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121. Dizzy & Jimmy: My Life With
list($23.95)
122. Bette Davis Speaks (Thorndike
$29.95 $8.99
123. Touch the Top of the World: A
$29.45
124. When It Was Our War: A Soldier's
$29.45 $18.95
125. Elvis Presley: Bobbie Ann Mason
$29.45
126. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Thorndike
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127. Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon
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128. Climbing Higher
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129. A Beautiful Mind (Thorndike Press
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130. Dust Tracks on a Road: The Restored
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131. Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen:
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132. I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning
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133. Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters'
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134. Sharing Good Times (Thorndike
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135. The Man Who Listens to Horses
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136. War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence
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137. Finders Keepers: The Story of
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138. Last Stands: Notes from Memory
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139. Life of Charlotte Bronte
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140. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up

121. Dizzy & Jimmy: My Life With James Dean : A Love Story (Thorndike Press Large Print Nonfiction Series)
by Liz Sheridan
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0783893655
Catlog: Book (2001-04-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 1307180
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A long time ago, when I was a young dancer in
New York City, I fell in love with Jimmy Dean
and he fell in love with me.

So begins this beguiling memoir of Liz "Dizzy" Sheridan's passionate yet ill-fated romance with the young, magnetic, soon-to-be-supernova James Dean. The year was 1951. Dean had recently arrived in Manhattan in search of Broadway stardom. Sheridan was a tall, graceful aspiring dancer. They met one rainy afternoon in the parlor of the Rehearsal Club, a chaperoned boardinghouse for young actresses -- and before long Dizzy and Jimmy were inseparable. Together they hunted for jobs, haunted all-night bars and diners, and gloried in the innocent rebellion of early-'50s bohemian New York. Dizzy Sheridan and James Dean were lovers; they lived together; as even ardent Dean fans may be surprised to learn, they were engaged to be married. But when Dean began to find success on the Broadway stage and then was lured to Hollywood, the couple parted amid tears and broken dreams -- dreams that would be dashed forever when Dean died in a car crash in 1955, not long after seeing Dizzy for the last time.

Dizzy & Jimmy marks the first time Liz Sheridan has written about this joyous yet ill-starred romance. She brings us closer than we have ever been to the vibrant young actor before he became a Hollywood icon, capturing his unstudied charm, his complicated psyche, the spontaneous delight he took from the world around him, and the passion he invested in his work and life. It is a journey that takes in many locales, from Dean's boyhood home in Fairmount, Indiana, to Sheridan's recuperative travels through the Caribbean after their breakup. But at its heart Dizzy & Jimmy is the story of a love affair with Manhattan -- of nights spent stealing kisses in Times Square, sharing a walkup in the Hargrave Hotel, dancing after hours beneath the stars in Grand Central Station. And in Sheridan's bittersweet, embraceable telling, it becomes a story no reader, Dean fan or otherwise, will soon forget. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Intensely Beautiful Love Story . . . A Classic Romance
This book clearly deserves many more than five stars! It is one of the best books I have read in many years.

Romantic novels and love stories are not my first choice for fiction, usually because the authors cannot carry off the stories in effective ways. To enjoy these novels and plays, you usually have to overlay your own sense of romance . . . because the authors don't provide enough of their own.

Imagine my pleasure when I found this "true" romance that exceeds all but a handful of fictional ones. What a great treat!

"A long time ago . . . I fell in love with Jimmy Dean and he fell in love with me." You can see the fairy tale quality of the book in this simple sentence. What woman who felt a closeness to James Dean can help but be attracted by this opening? Liz Sheridan has the great gift of being a romantic person, and of being able to write about that perspective in a way that brings the reader into the relationship.

As a man who admired James Dean's acting, I was curious to learn more about his life as an aspiring actor and was greatly rewarded. Dean was even more interesting in real life than he was on the stage and screen.

Together, Liz (Dizzy) Sheridan and James (Jimmy) Dean were unbelievably alive and in love . . . in a way that almost anyone can admire and perhaps even envy a bit. "It was 1951, and he hadn't yet become James Dean, public property . . . the Rebel, the Icon." They would sing corny songs together, split a beer and talk until the bar closed, and dance down the streets like Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain. Two talented theatrical people were always on-stage with each other, finishing each other's lines and hugging with laughter.

They had almost no money, and met by accident while Dean was waiting to get some food from a new friend in Dizzy's chaperoned boarding house. Dean borrowed her umbrella, probably to have an excuse to see her again the next day. Within hours, they were inseparable. The physical, emotional, and psychic bonds were powerful. "He was shy and broke and he mumbled. And I adored him." In fact, one of the charms of the book is that it portrays the transforming power of love. Dizzy's emotional and financial support meant a lot to Dean at a time when he was prey to those who wanted to exploit him, and he went to unsuccessful audition after unsuccessful audition.

Dizzy was a dancer, who often appeared in an Apache trio. She has a kinesthetic and open approach to everything, which made her a perfect fit for Dean. Whatever mood came over him, she was ready . . . whether this was becoming lovers, dropping everything to hitchhike to Indiana, or scraping up the money to move in together. "Someone needs to remember the Jimmy who was warm and fuzzy, sweet and polite, and capable of profound love."

Dizzy has to speak for them both, because Dean was dead in four years after a brief, but spectacular career that would leave him as one of the central performing legends of the 20th century. In doing so, she is writing a "duet for one."

But a duet for one was perhaps unavoidable because Dean was so shy. But, "his shyness was irresistible."

The book is full of romantic sequences, like practicing bullfighting with each other (Dean was the matador and Dizzy was the bull). Dean also liked to sketch, and loved to share his perspectives with Dizzy about the difficulties of capturing an egg perfectly because of the quick way that natural light shifted.

Dean had incredible charm, and you will be thrilled to read how he related to a blind street person and each person in Dizzy's family.

With time, the passion cooled and Dean became obsessed with his career. When he got a role in the play, The Jaguar, all he wanted to do was rehearse. "I just don't have any time for you. I'm working!"

Dizzy handled it about as well as anyone could whose love has grown away from her. The places they used to haunt suddenly didn't seem so beautiful anymore. The poignance of her time in the West Indies is remarkably bittersweet.

One of the last things Dean ever said to her was, "I'll always love you." "And I believed him."

Although her mourning was long and difficult, she eventually came out of it. "I knew Jimmy would be laughing in the stars, just as he always promised."

Get out your hankies, you'll need plenty of them.

After you have finished this wonderful story, think about how you could make your life more romantic.

Be spontaneous and be in love!

5-0 out of 5 stars I Loved This Book !
I have always thought that Liz Sheridan was a classy lady and a fantasic actress, but this book brought me even more respect for her. I'll admit that a tough cookie like me bawled like a baby at the end of the book, not so much over the death of Dean, but over the aching sense of loss that this book brought. Being a huge Dean fan, I have often lamented the death of such a wonderful man, but this book brings it to a personal level. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, even if they are not a fan of James Dean, because everyone can relate to this story of love lost. Kudos to Liz Sheridan for sharing such a personal part of her life.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT LOVE STORY
Well I've read a few James Dean books..I just love him. I personally liked this one the best because you get an inside look on what it was like to date James Dean. I recommended it to my best friend who also loves him, and her whole family has now read it too because it's so great. If you want a good book on how Jimmy was as a boyfriend, this is the one you should get. It's great!

4-0 out of 5 stars Twinkle in my eyes
Two thumbs up! Earlier last year, I was so eager to read this book at the minute it arrived at my door...it's so obvious how deep the author, Liz Sheridan, know hearttrob James Dean is from inside and outside. Love the part of her describing him at first sight. It's rare for me to cry over the written stories but for some reasons, this book make my eyes misty. Living in NYC is quite an adventure and impulse for glowing in adulthood. Perfect for James Dean fan...

1-0 out of 5 stars Liz is hoping for a movie deal
Liz's style hints at hopes for a movie deal. The book reads like the screenplay of a made for TV movie. I must confess that this annoyed me. She tells her story in dialog and descriptions that could double as scene notes. Who can remember their past to the point of everything being in quotations? especially conversations from at least a half century ago! She denys wanting to be one of those profiting from a relationship with James Dean, yet I can see not other reason for her writing this book. Money must have gotten tight after Sienfeld. If she really wanted people to know the "Jimmy" she knew, better to have kept his letters. She says she burned them after he died.
The women I know only burn letters from lovers when they get dumped. No Offense Liz, but I was not impressed. ... Read more


122. Bette Davis Speaks (Thorndike Large Print General Series)
by Boze Hadliegh, Boze Hadleigh
list price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078620835X
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 825195
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

NonfictionLarge Print Edition(Bette Davis fans) will purr with delight . . .starred, BooklistBette Davis was both a box-office superstar and a consummate actress, whose career spanned the early 1930s and the late 1980s. Since her death, a new generation of fans has been fascinated by this woman ahead of her time. Unlike the prior biographies, this is a book of interviews conducted by the author from the mid 1970s on. Davis candidly discusses (and dishes) husbands, beaux, costars, rivals, movies and growing old. This is her story in the voice of the woman who always spoke for herself. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars a little too polished, if you catch my drift
As a newspaper editor for over 30 years, I've learned how to judge a writer -- If he consistently comes up with quotes "too good to be true,"they usually are.

1-0 out of 5 stars What a dupe!
More posthumous interviews from beyond the grave, courtesy of one of Hollywood's most prolific and definitely least credible star scribblers. Funny how Boze Hadleigh (a total unknown when these sessions allegedly took place)somehow coaxed these incredibly candid (and wildly out-of-character) remarks from some of the most publicity-saavy stars in show biz. So what do Davis and every other big name in this book have in common?THEY'RE NOT AROUND TO DEFEND THEMSELVES--AND EVERYONE KNOWS YOU CAN"T LIBEL THE DEAD. If he's really smart, Hadleigh would market a CD compilation of all his old taped interviews. But that might be problematic, eh, Boze???

1-0 out of 5 stars Highly Questionable "Interviews"
These "interviews" sound nothing like Bette Davis as anyone who ever read the scores of bona fide interviews she gave over the years.Miss Davis was hot-tempered and sharp-tongued at times but her fans know she was really something of a prude so it seems highly questionable she would dish dirt like this. (Remember she had a feud with her last film director because the film included a dark comic joke concerning Joan Crawford which Miss Davis thought was in terrible taste.And Joan was of course no friend of Bette's!!) This frankly reads more like a drag queen's nightclub act not an interview with a star.I don't know a single movie buff who believes Mr. Hadleigh's books.

1-0 out of 5 stars Is it authentic?
When I read the customer reviews of this book, I was thinking of buying it -- because it contained so much "new" material.However, I looked up the customer reviews of other books by this author, and now have serious doubts about his "journalistic" ethics.Maybe he made the whole thing up.In any case, after reading about his other books, I'm not interested in this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight and fresh material
This book is really worth buying and reading over and over if you are a Bette Davis fan.I have read a great deal of Bette Davis-related books over the years, and this book contain about 80% fresh materials, which is nothing short of a miracle more than 10 years after her death.The styleof the book is simply the text of several extended interviews the authorhad with Miss Davis, as well as with others who had worked with her.Thequestions are interesting (as are the answers), and the style makes theinformation seem much more interesting and believable.A must for any fan,and, once again, I was particularly impressed with many fresh topics. Excellent! ... Read more


123. Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther Than the Eye Can See (Wheeler Large Print Book Series (Cloth))
by Erik Weihenmayer
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1587240793
Catlog: Book (2001-08-01)
Publisher: Wheeler Publishing
Sales Rank: 312000
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The incredible, inspiring story of world-class climber Erik Weihenmayer, from the terrible diagnosis that foretold of the loss of his eyesight, to his dream to climb mountains, and finally his quest to reach each of the Seven Summits.

Erik Weihenmayer was born with retinoscheses, a degenerative eye disorder that would progressively unravel his retinas. Erik learned from doctors that he was destined to lose his sight by age thirteen. Yet from early on, he was determined to rise above this devastating disability and lead a fulfilling, exciting life. In Touch the Top of the World, Erik recalls his struggle to push past the limits placed on him by his visual impairment-and by a seeing world. He speaks movingly of the role his family played in his battle to break through the barriers of blindness: the mother who prayed for the miracle that would restore her son's sight; the father who encouraged him to strive for that unreachable mountaintop.

Erik was the first blind man to summit McKinley. Soon he became the first blind person to scale the infamous 3000-foot rock wall of El Capitan and then Argentina's Aconcagua, the highest peak outside of Asia. He was married to his longtime sweetheart at 13,000 feet on the Shira Plateau on his way to Kilimanjaro's summit, and recently Erik scaled Polar Circus, the 30,000-foot vertical ice wall in Alberta, Canada. Erik's story is about having the vision to dream big; the courage to reach for near impossible goals; and the grit, determination, and ingenuity to transform our lives into "something miraculous."
... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Terrific
This is just a terrific book, filled with humor, wisdom, pathos and adventure. The author poignantly describes his childhood descent into blindness, his efforts to ignore it, his initial rebelliousness, and his gradual coming to terms with his handicap. Before long, the reader, like Erik, no longer sees blindness as a handicap, but as one of many hurdles life tosses in our way. It is certainly less of a burden to him than was the sudden, tragic death of his mother, which he movingly addresses and comes to terms with. He finds purpose to his life, he finds love, and he finds friendship and adventure on the mountains that he climbs. Buy this book and give it to any friend who has an inclination toward self-pity, and it may change their life. Read it and be inspired by the resiliency and strength of the human spirit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Touch the Top of the World
This is a fabulous book. One minute you are laughing out loud and the next, tears are pouring down your face. The tears are not of sadness but of joy for all the wonderful experiences Erik has had; his relationships with friends and family, his adventures among the cracks and crevices. With great wit, Erik expresses his triumphs along with his challenges. My son has been blind for two years. He lost his sight to genetics, but we had no cue that the family had the gene until his sight started going three weeks before his nineteenth birthday, it only took those three weeks. He just turned 21 on August 2. Unlike Erik, Larry does have the talent of music and travels with his band, Jepetto, around the East Coast. He even has gone back to taking Classical piano lessons. Like Erik he found no encouragement in what his abilities would do for him. TOUCH THE TOP OF THE WORLD really helps you understand the the feeling of blindness, not of the limitations the world puts on you, but of the heights to which you can arise. Please read it, you will not be sorry you did, only sorry if you hadn't read it. I am donating a copy to each of my son's schools.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Triumphant Life
This is an ease read but surprisingly soul-awakening book for me. There are statements on life lessons strung together like jewels hidden everywhere in this book, from the start to finish, mostly on self-assumed constraints that are common to everyone, sighted or not. I found vicariously the family love, friendship, and community support invigorating. I sensed the humor, strength, commitment, and perseverance Erik W carries with him daily, not just to the mountain top, which makes this book an absolute page-turner. Thanks Erik W for writing this book and share intimately with the readers the details of your journeys and the poeple in your life, we all have a lot to learn and draw from your experiences touched by the top of the world.

