed, entire cities were evacuated under threat of death, and children such as Chanrithy were forced to work in inhumane conditions. An entire culture was virtually destroyed, but Him still manages to maintain an amazing degree of innocence and positivity. This is a powerful book about a tragic period in world history.

4-0 out of 5 stars good story
gives me a clearer picture than any history book ever will. im sure i'll remember it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Childhood Impressions of the Khmer Rouge
It would be impossible for me to give this book less than a perfect rating because it is a first hand account of how a child sees the Khmer Rouge. That being said, that is all it is and if the reader is looking for more than it may fall short of your expectations.

I think this book could be improved if the author had included historical data and information about what was going on in Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge at the time that she is recalling. That would have been very helpful for me, because there is still much I feel I need to learn about the Khmer Rouge and Cambodian politics that I was not able to get from this novel.

However, the firsthand accounts of what it was like to be a helpless child in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge are extraordinarily moving and I would definitely recommend reading this book. It is important to understand what living in these conditions were like and this novel holds implications for all children that are exposed to national atrocities.

5-0 out of 5 stars Childhood impressions of the Khmer Rouge
It would be impossible for me to give this book less than a perfect rating because it is a first hand account of how a child sees the Khmer Rouge. That being said, that is all it is and if the reader is looking for more than it may fall short of your expectations.

I think this book could be improved if the author had included historical data and information about what was going on in Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge at the time that she is recalling. That would have been very helpful for me, because there is still much I feel I need to learn about the Khmer Rouge and Cambodian politics that I was not able to get from this novel.

However, the firsthand accounts of what it was like to be a helpless child in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge are extraordinarily moving and I would definitely recommend reading this book. It is important to understand what living in these conditions were like and this novel holds implications for all children that are exposed to national atrocities. ... Read more

32. Not Even My Name : A True Story
by Thea Halo
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312277016
Catlog: Book (2001-06-02)
Publisher: Picador
Sales Rank: 210599
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Not Even My Name is a rare eyewitness account of the horrors of a little-known, often denied genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Armenian and Pontic Greek minorities in Turkey were killed during and after World War I. As told by Sano Halo to her daughter, Thea, this is the story of her survival of the death march at age ten that annihilated her family, and the mother-daughter pilgrimage to Turkey in search of Sano's home seventy years after her exile. Sano, a Pontic Greek from a small village near the Black Sea, also recounts the end of her ancient, pastoral way of life in the Pontic Mountains.

In the spring of 1920, Turkish soldiers arrived in the village and shouted the proclamation issued by General Kemal Attatürk: "You are to leave this place. You are to take with you only what you can carry . . . " After surviving the march, Sano was sold into marriage at age fifteen to a man three times her agewho brought her to America. Not Even My Name follows Sano's marriage, the raising of her ten children, and her transformation from an innocent girl who lived an ancient way of life in a remote place to a woman in twentieth-century New York City.

Although Turkey actively suppresses the truth about the murder of almost three million of its Christian minorities--Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian--during and after World War I, and the exile of millions of others, here is afirst-hand account of the horrors of that genocide.
... Read more

Reviews (64)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is the truth and nothing but the truth
This is a book of survival, tragedy and triumph. It is the story of one young girl's survival of one of the most brutal episodes in 20th century history - the ethnic cleansing committed by the Turkish authorities during and after World War 1 which claimed the lives of about two million citizens of the Ottoman Empire because they were of Greek,Armenian or Assyrian stock.

Yet, this book neither condemns, nor judges, nor impugns the Turkish people. Quite the contrary, the book is utterly devoid of bitterness. These awful things happened and they are not a judgment upon the Turkish people of today. Those times were those times:difficult and tragic for all.They were also tragic for the Turkish people who, as a result of these benighted policies, lost millions of its citizens - Greek, Armenian and Assyrian - who could and would have helped shape the future of Turkey in a more positive,productive manner. Instead, Turkey remained plunged in an isolated backwardness and darkness that it is just beginning to shed with difficulty.

As an aside, I find it troubling that...[some]...point to the bias of the author and mention "other" books that "correctly" paint the picture of that terrible time without actually citing one, single, solitary title. Well, here are two titles from two Americans who witnessed these "fictional genocides" first hand:

1) Henry Morgenthau's.."Ambassador Morgenthau Remembers"; and 2) American Consul George Horton's...."The Blight of Asia"(Don't forget my Turkish brothers......these are the writings of Americans - your loyal friends ).

To me, it seems high time that the Turkish people face the truth about their past as they move forward into a bright, open, progressive, just, honorable and peaceful future. If Germany can face the past directly and can Turkey. It is the young people of Turkey - the hope of Turkey's future - who should read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A universal story "writ large"
"Not Even My Name" is an extraordinarily powerful book that forced me to understand the Pontic, Assyrian, and Armenian genocides it describes in individual, human terms. After all, it's much easier to distance oneself from a holocaust than from the individuals who are its victims. In addition, the book has provided me with an important analog to the history of my own family, Greek Jews, many of whom suffered their own holocaust.

I intend to read this book with one of my classes, not only because it is a fine piece of literature, but also because it will remind us in a very compelling way how foolish it is to try to prove that one holocaust was bigger or more important than another. We all suffer from the "It's my dead rat" syndrome, a foolishness this book exposes fearlessly.

