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61. Paper Daughter : A Memoir
$4.00 list($22.95)
62. Blessed by Thunder: Memoir of
$10.46 $9.15 list($13.95)
63. Playing Right Field: A Jew Grows
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64. Forgotten Memories: Sequel to
$9.74 $8.54 list($12.99)
65. Odyssey of a Romanian Street Child
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66. Poker Face : A Girlhood Among
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67. Moab Is My Washpot: An Autobiography
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68. Into the Arms of Strangers : Stories
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69. Among Friends
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70. Firebird : A Memoir
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71. Danger Close, Second Edition
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72. My Sense of Silence: Memoirs of
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73. The Sporting Art of Frank W. Benson
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74. Tarzan, My Father
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75. You Ain't Got No Easter Clothes
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76. A Child's Christmas in Wales
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77. Growing Up Harley-Davidson: Memoirs
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78. Daughter of the Saints: Growing
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79. Crazy in the Kitchen : Foods,
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80. My Father's War

61. Paper Daughter : A Memoir
by M. Elaine Mar
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060930527
Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 261019
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When she was five years old, M. Elaine Mar and her mother emigrated from Hong Kong to Denver to join her father in a community more Chinese than American, more hungry than hopeful.

While working with her family in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant and living in the basement of her aunt's house, Mar quickly masters English and begins to excel in school. But as her home and school life--Chinese tradition and American independence--become two increasingly disparate worlds, Mar tries desperately to navigate between them.

Adolescence and the awakening of her sexuality leave Elaine isolated and confused. She yearns for storebought clothes and falls for a red-haired boy who leads her away from the fretful eyes of her family. In his presence, Elaine is overcome by the strength of her desire--blocking out her family's visions of an arranged marriage in Hong Kong.

From surviving racist harassment in the schooIyard to trying to flip her straight hair like Farrah Fawcett, from hiding her parents' heritage to arriving alone at Harvard University, Mar's story is at once an unforgettable personal journey and an unflinching, brutal look at the realities of the American Dream.

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Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it tremendously & highly recommend it.
This is a book for everyone.

Richly descriptive, bravely revealing, and intensely engaging, M. Elaine Mar's writing has the remarkable effect of bringing the reader right inside her own feelings and senses, as if to experience her story firsthand.

Its touching vignettes from a family life so infused with both love and pain; its thoughtful depiction of the experience of a working-poor, first-generation immigrant family in modern U.S. society; and its revealing account of a young girl's struggle for identity in world filled with contradictions, are what make this book worth reading.

While I might agree that Ms. Mar doesn't bring everything to a tidy resolution at the end, I'm compelled to point out that this is a memoir, not fiction. Who among us does have everything resolved in life? This book - - as with life - - is more about the journey than the destination.

I enjoyed Paper Daughter tremendously, I wholeheartedly recommend it, and I look forward to more from this author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Paper Daughter is a beautiful and nuanced book about family.
Paper Daughter is a rich memoir of cultures crossing, as many reviewers have noted. It is also a valuable addition to the literature of class in America. But I find it has stayed with me most of all as a story about family, and especially about the terrible love that connects so many of us with our parents.

Mar's rendering of her early childhood in Hong Kong is beautiful, capturing the satisfaction of a child who feels safe, known, and well-cared-for; she describes her family's meager resources with care and no rancor, making clear that for her, the world was rich and complete. One of my favorite images in a long time is of little Man Yee arriving at school asleep, snuggled up against her mother's back for the walk there. And if there is one moment of plain peace in this novel, it is when Mar, having completed with her mother the arduous and anxious journey from Hong Kong, is reunited with her father at the airport. Nuzzling against him as heart contracted and released. This was my father, and he remembered me."

What felt to a little girl like an idyll for her family, one room in a crowded walk-up with uncertain plumbing, was of course not really tenable, and her parents were compelled to make the choices they did. And surely even if Mar's American acculturation had not divided her so painfully from her parents, something else would have. Who among us has not, at some time, looked around at her family, no matter how valued, and felt herself a stranger in a strange land? (After a recent reading from Paper Daughter, Elaine Mar told the audience that she believes that when she and her mother speak Chinese, she understands almost 100 percent of what her mother says, but her mother only understands about 70 percent of what Elaine says. Thinking of myself and my own mother, I thought "yep, that's about right," even though both my mother and I are native English speakers.)

Mar's is a classically American story, of upward class mobility and the distance it puts between a young woman and her immigrant parents. But in spite of its honest treatment of an isolation so overpowering it sometimes made her nearly suicidal, Paper Daughter is nevertheless a novel infused with loyalty, love, and humor. Mar's appreciation for detail, and especially for the contours of the heart's many hungers, helps her paint a picture in which every face holds beauty and sorrow.

There is no love more intense than the one that ties us to the parents who raise us, and there is no chasm deeper than the one that opens up between those parents and ourselves. We fight with each other desperately, perhaps just to keep from letting go altogether. In Mar's family, poverty, fear, and displacement added intolerable stress to the mix, as they do for too many families. Her parents feel she can never appreciate their sacrifices, and truly it seems that they can't understand her suffering either. Yet from this impasse Elaine Mar has created a book that honors both.

1-0 out of 5 stars Eh, no big deal
I read somewhere that the events in a person's life are only interesting to that person. So true in this case. Yeah, yeah, Asian girl picked on my American classmates. Asian girl must learn proper American table manners. blah blah blah. The flowery, overly-detailed descriptions were lame and contrived. It could have been a good story if it wasn't so full of self-pity and a narcissistic attitude. Poor child, auntie won't hug her. Poor dear, she can't date outside her ethnic background. It seems more like the diary of a confused and angry adolescent. Now, Amy Tan, that's an interesting writer!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Engrossing Memoir
The book opens with a sensuous description of a Hong Kong child eating chicken bones, crushing them between her teeth to release the clotted marrow within. The author later contrasts this earthy and primal experience with the manner in which Americans eat fried chicken, delicately nibbling away from the bone, oblivious to the rich marrow within. I found this broad metaphor thought-provoking, contrasting the sterility of American suburban life with the riotous, crowded Hong Kong environs where the author lived her earliest years.

I was very impressed with the sensual detail in the book, the descriptions of textures and scents hinting of mystery, such as the jars of dried mushrooms and spices that her mother stored in the tiny room that was the author's first home.

The criticism that many reviewers have expressed is that the memoir fails to be reflective. I did not find that to be the case. I prefer to have the author use metaphor and selectiveness of memory to present her view, as she deftly does, than to read pages of exposition detailing why she felt her mother treated her coldly. I believe the author is trusting to the intelligence of the reader to puzzle out the motivations of each character. It would be less than artful to be as obvious as some readers apparently wish.

That said, I did not always sympathize with the author, especially as she grew into adolescence and became increasingly disrespectful of her parents. However, it took courage for the author to sometimes portray herself in a less than attractive manner. One was left to wonder if her adolescent angst would have been similar if she had never left Hong Kong.

I felt the memoir's legitimate focus was her childhood and formative years. Some have expressed the wish that the author would have continued, describing her college years in greater detail. I disagree, as that would have moved the story away from the focus on family. Family is used to define the author throughout the memoir; as she seperates from her family, the story ends. Therefore, I found the break logical.

My one criticism would be that it is slightly facile to believe that a Harvard education somehow has elevated the author beyond her family. The first severing was one of language. Education was secondary. I disliked the implication that the education she strove for somehow delivered her from an intolerable life. The author seemed to be overly impressed with herself for being accepted into Harvard, as if this were the grandest achievement attainable. She also failed to criticize, or if she did, it was too subtle for my tastes, the adolescent mentalities and delusions of genius, which were apparently common amongst the students at the Cornell summer program she attended. Nor could I tell if she felt the psychiatrist who interviewed her for the program was rather pompous and shallow, as I did. My assumption, though, is that the author has chosen to leave this unsaid and that this scene was yet another instance of her trying to fit into one sub-group or another, posing as an intellectual rather than as a typical American teenager.

The author progresses from dutiful Chinese daughter, to bewildered immigrant, to essential interlocutor for her family, to sullen teenager, to burgeoning "intellectual". I felt that most of these transitions were beautifully described and that the varying experiences and motivations of the different family members contributed greatly to the richness of the story. I was a little off-put by her eventual move to Cambridge and Harvard, because I felt that the author's motivations were more about belonging to an "elite" group and progressing socially than any educational goals. However, my opinion is belied by the elegant and moving memoir that she later wrote, which implies that her maturity has progressed greatly beyond the last stage described in the book, that of a self-centered teenager eager to break from her family.

Overall, I found this memoir to be very worthwhile reading.