1-0 out of 5 stars This man is an ass
I've heard this idiot speak about his experiences, and right away, I'd perceived he was an arrogant jerk who was writing a book for recognition, not to neccesarily inspire other climbers. I was at a conference where his book was touted all over the place, and that's when I knew it wasn't worth buying. Please, people, look beyond the fact that he's blind and that he climbed some of the most difficult mountains in the world, and have a look at his personal life. As one other reviewer said, this guy is a jerk, through and through. I'm not even going to read the book, that's how sure I am that it isn't worth my time.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Character named chris at the beginning makes the book
It was a flavorful read. I believe the character chris seems to tie everything together. He is a dashing young buck so to speak. I could read about him for hours. I kept wanting to know what Chris was doing when the minor character Erik was climbing Mt. Everest. My only suggestion for improvement would be to have more of Chris in the book. Otherwise it was a dandy of a book. ... Read more


124. When It Was Our War: A Soldier's Wife on the Home Front (Thorndike Press Large Print Biography Series)
by Stella Suberman
list price: $29.45
our price: $29.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786258985
Catlog: Book (2003-12-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 852428
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Piece of WWII History

When It Was Our War is so informative. It describes many aspects of WWII and the American culture at that time. It is extremely enjoyable because the author adds a humanistic aspect by telling her own story of following her husband around the country as he trains to become a bombardier, and by describing the people she meets along the way.
People come in and out of Stella's life, and some make a great impact on her. Truths are revealed and her eyes are opened. Suberman's whole perception of the world changes.
War has a way of making people come face to face with reality. Suberman's writing is a window into the realities of WWII, and what was happening at the home front. She draws vivid pictures of the time period.
I was captivated by how touchingly personal she got when she described the persevering love her and her husband had for each other. It didn't matter that they were far apart. It didn't matter what was happening in their lives. Their love never faltered.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you haven't discovered the GEM
that is Stella Suberman, you must read her books. Absolutely delightful writer--the kind of person you wish was a personal friend. Flawless, seamless, writing that will wrap you into her narratives. Glorious.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hubba Hubba!!!
Earlier reviews are all excellent! Stella Suberman and her family were prolific letter-writers; their contemporary correspondence obviously provided vivid details linking her journey into marriage and her growing insights into the social patterns existing in our country to her account.Suberman's book provides a vivid historic backdrop of American lives and attitudes during the war. She is unflinching in her honesty! I recommend this book for anyone interested in the home front, women's history, or vivid pictures of how Americans viewed the war, including reactions to the Doolittle raids, the songs sung, the experience of traveling by train and car.It is an incredible social history.And, as the guys said when a pretty girl walked by,''HUBBA HUBBA!"

5-0 out of 5 stars I entered the world of World War II
For all of us who have wondered how Americans dealt with World War II, this is a book that tells all.It is an unusual book in that nothing is sacred.It is not just a feel-good Greatest Generation book (even though it is written by someone from that generation), but one that recounts with penetrating clarity the the good things and the bad.There is a surprising amount of actual war activity information included along with a timeline that is fascinating.There is also much that is light-hearted - the songs, the reunitings, and so forth -that make the book warm and inviting.I highly recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A straightforward autobiographical tale of perseverance
When It Was Our War: A Soldier's Wife On The Home Front is the personal story of Stella Suberman, a Jewish-American woman who was still a teenager when America declared war on Germany and Japan. Stella watched her husband join the Army Air Corps and bid him farewell, not knowing if or when he would return. A straightforward autobiographical tale of perseverance, dealing with anti-semitism, enduring love, and offering a personalized look into the hopes and daily life of soldier's wives, When It Was Our War is unforgettable reading and an original contribution to the growing library of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs of "the greatest generation". ... Read more


125. Elvis Presley: Bobbie Ann Mason (Thorndike Biography)
by Bobbie Ann Mason
list price: $29.45
our price: $29.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786250755
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 868793
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Bobbie Ann Mason first heard Elvis Presley on the family radio, she recognized him as "one of us . . . a country person who spoke our language"--Southern, working class, a little wild. In Elvis Presley, the bestselling author of the two modern American classics Shiloh and Other Stories and In Country captures all the vibrancy and tragedy of this mythic figure.

With heartfelt intimacy and a novelist's insight, Mason charts the intoxicating life of the first rock-and-roll superstar, whose music shattered barriers and changed the sound of America. Elvis the impassioned singer and charismatic youth embraced the celebrity brought him by a host of top-forty hits and movies. But Elvis the small-town boy and devoted son was in no way prepared for being catapulted into an unimagined stratosphere. This is the riveting story of an unforgettable man and his indelible legacy.
... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mason On Elvis:An American Tragedy
Bobbie Ann Mason is the person who should have written this book on Elvis. Born in 1942, she grew up on a dairy farm in Mayfield, Kentucky; she and Elvis then are from the same time and part of the country. It is obvious from every page of this work that Ms. Mason likes Elvis's music and understands what his contribution to America and the world was. There is no substitute, as some of us remember, to being alive when Elvis literally burst on the music scene and shook us from the Eisenhower 50's. Of course Ms. Mason, one of our best living fiction writers, says it better than I: "For me, Elvis is personal--as a Southerner and something of a neighbor. I heard Elvis from the very beginning on the Memphis radio stations. Many parents found Elvis's music dangerously evocative, his movements lewd and suggestive--but when my family saw Elvis on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, singing 'Ready Teddy', my father cried, 'Boy, he's good!'"

My problem with this book is the same I have with the other books in this series-- their required brevity makes any in-depth study of the character impossible. This series works best, I think, in Douglas Brinkley's book on Rosa Parks since no bio of her except one for children had ever been written so he was covering new ground rather than rehashing previous material. Ms. Mason lists her sources, saying she relied heavily on Peter Guaralnick's two books on Pressley that I have not read. I did read, however, the awful book by Albert Goldman whom I believe Ms. Mason alludes to in her introduction: "In 1980, a scurrilous biography portrayed him as a redneck with savage appetites and perverted mentality, and of no musical significance to American culture." Ms. Mason provides the ultimate insult by not giving the name of the biographer.

Ms. Mason discusses briefly Elvis's movies and his interest in books. I didn't know he read books or that Priscilla got him to burn them. Ms. Mason also says that by the end of 2000 Graceland had become the most visited private home in the U. S. When I visited his grave a few years ago-- Graceland was closed that day-- I was saddened so see that out of hundreds of "floral arrangements" there was not one real flower. I suppose as the Lorettta Lynn character says in "Cold Miner's Daughter," that the plastic ones last longer.

1-0 out of 5 stars Bereft
When these publishing houses reach into the shallow end of the writing pool to assign authors the task of patching together a novella, this is the inevitable pitiful result. Superficiality overflows her perspectives, and the style of the book is forced, as she tries to spin a tome of the south as a tapestry into Elvis' life. I must've been absent from the planet during the minute that Elvis' career took this downward spiral she focuses on. Recently he has had the number 1 song and album in the world, which went gold or platinum in 60 countries. 15,000,000 people from around the world have stopped by his house over the last 20 years, making Graceland the most visited home in the world (next to the White House which is a public building); there are over 700 fan clubs; he has sold more records since 1977 than any 3 acts combined; his posthumous concert tour breaks attendance records around the world, and a whole new generation of children have discovered him in the Lilo & Stitch movie. There are still more books sold and written about Elvis than any other artist. He was voted the "Artist of the Century" the 57th "Most Influential Person of the Millennium," and his song, "That's All Right Mama" was chosen by CNN as the "Song That Changed The World." He revolutionized, Radio, Concerts, the Record Industry, the Music Charts, Television, Movies, Pop Culture, Male Sexuality and fan devotion. He first created the generation gap in the 50s and bridged it in the 70s. Without Elvis crossing over to open the portal for Black entertainers, Motown would've been a regional success only. After 9/11 when the world sought emotional comfort through songs of inspiration and patriotism, "America The Beautiful" sung by Elvis in 1972, went up the Top 10 charts worldwide. A man that accomplished all this in just 22 years---so much that his work and image still dominate the perlieu 26 years after his demise--- deserves better than to be written about by an author of the ilk of a Bobbie Ann Mason.
P.S He is releasing another album, that will be pushed to the top by another Number 1 single.

4-0 out of 5 stars A quick glimpse of the King...
This book fits well into the Penguin Lives series - none of them are meant to be definitive pictures of the person being written about, but most of them succeed in giving a good glimpse of a person's life and accomplishments, however, most are over far too quickly and with many details left to further reading. That's not necessarily a bad thing if it's what you're expecting.

This book on Elvis is a WHOOSH WHAT HAPPENED?!?! sort of a quick read. Before I knew it I was turning the final page. Elvis' forty-two years were exhausted in a few hours of reading.The prose is mostly very readable, but early on the author didn't seem to know what to write about Elvis' childhood, so she rhapsodizes on the taste of hamburgers or makes numerous Faulkner references. I almost didn't make it past the first few chapters. Admittedly, there is probably a lack of material on this part of Elvis' life, but that doesn't mean we need a short essay on the lucious taste of hamburgers and how Elvis surely loved them.

Happily, Faulker is never mentioned in subsequent chapters, and the dearth of material vanishes. What follows is a good but all too quick and somewhat one-sided view of the life of Elvis. There is a hint of a 'Poor Elvis' theme as the author continually mentions his "innocence." Even towards the end of his life, when Elvis was literally destroying himself and seemed somewhat nuts, the tone is mostly sympathetic. The author almost blames Elvis' fame more than Elvis himself.It is true that fame can destroy a person. It's happened to too many people (even many who were never famous), but typically there's something else about the person that causes this self-destruction rather than simply the fact that they're famous. Though to be fair, it's a short book so all sides of the story cannot be told.

If you're already versed inthe life of Elvis Presley you'll likely find little new information here. I used the book as a starting point. I wanted to know more about Elvis' life, but I wasn't sure to what extent. This book was perfect as a glimpse into what happened to Elvis and the major events of his strange life. As a result of reading this book, I would really like to know more details about his "fall." This book whizzes through his final years by outlining some crazy stories such as Presley's visit with Nixon, his fascination with karate, his bizarre stage shows (to my generation, Elvis' 70's stage shows are strange and almost surreal to watch), the origin of his 70's persona (there's more to it than Captain Marvel), his divorce from Priscilla (good for her!), his becoming a narcotics officer, and his overall increasingly obsessive behavior. There's much more there I'm sure than this book tells, though it's probably not a happy tale, and this book strives to be a happy book.

The book does not mention accusations pointed at Elvis of racism. There are positive quotes from Little Richard, a Black Panthers Leader, and Elvis himself. Right or wrong, many people my age see Elvis as a thief of "black music" and as a symbol of white cultural appropriation and domination. I'm not supporting or denying this view, but the book implicitly takes the stance that this is not an issue or that "everything's okay" on this count. Elvis, along with Sam Phillips, is celebrated as a joiner of the races. This is at best controversial. Nonetheless, the overly positive view the book takes makes me want to learn more about this topic.

The book also goes a little light on Elvis' movies. They are far worse than the book leads on (I've seen all but a couple of them). It's easy to see how his legendary status declined since most people born after Elvis' death experience him first through his movies. It's really very hard to take Elvis seriously when your first exposure to him is "Paradise Hawwaiian Style", "It Happened at The World's Fair", or "Harum Scarum." In the end, his films did far more damage to his name than Elvis could ever imagine. Historically, it's telling that while the Beatles were working on Seargent Pepper, Elvis was working on "Clambake."

The book also doesn't mention what is usually considered Elvis' most critically acclaimed album: "From Elvis in Memphis." Elvis could make some darn good music when he was focused. His music is generally not album-oriented, however, so many of his albums sound merely like collections of songs strung together. "From Elvis in Memphis" is an exception to this, and is enjoyable from beginning to end. It deserves a mention even in a survey.

Overall, the book piqued my interest in Elvis as a cultural icon who took a huge fall for complicated reasons. He is right up there with Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, and Micheal Jackson in terms of the negative impact fame can have on a life. Concerning the topic of Elvis in general, there's more and less of what you'd think involved. He is a tragic figure and a symbol and a warning of the potential destructive powers of fame and wealth.

But if you want to know more details, you'll have to read another book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Are You boring Tonight?
ELVIS PRESLEY:Bobbie Ann Mason

Early on in this skimpy biography of The King, author Mason recounts Elvis' first taste of success when his early Sun Record recordings began to be played on the radio, "the sounds that came hurtling out of Elvis' unfettered soul were so real and refreshing it was as if some juke joint had opened up and racial harmony were a happy reality."

Oh, yeah! I think we can all relate to that. Who among us, upon hearing Elvis for the first time, didn't say, "man, I feel like racial harmony is a reality."

This short (169 pages), uneven effort is not as bad as that quote would indicate, but the reader would be better served by almost any of the Presley bios available with the exception of Albert Goldman's hack job.