Equally important, the structure of the book, framed by a double odyssey and complex exodus, provides the experiences of the author, Thea Halo, and her mother, Sano, nee Themia, with just the right context to make the journey very worthwhile for the reader as well as for its two main characters. Halo's descriptions are beautifully drawn, and her inferences are understated, which is what makes them so powerful. This is a universal story "writ large" and passionately. It took me almost no time to see that it is also my story, placed in a different context, but one that I could recognize easily, in small ways as well as large. How fascinating, for instance, to discover that the Pontic Christians celebrated Easter with egg-breaking contests almost identical to the Greek-Jewish tradition during the Passover Seders.

The book is extremely well written and incredibly moving. I broke down and wept quite often as it drew me into the lives, the joys and tragedies, the incredible bravery of people we shamefully know almost nothing about; yet the cause of my tears was never the result of mere sentimentality or sensationalism. The bare facts themselves, powerfully recounted, are enough to make any reader weep for "Man's inhumanity to man," even as Sano, a character with her own imperfections, whose very name has been obliterated, triumphs over adversity, little by little; and reminds us that we can overcome even senseless acts of mass violence and our own dark side by following the example she sets of unending kindnesses and care for the "Family of People."

5-0 out of 5 stars The murder of a nation
Not Even My Name is well written. I recommend it highly. It tells the experiences of Theo Helo as a 10-year old, in 1920, who was forced on a death march with thousands of Pontic Greeks from their traditional home land into the desserts. The story starts with Theo, who now is an old lady, returning to her homeland with her daughter. This heart rending story was repeated many times starting with the Armenians' who suffered under the Turkish occupation for over 400 yrs and ended in 1915 with the 20th century's first genocide. The book describes in heart rending detail the cruelty by Turkish soldiers and official in eliminating all non-Turks from the lands they conquered in 1453.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching
This book is going on my list as one of my favorites. Theas descriptions of the suffering of her mother and family touched me deeply. After losing her family Sano went on to live life to the fullest, devoting herself to her children and husband. Sano is a remarkable woman and a real inspiration.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book of Honor
My name is Kyriaki and I am a Greek American living in Manhattan. "Not Even My Name" touched my heart, my mind, and my soul. I couldn't put the book down!!! I wanted to finish it so I could know all that happened but when I finally finished it I was devastated that there was no more to read!!! This book made me appreciate even more what I have. It made me appreciate even more my own parents and grandparents who lived during wartime Greece - WWII and the Civil War that followed. Most importantly this book honors those who lost their lives and those who experienced the tragedies in Asia Minor after WWI. Thea Halo has done a great honor to them!!! We cannot forget the past for if we do it is as though it has never happened. ... Read more

33. Rattlesnake Mesa: Stories from a Native American Childhood
by Ednah New Rider Weber, Richela Renkun
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1584302313
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Sales Rank: 161713
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34. Saffron Sky: A Life Between Iran and America
by Gelareh Asayesh
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807072117
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 391560
Average Customer Review: 3.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Gifted journalist Gelareh Asayesh writes indelibly of her struggle to balance an Iranian childhood with her adult life in America.

"A brave and beautifully written memoir that should be read by all who seek to understand Iran, America, or the divided life of the exile. Rarely have the enduring questions of time, place, faith, and identity been explored with such an array of amazing images.
-Tom Drury, author of The Black Brook
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Reviews (21)

Although I have only lived in Iran for a very short time, I try to stay true to my roots. Most of my visits to Iran were at a young age and it was for vacation, I still have very fond memories of Iran and the warmth of its culture. The author of this book did an excellent job portraying the differences in each culture, and delicately letting her feelings cry out through her words. Although I was born in England, and have parents of different religions a Muslim father and an Armenian mother (Christian Orthodox) I have always been surrounded by my Iranian culture at home. Not through religion, but through the values of my culture. What most people seem to think about Iran is that it is an Arabic country and we are all followers of the HEZBOLLAH regime. My culture is more than just religion and I thank Gelareh Asayesh for portraying that. As I look back at my life I can relate to the authors experiences and appreciate the way she shared her emotions. Living in Canada most of my life now, I have in a way "Canadianized", this book made me look at the ways I am different from a 23 year old in Iran. I found some of her statements inaccurate in my opinion, but that could be from me not experiencing living in Iran enough or just differences in point of views.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not a very good writer, I say
After reading the other reviews, I thought I was in for a wonderful read. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. It seems there is a tale here, but this author should have gotten a real writer to write her story for her, as she rambles around and leaves the reader hopelessly confused. The truth of the matter is that her effort ruins the story. She should find herself another job and leave the writing to other well known writers. For readers interested in the topic of women in the Muslim world, I highly recommend other books: Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan is quite nice, and Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil is another, as well as Not Without my Daughter and a recent book, Mayada, Daughter of Iraq. These are books that will entertain and educate. Sorry I can't say the same for Ms.Asayesh's work, which is plotless, rambling, and she doesn't seem to know all that much about Iran, but is someone looking for something to write about, despite the fact she is Iranian.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't bother--it will only irritate you
I was extremely interested in the subject matter since I dated a really nice Iranian man in college and had an interest in Iran, but this author came across so arrogant that I could barely finish the book. When I finally managed to plow through it, I felt like taking out an ad against the book in the Washington Post, where I believe the author is affliated, as I have seen her listed as a book critic of all things--she generally attacks other writers & their books in reviews she writes--a lot of nerve under the circumstances. A boring book that only irrtated me. I never return books to stores, but in the case I really felt like it. I'm not surprised this book in the 100,000 rating. Word gets around!