3-0 out of 5 stars Unexceptional
Mar's memoir may be a better read for someone not accustomed to reading about the Chinese-American immigrant experience, but those well-read in the field are unlikely to be impressed. Mar does not use hindsight to explain things that confused her in her childhood, such as the significance of speaking Toisan instead of proper Cantonese. Her childhood experiences are not so different from those of American-born Chinese, or frankly of smart children in general. Her experience with the joy of being around other smart kids is more closely tied with the "smart" experience than the "immigrant" experience. And her tango with anorexia, along the same vein, has more to do with the "type-A female" experience then with the immigrant experience. Overall, this book is a good memoir of one woman's life, but there are too many ideosyncratic facets for this to tout itself as a good representation of the modern Chinese immigrant experience in America. ... Read more


62. Blessed by Thunder: Memoir of a Cuban Girlhood
by Flor Fernandez Barrios
list price: $22.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1580050212
Catlog: Book (1998-06-01)
Publisher: Seal Pr
Sales Rank: 980002
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

On the surface, this beautifully written memoir is riveting simply because it revolves around a young girl growing up in Cuba during the Communist revolution. When Flor Fernandez Barrios's parents consider fleeing Castro's regime, they are labeled gusanos, or traitors. Neighbors shame and taunt them. At the age of 10, Barrios is sent away along with thousands of other children to a work camp, where she is forced into hard labor, picking tobacco and sugar cane to offset the U.S. embargo.

Barrios could have relied upon the dramatic details of her life in Cuba to make this memoir fascinating. But instead she dared to mine the depths of the cultural and spiritual story beneath the surface. Like Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits, this is a tale of magic, spirits, and family devotion. Throughout her childhood, Barrios's mystical grandmothers, as well as her Afro-Cuban nanny, teach her the names and stories of their indigenous spirits, and their secret spells of healing. It is these Cuban spirits who thunder and comfort Barrios during her shameful punishments at work camp. Years later, the memories of her Cuban mentors and healing spirits help the exiled Barrios find her place in a new country. This is a highly recommended story of Cuban life, spiritual heritage, and human fortitude. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Blessed By Thudner, Memoir of a Cuban Girlhood
"The story of Cuba continues to unwind through time, across oceans, in the bloodstream of her descendents, over many lands. Blessed by Thunder reveals a story we didn't read in the newspapers, hear on the radio, watch on the nightly news or scope from alternative news sources as the volatile story of the island of Cuba unfolded in the North. This is a story of a girl accompanied by lightening at birth, of how her complex family and community rooted in a lush and beautiful land lose everything to political terrorism. It's a stunning portrait of what binds life together despite terrible tests and inflexible doctrines. I love this book. It is gorgeous in the telling. I could not put it down." -Joy Harjo, author of The Woman Who Fell From The Sky

5-0 out of 5 stars So Close and Yet So Far
Blessed By Thunder is a stunning achievement and a heartfelt story about what it is to grow up too quickly, what it is to lose your home and your country and to find yourself in the land of magnificent promises and deferred dreams... America! Flor Fernandez Barrios has written an exceptional memoir that recounts shocking stories of the layers and layers of betrayal and deception the Cuban people have endured through Castro's four-decade-old revolution. As the child of Cuban exiles I devour books about that mysterious jewel of an island called Cuba...so near and yet so far.... We are Blessed by writers such as Fernandez Barrios who has pierced the exotic veil of this intoxicating neighbor of ours and who has laced her stories with wrenching details of how ordinary lives have been touched by this larger world event. Her memoir is elegant and deeply provoking and her stories stay with you long after the book is done. ~ Juana de la O

5-0 out of 5 stars Bless you, mom and dad
I thank God daily for the decision my parents made when sending me alone out of Cuba . Since my parents thought that they could say they were going on vacation, they had also packed to leave with me but the militia was too wise for that and held my mom's and dad's visa at the docks since they had not left everything to the government.At the precise moment they decided to send me alone (8-05-61)on the last cargo ferry that left Havana with sugar,under the care of Pedro Pan Operation. I was starting fourth grade that September of 1961 and I would have gone through the same ordeal Teresa went through. I admire Flor Teresa for the loyalty to her parents and family, for her courage of making the best of the moment and for her maturity at such young age. I believe that young as well as old will get teachings from this book. Teachingsof survival, of meeting with your goals, of distinguishing what is right from what is wrong and of giving a value to the simple things in life. As an adult Flor Teresa must be an extraordinary human being.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Done
The book was a smooth read. Ms. Fernandez-Barrios made me feel apart of her. Her memoir was so vivid. She connected herself to all the ancestrial roots of Cuba. She is an excellent writer. I would love to see more literature by this author.

5-0 out of 5 stars An engaging, candid, vividly recounted autobiography
Blessed By Thunder: Memoir Of A Cuban Girlhood is a compelling autobiography of a Cuban childhood amidst the drama and struggle of Cuba's revolution and consequent relative isolation from the western world in general, and the United States in particular. Flor Barriors grew up in a family embittered by their treatment at the hands of Castro's government. After requesting to leave the country, her family was ostracized, and eleven-year-old Flor was sent to a rural work camp where she picked tobacco and sugar cane for two years. Headstrong and defiant, with a spirit unbroken by daily hardships, she found wisdom and comfort in the older women in her family (two grandmothers and a nanny), each of whom taught her about the power of spirits and the magical ways to seek healing. Finally able to leave Cuba, Flor was uprooted and living in exile, but used the lessons learned from the women in her family to heal her losses and make her way in a new life far from home. Blessed By Thunder is a remarkable, engaging, candid, vividly recounted autobiography of an unusual girl in unusual times. ... Read more


63. Playing Right Field: A Jew Grows in Greenwich
by George Tabb, John Strausbaugh
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932360409
Catlog: Book (2004-06-08)
Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Sales Rank: 51811
Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One of a handful of Jews in the WASPish enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut, and undersized at that, George Tabb was routinely kicked around by the other kids - one blind, another one with one arm - as well as by his father. Playing Right Field refers to an early experience of the author and his brother, Lloyd, who played Little League together; they were forced to share one team T-shirt because their father the multimillionaire was too cheap to buy one for each of them. George and Lloyd chose right field because hardly any balls ever got hit out there and they thought it would be safe and provide them with lots of space. This book is a series of vivid remembrances - morality tales with an absurdist edge - that trace Tabb's growing sense of isolation and rebellion. Each is illustrated by noted underground cartoonist Fly. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Write-On George Tabb!!! Can't wait for the next book!
I'm so glad to own this book! This is the best childhood memoir I've ever read. Mr. Tabb's intimate writing style pulled me right into 'his world'... right into these wonderful, illustrious, true stories from his rocky childhood. Each chapter is a self-contained story, conjuring up a wide range of emotions from the reader. Many times I felt guilty laughing at such tragic happenings, but I laughed on! I imagine that's what the author wanted. And that's what we got!
Thanks Tabby!

2-0 out of 5 stars The Travails Of A Rich And Once Young Man
So what do you do if you are the son of a very wealthy man who showed you a radical lack of the sensitivity and understanding necessary for experiencing a proper and happy childhood? Well, if you're George Tabb, you wait until you are well into your 40s and commit your vast store of cherished childhood pain to the pages of a family gossip tell-all book.

But I have to level with you, do the childhood problems of a privileged yet troubled lad, relived several decades later, sound like the premise of anything unique, or even interesting, to you? No, me neither. Perhaps if the author had broken away from this cruel family and social predicament and struggled to make it on his own in a heroic bid for the freedom and self-respect this nasty situation obviously called for, well, then maybe there'd be something to hang your sympathies on. But apparently for this author the solution was to move into his mom's place in Manhattan, form a series of failed punk rock bands, write for the fanzine and weekly arts and leisure press, all the while continuing to live on the family dime for the next two decades.

There comes a time in everyone's life when you must put aside childish things and accept the burdens of adulthood. We can only hope that such a moment will someday arrive for Mr. Tabb.

5-0 out of 5 stars what a book!
When i started reading it i seriously could not put this book down. It has everyhting needed to be the perfect book. When reading this book you really have to feel bad for George Tabb. He was beat up every day on the bus jsut for being Jewish. His dad was horrible too him( when he played on the baseball team his dad would only buy one shirt for him and his brother). He was even beat up by a blind kid (he wouldn't hit him) and people thought he was making everyhting up. He was punched in the face just for defending a retarded kid. George Tabb is in Furious George a really punk band.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book was great
"Playing Right Field" is about George Tabb (the author) and the
various highlights of his childhood years. Things that were funny,sad, whatever. He lives in a town that hates Jews and with him being a Jew it makes for a great book. I especially liked all the blatantly disgusting and funny parts like the slaying of Gamera, the goat-eating turtle beast, and the time a neighbor's dog turned George into his bitch. It only took me part of a day in summer school to complete it and I never stopped laughing throught the whole thing. Overall, this is probably the funniest book I've ever read. I'd think it would be great if Tabb would write more books, and I'd definitely look forward to them.