Elvis changed music, performing, and recording more than any artist in history, became more famous in a shorter time than anyone who ever graced the planet, and detonated the social revolution of the 60s, but that is as nothing to Mason who is hell-bent on finding something that SHE considers significant.

As a result, Elvis becomes a poster boy for a long discourse on southern whites and poverty and, in case that is not significant enough, is magically transformed from The King into The Saint, who performs merely as a device to achieve his true purpose, leading the diversity movement.

It is hard to make Elvis Presley boring, but Mason comes close.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment
"Elvis Presley," by Bobbie Ann Mason, is an almost too intimate look into the conjectured feelings, rather than the events, shaping the life of "The King of Rock 'n' Roll."I was disappointed by both the writing style, which reminded me of backroom "beauty shop-like" gossip, and the content, which contained psychoanalysis of Presley. The continuous message that the society he was raised in as a child was the blame for the his adult downfall became the focus of the narrative; so much so that it made such a significant contributor to music history and cultural icon seem pathetic and uninteresting.The book is a good study for those interested in counseling or Freudian psychology; however, for those wanting a glimpse into the exciting and flamboyant life of Elvis Presley, this book is not recommended. ... Read more


126. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Thorndike Press Large Print Biography Series)
by Roy Jenkins, Richard E. Neustadt
list price: $29.45
our price: $29.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786262923
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 431982
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A masterly, posthumous work by the New York Times bestselling author of Churchill and Gladstone

A protean figure and a man of massive achievement, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the only man to be elected to the presidency more than twice. In a ranking of chief executives, no more than three of his predecessors could truly be placed in contention with his standing, and of his successors, there are so far none.

In acute, stylish language, Roy Jenkins tackles all of the nuances and intricacies of FDR’s character. He was a skilled politician with astounding flexibility; he oversaw an incomparable mobilization of American industrial and military effort; and all the while aroused great loyalty and dazzled those around him with his personal charm. Despite several setbacks and one apparent catastrophe, his life was buoyed by the influence of Eleanor, who was not only a wife but an adviser and one of the twentieth century’s greatest political reformers.

Nearly complete before Jenkins’s death in January 2003, this volume was finished by historian Richard Neustadt.
... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Good Brief Book on Roosevelt
This is a very good brief introduction to Roosevelt, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting a brief understanding of Roosevelt. Being written by a man from Britain, it also shows how the world views him - as one of the most important leaders in world history. You will not acquire a thorough understanding of FDR by reading this book. For that I would suggest "Champion of Freedom" by Conrad Black or the two-volume biography by James MacGregor Burns "The Lion and the Fox" and "Soldier of Freedom."

In response to Mister Syzek, my understanding is that Stalin broke his promises and controlled Poland despite the agreements made. Stalin was determined to control Poland no matter what, so Poland was never really on the table.

Franklin Roosevelt was a geopolitical realist, and the reality is that the Soviet armies controlled Eastern Europe and Poland. Stalin de facto controlled Poland. The American people had no enthusiasm for yet another world war againt Russia. They wanted their soldiers home. Maybe you should ask the American people why they were not willing to suffer 5 million killed for Poland.

You see, in America you must deal with these pesky things called voters and democracy.

So Roosevelt extracted what he could from Stalin: firm promises of elections and a free Poland. Roosevelt got everything he wanted from Yalta and was very sneaky to be able to get Stalin to promise even that.

To complicate the matter, the Soviet Union took the brunt of the war (17 million dead), and Stalin was rigidly determined to secure a buffer between Mother Russia and Western Europe. Stalin would not have budged on his goal.

So what Roosevelt obtained from Stalin was the best he could obtain - firm promises from Stalin to hold elections. It was Stalin who broke his promises. That made the Soviet Union look like the bad guy.

Truman then waged the Cold War (without the millions of dead from a hot war) leading to an eventual liberation of Eastern Europe. It's no surprise that Reagan was a huge fan of Roosevelt, voted for him four times, and attended his third inauguration (a moving event for Reagan). Reagan then brought an end to the Cold War without firing a shot.

You may be able to criticize Truman for not liberating Eastern Europe while American had a monopoly on the atomic bomb... or Eisenhower. Then again, maybe the path Truman took was wise. Maybe Roosevelt would have done things differently. We will never know because he died.

What we do know is that he extracted promises from Stalin, which he later broke.

I just want to stress that Stalin was determined to have Poland, no matter what. Please look at Stalin's goals and determination. The Russian armies took Poland on the way to Germany, and there was nothing Roosevelt could do about that. Here FDR was a realist.

At the same time, Roosevelt was an idealist in the Wilsonian tradition when realistic. He believed in the free determination of free people, but he was also realistic. For example, he essentially pushed for an end to world colonialism in his design for the post-war world. Churchill opposed this but he could do nothing about it. The British empire was too weak.

By the way, Poland was not even a country at the start of World War One and was viewed by some in a similar way to the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Should American have gone to war over the Baltic States?

This fine little book is a fine introduction to Roosevelt. It is the best brief book on Roosevelt.

If you want a more detailed study of Roosevelt's foreign policy then read Robert Dallek?s Bancroft Prize-winning "Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy." My opinion pales in comparison.

3-0 out of 5 stars An Elegant Little Life
Roy Jenkins, the prolific biographer of British Prime Ministers Gladstone and Churchill (as well as American President Harry Truman), died early last year, before this slim biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was completed.But even in its flawed state (it was completed by Richard E. Neustadt), this is an impressive book by an author of great knowledge and erudition that illuminates in intriguingly quirky ways the epochal life of its subject.

Jenkins was an Englishman active in Labour politics for half a century, and his is a very British take on Roosevelt's life, which both works and doesn't work to Jenkins' advantage.It is always problematic when an author is not of the same nationality as the person he's writing about (William Manchester's still-to-be-completed biography of Churchill, for example, was much criticized by the British).Where Jenkins gains in giving us a new perspective on a oft-told tale, he sometimes loses in dragging in references to the subjects of his previous books (an occupational hazard of the prolific biographer) or comparing some American political situation to its British equivalent when the comparison is tenuous at best.

Some of his more British asides are lost on the average American reader (as when he opines that the style and appearance of Groton, the prep school that Roosevelt attended, supposedly an imitation of Eton, "were much more like Cheltenham's or Marlborough's").Also, because the author died before he had the chance to read proof, the text is not as precise as it might have been had the author lived longer (there is at least one sentence that defeats my attempt to make sense of it grammatically - it starts on the 19th line of page 73 and begins with the words "In consequence...").

These reservations aside, I am impressed with Jenkins' ability to take a long and complicated life and condense it into the brief span of this American Presidents series, while still making it comprehensible.The shelves of libraries groan under the weight of the F.D.R. biographies out there, but if you're looking for a concise life that tells the story of the 32nd President from a unique point of view, you might want to try this book before tackling one of the heftier volumes.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent final book for a quality biographer.
The author, in this his final book, is British with an illustrious career as a biographer of such figures as Gladstone, Churchill, and Truman.He also served in his country's ministry.At first glance, it may seem controversial to assign to a foreigner the task of writing about one of America's greatest presidents.However, Lord Jenkins gives a perspective of Roosevelt without the tint of American politics.

It is amazing and disturbing to me the amount of enmity that some in this country express towards Roosevelt, bordering on delusional.What Roosevelt did for this country cannot be adequately expressed in a short biography, or in any book.Much of his pre-war accomplishments translated into an emotion of hope and optimism that moved to a sense of security during the war years.

The author addresses and logically dismisses the paranoid charges that either Roosevelt and/or Churchill allowed Pearl Harbor to occur.As one who lived in Britain during the war, he demonstrates Roosevelt's importance to freeing the world of fascism, and unsettling Churchill's colonialist interests.Fanatical right wingers condemn Roosevelt for the Yalta agreement's failure to rid Poland of the Soviets.The author (actually the co-author who wrote the last few pages after the main author's death) notes that neither Roosevelt or Churchill are at fault since Stalin was already in full control of Poland with no intention of peacefully moving.

My only criticism is the abruptness in which Eleanor Roosevelt is left out of the story.Of course, Mrs. Roosevelt is deserving of her own book that is not the point of this presidential series.

It is a shame that more people will not read this book.I recently wrote a review of the NY Times plagiarist Jayson Blair's book and that received a few dozen responses.This is perhaps my fourth or fifth review of an American President series book and the total responses number only a handful.I reason that much more can be gotten out of reading quality biographies of worthy individuals than concerning ourselves with an immature nobody.

5-0 out of 5 stars A much-needed introduction
The frustration expressed by the previous reviewer that a new full-length biography of FDR is needed is in fact answered by Conrad Black's massive biography out this year, at the same time of this book.It is fascinating that Lord Jenkins of Hillhead, a Liberal (former Labor) member of the British House of Lords, comes to a very similar conclusion about FDR as does Lord Black of Crossharbour: that FDR was one of the top three presidents of all time.Jenkins puts it very clearly from the start: "In any rating of presidents there could be no more than three of his predecessors who could be placed in contention with him, and of his successors there are so far none." (p. 1) It is important to remember that Reagan, one of the most successful and popular presidents in the postwar period, himself admired FDR all his life.

FDR did not live to see the end of the war, but he saw the wings of victory (as Churchill put it).Jenkins did not live to complete this short book, though he finished 148 out of 173 pages, leaving the last 25 pages to the eminent presidential historian, Richard Neustadt, whose competence and perspective did not let Jenkins or Schlesinger down.

This book is a contrast with Black's in length, but not in quality.In each case the judgment of the author surpasses the originality of the research, and yet both are highly-recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine final work by a preeminent political biographer
Sadly, English politician and biographer Roy Jenkins died just before finishing this book, which was finished by Richard E. Neustadt, who himself recently passed away.In many ways, it is unfortunate that Jenkins wrote this particular biography of Roosevelt, instead of a different, much fuller one.There is a considerable need at the present for a substantial, single-volume biography of Roosevelt that covers his entire life.There are multi-volume biographies, and a wealth of single volume studies on a wide range of his career, but not an obvious choice for a one-volume work.A biography along the lines of Jenkins's GLADSTONE or CHURCHILL would have been a delight indeed.Furthermore, the format of this series does not ideally suit Jenkins's virtues as a biographer.He is at his best when he is free to ramble far a field, summoning up obscure comparisons between various individuals, slowly mulling over various possible motives for an action or belief.Unfortunately, the brief format of this series places great restraints on Jenkins.

Surprisingly, these restrictions hamper Jenkins less than one might expect.Although I would have preferred a much longer biography from him, what we have here is a highly serviceable biography that reflects Jenkins unique and mildly eccentric point of view.Jenkins, as in his other books, is far more concerned with conflict of personality than with intellectual or policy disputes.He is always at his best when describing how two individuals mesh or clash, the alchemy of personality.As a result, this book is more of a biography of Roosevelt's relationships than his policies and ideas.This is true also of his books on Gladstone and Churchill, and is both his virtue and vice as a writer.Jenkins also is hurt somewhat by not having the encyclopedic knowledge of American politics that he possesses of political life in England.He has a grasp of the most elusive subtleties of apparently every British politician of the past couple of centuries, and to a somewhat unnerving degree.He sometimes displays a similar knowledge of the American scene, but not universally.

Still, this is an impressive short biography of the dominant American president of the 20th century.Jenkins, in fact, would nominate him one of the two great political figures of the century, along with Churchill.He does ably show how under Roosevelt the American presidency evolved into what it is today:the most influential political office in the world.Roosevelt is the first president of whom that is the case.The book is also outstanding for its balance.Jenkins is simultaneously aware of both his enormous virtues and his lamentable shortcomings.The former embraces his enormous self-confidence (which others found infectious), his charismatic personality, he profound gift for political maneuvering (here construed as a virtue and not a vice, i.e., not "mere" politics), the enormous role he played in shaping not merely the United States as it exists today but also the world as a whole, and the dual achievements of both having helped the country avert collapse during the Depression and leading it capably through WW II.The shortcomings include his deplorable treatment of Eleanor in their marriage (of which there is much early in the book, far less later), his tendency to avoid conflict and confrontation on a personal (if not military) level, and his unfortunate (and needless, as Jenkins shows) scheme to pack the Supreme Court.This balance is one of the book's greatest strengths, and perhaps only a non-American could have struck it, since Roosevelt is subject to much partisan bickering today.

The book does show slight signs of not having been completely finished.For instance, when describing Churchill and Roosevelt's first meeting in the Atlantic, he writes of the former arriving on a much larger ship, and describes the poignancy that many of the crewmen would later die when the ship sunk.He does not, however, name the ship.I know from other sources that it was the HMS Prince of Wales, but the text omits this fact.Probably Jenkins in looking over the galleys would have spotted this. Neustadt, a formidable presidential historian in his own right, wrote the final fifteen pages, and while they certainly represent no disruption in the flow of ideas, they do contrast with Jenkins own style, which was both brilliant and unique.

In short, this is an admirable addition to a fine series of brief presidential biographies, and a fitting culmination of the writing career of one of the finest political biographers of our time. ... Read more


127. Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II (Thorndike Press Large Print Biography Series)
by Jennet Conant
list price: $29.45
our price: $29.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786248149
Catlog: Book (2002-12-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 971780
Average Customer Review: 3.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the fall of 1940, as German bombers flew over London and with America not yet at war, a small team of British scientists on orders from Winston Churchill carried out a daring trans-atlantic mission. The British unveiled their most valuable military secret in a clandestine meeting with American nuclear physicists at the Tuxedo Park mansion of a mysterious Wall Street tycoon, Alfred Lee Loomis. Powerful, handsome, and enormously wealthy, Loomis had for years led a double life, spending his days brokering huge deals and his weekends working with the world's leading scientists in his deluxe private laboratory that was hidden in a massive stone castle.