3-0 out of 5 stars A Misleading Title!
The author misses some of the harsh realities of daily life in Iran as she finds herself dumbfounded after hearing a male relative complains about current social atmosphere in Iran. It appears she has never stepped out of the role of a tourist during all her trips to Iran to face the daily humiliations, adversities and struggles Iranians face under the current regime.
The title is misleading as the author has never really 'lived' in current Iran since her parents moved to the US when she was at the age of 15 in 70's. At that young age she seemed infatuated with the West; a term she calls "Gharb-zadeghee". This prolonged infatuation has tinted and biased her views towards Iran and Iranians.
For those who strive to understand the Iran of the past quarter century, this diary-style book has little to offer. To meet this end, I suggest "Reading Lolita in Tehran".

3-0 out of 5 stars A Sensitive Immigrant Woman Seeks Balance Between Cultures
Asayesh has written a soul-searching and engrossing book. It is part like a diary, part like a travel book. In seeking to balance her inner and outer lives her return to Iran after many years becomes a journey both spiritual and temporal.

Especially touching are her descriptions, both past and present, of her favorite aunts, Khaleh Farrah and Khaleh Mina. Along with other small vignettes featuring people she meets in the street, and old time acquaintances and relatives, we get an itimate glance into the lives of everyday people of Iran.

A lovely book that promises more from this talented and sensitive author. It would be interesting to learn about her life as her children grow. As second generation Americans of part Iranian heritage, it would be interesting to see how they combine the lessons their mother is trying to impart to them. And the impact of life in the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural America upon them. ... Read more

35. The Coalwood Way
by Homer Hickam
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0440237165
Catlog: Book (2001-09-04)
Publisher: Island Books
Sales Rank: 11635
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the #1 bestselling author of October Sky comes this rich, unforgettable tale. With the same dazzling storytelling that distinguished his first memoir, Homer Hickam takes us deeper into the soul of his West Virginia hometown at a moment when its unique way of life is buffeted by forces of time and change.

It is fall 1959. Homer “Sonny” Hickam and his fellow Rocket Boys are in their senior year at Big Creek High, and the town of Coalwood finds itself at a painful crossroads.

The strains can be felt within the Hickam home, where Homer Sr. struggles to save the mine, and his wife, Elsie, is feeling increasingly isolated from both her family and the townspeople. Sonny, despite a blossoming relationship with a local girl, finds his own mood darkened by an unexplainable sadness.

Then, with the holidays approaching, trouble at the mine and the arrival of a beautiful young outsider bring unexpected changes in both the Hickam family and the town of Coalwood ... as this luminous memoir moves toward its poignant conclusion.
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Reviews (56)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book ROX!!!!!!!
I absolutely love this timeless classic by Homer Hickam! I'm just 17 years old, but know an awesome story when I read one! Homer's first book Rocket Boys changed my life. His book made me realize what life has in store for you when you take risks! The Coalwood Way is an excellent 2nd book in this "series". Mr. Hickam writes in such a way that it grasps you and wont let you quit reading. His style is perfect to read out loud to students in a classsroom setting. In fact, I plan on reading these books to my class when I become the band teacher I've always wanted to be. Thanx Mr. Hickam for this truly generous and awesome look into your exciting life as a coalwood boy!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Deeply Satisfying Memoir
If you enjoyed Homer Hickam's Rocket Boys or the movie October Sky, this book is for you. Homer doesn't so much pick up where he left off at the end of Rocket Boys, but rather returns to the fullness of his senior high school year. He weaves a tapestry that provides detail in breadth and depth that keeps the pages turning. You'll suddenly discover it's well past bedtime and you are content to keep reading.

Homer discovers truths about himself and others, even as he's about to move away from home. There is always more to learn from one's parents. There are many emotional highs and lows in Coalwood, but lessons learned from both will leave you feeling hopeful for the human spirit. The people of Coalwood continue to display a dogged determination to get though the difficulties, even if they stumble along the way. Not one to cry easily, I found my eyes welling up with tears during the last chapter. It is possible to find great joy and beauty in hard times.

Homer doesn't miss on emotion. There's anger, joy, fear, excited anticipation, sorrow, laughter, and contentment. You may very well learn something about yourself while reading The Coalwood Way. I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars I've said it before and I'll say it again:
How many wonderful works of literature were we denied by Homer Hickam (not Hickham or Hickman) going into Industrial Engineering?

This is the type of book that makes you yearn for the simpler, more innocent times of your childhood, no matter when you grew up. Something in each of us can identify with the antics of the Rocket Boys.

I sure hope that Mr. Hickam continues to write more wonderful books such as this one and all his other works.

4-0 out of 5 stars main character is engaging, flawed, well written.
Written by the same author of October Sky, about the same period in his childhood, the COALWOOD WAY and OCTOBER SKY cover the exact same themes-a son trying to shine despite the disappointment/disapproval of his father, rocket trial and error, etc-and have the exact same arcs. Minor characters and sub plots are different, however, and are very poignant and engaging.The protagonist, Sonny is an earnest boy with enough flaws to make him interesting. He is smart yet a little too proud; a friend but sometimes too self-centered to see when his closest friends are in trouble; he's handsome yet can't get a date to the senior dance. These imperfections make him the perfect Everyman, easy to root for. Minor characters are well drawn, and some are heartbreaking to watch. Dreama's tragic arc is painful but gives the story a darkness and depth. Her ostracization by town snobs is well-depicted, and shows that the author didn't just sail through his childhood without noticing the little evils that men do. Great read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining memoir
This is not to the same level of The Rocket Boys, which is a story much better told. However, The Coalwood Way is an interesting read, especially for those who truly liked The Rocket Boys.