It is on Soft Skull books and I got it at Borders in Winter Park.
Actually, I got my copy from a friend's mom.(...)

--Robert

5-0 out of 5 stars I laughed... I cried......... but mainly I laughed.
Not only was this book able to hold my attention for longer than 30 minutes, but I read through the book in 2 days because I couldn't put the damn thing down! Every story is told in such detail, I would forgot that these things happened to him - not ME! Just don't hate him when his writings appear in the 22nd Century Edition Bible.

George Tabb is an absolute genius.

I know this book is going to be part of a series and I can hardly wait for the next one to come out. So get a move on it George. ... Read more


64. Forgotten Memories: Sequel to East Side Dreams
by Art Rodriguez
list price: $12.95
our price: $12.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967155525
Catlog: Book (2002-03-11)
Publisher: Dream House Press
Sales Rank: 580060
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Turbulent teenage Years! But life goes on!

Travel with Art Rodriguez as he takes you through his teen years. You will see that life does get better, even though it appears confusing and harsh at times. You will enjoy his stories of growing up in San Jose, California. He will take you for a stroll; as he does, you will experience with him fun times and hard times. You will enjoy this sequel to East Side Dreams. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Memories
Voice of Youth Advocates Magazine October 2002 VOYA
Growing up in San Jose, California, Arturo Rodriguez and his brothers and sister endured an abusive father, their parents' unhappy marriage, and their father's absence after he returned to Mexico. Rodriguez coped as best he could, but his drinking and drug use, in the wrong place at the wrong times led to his incarceration in California's prison system for young offenders. Against all odds, he put his past behind him, married and had a family, and worked hard to overcome injustices and start a successful business. After his retirement Rodriguez began writing about his life and his family. This book is sequel to East Side Dreams (Dream House, 2001, published in Spanish as SueƱos del Lado Este. In this second autobiographical book, he writes about childhood pranks and misdeeds, his mother's near fatal illness, his parent's divorce, the birth of his first child, and how his parents even eventually became friends.
The writing here is unpolished but sincere in true, and the reminiscences and descriptions are vivid and true to life. Neither how he grew to understand his father and other relatives whom he loved despite their flaws. His message for young readers is clear. It is possible to survived and overcome injustices and hardships. Rodriguez maintains a Web site at www EastSideDreams. com and invites readers to visit, view his picture alum, and perhaps send him an e-message. He will answer.-Sherry York Voice of Youth Advocates Magazine

5-0 out of 5 stars Midwest Book Review Magazine
Forgotten Memories
Art Rodriguez
Dream House Press
Capably written for teenage readers grades 7 through 11 by Art Rodriguez, Forgotten Memories is the story of his having been a young man growing up amid difficult conflicts in San Jose, California. From life-threatening risks such as drowning and knife fights, to the cutting harshness of vituperative words, Forgotten Memories reflects the drama of learning how to survive, grow, and accept personal responsibility. Forgotten Memories is recommended as a powerful coming of age story. Also highly recommended is the Art Rodriguez previous memoir, East Side Dreams. ... Read more


65. Odyssey of a Romanian Street Child
by Catalin Dobrisan, John Kachelmyer
list price: $12.99
our price: $9.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 088419941X
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Creation House Press
Sales Rank: 51534
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars worth every leu
I just got this book as a gift not three days ago. I read it in a single afternoon. I have to warn you that this is not an easy read. The writing is very simple and easy to understand, but the story is a difficult one to swallow. It is a frank account of the lifestyle of street children, and it is not pretty. I have seen these street kids in cities all over Romania. They are haunting images of neglect. Do not read this book of you are not prepared to have your heart broken.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Informative Book
I have been to Romania and know something about the plight of the Romanian street children. This book's "been there, done that" account of living on the street was very interesting. It helped fill in the gaps in my understanding of the problem. It clearly explains why the street children exist, about their awful living conditions, about successes and failures working with street children, and more. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about Romanian street children. ... Read more


66. Poker Face : A Girlhood Among Gamblers
by Katy Lederer
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0609608983
Catlog: Book (2003-08-12)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 18899
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“The intricacies of family and the complexities of the games they play mingle wonderfully here in a memoir quite unlike any other.”—George Plimpton, author of Truman Capote

Katy Lederer grew up on the bucolic campus of an exclusive East Coast boarding school where her father taught English, her mother retreated into crosswords and scotch, and her much older siblings played “grown-up” games like gin rummy and chess. But Katy faced much more than the typical trials of childhood. Within the confines of the Lederer household an unlikely transformation was brewing, one that would turn this darkly intellectual and game-happy group into a family of professional gamblers.

Poker Face is Katy Lederer’s perceptive account of her family’s lively history. From the long kitchen table where her mother played what seemed an endless game of solitaire, to the seedy New York bars where her brother first learned to play poker, to the glamorous Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, where her sister and brother wager hundreds of thousands of dollars a night at the tables, Lederer takes us on a tragicomic journey through a world where intelligence and deceit are used equally as currency. Not since Mary McCarthy’s Memories of a Catholic Girlhood has a writer cast such a witty and astringently analytic eye on the demands of growing up.

An unflinching exploration of trust and betrayal, competition, suspicion, and unconventional familial love, Poker Face is a testament to the human spirit’s inventiveness when faced with unusually difficult odds.
... Read more

Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars insightful, but a bit forced
If you are at all interested in this book I am guessing it is because you are curious in knowing more about the lives of poker players Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. I found the book to be an intriguing biography of the unfolding lives of the Lederer family, particularly Howard and their mother, with whom the author seems to be closer to (you don't read much about Annie). However, at times I found the writing a bit forced, especially the many analogies and metaphors that the author draws upon. Other than those minor annoyances, it was a good, short read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Growing Up Gambling
To many people, gambling may be a hobby, or a simple entertainment, a fantasy of riches, or possibly an addiction. To Katy Lederer, it was family. In _Poker Face: A Girlhood among Gamblers_ (Crown) she has told of a very strange upbringing and the result. Her memoir goes from New England, Manhattan, and Berkeley to (of course) Las Vegas, and is a fascinating tale of attempts to beat the odds. It is sad and funny, but she has no axe to grind against herself or any of the family members whom she accepts with understanding and love. Besides being a family memoir, her book also has a good deal of reporting on how gambling is done, and in some cases, done as a career.

Games were central to her growing up. "Our parents didn't much care whether we got good grades in school. Winning at games was what mattered." No one helped anyone during the competition. When brother Howard disappeared, he was said to be homeless in New York, but actually, he had fallen in love: "He fell in love with the game of poker - not just with the cards, but with the money and the banter and the drugs." He rose from playing nickel stakes in filthy dives to becoming a professional. He ran a sports betting operation, and hired their mother as a bookkeeper for a very lucrative operation. He eventually took it all to Las Vegas, where he became a high stakes poker player. He taught their sister, and then Lederer herself. Howard's instructions were clear; what is really going on at the table has nothing to do with your cards, and everything to do with the cards of the opponents and what the opponents are thinking about them. Lederer got to be competent enough at poker only to be winning a little overall. "My sister and brother were by this time world-class players, and I lived in great fear of becoming an appendage - their little sister who could write but who was not so great at cards."

She finally folded, going back to the writing career she had begun at Berkeley. Writing is a lot like poker: cheerful and bright when all is going well, but universally glum if things are going badly. No matter the changes of mood, though, "... the absolute worst thing imaginable is to never again be in action, to never again write a word." She is certainly in the action in this exploration of love, competition, loss, and chance. She has quite generously dealt us a full house.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dear Sean,
This wasn't a thesis. I have an MFA in poetry, not creative nonfiction, something you would know if you had gotten past page 100. I think you are exactly right that the book is plain and careful; it concerns people who are still alive and moving about in the world, and I was aiming to convey as respectfully as possible the realities of their stories more than my own personal imaginative style. In this I think the book is anything but "false." I am sorry you were disappointed, but I would have appreciated this review more if you had read my book more thoroughly before posting it. Thanks, Katy

2-0 out of 5 stars nice bluff here
Can we just be honest? This is a thesis so Katy could get her MFA degree, and it reads like a student's work. Very careful, very programatic, very ordinary. Uneven pacing, often melodramatic, extremely uneven. Nice try, I say, but this is no poker book, or a truly meaningful memoir. The sad thing is the author did recognize an intriguing subject and the timing--read Poker Boom--is perfect, but do not fall for this bluff, no matter the title, or the cover photo--obviously both something that came from a focus group/editor. I say stick to poetry, Katy, which is just about as complex and godly as poker, and isn't, in its core, FALSE...