In this dramatic account of a hitherto unexplored but crucial story of the war, Jennet Conant traces one of the world's most extraordinary careers and scientific enterprises. She describes Loomis' phenomenal rise to become one of the Wall Street legends of the go-go twenties. He foresaw the stock market crash of 1929 in time to protect his vast holdings, making a fortune while other bankers were losing their shirts. He rode out the Depression years in high style, and indulged in the hobbies of the fabulously rich. He raced his own America's Cup yacht against the Vanderbilts and Astors, and purchased Hilton Head Island in South Carolina as his private game reserve. Conant writes about the glamour and privilege of his charmed circle as well as Loomis' marriage to a beautiful but depressive wife, whom he sent away for repeated hospitalizations while he pursued a covert affair with his protégé's young wife. His bitter divorce scandalized New York society and drove Loomis into near seclusion in East Hampton.

At the height of his influence on Wall Street, Loomis abruptly retired and devoted himself purely to science. He turned his Tuxedo Park laboratory into the meeting place for the most visionary minds of the twentieth century: Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, James Franck, Niels Bohr, and Enrico Fermi. With England threatened by invasion, he joined Vannevar Bush, Karl Compton, and the author's grandfather, Harvard president James B. Conant, in mobilizing civilian scientists to defeat Nazi Germany, and personally bankrolled pioneering research into the radar detection systems that ultimately changed the course of World War II.

Together with his friend Ernest Lawrence, the Nobel Prize-winning atom smasher, Loomis established a top-secret wartime laboratory at MIT and recruited the most famous names in physics. Through his close ties to his cousin Henry Stimson, who was secretary of war, Loomis was able to push FDR to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create the advanced radar systems that defeated the German Air Force and deadly U-boats, and then to build the first atomic bomb. One of the greatest scientific generals of World War II, Loomis' legacy exists not only in the development of radar but also in his critical role in speeding the day of victory. ... Read more

Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating portrait of a brilliant man of science &business
The subject of Tuxedo Park, Alfred Loomis, is an absolutely fascinating individual whose life story is so unique and so amazing that, were this book fiction, the reader would likely not believe it. Loomis, who undoubtedly was a brilliant left-brained rational thinker, was educated as a lawyer, rose through the ranks of a law firm, then quit to become one of the wealthiest bankers on Wall Street. He foresaw the 1929 stock market crash and cashed out beforehand, and then gave up his finance career to educate himself so that he could work on the very leading edge of scientific research in multiple fields, including biology, physics, astronomy, and (at the very end of his life), computer science. Because he possessed immense wealth, brains, and leadership qualities, as well as patriotism and a savvy understanding of geopolitics, he became a key individual who put together the multiple scientific labs and projects that helped the Allies win World War II.

Jennet Conant succeeds admirably in the primary objective of her book: to describe the many technical and leadership contributions Loomis made to the scientific efforts, especially the development of radar systems, that ultimately produced victory for the Allies in World War II. She makes a very strong case that without Loomis's leadership, the development of both radar and the atomic bomb would have been delayed, endangering the Allies' chances of success and resulting in many more lives lost. Loomis's World War II efforts and achievements occupy half the book; the remainder covers the rest of his biography.

Besides being a fascinating, engrossing story, Tuxedo Park has much to teach the reader. The common impression is that the development of the atomic bomb was the greatest scientific achievement in the Allies' victory; however, as one of the scientists says, "radar won the war, and the atomic bomb ended it". Radar was the weapon the Allies used to defeat the Germans' submarines, superior air force, and rocketry. Tuxedo Park also shows the interconnected web of relationships at the pinnacles of the worlds of science, academia, government, and business in the mid twentieth century. Rational thought alone does not produce results; all accomplishments involve humans, and Loomis was able to navigate these worlds and relationships with remarkable aplomb. The book also shows the negative side of Loomis and genius in general: the toll it exacts on family life, and the depression and suicide that plagues certain families.

I have only minor quibbles with Tuxedo Park. Loomis's pre-World War II achievements were so impressive and interesting that I would have enjoyed more detail about those years. When Conant describes the many inventions of Loomis and others, I often had difficulty visualizing them; some line drawings would have helped. And there are a few errors in the book, such as referring to the RAF when the author means the USAF.

I would recommend Tuxedo Park to anyone interested in biographies of scientific figures, as well as anyone who would appreciate a history lesson on the role science played in winning the last major world war.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tuxedo Park is an impressive achievement
Tuxedo Park is a factual history lesson, in a vein similar to The Devil in the White City, only without the serial killer.

Tuxedo Park takes place a bit later, pre-World War II. It starts with the death of one of the scientists who used to visit Tuxedo Park, a veritable fortress of technology and leisure. The suicidal scientist posthumously published a fictionalized book about the goings on there and sold it as science fiction. It was so bizarre that of course, nobody suspected, although the primary subject of the novel, Alfred Loomis, knew better.

Alfred Loomis is the star of the story, a rich entrepreneur with an all-consuming, frightening intellect. He applies his own cold, nearly inhuman methodology to business and science and excels at both. Loomis is also charismatic and connects with people in a way that makes him irresistible. A veritable human whirlwind, he swept people up and sometimes left them broken and lost behind him, most notably his wife whom he tried to have committed and left for a younger woman.

Loomis invented electrocardiograms (those brainwave doohickeys that draw jagged lines as a patient sleeps) and radar and made fantastic leaps in refining the science of sonics and magnetics. If the book has a moral, it's that money brings freedom, and Loomis was the freest man on Earth. He developed what he wanted, hosted who he wanted, encouraged projects he felt had vision, and had enough influence to determine the course of events in World War II.

What's so striking is that the world needed Loomis. The author, Jennet Connant, makes striking connections that identify just how significant Loomis' contributions (and machinations) were in ensuring victory over the Axis powers. From the atom bomb to the British radar systems, Loomis' fingerprints are on them all. And it was through sheer force of will, coupled with his massive wealth that made things happen.

The book suffers from the same problems as Devil in the White City - some parts are more boring than others. It's entertaining to read about Loomis' inventions, but I had difficulty distinguishing between the various scientists. There are so many intellects that are hosted by Loomis that they start to run together; on the other hand, the book features a lot of familiar faces like Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and others. Still, the physics and complexities of the inventions, along with the internecine squabbling drag in some places.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the book is when one British physicist embarks on a journey to bring all the technological advances of Britain to America with just himself and a trunk full of highly classified documents and devices. The thought of what could happen to that trunk (and how it nearly gets lost a few times) is nerve wracking and the makings of an excellent short story or role-playing adventure. It's the kind of scenario that is usually considered to be bad form by a writer - but it really happened.

Fortunately for us, the trunk made its way safely to America. The book really picks up as the devices Loomis raced to invent are finally implemented in the war. And then, when the action finally gets going, the book is over. There is definitely a feeling of the passing of something great that people could only look at indirectly and never touch - just like the intentional destruction of the Chicago World's Fair, Loomis Tuxedo Park is abandoned, his "rad lab" of scientists disbanded, only to backstab each other during McCarthy's "Un-American" committees. Worse, Loomis' divorce left his family sharply divided - like all things, Loomis treated his relationships with an intellectual clarity that was less a romance and more calculated odds. When Loomis felt his wife was not measuring up, she was discarded along with his other failed experiments. It dims, but cannot diminish completely, Loomis' personality.

Tuxedo Park is an impressive achievement. It manages to record the origin of the American scientist, the belief that technology is inherently good, and sharply frames the slow, lumbering bureaucracies that run everything from medical achievements to military advancements. In comparison, Loomis and his teams are breathtakingly nimble at a time when the world needed speed and decisive action most. It is an important part of history and a sharp reminder that rich men, should they choose, could do great good or terrible harm. Loomis was that rare combination of brilliance and wealth that creates freedom - an aberration not likely to be seen again in my lifetime.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life changing....what a life this man lived.
Never have I read something so exciting, meaty, romantic and adventurous. This is the life I can only imagine living. Loomis had it all, good looks, intelligence, but most of all...class and style. His way of life gives insight into what good breeding is all about. More than that, his ability to use common sense in dealing with business, and science and every aspect of his life and relationships gave me the confidence to venture out a little further and try and reach for the apple way up at the top of the tree. Reading this book forever changed my life and I tried to find a way to send the author, Jennet conant, a letter telling her that but I could not find her address on the website, so I guess this will have to do.

Jennet, even after death, Alfred Loomis continues to succeed, your story is worthy of his calibre. Beautiful.

2-0 out of 5 stars Conant fails to tell the truth about Loomis: uncritical
Nowhere in the book does Conant talk about how Loomis used his regulated utility holdings to subsidize the unregulated holdings... and he charged regulated customers for the subsidiaries' huge profits. The Public Utilities Holding Companies Act (PUHCA) of the 1930's was enacted and made illegal the very things that Loomis made his fortune on. Check out the SEC for PUHCA. But there is no mention of this. Conant writes a biased and uncritical account of one of her relatives. Bad.
Also, many scholars attribute the Public Utility Holding Companies with causing the Stock Market Crash of '29. And Loomis was at the head of this. Nowhere does Conant mention this.
Also poorly written. Incoherent writing style that blends scientific writing with prose. makes for muddled and unnatural reading. Also fails to describe sufficiently, important scientific advances discussed in the book, namely the Cyclotron, which I had to go look up what it was. bad

4-0 out of 5 stars THE LAST GREAT AMATEUR
Today with university and industrial labs conducting research using multi-million dollar grants and government contracts, it is amazing that in before the 1930s a brilliant banker had established, financed and staffed a private research lab that was superior at the time to university laboratories. This book by Jennet Conant is the story of Albert Lee Loomis who not only established his lab in Tuxedo Park, NY, he also personally conducted research there. Outstanding scientists such as Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Neils Bohr, etc. visited his lab with Einstein describing the lab as a "place of science."

Loomis while interested in science at Yale nevertheless when to Harvard Law School and upon graduation entered the New York law firm of Winthrop & Stimson; Stimpson was a cousin of Loomis. During WWI, Loomis jointed the army, received a commission and was sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground where he struck up a friendship with Robert Wood of Johns Hopkins University, considered America's most brilliant experimental physicist, who later became Loomis' mentor. One year after WWI Loomis went to work in the investment business and later with his brother-in-law as partner purchased their employer. Recognizing the approaching financial crisis of 1929, the partners took appropriate action, with Loomis making $50 million during the first years of the Depression.

Loomis had established his lab at Tuxedo Park in the 1920s leaving the day-to-day running of the lab to a lab manager. Loomis worked in the lab evenings and on weekends, working alongside accomplished scientists. In 1934 he quit Wall Street for good devoting fulltime to his lab. The text notes "He played a major role in the development of the electroencephalograph, which went on to become an extremely valuable diagnostic tool and is used routinely in hospitals to detect epilepsy as well as many other diseases."

Loomis and other scientists became concerned about reports of German advanced weaponry; and aided by MIT, Tuxedo Park, devoted its work to the development of secret war-related radar systems to detect airplanes. When the 1940 British technical mission came to America, they brought their magnetron oscillator; Loomis immediately recognized that a major breakthrough had occurred in radar development. Loomis lead the establishment of a secret radar lab at MIT, closed his lab and shipped his valuable equipment to MIT. "For the next four years, he would drive himself and his band of physicists almost without break to develop the all-important radar warning systems based on the magnetron." Also, Loomis conceived the basis for and directed the development of the Loran navigation system, a system critical for accurate aircraft navigation during bombing missions.

In 1941 Loomis's involvement with the MIT Lab, called the Rad Lab, became increasingly sporadic as he was pressed into service on uranium research. One leading scientist noted "...it was a great stroke of luck for the country that Loomis was involved in the uranium project from the beginning, not as an originator of ideas as much as an individual who knew how to exploit them..." contributing to "the remarkable lack of roadblocks experienced by the Army's Manhattan District, the builders of the atomic bombs."

By June 1943 nearly 6000 radar set based on the MIT Rad Lab designs had been delivered with production climbing past 2000 sets per month. In the opinion of many of his peers, Loomis' greatest contribution lay in the brilliant manner he and the Secretary of War, his cousin Henry Stimson, had overcome military resistance to the flow of innovative ideas and applications.... and the military's acceptance of new weapons and systems. The author does an excellent job narrating Loomis' wartime work outlining his contributions in many areas.

In 1945 Loomis divorced his wife and married his mistress, the wife of his former Tuxedo Park lab manager. This produced strong reverberations in his elite financial and social circles. In 1947 he completed his administrative duties associated with radar and almost from the moment that the MIT Rad Lab ceased, Loomis began to disappear. In 1948 he was awarded the highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Merit. The book closes with an EPILOGUE which gives brief accounts of the post WWII lives of the key scientists and others with whom Loomis was associated during his active career. Loomis died in 1975 at age eighty-seven.

My main criticism is the account of Oppenheimer's opposition to the H-bomb in the EPILOGUE which concludes with the statement "Oppenheimer was ousted from power and publicly disgraced" leaving the impression Oppenheimer spent the rest of his life in disgrace. The text fails to tell that later the Atomic Energy Commission cleared Oppenheimer of all charges and in 1963 awarded him their highest honor the Enrico Fermi award. Oppenheimer served as director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton from 1947 to his retirement in 1966.

This was a difficult book to write, not only because of Loomis' countless activities, but because he destroyed his papers before his death. Consequently, the book does not always read smoothly. Nevertheless, the book provides valuable material not available from other sources. ... Read more


128. Climbing Higher
by Montel Williams, Lawrence Grobel
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786265809
Catlog: Book (2004-07-09)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 465366
Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

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

Reviews (13)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As to weapons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


129. A Beautiful Mind (Thorndike Press Large Print Biography Series)
by Sylvia Nasar
list price: $30.95
our price: $30.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078624223X
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 181241
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this dramatic and moving biography, Sylvia Nasar re-creates the life of a mathematical genius whose brilliant career was cut short by schizophrenia and who, after three decades of devastating mental illness, miraculously recovered and was honored with a Nobel Prize.