For one thing, i was a bit disappointed about the author's foreword. He swears that even though the events in the book passed so long ago (1959), he remembers everything in tremendous detail. If he hadn't said that, i wouldn't have even thought about it. As a person with very bad memory, i don't believe him.

Some of the characters are described to a point that they almost seem caricatures. I couldn't help think of Martin on The Simpsons when reading about Quentin. Roy Lee reminded me of Elvis Presley in one of his cheesy movies.

The memoir almost redeemed itself in page 267 (chapter 27), when Sonny finally realizes what has been bugging him all along (here's something i wish i had done: jot down the items on Sonny's list as you read along). That discovery makes the book worthwhile. However, the memoir ends with the Christmas Pageant, and that image really ruined the moment for me. ... Read more

36. G. I. Joe & Lillie: Remembering a Life of Love and Loyalty
by Joseph S. Bonsall
list price: $14.99
our price: $10.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0892215372
Catlog: Book (2003-03)
Publisher: New Leaf Press (AR)
Sales Rank: 10108
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

ò True account of life, love, war, and finally, peace ò Includes details and accounts of D-Day ò Author sings tenor for the world-famous Oak Ridge Boys ò Poignant slice of Americana ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Love, War, Family, and Faith
I have never been a reader of war stories, nor did I know a lot about WWII. However, this book manages to overview the Second Great War and its effect on the U.S., while weaving in a story of love and faith.

Bonsall knows his characters well, because it's his parents' story. His writing is simple yet passionate. A quick read - that you will never forget. The book offers inspiration for the times we live in today.

4-0 out of 5 stars American Love Story
I was simply blown away by this book. A street wise Kid from Philly making it on his own and then winds up in one of the nation's tragic wars only to meet up with a country girl from North Carolina and they both somehow seem to make it all work out and raise a family and grow old together and remained in love for many many years. This book truly runs the gammets of emotions from Pride to anger to sadness. You can really see what an American Love Story this is. Whether it be children's book or A simple love story if it has a story to be written Joesph S Bonsall can surely write about it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enduring faith like none other
There's a song called "Whatever Happened To Old-Fashioned Love," that simply asks where the life-long commitment of a marriage has gone. All-too-easily, people who have one little problem simply give up. This story is for them.

This story is about two post-WW2 veterans who attempt to return to normal life after the war. Permanent scars, both physically and emotionally, never truely allow that to happen, but one thing gets them through these hard times. Love. A love like none other. Through trials that seem almost unbearable and too hard to overcome, G.I. Joe and Lillie persevered. They are true examples of the old saying, "all you need is love."

Joseph Bonsall's writing is superb, and this true story, while brand new, is old as time itself. No matter what came their way, they always had each other. That's all they needed.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is like a warm quilt!
When it is dark and stormy, nothing is more comforting than to be cocooned in a homemade quilt. A tapestry rich in tradition and assembled with love, a kaleidoscope of patterns and colors, it is an American art form. Wrapped in its warm embrace, its fabric surrounds us and soothes our spirits. By extension, the spirit of America is a tapestry woven by the stories of its people. Each person; each man, woman and child, has a chance to mold this nation. Some become distinguished men and women and make monumental contributions to government, the arts, and business. Others become scourges of society. Most will fall somewhere in between, neither famous nor infamous. But they build lives and legacies for themselves and for the generations that follow them. They are ordinary people who sometimes do extraordinary things. They face adversity and challenges and find a way to overcome them. Their faith in God is the cornerstone of their existence. They raise their children to be honest and to reach for the stars. They are far from perfect, but they do the best they can with what they have been given. And they love each other, no matter what. They are the threads that form the fabrics that produce the patterns of our national tapestry. GI Joe and Lillie are two of those threads. They represent, even in their imperfections, all that is good and right about our country; faith, honor, strength, values, and dreams. Their story, so eloquently chronicled, mirrors many of our own narratives. The details may be different, the patterns and colors may not be the same, but the fabric of their lives, the values that brought them through the rough times, are universal to most of us. And in today's times, when it is dark and stormy, and we need to feel protected, or even just encouraged, we need only wrap ourselves tightly in the legacy they helped create. Their "quilt" warms the heart, and yes, soothes the spirit, for it is rich in tradition and assembled with love. You will laugh and you will cry, but mostly you will be inspired and grateful for this story. ... Read more

37. Notes from the Hyena's Belly : An Ethiopian Boyhood
by Nega Mezlekia
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312289146
Catlog: Book (2002-01-05)
Publisher: Picador
Sales Rank: 117698
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Winner of the Governor General's Award
A Library Journal Best Book of 2001

Part autobiography and part social history, Notes from the Hyena's Belly offers an unforgettable portrait of Ethiopia, and of Africa, during the 1970s and '80s, an era of civil war, widespread famine, and mass execution. "We children lived like the donkey," Mezlekia remembers, "careful not to wander off the beaten trail and end up in the hyena's belly." His memoir sheds light not only on the violence and disorder that beset his native country, but on the rich spiritual and cultural life of Ethiopia itself. Throughout, he portrays the careful divisions in dress, language, and culture between the Muslims and Christians of the Ethiopian landscape. Mezlekia also explores the struggle between western European interests and communist influences that caused the collapse of Ethiopia's social and political structure—and that forced him, at age 18, to join a guerrilla army. Through droughts, floods, imprisonment, and killing sprees at the hands of military juntas, Mezlekia survived, eventually emigrating to Canada. In Notes from the Hyena's Belly he bears witness to a time and place that few Westerners have understood.
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Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Readable as History, Readable as Literature
Mezlekia's story is about growing up in the second half of the 20th Century in Ethiopia, a period of upheaval that includes the overthrow of Haile Selassie and subsequent socialist governments. It richly describes the ethnic tapestry of the country, weaving in folk tales and folk medicine. The stories told by his mother and others are rich diversions in the story of his life and make this history more literary.