2-0 out of 5 stars A disappointing gambit
This story starts out full of promise of something deep and insightful, something poignant but somewhere along the middle of the story it bogs down in mediocrity. If I want to read a how to poker book, I will. I wanted to read about the people involved in these stories. It concludes somewhat better, reaching a little further but generally a disappointment. ... Read more


67. Moab Is My Washpot: An Autobiography
by Stephen Fry
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1569472025
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Soho Press
Sales Rank: 89712
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A number one bestseller in Britain that topped the lists there for months, Stephen Fry's astonishingly frank, funny, wise memoir is the book that his fans everywhere have been waiting for. Since his PBS television debut in the Blackadder series, the American profile of this multitalented writer, actor and comedian has grown steadily, especially in the wake of his title role in the film Wilde, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and his supporting role in A Civil Action.
        
Fry has already given readers a taste of his tumultuous adolescence in his autobiographical first novel, The Liar, and now he reveals the equally tumultuous life that inspired it. Sent to boarding school at the age of seven, he survived beatings, misery, love affairs, carnal violation, expulsion, attempted suicide, criminal conviction and imprisonment to emerge, at the age of eighteen, ready to start over in a world in which he had always felt a stranger. One of very few Cambridge University graduates to have been imprisoned prior to his freshman year, Fry is a brilliantly idiosyncratic character who continues to attract controversy, empathy and real devotion.
        
This extraordinary and affecting book has "a tragic grandeur that lifts it to classic status," raved the Financial Times in one of the many ecstatic British reviews. Stephen Fry's autobiography, in turns funny, shocking, sad, bruisingly frank and always compulsively readable, could well become a classic gay coming-of-age memoir.
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Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars Autobiography Shows Author's "Wilde" Side Growing Up
Moab Is My Washpot by British comedian Stephen Fry is at turns sly, funny and laced with a poignancy which reveals a hauntingly human side to a man whose writing talent and comedic prowess makes him intellectually intimidating.

In the book we learn of how Fry was turned out of prep and public school, his jaunt around England as a forger of credit card signatures, his time in prison and the triumphant reclaiming of his life through his entrance to Cambridge.

What is important about this book is that it is universal. Fry's story of teenage angst and lonliness is one many teens go through today. It is good to see that his story has a successful ending. It serves as notice to lost youths that they can turn their lives around and be a success.

There is one flaw with the book. It ended to soon. Fry only chronciles the first 20 years and doesn't even hit on such momentous events such as meeting fellow partner in comedic crime, Hugh Laurie at Cambridge. I can only hope Mr. Fry's fingers are busily typing out a sequel covering the next twenty years.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fry Reveals "Wilde" Side In His Autobiography
Moab Is My Washpot by British comedian Stephen Fry is at turns sly, funny and laced with a poignancy which reveals a hauntingly human side to a man whose writing talent and comedic prowess makes him intellectually intimidating.

In the book we learn of how Fry was turned out of prep and public school, his jaunt around England as a forger of credit card signatures, his time in prison and the triumphant reclaiming of his life through his entrance to Cambridge.

What is important about this book is that it is universal. Fry's story of teenage angst and lonliness is one many teens go through today. It is good to see that his story has a successful ending. It serves as notice to lost youths that they can turn their lives around and be a success.

There is one flaw with the book. It ended to soon. Fry only chronciles the first 20 years and doesn't even hit on such momentous events such as meeting fellow partner in comedic crime, Hugh Laurie at Cambridge. I can only hope Mr. Fry's fingers are busily typing out a sequel covering the next twenty years.

4-0 out of 5 stars not bad, but . . .
Most of this autobiography was quite enjoyable. Stephen Fry is clearly a gifted writer, and based on this book I might try some of his fiction. However, a great deal of the middle of this book, say 100 pages or more, are devoted to his explaining and defending and preaching on his homosexuality.

While I certainly don't begrudge him his right to tell his own story the way he wants and to spend time on what he finds important, this section really dragged on far too long. Aside from this, his story is really quite interesting and provocative. Go ahead and read it.

1-0 out of 5 stars The picture of Dorian Fry
...

Everything about this "autobiography" is constructed, fake and banal. This book is basically an endless enumeration of boyhood traumas, mostly related to Fry's homosexuality. We read uninspired, mandatory descriptions on how lucky he is with his parents and how he caused them so much pain. But most pages are devoted to anecdotes illustrating what a witty and tormented genius he actually is.

The most irritating characteristic of this book is Fry's inability to hold a plotline. From page one, we get flahbacks, flasforwards and rococo embellishments. When he falls in love, Fry spends pages to describe how it's like "the chord Max Steinder brings in when Bogart catches sight of Bergman, the swell and surge of the Liebestod from Tristan, Liszt's sonata in B minor". Etcetera. Etcetera. And of course, for Fry a page is lost if there's no gag. So be prepared to countless platitudes such as "My mother can strip a gooseberry bush quicker than a priest can strip a choirboy". If you think this is funny, don't bother my review. You'll love the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent! A treat for one and all.
This is an excellent book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I realize that everyone has different reading habits, but it might be revealing to know that I more or less read this straight through, starting the minute I got it home, breaking for maybe six hours of sleep, then resuming progress in every free moment at work until I finished. It was impossible to put down, and seems to exert some sort of gravitational pull upon my hand every time I pass it on the shelf.

If you're interested in Stephen Fry, it follows that you should read this. If you like autobiographies in general, this is one of the best you'll come across. There are parts that could easily stand alone as essays, and parts that read like fiction. The writing is brilliant as usual-- clear, precise, thoughtful, poignant, and funny.

One thing I feel is important to mention-- most folks do not remember what it felt like to be young. It's clear to me that most writers create teenage or youthful characters from observations of those around them, not from their own experiences, and it shows. After a while, it becomes painful to read yet another cardboard teen. But Stephen Fry does remember, what it was like, in detail, and it's very refreshing and gratifying. I read this and see myself, or someone I can relate to and identify with. Others might read this and see someone they know, and still others might be astounded by the depth of feeling and sincerity expressed.

I would recommend this to most anyone--I love it and, while there are people who won't, I think they're in the minority. If you're not convinced, get the cheapest copy you can find, and give it a shot anyway. This book is more than worth your while. ... Read more


68. Into the Arms of Strangers : Stories of the Kindertransport
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582341621
Catlog: Book (2001-10-19)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Sales Rank: 147764
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The companion to the Academy Award(r) winning feature documentary from Warner Bros.
For nine months before the outbreak of World War II, Britain conducted an extraordinary rescue mission. It opened its doors to over 10,000 endangered children-90 per cent of them Jewish-from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. These children were taken into foster homes and hostels in Britain, expecting eventually to be reunited with their parents. Most of the children never saw their families again.

Into the Arms of Strangers recounts the remarkable story of this rescue operation, known as the Kindertransport. It contains stories in their own words from the child survivors, rescuers, parents, and foster parents.The stories are heartbreaking, but they are also inspiring. These are the stories of those who survived with the help of others; they are stories about the strength and resolve of children; and most astonishing, these are stories not yet heard about the Holocaust.
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt, and gut renching
I was shopping one day and this book caught my eye, and being a shopaholic I purchsed it, and expected it to be mediocre at best, expecting it to be like every other book I read about the holocaust-sad, bringing tears to my eyes at every turn of the page. While this book was extremly sad and did bring tears to my eyes it was also inspiring. It showed through bad times when one thinks the total human race is turning into heartless machines there are good people in this world who will reach out and help children and save them from the awful events that took place during Hitler's reign. This book is a great read that will make one's heart melt for the childrn seperated from their parents, and happy at the same time because they lived a relativly healthy/safe life. These people's stories makes you want to reach out and help evey child in need during hard times. I could not put down this book and i would recommend it to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gutwrenching and fascinating
I'm a passionate reader of Holocaust books. I just happened to see this when I was in a bookstore one day - once I started it, I had trouble putting it down, and when I put it down, I had trouble not thinking about it. The stories are absolutely gutwrenching and are an insightful look into what children who are put through horrific circumstances think and feel, and how they survive. Anyone who is interested in the Holocaust, or in child psychology, should read this book.