A Beautiful Mind traces the meteoric rise of John Forbes Nash, Jr., from his lonely childhood in West Virginia to his student years at Princeton, where he encountered Albert Einstein, John von Neumann, and a host of other mathematical luminaries. At twenty-one, the handsome, ambitious, eccentric graduate student invented what would become the most influential theory of rational human behavior in modern social science. Nash's contribution to game theory would ultimately revolutionize the field of economics.

As a young professor at MIT, still in his twenties, Nash dazzled the mathematical world by solving a series of deep problems deemed "impossible" by other mathematicians. As unconventional in his private life as in his mathematics, Nash fathered a child with a woman he did not marry. At the height of the McCarthy era, he was expelled as a security risk from the supersecret RAND Corporation -- the Cold War think tank where he was a consultant.

At thirty, Nash was poised to take his dreamed-of place in the pantheon of history's greatest mathematicians. His associates included the most renowned mathematicians and economists of the era: Norbert Wiener, John Milnor, Alexandre Grothendieck, Kenneth Arrow, Robert Solow, and Paul Samuelson. He married an exotic and beautiful MIT physics student, Alicia Larde. They had a son. Then Nash suffered a catastrophic mental breakdown.

Nasar details Nash's harrowing descent into insanity -- his bizarre delusions that he was the Prince of Peace; his resignation from MIT, flight to Europe, and attempt to renounce his American citizenship; his repeated hospitalizations, from the storied McLean, where he came to know the poet Robert Lowell, to the crowded wards of a state hospital; his "enforced interludes of rationality" during which he was able to return briefly to mathematical research. Nash and his wife were divorced in 1963, but Alicia Nash continued to care for him and for their mathematically gifted son, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager. Saved from homelessness by his loyal ex-wife and protected by a handful of mathematical friends, Nash lived quietly in Princeton for many years, a dreamy, ghostlike figure who scrawled numerological messages on blackboards, all but forgotten by the outside world.

His early achievements, however, fired the imagination of a new generation of scholars. At age sixty-six, twin miracles -- a spontaneous remission of his illness and the sudden decision of the Nobel Prize committee to honor his contributions to game theory -- restored the world to him. Nasar recounts the bitter behind-the-scenes battle in Stockholm over whether to grant the ultimate honor in science to a man thought to be "mad." She describes Nash's current ambition to pursue new mathematical breakthroughs and his efforts to be a loving father to his adult sons.

Based on hundreds of interviews with Nash's family, friends, and colleagues and scores of letters and documents, A Beautiful Mind is a heartbreaking but inspiring story about the most remarkable mathematician of our time and his triumph over a tragic illness. ... Read more

Reviews (253)

4-0 out of 5 stars An ambitious biography
Now that the Ron Howard film has been released, it is difficult to review the book on its own merits. Yet this biography is so strong, it can stand on its own. Nasar is an excellent writer who can create excellent pen pictures of life at RAND, MIT and Princeton. She shows great style in creating the environment of the late 1940s and the 1950s. Nash emerges as a complex, demanding and flawed person - an individual. Nash has since refuted the claims of anti-semitism and homosexuality in the book, but it is good to see that Nasar does not side step the issues at all. It is probably prudent to read Nash's comments on the book before making a judgement.

Where Nash is weak is in her descriptions of mathematical formulae. She does not appear to have any real understanding of the mathematics and I would have thought a plain English explanation of his work would have strengthened the biography. I got a little frustrated that she did not tackle this task. Yet it is perhaps a measure of Nash's genius that the ideas are so complex they cannot be easily reduced to a paragraph. Still she could have tried harded in this area. Nasar tends to get around this problem, by getting another expert to describe the brilliance of the idea, rather than the mathemtical idea itself.

Based on my own experiences with people with schizophrenia, Nash's recovery is remarkable and this is the section is probably the most interesting, perhaps because it is so startling. Even after reading the biogrpahy, I still find it hard to believe that someone could recover given the severity of the illness, so it gives some hope to people who suffer this disability and those close to them.

An absorbing biography and close to a great one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful...and Intriguing
John Forbes Nash, Jr. was a genius who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was in and out of mental institutions for most of his life. Nasar's book, as she states so succinctly in her prologue, is Nash's story, "in three acts: genius, madness, reawakening."

Naturally introverted, even at a young age, Nash was described as being "bookish and slightly odd." His mother had him reading by the time he was four and instead of coloring books, his father gave him science books to read. But despite his parents' efforts, the young Nash was prone to daydreaming in school, which led his teachers to describe him as an underachiever. A loner and the ultimate nerd, his best friends were books, his bedroom resembled a science lab, he was always the last to be chosen for baseball, and at a school dance, he danced with chairs rather than girls.

Although his elementary school math teachers complained he couldn't do the work, his mother noticed he wasn't following the teachers' instructions because he had devised a simpler way of solving the problems. By high school, he was deciphering problems his chemistry teacher wrote on the blackboard, without using pencil or paper. In college, his math professors would call on Nash when they themselves ran into problems solving complex equations they were presenting to their classes.

But together with his brilliance were eccentricities that became more evident as Nash aged. Those close to him characterized him as "disconnected" and "deeply unknowable."

He had little use for textbooks and was known for solving difficult (and often previously unsolvable) problems using "no references but his own mind." His peers called the results he was able to obtain "beautiful" and "striking", perhaps his greatest achievement being his work on game theory, which led to a Nobel Prize for economics in 1994. He possessed a true love of discovery - while swimming with a friend in California, the two were dragged out to sea by an undercurrent and nearly drowned. Finally reaching shore exhausted, the friend was grateful for surviving while Nash, after briefly catching his breath, re-entered the surf exclaiming, "I wonder if that was an accident. I think I'll go back in and see."

Nash was in California during the Cold War working for the internationally famous think tank known as the RAND Corporation. Funded by the U.S. Air Force, RAND was populated by "the best minds in mathematics, physics, political science, and economics." Their principle focus was developing strategies to deter - or if that failed, to win - a nuclear war against Russia. Suddenly, the game theory Nash had been intrigued by at Princeton had a practical application, for war is the ultimate game of conflict. Years later, a more profitable application would be the FCC's $7-billion sale of cell phone air space to competing communications conglomerates.

Possibly the oddest in an odd bunch of ducks, Nash's math colleagues over the years included a professor who used a mathematical formula to select his suits; the manic-depressive Norbert Wiener (the founder of cybernetics), who was known to say such things as "When we met, was I walking to the faculty club or away from it? For in the latter case I've already had my lunch"; and others who were "beset by shyness, awkwardness, strange mannerisms, and all kinds of physical and psychological tics.'"

By the age of 30 it became apparent Nash was more than just eccentric as he started to display symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia; behaving suspiciously, becoming suspect of others, and finally announcing that "abstract powers from outer space" were communicating with him through encrypted messages printed in the New York Times and broadcast by radio stations. He developed "an obsession with the stock and bond markets," investing his mother's savings, convinced he could outsmart the markets and earn a profit. Instead, the results were "disastrous, to say the least." He was offered a prestigious chair in the mathematics department at the University of Chicago - something he had long strived for - but in response the chairman of the department received a strange letter from Nash declining the offer since he had decided to become the "Emperor of Antarctica" instead.

Eventually, his illness required long periods of hospitalization while he endured drug and insulin shock therapy, with the result being the loss of a considerable portion of his memory. When an associate came to visit during one of his hospital stays, Nash mused, "What if they don't let me out until I'm NORMAL?" Although Nash shared some exquisite company, at one point being hospitalized with the poet Robert Lowell, on the whole he was slightly atypical of the average mental patient. Most don't work on a paper on fluid dynamics while institutionalized, and he took some ribbing for this. Nasar notes an instance when another patient remarked, "Professor, let me show you how one uses a broom."

Despite his illness, the math community rallied around Nash. A colleague remembers, "Everybody wanted to help [him]. His was a mind too good to waste."

By 1990, his illness had gone into remission and he was able to stop taking antipsychotic drugs, while learning to separate rational thinking from delusional thinking. In spite of his amazing recovery, awarding him with the Nobel Prize was a contentious issue due to his history of schizophrenia. But once awarded, there was resolve that the right decision had been made about a very worthy individual. One committee member recalls, "We resurrected him in a way. It was emotionally satisfying." Soon after it was announced he had won, Nash half-joked "he hoped that getting the Nobel would improve his credit rating because he really wanted a credit card."

Nasar's engaging account of Nash's life and work is both comprehensive and well-written. It is highly recommended reading if you're looking for the full story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Mind
John Nash's story is truly inspirational. I could not stop the audio until I got to the end!

John Nash, a mathematical genius, had many ups and downs in his life, including a diagnosed mental illness and various social problems that made his life painful and complicated. His Nobel-prize winning work occurred while he was writing his dissertation at Princeton. He was not recognized until later in his life for his ground-breaking contribution to "game theory".

His story is one not only of his incredible gift, mental illness and remission, but really one of personal victory. In the end, he learns to live in harmony with those around him doing what he enjoyed most.

One of my most recent favorites!

4-0 out of 5 stars An amazing piece of detective work
As I have said in the title, this book is an amazing piece of detective work about the life of Great John Nash. This is by far the work that beats the movie. If you have seen it, do not stop there - read the book, because it is TRUE! If you are interested into mathematics, into the Game theory - read it, not to learn the science, but to appreciate the scientist! However, I still give it 4 stars since the level of writing drops a little after exhilarating first few chapters. Nevertheless this is a great read!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars a not-really-that-beautiful mathematician
(hey everyone else is making a pun with their titles so why not me?)

well this book has been well commented on so i'll try to keep this brief.

first, it is fact that many great mathematicians develop some sort of mental illness (it happened to kurt godel, georg cantor, and even issac newton). nash, then, is not really an unusual case.

what does make him interesting, then, is the fact that he had "reawakened" from his illness and continued to do math in his old age. such among mathematic circles is very rare.

and his math is indeed great. nash's ability to solve problems concerning manifolds and other topological spaces is still making waves in math today. the layman unfortunately, like nasar, doesn't appreciate this fully, which is a shame. i would have liked to get a mathematician's view on johnny's life.

but, as a pop bio, it's not too bad. i agree with other reviews that it contained too much minute detail, and her references to nash looking like a golden god were overstated and a bit offputting. i wouldn't be surprised if nasar was really in love with nash. (she might have dedicated her book to alicia to subdue any suspicions of that sort.)

in the end, though, we see the life of one of the greatest modern mathematicians, through triumph and tribulation, which was the ultimate goal of the book. i would recommend this book to some and not to others. ... Read more


130. Dust Tracks on a Road: The Restored Text Established by the Library of America (G K Hall Largeprint Perennial)
by Zora Neale Hurston
list price: $26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0783883242
Catlog: Book (1997-12-01)
Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company
Sales Rank: 697094
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Biography Large Print EditionDelightful . . . wise . . . full of humor, color, and good sense.Saturday Review of BooksThis very personal portrait that Hurston paints of herself offers a rare, poignant, and often audacious glimpse of the public and private persona of a writer, artist, anthropologist and champion of black heritage. Dust Tracks on a Road is full of wit and wisdom about a proud and spirited woman who started off low and climbed high, taking her place among the leading artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


131. Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections at Sixty and Beyond (Thorndike Press Large Print Americana Series)
by Larry McMurtry
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786222646
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 735099
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Do you really want to listen to a cranky old man ramble onabout his childhood, his heart surgery, his hobbies, his son, and the way things,in general, aren't what they used to be? It turns out you do. In Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen, Larry McMurtry comes the old pardner,and the result is a powerful elegy for the lost spaces in American life. He takes as his starting point an afternoon he spent at the Dairy Queen in Archer City, Texas, reading the pensées of early 20th-century Germanphilosopher Walter Benjamin. At the time Benjamin was writing, McMurtry's grandparentswere settling dusty reaches of west Texas, and McMurtry crosscuts neatly between Benjamin's spent, smoky Europe and his own grandparents' America:"While my grandparents were dealing with almost absolute emptiness, both socialand cultural, Europe was approaching an absolute (and perhaps intolerable) density." McMurtry demonstrates a confidence almost bordering onnaiveté in the way he appropriates the great thinking of Europe and applies itto his own history. He apologizes neither to the highfalutin Europeans nor to the down-home Americans, but makes them lie down together any way hesees fit. This brio makes Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen athrilling read.

McMurtry's book-length essay loops outward from Archer City to encompass a polemic against computers, a foray into the world of book collecting, a family biography, an account of his soul-loss after heart surgery, and finally an elegy for the cowboy. This last lament casts a shadow back over whatwe've read. Not just over this book, but over McMurtry's whole body of work. A man who's lived his whole life in print gives us a glimpse ofwhat has fed him, and, strangely, it's loss. "Because of when and where Igrew up, on the Great Plains just as the herding tradition was beginning tolose its vitality, I have been interested all my life in vanishing breeds." The master of storytelling is finally revealed as a master of melancholy. --Claire Dederer ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Notes of a compulsive reader. . .
I've read much more of Larry McMurtry's fiction than his nonfiction, and sometimes I find myself enjoying his nonfiction a great deal more. His wry, humorous point of view, gift for quiet irony, and depth of thought come across so much more strongly in his own voice, compared to those of the characters in his novels. And while I am very fond of "Leaving Cheyenne," "Horseman, Pass By" and "The Last Picture Show," my favorite McMurtry novels, it is an equal pleasure to be in the presence of the man himself, as he reveals himself in the essays in this book.

Writing in his 62nd year, McMurtry lets himself free associate across a number of subjects; his life as a compulsive reader and book collector; the brief span of West Texas frontier history where three generations of McMurtrys lived, worked, and multiplied; the realities and myths of cowboys and ranching; his education at Rice in Houston; a short story writing course at Stanford with Frank O'Connor; his life as a novelist; the making of the movie "The Last Picture Show"; the passing of the urban secondhand bookstores; the emergence of Dairy Queens as social centers in small towns; the Archer City, Texas, centennial celebration; the demise of storytelling; the fragmentation of the American family; the importance of Proust and Virginia Woolf at a critical point in his life; the winning of the Pulitzer Prize for "Lonesome Dove"; and - most remarkably - his descent into a fierce depression following heart surgery in his 50s, from which he has not completely recovered at the time he was writing this book.