He has a highly developed sense of satire and irony, whether when plotting revenge against a strict teacher or when commenting, "To make sure that there was no mistaking the nationality of those involved in designing and building most of the (Addis Ababa) university, the various gadgets and fixtures within them had the 'American Standard' imprint on them."

Highly readable, whatever your knowledge of Africa might be.

Highly recommended if you want to understand what type of economic structures are appropriate in the developing world. Yet it's real strength is in the human story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Notes That Matter
This book is full of meaning, often insightful and completely unforgettable it is written with candor and wit despite its serious edges.

Nega Mezlekia has written a memoir about his boyhood growing up in Ethiopia during the fall of Emperor Selassie. He experiences all of the curious playful things that all boys are reared with yet he also discusses the harshness of the environment during the rise of Junta communism in which thousands of young people were ruthlessly slaughtered. He writes on page 183, "Apathy in the face of continual violence is something someone who has never lived through a war cannot understand......People simply gathered about themselves, like rags, what life there was left, deafened and inured to the inevitability of death." Although Mezlekia has many horrible atrocities to write about this is not all he adheres to. At times this memoir is very witty and I laughed out loud several times imagining some of his shenanigans. His adventures with medicine men and native cures is hilarious as well as his attempt to capture the loose cattle in his village with pepper.

I am always impressed with the attitude of Africans who survive the atrocities they have faced in their home countries. Their spirit and survivalist hearts seem to always prevail despite the horrible circumstances they are often forced to endure. Mezlekia managed to escape his country at possibly its worst moments, not without heartache, not without suffering, but with a true gift as a storyteller. I would recommend this memoir to everyone interested in a great true tale but especially to those concerned with the plights of our fellow human beings who suffer so gracefully for their native lands.

4-0 out of 5 stars !!! Alright !!!
I read "Notes From The Hyena's Belly" because my 7th grade English teacher assigned it to me personally. At first I honestly thought that it was going to be just a stupid autobiography, but it turned out to be excellent!!!

"Notes From The Hyena's Belly" was a book that started from the very second Mezlekia was born, and told his story until he left Ethiopia later in his life. But this is not just a long autobiography that stuck strictly to the facts. It was VERY funny, and generally politically correct... :-D

Combining fact with humor, Mezlekia creates an image of his life in Ethiopia so vivid, you feel that you are there, following him around. From school to church, each part of the book is beautifully orchestrated so that everything makes sense. The book moves at a quick pace, but not so fast that you don't have time to enjoy the occasional joke. :-D Hehehe. A good book. And the moral of THIS story is, if your teacher tells you to read a biography/autobiograohy of choice, take the fun way out and read this one!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, an authentic Ethiopian story in english
I mistakengly judged this book to be rubbish based solely on the cover. To my surprise, it turned out to be an exciting and adventurous story about growing up in eastern Ethiopia, in a town called Jigjiga. The author's aptitude for narration is pleasing, as he does not leave the reader to digress.

One of the funniest parts of this book is when he talks about the farmer boy whom he befriended, and his hillarious use of the Amharic language.

4-0 out of 5 stars unique account
There aren't too many autobiographies of modern Africa out there, and this one in particular stands alone, intermingling historical events with Mezlekia's boyhood and life in Jijiga, a city in the eastern part of the Horn of Africa built on a "dry, sandless desert where even the smallest wind creates devils- whirlwinds of dust that rise high into the heavens and are visible from miles away." Everyone in Jijiga fears the hyenas, which of course explains why there are no homeless people. The townspeople themselves--"Christians, mostly Amharas," and "Muslims, mainly Somalis"-- combined religious rituals with ancient pagan traditions; their culture, which finds its roots in the song of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, is shaped by myth, fantasy, and folklore. One of my favorite parts is when his mother consulted the "medicine man," after one too many youthful mishaps caused her to deduce her son was possessed by an evil spirit.

This is both a good story and a well-told story. Mezlekia offers a convincing prelude to the Red Terror, so that when the communist party officially comes into power, it is easy to understand why people were so intrigued by the idea of this new government and new social structure. It explains how killing can become commonplace, how unreality can become a reality, and how these factors can either make a break a person. ... Read more

38. Somebody's Someone : A Memoir
by Regina Louise
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446529109
Catlog: Book (2003-06-12)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 164707
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This poignant memoir of one abandoned child's wrenching search for some-one to love--and to be loved by--gives compassionate voice to the plight of abused and unwanted children everywhere. What happens to a child when her own parents reject and abandon her? At birth, Regina Louise is deposited by her mother in a foster home where she grows up with the constant specter of severe beatings and other harrowing abuses. But at 10 years old, this extraordinarily bright and resilient child strikes out on her own. Set adrift, she re-encounters her mother, who chooses the men in her life over her daughter's safety, and is then foisted upon a father she has never known, who is at first indifferent and then emotionally abusive. She inhabits over 30 foster and group homes in her painful quest to be loved. Distinctive and arresting, Regina's story offers a scalding look at the life of a child no one wanted--and her discovery of the love that for so long had eluded her. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
The memoir Somebody's Someone, provided insight into an experience many of us are uncomfortable imagining and even more, acknowledging that it exist. Regina Louise truthfully does not write a "feel good" or "happy ending" book for readers to walk away from unaffected. On the contrary, she challenges the reader to face the reality experienced by a child when they are discarded by their parents and unwanted by their family. Although this talented author vividly depicted her life for all to read, I dare to say that no words could ever accurately describe her journey through life. I struggled to finish this book due to the realism and authenticity that Somebody's Someone represented. The only encouragement I received in reading this book was knowing that this little girl I was reading about evidently fought her way to success and did not allow what many would perceive as defeating circumstances to define her life.