I also agree with the other reviewers that it is inspiring to learn about giving, caring people who were willing to put themselves out in order to save children they'd never laid eyes on.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable
I can't get this book out of my head. It has managed to invade my thoughts on a daily basis and show up in my dreams at night. It is shocking and appalling that such an event could occur - parents having to say goodbye to their little children. I have children of my own, and reading this book made me almost ill with sadness and horror. The heartache and misery endured by the Jewish people is beyond comprehension - it utterly boggles the mind.

First-person narrative history is perhaps the most interesting history to read; the individual accounts are so emotional that you want to reach into the page and lend comfort. This is an excellent book that deserves a special place in the holocaust library. It should also be read in schools.

5-0 out of 5 stars A tear-jerker!
This was an illuminating and evocative book. Anyone interested in this topic should also read "Escape Via Siberia" and "The Uprooted" by Dorit Whiteman. Whiteman's books -- which expertly weave gripping personal accounts with historical context -- explore how survivors of the kindertransport and other Holocaust horrors coped with the legacy of their harrowing ordeals as adults. Whiteman is an expert in the field and some of her material was used in the movie, "Into the Arms of Strangers."

4-0 out of 5 stars When you save one life you have saved humanity
In the mist of today's worldwide events, where prejudice and hate runs free, it is encouraging to the human spirit to read the story of the kindertransport. "Into the Arms of Strangers" is a first person narration of some of the children (now elderly adults) who were saved from the hands of Nazism and given an opportunity to start a new life. This was all possible thanks to a noble attitude from the British government who was aware(as well as many other nations) of the final destination of the Jewish population. From this act of mercy, 10,000 children (most of them from Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Germany) were transported from their native countries just before the outbreak of World War II (1938) into England where they were temporarily adopted, until circunstances would allow them to reunite with their families. Despite the suffering these children went through, the unfair treatment some of them received, the psychological trauma, they are all thankful for the opportunity of being alive. Most of them were able to restructure their lives, set roots and build a family. Today they are witnesses to a dreadful chapter in human history and are here to give their testimony. Great merit goes to all of those who were involved in this humanitarian effort (Otto Hirsch, Norbert Wollheim, amongst others).
Sad though it may be to read the account of each of these survivors, even sadder it is to realize that many, many more children could have been saved where it not for the selfish attitude taken by many nations. For those who have had an opportunity to visit the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, it is a consolation to know that the children saved by the kindertransport are not listed among the other 1,000,000 children who did not have the same opportunity. And history keeps reapeating itself... not much thinking is nedded to realize that at the present moment there are people in several parts of the world who would have their lives saved if the "kinderstransport spirit" were to prevail.
There is a film in DVD/Video version of "Into the Arms of Strangers," which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It is highly recommended, the book and the film complement and enrich each other. ... Read more


69. Among Friends
by M. F. K. Fisher
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1593760248
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard
Sales Rank: 22432
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Originally published in 1970, Among Friends provides a fascinating glimpse into the background and development of one of our most delightful and best-loved writers, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher - the woman who elevated food writing to a literary art. In Among Friends M. F. K. Fisher begins her recollections in Albion, Michigan, but they soon lead her to Whittier, California, where her family moved in 1912, when she was four. The "Friends" of the title range from the hobos who could count on food at the family's back door to the businessmen who advertised in Father's paper-but above all they are the Quakers who were the prominent group in Whittier. Mary Frances Kennedy found them unusual friends indeed: in the more than forty years that she lived in Whittier she was never invited inside a Friend's house. Her portraits of her father, Rex-her mentor, himself the editor of the local newspaper-her mother, Edith, and the other members of her family are memorable and moving. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books
Some people think of MFK Fisher as simply a food writer. This book reveals the flaw in that way of thinking, because Fisher was truly one of the great writers of the last century. "Among Friends" tells the story of her growing up in the 1910s in Whittier, California -- a Quaker community. A non-Quaker, she tells of the gentle, exclusive bigotry of the Friends. She also describes a California which has all but vanished -- the drive from Whitter to Ventura was an overland trek! And, her culinary memory is astonishing. She describes in glorious detail what her family ate and how she came to her love of good food, well prepared. This book works on so many levels, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars kitchen poetry
Not only does MFK fisher appreciate good food, but this book is one everybody can relate to. Its a FUN read with language reserved mostly for poetry. An absolute MUST. ... Read more


70. Firebird : A Memoir
by Mark Doty
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060931973
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 294252
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Firebird, Mark Doty tells the story of a ten-year-old in a top hat, cane, and red chiffon scarf, interrupted while belting out Judy Garland's "Get Happy" by his alarmed mother at the bedroom door, exclaiming, "Son, you're a boy!"

Firebird presents us with a heroic little boy who has quite enough worries without discovering that his dawning sexuality is the Wrong One. A self-confessed "chubby smart bookish sissy with glasses and a Southern accent," Doty grew up on the move, the family following his father's engineering work across America-from Tennessee to Arizona, Florida to California. A lyrical, heartbreaking comedy of one family's dissolution through the corrosive powers of alcohol, sorrow, and thwarted desire, Firebird is also a wry evocation of childhood's pleasures and terrors, a comic tour of American suburban life, and a testament to the transformative power of art.

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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mark Doty's FIREBIRD: The Beautiful Sadness of Childhood
In his memoir, Mark Doty says, "The older I get, the more I distrust redemption; it isn't in the power of language to repair the damages." Though I agree with Doty's thought-prevoking statement, I would also venture to say that the power of this book, though it does not attempt to sugar-coat the past, does make of what is difficult a thing of beauty.

Poet Mark Doty has a uniquely adept ability to find beauty in the most tragic of events, not in a way that minimizes, but ironically, in a way that points them up even more clearly. For it is those events that shape us, Doty says, like it or not, and we cannot run from them, we can only claim them.

This memoir is brave and honest, profound and wise, beautifully and powerfully written. I believe my life more rich for having read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evolution of a poet
It's not always a pretty story, but it's always intellectually and emotionally moving. Mark Doty is one of America's finest writers of poetry and prose. That such a mind should have triumphed over his stressful growing up years is remarkable. His background would have landed many other kids in a foster home. Firebird is a coming-of-age memoir of a pre-gay geeky kid with a deranged and alcoholic mother, a passive/conflicted father, and a sister whose middle name is Trouble.
Firebird is beautifully written, revealing how a person who lives in a world of art, music, and literature rose from the ashes of his youth like the proverbial Phoenix of legend. It could easily have been titled Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but somebody got to that one first.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unfathomable memoir for ssuch a Poet of beauty
Mark Doty is one of the finest poets of our time, writing eloquent, informed poems, essays, books, and musings about life and art. To read FIREBIRD: A MEMOIR almost breaches credibility, so stressful and trying was his childhood and youth. But perhaps, and probably, this is why he is able to write with such sensitivity today. FIREBIRD relates the coming of age of a chubby, nerdy, alienated, pre-gay, geeky kid who finds little solace in his family (a deeply disturbed alcoholic mother, a passive ne'er-do-well military type father, a sister headed for incarceration) yet manages to capture moments from this distorted childhood, like expressive dancing to Stravinsky's 'Firebird' and learning to paint from his mother, to head him toward the sucessful communicator he is today.

If this sounds a bit like a book you'd rather not endure, then think again. This is one of rare memoirs that reveals all the pain and learning that life offers to the sensitive mind and then shows how the body that holds that mind can rise from the ashes (phoenix/firebird) and behold a world of art, music, and write about it like few others. The book is immensely well written. There are comic moments, childlike reveries, imagination blooming among the atrocoties of discovery of what is adulthood that are related so clearly and eloquently that they beg to be re-read again and again. Example: "A life hurtles forward, tumbles out and ahead from these twin poles: firebird and revolver, diametrical opposites like the yes and no which rule the Ouija board: twin magnetic poles which cause a kind of gyroscopic spin, advancing the motion of my tale." and "All along, the firebird watches, patient in ashes, smoldering till the hour to flame. Just one dance teaches it to believe in the brightness to come. All it ever needed was a practice run, in preparation for someday's full emblazoning."

And with words like that this reader can only recommend this experience book to all who wonder whether they are of worth. Highly and joyously recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Is a Must Read
FIREBIRD is one of those books that draws in the reader and holds his/her attention. The reader is at once morbidly fascinated and horrified by the author's life experiences. The author writes about his life without self-pity or a plea for sympathy. That he had the strength to survive all he has endured in the first half of his life is inpsirational. I am proud to have known Mark Doty for two brief school years in the late sixties. Thirty-five years later Mark Doty continues to impact my life.

5-0 out of 5 stars We voted Mark Doty "Most Likely to Succeed"
For several years I had read favorable reviews of Mark Doty's work and wondered if this writer was "that Mark Doty"--the smartest boy in my junior high school, the one we voted "Most Likely to Succeed."