There is a deep melancholy in many McMurtry novels, played sometimes for laughs, as in "Texasville" (where characters hang out at the Dairy Queen). Indirectly, he accounts for some of that in this book, turning as he sometimes does to the themes of loss and the impermanence of things - represented in so many ways, from the vast outpouring of books that sit in piles and on shelves, collect dust and will never be opened again, to the death of his father, a rancher who worked hard all his life and saw in his last years that his achievements were far too few.

I recommend this book to anyone who's read McMurtry's novels and has wondered about the man whose imagination has produced so many memorable characters and stories. For the fun of it, you might just take it down to the Dairy Queen and read it there over a MooLatte.

5-0 out of 5 stars Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen
For those of us who have been captivated by the larger than life characters that give such resonance to Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment, among his many other works, this rumination on his first six decades of life yields up a marvelously rich portrait of the author himself and the influences that have shaped not merely his writing, but the manner in which McMurtry approaches life itself. Although I have read most of his fiction, I had little or no knowledge of his hardscrabble upbringing on his father's struggling cow ranch, the fascinating story of his early yearning to read about a world he couldn't even fathom from his perch atop the family's windmill on the desolate west Texas plains country, or his lifelong devotion to the arts of book reading, book scouting, and bookselling. I urge anyone with even the remotest interest in McMurtry's world of fiction to pick up this brief book and enjoy the fascinating journey he takes us across the landscape of his bleakly beautiful physical world and the enromously engaging landscape of his inner world.

4-0 out of 5 stars McMurtry's life in books
As close as Larry McMurtry (author of "Lonesome Dove" and "The Last Picture Show") is probably going to come to an autobiography.A long essay that starts from pondering German literary critic Walter Benjamin's essay on storytelling, being read at the Archer City, Texas, Dairy Queen, and spinning out to include his early life on a small Texas ranch, the realities of pioneer and cowboy life; and including along the way McMurty's beginnings as a reader, book collector, bookseller, and writer. Food for thought for the voracious reader and/or book collector. Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Interesting Read!
Everything has been said about the book. As for me,a fellow Texas, living in California, I enjoyed getting to know more about Larry McMurtry, his family roots, heritage, and his present attitudes. I remain his constant fan.
Evelyn Horan - children's author
Jeannie, A Texas Frontier Girl, Books One-Three

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Interesting Read!
Everything has been said about the book. As for me,a fellow Texas, living in California, I enjoyed getting to know more about Larry McMurtry, his family roots, heritage, and his present attitudes. I remain his constant fan.
Evelyn Horan - children's author
Jeannie, A Texas Frontier Girl, Books One-Three ... Read more


132. I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning My Battle With Osteoporosis (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series)
by Ann Richards, Richard U., M. D. Levine
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078626067X
Catlog: Book (2003-12-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 996426
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Former Texas governor Ann Richards shares her struggle with osteoporosis in an inspirational, eye-opening book that will help other women to triumph over this debilitating disease.

"There was never any doubt in my mind that if I went after osteoporosis, I could control it and lead a healthy life. That's my message to other women: No one can do this for you--you have got to do it for yourself. And you can."

In 1994, after falling and fracturing her hand, Ann Richards went for a bone density test. She was diagnosed with osteopenia, an early stage of osteoporosis. After witnessing both of her grandmothers and her mother fall victim to the disease, Richards was determined to overcome its incapacitating effects. She began a physician-approved regimen of medication and dramatically changed her lifestyle.

In I'm Not Slowing Down, the former Texas governor, known for her saucy straight talk, and Richard U. Levine, M.D., tell women what they need to know to combat this devastating disease.
... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Women over 50--a must read
This is an excellent, very current overview of this all too common disease and its treatment. Let's face it--we're all responsible for our own health, few of us use the same physician for our whole adult lives, and education is a must. Most of us are generally aware of this disease, but did you know: that hip fractures are really breaks in the femur neck, the top of the thigh bone? that there are several drugs out there to treat this, not just fosamax? that osteoporosis can result from lack of calcium or exercise during childhood? This book explains what those T-scores from your bone density test really mean. Lots of info here too on exercise and diet. A bit less interesting is the personal discussion from Ann Richards on her own life, but that doesn't mar this extremely useful work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Full disclosure
While I found this book to be useful and Ms. Richards' style to be non-technical and engaging, I wish that, before I bought the book, I had seen the statement which is on the reverse of the title page: "Ann Richards is a spokesperson for Eli Lilly, which owns the patent for Evista. Dr. Richard U. Levine, M.D. has been a member of the speakers' bureau for Eli Lilly."

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational!!!
I could not put this book down. One would expect a book on Osteoporosis to be a bit dry but Ann keeps it real! You go girl.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Osteoporosis Bible
I just finished this terrific book. I watched my grandmother, and now my mother suffer from osteoporosis. I never totally understood this issue and the fact that it is preventable. I always believed there was nothing that could be done. Now I know the truth. This book explains EVERYTHING! I am calling my
doctor today to schedule an appointment to discuss the various options. I am 47 and just entering menopause. Please, please, everyone reading this review, buy a copy for every woman you know, regardless of their age. Thanks Ann. ... Read more


133. Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (G.K. Hall Large Print Book)
by Sarah Louise Delany, A. Elizabeth Delany, Amy Hill Hearth, Sarah Delany, Annie Elizabeth Delany
list price: $26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0816158304
Catlog: Book (1993-10-01)
Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company
Sales Rank: 308504
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"I never thought I'd see the day that the world would want to hear what two old Negro women have to say," says Bessie Delany. But Bessie and her sister, Sadie, born in 1893 and 1891, saw plenty, by eating a low-fat, high-vegetable diet and outliving the "old Rebby [rebel] boys" who once almost lynched Sadie. This remarkable memoir was a long-running bestseller, spawning a Broadway play and adding to their list of seasoned acquaintances (Marian Anderson, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, Cab Calloway) such spring chickens as Hillary Clinton. Born to a former slave whose owners broke the law by teaching him to read, the sisters got a solid education. North Carolina was paradise--despite the Rebbies--until Jim Crow reared its hideous head. The girls had loved to ride in the front of the trolley because the wind in their hair made them feel free, but one day the conductor sadly ordered them to the back. The family moved to New York, where Bessie became the town's second black woman dentist and Sadie the first black woman home-ec teacher. They befriended everyone who was anyone in the Harlem Renaissance (their brother won the 1925 Congressional primary there), pursued careers instead of husbands, and lived peacefully together, despite their differences. Sadie was more peaceable, like Booker T. Washington, while Bessie was a W.E.B. Du Bois-style militant.

They're funny: Bessie notes that blacks must be sharp to get ahead, "But if you're average and white, honey, you can go far. Just look at Dan Quayle. If that boy was colored he'd be washing dishes somewhere." And they are wise: Sadie says, "Life is short, and it's up to you to make it sweet." ... Read more

Reviews (76)

5-0 out of 5 stars 100 Yr.-Old African-American Sisters Share Their Story
A wonderful, fascinating, true book about two amazing black centarian sisters, and the lady writer who coaxed their story out of them. Each page, each incident , each recollection is a pearl pried with care from two "oysters" who might never have shared their treasure with the world. The whole book is a shining strand of these pearls, that the reader wants to wear around her neck to show she has gleaned life wisdom from this book. One of the best books ever written. When I am a history teacher, I will share excerpts with my students.


4-0 out of 5 stars The Best of America
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years, staring Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee, was the portrayal of two American women who never married and lived rich full lives. Both women overcame Jim Crow, misogyny, and prejudice and went on to become professional women long before the new Millennium. Carroll and Dee gave wonderful performances, which reminded me of the stellar performance that Cicely Tyson gave in The Autobiography of Ms. Jane Pittman. This film features Mykelti Williamson as Papa Delany, who was a slave and went on to educate himself and raised his girls to be confident, ambitious, and staunchly self-reliant. If you need to be inspired, this film fits the bill. Check it out!

4-0 out of 5 stars Having Our Say an inspiring story of two women
The book "having Our Say" is the story of two colored women, Sadie (103 at the time of the book) and Bessie (101 at the time of the book) Delany. The amazing story of the two women who never married but lived to gather for most of their lives is a "warming" good-feeling story that makes you think. The story of these two women shows you the world through the eyes of colored women in a racist world. The book will make you laugh and make you think. I thought the book was interesting and very worth while to read. I would recommend this book to anyone, it tells history and yet the story is much more interesting than reading a history textbook. You get to see the history from the eyes of those who experienced it first hand. The story of Sadie and Bessie Delany can teach us a lot, not only about racial discrimination and the unfairness of it but they tell their secret to living for over a hundred years. They had each other. Everyone needs a reason to keep going; they were each others strongest reason. They motivated each other. These two women were extremely extraordinary and lived extraordinary lives and their story illustrates this.

1-0 out of 5 stars BAD
This book is the worst book EVER. It was so boring I wanted to throw up. I hate the book so much I would rather die, in fact, I think I'll just go do that. This book, is, BAD. I was forced against my will to read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Luke
As an international student, I know much more about this country because of this book.At the first time, I wondered how the story of two old ladies are interesting to people. I knew it already. This informative book introduces the United States to me in the different angle that I have never had a chance to know. The Delany Sisters' adventures through out the difficult time of colored people have been told thru thousands of words that full of humor but sad feeling in disguise. This story will be the good memorial of the remarkable mistake that used to happen in the past of American society. Moreover, the beautiful achievement of these two colored women made me really enjoy this amazing story. ... Read more


134. Sharing Good Times (Thorndike Press Large Print Americana Series)
by Jimmy Carter
list price: $31.95
our price: $31.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786274123
Catlog: Book (2005-03-02)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 66687
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Download Description

"In this wonderfully evocative volume, following the outstanding success of The Hornet's Nest, Christmas in Plains, and his classic, An Hour Before Daylight, Jimmy Carter writes about the things that matter most, the simple relaxed days and nights that he has enjoyed with family and friends through the years and across generations. Here are lively and witty accounts of exploring the outdoors with his father and with black playmates; making furniture; painting; pursuing new adventures and going places with children, grandchildren, and friends. He describes how he learned to share life with his wife, Rosalynn -- and how they both learned how to grant each other personal space -- and to compete with her on the tennis court, high mountains, trout streams, and ski slopes. These lifetime experiences can be an inspirational guide to anyone desiring to stretch mind and heart and to combine work and pleasure." ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Lightweight book, but interesting to Carter fans
This is probably the most inconsequential of Carter's "mini-memoirs", having little of the timeless insight of, say, "An Hour Before Daylight" and covering some of the same ground. This one looks across Carter's entire life, though, and recounts some particularly memorable occasions he spent, well, sharing good times with friends.

I have to admit, though, that as a fan and admirer of Carter I did find it interesting to learn that he is an avid outdoorsman and hiker well into his later years. He has climbed to Everest base camp in his 60's and climbed Mount Fuji in his 70's. He's not above using the perks of his reputation to get a private tour of a world-famous museum that's closed for renovations, or to get a private nature tour in between overseeing third-world elections. In fact, the man requires that he get a tour from a licensed naturalist every place his visits while doing business for the Carter Center.

You might see the man as egocentric and maybe a bit daffy; I know many folks do. But I found myself dreaming that I was part of his inner circle, and hoping to imitate him in my own later years. I give it an objective three star rating, but add a star if you are a fellow Carter admirer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
An amazing book by an amazing man.Discount the last reviewer.If he did read it, it must have been over his head, especially since he gives five star reviews to Prince albums.Nobody likes a hater, especially a nerdy loner with no taste.Jimmy Carter is an amazing man and we could all do well by learning something from him, myself and haters included.

1-0 out of 5 stars Bad book by a bad president
In this book the former President chronicles many of the, "Good Times" in his life.

I am sure he had many at the expense of the US taxpayers.

But Jimmy Carter should focus on the bad times of the lives that he has ruined.He should focus on the enemies of democracy that he has long supported.

This is a poorly written book by one of the worst presidents ever.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mr. President thanks for Sharing Good Times
Sharing Good Times by President Jimmy Carter

President Carter has written another excellent book, this one is his 19th.I think that this book is unique in that he touches on and vividly describes his thoughts and feelings on very personal and private topics.He admits that he had difficulties sharing problems and tribulations early on in his life.He talks frankly of how he has made such a conscious effort to involve his wife and other family and friends in his affairs and he describes how beautifully this has paid off for him.In his first campaign, for example, he didn't even discuss this life changing decision with her until he was getting dressed to register as a candidate on his 38th birthday.Now he and his wife Rosalynn are such equal partners that this early beginning seems so unreal.I believe that this book will have a similar positive effect on historians and casual President Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter enthusiasts, as did his well-known book An Hour Before Daylight.
He provides the reader with an inside view of major personal events of his life.It begins with his early life growing up in a small Georgia town of Plains, Georgia, and continues to write of events up through August of 2004.This book gives his unique perspective of life before, during, and after his presidency.We are treated with wonderful stories throughout the book on many topics such as baseball, Navy life, traveling with his family, campaigns, sporting activities, White House vacations, and private hobbies.He has a few humorous stories concerning his eleven grandchildren, which are just delightful.
Most importantly, President Carter opens up about topics, which are dear to his and his wonderful wife's hearts; serving others. He provides insight of some of his volunteer work and he also writes of some of his activities at his real life's passion, the Carter Center.This modest man really glows throughout this book and I am very happy to see that he has allowed us to learn more about his current work at the Carter Center as he strives to "wage peace, fight disease and build hope", throughout the world.
Mr. President, thanks for "sharing" this great book with us.
Ricardo A. Fernandez
Orland Park, Illinois

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun with the Family Carter
Former President Jimmy Carter's latest book is in many ways and addendum to some of his earlier works and it includes many stories that will be found in those previous works. In this book however, Carter adds to and builds on those previous stories and in a few cases adds details that he probably left out of his earlier books on purpose. President Carter may seem like an austere and serious individual but as one follows his adventures in this book his lighthearted and fun-loving side becomes obvious. In many instances I was reminded of the perpetual adolescence of Teddy Roosevelt.