**** Submitted by Sherna Graham for The GOOD GIRL Book Club

5-0 out of 5 stars Can Anyone Love Me?
Regina wanted to be somebody, anybody, someone loved. SOMEBODY'S SOMEONE: A MEMOIR by Regina Louise is the story of Regina Ollison told through the voice of a young Regina, age ten through fifteen. We hear first hand the account of her life as a foster child in Texas, North Carolina and finally California. Regina deliberately and painstakingly lays before the reader a first hand account of her ordeal as an unwanted child and what an ordeal it was. So much so that no child should be subjected to life that Regina led. While reading, a few questions came to mind such as, why was this child literally abandoned to a family friend with a history of harboring children and allowing their mistreatment by others? Were her parents so selfish not to want this child but as the years went on, continued to have other children whom they treated like gold? Were Regina's behaviors so incorrigible that she could not be loved?

Through it all, Regina possessed a spirit of wanting, forgiveness and determination that literally saved her from herself and others. At times her antics were humorous but for the most part, this is a sad account, told with a strong southern dialect, which forces the reader to savor the message that Regina was trying to get across to the adults in her life. Her voice resonates her need for a mother and a family regardless of color, which is something that no one inside of the system captured with exception of one woman.

While reading I was hoping to get a glimpse at Regina today and where she stands. I went to her website and discovered that she is doing wonderful things for children "caught" in the system. She is artistically creative and continuously giving of herself through the arts. Anyone who reads SOMEBODY'S SOMEONE: A MEMOIR will be affected by the life of Regina Louise. I highly recommend this novel if you can stomach the pain that may come along with it....

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Somebody's Someone was the book I was looking for. It made me feel as though I can be somebody even if I don't have anything. She was able to take close to nothing and make it something. I am waitng for the next one.I also want to just say Thank you. God Bless Ms. Louise

5-0 out of 5 stars One Helluva Story
Triumph of the spirit! I hope the author gets all that she deserves in life and God knows she desereves better than what she came from and went through. It is hard to believe that we still treat children as we did in the beginning of the new world: as though they are meaningless and insignificant. I recommend this book to all who want a reminder of how precious we all are even when we have no one to REALLY love us. This story speaks to the grace of God's presence in a little girls life.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Child's Story
It is hard to believe that this is a memoir. That a child could be treated with such disregard and cruelty as Regina was.

This is Regina Louise's story of her life from ages 10-15. In these years, Regina shifted from home to home, with a simple request that any child has - to belong and be loved by someone. As the story opens, Regina is living in Texas with a surrogate grandmother, Big Mama, whose house is full of other people's children. In this house, Regina was abused by her "siblings" and ignored by Big Mama. After one of the older children in the home beats Regina at about age 11, she is sent on a bus ride alone to North Carolina to live with her mother, Ruby.

Her time with Ruby seems hopeful, as Ruby is stable and working. But, as the story progresses, and Regina's sister, Doretha comes to live with them, things fall apart. Ruby's boyfriend, Mr. Benny begins making advances at the girls. Doretha fights back and ends up fighting Ruby and getting put out, while Regina sits quietly by, realizing that Ruby wouldn't believe her anyway, and desperately wanting her mother's love and approval.

When Regina finally tells her mother of Mr. Benny's advances, Ruby sends Regina to live in California with her father and his wife. Her time with her father is unsuccessful, and she ends up in foster care, where she becomes attached to one of the counselor's, Ms. Claire. To tell the details of what occurs while Regina is in foster care, would give away several important details and themes that emerge in this.

It was easy to suspend reality and to act like this was merely a story, rather than a detailed account of a girl's life. The book is written in first person, simple narrative form with broken English, as though you are reading out of Regina's journal, or someone merely transcribed her words, spoken into a mini-tape recorder. I often found myself hearing her voice as I read her words. While I would recommend this book, it is not for the light-hearted reader, looking for an uplifting story. Even as I finished this book, I was still not sure if the story was complete. I guess I was looking for a nice, tidy ending, where everything falls into place and all ends well. That satisfaction was not realized until I found her website,
and read a little bit more about how she is now.

R.E.A.L. Reviewers ... Read more

39. Tony Blair: The Making of a World Leader
by Philip Stephens
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670033006
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 252021
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On March 27, 2003, President George W. Bush said, "America has learned a lot about Tony Blair over the last weeks . . . and we’re proud to have him as a friend." Despite the President’s assertion, the average American knows little about Tony Blair except that he remained one of America’s strongest allies in the war on terror and, ultimately, in the war against Iraq. But why? What is Blair’s agenda? Is he just trying to further England’s cause or his own? And how has this man, the youngest British prime minister in centuries, kept strong ties with such fundamentally different presidents as Clinton and Bush?