My curiosity got the better of me when Firebird was released, since it is autobiographical, and yes, it is that Mark Doty. Those junior high years were but a blip on the screen of Mark's life (chapter seven), but his memories and descriptions of the place and the same people I knew are spot on. This book, however, is so much more than a snippet of shared history. There is nothing I could say about this book that would accurately describe its impact on me--all of my words would be an understatement.

Mark Doty's work is fine art. His prose and the structure work beautifully together. This is not another package of self-pity in which the author is intentionally pulling up emotions. Yes, I cringed and felt outrage at some of the most uncomfortable parts, but the writer soothed me and reassured me that where there is art, there is a home, a place in the world--like that which Petula Clark sings about in "Downtown."

I am proud of and pleased for Mark Doty's outstanding literary achievements. I also thank him for having the courage to write this book. Many of us who are fortunate enough to have read it are grateful and forever changed through the experience of his work of art.

I recommend it to anyone who is gay, straight, or undecided. ... Read more


71. Danger Close, Second Edition
by Mike Yon, Michael Phillip Yon
list price: $26.00
our price: $22.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 096751231X
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Apple Pie Publishers
Sales Rank: 506118
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Anyone who has felt overwhelmed by insurmountable obstacles--and who has not?--may find this book a source of inspiration and reassurance. Danger Close is neither the ordinary compilation of "uplifting" stories, nor an amoral manual on "How to Prevail by Applying Ten Tactics of Highly Successful Terrorists." Though Yon does not hesitate to express his views--forcefully and sometimes controversially--this story is not a sermon. It is, mistakes, misadventures, and all, an object lesson in the value of fortitude, determination, and simple human justice.

Danger Close is the sometimes funny, sometimes moving, but always compelling account of a seemingly typical small boy becoming an exceptional young man. It ranges through the ordinary to the appalling, the grim and the joyous, the universally shared and the nearly unimaginable, all held together by the increasingly perceptive insights of the author. ... Read more

Reviews (58)

5-0 out of 5 stars National Public Radio Summer Reading List!
Danger Close is a worthy selection for National Public Radio's summer reading list. I was grateful to hear of the book on a recent airing of Talk of the Nation. In a day of manufactured bestsellers, Danger Close is a refreshingly human story. It is an autobiographical account of Mike Yon, a young man accused of murder only hours after graduating from Special Forces training! With great wit, humor, and insight, Yon tells an amazing and heartwrenching story which encompasses not only his military experiences, but also his life growing up in Winter Haven, Florida. This is a well written and one of a kind human interest story. Little wonder that the book received the prestigious William A. Gurley award for creative non-fiction! Regardless of awards, Danger Close is a unique book, and reading it was a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars True Story We Can All Learn From !
When I picked this book up and read the back cover, it sounded interesting enough, so I began scanning the chapters for some of the details. The fact is, that I couldn't stop reading the entire book. It is a fascinating saga of how a great, young American (a Green Beret, in fact) can be falsely accused of a crime, and the story that results. I was impressed by the clear picture that Mike Yon paints in every chapter. When I finished the book I felt that I knew him personally, and could relate to many of the situations in his life. Danger Close is a book well worth reading. You'll share each of his emotions, from happpiness to sadness. The book will help you succeed by showing you the importance of taking leadership rolls, taking responsibilities and effectively overcoming the consequences of your actions. I recommend it highly to all ages . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
Although Mike Yon and myself both graduated from Winter Haven High School it was years apart and I never had the pleasure of meeting him. I found the book enjoyable because I could relate to some of the local places that he mentioned. But the story was well written and interesting besides being informative despite that fact. Charles E. Gist author of the historical fiction novel "The Other Side of The River"

5-0 out of 5 stars Naval Aviator loved this book!
This poignant biographical work hits you in all places of your heart. At times laughing with him and at other times feeling the heartwrenching pain with him, this book captures your attention from page one to the end. While retelling his captivating adventures of being a Green Beret with the US Army, he also includes the less exciting and heartwrenching details of his life--including the untimely death of his mother. I picked it up and couldn't put it down until I was done with it. This book is great for military and civilians alike! If a submarine-hunting P-3 flier can enjoy this book, so can you. Mike Yon candidly opens up and relates life--as is. If you relish the adventure of fiction with the down-to-earth punch of reality, this book is for you!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book
I thoroughly enjoyed this book in fact I will re-read it again (a rare event in my book reading history!). I just ordered a copy of it for a friend, my 16 year nephew and my dad! I was especially impressed by the award on the front cover for creative non-fiction(hehe). ... Read more


72. My Sense of Silence: Memoirs of a Childhood With Deafness (Creative Nonfiction)
by Lennard J. Davis
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0252025334
Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Sales Rank: 553485
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars A bit to narcissistic
Davis writes extremely well and the images of his youth are quite powerful. He also does an excellent job conveying the difficulties of relating to his parents.

However, he can never seem to escape from a level of self pity. Though he ascribes this to his parent's deafness, often one wonders if his feelings are not rooted in his own deep classism. Much of what he describes as his youthful dificulties are not uncommon to find in the writtings of other children of working class immigrant jews. The embarassment he feels seems far more driven by this than his parents inability to hear.

I grew a bit tired of his deep self pity, perpetually describing himself as the victim of almost every circumstance.

In one poinient passage, he describes how his mother had once been courted by a wealthy english suitor whom she rejected. He wonders why she chose not marry this "catch." I myself wonder if davis would not have much prefered for this to be the case. It seems he would rather have been the child of the wealthy deaf than of the hearing poor.

While it is worth the read, other worthy texts by children of the deaf are far less self involved.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reads like a novel...
This could become a classic. I really felt everything he wrote about. I felt badly for him - his childhood was rather bleak. However, his intelligence and good humor won the day and he has become a successful person, as a writer, in academia and his personal, family life. To me this shows that unique situations often produce unique people, and in this there is hopefulness for those of us who feel we grew up as "outsiders." Frankly, I think everyone fits into that category one way or another, so I recommend this book to...everyone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but I wanted to know more...
It was very enlightening to learn of a hearing individual's experience being raised by deaf parents...the author's first awareness of his parents' deafness, his alertness and response to nighttime sounds, his role as interpreter even as a small child, his excitement at attending school surrounded by those who could hear, his need as a young adult to escape his limiting home environment, etc. However, there were times during my reading when I felt the author strayed from what I perceived as the main intent of the writing, that is, to understand or empathize with the difficulties and problems of growing up in a somewhat restricted household (at least, in his mind). These were the parts of his story that were not as interesting, and I wanted to hurry through them to get to the portions where I learned something about the deaf experience. Otherwise, it was a very good book and well done. I did notice that the author at times used sentence structure reminiscent of his descriptions of "deaf speak". I wondered whether this was intentional or just a slip to his past.

5-0 out of 5 stars You'll love this book!
I have read several books of this gen-re, growing up with deaf parents. This one has its own, unique slant. I loved it, and I'm sure you will, too. It's fascinating when a person with parents of any particular group can look back at their childhood and explain things as they saw them through the eyes of their childhood. Mr. Davis describes his young feelings with insight and clarity and makes you understand exactly where he's coming from. It's a wonderful book, made even more special by the rainbow of seldom-heard, but easy to read, descriptive vocabulary used throughout.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect pitch
How to adequately praise an amazing memoir that is by turns comic, tragic, brave, immensely kind (never cloying) and seemingly photographically rendered? Davis presents the reader with how his young life looked, smelled, sounded - and most importantly, how it felt. It's a remarkable story of growing up in the now-lost world of the working-class Bronx (Tremont Avenue) of the 1950's, the much younger of two sons of smart, devoted, hard-working Jewish British immigrant parents, who are also "stone deaf," in his father's words. His mother lost her hearing in childhood, and so can speak and be understood by the hearing world; his father lost his as a baby. The circumstances surrounding these events are examined, too. Their shared disability both constricted and greatly enlarged his life.

Young Davis was deeply loved by his parents, but hyper-responsible and desperate for contact and life in the outside world. Readers are given the terrific minutiae of his life as a child - the weekly dinner menu at home, the interior of his family's apartment, life at school, the kindesses of teachers and his parents' friends in the deaf community, (lower case "d," , then) the neighbors, and the sights, sounds, smells of family life, including what he describes as a nearly religious object (because of course his father couldn't hear baseball on the radio): an Emerson Console TV. A very personal iconography of Television -- he develops a superhero alterego he calls "The Zenth" -- is part of the immense charm and humor of Davis' story. (Years later, he finds the exact same Emerson Console in a junk shop in upstate New York, another great scene in this book.) In the chapter "Honeymoon with Mom," he goes to England to visit relatives. The cozy domesticity and accepting, familial love - the music in every house, English candy - that he finds there is movingly described.