In this book the former President chronicles many of the, "Good Times" in his life. He writes of vacations, side excursions to business trips, and his numerous hobbies. It seems that even on the most serious trips that President Carter makes for the Carter Center he takes at least some time for his hobby of bird watching. This is an addictive hobby that I share with Mr. Carter and can fully relate to his excitement when first spotting a new species. My wife often notes that around our house the birds will always have food whether we do or not.

The real story behind these tales of adventure however is the story of how the former President learned to fully include his family and friends in his adventures. Most Southern men who grew up in the pre World War II South have the common trait of being somewhat aloof. There is no doubt that these men love their families but they have a very hard time expressing or sharing that love. My father was born about ten years before President Carter and shared this same problem with him. I have found that sometimes I even have a little problem in this area and from both my own experience and my experiences with my father I can relate very well with Jimmy Carter's struggle. I have learned, as has Mr. Carter, that shared fun is the best kind of fun and I applaud the former President for the open way he has addressed this problem in this book.

Despite the serious nature of this book's main plot, this book is a very fun read. The more Mr. Carter writes the better he is at it and this may be his must enjoyable book yet. The stories are generally about activities that almost everyone can relate to right down to late night 'coon hunts. I once visited President Carter's church and watched as he showed off the TV stand he had made for the church. He talks about his woodworking in this book and admits that is one of the hobbies he enjoys pursuing alone. He does enjoy sharing the fruit of his labor with others though and I think he was as proud of that TV stand as he is of the Camp David Accords. Thankfully he also shares his private hobby of writing with the rest of us and he can be just as proud of this book as he is of that TV stand. ... Read more


135. The Man Who Listens to Horses (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series)
by Monty Roberts
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786213027
Catlog: Book (1998-02-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 817938
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Monty Roberts is, as they say, the real horse whisperer--even if he does revile the last third of Nicholas Evans's romance. Yet Roberts also makes clear from the start that listening and close attention have more to do with gentling an animal than soi-disant whispering. As far as he's concerned, silent communication can "effectively cross over the boundary between human (the ultimate fight animal) and horse (the flight animal). Using their language, their system of communication, I could create a strong bond of trust. I would achieve cross-species communication." And achieve it he does. After one short session, he has even the wildest stallion nickering with ungulate abandon.

Roberts's descriptions of "joining up," as he calls it with horses--as well as with the deer who cavort on his California farm like so many hyperintelligent Bambis--are inspirational in the best sense of the word. Surprisingly, though, it took him long years to persuade most of the humans in his life that pain and punishment are not the way to go. Indeed, the author expends many a page on past mistakes and disasters, familial and professional. Yet The Man Who Listens to Horses remains a powerfully positive document--and not just for Mr. Ed. Best of all, when it comes to his life's work, Roberts is far more practical than mystical. Instead of portraying himself as Equus's messiah, he'd rather share his hard-won knowledge. Having overcome years of rejection and ridicule, the author is certainly not short in the self-esteem department, as some passages in this book demonstrate. No matter. He always checks his ego before entering the corral. --Kerry Fried ... Read more

Reviews (178)

1-0 out of 5 stars moneybags monty - a shameful charlatan
a braindamaged baboon couldnt believe a word of this dross - and neither should you. the only reason hes gotten away with it for so long is because the people buying his crap wouldnt know one end of a horse from the other - morons attract morons after all.

ask the woman whos horse monty virtually destroyed running it into the ground chasing 'wild' mustangs. ask the woman who was nearly killed by her horse after monty 'trained' it. check the history records and see if you can find a skerrick of truth in any of montys books.

anyone who knows anything about horses finds monty laughable - buy his offensive rubbish and well all be laughing at you too.

1-0 out of 5 stars Over Rated
I was in my teens when I first read "the man who listens to horses" even at that time I thought that he was arrogant, he was far from humble.
Before I read Monty's book I had read books from Ray Hunt,Tom and Bill Dorrance the true masters of Natural Horsemanship (horse whispering if you want to call it)" I felt in my bones that I'd descovered something new that would significantly change the way humans relate to horses" was a quote from monty's book but these ways have been around for hundreds of years. really it's nothing new... He was just the first to Advertise it and call it his own. Don't get me wrong though, he is a good horsemen I grant him that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Learn to communicate with the most impressive creatures!
I have loved horses for the past 13 years, but only got a chance to start riding and being around them three months ago. I read this book last month and even though I am no horse-trainer, I could use the ideas to communicate better with horses. I got rid of my whip (which I hated having to begin with) and found that the horse I ride is now happier and more cooperative. While she tried to bite me alot in the past now she rests her head on my shoulder when I'm near her. It is lovely. Even some of the horses that do not like humans to be around them are starting to accept my presence. Truly the feeling of being able to communicate with such magnificent creatures is the best feeling in the world. By writing this book Monty Roberts wanted to help make this world a better place for horses. My opinion is that he did help to a great extent. I believe that if horses could speak human language, they would say: "Thank you, Roberts." But for now I say it! THANK YOU ROBERTS FOR ONE OF THE GREATEST HORSE BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ.

4-0 out of 5 stars A heart-warming read for anyone.
I have not read too much biography, but I really enjoyed this man's story. I read "The Horse Whisperer" a while back, and enjoyed it immensely. For that reason, I decided to read Monty's story. I know next to nothing about horses. I wouldn't know what a hackamore is if I got hit by one. I barely know what a foal or a filly is, or a colt. To me a bay is an inlet of water! Thanks to the school secretary, who used to train horses, I now know the meaning to these terms. But I still enjoyed the story of Monty Roberts. Here is a man who stuck to his dreams, despite the ridicule and abuse he received from others, even his own father. Here is a man who, despite a "malady" in his eyes, has learned the language of horses by watching them in the moonlight as a boy. While others talk about peace in the world, here is a man who is doing something about it, bridging the gap that exists between human beings and animals. Here is a man who, despite advanced years, went out into the wilderness to do what he did as a young man. Here is a man who has met the Queen of England, and helped her out as well. Though I have no horse-sense at all, I enjoyed this book, and you will as well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Gift for Horse Lovers and Riders
Monty Roberts has done the horse world a great service by sharing his non-violent training methods with us.His love of horses leaps off of every page as he describes the old training ways of his father and the conflicts and punishment he endured to continue with his training methods using horse language and body language.This is a pleasure to read and a learning tool to teach all of us who work with horses how to understand their fears and gain their trust. ... Read more


136. War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars
by Andrew Carroll
list price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743216601
Catlog: Book (2001-05-15)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 684872
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"I've cast out my razor, divorced my soap, buried my manners, signed my socks to a two-year contract, and proved that you don't have to come in out of the rain." So wrote Corporal Thomas P. Noonan from Vietnam, proving that humor doesn't fail even in war. Noonan's letter is just one of over 50,000 that letter-enthusiast Andrew Carroll (Letters of a Nation) received after Abigail Van Buren publicized his Legacy Project in her Dear Abby column. Out of this treasure trove he selected 150, spanning 130 years of warfare from the Civil War to Bosnia. While there are letters from such notables as General William Tecumseh Sherman and even Julia Childs, most were written by uncelebrated but dearly loved soldiers from barracks, trenches, and flooded foxholes and by combat journalists, nurses, and family members on the home front.

While the letters are not unrelentingly grim, there is ample description of the rending agonies of war and the pain of separation. For instance, a recounting of horrors found in a Nazi concentration camp, or a tender letter to a just-born daughter who may never be seen. Private First Class Richard King describes the death of a Catholic chaplain blessing the foxholes: "An artillery shell cut him in half at the waist." Staff Sergeant Joe Sammarco tells how he crawled, wounded, across streams and into hills in order to escape the Chinese, propelled by the thought of his wife and his babies. Many of these are "last letters," often received after the news of the writer's death. Lieutenant Tommie Kennedy, a POW on a Japanese "hell ship," wrote his farewells on the only thing he had--the back of two family photographs, which were smuggled back to his parents.

These are, as Carroll writes, "the first, unfiltered drafts of history." His rich sample testifies to the universal and poignant themes of love and honor, courage and rage, duty and fear and mortality. The playful and heartfelt voices grant us the personal perspective all too often lost in news reports and government statements. Taken together, they remind us that, despite the playful good cheer, the human cost of war is far too high. A remarkable contribution to the understanding of war and its impact, and a powerful tribute to those undone by it. --Lesley Reed ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Literature and History
War Letters is an extraordinary collection of American correspondence pulled from each of the major US engagements from the Civil War on.The letters from servicemen and servicewomen range from mundane accounts of their military routine to moments of truth about their loved ones and reasons for fighting that are so honest and intense, you will be stunned.Combined with an excellent narrative that provides the background for each conflict, this unique volume also serves as a pretty good history book in its own right.However, that is just a fringe benefit.The letters encapsulate hopes, fears, and love, which makes them literature and history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful - Definitly deserves the 5 star Review!
Those who have read this book before me and left their reviews have said it all.It's almost impossible to read these letters with a dry eye.

This novel compiles letters written during the most prominent wars of our Nations history.I read these letters, almost feeling like I was peeping into another's life, and felt my heart wrench.It brought me to a different state of mind, I began wondering how I'd act or what I would do, in certain situations.It was like I had a chance to live in their shoes; military personnel, nurses, journalists, celebrities, and the leaders of our country at the time.It was enthralling... I'd curl up on the couch with my book in hand and emerse myself in letters written from a long ago time.

Mr. Carroll has a knack for writing, and his compilations of letters bring a new sense of awareness for what we went through as a country.What our military men & women went through as they fought daily for the freedom we take for granted, and they do it all for the love of their country.Their family.

I highly recommend this novel!Thank you, Mr. Carroll!

~Gina

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't Say Enough Good Things
I can't say enough good things about the book, video and articles produced by Andrew Carroll. In addition, he's a kind, caring and compasionate gentleman.If you want a true taste of what the soldiers and their families are feeling during war time, get this book. This is "reality reading".

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good book, excellent audiobook selection.
I was given this book by my daughter, and I had read from it from time to time. It is in fact a book that very much lends itself to that sort of intermittent reading, as the letters stand well enough on their own and are not part of any particular plot or developing idea. However, when my audiobook account had a balance on it that had to be used, I decided to download this book and have the letters read to me. With more than a dozen readers of excellent quality, and given the wonderful selection of the letters themselves, the narration occupied several days of my commute in a bittersweet but overall pleasant manner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Words Unspoken
An incredible novel of accounts from countless men and women who gave their all-their lives for past and future generations to come.
As a grandson of WWII and Korean War Grandfathers, I strive to understand and relate to their past. This book has helped me do just that and more!

May we never, never, never forget the sacrifices made to ensure freedom for our country. It would be a grave dishonor to forget those who shed their blood for our sake. ... Read more


137. Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man Who Found $1 Million (Thorndike Press Large Print Core Series)
by Mark Bowden
list price: $28.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786248920
Catlog: Book (2002-12-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 780830
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Following best-selling and award-winning books such as Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo, Mark Bowden has won widespread acclaim for his ability to report true-life events in riveting detail, with a singular eye for human drama. Now Finders Keepers recounts a mystery that captivated the city of Philadelphia when $1 million went missing. Hard times had left Joey Coyle -- a likable longshoreman from the close-knit working-class neighborhood of South Philadelphia -- living with his ailing mother and struggling to support a drug habit. One afternoon, Coyle was on his way to score drugs when, just blocks from his home, he found two curious yellow containers lying in the street. As it turned out, they had just fallen off the back of an armored van, and they contained $1 million in unmarked money from a casino. From the moment the cash disappeared, Detective Pat Laurenzi, with the help of the FBI, worked around the clock to find it. As the story exploded onto the front pages, the entire city was swept up in the hunt. Joey Coyle, meanwhile, shared the money with everyone from his girlfriend to complete strangers to the neighborhood's most notorious mob boss, who allegedly helped launder it. Coyle would live his next week in a drug-fueled whirlwind, planning his future as a rich man even as he grew terrified that he was about to be captured, even killed. Finders Keepers is the remarkable tale of an ordinary man faced with an extraordinary moral dilemma, and the fascinating reactions -- from complicity to concern to betrayal -- of the friends and neighbors to whom he turns. Loaded with intrigue and suspense, this is a gripping new book from a versatile and evocative chronicler of American life. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars A funny true crime story?
Can there be such a thing as a funny true crime story?

Mark Bowden answers the question with a solid yes, with this tale of down and out Philidelphians whos stumble upon a box of armored car money.

It s aquick read that takes time to delve into the backgrounds of the major charachters enough to make us sympathetic to them and even pitty them at times.Well reported and not overwritten, which must have been ahrd because some of the charachters cried out for a lot of sterotypical descriptions.

2-0 out of 5 stars This book reads like it was phoned in
Mr. Bowden is the author of the "Black Hawk Down" and a few other well received books.Since "Finders Keepers" is the first title I've read by Mr. Bowden, I'll have to assume it's the exception to his writings and not the rule because, frankly, this one reads like it was phoned in.

To be fair, Bowden is a competent writer, yet this book's biggest asset--that it's written in a straightforward, accessible manner--is also its biggest liability.Why?Because the plot is threadbare and boring.You could argue that Bowden did what he could with the story he had (it is a true story).However, the flip side of that coin is "why bother" if the facts of the story are that uninteresting.There's just not much "there" there.

The following one sentence plot summary could save several irretrievable hours of your life:In 1981 a 28 year old meth addict finds $1.2 million on a back Philly street, blabs his mouth about it to everyone he knows, makes a couple of lame efforts to launder the money, gets caught trying to flee the country, goes on trial, then gets off scott free, end of story.