Philip Stephens—editor of the UK edition of the Financial Times and a man who has known Blair since the beginning of his career—answers for the first time these questions for the American public. Stephens follows the emerging world leader from his boyhood to his leadership of the Labor party and, along the way, exposes his beliefs, his personality, his shortcomings and contradictions, and his role in shaping a new international order. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars a superb portrait of america's best friend
If you want to know why the British prime minister went to war with the US then read this well-written and insightful biography of a great world leader. Stephens produces an elegant account of the personal beliefs, strategic calculations and straightforward loyalty that kept the UK alongside the US in a time of danger. The biography is stylishly-written and full of original material

4-0 out of 5 stars Intro to British politics for Americans
As author Philip Stephens notes, many Americans who saw British prime minister Tony Blair all buddy-buddy with his close friend and philosophical soulmate Bill Clinton were surprised to see Blair in apparently an equally close relationship with George W. Bush just a few months later. Other Americans may simply have wondered who this man was who became Bush's closest ally in the run-up to war in Iraq and his guest during an address to Congress.

Either way, this biography has many of the answers those Americans may be looking for. While it is not the definitive biography of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair -- and it's obviously too early to measure his impact on UK politics, since he's still in office -- this title is nevertheless a good introduction to this major player on the world stage.

Stephens, a writer for the Financial Times newspaper, has had a great deal of access to Blair over the years, including personal interviews specifically for this book. It's not entirely surprising, therefore, that Stephens takes a generally positive tone with his subject. While he does not downplay Blair's weaknesses, including a number of unattractive personality traits, neither is he heavily critical of the man. He also tends to be light in his coverage of others' criticisms of Blair, except insofar as they have shaped the man himself or had a lasting impact on his political outlook or success in office.

No question that this book is more about personality than politics ... but I hasten to add that I think Stephens has done a fine job in showing how Blair's political words and deeds proceed consistently and logically from his personality and his underlying beliefs. Unlike Clinton, Blair does seem to have a solid set of core principles that transcend mere political expedience. Stephens argues that this in part explains Blair's ability to get along with President Bush on matters of global policy. At the same time, Blair is also a consummate and accomplished politician, who recognizes (again, as Stephens argues) that the British prime minister ultimately has little alternative *except* to do all he can to keep the UK's relationship with the US on solid footing, regardless of who is in the White House.

In short, this title may seem a bit too glossy and superficial to Americans who already have some degree of familiarity with British politics and Tony Blair himself. However, for those who don't, or who seek a quick refresher course, Stephens' book has a lot to argue for it. I consider myself relatively conversant with the UK's politics and government, but still learned a lot from reading this. I think other readers may find themselves reaching the same conclusion.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tony Blair 101
Found this to provide a well-written insight into the Prime Minister, and as a relatively short read, it's particularly useful for people like myself who have very little understanding of Blair and the British political system. Stevens chronicles Blair's rise to prominence in New Labour, his struggle to establish the party back to prominence, and his ascension to the true throne of Britain. A brilliant politician who made a relatively favorable impression on most Europeans during his first term, the latter half of the book focuses primarily on Blair's struggle in his second term to persuade an increasingly-skeptical nation to follow his convictions about the moral duty of Britain's government and people in the post 9-11 world, particularly with Britain's current role with Iraq, and his personal relationship with President Bush. Although Stevens is a personal friend of Blair, he is able to paint a relatively objective portrait of the Prime Minister, though more weight is given to Blair's positive achievements.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Decent Enough Biography
It is, of course, far too soon to have any kind of a adequate appraisal of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, but Philip Stephens does a decent enough job at a preliminary evaluation in his new biography. While this is a straightforward, sober narrative, with relatively few Bob Woodward-esque "you-are-in-the-room-as-history-is-being-made" moments, nonetheless it is a lucid, if not always graceful, account of an interesting and complicated politician.

Britain's Labour Party had been out of power for almost two decades when Tony Blair climbed what Benjamin Disraeli once called "the greasy pole" to power. Helped along the way by the sudden death of Labour leader John Smith (whose passing inspires a characteristically purple passage: "The shock of his death was palpable, rippling out from the hushed corridors of Westminster into the nation's living rooms"), Blair became the youngest Prime Minister the nation had seen in more than a century. Taking his cue from Bill Clinton, Blair tried to divest his party of its old leftist baggage (to give just one example, up until the early 90s, according to Hillary Clinton, Labour members addressed each other while speaking at Party Congresses as "Comrades") while keeping what he felt to be the most important of the reforms that Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had made in the 1980s. It was a delicate balancing act, made somewhat simpler by the morass the ruling Conservative Party fell into after they ganged up on and deposed Thatcher in 1990, and it ended with Blair winning a smashing victory in 1997, and, more importantly, a second victory in a general election in 2001, enabling him to remain in office longer than any Labour Prime Minister in British history.

It makes for an interesting story, and Stephens tells it well, if you don't mind some godawful prose ("By the time Tony Blair traveled to Camp David in early September the drumbeat of war had become a discordant din"), and the occasional factual inaccuracy (he refers to Alistair Campbell as "a reformed alcoholic" on page 70 and a "recovered alcoholic" on page 91 when he is neither, since there's no such thing as either a reformed or a recovered alcoholic - there are only recovering alcoholics and dry drunks, like George W. Bush).

The most glaring inaccuracy in the book, oddly enough, comes with his description of the events of September 11th. "The images of the first passenger jet ramming into the twin towers brought horror and puzzlement," Stephens writes. "When the second hit, everything stopped." This is, as anyone who remembers the events of that morning knows, nonsense. There were no images of the first plane ramming into the twin towers on television: not that day, anyway. Only a French documentary crew caught that ghastly image on camera, and it wasn't shown on television for months.