From the confines and immense security of his family's one-bedroom apartment Davis learns difficulty and differentness of being the hypervigilant hearing child - conscientious, smart, and emotionally desperate, sometimes - of Deaf parents. There are two brothers in this family, and their interesting but troubled relationship is examined with compassion and intelligence.

Davis is a careful writer with a wonderful and loving sense of the world. Not a word has been wasted. By the way, "Zenth" becomes a Professor of English. His generosity in revealing his life to us is immeasurable. The full picture of the old neighborhood is in itself an excellent historical narrative. You can smell the food - and hear the voices. It's also very funny at times. One of the best autobiographies I've ever read. ... Read more


73. The Sporting Art of Frank W. Benson
by Faith Andrews Bedford
list price: $65.00
our price: $59.80
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Asin: 1567921116
Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
Publisher: David R. Godine Publisher
Sales Rank: 734127
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Sporting Art of Frank W. Benson
The Maine Antique Digest (Sam Pennington, Editor mad@maine.com) wrote this neat review and I am sharing it with everyone who might want to know more about this great book.

This handsomely produced, definitive book is replete with reproductions of paintings, etchings, and lithographs of waterfowl and related works of Frank W. Benson, a pivotal artist of the American Impressionist movement. Benson's accurate depictions of birds have commanded high prices, and rightly so. This book will be an invaluable addition to the libraries of art collectors.

Faith Andrews Bedford gathered diverse and firsthand source material. She covers Benson's career by melding his primary interests: his family, his art, and the sporting life, not to mention his lifelong passion for birds. By interlacing her text with commentary from interviews with Benson's family, diaries, letters, photographs, and historical articles, she creates a lively, immediate flavor.

Chapter three, "A Sense of Place," begins by telling how the Benson family first visited North Haven island in Maine's Penobscot Bay in June 1901. They eventually bought Wooster Farm and summered there for about 40 years. I have a particular fondness for that island and was transported by the descriptions of their initial visits and their farm on Crabtree Point. To exemplify how neatly Bedford packs information, here is a quote from early in that chapter: "Benson's North Haven paintings of his family were praised by critics and collectors for capturing the `joyous gaiety' and `holiday mood' of life on the island. They sold almost as soon as they were seen by the public...Benson was not an indoor man by nature and far preferred the `life outside the studio.' Although his wife and daughters enjoyed the theater and music and for decades held the same two seats for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he did not often accompany them. Nor did he enjoy the confines of church. He felt the place to worship God and respect His handiwork was through nature."

There is mention also of their tennis court at the farm, interest in golf, and of course the birds and fishing. Bedford adds other significant information about how the island affected Benson's art: "It was to become the site of many milestones, not only in his family life but in his art as well. Benson began his etching career on North Haven. Originally, this aspect of his work was merely a diversion, an experiment." This taste gives an inkling of the abundant information compiled. It is clearly presented and a good biographical resource.

Benson lived a long, fruitful life. Bedford, who has become a scholar capable of making such statements, says, "Benson was, perhaps, that rarest of humans, a happy man. Not that he ever rested on his laurels, not that he did not look constantly for challenges...He had reaped rewards and financial success from his art, had won fame and recognition in his own lifetime-something he realized few artists ever achieved...In Benson's own words, the secret to both tranquil enjoyment and success was in doing what you love." ... Read more


74. Tarzan, My Father
by Johnny Weissmuller Jr., William Reed, W. Craig Reed, Danton Burroughs
list price: $24.95
our price: $17.46
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Asin: 1550225227
Catlog: Book (2002-10)
Publisher: ECW Press
Sales Rank: 83024
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An authoritative insight into the life of the man most film fans consider the "one and only" Tarzan - Olympic swimming champion Johnny Weissmuller -- this book offers an intimate look at Weissmuller's early life, middle years, and later decline, through swimming training, Olympic triumphs, failed marriages, a Hollywood life as Tarzan of the Apes, and subsequent career as Jungle Jim.

Written by his only son, this biography is a sensitive yet unsentimental portrayal of the man who was Tarzan to movie fans around the world. Johnny Junior's inside perspective on his father's life and career includes interviews with his father's celebrity friends and former wives, recollections of conversations with his father over the years, and family stories involving international icons such as Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Robert Mitchum, Joe Louis, and many others. There are "surprises" in the text and many photos from private collections that have never before been printed or seen by the general public. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars MGM -You made a Big Mistake !
My daughter gave me a copy of this book for Father's Day this year along with the last MGM Tarzan movie that I was missing " Tarzan Escapes". This book is loaded with all kinds of good stuff written by Weissmullers son, Johnny Jr..It has some great pictures in it too. For Folks like myself who grew up watching (or just wanting to watch) Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan and knowing that nothing either before or after his movies was worth it's weight in Dog Dung then you also will really enjoy this book! My kids were raised hearing phrases like "That used to be a full grown man" or "Ma-ha-wani Sleep,Ma-ha-wani Sleep" or better yet "That was a close one, we almost lost the rifles". Yes there was only one REAL Tarzan and folks from my generation know that his name was Johnny Weissmuller. Boy did MGM screw up when they stopped making Tarzan Movies and let Johnny go to RKO, If only they knew how big his movies would become in the future! When Tarzan answered Jane as he was feeding a bottle to Boy and said "Him no choke",I'm certain MGM did a lot of choking in years to come. It was kind-a like SUN RECORDS selling Elvis Presly's contract to RCA for 50 grand a real no-brainer. This book tells the whole Hollywood story and how so many stars of that day really turned Hollywood into "SIN CITY" but Johnny was one of very few who kept to clean living and avoided all the garbage! This book is a real good deal! "ENJOY"

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this Sports and Tarzan Fans
Any fan of sports, especially the olympics will love this wonderful book. If you liked Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, you will definitely find this an interesting read. The writing draws you into the book and entertains you with the details of how sports figures, movie stars, and average people were influenced by Johnny and how they affected his outlook.

A positive and different perspective than has often been written about movie stars, it leaves a warm feeling when you lay it down. I certainly hope this book receives the notoriety it deserves. One can only hope it will influence them to put all the great Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies on DVD. It astounds me they are only available on VHS when some poor quality non-Weissmuller Tarzans are on DVD. I highly recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfully Written & Researched Book. First Rate.
Most books are mediocre. And I say this based upon a lifetime of reading everything. This book is wonderful, well-written, well-researched, well-published. I simply could not stop reading it, and when I'd finished, I really truly felt I knew the great Johnny Weissmuller, my childhood idol. I also came to know Johnny, Jr., and have enormous empathy for this fellow, who has managed to carve a successful life for himself, against large odds, it would seem, and with little guidance. The book is amazingly candid and very moving, and virtually un-put-down-able. If you have even the slightest interest in humanity, Tarzan, or John Weissmuller, buy this excellent book. RM

5-0 out of 5 stars TARZAN'S BIGGEST TREE
Johnny Weissmuller by far was the best of all the Tarzans ever filmed for movies or television and "Tarzan, My Father" written by his son, is by far the best of many dozens of biographies written about Johnny.
His swimming achivements are unmatched and he was not only a friend of everyone in the jungle, but of everyone he meet.
This is a must read, if you want to know the real Johnny Weissmuller. Mike Oliver

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story!
This is a extraodinary personal look at one of the greatest athletes of the past century, and the man who made the world love Tarzan. This book is written with care and detail, and that effort shows. From the family's Austrian history to Wiessmuller's swimming career to Hollywood, to the last days of his life. A great, rich story. A must for lovers of biographies. ... Read more


75. You Ain't Got No Easter Clothes : A Memoir
by Laura Love
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401300111
Catlog: Book (2004-08-04)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 66417
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Book Description

In the heartbreaking spirit of The Liars' Club comes a gripping memoir by singer and songwriter Laura Love.