The front of the book contains a note disclosing that portions of it were previously published in the "Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine" (in the 1980s).It's as if Bowden's literary agent convinced him that 20 years after the fact it would be alright to recycle the articles, add a bit of filler here and there, stretch it out to 200 short paperback pages, and call it a "book".

If Mr. Bowden and his editor had spent more time fleshing out details and revising the manuscript to make it feel more like reading a novel (instead of a dry newspaper piece), it might have been more enjoyable.As it turns out, I only feel like I've helped Mr. Bowden make his next boat payment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Story - Very Well Told
This story could have been handled in so many ways - as an amusing Donald Westlake story, as a cautionary tale about the dangers of drugs, as an underdog fights the system story etc. etc.

Instead, Mark Bowden sticks to the facts and lets the story speak for itself.A really enjoyable book.One of the most amusing parts of the story is the section about Hollywood's attempts to turn this squalid tragicomedy into a John Cusack vehicle.As the filmmakers lack Bowden's storytelling ability or good sense, the film is a colossal bomb.

Read the book and remember the old sayings "be careful what you wish for", and "a fool and his money..."

4-0 out of 5 stars Losers, are Always Weepers
Written like a fiction novel, Bowden tells the true story of an instant financial windfall of $1.2 million for Joey Coyle an unemployed, drug dependant, loser with nothing going for him and the IQ of a rock.Joey, depressed after his drug dealer wasn't home spots a yellow container on the side of the road which he thinks would make a good tool box.Looking inside he discovers two bags with reserve bank written on them.Not really caring that this money obviously belongs to someone he quickly puts the bags in his friend's car and they drive away.

This book tells what Joey does with the money in the seven days it takes the authorities to work out he took it and capture him. It is a crime in Philadelphia not to try and return something found with a value over $250.His big plans and how absolutely terrified he gets when he realises the mob is not around just to help you change hundred dollar notes into smaller currency are examined in detail.You'll be amazed at just how stupid this guy is.Also the stupidity of Purolator Armored Car Company and their drivers who lost the money of the back of the truck in the first place.

What would you do if you found 1.2 million?To be honest I would keep it but I sure wouldn't be as stupid as Joey. This is an extremely interesting book.I never heard of the actual story before so I have no idea how accurate this book portrays events but I thoroughly enjoyed it.It does drag on a bit with the trial and epilogue at the end which could have been summed up with a lot less paragraphs.Apart from that though, I was addicted and wanted to know the outcome.Highly recommended!

1-0 out of 5 stars Not a lot of substance to this book
I bought this book after reading a complimentary review online.Unfortunately, this book proved to be a very bland, unentertaining read about an unintelligent, vanilla main character who doesn't even give himself a chance to keep the money that he found.

Nothing spectacular really happens in the book; in fact, this probably would have been a better feature article for a second-tier major newspaper.

I found the characters very difficult to follow, much less get interested in.I do not recommend this book at all. ... Read more


138. Last Stands: Notes from Memory
by Hillary Masters, Hilary Masters
list price: $12.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0896214184
Catlog: Book (1982-06-01)
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Sales Rank: 818345
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"The portraits are at once funny and sad but they are portraits in the round, of people understood and accepted, and in their strong individuality, a touch of universality. A model demonstration ofthe uses of memory."--The New Yorker

"An immensely artful book, which is to say that the care its author has taken with his arrangements ensures the illusions of truth."--Newsweek

"The novelist's willingness to reshape time for meaning guides this memoir; so does the photographer's ability to focus, frame and crop for impact. An elegant book."--Los Angeles Times ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Truth of the Masters
Hilary Masters' memoir Last Stands exhibits uniqueness in writing with a universal appeal.Whether it be upper class zeal, lower class pride, war stories, grandparents, grandchildren, health, humor, abuse, neglect, tolerance, strength, or even food, there is something in it for everyone.

Overall, Last Stands is a patchwork piece--a memoir and indirect autobiography glittered with several familial biographies.Masters constantly switches scenes and elements of focus, but he overlaps his storyline, keeping the reader grounded, despite a sequence of simultaneous events.Thus, history is tied together in a busy but logical manner.

Although Masters reveals disturbing events, he adds tidbits of humor to lighten the mood.In addition, he compares and contrasts fictitious characters, such as Odysseus, to events in his own life--a technique that grants him boundless points-of-view.Furthermore, his ingenuity unfolds with his use of secondary sources: letters, poems, epitaphs, and invitations.Finally, his use of dialogue carries the story where it might otherwise seem bland.

Even where memory falls short in the author's mind, he entertains the reader with his image of how a situation could have happened.Thus, Masters offers creative details of a picture that might have been there, and even if it wasn't, he proves that the truth is as real as the writer's true imagination. ... Read more


139. Life of Charlotte Bronte
by Elizabeth Gaskell
list price: $29.99
our price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 070898505X
Catlog: Book (1989-06-01)
Publisher: Charnwood
Sales Rank: 1007012
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars At the intersection of time and eternity
Mrs. Gaskell understood a man's or woman's life to be lived within a social and natural context -- and her deployment of anecdotes and impressions of the North of England in the early pages of this book is captivating. But she also understood us to be souls, present to but distinct from God. Hence, even though in a few instances Gaskell's facts may been correctible (which the editor has done for us in this Penguin Classics edition), she is concerned with truth, and this gives readers the opportunity (rarely offered by modern entertainments) to escape from the trivial.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Biography!
A very nicely written biography by Mrs. Gaskell about the life of her friend Charlotte Bronte, although most of the content was made up of letters written either by or to Charlotte Bronte rather than Mrs. Gaskell's own writings. Still this is a very concise book containing mostly everything that an ordinary reader, or well, a beginner of the Bronte novels, should know about this famous family. Nonetheless at some point of the book, I do find Mrs. Gaskell a bit too subjective, especially when it comes to the depiction of Charlotte's brother Branwell Bronte and his downfall. But consider the fact that this book was written only within one and a half year, with Mrs. Gaskell herself alone traveling all the way from Manchester to Haworth, and then to Brussel, doing all the necessary researches and interviews on her own, I must say that this is just an awesome piece of work!! And just as what Patrick Bronte himself had said about this biography, 'It is every way worthy of what one Great Woman, should have written of Another...it ought to stand, and will stand in the first rank, of Biographies, till the end of time'.

One more word though. From a more scholarly point of view, however, I think so far the 'best' biography on the Brontes should be Juliet Barker's 'The Brontes'. If, after reading this biography written by Mrs. Gaskell, you still want to know more about the Brontes, then I will say: go and buy this other book by Juliet Barker and you definitely will never regret it!

4-0 out of 5 stars SAD BUT BRILLIANT
Such sad lives were led by the the Bronte's, loneliness, loss, despair, all were experienced and fed into the imaginations on charlotte, emily and anne. This book is a brilliant book by E C Gaskell (who i normally dont really like), it is basically a collection of letters by charlotte and a great narrative, when speaking of the deaths of emily, anne and charlotte, i actually felt tears in my eyes!

5-0 out of 5 stars An insight into Charlotte's life like no other.
This book, written shortly after Charlotte's death by request of her father, shows the passionate and creative side to Charlotte's nature that her contemporary society were not aware of. You feel like you are actually watching her life pass by as Mrs. Gaskell describes every minute detail concerning the Bronte parsonage and the nearby surroundings. It is a happy story, particularly when the Haworth house learnt the news of their publications, and in general it tells of a very contented household. Their is a degree of poigency, however, as the reader follows Charlotte through the loss of her beloved siblings one by one. When after their deathes she eventually finds happiness, it is very shortlived as her untimely demise occurs shortly after her union with Athur Bell Nicholls. Mrs. Gaskell portrays her friend Charlotte as a warm and generous person and this book is a must for any Bronte lover. ... Read more


140. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table (G K Hall Large Print Nonfiction Series)
by Ruth Reichl
list price: $28.95
our price: $28.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0783803656
Catlog: Book (1998-11-01)
Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company
Sales Rank: 302627
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl shares lessons learned at the hands (and kitchen counters) of family members and friends throughout her life, from growing up with her taste-blind mother to the comfort of cream puffs while away at boarding school on "Mars" (Montreal seemed just as far away) to her most memorable meal, taken on a mountainside in Greece.

Her stories shine with the voices and recipes of those she has encountered on the way, such as her Aunt Birdie's maid and companion, Alice, who first taught Reichl both the power of cooking and how to make perfect apple dumplings; the family's mysterious patrician housekeeper, Mrs. Peavey, who always remembered to make extra pastry for the beef Wellington; Serafina, the college roommate with whom Reichl explored a time of protest and political and personal discovery; and, finally, cookbook author Marion Cunningham, who, after tales of her midlife struggles and transformation, gave Reichl the strength to overcome her own anxieties.

Reichl's wry and gentle humor pervades the book, and makes readers feel as if they're right at the table, laughing at one great story after another (and delighting in a gourmet meal at the same time, of course).Reichl's narrative of a life lived and remembered through the palate will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. ... Read more

Reviews (85)

5-0 out of 5 stars A delicious tale...
This is a wonderful book full of the author's colorful recollections concerning her growing up years. It is lovely to see the way that food has sculpted Ms. Reichl into the adult she became.
I most enjoyed the beginning and the end of the book. I think the slowest section is in the middle, during the author's tumultuous college years.
The recipes at the end of each chapter make my mouth water! I have a long list of meals I have to make now, as well as restaurants to try and people to meet. I'm making her wiener schnitzel tomorrow night!

2-0 out of 5 stars Has its moments, although...
First of all, don't buy this book for the recipes.They seem to be included to give the feel of the period, and aren't very interesting today.That said, there are some worthwhile passages in this book, notably those that involve the author's bipolar mother. The problem is that the bulk of the memoir is larded with boomer-generation cliches: the motherly housekeeper, the exotic boarding school roommate, the high school 'fast crowd,' the exotic college roommate, the post-college communal household.One cringe-worthy chapter in the middle is reminiscent of Neal Pollack's "I am friends with a middle-class black person"--minus the satire.Finally, at the end, things just begin to get interesting as the author visits French vintners in the company of Kermit Lynch.Perhaps the sequel is a better read.For a far superior coming-of-age-with-food read, try Nigel Slater's "Toast." It succeeds more effectively on every level--and all he had to work with was British food!

3-0 out of 5 stars Disturbing!
I found the authors travels more interesting than her descriptions of eating or cooking. Much of her cooking tales personally turned my stomach. I suppose I'm glad that I'm not familar with her New York Times reviews. The recipes included in the book were either bizarre sounding or rather simplistic. Save for the soufflet recipe, I'm really not tempted to try any of them.

It took until page 54 for me to really get into the book. I had five abortive attempts at starting the book before I finally got to a point where I was interested enough to keep reading. It was at the point that she went to the boarding school that I wanted to continue. Again it was for the traveling and not the food.

To top things off I had the joy of reading this book while traveling for the holidays. My mother-in-law and mother both did things that reminded me of Ruth's mother. In the case of latter, it was to see if years old preserves that no longer had the consitency of preserves were still etible. For the former, it was to cook a meat dish that smelled okay but was gray in color. She also then made a strange vegetable dish that had all sorts of things mixed together that just don't seem like they should go together. Both dishes actually tasted fine but they sure looked strange! Perhaps if I hadn't been reading Tender at the Bone at the time I wouldn't have been so put off by them. In the case of the preserves, my mother in law came to her senses before actually eating any.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
A memoir about a food writers coming of age through her experiences with food.Her descriptions of food are tantalizing and the recipes sprinkled throughout tempting.I enjoyed reading about the variety of her exposures to food and found it a well written and easy to read memoir.However, the parts about her early life were much more interesting and engaging.She seems to back off on detail and engagement as she grows older and her adult wanderings and accidental entry into the world of food writers is less interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars First of Two Scrumptious Memoirs. Highly Recommended
Ruth Reichl is one of the most influential figures in American culinary journalism today, as Editor in Chief of `Gourmet' magazine for the last several years. Her influence may not be as great as that of Craig Claiborne, but that was probably a once and gone opportunity. The American culinary scene is too big for any one or two people to dominate it the way Claiborne and Beard did in the 1960's, 70's and 80's.

This book, `Tender at the Bone' is the first of two memoirs by Reichl. Their charm will be eagerly anticipated by anyone who reads Reichl's monthly editor's column in `Gourmet'. These two books are cut from the same primal stuff, with the additional spice of material too personal to warrant the pages of a national magazine.

Reichl grew up with a mother with habits which offer as compelling a motive to land in the food business as the very skillful cook / hospitality businesswoman who bore James Beard. In Reichl's case, her mother was just the opposite. She was quite capable of serving food so poorly preserved as to poison her guests. Reichl, as a little girl, had to become skillful in preparing food just to protect her own life and the lives of visitors to her family's house.

In many other regards, as one reads this tale of Ruth's life as a small girl in the early 1960s through her start in culinary journalism in San Francisco in 1977 just at the time when the zeitgeist was leading people such as Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower to create California Cuisine at Chez Panisse and other venues.

Two fascinating questions are raised in my mind by this book and its sequel `Comfort Me with Apples'. The first is what it is about Reichl that compels her to reveal so many intimate details about her life and family. I am wondering if there is a writer's gene that propels one to lie out for all the world to see what an odd life one has lead. In spite of the wonder, I am immensely grateful that Ms. Reichl has done so, as the revelations are immensely entertaining. The second question is the wondering of how I may have turned out with the same experiences.

I encourage you to bring Ms. Reichl and her very odd family into your experience. You will be richer for the encounter. Since I regret I cannot know Ruth personally, this is the next best thing. Like many other culinary memoirs, this book includes recipes to highlight incidents in Ms. Reichl's life. As Ruth also happens to be an excellent cook, the recipes simply spice up an already very filling meal. ... Read more


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