But that whopping mistake aside, his analysis of Blair seems right on the money, and he shows that Blair understands that, as the French give themselves the delusion of continuing to be a world power by opposing whatever the United States does, the British can only delude themselves that they are still players on the world scene by signing on to whatever the United States wants. This, among other reasons, helps to explain why a man who was so chummy with Bill Clinton could turn around and be equally as intimate with George W. Bush. About Bush, however, Blair has an insight that Americans would do well to take into consideration: "Don't listen to the words," Blair once said of the current occupant of the White House. "Watch what he does." That's sound advice, and I hope people listen to it.

So I can cautiously recommend this book. It's slim and awkwardly written, but for what it is, a very tentative account of a statesman whose story is far from over, it's worth a look. Better books about Blair will certainly be written in the future, but until then this one will have to do.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Biography - Answers Many Questions
My first book about Blair was "Thirty Days" by Peter Stothard. That book was about a short time period before the Iraq invasion but it got me interested. Also I read Gerry Adam's book "A Farther Shore" and he describes his interaction with Blair. So I was ready to read a Blair biography. I would say this book is good and explains the basics of Blair's career and what makes him tick. So it was good to read but I would say it rates 4 stars. It is not a barn burner or an epic story, but it is a solid job. It is only 250 pages long and skips many things but it covers the basics.

The author Philip Stephens is well qualified to write this book having been a long time journalist and associate editor at the Financial Times. He has known Tony Blair since Blair was a junior Treasury spokesman for Labour Party in the early 1980's and the author has followed Blair's upward career for 20 years keeping in close contact.

One might assume as I did that this might be a flattering or even a fawning portrayal of Tony Blair. But I think it is fair to say that the book is neutral. It is clearly not nasty or overly negative and if the author had that attitude he would never have been able to interview Blair dozens of times as he claims to have done over a twenty-year period.

In short, I was a bit surprised by the book. It is better than I had hoped; it is a solid and well-crafted biography of a complicated person. The author had access to Blair over decades, he has interviewed many of Blair's old friends and associates, and clearly this is an excellent and well researched book by an outstanding journalist. It explains his half Scottish and half Irish roots, his education, his days at Oxford, his first legal job where he met Cherie, his first contacts with Labour, his first seat as an MP, etc. The book manages to touch on all his main career segments and explain how he has progressed step by step, adapting, learning, grasping power, holding onto power, trying to transform his ideas into action, etc. I did find one interesting aspect and that was how he developed his philosophy on supporting Bush. I recently read Zbigniew Brzezinski's book "The Choice" and many of those ideas are similar to Blair. As a result of the war in Kosovo (and Sierra Leone) Blair concluded that other than France and Britain, the EU was essentially helpless in any military conflict and the relation with the US and later Russia was the key to achieving world peace. For that reason he strongly supported US involvement in Kosovo and later backed Bush in Iraq, and continues to support close US-EU ties, and then expanding those ties.

In any case, this is an interesting book and is highly recommend reading as are the other three books that I mentioned..

Jack in Toronto ... Read more

40. Blackbird : A Childhood Lost and Found
by Jennifer Lauck
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671042564
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Sales Rank: 61100
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

To young Jenny, the house on Mary Street was home -- the place where she was loved, a blue-sky world of Barbies, Bewitched, and the Beatles. Even her mother's pain from her mysterious illness could be patted away with powder and a kiss on the cheek. But when everything that Jenny had come to rely on begins to crumble, an odyssey of loss, loneliness, and a child's will to survive takes flight.... ... Read more

Reviews (88)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Amazing story with a twist
Blackbird, written by Jenifer Lauck, is a very good book. It tells about her life and all the tough times she had. If you as a reader like to read stories with lots of twists, this would be the book for you. A significant event in Jenifer's life is that her mother is sick all the time, and she has to go to a "special place." Kids are not allowed there. so Jenifer does not see her mother much until she dies. Nine months later her dad has a heart attack and dies, and she is left with her step-mom. Her step-mom makes Jenifer do everything on her own, but there's a twist. I think this book is interesting because it has a lot of twists, and it is easy to follow. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars An unbelievable true story of survival
I loved this book. I recently read the entire book in one day. Jennifer Lauch writes a beautiful memior about growing up in circumstances that no child should live through, the deaths of both her parents, abuse and abandonment from other adults who should have taken care of her. Yet, through it all she is determined to fight for her life. It is a remarkable story that demonstrates that even through the worst conditions, many of us have the resilience to keep on fighting for the life that we deserve. The book ends when she is 12. I am about to read the second part of her memiors. I hope you pick up this book and enjoy the gifts that Ms. Lauch bravely bestows to us in the telling of her life story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Memoir
As a writing mentor, I work with a number of people who want to write memoirs. Many of them have experienced traumatic childhoods. I routinely recommend that they read Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found, in order to learn how a master of memoir handles writing about abandonment, abuse, and mental illness without blame, self-pity, or sentimentality. Lauck uses her skills as a journalist to shape a compelling memoir of her childhood. Her courage and well-honed craft are outstanding. She not only has connected with readers, but has helped many of them along the path of healing.

5-0 out of 5 stars my story?
I felt like Ms. Lauck was writing my story. Her experiences and feelings were so similar to mine it was unreal. I cried from the moment I picked it up to the second I put it down. I cried because it was a sad story, I cried because I related, I cried because someone had finally put my feelings on paper.
Thank you Jennifer Lauck.

5-0 out of 5 stars real page turner
BLACKBIRD is a fabulous piece of work, a real memoir. Yet almost seems fiction in its accounts of life. This book has some wonderful qualities like that of NIGHTMARES ECHO,LOST BOY and COURAGE TO HEAL.
This is a real page turner,excellent style. ... Read more

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