Laura Love has an uncanny knack for getting an audience to listen. Today she is beloved by fans around the world for her funk-folksy music. But Love's life wasn't always so good. Growing up in racially troubled Nebraska, Love survived a miserable childhood, shuffling among a mentally unstable mother, foster homes, and orphanages. Despite the odds, Love survived, thanks ultimately to her enormous will. You Ain't Got No Easter Clothes is Love's wrenching, shocking, yet hopeful story of the survival of a deeply rooted, but broadly cultured woman. ... Read more


76. A Child's Christmas in Wales
by Dylan Thomas, Trina Schart Hyman
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823405656
Catlog: Book (1985-07-01)
Publisher: Holiday House
Sales Rank: 4686
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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School Library Journal, Starred Review

Christmas treasure. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars More than a Christmas story.
Scaring sleeping uncles by popping balloons. Getting a hatchet by mistake. Snowballing cats. Dylan Thomas has captured the perfect Christmas. Without any moral, very little plot, and a concern only for the child's perspective, this little piece sticks in my mind better than any other Christmas story I've ever read. Between drunk Auntie Hannah singing in the backyard and the haunted house down the streets where a group of mischievous carollers get the living hell scared out of them, "A Child's Christmas in Wales" is everything Christmas should be: funny, happy, poignant, a little sad, and fattening. Keep a bowl of candy nearby when you read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Part of a Christmas tradition.
Every Christmas Eve, I set aside a few minutes to listen to my CD of Dylan reading "A Child's Christmas" in Wales, placing the special emphasis only he can on the frustrated Mr. Prothero trying to put out a fire in his house, the neighborhood St. Bernards who bellow "Excelsior!" over the town, and the churchgoers who, with taproom noses, go scooping over the ice. The older I get, the more I need this little piece. As friends and family are, for one reason or another, lost with the passing years, it gets harder and harder to laugh, even at Christmas, but Dylan Thomas gives me a good giggle every time.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Christmas Book EVER.
I really cannot say enough wonderful things about this book and the audio tape of Dylan Thomas reading it. My Christmas seasons have been enriched beyond measure since a loved one gave me this book. It is the most evocative and beautiful Christmas tale I've ever read and reading it aloud on Christmas Eve has become a beloved tradition in our family. It even inspired my husband and me to spend Christmas 2 years ago in the Cotswolds (England, not Wales... I realize), but we yearned for a more traditional "old world" holiday season and found it in the countryside not far from Wales. If you love the spirit of Christmas, this book is truly essential....such beautiful words with amazing soul, you will be enchanted.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of all having it read aloud to oneself
Who hasn't read this short tale of magic about Christmas past in a village in Wales, Dylan Thomas' most beloved book? I've read it to myself perhaps 20 times; I've read it to my children and laughed over the pictures maybe 10 more times. But, till now, I've never experienced the joy of hearing the poet himself read it to me. Omigod, what a pure pleasure. Recorded in 1952, this new release is all cleaned up and is a real keeper. Thomas' cadences, inflections, emphasis, pauses, and his marvelous Welsh accent make a listener close her eyes and just get lost in the humor and love and reminiscences of a bygone era.
There are quite a few other selections in this collection - and they're good - but even if you buy it just for A Child's Christmas in Wales, it'll be money well spent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Poetic Dylan Thomas Classic
Dylan Thomas' 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' in it's second print for generations has become an enchanting, simple poetic tale captured in the eyes of a child. The language is delightfully entrancing and the poetry shines with a heavenly radiance. Thomas' style captures an adult's warm memory of a holiday-season that reflects presents, good things to eat, and when it was just right, white blanket of new snow with all it's wonder and the mischief of snowball battles and any exaggeration that moves that will spark the imagination of a child.


This second edition of Thomas' magical tale is lavishly illustration with old-fashioned, scratchboard-like engravings by Fritz Eichenberg. Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales in 1914. He began writing poetry at a very young age and published his first book, '18 Poems' at twenty. From 1943 until his death he broadcasted his own radio talk program on BBC. He read poetry selections, participated in table discussions, and read dramas and essays. His voice became familiar with Americans in the 1950s during his lecture tours at American universities. He had achieved an admirable audience for his poetry. Besides this book and his poetry his other most widely read works are 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog,' 'Quite Early One Morning' and his play, 'Under Milk Wood.'


'A Child's Christmas in Wales' is Thomas' most fine work of art-with it's human quality, touching sentiment, easily understood presentation and child-like wisdom that gives Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' a second glance at holiday tradition. After all we can all find a child in Christmas in all of us. ... Read more


77. Growing Up Harley-Davidson: Memoirs of a Motorcycle Dynasty
by Jean Davidson
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0896585697
Catlog: Book (2001-09)
Publisher: Voyageur Press (MN)
Sales Rank: 52768
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Motorcycles have been a way of life for Jean Davidson. Her grandfather was Walter Davidson, one of the four founders and the first president of Harley-Davidson. Her father was company vice president Gordon Davidson. And Jean herself was a Harley-Davidson dealer, rubbing elbows with all the Harleys and Davidsons as well as the Hell's Angels and Outlaws, famous racers, and Evel Knievel.

This is the history of Harley-Davidson motorcycles no one else knew-until now! Here is the fairy-tale story of how four boys built their first motorcycle in a shed; how a slippery-handed maid stole all the company's earnings from the coffee can that served as their "bank"; and how a hermit uncle donated his life's savings to resurrect the company and set it on the path to becoming the world's most famous motorcycle maker.

Here is the inside scoop on behind-the-boardroom-door politics and corporate battles, the unknown history of the first Knucklehead and Sportster, the secret friendship with arch-rival Indian motorcycles, and more. Here are family stories and rare photos from the family album that no one else has seen before. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Growing up Harley Davidson
This book proves that dreams due come true. The book Growing Up Harley Davidson is about the life of a family whos dream came true one day. It also shows that dreams come true even if the odds of doing so aren't so great. The book proves that if two minds are working together that anything is possible. However, this book showed along with this is a lot of time and money. This book first caught my eye because it envolved a family environment. It talked about in great detail about each generation of the family receiving it and the changes they made to make it better. The most interesting part of this book was at the ending chapters. It discussed the selling and of the buyback of the Harley Davidson Company. This was interesting to me because during that time of the selling the qualtiy of the motorcycles were going dowm along with the families dreams. I would recomend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about Harley Davidson Motorcycles. ... Read more


78. Daughter of the Saints: Growing Up In Polygamy
by Dorothy Allred Solomon
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393325776
Catlog: Book (2004-10-11)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 209894
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Book Description

"Probably the best book ever written about polygamy. Neither an apologia nor an exposé."—Salt Lake City Tribune

"I am the daughter of my father's fourth plural wife, twenty-eighth of forty-eight children—a middle kid, you might say."

So begins this astonishing and poignant memoir of life in the family of Utah fundamentalist leader and naturopathic physician Rulon C. Allred. Since polygamy was abolished by manifesto in 1890, this is a story of secrecy and lies, of poverty and imprisonment and government raids. When raids threatened, the families were forced to scatter from their pastoral compound in Salt Lake City to the deserts of Mexico or the wilds of Montana. To follow the Lord's plan as dictated by the Principle, the human cost was huge. Eventually murder in its cruelest form entered when members of a rival fundamentalist group assassinated the author's father.

Dorothy Solomon, monogamous herself, broke from the fundamentalist group because she yearned for equality and could not reconcile the laws of God (as practiced by polygamists) with the vastly different laws of the state. This poignant account chronicles her brave quest for personal identity. Originally published in hardcover under the title Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk. ... Read more


79. Crazy in the Kitchen : Foods, Feuds, and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family
by Louise DeSalvo
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582344701
Catlog: Book (2005-01-03)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Sales Rank: 794472
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Book Description

During Louise DeSalvo's childhood in 1950s New Jersey, the kitchen becomes the site for fierce generational battle. Louise's step-grandmother insists on recreating the domestic habits of her Southern Italian peasant upbringing, clashing with Louise's convenience-food-loving mother; Louise, meanwhile, dreams of cooking perfect fresh pasta in her own kitchen. But as Louise grows up to indulge in amazing food and travels to Italy herself, she arrives at a fuller and more compassionate picture of her own roots. And, in the process, she reveals that our image of the bounteous Italian American kitchen may exist in part to mask a sometimes painful history.
... Read more

80. My Father's War
by Julia Collins
list price: $13.95
our price: $13.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568582609
Catlog: Book (2003-04)
Publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows
Sales Rank: 308102
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jerry Collins was emotionally scarred by "the good war" and failed to live up to the standards set for the men of his era. He found unlikely solace: Collins began confiding in his daughter about the war before she turned five. Drawing on her recollections and a suitcase of her father's old letters and photographs, Julia Collins pieces together his experience during the war, his return home, and his subsequent descent - offering a new perspective on the men of "the greatest generation." Photographs are included in this candid recollection. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars True to life
I picked up this book because I was interested in reading someone else's experience. My father was a Korean war vet and his experiences early in his life certainly changed who he was as a father. Julia Collin's book is inciteful and true to life and anyone who has a parent who has served in combat whether their parent talks about their experiences or not will find it enlightening. Experiencing war is an ugly thing and we all must remember that now and in the future when our veteran's return home to piece their lives together. ... Read more


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